Finding the Right Realtor

It’s the busiest time of the year in real estate. Spring. Selling your home can seem like a daunting task with getting the house ready to sell, finding a good realtor, having showings and then the actual paperwork and process of closing the transaction. Try not to get overwhelmed because selling your home doesn’t have to be an arduous process. In an effort to help you navigate through selling your home (or even buying one), one of the top realtors in Conejo Valley, Lydia Gable with Lydia Gable Realty Group at Keller Williams, will be here every month to answer your real estate questions. If you have a question you would like answered, please send it to asklydia@lydiagable.com and your question with its answer may be featured in the Acorn next month.

 

Question: How do I find a good realtor because there are so many out there? And do I even need one?

 

Answer: A home is so much more than four walls, a roof and memories. For most people, it represents one of your largest assets and any mistake in the transaction may be costly and/or time consuming. A licensed realtor by the National Association of Realtors has the most in depth and current knowledge of buying/selling homes and they are held to a strict code of ethics for honesty and non-discrimination. Selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A good realtor is a knowledgeable expert who will help you negotiate the best price, understand/decipher the contract and avoid delays and/or costly mistakes.

 

There are six things I recommend to evaluate when trying to find the right realtor for you:

  • Track record – do your homework: talk to family and friends for their recommendations and look to Zillow or other online searches for reviews of real estate agents to find ones that continually have strong ratings.
  • Marketing skills – Internet is the name of the game these days so you want your home marketed effectively on the internet, as well as with mailers and other forms of advertising.
  • Negotiation skills – find someone who will negotiate the highest price in the best amount of time.
  • Customer service – A good realtor is responsive to all of your questions and returns phones calls/emails in a timely manner. Buying or selling a home is a complex transaction with endless paperwork and forms that can go very smoothly in the right hands.
  • Honesty – It’s important to know the facts, not just what you want to hear, about the market, what buyers are looking for in a home, and home values.
  • Pulse on the market – look for a realtor who is actively buying/selling homes in your market so they are knowledgeable with current trends and can provide you with guidance along the process.

 

Be sure to interview a few realtors to make sure their personality fits with yours and that they make you feel like the important client that you are! Good luck finding the right realtor for you and happy home buying/selling. If you have any questions, I am happy to help you so please call me at 818-383-4335.

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More Than 2000 Coats Donated to Casa Pacifica

Coats for Casa Coat DriveMore Coats Donated to Casa…

The Coat Drive was a great success!  Saturday’s coat drive at Three Springs Park in Westlake Village, brought in over 2200 pieces of winter clothes for the kids at Casa Pacifica.  The sixth annual event was not only a big success, but the children and visitors who showed up were treated to hot chocolate and smoothies, supplied by Apollos Espresso and Shaved Ice, along with some winter activities. We had a great turnout during the four hour event. Many folks stayed to sled, play in the snow, created by Arctic Glacier, and enjoy the treats.  It was a perfect SoCal winter day and at least in this case, the cool and cloudy weather worked perfectly for the winter theme.  We can’t forget to send a big thank you out to the thirty volunteers that helped greet guests, collect items, sort and count clothing and help with the sledding area. Additionally we owe a giant debt of thanks to our sponsors, Zwaag Termite, Michael Lang Designs, and Costco and Macaroni Kids, who also helped with winter crafts.  We could not have made this happen without them. The Ventura County Star ran a wonderful piece about the Coats for Casa event in which they quoted me. It reads in part.

‘We serve children that are abused and neglected and kids that are suffering from mental health challenges — kids that are at the deepest end of our system that really need all of our help,’ said Vicki Murphy, chief advancement officer of Casa Pacifica, a nonprofit that serves 585 individuals a day ranging from 6 to 21 years old. Saturday’s event was inspired by local residents Lydia Gable, who works for Keller Williams Realty, and Rick Winters, a financial adviser at Winters Financial Group. ‘We do a lot of business in the community, and it’s a nice way of giving back to the community,’ Gable said. ‘Casa Pacifica has done a tremendous job for kids. They help the kids that are in need and they are a good local resource for families to be able to rely on.’

I am so proud to be a part of this beautiful event every year especially knowing how many children and families it helps. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and from all of us at Lydia Gable Realty Group for all who came by, volunteered and donated.

