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Home Buying Strategy

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How to Stack the Odds in Your Favor When Buying a Home

How to Stack the Odds in Your Favor When Buying a Home

What if I told you it is not difficult to increase your success in finding just the home you want to buy, and in a neighborhood, you want to live? With a little preparation on your part, you can stack the odds in your favor. And you can do this wherever you live.

To be the most successful, you will first need to provide the most detail about what matters to you in a home. The more specific you are in what you want, the more successful we will be in finding your new home.

Let’s say you are looking for a pool home. First, choose the town and then the neighborhood in that city you want to live. Next, find out where in that neighborhood is the highest concentration of pool homes. Another example would be if you are looking for a favorite style of home. Perhaps you want a house built in a retro design, or by an individual builder. Again, decide on the city you want to live in, look for the neighborhood with the greatest concentration of that style, and increase your odds of success.

This kind of detail is just what we, as REALTORS, need and appreciate from our clients. We want to know what matters to you and what you want. Ultimately, it helps us, help you find your new home. When you know the detail that matters to you, you will have better success in your search. And you will even enjoy the search because you are looking in your chosen neighborhood for what you want.

What if you discover the inventory in your favorite area is low or non-existent? Don’t give up hope! Did you know that a motivated agent will knock on doors in your chosen area to see if anyone would like to sell their home to you?

Figure out what you want, where you want it, and work closely with your realtor for the best possible success. If you are specific, we can help you find your new home. I look forward to hearing from you, and learning the detail you are looking for, so we can partner together for your future success.

To learn more about how to stack the odds in your favor, visit me and get a free home buyers strategy guide & consultation,  or call/text (310) 919-8375 email Laura@LauraTsellsRE.com


Pool Lighting, because you should look fabulous even when swimming!

Pool Lighting – because you should look fabulous even when swimming!

If you have ever been a guest at a large resort or hotel, you will remember the moment you first saw the pool or pools after sunset. The vision is breathtaking. The landscaping, walkways, waterfalls, swaying trees, echoes of running water, playful shadows, and lighting is mesmerizing. We all know the draw of this enchanted environment. As we stroll through, the ambiance and atmosphere are engaging. Resorts and hotels inspire homeowners to entertain the most exotic of ideas for their swimming pool home.

A pool without landscaping looks incomplete and unfinished. The anticipated pleasure of a well-appointed pool is hard to match. The perfect balance of lighting, landscape, structures and seating will transform a swimming pool into a swimming experience.

One of the most favorite ways to add to the environment, pleasure, and expectation of enjoying a pool is lighting. The core reason we enjoy and are drawn to nighttime, outdoor lighting could be debated. However, we all acknowledge that night light promises warmth, community, and celebration. Warm light decreases the sense of loneliness, and will even contribute to the feeling of safety and security. Light draws people and community together. And community leads to comfort, fun, and pleasure.

Today, the options for outdoor lighting are extensive. Lights can be embedded in the walls and floor of the pool. They can be installed around the interior at ground level. Lights added to steps, waterfalls, and fountains result in water being fully illuminated by white or colored lights. Romantic candle lighting, tiki torches, and fire pits add much-appreciated enjoyment. Who doesn’t think of smores when you see a fire pit?

Whimsical lights include options like starry images from fiber optics and the reflective warmth of LEDs. There are many varieties of floating, glowing, globe lights. Floats like noodles include lighting. Other options are solar and permanent lights that shine onto the surface of the pool. Lights can twinkle, pulse, change color, grow and decrease in intensity and much more. They may be controlled by remotes, timers or traditional switches. The limits of your personal light show are defined only by your budget and interest.

Lighting featured on or near seating areas, hot tubs, trees, and outside kitchens add new, emotional intrigue and allure to the entire setting.

It is not uncommon for designs to include rope or border lighting to light the way on pathways and steps – providing safety and confidence when guests walk. Design can be advanced enough to define the boundaries of the landscaped area intended for evening entertaining. Edges of a well-lit area invite guests to remain within the lighted areas for whatever reasons the host may decide.

Lights are something that we, as human beings, choose to live with and enjoy. Light mixed with water and nature is one of the most intriguing and lovely combinations that we can experience. Exotic pools and landscape are inspired by old time swimming holes, tropical islands, movie sets, and lazy rivers. While those whose budgets are larger than most, will have all the bells and whistles; a beautiful, inviting, romantic poolside is easily attainable on the most limited of resources. Google and Pinterest are perfect places to begin creating your wish list and bumping your list up against your budget. Plans can be completed on your own, or with a landscaper experienced in poolside development.

