Should Sellers Bother Staging a Vacant Home?

Staging a home in Malibu

There’s a lot to do when it comes to getting a home ready for sale, and staging it is one of them. 

Obviously, a home that’s properly furnished with pieces that are appropriate for the size of all rooms and decorated with tasteful accessories and neutral colors will show a lot better than a home that looks disheveled. 

Buyers are more inclined to put in an offer on a home that they can envision themselves living in and suits their lifestyle, but sellers need to work to help buyers visualize the space as such.

But while it makes sense to stage a home that’s not furnished appropriately or that’s decked out in loud colors, is it necessary to stage a home that’s vacant?

Absolutely. Staging a vacant home is just as important – if not more important – than staging a home that’s already furnished. Here are some reasons why. 

Make Rooms Appear Larger

If your home is lacking in square footage, you’ll want to do what you can to make principal rooms appear larger than what they really are. But rooms that are vacant will actually seem smaller, which is the complete opposite effect of what you want to achieve. 

Further, without adding furniture, buyers may not think that their furniture will fit properly if there’s nothing in the home to show them that the space is large enough to accommodate. Even the slightest doubt about a home can scare buyers away. 

Instead, furnish your vacant home with pieces that will show buyers how a full set of furniture can fit nicely in the space. 

Help Buyers Visualize the Purpose of a Space

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The majority of buyers are unable to visualize what a space can look like if it’s not furnished and decorated for them. Not only that, but an empty house seems cold and unwelcoming, which will do little to help buyers develop an emotional connection to it. 

As a seller, you’d be doing yourself a favor by outfitting your vacant home with furniture and accessories that will help show buyers exactly what the home can look like when it’s all decked out. Proper staging can also help make the home seem warmer and more inviting, which can go a long way at helping buyers develop an emotional attachment to the home and entice them to put in an offer. 

Make Online Images More Appealing

Most buyers start their search for a new home on the internet, and they’re usually enticed to book a showing based on the images they see online. A home that is effectively staged will show much better in photos compared to a vacant property. 

Many buyers might not even bother scheduling a visit if they’re not impressed with a listing’s images. The last thing you want to do is lose out on a potential buyer before they even visit your home. And to make sure you get as many eyes on your house, make sure not to leave it vacant.

Draw Attention Away From Flaws and Onto Positive Features

No home is entirely perfect, including brand new properties. There are always flaws to be found, but you don’t necessarily want them to be highlighted. Yet that’s exactly what you’ll be doing if you leave your home empty.

Vacant spaces have a way of magnifying flaws, yet well-furnished rooms tend to do the opposite. Not only that, but staged and furnished rooms can also highlight the positive features in your home, which is exactly what you want to do to impress buyers. Proper home staging can help showcase the characteristics of the home that you want to show off while downplaying imperfections. 

Create a Lifestyle

Home staging isn’t necessarily all about decorating a home, but it’s also about creating a lifestyle that buyers are looking for. They want to find a home that caters to the lifestyle they want. Home stagers know exactly what the buyer demographic is in your area and will cater specifically to them with their furniture and decor choices. 

But vacant houses lack the ability to showcase a specific lifestyle. As already mentioned, buyers need a little help envisioning how a space can look and how they can use it. But if the home is vacant, there’s nothing to interest them or help them visualize how the home can give them the lifestyle they might not even know they want.  

Sell Faster

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It’s been shown time and again that homes that are professionally staged sell faster than homes that are not. If selling quickly is on your agenda, then staging it might be something worth trying. 

The longer your home sits on the market waiting for a willing buyer, the more money you’ll be dishing out in carrying costs. Plus, your listing will be at an increased risk of becoming stale, which can eventually lead to the need for a price reduction.

Sell For More Money

Not only can a staged home sell faster, but it can sell for more money too. While it might cost a little bit of money to pay a professional to have your home staged, you can easily recoup all of that money spent – and then some – when you sell at a higher price point. 


The Bottom Line

You’d be doing yourself a disservice by leaving your home vacant when selling. You’ll lose out on the chance to help buyers develop an emotional connection to the home and help them envision what life can be like living there. Most importantly, a vacant home can take longer to sell and may even cause you to leave money on the table. 

