The Art of Home Staging

In order to get an offer on your home, you need to first impress a potential buyer in a way that will make him or her envision a future life in that home. What is the best way to do this? The absolute best advice is to get a Realtor who is a home staging expert. Staging the home in a way that a prospect will absolutely start to imagine living there is an art form. It’s not a matter of arranging furniture necessarily. It’s more about knowing what buyers look for, what they dream about and then giving them a small slice of that picture.

A Realtor Who Sets the Stage for Home Sale

As an experienced Realtor, I have decades of experience as a home staging expert. Having helped sellers throughout Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, and all over the Conejo Valley, I know how to sell quickly – particularly with the help of little masterful home staging. The truth is it really is an art form of sorts. It really takes a keen eye –your Realtor needs to know the trade secrets which only truly get more refined with experience. But I can assure you, a well-staged home can make a huge impact on the “feeling” conveyed during a walk through and ultimately the entire home’s presentation. If you are about to list your home, make sure you talk with an agent about their home staging experience. It can really be the difference between a quick sell to close experience or a stagnant listing. Below are some tips on staging. While just a a brief synopsis of the process, at least you will know what better to look for when you have a home staging conversation with a potential Realtor.

1. A Pristine Parlor

The first easy, but often overlooked step is to clean the house so well that you can eat off the floors. No matter how beautifully the room is arranged, potential buyers certainly don’t envision sweeping the floors as their new dream home fantasy. A few crumbs scattered on the floor or errant dust balls can absolutely destroy a perfectly pristine, picturesque setting. Before you arrange the furniture just right, each room in your home should be spotless. A professional home cleaner is indicated here – leave no stone unturned, no counter dusty. The carpets must be steam cleaned and all upholstery cleaned and deodorized. Ideally, you should also add a fresh coat of paint in all the rooms.

2. Simple and Spacious

Keep it simple. Scale back the furniture – make the rooms look modern, minimalist, and spacious. Why should you not fill a room with your gorgeous antiques and ornate furniture? It doesn’t allow a buyer to dream about the possibilities and too much furniture can make a room look small. Says an article on Realtor.com, less is more.

Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

3. Paint a Picture

Certain added touches to a room will draw the eye right toward it. You should aim to highlight the “possibility” of luxury, not the personality of the present owner – who by the way is leaving, not the story you want to tell. For instance, luxury bath soaps in the bathroom on a shell dish or clean spa scented candles will affect one type of buyer. A fireplace with the logs artfully placed will give just a touch of the Rockwell appeal to a different type of prospect – this works especially well in a room where the fireplace is the centerpiece. Add fresh flowers to the foyer for example or perhaps, in a well-lit home, change out the drapes with sheer curtains. Even an artsy umbrella stand with wooden handled umbrellas at the door and saysRealtor.com an “in process chess game” especially on an expensive Brooks Brothers Chess board, paints a very specific picture.

A Narrative and a Winning Track Record

This is just a sliver of how home staging can drastically change the ‘narrative’ of the home story you are attempting to tell and ultimately the home you wish to sell. In the final analysis however, you really need to work with the right Realtor® who is not only a staging expert, but also knows the community, the potential buyers in that market, and has a proven winning track record in that very market.

If you are looking for a Realtor® with the aforementioned staging expertise and proven home sales track record, Westlake Village Real Estate is top ranked. Getting ready to list your home in Westlake Village, Agoura Hills or a surrounding community? Contact Lydia Gable at Westlake Village Real Estate today for an appointment.

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Halloween Traditions Around the World

When most Americans think of Halloween, we think of candy corn, costumed kids, Trick or Treating and haunted houses. But according to History.com there is a much more macabre, true story of Halloween. So on this festive Halloween week, I thought I’d share some of the history and some of the more interesting Halloween traditions from around the world and of course. And…of course a nod to Halloween Westlake Village residents and surrounding communities! We do Halloween in our own inimitable style!

Says the History channel, Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain where:

People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

Over time, Halloween has obviously evolved—at least in America— into a candy and fun holiday rather than a sacred religious ritual.

But did you know in some parts of the world it is just as popular.

Día de los Muertos – Mexico

In Mexico and other Latin American countries, Día de los Muertos-Day of the Dead, honors deceased loved ones and ancestors. Their Halloween is really more rooted in the original religious roots. Celebrated over three days from Oct. 31st-Nov. 2 nd, its most popular in Mexico, and according to Wikipedia:

Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas , honoring the deceased using sugar skulls , marigolds , and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.