 

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A Real Estate New Year’s Resolutions List

NEWYEARSHOMERESOLUTIONS

Making a List and Checking It Twice…

Have you ever thought of writing a real estate new year’s resolutions list? New Year’s Day is weeks away and most likely most of us are looking back at our year and deciding what goes on our 2016 New Year’s resolutions list. But as a homeowner or potential homeowner, you should also jot down some real estate new year’s resolutions. It’s a good idea to get your real estate ‘house’ in order. Not to mention you can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t make a decision to get there. So on that note, here are five good real estate new year’s resolutions that can help you manifest your home owners’ goals more quickly.

Jot down all five of these practical and some more enjoyable tips onto your New Year’s resolutions list for 2016 so you can see all your homeowners dreams realized this year.

  • Annual Property Tax Assessment

This resolution can set you on a better financial path in the future. Maybe you are saving for a better home or want to make upgrades to your current home. Every little bit saved helps. So, if you are a homeowner and your home appraisal value has dropped even by a smidge this year, you be able to pay less for property tax by contesting your property tax assessment. Many realtors will even issue an annual reminder to clients to remind them to review their property tax. You may also not be aware that if you do discover that your property tax is too high vs. the current value, you may request a hearing date within a limited time frame. Call me for more information on this. Bottom line: put this on your must-do’s for 2016.

  • Home Owner Insurance Discount

Now, still on the financial goals side of things…Did you make any major repairs or upgrades to your home this year? If so you may be able reap the benefits of this even if you don’t plan on listing the home for sale. Major repairs or improvements that you made to your home last year may qualify you for a discount on this year’s home owner’s insurance coverage. Be willing to do a little research and prove the costs of the repairs but this resolution can be well worth the effort. Don’t forget this one your list. Home owner’s insurance discount, resolution #2, 2016.

  • Upgrades… Finally

Resolution #2 flows very nicely into this resolution which is… Resolve to make those “put off” home owner upgrades finally this year. As you can see, even if you don’t sell, it may definitely pay off in the way of discounts. But if you are planning to sell, do it now. Don’t wait until the last minute. Kitchens and bathrooms are the areas that will pay off most in the sale so be willing to make the investment. Granite countertops, spa showers and pedestal tubs. A 2014 article in U.S, News Money & World Report says there are definitely home improvements that will boost your home sale:

As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” When people drive up and first see your house, you want them to think of it immediately as a home that has been maintained and well cared for. “It’s you putting your best foot forward,” says Christy Biberich, owner of Christy B. Design in Los Angeles who appears on the HGTV show “Brother Vs. Brother.” “We do judge a book by its cover.” 

  • De-Clutter, De-Stress

Maybe you have no plans on selling just yet or perhaps you have even just moved in – whatever the reason, a cluttered home is not a happy home. Your home is supposed to be a sanctuary away from the hectic outside world so treat it as such. A blog on Luxury Simplified suggests starting with the most clutter-prone areas like closets. Says the writer:

Empty closets. These are the graveyards for all the belongings homeowners don’t know what to do with. Spacious closets are a coveted feature among buyers. Make yours appear larger by being uncluttered and well organized.

  • Find a Real Estate Pro

As with any high stakes endeavor, a coach or mentor can determine success. So if you know that your dream home is your next goal but it’s a full one year away, use this time now, effectively. Research. Seek out your best team, now. A realtor can make all the difference between buying your dream home and simply buying any old house in price range. And to that I would say, look around your neighborhood. Look at potential dream homes. Go to open houses at home that you have deemed “dream homes” so you can decide if these houses are actually living up to the idea in your mind. Then find a real estate professional while you have the time to interview and decide. A top real estate agent can make all the difference!

  • Find Your New Dream Home 

A home is more than just a front door, a living room and a few bedrooms and bathrooms. There are several factors that can boost a home’s potential: different designs, commuting and proximity to local highways, luxury location, lot size, taxes, interior dimensions, façade and curb appeal. Take the time if you are so privileged to do so. Put “finding your dream home” on your resolutions list now and then take your time and search thoroughly.

Lastly from all of us at Lydia Gable Realty Group, a happy and safe holiday to all. My wish for you in 2016: All of your home owner new year’s resolutions come true and that all your dreams are realized right where you are – happy at heart and happy at home.

