5 Unexpected Places to Clean before Listing a Home


 By Bob Angilella

With summer upon us here in Big Bear Lake, the Big Bear housing market is starting to heat up. A crucial aspect of readying a home to place on the market is taking time to thoroughly, meticulously clean, both inside and out. There are obvious areas that most home owners will tackle first when it comes to the cleaning process, but today’s ideas go beyond the standard cleaning tasks to alert you to areas that might get overlooked in the cleaning hustle and bustle. Taking time to detail these areas along with the obvious ones will ensure you don’t overlook an eyesore that might ultimately deter an interested buyer when they are searching for Big Bear real estate.

Area 1: Mailboxes
Chances are, one of the first things prospective buyers will pass by when they come to your home is your mailbox, and a pollen- and mildew-covered mailbox will definitely make for a lackluster first impression! To clean, use an all-purpose cleaner diluted in warm water, and apply to the mailbox with a brush, scrubbing to remove mildew and other stubborn stains. Rinse well with a garden hose to finish.

Area 2: Exterior Doors
The doors on a home’s exterior are faced with extreme temperatures, moisture and anything else the elements throw their way. Washing them thoroughly with soapy water and a rag or sponge will remove any pollen, mildew or other grime that has accumulated there. Sliding glass doors should be detailed thoroughly, removing any dirt that has accumulated in the door’s track by using a vacuum’s hose attachment and then wiping down all surfaces with an all-purpose spray. Often, you won’t realize how dingy a door has become until it has been cleaned. Once your front door is spotless, hang a wreath to welcome potential buyers. It makes a great first impression!

Area 3: Under the Microwave
It might seem obvious that the inside of a microwave would need some TLC before the sale, but don’t forget that on microwaves mounted over a stove, grease and other messes accumulate underneath and need to be scrubbed away. Over-the-range microwaves include a filter on the underside of the unit that needs to be cleaned regularly. To do so, remove the filter (consult the manual for your appliance for the appropriate way to do so), and thoroughly wash it in soapy water. Allow it to air dry completely before replacing. Use a Magic Eraser to scrub away any grime that has settled on the underside of the microwave unit itself.

Area 4: Air Vents and Returns
No matter how tidy you keep your home, there is inevitably dust in the air. And where does that dust ultimately tend to settle? On the places all of that air flows through: vents and returns. Dingy white vents can be a real eyesore! To clean, start by using a vacuum hose attachment to remove the majority of the dust, and then wipe everything down with a rag and soapy water. When the vents and returns are clean, be sure to replace your filters! A clean filter is a sign of a homeowner who pays attention to the upkeep and maintenance of his or her home, a great selling point for prospective buyers.

Area 5: Washer and Dryer
Even if you aren’t planning to include these appliances in your home’s listing, washers and dryers need to be cleaned thoroughly to give prospective buyers the best possible first impression of your home’s laundry room. Clear away any lint, detergent or other messes that have accumulated on top of each unit, and then use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe each one down until it shines.

Investing a bit of time into the home-cleaning process can potentially pay off handsomely once your home is on the market, allowing prospective buyers to focus on the great things your home has to offer instead of small but unsightly eyesores. Tackling less-than-obvious areas in cleaning is one way to ensure your home stands out from the other homes on the market.

Sellers – 10 Things to Help Sell Your Home!


by Bob Angilella


The housing market is volatile, to say the least. While some regions are showing signs of recovery, others remain on the low end. In many ways, it’s a buyer’s market; if you want to sell your Big Bear home and get as much as you can from it, you need to make it the most appealing option in the neighborhood. You manicure the lawn, put up a new coat of paint, and install some stylish window treatments.

Yet, enticing home buyers is about more than simple curb appeal. Many people choose to go a step further, and turn the inside of the home into a sales floor. Companies that specialize in this kind of interior design are known as “staging” companies, and they’ve been proven to increase the sale price of a home.

