Realtor® to Buyers and Sellers in Encino | Sherman Oaks | Studio City | Van Nuys | Tarzana

$1000 Donation for every escrow I close in 2016

realtordonationhomepageAs a New Year’s resolution, I’ve decided to DO MORE GOOD in my community.  From small things like picking up litter in the street, to bigger things (like what I’m about to say…) – little by little, one step at a time, I’m going to try to be a better person.

Here’s the big change I want to make: 

For every house I sell in 2016, I’m going to donate $1,000 of my commission to the charity of my client’s choosing.

I’m not just trying to make a token gesture as a marketing gimmick.  I chose $1,000 because it’s a significant amount, and for some smaller non-profits, a gift of this size can make a real difference.

I’m hoping to donate at least $10,000 this year!

This is where you come in: If you’re thinking about selling your home or buying one, please give me the opportunity to earn your business, and together we’ll DO MORE GOOD.

Not moving? Tell your friends and family about my offer.  I’ll gladly donate $1,000 to the charity of their choice, PLUS $100 to the charity of yours!

Here’s the fine print: The donation must be made to a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  As much as I’d like to, I won’t donate more than 100% of my take-home commission.

Selling a Midvale Estates Home

Thinking of selling your Midvale Estates home? You’ve probably seen for-sale signs for Cathy Cressy, Guy Violas and Ray Ross.  They’re certainly good, honest Realtors, but here are 5 reasons why you should talk to me first!

  • I Live in Midvale Estates! (6500 block of Peach Ave)
    No one knows the neighborhood better than its residents.  Yes – Cathy Cressy lives in our neighborhood too (and organizes our wonderful home owners association), but Guy and Ray don’t.  Trust your neighbors to do right by you!
  • I ‘says it like it is’
    Have you noticed how most listings in Midvale Estates sit on the market for months, have multiple price reductions, and then finally sell for 10-20% less than their original listing price?  It’s a waste of everyone’s time to overprice your home, not to mention I consider it dishonest to tell you what you want to hear, just to get the listing, and then ask you to reduce the price a few weeks later.  I will always give you a thorough, honest estimate of what your home is worth (don’t worry – I know that homes in Midvale Estates are worth more than the rest of Van Nuys!)
  • I have time for you!
    I don’t have a dozen listings right now… which means I have more time for you!  Even working nights and weekends, there’s a finite amount of time in a week that I can devote to my clients.  If I’m trying to sell many homes at once, I’m not going to be able to give you the time you deserve. 
  • I’m young, creative, and an online marketing guru!
    The world has changed over the past 20 years.  There’s more to being a top-notch Realtor than having decades of experience.  My background is in website design and digital marketing.  Considering that 90% of buyers are finding homes online, wouldn’t you want a digital marking specialist to list your home?
  • I have a huge database and the best company behind me!
    Rodeo Realty is the largest privately-owned real estate company in Los Angeles with more agents and sales than any other company in the Valley.  I can personally email more than 22,000 agents and industry professionals with your listing information.  Our marketing department and in-house print shop produce exceptional material to get your home sold fast and at the highest price.

I am the next generation of Midvale Estates Real Estate Agents and I’m here, today, to serve you!  Call me at (310)926-2386 or email me at  Not really interested in selling, but want to know what your home is worth? No problem!  I’ll walk over, take a look at your home, and give you my honest feedback.

Thanks for reading!


Dear Mr. FSBO – Why Are You Paying Someone 3% to Negotiate Against You

homes-for-sale-by-owner-encinoDear Mr. FSBO

I understand that you are selling your home yourself to save money. You won’t have to pay 3% or 6 % if you sell your home yourself. 

You may save a portion of the commissions, but since over 90% of the For Sale By Owner homes are sold by Realtors, you may very well end up paying the buyer’s agent 3%.  Now, the buyer’s agent who is getting 3% from you has a buyer agency agreement with the buyer to represent the buyer. When the buyer agent represents their client, they owe them confidentiality, obedience, accountability, loyalty, diligence and disclosure.  The Realtor has a fiduciary duty to the client. They owe you, as the customer, honesty and fairness – but they do not owe you the highest sale price possible, the fewest requests, the smoothest transaction. 

Your home is one of your most important assets or – hands down, your most important asset.  Why are you paying someone 3% to negotiate against you when you are going into the negotiation unrepresented? Would you go to court over a $20,000 law suit without hiring a lawyer – particularly if the other party was represented by a lawyer? Yet, you think nothing of selling a home listed for $200,000 or $500,000 or even more – without a Realtor on your side to protect your interest?  A good Realtor can easily save a client $20,000 – and that $20,000 would be coming out of your pocket.  

