News, Photos & Up-Comming Events of the CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Sales & Marketing Team

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Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Improve Your Curb Appeal This Season

You’ve heard the old adage: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. That
statement underscores the importance of curb appeal if you’re trying to sell your home.

Curb appeal—the attractiveness of the exterior of a property--is particularly important if you live
in a market where there are a lot of homes for sale. Then it’s essential that your home make a
statement and stand out from the competition.

What can you do to improve your home’s curb appeal this season? Here are some tips:

  • Spruce up the exterior. Clean the windows and gutters, trim bushes, make sure the
    grass is maintained and in good condition, and plant some flowers—mums come in
    many beautiful fall colors--to make the house look appealing and brighten up the
    exterior. Consider a fresh coat of paint—if not on the whole house, then at least on the
    doors, shutters and other trim, where you can add accent colors.
  • If your house is not well lit, install some new lights in the front and on the walkways.
    This not only improves safety but also helps showcase your home and its unique
    features.
  • Rake up leaves and remove them. Sweep your walks and front porch, and shake out
    mats.
  • Add a few finishing touches relevant to the season, but don’t overdo it. Pumpkins and
    dried wreaths are holiday classics and can create a warm, homey feeling in potential
    buyers. Steer clear of extensive Halloween decorations or religious displays.
Interested in learning how to make your home stand out? Give our CENTURY 21 Adams &
Barnes offices a call today. Monrovia - 626.358.1858 or Glendora - 626.963.7621

Monday, October 11, 2010

8 Tips for Eliminating Clutter

Getting ready to list your home? One of the best things you can do to improve its appeal to prospective buyers is to get rid of clutter. Real estate agents often recommend that sellers de-clutter because it’s easy, inexpensive and can make a dramatic difference.

Here are some ways to eliminate clutter in your own home:

  • Remove things you don’t use on a daily basis. In the kitchen, that means putting away the juicer; in the
    family room, toss all the magazines and books you’ve been meaning to read for years. Try to make your
    rooms look spacious and airy
  • Organize shelves. Remove knick knacks and photographs.
  • Get rid of excess furniture. Make it easy to walk through rooms. Try to create an open floor plan.
  • Don’t forget about closets. Removing excess clothing from bedroom closets or towels from linen closets
    makes them appear larger. Everything should be neatly arranged and folded.
  • Clear walls. If you have a lot of photographs or paintings, consider removing some. A more minimalist
    look gives the appearance of a larger space.
  • Remove heavy curtains. Simple blinds or even bare windows let in more light and are more pleasing to
    the eye. Ornate curtains or other window treatments are visual clutter.
  • Stow possessions in closed storage. Rather than using open shelving, for example, use a storage unit
    with drawers and doors. Or stash extra blankets in a trunk at the foot of your bed rather than the closet.
  • Be honest when assessing your stuff. If you really don’t need it, get rid of it. You can trash it, hold a
    garage sale, donate it or sell it on eBay. Just think: The more you get rid of, the less you have to pack and move.

Interested in selling your home or learning more about eliminating clutter? Give our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes offices a call today at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

Monday, September 27, 2010

10 Tips to Land the Home of Your Dreams

It’s still a buyers’ market—interest rates are historically low, available homes are abundant, and sellers are
eager to sell. But if it’s a great time for you to buy, it’s a great time for everyone else too. How can you compete
against other buyers and snag the home of your dreams?
  • Be decisive. Decide exactly what your dream house looks like. How many bedrooms and baths do you want? What location? This will help narrow down the possibilities faster.
  • Always consider a house’s potential. An older home that needs cosmetic updates, such as fresh paint or a new kitchen, may net a better price than one that’s newer.If you can pay cash, you’re in the driver’s seat. Sellers like cash deals because they’re uncomplicated and close quickly.
  • If you can pay cash, you’re in the driver’s seat. Sellers like cash deals because they’re uncomplicated and close quickly.
  • Offer a high downpayment. The more you put down, the more attractive the deal to the seller.
  • Try to limit contingencies. You won’t want to waive your inspections or do anything foolish, but the fewer the contingencies, the more secure the seller will feel with your offer.
  • Stay on top of the market. New houses are listed every day. Your agent may even know of houses about to hit the market.
  • Prepare yourself for a bidding war by deciding ahead of time what your maximum offer will be.
  • Consider distressed properties, such as short sales and foreclosures. But remember that they may not be in tip-top condition—and that you may have to wait weeks or months to find out if your offer was accepted.
  • Most important, find a qualified agent who is familiar with your target area. That will save you a lot of time.
Want to learn about available homes in your area? Give our CENTURY 21 office a call today. at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The CENTURY 21® System Offers Training for Associates at All Levels