Teng Chieh – China

The Halloween-equivalent holiday in China is known as Teng Chieh. The Chinese tradition is to place food and water at the foot of photographs of deceased family members and light bonfires and lanterns in order to forge a lit path for the spirits to travel on Earth on Halloween night. An article on Inspirationline, describes one tradition of Buddhist followers in China. They make “boats of the law” from paper and light them on fire. Some of the “boats” are quite elaborate and burn for hours. This particular ritual is a memorial of course to honor the dead, but more importantly is meant to free spirits of the “pretas” in order that they might ascend to heaven. According to The New World Encyclopedia, “Pretas” are “hungry ghosts” but not evil. They are simply the spirits of those who have died tragically and without a proper burial ceremony. Ceremonies for the “pretas,” include lighting fires and lantern rituals and often monks are invited to recite sacred verses and leave fruit offerings.

Westlake Village – A Rockin’ Halloween!

And of course the best Halloween traditions are happening right here in good old Westlake Village! We may not have burning paper boats, but we do have really scary haunted houses a really good time. Take a look at a couple of the goings-on happening this weekend for both adults and children:

A Freak Show

Bogie’s Nightclub at The Westlake Village Inn is sponsoring, its 4 th Annual Halloween Bash FREAKSHOW WEDDING, on Saturday November 1st. Call to reserve your tickets for party complete with music and a DJ! Reserve now – it sells out!

Bogie’s Nightclub

32001 Agoura Rd

Westlake Village, California

(818) 889-2394

Be afraid! Be Very Afraid!

Reign of Terror Haunted House

The Haunted House at the Janss Marketplace promises an unparalleled Reign of Terror with over 65 bone chilling rooms and 12,000 sq. ft. of mayhem!

This is one of the country’s top-ranked scare zones and it’s right here! Reign of Terror attracts thousands of thrill seekers each Halloween season to raise much-needed money for the Thousand Oaks Teen Center and Young Artists Ensemble programs. Read more here.

Want to experience all the greatness that is Westlake Village? Thinking of investing or buying a home in the area, choose the top ranked Westlake Village Realtor. Live in luxury, inspired by the beauty of nature and a 365 day temperate climate. Live like you are on vacation every day! Choose Lydia Gable as your real estate agent on your next dream home purchase. For more on homes in Lake Sherwood, Hidden Hills or anywhere in the Conejo Valley, contact Lydia Gable today.

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Spotlight: Celeb Enclave Hidden Hills and More…

Back in 2013, I wrote two very popular articles, the first being Celeb Homes: Calabasas, Lake Sherwood…and the other, Buying a Home: Spotlight on Lake Sherwood . Over a year later, I thought it would be great to revisit the topic in some of my other neighborhoods. While it’s not the most important reason, if a reason at all, it’s a fun topic and it does speak to the value of the real estate in the area. So in my 2014 follow up, I will spotlight Hidden Hills and even give an alternative.

Selena Finds Shelter in Hidden Hills

Selena Gomez just sold her Tarzana home to move into a new palace which boasts 5 Beds/6 Baths on 7,229 sq ft. on a total lot size of 3.15 acres. It was built in 2004 and sits in a gated community literally next door to Hidden Hills.

Hidden Hills is a community that sits hidden between Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The area is quite affluent and bustles with celebrities, families and film industry folks. As it says on the city’s website:

The City of Hidden Hills is nestled between the western foothills of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County and the Ventura County line, California. It boasts an authentic bucolic atmosphere as witnessed by the absence of sidewalks and street lights, the white three-rail fences, and bridle trails…an example of small town Southern California living at its finest.

If you would like more information on home listings in Hidden Hills or the surrounding areas, contact me today.

A ‘Bubbly’ Move

In September 2-time Grammy winner, singer-songwriter, Colbie Caillat, bought a new mansion in Hidden Hills for $6.1 million. According to Los Angeles Times:

Her new 8,400-square-foot place is a Santa Barbara-inspired Mediterranean on more than an acre. Accessed through a gated courtyard entry, the mostly single-story home features a great room, a center-island kitchen, a game room with a wet bar, a home theater, six en suite bedrooms and two additional bathrooms.

