Main Content

Home » Archives for Dennis Hartley

Author Archive

Remodeling Projects That Will Boost Your Home’s Value

There are two ways to think about remodeling projects that will boost your home’s value; you can get one or two major remodels done or opt for a bunch of small fixes. Depending on your budget and your timetable, one approach may be better for you than the other. For instance, if you have an...read more

There are two ways to think about remodeling projects that will boost your home’s value; you can get one or two major remodels done or opt for a bunch of small fixes. Depending on your budget and your timetable, one approach may be better for you than the other.

For instance, if you have an unfinished basement, maybe your dream when you first moved into your home was to refinish it. It never happened. But now that you are thinking about selling your home, you feel that a prospective buyer would really appreciate a full finished basement. Is that the remodeling project that you should do before selling?

On the other hand, you want to spend as little as possible to squeeze as much value out of your home. Maybe you would prefer to just spruce up the kitchen cabinets or repaint the house. Whichever camp you fall into here are some remodeling project ideas that usually add at least a few thousand dollars to the value of your home.

Interior Improvements

Depending on where you live, some remodeling projects bring in more dollars on resale than others. Here are some of the interior remodeling projects that can help boost your home’s value:

Kitchen Upgrades: Potential buyers these days want spacious, modern kitchens. Simple upgrades like adding new appliances, granite countertops, or new cabinets can pull in the big bucks. Some big-ticket improvements that usually add value include:

Adding an island Adding a breakfast nook Adding new ceramic flooring Adding accent lighting

Removing Walls: The style right now is open concept kitchens and living rooms. If you have an older home, you could knock down a wall or two to really open up more interior space. If they’re load-bearing walls, removing them will usually push the price tag up. But non-load-bearing walls are easy to take out to add a pass-through window or a bigger entryway. Use a professional contractor to make sure the job is done right.

Room Additions: Believe it or not, adding a new room to your home is not as expensive as you might think and can greatly increase your home’s value. Think about converting your attic into a spare room or building a new room addition onto your house. The added space increases the overall square footage of your property and will push your asking price up.

Exterior Improvements

They are often overlooked when making improvements to your home, but there are a number of exterior projects that can boost your home’s value. Here are just a few ideas for exterior improvements:

Outdoor Living Space: Especially in warm weather climates, buyers want a home with comfortable outdoor living spaces. That could mean adding in a slate patio or a wooden deck. Make your outdoor living space an oasis by adding in path lights, pathways, plants, shrubs, and trees.

Siding Upgrades: If you are making simple upgrades on the cheap just to spiff up your home exterior, a good paint job will do. To really boost your home’s value try adding new siding. If you replace portions of your siding with stone veneers, it will greatly improve curb appeal and your home’s value.

Driveways/Garages: If you haven’t paved your driveway in a while, new paving is an excellent exterior improvement that makes a good impression as soon as buyers pull up to your home. Your garage doors and exterior also make a good or bad impression. Even if you do not make any changes to your garage, you should clean it out and organize its contents for resale. Replace broken windows and locks and give it a good paint job.

A qualified agent with years of experience in the real estate market can help you determine the best improvements to make based on your particular market. When you’re ready to learn more, connect with me today. I’m happy to help!

Signs that Now is the Time to Sell Your Home

There are many reasons why it may be time to sell your home. You may need more space to make room for a growing family or you need to downsize after your kids leave the nest. Whatever your motivations, you want to make sure that you’re timing it right. If you sell when home prices are plumm...read more

There are many reasons why it may be time to sell your home. You may need more space to make room for a growing family or you need to downsize after your kids leave the nest. Whatever your motivations, you want to make sure that you’re timing it right.

If you sell when home prices are plummeting, you may end up losing on the deal. If you sell when home prices are highest, there may not be a lot of buyers looking to move. So how do you know when it’s a good time to sell?

A qualified agent can help you determine if the market puts you in a good place or not. But for your own personal situation, here are the signs telling you that now is the time to sell your home.

You’ve Outgrown Your Home

Whether you are expecting another child, caring for an aging parent, or have taken in your adult children, when you’ve outgrown your home, it may be time to sell your home. Consider the permanency of the change. Will the kids be there for a long time? How long will you be able to care for your aging parent? Buying a bigger home is one of the main reasons why homeowners choose to sell.