 

 

 

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HOLIDAY HOME DECORATING TIPS

HOLIDAY HOME DECORATINGHum-Drum to Holiday Happy

It’s holiday time again and when there are holidays, you can bet there are homeowners thinking up new holiday home decorating ideas. Some folks really embrace the idea of holiday decorating but for some, it’s not as easy either because of a lack of ideas or a lack of funds. But you don’t have to spend a ton of money nor does it have to be complicated. There are simple ways to decorate your home so that it reflects the joy of the season! With a few of the following tips, you can go from hum-drum to holiday happy in just minutes. Take a look at the following list of holiday home decorating ideas.

A Festive Centerpiece

An article on RealSimple offers some great tips. I particularly like the five-second centerpiece. The idea here is to use what you to make a gorgeous decoration with simplicity. It’s not only simple but it makes for an elegant centerpiece for any holiday party.

Mix clementines or oranges and peppermint balls in a single glass compote (or a grouping of three).

Holiday Garland for Decorating

Do you have columns at your entrance or maybe a trellis? This could work with both or even just a fence. Wrap the columns or drape the fence with white lights and green garland. The entrance is the perfect holiday starting point for decorating because guests will feel the holiday spirit as soon as they step on your property.

Hanukkah Holiday Decorating

Hanukkah is the first week in December this year. Decorating isn’t just for Christmas. If you celebrate Hanukkah and want to add some festive flavor to your home, SFGate has some ideas for you. One of the best ones involves window decorating. Says the piece:

Set up a raised platform on the sill of the central bow window during Hanukkah and cover it with a silver-and-blue velvet cloth. Place a large menorah — one that holds candles or a decorative menorah with powered lights — on the platform so its light is clearly visible through the window.

Holiday Home Decorating: Curb Appeal

Don’t forget holiday curb appeal – your mailbox can be covered in red bows and wreathes which is small decoration that packs a big punch. It’s just a simple way to add a touch of holiday decorating without doing too much and being called the Griswolds of the cul de sac. I also like the idea that Southern Living had which if done well can add such a classy touch. They decorated the window sill with a view varied vintage-looking Christmas lanterns. It’s the small touches really and that doesn’t cost much. You can paint some old lanterns you may already have or pick up a few interesting pieces at the local flea market.  Says the article:

Arrange a grouping of festive lanterns at your entryway for quick-and-easy holiday style. Consider using flameless candles as a worry-free alternative to regular pillars.

The Smell of a Christmas Home Sale 

Maybe you are putting your home up for sale, decorating might be a bit much. But you would be surprised how the smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, hot apple cider, the smell of pine in the entrance or even a scented hot chocolate candle, can evoke the emotions of home. If you are staying in your home over the holidays and want to still enjoy the feeling of the festive season, but you don’t want to go overboard with decorating because you plan on listing it during the holiday season, don’t forget the smells of Christmas. It can make all the difference. A gorgeous homemade wreath on the door and the smells of Christmas past, could be just the added touches of staging you need.

The Home is the Hearth

Let’s be honest we all decorate for our guests and neighbors to enjoy. But don’t forget, your home is your hearth. When you walk in, it’s the place to leave all your cares from the outside world on the doormat. So set a tone that is comforting and even festive. Maybe you are from family this holiday year or perhaps you just moved into a new home. Turn on some holiday music, grab a few friends and family members and start decorating. It’s a fun way to bond with others but also a lovely way to make your house feel like the home you always dreamt it could be. You take such good care of your home, let it take care of you.

Oh and last but not least… A happy and safe holiday season from all of us here at Lydia Gable Realty Group. From my home to yours, I wish you joy and happy holiday home decorating!

 

 

 

 

 

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Conejo Valley – Zombies, Ghosts and Ghouls!

HALLOWEENPUMPKIN

Conejo Valley ideas for Halloween

Live in the Conejo Valley and want some ideas for Halloween? Whether you live here or you are courting the idea of relocating, what better way to get to know your neighbors and have some fun than to be scared out of your wits by ghouls and goblins? But seriously if you have never ventured out in the Valley on Halloween, there are so many organized activities. There is no excuse not to have fun! Take a look at just a few of the splendid goings-on.

Zombie Walk?!! Ahhh!