A Gated Alternative to the ‘Hills’

If you want the Hidden Hills experience – the gated community option, country club environment but in some cases with lower (still luxury) listing prices, visit Lake Sherwood. Lake Sherwood offers the same affluent feel, many celeb neighbors, great night life, restaurants and shopping, and as a bonus only 20 minutes from Hidden Hills and 30 minutes to Los Angeles. If you work in Los Angeles, this is a perfect choice. Famous present and/or former residents include Britney Spears Wayne Gretsky and the aforementioned Colbie Caillat. A recent Variety article describing the KimYe mansion, shines a spotlight on just how many celebs actually live here. The reporter describes Hidden Hills as…

… a much touted, well-groomed and exceedingly affluent enclave long favored by the rich and/or famous. Should they choose, Mister and Missus Kardashian can invite neighbors who Jennifer Lopez, Drake, Leann Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, Nicolette Sheridan, and Jessica Simpson to their housewarming party.

Thinking of investing or buying a home in Lake Sherwood, choose the top ranked Westlake Village Realtor. Live like you are on vacation 365 days a year! Choose Lydia Gable as your real estate agent on your next dream home purchase. For more on homes in Lake Sherwood, Hidden Hills or anywhere in the Conejo Valley, contact Lydia Gable today.

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New Season, New Westlake Village Fall Activities

Westlake Village: A Lovely Place to Work, Live and Visit…

As we usher in the cooler fall season, enjoy the benefits of living in Westlake Village and all that it offers for its residents!

For those of you fortunate enough to live in the Westlake Village area, you probably already know that fall is a time filled with numerous exciting activities for its residents. But for those in the surrounding communities who may be considering a change in venue to match the change in season, here are some of my favorite seasonal local events. For future residents and eager visitors, take a look at what you get to look forward to as part of our community!

  1. The City That Celebrates Together
    City of Westlake Village’s 12th Annual City Celebration

It’s that time of year again, where we celebrate and feature the best that our community has to offer on Saturday, October 18th, 2014.

This is truly a must-attend for residents. I can say with surety as I have memories from the previous eleven that pleasantly linger with me. I was involved in planning the first City Celebration when my kids were at White Oak.

Think of getting to see and do everything “great” that makes up our community in one place and time and you get the picture! With exciting performances, food trucks, special events, and the ever popular Fun Fair from our very own White Oak Elementary School, this event offers fun for residents of all ages. Additional information is available at City of Westlake Village.

  1. What’s Fall without Halloween Goblins
    The Triunfo Y Goblin Gallop 5k Run

The Triunfo Y Goblin Gallop, part of the annual City Celebration, is a Halloween-themed twilight run on October 18th featuring a costume contest that includes a 5K Run followed by a 1-mile Trick or Treat Fun Run. Goblin Gallop runners are encouraged to run/walk wearing their favorite costume. Prizes will be awarded to the best costumes seen on the course. For those of you with little ones, kids who take part in the 1-mile Trick or Treat Fun Run will be able to enjoy numerous Trick or Treat stations along the course – an event the whole family can enjoy together!

Event proceeds will help support the Triunfo Y Teen and Family Programs.

The night starts at 5:30PM at the Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 Oak Crest Drive. For more info go to Triunfo 5k Run.

  1. Oktoberfest
    Second Annual Oktoberfest at Stonehaus

The Stonehaus, a boutique enoteca reminiscent of Italy, and the newest addition to the Westlake Village Inn, will be celebrating their second annual Oktoberfest Oct 17th-19th. Although Stonehaus is the newest addition to the Westlake Village Inn, Oktoberfest itself is rich in tradition dating back nearly two-hundred years in Munich, Germany.

Although this event may be relatively new to our community, don’t mistake its lack of tenor for a lack of quality. With great food, beer, and live music over the course of three days, Stonehaus does right by Oktoberfest lofty historical standards – a must-attend for residents over twenty-one.

Friday October 17th 4PM-10PM
Saturday October 18th 1PM -10PM
Sunday October 19th Noon – 8PM
Live music every night at 7PM

For more information visit: Stonehaus

  1. A Halloween ‘Treat’

Also for a ‘treat’ Three Springs in Westlake Village is definitely a destination for Trick or Treating and the neighborhood is already decorating and preparing for the annual festivities.

