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Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

This has been a rough year for several of my friends.  My friend Limi's son Leo accidentally shot himself in the eye with a pellet gun (something our parents have always warned about.) He lost the sight in his eye and the pellet is lodged in his brain.  He is paralyzed on his left side.   Another friend has a brain tumor that had been in remission for the past 10 years and reared it's ugly head again.  At the same time, her husband is preparing for a triple by-pass.  Meanwhile another close friend just found out her dog has cancer.  All this at the same time and right before the Holidays. 


My husband and I were thinking about how lucky we are the other day.  He was preparing his annual Thanksgiving gratitude and blessing request for our upcoming feast.  He was also going over our prayer list for all our friends and loved ones going through hard times.   We realized how grateful we really are just for our common everyday lives, filled only with mundane trials and tribulations.    My husband is very familiar with the pain of long term illness and the total disruption of the entire family's lives and sanity with just the initial diagnosis.  His late wife had gone through a long term illness and her pain and passing is recalled easily with others' stories. 


With Everyone in our prayers, we are focused this year on Gratitude and Thankfulness for so many things...

 

One of my agents fought breast cancer and WON this year - she is now cancer free! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! 


My husband had some minor surgery that has made a big improvement in his health!


 


We found a "forever" home for a wonderful little bulldog that had been terribly neglected!


We watched all my husband's grandchildren grow healthy and strong!


We helped several people save their homes from foreclosure! 


We found "dream homes" for quite a few first time buyers!


My husband finally finished his storage shed (albeit it looks more like a "man cave" than a storage shed.) 


We were able to feed and clothe our families and even help feed a few less fortunate!


My friend Annie (87 in Jan) is still walking with me and the dogs EVERY morning - 7 days a week!


My sister and her husband were able to sell their condo and move in their remodeled  "Pool" house! 


My Nephew Noah graduated High School and is embarking on a career as a chef and my friend Cathy's two boys are now attending USC - don't even ask about the tuitions! 


We all managed to get through another year in California without the BIG ONE!


My dogs are all happy and healthy even though they are all on "mature dog" kibble. 


We spent some great quality time with our friends!


Of course I can add a lot more to this list but you get the picture.  As we look forward to Christmas and the New Year, let's look back and count our blessings ..it doesn't hurt to pay it forward either! 


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 


We are very grateful for all our friends and neighbors.  Blessings for a safe, healthy and joyous Holiday season. 



Please keep our friends Limi & KC,
 Leo, Gale, Jim and Lulu on your prayer list. 


Thank You!
 
Charlie
310-534-3940

 







 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Chicken Soup For the Dog?

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE DOG?

Halloween is over - thank heavens...now it's time to take down the gaudy and maudlin decor and start preparing for the next holiday season...but wait a minute.   Why am I hearing those arrrgh noises from my dog?  Seems like one or more may have taken part in last nights celebration.  I'm hoping it was just candy and there are no missing children.  

Anyway, I was going to start putting up my fav Thanksgiving sides and such but now I'm thinking... is there such a thing as a chicken soup cure for an ailing dog?  When we're sick, that's what we eat but what do you feed a dog that looks like a really bad New Year's Eve hangover victim?


One of the things I give my dogs every day is a scoop of roasted chicken with vegetables on top of their kibble.  They enjoy it and it provides added nutrients and protein missing from the kibble.  So, why not make some soup for them too?  I'll be right back...

OK, believe it or not, looks like it helps!  All three are now making slurping noises instead of gagging.
Last Christmas one of them opened up a wrapped box of chocolates that was in a gift bag, unwrapped the box, ate the entire box and pushed the empty box under the couch.  Had I not noticed a few errant wrappers by the door, I would never have even thought to check the gift bag.  There's a fine line between smart and not so much.

At least we will be heading to the beach today and not to the vet.  Thank Heavens for Chicken Soup.  It really can soothe the savage beast in more ways than one.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and please, don't let the dogs get a hold of the turkey carcass.  

Blessings for a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving dinner for you and your family.



Click Here for our November Newsletter
Some great information on predictions for the real estate market in 2014 and fun ideas for decorating your Thanksgiving Table too.  It's all good (my friend Sam always says.)


Charlie (Hoffmann) and Rod Russell and whole furry family ;)

Team South Bay Realty
BRE #00769985
24214 Hawthorne Blvd.
Suite B
Torrance, CA 90505
310-378-4440



Monday, October 14, 2013

My Dog Is A Good Sport And Loves To Please - Just Like Me...

