Tag: homeowner advice


How to make your dream home a reality – Tip #5

your dream home

We’ve been figuring out the simplest way to achieve the dream of owning your dream home. By looking at a variety of criteria and answering some thought provoking questions, your dream home doesn’t have to be a fantasy. Homes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The trick is to determine the one that is right for you.

Home Sweet Condo:

There are so many options out there right now for home-buyers.  You may have once pictured your dream home to be an enormous mansion on acres of land but the reality is, those homes require a lot more money than monthly mortgage payments. Once you factor in the upkeep and maintenance costs not to mention the salaries of all those who you’ll need to hire to help you, often times large, sprawling houses are more trouble than they are worth. When searching for your perfect home, it’s helpful to expand your mind and those preconceived notions to be open to other types of homes you may not have considered before. Town-homes today are built in such a way that the dreaded shared wall is totally inconsequential. You don’t even know you’re sharing anything with a neighbor. Modern Condominiums are so large and spacious, you’ll feel like you’re living in a free standing home at a fraction of the price (and nominal maintenance headaches).  Owning a house with a yard may be the standard bearer of the American Dream, however, with an open mind to experiencing different types of housing options, you can still achieve your dream home and have money leftover to enjoy it.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, when you’re ready to start searching for your next home, i’ll be happy to cater to your needs!

Want more tips? Read the rest of the tips for making your dream home a reality here!


How to make your dream home a reality – Tip #1

make your dream home

Most of us at one point or another have imagined our ‘dream’ home. We close our eyes and whatever images we have of what would be our residential paradise pops into our minds. Then reality sets in and a little annoying thing called, ‘budget’.  But with a little compromise and flexibility, you can make your dream home a reality in ten easy steps.

Wants vs. Needs:

Remember Veruca Salt’s famous line from the movie, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?” She sang: ‘Don’t care how, I want it NOW!!!’ It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘wants’ when considering what house to buy. Sure, I may want to have an indoor bowling alley. A moat and trap door may be cool, too. But do I really NEED these things? For most of us, it’s important to sit down before starting the home hunt and really prioritize and recognize the difference between wants vs. needs. This is different for every person and family. A gift-wrapping room may seem frivolous and unnecessary to Joe, but if John has a business that requires packaging and shipping, maybe a separate room for that is a major need. I recommend you start the house search by creating a list of wants vs. needs with special attention paid to the needs column. Wants are great, of course, but as a bonus once all the needs have been met.

Want more tips? Read the rest of the tips on how to make your dream home a reality here!


Home Safety Tips – Are you ready for summer?

home safety tips

Summer is officially here! That means: longer, sun-drenched days; leisurely nighttime swims and an influx of relaxed attitudes mixed with dashes of adventurous spirits. Not to be a Debbie Downer about it, but while the rest of us are lounging around and building sand castles, criminals are getting down to business. Summertime always brings an increased level of criminal activity and it’s crucial to take a fresh look at the precautions you take to keep your family (and belongings) safe. Most of these home safety tips are old news but still bear repeating.

1. Get an alarm system, exterior cameras and/or a watchdog. These all act as deterrents to would-be criminals. They’re not a 100% guarantee but if a crook has the choice to break into a home with one of these or opt for one without, he’s likely heading to the one without.

2. Cancel your paper if you’re heading out of town. If you are like us and still receive an actual newspaper every morning, don’t forget to go on line and put a vacation hold on it while you’re away.

3. Know your neighbors. I’ve had to call my kind neighbors on numerous occasions when I’ve driven away and realized no one was home and the garage door was open. Embarrassed to say we’ve had a thoughtful neighbor tell us more than once that my wife’s car door was left open all night long. Not unlocked, mind you, but completely open. The fact that nothing was stolen says more about the state of mywife’s car than the remarkable security of our fine neighborhood. Three kids and a dog schlepped around all day and you get the picture of a minivan not even a criminal could love.

4. Get a house sitter. If you’re heading out of town, it’s probably a good idea to ask someone to stay at your house. It’s great to have someone take in your mail and packages but beyond that, the trend of would- be robbers is to take note of when residents are home. Often they’ll knock at the door to see who’s inside before taking any action. If someone is home, they’ll typically move on.

