Become a Homeowner

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
By Abbey Khan
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Whether you want to buy your first house or sell the one you already have, it can be frightening, especially in today’s economy. Not to worry, celebrity real estate agent Marisa Zanuck whose clients include Faith Hill, Eric Clapton, and Fred Durst tells us how we can all come out winners in today’s volatile market. Please note that some answers are specific to certain Southern California cities that Mrs. Zanuck covers including Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and Santa Monica.

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FUSN: When is it a good time to buy or sell?
MZ: It’s up to the individual. Right now we’re in a market that isn’t really strong and isn’t that bad yet. I know everybody is scared and everyone thinks we’re going into a recession but we really don’t know. Not everything you read about the market applies to your community, so you should do your research. But if you don’t need to buy a house, for example you’re not relocating, then you should wait.

FUSN: At what point should you think about owning if you are renting?
MZ: You should always own. You should get into the market whenever you can. Real estate is the best investment – if you buy a house in Beverly Hills and sell in 5-7 years, you’ll get a great return.

FUSN: What do you forecast for the real estate market?
MZ: I think things are holding. People are not overpricing their homes like they use to. If it’s priced at fair market value, it will sell and it will sell very quickly.

FUSN: When should you use a real estate agent or sell your home yourself?
MZ: You should always use a Realtor because there are so many things that are liabilities and so much is involved – checking the chimney and the sewer, getting a geological report and a mold inspection, etc. Selling and buying a house is very stressful, so just pay the commission and you know you’ll be taken care of.

FUSN: What is the best way to increase the value of your home?
MZ: My number one advice is to take care of your home. If you have leaks or other deterioration, have a handyman fix it if you can’t do it yourself. For example, patch a leaky roof if you can’t re-roof it, otherwise mold grows in it if you wait 6 months to 1 year and will cost you $3000 when immediate action would have cost only $500-$600. You can also redo the kitchen with steel appliances, and paint the interior walls and put in new carpeting in neutral colors to make your place look fresh.

FUSN: If your home is not selling, should you temporarily take it off the market? If so, when is a good time?
MZ: If your house is not selling, the price is too high – period! If you want to reduce the price, you can take it off the market for 3 months and put it back on at the new price. If you price your house right or underprice your house just a little, it will sell.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Southern California, you can contact Marisa Zanuck at Hilton and Highland at 310.278.3311.


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