In an ever-changing real estate market, it is critical to be ahead of the most current industry trends and what it takes to be competitive. The CENTURY 21® System has one of the best training teams in the industry, as evidenced by our 2009 Training Magazine’s Top 125 award.What could be better than being part of a company that has award winning training for sales associates? The answer is simple, being part of a brand that offers affordable award-winning training for sales associates.

REO, Short Sales, Blogging, Social Networking – just a handful of buzz words being tossed around in real estate these days, important buzz words that have real estate professionals’ heads spinning. The CENTURY 21 training organization stays up-to-date on what is going on in the industry, and then creates useful training programs on current topics, designed specifically to help our agents be among the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry.

Take a look at this list of training topics available at no cost to all CENTURY 21 Agents:+

Attitude: Persevere and Stay on Track, Contact Management Made Easy, Social Networking, Developing an Online Business Plan, Blogging for Online Visibility, REO and Short Sales Overview, Going Green, Anatomy of a House, Staying in Touch With Clients, How to Have an Open HouseWhether you are new to the real estate industry or a seasoned veteran, there is always something new for you to learn. Our training department has created a curriculum designed to offer something for everyone, regardless of experience level.This curriculum can be broken down into four categories:

Sales Skills – including the popular CREATE 21® Golden Edition program, Capitalizing on Market Dynamics, the Success Series, and a compilation of many live, online free training classes.

Coaching and Accountability – consists of our Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP) with a web-based reporting dashboard and participation of the sales manager.

Niche Markets & Specializations – learn how to grow your business and expand your knowledge with programs focused on CENTURY 21 Fine Homes & Estates®, New Home Sales, Mature Moves and Commercial Brokerage.

Designations –Perception is everything! If you want to be perceived as an expert, pursue a designation or certification. We have many to choose from. Courses such as CENTURY 21 Global Referral Network Sales Associate and Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) are available.

Of course we are just scratching the surface of what is available to all CENTURY 21 System Sales Associates. We have an Online Resource Library with dozens of topics, including How To’s, Agent Scripts, and Agent Tools. by Design, Marketing Yourself as a Real Estate Expert, and More!

9 Tips to Stage Your Home On the Cheap

As a seller, you want your home to look its best for every showing. But you don’t have to hire a professional
stager to get your home ready.

Here are some inexpensive things you can do to help your home make a great first impression:

  1. Get rid of the clutter. Cleaning and de-cluttering always rank near the top of suggested home
    improvements for sellers. In fact, 99% of real estate agents recommend that their clients do so,
    according to HomeGain.com. So go through your stuff and get rid of what you don’t need—or box it up
    and put it in storage.
  2. Rearrange your furniture to create easy walkways. Remove excess furniture to make rooms seems
    larger.
  3. Remove photos. They personalize your space, but they may also make it more difficult for potential
    buyers to visualize themselves living in your home.
  4. Make the space smell nice by using air fresheners or baking cookies before showings.
  5. Make sure everything is clean—floors, bathrooms, kitchens. Nothing turns off a buyer faster than grime.
  6. Consider paint. Paint is an inexpensive way to freshen up both the interior and exterior of a home. Try
    to keep colors neutral.
  7. Don’t forget curb appeal. Lawns should be cut, hedges should be trimmed and beds should be free of
    weeds. Plant some flowers to brighten the exterior and give it a warm feeling.
  8. Open blinds and curtains to allow lots of natural light in, and turn on lights when buyers are expected.
  9. Start packing up clothes and linens to make closets look larger.
Interested in selling your home or learning more about staging? Give our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes offices a call today at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Do You Need A Home Warranty?

When Lisa Santucci moved from Kansas to Florida last December, she was happy to learn that her 16-year-old home carried a warranty. “We felt like it was an incentive for us to purchase,” she says. “We were new to the area, and we wanted to be sure that if something did go wrong, we had something to fall back on.”

Santucci hasn’t had to use her warranty yet. But she says she has peace of mind knowing it’s there.

