[schema type="organization" orgtype="LocalBusiness" url="http://4salebydonna.com" name="Real Estate Agent Donna Baker" description="Real Estate Agent showing homes for sale and available real estate in Monrovia, Pasadena, Arcadia the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California." city="Monrovia" state="Ca" postalcode="91016" email="donna@4salebydonna.com " phone="(626) 408-7766 "]

What on Earth is the SGV “Fixer-upper Wow Factor”?

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You know what the “wow factor” is for any local San Gabriel Valley (SGV)  home that’s for sale—it’s the extra something that’s highly desirable and unique to the property. It could be a three-story entry hall, or a game room that’s large enough for a pool table and a conversation pit. It might be a home theater with four stepped rows of velvet-upholstered movie house seats. It might be a bricked backyard barbecue arena, with a step-down standing pit which puts the Chef of the day at eye level with the seated guests.

And you also know what a fixer-upper is. It’s any property that is up for sale at a bargain price due to maintenance that is left for the new owner to worry about. A Monrovia fixer-upper is an opportunity for prospective buyers to become owners of homes that would otherwise be out of their price range. Fixer-uppers attract prospects who are ready to dig into projects that take varying degrees of elbow grease, imagination—and also some extra cash.

There’s an element of risk that’s usually attached to a fixer-upper, because any major maintenance or remodeling project can run into unknown snags. So fixer-upper buyers should also possess some degree of courage!

Sooooo, what in the world could the “fixer-upper wow factor” mean?

For one thing, any home that’s listed for sale that has the ‘fixer-upper wow factor’ is a rare bird indeed. It is, as the title conveys, a residence in need of restoration—but which also has a design element (or elements) which are uniquely captivating. For prospective buyers who find those features intriguing, such a property can prove pretty irresistible. The price puts it within reach—and the design is better than anything they had been hoping to find!

In other words, a home that has the ‘fixer-upper wow factor’ is, potentially, a trap.

This is not to say that such a property cannot be a true bargain; lucky find; etc. Indeed, for the right buyer, it certainly can be. The caveat is that a fixer-upper with wow factor features can lure in prospects who aren’t really prepared for the ‘fixing up’ part. If they lack the extra funds it may take to bring the property back up to snuff—or lack the know-how, patience, or time such a project requires—they might be charmed into biting off more than they can chew. With indigestible results: a perpetually-unfinished property characterized more ‘yccch’ than ‘wow.’

Luckily, most prospective buyers who fall into this category get over the wow factor after a second or third visit—or after a discussion with their Realtor®—or after taking a look at the home inspector’s report. For those who are ready to dig into the fixer-upperness, they can end up with a wow of a home…at a wow of a price!

There aren’t a surplus of SGV fixer-uppers with wow on the market right now—but when you take today’s mortgage interest rates into account, there are plenty of wow-producing good bargains: call me!

El Niño Winter Weather – It’s coming your way

San Gabriel Valley Homeowners Prepare for an El Niño Winter

This year it might be prudent for area homeowners to mentally remove a month or two from their home maintenance timetables. The reason comes in two familiar words (and they aren’t English): El Niño.

According to the government’s NOAA climate forecasters, there is “an approximately 95% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-2016…” Since that is definitely our area’s hemisphere, they’re speaking to us.  They answer the question, “How strong is this El Niño now?” with, “it’s pretty strong.”  In August, it ranked second all-time (behind August 1997) in the Equatorial Southern Oscillation Index, which is one way of measuring its power. El Niño is the condition where weather shifts occur due to a change in warm ocean currents in the Pacific.

What this means to area homeowners is as unpredictable as…well, as the weather! What is acknowledged is that normal patterns can be disrupted to varying degrees. The reason we can never get much clarity about how it’s going to affect us is that (unsatisfying though this answer may be), winter could be markedly more—or markedly less—stormy than usual. Since the maximum effect is expected in late fall through December (hence the Christmas allusion of the ‘El Niño’ name), local homeowners might consider getting on with their winter maintenance preparations earlier rather than later.

So here—a bit earlier than usual—are some regular fall maintenance heads-ups:

  • Check and fill the exterior gaps where critters, bugs, and cold air might enter
  • Chimney maintenance: if you sweep once a year, schedule now
  • Rain gutter check: even though leaves haven’t begun to fall in earnest, cleaning out the mucky old debris now will make later leaf removal a breeze
  • Inspect the roof: if damage has happened, now is the time to schedule repair
  • Ditto the driveway: fill cracks before winter
  • Now is the perfect time to clean and stain the deck. Depending on how much sunlight it gets, it may need to be renewed annually (no matter what the stain can says!)
  • Replace worn weather stripping around doors and windows—your winter heating bills will reward the effort.

As a check of comments on the weather sites confirms, local homeowners have differing memories of how previous El Niños have affected them. But since we are now officially in an El Niño year—it can’t be a bad idea to prepare ahead of time (and if you have real estate plans in the offing, now would also be a good time to give me a call)!

My job is a pleasure

Putting together  sellers and buyers for a happy result makes me feel grateful for my career. Yesterday we closed escrow on a historic Monrovia Mission Style bungalow built in 1925.  The seller asked for my advice on what needed to be done minimally to get the house ready for sale. Understandably, he wanted to keep the costs low yet effective. My experience has taught me how to get the best bang-for-your-buck in preparing a home for sale! He followed all of my advice … with a superb result. We sold the home for $18,000 over asking price in less than 3 days. A historic home must be prepared and marketed differently than you see on all of the Home and Garden shows on cable television.  Call me to come see yours and I can advise you.

The buyer was looking to purchase her first home and had done all of her homework. She had been pre-qualified by a lender and had all of her ducks-in-a-row, so to speak, financially, to make her offer the strongest of them all. Within 3 days of listing the property we had several offers in hand. I love the moment when I can present all of the offers and watch to see which one the seller chooses.

As with many transactions, we ran into difficulties when it came to repairs and termite damage. Buyer and seller were each respectful to the other and each gave a little to come to a compromise. Not all Realtors can achieve success bringing buyers and seller together in the negotiation of repair items. I have a strong track record of getting clients through tough negotiations once a sale is underway.

At the house yesterday there were hugs all around. I am so happy for both the seller and the buyer.

Spanish/Mission Revival Bungalow

Spanish/Mission Revival Bungalow sold for $18,000 over asking price in 3 days. ($597,000.)

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