Life Hack: Creating a home inventory for insuranceOne important thing all homeowners (and tenants with renter’s insurance) should do and make a point of updating each year is to inventory the personal items in your home for insurance purposes. Keeping a record of the important items in your home for insurance purposes helps to expedite the claim process should the day ever come that you need to rely on your homeowners insurance for a claim of any sort. Here are a few easy ways to knock this off your weekend “to-do”  item list:

  • Video each room of your house—narrate the contents as you pan the room; close up on smaller items and read aloud model numbers and brand names if you can see them
  • Photograph furniture, jewelry, computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, car keys etc.
  • Use an APP—KnowYourStuff.org has an excellent online home inventory service to catalog and record your personal items for insurance purposes. This free service connects to a smartphone app which allows you to quickly access and share your information for your insurance agent. Visit KnowYourStuff.org for this free service.
  • Use Google Docs—if you don’t want to learn and manage a new app, Google Docs is a great way to create lists, spreadsheets, photo files, etc. You can control privacy settings and access from anywhere via your Google account on the web.
  • Keep a receipt box—Label a small box by year for important receipts. This not only helps with your home inventory list, it also comes in handy for tracking write offs during tax season.

In all cases, if you have receipts, take photos of them to keep in your permanent digital file. If you don’t have receipts, try to document in writing an estimated market value of each item so you can add that information to your digital file. Be sure to save a copy of your inventory to your computer then BURN A COPY OF THE FILE to a jump drive and keep a copy at work or mail a copy to a trusted family member to keep a copy in a safe place.  Some insurance companies also offer free services online that link right to your account, making it even easier to communicate when you need to quickly relay information to your insurance company.

Set up an annual reminder in your personal calendar.  If you set a reminder each year, you won’t even have to think about the last time you updated your list. Creating an annual habit of updating your home inventory list for insurance claims will only make the process shorter and easier from year to year. If you need a referral for a great local insurance agent, please contact the office; we’ll be happy to introduce you to some of the best in the business!



Mira Costa High School was established in 1950 and serves both Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach students. (Hermosa Beach students have the option of attending Mira Costa High School or nearby rival, Redondo Union High School). The school services grades 9 through 12 and has an average enrollment of 2,500 students, with a teaching and administrative staff of about 110. The school is located in East Manhattan Beach; this is the real estate area East of Sepulveda Boulevard known as MLS area 147, “Manhattan Beach Mira Costa”. Homes here are very popular with growing families as they typically sit on 6,000-7,500 sf lots or larger, and offer a common floor plan adopted by various builders through the years that features 4 to 5 bedrooms at an average of 2,800 square feet or larger, and almost all homes have generous yard space—some even have pools. Homes in this area are about 1 mile from the beach, and are also very conveniently located to major commuter routes within the South Bay and beyond. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the non-profit Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, which supports our local schools by raising much needed additional funding to preserve the standard of education in the District, the High School proudly offers one of the most comprehensive curriculum catalogs in the State of California. With over 20 AP programs, CIF championship level athletics programs, a STEM program that prepares students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, as well as award winning music, drama and fine arts programs, Mira Costa offers a top-notch experience for all students in attendance. Over 95% of Mira Costa High graduates enter institutions of higher learning, many with scholarships to the Top 10 Universities in the nation. Not only is the school ranked in the Top 1% in the State, its API score typically ranks in the 900 range and Forbes Magazine has named the Manhattan Beach School District as the sixth overall district in the nation. Among earned accolades, the school has been recently named one of three Grammy Signature Schools Gold Recipients for excellence in music education programs. The school boasts award winning Choral, Orchestral, and Drama programs, along with its championship level sports teams and its nationally recognized Model UN and Journalism programs. There are over 50 clubs and organizations on campus. Among some of the most successful athletics programs in the country, Mira Costa offers Football, Volleyball, Baseball, Softball, Basketball, Lacrosse, Water Polo, Swimming, Soccer, Cross Country and Track and Field teams. The Phys Ed department offers yoga courses, Surf PE, dance and weight training. The athletics department and physical education programs receive additional support of the MBX Foundation which funds hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant monies to important facility and equipment improvements and more. Integral to the school’s mission to maximize the unique potential of each student, the school’s advanced science programs offer labs in AP Bio, Chemistry, Earth and Space science, Environmental Science, Marine Science, Physics, and Physiology. Currently, there are 23 AP courses offered as well as expanded college prep classes in areas such as Film Noir, Women’s Literature, and Intro to Law. Computer Science and Robotics Programs are also part of Mira Costa’s expanded curriculum. The quality of education in our community provides a consistent demand for homes in the local market, which in turn helps to preserve home values and protect home equity. Mira Costa High School clearly offers an established and esteemed tradition of excellence to its Student Body which prepares them for a successful future, which is why real estate in Manhattan Beach is such an attractive draw for those moving into the area.   MORE INFORMATION & RESOURCESMira Costa PTSAMBX FoundationManhattan Beach Ed Foundation (MBEF)Manhattan Beach Unified School DistrictLaVista School Journalism SiteMira Costa Football ScheduleMira Costa Girls’ VolleyballMira Costa Boys’ VolleyballMira Costa Basketball

116 Terraza is an over 10,000 sf home on a 24,000 sf lot offering a private, estate-style setting at the beach

When it comes to the beach life, no where else in Los Angeles do you get the sense of the down-home laid back “vintage” beach lifestyle paired with multi-million dollar homes that make up the eclectic beach community of Manhattan Beach. For those seeking elevated coastal living with easy access to outstanding dining & boutique shopping options, a true neighborhood experience offering top-rated education options for children, and some of the most celebrated architecture in Southern California, there are three distinct areas to consider in the high-end market: The Strand, The Hill Section and The Terraza Estates Section. Here, many a celebrity, athlete or high profile entrepreneur choose to settle down and blend in with the rest of us. In the spirit of being neighborly, we choose not to name names. They know we know who they are . . . but if you really must know, you can visit sites like Blockshopper.com or CurbedLA to get the scoop. THE STRANDHomes along The Strand are front and center, as they  proudly stand lined upon the beach front stretch that starts in El Porto to the North and ends at the border of Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach near Herondo St.. Here heads turn as people pass by on beachfront walks and bike rides along the Strand, and you can overhear snippets of conversation guessing about the price of a given home, complimenting the architecture of another and pondering which celebrity or notable CEO owns which home. Those that own Strand properties definitely get the sense of being the talk of the town and of not being able to ever truly duplicate the experience of being a Strand owner. Homes rarely come on the market here and when they do, agents quickly reach out to high net worth clients all over the globe to attract them to a potential sale. With sale prices setting new records for LAND alone, like the one recently at 1700 The Strand in Manhattan Beach at a whopping $16,000,000, it takes a strong network of agents connected to investors, developers and highly qualified buyers to achieve sales each year. Right now, the property 4004 The Strand on the North End is the most accessible entry price asking $6,750,000, with last week’s new listing at 516/518 The Strand next at $10,000,000. 

516 The Strand is currently for sale in Manhattan Beach asking $10,000,000

People tend to buy on the Strand for the notion that there really is no place closer to the ocean than this; the easy accessibility to the shopping, dining & social life of the Downtown Manhattan corridor, the fact you can step out of one’s home out onto the sand, wake up to an early surf session then work from one’s ocean front home office, and seriously take in some of the best people watching on the planet. It’s not uncommon to see high profile individuals comfortably blending right into the general public. It is a very social neighborhood with homeowners often visiting each other’s front patios or talking to each other across property lines. North End Manhattan Strand owners send their children to nationally ranked Grandview Elementary, while South End Manhattan Strand owners are zoned for equally ranked Robinson Elementary.THE HILL SECTION

Hill Section homes often have lots large enough for large ocean view homes as well as yards with pools

For those that love those panoramic ocean views but are not keen on the idea of living right in the thick of it, the Southwestern portion of the nearby Hill Section offers a solution. Some of Manhattan Beach’s largest homes are found dominating the landscape of the South Hill Section, capturing breathtaking views while providing larger lots where one can even enjoy private backyard space. Renowned local architects get to really stretch their legs on projects commissioned in the Hill Section; with less challenges to overcome and more opportunity to achieve impressive new concepts in design, the Hill Section competes with The Strand for similar asking prices, while offering a completely different product and lifestyle. Here you get some sense of privacy, larger homes, yards, and parking yet also capturing the awesome beauty of coastal living from a perfect vantage point. Hill Section owners are still close to the center of activity and often even an enjoyable bike ride to the beach.   THE TERRAZA ESTATES SECTION But even still, there is another buyer that seeks all the attractions of beach living in Manhattan Beach, but also highly value seclusion, land, and one-of-a-kind estate style homes. Typically, this buyer finds themselves often drawn up onto the nearby Palos Verdes Peninsula in order to capture everything on their “must-have” list, however, the one drawback there is that it is not so easy to simply access the beach, and even then, the beaches along the PV point are not the deep, sprawling sandy beaches of the Beach Cities coastline. There is but one singular place in Manhattan Beach where this kind of discerning buyer can have the best of all worlds. It is a simple 5-8 minute drive to the beach where sprawling offer abundant space to build a backyard oasis, yet still providing room to develop a custom estate styled property that is tucked away from the public eye. East of Sepulveda in the overview area known as East Manhattan Beach, is the little known enclave of the Terraza Estates Section. The streets belonging to this unique section of MLS area 147 (Mira Costa) are Terraza Pl, Ronda Dr, Longfellow Dr. Duncan Dr. and Kuhn Dr.  and can be identified as a unique micro-market known as the Terraza Estates Section. Homes in the Terraza Estates Section are not easy to come by. The lots are often over 12,000 sf with some as large as over 30,000 sf, offering Manhattan Beach’s only true “estate-style” setting. 

General outline of the lots that make up the                      Terraza Estates Section

  Over the last 10 years, only 3 properties on Terraza Pl. have changed hands. 21,559 sf lot (tear down) sold this year at a record setting $3,400,000 ($1.1m over the asking price!) with a score of multiple offers clamoring for the land. A 1956 built home with a 12,120 sf lot last changed hands on Ronda in the tough 2008 market for $2,035,000; the last sale prior to that was almost 10 years earlier. 2006 was the last time a home on Longfellow Dr changed hands at $4,700,000, then considered a deal at under it’s $5.3m price tag. A 1965 built home on a 18,393 sf lot on Duncan closed in 2012 for over $2.2m. This pocket of Manhattan Beach is truly some of the most prime real estate in the Beach Cities offering a lifestyle equally as rare and coveted as that of those along the ocean. In fact, it is home to a cluster of high profile individuals who chose the Terraza Estates Section for the full package lifestyle only found here. There are a few homes on somewhat larger than typical East Manhattan sized lots (50×150 is common) that share the private exclusivity of the Terraza Estates landscape, and while not as large, the backyards border some of the most exclusive homes in all of Manhattan Beach. One such home recently was custom built on a lot that was privately purchased by a high profile university basketball coach. Another is the site of the 2014 Sunset Magazine Idea House, which is currently open for public home tours and allows a peek into the Terraza Estates lifestyle from the upper level of the home. The site of the Sunset Idea House is concurrently listed for sale at $4,000,000 and offers a slice of Terraza Estates living from its sprawling backyard oasis. If you are considering a luxury home purchase in Manhattan Beach, this couldn’t be a better location to search for your dream home or even build one that fits your lifestyle and design preferences perfectly. From the Sands of the Strand, to the vistas of the Hill Section to the quiet, private compounds in the Terraza Estates Section, the ideal lifestyle setting awaits everyone seeking to enjoy all the benefits of coastal luxury living in this small, neighborly city just outside of Los Angeles. 

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach

  Until 1980, when it was annexed by Manhattan Beach and became part of the Sand Section, the small neighborhood of El Porto was just another unincorporated chunk of Los Angeles County. Locals called the El Porto section of Manhattan Beach “Dodge City” for its Wild West approach to zoning (lots of bars), law (lots of drugs), and real estate (lots of subdivided, probably-not-to-code rentals). Today, the El Porto section of Manhattan Beach (aka North Manhattan Beach) remains irresistible to surfers and vacationers, but the community has mostly left its raucous youth behind. Longtime residents and new arrivals are proud to call El Porto home. Local hangouts include the North End Caffe, The Local Yolk, Pancho’s, OB’s Pub & Grill as well as several sushi and seafood restaurants. For more on El Porto, read  “A Line in the Sand,” a great article by Rich Thomas for Our South Bay and  “Memories of an El Porto childhood” (Part I and Part II) by local artist Don Spencer for the Easy Reader. For Manhattan Beach history, turn to the fascinating books by former mayor Jan Dennis.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach

Buying a home in Manhattan Village is not just a real estate transaction, it’s your opportunity to be part of a longstanding community with shared values and aesthetics. Homeowners are elected to a seven-member board of directors and other homeowners volunteer for committees. Manhattan Village employs a professional property management company. Inside the secluded, guard-gated neighborhood, you’ll find 400 homes in a variety of styles and sizes. Plus, there is a main pool and spa area, plus four additional spas.  A quick overview of your options:


ESTATE HOMES

• 3- and 4-bedroom single family homes suited for modern life and entertaining. • 4 architectural styles: Mediterranean, Cape Cod, Tudor and French • 5 floor plans, ranging from 2,026 to 3,300 square feet.

TOWN HOMES

• Perfect balance of style, space and practicality • Side-by-side units with single or two-story floor plans, some with corner units and/or golf course views. • Amenities include private patios, fireplaces, and large master suites with luxurious private baths • 4 floor plans (plus the option of a second floor bonus room, gallery and deck)  ranging from 1,450 to 2, 310 square feet.

COURT HOMES

• Attached units grouped around landscaped, semi-private courtyards. • 4 unique split-level floor plans ranging from 1,474 to 1,937 square feet. • Amenities include wood-burning fireplaces, spacious kitchens, and roomy master suite retreats with impressive private baths and closets.   Caskey & Caskey sold two homes in Manhattan Village this quarter. The homeowners were neighbors at 13 and 15 Bridgeport, and both estate homes sold at and above the asking price. For more information on living in Manhattan Village, visit their Homeowners Association website. To see available properties, see our Manhattan Village listings.

Caskey and Caskey

The South Bay

When the time comes to paint an accent wall or entire room, non-VOC interior paint can make the process odorless and eco-friendly. VOC stands for “volatile organic compounds” which sound like something to avoid! Apartment Therapy has done a great job rounding up the 10 best low- and non-VOC interior paints. So before you think pink, go green.  


Caskey and Caskey

The South Bay

Finding the right house is only the beginning. Your next goal is to settle into the community and start enjoying life at the beach! Here are a few ways to speed your transition from newcomer to native: • Read the  “The Stress-Free Guide to Settling Down in a New City” by Whitson Gordon on Lifehacker.com • Check EyeSpyLA for dozens and dozens of events each week in the beach communities. Just click the “South Coast” region on their home page. • Bookmark Yelp to find reviews on restaurants, stores, and services by city. • Read “5 Tips for Settling In to a New Town” by Katherine Neer for HowStuffWorks.com • Use  Urban Spoon’s “beach cities” filterto let you find restaurants in your city and surrounding areas.



Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Millennials want homes. Now, more than ever, millennials are dominating the percentage of individuals buying homes. They have very specific needs, and without the help of a realtor, your home could sit on the market for extended amounts of time.

4 WAYS YOUR REALTOR CAN HELP ATTRACT MILLENNIAL BUYERS TO YOUR PROPERTY

Here are just a few of the ways that a realtor can help your home become more attractive to buyers.

1. A REALTOR CAN FIND YOUR HOME’S BEST ANGLE

A realtor can help find and showcase your home’s best angle to make your home as appealing to Millennials as possible. In the past, baby boomers had their own wish lists. Today, Millennial buyers come with their own wants and needs.

Your realtor will be able to assess your home and market it in a way that is most attractive to Millennials as possible. Open floor plans, single-story homes, media rooms, and hardwood flooring are just a few of the many wants and needs of Millennial home buyers.

Your realtor can help market the most desirable features of your home to get the attention of this generation of buyers.

2. A REALTOR CAN SELL YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

A large portion of Millennial buyers is very concerned with the neighborhood where their home resides in. In the South Bay, there are many neighborhoods that are particularly attractive to this generation of buyers. Your realtor will be able to sell your neighborhood in a way that meets the specific needs of younger buyers.

Millennial buyers desire homes that are located in neighborhoods that have easy access to highways, shopping centers, schools, and more. Your realtor will know the best way to present your neighborhood to help Millennial buyers make an offer on your home.

3. YOUR REALTOR CAN SPEAK TO THE WANTS OF MILLENNIALS

It’s not a secret that Millennials are environmentally conscious. Having “green” features through your home can help bring in Millennials into your home and hold their interest. Replacing outdated features with more eco-friendly options can make a major difference in the buyers your home attracts.

Newer windows, faucets, and appliances are just a few of the minor changes that your realtor might suggest you make to appeal to a larger target demographic.

4. A REALTOR CAN HAVE CONNECTIONS TO LOCAL HOME STAGERS

Home staging is key to grab the attention of Millennial buyers. Although you may have an assortment of gorgeous decor, it may not be the best to attract Millennials. Clean and modern decor is something that many Millennial buyers want to see in their homes.

Your realtor can have connections to local home stagers that know exactly what style and placement of furniture and decor will best attract younger buyers.

YOUR REALTOR HAS THE RESOURCES TO MARKET TO MILLENNIALS

Realtors know where and how Millennial buyers look for homes for sale. Younger buyers start their search online. They’ll have the resources you need to successfully market your home online. From excellent photography to search engine optimization, your realtor can give you the upper hand when marketing your home online.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Just when we thought the Los Angeles real estate had hit an all time high in value, the National Football League announced that the St. Louis Rams are returning to their original home in Los Angeles! The LA Rams will begin playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 2016-2017 season, while their new stadium is built in Inglewood (estimated completion 2019). This is big news for a number of reasons, but for the many members of the team and staff relocating to this area, there is a lot of work to do.

HOW A REAL ESTATE AGENT CAN HELP WITH ANY LOS ANGELES RELOCATION

Moving to a new city, especially one that’s so far away from your current home, is definitely difficult. Not only do you have to think about what you’re doing with your current home (selling, renting, or even keeping it and preparing to be away), but you need to start exploring where you will be buying a house. Here are a few different ways an experienced real estate agent can make the relocation easier.

STAYING INFORMED ABOUT THE CHANGING REAL ESTATE MARKET

Los Angeles is one of the most fluid real estate markets in the country, and it has a wide range of properties available. With so much information to keep track of, it’s important to have a real estate agent who is well informed about what’s going on, and keeps all their reports in an accessible housing market watch. They’ll keep you up to date about any relevant shifts or new properties that become available.

BUYING A HOUSE IN LOS ANGELES DOESN’T NEED TO BE DIFFICULT

When moving to Los Angeles, there are quite a few different areas that you’ll be looking at for a house. Where you want to buy property will depend on a few different factors, such as your price range, your ideal commute, whether or not you have kids who need to attend school, and any other personal preferences. An experienced real estate agent will take all of this into consideration when you contact them, and help you to find the ideal house based on your specifications.

A REALTOR CAN BE AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE DURING RELOCATION

Besides providing a number of valuable realtor services, a real estate agent can also act as a general guide for your new city! Want to know more about the schools, or where are fun places to take your kids? They’ll happily point out family friendly areas. If you’re moving without a family or are single, they’ll be able to point out a number of great restaurants and recommend different ways to pass the time. Los Angeles is one of the most exciting cities in the country, and there is a lot to take advantage of, from the bustling entertainment scene, to the beautiful beaches, and so much more.

MAKE YOUR LOS ANGELES RELOCATION A BREEZE WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT

Regardless of your situation, we know that moving can seem overwhelming. However, an experienced real estate agent will take you through the whole process, and answer any questions you might have while helping to find your next dream home in sunny Los Angeles.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Cities in California’s South Bay like Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach are home to some of the the state’s most valuable real estate property. Not only are there luxury homes inland from the coast, you’re also going to find a number of beautiful beachfront properties scattered along the Pacific Ocean. As a homeowner in this exclusive real estate market, being able to sell your home at the right price can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.

BEST PRACTICES FOR SELLING A HOUSE

When it comes to selling a house, it’s never something as simple as putting a sign up. You and your family will have to understand the amount of hard work involved. However, the best part about being in an area like Manhattan Beach is that you can find a number of trained, experienced professionals ready to help you through the process and get you the best value possible for your home.

FINDING THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE AGENT

First, and most importantly, you need to be teaming up with a reputable real estate agent who is ready and willing to work hard for you. The best realtors will have built a strong reputation not only amongst their clients, but also their peers. This is important to selling a house because when your realtor works well with other agents, the house is likely to be seen by more buyers, which means it’s going to be in higher demand. The higher the demand, the higher the selling price.

LISTING YOUR HOUSE THE RIGHT WAY

Additionally, an experienced real estate agent who knows the market also understands how important it is to list at the right price when you first put the house on the market. They should be very aware of the current market trends, and constantly monitoring how similar properties in your area are performing.

When you list too high, you’re going to scare away some buyers, which leads to decreasing value to get a good offer. When listed too low, buyers will be hesitant to commit as the price drastically increases. Listing at the right price is meant to draw a large amount of buyers to your home and then have them compete against each other as the price goes up.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR CLIENTELE

Especially in the Greater South Bay, it’s so important to know the type of people that you’re going to be marketing your home to. Los Angeles is definitely a well cultured city, full of residents from all over the world. It’s going to be impossible to appease everyone who sees your home, but the best thing you can do is present it in such a way that makes it feel like a warm, welcoming environment. Besides making sure you clean your house to an almost impeccable level, also consider arranging the furniture to make it feel more inviting and open, especially with seating arrangements.

LET YOUR REALTOR DO THE HEAVY LIFTING

Selling your house is going to be a big undertaking no matter what. Especially in areas like the Greater South Bay, always trust your experienced Manhattan Beach Realtor to steer you in the right direction.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Wealth generation, whether it’s through a career or other means, is often what people will devote a substantial amount of time to. It’s very possible that real estate investing can lead to a majority of a person’s wealth, but it needs to be done right. Real estate is one of the most fluid industries in the world, and it’s not as simple as purchasing property and watching the value increase over time.

A CLOSER LOOK AT REAL ESTATE INVESTING

When you’re ready to expand your financial portfolio and invest in real estate, there are a few things you can do in order to have a more long-term success.

SEEK THE EXPERTISE OF A SEASONED REALTOR

You may already have an idea about where you want to invest for your next property, but if it’s somewhere you’re unfamiliar with, or even vaguely familiar with, you need to find a local and reputable real estate company to work with. You want a team of experts that not only knows the properties, but understands the ebbs and flows of the local real estate market. There is a large amount of data surrounding property growth, but being able to piece it all together in order to accurately assess long term implications is what a great realtor does.

When you are looking for a company to help you, it’s smart to start with word of mouth from family, friends, and co-workers who have lived or invested in that same area. If they had a great experience and have already benefitted, that’s a good sign. However, if they were misled and an investment didn’t work out, you can know more about who (and where) to avoid.  