A home warranty is a renewable service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the most frequently occurring breakdowns of home system components and appliances, according to Heather Wilson, a spokeswoman for American Home Shield, one of the nation’s largest home warranty sellers. These breakdowns are usually not covered by homeowners insurance.

According to the Service Contract Industry Council, home warranty sales increased in 2009. Many sellers added home warranties to help distinguish their properties from others on the market, and many buyers insisted on a warranty before completing their purchase, the SCIC said.

Items covered by a typical home warranty include major systems such as the HVAC and plumbing, as well as appliances. Some warranties offer additional coverage for pools, spas, extra air conditioners, etc. The average cost of a home warranty is $300 to $500, Wilson said. It must be renewed annually.

Home warranties can provide both financial and emotional security for buyers of existing homes. But they may not be necessary for every purchase. New homes, for example, carry a homeowners warranty directly from the builder. In addition, home warranties are limited in scope. Buyers need to read their contract carefully to understand what the warranty covers and does not cover.

Want to learn more about home warranties? Give our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes offices a call today.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Remodeling Projects That Will Improve Your Home’s Bottom Line

Which remodeling projects give you the best bang for your buck? All projects are not created equal; some will add to your home’s resale value while, surprisingly, others may not.

Remodeling magazine recently released its annual Cost vs. Value Report, which compares construction costs for popular remodeling projects to the share of those costs recovered at resale.

Since 2005, the improvements that have yielded the greatest amount of cost recouped have been exterior projects, such as door and siding replacements and wood deck additions. This year, on a national level, exterior projects account for seven of the top 10 spots in terms of cost recouped. A steel entry replacement door that costs an average of $1,172, for example, added $1,470 to the sales price of a typical house, or 128.9 percent of cost recouped. A wood deck addition recouped 80.6 percent of costs on resale.

The reason exterior projects have such a good return on investment: Curb appeal. These projects improve a home’s curb appeal, helping it make a better impression on potential buyers. They also cost less than many other projects, so the return is better.

Other midrange projects that return a high percent of costs on resale include:

  • Attic Bedroom - 83%
  • Vinyl siding replacement (79.9%)
  • Minor kitchen remodel (78.3%)
  • Basement remodel (75.4%)
  • Major kitchen remodel, Two-story addition( 72.1%)
  • Home office remodel (48.1%).
Regionally, cities in the Pacific states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington outperformed the rest of the nation in terms of remodeling costs recouped upon resale.

Before you embark on a remodeling project, consult with a reputable local remodeling firm about construction costs—and call our CENTURY 21 offices today to speak with an agent who can tell you about home prices in the area.

Monday, July 19, 2010

9 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Thinking about making some improvements to your home before placing it on the market? If you’re planning to do more than minor cosmetic upgrades, you’ll probably need a professional contractor.

Finding the right contractor can save you not only time and money, but headaches. While the process may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips for streamlining the selection process and ensuring you hire the right contractor the first time:

  • Get at least three written estimates from companies doing business in your local area.
  • Check references carefully. Try to see projects the contractor has already completed.
  • If your state requires contractors to be licensed, ensure that the license is active. The licensing agency may also be able to tell you whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
  • Ask the contractor for proof of insurance. Most states require not only liability insurance but also coverage for workers compensation and property damage.
  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau or consumer affairs office to make sure there have been no prior problems or complaints.
  • Once you’ve selected a contractor, make sure the contract is in writing and clearly spells out all necessary terms, including, but not limited to, price, payment schedule, start date, completion date and the scope of the project.
  • Make sure the contractor obtains all necessary permits. If he says he can save you money by doing the project without a permit, show him the door.
  • Guarantee that the materials the contractor will use meet your specifications.
  • Hold back the final payment until all work is completed in accordance with the contract and to your satisfaction.

Interested in selling your home, or want a referral to a qualified licensed contractor in your area? Give our CENTURY 21 offices a call today.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer is Here: Maintenance Tips for Your Air Conditioner

Summer is here, and along with it the hot temperatures that make our air conditioning systems blow at full blast.

Regular maintenance can help extend the life of your central air conditioning system. “An air conditioner is like any other machine—it requires some basic maintenance to keep it functioning properly,” says Nicole Ritchie, a spokeswoman for American Home Shield, a provider of home warranties. “Unfortunately, many people don’t think about their air conditioner until that first hot day.”

