The Conejo Valley: There’s So Much to Do!

CONEJOVALLEYThe Conejo Valley : Doin’ It!

The Conejo Valley is an activity haven. If you are seeking a new neighborhood chalk full of things to do or if you currently live here, check out the local happenings. It doesn’t get much better than this eclectic mix of things to do for you and the whole family. And of course if you are on the hunt for a new home, taking part in some of these happenings is a fantastic way to test-drive a potential neighborhood.

The Taste of Conejo

The Taste of Conejo is an annual fave especially among the Westlake Village locals. The seventh Taste of Conejo will be presented by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, October 1, 5-8 p.m., at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village.

If you are a foodie or a wine aficionado, you will be in your glory at this event. But in any case, who doesn’t love good eats? The Taste of Conejo is an all-inclusive evening of gourmet food, wine, beer and spirits. Enjoy tastings from over sixty local restaurants, breweries and wineries.

VIP tickets are available at TasteofConejo.com for $100 a person, which includes complimentary valet parking and a one hour early entry into the event from 4-5 p.m.

General admission tickets are available until Oct. 1st, tickets online for $75. There are a limited number of tickets that will be sold at the door. 21 and over only will be allowed admittance.

For more on the events and its participants visit TasteofConejo.

The 11th Annual Reyes Adobe Days Festival

The Reyes Adobe Historical Site at 5464 Reyes Adobe Road, Agoura Hills holds an annual festival. This is good time for the whole family. And if your pre-teens are Disney fans, well you will make them quite happy if you plan on attending the parade. While the event runs from October 1 – 4, 2015. The weekend festival will take place 10/3 & 4 from 11am – 4pm.  But on 10/3 the Reyes Adobe Day Parade with celebrity grand marshal, Corey Fogelmanis, who plays Farkle Minkus on Disney’s “Girl Meets World”, starts at 10 am. RAD is not only fun but educational. The whole family can celebrate unique California culture and history on the grounds of an original 1845 California rancho. Rancho activities include pony rides and a petting zoo; art boutique and gallery featuring local artists; local craft beer; food; museum tours and more.

TICKETS: The family weekend festival admission is FREE of charge.  For select events (Senior Fiesta, Night@Adobe, RADrun, Gymkhana), purchase tickets at reyesadobedays.org 

Celebrate Westlake Village – More to Do!

Do not miss the City of Westlake Village’s 13th Annual City Celebration on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 3pm to 8pm. If you aren’t from the area, this is the best way to find out what we already know. Westlake Village is the best community to live and work in – I can attest to that. At the celebration which features local performers, food trucks, and even a twilight run, your whole family will enjoy tons of fun. Be sure to check out the Goblin Gallop, magic show at 6pm and the popular White Oak Elementary Family Festival which features rides, a cake walk, inflatables, and a bake sale and silent auction. The Triunfo YMCA Twilight Goblin Gallop 5K starts at 5:30pm. There is also a one Mile Trick or Treat Fun Run at 6:15pm for kids. How fun is that? Kids who participate can stop at the numerous Trick or Treat stations along the course. Not only just for the little ones, this annual city event offers exciting performances and scrumptious food for all who attend. Free admission. For more information visit the festival website.

Booh! You Better Run! 

Haunted Trails of the Night 5K/10K Family Run/Walk is Saturday, October 17th at Paramount Ranch. Packet pickup at 6pm; race starts at 7pm. Runners of all levels and abilities are invited to experience trail running at night. This is open to the whole family. Those who are running or walking on the moonlit trails, will have a unique experience in the historic motion picture town of Paramount Ranch. If you are feeling extra social, stay after the run for a haunted post run hang in the historic old ghost town of paramount ranch. Drinks, food and fun. Also dress up in your best costume, there are awards!

Address: Paramount Ranch

2903 Cornell Road Agoura Hills

Parking and restrooms on site. Children MUST be accompanied by an adult. For more on the event visit the socalultrarunning site to sign up.