By investing a little money and effort up front, you can turn your vacant home into one that will impress buyers and encourage them to put in a good offer sooner rather than later.

Take a look out our concierge program, helping you sell your home faster and for more money by covering the cost of services to prepare your home for market.

Spring Has Finally Sprung in Los Angeles Housing Markets

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Executive Summary:

  • Home sales activity in Los Angeles finally picked up pace in April, up 1 percent after 15 months of year-over-year declines.

  • The increase is driven by more sales of lower price segments, with sales below $1 million up 2 percent after 19 months of declines and sales priced between $1 million and $2 million up 8 percent. Higher-priced sales continue to trend lower off last year’s peaks.

    • The increase in activity is mostly coming from the East side of Los Angeles, including NELA, San Gabriel, and the East Valley, but also Beverly Hills on the West side.

    • Malibu continues to struggle after the wildfires, although demand for homes priced below $1 million has picked up. The region also suffers from a lack of inventory as it deals with fire lots.

  • While the number of homes for sale is tracking 10 percent above last year, homes have been sitting longer on the market. New listings in April declined 2 percent year-over-year.

  • Nevertheless, home buying activity is picking up pace with units under contract up 8 percent year-over-year in April, marking the second consecutive increase after a year of declines.

  • Largest increase in contracts is among homes priced below $1 million, particularly in Eastern parts of the city, namely NELA, South of 210, the East side, Foothills, and Pasadena, but also in Beverly Hills.

After doldrum housing market activity in Los Angeles through the first quarter of 2019, April has finally brought some cheer. Number of homes sold compared to last year increased 1 percent overall, mostly driven by increases in sales of homes priced between $1 and $2 million (up 8 percent), and sales of homes priced below $1 million (up 2 percent). Higher priced homes (above $2 million) continue to trend below last year’s levels, but are still ahead compared to 2017 and 2016. 2018 saw a surge in higher-priced sales activity. Figure 1 illustrates trends in year-over-year changes of the number of homes sold by price range. Encouragingly, sales of homes priced below $2 million saw growth after an extended period of double-digit declines, especially among homes priced below $1 million which have been on a decline since July 2017.

Figure 1: Year-over-year change in number of homes sold by price range

Figure 1: Year-over-year change in number of homes sold by price range

Table 1 breaks down April year-over-year changes by community and shows a wide variation in April sales changes. Most of the overall increase was driven by more units sold in the East Valley, up 20 percent representing 45 more units than last year. Other areas with improved sales include Beverly Hills, where sales were up in most all price ranges, as well as East side communities such as South of 210, East side and Northeast LA (NELA). Many West side communities, on the other hand, saw fewer sales than last year, especially Malibu which posted a relatively larger 26 percent decline. DTLA showed a notable decline as well, though the area only recently saw an increase in for-sale inventory. Interesting to note, as well, is an increase in sales of homes priced between $1 million and $2 million, which are generally up in many local communities. This trend contrasts declines seen in other parts of the state, particularly the Bay Area.

Table 1

Table 1

Availability of for-sale inventory continues to trend above last year, with inventories 10 percent ahead of last April and all price ranges posting similar year-over-year differences. However, while there are more homes to choose from overall, these are not homes newly listed in April. In fact, new listings in April are below last year’s, suggesting that some of the homes that are still available for sale have been taking longer to sell. However, looking at where availability of homes fares better this year, Table 2 illustrates year-over-year changes in inventories by community and price range. Note that some areas have experienced very low inventories, accounting for larger percent increases.

Table 2

Table 2

Buyer retreat in the second half of 2018 led to slowing of price growth, from a 13 percent peak seen last April to no increase this year. Figure 2 illustrates median price trends (black line) and year-over-year changes in median prices (grey line). Median home prices peaked in June of last year at $960,000 and declined to $838,000 by year-end. Note that home prices follow seasonal patterns and generally peak in summer months. Price growth has been slowing since last spring. However, not all prices remained flat throughout Los Angeles. Table 2 summarizes year-over-year changes in median prices, along with median prices and the rate of buyer competition noted by percent of homes that sold over the asking price.