My Halloween Bow

 Here it is Halloween again.  Of course I have to dress up my baby for the holiday.  She's seen here to the left with her Halloween bow - straight from the groomers - still intact.  Honestly, it won't last until Halloween but at least we tried.  


My St. Patty's Day Hat

Earlier this year, we gussied up the old girl for Saint Patty's Day.  You can see how excited she was.  


My Valentines Day Flower

Even earlier, it was Valentines Day and she was such a sweet gift.  

My Bunny Ears

But Easter was the topper!  She was "all ears" for that one.  It's amazing how patient our dogs are with us.  Always willing, always excited to please.  I wonder what goes on in their heads though...might be good not to think about that.


I don't think there is a National Dog Day but there should be.  They do deserve it.  Happy Haunting this month.  Take advantage of the government shut-down and get some stuff done while things are at a standstill.  You can see that's what I'm doing.  Don't worry, I'll make up for it in the fourth quarter.  


Meantime, if you know anyone that needs to buy or sell a home this month, call me!  I'm not shut down, I'm ready, willing and able to take care of business.  I want to set an example.  We're more than happy to make your home purchase or sale put a smile on your face or we'll eat a bug!  

Team South Bay Realty  310-534-3940



Friday, September 20, 2013

HELP - I'm Drowning In Social Media Apps

ONCE UPON A TIME all I had to do was check my FACEBOOK to stay connected.  Today, I have to monitor my TWITTER accounts, update my Google+, upload my PINTREST pics, keep up my BLOGS, update my BUSINESS WEBSITES, answer the requests on my LINKEDIN, post notices on my NEXTDOOR site, and new stuff is coming in EVERYDAY. 

In 1979 I moved to California from Denver, Colorado.  I picked up the Daily Breeze and found an ad for a rental and CALLED the agent on the telephone.  I didn't have email then so instead of spending hours of my morning answering hundreds of them, I usually took a lengthy walk on the beach.  I was living in Hermosa Beach then and it wasn't quite as built up and we still had the old railroad tracks running down the middle of Ardmore, but I digress.  It was just simpler then (and a lot cheaper.)

In 1980 I became a fully licensed California Realtor and began conducting my real estate business in the South Bay.  I didn't have a cell phone until years later.  It was attached to the floor of my car and cost $.90 per minute so it was more of a status symbol than a tool.   We actually called people back then (the do-not-call list hadn't been hatched) and met them for coffee at the quaint little coffee shops that have long since faded into the beach mist.  I used to walk to Pier Avenue for lunch and catch up with the locals on the business of running the Beach Cities.  I drove a huge Chevy 4 door, 8 cylinder, gas guzzler with no GPS.  I carried around a Thomas Guide everywhere I went.  I used to drive with one hand on the wheel and the other flipping through the pages.  My clients were happy when I sold their homes and gave ME gifts.  Interest rates were 16-17% for a long time.  I remember when we finally dipped below double digits and everyone was so happy we had a week long party!  It was harder to conduct business then but also easier.  All our business was "belly to belly" as we used to say.  You actually had to be in front of a customer to work with them.

Today, I receive emails and tweets and calls from people I don't know but they seem to know me.  I try to get together with people for coffee but they don't have time.  I've given up calling people because they only want me to email or TEXT - they are too busy for the telephone.  Oh, did I mention that in this period of time, even the FAX machine, which wasn't available for our use in 1979, has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur in conducting business.

Yes, a lot of things have changed...some for the better, some not so much.  I got together with a few of my old time buddies a few years ago.  We're in the attached photos (if you can still pick us out) and we're all Grandmas now but still working!  Some of my clients call me their "second Mom."  I'm proud to have earned that badge.  I'm grateful I'm now working with the kids of a lot of the folks I sold homes to back then.  The relationships we've built over the years are the prizes for surviving this roller coaster business. 

So, after that ramble,  I guess you can now call me, email me, tweet me, fax me, IM me, send me a YOUTUBE, video conference, or wave at me when you see me rolling down your street in my non-gas guzzler car  (soon to be traded for something ELECTRIC?) 


p.s. Check out the prices in those ads - that was REAL. 

p.s.s. If you are in the market to buy or sell, call me, 

Your Real Estate Agent For Life!  




Charlie Hoffmann
Broker/Owner
Team South Bay Realty
310-534-3940

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Eeeee Gads Martha - Not the South Bay...