Home is Where the Heart Is…

Last but not least, don’t miss the 41st Conejo Valley Home Remodeling & RV Show. Homeowners, if you are planning fall and winter home improvement projects, now is your chance to talk with professionals for ideas and tips. The fall show is Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11 at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza (880 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village). And it may be local, but this is no small production. Attendees will have access to over 170 vendors with information on everything from kitchen and bath remodeling to interior decorating and landscaping as well as advice for pools and spas. The latest RVs and offroad vehicles will also be on display from Simi RV & Offroad. In case you are a foodie, this event has you covered. Gourmet food trucks will be on site at the show on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., October 10.

Home Show hours: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free passes are available online at The Conejo Valley Home Show site. Admission at the door is $4 per person. For more information, call 805-529-0760 or e-mail showkase9@gmail.com. 

Bluegrass Music, Fire Engines, and Pumpkins!

The Underwood Family Farms’ 18th Annual Fall Harvest Festival will take place October 3rd to October 31st.  Here are only some of the highlights… 

  • Friends of the Farm Weekend on October 3rd & 4th. Proceeds will help benefit The Ventura County Sheriff’s Charity Organization Cops Running for Charity and The Ventura County Fire Department’s Charity Groups. Not only is this a worthwhile cause to support, your kids will love the demonstrations including fire trucks, ambulances, tank type vehicle, bomb squad with their bomb robot, police car/motorcycle and much more.
  • October 10 & October 11 listen to the best country and bluegrass music. And if you are a pumpkin lover, there will be a Giant Pumpkin Contest on Sunday, October 11!
  • Antique Tractor Weekend is October 17 & 18 (10am-4pm) with antique tractors and a tractor parade!
  • October 24 & 25 is Western Weekend – from 11am – 3pm, there will be stunt ropers, a covered wagon, music, magic and much more! At 3:00, the cowboys ride off, but the festival continues until 6:00pm with music, games, rides, races and tons of family fun.
  • The final day of the festival is Saturday, October 31, “All About Pumpkins” weekend, with live entertainment from 10:30-5:30! Also on the weekends, food vendors serve up the Lion’s Club hot dogs, hamburgers, roasted corn on the cob, pie, Spencer/MacKenzie’s Mexican food, shave ice, kettle corn, cookies and more.

The 2015 festival will be open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm. Admission to the festival is $15.00 on Saturdays and Sundays and $6.00 per person Monday through Friday. Children under 2 are free PLUS parking is FREE! For more info visit the website at Underwood Family Farms.

This is just a small taste of why I love living and working as Real Estate Agent in Westlake Village. If you are a home buyer and looking for an award winning real estate agent, contact Lydia Gable Realty today to view current listings in Westlake Village and surrounding communities.

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Home Buyers: It’s Time to Buy Now!

Home Buyers - Buy NowThe Time to Buy: Today!

David Seaburg, head of sales trading recently said as reported by CNBC, “I think housing stocks are names you should continue to own here, especially in the face of wages improving and jobs growth.”  The consensus by a myriad of experts is that housing is on the verge of breakout. In May, the housing market saw the biggest numbers in years and real estate stock continues to grow. With real estate stock booming, this kicks the economy into high gear and then you guessed it, buyers go out and spend more.

Home Buyers: California is a Hot Market

Are you ready or are you still in a recession mindset? Maybe you are saying, “Well I don’t know if that applies to my corner of the world.” Certainly some markets are still struggling, but there are areas of the country that are very hot right now. Says chief economist at Realtor.com, Jonathan Smoke:

Our early read of real estate trends in June suggests good news ahead for the U.S. residential real estate market, especially in the hottest markets with healthy growth in supply. California again dominated the hottest markets list.

So if you are ready to buy or even poised to sell, now is the time.

Why Buy Now  in Ventura County?

Terry Savage, expert on personal finance, the economy and markets wrote recently on a Huff Post Money Blog,

The time to get into the market is when there is little competition pushing prices higher.