Here are some tips for maintaining your system:
  • Check your air filter monthly, and clean or replace it as necessary. Changing your filter regularly helps keep dust from collecting on the evaporator coil and can also cut energy usage by 5 to 15 percent, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute.
  • Trim shrubs and plants near the condensing unit so it has adequate air circulation. Clear grass clippings and other debris from the area.
  • Clean the condenser periodically by spraying it with water.
  • Consider planting trees to provide shade to the condenser. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Have your system “tuned up” annually, at least a month before the cooling season starts.

Remember, if the worst happens, and you need to replace your air conditioning system, there’s some good news too: You may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,500 for a central air system through the end of this year.

To learn more about the maintaining your AC or other systems in your home, or for a referral to a qualified contractor, give our CENTURY 21 offices a call today. Monrovia 626.358.1858 or Glendora at 626.963.7621

Monday, July 5, 2010

Do You Have and iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch? If you do, have you tried the new CENTURY 21 App?

The CENTURY 21 system introduced today a new tool that today's savvy consumer can use to engage actively with our world-renowned brand. They have done so understanding that modern real estate shoppers like you want information immediately and conveniently, any time and any where.

Our corporate and local teams are meeting the needs of today's consumer with the launch of the CENTURY 21® Real Estate iPhone app which is also available on iPads and WiFi enabled iPod Touches!

This application is a highly functional tool, bringing CENTURY 21 innovation to life. It delivers local listings, open houses and community information based on the phone's internal GPS.

Users have direct access to more information through the user-friendly List View, Map View, and Property Detail pages. Buyers researching local communities or pondering a move can enter any location nationwide and view neighborhood information, property values and school ratings.

With this new app, you the consumer can use the built-in camera to take photos of properties. You can add personal notes and attach the saved listings. Most important, you have the ability to find our agents at either of our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes offices and start a dialogue.

Our agents now, are pumping much more detailed information into CENTURY 21's databases so that our listings featured on CENTURY21.com and the branded iPhone app are comprehensive resources of information. More photos, descriptions and area information are key to help you make smart decisions about your next home.

For sellers, this gives another great tool for our agents to optimize marketing and exposure and get homes sold quickly. This is the "must have" tool for today's real estate consumer. Download the app today!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Get to Know CENTURY 21 : The LeadRouter System

Do you know about some of the tools CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes agents have and enjoy?The CENTURY 21® System is focused on delivering world-class technology to our sales associates, enabling you to exceed the needs of your homebuyers and sellers.

The CENTURY 21® LeadRouter System gives you a competitive advantage over competing real estate companies in your market by responding to customer inquiries promptly.So how does it work? LeadRouter is a comprehensive leads management application that captures and distributes offline and online leads from multiple sources. It’s incumbent upon the agent to accept the lead and manage to closure.

Why is LeadRouter critical to an Agents business?

According to the National Association of Realtors® 2009 Buyers and Sellers Survey, a customer will work with the first agent to call them back between 70 – 80% of the time. Additional research shows that average response time by an agent is approximately 24 hours and only 50% of leads ever receive contact. This is a huge opportunity for the CENTURY 21 System!

To learn more about LeadRouter and our other state-of-the-art technologies, contact us today at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Survey Provides Insight into First-Time Home Buyers

According to a survey of first-time home buyers and sellers released by Century 21 Real Estate LLC last month, over 80% of those polled feel the current housing market is more affordable today than this time last year, despite the fact that 40% are more worried about the economy.

While market conditions are currently attractive and favor buyers, first-time buyers anticipate that housing prices will soon begin to rise and in fact, expect an increase by this time next year, re-establishing the balance between buyers and sellers in the market.

That’s one more reason this is a great time to purchase a home.

“This is a generational opportunity for a first-time home buyer looking to take advantage of this market,” said Rick Davidson, president and CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “If you are considering buying real estate, now is the time to consult with a real estate professional.”

The results of the CENTURY 21 survey are in line with a survey released April 6 by Fannie Mae, finding that two-thirds of Americans (65%) are still bullish on homeownership, preferring to own a home despite the challenging economy.

Due to the complexity of today’s real estate market, 85% of those polled in the CENTURY 21 survey said real estate professionals serve an important role in the home buying and selling process, and about 70% either used or expect to use one.