You Need to Make a Change

Change is inevitable. Maybe you’re tired of shoveling snow and you want to live in a warmer climate. Maybe you have to move so you can go after your dream job or you want to be closer to family. When change entails moving, then a home sale becomes necessary.

Home Prices are on the Rise

This is one of the riskiest reasons to sell your home. Sure you may get more than you ever dreamed for your home when prices are on the rise, but that also means that you will pay more for another home. Perhaps your agent can help you find a steal in a new location where prices are more level. Then you will have made a huge profit and a smart move.

You Need to Downsize

Many homeowners are selling in order to downsize. The baby boomer generation is moving into their golden years. The kids are all out of the house and you just don’t need all that space anymore. Selling now could add a nice healthy sum to your nest egg as well. As long as you are smart about how much of that profit to spend on a new place, downsizing could be just the right move for you financially.

You Can No Longer Afford Your Home

Sadly, there are homeowners who just can no longer afford their home. Whether it is due to divorce, illness, a death, a skyrocketing mortgage payment, or the loss of a job, change in your financial circumstances is a big red flashing sign that now is the time to sell your home. Waiting any longer could have catastrophic financial consequences.

In any situation you find yourself in, an experienced agent is the key to helping you achieve your goals. Learn more about how to determine if now is the time to sell your home by speaking with agent now.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Most homebuyers start the process anxious, excited, nervous, and some are downright terrified. It’s natural. A home is the largest and most expensive purchase that most people will make in a lifetime. It can either turn out to be a complete financial disaster or a smart long-term investment. ...read more

Most homebuyers start the process anxious, excited, nervous, and some are downright terrified. It’s natural. A home is the largest and most expensive purchase that most people will make in a lifetime. It can either turn out to be a complete financial disaster or a smart long-term investment.

The person standing between it being a huge financial mistake or a valuable asset is you, the agent. Still, the agent can only help as much as the buyer allows. As vital as having an experienced agent by their side is, there are things that first-time homebuyers have to do.

Here is a list of tips to help first-time homebuyers help you the agent do the best job that you can do. When you are approached by a first-time homebuyer, share this list with them to help them get off on the right foot.

Make Lists: Write out a list of the things that you want and a list of the things that you need in a new home. Share this list with your agent so that they can better help find what you are looking for. Update or add to your list as you think of things and share those changes with your agent. Keep Notes: Your agent is going to keep solid records of the homes that you see. However you should also keep your own notes as you go to open houses. After each home, share what you liked and what you didn’t like with your agent. That will help him or her narrow the search down for you. Organize Your Documents: Keep your documents organized and all in one place. If you have a pre-approval letter, keep that with you on house hunts in case you decide to make an offer. Any documents that you will need like inspection reports or appraisals should be readily available as you search for homes. Stay Positive: Maybe the most important tip for first-time homebuyers is to stay positive. Even after you have found the home that you want, made an offer, and had it accepted, the process of closing the deal can sometimes take longer than you’d like. Stay positive. If you’ve looked at several houses and still haven’t found what you want, stay calm. Trust your agent to get it right for you.

Speaking with an Agent

An agent for first-time homebuyers is an invaluable asset. They can help you navigate the process  when you are unsure of what to do next. You could call and speak with an agent if you have  general questions. However, if you are ready to seriously start shopping for a home, you need an  agent now. Feel free to contact agent with your specific questions.

Hermosa Beach

After the town incorporated in 1907, it purchased two miles of beach from the Hermosa Beach Land and Water Company reserving the beachfront in perpetuity as a beach playground. Later dubbed “The Strand”...read more

After the town incorporated in 1907, it purchased two miles of beach from the Hermosa Beach Land and Water Company reserving the beachfront in perpetuity as a beach playground. Later dubbed “The Strand” this broad walkway is free from commerce and available for the residents but also for all beach lovers in Southern California. As the town grew it became a popular vacation destination during the summer months.

In the 1940’s, Hermosa became a well-known jazz spot with the opening of the Lighthouse nightclub boasting a nationally renowned house band in addition to playing host to many jazz greats including Miles Davis and Chet Baker. The 1960’s saw Hermosa Beach become the ultimate beach town populated by surfers and counter-culture types. But in recent years Hermosa has evolved into an upscale community with a palm tree-lined main street called Pier Avenue offering gastropubs, coffee shops, fine dining, and upscale home goods stores.