Figure 2

Figure 2

In April, median price growth picked up in Downtown LA and areas surrounding it, South of 210 and Eastside. Price growth was also up in South LA, Mid LA/Baldwin Hills, in addition to Brentwood. Generally, however, price growth remains relatively stronger in more affordable communities.

In addition, the last column in Table 3, which shows the share of homes that sold over asking price, suggests that buyer competition remains relatively stronger in areas northeast of DTLA where about half of homes sell over asking price.

Table 3

Table 3

Lastly, while the Los Angeles housing market is showing signs of buyer homecoming, April’s look into the increase in the number of homes under contract suggests strong homebuying months ahead. Figure 3 illustrates the year-over-year trend in the number of homes under contract in a given month. In April, contract activity jumped 13 percent compared to last April, the first such increase since spring of 2017.

Figure 3

Figure 3

Table 4 summarizes April year-over-year changes by region and price range. Overall, the number of homes under contract in April increased 13 percent compared to last April with many regions seeing the annual jump. Two areas showing relative weakness are Malibu, South LA, and a few West side communities.

The increase is particularly notable among homes priced below $1 million, which are 17 percent ahead of last year. In other words, there was a total of 2,646 homes under contract in April, up from 2,339 last April. Again, it is reassuring that buyer activity is increasing in lower price ranges, especially given the affordability concerns the region is facing. Northeastern communities seem to be seeing most of that increase, particularly areas around the East Valley, Foothills and NELA.

Table 4

Table 4


Original post on CompassCaliforniaBlog.com

5 Best Neighborhoods for Young Families in Los Angeles County

By Ben Holt

Looking to move to Los Angeles with your family? It won’t take you long to realize the City of Angels has a devilishly high number of neighborhoods to consider. You may experience sticker shock because home prices and rents are higher than in other parts of the country. But people here say this part of the country is well worth the price. You’re close to the beach, the mountains and the desert...and you’ve got excellent weather year-round to enjoy it all. there is some good news for home buyers since there's more housing inventory in 2019 than in 2018. That means sellers are having to make some concessions to sell their homes. To help you find the perfect place to call home, we’ve combed the city to find the five best neighborhoods for young families.


Glendale

The city of Glendale sits between Burbank and Pasadena, north of downtown L.A. Around 200,000 people live in Glendale. You can rest easy here: Glendale is on the FBI’s top 10 list of safest cities in America. You'll also find plenty of recreational opportunities with 50 public parks. It’s a shopping hotspot too. The Americana at Brand is a popular outdoor mall with shopping, dining, and entertainment. The Glendale Galleria offers three stories and 1.6 million square feet of retail space, making it the fourth largest shopping mall in Los Angeles County. Within Glendale, the San Rafael Hills neighborhood is popular with families. Niche ranks it as the top neighborhood for families in Glendale, with low crime and great schools. Crescenta Highlands is also a good choice. This middle-class neighborhood in north Glendale has parks, highly rated schools and is near the scenic Verdugo Mountains.

South Pasadena

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The affluent city of South Pasadena is between the much larger city of Pasadena and Los Angeles. While Pasadena is known for “The Big Bang Theory” and the Tournament of Roses Parade, South Pasadena is known for its small-town vibe. South Pasadena separated from Pasadena in the late 1800s, and it has preserved its late 19th and early 20th-century architecture. Nearly 26,000 people live here now. Families love it because it’s safe, clean and has outstanding schools. More than 96 percent of people living here have a high school degree or higher. Close to 35 percent of households have kids under the age of 18. The city is 10 miles northeast of downtown L.A., which means it’s a relatively quick commute. It’s also a short drive to get away from it all in the wilderness of the San Gabriel Mountains. These perks don’t come cheap: the median home price is $928,500. You get what you pay for. The home in this neighborhood are all in pristine condition with excellent landscaping, so resale values stay relatively high.

Miracle Mile

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Miracle Mile is a neighborhood within the city of Los Angeles. It lies just west of downtown L.A. and is a quick commute. It’s a residential community in the larger neighborhood of Mid-Wilshire (also called Midtown). It’s famous for “Museum Row,” which provides excellent educational opportunities for kids. Here you’ll find the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Craft and Folk Art Museum and the George C. Page Museum (La Brea Tar Pits). Kids find the latter museum delightful with its incredible fossil collection and life-sized models of prehistoric animals. Low crime rates and paved sidewalks make this a very kid-friendly area. It’s pricier than some neighborhoods, because of its proximity to downtown (the median home price is upward of $1.2 million). Duplexes are a popular option to save money and to give the kids a yard where they can play.