An award-winning Realtor®, Lydia Gable is known for paying special attention to meticulous communication with her clients throughout the buying or selling process. Lydia Gable lives andworks in the community. If you have any questions related to this topic or if you are interested in buying or selling a home in and around Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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“Do-It” Upgrades to Sell Your Home

Is your home stuck in the 70s but you want it to sell well in 2014? If you are ready to sell your home now and feel the need for upgrade projects to increase the chances of listing success, there aresome ideas that are more worthy than others. A word of advice before you start: Take into account long-term projects v. short term ones – in other words some larger projects can turn into behemoth jobs that will actually delay the home listing. So plan accordingly. Also some projects just don’t pan out when it comes to investment v. selling price. Below are the top must-do projects that can increase your home sale price and add to the beauty and appeal of your home when showing.

  1. Upgrade Your Kitchen: One Piece at a Time

Most homeowners think they have to undergo a complete kitchen renovation, to modernize a very outdated kitchen tile or linoleum. But it can really be as simple as painting the kitchen cabinets or changing the counter tops to granite. A recent article on Yahoo Homes titled,Selling your home? Three projects you should and shouldn’t tackle, quotes Erica Lugbill, the owner and lead designer of Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based residential design firm. Erica recommends some easy tips that can be done on a budget:

Focus on small “face-lift” projects, such as painting your cabinets, switching out your hardware, installing a tile backsplash, or replacing the countertops…You can go to a stone remnant yard where there is often a large selection of discount pieces of granite or quartz that can be installed for a fraction of the cost.

  1. Up on the Roof

If you can potential buyers can see the roof of the home when they drive up and your roof is currently shabby, it may be time to make some repairs to move from shabby to chic. You’d be surprised what a beautiful roof can do when it comes to curb appeal. If there are fix-it issues like leaks or damage, definitely fix these as it will be more than an eye-sore issue but one of home inspection and could derail the sale. But beyond the practical elements, a cosmetic upgrade—which is actually a low cost remodel—will do wonders for your home sale.

  1. A Bathroom Redo: Don’t Flush Away Your Money

Instead of redoing an entire bathroom, knobs, cabinets or even a pedestal sink can make a big difference. If your bathroom tile is atrocious, you may need to replace it but if you do this, keep it neutral. The potential buyer will have his or her own taste anyway and may decide to renovate in which case you will have wasted an investment. Better to go for a repaint or vanity replacement to make some subtle changes but save money.

Upgrade Don’ts…

Try to avoid larger-scale projects – the kind that start out with good intentions but can turn into giant month-long overhauls. Room additions, master bedroom renovations and sun deck add-ons are probably not worth it. And, look at the cold hard truth, says the Yahoo Home article:

A room addition might sound like a great idea, until you realize that doing so could cost you as much as $100,000. In fact, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report, a master suite could cost over $106,000, while adding a family room could run you around $83,000.

If you are unsure, ask around. See what’s hot in the neighborhood. Are your neighbors having to do upgrades to sell or their homes or are properties flying off the market faster than the inventory? And lastly, if you work regularly with a Realtor you trust, give her a call. Ask her about curb appeal and the current trendy must-haves at open houses – no one knows better about home sales than someone who’s doing it daily!

An award-winning Realtor®, Lydia Gable is a Realtor who pays special attention to maintaining diligent communication with clients to assure a successful home sale. Lydia Gable lives and works in the community. If you have any questions related to this topic or if you are interested in buying or selling a home in and around Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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Find the Right Real Estate Agent: 5 Questions to Ask

Realtors ®, like with professionals in any field, come with different styles, attitudes and personalities. Real estate agents in Ventura County California are no different than those in Suffolk County in Massachusetts, Maricopa County in Arizona or any other area for that matter – fill in the blanks. Beyond the obvious—people obviously have different styles and personalities—every real estate agent has one commonality, a reputation in the community. Most agents place a great deal of value on reputation but don’t take that fact for granted. A recent article in theHuffington Post points out the importance of knowing as much as you can for several reasons:

The reputation of your Realtor® will either save you money, time, energy and stress — or cause tremendous aggravation and potentially ruin a deal for you.

In addition to reputation, personal style and approach is also important. Both reputation and personal style matter – some would say equally. For instance, the agent might be an aggressive bull dog in the home selling business, but unlikable. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of likeability. You will be spending a good amount of time with this person. And if you don’t like him or her, chances aren’t the only one. Here are some important questions to ask when choosing a real estate agent for your home sale or purchase.