UNDERSTAND SOME DIFFERENT PROPERTY TYPES

When it comes to real estate, just like with stocks, there are different property types. This doesn’t just mean an apartment rather than a house or a construction lot. Good estate planning for long-term success means understanding all the pieces you’re working with.

Principal Residence

For any investor, they can only have one principal residence which is utilized by their family. As the name implies, this is the place where you and your family will primarily identify, whether it’s for your career purposes, children’s education, etc.

Anytime that you profit from this property, whether by transfer or sale, the capital is not taxed. This is why partly why any investor is allowed to claim only one principal residence at a time.

Recreational Property

It can be known as a ‘vacation home’ a ‘second home’ or the ‘home away from home’, but a recreational property is typically going to be a short term destination for any investor. Multiple recreational properties can be claimed and owned, but unlike the principal residence, all capital derived from recreational properties is taxed (unless it is held in joint tenancy).

YOUR MANHATTAN BEACH REALTOR CAN BE INVALUABLE

Especially when you’re looking at real estate in California’s Greater South Bay Area, one of the most desirable markets in the country, you should absolutely be working with a local expert who knows the market and understands property trends. Estate planning can lead to long-term financial success for you and, if done right, your family, for generations to come.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

SELLING YOUR HOME? HERE’S 4 REASONS YOU SHOULD HAVE A REALTOR BY YOUR SIDE.

Are you thinking of selling your home on your own? Although you might think you can do it on your own, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Here are 4 reasons why you should never sell your home without the help of a realtor.

1. A REALTOR HAS THE EXPERIENCE YOU DON’T

Each and every day, realtors study the market, get updated on new listings, and file technical documents with ease. By hiring a realtor to assist you in selling your home, you’ll be able to utilize their knowledge to your advantage.

Not only can a realtor share their years of expertise in the field, but also take away the stresses of selling a piece of property. They will be able to guide you throughout the entire process and ensure that you are well aware of what is going on and help you steer clear of any costly mistakes that come your way.

2. A REALTOR HAS THE ABILITY TO SEARCH MORE THAN YOU

Chances are, you have a job. If not a job, you have some form of responsibility that occupies a large chunk of your time.

The last thing that might be on your mind at the end of a busy day is to look for a buyer for your home. Networking, researching, and hunting are all time consuming events that can keep you in your home longer than you might have planned.

A realtor’s job is to assist you in your home selling process. They have a plethora of resources and other searching powers that can help you get the best home for your current property and get into a new one faster than you ever thought possible.

3. A REALTOR KNOWS HOW AND IS GOOD AT NEGOTIATING

In some cases, home sellers let buyers take advantage of their poor negotiating skills. This can result in getting much less for your home than anticipated and maybe even less than worth selling at all.

When you work with a realtor when you sell your home, they will have no issues negotiating the sale of your home. With their help, you can get the best value for your home, without the stress and conflict that comes with negotiating.

4. A REALTOR MIGHT ALREADY HAVE THE RIGHT BUYER

Has your home just been sitting on the market for months without any offers coming in? This might be the case for you if you are attempting to sell your home on your own.

A realtor has connections to a wide variety of people from contractors to plumbers, but most importantly, buyers. In a single phone call, you could potentially find a realtor that has a potential buyer ready to purchase your home.

If they don’t have a buyer right off the bat, chances are, they will be able to find you the right buyer faster than you could on your own. Their vast connections to other realtors, investors, and other individuals can speed up your home selling process.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

BUYING REAL ESTATE? HERE ARE 6 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD

Are you moving into a new area? Before you start looking at homes for sale, be sure you consider the neighborhood you’d like to live in.

Falling in love with a home that’s located in the wrong area for you is one of the most frustrating experiences for home buyers. We see this frequently and have compiled a few tips to help you hurdle this obstacle with ease.

There are so many elements to consider when searching for the right area to settle into. Neighborhood amenities, style, and safety are just a few of the many things to consider. Below are just a few things to look out for when considering the next neighborhood that you’ll call home.

1. OTHER REAL ESTATE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Although some buyers think that streets lined with foreclosure signs can result in a higher return on investment in the future, it can actually be an alarming sign.

The presence of too many foreclosure signs in the neighborhood can translate into a bad place to live.

Be sure you do your homework and find out whether a neighborhood is financially stable.

2. OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE

Buying real estate can be a lifetime investment—not just for right now. At the moment, you might be a bachelor, but if you see kids or a family in your near future, you might want to consider this when choosing the right neighborhood.

Buying real estate in an urban, populated area might be the best idea for your current life, but you’ll have to consider if it will work in the long run.

Be sure that the property you purchase can hold up to your life in the future as well as in the present.

3. SIGHTS, SOUNDS, AND SMELLS

Let your senses help you make the decision. If something doesn’t look right, feel right, or even smell right in just the first visit, you can assume that living in it won’t be right either.

Take a look at what surrounds your neighborhood. Train tracks, beaches, local restaurants, and air traffic patterns are just a few of the many things you might want to consider before signing any papers.

4. CRIME RATE

One of the first things that many homeowners look is safety. Real estate areas that have crime rates stacked upon each other can result in an unsafe lifestyle.

Although there are many online resources that can allow you to check the crime statistics in your area, your real estate agent can help as well. Having access to this information will be able to help you make the best decision for yourself or for your family.

5. SCHOOLS

No matter if you are interested in the schools in your neighborhood or not, they can greatly affect the value of the real estate in your desired neighborhood. High performing schools can affect the resale value of your investment.

Conducting a bit of research on the school zone and district that the neighborhood falls into can help you make the best decision for your needs.

6. COMMUNITY LIFESTYLE

No matter if the neighborhood meets all the criteria on your list, if those in the community don’t live the same lifestyle you live, or live the one you would like, you could end up regretting your purchase.

If you’re a young couple looking to live in an urban area, a family oriented neighborhood might not be for you—and vice versa.

Finding the neighborhood that works best for you isn’t just about the data. High performing schools, low crime rate, and great reviews are a great start to finding the right neighborhood for you, but not the only measure you should take. Ask yourself if you can really see the neighborhood as your home before making any final decisions.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

TIPS FROM YOUR REALTOR | UNDERSTANDING THE HOME APPRAISALS PROCESS

After month and months of searching for the right home, you’ve finally found it. You work with your realtor and send over a great offer, and, lo and behold, it was accepted. Unfortunately, you’re not quite finished.

For those that have applied for a mortgage, the home you have fallen in love with will now need to undergo what is called an appraisal.

WHAT IS A HOME APPRAISAL?

A home appraisal is an inspection of a piece of real estate to find its true value. A home appraisal is completed by an appraiser that looks for qualities such as location, amenities, structural condition, and recent sales of real estate in the area.

They will also consider the condition of the home, the square footage, location, and other elements of the home to ensure an accurate estimate of the property in question.

This information is sent to your lender, as it is their investment as much as it is yours. This will help them determine what the house is actually worth against what you are willing to pay.

CAN MY REALTOR HELP WITH HOME APPRAISALS?

Your realtor should have a vast network of connections to home stagers, other agents, investors, new construction contractors, buyers, sellers, home inspectors, and most importantly, home appraisers.

They should be able to help you find a home appraiser quickly, that specializes in the market that your property falls into.

This will not only expedite the process, but also help you get the best, most accurate estimate of the property you love.

WHO DOES THE HOME APPRAISER WORK FOR?

Although you are paying for the home appraiser’s services, that does not mean they necessarily work for you.

Your home appraiser works for your lender, not you. This ensures that the home appraiser remains as ethical as possible when determining the value of your home.

All home appraisers function as an independent player in the overall real estate game. If not, this compromises the integrity of their services and can result in crime.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A HOME APPRAISAL?

The overall purpose of a home appraisal is to keep you and your lender from making a bad deal. In the case that the appraisal comes in lower than what you are asking for, this can cause some friction and keep you from getting into the home you love.

In this circumstance, a lender might be less willing to lend you the funds you need to purchase the home, which can cause difficulty in your buying process. As a result, you might have to pony up the funds out of pocket, or ask the seller to cover the difference.

This is something that your realtor can absolutely help you with, but should ultimately be avoided. They will have the knowledge of the market and the connections to ensure you are getting your home for the best value.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE APPRAISAL IS COMPLETED?

Once the appraisal process is completed and you’ve decided how you would like to move forward, you can begin to close your deal.

A home inspection will be needed to ensure the complete integrity of the property is considered.

This can be a nerve-wracking process, but can help save you from buying a home that prices well over its actual value.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

FOUND THE PERFECT PROPERTY IN A HOT MARKET? HERE’S 3 REALTOR TIPS TO HELP YOU WIN A BIDDING WAR

The South Bay is one of the most coveted areas to live in Los Angeles. The South Bay is home to three of the most popular Beach Cities in the State of California, including Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach.

These cities are home to some of the most beautiful, unique homes that line coast. The active lifestyle, beautiful weather, and sprawling beaches attract thousands of home buyers to this market.

In popular markets, such as the South Bay, when beautiful homes are listed, there tends to be bidding wars. When that perfect home hits the market, you will do just about anything to get the keys.

When you’re in a hot market, you have to know how to compete. Rather than bidding with your heart, we have compiled a few tips to help you bid with your head to ensure you win in a competitive market.

COME PREPARED

You never know when that perfect property is going to hit the market, but when it does, it’s crucial to be prepared. To ensure you have the best chance of getting the property of your dreams, lives important to have the following with you and at the ready:

  • Your pre-approval letter
  • Proof of finances
  • Liquidated stocks and other funds

Let sellers see you for as the best version of yourself—and organized, confident buyer. Sellers want to see that you are ready to pull the trigger. When come to showings with these things in hand, you will always be the better option in seller’s’ eyes.

With these three things in hand, you will be able to make the transaction as easy as possible for the seller. They will see you as a better candidate, as you will be able to close the sale faster than any other buyer out there.

BE WILLING AND ABLE TO ACT FAST

This can go for many different elements of the home buying process. If your lender needs a document from you, be sure you can get it to them in a timely fashion. If the offer for the property is due at a certain time, be sure to have it properly submitted well before the deadline.

Having the ability and will to get what you need to close the deal quickly will better your chances of moving into your dream home.

HAVE A STRONG REALTOR BY YOUR SIDE

A good realtor should have the confidence you need to show that you are the best buyer for the property. With a strong, confident realtor by your side, you will be able to not only find the home of your dreams faster, but show sellers that you are serious in buying.

A South Bay realtor will have a vast knowledge of the different areas, homes on the market, and current market value to ensure you have an easy buying experience.

They will have the expertise you need to ensure you find a home in the city you desire, at the price that works best for your budget, and can move in the time frame you desire.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

READY TO SELL YOUR HOUSE? HERE ARE 3 TIPS TO HELP YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND OFFERS

Have you decided to sell your home? No matter if you’re moving into a new city or simply down the block, there are many factors that go into selling your home. While getting offers can be exciting, understanding what they mean and what to do with them can be daunting.

To help you make the most of your selling experience, we have compiled a few tips to better manage your offers and sell your property for the best value.

HOW TO GET OFFERS QUICKLY

In some cases, we see homeowners that are in a rush to sell their home. No matter if you need to sell quickly or simply don’t want to wait, there are a few things you can do to speed up getting offers for your property. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is to set a deadline.

When you are expecting multiple offers, setting a deadline within a week or two of listing your property will alert all interested buyers that they need to submit their best offers to compete with other buyers.

Before you set a deadline, it is important to price your home right. This will ensure that more offers will come in and ensure you sell your home for the best value for your time frame.

REVIEWING YOUR FIRST OFFER

You set your deadline and the offers come pouring in. You have your first offer in your hand—now what?

Looking at your offer, you’ll want to find the five most important factors:

  • Buyer financing
  • Closing assistance
  • Contingencies
  • Closing date
  • Price

It is important that you fully at the offer, rather than just looking at the price. One of the most important things that many home sellers glance over is the buyer’s time frame.

If they are looking to move in quickly, that might leave you scrambling to find a new home. If the buyer has a deadline that is further away, and the deal falls through, that could force you to start the process of selling your home all over again.

Be sure that the buyer’s time frame works for you before you accept it.

If the deadline checks out on your end, it’s now time to look at the most important part—the price. In the offer, it will state whether the buyer has the finances ready, how much they will put down, and other financial information you might need.

Looking at the buyer’s contingencies will ensure you are both on the same page throughout this entire process. A contingency is anything that will give the buyer the ability to back out of the offer. These are typically things, such as inspection results, move in time frames, and more.  

HOW TO COUNTER AN OFFER

If you find something in the offer that you can’t agree on, it’s time to make a counter offer. Whether its price, closing costs, or a time frame that doesn’t work for you, placing a counter offer will ensure that you get what you want.

If the price is the biggest issue, countering with a higher price might not be the best way to ensure a sale. Offering a slightly higher price and adapting your contingencies to help speed things along might be the best way to ensure the buyer doesn’t back out.

Be sure to consult your realtor for assistance in drafting a counter offer. They will be able to come up with a strategic counter offer that will keep the buyer interested, and ensure the highest chance of having the buyer accept your new offer.



Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

THINKING OF BUYING A HOUSE WITH FRIENDS? HERE’S 3 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF FIRST.

Are you and some friends or family members looking to buy property together? No matter if you’re looking for a vacation home in the mountains or a family home in the South Bay, when buying real estate with friends or family, there are some things you might want to consider.

Before you sign your names on the dotted line, here are 3 things you should ask before you purchase a property.

WILL YOU BUY OR RENT?

The first thing you should consider before you start searching for properties together is to determine whether your group is looking to buy a property or to rent one.

In the case that you are buying a vacation home, there could be many benefits of renting the property, as it will not be used for a majority of the year. While you are not using the home, your shared property can be rented out. This can provide you with the benefit of generating more income. If you decide that renting is a better option for your group, be sure that the area you are renting the home in allows for this.

If you are looking to make an investment together, buying a house might be more beneficial.

WHICH IS BETTER FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP—TIC OR LLC?

Buying a property with two or more parties that are not relatives or married can get a bit tricky. There are two ways that you can go about doing so. Setting up a tenancy in common (TIC) allows two or more parties to simultaneously own a property, while still being seen as an individual. This ownership gives individuals a choice in the way that the responsibilities of a property will be carried out, and each person that owns the property is considered a co-owner.

With an LLC, you are still seen as individuals in the buying process, but get the benefits of a corporate liability shield. Although this option might cost a bit more and take longer to set up, it can provide you and your group with more security and keep the responsibilities a bit more equal.

WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT?

After you have determined whether an LLC or TIC is more beneficial for your group, it’s now time to nail down the details. If your group decided on a TIC, this will have to be completed amongst yourselves, while with an LLC, this will be determined in front of a lawyer.

With an LLC, this will hold everyone legally accountable for their responsibilities, while the lines could be blurred with a TIC. When emotions are involved, narrowing down the details can be a daunting process.

OVERALL BENEFITS OF BUYING REAL ESTATE WITH FRIENDS

Buying a house with your friends can have many great benefits. Before diving head first into buying real estate with your closest friends, be sure to ask yourself the above questions. By answering these questions, you’ll be able to fully enjoy your new, shared property without confusion, hassles, or hesitations.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Real estate investing can be a very worthwhile financial venture, but finding the right properties or lots can be difficult if you’re somewhat new to the experience. Fortunately, in areas of Los Angeles, and especially in the Greater South Bay, it’s a very good time to start looking and, if you find the right spot, make some investments.

WHY IT’S AN EXCITING TIME FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION IN LA

If you’ve lived in Los Angeles and the surrounding area for a long time, you’ve been witness to how much the city has grown over the years. Property value will usually increase as it becomes more sought after, but in LA’s case there are number of very interesting changes happening that will end up having a positive impact on the real estate market.

WELCOMING BACK AN NFL FRANCHISE

One of the most exciting things to happen after the Superbowl this year was the NFL announcing that the St. Louis Rams would be relocating to Los Angeles, which is where the franchise was from originally! While the new stadium in Inglewood won’t be completed until the start of the 2019 NFL season, the city is still very happy to have an NFL team again. This has had a tremendous effect on the real estate market, especially in Inglewood and the closest surrounding cities. Property value is increasing, and all the players, coaches, and staff will likely be moving to cities in the Greater South Bay area.  

THE PROSPECT OF HOSTING THE OLYMPICS

Currently, Los Angeles is one of the cities in contention to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles previously hosted the Summer Olympics in 1984, and it proved to be a prime example of how a city can successfully host the Summer games. Because Los Angeles already has so many sporting venues available, much of the funding can be put towards revamping and improving certain real estate markets. If the city is selected for 2024, the value of real estate will continue to increase as different businesses, athletes, and others migrate towards the west coast.

THE ENDLESS APPEAL OF BEACH CITIES

One of Los Angeles’ greatest assets is its climate. Nearly year round, residents get to enjoy sunshine, warm weather, and rarely deal with any hassle caused by inclement weather. The Greater South Bay beach cities (like Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach), are not only popular for homeowners in the area, but also investors who rent out their property as a vacation home. Even during the summer months, people will make a trip out to California to experience what all the hype is about, meaning the value of real estate is unlikely to falter.

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A NEED FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION

With a new NFL franchise, the potential of hosting the Olympic games, and the always beautiful weather, investors should be looking for new constructionopportunities throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The city will continue to grow, and older homes will need to be renovated, and lots will need to be built up to accommodate the rapid growth of the city.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Los Angeles is a sprawling city, with a bustling economy, and makes major contributions to entertainment, culture, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, and medicine. It’s also contains very diverse geography, property, and real estate opportunities. One of the most sought after property hubs in Los Angeles is the Greater South Bay area. Found here are some of the most beautiful homes available to buyers today.

LEARNING MORE ABOUT SOUTH BAY REAL ESTATE

The cities in the Greater South Bay are very representative of what many people might consider to be “Classic Californian”. There is a lot of surfing, sprawling beaches, and incredible views. However, there is much more to these cities than simply how beautiful they are on a daily basis.

MANHATTAN BEACH

Known by many as the “Pearl of The South Bay”, Manhattan Beach is an affluent beach down with a variety of real estate options available to homeowners and investors. There are miles of white sandy beaches, well-kept tree-lined streets, all contained within a charming small town feel. If you’re simply visiting, this is a great vacation destination, since there are plenty of award-winning restaurants, and a surprisingly fun nightlife! Manhattan Beach is also well known in the beach volleyball community, since this is the city that started it all.

In terms available real estate, there are 5 different areas of the city: East Manhattan, Manhattan Village, The Hill Section, The Sand Section, and The Tree Section. Each presents a unique style of homes and surrounding local attractions. The entire city of Manhattan Beach has nationally recognized schools, meaning your children will get an outstanding education attending around here. Manhattan Beach has certainly aged well, making it a very modern beach city.

HERMOSA BEACH

Just south of Manhattan Beach, you’ll find the quaint Hermosa Beach. Accommodating to both families and singles, this area of Los Angeles is a hidden pocket that not many people know about. Even during the summer months, you’d be surprised at how open and spacious the city feels, and this is partly due to the very large, clean and accessible beaches.

If you’re looking to purchase real estate here, you’ll be hard pressed to find something that isn’t lovely. You can find a number of properties right along the beach, and even further inland, along the ‘greenbelt’ walking trail, there are homes and apartments that anyone would be impressed by.

THE STRAND

Separating Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach property from the beach is the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which is more commonly known as The Strand. This pedestrian and bicycle path runs directly alongside the beach, and the property on the opposite side is some of the most beautiful (but high-priced) in all of Los Angeles. The Strand helps unify the Greater South Bay beach cities, and lets tourists and residents safely commute between them without needing to worry at all about cars or motorcycles.

FIND THE REAL ESTATE OF YOUR DREAMS

If you’re interested in exploring real estate throughout the South Bay, make sure you reach out to an experienced real estate agent who can show you the area. This is a very desirable market, so you want to find an agent with years of experience and local connections that can help you find the house of your dreams.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

The Greater South Bay is home to a variety of real estate, including luxury homes and exclusive beachfront property. There is beautiful weather nearly year round, making it an ideal vacation destination for many people. Even during the summer months, people want a chance to experience California beach life, which is why they come to cities like Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach. Since the real estate in that area is so valuable, some people might consider taking the plunge and actually buy a vacation home in one of these cities.

BUYING VACATION REAL ESTATE THE SOUTH BAY

When you’re ready to purchase a new vacation home, there are a number of factors to consider, and you should have as much information as possible before making a final decision. Since the real estate market in the South Bay is so desirable, there are going to be a lot of people trying to find permanent homes, and not just vacation ones. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you end up getting good value for your investment.

START BY HIRING A LOCAL REAL ESTATE AGENT

Whether you’re from the area originally, or even if you only come during vacation months, a seasoned real estate agent can make your entire purchasing process much more seamless. Reach out to any friends in the area and ask them about agencies or specific realtors they’ve worked with. Your agent can provide you with invaluable information about the market, including property value trends. They know the best locations, and will often have access to exclusive luxury real estate that usually isn’t available to the public. Not only that, but they can also advise you on the best time of year to make a purchase, since they understand how the market fluctuates throughout the year.

BE AWARE OF ALL EXPENSES

Investing in a vacation home can be just as expensive (if not more) than your primary residence. The total price of ownership includes a number of things like property taxes, maintenance costs, and insurance. If your primary residence is in another state, you should know about the difference in laws. There are going to be monthly bills for utilities, or any other services you want to employ, including trash removal, landscaping, and even cleaning. Working with a financial planner will help map out these various expenses so you can understand the full breadth of this investment beyond the listing price.

HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE FOR RENTAL

Since it’s a vacation home, you have the option to rent out the property at different points throughout the year to help generate additional income. Going into a year, you should know what dates you plan on being there, and then map out what weeks will be for renters, and what time off you need to perform any necessary maintenance, repairs, cleaning, etc. By having a clear cut plan in place, you will relieve stress for not only you, but renters, making it more enticing for guests to keep coming back.

FIND THE PERFECT VACATION REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT

When you work with a real estate agent, you are setting yourself up to find a great vacation home that will continue to pay you back over the years through rentals and long term value increase. Make sure you have the financial flexibility available, and choose an area that you’ll love coming back to year after year.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Any investor will tell you that real estate can be one of the most beneficial aspects of your financial portfolio, but it can also be difficult to gauge the right opportunity. The market is in constant flux throughout the year, and while there might be short term trends you can spot, only an experienced agent will truly understand the market in transition, and be able to help you buy or sell a home.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REAL ESTATE IN THE SUMMER

Even though California has beautiful weather and sunshine year round, the summer is still a very busy time in the real estate market. Homeowners will be exploring opportunities to possibly sell their current home, buy a new one, or simply invest in additional real estate. Whatever you’re planning on doing, there are a few things you need to be aware of regarding the real estate market.

IT CAN BE A BUYER’S AND A SELLER’S MARKET

You’ll often hear the phrases “buyer’s market” or “seller’s market” regarding the best times of year for real estate transactions. For various reasons, the summer is usually going to be somewhat hectic when it comes to how quickly houses are going on and coming off the market. Firstly, families with children will typically wait until summer to move, since they don’t want to interfere with the school schedule, which means they might start the buying or selling process as early as February or March. This means that there is usually going to be a very fast transition period. A real estate agent will be able to determine what properties are worth looking at, or what selling price is the best value.