5. Technology is your friend. There is a new phenomenon called the RING video doorbell allowing you to answer your door from virtually anywhere whether you are upstairs or in Timbuktu. The doorbell rings and you can answer the door from your Smartphone. Monitors allow you to see who is ringing the bell and all interactions are preserved on video. Hope you never have to use it, but if you are ever concerned about a safety or security issue, you should call the Senior Lead Officer for our area, Mario Gonzales: 310-444-0740 or 310-622-3989.

Here’s to a safe summer season! Wishing you and all your neighbors a great one, and we hope these home safety tips help.

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Tips for Moving Homes With Kids – Part 7

Tips for Moving Homes

We’re talking about the difficult Part of what makes kids tough to deal with sometimes is they’re opinionated and sometimes we are too busy and self-absorbed with what we’re doing to give them a chance to be heard. So, today’s tip for successfully moving homes while handling your children: give them a job to do.

Help Wanted:

Children really do value being heard so to ensure a smooth move-in day, it behooves you to let them help in making a decision or two that pertains to the house. Do you have a playroom set aside for their use? Maybe they can offer suggestions as to what color the walls should be.  Perhaps they could pick out some art for the walls in their rooms. Maybe it’s a small linen closet at the end of the hall but they had a hand in choosing where the shelves should go. Whatever you decide to do, let your little ones have some ownership of one or two decisions. Obviously, they should be limited and politely guided so that your living room or kitchen doesn’t end up a bright shade of magenta! But a little really does go a long way in terms of letting them feel like this is their house, too.

Want to read the rest of our articles with tips for moving homes with kids? click here to see them all.


How to get your home sold quickly – part 10

your home

For the last few weeks we’ve talked about prepping your home for sale and the ten easy steps to make your home as desirable as possible in order to sell it quickly for the most amount of money. That brings us to our final tip to ponder. You know the old adage: the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client? Or doctors make the worst patients? Well, the same can be said for selling your home.

It’s no secret, agent!

When it’s all said and done, the best defense you have in the home selling and buying business is an experienced, reputable agent. In other words, do your homework! Ask around to your friends, neighbors and co-workers about who they have worked with in the past and what their thoughts were about using him/her. A neighborhood specialist is important because this agent really knows his immediate market exceptionally well. If you are familiar with a particular person’s marketing, call him/her in for an interview and ask the questions that are important to you. Nickel and diming over commission should not be the goal, here. You really want to work with someone that you feel a connection with and someone you trust. The commission is earned, especially if a deal becomes difficult or contentious. You want someone fighting and negotiating and arguing on your behalf. Everyone with an armchair interest in real estate thinks he/she can handle a transaction as well as the professionals but that’s like saying anyone who enjoys watching Law and Order could effectively argue a case in court or solve a murder mystery crime. Do yourself a favor and put your trust in someone who is working hard on your behalf. Protect your largest investment and asset by using a professional that you respect and let him do what excels at:  Selling your home for the most money possible.

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How to get your home sold quickly – part 9

home sold

We’ve been going through the 10 easy steps outlining how to get your home sold quickly. We are almost at the end of our journey and have saved the best for (nearly) last.

Just a spoonful of sugar

Nothing says home-sweet-home nicer than delicious treats baked from scratch. One surefire way to give your home that little something extra while it’s open to the public is to have some freshly baked goods available, straight from the oven. People walk in to look at your home and are immediately transported by the delicious aromas. They taste a treat while looking around, savoring something delicious. Selling a house isn’t just about the physical and structural building. It’s crafting a whole imagined life for the buyer. It’s appealing to all the senses at once and inserting pleasure while experiencing that first impression. No time to bake? Heat up a few tablespoons of vanilla in the oven half an hour before open house time. Not so delicious to taste but the aroma will for sure help ignite the senses and ultimately sweeten the deal.

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How to get your home sold quickly – part 8

How to get your home sold quickly


It’s not hard to get ready to get your home sold! In fact, we’ve been going through the first of ten easy steps that you can do to get your house in tip-top showing shape before it hits the market. The goal is always to get the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time and these steps will help you achieve that. Today’s tip may be the easiest one yet!