Here are a few things staging companies do to help your home get the best possible offer:

  1. Get rid of visual noise. A cluttered house has a harder time selling than one that’s not cluttered. By “clutter” we’re not talking about cleaning up after yourself or having too many nick-nacks; we’re talking about visual noise. Too much furniture, for example, can create a “cluttered” look. One of the first things stagers often do is remove some furniture. This makes the home feel bigger on the inside.
  2. Group furniture. Pushing furniture up against the wall doesn’t make the room look bigger, contrary to popular belief. Instead, you want to position your furniture in such a way that the room’s traffic flow is obvious. A living room with all of the couches and chairs up against the wall doesn’t look bigger – it looks emptier. Grouping furniture makes the room seem more usable.
  3. Use neutral tones. Neutral tones like beiges, tans, honeys, and even the softer blue-green shades make for a great new color for a room. This will help to make up for dated styles and finishes you might have in a given space. Larger spaces should have neutral tones while smaller accents – such as your window treatments, for example – can have bolder tones to accent and define a space.
  4. Light up the home. One of the best ways to make your home feel warm and welcoming is to add lighting. As a rule of thumb, you want to have 100 watts of lighting in every 50 square feet of space. Use all three major lighting types: ambient, task, and accent.
  5. Create a new room. If you currently have an extra room that’s not being used for anything (such as a guest bedroom/sewing room/den combination) turn it into a real value-add in the home. Remove the visual noise, and then turn it into an actual bedroom, sitting room, or other room with a specific purpose.
  6. Vary your wall decorations. In most homes, wall hangings are placed in a virtual circle all around the exterior of a given room. This makes your artwork and other decorations almost imperceptible. Instead, vary their spacing and height so as to draw attention.
  7. Flowers pay off big. One of the consistent features of a staged home is floral arrangements. If you have flowers in your yard, they make excellent arrangements and they help to reinforce the entire property as a beautiful place. Use flowers and arrangements that are appropriate to the season; when in doubt, orchids are almost always a good bet.
  8. Make bedrooms inviting. Choose soft colors for your bedroom setting. If you can’t afford to replace a bed, switch out the frame for something more luxurious and use bedding with a neutral pattern. Remove as much as possible from your closets. Storage space is always one of the big concerns on a home buyer’s list of priorities.
  9. Consider re-facing cabinets. Replacing the cabinet doors and fronts of drawers, as well as knobs, will breathe new life into the kitchen. A well-done paint job will add to the effect. If the fronts of your appliances are dinged up, consider some appliance paint. Alternatively you can cover some appliance fronts with large, decorative magnets designed for that purpose.
  10. Don’t leave anything unfinished. If you are in the middle of a project, finish it. Make any and all minor repairs you can think of. Buyers notice things that need fixed, and every one is a little bit less they’ll be willing to pay for your home.

With some hard work, you can increase the sale price of your home and get it sold faster.

Yours truly,

Bob Angilella - Big Bear's Top Realtor

Spruce Up for Spring in Just a Weekend


by Bob Angilella

As the weather gets warmer in Big Bear Lake, everything outside becomes fresh and new - so why not make your Big Bear home as nice inside as the weather is outside? In just a weekend, you can complete a few quick, easy projects that will make a big difference in your space. Get inspired to give your home a spring spruce-up with these handy tips.

Wash away winter grime The first step to making your Big Bear Lake house feel like new is to clean. Use a weekend to focus on three main areas: the kitchen, bathroom and living room. In the kitchen, toss expired items from your refrigerator and wipe down the inside with soap and water - don't forget to sweep underneath and give the coils a good dusting, too. To get the bathroom in shape, replace dingy shower curtain liners, pitch old toothbrushes and other unwanted items and purchase a new toilet brush. In the living room, thoroughly dust light fixtures and blinds, and remove and launder slipcovers on couches or chairs. While you're at it, don't forget to replace batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Time to de-clutter Still haven't eaten that candy from Christmas? It's time to pitch it. Spend a few hours cleaning out kitchen cabinets, cluttered closets and the junk drawer - you'll feel more relaxed and organized as a result. Once you've gotten rid of items you no longer need, refresh shelves, drawers and pantries throughout the house by installing shelf liner. It's an easy and inexpensive task that can give any space, whether it's the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, a new look in a jiffy. Non-adhesive shelf liners, such as those from Duck brand (duckbrand.com), are easy to cut and install. The company's Smooth Top Easy Liner has a grip bottom, meaning the liner stays in place, with a smooth top, making it easy to clean and wipe off debris. Available in a variety of colors and prints, it's also a great way to add an unexpected pop of color and personality to your shelves and drawers, providing the perfect mix of fashion and function.