The Stagecoach Inn Museum at 51 South Ventura Park Road, Newbury Park, does something awesome every year forGhouls1 Halloween. This year is no exception. On Saturday, October 31st from 12:30pm and 4pm the museum is hosting Halloween crafts, games and storytelling for the kiddies and even a pre-carved pumpkin contest. So get to carving – you could win big and it’s a fun event that the whole family can enjoy together. The museum states on their website that costumes are optional but highly encouraged. Of course – Halloween is all about costumes but I guess they want have too much of a ‘fright’ if you decide to go sans costume. But the best part is the museum sponsors a Zombie walk! That’s right you read that right – you can take part in a Zombie Walk! How fun is that?

Admission $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students (not to mention senior students and student seniors) and $2 for kids ages 5 to 12. Under 5 is free! www.stagecoachmuseum.org

Visit an Enchanted Forest!

Prefer to stay in with your little ones on Halloween? Why not head on over to the Oak Park’s 10th Annual Indoor Halloween Carnival? The Oak Park Community Center does it big every year for Halloween and this year is no exception. The event will take place at Oak Park Community Center, 1000 Kanan Road, on Saturday, October 31st from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Only $2 for 2 and up and $1 for under age 2. Parents are free when accompanied by children.

Ghouls2The Halloween Carnival is for so fun for children but kids and their parents will enjoy games, attractions, food and even prizes. Costumes are encouraged. If you haven’t been to this carnival before, you are in for a ‘treat’. They will display a Trick or Treat Village and even an Enchanted Forest! They also have fun stuff like face painting, game booths and of course food for all. The best part – the entrance fee covers UNLIMITED use of all games and attractions. If you have children, The Halloween Carnival in Oak Park is definite must-do.

For more information visit www.rsrpd.org or call 818.865.9304.

Hempstead Halloween Tour

If you just moved to Agoura Hills or to one of the surrounding neighborhoods in the Conejo Valley, you may not be aware of this beloved Halloween tradition. A cul-de-sac, on the 5700 Block of Hempstead Drive, does it HUGE for Halloween. The Hempstead Halloween is famous that it attracts several thousands of visitors each year both from the Conejo and San Fernando Valleys and Los Angeles

The neighbors on the block take this 20 year old tradition very seriously. In fact, according to the website, “Themes are established each year and the residents carry out the design work, lighting, props, and music or sounds to make the surreal scenes come to life.”

So take your family for a night or terror and torture and then when you are sufficiently scared out of your gourd, head over for some comfort food at The Shoppes in Westlake Village. Sounds like the perfect evening. If you dare…

Note: From the City of Agoura Hills: To ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the annual Halloween festivities on Hempstead Drive, all access points will be closed (open only to pedestrians and/or residents who will need to present verifiable identification) on Monday, October 31, between the hours of 5 through 9 p.m.  http://ci.agoura-hills.ca.us/

Reign of Terror – Are You Brave Enough

Are you a “Freddie” fan? Is gore and horror your favorite Halloween activity? Then look no further! The Reign of Terror Haunted House at Janss Marketplace is waiting for you… Gahahaha, if you can stand it! Halloween weekend for two nights of horror on Friday 7-10 p.m. and Saturday 7-11 p.m. you can test your mettle. This haunted house is the real deal. In fact it was voted the best walk through attraction in SoCal.Ghouls3

Buy tickets, RSVP and get the details at the link below. Plus, enter for your chance to WIN a FREE VIP Ticket and “I SURVIVED” T-shirt. See you there! http://bit.ly/ROT15

This is just a small smattering of the Halloween activities availed to you in the Conejo Valley.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, living here is all about a sense of community. This is why I love and feel privileged to live and work as a 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 Group today to view current listings in Westlake Village and surrounding communities. Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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The Shoppes at Westlake Village – 7 New Restaurants…

THESHOPPESDiningThe Shoppes at Westlake Village is just an added perk of living in the greatest community in Southern California. While everyone who lives here probably takes for granted the great shops and restaurants at this outdoor mall, many SoCal residents may not know that six (and there’s more – see the website) new restaurants have just opened or will open soon at the venue. Westlake Village – could it get any better? Well “yes” apparently is the answer to that question. So if you are thinking about relocating to a resort-style, luxury community or if perhaps you simply want to experience a new culinary outing with friends, read more about the newest additions to the already scrumptious cuisine at The Shoppes at Westlake Village.

The Gallery

The Gallery describes its American cuisine as “casual yet elegant” and I ‘d say that just about sums up Westlake Village. So it looks like this seafood and chops restaurant should fit right in among the locals. And speaking of the locals, the owners pride themselves on “locally sourcing herbs and fish” which is an added plus. If you are feeling like enjoying a night out of seafood and drinks with friends, The Gallery might be the perfect choice.

