Nikla Huff and Susie Sanchez, Realtors


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Buying a House? 3 Reasons to Do it Now!


Here are three great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1.) Prices Will Continue to Rise

Standard & Poors recently upgraded their 2013 forecast for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index to an 11% year-over-year increase from their original 8% projection.

The Home Price Expectation Survey, which polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, projects a 22.3% appreciation in home values over the next five years. The bottom in home prices has passed. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2.) Mortgage Interest Rates Are Increasing

As reported by Freddie Mac, interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have risen about 1/2 percentage point over the past several weeks.

The National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association and Fannie Mae are calling for interest rates to rise by approximately an additional ½ percentage point by this time next year. Some are trying to minimize the impact of higher rates. For example, Freddie Mac in their June U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook stated:

“At today’s house prices and income levels, mortgage rates would have to be nearly 7 percent before the U.S. median priced home would be unaffordable to a family making the median income in most parts of the country.”

However, an increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Whether you are moving up or moving down, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3.) It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your  family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

To read the full article: 

According to The LA Times:
Mortgage rates have risen
 half a percentage point
 since setting record lows last fall,
 and many economists expect them to
 continue rising for the foreseeable future.

To read the full article, click on this link or copy and paste it into your browser:,0,1623235.story

To read the full article, click on this link or copy and paste it into your browser:

5 Tips Sellers Would give Buyers if they Could

The conventional wisdom is that buyers and sellers go together like oil and water. That is to say, they don’t go together at all. The buyer wants to pay as little as possible, while the seller wants to get top dollar for the place. But there’s a point of view from which the buyer and the seller want exactly the same thing:  the buyer wants to buy the place, and the seller wants to sell it to them! Many buyers and sellers act cooperatively to achieve just that result.

In the interest of helping both buyers and sellers move closer to an outcome that helps them both achieve their mutual goal, here are a few of the insider secrets from the seller’s side of the bargaining table that they would tell buyers, if they could.

    1.    Trashing my house doesn’t make me want to sell it to you at a discount.  To a seller, their home is their castle. It’s the place where they’ve raised their children, and has been the backdrop for many of their memories. It’s the asset into which they’ve invested the lion’s share of their time and money, sometimes for years.  It’s an intensive expression of their personal tastes.  And it’s also the asset they must convert into as much money as possible to move forward with the next phase of their lives.

All that said, the average seller knows most things about their home that you can see with the naked eye.  So if you, as a buyer, think trash talking a home, pointing out obvious flaws or issues is a good strategy for getting the price down, rest assured that you are not telling the seller anything they didn’t already know when they set the list price. In fact, you might very well be doing your case more harm than good, as this “strategy” is highly likely to alienate and insult the seller whose cooperation you seek. 

If you feel strongly that something about a place makes it less valuable than the comparables the seller seems to have based the list price on, work with your agent on how best to communicate your offer price rationale to the listing agent in a way that is diplomatic and fact-based.

    2.    Knowing that you have cash makes me feel comfortable taking your offer.  With distressed properties, over-asking multiple offers, and the generally warm-to-hot seller’s market in many areas, it has become increasingly common for sellers to request proof of a buyer’s “cash to close.” (This usually takes the form of bank or other asset account statements, with the sensitive account number information blacked out for security purposes.)

Some buyers in competitive situations have begun to proactively offer such proof, even when it hasn’t been requested, and even for non-cash offers.

Other buyers, though, take offense. Why shouldn’t the mortgage pre-approval letter be enough?  Why should you have to jump through yet one more documentation hoop?  Is the seller just plain nosy? Why are they all in your business?

One word: comfort. Over the last few years, the number of home sale transactions that went into - and fell out of - escrow due to last minute loan problems of pre-approved buyers hit a record high. While this is awful for buyers to go through, it’s even more disruptive for sellers, who are relying on the transaction to close in the time frame the buyer provided to move forward with their own lives. It’s also a worst case scenario for a seller who had 5 offers on the table to choose one and then have it fall out of escrow later on.

And sellers’ agents know this - often, the issues which derail a buyer’s loan can be resolved with money, extra cash down, extra cash at closing, extra cash to put in escrow for post-closing repairs required by the lender or the city.  So, proving that you have more cash than you appear to need to close the deal doesn’t necessarily set you up for the seller to ask for more cash - but it might help them feel that you’re the buyer most likely to sidestep mortgage obstacles and seal the deal.

    3.    It’s all about the Benjamins - but being able to close is a close second.  Buyers be on notice - all the love letters, cute dog pics and cookies in the world will not make your offer win out over others that are offering significantly higher than yours, financially speaking. There is always an exception to the rule. But if you’re trying to create a plan that stacks the decks in your favor in a multiple offer situation, your first priority should be to offer as much as you can, without spending beyond what is affordable for you and beyond the home’s fair market value.

That said, sellers also care - a lot - about how likely the offer they accept is to close escrow.  And when multiple offers get so numerous and so frenzied that buyers seem to be throwing money at a home, smart sellers pay attention to the fact that their home might very well not appraise at a crazily high price and focus on offers that seem realistic and close-able, which can mean offers below the highest.

Approval letters, proof of cash to close, the professionalism with which the offer is prepared and presented (see below), and even things like your credit score, your choice of mortgage broker/professional - all these things contribute to or detract from a seller’s estimation of how close-able your offer is.  If you’re competing against other offers, you should be maxing out both your price and your offer’s close-ability, as evidenced by these characteristics.

    4.    Your agent represents you to the world of sellers; choose wisely.  See above. A buyer’s broker or agent has a lot of influence on whether the transaction closes, and how smooth or bumpy the ride is. If your agent’s level of professionalism is lacking, it will show - and listing agents might actually rank your offer below others, in terms of close-ability.  If your agent’s level of professionalism is stellar, the opposite can occur.

    5.    Ask nicely - the old “flies with honey” adage is true. The conventional narrative about buyers and sellers is that they are adversaries. But the average buyer would be surprised at the number of times sellers are actually ready, willing and able to agree to their requests throughout a transaction. This is especially the case where:
1. the buyers’ requests are reasonable and not nickel-and-dime nitpicks
2. the buyers phrase their requests nicely, and
3. the buyers have been living up to their end of the bargain throughout the course of the transaction.
Compare this with buyers who try to hold sellers hostage to their requests with the threat that they’ll kill the deal if the seller doesn’t do every single penny-ante thing the buyer wants. 

Sellers have been known to leave valuable personal property behind, have repairs made, give thousands of dollars in repair credits or price reductions after a concerning inspection report - despite a hot seller’s market - all because they were good people, could afford to, and the buyer’s approach was more sweet than it was sour.

To see the complete article go to:


Nikla Huff and Susie Sanchez, Realtors 
Contact Info:
Direct Office: 818-999-3021
Mobile: 818-517-9340
Personal FAX: 818-999-0023