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All About Ventura County and Los Angeles County Real Estate and Homes for sale. Lefton & Associates blogs about Real Estate market update and properties for sale throughout Simi Valley,Wood Ranch,Big sky,Moorpark,Thousand Oaks and surrounding areas.

July 6, 2016

Living in Small Spaces

Living in small spaces through out Simi Valley and Ventura County areas. 

living in small spaces

Sometimes living big does not mean you have to have a lot of space. In fact, with the recent “tiny house” movement, we have seen a lot of people downsizing in Simi Valley and looking for smaller, less expensive spaces so they can use their money toward maximizing their way of life instead of paying a hefty mortgage.


While you might not be ready to downsize your massive 4,000 square foot Simi Valley home and instead, live in a 400 square foot home, there are plenty of ways to give up some space while still “living the dream”.

Declutter your home for sale

When living large in small spaces, de-cluttering is always important. If you have prom dresses from 1982 and a still unused cheese platter gifted at your wedding fifteen years ago, let them go. Your children simply do not need 500 toys each, and that endless pile of DVDs could probably be traded in for a Netflix membership. By reducing what you have, you will make it easier to live in a smaller Simi Valley home without feeling overburdened, stressed and like you have nowhere to put your stuff.


When searching for your smaller home, carefully consider the storage space that you have. If you are fortunate enough to find a home that already has great space, that’s fantastic! If not, think of smart, cost effective Simi Valley home renovations that can help you to maximize the square footage. Built-in bookshelves, customized closets and a great organizational system for the pantry make it possible to use every inch of space and keep your things organized and easily accessible. If you are undertaking a kitchen remodel in your Simi Valley home, consider adding a lazy Susan, pull out shelving or even a small center island or hanging pot rack. These elements enhance the value and beauty of your home while also making it easier for you to enjoy the things you own and keep your family comfortable too.

layout of home for sale

Another important tip is to focus on the layout of the home when searching for your next Simi Valley property.  Look for flex spaces that easily transition from a dining room to an office and maybe even a bedroom depending on your family’s needs. Consider the flow from room to room to allow for conversational spaces and entertaining areas. Also, look for a Simi Valley home with a great outdoor living space. If you have a deck, grilling area and a little grass for the kids to play and the dog to run, your home will be much more functional and a lot more enjoyable too. 

 backyard landscaping in Simi Valley

If you are ready to join in the downsizing  movement, there is no reason you cannot still live large. Scale down on the things you own, find a home with great storage potential and remember to pay attention to the layout too. Clearly explain your family’s wants and needs to your Simi Valley Realtor Mike Lefton at Century 21 Troop real estate so he can guide you on this new path and focus your search on homes that really work for you. Small living is amazing in so many ways, and if you take the right steps to find a home that works for you, you will be on your way to living the dream each and every day.

About the Author


Aric Shelby personally designs high-quality vinyl wall art for use in homes and commercial spaces. With a wide selection of designs at a variety of price points, it’s easy for consumers to find exactly the style they need to make their spaces look spectacular when searching Aric’s designs. Browse them all at <a href=””></a>.

Simi Valley Realtor


June 6, 2016

The Dream of Home Ownership

The Dream of Home Ownership, despite the effects of the Great Recession, people still love their homes and think they're a good investment in Simi Valley and surrounding areas in Ventura County and Los Angeles. 


While renting has gained some popularity in recent years, owning a home is still the dream. Purchasing a house in Simi Valley is not only a great investment, but it markedly improves quality of life for many families and offers a sense of security and pride in ownership that is second to none.

The idea of homeownership is not one that should be taken lightly, but there really is a lot to be gained by transitioning from renting to owning in Simi Valley. In fact, 81-percent of renters have a stated goal of owning a home at some point in the future, and 54-percent of home buyers bought because they were simply tired of handing money over to a landlord.


If you are planning to buy a home in Simi Valley, there are two smart steps that will go a long way toward getting the most out of your financial investment and setting a path toward financial security that will benefit your family.


First, talk to a Simi Valley mortgage broker to determine how much house you can afford and what loans you qualify for. When you find a home that you love, that pre-qualification letter will let sellers know you are serious and a well qualified purchaser. This can make it a lot easier to get the home that you want under terms you are comfortable with. In addition, pre-qualification lets you know what you can really afford, so it will prevent you from looking at homes that are far out of reach or will stretch your budget so thin that it compromises your comfort level and quality of life.