Lighten up!

Before you get your house on the market, go to every room and make sure the light bulbs are alive and raring to go.  Make sure the windows are scrubbed and clean so all that beautiful, natural light can stream right in. Psychologically speaking, buyers respond much better to bright, airy spaces than darker ones so don’t be afraid to take stock of your lighting situation before you hit the market. That is the time to address it, certainly not on the day your home is making it’s open house debut!  So, take the time now when you’re in prep mode to triple check and make sure all the bulbs and switches are working and your windows are sparkling clean. These small and easy acts help ensure that a successful sale is the light at the end of the real estate tunnel.

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How to get your home sold quickly – part 7

your home sold quickly

To market, to market

We’ve been giving you the easy, mostly DIY steps you need to take to get your home sold quickly.  In steps 1-6, amongst other topics, we’ve also covered repairs, staging, easy showings and great photography. Now we’re ready to talk about marketing and advertising your property.

Full Exposure:

Selling a house is definitely not your grandma’s game anymore. Technology has brought the business to a whole new level of marketing and it’s one the Ben Lee Properties team has thoughtfully researched and (we hope) conquered.  There is the traditional way to market and we certainly still do all that encompasses: (using the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS; mailers, signs, banners, flags, newspaper ads, etcetera). We also have created community newsletters that get mailed to 9000 neighbors every month.  But the real trend in marketing is happening on line. This year I actually hired a new member to join our team and her sole goal is to get your property properly marketed on the internet. In addition to advertising your home extensively on my professional website, we are equally active using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get your home as much exposure as globally possible. All of our listings appear on the websites that armchair home enthusiasts actively browse (Redfin, Zillow, etc.) and being affiliated with the largest brokerage company in the world (Coldwell Banker) means our network shares images and descriptions of your home to the farthest corners of the globe. No matter who you choose to work with to get your home sold, it is important that you ask about his/her marketing plan up front and throughout the entire process. You can’t successfully sell a home and know you’re getting the most money possible without absolutely full exposure and if your agent isn’t providing this, you need to find someone who does.

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How to get your home sold quickly – part 6

getting your home sold quickly

For the past week we’ve been providing tips on getting your home sold quickly in ten easy steps.  Now that your home has been decluttered, staged and all those pesky little problems have been finally fixed, your home is finally ready for it’s close up.

Tip #6: Picture Perfect!

One of the key distinguishing factors between getting your home sold quickly and having a home that sits on the market a lot longer is how it’s presented to the public. A professional photographer truly makes a huge difference in accomplishing your goal to get your house sold fast and for the most money.  Trust me- a few hastily snapped shots from your iPhone will not do the trick.  Your home is now a supermodel and with that comes professional lighting, touch ups and a punishing diet (just kidding on that last part). The only way to treat a model of your home’s caliber is to hire a team of experienced professionals to shoot it well and portray it at its best.  These photos are the first things potential buyers see so the goal is to make them as picture perfect as possible.

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How to get your home sold quickly – part 5

get your home sold

What’s the smartest strategy get your home sold quickly and efficiently in ten easy steps? We’ve already covered steps 1-4:  You’ve priced it well, gotten it staged, fixed small problems and skipped inspections.  Today we’re covering the fifth step so that is good news! You are already half way to a successful home sale!

#5: It’s show easy:
One of the most important roles you have as a home seller is to make your property easy to show. Often times, potential buyers need to see a house without a lot of notice. This can be tough on a seller but it’s a crucial element to getting your home seen by as many interested parties as possible. One way to make a house easy to show is to declutter and simplify your furnishings (which you have already done in previous steps) thereby making tidying up a lot less daunting.  Of course, a trustworthy broker never would send potential buyers to your property unaccompanied and it’s easy to explain away a little mess here and there (please- I understand what it’s like to have a house on the market with small children. Even decluttered, it’s next to impossible to keep clean and show-worthy!)

But it’s important to remember that every time a seller says: “No, sorry, it’s just not a good time for me right now- the house is a mess and I don’t feel ready!” A realtor hears: “I don’t really want to sell my house too much after all.”

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