Friday, December 5, 2014

REPOST: Why You Shouldn't Mix Real Estate with Relatives

Mixing family and any kind of business is never encouraged. The same can be said for getting family member as your real estate agent. This article from Life Hacker explains why.

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If you're shopping for a home or selling your current one, it can be helpful to have a family member or friend of the family that's a real estate agent. However, if they don't specialize in your community or know your market, think twice about straining your relationship by asking them to work with you.

Over at US News Money, they offer up a few reasons why you may want to avoid asking relatives—or even just friends of friends—to be your agent, especially if you're selling. For one, they may not know the neighborhood, and beyond that, you don't want to endanger your relationship with them with something that's often stressful for everyone involved. Imagine how well that would go over at the dinner table for the holidays:

Unless your relative is a crackerjack full-time agent who specializes in your neighborhood, he or she is unlikely to do as good of a job as another agent. That can breed resentment, as well as derail your transaction.

... Finding a neighborhood expert is especially important in areas where moving a block can raise or lower the value of a home by $100,000. An agent who specializes in a neighborhood may also be in touch with buyers who are looking for a home just like yours or sellers who haven’t put their home on the market yet.

The guide also suggests keeping your distance from part time agents, as they may be slower to react to news about your home, or sales and listings in the area if you're on the hunt in a competitive market. That one might be a bit tougher though, many real estate agents also work other jobs, so take that one with a grain of salt. Either way, you can check out all of the tips at the link below.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Choosing the right neighborhood: A guide for first-time home buyers

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A house may have everything one needs, but is it located in the right neighborhood?

While an apartment in a chic, busy neighborhood might be perfect for a millennial with no dependents, a family with small children has different needs that have to be addressed.

Before starting a home search, home buyers should make a list of what they're looking for in a neighborhood. The following are some factors to consider:

Access and transportation

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Suburban communities are usually designed around a town center, where residents can shop, dine, and socialize, and its residents typically drive to work. Neighborhoods located near or in cities typically benefit from numerous public transit options.

The presence and proximity of grocery stores, banks, parks, and other amenities, and the cost of transportation to access them should be considered when choosing the right neighborhood.


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No one wants to live in an unsafe neighborhood. Home buyers should research online to determine a community's violent and property crime rates and compare the numbers with those of other communities. The local police department will also be able to provide valuable information on the safety of the area.


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A home buyer who has children or is planning to have children should consider homes near good schools. If a home is on the bus route, that translates to more convenience for both parents and children.

Proximity to top-ranked schools is important, whether or not the home buyer has or is planning to have children. A study has shown that people are willing to pay more for homes located near good schools, so buyers who are planning to sell their homes in the future would do well to invest in a home in this type of neighborhood.

Once home buyers have made a list of what they want in a neighborhood, they should consult with their realtor or real estate agent to help them find a home in a community where they can confidently put down roots.

Follow this Jeff Yarbrough Twitter account for discussions on home buying.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Two walkable L.A. neighborhoods for millenial home buyers

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The surveys revealed that millennials want to live in walkable neighborhoods.

Millennials, also called Generation Y, are a group of young adults born from 1980 to 2000. The generation's personality is defined as culturally-diverse, upbeat, confident, liberal, and open to changes.

A survey by the Rockefeller Foundation found that 66 percent of millennials said that access to efficient transportation services is one of the top criteria they would consider when deciding where to live, while 54 percent of respondents would consider moving to another city if it had better transportation options. Another survey, conducted by the American Planning Association, found that baby boomers and millennials want many of the same things, one of them being walkable communities.

Walkscore, a website dedicated to promoting walkable neighborhoods, has compiled a list of Los Angeles neighborhoods with high walkability and easy access to public transportation. The following are two neighborhoods from the list that could pique the interest of millennial home buyers (and renters.)

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With a walk score of 93 (walker's paradise, according to Walkscore,) and a transit score of 99 (world-class public transportation,) Downtown L.A. tops the list of walkable communities in Los Angeles. The area has more than 800 dining establishments, 47 buses, two subways, and two light rail lines. Downtown L.A. is safer than other neighborhoods as well, with a lower personal property crime rate per person than the city average. This might be due to the presence of members of the Purple Patrol, a troop composed of "district safety" officers and maintenance staff who ensure that the area remains clean and safe for residents and tourists alike.

Chinatown is the second most walkable neighborhood in Los Angeles, with a walk score of 91 and a transit score of 91. Residents do not need a car to do errands, and the area has more than 130 restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. The area also has grocery stores, dry-cleaners, art galleries, schools, and a hospital. The personal crime rate is slightly higher than the national average.