Yes folks,  us too.  Here in the South Bay we have joined the ranks of the states and cities with the highest rate of Identity Theft in the nation.  It is our country's most prolific crime.  What's worst, I just found out, it's the least punished crime receiving the equivalent of a "slap on the wrist" in most cases and usually only probation for first time offenders. The average identity thief walks away with thousands of dollars, your money, no investment and very little incentive not to repeat.    During the National Neighborhood Open House meeting this Tuesday, we found out a lot of things about crimes being committed in our Neighborhoods.  It's time to Circle The Wagons folks.  As most of you know, I live in Lomita Pines.  We were fortunate enough to have a contingent of Sheriff's deputies as well as Captain Bolin, address our group this week.  We were amazed at the amount of activity occurring in our little Neighborhood.   In the past, crooks used to rob banks and stores to get their money.  We found out the average "take" on a bank robbery is generally only a few thousand dollars. Not worth the time in jail when they are caught and it usually carries quite a sentence because bank robbers are known to use guns for that purpose. Identity theft is sooo easy and it's much harder to catch and convict the felon.  Lomita Sheriff's department had two cases on one block in our Neighborhood this year.  Fortunately they caught the mailbox thief and were able to get a conviction.  There are many way the thieves get your personal information.  My family has "Lifelock" which is just one company specializing in protecting your identity.  Check out and compare which companies might work for you.  In the meantime, lock your doors and windows and don't leave your garage doors open this summer.  Cars are easy targets too.  Thieves break into the car and get your garage door opener, wait for you to leave the house and then rob your home too.  It's up to us to be proactive and protect our loved ones and property. 
  My watch dogs take their job very seriously and that helps too (although my Gardener won't work at my house unless I'm home.)  Small price to pay ... If you live in Lomita, Rancho Palos Verdes or Rolling Hills Estates, here are some numbers/sites for you:

Lomita Sheriff's Station 310-539-1661
Lomita Sheriff's Facebook
TWITTER
NIXLE.com
LASD Patrol Station

Note: the NIXLE.com site will send you messages when anything occurs in your area.  You can input the zip codes you want to monitor and they will send out messages via mobile phone or email alerting you according to your preferences.  Check it out.  

Best suggestion ... get a dog or a couple of them.  Crooks don't like dogs all that much.  They are loud and create too much attention and may even bite (unlike cats who aren't much affected by the dogs - at least mine aren't.)  

So, be safe and have a happy summer.  Oh, by the way, if you live in Lomita the Sheriff's Dept. will also monitor your house while you're on vacation.  It's a small town ... that's why we call it SLOWMITA. 

Always willing to help... 


Charlie Hoffmann  Team South Bay Realty   310-378-4440  BRE#00769985 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Perspective - Perspective - Perspective!

As a Realtor, I have to keep reminding myself not everyone views life as I do.  For example... interest rates today are so low they seem silly to me.  Maybe that's because I started selling homes in 1979 when interest rates were 16-17%.  We couldn't even get loans on most of the homes then and had to use "creative financing" to close those escrows.  Every sale closed with a major party for me and the buyer or seller!  And celebrate we did ... it seems amazing today as we remember how happy we were just to be able to put together a transaction in those times ... sometimes you don't know what you don't know and it doesn't matter.  We all visualize things differently and therefore we all see the outcomes from those perspectives.  I was walking my beautiful Great Pyrenees dog the other day and was stopped by a lady walking down the street toward us.  "What an amazing animal that it is" she remarked.  "It looks like a wolf walking down the street."  I laughed - you should look at her from behind I said, from this angle with her long legs and dewclaws she looks like a hooker in high heels.  We both laughed.  How different she looked from each perspective.  

I was working with a first time buyer showing homes this month.  He was so excited and worried as he looked at each home we were previewing from the perspective of what it would be like to live in that house, in that neighborhood and with that mortgage.  We looked at quite a few homes over a few weeks and finally we found one that seemed to appeal to him.  We parted ways for the weekend and regrouped on Monday.  I asked him which home he liked best out of three we saw the previous week.  I started with helping him remember how the houses appeared from the street, how big the garages were, how many bathrooms and then he stopped me.  "I know" he said "which one I really liked."  Which one? I asked - he hesitated for a moment and then explained  "I liked the one with the kittens the best - remember the kittens in the backyard?  I hope they are still there.  That was the house I liked the best."  I laughed because I remembered the kittens too, they really pulled at our heartstrings knowing someone had left them behind.  But the big surprise was how he was processing all the previews and what made him remember his favorite house.  He remembered the home quite well too but his trigger was the kittens.  

I try to remind myself to slow down and smell the roses from time to time but sometimes the greatest help is to stop and try to see the world through someone else's eyes for a change.  It can make such a difference.   

Blessings for a wonderful summer!  

