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Be Smarter Than Kanye: Get a Pool That Makes Your Home More Valuable

by The Apples Team

Nobody seems to have told Kanye West that pools aren’t always the smartest real estate investments.

The rapper is building a pool the size of a lake in the backyard of the home he’s renovating with wife Kim Kardashian, according to TMZ. It will reportedly be five times larger than any other pool of the homes in their Hidden Hills, CA, community. Classy!

But such a warm-water basin can actually deter prospective buyers who don’t want to keep up the maintenance or worry about it not being environmentally friendly, say real estate agents.

West clearly hasn’t won any awards for his financial savvy. He tweeted about his $53 million debt earlier this month.

“The prevailing wisdom is that you never receive a dollar-for-dollar return,” says John Lucy, a real estate agent at the Keller Williams office in Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills. “The best reason for [installing a pool] is for personal enjoyment only, rather than increasing the value of the home.”

Pools don’t have to be money pits, though, say real estate agents. Below are the three ways that mere mortals (aka those who don’t fly on private planes or dress their kids in designer fur coats) can use the popular amenities to increase the value of their personal palaces:

1. Pools are more lucrative for luxury properties

Large pools on high-end properties (think $1 million and up) make the best fiscal sense, say real estate agents and appraisers.

But on lower-cost properties, Lucy has encountered resistance from buyers with young children who worry about their safety near the swimming areas. Many buyers also don’t want to deal with a pool’s costly maintenance.

And others worry that swimming pools fly in the face of the water-conservation movement. (Some parts of the country are facing a drought, Kimye.)

“Public sentiment is turning against the mega pools or multiple pools,” Lucy says. “It would really be a selfish use of water.”

2. The fancier the pool, the better

Pools that look like they emerged straight from the pages of Architectural Digest usually help to boost the values of homes, Lucy says. Understated elegance is a hot ticket (No word yet on what Kimye is planning.)

Buyers will salivate over an infinity-edge pool, which is often built on a hill so that it appears to go on forever into a preferably stunning view, he says. “They use them in high-style, architectural resorts where you have a view,” he says.

Reflecting pools that mirror a stunning visual, such as a courtyard in full bloom, are also generally a hit with buyers.

3. Buyers can’t get enough of pools with attached spas

Luxury buyers are more interested in spas, which can include Jacuzzis, than they are in pools these days, says Roger Perry, a real estate agent at Beverly Hills-based Rodeo Realty. He’s seen buyers go gaga for properties with pools that have spas attached to them.

The typical spa area will include a lighted, sit-down area with whirpool jets. Those lucky enough to be lounging inside can then swim out into the larger pool to do a few laps. They’re particularly popular with those who want to relax with a glass of wine after a particularly long workout or day at the office, he says.

“A pool with bells and whistles and a view adds extreme value to a house,” Perry says.

And Kimye’s all about the bells and whistles.

 

This article was originally posted on Realtor.com.

Whale Watching cruise is travel program favorite

by The Apples Team

Each year, thousands of gray whales leave the cold Arctic Seas and follow the coastline to the warm calm waters of Southern California and Baja. Newport Landing is ideally positioned to take advantage of viewing this annual migration. Enjoy a day out on the Pacific Ocean to see these giant mammals in their splendor while cruising along the Laguna Beach coastline. Watch and learn firsthand as whales, dolphins and other marine life put on one of the best shows on earth.

This popular travel program is set for Saturday, April 23. The cost is $30 per person, which includes bus transportation to the event location. Please arrive at Burns Community Center by 8:00 a.m. Bus leaves promptly at 8:30 a.m. for a 10:00 a.m. cruise. Adults must accompany children of all ages. Bring a snack, camera, binoculars, sunscreen and a light jacket. This trip is not wheelchair accessible.

Register using the e-catalog at www.lakewoodcity.org/recreation using class #41680.

For further information, please contact the Recreation and Community Services Department at 562-866-9771, extension 2408. Last day to register is April 11 or until filled.

 

This article was originally posted on the City of Lakewood website. 

Lakewood scholarships open for filing

by The Apples Team


The Lakewood Pan American Association’s annual scholarship program is now accepting applications. Current high school seniors who live in Lakewood are eligible, regardless of where they go to school. Scholarships range from $500 to $1,500 and are provided to help pay future college or trade school costs. About 12 scholarships are provided each year. (Photo: 2015 Pan Am Association Scholarship winners.)

Students who have overcome adversity, made significant contributions to their schools and/or community and excelled academically are encouraged to apply by the Friday, March 18 deadline. Applications are available at http://www.lakewoodpanam.org/ and at Lakewood City Hall. For more information, call Alex Bauman at 562-866-9771, ext. 2417, or Joe Arambel at 562-421-0676.