  1. How Many Homes Did You Sell Last Year? At Asking Price?

Your Realtor® should be eager to answer this. If he or she bristles at the query, or the answer isn’t exactly what you’d hoped, it’s curious. Follow up. And if you’re still sold on working with this agent, ask for recent testimonials.

  1. In which neighborhoods do you work? And where do you live in relation to the neighborhoods?

This may seem a bit much but it’s important to know how familiar your agent is with the area. In some cases, the agent may live and work in the area, big plus signs and indicators of knowledge, reputation and success. Ask!

  1. How many other buyers are you representing? How many sellers?

An article in Forbes titled, How To Vet A Real Estate Agent: 10 Questions To Ask Before Hiringsuggests that there is bigger reason than simple statistics behind question three:

Hint: the busiest agents often are the most efficient.

  1. How long have you been in real estate? Is it your full-time job?

An article on RealtorMag says that while this is the determining factor, experience should hold some weight in your decision. And suggests the article…

While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.[And ask] Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients? Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®.

  1. What are your marketing techniques?

You can’t afford to hire an agent who is not utilizing the best marketing strategies. In an age where social media is everything, the Realtor® should have a mobile and online strategy in addition to signs and print ads.

An award-winning Realtor®, Lydia Gable has consistently been in the top two percent of Realtors® nationwide. With an emphasis on diligent communication with clients and the use of cutting-edge technology, she helps move the transaction process along in order to secure the best possible price.Lydia Gable lives and works in the community. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in and around Westlake Village,contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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Buying a Home: A Social Activity?

Choosing A Neighborhood

Have you considered that buying a home may add or detract from your level of social interaction? While certainly not a first consideration for most, your social life as it relates to where you buy your next home, should indeed be a thought in choosing a neighborhood. After all, one’s state of happiness in a community is never just about the physical property. If you could just gauge by a home’s value or the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms it has, buying a new home would be simple. Certainly if you plan on raising children in the area—thinking long term as opposed to a quick flip—then you should really take a personal inventory and decide what kind of life you prefer to have outside of the home. Ultimately, is this new home and its surrounding community, a match for your needs? An article on Realtor.com says, people can get swept up in the perks of the home like a sweeping staircase or a breathtaking view, and forget about lifestyle, social life and the commute.

Is your potential new home well suited to getting where you need to go? … Do the rush-hour drive to check whether traffic flows smoothly. Daily two-hour traffic snarls can ruin your mood and your schedule … Both your home’s location and its setup will affect how you spend your time off. Do you enjoy the nightlife? Will you need to scale back your social life?

A Community that Feels Like Home

Most folks mistakenly think you have to compromise—if you want a good school for example, your social life will probably get pushed aside—but this just isn’t true in all cases. For instance in my stomping ground, Westlake Village, CA, a home owner here, is not only surrounded by one of the best school districts in the country, but s/he also has great access to top restaurants, outdoor activities like hiking, water sports on the lake, golf, shopping, and even an amazing theatre/concert venue. All this can be had when buying a home in the upscale community of Westlake Village. And to top it off, it’s only a short commute to Los Angeles and Malibu! So you can have the best of both worlds If you are thinking of buying here. Investopedia gives a nice, concise check list on things to consider when you buy your next new home. Here are a few of their best tips:

  • Who Lives Next Door?
    If you are an atheist, it’s probably best not move into the Bible belt. This is an extreme example but it actually makes a good point. If you are someone who keeps to yourself, ask yourself, ‘is this the kind of community where everyone is involved in everyone else’s business’ – Ask around.
  • Like Day and Night
    Make a visit at night to see if the area comes alive or totally changes. Do you feel safe? Are people out or do they retire early?
  • At Your Leisure
    What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Is this a community that will support that? And will others in the community be like-minded? If you like Bingo and you choose a community the demographic is 18-50 and everyone is out rock climbing – well you know the rest…

Home buying can be exciting, exhilarating and often times, stressful. Choose a realtor who you can trust to tell you the truth and one who will always honor your needs! In that way, you will make the best decision for your money and your life style!