NEW CONSTRUCTION GROWTH

Another trend you’ll see a lot in summer is new construction projects gaining a lot of momentum. Again, in California, there is the benefit of typically warm weather year round, but the summer provides the best building window regardless. Not only that, but because the summer is such a popular time for buyers, you will have the opportunity to visit a number of newly build houses, so you can get an idea of what you might be looking for moving forward.

VACATION HOMES

Another very busy industry throughout the summer is tourism. People will come from all over the country to experience the beautiful, clean California beaches. You’ll certainly see an uptick in vacation homes around March (spring break) and then again in the summer months. If you’re thinking about renting out your house over the course of a few months, talk to your real estate agent about what other similar locations are listing prices at. You want to make it appealing, but not overly expensive so that you’ll scare off potential visitors.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FLOWING REAL ESTATE MARKET

If you’re thinking about any type of real estate transaction, whether it’s buying, selling, or renting, the summer of a great time of year. There are a lot of moving pieces that keeps the market going, so don’t miss out on a grand opportunity.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

When you’re in the market to buy a home, you have a lot to juggle. Maybe you’re making a cross-country move, maybe you’re relocating to a nearby location with young children, or maybe you’re looking for a secondary residence to invest in. Regardless of your motivation, buying real estate needs to be handled with the utmost care and attention to detail.

THE EARLY STAGES OF BUYING REAL ESTATE

Any real estate agent can tell you that the home buying process will be an intense journey, but it’s always more manageable when you have the right expectations and a solid game plan. It goes without saying that you should always be working with a reputable real estate agent throughout this entire process. Here are a few important things that you should be thinking about and doing when planning your real estate purchase.

START BY KNOWING YOUR FINANCES

Any real estate venture needs to start and end with your finances. Financial preparation means that you can find a price range in your available budget, leading to a more efficient real estate search. Firstly, make sure you know your credit history. No matter how good or bad you think your credit may be, you’ll never know for certain unless you have it formally checked.

You also need to gather more detailed information like your tax and employment documents. When applying for a mortgage, all of this information will be required, and you don’t want to miss out on a good mortgage lender because you weren’t totally organized. That being said, you also don’t want to be rushed into choosing a mortgage provider. Finding the right one is important, since they all will have different interest rates and closing costs.

TAKE THE TIME YOU NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE

Once you and your realtor feel confident in your financial situation, you can begin the search! The hunt for your home can be just as fun as it is exhausting, but you need to put in the effort to find the right real estate. Don’t feel like you need to settle just after one or two visits.

Your realtor will be able to get the ball rolling, and provide a variety of options to help them get a better idea of what you’re looking for. You can also contribute to this process by browsing homes online. While there’s no way to get a real feel for the home until you go through an open house, you can at least eliminate some options that don’t have enough bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.

Researching the local market is also important to any real estate investment. You can learn more about the neighborhoods, the schools, and the city itself. Many websites post information about closest restaurants, shopping centers, doctors, etc. This will give you a really good sense of what living in a particular house might look like.

FEEL CONFIDENT IN YOUR REAL ESTATE PURCHASE

By working with a real estate agent and understanding your responsibilities as a buyer, you’ll have more success in any type of real estate venture you partake in. Always reach out to a local, reputable agency to partner with the right agent today.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Making a large purchase of any kind needs to be thoroughly thought out. If you’re in the process of buying a car, you’ll have put in the time to research all the pros and cons, and compared various models to find the perfect one in your price range. Unfortunately, buying a house isn’t that simple, since no two homes will ever be exactly the same.

HOW YOU CAN AVOID TROUBLE WHEN BUYING A HOUSE

Firstly, even if you’re a seasoned real estate investor, you should avoid making any purchase without the aid of a realtor. They’ll help you avoid any pitfalls, which will lead to a more confident investment. However, if you’re going to try browsing some properties on your own before buying a house, you need to know some warning signs of a bad investment.

INCONSISTENT FRESH PAINT

When people are selling a house, they’ll typically do their best to show it in the best light possible and make it more enticing to buyers. This is normal practice (commonly known as ‘staging a home’). They’ll really spruce things up, rearrange furniture to show show the most space possible, and declutter. However, one thing you want to be on the lookout for is inconsistent, spotty fresh paint. When you walk into a room and see that only the ceiling or a particular wall has been painted, you need to start asking questions. They could be trying to hide some type of flaw from any buyers.

STRUCTURAL DAMAGE

The age of a house isn’t always reflective of its livability. There are plenty of houses that are decades old which have better living conditions than some under 10 years old. It’s all about the upkeep and maintenance performed by the owners. Regardless of the age of the property you’re looking at, you need to ensure there isn’t any lingering structural damage, and in particular around the base of the building. If you spot something that wasn’t brought up by the seller, it’s an immediate red flag that there are likely other, just as serious issue with the property.

PREVIOUS PEST OR INSECT ISSUES

Part of your searching process should involve asking the seller about any past issues with the home. If they mention that there were pest or insect issues, you should be learning more about the extent of any infestation. It’s not impossible for homes to deal with insects or pests, but you need know that those issues were resolved in a timely manner and there hasn’t been a problem since. When they mention that there is a regular return of pests or insects during a particular season, it’s a major red flag for any buyer.

WALL OR CEILING STAINS

Any sort of stains that appear on walls or ceilings can indicate a number of issues. One of of the most prominent (and damaging) likelihoods is that those stains are tied to some sort of leak in the piping. Water damage will appear as slight wall discolorations, but lead to more serious problems like mold or structural damage.

BUYING A HOUSE WITH AN EXPERIENCED REALTOR

There’s nothing wrong with exploring a few properties on your own, but you should always be working with a professional, local realtor. They’ll make sure that buying a house is made as simple and stress free as possible with their expertise.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Unless it’s involved in their line of work, most people and families are not going to move too often, which means they rarely get to experience the process of selling a house. Contrary to popular belief, the actual act of selling is quite involved, and there is a lot to manage if you need to sell quickly and get the most value possible. For many first time sellers, there are a number of pitfalls that you steer clear of.

AVOID THESE MISTAKES WHEN SELLING A HOUSE

Especially if you’re new to this process, you need to do whatever you can to make selling your house as seamless and beneficial as possible. It’s certainly not rocket science, but you can dig yourself into quite a hole if you don’t properly manage your expectations and avoid a few common mistakes.

DON’T WORK ALONE AND HIRE A REALTOR

One of the biggest missteps that any first time seller makes is trying to take on the task by themselves. There is simply too much at stake in regards to your financial future, and a trained, experienced real estate professional can help you earn maximum value. Finding the right agent is so important, so make sure you’re talking to any friends or colleagues who live in the area about who they recommend. Word of mouth is a great tool, and you can learn a lot about their work habits and overall demeanor from people you trust. Also check out online reviews, since you can get a wider audience opinion. When you hire a realtor, they should help you avoid some of the following oversights as well.

DON’T PRICE TOO HIGH OR TOO LOW

Most sellers don’t realize just how important the initial listing price is to the success of their sale. There is definitely a sweet spot that you want to hit. When you list too high initially, people will be put off, and look for similar style housing at more reasonable prices. When you list too low, you’ll have a difficult time convincing any interested parties that a regular price increase is worth it. A realtor will help you find that happy medium, meaning you won’t scare buyers away, and those interested parties will be more inclined to provide higher offers, leading to bigger value for you.

DON’T NEGLECT STAGING YOUR HOME

Besides listing at an attractive price, you also want to make your home as presentable as possible. This doesn’t just mean tidying up a bit; it means maximizing the available space of your home. You’ll probably have to rearrange some furniture, and even take some items out of the home. If you neglect this part of the sales process, you might also lose out on some potential buyers.

MAKE SELLING A HOUSE AS STRESS FREE AS POSSIBLE

There are plenty more mistakes that a first time seller might make, but when you partner up with an experienced realtor, selling a house will be much more stress free. They can help you navigate the entire process, and will provide guidance when needed.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

THESE MYTHS CREATE REAL ESTATE DISAPPOINTMENT

Most people buy or sell a house once every decade or once in their life. This infrequency has lead to the perpetuation of several myths about real estate. These common misconceptions can lead to prolonged listings, unfair expectations, and undervalued homes.

ALL REAL ESTATE AGENTS ARE THE SAME

This is false. Besides having different personalities and work styles, real estate agents specialize in certain cities and neighborhoods. If you are looking for a house in Manhattan Beach, using a real estate agent who does most of their business in downtown Los Angelesprobably isn’t the best idea.

Having an intimate knowledge of the area is essential for a successful, profitable sale. Your real estate agent should be able to predict market trends allowing you to accurately list your home or bid on a property. If they don’t usually work in the area they’ll have a hard time accurately weighing home values and you’ll end up paying more.

PRICE YOUR HOME WITH ROOM FOR NEGOTIATION

This is also false. Overvaluing your home can leave it sitting on the market, not in the middle of a bid war. Most realtors won’t look at homes if it is over their client’s budgets, especially if they know it is overpriced. This can leave your house sitting on the market.

Homes that have been on the market for more than three weeks develop a negative stigma and often end up selling at prices far below the the actual value. The key to selling your home is listing it truthfully, at the market price.

GET PRE-APPROVED AFTER YOU FIND YOUR HOME

While sometimes being pre-approved won’t affect a sale, if there are multiple offers on the home being pre-approved can make your offer more appealing than others. You also run the risk of being denied a mortgage for your dream home after winning the bid. Besides being disheartening, it means you’ll need restart your search all over again.

OPEN HOUSES SELL HOUSES

Once again, this is false. Only 25% of open houses result in a sale. However, open houses can be lucrative for real estate agents as they meet unrepresented potential buyers. Holding an open house for brokers can be beneficial for homeowners as it will expose your home to their entire client base. If your real estate agent insists on having an open house every weekend, ask for their reasons.

“FOR SALE BY OWNER” WILL SAVE SELLERS MONEY

Unfortunately, this is also false. While you might not have to pay commission, you’re not as well versed in the market as an agent. You won’t know the how to most successfully market your home and won’t have access to listings. If you are able to get your home listed and find a buyer, you’ll struggle in negotiations especially if your buyer is using an agent and end up losing the money you wanted to save. Additionally, commission is often built into the listing price so you won’t lose any profit.

LOOKING FOR REAL ESTATE?

Purchasing a home or selling one, real estate is a huge investment so it’s important to have all the information. Real estate agents can help debunk all your real estate myths. Our team of expert realtors specializes in the South Bay and has been a leading agency since 1995. They know the ins and outs of the market to make selling or buying your home a breeze.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

NEW CONSTRUCTION IS DIFFERENT THAN TYPICAL REAL ESTATE

When buying new construction, you are typically buying a home that isn’t finished. If it’s in a community you might be able to walk through a model home, but if it is stand alone you’ll only be able to view floor plans and drawings to imagine the finished project. This makes buying new construction a little more difficult than buying a traditional home and requires a slightly different skill set.

IT’S COMPLICATED, USE AN AGENT

New construction is completely different than buying a completed home. For an inexperienced buyer, going to a build site without a real estate agent can make it extremely difficult to successfully navigate negotiations. If you’re trying to discount the home’s cost by not using a real estate agent, the builder or builder’s agent will receive the commision your realtor would have received instead.  

However, not all real estate agents are created equal. If you choose to use the listing agent, remember they likely have a long, profitable relationship with the builder. Make sure they are keeping your interests and the builder’s with equal weight. Additionally, some real estate agents don’t work in new construction. It requires a special skill set so check your real estate agents previous sales to ensure their experience.

FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE BUILDER PRICE

There are several things that influence the building price of a home. Some are stagnant, but some are subject to change.

  • Location
  • Land cost
  • Home size
  • Building material cost
  • Labor cost
  • Market conditions
  • Builder fee

BUILDERS DON’T LIKE DROPPING THEIR PRICES

To avoid setting precedents for future builds, builders will be very hesitant to drop their prices. If they offer a discount on one home then the next buyer will be looking to push for the same deal, ensuring the builder undersells the home.

However, builder’s will still negotiate. Instead of lowering the price, they will be more likely to agree to pay closing costs or perform upgrades with no charge to make the home more appealing. These back end discounts are ways for builders to lower the price without future buyers seeing the discount.

VERBAL CONTRACTS ARE NOT BINDING

Anything and everything that is important to you needs to be in writing. If it’s only mentioned in conversation it likely won’t be included in the final product.

Additionally, do not sign anything until every last detail is figured out. Include deadlines and important decisions in the contracts so construction remains on time. Inevitably, there will be construction delays but this keeps the builder on track so you can accurately plan your temporary living situation while your new home is being finished.

YOU SHOULD DO YOUR OWN HOME INSPECTION

All homes have problems, even new ones. Conducting your own home inspection ensures there are no surprises when you move in and means the builder can fix code noncompliances before you move in.

THERE SHOULD BE A WARRANTY

Different from other real estate, many new homes come with a warranty from the builder. However, these warranties are not one size fits all. Read the entire warranty to see what is covered, what is not, and for how long. Some warranties are from third parties, like windows, that the builder will default to if you run into problems. Be sure to get your warranty information early so you can have time to read it over.

NEW CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLICATED, BUT PROFITABLE

With the return of an NFL football team and promise of the 2024 Olympics, investing in new construction has never been a better idea. Home values will continue to rise if Los Angeles is chosen for the summer Olympics, but the unwavering attraction of the South Bay’s endless summer makes any home a possible rental. While new construction poses its own set of problems, it can also come with great payoff.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

5 BENEFITS OF INVESTING IN NEW CONSTRUCTION

It’s understandable why new construction has risen in popularity these last few years. Your home is brand new and all yours. It can also be a great real estate investment. Your home requires limited maintenance, comes with a warranty, and offers customization. You also get the newest technology and improved fire safety without having to do any installation yourself. If you’re still looking for more advantages, here are 5 reasons to purchase new construction.

REQUIRES LITTLE MAINTENANCE AND FEW REPAIRS

When you purchase new construction, you are purchasing a brand new home. Since no one has ever lived there before and everything is newly installed, you should almost zero maintenance and repairs.

With resale homes you also run the risk that your home does not meet new building codes that have been passed since it was built, possibly threatening the safety of those who live in it. All in all, new construction home will hold up better than resale homes. They haven’t experienced the wear and tear that comes with everyday life, and therefore should require no maintenance for the first few years.

COMES WITH A WARRANTY

If anything malfunctions, you don’t have to worry. All new construction must come with a builders warranty. Most materials and workmanship items have a warranty of about two years, while structural elements typically have a 10 year warranty. A warranty of some kind is required by law for new construction, while most resale homes don’t have one unless the previous buyer bought one.

OFFERS CUSTOMIZATION

If you purchase a pre-construction property, you are often given the ability to customize your home. You can help choose features, flooring, cabinetry, lighting, and fixtures that make the home perfect for your taste. Sometimes you can even help design the floor plan decide where the bathroom or closets should go. Occasionally, if you purchase in a subdivision, you will be allowed to pick the lot you like best in addition to customizing your home.

EQUIPPED WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY

New construction homes benefit from the fact that they were built with advanced knowledge and technology. We better understand architecture allowing us to provide better, longer lasting construction in newer homes. For example, insulation technology has advanced in the last few years so all new construction homes will be built with fire retardant insulation while resale homes were not.

These new homes also come equipped with the newest technology. They are energy efficient and provide better air quality. They have built in alarm systems, speaker systems, internet wiring, and cable that resale homes will not have. This saves you from having to contract installation and cut holes in your walls, saving you time and money.

PROVIDES ADVANCED FIRE SAFETY

New construction homes can come with the most advanced technology, including fire safety. Most new construction home feature hard-wired fire alarms, instead of the battery operated ones found in all resale homes. These alarms use the home’s electricity with batteries as backup, making sure they function properly when you need them.

LOOKING FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION?

With over forty years of combined experience working and living in the South Bay, our expert team of realtors has been recognized again and again as the premier realtor service in the area. We have experience buying and selling all types of properties, including new construction, and intimate knowledge of the area. Our reliable service and expertise makes buying a home in the South Bay easy.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

6 REAL ESTATE AGENT TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Real estate and real estate transactions are imbued with jargon and terms that can confuse anyone, especially those who don’t deal in real estate on a weekly basis. If you’re like most people, you buy and sell a home once or twice in your life and aren’t familiar with the language used to negotiate deals and contracts. To help you stay informed on the real estate process, here are 6 real estate agent terms you need to know:

ESCROW

When a property is in escrow it means a third property is facilitating the contract and holding the money until both sides have fulfilled their obligations. These obligations were set forth in the contract and the property will not change hands until they are done. When someone says they have a “30 day escrow” they are referring to the minimum number of days it will take for escrow to close.

PRE APPROVED

When you are pre-approved, this means that a bank has pre-approved you for a certain loan amount based on information you provided. Being pre-approved makes your offer more desireable to sellers because it is an indication that you can secure the funding to purchase your home.

PRE QUALIFICATION

Pre-qualification goes one step further than pre-approval. When you are pre-qualified this means the lender has run your credit and has documentation to verify your assets, income, and debts. Pre-qualification is more appealing to sellers than pre-approval because it is verified that you can acquire that loan.

CONTINGENCY

In real estate, contingencies are conditions that allow either party to walk away if they are not met. There are a number of contingencies but the most common ones are loan contingencies, appraisal contingencies, and inspection contingencies. Loan contingencies allow buyers to walk away from the deal if they cannot secure the loan, appraisal contingencies allow buyers to walk away if the house is not actually valued at the price they are purchasing, and inspection contingencies allow buyers to walk away if the construction does not meet certain standards.

EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT

An earnest money deposit is an initial deposit that shows the seller you are a serious buyer. There is no set amount that it has to be; it can be $1,000 or even 20% of the asking price. The larger the deposit is the more seriousness it signifies to the seller. Earnest money deposits are given back to the buyer as long as they walk away from the sale within their contingency time frame.

CLOSING COSTS

Closing costs are fees you have to pay when you purchase a home outside of the cost of the home. They are typically about 2-5% of the purchase price and include excise tax, loan-processing costs, and title insurance.

A REAL ESTATE AGENT MAKES REAL ESTATE EASIER

In addition to these terms, there are dozens more that will be commonplace in real estate transactions. To make sure you aren’t being confused and making mistakes, you should work with a real estate agent when buying or selling a home. They are professionals with years of experience that can make your life much easier.

Our realtors have over twenty years of experience living and working in the South Bay that helps make us the premier realtors in the area.

VIEW MARKET UPDATES

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

The process of buying a house can vary greatly from person to person. One of the biggest difference makers when it comes to the success of your house hunt is the realtor you choose to partner with during the buying process. A seasoned realtor will not only be able to walk you through the early stages, but also help you close a deal.

GOOD QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN BUYING A HOUSE

Besides their general guidance, realtors can also answer some of the more nuanced questions you might have when buying a house. Some things might come up early on, while others might not be relevant until you’ve put in your first offer. These are just some of the many questions that an experienced, knowledgeable realtor will be able to address.

WHO PAYS THE REALTOR FEES WHEN YOU BUY A HOUSE?

Like any service provided by a specialist, there is a cost associated with using it. The vast majority of people use a realtor when looking for real estate, but not many understand how a realtor actually gets paid for the services provided. If you are looking to buy a house, you can typically choose a realtor to work with at no initial expense to you. The reason why? The fee is usually paid out of the proceeds from the sale of the home by the sellers themselves (so long as the margin is high enough). If the deal falls to shambles before a sale, the realtor doesn’t get paid for any time they put into the process so far. This is why being a realtor is difficult (and risky for some).

WHAT DO THE AVERAGE UTILITY BILLS LOOK LIKE?

This is something that you definitely want to dig into before buying a house. When you buy a home, the cost doesn’t stop at the closing deal. Every month, you’ll be paying different utilities, property taxes, and any other fees that might be associated with living in a particular area. Make sure you ask your realtorabout any additional costs of living so you can incorporate them into your financial planning.

AM I OUT OF THE RUNNING IF MY OFFER IS REJECTED?

There is never a clear cut yes/no answer to this question. Sometimes, the offer is rejected because it was below the seller’s expectations, and they have a higher minimum. This means you still have a chance to present an offer more in line with what the seller wants. Other times, the seller may come back with a counter offer, which in a way is a direct invitation to keep the interaction going. However, in some instances, the seller may have gotten an offer from another party that matches or exceeds what they need, and they’ll let you know. Make sure you and your realtor work out a game plan about potential offerings before you make your initial bid, so both of you understand how high you want to go if need be, and how fast.

LET A SEASONED REALTOR EASE THE PROCESS OF BUYING A HOUSE

Above are just a few questions that can help you learn more about the process of buying a house, but there is so much more information that can help. When you partner with a realtor like those at the offices of Caskey & Caskey, we deliver quality service and optimal results.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Real estate has a reputation for being an extremely lucrative business, and a lot of this is due to how realtors are portrayed in the media. Nowadays, there are multiple shows you can find on TV that follow around high-end realtors selling luxury homes to only the wealthiest clients. However, this is only a small portion of the actual profession, since such a small portion of the population is depicted in those kinds of shows.

IDENTIFYING THE RIGHT REALTOR TO WORK WITH

If you are looking for homes in the Manhattan Beach area, you might be looking at more expensive homes, but you likely won’t be working with a realtor who has a TV crew following them around. There are actually a number of reputable, trustworthy realtors out there to choose from, but you need to know how to find the best ones to help you buy or sell real estate. Here are a few things to keep in mind when finding a realtor to work with.

THEY KNOW HOW TO CLOSE SALES

As stated in an earlier blog, the majority of realtors are actually paid by the sale of property, and not by the initial services provided to clients. This means they are essentially paid on commision. Not only that, but this means that even if they do close a sale, when the margins aren’t high enough they don’t make a cut. Their experience in closing deals (either when buying or selling a house) with higher profit margins benefits all parties, which is why it’s so crucial to their role. A realtor with experience working in a diverse market can also make sure the best deals are made in the shortest amount of time, which helps everyone involved.

ASK WHAT THEIR DAY TO DAY LOOKS LIKE

The more they work in the industry, the more experience a realtor should gain in not only real estate specific topics, but also subjects coinciding with the buying and selling of property. A realtor who has a very full, productive day to day will usually provide the best all around experience. They’re spending their hours exploring properties, networking, learning about financing, and more. Ask a realtor about what their day to day looks like, and make sure they’re not just sitting around waiting for someone like you to walk in the door.

THEIR REPUTATION SHOULD PAINT A CLEAR PICTURE

With such easy access to information and with websites like Yelp, people are more inclined to not only research about realtors online, but leave their own reviews. When choosing a realtor, there really shouldn’t be any ambiguity in the options you’re looking at. If you can’t get a clear sense of the quality of service they provide, you should be looking elsewhere. Also, don’t forget how important word of mouth is! If you’re moving to a new area, always ask friends, family, and co-workers about realtors they worked with, and learn more about how their buying or selling experience was handled.