Once you have had a conversation with a professional mortgage broker, take the time to find a Simi Valley Realtor who earns your trust. While it might seem easy to go out and look at homes on your own, there are a lot of steps involved in making your purchase and investing money into a home, and nobody will have the tools and skills necessary to guide you in the way that a Realtor can.


 Your Simi Valley Realtor can help you to make smart buying decisions and draw up a contract that has the best chance of being accepted by the sellers. This professional will help you to decide how much to offer, what terms are important to include in the contract and even when to walk away if a deal is not worth fighting for. In addition, a buyer’s agent will help you sift through inspection reports, negotiate with the buyer and work with contractors to get items fixed and even understand the terms of your contract before you get to closing. All buyers need a Realtor on their side, and first time buyers in Simi Valley especially would be wise to seek out a knowledgeable professional to make the process of buying a home a financially sound and stress-free one.


There is a lot to look forward to if you have made the decision to buy a home in Simi Valley. This is still a smart move and great time to buy, a dream that many people share and one that 96-percent of homeowners express satisfaction with after they buy. Make smart choices like discussing your financial situation with a lender and hiring a Simi Valley Realtor before you start looking, and you will be on your way to living the dream in a home you love.

About the Author


Will Tottle is the content manager for Smart Price Warehouse, provider of quality products for your home at unbeatable prices. After you have found the home of your dreams, visit <a href=””></a> to find a wide selection of home renovation products including high-quality freestanding, whirlpool bath and steam shower units.

Simi Valley Realtor



May 26, 2016

The Importance of curb appeal

The Importance of curb appeal.

When it comes to selling your home quickly and for the biggest profits in Simi Valley, one of the most beneficial things you can do is to stage it correctly. Staging your home involves making it look great, and also creating a neutral pallet so buyers can easily picture themselves in the space and feel right at home.


Your Simi Valley Realtor will certainly provide advice on staging your home, but there are some simple tips and tricks that he may forget to mention when it comes to creating curb appeal, an important part of the staging process. Here are a few that top the list.

A day of work outside can go a long way toward giving your home the curb appeal that it needs to make a fantastic first impression. Prune bushes and existing plants, mow the grass, trim back any low hanging trees that make your home appear dark or unkempt and if the season is right, plant something new. Add a bit of mulch around trees and flower beds to give your yard a perfectly manicured list. The best part of all, most everything on this list won’t cost you even a cent.


If you’re short on cash but have $100 to spend toward making your Simi Valley home’s exterior look great, adding just a couple of large potted plants is a great investment. This brings color and life to your front porch, inviting potential buyers in and helping your home to appear ‘finished’. A few five gallon trees are also a great option, especially if you want to line the path to your entryway or frame out an area in your yard. If you’ve been blessed with a green thumb, plant some seeds to sprout a new garden of fresh greenery and color, but make sure to do this well ahead of your big open house so that the flowers are in bloom when it’s time to show off your home.

Grassy Area 

For those with slightly larger budgets, $500 will get you a great garden bench, transforming an unused space in your yard into a small reading nook or spot to enjoy the birds. Since outdoor living is so important to Simi Valley home buyers, this makes a welcome and attractive addition. For those that don’t have such a knack for gardening, investing this money into a professional landscaper is another great way to use it, giving the professionals an opportunity to spruce things up and create beautiful curb appeal that sells.

When it comes to outdoor living spaces, it’s a good idea to make sure yours looks fantastic from all points of view. Power wash your porch and deck, remove or replace any furniture that’s in disrepair, and make sure these spaces aren’t cluttered with kids toys and outdoor gear. If your deck hasn’t been refinished in years, give it a fresh coat of stain to improve the appearance. While this project might set you back a few hundred dollars, it makes a significant difference to potential home buyers in Simi Valley and can help your home to sell faster.


Regardless of your budget, there are a few ‘don’ts’ on the list when it comes to creating curb appeal and staging your home for sale in Simi Valley.


Forget about that trendy pink or purple exterior paint color. If your home isn’t neutral in shade and tone, it’s time to get it that way, even if it means hiring a professional painter to get the job done. 

If your garage is so cluttered that you can’t get a car into it, this can be a real turn off to Simi Valley home buyers who are looking for great storage potential. Get the clutter out, and if your car is left at home, park it in the garage. You don’t want even the appearance of clutter from the road, or buyers will instantly feel like your home isn’t large enough or accommodating enough for a family.

