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In this video, I share 5 things I think buyers should know when starting their purchasing process in Downtown LA.

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With a fixer upper, you are presented with the opportunity to make the home more valuable. Many times, you will find this kind of home at approximately 8 percent below market value. You will be paying less in taxes as well because the taxes are calculated based on your home’s sale price. So, how do you even go about finding your ideal fixer upper? Read on below for more information.

The Perfect Choice

It is often said that the perfect fixer upper is one that everyone will want to own in the future, but no one wants it right now. The location is going to play a key role in your selection. Make sure the home is in a desirable location or an up and coming neighborhood.

The layout of the home should also flow and have a good configuration to start with; otherwise, you may find yourself spending even more money to move and take down walls.

Choosing a Mortgage

When you choose this kind of home, there are different mortgage loans to consider because of the condition of the home. Renovation loans, for example, allow you to finance the home while also making improvements at the same time.

The improvements you make can then be paid off over a longer time and typically at a lower interest rate than with other types of financing.

Another type of loan is a construction loan. It is a more short-term option and often comes with a higher interest rate, but it provides the owners with the funds they need to build and renovate the property.

Before you can consider this type of loan, however, you need to find a qualified builder, have your minimum 20 percent down payment, and have the value of the property in its current condition appraised.

Less Competition

Since more and more buyers are looking to purchase newer and updated homes, you will find little competition when it comes to the fixer uppers that are available. However, instead of competing with other buyers, you are often competing with builders and investors which can drive the price up.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a fixer upper, make sure you understand your needs and make sure the home is what you are looking for. Depending on the renovations that need to be done, it can be a time-consuming project.

Finally, keep in mind that the property taxes will go up following the renovations because of its new value. If you remember all this info and you know where to draw the line, and you can envision the home’s potential, then you are ready to start your journey towards finding the perfect fixer upper.

The numbers and forecasts don’t lie. 2018 is going to be another challenging year for first time homebuyers. Los Angeles has an inventory shortage and as long as we have this shortage we will have bidding wars.   Homes that do hit the market sell fast and home values will continue to rise, but, here’s the good news, they will rise at a slower pace.

What you need to navigate these competitive waters is a good agent, but how do you go about finding a great real estate agent?

Here’s what you should be looking for when selecting a real estate agent:

  1. Track record; do they have a proven track record in your search area? While starting agents can be a great match, in certain highly competitive areas it will help you to have an experienced realtor on your side. Ask for their track record and references;
  2. Keeping you informed; ask your prospective agent how and how frequently they intend to inform you of their home searches and if they are tech savvy enough to do a complete search of all the inventory on the market;
  3. Referrals; one of the best ways of finding a great agent is by asking your network, if you have any friends or family or co-workers that have recently purchased a home ask them who they used and if they were a good fit;
  4. Specialization; some agents work solely with buyers, if this has your preference, be sure to ask your prospective agent if this is how they work;
  5. Markets; ask your agent if they work in the areas you are interested in. Getting a great agent referred to you is super helpful, but only if they have experience in your area of interest. Often local agents have access to off market listings or know about properties coming to market before anyone else.

As with any good relationship, expectations matter. Get clear on what you expect from your agent and communicate your needs right from the start.  Once expectations are clear, the right agent will be able to tell you which expectations are realistic and which ones are not.

Our agents are led by experienced broker and CEO Letty Vermeulen who created a boutique agency with Aspire Los Angeles and stands for the values that you’d expect from a boutique agency setting. Aspire is comprised of a team of professionals. You can expect personalized attention, an eye for detail and a highly motivated team.

When home buyers with young children come to us, inevitably the subject of “schools and neighborhoods” becomes the hot topic that drives their decision where to purchase a home. Searching for a house in a good school district in Los Angeles becomes a major focus point.

Between Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD) neighborhood schools, magnets, charters, language immersions, gifted, and other public school options, as well as private and religious school choices, it can become a daunting task sifting through all the school options.

If it’s your first time at this particular rodeo, it can feel quite overwhelming and you will likely need some guidance on how to navigate the school process.

From choosing your area to targeting several schools to actually applying and getting into your desired schools, there are several factors and steps to consider. While many neighborhoods have wonderful public schools, some neighborhoods are still struggling with their local schools.

In some cases parents find another school program that best suits their needs, but this brings with it uncertainty, eligibility, and paperwork. It’s important to check with your desired schools’ websites for their specific application guidelines, tours, and deadlines.

For instance, magnet programs are applied for through the website, and must be submitted between October and early November before the fall of enrollment. Charter schools each have their own unique deadlines, but typically it’s around February before the fall of enrollment. For private and other school admissions, it will depend on that particular school’s application process, but is likely even earlier.

Knowing your priorities before you start looking for a home can make a big difference. We have helped many families purchase homes in areas that have great public schools, as well as guided them in the right direction to private, charter, or magnet schools!

If you want to get savvy about LAUSD public schools (including charters and magnets), we have a great resource for you! Tanya Anton of has put together a super handy Guide, “The GoMamaGuide to LAUSD” that’s helped thousands of LA families understand their options and make the right public school choice for them. We offer 10% off her book if you use this special Aspire link.

As always, reach out to a team member if you are an unrepresented buyer looking to purchase a home in Los Angeles.

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