If you’re thinking about selling your home, give me a call (310-926-2386) or send me a message through this website.  It’s likely that I can get you a higher price than you’d get yourself, and stick up for you throughout the negotiation!

this article was originally published here.

encino fixer upper

Should I sell my Encino Home “As-Is”?

encino fixer upperI took one of my buyers to a home the other day (not the one pictured here, thank god). I’d describe this home as a “cosmetic fixer.”  It has new dual-pane windows, a new a/c, good roof and solid foundation.  Almost all the big-ticket items were covered.  Unfortunately, it also has wall-to-wall green shag carpet.  When I say “wall-to-wall”, I mean that literally.  Aside from a small spot in the entryway and the kitchen and bathrooms, every room was covered in the stuff.

On our way out, looking again at the carpet and letting out a large sigh, I asked the homeowner whether he knew what was beneath the carpet.  His response (and I quote): “Beautiful hardwood floors.”

What!?! Seriously?!? The reason no one is buying your house is because they can’t look past the hideous shag carpet! Why isn’t his agent saying anything?!?  They’ve spent thousands over the past two years to redo windows and put in an air conditioner that you can control from your phone, but what about the flooring?!?

There are plenty of reasons why a home-owner would choose not to fix a home up before selling it, but in the end, you’re going to get a lot more money by spending a little bit to upgrade or update a few key items.

What if I don’t have the money to upgrade my home?

First, if you find yourself in the position of having to sell quickly, let me know so that we can prioritize what items need to be addressed.  An “As-Is” seller should be aware that FHA requires certain Minimum Property Standards that apply and therefore limits some of your market segment planning on an FHA loan.  Even with those buyers who will have a standard, conforming loan, there might need to be a few fixes that you’ll have to pay for.  Some of the time we can work these costs into the sale of the house, and the money will come from escrow when the sale closes, rather that out of your pocket.

Success of selling your home “As-Is” depends on a few factors that are tied to the market segment and economic conditions in a given area.  In my experience it’s always best for a seller to do as much as they possibly can to improve the condition and curb appeal of their home before listing it on the market for sale.  Tasks that are not too expensive and provide a big bang for the buck such as;

  • a fresh coat of paint,
  • patching cracks in drywall and ceilings,
  • repairing plumbing leaks and signs of leaks,
  • broken fixtures and windows,
  • perhaps removing or replacing old worn out carpet if the budget permits, but at least a good cleaning!  

The idea is to make your home as appealing as possible to a potential buyer and give them less to complain about, pick apart or use as a negotiating point!  If there was a roof leak be sure to remove signs of a leak after making necessary repairs.

Also, pay attention to the outside of the home, a fresh coat of paint, replacing any rotted wood and landscaping will go a long way towards making a great first impression.  Spend some time sprucing up the front entrance…paint that front door!  When you think about it, that’s where a buyer will spend a little time before the home is unlocked and they go inside.

The Encino As-Is Buyer

Right now Encino is a hot place to buy.  Investors are chomping at the bit to get their hands on anything south of the Boulevard, and will gladly pay you well over $1 million for the opportunity to tear down your home. 

During my free consultation, we can discuss the future of your home.  If it’s in good condition, and meets the standards of today’s end-buyers (ie. families who will live in the home), there’s a good chance we can sell it, even as-is, to someone who will do some light remodeling (if necessary) and then move in.  If, on the other hand, your home is outdated from top to bottom, and doesn’t meet the expectations of today’s buyers (would you buy a million-dollar home without a true master suite?), you might be better off selling to an investor.

If your home is purchased by an investor, odds are they will be paying cash (ie. not getting a loan from a bank), and they will either tear down your home or gut it and do some reconfiguring.  In this case, they’re not going to care if you made small updates here and there, and they won’t have a bank issuing safety requirements.  They’re looking at the value of your land – not the new flooring or fresh coat of paint.

The Bottom Line

First, decide what type of “as-is” buyer you’re looking for.  If it’s a starter home for a young family, get your home into as good condition as possible, and you’ll sell for the most money.  If you’re interested in doing little or no work, and your as-is home borders on unlivable, target investors who love a good bargain. Keep in mind, investors are going to offer an insultingly-low amount of money to buy your home.  Keep your head held high and always have a great Realtor (me) at your back, and you’ll do just fine!

Call me at (310)926-2386 or email me through this website to discuss your as-is home.


home fixtures

What Stays with the House and What Goes in Encino

home fixturesWhen you are selling your home in Encino, you should make a list of all the items that you are going to take with you.  This list should be given to your real estate agent and we suggest that it also is added to your property flyer that you leave in your home for prospective buyers to take with them after they tour your house. 