Even if you’re selling your Simi Valley home in the dead of winter, when nothing will grow, it’s important to keep your garden looking great. Buyers don’t want to purchase a project, so remove dead leaves, wilting flowers and overgrown branches throughout your garden. This will help your house to feel well cared for, and it makes a serious difference, even before someone steps inside.

Finally, make sure your yard isn’t cluttered with personal belongings. While the child’s tricycle or pink flamingo lawn ornaments might scream ‘home’ to you, they’re often nothing but an eyesore to potential buyers. Get these items out of your front yard and into storage so you can quickly sell your home in Simi Valley and move them along to their next new house.

When it’s time to sell your home, staging it correctly is important, and that includes creating great curb appeal. Listen to your Simi Valley Realtor; spend a little time on improving the exterior of your home and plan for a few expenses along the way. Remember, the investment you make now will net you larger profits and a faster trip to the closing table, so it’s all worthwhile in the end.

About the Author


Dwayne Simington is a finish carpenter and cabinet maker. His website has great tips and tricks and is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to build or improve their outdoor living space with a deck. He also offers fantastic tips to help homeowners with kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations and other cabinetry needs. Visit it to learn more or get your next project started.  

Mike Lefton Realtor

April 11, 2016

Buying and Selling Real Estate in Simi Valley - Expectations vs Reality

Buying and Selling Real Estate in Simi Valley - Expectations vs Reality by Mike Lefton Realtor.

Buying and Selling Real Estate in Simi Valley - Expectations vs Reality

Whether you are getting on the property ladder in Simi Valley for the first time or trying to sell your existing home and upgrade, buying and selling real estate can be a difficult and stressful proposition - your expectations - finding a house, buying it, doing it up and then selling it for a large profit, may not quite match the reality of long negotiations, expensive legal costs, difficult buyers, and a lot of stress.



Pricing Your Home

Pricing your Home in Simi Valley

Making a profit when you sell real estate in Simi Valley is not always easy. While a house is generally a good investment, you have to remember that what people are willing to pay for a house is determined by how popular the area is; the amenities, the economy, and the size and condition of the property. Any money that you put in to upgrading the property will be reflected in the value of the property, but the upgrade won't always be worth as much as you think. Some investments, such as a better bathroom, painting the outside of the house, or insulating the loft, typically pay off quickly, but more specialized and unique “niche” upgrades may not net the profits you’re hoping for, and they can sometimes even diminish the value of your home.

When it comes to pricing your home, it’s easy to let emotions take over. This sometimes causes homeowners to value their house too high, meaning it sits on the market for weeks or months without interest, and they are ultimately disappointed. Be realistic about what your house is worth, and listen to your Realtor when it comes to setting your asking price. He can provide you with comps for other homes in your neighborhood and great advice about financially sound upgrades that might help you to raise the value of your current property.

Regardless of how you price your property in Simi Valley, when considering the profits made by selling your home, it’s important to be realistic about the costs involved. Things like staging, addressing last minute inspection concerns, paying Realtor fees and setting aside funds for closing costs all come into play when determining exactly how much you’ll walk away from the closing table with.



Finding a Good Agent

Finding a Good Agent

If you want a quick sale in Simi Valley, then you need to find a good agent. Remember that your agent is someone who you will be working with a lot. You might think that their job is to take the stress out of the sale, and if all goes as expected then that is indeed what they will do. Your agent's availability can make all the difference. While it is always a good idea to hold your agent accountable for returning calls in a timely fashion and following up on potential leads quickly, remember that no professional can realistically be expected to remain on call 24-hours a day. Be respectful of your Simi Valley Realtor’s time, call at a reasonable hour and keep in mind that family and life commitments may make it so that calls aren’t always returned the second after you make them.



Coping With Credit

Coping with Credit

Buying  a new property in Simi Valley will most likely require some borrowing, and qualifying for a loan involves more than just having a 20-percent down payment. The bank will look at your work history, credit score and tax records to determine eligibility.

Your credit score depends on a lot of different things - including your age, relationship status, tax record, existing borrowing and employment history. While buying before you’re financially ready doesn’t make sense, don't make the mistake of assuming that just because you don't have a lot of money now, and you have some defaults, you will never be able to borrow money. That's not necessarily the case. As long as you can prove your income you can usually find someone who will give you a mortgage. However, you may have to pay a lot more in interest or borrow less than you first hoped.