Hermosa Beach is the smallest of the three South Bay beach cities. It is sandwiched between the larger cities of Redondo Beach on the south and Manhattan Beach on the North. The topography here rises from the ocean offering many residents an ocean view with a nightly sunset to enjoy. Hermosa Beach is bisected by Pacific Coast Highway providing easy access to freeways, shopping, employment centers, and the other beach cities.

In addition to The Strand, joggers and dog walkers use the tree-lined “Green Belt”, a former right-of-way for the historic Red Car railroad line that brought residents of Los Angeles to the beach cities at the turn of the 20th century.

Several annual events are popular with residents and visitors. On Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, the city hosts Fiesta Hermosa, a street fair featuring hand-made items, original artwork, live music, and tasty food stalls. Beach volleyball is almost a religion here. The beaches are dotted with volleyball nets and the city hosts the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament among others. The International Surf Festival is a reminder of the city’s early roots in the surf culture of the 1960’s.

Slightly more affordable than its neighbor Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach real estate is still pricey. Condos are the most affordable properties in the city, they start at $800,000 for a 2 bedroom 2 bath unit. Townhomes range in price from $1,100,000 for older units to $3,000,000 for newly constructed stand-alone units. Single-family homes located on the ocean-front Strand top out at $12,000,000.

Despite being located in the middle of a densely populated area, Hermosa Beach has a laid-back, small-town feel where the focus is on the sun, sand, and surf.

Palos Verdes

Surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean, the Palos Verdes Peninsula is a secluded, pastoral area that feels removed from the rest of the South Bay. Because the area is elevated nearly 1200 feet above sea...read more

Surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean, the Palos Verdes Peninsula is a secluded, pastoral area that feels removed from the rest of the South Bay. Because the area is elevated nearly 1200 feet above sea level, many homeowners enjoy views of city lights or ocean sunsets. Large home sites, winding streets, lots of trees, horse trails and gated communities contrast starkly to the nearby beach towns of the South Bay.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is divided into four cities, Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates. Locals refer to the area as “The Peninsula”, “The Hill” or “PV”. Real estate prices range from $550,000 for a 2 bedroom condo to multi-million dollar estate homes on large equestrian lots. There is a price range for almost everyone who wants to live on the hill.

The Palos Verdes Unified School District serves all four cities. Top ranked schools are a big draw to many families who value a solid education. Public schools are consistently ranked 10 out of 10. The two high schools, Peninsula High School and Palos Verdes High School always make the list of “100 Best High Schools” in the country. Private schools located here include Chadwick, Rolling Hills Prep and Rolling Hills Country Day School offering rigorous academic programs.

Residents enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. The area offers hiking on the many ocean view trails through nature preserves filled with native flora and fauna. Cyclists are drawn to the hill for its challenging topography. Many areas are zoned for horses so equestrians have easy access to riding trails. Golfers have their pick of world-class courses including Los Verdes Golf Course, Palos Verdes Golf Club, Trump National Golf Course and Rolling Hills Country Club. Photography buffs will enjoy the scenic views of rocky coves, the Point Vicente lighthouse and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Watching whales make their annual migration between the waters of Alaska and Baja California is a favorite of young and old.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula offers a quiet, verdant lifestyle removed from the bustle of the South Bay beach cities but has easy access to freeways with short commutes to downtown Los Angeles and the tech and aerospace centers of the Westside.

Torrance

Torrance is the largest of the South Bay cities totaling 20 square miles and a population of 147,000 people. Torrance was recently rated the 32nd most livable city in America by the website Livability.com recei...read more

Torrance is the largest of the South Bay cities totaling 20 square miles and a population of 147,000 people. Torrance was recently rated the 32nd most livable city in America by the website Livability.com receiving high grades for the quality of its educational system, and amenities such as parks, climate and affordability of housing. Torrance was originally part of the Tongva Native American homeland. In 1784 it was included in a land grant to Juan Jose Domingo by King Carlos III of Spain. In the early 1900s, real estate developer Jared Sidney Torrance saw the value of creating a mixed industrial, residential community south of Los Angeles. He purchased part of the land grant and hired landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to design a new planned community. The resulting town was founded in October 1912 and named after Mr. Torrance. This area has become known as Old Torrance and includes the original downtown shopping area. Nearby are neighborhoods of charming Craftsman or Spanish style cottages. Post Avenue features impressive homes originally built for the elite residents of the newly formed city.