Sherman Oaks

Close to Bel Air but nowhere near as pricey, Sherman Oaks is a popular neighborhood of the San Fernando Vally area of Los Angeles. Sherman Oaks has a quiet, suburban, family-friendly feel. Crime is almost nonexistent, and like the other neighborhoods on this list, the schools are highly rated. There's plenty of shopping and dining, and you’ll likely be able to walk to them if you choose. Sherman Oaks is a quick commute for people working in the TV and film industry in Burbank. It’s also a quick drive to North Hollywood and attractions such as Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios.

Manhattan Beach 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include a family-friendly choice near the beach. Manhattan Beach is an excellent option. But hold your breath — and not because of the beach: The median home price here is around $2.4 million. 

About 74 percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the median annual income is $135,000.  The public school district ranks third in the state and there are a number of private schools as well. 

Manhattan Beach is home to one of the most glamorous gardens in L.A.: Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden. People embrace an active lifestyle, and life revolves around the beautiful beaches and California landscaping.  It’s also seen an uptick in upscale restaurants and bars in recent years, giving Manhattan Beach a vibrant nightlife for parents enjoying a night on the town. An added perk: it’s a popular filming spot for movies and television, so you’re likely to see celebrities.


With more than 470 neighborhoods in Los Angeles, finding a place to live can be daunting and exhausting. You can simplify the process by living near your place of employment. Don’t underestimate the traffic and the effect a long commute will have on the rest of your life. After that, it’s a matter of finding the neighborhood that’s the best fit for you and your family. With these suggestions, you’re one step closer to finding the place you and your family will love.


Ben Holt is a fresh air enthusiast and loves writing about it. Ben is always looking to make the most of a summer day, whether he is relaxing in his garden, hiking on an off-the-beaten-path trail or entertaining friends on his newly renovated patio.

Compass California honors International Women’s Day

Original post on blog.pacificunion.com >

Real estate: career runway for women

Few fields today offer more avenues for advancement than residential real estate. According to NAR, a full 63 percent of Realtors® are women. (When the organization was founded in 1908,  membership was all-male – a situation that changed little until the ‘50s.) In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a look at how women’s roles in real estate continue to grow.

Megan Whalen  made a name for herself in Santa Monica’s Sunset Park neighborhood and has since become one of the Westside’s top agents ,  currently operating as MW Partners. She has been recognized as one of America’s Best Real Estate Agents by Real Trends in 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.

Megan Whalen made a name for herself in Santa Monica’s Sunset Park neighborhood and has since become one of the Westside’s top agents, currently operating as MW Partners. She has been recognized as one of America’s Best Real Estate Agents by Real Trends in 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.


Real estate offers women many perks that other fields don’t, including control over their own schedules and the ability to work from home. Now, in today’s fast-paced, competitive marketplace, leaders are quickly learning how critical having a wider range of perspectives is to success.

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Many investors are demanding more diversity, too. As the industry places growing importance on women’s advancement, their careers are starting to gain momentum and include more prominent roles.

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin is one industry leader who’s never needed to be sold on the importance of women in his field. He grew up with a real estate agent mom, and watched as she searched for a brokerage firm that would give her the support she needed. “I’m proud that at Compass, we’re building the technology, marketing and community to allow my mom and people like her to be successful,” he says.

Inspired by the family trade,  Lisa Kirshner  learned all areas of the business, from commercial to residential to investments and syndication. With nearly 30 years of experience and an impressive personal network, Lisa leads her team in masterfully connecting discerning clients with Southern California’s greatest homes.

Inspired by the family trade, Lisa Kirshner learned all areas of the business, from commercial to residential to investments and syndication. With nearly 30 years of experience and an impressive personal network, Lisa leads her team in masterfully connecting discerning clients with Southern California’s greatest homes.


