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A General Overview of Executor’s Duties [Infographic]

The responsibilities that come with being an executor of an estate can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. We’ve put together this helpful infographic outlining the major duties of an executor.

One of the major responsibilities often involved in handling an estate includes selling property. When coupled with the stress of your other duties, this can seem like a daunting addition to your already long laundry list of things to do.

Working with trusted real estate experts can help. The Lyon|Stahl team utilizes a cutting-edge marketing strategy for each property we sell that has proven to bring in higher sales prices, better terms, and a quick, no-hassle transaction, all within the shortest time frame possible.

Give us a call at (310) 425-9838 today if you have any questions about the duties of an executor as they relate to real estate – or if you’d like to learn more about our services.

 

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An executor is an individual appointed to carry out the terms of a will. Their responsibilities include handling the decedent’s liabilities, debts, and assets.

Locate Assets
First, locate the Will and any other required documents. You can then determine how to proceed in regard to the Will.
Find the decedent’s assets and keep them safe until they can be distributed.

Notify Involved Parties
Contact each individual to inherit assets according to the last Will and Testament.
This not only includes named beneficiaries, but also potential heirs such as children, siblings, and other family members.

Manage Assets and Liabilities
Put together a detailed list of all assets to be distributed, liabilities, and potential debts to be collected from others.
If the estate includes a business, the executor may be responsible for continuing to run the business until other arrangements can be made.

Wrap Up Affairs
Cancel credit cards, close bank accounts, and notify social security of other necessary parties of the death.
Continue with any necessary payments such as those owed on a mortgage or other debts.

Estate Bank Account
It is best to set up a bank account solely for the estate, and do not commingle the estate’s assets with any other assets. Be sure to keep very detailed records of all cash flow in and out of this account.

File Tax Returns
The executor is not personally liable for the decedent’s debts, but all debts should be resolved before assets are distributed.
Income taxes are required to be paid for all income acquired in the last year that the deceased was alive.

Distribute Assets
Once all claims have been taken care of, assets can now be distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries and heirs of the estate. This may require the executor to sell property or set up any trusts required by the will. Court approval may also be necessary.

Pass Remaining Assets
Any remaining assets not specific in the will must be distributed according to state laws.
According to California law, unnamed property of the deceased will belong to the state.

File Final Accounting
Prepare a final account to close the estate.
Remember to double check all records for accuracy before filing.

Collect Compensation
After the executor’s work is done, he or she is entitled to compensation (subject to court approval).
Remember that this is income that you will need to declare on your income taxes.

Selling with Lyon | Stahl

If you’re considering selling your investment real estate property, it’s good to have an understanding of the sales process. This infographic explains the basic steps, plus the added benefits you’ll see working with us that you won’t find anywhere else.

 

Selling Your Property

 

 

Steps to Selling with Lyon | Stahl Investment Real Estate

1. Consultation & Valuation

When you request your free property valuation, we’ll put together a thorough and detailed analysis to provide you with an accurate estimate of your property’s current market value. At no obligation, we’re happy to meet with you to discuss all of your options, and advise you on how to make the most of your investment.

2. Listing & Marketing

Once you list your property with us, we’ll immediately spring into action to market your property through every channel. Our unique and effective marketing strategy has been consistently proven to sell your property at the highest price, with the best terms, in the shortest time frame.

3. Fielding & Handling Offers

We’ll walk you through every purchase agreement and prepare a summary of offers to help you compare differences, then craft a strategy for how to proceed. Our goal is to find you the best offer with the highest probability of closing.

4. Open Escrow

Once you have accepted an offer and the buyer has produced their earnest money deposit, we’ll create an escrow timeline outlining all of the major deadlines throughout the transaction.

5. Due Diligence & Disclosures

We’ll help you compile any due diligence items required by the buyer or buyer’s lender. Additionally, we’ll help you complete the appropriate seller disclosures to help protect you throughout and beyond the transaction.

6. Contingency Removal

Purchase contracts typically have one of more contingencies to closing, before the buyer’s deposit becomes non-refundable and subject to liquidated damages. We’ll help expedite this process to meet all deadlines.