But if you look at the numbers, you have an exceptionally advantageous window of opportunity right now. It does not mean you cannot buy later, but in terms of investment, every economist is saying “get in now.”

As I wrote in my recent blog Housing Market Hits Record Highs, May and June numbers are leading housing experts to sit up and pay attention. According to a recent Metro Study Report, Ventura County closings are up.

Ventura County closings increased from 95 to 183 (+93%), and annual closings increased from 502 to 566 (+12.7%).

We can all focus on the the past mistakes of the 2008 housing crisis but it makes much more sense to embrace that we are in a strong recovery and it’s a time of growth and opportunity. The numbers, while they off to a slow start in January, have been steadily climbing. It is likely now that we are going to continue to prosper. If you are ready to sell, make sure your home’s curb appeal is shinier and more appealing than any others, so you sell at your listed asking price. The competition is tough. Make sure to get the right agent and professionally stage your home so buyers are begging to get in. If you are looking to buy, many of you who are new to Southern California might not know about a community, just a short jaunt from Los Angeles, Westlake Village. If you are looking for a home that includes Southern California resort style living, top schools and a close proximity to Los Angeles, this is the place to view luxury home listings.

For more on Westlake Village and surrounding areas like Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills, contact Lydia Gable today.

 

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Housing Market Hits Record Highs

HomeBuyersFirst Time Home Sales Surge

In May, home sales surged to a 5 ½-year high. This is good news for the market indeed, as more first-time home buyers including the millennials, finally took the plunge going from rental homes to marriage and first homes. Additionally real estate stocks hit a huge multiyear new level high leaving traders to say invest, invest, invest.

As reported by The Business Journals, The National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, said that the increase in new home buyers flooding the market, could signal more recovery on the horizon. He added that:

The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low down payment programs.

Existing Home Sales Also Hit New Highs

Then just after NARS reported the flood of first time home buyers into the housing market, Reuters reported that ‘sales of existing homes hit their highest level since 2009’. Yun said this was promising although the supply is still short of the demand keeping prices on the higher end.

With all this talk of recovery, if you were one of the cautious hold-outs, now may be the time to buy. If you are considering a new home purchase or perhaps considering buying your first home, think about starting the search now. You could be in a new home just in time for the leaves to change and children to return to school.  If you still aren’t sure but you are at least thinking of buying a home, take a cue from the market numbers. Look at the stock – if you have doubts. The economy is in recovery—it is. It’s not a fluke. A majority of economists agree even while cautious that it’s no longer speculation, we are in the midst of economic recovery. Investors know it, existing home owners know it as they begin to list their homes now increasingly. But where is the best place to hang your hat and call home?

Buy Well, Luxury Living in Ventura County

One of the best recovering areas, not to mention one of most luxurious places to live in the country, is Ventura County. Home sales have been steadily climbing and existing home values have continued to appreciate. In fact the Ventura County Star reported this month that the median home price and value in Ventura County:

…climbed to $500,000 last month, the highest value in eight years, according to data reported Wednesday by the real estate information service CoreLogic.

So if you are young and plan on moving onward and upward, Ventura County is not only a wonderful place to live but also a sound investment for home buyers. More than the investment though, you will be living in an area with a year round perfect climate, beaches and canyon trails nearby, lakes and country clubs only a stone’s throw from your front door, and the best schools, shopping and restaurants in Southern California. What more could you ask for? Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Calabasas – it’s the privilege that comes with working hard and coming home to luxury.

For more information on viewing homes in Ventura County, contact Lydia Gable today. Stay tuned for the next blog which will be posted soon. Feel free to weigh in with your comments here if you live in Westlake Village or surrounding areas and you want to share more about the best area to live work and play.

 

 

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Try and Buy – New Trend in Home Buying?

