Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays and Thank You!

The holidays are approaching and with that comes the special time of year where we want to give thanks and show love to our family, friends and people who have helped us this past year. I hope my family, clients and business partners feel the same way and offer thanks to the people who have made you the person you are today.

I want to wish you all a happy and safe holiday. Thank you!

Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Maximize Your Home’s Appraisal Value

How to Maximize Your Home’s Appraisal Value

One of the most important elements of pricing your home to sell is your appraisal value. Both buyers and their lenders want to know your home is worth the price tag. So how can you maximize your home’s appraisal value? There are eight simple, yet effective ways to getting a higher value. 

Step 1:Make sure your home is clean and offers great curbside appeal. 
First impressions are important. Make sure to maintain your landscaping. Remove your cars from the driveway to reduce the appearance of clutter. 

Step 2: Keep and Maintain an itemized list of all updates and upgrades you’ve done to your home.

Be prepared to show the money you’ve invested to increase your home value. 

Step 3: Do your homework.
Keep comps on hand of homes similar to yours to show the appraiser. Every bit of information helps increase your appraisal value. 

Step 4: Pay attention to the improvements that will increase your home’s value.
There are certain upgrades you can do that increase your value and yield better returns on investment: hardwood floors, lighting, plumbing fixtures, kitchen and bathrooms. 

Step 5: Always apply the $500 rule.
Any repairs that cost more than $500 actually account against your home’s value. Fix what needs to be fixed, such as broken windows or any structural damage. 

Step 6: Play up your location.
If there have been any recent changes to the neighborhood such as a new school, retail store or if your home is near a landmark, make sure to mention it to the appraiser.

Step 7: Make the appraiser feel at home.
This is one of the most important steps. Make sure the home is at a comfortable temperature. If you have a pet, board it for the day. 

Step 8: Ask questions after the appraiser has appraised your home. 
I know you may get excited or anxious to talk to the appraiser while they are inspecting your home, but wait. Don’t follow the appraiser around your home. They are there to do their job; let them do it. Once they have completed the appraisal, you can ask your questions. 

If you’re thinking about making improvements to your home, make sure you don’t ‘over-improve.’ Call me and we can discuss what repairs your home actually needs. Your home should match your neighborhood’s environment.

If you have any questions about how to maximize your home’s appraisal value or if you need referrals for some great appraisers, call me. I’m here to be your real estate resource.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why A Trust?

Why A Trust?

Hey, everyone! Welcome back to my video blog! Today, I wanted to talk about trusts and why they are preferred over wills.

So, what is a trust? A trust divides ownership of a property into two parts.
1.    Trustee. The trustee holds ownership and control of the property.
2.    Beneficiary. The beneficiary holds the soul right of the enjoyment of the property.

Did you know that often trusts are preferred over wills when ensuring the orderly transfer of property in case of a death? Trusts can be executed immediately and can handle a variety of different circumstances. If you are injured or become incapacitated, a trustee can take over your finances.

Another great thing about trusts is the assets such as personal property are not subject to probate proceedings. This is a HUGE relief in avoiding expensive fees from both attorneys and probate court.

Trusts can also be changed much easier than a will. One simple notarized page from both the trustee and beneficiary is all it takes!

The BEST part about a trust, though, is getting favorable tax treatment! If you have a personal net worth of $100,000 or more, a trust will maximize your estate tax exemptions. It will also ensure at the time of your death, your heirs can inherit the estate and avoid any penalties and fees from our good friends, the IRS.

Take it from me. You don’t want your loved one to lose their home at the time of death to the state due to lack of estate preparation.

As, always if you ever know of a friend, a coworker, relative or even a friend on a social media site that is interested in buying or selling a property, connect with me today!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Should You List Your Home in the Fall?

Should You List Your Home in the Fall?

A lot of people have asked me whether the fall is a good time to buy or sell. Should they wait until spring?

The answer is no! Fall is a great time to buy and sell. While we typically see more sales during the summer months, we also have more inventory.

The fall is a market of serious buyers and sellers. It is a great time to sell because inventory drops and there is less competition. Buyers are serious; maybe they are relocating or they just sold their home and need a replacement. There is a sense of urgency and home sells quickly.

If you are thinking about selling, do it now. We expect inventory to increase during the spring and you don’t want to wait for more competition. Give me a call at 626.780.2705 and I can help you with your buying or selling needs. Thanks for watching!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

We are now with Prudential California Realty!

