ask darren

Ask a Realtor: I've never bought a house before, where should I start?

Q: I've never bought a house before, where should I start?


A: The best place to start is getting educated about the process. Like all important life decisions, it’s always best to communicate with someone who is experienced and who can help paint the broad strokes of the big picture for you.

There is a ton of information available online and there are so many components involved in real estate that it can be overwhelming. Speaking to someone with expertise early on will save you a lot of energy - all it takes is a one hour consultation.

Here are the steps we recommend to purchasing your first home:

  1. Find a location
  2. Define basic parameters of what you’re looking for
  3. See what you qualify in terms of a loan (a Realtor can help you with that!)

Ask a Realtor: What's the best time of year to sell my house?

Q: What's the best time of year to sell my house?


A: It used to be that there was a selling season based around Spring time, when the flowers were blooming and the weather was nice. But in the past 15 years or so, in the Los Angeles real estate market it has not been particular to seasons in terms of one being better than the other, with one exception: avoid selling in the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

With the mild climate of Los Angeles, the best time to sell is from February through September. But the more important thing to focus on in terms of timing is how it relates to your circumstances.

On the other side of things, the best time to buy is December and January.

Whether buying or selling, timing is important when it comes to planning ahead. If you have an ideal timeto move, I recommend starting the process at least 2-3 months in advance. There are learning curves and there may be some necessary preparations to make for the home, so it’s always good to have a conversation with a Realtor months in advance.

Contact me if you’d like to discuss the specifics of your property and your circumstances, and let’s go from there!

Stay tuned for next week’s Ask Darren on tips on buying a home for the first time.

Ask a Realtor: Should I buy investment property?

Q: Should I buy investment property?


A: With the cost of real estate these days and the amazing options available in Northeast Los Angeles for small, multi-unit buildings, it is not uncommon for clients to purchase investment property to live in.

Historically, real estate can be viewed as a hedge against inflation. If you own investment property with a steady mortgage payment and rising rents… well, you can see where this is going.

The one thing to ask yourself is: are you ready to be a landlord? I help all of my clients be more successful landlords by providing continued updates on regulation, advice on tenant interaction as well as on contracts.

Learn more about Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods to see if any of these may be a good match for you!

Ask a Realtor: How do I know which neighborhood to buy in?

Q: How do I know which neighborhood to buy in?



A: Northeast Los Angeles has so many amazing pockets to choose from. Each neighborhood offers a combination of elements – views, old architecture, walkability, parks, etc. It typically comes down to defining what is most important to you as an individual and a price range that can work. Sometimes a client comes to me knowing the answer to these questions, and sometimes it is part of the discovery process. Either way, I love exploring this city to locate the right property and location to match a client's lifestyle.

Learn more about Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods to see if any of these may be a good match for you!

Ask a Realtor: Are web estimates reliable?

Q: Are web estimates reliable?



A: If you have no intention of buying or selling they are a reliable source of entertainment. Northeast Los Angeles is one of the most difficult areas in the city to appraise properties. There are two basic reasons for this: first, those who buy here place real value on design, but appraisers only see a 3 bedroom / 2 bath house; second, the housing stock varies so much in terms of layout, geography, architectural style, proximity to commercial entities and many more factors. Not only are web values not accurate, but appraisers that are used to working in the suburbs have no idea how to acquire accurate values.

For an accurate online value visit or just ask us.