LYDIAPIC‘Fly and Buy’

The home buying process hasn’t changed in many years – find a home, make an offer, close. But according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, some people are doing a sort of test drive of the neighborhood before purchasing a home. Some realtors are even adding this type of incentive into their business. According to the WSJ feature, while it is still rare in most areas for buyers to request a test drive of a home or community before buying, it is becoming more prevalent in some luxury markets. And says the article:

Toll Brothers, one of the country’s largest home builders, has a Fly and Buy program for buyers who want to travel to a new town to check it out. Travel costs can then be put toward a purchase contract.

While in some areas the trend is growing, especially with motivated sellers, many real estate agents disagree with a ‘try and buy’ approach. Says Kimberly Dixon, a Houston based real estate agent, “it clouds judgment.” In an article titled Test Drive Your Home on HSH.com, Dixon weighs in on the new fad in home buying:

For the most part, the client will likely make more emotional decisions and pick apart a property’s minor attributes, while overlooking major value — such as a good price. It is my opinion that a logical and economic approach is the best way to undertake such large personal investments.

I agree with Dixon for the most part, but mainly because the area where I live and sell homes, Westlake Village, CA, is already an undisputed, highly sought-after location known for its luxury resort lifestyle, warm West Coast temperatures and top school rankings. Unless you are moving from another state, Westlake Village and its surrounding community is lucky enough to have its reputation precede most buyers’ interest. Quite frankly, I’m listing and closing, in some cases, faster than you can say, “Make an offer.”

Westlake Village – A Nice Place to Work, Live and Play…

If you’re in the Southern California area and thinking of making a home purchase in the near future, check out Westlake Village in the Conejo Valley. Spend a day hiking at Triunfo Creek Park in its 600 acres of trails, or visit Sherwood Country Club and its famed golf course at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains. Have dinner at one of the beautiful restaurants at the Promenade after a full day of shopping at the most exclusive shops in the area. If I can suggest any kind of “test drive”, I’d day, take a drive from Westlake Village to Malibu or into the city of Los Angeles, and experience for yourself, if you were to move to the area, how close you would be to everything while still enjoying a vacation resort quality of life. For that matter, I suggest you take the day and do all of these things just because – even you aren’t moving to Westlake Village – it’s the nicest place in the nation to work, live and play – if I do say so myself.

For more on home listings in Conejo Calley, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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First Quarter Housing Market Update – 2015

 

R.E. Market Update – March 2015

Late 2014 and early 2015 saw some slowdown in the housing market, but it looks like hope springs eternal. April and May could bring much needed relief. Spring is typically a busy time anyway for home buying but we aren’t quite there yet, numbers-wise. In any event, as I have reported for the past few years, here is my housing market update for the first quarter of 2015.

The first quarter report, according to DataQuick saw a marginal improvement month to month –  “an estimated 25,585 new and existing houses and condos sold in California in February 2015, a one percent increase from January 2015.”  Although this percentage is not up or even close to the numbers from 2014, California Association of Realtors (C.A.R) President Chris Kutzkey, says there are encouraging signs. Krutzkey seems to be of the motto, improvement is improvement regardless if it’s year to year or a simple incline from a dip the previous month. He says:

While February’s statewide improvement in the housing market was moderate, it’s an encouraging sign, nevertheless, as we head into the spring home-buying season. On the supply side, housing inventory improved overall with active listings growing at a faster pace of 5.3 percent when compared to last February.  Regionally, both active listings in Southern California and Central Valley increased moderately from last year.

Home Sales in Ventura County

Regionally, in Ventura County the median sold price of existing single-family homes is up for the most part. While the number is not up from February in a month to month comparison, it’s up since last year and compares favorably to most of the counties in Southern California. See the numbers chart from C.A.R.