Scholarship recipients will serve as Pan American Ambassadors during Lakewood’s week-long celebration of Pan American friendship in early May. Since the scholarship program began in 1999, more than $130,000 in financial aid to students has been provided.

This article was originally posted on the City of Lakewood website. 

How Retirees Can Plan for the Unexpected

by The Apples Team


Many people anticipate their future living expenses as they approach retirement, aiming to pad their nest eggs so they’ll be able to live comfortably on a fixed income.

It’s the unexpected expenses that can trip them up.

Top among those expenses that can put a wrench in retiree budgets: Unexpected home repairs and upgrades, such as the installation of a new roof or replacement of a major appliance, according to recent research from the Society of Actuaries, a trade organization. That’s followed by major dental expenses. (Medicare doesn’t cover dental work and dental insurance often covers only routine expenses, said Cindy Levering, a retired pension actuary and a member of the society’s Committee on Post Retirement Needs and Risks.)

Of the two, home expenses are easier to anticipate, yet often people still aren’t ready. “People might know in the back of their minds that the roof needs replacing at some time, but they’re not budgeting ahead of time,” Levering said. “People tend to not plan for [non-regular home maintenance costs] in advance, and there’s no insurance that you can buy that is generally going to cover that.”

 

The research, which included a survey as well as focus groups of retirees of 15 years or more, found that 20% of retirees couldn’t afford to spend $1,000 on an unexpected expense. Meanwhile, 10% said they could afford to spend $1,000 to $4,999, 11% could afford to spend $5,000 to $9,999, 12% could afford to spend $10,000 to $24,999 and 29% could afford to spend $25,000 or more. And 18% weren’t sure how much they could spend. View survey results here.

And home expenses can snowball, said Anne Reagan, editor in chief of Porch.com, a website that connects users to home improvement professionals. “Something like [replacing] the roof could start at $20,000,” she said. “Then, it’s not just the roof but gutters, maybe the attic is leaking. There are a lot of things that can spiral out of control when [the home] is not maintained over the years.”

Preparing for the unexpected

There are various ways people can prepare for the unexpected in their homes. One way is to sufficiently pad an emergency fund (which might be the best you can do if you live in a condo apartment and you have no idea when a special assessment might pop up). But for maintenance issues, you may want to create a separate fund.

 


Some financial planners will say to sock away a certain percentage of a home’s value annually. For example, Cindy Richey, a financial planner at Prosperity Planning Inc. in Kansas City, Mo., advises an annual budget of 2% of the home’s value for ongoing maintenance. Some years you’ll spend more, some years you’ll spend less, she said. (For a $300,000 home, for example, that 2% would be $6,000 every year, or $500 a month.)

“One thing I’ve noticed with people getting close to retirement: They tend to put a lot of money into their homes a year or two beforehand, like squirrels getting ready for winter,” she said in an email interview. “It gives them a sense of relief, like ‘OK, everything is done on the house. Now I can retire.’ There is nothing wrong with that at all, in fact I think it’s a good thing. But you have to keep in mind that home maintenance will still be needed over the next 20-plus years.”

Another way to do it: Find out the life expectancy for your home’s components, then do a home audit, estimating when you may need to make big purchases, Reagan said. That’s more precise, since home maintenance will vary widely, based on factors including the home’s age and location, she said.

 

List any and all upcoming repairs and maintenance, including the cost and time for replacement, said Niv Persaud, managing director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC, in Atlanta, Ga. Exterior paint, hot water heater, heating, ventilation, cooling and air conditioning, furnace, roof, kitchen appliances, carpet replacement and home furnishings (including mattresses, furniture, rugs and window treatments) should all be on the list. If you’re planning on staying in your home as long as physically possible, also estimate how much you might need to spend on improvements as your mobility declines — perhaps in chair lifts for stairs, wider doorways or walk-in tubs, Persaud added. Replenish the reserve as you use it.

To help get an idea of how long home components typically last, consider this document from the National Association of Home Builders. Or do your own research, calling service people or inquiring at a home improvement store.

It’s also important to keep up on regular maintenance, from servicing the furnace annually to cleaning the gutters, so small problems don’t escalate to larger ones, Reagan said. Keep in mind, too, that in retirement you may need to outsource some of the regular household upkeep that you used to take care of yourself, and that’s going to increase your maintenance costs as well, she said.

“If you have a free standing, single-family home with property there might be quite a few tasks that you can’t physically do,” at some point in retirement, Reagan said. That means you’ll be hiring someone, or “you don’t do it and let it slide,” which could set a home up for bigger problems down the road.

This article was originally posted on Realtor.com.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

Contact Information

Apples Team
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
11409 E. Carson Street
Lakewood CA 90715
562-884-1863 / 562-221-2794
562-900-6761
Fax: 562-809-0841

Angie BRE# 01292393, Kathy BRE# 00853237, Cathy BRE# 01255708

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