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REX Agent Kara Birkenstock on KTLA 5 News

by Rob Roath
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Kara Birkenstock, one of REX’s Los Angeles based real estate experts, sits down with KTLA 5 News to discuss cost-effective tips for selling a home, why professional staging is a gamechanger, and which LA neighborhoods are on the rise.

Transcription:

Male Reporter:
Coming up we are talking about tips and tricks for the current real estate market.

Female Reporter:
Whether you’re interested in buying a house or ready to put yours up for sale, an expert from the game-changing service, REX, is joining us and he’ll talk about what you need to know.

Male Reporter:
Now at Three, we’re talking about the do’s and don’ts about buying and selling. When it comes to real estate in southern California and joining us now is real estate expert with REX, Kara Birkenstock.

Female Reporter:
Love the name.

Kara Birkenstock:
Thank you.

Female Reporter:
Thank you for joining us.

Kara Birkenstock:
Thanks for having me.

Female Reporter:
Let’s talk about the do’s of selling your home in the current market.

Kara Birkenstock:
Yes, number one tip is to consider having your home professionally staged. It might seem obvious, but when buyers walk into your home at an open house, they want to feel comfortable. They want to feel like they are entering into their home. And you’d be surprised how many people have a lot of their personal belongings or they haven’t cleaned up. Clean like crazy, remove personal belongings and clutter and then consider having your home professionally staged.

Female Reporter:
What about virtual staging?

Kara Birkenstock:
I was going to say, definitely. If you’re on a budget, that’s a great way to go because if your home is vacant, you can actually digitally stage, pick certain rooms and make it look like you want it to look. Great option.

Male Reporter:
You kind of covered the don’ts. Did we miss any?

Kara Birkenstock:
Well, if you’re selling your home, I always recommend to set realistic expectations. Talk to your agent because we’re going into a slower time of the market. Fall, winter, going into the holidays, it slows down a bit so it’s always a good idea to set expectations, know that it might take a little longer to sell your home than it did in the spring or even two years ago when the market was really hot.

Female Reporter:
We mentioned virtual staging. What are some other cost-effective tips to get your home ready to sell?

Kara Birkenstock:
It’s all about curb appeal. When you drive up to a home, obviously you want it to look bright and beaming and amazing, so think about how your home looks from the outside. Trim the trees or cut the hedges. Add pops of color with beautiful flowers. It also might seem obvious but a fresh coat of paint can work wonders. It’s a huge return on investment. As well small upgrades like in kitchens or bathrooms, those are really the two rooms that people love and they focus on, so even if you just get one stainless steel appliance in the kitchen, it will add a whole new upgraded feel to the room.

Male Reporter:
Here in Los Angeles, which neighborhoods do you think have the best deals right now?

Kara Birkenstock:
You can’t go wrong in Inglewood right now because of the new stadium opening up next summer. You can still find some deals, but if you buy now it’s only going to increase in value so you’re going to have instant equity. Whittier, Pico Rivera, certain parts of East LA, you can still find some good fixers under $600,000 and Highland Park is also on the rise. It’s really cool, a millennial vibe there, lots of artsy galleries and bars and stuff.

Male Reporter:
What’s going on in San Pedro, you had that on the map too?

Kara Birkenstock:
Ocean views for under a million. I know we’re in southern California, so it’s a million dollars, but it’s ocean view, it’s so difficult to find nowadays, so there is still some great pockets of San Pedro right on the cusp of Palos Verdes that you find, cute cottages under a million.

Female Reporter:
What are some of the common pitfalls you notice when it comes to buying and selling?

Kara Birkenstock:
I think on the buy-side it’s really not being prepared, not doing your due diligence, doing your research. You know, you’ve really got to get out there, go to open houses, check out neighborhoods. Just because you think you’re ready to buy a house, you might not know about the school district or what you can afford, which leads me to my next point. You really have to get pre-approved. Get your buyer package ready. I have a lot of buyers that come to me and want to work and purchase a home, but they are not ready. They haven’t started the process. Actually, at REX we have an affiliate mortgage broker team called, REX Home Loans, where they can get pre-approved really quickly. You really can’t submit an offer in this market unless you have a buyer package.

Male Reporter:
What makes REX different than say a real estate broker or some of these other online services that are out there?

Kara Birkenstock:
We are a tech-driven real estate brokage. We basically use big data and AI to directly connect with buyers and sellers. On the sale side, we only charge two percent to sell your home. On average our sellers save about $25,000 to sell. The traditional brokerage, they charge about five to six percent, so it’s pretty significant. On the buy-side, we have a buyer rebate program where we can actually give the buyers 50% back from the commission, which they can use towards closing costs or for a big remodeling project. There are just cost savings everywhere.

Kara Birkenstock:
We’re also, like I said, not on the MLS so it’s not all about agent to agent, it’s putting the consumer first and creating a welcoming environment for buyers and sellers.

Female Reporter:
Good to know.

Male Reporter:
Good to know. Are you looking?

Kara Birkenstock:
Are you in the market?

Female Reporter:
Well sort of, yeah.

Male Reporter:
Okay.

Female Reporter:
Waiting for things to kind of cool down towards the end of the year.

Male Reporter:
Gee, I wonder why you’re in the market.

Kara Birkenstock:
It’s a good time to buy. It’s a good time to buy.

Male Reporter:
All right, to learn more you can find REX on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or by heading to rexhomes.com.

Female Reporter:
Kara, thanks for being here.

Male Reporter:
Thanks for coming in.

Kara Birkenstock:
Thank you.

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