The 1950’s and 1960’s saw rapid expansion of the city beyond its original borders. Soldiers returning from WWII and their new brides relocated to sunny Southern California and eagerly bought the new tract homes that sprang up everywhere. It seems that the city grew to its present size, almost overnight. Wartime industries were transforming into post-war aerospace manufacturers. Eventually, three major Japanese car makers located their American headquarters in Torrance adding to the substantial employment base.

As a result of the building boom of the 1950’s, Torrance is a community of quiet conforming neighborhoods. In addition to the Old Torrance area, the city is divided into several other sections including North Torrance which offers the most affordable home prices and easy access to freeways. West and South Torrance are located at the Redondo Beach border within close proximity to local beaches. The exclusive Hollywood Riviera area, which sits in the foothills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula offers ocean or city views just a short walk to the beach.

Located within Torrance is a rare urban wetland called The Madrona Marsh. This nature preserve was saved from development by citizen activists and provides a stop for many species of birds migrating on the Pacific Flyway. The nature center located there is a favorite field trip for elementary students.

The biggest event in Torrance is the annual Armed Forces Day Parade which is the longest running military parade sponsored by a city in America. The parade runs the length of tree-lined Torrance Boulevard and features military vehicles, school bands and prominent community members. It always draws a big crowd.

The Torrance Cultural Arts Center hosts events year-round providing diverse cultural, educational and entertainment experiences. The Western Museum of Flight is another popular venue offering tours of vintage airplanes and displays of aviation memorabilia. Del Amo Mall, located along Hawthorne Boulevard, is the 5th largest retail mall in the country and is packed with large department stores, small boutiques, movie theatres and multiple dining choices. The mall has undergone recent major remodeling to bring it in line with current shopping and entertainment trends.

Home prices here are moderated by Torrance’s location a bit inland from the beach. A starter home in West Torrance featuring 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in about 1150 square feet can be bought for about $800,000. A remodeled ocean-view home in desirable Hollywood Riviera will cost you about $1,600,000. In a city the size of Torrance, there are many options for home buyers including post-war tract homes in a quiet neighborhood, newly built townhomes in small gated communities, ocean view single family homes within walking distance of the sand or vintage Craftsman cottages in Old Torrance. It’s a safe, diverse community that is the perfect place to live and raise a family.

Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach is a community surrounded by the adjoining cities of Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes Peninsula and Torrance. It is the largest of the three South Bay beach cities and is divided into two sections, Nor...read more

Redondo Beach is a community surrounded by the adjoining cities of Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes Peninsula and Torrance. It is the largest of the three South Bay beach cities and is divided into two sections, North Redondo and South Redondo.

Residents of South Redondo enjoy easy access to the beach. People can be seen strolling on “The Esplanade” which runs along the ocean front. Cyclists and joggers have access to the bike path making it is possible to cruise all the way to Santa Monica, have lunch and then return to Redondo Beach in time for drinks on the Pier while enjoying the setting sun.

Pacific Coast Highway winds its way through the town and offers many opportunities for shopping and dining. Bristol Farms, Whole Foods and Starbucks are just a few of the upscale choices available here. The popular diner “Eat At Joes” is where the locals go for a hearty breakfast and conversation is always animated at the communal dining tables. There are multiple choices for fine dining at the many bistros lining PCH offering food for every taste.

The Redondo Pier has the feel of a bygone era with many restaurants including the legendary “Old Tonys”. Customers have felt the surf crash against the pier pilings while enjoying a fish dinner for over 50 years. Fishermen line the pier railings trying their luck with rod and reel hoping to catch something to take home for dinner. Adjacent to the pier is King Harbor which is home to hundreds of sail boats and The Portofino Inn featuring ocean view rooms for out-of- town visitors.