We are now with Prudential California Realty!

Welcome back to my video blog! I’m excited about what I am going to share with you today. I am constantly striving to improve my customer service, efficiency, communication and marketing experience that I provide for you, my customers. In doing so, we’ve recently made the change to become partners with Prudential California Reality. This change enables us to provide a more seamless and pleasant experience for you. This made sense as our main goal is to ensure every real estate transaction you have with us is great.

Ultimately, Prudential’s marketing reach and integrity made the decision natural for us as they are second to none. All of our contact information is the same and I can’t wait to tell you more. Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How long do you see this seller’s market lasting?

How long do you see this seller’s market lasting?

Once the inventory increases, it’s going to take away the very high demand because buyers will have more options. Once that takes place, the offers and sale prices will come back down.

In my opinion, this market is short-term. It’s not a permanent real estate market; so if you’re on the fence about selling your home, make your move now. Take advantage of this market while there is a demand for homes.

Give me call if you have any questions or want to buy or sell your home!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What to Ask Before Hiring an Agent to Sell Your Property

One of the most common things we hear as top-producing real estate agents is about how homeowners had neglected to properly interview the agent they had for their home. To help avoid that from happening, here are some factors to consider before you hire a real estate agent to sell your home.


Amount of Time Devoted to Profession

The real estate industry is one that can be very flexible for some yet completely encompassing for others. Your challenge will be to look for an agent that has made the profession their full-time career. The difference will be in the amount of time you can expect them to give you and the expertise level you can expect in return.

Level of Demonstrated Expertise

Experience comes from working with multiple clients in many different situations. As you interview prospective agents, take the time to inquire about past and current clients. Find out about the types of deals the agent specializes in. Are they specifically geared toward buyers or do they have experience with listing transactions? Don’t be afraid to check whether they are good at their job through references.

Length of Time Other Listings Remain on Market

Look into the length of time other listings they have taken have remained on the market. If you see a predominantly long number of days their properties sit on the market then it might indicate a lax marketing strategy – or worse, none at all. Marketing is a key component that you should be looking for and if a prospective agent lacks a viable marketing plan, you may want to think twice about that agent.

List to Sale Ratios

A lot of agents use less than scrupulous tactics to gain sellers’ business. One example is promising their clients higher selling prices only to disappoint their clients when the market dictates their home is worth less. Look for an agent’s list-to-sale ratios on other listings they have had. Are they being sold at or at least very close to the listing price? If not, it could be an indication of bad pricing advice or worse, evidence of those sneaky tactics to reel in business.


Keep in mind that these are just a few of the things that impact the success rate of a strong real estate agent. What you need also to be looking for is a winning combination of character, values, tech-savvy and market-smart techniques. No two attributes will be enough – rather it is essential that you feel comfortable with your agent, can trust them and are fairly certain that they deliver on their promises.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

4 Tips to Preparing Your House for Sale

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Google “selling a home” and you’ll end up with millions of hits with tips, tricks, to-dos and what not to-dos. But if you can see past all the fluff and get right down to the bottom line, you confirm that all you really want as a seller is top dollar and you want it fast.

Frank Del Rio & Associates knows the business of selling homes and we’ve been through it in all types of markets. Buyer-centric markets tend to make it necessary for sellers to pull out all stops while a sellers’ market like we are experiencing these days dictates something else altogether.

Here is our four-point strategy that we think you need to be doing to prepare your house for sale. Nothing else. It doesn’t need to be complicated. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Being in the amazing market that we are in right now – you don’t have to do that much!

Bring It Up to Code
Read up online (or ask us) to find out the standard items that home inspectors look for – then go get it done in your house. Make sure the home complies with safety and building code and if not, hire a contractor to get it done. Some things are easily resolved yourself such as replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or ensuring your water heater is properly strapped in place.

Let There Be Light (and Air)

One of the first things buyers look for is the flow of a house. Not only does this apply to the floor plan but also in terms of how much light and air flows through the space. The last thing you want to do is to have a buyer walk away because they were unable to see the potential in a home if it wasn’t set up right. Make sure you open windows, highlight open spaces and stage the house so buyers can see all that it has to offer.

