Curbed has partnered with the FYI network for My City's Just Not That Into Me, a show matching intrepid city dwellers with their ideal piece of real estate. Tune in on FYI every Wednesday at 10pm ET for back-to-back episodes of the series, then visit Curbed for extra listings and real estate-hunting tips related to the episode. Thinking about breaking up with your city? Good luck!
On this week's episodes of FYI's original series, My City's Just Not That Into Me, girlfriends Bonnie and Mindy have lived in Los Angeles for forever and are ready to buy, but how far can their money go outside of the City of Angels? Head south and you'll find newlyweds Andrew and Barbi in Long Beach, who like where they live but need way more space. Using the My City Personality Quiz — which is like online dating, but for cities, Bonnie and Mindy fall for San Francisco and Seattle, while Andrew and Barbi court Norco in California and Cave Creek in Arizona.
My City's Just Not That Into Me is hosted by real estate extraordinaire Courtney Poulos, who won the 2012 Hottest Broker Contest over at Curbed LA. We reached out to Courtney for tips on house hunting, here's what she had to say.
- When prepping a house for resale, stay neutral — bright white paint throughout and a modern exterior paint color go a LONG way. In Northeast Los Angeles, we learned that a brightly colored front door can completely update the appearance of a home. Talk about a low cost improvement! Buyers also love a fresh, clean kitchen — sometimes a simple butcherblock countertop and fresh coat of white paint on wooden cabinets can do it! If you have a little bit of money to upgrade to stone countertops and stainless appliances, even better. Bathrooms would be my next recommendation – a new vanity, new caulking, perhaps even reglazed tile are inexpensive upgrades that make a big impression. Fresh landscaping (in Southern California, drought tolerant landscaping) is a small investment that can pay off in curb appeal and congeniality. Buyers want to walk into a home and feel like they are in a vacation rental – neutral, fresh, tidy.
- Before you buy a fixer upper, you may want to ask yourself – "Do I have the cash for this?" Sometimes looks can be deceiving, you go in thinking that it's just kitchens and baths, but it turns out it needs a new roof, new electrical wiring, new plumbing, foundation support. I call this "The Myth of the Cosmetic Fixer." Do thorough inspections.
- It takes about two years to settle in to any new city. Make your first spot be in a place where you have some social life, a neighborhood bar, a theatre, a café, something that will allow you to make new friends and interact with the town. Be prepared to be a little lonely, and to wonder if you made the right decision. It truly does feel like a break up, and you have to give yourself time to get over it.
- My best advice to homeowners or renters who are moving to a different state?
Get a vacation rental in the towns you are considering and take a couple days to talk to actual residents of the town. Go to the bars, shop at the stores, live the fantasy for a couple of days. And then, if you are thinking to look for real estate, GET A REALTOR!