A REALTOR YOU CAN TRUST TO GET RESULTS YOU DESERVE

When it comes to experts in South Bay real estate, you don’t need to look any further than the team at Caskey & Caskey. With over 40 years of combined experience, they know the ins and outs of cities like Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and the surrounding area.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Nearly every industry has felt the impact of technological growth. As technology continues to evolve, businesses and people must be able to adapt to stay with the times and effectively communicate with the rest of the world. Real estate is certainly no exception to this. In fact, a realtor needs to be willing to embrace new forms of technology and enhance the way they perform their jobs.

WHY YOUR REALTOR NEEDS TO ADAPT TO NEW TECHNOLOGY

If your realtor isn’t willing to utilize more advanced forms of technology, they’re missing out on a number of opportunities. Nearly every customer is dependent on things like Google, social media, and any number of apps, so why shouldn’t realtors be as well? Here are some of the many reasons why technology has created a better real estate experience for buyers, sellers, and realtors.

SHOW HOMES IN AN ENTIRELY NEW WAY

Thanks to technology like high definition cameras and drones, a realtor can create a series of videos that show listings in an entirely new way. You don’t only get a closer look at the home, but also the surrounding area and unique views that can’t be seen from the ground.

Along the same lines, a realtor can now actually create a virtual tour for any one of their listings, especially those that will draw interest from a large volume of people. With a virtual tour, someone can get a real sense of the home’s layout without actually needing to attend an open house. This may seem counterproductive, but it actually benefits both the potential buyer and the realtor. If someone goes through the virtual tour and doesn’t think the home is a good fit, they won’t call the realtor This mean the realtor won’t need to spend time walking someone through a home who ultimately won’t want it, meaning they can spend time with people who have a genuine interest.

APPS THAT ENHANCE THE REAL ESTATE EXPERIENCE

The way people look for homes has changed a lot thanks to apps that are available on any number of mobile devices. Here are just a couple you can use:

Zillow

Zillow is a free app that gives people quick and easy access to listings in a given area. There are different search filters such as cost range, number of bedrooms, and in some cases even MLS listing numbers so you can expedite the process when contacting a realtor.

Google Maps

Most people are probably familiar with Google Maps for directions, but it can also be used to explore neighborhoods around property that you’re interested in. By typing in an address, you’ll be able to virtually walk down the street and see what the area looks like without having to travel there.

Mortgage Calculator

The app’s function is in the name, but this is a free app that lets someone calculate a number of different mortgage options on the fly based on different parameters. This means you can evaluate your financial options in real time as you’re exploring different properties.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ADDRESSING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

Social media isn’t just a great way to promote listings or open houses. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp can be used for a far more important purpose, which is addressing customer feedback directly. Any time a customer engages with your brand online, it’s important to address what they say, whether it’s a compliment or a negative review. People, and especially customers, want to feel like their voice is being heard and acknowledged by those that they’re reaching out to.

WORK WITH A REALTOR WHO USES TECHNOLOGY TO THE FULLEST

When looking for your next realtor in the South Bay, you don’t have to search any further than the team at Caskey & Caskey. With over 4 decades of combined experience in this market, they understand what it takes to get deals done and provide customers with the results they deserve.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Nowadays, anyone looking to purchase a new home has access to a number of resources and tools that can help with their search and ultimate purchase. Because of this, there is also going to be a lot more competition if you’re selling a house. Standing out doesn’t just mean being first to market or being seen by the most people. You need to view selling a house as an opportunity to add inherent value to the property.

HOW YOU CAN ADD VALUE BEFORE SELLING A HOUSE

No two homes are the same, and certainly no two buyers are the same. There isn’t a ‘formula’ that equates a guaranteed sale, but there are a number of different things you can do before listing your home that will appeal to a broader market. If you haven’t already, one of the first things you need to do is enlist the help of an experienced and reputable real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of your market. They’ll not only help with the staging and listing process, but also provide invaluable advice when it comes to how to promote your home to buyers in the area.

MAKE THE FIRST IMPRESSION A GREAT ONE

You’ve all heard the expression “never judge a book by its cover”, but when it comes to selling a house you don’t really have that kind of flexibility. You want potential buyers to be impressed the moment they pull up to your home.

Depending on its age the material it’s constructed out of, you might want to think about a fresh coat of paint. Consider what colors your neighbors have and try to stand out (but don’t get too radical!) The same can be said for your front door. If you have more neutral colored paint job on the home, try and pick a bright color for the door that will complement the look and feel while giving your home a splash of personality.

Also, even if you’re not a gardening aficionado, you need to take care of any landscaping issues. Dry or dead patches of grass, weeds, and unkempt shrubs only take away your home’s appeal.

DON’T PUSH OFF HOME MAINTENANCE ANYMORE

You may have become used to some of your property’s deficiencies, but they won’t do you any favors when selling a house. If you have any lingering repairs or longstanding issues that you’ve been pushing off, don’t let potential buyers be the ones to point them out. This includes any issues with plumbing, or lingering repairs on windows, broken door frames, etc. Unless they’re avid property flippers, most buyers want to invest in a ready-to-live home, not a project.

FIND WAYS TO CREATE SPACE

Space is inviting. No matter what kind of property you have, the process of selling a house will be a lot easier if people feel at ease when they walk inside. Creating space can actually be accomplished in a number of ways depending on your budget and time before you need to go to market. A simple solution for some rooms is maneuvering furniture to create space, or even removing it entirely for a more minimalist approach. If you have the time and your real estate agent knows efficient contractors, you can even consider breaking down walls between certain rooms. You’ll find a lot of homes that have open floor plans between the kitchen and either the living room or some other sort of lounge room that people tend to flock too.

TRY TO CREATE A SEAMLESS AND STRESS FREE EXPERIENCE WHEN SELLING A HOUSE

If it’s your first time, the process of selling a house can seem overwhelming, which is where a real estate agent can come in handy. Even if you’ve moved a lot and sold homes previously, there is always something new you can learn to create a more reliable selling process.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

If you’re new to the South Bay and its cities like Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach, then you’re certainly in for a treat. Even though the area is part of Los Angeles, it’s an entirely different animal when it comes to local attractions, lifestyle, and even the people who live there. Not only that, but you’re going to come across some of the most beautiful luxury beachfront property you’ve ever seen. Even though the cities are relatively small compared to other areas of LA, you’ll still want to learn about the area from an expert.  

INSIDER INFORMATION ABOUT THE SOUTH BAY FROM YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT

When you’re moving, an experienced real estate agent is going to be invaluable for a number of reasons. First of all, finding your new home will be a lot easier with a local market expert by your side. This means not only having access to exclusive real estate, but working closely with them to make the best offers. Beyond that, they are also an encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to knowing the area. Below are just a few different subjects they can help educate you on.

GET THE BEST GRUB

Everyone has different tastes and food, and fortunately the South Bay is becoming a bit of a foodie hot spot. Throughout each of the beach cities, you can find nearly every type of food based on your interests. Fresh seafood is certainly a popular choice given the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, but you can expect to find incredible burgers, Thai food, Brazilian BBQ, and nearly anything in between. Your real estate agent will be able to point out not only popular joints, but also some up and coming places that you can share with others.

LEARN WHAT’S GOING TO BE BEST FOR YOUR KIDS

Moving with a family of young children is difficult enough on its own, but when you’re relocating to an entirely new area, it’s a lot more to process. Fortunately a seasoned real estate agent will have plenty of valuable information about not only the education system, but about parks and recreation, and any community centers. By taking your own kids to these places, you’ll also meet other parents who will be happy to provide their own insight about the area.

THEY’RE PRIVY TO LOCAL EVENTS

The South Bay may be somewhat secluded in the realm of Los Angeles, but it experiences no shortage of events over the course of the year. Hermosa Beach has ‘Fiesta Hermosa’ to kick off and close the summer, which draws large crowds every year. Manhattan Beach has hosted an annual volley tournament since 1960, and it’s considered by many to be the ‘Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball’. Make sure you get the inside scoop from your real estate agent about where and when some of these large events take place so you can plan with your family accordingly.

REAL ESTATE AGENT CAN BE AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE WHEN MOVING

Don’t think that your real estate agent is just a helpful resource for finding the perfect home. They are incredibly knowledgable about the area that they work, and this is true for the team at Caskey & Caskey. With over 40 years of combined real estate experience in the South Bay alone, they know more than most. Partner up with them for your next real estate venture and get all the insider information you need.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

THE STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS OF BUYING A HOUSE

Whether you’re looking for your first home, a vacation home, or a home in a new area, here’s a step-by-step guide to buying a house.

1. DETERMINE HOW MUCH YOU CAN AFFORD.

Don’t make the mistake of “window shopping” before you’ve determined how much you can afford to pay for a new home. Do your math—taking into consideration your income, savings, and monthly expenses—to see how much you can comfortably pay. A mortgage calculator can help you plan out your monthly payment.

2. GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE.

Once you have an idea of what you can/want to pay for a new home, make an appointment with your bank or financial institution to talk about mortgages. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you save a lot of time and stress later on in the process.

3. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR MUST-HAVE FEATURES IN A NEW HOME.

Before you start looking at homes, make a list of your must-have features. These are features that you absolutely cannot live without. Some examples include number of bedrooms, square footage, proximity to schools/your work, etc… Additionally, you’ll want to make a list of features that would be nice to have but aren’t necessary. Keep this list for reference if you’re ever stuck deciding.

4. CHOOSE AN AREA YOU’D LIKE TO LIVE IN.

Are you looking to stay local? Are you moving across the country? Would you prefer to be near the beach? Do you need to live close to your job or school? Choose the ideal city or neighborhood that will best fit your needs.

5. FIND A REAL ESTATE AGENT IN YOUR CHOSEN AREA.

Search for a real estate agent or team who is familiar with the area you’re interested in. They’ll be able to help you find homes that have all of (or a majority of) the features you’re looking for in your price range.

6. SEARCH FOR AND FIND YOUR IDEAL HOME.

Your real estate agent can help you narrow down the thousands of available homes in your area using resources like the MLS search and databases only available to real estate professionals.

7. PUT IN AN OFFER ON THE HOME OF YOUR CHOOSING.

Once you’ve chosen the right home, you can work with your real estate agent to put in an offer on the house. Your real estate agent can help you come up with a competitive offer within your budget.

8. SUBMIT YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION.

If you’ve already been pre-approved for a mortgage, this step will be a lot easier. If not, you’ll want to find a bank/financial institution and get started on your application. Your lender may require an appraisal and/or inspections on the home before approving the loan.

9. SIGN THE PAPERS AND FINALIZE THE SALE.

Once your loan is approved, all that’s left to do is sign some papers (being sure to review them carefully with your real estate agent) and finalize the sale.

10. MOVE IN AND ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!

Now it’s time to move in and enjoy your new home!

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

BENEFITS OF NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES FOR HOMEBUYERS

When buying a home, you have one of two major choices: choose an existing home or purchase a new construction one. Here are some of the main advantages homeowners experience when buying new construction homes.

1. YOU HAVE FREEDOM TO CUSTOMIZE A NEW CONSTRUCTION HOME TO YOUR LIKING.

When you’re interested in buying a house, you’ve probably come up with a list of features you’d like in your new home. Whether this is an actually written list or a mental one, you may have a preference on everything from number of bedrooms to exterior paint colors to kitchen countertop materials to the size of the laundry room.

If you purchase a home while it’s still being built or finished, you have the freedom to make all of these decisions and more. By the time you move in, your house should have all of the preferences you’re looking for.

2. NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES FEATURE MORE MODERN FLOOR PLANS.

Closed-off kitchens, low ceilings, small closets, formal living rooms, and small laundry rooms are all characteristics of older homes. And if you’re not happy with these features, they can often be expensive or time consuming to change. New construction homes are often defined by open living areas, vaulted ceilings, and smart designs that make the best use of the space given. You may find that new construction homes are not only more comfortable, but they can make living a lot easier.

3. HOMES BUILT TODAY ARE MUCH MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT THAN OLDER MODELS.

Whether it’s due to a lack of insulation, poor-quality materials, inefficient HVAC or plumbing systems, or faulty electrical work, older homes often go hand in hand with high energy bills. If you’re looking to save money and/or be more environmentally conscious, a new construction home may be just what you’re looking for.

4. YOU CAN INCLUDE UPGRADES AND STYLE CHANGES IN THE ORIGINAL PURCHASE PRICE.

When you’re applying for a mortgage, your financial institution is going to grant you a loan based on the value of the home as it is. If you’re interested in making repairs or remodels, the cost is likely going to have to come out of your own pocket. This is not always the case when buying a new construction home, though. Because the home may not be finished yet, you can choose upgrades and additional feature and include those in the original purchase price. That way, you can have the home you want now without emptying your pockets in the process.

5. NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES ARE OFTEN LESS STRESSFUL TO OWN/MAINTAIN.

With older construction homes often comes a lot of maintenance and repairs. Whether these are taken care of up front or over the next few years of ownership, it can get stressful, expensive, and time consuming. New construction homes shouldn’t require the need for repairs and hefty maintenance until way later down the road. So you’ll get to enjoy your stress-free, maintenance-free home right off the bat.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

If you’re a person who is avid about finding new ways to expand their financial portfolio, then one of the most common methods is through real estate. This doesn’t mean you need to get a license and start actually selling real estate yourself though. Instead, you need to start exploring different types of real estate available for investment.

WHAT KIND OF REAL ESTATE SHOULD YOU INVEST IN?

The type of real estate you ultimately invest in can come down a number of factors, including your available capital, the timing of the investment, and also just what type of real estate is out there. There is definitely no “right” answer in terms of what you should do, but the more information you have about the available options, the easier it will be to make a confident decision.

INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY

There a few different functions that an “industrial” property can serve. For example, many of these buildings can be used for warehousing or storage. Additionally, some companies might want to rent out the space for manufacturing or distribution. One of the reasons why so many investors look to get their hands on some sort of industrial property is because of its versatility. Plenty of companies can find use for a large, open space, which is why this kind of property should become a staple of your investment portfolio.

OFFICE SPACE

Available in all shapes and sizes, and in a huge number of locations, office space has a huge upside in terms of real estate investment. From a small building near the beach to an entire floor in a downtown skyscraper, these types of properties persent incredibly lucrative real estate investment opportunities. However, with office property, be mindful that the renting of the space is entirely dependent on the growth of the interested companies. If there is some sort of economic downturn, companies will be less likely to need space to fill hiring needs.

A SECOND HOME

This is typically going to be a common starting point for anyone who is looking into a new real estate venture. A second home (especially in an entirely different part of the country) can benefit owners in a lot of ways. Firstly, this is essentially a vacation home that you, your family, and friends have the ability to take advantage of at your discretion. During times of year you’re not using it (or especially during peak travel season such as spring break and the summer), you can rent it out to guests and make a return.

The one thing that you need to be mindful of before making this type of purchase is that, much like your primary residence, there’s a lot of upkeep involved. This includes billing, property taxes, cleanup, and dealing with any issues that may arise such as plumbing problems. This shouldn’t be a deterrent in terms of making the investment, but these smaller details sometimes get overlooked.

LET AN EXPERIENCED TEAM HELP WITH YOUR NEXT REAL ESTATE VENTURE

If you’re on the verge of making some sort of real estate investment to expand your financial portfolio, you want to have an experienced team by your side. At Caskey & Caskey, we’ve been one of the South Bay’s leading real estate teams, and bring over 30 years of combined experience to the table. From first home purchases to investing in commercial real estate, we can help guide you through the process and provide the type of service you expect from a quality real estate agency.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Buying a house can be a really exciting time for an existing homeowner or a family who might be making their first purchase. There’s no doubt that this process comes with its fair share of ups and downs. Nothing in life comes easy, and the same can be said for buying a house. However, there are definitely some steps you can take to increase your chances for getting the house you’ve always wanted.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP THE PROCESS OF BUYING A HOUSE

When it comes to buying a house, it doesn’t matter if you’ve done it multiple times before, you can still hurt your chances of finding a house that meets your every want and need. One of the first things that you should be doing as soon as you realize you’re ready to make a purchase is find and hire a realtor. It should go without saying that no two realtor’s are built the same, so hiring the right person is a huge part of the process. Make sure you do some research online, and talk to friends or co-workers in the area who have been through the same experience. Their recommendation and endorsement of a particular agency can help save you time while also getting unique perspective into what it might be like working with that realtor.

DO CREATE A PLAN OF ACTION WITH YOUR REALTOR

Once you’ve found a realtor, you need to have a transparent conversation with them about what you’re expecting. Timeline, budget, and different factors such as number of bedrooms, yard size (if any), garage capacity, etc., are all really important details that you realtor needs to know about. Timeline and budget should be at the top of the list because they will have a direct impact on the realtor’s immediate actions. If you’re on a very short timeline, the realtor will need to expedite their search. A budget range is equally important so they know how to classify certain properties you’re looking at (whether it’s a reach for you or not based on cost).

DON’T RUSH INTO THINGS

Even if you’re on a shorter deadline, making a rash decision with an investment as large as property can be a life-changer. A lot of buyers will get eager if they see a particular house they like in the early stages, and this can negatively skew other properties they see. One of the most important things a realtor will stress is that you need to keep an open mind. Part of their role is to keep stay unbiased and help evaluate decisions from that perspective.

DO PAY ATTENTION TO ALL THE DETAILS

If you’re on the verge of closing a deal, there are a number of things that you need to be paying attention to before putting down that final signature. Having a proper home-inspection is absolutely essential, as you might uncover some issues that were not initially disclosed. This can drastically change the conversation you’re having with your realtor and the seller. You and your realtor need to be asking as many questions as possible about the property because once it’s signed over to you, any new problems are your concern. By knowing things ahead of time, you can avoid a lot of potential issues down the line.

DON’T TEAM UP WITH THE WRONG REALTOR WHEN BUYING A HOUSE

If you are searching for a new home in the South Bay of Los Angeles, then you don’t need to look any further than the team at Caskey & Caskey. Our agents have over 30 years of combined experience working in this area, which means we have the connections and insight to the market that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. When you’re ready to buy a house, we’ll get you the results you deserve.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

If you’re going to be selling your house in the near future, you’ve probably got a lot on your plate that you need to worry about. After hiring a realtor that you feel comfortable partnering with, they’re going to get the ball rolling for you. There is a lot of clerical work that needs to be taken care of, especially in regards to the initial listing. However, once that process occurs, the next part of the puzzle you need to be thinking about is how to have a successful open house.

REALTOR TIPS FOR YOUR NEXT OPEN HOUSE

While there is definitely not a magic formula that ensures you have success with your open house, there are some things you can do which will make it easier for you, your realtor, and any potential buyers.

REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE PICTURE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

When people attend an open house, part of the experience is being able to see themselves living there. Besides making sure that your house is impeccably clean, also make sure you remove large collections of personal photos that may be on display, and definitely don’t leave any signs of pets.

HIRE A HOUSEKEEPER OR PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER

To help create as much space as possible, you should talk to your realtor about any connections they have in terms of professional housekeepers or organizers. Having someone go through your house and make tables, floors, counters, etc. as spotless as possible will definitely add more value on first glance. Also, clutter of any kind can make a space seem smaller than it actually is. Try to remember what a room looked like before you inserted any kind of furniture, and now look to see how much smaller that space feels. An organizer can come in and make sure that you’re maximizing floor space or rearranging any pieces that might be interfering with the flow of the room.

LET THERE BE LIGHT!

One of the best things you can do during any type of open house is utilize natural light as much as possible. Don’t have any closed drapes, draw all the blinds open, and move any furniture that blocks avenues of sunlight. For rooms that don’t have as much exposure over the course of a day, makes sure you’re installing some type of energy efficient lighting (even if it’s just a tasteful floor lamp) to help show all 4 corners of the room.

HOST A SESSION THAT’S ONLY OPEN TO REALTORS

To help increase the chances for a sale even more, you should be hosting an open house session that’s only open to other realtors. This way, they can inspect the house for the first time without any opinion or influence from their client, and they can ask more detailed questions that will help give them a better idea of they can market the property.

FINDING A REALTOR YOU CAN TRUST

The most important aspect of any real estate transaction is going to be choosing a realtor.  Having someone who you feel comfortable with can make a huge difference, since they’re going to be marketing your home, and helping you find a new property.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Real estate is a tricky business. There can be a lot of moving pieces that you’ll need to juggle, and often times people are under strict deadlines in relation to where and when they need to make a transaction by, especially if they’re moving for work. However, a seasoned real estate agent will always provide you with added value, whether you’re buying a house, selling a house, or exploring real estate investment opportunities.

PEOPLE YOU WANT YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT TO HAVE STRONG CONNECTIONS WITH

Part of what makes a great real estate agent ‘great’ are the types of relationships they’ve established over the years. Finding a career in real estate is so difficult because early success depends on who you know throughout the industry (including the construction, financing, and legal aspects of real estate). Below are some important parties that can enhance a real estate agent’s effectiveness as they work with you.

CONTRACTORS

With nearly every sold property, there is bound to be some type of additional work required to get everything up to the buyer’s expectations. This can include various aspects of the infrastructure, or maybe even a small construction project in or around the property. Finding a contractor you feel comfortable trusting can be difficult, which is why an agent who knows dependable contractors can ease any buying stress.

REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS

Another way that a real estate agent will separate themselves from the competition is with their ability to provide clients with access to exclusive listings that aren’t available to the general market. By knowing the big players who actually develop and build various homes, the agent can help ensure that their clients get a first look at newer homes.

OTHER AGENTS

Real estate agents compete with each other. There’s no way to avoid this reality, which is why it’s important that your agent actually has a healthy relationship with other agents in the area. If you’re looking to buy a home, the owners are likely working with another agent who helps them. If your agent knows the party that’s selling, it can give you an “in” for negotiation, or even helping the owners go with your offer over one of equal value from someone who they’re not as familiar with.

MUNICIPAL OFFICES

If you’re someone who is dealing with a variety of business real estate transactions, you also want to have a real estate agent with viable connections in relevant municipal offices. Sometimes getting through the “red tape” can hold up transactions, so having someone who knows how to navigate the regulations seamlessly can only help.

MAKE SURE YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT IS INVESTED IN YOUR SUCCESS

When vetting different real estate agents, make sure you’re asking them about the various ways that they stand apart from any competition. A big focus should be on their networking and other relationships, since it can greatly impact the success you have when buying or selling a house. The more comfortable you are with your agent and the services they provide, the more likely it is that you’ll have a better overall experience.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

POPULAR LUXURY UPGRADES FOR YOUR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT

Remodeling and new additions are probably the best ways to add value to your home, office, or even warehouse. Not only will remodeling make your real estate property look better, it will make you feel better. Upgraded homes have an easier time moving on any market, and can often be groomed further, becoming the gem of a neighborhood. Upgrades range from simply practical to outright luxurious, but the ones that fall between the two extremes are often the ones that homeowners choose when looking to make a change to their surroundings.