Many of the Santa Barbara faves have now found a home in Westlake Village including Jeanine’s, Olio e Limone and Olio Pizzeria. Read all about these three stand-outs below.

Jeannine’s Gourmet Food Hall

Jeannine’s says they pride themselves on providing a place where “people can enjoy one-of-a-kind pastries and nutritious food…a reflection of what we as a family like to eat every day.” Wholesome and nutritious food that rivals any chain. This place is great stop after a day of shopping with the entire family and your kids will thank you for the pastry treats although I dare you not to indulge! http://jeannineswestlakevillage.com/

Olio e Limone Ristorante

Meaning “oil and lemon” in Italian. Alberto and Elaine Morello’s philosophy: rely on the integrity of the ingredients and quality of the preparation. Diners will enjoy “simply sophisticated” Italian cuisine. With a menu that includes burrata salad and house-made duck ravioli with porcini mushroom sauce, leave the diet at home. This smells and tastes of luxurious Italian cuisine at its best. You can also purchase a bottle of their home made olio, an “organic extra-virgin olive oil made from Sicilian olive varieties.”  1 (818)706-Olio (6546) Option 1  | Hours: Sun-Thurs 11AM-10PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-10:30PM |  WEBSITE

Olio Pizzeria

The sister establishment to Olio e Limone, Olio Pizzeria was Inspired by the enoteche (wine bars) and pizzeria found at the many piazzas in Italy, Alberto and Elaine Morello’s deliver “artisanal Italian food” at this Westlake Village, gourmet pizzeria. On the menu are salami and formaggi (cheese), authentic pizza, as well as a myriad of regional wine choices and artisanal Italian beers.   1 (800)706-Olio (6546) Option 2 | Hours: Sun-Thurs 11AM-10PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-10:30PM  |  WEBSITE

Opening Soon…

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s Westlake Village “taproom features indoor and outdoor table seating with all of their core beers on tap and ready “to go” in bottles.” If you a are a beer aficionado or better yer, you just enjoy dining out at new places, this is a perfect weekend respite for the working folk. “The Westlake Village taproom offers a full artisanal menu featuring fresh gastropub fare such as burgers, tri-tip sandwiches, salads and sliders or beer ‘to go’.”  Hours: Sun-Thurs 11AM-10PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-10:30PM  |  WEBSITE 

In-N-Out

And of course if you come to Southern California, you crave In-N-Out. Now The Shoppes can boast the famed SoCal burger establishment. For those of you not from the area, In-N-Out is to SoCal what Dunkin Donuts is to Massachusetts. If you are from the East Coast, nothing else needs to be said. Friendly service, no pre-packaged fast food. Just fresh burgers done the old fashioned way.

1 (800) 786-1000 | Hours:Sun-Thurs 10:30AM-12AM, Fri-Sat 10:30AM-12:30AM |

Los Agaves Restaurant

Newly opened, Los Agaves is family-owned. A traditional family style Mexican restaurant, it is the same owners as the Santa Barbara location. Says the site, “Customers order at the counter and visit the salsa bar while their food is being prepared. We have been told we have the best fish tacos in town!” Who can pass up the best fish tacos in town?

1 (818)874-0769  | Hours: Mon-Fri 11AM-9PM, Sat-Sun 9AM-9PM  |  WEBSITE

Westlake Village – The Best Kept Secret in The Conejo Valley

I hope you enjoyed this guide to some of the newest restaurants here at The Shoppes at Westlake Village. If you don’t live here, you may have an inkling now as to why I consider myself privileged to work and play in the best community in Southern California. Of course I enjoy it – who wouldn’t?  I get to find the most gorgeous homes for couples and families just starting out so they too can enjoy living in Westlake Village and all that it has to offer.

While the dining, entertainment, outdoor activities and perfect climate in Westlake Village are what I mostly boast about in my blogs, you can’t have a terrific environment without the people. It’s the residents that make this community a great place to live. So if you are relocating soon to this part of the world, walk don’t run. If you are thinking of buying a new home, make an appointment with me to view the newest listings in the area. You could be in a new home by the fall. At the very least, you will view some of the premiere luxury properties in all of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties and as an added bonus, you’ll enjoy a burger and a pastry at The Shoppes at Westlake Village – it’s a win-win!

