Introduction to Los Angeles Real Estate
Overview of local real estate market plus the latest trends & forecast for home sellers
Los Angeles is a seller’s market with more people looking to buy than there are homes for sale. This is according to the recent data published by Realtor.com. The data looks into the market demand which is measured by the unique viewers per listing on the site, and the pace of the market which is determined by measuring the number of days a listing remains active.
As of March 2021, the median list price of LA homes was estimated to be around $950K which signals an 11.8% year-over-year increase, and with a sale-to-list price ratio of 100%; meaning, homes were usually sold for or close to the asking price.
On average, homes for sale in Los Angeles only stays on the market for about 55 days. This means that properties are spending slightly less time being on the market compared to the previous year.
Based on current supply-demand, LA’s real estate appreciation rate is expected to remain strong throughout 2021.
Robust demand coupled with tight inventory will likely drive home prices upward, with real estate experts predicting that home values will continue to appreciate at around 5% within the next 12 months. This trend was observed in every region in Southern California, which reported median price homes increases in March, according to data from DQNews.
The California housing market has remained hot throughout the pandemic; having been fueled by low interest rates, limited inventory, and increased consumer confidence among homebuyers who have been working remotely and need more living space.
Across the state, the average price of a single-family home went up by 24% year-over-year to $758,990, setting a record for California, according to the Department of Finance. This means that if you pulled your listing from the market amidst uncertainty in 2020, now might be a good time to relist your Los Angeles home.
Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling a House
Do you have a valid real estate license?
Only work with a trained and accredited real estate professional that is licensed to practice in California or whichever state you’re selling in. Your agent should be able to provide proof of their license. If they are unable to produce a valid license, or try to stall you, move on.
Are you doing this part-time or full-time?
Selling a home is a full-time job, which is why your listing agent should be focused. Ideally, you should work with someone who works full-time so that they’re available to take calls and not drop the ball. Be cautious if an agent is only working part-time – if their attention is divided, they might not be able to give your listing the time it needs to sell quickly.
What’s the best way to reach you?
An agent should make themselves available to take calls and respond to messages, within reason. Work with someone who is highly communicative and keeps their lines open just in case. This will help prevent confusion and delays in the selling process.
How long have you been working as a real estate agent?
It’s always preferable to work with an experienced agent who has been serving clients in the area for years. There are some skills and competencies that can only be gained through experience, and meaningful experience takes time. That said, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a new listing agent as long as they have great referrals.
Can you share a list of referrals?
A listing agent should be able to provide a list of referrals during your first meeting. This list contains names of previous clients that you can call and ask about their experience with the said agent. This lets you know how satisfied their clients are, and whether or not the agent is reputable.
Will I be working with you, a different agent, or a team of agents?
Most real estate companies are fronted by a single name and face, who is usually the owner and the most established agent in the roster. But it can be frustrating for clients to consult with an agent and be comfortable with them, only to realize that they’ll be dealing with a different agent each meeting, or worse – get passed off to an intern.
Working with a small team can be advantageous as it gives you access to more support and resources. But if you’ll be working with a team, it’s important that they introduce you to everyone from the outset.
How many sellers are you currently working with?
It might be difficult for an agent to give your listing due time and attention if they’re juggling several sellers at once. This might be as much of an issue for a large real estate company, but if you’re working with a lone agent or a small team, make sure they don’t have too much on their plate so that they don’t neglect your listing.
Do you have a network of service providers?
One of the advantages of working with an agent is getting access to a network of real estate professionals who can help you sell your home and find a new one. An established agent should be able to recommend a lender, mortgage advisor, real estate attorney, professional stager, contractor, moving company, and house cleaner. This will make the sale of your home and your pending relocation more convenient. Otherwise, you’ll lose precious time trying to find and screen these service providers yourself.
Can you describe the home selling process from beginning to end?
It’s important for first-time sellers to understand the key points of the home selling process, from getting ready to list your home to managing offers. So feel free to ask your agent questions about the process, and about the idiosyncrasies of selling a home in Los Angeles. This will also allow them to demonstrate their expertise, and for you to decide whether they’re the real deal.
Have you sold properties in this specific area or neighborhood?
Communities differ greatly in terms of what types of homes to sell, what buyers want, and more. Plus, to sell a home, agents are also selling the neighborhood and its perks. If an agent has experience in your specific neighborhood and knows their way around the best places to buy luxury homes in Los Angeles which they can confidently showcase to potential buyers, you can also consider that as a major advantage.
How much can I sell my home for?
One of the worst things you can do is overprice a home, even if you’re selling in a hot market like Los Angeles. Any agent worth their salt will give you a sensible price range backed by relevant data. This will help manage your expectations of the sale and develop a sound strategy that will sell your home fast.
Can you show me a written Comparative Market Analysis?
Conducting a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is one way of determining the best price for your home. This will help you better understand and gain more insights into the neighborhood, prices of recent comparable home sales, and other relevant data that are highly valuable when selling your home in Los Angeles.
Have you sold properties in this price range?