Break Out the Broom
Have you ever walked into a dirty or cluttered space and felt good? Of course not! So when you’re selling your home keep buyers’ impressions in mind as walk through the house. Are there piles of stuff lying around everywhere? Make your home inviting and welcoming with the simple step of cleaning it up, making it fresh and allowing buyers to visualize their own lives in the space.

Don’t Go Into Overdrive
One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is to renovate, rebuild and remodel before selling their home. The problem with that is that buyers may or may not like your choices. Rather than the money being recovered in your sale price as you would have wanted, renovating often backfires and turns buyers off. No need for overkill – just sprucing up the place with some simple decorating and staging changes will do the trick. And if there is a serious need for updating – reflect it in the price so buyers can make their own design choices.


Aside from the obvious steps to take when preparing your home for sale – the most important thing you can do is to align yourself with a really strong real estate team that will get the job done! Contact us today for a free home value report and for a walk-through with some more suggestions for your home. Remember – Frank gets it done!

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's a Sellers Market in Southern California and That Means You Get Top Dollar

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Have you been sitting around waiting patiently to sell your home? For years now, we’ve been waiting for a better time in the market, a time when sellers can expect to get top dollar for their home. Well folks – the time is NOW! The SoCal real estate market is brimming with buyer activity and that can mean only one thing for sellers that are eager to cash in on the opportunity. That’s right! The market is rife with opportunity for sellers to get the most for their home and with the market as it is right now, they are getting it done in an easy, hassle-free way.

Ninety Percent of Homes Sold Are Getting Multiple Offers
Believe it or not, nine out of ten homes sold in the month of March & April drew multiple bids. In some cases, especially for homes that are priced right, in good shape and in a great location – as many as 5, 10 or more buyers were vying for the same property. As a seller, the advantage of this kind of housing shortage is that YOU get to pocket a LOT more money than otherwise. Seems like yesterday when we had an overabundance of homes and not enough buyers out there looking.

Many Sellers These Days End Up Over Asking Price

Another benefit of a seller’s market that we’re seeing a lot of our clients enjoy is MORE MONEY! When you have multiple people interested in your home, of course you can expect them to drive the price up as they compete against each other. This is great for our clients because you can expect to yield a LOT more than you had expected in the first place!

If you are in an equity position on a home in Southern California and selling may be something you are considering – it’s critical to align yourself with a top-notch, experienced, go-getter team to get the job done and get you the most money! Frank Del Rio & Associates is THE professional team to get it done. If you or anyone you know, whether a friend, family member, neighbor, or someone in your social community, is looking to sell or buy a home – let us know today.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Waiting for the Market to Turn? It HAS Turned and Now is THE Time to Sell!

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Just a few short years ago most of us could not have seen this coming but here we are today, at the cusp of the second quarter in 2013 and our housing market is completely changed. In fact, whereas just a short time ago sellers couldn’t get enough buyers to come through their homes, now buyers are the ones struggling to find the home of their dreams.

Sellers Enjoying a Lot More Control in the Marketplace
We are seeing multiple offers, price battles and homes selling in record time.
Buyers are competing against each other like we haven’t seen in ages and that usually means one trying to upstage the other’s offer. We are seeing fewer seller concessions requested at times and in some cases, buyers are willing to forego some contingencies on their offers.

So if you have been on the fence about selling your home, consider putting it on the market now. Not only are homeowners getting at or more than list price in many cases, but also buyers are the ones pulling out all the stops to engage sellers’ interest.

Buyer Demand Expected to Stay High Through Summer
How long will this last? No one can say but we can tell you that right now our inventory of homes available for sale is far lower than the demand for well-priced quality homes located in good locations.

Contact us today if you’d like to experience this strong sellers’ marketplace!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Online Real Estate Resources Can Cost Home Buyers and Sellers Tens of Thousands!

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These days, who doesn’t want to find out information instantly? The truth is that with the technology available to us, we’ve become accustomed to finding things out – NOW. Well, when it comes to buying and selling homes there are lots of resources available online and they all provide that instant gratification. The question is, “how accurate are they?”

To help answer this and to help save our clients money, we pulled together some excellent examples of recent values available on Zillow to show you just how much money you stand to lose if basing your decisions on some of these resources.