 

 

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The Conejo Valley: A Perfect Place to Call Home

WestlakeCommunityEventsOften I sell homes to clients who are relocating from out of state or to young couples looking to move up. The common sentiment expressed is, “Wow I didn’t know about all the great things this community had to offer.” In light of the best kept secret in real estate, the Conejo Valley, I thought I would share some juicy info that you may not know about this community – things to do, clubs to join, and more. If you have ever thought about moving to Westlake Village, Agoura Hills or Thousand Oaks, read more for facts and fun that you never knew. Read more to find out about the community I love and in which I have the privilege to work and play.

Let the Music Play On…

Did you know that during the summer and early fall there are free concerts all over the community? Here is an upcoming event in Westlake Village – part of the Concerts in the Park Series:

City of Westlake Village Concerts in the Park Series – Boogie Nights (Disco)

Sat, August 22, 7pm – 9pm

31800 Village Center Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91361

Says the Conejo Valley Guide:

The 12th Annual TGIF Westlake Village series offers families a series of free performances at the Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 Oak Crest Drive. Events start at 7pm. The lineup includes: Saturday Concerts in the Park planned this summer at Berniece Bennett Park, 31800 Village Center Road: Sat, August 22 at 7pm: Boogie Nights (disco). Food is available for sale from local restaurant vendors each week. Concerts start at 7pm. More information and updates at www.wlv.org.

Organic Harvest…

Farmer’s Markets abound in the Conejo Valley – I am going to go out on a limb and say there are probably a larger variety of Farmers Markets here in then in most Southern California communities. Take a look at all of these choices and it’s only a small selection:

  • Westlake Village Farmers Market – Sundays 10a-2pm   2797 Agoura Rd, Westlake Village
  • Agoura Hills Farmers Market – Sundays  9a-2pm   5835 Kanan Rd, Agoura Hills
  • Thousand Oaks Farmers Market – Thursdays  1:30p-6pm     The Oaks Mall, east parking lot, Thousand Oaks.

Clubs, Volunteer and Networking Orgs…

Did you know that Ventura County, part of the Conejo Valley, is home to a slew of professional, service and networking clubs and organizations? If you are a corporate professional, a community volunteer enthusiast or just looking to get involved, this is the place to be. Have you heard of the Optimists Club? There is a chapter in Ventura County – the name is quite appropriate. We are an optimistic set for sure. Take a look at Optimist International – this is just one of many clubs you can join as soon as you move here. According to Optimist International:

Optimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local Clubs whose Members work each day to make the future brighter by bringing out the best in children, in their communities, and in themselves.

They have events and groups for both adults and youth and there is a chapter right in Ventura County. What better way to settle into a new community.

Here are some more professional organizations..,

You can find a myriad of organizations and charitable groups at The Conejo Valley Guide Service Clubs page.

Taste of Conejo…

If you only just relocated to the Conejo Valley or you are planning on it by summer’s end, well you will be right in time for a fantastic annual event, Taste of Conejo, held every October. According to the event sponsored website, Taste of Conejo gives you the opportunity to:

Join over 1,000 local food and wine enthusiasts at the 7th Annual Taste of Conejo on Thursday, October 1th from 5-8 p.m.! Enjoy an evening of exceptional food, wine and spirit tasting, and live entertainment, all under one roof! This inclusive event invites you to sip and taste the creations of over 50 local, premier food and beverage participants.

Sherwood Country Club…

And finally you may not know that if you buy a home and relocate to the gated community of Lake Sherwood, you will have the opportunity to join the prestigious Sherwood Country Club. Says the site:

Sherwood is a private golf, tennis and country club set at the base of the majestic Santa Monica Mountains in Thousand Oaks, California. The Club is home to a championship 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, driving range and golf clubhouse. Adjacent to the golf club is the tennis clubhouse, complete with 14 courts, a sparkling pool, fitness facility and full-service spa.

The Conejo Valley: Your are Home

This is only a sliver of the many goodies offered to the residents of the Conejo Valley. Beyond the great people, the year round perfect climate, and luxury resort living, it’s a community that you can live, work and play in but most of all, it’s a place to call home.

If you are ready to buy a home, you can learn more about the community and view listings in Westlake Village or anywhere in the Conejo Valley by contacting Lydia Gable today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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