And for those of you who have not yet experienced the pleasure, fun, and thrill of a private pool in your home; be assured that I am available to show you pool homes that just may fit within your budget. Many of my clients are surprised to see that a pool home is not just for someone else, but also for them. Additionally, I have access to some of the most exclusive pool homes in Pasadena California. The landscaping and environment in these select properties may surpass the most exclusive spas and resorts. Consider how exotic and luxurious your life will feel with poolside access in your backyard!

To learn more about homes with great swimming pools visit me at Laura Sells Pool Homes.  Or contact me at (310) 919-8375 Laura@LauraTsellsre.com

Swimming – It Does a Body Good!

pasadena-poolSwimming – It Does a Body Good!

Our home is the stage where we live our days. It is where we raise our families, feel our best, and make memories. We want those we love to feel just as good when they are with us. One of the most desired ways to make a home inviting, is for it to include outdoor living, and especially a swimming pool. The luxury and pleasure of a pool are limited only by the time you have to spend around and in them. A pool will transform even the loveliest of backyards into a tropical oasis.

And this oasis is a source of pleasure and fun that few can resist. Everyone looks up at the sudden sound of someone jumping cannonball into the pool, the giggles of small children, or the rhythm of a swimmer’s laps.

The pleasure of a backyard paradise is hard to beat. You will spend hours laughing, resting, reading, chatting, eating, and repeating. Everyone needs time to step off of their regular lives. Having a vacation lifestyle just outside your backdoor promises you hours of enjoyment and memories.

Swimming – It Does a Body Good
From the advanced swimmer, to those who choose to jog or walk in place, a swimming pool provides a safe and efficient opportunity to add fitness to fun. Simply treading water can provide relief from injury or physically overdoing it. Getting into the pool provides everyone with an opportunity to add healthy activity to their day.

Just for the Health of it
The CDC reports just two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses.
The Road to a Friend’s Pool is Never Long
Your guests will never stop appreciating your pool as a destination for relaxing and visiting with close friends and family.

Keep Calm and Swim On
As we have all experienced, just stepping into a pool and taking a few deep breaths, provides almost instantaneous calm and a peace.

Why go away when your backyard is your favorite retreat? Host birthdays, gatherings, family reunions, even a pool-side wedding.

Clean with Envy
A private pool allows you to be in control of its cleanliness.
No More Schlepping!
A home pool provides the pleasure img_2617of water, recreation, community, and fun – all without the traffic and long drive to the beach. No more packing up the car and forgetting essentials. No more tears about favorite goggles or floaties left behind.

Shoot for the Moon
Once everyone has gone home, you and the one you love can enjoy midnight swims under the warmth of romantic moonlight and summer breezes.

A swimming pool, at your home, will provide you with endless hours of pleasure and relaxation. You work hard. Having an oasis all your own, and sharing with those you enjoy and love, is something you deserve. And the pleasure you share and enjoy will build memories over the years to come.

To learn more about great swimming pools for under $1 million dollars visit us at Laura Sells Pool Homes.  Or contact us at (310) 919-8375 Laura@LauraTsellsre.com


If a home is sitting on the market longer than the projected days on market it could mean you should look into how you have it priced, maintenance issues or unprofessional photography.

From a professional Realtors point of view, here are 5 reasons why your house may sit on the market.

1. Pricing: placing a price on a home is no different than any other kind of product. The buyer needs to see where the value is and feel they’re getting their monies worth. Choose your price carefully, and compare what your home offers against others that are currently on the market in your area. Those homes that are currently listed on the market for sale are your competition and what the buyers are comparing your home to. Keep in mind that your best bet might be to price it in the majority of prices and not at the top end.

img_26462. First Impression: Is your home wearing it’s Sunday best? You only get one chance to make a first impression, as I’m sure you’ve heard, so is your home dressed to impress? Make sure to declutter, put away any unnecessary items neatly (buyers will open the closets) and create visually appealing rooms. Minor staging could make a huge difference! Consider consulting a stager to find out how they can enhance your home to sell fast for more money. (for great staging tips check out toritoth.com)

3. Professional Photography: This has to be the cherry on top! It’s so important to market your home with professional photography. Ask anyone today where they are looking when they are searching for a home and chances are they’ll say “online”. If the photos look fantastic, they will be lined up to get in on open house day. If you need more validation consider how major companies showcase their products to consumers. In order words, they don’t hire their nephew and his iPhone who needs a part time job between college semesters. They know that great advertising & marketing will create the type of buzz they need to sell, sell, sell. So, don’t cheap out on the photos, it’s the first thing buyers see online.