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Los Angeles is known for being car-friendly, but that may soon change as more and more neighborhoods are promoting walkability over drivability and more millennials are making their needs known to the real estate world.

Jeff Yarbrough is a real estate professional and philanthropist from West Hollywood. Subscribe to this blog for more articles on California real estate market.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Los Angeles and its skyrocketing property prices

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According to the latest report, the real estate markets of Los Angeles and Orange County have grown to such a degree that property prices have skyrocketed, making the areas the least affordable in the United States. These conclusions were taken from figures by Zillow, an online real estate database. Based on the trend, investors can expect home prices to increase by 5.7 percent in 2015.

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Based on Zillow’s data, Los Angeles homeowners spend around 47.9 percent of their income just to pay for a median-priced rental apartment, and 42.6 percent to afford a median-priced house. While Los Angeles tied with San Francisco last year in terms of general house market prices, the rate of expansion for the California county has been faster than other cities and states. Prices have grown so much that people from middle-class households are feeling the pinch.

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Perhaps the effect can be attributed to the income-price ratio. After all, housing prices in the county are not as high compared to other cities such as New York, Boston, or Washington. However, people who live in these areas generally earn more than the average Californian. Zillow computed that the average household income for families in San Francisco in the second quarter was $76,239, while families in the LA-O.C. area survived on a mere $59,424. Despite the almost $20,000 income difference, families in Los Angeles are paying the same rates as those renting in these three cities.

Still, the rapid growth is seen to be beneficial for the community as it will spur local job growth. Real estate investors and analysts agree that more time is needed to fully access the effects of this sudden expansion.

Jeff Yarbroughhas helped hundreds of clients in Los Angeles find a home within their budget. Learn more about his real estate experience and expertise here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Getting real estate property sold for the best price

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When the values of homes in the US rebounded over the last few years, many homeowners found themselves in a good position to sell their homes for profit. It’s a good idea, after all, especially for those who have been meaning to move to a different location or to a bigger home.

Still, no matter the situation of the housing market, selling any residential property remains difficult. Sellers have to compete, while there are times the market favors the buyers. Here, then, are a few tips on selling a house for the best price.

First, it is important to study the market. Using real estate sites, home sellers can research on the buying prices of properties similar to their homes. They can also check how long the properties have been on the market before they got sold and if these properties sold for more or less than their initial asking price. Knowing these beforehand will allow the seller to put the property up for sale at a price that is close to what buyers are amenable to.

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Second, the aid of a local realtor is recommended. Local agents know more about the neighborhood and the situation of the local market, so they can offer better advice on what the seller can do with the property. They might also be privy to some transactions that are not yet available to the public, which can be a vital factor to determining the price of the home for sale.

Third, setting a deadline determines the price. This can create competing bids among buyers and allow the seller to get an offer that is close to their ideal price to sell.

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For more articles about the housing markets, visit this Jeff Yarbrough Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A brief overview of the home-buying process in Los Angeles

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The sunny weather, palm trees, and diverse neighborhoods make living in Los Angeles a dream come true for many. Buying a home in LA might seem difficult, especially in today's competitive housing market, but all home buyers need are the right information and professional advice to find and buy their dream LA home. The following are some steps to get them started:  


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Many people think that they don't have to pre-qualify for a house until after they've found a property they want to buy, but many realtors advise talking to a lender at the beginning of the home-buying process. It's best to know one's buying ability early on to avoid wasting time looking at properties that are out of one's price range. Additionally, a buyer cannot make an offer on a property without a pre-approval letter from a lender.  

Hiring a real estate agent or a realtor

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Real estate agents and realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database, which has up-to-date information on active property listings. In addition, they will also guide prospective home buyers on defining their criteria and educating them on the home buying process step-by-step.  

Determining needs and wants

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At this point, home buyers should have a discussion with their realtor or real estate agent and make a list of their wants or needs in a home. Some relevant points to discuss are location, proximity to schools and the workplace, type of property, and home features. They should determine which are necessities and which ones can be done without.  

Negotiating and making an offer

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Home buyers can pay the list price, or they can try negotiating. Negotiations might take a long time, especially if the seller finds the buyer's offer unreasonable and provides a counter-offer. If both parties come to an agreement and the seller accepts the offer, the escrow phase will begin.

The escrow process is a complicated phase in the home buying process, as it involves making a deposit, doing a home inspection, and appraising the property. If they have not done so yet, home buyers might want to seek the services of a real estate agent or realtor for assistance in the escrow process until the completion of the sale.  