When you go into contract with a buyer you should list all the items that are excluded from the sale of your property. Remember that buyers can not read your mind. Also, things talked about verbally through interactions can be forgotten or misunderstood. Have everything in writing.

Fixtures Stay…

The rule of thumb we go by is that “fixtures” (ie. anything that is attached to the house) stays with the house when it is sold. But just the word, “attached” is left up to the interpretations of each person and what you consider NOT attached a buyer may consider attached. 

Make sure you read the MLS report that is submitted by your agent to see what is included. If there is something in the MLS report that you are taking with you but you or your agent is advertising you need to remove that from the MLS right away. You can also add your exclusions in the MLS so that there is further evidence in trying to be upfront about what is going and what is staying. 

One court in Washington D.C in 1982 ruled that, ” … when determining whether an article is a fixture, the court may consider three factors: 

  1. Actual annexation according to the nature and use of the article
  2. Its adaptation to the use for which it is annexed and
  3. The intention that it should a permanent accession to the realty. 

If you have a nice chandelier in your dining room and that is attached to a ceiling electrical box above the dining room table, you can take that chandelier with you so long as you replace it with a substitute. You also in this case have to make sure that you reinstall it safely with no loose wires and no damage to the ceiling. 

BUT it is SO much easier just to remove the chandelier before you put your home up for sale and do the substitution. We see so many arguments over lighting fixtures and it really is a stressful time when you are selling your house. It really is not worth the argument so why not eliminate the argument in the first place. 

Put it in Writing…

It won’t hurt to also provide exclusions on your inventory list. Remember that many times these things don’t even come up until you are in the middle of negotiations when tensions are high. We see offers go sour very quickly over misunderstandings about what is staying with the house and what is not.

Deliver this list up front before the buyer makes an offer so that you have nipped their ability to start playing hardball in the negotiations with you. We see so many times where buyers place an unreasonable value on items they want to stay that are not disclosed until negotiations. Don’t wait that long.

Ready to sell your home in Encino, Sherman Oaks, Studio City or elsewhere in the San Fernando Valley? Call Ben at (310)926-2386 or contact him through this website.

Click here to read the full article, originally published elsewhere.


Selling Your Encino Home? 3 Myths & Truths…

mythsIf you are about to sell your Encino home, everywhere you turn there seems to be advice about what you need to do. But the fact is, a lot of unsolicited information isn’t that good or reliable.

Before you list your Encino home, you’ll want to do a little research so you can separate fact from fiction. Having the right information saves time and money, just as being misinformed wastes time and cost money.

  • Myth: The inside of a home is more important than the outside.
    The reality is homebuyers are quick to judge, and if the home does not have curb appeal from the outside buyers will pass right by. 
  •  Myth: The paint color inside the home is not important.
    Homebuyers have a hard time getting past unsightly paint colors. Applying a fresh coat of neutral paint is always a great selling point. Moving is a hassle and homebuyers don’t want to waste time painting before they move in.
  •  Myth: You don’t need your home staged because your dirty laundry is out of sight and your floors are swept.
    While having your home clean is a must, sellers raise the bar when they have their home staged professionally. Although a professional home-stager is not necessary, using a professional home-stager is the best way to sell your home fast and for top dollar. Bottom line, a home that’s staged looks and sells way better than a home that’s not staged. 

 If you are about to sell your Encino home, be smart and enlist a professional local Realtor… Like Ben Vorspan! Sellers that try to sell on their own, end up wasting time and money. Don’t be foolish, hire a local Realtor, they will provide the real truth as well as they will make sure you have all the best information.

Your local Realtor has experience in the Marketplace. They’re on top of the local market situation, and they help sellers in a tough selling market. If you’re planning on selling your home (in or around Encino) “I’m here for you” I’ve made it fun and simple for you, all you need to do is contact me through this website or give me a call at (310)926-2386.

This article was originally published here.


What If I Want To Sell My Encino Home Without A Realtor?

dontsellyourencinohomeDON’T DO IT!