Housing choices in South Redondo include ocean-front condos, newly built townhomes and ocean view single family homes on tree-lined streets. Prices range from $450,000 for a studio condo at “The Village” to $3,500,000 for a newly built 5000 square foot single family home with ocean view on a tree-lined street.

North Redondo is the choice of many residents because of its proximity to the freeway making commuting easier. The location, a bit inland, helps moderate property prices and is a frequent choice for first time buyers trying to get a foothold in a beach community.

Artesia Blvd. is the main shopping area with lots of restaurants and coffee shops. The South Bay Shopping Center on the eastern edge of the area offers plenty of shopping, movie theatres and more dining opportunities including Islands and Panera Bread.

Home prices in North Redondo range from $550,000 for a two bedroom townhome with attached garage to $1,900,000 for a newly built, 3500 square foot single family home with a real backyard. Another choice is a newly-built, freestanding townhome for $1,400,000.

Sacrificing proximity to the ocean for more square footage and a newer home is a frequent choice of buyers here. You get a little more home for your money in North Redondo but are still close to all the South Bay has to offer.

Manhattan Beach

If you’re looking for an upscale beach town with plenty of amenities, Manhattan Beach is perfect for you. The city is an interesting mix of families, working professionals, tech industry titans and an occ...read more

If you’re looking for an upscale beach town with plenty of amenities, Manhattan Beach is perfect for you. The city is an interesting mix of families, working professionals, tech industry titans and an occasional professional athlete who want a laid-back Southern California lifestyle all in a small town atmosphere.

Manhattan Beach is a dynamic community with an easy commute to booming Silicon Beach, the financial district of downtown Los Angeles and the aerospace industry near the Los Angeles airport. It is this proximity to so much employment that has made the city a favorite of successful entrepreneurs and business people. The commute is shorter from here leaving residents more time for surfing, cycling or going for a run on the beach.

The schools are nationally ranked and Mira Costa High School always gets high marks in any ranking of California High Schools. Top notch public education consistently attracts families who want a solid education for their children.

Locals enjoy numerous events throughout the year. Concerts in the park on a summer evening and the fireworks display at Christmas time are events that always draw a crowd. The Pier to Pier Friendship Walk raises money for charities and the Hometown Fair provides a weekend of food, games, crafts and music.

Downtown Manhattan Beach is up the hill from the Manhattan Pier. This area is just a few square blocks but offers world class restaurants, burger joints, trendy clothing stores and numerous coffee shops, there is something for everyone here. The Kettle is a well-known spot for late night hunger pangs.

The city is divided into different areas each with its own distinct feel. The Sand Section offers close proximity to the beach and downtown area. The Tree Section features homes close to the sand but with a more residential feel. The Hill Section boasts estate homes on large lots, many with expansive ocean views. The area East of Sepulveda offers a more traditional residential neighborhood away from the bustle of the beach.

Fantastic beaches, quaint downtown, a variety of neighborhoods, great schools and proximity to employment make Manhattan Beach the closest thing to heaven in Southern California. If you want it all, look here first.

J Liu

Dennis is genuinely interested in you as a person, and as a result, he met and exceeded our expectations. His insights into the local real estate market were invaluable, and his preparation before the actual listing was both professional and effective. We requested a get-to-know-you interview, on sh...read more

Dennis is genuinely interested in you as a person, and as a result, he met and exceeded our expectations. His insights into the local real estate market were invaluable, and his preparation before the actual listing was both professional and effective. We requested a get-to-know-you interview, on short notice, to which Dennis came well prepared. He consistently communicated in a timely fashion, and was always honest and up front with us about any issues during the process. Dennis and his assistant Jennifer are a powerful force, and will net you not only quick results, but results that will leave you feeling very positive. We would highly recommend Dennis as your representative.

Barbara Scheuber

We can’t say enough about Dennis’ work ethic, commitment to his customers and his overall care of our situation. We will miss the weekly and sometimes daily contact we’ve had with him. We highly recommend Dennis to anyone who needs professional attention regarding real estate. Please call D...read more

We can’t say enough about Dennis’ work ethic, commitment to his customers and his overall care of our situation. We will miss the weekly and sometimes daily contact we’ve had with him. We highly recommend Dennis to anyone who needs professional attention regarding real estate. Please call Dennis, we promise you won’t be disappointed!