7. Closing

Once all required documents have been signed by both buyer and seller, and all funds have been disbursed, we’ll record the necessary documents with the county. Once the deed has been filed, title is officially transferred to the new owner.

8. Post Closing

Once the buyer has confirmed they have transferred all utilities, we can pass over the keys. Going forward, we pledge to always act as a resource for all of you future investment real estate needs.

 

 

If you’re ready to sell with the multi-family experts at Lyon | Stahl, give us a call today at (310) 425-9838.  We’re here to help!

 

If You’re a Landlord, You Might Need This

 

Let’s say you own an apartment building, and you have tenants occupying each unit. Great! Now, what happens when one of those tenants has a major appliance break down? What if one of their guests injures themselves on your property? Who is responsible? If you only have standard homeowner’s insurance, you could be the one stuck with the bill.

Enter landlord insurance. A comprehensive landlord insurance policy will protect you from things such as property damage and personal liability, like in the above situations. It will also cover you in the case of lost rent income if your property sustains damage that prevents it from being rented out.

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Additional coverage you may be able to find includes flood insurance – which isn’t always included in your standard homeowner’s insurance policy – as well as guaranteed income insurance, in case a tenant fails to make part or all of their monthly rent payment. Emergency coverage is another bonus that can cover travel and repair costs in the event that your tenant needs something fixed right away.

The cost of landlord insurance is going to depend on several factors. Generally speaking, it will cost approximately 15-25% more than your typical homeowner’s insurance. However, if you ask your homeowner’s insurance carrier about bundles, they may be able to give you a discounted rate. Your rate will also depend on the length of the tenants’ stay – the longer the stay, the lower the premium.

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When your tenants get comfy, you get to save!

The most important thing to do when considering whether or not to purchase landlord insurance is to take a close look at your homeowner’s insurance policy and see exactly what is, and is not, covered. Weigh your options, and decide if landlord insurance is right for you. As with any insurance policy, it pays to do your research. Happy renting!

Remodeling: Will it Be Worth it?

 

Interested in remodeling to improve your property’s value? Make the right choices and you just might end up getting great returns. Cha-ching!

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Not surprisingly, the most efficient ways to improve your property value include revamping the kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen is considered the most important room of the house to have in good condition, followed closely by bathrooms. However, if you plan on redoing your kitchen, proceed with caution. Over-doing it can actually give you a lower return if you don’t improve the rest of the house to match it.

If one area is outshining the rest of the house by a long shot, you risk having your remodeling work being dragged down…as well as having a mismatched home.

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Now that your kitchen and bathrooms are pretty, what other remodels should be taken into consideration? Well, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, a few remodeling projects you can expect high returns from are replacing your garage door, adding a wood deck, manufactured stone veneers, and adding a steel front entry door.

What about adding something strange or unique to your home, like a hidden library or sunken den? Thinking outside of the box can definitely pay off if you can find the right buyer. The problem is, though, it most likely won’t net you the kind of cash that you paid for it. Often we think to remodel just before moving, but sometimes it’s a better payoff for you to personally enjoy your efforts before moving on to the next residence.

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If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these fun, wacky remodeling ideas!

Another awesome money-saving tip is to go green. Certain energy-efficient appliances and features such as doors and windows are your best bet. They will save you money on energy, but also earn you up to 30% tax breaks on specific items! How cool is that?

One last thing to consider when remodeling is that it’s extra important to make sure that you have every step of your journey planned out ahead of time. There’s no avoiding the inevitable delays and cost overruns, but a surefire way to guarantee you’ll waste massive amounts of time and money is to go into your project without first mapping it out. There are plenty of resources to help you along the way – check out nari.org’s remodeling tips for a complete checklist of what you can expect during your remodel.

 

Photos courtesy of trexpertwitness.com, restoringfloridahomes.com, b-homeinspections.com, and buzzfeed.com.

Selling? Don’t Ask for Too Much

There are, understandably, reasons why a seller may want to price their property high. Maybe you want to try and make the highest profit possible from the sale, or leave room for negotiation. Or maybe the sentimental memories you attach to the property give it more value in your perspective. Whatever the reason, overvaluing your property, though very tempting, can actually end up losing you money – here’s why.

