What is Home Automation?

Home Automation allows you to have access to your appliances, lights, heating, cooling systems, and even electrical outlets. You can definitely set these controls up and running by the use of your smartphone.

This is a part of the term called “The Internet of Things” or IoT. The way that devices can be networked to each other and let us control them easily and comfortably.

Home Automation has been with us for decades, from simple controls for limited appliances and now has grown even bigger and better. We can now control a lot of our devices and smart things at home from our smartphone. Examples of Home Automation are smart TVs, thermostats,  appliances, lights, video doorbells, blinds, light switches, deadbolts, etc. and voice control devices such as Siri and Alexa.

Imagine going home to an exhausting day, wanting to just cuddle up in your bed the minute you step in your home. You can just quickly turn the lights on, air conditioner or heater and even music with only some clicks on your smartphone. Simple as that.

Every day you have a specific time you want to wake up, you can set the alarm with an automation system or device to wake you up. When you want to lower the temperature or set it high at a given time, you can schedule it, so it automatically works the way you like it. Home Automation allows its users to set smart appliances when to turn on and off. You can set it up at the exact time when you want it to work. Say, you are expecting someone to clean your house; you can set a unique code to be accessible by that time. You can unlock the house, and turn on the lights for them.

With the advanced technology of Home Automation, it can notify you of some glitches that can happen in your home. Whether it’s gas leaks, water leaks, heater problem and etc. This system can even notify you if somebody is at your front door.

Does Home Automation work when you’re away from home? Absolutely. You can remotely control what is connected through your smartphone, whether you are in the office, at a friend’s house or even if you are on vacation. You can even turn on and off the lights when you are on vacation so that nobody knows you are away from home.

Home Automation is a secure and trusted technology. The pricing varies depending on the device and brand to be used, but you can definitely save in the long run.

Mistakes Sellers Make When Hiring An Agent

It is without a doubt that we want to have a smooth and easy process in any transaction we make. When selling homes, we want to hire the best real estate agent. But what makes an exceptional real estate agent? What do we need to know before hiring them? There are a lot of people who make mistakes in hiring an agent. Here are some of them:

Hiring an agent who offers the highest listing price. Just because the agent offered the highest listing price to your home doesn’t mean that he/she is the right one to hire. Why? You need to know how the agent came up with that price. You need to know if actual real estate steps were taken like initiating a CMA or comparative market analysis. You need to make sure how certain the agent is with his/her price.

Hiring an agent who is a friend/a family member/a relative. Don’t be so hasty in hiring an agent just because they’re somehow related to you. You also need to assess if they fit your qualifications. “There are no friends in business,” they say.  Certain measures need to be taken to know how a person works. There’s no harm in saying no to someone. I’m sure they’d understand your decision.

Hiring an agent who accepts the lowest commission. Enticing, right? We all want to keep all of the home’s net worth so we’d be lucky to find the real estate agent who would receive a low commission. But what about his/her quality of work? Can he/she drive a lot of buyers in a day or two? Or close the deal in a week? You might not give much on commission but how about the days wasted for showing? Well, think about it.

Not asking for the agent’s references. In every job application, there are always references so you can know what that person’s performance was. Not every person claims who they want to be so it is wise to ask for past references how other sellers think of them. This goes the same when ordering something online, you like to check on reviews first before placing an order to be sure of the quality of the item. You would want to know testimonials from previous sellers.

Hiring an agent who works part-time. There’s nothing wrong with working part-time. But it’s better to make sure that working as a real estate agent is on top of their priorities. They might be busy working with other jobs that they spend a little time meeting the needs of the sellers. You would want to have the real estate agent’s opinion anytime if you have questions. Your priority is to sell your home as soon as possible and hiring an agent who spends a lot of time being an agent is best.

Hiring an agent who you interviewed first. Let’s take note that there are a lot of real estate agents out there who have the best abilities in selling homes. Don’t settle for less but have options. You may not have the time to meet a lot but at least consider interviewing even 3. Building trust takes time so make time to find an agent to work in selling your home.

Hiring an agent you saw on most advertisements on third-party sites. The most popular third-party websites for real estate listings are Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and etc. Advertisements of real estate agents are often seen on these websites. Advertising is an effective way to find sellers. But is it reliable to hire from advertisements? Sure. But make sure that you still research about the real estate agent well and have options.

Hiring an agent who sold a huge number of homes in the previous year. It’s impressive to meet a real estate agent that sold 50 homes in a year. Many sellers would like to hire them on the spot if they’re told this. But it’s the same with agents who sold 10-20 homes in a year. Quality vs. quantity. Again, better make sure of the performance and work ethics of the agent before hiring them. You must build a good relationship with the real estate agent.

Hiring an agent who lacks experience and credibility. You must know your real estate agent. A thorough self-investigation to make sure you hire the best and trustworthy to take care in selling your home. You can search them using their company website and social media websites for their credibility. You can see a list of their experiences and awards on LinkedIn and people’s testimonials on their Facebook pages.

These are just opinions and pieces of advice that choosing a real estate agent can be a pressure but effective in your home-selling process.

Any questions? Call Cristobal!

Common Short-term Rental Complaints/Reviews

The common action home finders do is to research for reviews about the houses and apartments they have interest in. The internet is one click away to search for positive and negative feedback on things including rental properties.

Most complaints are about how the staff or landlords treat their guests and tenants. It gives a great impact to the credibility of a business. It is always a great practice to guide staff to shape their attitude in order for the tenants/guests to enjoy their stay and might decide to come back.