Add some accessories It's amazing what a few accessories can do. To revive a room without spending a fortune, attach some new trim to your existing drapes or add new shades to your favorite lamps. Wall decals or stencils are another way to add a personal touch to a room. Highlight your favorite inspirational quote or try an interesting illustration, such as a floral design or a sophisticated chandelier. Stencils and decals are available at local craft stores in numerous shapes and sizes - some are even offered in wall-size shapes, making the project super simple. You can also bring the season inside with spring flowers in a brightly colored vase or buy a new piece of art to hang as a focal point in your room.

Pull out your paintbrush If you want to go for a more dramatic redo - but one that's still doable in a weekend - pick up some paint. The warmer weather means you can keep your windows wide open, making it the ideal time to add a fresh coat of paint to your room. For the simplest touch, paint an accent wall instead of redoing the entire room. Pick a vibrant color for some spring cheer or try tackling a decorative painting technique - such as stripes, zig zag chevron or a geometric print - to really make your room feel modern and stylish. To make painting a breeze, use a premium painter's tape like FrogTape brand painter's tape (frogtape.com). Its PaintBlock Technology prevents paint bleed, helping to ensure clean, sharp lines. On fresh paint 24 hours old, select the FrogTape Delicate Surface grade for best results. To really get in the spring spirit, make painting an excuse to have some fun with friends and family.

Take turns helping friends with their painting projects and reward the effort with pizza, ice cream or other treats provided by the host. Whether you're going for a dramatic makeover or simply giving your home a good scrubbing, find inspiration in these tips to help you make the most of your weekend and get your home in superb shape this spring.

Yours truly,

Bob Angilella

Big Bear's Top Realtor and Team


As Housing Market Warms, Heres Some Tips


Bob Angilella, Big Bear's Top Realtor 

Ready to buy your first home, 2nd home in Big Bear or move up to a larger home for your expanding family? Home sales seem to be finally warming up after a five-year chill, as demand gradually builds among first-time home buyers and existing homeowners seeking more room. Historically low mortgage rates, rising rents and relatively positive economic indicators are enhancing consumer confidence and driving the trend, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

As demand grows, home prices for a median existing home are expected to rise as much as 5 percent nationwide in 2013, according to the NAR. This should encourage existing homeowners who've been patiently sitting on the sidelines to consider putting their homes on the market.

Even though the outlook is looking brighter, Daniel Watkins, an attorney who specializes in real estate law at the Watkins Firm, APC in San Diego, says the hurdles to buying a home in today's market are significantly higher than they were a few years ago. "The big hurdle is financing. Expectations among lenders and sellers are a lot higher today," Watkins says. "If you're serious about buying a home, you need to have a sizeable down payment, a good credit score, low debt and a solid track record of employment to qualify for a loan." Lenders are paying close attention to buyers' ability to repay a loan, according to FindLaw.com, the nation's leading legal information website.

The generally accepted principle is that no more than 30 percent of a household's take-home income should go toward the principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Here are some tips from FindLaw.com about buying a home within the next six to nine months: Start planning now. Even if you're a year or more away from buying a home, start preparing now. Build up your cash for a down payment plus other expenses that come with owning a home. Check your credit report for accuracy. Pay all your bills on time and zero out all credit card debt. And don't take on new debt, like a large car payment. Get a pre-approval letter. Home sellers want to know that you can get a loan to buy their home. It's OK to window shop, my team will help you do that,  but don't make any offers unless you are certain you can obtain financing. After shopping around for a financial institution, get pre-approved for a home mortgage.