“Buying a home is the largest, single financial decision most people will make in their lifetime,” said Davidson. “This is where a real estate professional can help.”

If you’re interested in buying a home, give our CENTURY 21 office a call today, and we’ll put you in touch with an agent who will help you locate and purchase the home of your dreams.

To learn more about the CENTURY 21® First-Time Home Buyer and Seller Survey, Click Here

Friday, April 30, 2010

Buyers’ Negotiating Power On the Upswing!

Great news if you’re looking to purchase a home: For the second month in a row, real estate Web site Zillow.com is reporting that in early 2010, homebuyers across much of the U.S. negotiated larger discounts off the listing price of homes than they did the prior month.

Buyers in the United States paid 2.8 percent less than the last listing price in January—more than the 2.7 percent discount in December and 2.6 percent in November. December was the first month in which buyers actually regained negotiating power; during most of 2009, buyer discounts shrank.

A year ago, in January 2009, buyers were able to negotiate a median 4.5 percent off the last listing price of homes for sale.

According to Zillow, the biggest discounts are in Florida—Vero Beach and Punta Gorda yielded discounts of 8.6 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively—while Toledo, Ohio and Flagstaff, Ariz. ranked high as well. But discounts can be had all over the nation. New York, N.Y. buyers got 5 percent off the last listing price in January, Chicago, Ill. buyers got 5.1 percent and Cleveland, Ohio buyers got 5.8 percent.

Sellers did well in some markets, however. Most buyers in places like El Centro and Stockton, Calif., for example, actually paid more than the last listing price of homes sold in January.

To speak with one of our REALTORS about current real estate opportunities today, contac us at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

Are Your Ready to Connect 2 the 1?

Quite simply, Connect 2 the 1 means connecting current buyers and sellers to the one agent, one home, one neighborhood, one school that's right for them.

With April kicking off the busiest home-buying season of the year, CENTURY 21 offices like CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes will focus on the home seller with a powerful tool to help them in their transition to a new abode. While the government is giving consumers up to $8,000 tax credit for buying a home until April, 340, 2010, our brand is giving home sellers a chance to earn $8,000 in cash for listing their home with a CENTURY 21agent through June 30, 2010!

We at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes are excited to locally bring this opportunity to sellers in the San Gabriel Valley. At our offices, open houses and on-line you'll able to reach out to one of our skilled-professionals and learn why its time to list your home for sale with our office.

In the months to come our team invites you to Connect 2 the 1 CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes agent who will be able to help you achieve your goals. There is no better time to understand our emerging market and we have the tools and incentives to make the most out of your home. Learn more today by contacting our agents at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

Monday, April 12, 2010

There’s Still Time to Claim Up to an $8,000 Tax Credit on a Home Purchase

The federal homebuyer tax credit is set to expire at the end of April, but there’s still time for first-time homebuyers, and even existing homeowners, to take advantage of this substantial incentive to purchase a home.

First-time buyers may qualify for as much as an $8,000 credit, and buyers who already own a home can claim up to $6,500, providing they sign a binding purchase contract on or before April 30, 2010 and close by June 30, 2010.

Remember--these are tax credits, not simply tax deductions, so they reduce the amount of federal income tax owed dollar-for-dollar.

Special rules apply for U.S. military personnel, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community, who have an additional year to buy and close if they are on a period of official extended duty.

The credits apply to the purchase of a principal residence. Buyers may qualify as long as their income doesn’t exceed $125,000 for single buyers or $225,000 for married couples. The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price, up to $8,000 for first-time buyers, or up to $6,500 for move-up or downsize buyers.

It’s important to remember that “first-time buyer” does not necessarily mean someone who has never owned a home. Under the law, a buyer is eligible if he has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to purchase.

The tax credit, combined with historically low interest rates and an appealing inventory of available homes, has created a unique opportunity for buyers who have been waiting for the right time to jump into the market. But that opportunity will expire on April 30.

For more information about the tax credits, or to learn about available properties in your area, call our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes today at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

*This is not meant to be tax or legal advice. Consult a tax professional for details.

Congratulations - Karen, Joe, Linda Jo & Jacen!