According to Rent.com, the complaints are similar from state to state. Just like in Georgia and Pennsylvania, people complain about bad maintenance and pests. 
It really depends on the rental property. There are rentals that also have positive reviews on maintenance, parking and staff. Same goes for California, if the service is poor then the reviews are also poor.

To help rental seekers out there, you should post your positive and negative reviews on the internet or social media pages of the rental property. This will make their search much easier. Reviews not only help rental seekers, but also the property owners! They will have an idea on how to improve their service and maybe change some things for better feedback in the future.

Have further questions? Call Cristobal!

How to Be A Good Short-Term Rental Property Host

If you ever decide to post your short-term rental properties on rental platforms online, certain preparations are to be considered. The maintenance vary on short-term or long-term stay. Short-term rental refers to a day, couple of days or 1 week (less than a month) stay. While long-term rental refers to a month minimum stay.

In starting your short-term rental business, there are several do’s and don’ts. You also have requirements and actions that need to be taken care of.

  1. Be informative. It’s more trouble-free for your guests if you give them the information that they need. Even when they won’t ask for it, it will make their search much easier. Be sure to be as responsive as possible so they will remember your service and put up a positive feedback. There are ways and tools in the internet to make responding a lot quicker, like autoresponders, chatbots, etc. You can always search the internet for email templates to get the job done more professionally and quickly.
  2. Honest Advertising. Show what is truly in the property. Give the guests the information they will expect when they see the property. Don’t ruin their trust and their first impression. Invest in professional photography to create a great impression to your guests when they view it on the internet. Pictures and even videos nowadays are effective marketing.
  3. Accommodation. This is as important as giving the best service to your guests. Make sure that all the rooms that will be occupied will be comfortable and ready before your guests arrive. Check the sheets, cabinets, floors, and most importantly, the toilet and bath. Also make sure the A/C works perfectly. Many guests not only cares how big the bed is, but also how clean the bathroom is! You can always add some mild air freshener to the room so as soon as your guests enter the room, they will feel relaxed and fresh.
  4. Other must-haves. Every accommodation provides free toilet papers, shampoos and soaps but that’s common! Think of something outside the box for your guests to remember you by. You can give them complimentary drinks such as wine or any other giveaways. In other instances that emergencies may happen, prepare an evacuation plan, leave precautions and pamphlets for guests to scan if something happens. Even upon guests’ arrival, you as a host should discuss instructions and rules to avoid constant inquiries and misunderstanding between you and the guests.

There are a lot of things a host of a short-term rental must consider before taking the final steps of handling a business. Just remember that nothing is impossible if you have a strong determination.

Have further questions? Call Cristobal!

5 San Diego Neighborhoods Near the beach

There are a lot of fun things to do in San Diego. What better way to spend your stay? That’s living near the beach! San Diego has been known for its scenic view of the beach so one of the things people first consider when buying or renting a home in San Diego is the location. To aid people from the summer heat, they are going for direct access to the beach. Living in Southern California has its perks to enjoy the clear waters and fresh beach air.

Here are some eye-catching neighborhoods in San Diego near the beach:

1. Mission Beach. If you are the kind of person who likes to be in a crowd, who likes to surf and be in different activities like beach sports, then Mission beach is a wonderful choice. There’s also Belmont Amusement Park that can be enjoyed with family and friends.

2. Point Loma. If you like a quiet and serene environment, then Point Loma’s your place to be. It is a hilly peninsula by the Pacific Ocean where you can luxuriate in cliff diving. You can also dine in seafood restaurants in nearby Shelter and Harbor Islands. Here you can listen to the Humphreys By The Bay Concert live.

3. La Jolla. This coastal area of San Diego is popular for its pristine beaches and lavish lifestyle. If you like the luxurious type, you can indulge in expensive shopping and dining here. La Jolla is known to be the ”Beverly Hills of San Diego.” Here you can see the view of beautiful Mount Soledad. La Jolla Shores has amazing views.

4. Pacific Beach. If it’s nightlife or the night parties you seek, Pacific beach is the perfect getaway. This place is crowded with young students and young professionals. Local restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels can be seen along the Boardwalk or the Ocean Front Walk/Ocean Boulevard.

5. Coronado. This is located in San Diego’s Big Bay, the other side of the bridge from downtown. You can unwind on the shores and enjoy the pure sand. You can also do a lot of activities here like shopping and take a stroll in the long boardwalk.

Do you have further questions? Call Cristobal!

Proposition 60: California Property Tax Savings

Are you or anyone you know, in a position where your property isn’t functional anymore, and you think that you are out of options.

Let me share this information with you.California Proposition 60, allows homeowners over the age of 55 to transfer the assessed value of their existing property to a replacement property if the replacement home is located in the same county.  

The replacement has to be of equal or lesser value than the original property and purchased or newly constructed within two years of the sale of the existing property.

What if you want to move to another county in California. Proposition 90 allows you to transfer the assessed value of their existing property to a replacement property if the replacement property is located in another county.

There are ten counties included in Proposition 90:

  • Alameda County
  • Los Angeles County
  • Riverside County
  • Orange County
  • San Bernardino County
  • San Diego County
  • Santa Clara County
  • Tuolumne County
  • Ventura County

It is a one-time only benefit. Once you have filed for and received this tax relief, neither you nor your spouse who resides with you, can ever file again, even upon your spouse’s death or if the two of you divorce. However, if you become disabled after receiving this tax relief, you may transfer the base year value of your residence a second time due to the disability.
Do you have further questions? Call Cristobal!