 Here are Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Hire A Professional Realtor And NOT Sell Your House Without One!
  1. Pricing ~ The most important step is pricing your house properly. If you charge too little, then you’ll always wonder if you lost money on the deal. If your price is too high you won’t get consumers or other Realtors to see it. The longer it stays on the market, the more consumers might wonder what’s wrong with it?
  2. Understanding The Market ~ You need to understand the Real Estate market, especially your own neighborhood ~ A Professional Licensed Realtor should have years of experience with laws, contracts, forms and negotiations. Your Realtor can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace, and the price, financing, terms and condition of the competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price.
  3. Availability ~ You have to be willing to be available to show the house at different hours of the day to make sure everyone that may be interested in it will get to see it ~ If you hire a Realtor, they will schedule the appointments, and show it on your behalf and you won’t miss any showings.
  4. Generating Traffic ~ How can you generate traffic for your house and be able to get the word out about it?  ~ An experienced Realtor will not only list your home on MLS, but will have other resources and marketing strategies for increased exposure for your house!
  5. Criticism ~ Can you be patient and understanding with criticism? ~ You will need to be able to handle all different types of personalities and be able to keep your “cool” under pressure, even with non-qualified buyers. You need to have patience and the right temperament for criticism, questions, and repeat showings, and can you pre-approve a buyer? Remember that buyers are not looking to be your friend.
  6. Answering Concerns Properly ~ Can you be available to answer questions by phone, email, text, meet-ups and be sure you are answering them correctly? ~ Buyers may not respect your time and may want immediate answers to their concerns. By you answering any of their concerns in the wrong manner, can squash the deal!
  7. Will You Be Pushing Buyers Away ~ If you sell your house on your on your own, buyers will be looking for a deal from you. If a Realtor was listing your home, you can expect to get the highest true market value for it ~ Some sellers may believe their home is worth more and will remove many potential buyers because it’s not priced competitively.
  8. Relocation Buyers ~ If you don’t use a Realtor, how are you going to attract out of state buyers? You might be eliminating a whole group of buyers that will never see your house because relocation buyers won’t know about it.
  9. Professional Networking ~ Realtors network with other professionals in the industry, many who can  provide services that you may need.  Realtors can give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection, besides networking with other Realtors who will be showing your house.
  10. Contracts ~ Another important function of a Realtor is to make sure that all the paperwork is handled correctly. Do you want to get through all the stress of listing and selling your house or condo and then find out something that could have been avoided but is now a deal-breaker?
  11. Closing ~ Can you closethe sale of your home without being overwhelmed?  Your Realtor should be with you throughout the entire process and is the best person to objectively help you resolve any unforeseen issues and move the transaction to closing!

If you would like to sell your Encino home the right way, contact me today by calling (310)926-2386 or contacting me through this website.

This article was originally published here.

encino home messy yard

10 ways to sabotage your Home Sale

encino home messy yardOnce you own a home in Encino, it’s no wonder why you wouldn’t want to sell it.  There might be a little part of you trying to sabotage the deal…

If you really don’t want to sell your home, here are 10 things that you can do to sabotage the sale (based on my real world experience working with buyers). This article was originally published here.

  1. Make it difficult to see your home. If you really want to turn off the buyer, agree to a time and then leave the house (and don’t allow your agent to put in a lockbox)
  2. Don’t clean off the front walkway and front porch. Leave toys and garden hoses out, and don’t cut back overgrown bushes.
  3. Keep your Holiday decorations up all year round.
  4. Don’t remove the dead trees and shrubs on your property.
  5. Put a key that doesn’t work well in your lock in the lockbox. Using a deadbolt and then not providing a key in the lockbox works well, too.
  6. Put lots of plug-in air fresheners in your house. A lot of them! (Going #2 in the most centrally-located bathroom, and then leaving the door open afterward is a great backup)
  7. Don’t get too caught up in vacuuming or keeping the kitchens and bathrooms clean.
  8. Leave the dogs out and about…especially if they bark at the door when someone rings the bell.
  9. Agree to a showing time and have people asleep in different bedrooms so that they can’t be seen.  You might also leave a bedroom door locked, and say “we only show this room for people who visit a second time”.*
  10. Keep a lot of trash around the yard; old appliances, recycling and broken bikes work really well for this.

It is a lot of work to sell your home. Many buyers try to overlook some of the things that buyers opt not to do before their home is listed, but at some point, it is very difficult to pay attention to the house when there are so many non-essential things vying for a buyer’s attention.

Do the heavy lifting (literally!) prior to listing your home. Your home will look good, buyers will be impressed and, hopefully, it will go under contract quickly and for a good price. After all, isn’t that your ultimate goal?

If you’re ready to sell your Encino home, let’s talk!  Give me a call at (310)926-2386 or contact me through this website to talk about what you can do to sell your home quicker and at a higher price!

*When my wife and I were looking at a home for ourselves, we visited one very nice house with a locked door.  The owner made up an excuse for why we couldn’t get in.  We didn’t buy the house, and later found out it was being surveiled by the DEA for being a drug distribution center.

selling your encino home - DOM

What is DOM and how does it affect selling your encino home?

selling your encino home - DOMOh, the dreaded/happy DOM question: “How long has this house been up for sale?” If it’s your home for sale we’re talking about, you’re probably wondering about the split “dreaded/happy” bit. For that matter, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, you’re probably asking, “what the heck is ‘DOM’?” 