Los Angeles

$419,260

$441,610

$389,080

-5.1%

7.8%

-0.3%

-3.2%

Orange County

$680,290

$674,340

$677,700

0.9%

0.4%

10.9%

6.3%

Riverside County

$323,220

$306,060

$302,370

5.6%

6.9%

4.3%

-7.7%

San Bernardino

$213,930

$206,660

$186,440

r

3.5%

14.7%

-7.8%

-0.6%

San Diego

$499,000

$496,380

$476,780

0.5%

4.7%

14.8%

5.7%

Ventura

$568,840

$582,630

$558,490

-2.4%

1.9%

-1.7%

6.4%

CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage told the Los Angeles Times last week in an article titled, Southern California home prices rise, sales fall in February, that Spring has not quite sprung yet for the housing market – the true tale will be in the inventory numbers. Said LePage:

This feels a lot like early 2014, with home sales off to a slow start. And just like a year ago, one of the big questions hanging over the market is whether we’ll see a sizable jump in inventory this spring and summer.

Says the Times, however, not to fret, C.A.R. reports that there is some good signs on the inventory front. On Monday, C.A.R. reported 5.8 months worth of homes unsold on the market in Southern California, just shy of the six months that economists consider “normal” supply.

The Times also reports the strongest growth is in Riverside County, not surprising since the Millennials have a great impact there and have started buying as I reported in an earlier article from my blog. Also, San Bernardino County hit yearly highs, as did Ventura County where sales grew by 9.8%. Yay us…

Spring Home Buying…

In Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks, there has definitely been a surge of activity in the housing market especially as spring approached. As early as March, we started experiencing multiple offers on well-priced updated homes.  Inventory is still low, but it is starting to increase slowly.  The interest rates are low – good homes are definitely moving quickly!

Spring has sprung! Typically a busy season, if you’re ready to buy or sell, there is no time like the present. Don’t wait for an analyst to say it’s time, jump in now. You could be in your dream house by summer! And no matter what the “numbers” say, there is no better feeling than coming home.

Lydia Gable is a 2015 Quality Service Certified® Platinum Realtor in Westlake Village. Her proven track record and satisfied clients make her Ventura County’s top ranked real estate agent. If you are interested in viewing properties or listing your home, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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Millennial Home Buyers, ‘Y’ the Trend Matters

Millennial Home BuyerThe Millennial Home Buyer

After a bit of delay, a new generation, the Millennial home buyers, have finally entered the housing market. Generation X—those ages 33 to 47—made up the majority of home buyers, (31 %) in 2012 reported by the National Association of REALTORS®. However as of March 2014, the generational trend has shifted says the newest numbers published in the NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends.  The trend now, Gen Y—those 32 and younger—now makes up the majority of home buyers (36 %) followed closely by Generation X. So what does this generational group of buyers forecast for the market? Says CNN Money, Realtor.com Chief Economist, Jonathan Smoke, “predicts that new home sales will climb by 25% next year. And in some markets, the influx of young first-time buyers will be especially significant.” And yes, Los Angeles is included in the 10 hottest housing markets for 2015 due in part to the influx of first-home Millennial buyers. According to the article, the Los Angeles housing market will experience a growth spurt this year due to these new buyers:

Los Angeles 2015 home sales forecast: +6%

By virtue of Los Angeles’ immense size — the metro area population has surpassed 13 million — even moderate household percentage growth translates into a lot of people, which helped put LA on the top 10.

Y Home Buyers: ‘Mobile’ and Timid?

What does the Gen Y home buyer trend signify for the home market overall? A few things – considering Gen X was leading the way for the past few years in what was a depressed economy, this changing of the generational guards could be quite significant for the market. According to NAR, “97 % of these Gen Y buyers are financing their home purchase as opposed to 55 % of the Silent Generation and 88 percent of the overall buyers.” This is quite significant not only for the economy but what it potentially means over the next 5-10 years for Y’s — or Millennials as they are more commonly known—and for the generation behind them, watching their moves carefully. While Gen Y was late to the home buying game and have not lead the race in terms of first-time home buyers percentages tracking, it is likely in part due to the fact that they watched Gen X-ers and Boomers experience a market housing bubble, subsequent market crash, and a depressed economy. And it should also be noted that banks were no longer lending. But, more likely, as they seem to be trend setters, marching to the beat of their own drums, is that some of this waiting may be more attributed to the fact that they watched the generation before and have decided to make their own rules. Keep in mind this is the first truly mobile only generation. NAR says:

Gen Y is most likely among generations to also look online for information about the home buying process. More than half of Gen Y used a mobile device during their home search. Among those who did, 26 percent of Gen Y found the home they ultimately purchased via a mobile device.