Nearby properties of similar merit (but much lower price) will be selling left and right while yours gets no offers. Your property may have recent upgrades, or more storage space, or better parking, but the fact is that when a buyer sees a property that they feel is a better value, they’re much more likely to purchase that instead.

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Let’s say you priced high to leave wiggle room for negotiators. Unfortunately, there’s a chance those negotiators may miss your listing completely because they only searched for properties within a specific price range that they would be willing to pay. Maybe you would have sold it to them within their budget, but they don’t know that – because they didn’t even see it.

One of the biggest issues with overvaluing is that it may cause your property to languish on the market. Time is money when it comes to selling your property! Once you pass the initial 30 days, your listing may even come across as suspicious if it hasn’t sold yet. You may ultimately end up having to sell for a lower price than you would have if it were priced correctly from the beginning.

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So you priced high, and your property sold anyways. Hooray! Unfortunately you still aren’t necessarily in the clear. During the loan process, the property will require an appraisal if the buyer is financing the purchase (which they almost always will). If this appraisal comes in too low, the lender may not authorize the loan unless the buyer covers the difference in cash – which may or may not happen. You certainly wouldn’t want the sale to fall through, would you?

The bottom line is, as much as you may want the extra profit, you are going to be much better off pricing your property correctly from the beginning. The selling process will move much faster and smoother, and you can save yourself some grief and anxiety!

LA Now Has a Tenants’ Union

What happens when a large group of people feel that they are being treated poorly and want to do something about it? They form a union.

In a city that has the least affordable rental market in the country, tenants want to finally take a stand for better treatment from their landlords. Many renters have faced steep rent payment increases, while not receiving any additional benefits. When the city comes up with new and costly building requirements, such as the new earthquake retrofit law, costs are often shared with or passed along to tenants while landlords are the ones who benefit.

The L.A. Tenants Union aims to give renters (and those who lost their rentals) a voice while supporting them in their battles with both politicians and landlords. After all, renters comprise over half of all residents in Los Angeles, and our homelessness rate has grown an astounding 55% in the past two years alone. Landlords win the affection of politicians due to their generally larger bank accounts, but what the Tenants Union can’t cover in money, they aim to make up for in sheer force.

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The Union holds regular protests against such problems as the lack of funding to alleviate homelessness, unfair rent increases, lack of adequate public transportation, preserving historic buildings, and other related housing issues. Another goal of the union is community education. Many renters have no idea what their rights are, and as a result end up being taken advantage of. However, the union’s leaders also recognize that landlords don’t exist with the intention of stealing away all their money – the real issue is not the property owners, but the number of properties. It’s no question that there is a serious housing shortage in LA. Between the growing population, lack of construction and loss of rental units to the Ellis Act, there will need to be a great deal of new housing construction to keep up with the demand.

So now the question is…who is going to build it?

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Selling Your Property During Winter

In the real estate word, winter is notorious for being the worst season to sell your property. However, there are plenty of positives as well – you just need to know how to work the conditions in your favor.

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Because there are fewer properties on the market during winter, sellers can enjoy having less competition. On top of that, you have the opportunity to make it look warm and cozy. There are few things more appealing on a dreary winter day than an inviting home during the holiday season. Make sure the heater is on, and there is plenty of lighting coming in through the windows if possible.

One of the best things about selling in the winter is that buyers are generally more serious. Those who have the leisure of shopping around, doing plenty of research, and waiting until they find the perfect fit will probably buy in the spring because that’s when more properties are on the market. Winter buyers, though, are generally on a time constraint and may be willing to make sacrifices in order to make their purchase happen faster. If they’re looking now, they need it now.

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If you suddenly have the need to sell your property during the off season, don’t be afraid. There are still plenty of opportunities to make your property stand out! Who knows, you might just end up getting a better offer than you would during the spring.

Los Angeles is Shaking Things Up

 

If you own property in the city of Los Angeles, expect a letter from the city soon. No, you’re not in trouble! Mayor Garcetti has recently approved stricter regulations for earthquake safety. This new law requires that property owners in LA have their buildings retrofitted to withstand a quake – which is going to be quite a costly and time-consuming project.

