HotelDel DownTown Sunset



  Greetings from Jennifer Ross -  Realtor


With Mother's Day approaching I think about my Mother and the funny experiences growing up!  My Mom was born in L.A. and ended up in a tiny desert town raising five kids!  To add a little excitement to our small town lives,  she would take us to the local Humane Society to play with the animals.  When  we saw smoke or heard sirens from our hilltop community, she'd say "let's go" and we'd all dash for the station wagon and track down the fire (usually in one of the alfalfa fields).    My Mom was not a cook but served us Hors D'oeuvres!  Bite size grilled cheese sandwiches cut into tiny hearts with toothpicks, peanut butter and banana on Wonder Bread cut into triangles with toothpicks,  pancakes shaped like Mickey, and lots of exploding pressure cooker meals!


She celebrated every single holiday... green cider on St. Patrick's, and red cupcakes on Valentine's Day.  She attempted to sew, and insisted I learn how to sew a dress from a Simplicity pattern.  At the beginning of each school year we drove to Los Angeles and spent the day clothes shopping and lunching at Topanga Plaza.  I loved hearing her Hollywood stories...attending Shirley Temple's birthday parties with 100 other children invited because their parents also worked at Universal Studios. Stories of her mother, an actress who played Stan Laurel's wife in the Laurel & Hardy silent films. Stories of the soda counter in her parents market "Standings Market" on Sepulveda Blvd.  Fond memories for sure!


Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful Mothers!



WineThe Winner of This Month's Drawing Is... 


Miranda Groomes and John Tull

Miranda and John have won a $50 Cohn restaurant gift card.  Congratulations!


The next drawing will be in a few weeks......



News & Views 


The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage loan fell this week to the lowest level in history. According to Freddie Mac, the rate dropped to 2.56 percent, the lowest since they started keeping track back in 1991. The rate on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage loan fell to 3.35 percent, slightly above the historic low set last year at 3.31 percent. Freddie Mac economist Frank Nothaft said these rates "should further drive the housing market recovery over the near term."



Eight Ways To Improve Your Home Appraisal  

Appraisals are based on recent sales prices of comparable properties. And in rising price markets, those sales prices might not be high enough to support the newest deals. There have been many places in California reporting appraisal problems. Recently, the federal government issued new rules aimed at improving the appraisal process as it pertains to high-interest mortgages on rapidly appreciating homes.

But those rules don't go into effect for a year, and don't apply to most conventional loans. It pays to protect your own loan before the bank even thinks about sending that guy with the clipboard over to your house. "The reality is that the appraiser is only there for 30 minutes at most," says Brian Coester, chief executive of CoesterVMS, a nationwide appraisal management company based in Rockville, Maryland. "The best thing a homeowner can do to get the highest appraisal possible is make sure they have all the important features of the home readily available for the appraiser."

Here are eight ways you can bolster your appraisal:

MAKE SURE APPRAISER KNOWS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: Is the appraiser from within a 10-mile radius of your property? "This is one of the first questions you should ask the appraiser," says Ben Salem, a real estate agent with Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, California. He recalled a recent case where an appraiser visited an unfamiliar property in nearby Orange County and produced an appraisal that Salem said was $150,000 off. "If the appraiser doesn't know the area intimately, chances are the appraisal will not come back close to what a property is really worth." You can request that your lender send a local appraiser; if that still doesn't happen, supply as much information as you can about the quality of your neighborhood.

PROVIDE YOUR OWN COMPARABLES: Provide your appraiser with at least three solid and well-priced comparable properties. You will save her some work, and insure that she is getting price information from homes that really are similar to yours.  Ask your realtor to help you get the best list.

KNOW WHAT ADDS THE MOST VALUE: If you're going to do minor renovations, start with your kitchen and bathrooms, says G. Stacy Sirmans, a professor of real estate at Florida State University. He reviewed 150 variables that affect home values for a study sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. Wood floors, landscaping and an enclosed garage can also drive up appraisals.

DOCUMENT YOUR FIX-UPS: If you've put money into the house, prove it, says Salem. "Before-and-after photos, along with a well-defined spreadsheet of what was spent on each renovation, should persuade an appraiser to turn in a number that far exceeds what he or she first called out." Don't forget to highlight all-important structural improvements to electrical systems, heating and cooling systems - which are harder to see, but can dramatically boost an appraisal. Show receipts.

TALK UP YOUR TOWN: If your town has recently seen exciting developments, such as upscale restaurants, museums, parks or other amenities, make sure your appraiser knows about them, says Craig Silverman, principal and chief appraiser at Silverman & Co. in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

DISTINGUISH BETWEEN UPSTAIRS AND DOWNSTAIRS: Many homeowners covet that refinished basement, but that doesn't mean appraisers look at it the same way. "Improvements and additions made below grade, such as a finished basement, do not add to the overall square footage of your house," says John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage Services in New York. "So they don't add anywhere near as much value as improvements made above grade." According to Remodeling magazine, a basement renovation that cost $63,000 in 2011-12 will recoup roughly 66 percent of that in added home value. That's not as good as an attic bedroom, which will recoup 73 percent of its cost. Even similar bedrooms typically count for more if they are upstairs instead of downstairs.

CLEAN UP: Even jaded appraisers can be swayed by a good looking yard. "Tree trimming, cleaning up, a few flowers in the flower beds and paint touch up can all help the appraisal," says Agnes Huff, a real estate investor based in Los Angeles. That advice holds true indoors, too. "Get rid of all the clutter in your home," says Jonathan Miller, a longtime appraiser in New York. "It makes the home appear larger."

GIVE THE APPRAISER SOME SPACE: Don't follow the appraiser around like a puppy. "I can't tell you how many homeowners or listing agents follow me around in my personal space during the inspection," he says. "It's a major red flag there is a problem with the home."

And while you're at it, make the appraiser's job as pleasant as possible by giving your home a pleasant smell. At a minimum, clean out the litter box. Baking some fresh cookies and offering him one or two probably won't sway your appraisal, nor should it. But it couldn't hurt.



Video of the Month


You are more beautiful than you think

Women are their own worst beauty critics. In fact, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. DOVE decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that proves to women that they are more beautiful than they think.



As always, feel free to give me a call 800-913-7677 with your real estate needs.  I appreciate your referrals.




Acedemic Earth 


Jennifer Ross


Experience Counts!
Over 24 years in
Real Estate sales
Serving all of San Diego


Office: 800.913.7677
Direct: 619.985.7340





Current Mortage Rates

 ( weekly avg)

 30 yr fixed: 3.52%

15 yr fixed: 2.75%




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