Showing a seller a pre-approval letter will increase your chances of your offer being accepted. And don't be surprised if the seller or his real estate agent contacts your loan officer to verify that you've been pre-approved. Build a strong buying position. As the home market warms up, bidding wars will become more common. However, the highest bid doesn't always win in today's housing market. Instead, home sellers want to know the deal will go through with smooth sailing. So, today, the highest value is being placed on non-contingent offers (not contingent on the sale of your home), pre-approved financing, higher-than-normal earnest money deposit and personalized bids (share with the seller why the home would be a perfect match for you and your family). Get a lawyer. In some states, the law requires that a real estate attorney be part of the process of making an offer and reviewing loan documents as part of the closing, according to FindLaw.com.

Where a real estate attorney isn't required, buyers and sellers should consider seeking legal assistance for relatively more complicated real estate transactions, such as purchasing a property directly from the homeowner, the purchase of a rental property, a short sale or the purchase of a foreclosed property. Learn about the neighborhood.

When you buy a home, you're also buying into a community. Start your home search by first targeting a neighborhood where you want to live. Avoid neighborhoods where homes are not being kept up, or yards are full of old cars and junk. Check out the schools, too. Great schools attract families, and keep up home values. Avoid busy streets, homes under flight patterns or near railroad tracks. And contact the local police department for crime statistics and the location of nearby sex offenders.

Keep your emotions in check. If you've found a home you like, don't fall in love with it yet. Make sure your offer is contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection conducted by an inspector that you hire (not the seller).

Save some extra money. Whether you're buying your first home or your third, moving and getting a household established can cost more than you anticipated. Make sure you save enough extra money to redecorate your new home to fit your lifestyle, and to pay for unexpected repairs.

Thank you,

Bob Angilella and Team of Professionals

Thinking of Selling Your Big Bear Home?

 by Bob Angilella - Big Bear's Top Realtor


If you're thinking of selling your Big Bear real estate, now would be the time! Inventory is at an all-time low, with only 339 active Big Bear listings (Feb 9, 2013) in the valley. One year ago, we had over 750 active Big Bear MLS listings. What does this mean for you? It means that the chances of your Big Bear home selling for top dollar are greater than they were for the past 5 years. Are prices going up? Yes, but minimally. About 2 to 4% increase for a normal sale.

Big Bear Foreclosures are also at an all-time low, and are begining to level off. I believe that this spring and summer will bring a number of offers, as buyers are still looking and are waiting for the perfect Big Bear property to come on the market and interest rates are still low!  My buyer’s agents have numerous buyers waiting, and when something does come on the market that meets their criteria, then they jump and make a solid offer. The great news is that prices are not appreciating drastically as they did in 2004 and 2005. We are happy about that, as that would be a false ceiling again, and we do not want that to happen! 2 to 4% increase per year in pricing is just what we want and is considered normal.

So, if you are curious as to what your Big Bear Lake property is worth, please contact me today to schedule an appointment and interview. In addition, our websites are the highest ranking websites with Google. Our advertising consists of many internet portals, magazine advertising, a custom virtual tour and multiple uploads with various MLS systems throughout Southern California. Again, this would be the time so please give me a call today. 909-878-5522

Thank you.

Bob Angilella

Big Bears #1 one Realtor and Team

Use a Fresh Start to Get Organized with These Tips!

Big Bear Realtor


by Bob Angilella - January 10, 2013

Whether you're celebrating a new job, buying a new house in Big Bear, fresh starts and major life events herald a time to rejoice. While you're feeling good about a positive change in your life, it's also a great time to get organized so you can focus on what's to come instead of worrying about where to find this or where to put that.

A large-scale reorganization of your Big Bear home, office or life can seem like a tall order, but if you do it right, it can save you a lot of trouble down the line. And whether you're moving or doing some rearranging, it makes sense to take the opportunity to pre-organize to ensure a smooth transition. One of the biggest organizing mistakes you can make is putting things away only to forget where you put them the next time you need them. Labeling as you go can help avoid future stress and messes that could lead you to reorganize everything all over again. When you have all kinds of boxes, drawers and other items to label, a label maker can be a huge help. Rather than having to hand-label everything, consider an automated label maker like the Brother P-touch PT-D200 that features a full keyboard and four one-touch buttons so you can easily change fonts and add symbols and frames. The machine also allows you to store up to 30 "favorite" labels and features numerous designs and -patterns for customization. In addition, Brother P-touch labels are durable and will last over time.