Finding a Dream Home in Simi Valley

Finding a Dream Home in Simi Valley

Don't expect to find your dream home in Simi Valley immediately. Most homes will have something less than perfect about them - whether that's the layout, some work needing done, or the cost. There are some things you can work around - such as needing to build an extension, add granite, paint a room or knock down a wall inside. There are some things that are deal breakers (if you really don't want a house near a school, then you can't hope that the school will close one day, that's being unrealistic). Keep your options open, and look at a lot of properties, then be rational when making a decision about which one you want.

While the process of buying a home in Simi Valley can be stressful and curve balls are a part of the game, don’t lose hope! Work with a qualified Simi Valley Realtor and be realistic when it comes to expectations. This is the clearest path toward finding your dream home and a more fulfilling life.

About the Author



Jonathan Leger is a freelance writer and small business owner. He also runs a popular question and answer site at <a href=""></a>.



March 24, 2016

Real Estate Final Walk Through Checklist

Your Final Walk-Through Checklist when you are getting ready to close escrow on your Simi Valley home. 

Final Walk Through checklist

When it comes to purchasing real estate in Simi Valley, one of the most important things is your final walk-through. This is your last opportunity to note anything that you do not like or that needs to be repaired. Although an inspection should have helped you identify any weak areas in the building, you still need to take responsibility for going through everything one last time before you finalize your agreement.

real estate final walk through.jpg

It’s a good idea to plan your walk-through on a day other than the date you plan to close. This gives you time to pay careful attention to every detail, and it allows for time to address any potential problems with your Simi Valley home seller without delaying closing.


Do not make the mistake of thinking that you will remember everything or that all will be obvious as you walk around. Make a checklist, and ensure that everything on it has been checked off before you conclude your purchase and head to the closing table with your Simi Valley real estate professional.

home final walk through

Because some of the items on your checklist will be in multiple rooms, list the rooms out, and under each heading, write the things which are appropriate for that room. This will reduce your chances of missing something important. For instance, by the time you reach the seventh or eighth room, you may forget to check all of the lights. This could cost you if the electricity is malfunctioning in one of the later rooms and might result in your needing to pay out of pocket for an electrician shortly after closing.


In addition to the lights, all rooms have electrical outlets that should be tested. Take a small plug-in style lamp with you that you can quickly plug into each outlet to ensure they are all working. Make sure to check both the upper and lower outlet in each plug.



Doors and windows are an important part of your building structure and a vital component when it comes to conserving energy. Inspect them to see if you missed any loose or cracked panes, broken locks, noticeable squeaking or wiggling or similar problems. While these are probably not a cause to halt the sale, catching them during the walk-through could allow you to negotiate a quick repair from the seller or give you advanced information about things that need to be taken care of after closing. A final door to remember to check is the garage door. Make sure it opens and closes smoothly and there are no problems with the tracks. If you have a garage door opener, try it out to see that it functions properly.

final walk through ceilings walls 

The ceilings, walls and flooring in each room deserve an additional once-over. Look on the walls and ceiling for signs of water damage that may be peeking through a quickly applied layer of paint meant to conceal the problem. Check for stains on the carpet and areas where mold or mildew may be growing.

real estate final walk through plumbing

In the kitchen and each of the bathrooms, investigate the plumbing and related fixtures. Look for any cracks or pin holes in exposed plumbing lines. Turn on all the faucets in sinks, tubs and showers, and flush the toilets. Start the dishwasher on a fast cycle when you arrive to ensure that it does not leak while running. Turn on the garbage disposal, and run water down the drain to see if it is functioning properly. Make sure there are no drips when you turn faucets off. Don't forget the spigots outside!


Also, look at all of your included appliances and the heating and cooling system. Check that each thermostat works, look for any rust or corrosion on your outside units, and ensure that the home is heating or cooling to a comfortable level. Regardless of the time of year, run both the heating and cooling function to ensure there are no smells emanating from the unit or malfunctions that need to be addressed.


If you find any problems, discuss them with your Simi Valley Realtor to get a professional opinion about how to proceed. In some cases, you should ensure the problem is fixed even if it delays closing. Under other circumstances, a quick closing is to your advantage, but you may want to ask the seller to in some way assist with the cost of repairs before signing any paperwork.

real estate final walk through investigations 

You deserve to have a Simi Valley home that is move-in ready when the sale is finalized. Going through this checklist reduces your chances of discovering unwanted surprises and can save you money after closing is complete.

About the Author


Jonathan Leger is a freelance writer and small business owner. He also runs a popular question and answer site at <a href=""></a>.



March 9, 2016

How Proximity affects home values Simi Valley

How Proximity affects home values in Simi Valley California and surrounding areas. 