GRANITE COUNTERTOPS

Probably the most popular upgrades due to the wide availability of the materials and DIY nature of many, granite countertops for your kitchen and/or bathroom are a simple way of giving an area a contemporary, polished look. Some people choose to take it a step further, using granite countertops for outdoor bars and tables in their yards and on backyard decks.

BUILT-IN WINE COOLER

A favorite of wine aficionados and casual sippers alike, having constant access to perfectly chilled reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines makes any home that much more friendly. An amazing addition to almost any real estate, and available in a variety of shapes for a variety of spaces, wine coolers have the added benefit of space for liqueurs and other spirits. Wine coolers are especially beneficial for families that find themselves entertaining often, but will be enjoyed and appreciated by hard-workers who keep to themselves, and relax with a glass while watching the sunset.  

ULTRA-MODERN SHOWER

Energy efficient and relaxing, his and hers or single, streams of warm water against a textured tile background is a special place in anyone’s home to melt away the worries of the world. Imagine how amazing your home would be to an interested buyer, knowing that they would be privy to such a wonderful treat at the end, or start, of their day.

UNIQUE GARDEN

Perhaps nothing else makes a first impression the way that a garden does. While beautiful, traditional, and familiar, grass, flowers, and trees require water and maintenance that may prove to be worth it, but may not. Particularly in drier states, desert gardens are increasing in popularity as a means of saving water while still making the real estate property’s exterior a work of art. This simple, environmentally-friendly upgrade will make your home or business a visual treat to those driving by, or the residents themselves.

GUEST HOUSE

While costly and only feasible to those with substantial property, a guest house is the ultimate addition to any home. Guests and even renters will be able to live comfortably with a high degree of privacy while in close proximity to you and your household. Guest houses could also come in handy in the event of a minor home emergency, such as a plumbing problem that renders your own home temporarily unlivable.

UPGRADING YOUR HOME NOW WILL MAKE PARTING WITH IT EASIER

There is no guarantee that you will be in your home forever. With high-quality upgrades, good maintenance, and an expert realtor, selling your home, or even passing it on, will be a much smoother process.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF ANY REAL ESTATE INVESTING VENTURES

One of the most popular methods that people for expanding their financial portfolio is through real estate investing. Whether someone is looking to own a second home, or they want to invest in large plots of land as property managers, there are a couple of different means of approaching it. If you’re considering making this type of investment, there are a few things you should be doing to help provide more success.

KNOW YOUR FINANCES IN & OUT

Since it’s going to be such a large transaction, you need to have a complete understanding of what you’re financial situation currently looks like. Whether you like to manage it yourself, or you work closely with a financial advisor, knowing what your flexibility is when it comes to capital is very important. If you find yourself in a position of uncertainty, it might be better to wait some time until you and your advisor are both comfortable displacing a large amount of capital towards real estate. When you have the necessary flexibility financially, you can start properly planning out what type of property you want to invest it.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

Once you have a large enough cushion with your capital, the next big step is deciding exactly what you want to put that money towards. If you live on the east coast, maybe you’ve always wanted to have a vacation home somewhere on the west coast, which can be rented out during the times of year you’re not there. Alternatively, you might be more inclined to invest in a development project that will benefit you more down the line. For larger projects that you’re just making more of a financial investment in (and don’t plan on using yourself), you probably won’t have as much to worry about in terms of maintenance, since that’s typically handled by the property managers themselves. There are pros and cons to every type of investment, so be thorough in your research.

UNDERSTAND UNIQUE STATE RULES & REGULATIONS

Every state is going to have it’s own unique rules and regulations when it comes to owning property. Not only that, but you need to be mindful of how taxes work in different states, and what that will look like year to year. It’s better to be prepared and understand these various nuances ahead of time to avoid dealing with potential issues down the line. If you’re uncertain about the implications, your financial advisor will be able to provide clarity. Make sure you’re asking these questions early in the process.

PARTNER WITH A SEASONED REALTOR

Once you’ve worked out the finances and know what type of direction you want to go in regarding property, the next logical step is hiring a reputable realtorwho can help you find the perfect vacation home. They’ll have valuable information about the local community, and can also prove useful if you have plans to rent out the home for various parts of the year. They’ll work with you to market it and make sure it’s always being taken care of as well.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

When you need to move to a new city with your family, it can initially seem like an overwhelming and fairly daunting task. Besides having to sell your current home and pack up your life, you need to find a new home that’s in a good area and has enough space to accommodate all your belonging. All that being said, finding and purchasing a new home can be a very rewarding experience, but you need to make sure that you’re partnering up with a reputable realtor in the area you’re moving to.

LESSONS FROM AN EXPERIENCED REALTOR

If you have any friends or family in the area you’re moving to, they should be able to provide some recommendations for different agencies that can help you find a home. To help the overall buying process, here are a few universal tips that any great realtor will communicate to their clients.

ESTABLISH A CLEAR BUDGET

Buying a home is no small investment, which is why your finances need to be in check before you even start looking. It’s smart to map out a few different buying scenarios with your realtor ahead of time. Setting up a maximum purchase price (and this can include a potential loan) will keep the realtor from looking at houses that may be absolutely beautiful but are simply out of your range. Also, maybe you have some interest in a bit of a fixer-upper, which means you can have a price set for not only buying a house, but how much you’d be willing to spend on reservations.

DECIDE WHICH FEATURES ARE ‘MUST HAVES’

Along with your budget, everyone will have different tastes when it comes to what they want in their home. Certain features are going to be more important to some people and are considered to be must haves. This could be something as simple as a first place, or a much larger ask such as a back yard. Whatever your particular needs are, make sure you communicate these to your realtor so they know what types of properties to browse for.

REMAIN OBJECTIVE

Since it’s such a large transaction, buying a home isn’t something that should be done on a whim or without careful though. It can be very easy to walk into the first home you’re shown and think “this is the one”. While it may end up being the property you eventually purchase, you can’t let emotion dictate your decision. Any seasoned realtor who is invested in your success will help keep you objective throughout the buying process. If they sense that you’re making a rash choice or one that is uninformed, they’ll be able to let you know.

KEEP AN OPEN MIND

Lastly, as you’re looking at different properties, do your best to keep an open mind throughout the entire experience. Every house is going to have its own sort of charm, and you might realize that something you initially thought you needed in a home could become inconsequential. Trust your realtor to help you find the right property for you and your family.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

NAVIGATING THE REAL ESTATE MARKET WHEN SELLING A HOUSE

Real estate transactions are often going to be fairly involved ordeals. There are a lot of moving pieces, and certain details that can’t be overlooked, whether you’re buying or selling a house. Your reason for moving might dictate how fast or soon you need to sell and move to your new location. If it’s for a career, you might not have as flexible as a timeline as others. If you’re moving with your family, you want to try and make sure that your kids are settled and ready to go for when the new school year starts. Whatever reason you and your family are moving, you need to work with an experienced realtor who can help with the marketing and eventual sale of your home.

IS THERE A “BEST” TIME OF YEAR TO SELL?

There really isn’t a clear cut answer to this question, even though you may have heard the terms “buyer’s market” or ‘seller’s market’ in the past. The months leading up to summer are typically busy, since people try to plan their move for sometime during those months when their children aren’t in school. Frankly, where you live also determines the type of market. Some places might be more popular destinations, which means sellers are going to have an easier time getting a good value for their home. However, in other areas, the skill of a realtor comes into play since they will help market the home to likely buyers. Whatever the case, as soon as you know you need to move, a realtor should be one of the first people you contact, since they can make sure that whenever (and wherever) you’re selling, you get the results you deserve.

HOW CAN A REALTOR HELP IN THE SELLING PROCESS?

An experience realtor can be the difference between turning a large profit on your home or simply getting face value. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they can sell a home that hasn’t been taken care of at a high value, but if you’ve done a good job of maintaining the quality of your home, they’ll be able to get the most out of it. There are two really important components to selling that someone with experience can help with. Firstly, there’s the initial listing price of your home. When it first goes on the market, buyers and other realtors will see this, and it can either prove to be very inviting or a huge deterrent. An initial listing that’s too high might deter some people, whereas one that’s too low can make it difficult for a seller to make enough money back.

The other way that a realtor can help with selling a house is in its marketing. Sales is just as valuable in the real estate market as it it with anything else, and the way you present your home can help dictate how comfortable people are with the price tag. Not only that, but being able to market to a variety of potential buyers means that they could eventually start to drive the price up, getting you more value from your investment, no matter what time of year it 


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REMODELING TIPS TO BOOST THE VALUE OF YOUR REAL ESTATE

Whether you’ve lived in your current home for a long time or just recently moved in, you should always be conscious of its projected value if you ever plan on moving out and selling or renting. The better condition you keep your home, and the more intriguing features you have to potential investors that are found in luxury homes, the better off you’ll be to make a return on your initial investment. Here are a few tips that you can keep in mind if you’re ever looking for short or long term solutions to increasing the value of real estate.

GET AN INSPECTION AND PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

Before you even get too far down the process of doing any remodeling or adding new features, you should spend some time working with either your realtoror maybe even an interior decorator. They can can provide a certain level of expertise in terms of helping you point out either areas you can improve in the home or highlighting certain features that would be appealing to potential buyers. Along those lines, you also need to keep in mind that there’s more to a home than just aesthetic appeal. Have an inspector comb through your home and check for things like deterioration, infestation, and issues with infrastructure. If they do come across any issues, you have an opportunity to not only repair them, but also enhance any out of date systems that might be in the home, whether it’s electricity, plumbing, or something similar. If you put it off too long, these issues could come up during the sales process and cost you more than if you had taken care of it initially.

CUT YOUR HOME’S ENERGY COSTS

Utilities and bills are going to be an inevitable part of being a homeowner or renting property. Something that’s becoming more and more commonplace for homeowners is utilizing different means to help lower a particular home’s energy costs. One of the first things you can do (that typically won’t cost you anything) is simply contacting your utility company to see if there are any existing habits you have that change in order to maximize energy efficiency. Additionally, you can invest in modern, more energy-efficient appliances that use less electricity and water on a regular basis. Finally, you’ll also start to see more homeowners installing solar panels on or around their home to help cut costs and decrease their carbon footprint.

FOCUS ON ONE ROOM AT A TIME

Even though you might be eager to revamp a number of different sections of your home, you should really only be focusing your energy on a single room at any given time, whether it’s the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or any other space. Each upgrade is going to increase the value because it’s one less thing that a new homeowner or renter would need to worry about. Try to avoid having too much chaos going on at once in your home, so you can make sure that every project is completed within your budget restrictions. You don’t want to end up jumping the gun on an upgrade before realizing your funds aren’t adequate

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

WHAT QUALITIES MATTER IN  A REALTOR?

There are probably some of you out there that have given some real thought to a career in real estate. It does have a lot of appeal, especially from the outside looking in. However, there is a lot more to it than just showing a few houses here and there. Besides day to day tasks, there are some intangible qualities that any realtor should have.

PERSISTENCE

The real estate market waits for no one. New properties are going to be added nearly every day, and they can always sell fast depending on the time of year or if the right situation presents itself. An agent who is representing a particular property needs to be reaching out to their peer network as a means of promoting the location. In terms of helping a client find a new home, this also takes a lot of work and setting up appointments, performing inspections, and evaluating the pros and cons of any home. There is a certain relentlessness required on behalf of any agent if they want to be successful in this field because the competition is so prevalent. When you’re dealing with something like real estate where clients are investing a large amount of money, only the best manage to stick around.

ORGANIZATION & TIME-MANAGEMENT

Given that the market itself is so hectic and a realtor might need to represent multiple clients at any given time, organizational skills are probably some of the most important aspects of the role. Even in one day, a realtor could be showing one property, touring another, all while performing normal day to day tasks. Falling behind or missing out on some key information can be the difference between a sold property or one that’s still on the market. Being able to navigate a busy (seemingly hectic) schedule is just part of being a successful realtor.

CHARISMA & COMMUNICATION

Even though real estate itself is based in property management and sales, you’re rarely going to come across a realtor who isn’t a good people person. Dealing with clients (old and new), other agents, contractors, financial managers, decorators, and any other relevant parties can’t be done without a smile and a firm handshake. There is something to be said about people who can have a conversation with anyone, and who can seamlessly blend into any given situation. Realtors need to be able to put people at ease, especially in the selling or buying process. If you’re the party who is going to be spending a lot of money, you might be prompted to make a decision based on emotion more than rational reasoning. Having someone by your side that can help set you straight and keep you on track is of huge value.

FRIENDLY

Even though it may seem obvious, approaching every situation with a positive attitude is going to go a long way in the business. This is how you build worthwhile relationships with your clients and others in the industry. It’s also the foundation for trust, and will encourage more people to work with you in the future. As your reputation grows, this is something that will stand out

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

MAKING THE SALE

If after months of thinking and talking it over with people you trust, you’ve decided to sell your home, you’ve just started a journey that can take weeks, or even months. If you have to move suddenly, or are dealing with a crisis in the family, a long home-selling process is awkward, inconvenient, and can even be counter-productive. Neither you nor your family wants the sale of the house to take an extraordinarily long amount of time, so make sure that you do what you can to attract the right buyers for the right home.

MAKE SURE THE HOME IS CLEAN

Wiping down the countertops is not enough – carpets must be thoroughly vacuumed, and then shampooed, allowed to dry, and vacuumed again. Hardwood should be swept with a dust mop, and buffed until shiny. Clean out your garage, and take your things to self-storage. Don’t let your dishes stay in the sink, and make sure you’ve got fresh air circulating through your home. Advanced housekeeping seems like a given, but staying on top of your housekeeping is extremely important when your home is on the market because, though prospective buyers are well-aware of their ability to clean their prospective home, making sure that you do everything to make the home look appealing is the best way to get a home sold as quickly as possible.

MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS, AND CONSIDER UPGRADES

Only a small portion of the population goes house-hunting for a home with a full-fledged, modern spa built into the bathroom, and quarters for the waitstaff. While luxury homes are desirable, they are not highly sought-after due to the cost and maintenance, but making a few upgrades to a house can make a difference in the quickness and ease of find a buyer. A fully-upgraded and modern kitchen will always fetch a heftier price than a kitchen that looks like a barely-working relic of the 1950s. Along with upgrades, don’t forget to make repairs, and avoid putting them off. Chipped windows, mirrors, and other large household glass with imperfections must be replaced. Hardwood floors, too, may need to be replaced.

DON’T FORGET THE EXTERIOR

Don’t underestimate the power of a well-kept exterior. Don’t forget that an attractive outside entices people to come in. In fact, if you possibly can, after ensuring that the kitchen is modern and attractive, it would be wise to make sure that the lawn is mowed, bright flowers have been planted and are being watered regularly. If your home’s exterior needs a new coat of paint, take care of it, and don’t forget the window sills, too! Enhancing the exterior of your home, or curb appeal, is the best way to make a great first impression to potential buyers.

REALTORS CAN HELP YOU GET YOUR HOME SOLD QUICKLY

While no realtor, no matter how suave and talented, can ever make any guarantees about how quickly a home will sell, they are your best chance for ensuring that your home is sold as quickly as possible. You, too, can go out on your own to promote the sale of your home, and get as much attention as you can, but never feel like this is something that you have to do alone. A wonderful agent can be just around the corner from you, and take much of your worry away.  

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

The idea of navigating the real estate market can seem like a fairly daunting task for so many people. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a house, selling a house, or trying to expand your financial portfolio, there is a lot to manage. Things can change very quickly, and there are a lot of involved parties in any of these transactions. Being able to track every process, stay in touch with the right people, and just have a clear idea of what you’re doing is much easier said than done. This is where having a seasoned professional by your side can truly make a difference.

WHY YOU NEED TO HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT

If you’re in a position where you need to start the process of a selling a home (or going through any other sort of real estate transaction), one of the first things you need to do is find and hire the right agent to guide you. If this is a new experience to you, here are a few things to keep in mind.

A GOOD REPUTATION GOES A LONG WAY

If you take a quick drive around your town, you’re very likely to come across multiple lawn signs, bench ads, flyers, and other means of promotion that individuals working in real estate utilize. However, those ads aren’t a sure indicator of service quality, which is why you need to spend some time finding the best agent for you and your specific situation. Talk to friends, coworkers, and neighbors about their experience with certain agents, and also do some online research. This is a better way to find a consensus about who you should be contacting, rather than just going into it blind.

THEY KNOW THE RIGHT PEOPLE

A huge aspect of success in real estate is being able to utilize a vast network of connections to help get the best possible results for clients. Sometimes, this means working alongside other agents (even though this might seem counterproductive at first glance) to find and access exclusive listings. Since those in the real estate industry only profit by means of actual sales, they can partner with others to make sure a particular property sells. Other times, when trying to help someone find a particular property, they might know up new construction projects that are on the verge of being finished up. This could be the perfect property for some people, but only an agent with the right connections can make it happen.

THEY’LL HELP KEEP OBJECTIVE

Buying a house can be a very exciting process, but it can be as equally difficult. You may find a house that you and your family absolutely love, but your offer could get rejected. Other times, a property might come off the market before you have a chance to actually buy it. When these more difficult and frustrating situations arrive, a great real estate agent is going to keep treading forward, and also stay objective throughout. They don’t have the same type of emotional investment as you do, which means they can rationalize things for you, or help you make important decisions when needed.


WAYS TO INCREASE THE VALUE OF REAL ESTATE

Even if you know you won’t be selling your house in the near future, it’s always important to not only maintain your home, but also to try and find opportunities that will add financial value. This can be somewhat simple changes, or they can be more thought out additions and total revamps. Below are just a few ideas that you might be able to take advantage of as it relates to renovations.

SWITCH UP THE FLOORING

Depending on how old your home is, you may have only been exposed to one type of flooring in most of the rooms, whether it’s hardwood, carpet, tile, stone, or some other variety. Over time, this flooring can become worn down, damaged, stained, and can just look like it’s older. Something to consider for any room is installing a new type of flooring that changes up the look, but provides a higher level of durability. It can also make maintenance of certain rooms much easier. For example, old carpet can retain dust, dirt, and other particles for years that would normally take an intensive power wash to clean out. If you now have hardwood floors, this is going to be far easier to clean, and you’ll be able to visibly notice the difference. Newer floors are also going to help increase any real estate value since it’s something a new owner won’t need to worry about investing in.

BUILDING A GUEST HOUSE

Depending on the size of your property and what other amenities you may (or may not) currently have, a guest house could be a great addition. This is a much larger project than a simple room revamp, since it’s going to require changes to the landscaping, plumbing, electricity, and more. However, upon completion, a guest house can provide so many benefits beyond just having that extra space for visitors. It offers privacy when needed, and can also be formated to serve as an entertainment space. When selling the property, the value of this structure is going to prove to be enormous.

KITCHEN REVAMP

For some people, the kitchen is one of the most important spaces in their home. Whether they’re preparing regular meals for their family, having friends over, or just going about the day to day tasks, a well laid-out kitchen with practical appliances can go a long way. If you have a kitchen that feels a bit out of touch, revamping the space might be the project you’ve been waiting for. When doing this, it’s important to think about how you use the kitchen from a flow standpoint. Where do you want preparation spaces to be in relation to the fridge, oven, stove, and other key aspects? This is something that often gets overlooked, which is why so many kitchens feel ‘off’. Another reason for choosing the kitchen has to do with the appliances themselves. Modern appliances aren’t only more efficient in terms of their function, but they’re also better for the environment, and will use less energy. This means you (and any future homeowners) will save money on your electricity bills.

T IS IMPORTANT TO FIND A GREAT REALTOR WHEN BUYING A HOME

As you move through life, you’ll find yourself wanting to move, wanting to be elsewhere, or just wanting a change. With all of your change, though, it is a good, and sometimes a necessary thing that help is available to you. When purchasing a home, help in the form of a realtor is available to you. A realtor can help you on your hunt for a new home, or a new place to live, answer questions about the areas in which you’re searching, and make your personal quest for change much easier.

YOU’VE FOUND YOUR AGENT FROM REALTOR.COM

If you’ve got a Realtor, you’ve got an excellent resource in this journey. A real estate agent who is a certified Realtor will have years of expertise, connections, and the know how to set you up for success, whether you’re buying or selling.  Realtors are bound by a code of ethics in real estate, and the code is long, thorough, and strict to protect you and yours from being taken advantage of. Linking with someone from the National Association of Realtors puts you in the passenger seat, giving the realtor the chance to lead you to amazing properties that you then have the chance to decide if a home meets your needs and wants.     

YOU’RE ABLE TO TALK FREELY TO YOUR AGENT ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT IN A HOME

This is probably the most important part of the relationship that you will have with your realtor. Just being able to tell your realtor what you’re looking for, and whether or not what they’ve found works for you is a great way to jumpstart the search for your new home. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, your realtor won’t be satisfied until you have what you’re looking for, so make sure that both of you are on the same page.

THEY CAN FIND WHAT YOU WANT WHILE WORKING WITH YOUR BUDGET

While no realtor can guarantee you a perfect place at a perfect price, they will always try their best to get you as much as they can for your money. This means quite a few hours searching, spending plenty of time with you evaluating the highs and lows of each property, and finally, negotiating on the place that you both think will fit your needs. Even if you find that something like size of a lot or a yard means more or less to you later down the line, your realtor is there to help you find what you need.

YOU REFER YOUR AGENT TO OTHERS

What is the ultimate compliment to the service that you receive from your realtor? Telling you friends, family, colleagues, and casual acquaintances about your new business partner, and helper. Complimenting your realtor with a reference is also making an investment in the future of another person, and making all of the hours that you spent with them even more worth it. When you choose a realtor, you choose a stress-minimizing assistant that will help you with an important next step, so don’t hesitate to reach out to one.   


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

EXPECTATIONS YOU SHOULD HAVE FOR YOUR REALTOR

Whenever you need to buy a house, you’re more likely than not to employ the services of a realtor in your area. How you find this person is going to vary from client to client. For some people, they might go off of a recommendation from a friend of co-workers. Others might do research online and call a few different agencies. Fro those who have been able to work with a realtor in the past, they may simply opt to go with them again based on a good experience. However you end up choosing, there are certain expectations that you should have and that your realtor should be able to meet throughout the duration of you being their client.

DEDICATED TO YOUR TRANSACTION

Hiring a realtor means trusting them with some very important tasks. If you’re in the market for a home, they’re going to be the ones who put together the possible showings, reach out to their connections to find exclusive listings, and also maintain contact about any new openings or offers you’ve made. One of the worst things that can happen is hiring a realtor, only to have little to new communication from them. It should be understood that many realtors can and will handle multiple clients at a time, but they should never take on so many to neglect another. Lesser quality service isn’t going to help you find the home of your dreams, and you should have higher standards than that for someone in the position. Make sure you communicate to that realtor in terms of what your expectations are attention wise. If they feel like they won’t be able meet your needs, they should let you know.

EFFICIENT COMMUNICATOR

A realtor, as a general rule of thumb, should also be a people person. They need to know how to work a room, strike up a conversation with anyone, and also navigate difficult situations. Being able to communicate across a variety of mediums is so important, since there are just so many different forms of communication available now. From quick email or text, a phone call, to a more formal in-person meeting, a realtor needs to be comfortable and efficient delivering important information in a timely and succinct manner. If you find yourself needing to ask the same questions over and over again, or you’re not getting all the information you want on time, this could be an early warning sign. You don’t want a realtor who isn’t confident in their own abilities, as it could negatively impact the quality of your results.