Here are a few labeling and organizing tips that will help you keep everything in order and avoid headaches down the line:

* Use expiration dates: If you're installing a new smoke alarm, place a label on it so you know when it's time to change the batteries. After you've cleaned and reorganized your refrigerator, make a habit of labeling leftovers to remind you when something's about to expire and help simplify things the next time you clean the fridge.

* If you're moving: One of the easiest ways to make sure boxes end up in the right place is to label them clearly with the proper destination. This is helpful whether you're hiring movers or doing it yourself. If you know the boxes will immediately go into storage, don't forget to label them and, if need be, keep a simple spreadsheet that tells where each box ended up so you know where to look for it.

* Seasonal shifts: Do you find yourself in a tizzy every time the weather takes a turn, tearing apart your closet or wherever you thought you put your hat and gloves? Dedicate a storage area for seasonal clothes and decorations, and place them in labeled containers to ease any stress caused by the shifting seasons.

* For new babies: Preparing for a new arrival is a joyous - yet busy - occasion. Labeling where you keep the clothes, diapers, bibs and other necessities can help sleep-deprived parents or visiting caretakers locate everything baby needs without having to dig through drawers and cabinets. If you use day care services, you can also label bottles and personal items to make things easy on your day care provider to avoid mix-ups.

* Eliminate cord confusion: When you peer behind your entertainment center and find a mass of cords, it can be a bit of a guessing game if you need to pick out the right one to move or disconnect. Save yourself some trouble and label each cord so you don't have to face this dilemma each time something needs to be unplugged. By organizing the right way the first time, you can make life easier and make big reorganizing efforts less frequent. For more labeling and organizational tips and products, visit www.brother-usa.com.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Bob Angilella

The Storm Has Passed!

 by Bob Angilella - December 20, 2012

The storms have passed in Big Bear Lake and have left us with beautiful blue skies and fluffy white snow.  If you are coming to Big Bear to look for Big Bear Real estate,  Big Bear is very busy with low inventory and great prices on homes listed for sale in Big Bear.  My team is busy showing and selling, so if you would like to utilize our real estate services in Big Bear, please contact me today.    If you're coming up to look  for Big Bear real estate or to just enjoy the beauty of our mountain community, remember to bring your chains for your vehicle as we have road restrictions throughout the valley.

As we prepare for the Christmas holiday and the onslaught of visitors, we also anticipate a very busy real estate office.  Again, if you are anticipating looking or buying Big Bear Lake Real Estate, then allow my team to send you available listings that would meet your criteria for real estate in Big Bear.  This will prepare you well in advance and educate you with our values for Big Bear real estate prior to your arrival.

Please call me @ (909) 878-5522 today to get started. 

Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Bob Angilella

Busy,Busy Big Bear Lake

 by Bob Angilella - December 17, 2012  

 Every year, Big Bear Lake swells to over 250,000 visitors during the week of Christmas and New Years and as it does, Big Bear real estate sales pick up and many sales are made by year end and into January.   Many people enjoy our town and with that, rent vacation rental homes in Big Bear Lake.  After staying a few days, many see the beauty of Big Bear and they decide to look at Big Bear Lake real estate as an investment.  In doing so, they will contact our office and we will educate them on real estate in Big Bear and we will advise them as to what areas are good for investment.   Many buyers want to rent their new home and generate money through vacation rental income for their new Big Bear real estate investment.

Traditionally, most folks will purchase a three bedroom home, which will rent on average for $250.00 per night, at an average of 80 nights per year, that equates to $20,000 in anual income.  Also, the management company on average takes about 33% of the income.  They manage and keep the home clean, along with advertising the property.  This investment then turns into a write off for the buyer and they can utilize their Big Bear home when not rented.

For more information on a possible Big Bear property investment, and Big Bear Lake real estate, please give me a call today @ (909) 878-5522 or contact me here.  We will send you the best listings that would meet you investment criteria.  

Bob Angilella is Big Bear's Realtor and his team will locate the best property at the best value for you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  

Bob Angilella