Days On Market

“DOM” is the shortened industry term for Days On Market, used by the multiple listing services. It’s exactly what it sounds like: the number of days your home for sale has been on the market. This metric covers the time it actually goes on sale to the time the deal is closed.

Why Is DOM Important?

Remember the “dreaded/happy” part at the beginning of this article? As a buyer’s agent, I might gleefully answer, “Fifty days.” I say “gleefully,” because a house that has sat on the market for a long time is a good thing for my client.

The seller is probably more eager to sell than a month before, and is most likely willing to work a deal. An eager seller makes a happy buyer in most cases.

On the other hand, as a seller’s agent, I might not be so happy about it, and for the same reason. My seller is now an eager seller. I want to get the best deal for my client, but I know the buyer has the upper hand. It is then up to me to help my client get the home sold without giving away the barn, the pool, the tool shed and the tools.

Already, you may be beginning to understand how the DOM metric can affect the sale of your home.

The problem with the DOM metric is that it causes buyers and agents to build false assumptions. If a home has been on the market for an above-average length of time, we start to wonder, “what’s the matter with that listing?” Even though I know there are other reasons for a home to go static and not sell, many people automatically think there’s something wrong.

Reasons For An Extended DOM Metric:

  • The Home May Be Overpriced – Nothing is wrong with the property itself; it’s just priced too high.
  • Testing The Market – Although it’s a big mistake and agents will tell you so, some sellers test the market by throwing a high price on a home they don’t care if they sell – just to see if somebody is foolish enough to take it.
  • Sticking To Your Guns – Often, sellers get fixed on a price and won’t budge, come hell or high water. They figure they can wait around until the market can meet their price, not the other way around.
  • Renovations – Sometimes, a home will go on the market in the middle of renovations. The sellers aren’t ready to let the home be seen, so it just sits there.
  • Availability – A growing problem is the lack of access to a home for sale. Sadly, agents and FSBOs alike seem to be unavailable when a buyer wants to view the home. Obviously, no viewing means no sale.

Don’t let your DOM get high because of simple mistakes. If you’re serious about selling your home, remember the five reasons above and make sure you aren’t doing them.

If you’re ready to sell your home with a professional who understands how to keep the DOM to a minimum, contact me today at (310)926-2386 or through this website.

This article was originally published here.


How External Factors are Affecting your Encino Home Value

encinohomeexternalfactorsAll too often, sellers focus on what meets the eye when it comes to pricing their Encino home, without taking into account huge external factors – and I don’t just mean the potholes on the street.  External factors include the general economy, interest rates, the time of year and what’s going on in other parts of the city.

Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators and Market Trends can tell us what direction the market is going before we actually get there. It won’t tell us the final destination or a clear cut expectation, but we can at least use it to estimate were the market is going.

If you’re the type of buyer or seller that likes to time the market indicators can be very useful.

For example, if you follow a twelve month trend for home prices you may notice them start to peak and if you pair that with inventory you can also estimate were inventory may bottom out to take full advantage of selling.

If you’re a buyer you might watch prices bottom out and inventory peak. However, when a trend line bottoms out or peaks it can turn quickly, so you’ll want to estimate the best you can when estimating the turning point in the market.

Interest Rates

Interest Rates can also be a determining factor on buying a home.

For some, if interest rates reach a certain level they may be too high for them to buy and if interest rates are very low this may allow more buyers in to the market.

You might find that depending on were the interest rate falls your buying power may increase or decrease, so timing your purchase were interest rates are lower may be to your advantage.

Seasonal Trends

I think most sellers are well aware that there is more going on in the Spring than there is in the Fall and Winter. However, I have found that sellers get a little more for their home when there are fewer buyers looking in the later part of the year because there are fewer homes to choose from.

Market Conditions in your Town/Neighborhood

Every market is different. A neighborhood/town could have completely different conditions compared to the next town over and can even be very different from the regional market.

A lot of that has to do with whether or not their are buyers for that area and price range. If there’s as shortage or over supply this can push prices in any direction.


Employment can also be a big factor in determining what direction prices goes and impact inventory quite a bit.

If unemployment is high there won’t be much buying, but if a community has an influx of jobs it can experience tremendous growth.

If you need a little help figuring out where to price your Encino home, based on everything you now know, give me a call at (310)926-2386 or contact me through this website.  I look forward to helping!

– read the original article here.

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