FLEXIBILITY IN ALL REGARDS

Finally, anyone you hire should be able to adapt to a variety of situations. Your timeline may suddenly shift and you could need to sell or buy sooner. Sometimes, the financial constraints could also change, which means the type of housing your looking at might be different than first expected. The way the real estate market is, things can change so suddenly, and your realtor needs to be able to move with whatever sort of ebbs and flows come their way.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

HOW TO GO ABOUT SELLING A HOUSE

Whether your family has grown and you need to move into a bigger place, or you’re relocating to an entirely new city, selling your current home is a big undertaking for any family. If you’ve had your family in one household for a long time, suddenly picking up and leaving it all behind is certainly a bizarre emotional experience, not to mention a huge logistical task. How do you go about selling your house to the right people? What sort of price should you be listing it at? Do you need to fix anything up or just sell as is? These are all important questions, and while not all of them have a simple answer, here are a few tips to help.

ALWAYS HIRE A REALTOR FIRST

There is so much involved with actually selling a house that it would be ill-advised to go about the process without working alongside an experienced realtor. Many of the questions presented above can be answered by a realtor that you hire, but the circumstances will vary depending on the situation. You can always do some research online and find someone who you think you will work well with. Also, talk to friends, neighbors, or coworkers about anyone they’ve used in the past, as their experiences can lend some insight to what it will be like to work with them.

STAGING THE HOUSE THE RIGHT WAY

When you plan on having an open house in order to show your property to potential buyers, the way you set up the home is going to make a big difference. The idea is to let buyers seem themselves in the house, and envision what it could be like living there themselves. This means doing some level of redecorating. Firstly, as much as possible, try to remove large collections of family photos, and maybe replace with generic art. This is something your realtor will often have access to for these short tem occasions. Also, you want to rearrange furniture to make rooms feel as spacious and open as possible. Even though you might have a particular set up in your living room that works for you and your family, the idea is to make it as inviting to everyone else, again, so they can picture themselves in this space.

THE INITIAL LISTING PRICE GOES A LONG WAY

Another thing that you really need a realtor’s help with in the selling process has to do with the initial listing price of the property. This is the way that it’s going to appear on the market, and be viewed by any potential buyers. First impressions go beyond just someone seeing the house in person. If the listing price is too high, it might scare off some people, especially if it’s a reach compared to the valuation. If the price is too low, you’ll have a lot of very interested people, but you might soon realize that you could have had it higher. You won’t just as easily be able to ask those people for more money. A realtor will help you find a listing price that is, for lack of a better term, ‘just right’. This will engage potential buyers, while also making it clear that the buyers might need to make higher offers if they really want to get their hands on the house.



Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Moving to a new town or city can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you’re coming with a family. There is so much to worry about, from packing up all your current possessions to actually getting settled in your new home. However, before that can happen, you need to find your new residence, and this in itself is a momentous task.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF BUYING A HOUSE

Wherever you’re moving, one of the first things you need to do hire a local, reputable real estate agent that can be your guide through the buying process. Even if you’ve had to move in the past, you still might not be familiar with the new city, and will need someone with a lot of knowledge to show the around. After you find an agent with whom you have a good rapport, here are a few additional things you can do to make the most out of buying your next house.

SET A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT

Planning out your finances is so important when it comes to purchasing real estate. You shouldn’t even be looking at homes until you know what price range is possible. This includes knowing the most money you’re willing to spend on a property (including what would be taken from loans or other financing). By communicating this budget to your agent, they will have a better idea of what to avoid when it comes to finding possible properties. This way, they won’t take you to a house that you absolutely love, only to find it’s outside your possible range. This can be very deflating, so make sure that budget is crystal clear to all parties involved in the home buying process.  

COMMUNICATE WHICH FEATURES MATTER MOST

When moving into a new home, there are probably certain features or amenities that you want.  This could be simple asks like modern appliances, or more extensive features such as consistent flooring in rooms, a pool, a guest house, or any other number things. Let your agent know what you’re looking for, and prioritize certain things so when they’re exploring properties, they have an of what to scope out for you. If you don’t do this, your realtor will take initiative on their own to find what they think you want, rather than knowing what actually matters. This can also narrow down the types of properties you need to look in the buying process, which means less stress on you and your agent.

LEARN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ABOUT THE AREA

Your agents should be the experts when it comes to the area you want to live in. Take advantage of this, and ask them as many questions as you can! Learn about the schools, local attractions, shopping spots, and about any other things that can make an impact on your buying decision. If you have young children, their education is going to be very important in the long term, and you want to make sure that the school district is well-regarded and gives all kids an opportunity to thrive. All of this should be considered when you’re about to buy a house.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

In an attempt to expand their financial portfolio, many people look to real estate as form of investment. Whether it’s a second home, an apartment, a larger commercial property, or something else, real estate is often seen as one of the most dependable forms of alternative capital. However, for some people, spending that amount of money, especially for the first time, on a major investment shouldn’t be done without proper guidance.

WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A REALTOR BEFORE INVESTING IN PROPERTIES

If you live someone in the South Bay of Los Angeles, you’re very familiar with how beautiful most of the properties are. From the stunning views of Hill houses in Manhattan Beach, to the Strand houses along the Hermosa Beach coast, you’re going to be hardpressed to find more desireable homes. However, with such a large investment, you should be working alongside a realtor who can not only provide great insight to the area, but also help with any of the financial aspects.

GET A PROPER VALUATION

You should have a very clear idea of exactly what you’re getting yourself into in terms of property. Finding out you paid too much for something can be very detrimental to your finances, not to mention extremely frustrating. To help avoid this, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting as accurate of a valuation as possible for any property. Usually, a realtor will have the right connections in terms of contractors, inspectors, and any other parties that ultimately dictate what the value of a property should be. By getting multiple opinions, you’ll have a better idea of what it is you’re getting into financially.

UNDERSTAND LOCAL MARKET TRENDS

Even though the market is in a far better condition that it was nearly a decade ago, the real estate market is still changes on a regular basis, as does the value of certain properties. There are so many factors that actually determine what a property is worth, from the influx of new owners, to how businesses grow and change over time. An experienced realtor who has been in that area for a number of years will have a great grasp on how to gauge these change, and let you know if a dip signifies a better time to buy, or perhaps a downward trend that should be avoided. This insight is going to help you make a more informed decision, rather than a rash one just because a seemingly ‘good’ opportunity presents itself.

THEY’LL KEEP YOU OBJECTIVE

Once you’ve done your research, worked closely with a number of different experts, and gotten your finances in order, there is the actual matter of pulling the trigger, signing the papers, and purchasing the new property. However, as you get closer to that moment, you may begin to have doubts, or get too excited, or experience any other number of emotions. One thing that any great realtor will be able to do is help keep you on track, and remain truly objective. They don’t have the same emotional commitment as you do, which means they’re doing to be less subjective, and more objective in terms of decisions being made. Take advantage of this, and heed their counsel when it’s offered.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

TIPS FOR FINDING REAL ESTATE IN A NEW CITY

One of the most exciting parts about relocating to a new city is getting the opportunity to buy a new home. If you, your partner, and any kids have all lived in one area your whole lives, you certainly have a lot to look forward to. Moving into is really like getting a fresh start in a lot of ways. While you’re certainly going to be bringing a lot with you in terms of the move, it’s a chance to set the rooms in a new way, meet new people, and explore a new city. However, before any of that can happen, you need to make sure that you’ve found the right home. Here are a few tips for you to follow that should help with your house hunt.

START BY HIRING A RELIABLE REALTOR

Probably one of the most important things anyone should do when they plan to move is find and work closely with a realtor. If you’re moving for work purposes, it’s likely that the company will be  able to put you in touch with a couple different options. You’ll probably have to come out and visit a few times before you and your family end up moving, which gives you some time to explore the area as you try to find a home. When it comes to your realtor, communication is so important. This is someone who’s going to be helping you make a very big life decision, and you don’t want that person to be someone you’re uncomfortable with. You need to be able to discuss various aspects of the real estate hunt, even if those conversations can lead to disagreements. You’re not going to see everything the same way, but they should approach every decision with an objective eye and keep you on track when emotion might get in the way.

GET ON THE SAME PAGE WITH THEM

Something that can’t be overlooked is creating a smart plan of action. This means setting a budget, discussing what features matter to you in a home, and also talking about an ideal timeline. The more information a realtor has prior to their search, the more likely they are to find a home you and your family absolutely love. Also, by providing a list of “must-haves” for your home, along with any things you don’t want to see in your home, the list of potential purchases can be narrowed down. This means you can spend less time exploring options that would prove to be fruitless anyways.

LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ABOUT THE AREA

Last, but certainly not least, use the time you have with your realtor to learn about your new city! Over time, you’ll find out which stores are your favorite dependable, which routes are fastest, and so much more. However, your realtor can provide a bunch of insight right off the bat, and help point you in the right direction (literally and figuratively). This information will make the transition that much easier for you and your family, so you can feel at home sooner rather than later.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

When someone is looking to buy or sell a home, there are so many different factors involved that can fluctuate the price. The real estate market itself is very fluid, which means that value of any home can change throughout the year. No matter what sort of transaction you’re about to engage in, you want to get the most bang for your buck.

A REAL ESTATE AGENT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY DURING THE BUYING AND SELLING PROCESS

More than anyone else involved in your real estate transaction, the agent you hire is going to have a lot of insight into the even changing market. Certain types of properties may get popular during one season, or they might be able to jump on a home that’s available for a good value. Here are some things that a real estate agent can help you with.

FINDING EXCLUSIVE LISTINGS

More than most outsiders might realize, people who work in real estate really do depend on their networks. The longer you work in the industry, the more people you meet, and you’ll form longer lasting relationships that can prove beneficial in the in a number of ways. Firstly, many agents will often partner up to sell a particular property, especially if it’s an expensive one. Buyers of luxury homes are often going to be very picky, which means it can take a few showings before a particular property can actually be sold. If you hire an agent who has worked in the industry for a while, they probably have the necessary connections to show you these exclusive listings that otherwise wouldn’t be available to the public. Depending on when you actually see these in the sales process, there’s a chance that you can get your hands on a great property for a lower cost than the initial listing price.

LIST YOUR OWN PROPERTY AT THE RIGHT PRICE

In terms of selling a property that you currently own, whether it’s your primary residence, a second-home, or another investment, you should always be trying to make back what you spent and then some. One of the most important things that can help with making a larger profit is the initial listing price the property has on the market. Other agents, and buyers will often make certain judgements and evaluations based on how you list out this property, so it can’t be too low or too high. It may be a cliched older premise, but when the listing is just right, you’ll entice buyers to compete against each other, without scaring potential buyers away because of a higher price initially.

STAGING CAN CHANGE YEAR-ROUND

When selling, another way to add value to your property is by making sure that it’s staged properly during showings. Trends change with the seasons, and your agent should be able to identify what buyers are looking for at any given time. By creating the right atmosphere, you’re more likely to engage buyers and make them feel comfortable. Whether it’s changing around the lighting, removing personal effects, or just rearranging furniture, the more you can do to appeal to buyers, the better your chances are of fetching a higher price.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR REALTOR

Anytime you’re trying to buy or sell a house, you’re probably going to be partnered up with a realtor. For a lot of people, they may have worked with someone in the past who they can reach out to again. However, others may be selling a home for the first time, or moving to an entirely different part of the country. When that happens, finding the right realtor to partner up with is so important. Here is some information about finding a realtor, and also what sort of qualities you should expect them to have.

FINDING A REALTOR 101

If it’s been awhile since you needed to work alongside someone in the real estate industry, some might argue it’s much easier nowadays to find help than in the past. A lot of agents still utilize more ‘traditional’ means of advertising, but a quick Google search will provide a ton of information. You can see different agents, their listings, and even check out reviews from people who have worked with them in past. Also, don’t forget to reach out to friends, colleagues, or other family about people they’ve used in the past. If they had a great experience, they’ll probably point you in the right direction to find someone who can help you too.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Any realtor you ultimately work with needs to be a great communicator. This goes beyond just making small talk though. So much information is exchanged between various parties across different mediums, and any realtor needs to be versatile in this regard. They need to be able to convey information to you in an understandable way, and make sure that they’re staying in touch as well. Buying or selling a home can sometimes come down to key decisions being made in a short window of time. You want your realtor to be able to get you the relevant information so you can be as up to date as possible when it matters most.

EXPERIENCE AND NETWORKING

Even though it is a lucrative profession, a lot of people try their hand in real estate but aren’t able to make a full time career out of it. Realtor’s are essentially paid based on the properties they buy or sell, so if they don’t produce, they simply won’t last. An experienced agent really knows how to work the market, and they can deliver great results. Over time, they’ll also build up a reliable network of peers, including other agents, builders, contractors, financial advisers, and more people who can help clients in the buying or selling process.

Everyone is going to want something a bit different out of their realtor, but what’s most important is finding someone who you feel comfortable working with. You, your family, and the realtor are going to work closely and work towards a pretty major life decision. You need to be able to have frank and real conversations with them. By remaining objective, they can work towards the best possible results.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

MAKE YOUR MARK WITH REAL ESTATE INVESTING

For some people who are trying to expand their financial portfolio, one of the most dependable methods is real estate investing. That’s not to say it doesn’t come with its own set of risks (as does any type of major investing), but for those who have the means, being the owner or manager of a second property is a fruitful idea. There are different types of properties that someone can ultimately purchase, and how they use it will help determine what sort of return they make on that investment.

HAVE A GOAL IN MIND

Any type of real estate purchase shouldn’t be made on a whim. Given the amount of capital required, you want to have a pretty good idea of your short and long term goals with the investment. Working closely with a financial advisor, create a plan and know what sort of transaction you can actually make. Are you just looking to own a vacation home in another state? Do you want to become the owner of a larger property like a apartment complex or an office building? Each of these ventures is going to to be slightly different in terms of the monetary requirements, tax laws, property laws, and so more more. This is also all going to vary depending on which state you make the investment. This goes back to the the early planning stages, and thinking of all these different angles prior to making those commitments.

RENTING IS AN OPTION

If you’re someone who is simply looking to own another property in another state, you have some flexibility in terms of how it’s used. Once you own it, and fill it out enough to be liveable, you should strongly consider renting it out during the months when you’re not there. If the second-home is in a warmer state like California that has nice weather year round, there is going to be a demand for people to use that space.

However, you should have a well mapped out schedule of when you know you’ll be taking trips to that property, and then you can start advertising to rent it out during those other times. This way, besides just owning a property that can be sold at a later date, you can also get income from renters during their vacation. You obviously need to be mindful of maintenance costs, and how much utilities will be when you’re visiting, and when others are renting. Managing a property like a second home is quite involved, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

LARGER PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Another investment opportunity that you see some people taking advantage of is becoming the owner (or partial owner with other investors) of a larger property. This can be an apartment complex, a warehouse space, or an office building. The management of these types of properties is going to be different than just renting out your home for a few times a year when you’re not there. Essentially, you’re also becoming a landlord. This is a far more involved investment, but you can get more consistent return from those who are renting.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

Look for these key things in the market over the next 3-5 years:

a. Total volume in sales to increase dramatically

b. Price appreciation to be closer to 3-5%: closer to the inflation rate. Although the signs of an improving economy will be dampened by an increase in interest rates, demographic shifts are bringing strong demand to the area. Select, prime locations should see a much higher appreciation rate.

c. As the market stabilizes, the average days on market should trend back to its historical norm which would be 4-6 months for the South Bay area.

d. Supply will remain tighter in the more affordable ranges, making it important for buyers to be pre-approved with finances in order ready for strong offers in order to compete. Boomers are not moving as often as in previous years and generally, those are the homes most sought after by young families, thereby keeping inventory low and that built up demand urging pricing.

e. While 62% of homes in California saw multiple offers in 2016, the number of offers a home is expected to receive is likely to decrease as the market settles into “the new normal”. Homes closer to the average affordability index should still see multiple offers as this is the largest gap in available inventory and where the pent up demand will most readily show itself. Homes priced right, in excellent showing condition and in top rated school districts are still expected to see a great buyer response.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REALTORS IN FICTION: HOW CLOSE IS IT TO THE REAL DEAL

In both television and movies, those who work in real estate are often portrayed as a passing character, someone who helps show off a particular home or apartment, and then they’re never seen or heard from again. In more modern entertainment, there aren’t too many many memorable or recognizable fictional characters who are also realtors. However, there are a couple who stand out, and it’s interesting to see what their world is portrayed like. Does it mimic how it is in the real world? Not to a tee, but there are some very interesting similarities that any realtor can relate to.

PHIL DUNPHY – MODERN FAMILY

If there were ever an award for the most uncompromisingly positive and determined fictional realtor—or character, for that matter—Phil Dunphy would win, hands down. He’s the loveable goofball dad that always tries to do the right thing, even when that thing might get him in trouble with his family. While the majority of his hijinks aren’t directly related to his job, we do get quite a few glimpses of what it’s like being a realtor in the Los Angeles market. When he’s showing houses, he’s your stereotypical nice guy, and makes the buyers feel as comfortable as possible. However, we don’t really see more beyond this on a regular basis. There are of course other realtors that compete with him on certain listings and try to sell a house in his place. In terms of the day to day though, we don’t get much insight, which is very different from the next realtor.

PETER KLAVEN – I LOVE YOU, MAN

Paul Rudd plays Peter Klaven, an eager but small time realtor in Los Angeles. He works at a larger agency, and some of his co-workers include the stereotypical “LA” native, with bleached hair, a spray tan, and a slightly obnoxious attitude. Peter is your typical everyday realtor, and we see him get his first big opportunity selling Lou Ferrigno’s mansion. We get to see him through the staging process, some inter-office communications, and also what advertising as a realtor looks like. While the film is a comedy, you do get a sense of the angst and stress that comes with being an agent. Even with a beautiful home, finding a buyer isn’t easy, and often times your whole career could be defined by a missed sale. It’s certainly not a perfect depiction, but it does bring viewers pretty close.

WHAT THEY MISS OUT ON

With any fictional depiction, something you don’t really get a good grasp on is the continuous day to day grind that a realtor experiences. It’s not all house showings and signing deals. There is a lot of networking, a lot of research, and it’s not always as glamorous as you see in fiction or in the reality shows. The behind the scenes work, the boring stuff, that people grind for on a daily basis, it what truly distinguishes great realtors from their competition.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

LET A REAL ESTATE AGENT HELP YOU

Whether you’re buying or selling your home, you’ve got a big job ahead of you. Changing your living situation is a big step, and it can be a hard step to take without the assistance of a real estate professional. Making your life easier while trying to buy or sell a home is part of your real estate agent’s job. Relying on a local real estate agent to help you buy or sell is the best way for you to get the job done without interrupting your life.

TAKES THE PRESSURE OFF OF YOU

Real estate agents’ first duty to you is to take the pressure off of you to sell your home quickly, or find a place for you to live quickly. The pressure is on the agent, and it is part of their job. When your agent takes on your needs, you have less to worry about, and don’t have to worry about a barrage of phone calls about your property. You don’t have to worry about scouring through listings, calling people yourself. And you don’t have to worry about rejections. All you have to do is sit back, and let your agent take the information that you provide to them. Your agent will look at homes that are within, or just outside of your budget if you’re flexible. Most people who are shopping for a home to buy have a firmly-set budget, but some allow a little bit of wiggle room. For those people who have a little extra to work with, it’s even easier for your real estate agent to help you.

HELPS STAGE A HOME

If you’re selling your home, you’ve got alot to do. You need to make sure that your home is as close to move-in ready as possible, and perhaps it’s best to purchase a new home before you even get your old one on the market. Things will be much easier for you with another place to live already lined up, and settled with you and your loved ones. Your home, once on the market, need to look appealing to potential buyers, of course. Let your real estate agent help you set your home up for the best possible offer, including preparing the interior of your home, coordinating with your to upgrade the outside, suggesting what to leave and what to take, and what your starting price should be.

SETS APPOINTMENTS

Looking for a home can be stressful and time consuming. Sorting through listings, verifying that they are still active, and connecting with people that can push the home into your hands are all things that take time and energy. If you don’t want to spend half of your day looking for a place that may or may not work for you, your real estate agent is more than happy to assist you with this! Making the best of your time is your real estate agent’s job, and they succeed at helping people just like you every single day! Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, you will transition more smoothly with the assistance of a real estate agent.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REAL ESTATE INVESTING IS FOR YOUR FUTURE

Want to invest, but not sure in what you should invest? Real Estate can be a high-stakes industry, but the profit potential is high, and that is what attracts people year after year. Many people have become wealthy from investing, and some have become wealthy from investing in Real Estate specifically. Real Estate investing has been part of a trend, mainly due to the popularity of home-buying and home-improvement shows. If you want a real look at what’s available for you to create your own stream of income, you have more options than you may realize.

FLIPPING HOUSES FOR SALE

The television show, ‘Flip or Flop,’ a husband and wife team purchase properties in which they can see potential, and transform the homes into something new and magical. Many people have taken this show to heart, and have looked into, or already begun, purchasing homes to flip, and sell at a profit later. Flipping a home, however, is not quite as simple as a show may make it seem. Homes must first be purchased, and any homeowner can tell you what a long and drawn-out process the purchase of a home can be! Before you’re even ready to buy a home, it is strongly advised that you do not do this in your name – even if you are an LP or LLC, this will protect you and your loved ones from a financial decision that could result in a lawsuit. Once you’ve established a company, or a partnership, you’re ready to purchase a home. Auctions are a good place to start, but homes there are sold as they come, and you won’t have a chance to see. Banks may list homes for sale themselves, but they, too, come as they are. Buying a house that has been on the market is another strategy, but they could be more expensive than your budget allows. After you’ve made your purchase, you’ve got to find a construction company that is willing and able to take on your project at an affordable rate. After that, your house is on the market. This is a process that can take months, so get ready, if this is what you decide to do.

MULTI-FAMILY BUILDINGS

Apartment buildings were once called, ‘tenements,’ are are a hallmark of city life. Apartment buildings are an investment that require a large amount of upfront capital, but are known as a stable and steady source of investment income. Once you own an apartment building, you may feel less like managing the building yourself, and hire a management company, or a landlord. You can save that money by managing the building yourself, but that can be taxing on your personal life.

RENTING OUT OFFICE SPACE

Some people call office space the ‘flagship’ of real estate investing. Office space is a low-maintenance investment that is usually steady and reliable. Businesses will usually stay in one place for years at a time, and there is low turnover of tenants in business leases. If you’re lucky enough to get to purchase an entire building, you’ve got a building full of possibilities.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REAL ESTATE CAN BE THE MOST GORGEOUS THING YOU SEE

When you think of a beautiful neighborhood, you think of beautiful homes. The best-looking homes may not be the newest, but most people tend to prefer contemporary designs. Whatever your taste, and whatever tickles your fancy, there is a great option for you. Real estate all over the nation has something for everyone, and for every budget. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for in a new home, but you know that you want it to be as beautiful as your family is, there are a couple of places that will get your attention.