Capping off a year of challenges, hard-work and lots-of- coffee the team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes finished 2009 in a positive note and with a healthy outlook for 2010. Many of our newer associates have begun to reap the rewards of the hours they have invested in their clients and that momentum is starting to pay-off in this new year. Because of this, the forecast for achievement in the next months is sunny and bright.

Now, as CENTURY 21's award season begins, four company stand-outs are receiving special recognition from the brand's top-brass. In 09, our own Karen Taylor-Straley, Joe Garcia, Linda Jo Pyle and Jacen Crehan distinguished themselves individually as they posted outstanding sales stats and off-the-charts customer satisfaction marks.

In addition to brand trophies and company commendations, which will be presented at our yearly award banquet, "the four" have been invited to an exclusive Top Agent retreat later this year at Atlantis: Paradise Island resort in the picturesque Bahamian islands.

They will join hundreds of other nationally recognized CENTURY 21 real estate pros who have amassed their own respective achievements. The three day event is chock-full off educational and networking opportunities for attendees. There they will have the opportunity to brain-storm and showcase that many ways in which they are making strides through this challenging market.

On behalf of the entire management team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes we'd like to
congratulate, Karen, Joe, Linda Jo and Jacen for all they have and continue to accomplish. We look forward to all the wonderful snap-shots they are sure to share when they return.

Make us proud and come back with a healthy Bahamian tan.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tax Credit Is Ending: Act Now

As the days and hours tick-by, the time to take advantage of the $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit is coming to an end.

Act now and find yourself in a home of your own, contact our agents today at 626.963.7621 or 626.3581858.


Monday, March 29, 2010

What are the Must-Have Features in Homes Today?

It seems like only yesterday that whirlpool tubs, formal dining rooms and home theaters were considered de rigueur features in new homes. Today, however, buyers are more likely to look for small homes with energy-efficient appliances, a home office and a first-floor master suite, according to a new survey of homebuyer preferences.

“I think it’s economics driving the desire,” says Paul A. Cardis, CEO of AVID Ratings Co., which conducts the annual survey.

The economy and demographics are playing an increasingly larger role in buyers’ choices these days. According to AVID’s survey, some of the must-have features in homes today are:
  • Energy-efficiency. Buyers of all types—first-time, empty-nester, move-up and vacation buyers—all want energy-efficient appliances, high-efficiency insulation and high window efficiency.
  • Large kitchens. Although home size is trending down, Cardis says that “the kitchen is still king.” A kitchen island is also a must-have.
  • Granite countertops. This is a must feature for move-up, empty-nester, vacation and custom homebuyers. First time buyers are less interested in granite, probably due to the cost.
  • Main-floor master suite. Cardis says this is due to the aging of the population. The demand for upstairs laundries is waning as a result.
  • Home office/study. People would rather have a home office than other rooms such as a formal dining room, Cardis says.
  • Two-car garages. All types of buyers consider these as must-haves, while move-up and custom home buyers prefer three-cars.
  • Master suite soaker tubs. These are more popular than whirlpools among all categories of buyers. Oversized showers with seating are also growing in demand.

Interested in seeing the latest features in luxury homes in your target neighborhood? Contact our agents today at 626.358.1858, 626.963.7621 or visit us on-line at www.c21ab.net

Friday, March 12, 2010

9 Ways to Spruce Up Your Home In Time for the Spring Selling Season—Without Spending a Lot of Money

With all the news lately about snow, it’s easy to forget that spring is just around the corner. And with spring comes the spring selling season, when home sales typically perk up.

This year, there’s lots of good news for those selling their homes.

“This spring should be a breath of fresh air for beleaguered sellers,” says Mike Larson of Weiss Research. “The supply of homes for sale is falling. Affordability is rising thanks to declining home prices. And the extension of the homebuyer tax credit is putting a bit more wind in buyers’ sails.”

Still, there are things you can do as a seller to help pique buyer interest:

  • Create a great first impression by improving curb appeal. Cut the grass, trim the hedges and plant flowers. Touch up the exterior paint.
  • Repaint the interior. Again, this is an inexpensive way to give your home a fresh, clean appearance. Keep colors neutral.
  • Refresh tired carpets by having them cleaned. Tile floors can look new again by cleaning the grout and sealing it.
  • Remove clutter from the house. This improves the appearance and makes rooms seem larger.
  • If you don’t want to hire a professional stager, then move furniture around to improve the flow of the home and make it seem more open. Put excess furniture in storage.
  • Replace old cracked caulk in the kitchen and baths. This not only freshens up the rooms but also improves water resistance.
  • Make your home seem lighter and brighter by replacing or adding light fixtures.
  • Purchase an appliance warranty. For a few hundred dollars, you can give potential buyers peace of mind.