How Proximity affects home values Simi Valley

There are many different factors that affect the overall value of a home in Simi Valley. Most focus is on new rooms like renovated kitchens, basements, & bathrooms. Other people talk about the neighborhood the home is in, or the age of the house. These are all important factors, but one really powerful detail that is often overlooked is how proximity works in relation to the value of a home. The distance from a variety of different places or benefits makes a major difference in how much buyers are willing to pay for any home in Simi Valley.



Passenger Train Line


Passenger train lines can make a major difference in the overall value of a property in Simi Valley. The key here is looking at homes that are within walking distance of a transit station or pickup. Having a railway directly behind your backyard isn't going to do positive things for value, but having that house within walking distance of public transportation can have a huge effect on the overall value of a property. The amount will vary based on location and area, but just a few studies have shown the following benefits:

- +$1,000 for every 100 feet closer to a rail station

- 10.6% bonus for houses within 500 meters

- 10% higher overall value for houses near premium pickup points

- $2,237 added value for the average home

- 10-15% increase within a quarter mile


While the exact numbers will differ based on the house on line, a passenger train line in close proximity makes a difference. A general rule of thumb is being around light transit generally gives a 17% boost, but this will vary in some neighborhoods.





The impact the proximity of a landfill has to a home's value depends on whether it's a high volume or low volume landfill. Studies show that in general a low volume landfill will lower the volume of neighboring houses by 2.5% while high volume landfills can reduce value by as much as 12.9%. This major reduction does go away the further out you get. The effects of the lowered property value wears off by about 6% per mile. The volume of the landfill is the main determinant here on how much the value of the house changes.





Don't be spooked by having a cemetery close by. While having a run-down or ill-maintained cemetery can drop prices of homes in Simi Valley by 10%, as long as the cemetery is maintained, the opposite effect seems to happen with many areas showing a 5-8% increase in property values in homes that are neighboring a cemetery.



Starbucks & Specialty Grocery Store


Certain stores, restaurants, and coffee shops seem to indicate a good neighborhood in Simi Valley, and as a result, there's a correlation between the location of places like Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks, and the increased value of a local property. There are some really eye opening numbers in some areas regarding this phenomenon, as well.


- A Dunkin Donuts close by boosted home values by 15% on average

- A Starbucks did even better with a 21% boost on average

- The numbers aren't as clearly researched, but Trader Joe's and Whole Foods stores also bring up the property values (and property taxes) of residential homes located close by to them



Sink Holes & Shale Gas Wells


No one wants a home near a known sink hole, and the reputation of fracking and shale gas wells has put these in the same category. Being near a known sink hole can gut a property's value in Simi Valley by 30% or more, while having shale gas wells nearby also puts a crimp into things at up to 25% or even more.


In Conclusion

Proximity matters when it comes to real estate in Simi Valley, and as you can see, it's not just the house to look at but also what’s nearby and how those things impact lifestyle. If you want the full picture of what an area has to offer, discuss proximity with your Simi Valley Realtor and keep in mind throughout your search.

About the Author



Patrick Rogers runs Asurent Property Management based out of Medford Oregon. If you are in need of property management services in that area, you can learn more by visiting <a href=”"></a>.



Feb. 22, 2016

Should I Landscape my Simi Valley Home

Should I Landscape my Simi Valley Home? The dos and donts on landscaping your home. 

Should I Lanscape my Simi Valley Home

Planning out the landscaping in a home is important for anyone interested in beautifying their property and protecting their investment. While the specifics of style and color can vary from homeowner to homeowner and house to house, keeping some basics in mind is always important. One way to do this is by considering the ‘dos and don’ts’ most recommended by professionals. Here’s a guide to get you started.

lanscaping your simi valley home


When planning the landscaping for your home, do think long term and try your hand at a little research. Take the time to understand which plants, trees and flowers are native to Simi Valley in order to create a garden that is easy to care for and naturally hardy in the existing soil. Also, make sure to plant in a way that creates a sustainable landscape for the long term. Even if the smaller evergreen or palm tree looks beautiful today, consider where you’re planting it, what size it will grow to and how the root system might impact your sidewalk, foundation and hardscaping as the tree grows. When in doubt, consult with a professional landscaper for advice. 

curb appeal when selling your simi valley home

Another important factor to consider is curb appeal. In Simi Valley, Realtors know that a home with exceptional curb appeal typically realizes a boost in home value by 5 to 10-percent. Even if you aren’t thinking of selling your Simi Valley home right away, home equity is important, and making appropriate changes to create curb appeal is a smart investment. 