4. Maintenance issues: While sometimes these small projects can seem minor and evoke the attitude of “it’s no big deal”, but the buyer is counting up all those little projects that will cost them more money and that could mean a lower priced offer for you. Make sure small projects like unfinished molding or minor painting is complete before you open home to buyers.

5. Timing: Keep a close eye on your local market. Your neighbors house could help or hurt your sale if they beat you to the market or sell for an unfavorable price. It’s best to budget 3 to 4 weeks to get your home in shape and ready to show. Make sure you discuss advertising and marketing strategies with your Realtor before hiring them. If their marketing “pitch” is lack luster, you may want to interview another professional until you find one that wows you.

For more information on how to sell your home for the most money in the fastest time, visit me at www.LauraTwors.com.

How Much House Can I Afford to Buy?

Are you a home buyer?  How do you know how much house you can afford to buy?  The most obvious answer to this question is you need to talk to a lender. Your credit score and credit history coupled with your income and the types of debts that you carry will dictate how much the lender is willing to lend you. Once you know how much mortgage the lender has approved you for, you can then start your house hunt with confidence and enthusiasm.

If you are a new house hunter you should know that lenders will approve you based on your credit worthiness, so the better your credit history and score are, the better chance you have of qualifying for the best loan program that your lender has to offer. You should also know that you may qualify for more than you are willing to spend. What do I mean by this? Well, if you’re like most of my clients, the number that they lender has quoted them is higher than their comfort zone. If this happens to you ask the lender to provide you with a revised purchase price amount based on the monthly number you are comfortable with. AKA: have the lender back you into the mortgage by telling him how much you want to spend monthly – all in (mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, HOA fees). Once your lender knows what your target monthly payment is he can then provide you with a purchase price amount that will equal your preferred monthly budget.

But what if your credit history and score are less than stellar? What is your next step? I would recommend a qualified credit clean up program that can review your history and provide high quality advice as to how you can remove any blemishes on your report and put you on the road to increasing your score. Email me laura.twors@thepartnerstrust.com for a licensed qualified credit clean up company.

Be prepared when you call. You should expect your lender to ask you for your last two years of tax returns, recent paystub or w-2 forms and bank statements. Once you have scanned and emailed this information to them it could take a week or two for them to get back to you with an answer. Make sure they know that you are actively looking at homes and that a timely answer is what you are looking for.

Remember it’s best not to guess how much you can afford. The sooner you get this task completed the better off you will be. If you are in the Los Angeles real estate market, your offer to purchase a home must be accompanied by a lenders approval letter along with proof of funds for your down payment. So, until you have that approval letter in hand it is almost pointless to start searching. I hope this information was helpful!

Feel free to connect with me with questions at www.LauraTwors.com Happy house hunting!

5 Tips to Help You Make a Smooth Move!

5 Tips to Help You Make a Smooth Move!

These five tips should aid you in having a smooth move.  And no, I’m not talking about the herbal tea! Being prepared for moving your life from one home to another will take you a long way.  Here are my top five tips to help you out.

1. Research Moving Companies! Make sure they have decent reviews by others that have used them. Ask about the their insurance coverage, and make sure they are licensed and bonded. They shouldn’t have a problem providing you a copy of their license, insurance policy declaration page with your contract agreement if you choose to hire them. If they put up a fuss, maybe you should look into another company.

2. Be Prepared! Pre plan and know where the moving truck will park upon arrival to your new location. If you live in a building or are moving to one, don’t forget about reserving or making special arrangements for the elevator with the building management or HOA. Many times, there will be a moving protocol that all residents in the building must follow. And finally, tell your moving company ahead of time about any bulky or awkward sized furniture that you may have. This will help keep the movers on an efficient time schedule because they will have brought the appropriate materials for those items.

3. Tell the Movers What is Valuable! While you would think this is a no brainer, you’d be surprised how your opinion of what is fragile differs from what the moving crew consider fragile to be. Be proactive, and avoid unnecessary damages by communicating up front with the movers to ensure your valuable items get handled with care.

4. Label Your Boxes! Another one where you’re probably thinking to yourself, duh! But again, think back to your last move. Are you still looking for the top to that sugar bowl, or those tiny folks used for seafood? I am. I’ve learned that it’s best to take the extra time to not only label the box for the room but also all the items that are inside. In addition, having the boxes labeled on the side of the box helps the movers deliver them to the correct area of the house. Placing the label on the table of the box helps you know what’s inside be for you open it up and rummage through it.

5. Stay Out of the Way! You hired professional movers, let them do their job. You will have enough to do with packing and unpacking so no need to break your back trying to help lift and move too!



If you want to know more about me or the services that I provide, visit my blog LauraTsellsRE or my website LauraTwors.com

February 2018
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