I’m going to give you some specific examples so you can see. Here in North Orange County, a home in La Habra on Country Hills Dr that sold for $575,000. The Zillow estimate was $555,000. That is a big difference.  We have a house in Fullerton on Clear Creek Dr. The Zillow estimate was $631,000. The house was listed for $700,000 and sold in 9 days. So they missed it by about 69,000.

We have a home in Upland on Wilson Ave that Sold for $585,000 but Zillow was showing it for $550,000. One Home in Diamond Bar’s Exclusive “The Country” Community was listed on Zillow for $1,287,000 and it actually sold for $1,450,000. So Zillow missed it by $163,000.  

At the end of the day, they mean well, but Zillow is really a tool to drive people to the website. They earn money that way. People trying to save money by using Zillow for evaluations are really doing themselves a disservice and potentially costing themselves tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are better off to hire either a real estate agent to sell or an appraiser to give them an actual value.

Mortgage Lenders Online Lure Buyer With “Low Rates” Then Pile On Hidden Fees

Online mortgage lenders are also a source for homebuyers. These companies tend to bring in leads by heavily marketing very low rates but then slapping buyers with other hidden fees and costs that often offset those low rates. What’s more, these businesses are usually not local and the level of customer service is lacking. In our many years of living and working in our surrounding communities, we have developed longstanding strong relationships with quality core members of the housing and mortgage industry.

Remember, online resources are great for a basic feel of our marketplace but if you turn to these venues to save money, you will likely end up saving less. For an accurate, customized one-on-one consultation with our office, contact us today. We will gladly connect you with our long-standing preferred partners in the housing and mortgage industry. The knowledge and experience that you get from working with a real estate agent cannot be compared to any online real estate service. Contact us today – we look forward to working with you! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Seven Things You Can Do to Help Your Appraiser Come Up With a Strong Number

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These days, a lot depends on how an appraiser thinks your home (or the one you are purchasing) is valued. Whether you are having an appraisal done to appease the lender for a new purchase or if you are getting your existing home refinanced – it is very important the numbers line up. If the sale price/refinance amount does not line up with what an appraiser thinks the home is valued at – you can expect to face some pretty hefty challenges.

So to help make the appraisal process as positive and frankly, as much in your favor as possible, here are some tips to get the ball rolling in the right direction:

Request a Local Appraiser
Lenders commission independent companies to go out and evaluate homes, then provide them with reports. Many of these companies are regionally based or in some cases national firms. By requesting your lender to hire a local person, you can count on that appraiser to provide a more accurate number.

Don’t Hesitate to Make Their Job Easier
Provide as much information as possible, including area comparable properties, well-documented evidence of all improvements made to the home and other helpful items such as blueprints or recent surveys, etc. Not only will this make their job easier, but also it will help to support your case on why the home should be valued higher than if they did not take those things into consideration.

Renovate and Remodel Carefully
Whenever considering a remodel project on your home, consider the potential return on investment for each project. By far, kitchens and bathrooms yield the strongest return on dollars spent for improvements.

Keep Up-To-Date With Citywide Improvements
If you know of any new developments, projects and citywide improvement schemes, share them with your appraiser. Current knowledge of these things will only help to enhance your appraiser’s valuation of your property, keeping in mind that these things typically bring up the value of a home.

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Just like a homebuyer or anyone else that walks through a home, there is a lot to be said for perceived value. An easy way to steer your appraiser’s attention to the more attractive features of your home is to be careful not to let them be distracted with unsightly aspects. Keep your spaces clear, clutter-free and updated. Most appraisers do not spend too much time in a home and first impressions can do a lot to influence an appraiser’s opinion of a property.

Don’t Hover But Be Available
In case the appraiser has any questions, it is a good idea to be around to be able to answer them. But it is just as important not to hover and crowd around the appraiser, rather give them space to do their job without feeling cornered. They will appreciate this and also likely be more lenient when not stressed during an evaluation.

Know the Difference Between Above and Below Grade Square Footage
Just as certain improvements to a property yield a higher ROI, it is important to keep an eye on value as it translates through above grade changes verses lower level enhancements. In other words, keep in mind that a finished basement will get you a certain percentage back on the money you put into it, but the end value will not be impacted as much as had you expanded the main levels of the home.
Keep in mind, as our housing market continues to improve – we will tend to see more and more appraisals that may not reflect upon the current trends. This is primarily as a result of them using past sold data that may easily be a fair amount off from today’s prices.