To create beautiful curb appeal for your Simi Valley home, don’t think in ones. Plant flowers, bushes and even some trees in groups with taller varieties in the back and shorter blooms up front. Keep the color of your garden more consistent to create visual impact and bring everything together in organized groups.

  low maintenance lanscaping helps sell your simi valley home

Remember to plan your garden and lawn so that it is low maintenance. If your landscaping is difficult to maintain, even the most beautiful yard will soon turn sour and lose its appeal. Choose native plants and hardy grass. Fertilize grass in the fall, just before the coldest months, and wait until spring to fertilize your young plants and trees.  Consider hiring a Simi Valley landscaping company to get you started, and perhaps, install an irrigation system to make watering your lawn and garden easier.

maintaining your lawn sells simi valley homes faster

Maintaining the garden and lawn in your Simi Valley home will take some effort, but make things easier by setting aside time for regular maintenance. Pull weeds as soon as you see them starting to sprout or at least on a bi-weekly basis in the warmest months. Cut back or pull overgrown plants before they begin to crowd your landscaping, block sunlight from entering windows or even do damage to your siding and foundation. Remember, it’s a lot easier to start from scratch by pulling plants and replacing them with something new than it is to deal with larger landscaping issues or pay for expensive damage to your home.  Keep the soil in your garden relatively loose to optimize growth, but never pack it so tight so that it has difficulty absorbing water or supporting root systems. Also, make it a rule in your home to never let anyone walk through your gardens and needlessly disrupt the landscape.

A home with landscaping in Simi Valley sells 15-percent faster, and landscaping has a 100-percent return on investment at resale. Add to this the fact that good landscaping benefits the environment and even helps to reduce your heating and cooling costs, and it’s easy to see why making these choices is a sound investment for every homeowner to consider. When in doubt, turn to your Simi Valley Realtor for advice regarding the correlation between home values, home sales and curb appeal.

About the Author



Patrick Rogers runs Asurent Property Management based out of Medford Oregon. If you are in need of property management services in that area, you can learn more at <a href=" "></a>.


Feb. 4, 2016

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Simi Valley First Time Home Buyer's Guide

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Before you spend any money on a Simi Valley home or agree to any contracts, you must be properly prepared. Your home purchase is going to be a large investment, and you must know what goes into it. Here you will become familiar with all you need to know so you can safely purchase a home that meets your family's needs.

How Much Home You Can Afford in Simi Valley.

How much home you can afford in Simi Valley

The first step in your Simi Valley home buying process should always be to assess how much you can afford. If you know the number, you can skip this step and move on to the next. If you don’t, there are a few good guides that can help.


Start by considering your current rent. If your income allows you to feel comfortable paying this much each month, it can be a good gauge of how much you can afford. Also remember that, in general, your housing expenses should be about 30-percent of your monthly income, but when considering this number, you have to look at incidental costs that come with homeownership too. Things like property taxes, insurance and maintenance are always important to factor in.

 Financing a Home in Simi Valley.

Financing a home in Simi Valley

Prior to settling on a Simi Valley home, set aside the closing costs. These generally are one and a half to two percent of your purchase price. This will go towards helping you pay for a lawyer and the transfer tax.

If you can afford it, plan to put 20-percent of the purchase price down on your home. This will help you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) and can therefore reduce your monthly mortgage payment. If you don’t have 20-percent to put down, consider if you qualify for a first time homebuyer’s grant. You can also gifted or inherited funds to reach this amount, but make sure to talk to a qualified mortgage broker to understand the criteria surrounding these options.

Credit checks need to be done to help you get a loan on the home of your choice. In general, you should strive for a credit score of 680 or higher to get the best financing options. Reaching this number often involves both paying your debts on time and having two or more open credit accounts that you have steadily maintained for two or more years.  If you aren’t there, take some time to build or repair your credit before proceeding with the purchase.


You usually won't have the money to buy a home outright, so working with a bank or some other place to get a home financed will be necessary. The reason your credit has to be checked is that they want to make sure you have a history of repaying debts. Otherwise, they are taking a big risk with those that don't have good credit and they could end up having to recoup their losses.

Prepare Your Documents to purchase a Simi Valley Home. 

Prepare your documents to purchase a Simi Valley Home


Once you’re secure with a mortgage broker and have ascertained that your credit score is strong enough to purchase a Simi Valley home, the process of qualifying for a loan begins. With this process comes a lot of paperwork, so be prepared and stay on top of the game to avoid unnecessary delays. Your lender will want to see two years worth of tax documents and two months worth of bank statements.