The company’s California executive team reflects his viewpoint, with COO Brent Thomson, VP of Marketing Jessica Grimes, Chief Economist & VP of Business Intelligence Selma Hepp, Southern California VP of Business Development Leah Sternberg and VP of Operations Chatty Arrieta.

Carey Haynes ’ 30 years of experience and guidance have played an integral role in bringing tech real estate company Compass and its forward-thinking brokerage model to the foothills of the San Gabriels. Haynes is consistently ranked amongst the highest-producing agents in the La Cañada vicinity and the top 1 percent of real estate agents nationwide.

Carey Haynes’ 30 years of experience and guidance have played an integral role in bringing tech real estate company Compass and its forward-thinking brokerage model to the foothills of the San Gabriels. Haynes is consistently ranked amongst the highest-producing agents in the La Cañada vicinity and the top 1 percent of real estate agents nationwide.


Younger women who are newer to the industry are less likely than mid-career women to feel stifled by a glass ceiling, according to the survey.

“At Compass, we believe in the power of entrepreneurial thinking,” says Brent Thomson, Chief Operating Officer. “We’re looking for people who move fast, dream big, and want to shape the direction of their own careers while reimagining the real estate experience.”

Michele Downing  has worked in real estate since 1988. In 2012 she became a Founding Partner of Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage in Pasadena. She has lived in South Pasadena for more than 32 years.

Michele Downing has worked in real estate since 1988. In 2012 she became a Founding Partner of Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage in Pasadena. She has lived in South Pasadena for more than 32 years.


Regardless of her position on the career ladder, there’s another way every woman in real estate can feel empowered. According to NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, single women now account for 17 percent of homebuyers in the United States, compared with just 7 percent of single men.

Napa Valley agent  Hillary Ryan  has more than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate. She focuses on helping her clients transact wine country estates, vineyards, wineries, and commercial land development opportunities. Hillary has closed over $6 Billion transactions since the start of her real estate career in 1997.

Napa Valley agent Hillary Ryan has more than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate. She focuses on helping her clients transact wine country estates, vineyards, wineries, and commercial land development opportunities. Hillary has closed over $6 Billion transactions since the start of her real estate career in 1997.


A female professional is in a strong position to make a difference in these women’s lives by helping them achieve economic independence. And as Gloria Steinem noted, “Nothing changes the gender equation more significantly than women’s economic freedom.”

We are proud of all our Compass women real estate professionals. Here are just a few who were nominated by their office staff.

Jennifer Chrisman | Co-Founder, The Malibu Life Team

Jennifer Chrisman | Co-Founder, The Malibu Life Team

Nili Hudson | Agent

Nili Hudson | Agent

Pat Heller | Branch Manager

Pat Heller | Branch Manager

Val Steele  | Agent

Val Steele | Agent

Susan Jacobs  | Branch Manager

Susan Jacobs | Branch Manager

Sarah Kosasky | VP, Branch Manager Malibu

Sarah Kosasky | VP, Branch Manager Malibu

Gloria Carmona | Agent

Gloria Carmona | Agent

Dana Green | Agent

Dana Green | Agent

Maggie Navarro  | Branch Manager

Maggie Navarro | Branch Manager

Leah Sternberg  | VP of Business Development

Leah Sternberg | VP of Business Development

Chatty Arrieta |  VP of Operations

Chatty Arrieta | VP of Operations

Karen Misraje | VP, Branch Manager, Beverly Hills Rodeo, Canon, and Brentwood-Central

Karen Misraje | VP, Branch Manager, Beverly Hills Rodeo, Canon, and Brentwood-Central

Marianne Schier & Sharon Bacigalupi  | Agents

Marianne Schier & Sharon Bacigalupi | Agents

Fran Hughes  | Branch Manager

Fran Hughes | Branch Manager

Jessica Grimes  | VP of Marketing

Jessica Grimes | VP of Marketing

What Are the Most Expensive Neighborhoods in Los Angeles and San Francisco?

  • Neighborhoods in Malibu and Beverly Hills were the most expensive in Los Angeles County in 2018, two with median sales prices of more than $10 million.

  • A $110 million home sale in Malibu last year marked the second-largest such transaction ever in California.

  • Presidio Heights is San Francisco’s highest-end enclave, with the $4.5 million median sales price up by almost 25 percent year over year.


