Redux Realtors: Don't spend money needlessly; sometimes less is more

Redux Realtors: Don't spend money needlessly; sometimes less is more

At Bobbett & Associates, we look for ways to enhance our clients' homes before putting them on the market. We make very strategic improvements that will bring the best results (aka, best price) for the least amount of investment on the part of our clients.

Our motto is: We make a home 'move-in' ready for new buyers. Over time, the new owners can make the big improvements, such as remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms.

Our latest home project belongs to a 93-year-old woman moving to assisted living after living in the home for more than 55 years. Her son is assisting with the sale and contacted us to help them make a few upgrades and updates before putting the property on the market.

After estate sale was completed and all personal items were removed from the property we began a three-week renovation of the property that included: interior paint; removal of popcorn ceilings; new flooring throughout, including carpet in the master bedroom and family room additions, and the refinishing of the original wood floors in the remainder of the home.

We could have made many improvement suggestions, but this property is located on a busy street. We considered this factor when advising on home improvements because we didn’t want the owner’s son to spend his money needlessly. Sometimes less is more, as the saying goes.

Various handyman repairs were also made, including changing out the yellowed and cracked kitchen ceiling light covers, among other things. All told the seller invested less than $15,000. We are now listing the home this week at $699,800.

Stay tuned for updated photos and as well as an update on the sale!

How we prepare when listing your home for sale

Watch our video to learn how we prepare a listing before it goes to market.

First we assemble our team of contractors: the carpet people, the painters, the plumbers, hardwood flooring refinishers, electricians, etc. We then get bids and bring them to the sellers for their approval. And once approved, we get to work.

Roughly 7 to 10 seconds is all we have to make a first impression. That's true of meeting other people, and it's also true for houses.

Builders use model homes to showcase their houses in the best possible light. We bring the same advantage to resale sellers.

Pay off mortgage loan to build wealth; be cautious of HELOCs

Nearly a decade since the Great Recession decimated wealth in American real estate, we’re seeing the return of a major contributing factor that had all but disappeared from the industry. The home equity line of credit is back.

A HELOC is a line of credit backed by a homeowner’s real estate equity. Once approved, consumers can essentially charge their expenses to the HELOC like a credit card and then pay back the balance each month – usually with a much lower interest rate than a credit card.

Many consumers who bought homes in the early 2000s came to believe the good times would continue to roll and their home values could only increase. At the same time, many banks were practically giving away HELOCs to any property owner with a pulse.

HELOCs became like automated teller machines to many homeowners who would take out equity to pay for lavish vacations, fancy cars and other luxuries. When property values began to nose dive and loan interest rates reset at higher rates, they found themselves with no equity left.

“Underwater” on their homes (owing more in loans than their properties were worth), with monthly loan payments they could not afford, foreclosure became the only option for many. Consumers were bankrupted, while banks pleaded for the federal government to bail them out and save the U.S. and global economies from total collapse.

Needless to say, we don’t want to relive that nightmare again. Yet we’re feeling a bit of déjà vu lately, seeing more marketing mailers for HELOCs in our mailbox. A recent U.S. News and World Report article stated that HELOC originations increased nearly 5 percent from last year, while originations are up 190 percent since their low point in 2011.

Don’t let a slick marketing gimmick, visions of dream kitchens or vacations, rope you into a HELOC. We suggest leaving the equity in your home unless you absolutely need the funds.

The best way to build long-term wealth through real estate, what we tell our clients, is to pay off your first mortgage as quickly as possible – and exercise extreme caution when exploring the option of a second loan such as a HELOC.

As the saying goes, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Please contact us should you have questions about HELOCs or other real estate matters.

Redux Realtors: Don't underestimate the power of presentation of a home

Redux Realtors: Don't underestimate the power of presentation of a home

For our latest project, we were asked to look at the home of a past clients' parents in La Mirada. The parents are elderly and no longer able to live alone.

While the home had been loved, it had not been updated in many, many years. The parents were not too keen on the idea of spending money on a home makeover given that there was no firm guarantee as to what the home would actually sell for.

We got the bids and showed the homeowners that by spending a relatively small amount of money on improvements they would net a much higher amount in a sales price.

The daughter, who was handling the parents' move from the home and responsible of clearing out all their personal items, was a little overwhelmed. We assured her that if she and her parents gave us the green light to do the work, she could walk away and come back in time for the first open house.

She took a little convincing that it could be that easy.

So upon receiving approval to start the Redux, we got busy. The painters started interior and exterior painting. Then the old, tired carpet was removed and where there were hardwood floors, our hardwood floor finisher brought the floors back to their original glory!

Then the gardener started a big clean up in the yard - front and back. Next came the new carpet installation on the slab floors in the living and dining rooms, and on the stairs. Window cleaners and general house cleaners completed their work, and we were ready for staging.

Martina had already created her design concept for the home, so in approximately three days the home was ready to be professionally photographed and go on the market.

We pushed the price $10,000 higher than we had taken the listing at upon seeing the transformation of the home. And the offers started coming in. We opened escrow seven days after listing the home at a sales price $10,000 higher than our asking price.

Please don't ever underestimate the power of proper presentation of a home. The money spent on a makeover is definitely going to bring a higher sales price.

House hunters like homes that are move-in ready, and that's what James and Martina of Bobbett & Associates strive to provide on every one of their listings.

Martina's Corner: If you love what you do for a living, it’s not really work.

Martina's Corner: If you love what you do for a living, it’s not really work.

If you love what you do for a living, it’s not really work. How many times have you heard this saying?

Real Estate has always been a work of love to me rather than a job. Close to 25 years of helping people attain their dreams brings me great joy.

This year I feel has been the busiest year ever, with so many homes needing a make-over before we put them on the market.

Having an owner place his or her complete trust in me to make the right decisions on repairs, improvements, paint color, type of flooring etc. is something I don’t take lightly.

And to see the joy and pride on their faces when they see the end results warms my heart, to say the very least. Very often there is a little regret on the part of our clients. We often hear, "Why didn’t we do this years ago?" referring to how the home looks when our work is complete.

Often times we list a home where the owners are elderly and do not have the wherewithal or the interest to keep up with maintenance and current trends in home décor. In other cases, the parents are deceased, leaving adult children, who are busy with their own lives, to sell the family home.

They hand the project over to us with complete faith that we will create a warm and inviting environment, ready for a new family to enjoy for years to come. Every detail is considered – orientation of the home for paint color, style of furniture to compliment the architecture of the home, every candle and pillow is carefully placed on the furniture we have brought into the home.

Only then is the home ready to be photographed by a professional photographer, and shown to the world through the Multiple Listing Services and every Social Media avenue available!

We have built a wonderful team of workers over the years who are honest, hardworking folks. From the handyman to the cleaning crew, and everyone in between, we couldn’t do the work we do without their commitment to every job.

Given that I have always loved design and studied it in Ireland and at Fullerton College, the ‘marriage’ between real estate and my design skills is a perfect one.

Long may we continue to transform homes for trusting clients. I have one friend who says we should have our own TV show, but I would rather just focus on our wonderful clients and do a great job every time the phone rings and we are asked to "come list our home."

Until the next time,


Company License #01272441

Company License #01272441

DRE #01189723 (Martina Bobbett)
DRE #01272441 (James Bobbett)