Have explanations for any large deposits into your bank account. This can include pay stubs from your employer, letters from clients if you are an independent contractor, copies of a will for inheritance funds or letters from friends of family if funds were gifted.

Your lender will review all paperwork in order to make a final determination about how much you qualify for. 

After this process is complete, you’re ready to shop for a home! Work closely with a Mike Lefton your Simi Valley Realtor who can help you to understand the market, and take your time in order to find the home that it right for your family. Work through this process diligently and with attention to detail, and the keys to your brand new home will soon be in hand!

About the Author


Jonathan Leger is a freelance writer and small business owner. He also runs a popular question and answer site at <a href=""></a>.

 Simi Valley Realtor


Jan. 27, 2016

Magic Words to Make Your Home Sell Faster

Magic Words to Make Your Home Sell Faster


If you are trying to sell your Simi Valley home, and you want to attract a buyer fast, then you need to pay close attention to the wording of your listing. Yes, staging your home properly and making sure that it has good curb appeal are important, but you won't even attract people to come view the house if you don't have a great listing to get their attention.


Structuring the Listing


A great home listing in Simi Valley will get straight to the point. Lead with the location and price. Use the name of the area and the postal code. This will help buyers skim through the listings and make a quick decision about whether your home is within their price range.


What  to Emphasize


Once you have attracted the attention of a would-be buyer, the next thing to do is describe the details. Include things like how many bedrooms and bathrooms your Simi Valley home has, whether there is a garage and if you have a garden or a yard. Also emphasize selling points like a new roof placed 2 years ago or a modern bathroom renovation in the master. These are things that help your listing to stand out and your house to appear special.

Emphasize benefits and stand out features – use the word “green” if you’ve upgraded to a tankless water heater or foam spray insulation and repurposed wood floors.  Is there easy storage? Is the garden landscaped? Do you have solar panels (if so, mentioning them just might mean your home sells up to 5 months quicker than others on the market)?



Are you "move in ready" in Simi Valley (just these words alone can decrease your time on the market by about 12-percent)? If so, shout about these things from the rooftops and let buyers know all about what your home has to offer.


Things like patios, basements, air conditioning, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and bay windows are almost universally popular, so highlighting them will make your listing far more appealing.

What Not To Say

Avoid emphasizing things like whole-house vacuums or swimming pools. These are things that not everyone wants. If they’re prominent in the Simi Valley MLS listing, it might cause someone to dismiss your house, whereas, if they come to view the property, they might love it enough to “learn to live with” such features.

Don't emphasize things like a perennial garden too much - that could seem great to you, but others might think of it as being potentially high maintenance. Instead, talk about professional landscaping (which can help your home to sell 20-percent faster) or a gorgeous outdoor living space, things that make potential buyers view your home as a serene oasis they want to live in.

Also, avoid saying 'motivated seller' - that sounds like you are desperate to get out, and the buyer might question why. These words can bring low ball offers, and worse yet, statistically, listings with this phrase spend about 10-percent longer on the market than those without it.

Include words like “beautiful”, “attractive”, “gorgeous” and “pristine”, simply using these words can decrease days on the market for many listings by about 15-percent.


It’s also a good idea to make sure that your listing is accompanied by plenty of pictures. Professionally photographed listings with features like virtual tours appeal to buyers in Simi Valley, especially those who might be limited in the number of houses they can tour and the time they have to find their next home. In fact, homes for sale photographed by professionals garner an impressive 61-percent more online views than those without images or with pictures taken by a novice.  

Keep It Simple


The best ads are simple and matter of fact. You aren't so much selling the house in the way that you would sell something in your day job. Rather, you are laying out the features and benefits so that future Simi Valley home buyers can make their own decisions. This is an important difference. If you push too hard you run the risk of driving people away.

Make your ad easy to skim read. Look at the shorthand people use in your area, and stick with that. Most of all, listen to your Realtor’s advice. Describe everything as clearly and simply as you can, using as few words as possible.

Spend a little extra time on the headline, and on the call to action. These are the things that will get people to look at your Simi Valley real estate listing, and then take the next step - contacting you.



Selling a house in Simi Valley is not rocket science. A lot of people put too much time into flowery writing, superlatives and exaggeration. This will drive people away. Don't do that. Focus on the facts, and let the charm and beauty of your house sell itself.