Lydia Gable is a top ranked real estate agent in Westlake Village with over a decade of proven experience. She is also lives and works in the area – a definite bonus to which her satisfied clientswill attest. For more information on homes in Westlake Village or if you are ready to buy a new home today in and around the Conejo Valley, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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At Home: 2015 Interiors Trends

Often the path to a new home starts right where you are – at home. As we usher yet another fall season, as the leaves change and another year passes, renewal is right around the corner. It’s a good time to change, throw out the old, and find new ways to express yourself through your home design. So I thought it would be nice to share the home interior trends for 2015. Just a few ideas that you may not have thought of that could allow you to make some small changes in the home either to give you a boost of new or to prepare for a home sale in the near future. Last year we did a similar article which was well received. So once again, here are the thoughts of experts – a forecast of the trends in home interiors for 2015.

The Blues ‘with a Modern Twist’

Elle Décor says the colors for the season are blues and olive green. However it’s not the muted sea blue palette of 2014. This is a ‘Greek blue’ as described in the article titled, The 2015 Color Trends You NEED to Know Now, a cerulean blue says Alessandra Branca.

The combinations of greens, plums, cerulean blue, beiges and whites- and the mixing of patterns and textures, as seen in many Renaissance paintings.
Alessandra Branca, Branca Interiors

I’m seeing a lot of deep rich blues with a glossy finish—often paired with white for a surprisingly modern twist on a classic.
Susanna Salk, Elle Decor Magazine Interior Design Manager, Today Show contributor, Author

At Home: Where Classic Meets Retro

Lushome says the ‘7 Modern Interior Trends in 2015’ are about ‘Reinventing Classic Luxury and Versatile Functionality’ – old meets new, lots of bold modern textures with antique accents.

Modern interior trends 2015 reinvent classy luxury, serenity, creative recycling and versatility in furniture design and interior decorating. Classic, retro and contemporary design ideas, traditional and new materials, fresh colors, exotic motifs, and surprising blend of textures…

Nature: Inside-Out

One big trend, that all the experts agree upon, is the idea of bringing nature and natural elements indoors. This was a theme in the 2014 forecast and it looks like it’s even more in-vogue for the coming year. In fact, the news coming out of this year’s StockholmFurnitureLightFair which takes place in February is all about one word: Nature. In their article, The Interior Trends 2014/2015, they state:

Natural materials, such as stone, wood and glass, dominate this style. Natural elements, represents a contemporary feeling in design and form, with natural materials in furniture and permanent fittings. An exciting mix of wood, metal and leather … Basket weave and other plaited details on furniture… Natural colors … Cold shades of brown, in combination with granite, and with hints of leafy green in nature’s color scheme.

Inspiration to Hang Your Hat On

Are you inspired? Are you ready to redo your entrance way or spruce up your living room with natural elements? Whether you are staying put this year or plan on selling, it’s definitely fun to dream about a “new” home. Either way make your home your blissful place because there was never a truer statement that home—no matter where you hang your hat—is where the heart is.

If you like what you’ve read or you’re interested in viewing home listings or would like to list your home, contact Lydia Gable today at Westlake Village Real Estate. If you are ready buy a new home or to sell your home in and around the Westlake Village area, call Lydia Gable at (818) 934- 8902.

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Setting Your Home Price to Sell

Setting the home price for optimal sale is sometimes the most difficult part of the realtor-client relationship, but perhaps the most important. This is why you always choose a realtor with whom you feel comfortable and one who you absolutely trust with your business. It’s also the reason many of my clients become friends. The trust is paramount to the process. However if you are new to home selling or you aren’t sure what the price should be, it can be a difficult decision as of course you want to protect your investment. A recent The Wall Street Journal outlined several different points of view on setting the home price. I thought I would share some of their interesting insights.

Setting Your Home Price: Is it Subjective?

One popular opinion about home listing, but not necessarily a mode I subscribe to, is to lowball the when setting the price. Alex Hickman told The WSJ that he lowballed and it worked.

Hickman set his asking price below market asking price for his neighborhood and got six offers in four days. Said Hickman:

We strategically listed it under market and tried to create kind of a frenzy.

But it should be noted that he went against his Redfin real estate agent. His agent, Rebecca Walter had told him this was a bad idea, one she initially counseled against. Walter says:

It creates a havoc that doesn’t serve anyone well. A low asking price doesn’t necessarily increase what buyers offer since they are more willing to compete on other terms of the contract.

Was she wrong or did Hickman just get lucky?