For other helpful tid-bits about preparing your home for sale, contact our team at 626.358.1858.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Lifespan of Elements in Your Home

You have made an investment that will provide enduring value and years of enjoyment. Thanks to the National Association of Home Builders report "Housing Facts, Figures & Trends" we can share some of what you can expect to replace and repair to maintain your home in top conditions.

Most of home maintenance is common sense. If you have a plumbing leak, you will repair the fixture. Then look for water damage in the surrounding area. Replace all effected materials to avoid mold, wood rot, or weakened structure. The quick fix is not appropriate for one of your biggest and best investment.

Because there are so many elements in your home from the structure to the appliances, we are providing this quick reference guide.

It has been estimated that if a home is not properly cared for, the materials will only last one-third to one-half as long as manufactures suggest.

So use this guide to gauge and estimate when you may need to service or replace articles in your home. It is intended to be for information purposes only and we recommend that you consult licensed professionals for specific advice.

  • Roof : Asphalt, wood shingles & shake last approx. 15 - 30 years. Tar & Gravel 10 - 20 years.
  • Refrigerator: 6 -15 years - Do not place against the wall, leave ventilation space; clean behind the frig and replace ice-maker periodically.
  • Microwave: 11 years - Avoid any metallic trim or foil in microwave. Do not leave unattended.
  • Window Air Unit: 10 years - Remove or cover during winter; change filters each season.

To learn more about other around-the-home items to look out for, contact our team of REALTORS today at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rebates Help You Save Money When Upgrading Appliances

In the market for a new appliance? Then think Energy Star. Not only will you be helping the environment by purchasing an energy-efficient appliance, but you’ll be helping your budget as well, thanks to a $300 million “cash for appliances” program funded by the U.S. Government and being rolled out state by state.

The Energy Star program is a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. According to the Department of Energy, by using Energy Star, Americans saved enough energy in 2008 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars--and also saved $19 billion on their utility bills.

The appliance rebate program differs in each state, but the basics are this: Buy an Energy Star appliance and receive a rebate of between $50 and $250. You must be replacing an existing appliance to qualify. Depending by state, the program covers boilers, air conditioners, washers, dishwashers, freezers, furnaces, heat pumps, refrigerators and water heaters.

Each state runs its own program with funding from the Department of Energy. Dates and program details vary by state. Check out www.EnergySavers.gov for details on your state’s program.

One piece of advice: Act quickly!

The rebate program will continue only as long as each state has the funds to support it. Once the funds are exhausted, so is the rebate program.

To learn more about such programs and other local initiatives that may affect home-owners in the San Gabriel Valley, contact our offices today at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.762.

Our team of REALTORS will be more than glad to help and answer your questions.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Want to Rent Your Vacant Properties? Try Renovating Them

Are you a small independent landlord trying to rent your properties? Consider renovating them. A recent survey indicates that over half of small, independent landlords are renovating vacant properties in an effort to differentiate themselves from the competition and attract tenants. Renovations don’t just help you attract new tenants; they help you retain current tenants as well.

“With so many homes and apartments sitting empty, landlords want their properties to stand out from the competition,” says Tracey Benson, president of The National Association of Independent Landlords. “Even if landlords have no rent coming in, they need to bite the bullet and make improvements to put their properties on renters’ short lists.”

The Association recently conducted a survey of landlords across the country and found that over half (52%) of smaller, independent landlords who expect the difficult rental market to continue are renovating their vacant properties. Over three-quarters of these landlords (76%) are doing so in an effort to attract tenants, while 42% of respondents said they are renovating to keep current tenants from moving.

But you don’t need to install high-end accoutrements like granite counters, stainless steel appliances or laminate floors to attract or retain tenants. Even low-budget investments like new carpeting or a fresh coat of paint can make a difference.

Just about any improvement will make a property look better than one that hasn’t received much TLC,” Benson says.