About the Author



Patrick Rogers runs Asurent Property Management based out of Medford Oregon. If you are needing property management services in that area, you can learn more at <a href=""></a>.


Jan. 18, 2016

Biggest Home Seller Mistakes

6 Mistakes You Have to Fix to Get a Home Sold Fast

Biggest Home Seller Mistakes in Simi Valley

Every seller in the Simi Valley real estate market wants to get the most money for the sale of their home. When pride, stubbornness or fears get in the way, they can cause even well-intentioned sellers to delay the sale of their home or reduce potential profits. Here are ways to fix six of the biggest mistakes home sellers in Simi Valley often make.



Overpricing a Home

over pricing a simi valley home

Sellers do not set market prices, buyers do. You can only get what a reasonable buyer is willing and able to pay. Smart home buyers in Simi Valley know what a home in your neighborhood should go for because they listen to their real estate agent’s advice.


Sellers must do the same. Yes, your home is full of memories, DIY glory and deserves top dollar, but sentimentality does not sell a home. Fix this mistake by hiring a knowledgeable Simi Valley Realtor and asking for advice regarding a fair asking price. Ask him to look at comps, provide you with information about recent properties listed and sold in your neighborhood and give advice about smart renovations that may fetch you a higher asking price. Decide on your home’s market value with this information in hand.


Limited Showing Availability

limited showing availability in simi valley

If you want to sell your Simi Valley home, you have to let potential buyers come and see it. Certainly, getting the family and your pets out of the home right before dinnertime or waking your toddler from a nap isn’t convenient, but if you want to sell, you need to work with the schedules of people who are in the market to buy. 

If your Realtor calls and asks to show your home, the answer should always be yes. While it’s fine to request appointments with some window of time, the more often you’re willing to accept even the last minute showings, the more likely you are to sell your home fast. Remember, your goal is to place that sold sign in your yard so that inconveniencing your family for showings is no longer necessary.


Not Cutting the Clutter Out

not cutting the clutter out of your simi valley

You may have a wonderful doll collection or a National Geographic magazine collection that spans seven decades. However, when these things clutter an entire living room, no home buyer in Simi Valley will make you an offer. They need to envision their furniture, their family and their belongings in the home.


Stage your home in Simi Valley to sell by removing clutter. Have a yard sale, move personal effects to a storage unit or ask a friend or family member to keep them until you move to your next home. Listen to your Simi Valley Realtor’s advice regarding what type of home appeals to potential buyers, and if budget allows, consider hiring a professional stager to help you with this project.


Odors That Stink up a Sale

odors that stink up a sale

While Fido’s scent might not bother you and you may not even notice the lingering cigarette odor in the air, buyers will. These scents need to go if you want your home to sell fast and for top dollar.

If the home needs it, invest in a professional cleaning from the carpets on up to rid it of smoke, pet and kitchen odors. Keep the litter box clean, plan to vacuum every day and clear your refrigerator out from old, outdated food. Don’t try to mask odors with powerful air fresheners, instead, work to remove them, and only use scents sparingly so that buyers won’t wonder what you’re trying to cover up.



Negotiating an All or Nothing Deal

 negotiating a all or nothing deal in Simi Valley

This is one where stubbornness can fumble a great sale. Listen to your Simi Valley real estate agent, and know when to back down. While giving a little might seem like it will net you less at the closing table, consider the money you will save by avoiding paying two mortgages and the satisfaction you will gain by moving on to your new home. While it would be ill advise to tell you to give your home away for significantly less than it is worth, never slam the door on a buyer. Be willing to listen and negotiate.


Repair Resistance

Repair resistance on your Simi Valley Home

Making repairs before a move is a nuisance. Still, most Simi Valley home buyers want a turnkey property. Paint the master bedroom, or fix the cracked tile in the bathroom. If an inspection report comes back with concerns, work with the buyer and make attempts to address them. Otherwise, you could lose the sale - and the proceeds from it, leaving you short to fund your new home purchase in Simi Valley.


These are six of the biggest mistakes most sellers make. If you’re in the market to sell a home in Simi Valley, set yourself apart from the pack by giving these issues the attention they deserve. This is the surest way to get that sold sign in your yard and the money you need to move on to your next great home purchase.


Contact Mike Lefton realtor for a FREE private listing consultation on your property at (805)407-6453 or Visit my website at 


About the Author


Patrick Rogers runs Asurent Property Management based out of Medford Oregon. If you are needing property management services in that area, you can learn more at <a href=""></a>.