‘Move Over Boomers…’

It could be a powerful few years now that Millennials have jumped into the housing market. Millennials are “estimated at between 70 and 80 million people, the biggest population bulge since baby boomers,” according to an article on The Real Deal. Also they are not the city slickers that Gen X was or that speculators portended. These independent spirits crave space and the suburbs over their predecessors who ambitiously headed for the city.

And…quite significantly, while Gen Y surpassed X in the third quarter of 2014 by a few percentage points, says The Real Deal, they were late bloomers waiting longer to buy… Says the feature:

… the home ownership rate for heads of households under 35 was only 36 percent in the third quarter of 2014 was the lowest rate since the U.S. Department of Commerce started tracking the statistic in 1994.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, reported that according to a recent survey of Millennials, they’re not following what speculators and forecasters assumed would be a “city-dweller” trend for this group. The survey released by the National Association of Home Builders, suggested that “based on responses from 1,506 people born since 1977, found that most want to live in single-family homes outside of the urban center, even if they now reside in the city.”

Fewer young people are buying homes because women are waiting until later in life to have their first child. The average age of a mother at her first childbirth was 25.4 years in 2010, up from 22.7 in 1980, federal statistics show.

So it looks as though Millennials will be a huge force to watch over the next 10-20 years. Essentially, now that they are having babies and starting families and moving out to the suburbs, Y buyers are driving the housing market.

Finally, watch Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist of Realtor.com, talk about the significant of this new influx of buyers. Says Smoke, “The economic opportunity favors the young. Collectively, they will drive housing trends for at least the next 20 years. Move over, baby boomers—there’s a new economic force in town.”

As the market home market continues to grow and change, I’ll continue to keep you posted on the exciting news especially the updates coming from these unconventional home buyers over the next year…

If you are ready to purchase your first home or interested in viewing homes in Ventura County, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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Pantone Color of the Year 2015: Ideas for Home Decor

Elle Decor

Moving to a new home or upgrading your existing interior design?  Well, consider your timing quite lucky as you read on – The new Pantone 2015 Color trends have just been released!  Following, I will share all the juicy encapsulated details tailored specifically for you, the home owner. Why do you need this information?  If you plan on selling your home in the next year, it’s good to be “in the know” as to what colors are trending. Also, it’s just fun if you are redecorating, to get ideas.  I ran the 2014 color trends article last year and it was wildly popular, he we go… The 2015 Pantone Colors…

The 2015 Color of the Year

Pantone has named the 2015 color of the year – it is Marsala. Yep as in the wine…quite the switch from last year’s blue hues that were trending.  According to the Pantone website, Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®  says with regards to the color in the home:

Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth. Marsala is a natural fit for the kitchen and dining room – making it ideal for tabletop, small appliances and linens throughout the home.

As usual designers and home décor experts, once the color is announced, forecast further what color trends are likely in 2015. Here are a few expert opinions on what the color trends will be in 2015…

Many designers are suggesting using this color on the “accents’ in the home since it is such a bold choice and certainly not indicative of spring tones.

Elle Décor

As pictured on Elle Décor they use a red side chair. They say it’s, “best placed in rooms with white walls so it can best pop! As seen here in a dining room designed by Michael Coorengel 

Stella Design

Pantone2In addition to the Marsala color of the year, Stella Interior Design also predicts that its complement color Mustard will be trending in 2015 as well as some spill over hues from last year, the sea foam blues and greens.  According to Stella says Mid-Century Modern will be all the rage and… 

Mustard yellow and burnt sienna shades of untouched territory and au courant create a lively atmosphere while adding sleek texture to wooden finishes. Light turquoise blue and sea foam green tones amplify elusive shapes.