For more information on how to attract or retain tenants in your apartment properties, or to learn about available properties, give our CENTURY 21 office a call today. We have Commercial and Property Management specialists available to help you with your rental needs.Our associates may be reached at 626.358.1858 or visit our Property Management page today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

6 Tips for an Easy Move with Kids

Hope Gibbs thought her move from Clifton, Va. to Arlington, Va.—a mere 45 minutes away—would be easy. And it was for daughter Anna, 14, who found new friends on Facebook even before she moved. But Gibbs’ 10-year-old son Dylan found it more difficult.

“You’d have thought we moved to Mars,” says Gibbs. “He still wants to go home despite having made tons of friends.”

Moving is one of the most stressful events in life—even more so for kids. But you can help ease the transition. Here are some tips:

  1. Involve children in planning. Help them find local Web sites so they can learn about schools, sports and events in their new city. The goal is to increase familiarity and build excitement for the new area.
  2. Communicate. Take time to speak with children about the move--and particularly about their fears or concerns.
  3. If possible, allow children to pick their own bedrooms. This makes it fun and exciting. Let them help decorate as well.
  4. Keep a few prized possessions out of the boxes. Familiar items, such as a blanket or stuffed animal, bring comfort to skittish kids.
  5. Encourage children to make new friends. Introduce them to children in the neighborhood. Invite a classmate over for a play date. Or throw a kiddie housewarming party!
  6. Seek help from professionals. A knowledgeable CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes real estate agent can help you learn the area, give you leads on local children’s activities and make the whole move go more smoothly.

We are San Gabriel Valley area experts and can point you in the right direction.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Do-It Yourself Improvements Help Sellers Maximize Sales Prices

Wondering what home improvements will benefit you the most when you sell your home? HomeGain.com, a Web site that provides home value estimates, recently released a list of the top 12 do-it-yourself home improvements that cost under $5,000 and benefit sellers the most when they go to sell their homes.

The list is based upon the responses of nearly 1,000 real estate agents nationwide. According to the HomeGain survey, the top five home improvements that agents recommend to sellers, based on cost and return on investment (from highest to lowest ROI), are:

1. Cleaning and de-cluttering ($200 cost/$1,700 price increase/872% ROI)
2. Home staging ($300 cost/$1,780 price increase/586% ROI)
3. Lightening and brightening ($230 cost/$1,300 price increase/572% ROI)
4. Landscaping ($320 cost /$1,500 price increase/473% ROI)
5. Repairing plumbing ($385 cost/$1,250 price increase/327% ROI)

Cleaning and de-cluttering always rank near the top of suggested home improvements for sellers. In fact, 99 percent of real estate agents recommend that their clients do so, HomeGain says. And it’s easy to see why—for a cost of about $200, cleaning and de-cluttering add an average of $1,700 to a home’s sale price, an 872% return on investment.
"Many Realtors agree, especially in a buyer's market, that sellers who make these recommended home improvements often get their homes sold faster and at higher prices," says Louis Cammarosano, a general manager at HomeGain.

Rounding out the top 12 of the list of projects: Updating electrical; replacing or shampooing carpets; painting interior walls; repairing damaged floors; updating the kitchen; painting the exterior; and updating bathrooms.

For more information about low cost do-it-yourself improvements that will help your home sell faster, call our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes office today at 626.358.1858 or 626.963.7621.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Changes, Challenges and New Year Resolutions

After much anticipation the new year has arrived and with it the promise of a recovering housing market and a stabilizing economy.

Though there will be many challenges faced in the months to come, our team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes is beginning the year with a positive outlook and the energy to implement plans developed and announced during the latter part of 2009.

For the communities we serve this means a new focus on providing constant snapshots of the different markets (REOs, Shortsales) todays consumer faces, lending practices that affect the bottom line and relevant stats/data that may help you make important real estate decisions.

Our Facebook and Blogging pages are a quick and easy reference which are constantly updated with the topic of the week/day/hour....minute.

Our site has been redesigned to give you better access to the information that is important to you and give you more outlets to reach out to our team with your insights and questions.

In addition, in the weeks to come our team will be announcing a key move that will give us more access to past, present and future clients in the eastern San Gabriel Valley.

In all, we are thrilled to embark and take advantage of the promises laid out by the new year. Our team is ready to continue to provide the same levels of customer care that has made us a staple in the community.

Now we encourage you to reach out to our team with your questions, challenges and plans. Happy New Year...we are here to help!

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Monrovia, California, United States