Although buying a home in San Francisco is certainly an expensive proposition, two neighborhoods in Los Angeles had eight-figure median prices in 2018.

That’s according to a pair of recent PropertyShark.com reports, which analyzed the 50 most expensive neighborhoods in San Francisco(single-family homes and condominiums) and the 48 priciest in Los Angeles County (single-and two-family homes) based on sales between Jan. 1 and Dec. 14 of last year. Of those nearly 100 communities, none had a median sales prices of less than $1.2 million.

At the top of the heap is Los Angeles‘ Malibu Colony Beach neighborhood, with a median sales price of $10,650,000, followed closely by Beverly Hills Gateway at $10,050,000. While prices in the former enclave were down by 11 percent year over year, the latter registered 31 percent appreciation, the highest of any Los Angeles community included in the report. Both of those neighborhoods are about 15 times more expensive than the overall area’s $705,000 median sales price and nearly three times more expensive than the priciest neighborhood in New York City.

Three of the 10 most expensive homes ever sold in the Golden State took place in Los Angeles in 2018. The top deal was a $110 million sale on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, which was the largest-ever home sale in Los Angeles and the second-largest in California history.

Four-hundred miles to the north, Presidio Heights earned the title of San Francisco’s most expensive neighborhood, with 2018’s $4,497,500 median sales price up by 24.58 percent year over year. Presidio Heights was one of eight San Francisco neighborhoods to post annual appreciation of more than 20 percent, with the highest price gain recorded in Lone Mountain, where the $2,180,000 median sales price rose by 57.40 percent.

San Francisco’s two most expensive home sales of 2018 occurred on the same block of Broadway in Pacific Heights, both in October and both for more than $30 million. Despite those hefty price tags, neither comes close to ranking among California’s 10 most-expensive home sales ever.

Original Article: blog.pacificunion.com

California Posts Another Big Housing Inventory Gain in January

Original Blog Post >

  • Active home listings in California rose for the 10th straight month in January, up by almost 30 percent year over year.

  • California home sales dropped by nearly 13 percent from January 2018 to the lowest level in more than a decade.

  • Annual single-family home price appreciation registered less than 5 percent in California, the nine-county Bay Area, and the Los Angeles metropolitan area.


Golden State housing market trends that closed out 2018 carried over to the beginning of 2019, as buyers continued to exercise restraint despite another substantial supply jump.

The latest home sales and price report from the California Association of Realtors says that active listings in the state increased by 27 percent year over year in January, the 10th consecutive month of such gains. The nine-county Bay Area saw California’s biggest annual improvement in listings, up by 57 percent from January 2018, while the six counties that comprise Southern California posted a 29.7 percent supply increase.

As in December, the uptick in homes on the market did not equal more sales, with statewide activity declining by 12.6 percent from January 2018. There were 357,730 home sales on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, the lowest in nearly 11 years, as activity fell in about 80 percent of the 51 counties for which CAR tracks data.

Sales were down in every major region of the state, with a 15.1 percent yearly decline reported in the Los Angeles metro area and a 5.8 percent decrease in the Bay Area. In Northern California, sales were down in six of nine Bay Area counties while activity fell by 14.2 percent in Los Angeles County proper.

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“California continued to move toward a more balanced market as we see buyers having greater negotiating power and sellers making concessions to get their homes sold as inventory grows,” CAR President Jared Martin said. The organization’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young noted that the government shutdown had less of an impact on home sales than expected, attributing the decline to buyer hesitance at all prices points and in all areas of California.

Statewide, the median sales price for a single-family home was $538,690 in January, a year-over-year increase of 2.1 percent. The Bay Area saw the highest appreciation of any major California region, with the median home price up by 4.5 percent to $836,000. The Los Angeles metro area’s median sales price ended January at $499,450, an annual gain of 1.9 percent, while Los Angeles County posted 0.3 percent appreciation to $566,010.

Buyer pullback is also reflected in January’s pace of sales, with California homes selling in a median 37 days, 10 days longer than recorded at the same time last year. The median time on market also rose by 10 days in the Los Angeles metro area to 42 days. In the Bay Area, the pace of home sales more than doubled from January 2018 to 36 days, with eight of nine counties seeing significant annual increases.