House and Beautiful

Pantone3While many home designers are not fond of the “wine” hue and suggest using it only for accents, House and Beautiful has fully embraced Pantone’s choice going so far as to show photos of  Marsala room examples or ones where the deep red color is the centerpiece of  the room. Here is one choice they showed for the kitchen. They say in their article, 8 Deep Red Rooms for Fans of Marsala, the Pantone Color of the Year 2015:

Designers Carey Maloney and Hermes Mallea created a vibrant kitchen in a New York town house. The Burgundy La Cornue Chateau 150 range is the kitchen’s focal point and showstopper. “Everything else recedes into the background,” Maloney says. “I mean look at that stove doing its thing — you don’t need any more statements.”

In case you are wondering, they call it the ‘statement stove’ –  not sure I would suggest going this bold if you are selling any time soon. But hey, if you just moved in – make a statement, go for it! 

If you are a prospective home seller and you’re ready to list your home, or you are looking to view homes 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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Choosing the Best Realtor

What differentiates an “OK” realtor from one who is worthy of your highest referral? Well, there are questions to ask and a guide to determine the best from the rest. A great realtor has an important set of skills and traits which when combined make all the difference. A great realtor has not only the ability to navigate the marketplace—even in a down market — but the intuitive ability to tailor-fit the experience for each client’s specific needs. First and foremost, besides the obvious credentials, a realtor must be a good listener. If not, the partnership with the client is ultimately doomed. Below are several questions to ask as a well as guideline of must-haves so you choose the right realtor for you.

  1. A REAL-ly Great Communicator
    A realtor must be a great communicator – a people person. Communication skills and an affable personality will go a long way. More importantly in terms of communication, your realtor should have the knack for really listening. A great realtor will meet with you, know the right questions to ask and then really listen! This skill allows the client/broker relationship to flourish. The realtor will drive the entire process from soup to nuts which can include finding the right home to buy, staging a home for sale, or matching the right buyer to the home. There’s a lot to do well, from the start to close and the results can all teeter on one thing: did the realtor listen well?
  2. A Side Gig or Career: Who Is Your Realtor?
    Find a realtor who has lived, bought and sold in your community for enough time that you can assess his or her track record. If this simply happens to be a side gig for someone, your results are going to reflect that minimal effort. You should seek out a realtor who has lengthy experience and who lives and works in the community. Says an article on MSN, 7 ways to avoid a crummy real-estate agent, this step is incumbent on the potential buyer/seller to determine at the first consultation. Pat Vredevoogd Combs of Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt in Grand Rapids, Mich. tells MSN:

You really need to ask them where they work most of the time: Where do you live? Where do you work? What area of town are most of your transactions in? Consumers should look for agents with extensive experience in the area where their transaction is taking place.

  1. A GREAT Realtor Knows the Market
    A great realtor knows how to navigate the market – any market. How do you find this? Simple: choose experience every time. Author and CNN financial editor and author of Home Rich, Gerri Willis sat down with Robyn Moreno of Howdini.com. She says choose a realtor with at least 8 years of experience to offer. In this way you are guaranteed that they have learned to navigate in a down market. Who would you rather represent you, one that just became a realtor during a housing market boom or one who has weathered all kinds of markets and is still successful? Willis tells Moreno in the informative video interview:

I think right now you should be looking for someone who has been in the marketplace for at least 8 years. That means they have experience in a down market so they know what to expect right now.

  1. Web Savvy
    Last but not least, don’t forget the importance of technology. A top real estate agent must be on the cutting edge of web marketing technology. Newspaper ads are good but they won’t do the entire job in today’s technology-driven market. A realtor who’s not technologically-savvy, simply can’t compete today. Ask about this. S/he should be very good with photo listings – presenting the “best” online photos is crucial for a sale. S/he must be good “on the go” which requires web-savvy skills, answering emails, using the Ipad for meetings on the fly, Skyping if necessary – whatever it takes!