Team South Bay Realty
24214 Hawthorne Blvd. Suite B
Torrance, CA 90505
310-378-4440

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

IS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD SAFE?

Here in the South Bay we feel pretty safe and secure about our
neighborhoods.  We know the most important thing to consider when purchasing a home is always, location, location, location. 

But, what about other neighborhoods we may be considering for income property, vacation homes or helping one of our kids find their first place?   

Today, with the amount of information available online, crime statistics can be easy to find if you just know where to look.  Here are some helpful places to start...
 
Sex Offenders: Thanks to Megan's Law, determining if there are registered sex offenders in the area has never been easier. Simply Google "Megan's Law, (your city), (your state)," and you should see a list of available resources. You should be able to enter the address, neighborhood, town, ZIP code, or other identifiers that will allow you to see if there are any registered sex offenders in the area. Be aware that process may vary by state, and if you don't have any success with the keywords "Megan's Law," instead try "sex offender, (your city), (your state)."
 
Drugs: Has a property been used for drug sales or drug production? Was it ever a meth lab? It may be a bit tougher to find all the information you want, but there are options:
 
Google the address. If a crime had been reported there, some details may show up in the search, especially if it made the local paper or news channels.
 
Drive by in the evening or weekend (when people are most likely around) and talk with neighbors. They can often be the best source for what happened in that home before it went on the market.


 Justice Dept. website Click on the map to view a list of counties and addresses where drug labs have been found.

Crime: Want to find out about stolen vehicles, robberies, and more? Below are three sites to help your buyers do that (besides the Daily Breeze, of course.) 


Trulia: To get an understanding of the overall crime statistics in the area, Trulia can be a good place to start. After entering the address in the search field, scroll down to the "Local Info" area and click on the "Crimes" tab. This information is also available for larger areas using the "Local Info" tab in the search area.
 
CrimeReports: This site allows you to see the types of crimes that occurred throughout the area. By clicking on the icons, you learn what type of crime was committed, where it was committed, and when it occurred.

SpotCrime is another site that works similarly to CrimeReports, though you may find more details on the CrimeReports site depending on the area.
 

Of course, call me for information on any property in Southern California.  I'd be more than happy to help you research and find a safe place to live, vacation, relocate or check out for the kids.  
Charlie :)
Team South Bay Realty

24214 Hawthorne Blvd. Suite B
Torrance, CA 90505
310-534-3940



Sunday, June 2, 2013

GOT THE CREDIT REPORT BLUES?

 
MY CREDIT IS ALL MESSED UP! 

I hear complaints everyday from my clients about issues with their
credit reports.  The worst time to start dealing with these issues is when you are in the process of making a purchase.  It makes sense to check your credit report at least once a year and handle the mistakes as they come up.  The following information from one of my mortgage brokers should be helpful to get the ball rolling ... 
the process just got EASIER and FASTER. 
 
To get you FREE Credit Report you can check either of these two sites:
 
AnnualCreditReport.com
CreditKarma.com

After reviewing your credit reports, if you find any errors or discrepancies, you must first notify each of the credit bureaus in writing.  Then you can begin the process below. 
 
The Consumer Finance Credit Bureau (CFPB) now allows consumers to “directly dispute” misinformation by directly uploading their complaints on line.
 
"The Bureau has the power to conduct (costly) administrative reviews, levy fines and provide information to consumer rights attorneys for the sake of class action lawsuits".
 
To begin the complaint process click here CFPB 
Below are the most common examples of misreporting:
 
a) Information is “not creditor’s
b) Belongs to someone else, identity theft, fraud, etc.
c) Account terms are reported wrong
d) Creditor name/info, balance, payment, etc.
e) Account status
f) Paid bill on time, account closed, etc.
g) Wrong date of birth, address, etc.
h) Inaccurate public records (Bankruptcy, judgments, etc).
i) Reinserted (previously deleted) information
j) Credit Reporting company's investigation was flawed
 
To dispute an issue, the consumer must first order a credit report from each bureau and file a dispute for each derogatory item with the specific credit reporting bureau.
 
Once the bureau has reviewed the filing, they must (within 30 days) inform the consumer the results of their investigation.
 
Assuming the investigation is negative, the consumer should appeal to the CFPB for relief.
 
The uploading of any supporting documents online directly to the agency expedites ('starts" the clock ticking") the process by bringing pressure on credit bureaus, collection agents and credit vendors.
 
It's just easier for all involved to delete a consumer's derogatory item rather than risk sanctions.
 