Listing Your Home: The Whole Picture

How important is it really that the list price be on target?

The first few weeks are the most important part of the listing. When a home is “launched” all eyes are on the property-agents, buyers & investors. Pricing is something that can’t be taken lightly. My closed sales track record show a 98.5% to list price which means setting the price to sell is indeed very important.

As for my approach, I subscribe to a more “whole picture” approach when it comes to setting a home listing for sale. A combination of detailed marketing, current housing market research, and buyer psychology, is more in line with my home-listing price philosophy. But ultimately, it’s my relationship with the individual clients and assessing their needs that drives my approach.

Do You Like Your Real Estate Agent?

In the end, everyone has an opinion but the one constant that I think you can’t ignore is the client-agent relationship. Always, choose a realtor whom you trust. Choose someone with whom you would be comfortable having a conversation. Choose an agent who lives and works in the neighborhood. And finally, choose someone with a proven track record. With all of the volatile aspects present in any housing market, these factors are absolutely under your control.

If you are ready to sell your home, contact Lydia Gable today. A top ranked real estate agent in Westlake Village, she can help you determine what your home is worth and then work together to price and pitch your home competitively and attractively for today’s market. Call Lydia Gable today at (818) 934-8902.

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School’s Back in Session: Organize the Home Now!

It’s back to school time for many of us and the perfect time to reorganize the home. Whether you are sending your kids off to their first day of grade school or the first day of college, this is an ideal time to get your home organized for the fall season. If your kids are still little, then you know—or if you don’t, you soon will—the onslaught of activities, sleepovers, and piles of homework is about to become the norm. Get ready to go into over-drive – oh at least until June when you will finally be able to exhale again. And, if you’re last child has just left for college, you may be suffering a little bit from empty nest syndrome. But don’t drown your sorrows in an ice cream stupor for too long. Before you know it, Thanksgiving break will be upon us and Sally or Steve will be rushing home accompanied by a month’s worth of laundry, a gaggle of friends or perhaps a whole soccer team. So take advantage of this mini-respite to get the home in order or redesign it this, a new season in life. Here are some fantastic tips to organize for the school year, especially if you are in a new home and not quite organized yet.

Plan It: Home Central

Have a central calendar in the house that the whole family knows about. It does not have to be super sophisticated. A calendar on the refrigerator will suffice. In the age of smart-phones and iPads some families skip this step. But honestly, when your 10 year old is rushing out the door with a mouthful of cereal in order to catch the bus, it’s good to have a visual calendar that s/he can just glance at. Organized Home says:

Post the family event calendar in a public place near the telephone. Use magnets to attach the calendar to the refrigerator, or tack it to a bulletin board.

Mud Marks the Spot

A recent article in Family Circle suggests that planning for the clutter or muddy feet is the best defense to bring order before the mess. According to the article, “Every home needs a dumping ground…Whether it’s a mudroom, entryway or hall closet!” So instead of constantly following your kids with a mop, designate a central shoe basket at the door or implement a rule that all sports equipment gets dumped in a one bin in the garage. This way, they have a routine and your home still looks presentable.

A New Look for an Empty Nest

If you’re currently experiencing an empty nest, perhaps even considering selling the home, it may be time to upgrade the kid-spaces. Maybe take some time to make your son’s baseball-themed bedroom into a chic office or your daughter’s princess room into a garden room. An article in This Old House suggests that an upgrade in design might be the perfect first step to a ‘new’ home when your kids have left for college. Although it may not be the time to do go overboard, since you could still have four more years of the kids coming home for vacations, but it’s a first step to an upgrade and a sense of new. The article suggests, small upgrades, clean lines, or a simple elegant finish may be all that’s needed for a room refresh. In one example of a beautiful upgrade, the change involved:

…a pale palette and a smattering of contemporary items, like a chrome lamp and glass-top table, balancing them with soft draperies and cushy pillows.

Whether you are in the midst of college time or the early days of preschool, always make certain that you have your house in order. Just because it’s September, it doesn’t have to mean chaos. Make your home your castle, not clutter-central. With the help of a regular routine, some good organization strategies, and a few design tips, you’ll be at the top of the class!

An award-winning Realtor®, Lydia Gable has consistently been in the top two percent of Realtors® nationwide. If you are ready to buy or sell a home in and around Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable today.

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