CAR’s report echoes findings from an analysis published last week by Compass Chief Economist Selma Hepp, which expands on rebalancing housing market conditions in both Northern and Southern California. Her research underscores an increase in price reductions in recent months, with around one-third of homes sold in January in the Bay Area and greater Los Angeles requiring cuts.

(Photo: iStock/Ryan Herron)

8 Affordable Ways To Improve Your Kitchen

Your kitchen is the hub of your home. It’s not just where you prep meals, but it’s often a place of gathering and entertaining. Kitchens serve not only to eat in but to spend time in with friends and family. But if your kitchen is looking a little tired, it might be time to give it a bit of a facelift.

You might be a homeowner looking to spruce up your kitchen for your own needs, or you might be a seller who wants to improve the look of your kitchen to attract more buyers. Whatever your situation may be, there are plenty of ways to boost the aesthetics of your kitchen while sticking to a modest budget.


1. Hang New Light Fixtures

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While you could easily change up all the lights in your kitchen, you can still make a big difference and stick to a lower budget by focusing on just one light fixture. Whether it’s a chandelier over your dining table or pendant lamps over your kitchen island, new light fixtures can really spruce up the look and feel of a kitchen. Not only that, but lights have a way of adding ambiance to any space, which you can tweak to your liking.

2. Replace the Faucet

Don’t underestimate the power of a sink and faucet in a kitchen. Homeowners spend a lot of time selecting the perfect faucet for their kitchens, not just for functionality, but also for looks. If your kitchen faucet is starting to look a little lackluster, consider swapping it for a new one. For around $100, you can get yourself a decent faucet that can make a big difference in the look and feel of your kitchen space.

3. Reface the Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Kitchen The Malibu Life Team Compass

Completely ripping down cabinets is a great way to make a massive difference in a kitchen, but that’s not always necessary. If your cabinets are in decent shape, sometimes all that might be needed is a new paint job. For very little money (but a bit more elbow grease), you can re-paint or re-stain the cabinet doors in a completely new color to make them look like they’ve been newly installed.

4. Paint the Backsplash

Kitchen Backsplash The Malibu Life Team Real Estate Compass

A change in color of the backsplash can add plenty of visual interest in the kitchen. If your kitchen currently has little more than drywall on the wall above your kitchen sink, consider painting it in a completely different color. Or else, consider taking things a step further and add a completely new material to the backsplash – such as peel-and-stick tiles – to change things up.

5. Paint an Accent Wall

If you want to add a pop of color to your kitchen but aren’t too keen on splashing it all over your kitchen, an accent wall can be all that’s needed to add some color. It’s a quick, easy, and affordable job to do. And if you decide that the color you painted no longer tickles your fancy in the near future, it doesn’t take much to repaint it in a completely different shade. 

6. Change the Hardware

You might not think twice about the handles and knobs on your cabinet doors and drawers, but they play a big role in the overall aesthetics of your kitchen. If you’re looking for a quick, simple, and relatively cheap way to update your kitchen, changing the hardware would be a great place to start.

There are so many different styles, finishes, and colors available on the market that you can really put a unique spin on your kitchen decor by simply swapping the old hardware for newer pieces.

7. Spruce Up the Decor

Kitchen Decor The Malibu Life Team Real Estate Compass
Decor The Malibu Life Team Real Estate Compass

Your kitchen doesn’t have to be limited to just fixtures to give it some personality. Don’t be afraid to play around with decor to breathe some life into your kitchen. Things such as table runners, wall art, pretty window treatments, and even area rugs can really make your kitchen stand out.

8. Replace the Countertop

Changing the countertop might seem like an expensive endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. These days, you can get yourself a beautiful granite or quartz countertop for a relatively affordable price.

Back in the day, natural stone counters may have been reserved for the wealthy, but these days, the prices have really come down. Granite countertops are now financially attainable for the average household, so you might want to consider swapping your old counter for something shiny and new for a few hundred bucks.


The Bottom Line

The kitchen is arguably one of the more important spaces in a home. Whether you’re just looking to update your kitchen for your own tastes or want to spruce it up to appeal to buyers, there are a few things you can do that are relatively affordable and easy to do to improve the look and feel of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

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