CALIFORNIA BEACH CITIES STRAND HOMES

The Strand is a miles-long sidewalk that stretches from Redondo Beach into Malibu Beach in Los Angeles, California. The homes along this stretch of alternating sidewalk-and-boardwalk are magnificent creations of different textures and materials. Homes on the Strand usually sell for several million dollars, and almost always remain occupied. People come for the sun, the sand, and the fabulous lifestyle that you can have in the Los Angeles Beach Cities.

STEINER STREET IN SAN FRANCISCO

The iconic row of colorful, 19th-century homes in San Francisco has captured the imagination of hundreds, and made it a beloved tourist destination in the city. There are homes like the famous Painted Ladies of Steiner Street all over the city, but Steiner Street remains the most well-known and well-loved collection. If you’re looking for one of these beauties, you’ll have to look outside of that particular street, but if you have a few million to spare, you’ll be good to go!

BROOKLYN BROWNSTONES

Brooklyn has recently been declared the most expensive housing market in the country. Brooklyn has come a long way from the crime-ridden borough of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, due in part to the massive numbers of people who have moved to New York City. Along with the people, businesses have moved to the crowded city to take part in the profits that can be gotten from people looking for food or entertainment. Because of the popularity of the entire city, people have poured into Brooklyn, and more people are expected to make their way in. Brooklyn’s classic brown stones, like Philadelphia’s Rowhouses, are homes built together, side-by-side, on both sides of narrow streets.

PHILADELPHIA ROWHOUSES

The Rowhouses of Philadelphia exist in several places, but many of them are located close to the downtown area. The Rowhouses are how normal people in Philadelphia lived for more than a century. Like the Brownstones of Brooklyn, Philadelphia’s Rowhouses are individual units built up together. Unlike Brownstones, though, Rowhouses are more uniform in size and number of bedrooms. The neighborhoods where these historic homes are will generally be well-maintained, and tourists love to see how their forefathers lived.

VICTORIAN HOMES

Few homes are as majestic and mysterious as Victorian homes. With distinctive shapes and earthy colors, Victorian homes are in virtually every city in the country. Some homes are eligible for a special tax credit, since these historic homes may need special care from the family occupying them. A string of old-fashioned homes makes any block beautifully nostalgic.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT NEEDS YOUR HELP

Real estate agents do a great service for any community. They bring new members, and are part of a farewell process for old members. Real estate agents are the people who take most of the responsibility for finding you the best place for you to live, and their job has its perks. They can wine and dine clients, take time off when they need to do so, and communicate openly and freely with their clients, who are people just like you. Your real estate agent, however, will only succeed when you succeed, and you succeed when you have chosen a great new place to live. Your real estate agent is genuinely invested in succeeding with you, and will show their engagement and their commitment by asking you several questions, some of them personal. All of this is to help you, and you can anticipate that the answers will play into what your agent finds for you.

WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?

This is the most important question that your agent will ask you, and you must make sure that you answer honestly and realistically. If your annual combined income is less than $100,000 per year, and you are looking at a home that costs over $500,000, you will be in debt from your mortgage without an enormous down payment. If you see houses that are way under budget, and don’t have what you want, you won’t be happy with your investment. Making sure that this important question has a correct response will set the tone for the search for your home.

CAN YOU GO OVER? HOW MUCH?

Though this should theoretically have been answered by the first question about your budget, this is a legitimate question for one good reason: your agent may find the perfect home that comes with something you hadn’t thought of. For example, if you find a home that has everything that you need, and everything that you want, but is five thousand dollars more because it has an extra garage, is this something that you feel you can do? You and your loved ones deserve a beautiful place to live, and your real estate agent will try to make this happen for you.

WHAT IS A ‘MUST?’ WHAT IS A ‘WANT?’

If you have five children, you should avoid three bedroom homes, to the best of your ability. If you have one child, and won’t have more, are you really wanting a five bedroom home? Whatever your preference, your real estate agent will work with you to get you exactly what you want, but they will double-check with you to make sure that you’ve got your priorities straight, and that you’re asking for everything that you actually need.

WHAT IS AN ABSOLUTE ‘NO?’

Your non-negotiables can be anything from location, to specific schools, to certain neighborhoods, to proximity to shopping. You’ve got every right to decline to buy a home for any reason before making a huge financial decision, so make sure that your real estate agent is aware of what you will not tolerate in a property.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REAL ESTATE IS A GRAB BAG OF ASSETS!

Choosing a home isn’t just about having enough space. It’s about making sure that you and your loved ones are safe, and comfortable; it’s about having everything that you need within a reasonable distance; and it’s about getting the most for your money. Whatever focus there is on the important things when buying a home, there will always be the fringe benefits of the area that you choose. Some places are closer to one thing, others are closer to another, but every home fits a different family for different reasons. Taking a good look at the amenities in the area where you’re living will be the first step to a happy home life in your new home.

PARKS

Everyone loves parks, no matter how infrequently they may visit. Parks are the place where children run and play, and adults can do their body weight workouts, and make their cardio quota. Parks make any home more appealing because you’re that much closer to a domesticated version of Mother Nature than you may be willing to maintain. Parks are maintained by tax dollars collected from you and your neighbors by state governments, so people are looking to get their money’s worth!

BEACHES

Beaches have been prime real estate for most of the 20th century. There is something calming about seeing waves roll in while you sip your tea in the morning, and the air at the beach is always fresh. While beaches typically get crowded on the weekend, any waterfront real estate is the place to go for wealthy people who are less concerned about privacy, and love being able to go surfing everyday.

BAY WINDOWS

These nostalgic windows are beloved by many for the coziness and slight privacy for reading. Beautiful and warm, even in winter, these types of windows are prevalent in Maine and New England, but they can be found in some homes in the Mid-West. Having one in your home is a place for children to sit while dinner is prepared, and a place for guests to be comfortable.

TRAILS

Fitness lovers and fans of the great outdoors can’t live without nearby trails. Southern California is an outdoor paradise; whether you love the mountains or the beach, you have easy access to both. There are even trails that have a view of the beach! Imagine being able to spend the morning hiking, and lunch on the beach. Sounds like the only weekend that should be allowed.

GREAT SCHOOLS

Of particular concern to parents is the quality of area schools that are in close proximity to a neighborhood. Having an easy way to and from school is what parents want so that children who are running late don’t have to hold up the rest of the family. Being close to great schools lowers the risk of children being kidnapped, and the possibility that children will become involved with drugs and gangs. Great schools are a pillar of a great community, full of great real estate.

ASK YOUR REALTOR

April 22, 2016

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

IT’S OKAY TO GET PERSONAL WITH YOUR REALTOR

When you’re on the hunt for a new home, you’ve got many, many options. You can always hunt for yourself, and find the best property for yourself and your family, or you can reduce your effort while still getting the best deal by going through a realtor. A realtor is a person who is bound by a code of ethics to assist and protect you. Realtors will be there for you to answer questions, do research, and find a property that meets your needs and most of your wants. When you’ve got a realtor, you’ve got a great help with anything that you may need while you’re getting ready to buy your home.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE PROPERTY?

This is where someone like a realtor is especially useful. Asking what they like about any property that they are recommending to you is a great way to see how they think, which can tell you more about how they can help your and your family get through a house hunt. If you mesh well with your realtor, and feel that their way of thinking, searching, and showing is exactly what you need for your search, you’ve got an extremely valuable resource at your fingertips. You now know you can have conversations with your realtor about anything related to finding your new home, and they will help you to the best of their abilities.

WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR MY FAMILY?

After a realtor understands exactly what it is that you need, as well as what fringe benefits you’re looking for, they can give you a much better idea of what you would find satisfying. Realtors will have several properties that meet the basic requirements that you set out for a new home, but they will be able to direct you to the ones that most closely match your needs, pay attention to what you don’t like, and take notes that they will use while they continue searching for you.

HAS THERE BEEN ANY NEFARIOUS ACTIVITY ON THE PROPERTY?

Not every home’s history is one filled with light and love. Some homes have reports of paranormal activity, which can make most homeowners nervous. Paranormal activity includes reports of ghost sightings, possible demonic possession, and unexplained phenomena in the home or anywhere on the property. While explanations for the phenomena vary, this is something that can prove to be off-putting for many home buyers, and anyone interested in the property deserves to know this information. The same applies to drug use on the property, and murders that took place, no matter who the perpetrator of the crimes were.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PROPERTIES LIKE THIS ONE?

If you fall in love with a property, but something essential is missing, and can’t be added without a large expense, don’t be afraid to ask if there is another, similar property to this one that you love, but isn’t quite what you’re looking for. Your realtor will, more than likely, already have a list of alternatives ready for you to see. Your realtor is someone on whom you can rely during a long, and difficult process.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT IS HERE TO HELP

People have the misconception that real estate agents are only out for the money. While it is true that self-sacrificing all day won’t help anyone to succeed, it is also true that real estate agents don’t succeed until you succeed. Their commission is linked to your satisfaction with a property, and there is nothing that gives them more cause to work hard for you than to make sure that you like the choices that they provided to you. Look forward to having someone to guide you through the process, and know that your real estate agent is there to help you get the property that you want for your family.

ASK BOTH WHAT YOU NEED, AND WHAT YOU WANT

Your real estate agent’s job is to find a balance between what you want, and what you can afford. Everyone wants a safe, spacious home that is comfortable and provides both privacy and easy access to community amenities. What you need, though, is to make sure that there is enough room for your children, even if they have to share rooms, and that you and your significant other have enough privacy so that you won’t disturb the neighbors. If you’re looking for a property that you can afford that also has an in-ground pool, however, you may run into some difficulties.

FIND EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED

While you may not get a dream home, you will get a home that meets your needs. Part of your real estate agent’s job is to work with you to build a list of your essentials. Agents will check local, statewide, and national databases for all of the possibilities that may work for your family. If your real estate agent focuses on one area, you may have a limited selection, but you do have the option to buy land, and build your own home for your needs. If this ends up being what you do, that’s a lucky break, and you will, for sure, have what you want and what you need.

TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO GET WHAT YOU WANT

Your real estate agent’s job is also to help you through the process of buying a home, but when you find a place that you like, their job is not over. After you find a home that you love, you and your agent compile your assets, and start the bidding process. In high-demand markets, you can expect that a home will go for a much higher price than the one for which it is offered. In smaller markets, you may be able to get a home for less than the original asking price.    

HELP TO CALCULATE PAYMENTS

Once your bid has been accepted, your real estate agent will help you through the escrow process, including working with your bank and your family to help calculate the minimum payments due for the home each month. Your real estate agent is there for you, and you don’t even have to ask why.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

GETTING YOUR REAL ESTATE MEANS PREPARING FOR ANYTHING.

You are not going to find your dream home the first day that you start house hunting, but it’s always good to have an idea of what kind of home you want for your family. What few people remember is that, when shopping for real estate, you will always need to take a good look not just at the home, but what is around the home. You need to make sure that everything around the home – from the parks to the shopping – are the kind of things that you want near your home. Consider what you’re able to afford, but also what you actually want. Moving into a home simply because you can afford it may not make you feel good about your purchase later, unless you plan to to buy an ugly house to transform into exactly what you want.

HAVE FIRM CAP FOR YOUR BUDGET.

Whether you want something that is brand-new, move-in ready, or a fixer-upper, you need to know exactly how much money you will be able to spend on your home. Don’t forget to take interest on your mortgage into account. You won’t be in a good position if you commit to a home or a project that you won’t be able to afford in the long run, and waiting for the payback through selling the home for a higher price than the one you purchased it for has no guarantees. If you can, where your budget is concerned, give yourself a little bit of wiggle room. When you’ve got such a large purpose it will always behoove you to be as flexible as possible, but make sure that you do have a point for which you will stop spending money.

MAKE A DEFINITIVE LIST OF NON-NEGOTIABLES.

If you refuse to live near a shopping strip because of all of theft that happens during the Christmas season, don’t purchase a home near a shopping strip. If it makes you uncomfortable that you’re sharing a backyard with other homes, don’t buy a home that shares a backyard with other homes. There is nothing wrong with declining to purchase, or even see, a property that has something about which you’re not excited. While looking for your dream home may not be totally possible, you can always just make sure that your home meets the bare minimum of what you want.

MAKE SURE YOUR PHONE IS WORKING AND YOUR WIFI IS STRONG!

You’ll be making and receiving calls from this number and that number, you’ll be texting your real estate agent on and off over the months you’re searching, and you will need to be able to see listings at the drop of a hat. If your phone plan doesn’t include Wifi, getting Wifi service for this search is one of the best decisions you’ll make. As you’re moving from house to house, take your pictures, share them with your partner, and figure out which houses speak most loudly to you!

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REALTORS AND REAL ESTATE AGENTS NEED THEIR RESOURCES

Going into real estate isn’t for everyone, but for anyone that gets into the industry, it is always important to get started on the right foot. Going to college is always ideal when you go into business for yourself, but since this is an industry that doesn’t require a degree, you should be aware that you will also be left to your own devices when it comes to finding resources, and learning how to help clients. This means that you’ll have to be very good at communicating with people, quick math, and selling to people who are ready, though not eager, to buy. If you do choose to go the route of post-secondary education, you can be assured that you will have ample opportunity to learn the skills that you need to profit, and succeed as a Realtor

BUSINESS

Majoring in business will give you the principles of how business works in the country in which you reside. Business majors may go on to business school, or they may head off to another field. There are so many great things that you can do with a business major, including heading off to law school, that it is a wonder that more people don’t choose a business major. Business will help a Realtor understand everything surrounding the specific math of how the sale of a house would work for the people who are buying the property.

ECONOMICS

Economics majors have been taught about economic theory and how markets work. Business majors learn similar principles, but economics majors are more likely to understand why some markets are more prosperous than others, and how it is that markets go up, go down, and stagnate. Economics majors will probably have a better idea of where would be a good place to get a realtor career started, as well as how to check market trends and how they can affect earnings.  

GEOLOGY/GEOGRAPHY

While it seems that the sciences wouldn’t have a place in real estate or in the career of a realtor, geology and geography can be useful for realtors whose focus is land development and the sale of land for residences and businesses. There is a definite advantage to knowing how to survey land, and whom to call to ask questions where the quality of the land for sale is involved. Being able to openly communicate about the possible issues facing the ground on which a property may be built will save any realtor time and stress.

MARKETING

Because most of a realtor’s job is moving their product, land and property, the benefits of majoring in marketing are innumerable. The ability to communicate to people in a way that they can relate, being able to reach people in the way that they most easily understand, and pushing emotional benefits in an easily-understood fashion are all traits typical of people who study marketing with the intent to enter sales. While any area of study can benefit a realtor at any point in their career, there is always more opportunity with more education.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

DIFFERENT REAL ESTATE AGENTS DO DIFFERENT JOBS

When you’re looking to buy property, you’re jumping in the middle of a large, and highly organized industry. Real estate is one business that will never completely go away; people will always need to have a place to live, and other people will almost always need the services of someone else to help them manage, rent out, and sell properties. Within the world of real estate agents, there is a distinct order by which everyone abides. There are opportunities for any and everyone to move up, different requirements for each position, and all of the chances in the world for you to meet an agent that is in tuned with your specific needs, and can help you get the results that you’re looking for.

BROKER

A real estate broker is the boss of a real estate agency. There is special certification, which, like any real estate agent’s requirement, vary from state to state. Some classes may be specifically required, and an aspiring broker will need to pass an exam. Without this certification, you can still be licenced to sell real estate, but you won’t be able to run a real estate company, and employ agents who sell real estate on behalf of your company. Real estate brokers’ salaries are usually made up, in part, of a percentage of selling prices of homes. Some brokers, however, don’t want the pressure of being the only one in charge, and being solely responsible for every agent in the agency. Brokers who choose to work as agents are associate brokers, and they have the same responsibilities as an agent. How this affects their salary varies.

AGENT

A real estate agent is a person who is licensed by the state in which they live to sell real estate. A real estate agent could represent sellers, buyers, or both. Real estate agents may sell homes, land, commercial use buildings, multi-family homes, or even houseboats. Real estate agents are easy to find, easy to work with, and act as a go-between for owners and potential buyers and potential tenants. Some real estate agents will also do property management, but that is usually a task delegated to a building manager, or landlord. If a real estate agent leaves the state in which they’re licensed, they will have to check with their new state for the licensing requirements, and that could take time, money, and involve course work and paperwork.

SELLER’S AGENT

A seller’s agent, as much as the name would infer, is a real estate agent that represents a party that is selling a property. A seller’s agent is who you will work with when you are ready to put your home on the market.

BUYER’S AGENT

Looking for a home is no small feat, and you will know if you’ve ever had to look for a home before. Take some of the weight off of your shoulders by contacting a real estate agent. A buyer’s agent will spend time talking to you about what you want and your budget, track down listings, and show you homes that might work for you.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

MAKE YOUR REAL ESTATE COME TO LIFE

Becoming a homeowner is a journey that doesn’t end when the home you have goes into escrow. Sure, you own the property, but nothing reaches its full potential just because it changes owners. Making a home a place that you can both love and of which you can be proud is a process, especially if you made the adventurous choice to grab a fixer-upper off of the market. With a couple of trips to the home improvement store and some patience, your home will becomes your dream home, and an oasis for your family.

ADD A GARDEN TO BOTH YARDS

If you don’t have a yard, you’re missing one less chore every Saturday morning. If you do have a yard, you have an opportunity to make your real estate better than before, and two yards are twice the fun! Gardens are always a great thing to add to new property. Whether your real estate is in a green state, and decide to add colorful flowers, or in a desert state, and go with a water-friendly desert garden, your home is more beautiful with a garden. Your first trip to the home improvement store should definitely be cleaning products, but the second one should be gardening equipment! You can always reference reliable internet sources for the health of your soil, and what’s possible with your region’s climate.

REPLACE THE SIDING

Siding on a home is important. Without siding, water may easily seep into your home, and you may be left with a damaged interior. When water seeps in, especially if your home is made of wood, you could risk rotting the wood that holds your home together, or attracting termites. If the siding on your home is already in great condition, that’s one less thing to worry about. Care for your siding by keeping your drains clean, and watching out for wear, or for holes.

REMOVE WALLPAPER, AND PAINT THE EXTERIOR WITH PASTELS IN COMMON AREAS

Wallpaper used to be the number one way to decorate your home. Quick and convenient, wallpaper would go up in a few short hours, people would love it over the years, and it would be replaced with more wallpaper. Wallpaper even makes an appearance in the classic children’s novel, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ where a section of wallpaper tastes delicious. Today, though, wall paper is considered passe, and will earn you a series of strange looks from family and friends. After you tear down wallpaper, you’ll need to make sure that your walls are ready to be primed and painted. After you get all of the adhesive off, and your primer on, feel free to choose a soft, gorgeous color that won’t take away from your amazing art hanging nearby.

KEEP KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS UPDATED

It is often the case that, when someone is looking for a new home, the focus in on the kitchen, and the bathrooms. Everyone loves a fresh, updated bathroom, and a modern kitchen, so don’t think that your home should skip this. Having a new bathroom and kitchen is the best way for your family to enjoy your new home, but also for any potential new buyers to assess how to most quickly take the property off of your hands.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REALTORS TO THE RESCUE!

Ever wonder what your realtor can do for you? Wonder no more! Realtors are jacks- and janes-of-all-trades in the real estate market that help with all sorts of issues revolving around real estate. Realtors can even connect you to other realtors if you’re looking for a type of real estate in which they do not specialize. Realtors are excellent resources when you need to change your housing situation, and they’re best when they’re working with you! Don’t hesitate to ask your local realtor any question about real estate that you may have, and don’t worry you don’t think that they know the answer. If they don’t know, they can easily find out for you. For all of your housing needs, your local realtor is the place to go.  

WHEN YOUR SEARCH IS SLOW

If you’re lucky enough to be on the hunt for a new home, your local realtor is ready for you to call whenever you’re ready for some extra help. Starting your search, you’ve got your budget in mind, and your finger on the mouse. And you’re off! You and your significant other are looking forward to a new and exciting change, and you spend all of the time you can browsing listings through this realtor and that realtor until you see something amazing, and you have to see it. Then, you find out it’s in escrow. You’re disappointed, but there are plenty of other wonderful homes, so you press on! Pretty soon, you find another, but it’s also in escrow, then another, but the asking price is too high, then another, but there are a dozen bids, and so on. Pretty soon, your search stalls, and you’re not sure of what you’re going to do! This is a great time to contact your local realtor for some help! Your local realtor will give you all of the available listings in your area, and help you to pick out a great fit for you and your family.

WHEN YOU CAN’T FIND THE HOME YOU WANT

It happens to the best of us: we’re on the hunt, things started out great, but everything is either too small, too far, too expensive, too this, too that…the list of bad fits are endless. If you haven’t called your local realtor by now, call your local realtor for some help! When you’ve got a realtor in your corner, you’re avoiding some of the most frustrating parts of finding a new home. Realtors are available on most weekdays, and will usually even give you their cell phone numbers, too!

YOU’RE NOT SURE OF WHERE TO START YOUR SEARCH

If you’ve got some time, but you’re not sure of exactly what you want outside of the bare minimum, a local realtor can help you decide! They are professionals in the art of finding the right fit for the right couple, and you won’t have to shoulder the stress of figuring out whether or not you can live with a pool you don’t want! Call your local realtor today, and discover the magic of an easy home search! 

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REAL ESTATE AGENTS CAN HELP ANYONE!

So amazing are the real estate agents that you see everyday, and yet, so little are they appreciated! Real estate agents are trained professionals, and they have all of the incentives to help you find exactly what you’re looking for in a new piece of property. There are so many things with which they can help you, you will wonder why you didn’t go into to the business yourself! Real estate agents are part of a thriving community of people who have fun while getting you the property that you need. Don’t wait to call your local real estate agent – reach out to them today, so that they can get busy helping you!

NEW HOME

Why do most people call their local real estate agent? To purchase a new home, of course! For every business space sold, there are dozens of homes sold or rented out, making homes the most likely thing that any real estate agent will be selling. There is a great advantage when you choose to go through a real estate agent, versus looking for a new home all by yourself. A real estate agent’s job is to search for homes that are within your budget, and make sure that they have the space that you’re looking for. Real estate agents are great about keeping you abreast of new developments and interested parties for a home in which you and your significant other are interested, so don’t think that you won’t know what’s going on in your own (brand-new) neighborhood.

NEW APARTMENT

Finding a new home doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to buy a new home. Sometimes, all you need is a place to be while you work on your career. Sometimes, you and your significant other just need a place to save money, and then you’ll look for a home to buy. Or maybe you won’t be in the area but for a year or so. Give yourself the ease of a stress-free apartment hunt with your local real estate agent. A real estate agent will be able to take on all of the responsibility of your apartment hunt, and that will give you more time to figure whether you want white drapes, or grey drapes.

