Garage conversion

Pros and Cons to Converting Your Garage Into Living Space

If you’re looking for more space for your growing family, to entertain, or simply because you want more living space, here are a few PROS and CONS you may want to consider:


1. Increase in living spacegarage conversion 2

2. More room for your family, children, and guests

3. Greater interior appeal

4. Personal satisfaction


1. Lower re-sale value (most important)

2. Depending on the county you live in, you will have an additional expense to pull permits and make a 2 car carport

3. Carports generally lower a home’s curb appeal

4. Less room for to store your tools and toys

5. Additional expense for storage (if you have big toys; RV, boat, motorcycles, bikes, etc)

5. Additional expense to drywall, insulate,  install a heating & AC system, and electrical outlets

6. If your washer and dryer were originally in your garage, you will be experiencing a lot more noise in your new living space


Before you consider converting your garage into living space, really consider these PROS and CONS with your family and ask yourself a couple of questions: how long do you plan to live in your home? Are you planning to make your home a rental? If not, are you okay with your home losing value if you choose to sell in the near future? These are just a few questions that I strongly advise my clients and friends to consider because all too often circumstances change and what makes sense now, doesn’t always make sense in the long-run (financially, most importantly).

I hope you find this information  helpful and insightful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Happy New Year!


Valerie Valenzuela

Broker / Owner

Golden Stars Realty



Difference between HELOCs & Home Equity Loans

There are many advantages to owning real estate, but the greatest benefit is when your property appreciates in value and gains equity. When your property gains a substantial amount of equity, you can essentially “borrow” money against your home via a second mortgage: “Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs)” or “Home Equity Loans.” Below, you will find key differences and similarities between the two:



Also known as “HELOCs,” is when a lender agrees to lend a maximum amount to a borrower within an agreed period (called a term), where the collateral is the borrower’s equity in his/her house. Essentially, HELOCs are revolving lines of credit and are similar  to credit cards- you don’t have to use the entire amount right away, only when you need it. They are often referred to as “open-ended.” It is important to note that HELOCs have an adjustable interest rate; making it more expensive in the long-run.



Often referred to as a “closed-end” loan, home equity loans are often used to finance    major expenses such as home repairs, medical bills, or college education. A home equity loan creates a lien against the borrower’s house and reduces actual home equity. Additionally, home equity loans have fixed interest rates. This key difference between the two, make home equity loans more attractive to borrowers, as they pay a fixed amount of interest and don’t adjust over the term of the loan.

A general rule when determining the amount to borrow against your home, assuming you qualify for it, is to borrow a conservative amount that will pay for improvements that add value to your home, emergencies, consolidate debts, and to finance major expenses. Borrowing money to finance vacations, boats, hobbies, and etc, are not great uses as they don’t have a return on their investment. Common problems I saw with homeowners during the housing crisis, is that many borrowed huge lumps of money against their homes and spent it on items other than the ones mentioned above and the reason why they were underwater by such a great amount.


Recently, the Los Angeles Times reported that home equity lines of credit / loans have become one of the fastest-growing segments in the mortgage market and borrowers appear to be using the money more responsibly than they did before the housing crisis, which is great news.

If you ever have questions or would like further insight into HELOCs or  Home Equity Loans, please feel free to contact me. Happy Holidays!


Valerie Valenzuela, Broker / Owner


5 Home Improvements to Avoid


There are 5 Five Home Improvements to Avoid Prior to Selling

Even though selling your home could be years away, keep in mind that not all home improvements are welcomed to buyers.

Here are just a few items that most buyers don’t appreciate:

1. Outdated Finishes: popcorn ceilings (biggest one), outdated light fixtures, and carpet -most buyers want hard-wood floors.

2. Awkward Spaces: Knock out or move walls where you need to, but not at the expense of other rooms, which will ultimately make them smaller.

3. Conversions: converting offices into bedrooms doesn’t work. Without closets, they are not classified as bedrooms.

4. Add-Ons: If you’re going to add on to your home, make sure it looks as seamless as possible, with the same quality finishes and floors.

5. Expensive-to-maintain luxuries: Swimming pools, koi ponds, fountains, and putting greens can make backyards a paradise, but they’re costly to keep up. Most buyers are looking for efficiency to lower their maintenance costs, so consider salt water pools, artificial turf, plants – just to name a few.

I hope this information is helpful and insightful.

Valerie Valenzuela
Broker / Owner
Golden Stars Realty