Once you have an idea of how much your home should sell for, you need to ask the potential realtor during the interview if they’ve actually sold homes in that price range. The asking price will have a huge impact on any decision you’ll make with regards to marketing, staging, and negotiating the sale of your home.
How can I get my home ready for showings?
Trying to keep your home spick and span for showings can be overwhelming, especially if you’re also looking for a new place to move. Your LA realtor should be able to make practical and actionable recommendations for cleaning and staging your home. This will undoubtedly make your life easier as a seller.
Will I need to hire a professional stager?
While DIY isn’t a bad idea. However, professional home staging is a must for luxury homes especially in areas like Los Angeles, since top-tier buyers are more discerning than your average. A well-connected real estate agent should be able to find a staging company that can get your home ready for showings. If you want to DIY, they should at least make recommendations and show some basic knowledge of home décor and interior design.
When should I start packing?
Staging and showing your home will require you to remove your personal effects from the home. This depersonalizes the space and makes it easier for buyers to imagine themselves moving in. This also helps protect your family’s privacy and deter theft and vandalism. Ask your listing agent when you’ll have to start collecting your things and packing for the move.
How to Find a Good Realtor
- Use trusted resources to find agents near you – Aside from doing a quick online search, you can reach out to friends, family, and colleagues to find a Realtor that they’ve had a great experience with. If you can’t find anyone within your social and business circles, you can start with the Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors.
- Evaluate their real estate experience – The questions above can help you gauge the agent’s real estate experience and competencies. Choose an agent who has relevant experience in the market and price range you’re selling in.
- Make sure they know LA’s local market – It’s not enough for a realtor to be licensed in your state. They need to have specialized knowledge of LA’s housing market and the specific neighborhood you’re selling in. Every market has its idiosyncrasies and customary practices, and only a local expert will understand these finer details.
- Check the real estate agent’s track record – Check their referrals, reviews, sales volume, and qualifications to find out if the listing agent can deliver results. Find out what previous clients’ experience was like in terms of customer service, not just the list-to-price ratio.
- Look for an agent with strong core values – When it comes to a competitive and demanding industry like real estate, it’s important to work with an agent who has passion, conviction, and honesty. Choose a compassionate agent who understands you and your concerns.
- Think about what’s most important to you – What are your priorities? Do you want to sell your home fast, or would you like to sell it for the highest amount possible? Would you prefer to see your home go to a deserving and worthy buyer? Determining your own needs and personal values will help you choose the right agent.
- Hire someone you actually like – When it’s all said and done, you need a real estate agent whose communication style and work attitude jive well with yours. Remember that the home selling process can take several weeks. When it comes to ultra luxury homes, finding the right buyer can take months or years. You’ll be stuck with your agent for the entire duration of the sale, so you might as well go with your gut feeling and hire someone you like.
Benefits of Using a Realtor to Sell Your Home
- A Realtor can spot (and prevent) potential problems. When getting ready to list your home, you’ll need to make sure that the property is in great shape to attract good offers. But there are some issues that you might overlook, affecting the price and marketability of the home. Realtors are accustomed to identifying any potential problems, like water stains or low curb appeal. Your listing agent will spot these issues and make recommendations that can help you save thousands of dollars down the road.
- They can help you price your home correctly. As property owner, you might think you know how much your home is worth. But your emotions and attachment to the home can easily cloud your judgment and cause you to overestimate its true value. On the flip side of the coin, you could drastically undervalue your home and lose out on profit.That’s why it’s important to use market data and real estate comps to determine the best price range. This will help you sell your home for the optimal price. This is where your listing agent comes in. They can perform a comparative market analysis (CMA) to pinpoint data that affects the property’s value. This will help you arrive at an accurate and reasonable listing price that will attract serious buyers.
- They can help you negotiate the best terms for the sale. Realtors are skilled and assertive negotiators with years of experience. They know what works and what doesn’t. They don’t have any emotional stake in the sale, allowing them to provide an objective view of the situation. But most importantly, they can serve as a buffer between you and the buyer during negotiations to help minimize conflict.
Should You Hire a Realtor?
So should you work with a Realtor? The answer is “Yes”!
- 89% of sellers worked with a listing agent to sell their homes in 2020.
- Agent-assisted listings sell for more than For Sale by Owner (FSBO) properties at a median of $242,300 compared to $217,900, according to recent data from the 2020 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
- 46% of FSBO sellers don’t actively market their homes, citing difficulties with getting their home ready to sell (12%) and understanding and performing the necessary paperwork (10%).
About Ben Kruger
Many agents proceed with buying or selling Los Angeles luxury real estate without much consideration for the kind of strategies that can help their clients achieve short and long-term financial goals. This is what makes Los Angeles luxury Realtor Ben Kruger different.
Selling a home in LA, or any market for that matter, is often fraught with stress. But with understated elegance and a good sense of humor, Ben can turn it into a smooth and enjoyable experience for his clients.
He’s affiliated with Hilton & Hyland, a privately-owned, Beverly Hills-based brokerage known for its leading share of the luxury and ultra-luxury market, and for the sale of some of the most distinctive properties in LA.