FRESH LAND

Ah, to have a stretch of pure, undeveloped land to do with whatever you want! This is something that your local real estate agent can find for you, and you will barely have to lift a finger! Whether you’re lucky enough to build your own home, or have the resources to finance a business, or if you’re wanting to plant rows and rows of eggplant, a plot of land is well-within your real estate agent’s capabilities.

OFFICE FOR YOUR BUSINESS

All of us get our start somewhere, and you might be the one to send someone else’s career into orbit! Your local real estate agent can help you pick out a property that would be perfect for the business of your dreams. Your real estate agent will be the best go-between for you and for your business needs.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

DON’T NEGLECT YOUR PROPERTY! GET WHAT YOU NEED!

Taking care of your home or business is serious business. You will need to make sure that your real estate is legally in line for its purposes. Your property is one of your biggest, if not your biggest, asset, and you’ve got to make sure that you take care of it. A home or business could be in your family for generations, or it could continue to stay with your family as time passes. Do your part to care for your little piece of history, and take care of your real estate.

PLUMBER

Plumbers are the miracle workers of your plumbing. Even things that you didn’t think were actually part of your plumbing, like your water heater, are serviceable by your local plumbing company. Some plumbing companies even specialize in HVAC systems, meaning that your real estate’s inner workingscould be cared for in their entirety by one company! Making sure that you have your plumbing inspected is one of the easiest way to prevent problems from happening. Also making sure to care for your plumbing will ease your concerns with the problems that you may face with your plumbing later. Be cognizant of what you’re flushing down your toilet, and keep seeds and fibrous vegetables out of your garbage disposal. Insulating your pipes during winter is always smart, and make sure that you insulate the rest of your real estate, too!

ELECTRICIAN

Between the plumbing, HVAC, and the electrician, it would seem that all of your real estate’s inner systems are covered! An electrician is going to be able to assure that your real estate’s electrical system, including the outlets, are safe for use, and ready to use at any time. When you’re making your dinner in the crockpot, and sparks fly, it may not be because your dinner loves you that much. When this happens in your real estate, give a call to your local electrician for assistance. They may be able to walk you through a couple of quick steps to get your real estate back on track, or advise you to stay away from the area in question until they can perform an inspection.

LANDSCAPER

Landscapers may not seem terribly important to your real estate, but think of all of the good they do in one way: without an appealing outside, you will have a hard time getting people inside of your real estate! If you have a business, you could lose dollars. If you have a home, you could be reprimanded by your Homeowner’s Association. There is a certain level of difficulty in maintaining one’s own landscape on their real estate, but don’t let that keep you out of your local hardware store.

EXTERMINATOR

Unfortunately, pests are a real threat to any type of real estate, and can not only compromise the health of a home or an establishment, but can also damage the interior of your real estate. There isn’t a foolproof way to assure that you’ll never have to deal with pests, but calling an exterminator for your real estate at the first sign of pests is the best thing to do. Your real estate will thank you, and so will your neighbors!

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REALTORS ARE WORTH MORE THAN YOU KNOW

Realtors are only able to call themselves realtors if they pay their dues to the National Association of REALTORS, an organization dedicated to a Code of Ethics in Real Estate. Though not every real estate agent is a Realtor, every Realtor is a real estate agent. Realtors are your single greatest asset, besides your own determination, that you will have in your search for a new home, or in your mission to sell your own home or business.

REALTORS ARE BOUND BY CODE TO PROTECT YOU

Besides being accepted into and paying dues to the National Association of REALTORS, realtors are bound by a Code of Ethics to protect any client that comes their way. This means you. This means anyone looking to buy or sell land, homes, and businesses. Realtors are much like real estate agents in that they are there to assist you in changing your real estate situation for the best prices possible (which is more or less, depending on whether you’re looking to buy or whether you’re looking to sell), but realtors go the extra mile to make sure that you find a place that not only suits your needs, but that you love your place, too.

REALTORS LOVE WHAT THEY DO

Realtors have to take classes and pass tests to become real estate agents. When that’s over, and they pass their tests to become licensed real estate professionals, they have the freedom to go ahead and start selling homes and/or businesses. Only after that will they be eligible to take the necessary classes to be accepted into the National Association of REALTORS. After that, and paying into the organization, a realtor becomes a realtor. The process is long, and can be difficult, particularly when it comes to studying and becoming familiar with the Code of Ethics on which the National Association of REALTORS is based. To go through all of this, just to be able to sell a home or business to you, takes time, money, and patience. Because of everything required of them, you can always tell that a realtor loves what they do, and because they love what they do, they will work very hard for you and your family to find exactly what you’re looking for.

REALTORS WILL OFTEN HAVE THE BEST LISTINGS

Many people will get in touch with their local realtor when they’re searching for a new home, or the opportunity to purchase a place for their business. This is because they know that a realtor is going to do what they love while adhering to their code of ethics. This also means that your local realtor will have access to the best of the best; sometimes they themselves are listing these premium sites, or they may be representing a piece of real estate with another realtor. Either way, they will be more than happy to walk you through any information that you’re seeking in regards to the property, and let you make your move when you’re ready to have the real estate shown as part of your life. If you’re ready for that new chapter, contact your local realtor with the confidence that you have a person that is working for your best interests.


Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REAL ESTATE AGENTS CAN’T ALWAYS HELP YOU.

With everything that a real estate agent has to do, they aren’t going to be able to help you if you aren’t ready to do everything that you need to do. Your real estate agent is more than just a business partner in your search for a new home; they are a resource, a guide, and your representative for the months when you’re looking for the right chance to start a new chapter of your life. There are things, though, with which your real estate agent isn’t able to help you, and that you will have to figure out in order for them to help you with anything. Preparing for your amazing experience with a real estate agent is the best thing that you can do for your home search, with which your real estate agent will gladly help.

YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR BUDGET.

If you just got an amazing new job with the salary of your dreams, congratulations! You’ve got an exciting new opportunity to make your life that much more wonderful, and you worked hard to get where you are. All that’s missing is the home of your dreams. Don’t think, though, that your real estate agent is going to be able to help you with figuring out how much you will be able to afford for this, specifically. If you have questions about how to budget for your home, your local real estate agent may actually know about some first-time homebuyer’s events, or of a local money management professional that can help you to figure out what an affordable mortgage would look like for someone with your income.

YOU AREN’T SURE IF YOU WANT TO RENT OR BUY.

This is probably even more important than you budget. Make sure that, whatever your budget, that you know, for sure, whether you want to rent, or buy. Both involve a commitment, but when you buy something, you can modify it as you see fit, something that will limit you if you rent. If you rent, you can leave in as little as a few months, which will limit you if you choose to buy. Knowing for sure how long you’re wanting to stay in your housing will hold up your search, and won’t help your real estate agent help you.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’LL BE IN SIX MONTHS.

If you’re a person whose job keeps them moving from place to place, you may want to be sure that you’re able to stay in one place for the length of time that your lease lasts when you’ve got an idea of where you want to be. Your local real estate agent can absolutely help you find a place with a short lease, but make sure that you are realistic with your ability to stay in one place.

YOU DON’T WORK WELL WITH OTHERS.

Working with a real estate agent is 100% open communication and collaboration. If your style is to take control and turn a blind eye to advice, you’re not going to do well with a real estate agent.  Your real estate agent’s job is to help you with your search, and be a guide, and without their advice, they’re not going to be useful to you. If you’re ready, though, make sure that you do call your local real estate agent today!

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

LOVE YOUR REAL ESTATE, LIVE HAPPILY!

Looking for new real estate is an exciting adventure! You’ve got the world at your fingertips, and you’re going a mile a minute on your goal of owning real estate, or more real estate, if you already own some. There is so much for you to look forward to as you get ready to open a new chapter: if you’re buying a business, there is growth, smiling faces, fun times, and your own definition of success. If you’re buying a home, there is decorating, cooking, laughing, and your own definition of happiness. Whatever your real estate, there are just a few quick and easy steps to getting exactly what you want!

START WITH YOUR BUDGET.

Your budget is your ultimate yes-or-no. It is the thing that will reel you back when you’re getting a little too excited, and about to do something that you shouldn’t! Always look to your budget when you’re asking whether to or not to go for a feature in a piece of real estate. Sit down, take a good, long look at your finances, and ask yourself what amount would be the top price that you’re willing to pay for a piece of real estate. Even if your credit is perfect, and you’re sure that you won’t need much of a loan because you’ve also got savings, there’s no need for you to spend the rest of your life paying for real estate. If you have a partner, always include them in your financial decisions, as they will likely be helping to manage the income of the home or business. Having your budget ready to go will prepare you against the biggest real estate temptations.

BRING IN YOUR COMMUTE.

Part of choosing a piece of real estate to buy is factoring in your commute to work or home. If you live in a larger city with more opportunities, it makes sense to have a property that is strategic to everything that you want to do, whereas in a smaller city, you’ve got less traffic, and less to worry about when you’re trying to get places, so you can choose a home that’s a little further. While there will never be a perfect place with a perfect commute, a nice place with a decent commute is always preferred to a past-perfect home or business located an hour and a half away. When you’re choosing your real estate, be sure to have mercy on yourself, and your car!

THINK ABOUT SPACE.

Whether you’re looking for a place to live, or a place to work, bear in mind the space that you’re looking at. Think of how a space will be with your decor, themes, or desks. Whether or not you’re thinking that you will be in a space for longer than a couple of months, you will need to make it a living, breathing space with character. Don’t think that the plain walls will be there forever, or that you’re going to be able to keep people from wandering to places that they should not be in. There isn’t anything stopping you from having an affordable place that you’ll love, so call your local real estate agent for assistance for your search.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REALTORS ARE FRIENDS THAT FIND WHAT YOU NEED.

Each and every realtor in the nation is a great resource for all things real estate. You may work with someone fresh out of school and aggressive, or someone seasoned and more methodical, but any realtor is going to be a great option to help you find your next real estate. Your realtor is a handy source of answers for your questions, and guidance for a wandering mind. If you’re in the market for a realtor, they’re easy to find! You can check realtor.com for realtors in your area, or you can ask around. You can even head over to open houses to speak with realtors. Finding a realtor is easy – finding one that’s good for you could be another matter.

WORD-OF-MOUTH RECOMMENDATIONS.

Asking friends, relatives, colleagues, and acquaintances about for their recommendations for a realtor is the best way to realize your dream of having a great realtor with whom to work on finding your new property. You’ll be surprised who is able to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask whomever you meet! If someone recommends a realtor, it is because that realtor has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help them. If this is the case, they know that they will have to work hard to impress you, so get ready to lean back, and let them find what you’re looking for.

SOMEONE OF WHOM YOU HAVE A POSITIVE FIRST IMPRESSION.

When you meet a realtor, you’re meeting a potential partner in your search for a new home. You’re meeting someone with whom you’ll be working closely for at least the next several weeks. And you’re meeting someone with whom you could be sharing several meals! Make sure that you are comfortable with this person, and make sure that you feel that you can tell them most anything. While not necessarily your therapist, your realtor is someone that will need some time to get to know you, and someone that will be more than happy to help you with small things in your search for a home. They’re here to assist you, but you will need to be on board with them.

SOMEONE AMBITIOUS.

No real estate agent can hope to have a career if they are the type to wait for sales to come to them. Someone who’s out there, fighting to find a great place for you and your family is the type of person that you want in a realtor. Anyone can look around, make a couple of quick postings, and go back to their television show, but a great realtor is going to make your life easier.

SOMEONE LOCAL TO THE AREA IN WHICH YOU’RE LOOKING.

Icing on the cake of a great realtor is someone who lives in the area in which you’re searching. You can’t go wrong with a local that knows where to go for food, shopping, and entertainment. Someone who is intimately familiar with parks and traffic patterns will only benefit you. If someone local to the area in which you’re focused isn’t available, don’t worry! Your realtor will do all of the research for you, and be ready to show off amazing new properties!

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

CHOOSE A GREAT MARKET FOR REAL ESTATE

You’re a real estate agent who’s paid their dues, so what’s next? Next is getting into an amazing and competitive market, and making your mark! This can be done with the support of a team, or by your lonesome if you really appreciate working by yourself. Whichever your working style, you can building a great business in the larger city with pricier homes and eager buyers. There is so much to do and see in cities, neither you nor your family will hurt for things to do!

NEW YORK

New York City is a global epicenter of music, food, and culture. In the square miles that comprise New York City, there are more languages spoken than anywhere else on Earth. New York is renown for their pizza, their museums, and their devil-may-care attitude. In this tiny place with a huge population, the real estate market is extremely competitive. New real estate is going up and old real estate coming down every day, and there isn’t much that will slip by new real estate agents. Real estate can be outrageously expensive in New York City, but that’s all part of the steep competitive edge.

SAN FRANCISCO

2016’s most expensive city in the United States has a reputation for being home to dirt-poor artists and musicians, but has recently experienced extreme and swift gentrification, which, in turn, caused the real estate market to become more competitive for real estate agents. Some agents have thrived with the change, but many others have been forced out into other parts of the Bay Area, where there has been similar economic phenomena, but more opportunity.

LOS ANGELES

From glamorous beaches to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and ritzy Rodeo Drive, the City of Los Angeles is an oasis in the desert of Southern California. Perfect weather and beach beauties draw thousands of both tourists and new residents to the Greater Los Angeles Area every year. The real estate market in Los Angeles is the oyster of anyone with the capital to flip homes. The demand for new homes is higher every year, and no one wants to be left out!

SEATTLE

The new tech capital of the Pacific Northwest is also a cultural center of the Pac Northwest. Many people move out of congested urban centers like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles for the slightly-slower, but steadily growing Seattle to find affordable homes. Seattle is an arts-driven city, but will soon catch up to the bigger cities in terms of affordability, making more opportunities for real estate agents.

MIAMI

All of the glitz and glamour and conspicuous consumption of the elite of Los Angeles seem to have found their allegiance in the amazing beaches of Miami. Known for its rich mix of culture and steadily increasing rent prices, Miami is still a paradise that people love for a yearly (or daily) escape.  

CHICAGO

Hot dogs, Fenway Park, deep-dish pizza, and upscale dining make Chicago a great match for anyone. Chicago has several options for those looking to live it up, and everything that a family could ask for. Real estate is prime in the booming Windy City, so don’t miss an opportunity to represent beautiful properties in a place that is as busy as can be!

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Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

 FINDING REAL ESTATE THAT MATCHES YOUR LIFESTYLE

When you’re shopping for real estate that won’t be used for commercial purposes, you have to be careful – you’re looking for a place that is comfortable to relax, and place that is safe to sleep, a place to which you look forward when you’re coming home after a long day at work. All of this may seem like things that need not be said, but so many people make split-second decisions when it comes to choosing real estate, you wouldn’t believe that some of the most basic things, like managing your expectations, can be passed over in a moment of excitement. When it comes to real estate, certain things work better for certain people, and making sure that your new space matches your lifestyle is imperative to successful real estate shopping.

REAL ESTATE FOR SINGLE PEOPLE

Choosing the right type of real estate for yourself, when you only have yourself to consider, always starts with your budget. Another thing to consider is how many rooms you want. While you don’t need more than one, you might want extra space so guests can visit. You don’t have anything to lose by looking at different places; you may find that the slightly more expensive place includes a utility for which you would otherwise have to pay, saving you money over time. Give yourself and the real estate the benefit of the doubt, and take a good, long look when you’re shopping for real estate. Don’t forget to ask your real estate agent questions. They are your biggest advocate when buying a house.

REAL ESTATE FOR NEWLY WEDS

If you’re recently married, chances are starting a family is going to be your next big milestone. The best real estate for newlyweds has extra space for little ones. How big of a family do you want to have? Consider this when shopping for real estate. What type of a layout are you considering? Do you want an open floor plan? Discuss all these things with your real estate agent. Choosing the right real estate for each stage of life will set you up for success later.

REAL ESTATE FOR SMALL FAMILIES

For those who only have and will only have one child, a two bedroom home is the perfect real estate investment. Two bedroom properties typically won’t have the same amount of space as larger properties. If you want to have space for guests, consider a three bedroom home. Do you need a big backyard or a playroom for your children? Discuss your list of priorities with your real estate agent and they will be able to help you find the perfect home.

REAL ESTATE FOR BIG FAMILIES

If you already have two children, and more on the way, skip any real estate with less than three bedrooms. When you’re a parent to many children, you need to make sure there is enough space for everyone to live. Your family is your pride and joy, and your real estate should reflect the happiness of your family

WHY YOU NEED A REALTOR

January 08, 2016

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

REALTORS ARE THE WAY TO GO WHETHER YOU’RE BUYING OR SELLING

Realtors exist to be a trustworthy partner to you and your significant other during your search for a home. Whether you’re renting or buying, you can always trust your local realtor to be there to help you solve problems, or to put you at ease during the process of searching for a home. A local realtor isn’t just in the business to make their name. Your local realtor is dedicated to helping you find your forever home or sell your current home.

The following reasons indicate why you need a realtor when you’re buying or selling:

REALTORS REPRESENT THE CODE OF ETHICS

The reason that your local realtor, or any realtor, is so committed to helping you has to do with the organization to which they belong. The National Association of Realtors is the central organization for all realtors. Without membership in the organization, a real estate agent cannot call themselves a realtor. Membership in the National Association of Realtors is about paying dues, but it is also about upholding a specialized code of honor. This code of honor details what it means to put a client before a profit, and keeps each realtor accountable. Ask your local realtor for their certificate proof of their membership in the National Association of Realtors. You won’t be disappointed when you work with a certified and experienced realtor.

REALTORS KEEP YOUR INTERESTS FRONT AND CENTER

In joining the National Association of Realtors, your local realtor pays dues to continue to be accountable, and is sworn to an agreement that mandates that they place the needs of you, their client, above the possibility of a profit. Your local realtor will make sure that you feel that you have their full attention, and they will make sure that you only see properties that are within your specifications for a home. Realtors pride themselves on finding several options for you, all of which could possibly be a good fit, and giving you the option to pick and choose a property for rental or purchase at your leisure.   

REALTORS PRIORITIZE YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS

Your local realtor’s job is to make sure that you are taken care of, and that you have the best property for your needs that you can comfortably afford. There is nothing more satisfying to a local realtor than to hand the keys to an excited party as they start their new chapter. For all of this to happen, the first meeting must happen. Your realtor’s job is to connect to you, find a common ground with you so that they can understand both what you need, and what you want. While everyone has the bottom line need for a shelter from the elements, most of us want our shelter to have some specific features, and your local realtor is great at finding those specific features. When you’re in search of a new property, always make sure to contact your local realtor. They will go above and beyond to help you get into a home that is perfect for you.



Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

It’s only been a short while since the St. Louis Rams announced their relocation to Los Angeles, but realtors and property investors are already looking at different ways the move will impact the the real estate market. When exploring possibilities to expand your financial portfolio, you should definitely look at investing in real estate.

WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT IN PREPARATION FOR THE LA RAMS RELOCATION

Even if you’ve ventured into real estate investing previously, it’s very rare that a city will see a new NFL franchise. Now more than ever, you need to be finding a real estate agent who can help you not only find properties, but also plan long term for how you’ll get the most return on investment. Below are a few key reasons why a realtor is a great partner for this exciting new time in the Los Angeles.

THEY UNDERSTAND LONG TERM MARKET TRENDS

The expression may be cliche or oversold, but knowledge is power. The new LA Rams football stadium in Inglewood is expected to be completed by 2019, and it is reported to be the most expensive stadium in history! The value of real estate in Los Angeles, and especially in Inglewood, is only going drastically increase over the next few years. When you’re looking to grab a piece of property in this area, you need to know all the details. An experienced real estate agent will already know the information about current property value, what’s accessible, and what your best options will be for long term growth. The longer they’ve been in the market, the deeper their knowledge base and understanding of local market ebbs and flows.  

THEY HAVE A VAST NETWORK

Once you know what type of property you’re looking for, whether it’s a home, large lot, new construction, or anything else, you need to be able to get your hands on it. This is where a real estate agent should be able to utilize their network of connections to other agents, contractors, and property owners. Sometimes, the best way to get a deal done is by knowing the right people. An experienced real estate agent will have the insider information and reputation needed to get you the property you want. Don’t expect to get this highly sought after investment by yourself.

THEY KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY SELL A HOUSE IF YOU’RE IN A DESIREABLE AREA

If you’re already a property owner in this area, you’re actually in a fantastic position. You have a few different options at this point, and you should definitely talk to a trusted real estate agent who can give you the best advice. Sometimes, it will be better to sell early at a high value rather than deal with greater demand at a later point. They’ll help you market the property in the best light possible. Alternatively, depending on what type of property it is, they might advise you to keep the property until the value increases.

ONLY TRUST YOUR INVESTMENTS WITH AN EXPERIENCED MANHATTAN BEACH REALTOR

Whether you already live in the Inglewood area, or are trying to get your hands on a piece of property, always work with an experienced real estate agent who can answer any questions and ensure a successful investment.

Caskey and Caskey

Manhattan Beach Realtor

WHAT YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT SHOULD KNOW

Your real estate agent is the best resource that you will have when it comes to buying or selling your home. Though it is possible to complete the search for a home or for a buyer on your own, a real estate agent will take the lion’s share of the work everytime, and put you at ease with their professionalism and competitive spirit. There is no need to find the motivation to complete the often overwhelming tasks of trying to buy or sell a home by yourself. Your real estate agent is there to assist you in any way that they can. Before the dirty work begins, though, always make sure that your real estate agent has some important information that will help them help you.

YOUR BUDGET

The most important beginning of any search that will end in a large purchase is to establish a budget. You always want to have a cap to share with your real estate agent; telling your agent that you have no budget, while thrilling for the agent’s commission, won’t help them help you very effectively. You may end up looking at homes that have too much of what you don’t need, and won’t use. Prevent that from happening by sitting down (with your significant other, if applicable) and taking a long, hard look at your finances. Make sure that you have enough money to put down on a home. Ask your real estate agent to help you to determine an amount that you should have set aside for the purchase of your home. Your real estate agent will then look at some average prices of homes in your focus area. If you would like to establish a minimum with your real estate agent for the purposes of making sure that you minimize the possibility of purchasing a substandard home, do so. The more information that they have, the better your real estate agent will be able to assist you.

YOUR IDEAL NEIGHBORHOOD/COMMUTE

Your real estate agent will always ask—but you have the chance to beat them to the punch. Letting your real estate agent know what neighborhood or area of town you prefer is going to be immensely helpful in their efforts to find a great place for you to live. From homes that have been on the market for an extended period of time to homes that were put for sale in the hours before your initial search, your real estate agent will search for a home that fits your needs in the area you prefer. Be aware though, that your real estate agent will ask you about your flexibility where the location is concerned. Often, it is the case that you’re not able to find a home that is right in the middle of the exact neighborhood that you want.

YOUR DEAL-BREAKERS

There may be nothing more important than communicating to your real estate agent the things that you absolutely cannot have as part of your new home. Your real estate agent loves being able to assist you, and loved being able to rule out properties for you. When they know what you can’t do, like small kitchens, no downstairs bedrooms, and other specificities, your real estate agent will make your search for a new home even easier than it is because you hired them.



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