Those documents are (but not limited to):
 
a) Incorrect part of credit reports, payment records, cancelled checks, court documents, birth certificates or other identity verification documents.
 
b) To add pressure I recommend the borrower/ buyer includes a cover letter (and subsequent purchase contract) explaining the sensitivity and timeliness of a quick response.
 
All too often unethical bill collectors target and pressure innocent borrowers and borrowers with common surnames, to pay illegitimate debts just to raise their credit scores.
 
Collection agents coldly calculate the pressure of losing an earnest money deposit (and the home) to bully innocent buyers into paying an (unjust) outstanding balance just to close escrow.
 
NOTE: If the debt is legit it’s CRUCIAL that the debt be paid ONLY thru escrow.

 

Charlie Hoffmann

Team South Bay Realty
310-378-4440

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

THE MARKET AWAKENS

Nothing stays the same forever, especially the real estate market.  Just like the stock market, what goes up eventually comes down and so goes
the circle of life. 

This month we've seen some great improvement in South Bay home prices.  We're slowly moving away from the Foreclosures and Short Sales (although we still may see more to come from the "shadow inventory" some of the banks are holding.)  Meantime, we're holding our breath - anticipating a interest rate hike - long overdue.  A lot of folks are still not convinced that now is the time to roll out their plans for moving into bigger homes or selling the family home which they've outgrown for something more manageable.  I suggest that NOW is the time to start moving forward.  We have a perfect blend - lowest interest rates in history accompanying comparatively modest home prices.  If you are trading up, the money you save on your "up leg" will more than make up for any lag in increased value for your present home.  It's all numbers. 

I'm sending out Market Update Profiles to all my clients over the next few months.  If you're not in my current database, call me and I'll do the same for you.  My job has always been to provide information so you can make an intelligent informed decision.  That starts with looking at the big picture and narrowing it down to how it will play into your life and family plans.  My husband teases me with my own mantra ... if you fail to plan you plan to fail!  We are now in a transitioning market.  Take advantage of the window and watch how these changes play into your goals and dreams. 
Of course, I can help you visualize and project whatever you have in mind.  Then when you're ready to move forward, I can help you make it all happen.  That's my job - your Real Estate Consultant For Life and all it brings...


Meantime, I have a little girl looking for a "forever" home.  She's a sweet 4 year old English Bulldog.  She plays with all my dogs (and cats) and has taken up a post as the best watchdog ever to earn her keep.  She needs someone who will walk her (she loves walks) and give her some attention (not that much but a little.)  She will return those favors ten fold.  Let me know if you or someone you know would like to adopt this wonderful companion pooch.  It's good Karma you know - doesn't hurt to pay it forward. 

Have a great month and please feel free to call me with any of your real estate questions. I'm here to help. 

Charlie :)
Team South Bay Realty
24214 Hawthorne Blvd. Suite B
Torrance, CA 90505
310-378-4440

Friday, April 19, 2013

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

and our Market Is On The Move!

4000Newton.com
 

Everyone is wondering what the 2013 real estate market will deliver.  So far, it looks like we have definitely bottomed out and are seeing significant increases in pricing in some areas already.  Some sellers are reluctant to put their homes on the market, worried they won't be able to get their price.  Of course that means fewer homes for sale and the competition can be fierce in the lower price ranges.  The sellers looking to move up in the market will benefit even if the pricing hasn't met their expected levels for their home sale.  The difference in purchase price on a higher value will make up for the lower sales price in most cases. 

Another important issue this year is interest rates.  So far we are still seeing the lowest rates in history for mortgage money.  That will change.  As the interest rates begin to rise, prices will be affected as the affordability for buyers will change.  Right now, we are even seeing 100% loans back in the market.  Unbelievable opportunity for financing right now if you have decent credit (FICO scores in the mid-600 range plus) and verifiable income.  Even those with distressed credit from previous short sales can benefit (must be longer than two years since recorded sale) as long as they have kept their spending to a minimum and paid all their accounts on time.  The financing is out there for everyone from first time buyers to jumbo refinances - take advantage while you can.

Some Fun Facts About the Market*
Who's Moving In The Next Two Years? 
48%  18-34 year olds
26%  35-49 year olds
16%  50-64 year olds
10%  65 and older
 
 
Team South Bay is looking for homes for our South Bay buyers!  If you are thinking about moving up or downsizing please give us a call.  We'll prepare a full market analysis for your home and neighborhood free of charge.  We also have a list of Income Property Buyers too.  Let us help you take advantage of this HOT real estate market. 
 
 
p.s. Dyna says the South Bay is
Heaven on Earth and we agree! 




*courtesy of the Demand Institute