California is known primarily for its beautiful weather. Its second most recognized quality, though, is its propensity for earthquakes. To most Californians, when we feel a shake, we laugh it off and go on with our day. But what will we do when a large quake hits? The terrifying truth is that sometimes standing in the doorway isn’t enough to save your life. Duck and cover may not keep you safe. Increased building safety will make all the difference.

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This new action is the largest earthquake safety regulation change that America has seen. But Garcetti reminds us that he isn’t a bad guy. Over the past several years, City Council has attempted to use similar strategies to force building owners to increase earthquake safety for their buildings, but these actions have always been shot down by property owners. This time, Garcetti is standing his ground. This time he wants owners to realize that it isn’t about money – it’s about saving lives.

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The city will begin delivering notices to property owners soon, letting them know what is required of them. It’s still up for debate how exactly these upgrades will be paid for. Property owners may struggle to cover thestaggering costs of earthquake retrofitting, and tenants wouldn’t be thrilled about bearing some of the costs, either. There have been rumors of tax breaks or allowable rent increases to assist owners, but things are still a bit up in the air. One thing is for certain though – LA is serious about being prepared for an earthquake.

Groundbreaking.

The Elevators of the Future Have (Almost) Arrived!

 

Willy Wonka sure was on to something with his free-flying glass elevator.

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We’re still far, far off from the flying box of Roald Dahl’s imagination, but German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp is developing MULTI, a new, cable-free elevator that will move up, down, and side to side. Since they lost the cables, it will be possible to have multiple cars operating in the same shaft at the same time, and there will be no height restrictions. (Building height restrictions, that is.) The taller a building is, the lengthier the cables need to be, and more cable = more weight. Cables can’t support an unlimited amount of weight, so at some point it can’t go any higher. Without the cables, however, the cars can operate to potentially limitless heights.

You may be asking yourself, if these elevators aren’t operated with cables, then what is making them move? The propulsion system used here is the same technology used by high-speed trains, magnetic levitation. Yep, that’s right, magnets!

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This new levitation system offers many benefits. Aside from being able to go much higher, MULTI will drastically reduce wait times for passengers by allowing more cars to be moving at once. The horizontal movement capabilities will also make travel within large buildings much faster and easier.

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Another bonus will be smaller shafts – approximately half the size of cable-operated shafts. This will free up space for more units, which is a plus for building owners.

 

In a world putting forth so much effort into eliminating travel by foot, this is huge. With shorter wait times and faster arrival at their destinations, passengers will be saving tremendous amounts of time every single day. This will surely come in handy for those living in urban areas – a growing percentage of our population.

ThyssenKrupp is currently constructing its first life-size model of the MULTI system in Rottweil, Germany, which will be fully operational and open to the public as soon as 2016.

Pending Home Sales are on the Decline

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Although the housing market has been showing major signs of improvement since 2008, we can’t ignore the most recent changes, which are a little unsettling. Both August and September had a decline in pending home sales, which indicates that the real estate market as a whole may once again be declining.

Usually, about 4-6 weeks’ time passes from the signing of a contract to the close of the transaction. During this time the sale is considered “pending”, and the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a great indicator of the general health of the real estate market (as well as the economy) because it can help predict how sales are going to look in the next month or so.

 

Businessman with binoculars spying on competitors.

The decrease in pending home sales was sudden and unexpected after the housing market had been on an upswing all year. Experts believe that thesemixed signals from the housing market are in fact normal for such a massive recovery, and we can expect the market to continue to rebuild itself in the coming months. Most likely the issue is the low number of properties on the market – prices are driven up by the low inventory, which discourages buyers from making a purchase. We can expect to see better pricing and increased sales once home builders increase construction and more sellers place their homes on the market.

For our local housing market, this would be a massive improvement for the housing shortage in Los Angeles, especially for renters. The good news is that the Single Family Rental market is projected to grow immensely in the next few years – along with its associated construction.

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Between the decline in pending home sales, the lack of properties on the market, and the seasonal slow down (winter is generally the slowest time of year for real estate), we can expect the real estate market as a whole to be taking a step back in the next couple of months. However, we are still seeing signs of improvement, so this is no time to panic – we’re still in recovery mode!

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