There are a lot of good real estate agents out there and a few really great ones. It’s all about asking the right questions to find the perfect one for you! Whether you are selling or buying, educate yourself, ask for references and ultimately, make the right decision for your needs.

Lydia Gable was ranked 2nd in Keller Williams in 2013 as a Top Performing Individual Agent, with high customer satisfaction. She lives, works and plays in the Conejo Valley. If you want to keep up with what’s happening in real estate and around Conejo, contact Lydia Gable today!

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How Much ‘Home’ Will $1 Million Buy in Southern California?

‘The Bedroom Could Fit Inside a Walk-In Closet’

How much home will a million dollars buy in Southern California? In certain coastal areas of Southern California, prepare to appreciate the beach location over the size of the home. Unlike other parts of the country, $1 million in Malibu for instance, won’t buy you a mansion – a quaint cottage home maybe. And in Orange County for example, the home of the famed Real Housewives of OC, whose lifestyle we’ve all become privy to, $1 million doesn’t stretch as far as you might think.

A recent article in the Orange County Register, highlights just how little home $1 million will buy in the OC. Paul Crane, consultant to a group of investors who bought a 1930s era home in Newport Beach says when he stood in the bedroom doorway of a home for lease one block from Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula – an exclusive part of Orange County—it was abundantly clear that the buyer was paying for the location not necessarily the home. The price tag: $1 million. His conclusion:

The bedroom could easily fit inside a typical walk-in closet in this city. The residence itself is only 534 square feet. What we would consider a bedroom is maybe not what they considered a bedroom when (the home) was built.

And, points out the author, Marilyn Kalfus:

Twenty six miles inland, $1 million could fetch a ‘highly upgraded,’ 2,800-square-foot, five-bedroom home on half an acre in Fullerton… with a swimming pool and spa – plus a private tennis court.

The Median Home Value in Westlake Village: $847,400′

If you prefer instead that the price match the luxury surroundings and home size, don’t be disheartened quite yet. Travel a bit north of the OC and there are still very exclusive areas in Southern California where $1 million can buy you a beautiful home – quite possibly a beautiful home in a gated community surrounded by lake views, mountain ranges and just minutes from the Pacific Ocean.

Wikipedia describes it well saying, Westlake Village “borders the Malibu hills, and is nine miles inland from the Pacific Ocean.” What else could you want? But that’s only he cherry on the proverbial cake. For $1 million or less, you will live in a gated community among professionals and celebrities alike, just a short ride to Los Angeles and in one of the best school districts in Southern California. In Westlake Village, you can buy a home for less than $1 million and currently the home prices are on the rise. It’s a good time to dip your toe in the market. If you buy now, the valuation—if the market continues to rebound as it’s predicted—should appreciate in a few years if you plan to invest and sell. Of course there are many homes—as is true of any luxury community—in the area that list above $1 million, however there are just as many properties where $1 million will be buy you a luxury home and I promise, your bedroom will be bigger than a closet! Zillow writes, regarding home prices in Westlake Village:

The median home value in Westlake Village is $847,400. Westlake Village home values have gone up 4.9% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 1.8% within the next year. The median price of homes currently listed in Westlake Village is $835,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $894,750.

You Can’t Put a Price Tag on Quality of Life

If you’re curiosity is piqued about what a $1 million looks like in the Westlake Village area, come take a tour of the community. A drive through the neighborhood, the surrounding exquisite scenic views, and the prime location, will leave you wanting more. Take it from me – I not only sell homes in Westlake Village, but I live in the area. My point of view after living in the Conejo Valley for many years: you can’t put a price tag on quality of life!

If you are a potential home buyer, our team will find the right fit for your lifestyle and needs. Lydia Gable specializes in the finest real estate and luxury properties. She is a permanent resident of Conejo Valley who lives and plays where she works. Contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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