For more real estate tips, follow this Jeff Yarbrough Twitter.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Are homeowners happier than renters?

Is there conventional wisdom on renting versus buying? A resounding yes is absolute from several tenants, but an equally loud yes also resonates from others. While the advantage of renting seems obvious to many tenants, many homebuyers contradict this notion, and the rent-or-buy debate never ends. Whatever reasons people have in choosing renting over buying or vice-versa, in the end, the answer to this question is what matters: “Who is happier, homeowners or renters?”

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This article from MSN Real Estate recounts some theories to answer this question.

 One theory is that renters are happier than homeowners because they don’t have to worry about mortgages and foreclosures. Although home ownership is a wise investment move, mortgage payment takes much of people’s income, making their homes as the only financial investment they can afford. This leaves them no way of investing in other properties or services as their needs dictate. They may even have to face the pain of foreclosure, should worse comes to worst.

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Another theory points out that homeowners are happier than renters because they are richer. Fortunately for them, this is generally true. MSN revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner in 2012 was over 34 times that of a renter. Data released by the National Association of Realtors stated that a homeowner has about $174,500, while a renter has $5,100. Buyers have a reason to be happy, indeed. 

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Yet, a 2005 survey affirmed that renters spend more time with loved ones. Meanwhile, another study said that homeowners have higher self-esteem.

In the midst of this argy-bargy, no one wins. If property ownership is a gauge of happiness, then so be it. But people have to be open to other options and see beyond what money can buy.  

Whether you are buying a house or renting an apartment, there is a plethora of choices that suit your needs. Find the best deals and options for you from this Jeff Yarbrough Facebook page or this website.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Real estate tips: Selecting the right rental

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Housing prices and interest rates appear to be at historic lows, indicating that now could be a great time to buy a home. Why not, if you can afford it, right? But what if other considerations point to the practicality of renting rather than buying?

Many find renting too inconvenient because of the shortness of lease contracts. Hence, renters tend to move frequently. However, there are times when renting is better than buying. Here are some reasons why:

• It offers flexibility in times of financial uncertainties and seasonal employment.

• Selling a house is harder than leaving a rental.

• Mortgage qualifications fall short.

• There’s lack of time for sustentation.

• Trying out a new area requires acclimatization to it.

• When a couple is an empty nester.

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This wisdom in renting is applicable in times of job changes and losses. But how can you find the right rental? Zillow suggests determining what kind of rental suits your lifestyle before searching for a place. Finance writer Michelle Schroeder knew clearly what she wanted before she signed the lease contract. “We knew we wanted a house so that we could have a dog. I was a naive 18 year old, but luckily a family member was looking for a reliable renter,” she quipped.

Think of your long-term budget and the property's affordability. You should also compare properties and negotiate contracts to get a fair share of the arrangement. Check out the potential property by attending walk-throughs.

By keeping in mind these simple steps, you can avoid the most common pitfalls when looking for a rental, from signing your tenant agreement to moving in and out.

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Jeff Yarbrough has built an impressive client base from his impressive knowledge of unique geographic locations with competitive properties either for rent or purchase. Learn more about his real estate practice from this website.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Managing a good career in real estate

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A career in real estate is considered one of the best paying jobs in sales and marketing. Receiving most of their income from sales commissions, real estate agents earn a median salary of $39,140, while the best paid realtors get about $95,540.

Considered one of the lucrative jobs for sales persons, managing a good realtor career requires more than one’s passion. With it comes the dedication to improve skills though practice and repetition.

A top-producing licensed realtor from Los Angeles, Calif., Jeff Yarbrough spent years in studying the sales environment and the complexity of real estate deals. Managing every aspect of the business, he spent his time studying his client’s wide-spread geographic interests, which eventually helped him gain the knowledge of all of LA’s most desirable neighborhoods.

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With vast experience in the real estate industry, Mr. Yarbrough has listed and sold homes from locations such as Pasadena, Mt. Washington, Hancock Park, Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, and Marina Del Rey. Recently, he was appointed as a member of The Eastside Working Group, which seeks to address and foster growth on the eastside of West Hollywood.

Apart from having good knowledge in the industry, a real estate professional must also hone his skills in business, interpersonal communication, organization, and problem solving, as these are all needed in today’s highly competitive market.

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Jeff Yarbrough is a top realtor based in Los Angeles, Calif., who is sought for his expertise of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. Learn more about him and his prolific real estate career here.