For help with finding good comparable properties, rather than relying on outdated data from the Internet, contact us today. And as always, we welcome the opportunity to serve your every real estate need.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Frank Del Rio Reveals His Top Five Real Estate Predictions for 2013

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We have seen a lot of changes on the real estate horizon lately and it’s been a rollercoaster ride for many in our region. But now, as we fast approach the first quarter of 2013, things are looking good. Here are my top five predictions for the coming year and why I feel they may come true.

Home Prices Expected to Rise

Though we may not see this trend evenly spread throughout our entire region, for the most part many neighborhoods will experience a rise in home prices. This is in part due to the number of cash buyers plus buyers that are buying as a result of today’s very low interest rates. Both these factors will help to propel the upswing in our housing prices.

New Construction Makes a Comeback

For years now we have not been seeing a lot of new builds in the area. This is because of the higher cost of materials versus the lower cost of labor and also the sheer magnitude of resale inventory on the market. Today, the situation seems to be changing rapidly. As we move further into 2013 I expect to see a lot more building take place. With banks willing to lend money again, buyers are finally jumping off the fence to build their dream homes.

Short Sales Will Take Over the Distressed Property Market

Gone will be the days of excessive foreclosures on the market, rather now we will see a lot more short sales taking place. The expense involved for a bank to litigate a repossessed home is astronomical and banks prefer to avoid owning homes. The short sale process allows for a win-win situation for all plus the financial ramifications of doing a short sale can once again be avoided with the extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act.

Inventory Will Remain At Its Lowest In Several Years
With reduced inventory, comes heightened buyer demand and of course the more demand there is the higher sellers can expect to yield on the sale of their homes. Sellers in our area are finally able to enjoy being in control, particularly for those that have homes in great condition and in great locations.

Sellers Will Reap the Benefits of Multiple Offers and Price Wars

Along with that reduced inventory will be more of a strained situation for buyers, resulting in multiple offers and price wars. Homes that are priced right to begin with, especially homes that are staged properly and located in desirable areas will almost immediately enjoy more attention than others in the area.
Keep in mind this is just the beginning of our spring season in real estate. As we move closer to the second quarter we can expect even more activity. With the threat of prices rising and uncertainty as to just how long our historically low interest rates will last – buyers are very eager.

If you would like more information on these points or if you prefer a customized consultation regarding real estate in your desired areas, contact us today. We look forward to helping you successfully achieve your real estate goals.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Real Estate News – Extended Mortgage Debt Relief Act, PMI Tax Relief and Capital Gains Tax Rates

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Now that we are well into 2013, there will be some changes to our real estate outlook with some familiar programs back in action. With all the talk about the impending Fiscal Cliff, it is no wonder that homeowners everywhere are wondering how the outcome will impact them individually. Here are three recent changes and/or updates to the programs available out there that will have a significant impact on our marketplace this year and moving forward.

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act Extended Through 2013
On the minds of many homeowners that have mortgages falling short of the current value of their homes, the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act was set to expire on December 31, 2012. Among the many issues discussed within Congress during the last few hours of 2012 was the extension period of this important tax relief for distressed homeowners. Primarily as a means to help consumers faced with hardships overcome their financial difficulties when they incur forgiven debt – the Act serves to waive tax implications on what otherwise would be considered taxable income.

Private Mortgage Insurance Tax Relief Now Applies to Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013
Each year millions of homeowners look forward to the tax relief that comes with being able to write off their private mortgage insurance premiums. By the end of 2012, no one was sure the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 would be extended to include the coming year. Once again, at the final hours of negotiations the Act was extended through fiscal year 2013 to allow homeowners paying private mortgage insurance to deduct that amount when filing their income taxes.

Capital Gains Tax Rates Increased from 15% to 20%
A topic of confusion for many, the capital gains tax increase set for higher income levels is more lenient than most people realize. Though the theory is that this increase in tax impacts individuals and households with higher income levels, the truth is the income and gains cap is relatively high. The capital gains tax increase will only apply to individuals earning an Adjusted Gross Income of $400,000 or more. Furthermore, people in these income brackets will incur the capital gains tax only on income earned above and beyond the cap which is $250,000 or more for individuals and $500,000 or higher for households.
If you would like to discuss these or any other issues in the real estate marketplace or if you are considering buying or selling a home – contact us today! We would love to help make your real estate dreams become a reality!