Homeowners Need to Conserve Whether The Well Runs Dry On Turf Rebates Or Not

 

droughtIn response to drastic mandatory cuts on water use, several agencies throughout Southern California are offering rebates to customers who remove their lawns and replace them with turf. While these incentives are no doubt enticing, the well is bound to run dry at some point. On funding, that is.

While very much appreciated, we’ve already seen evidence of the financial instability of these programs.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which offers $2 and $1 per square foot of lawn removed from residential and commercial properties, respectively, recently declared its rebate funds had been fully committed. Fortunately, MWD voted this week to approve an additional $350 million to continue the program. Though the parameters have now been restricted slightly by placing a cap on the allowable rebate amount – $6,000 for residential and $25,000 for commercial – it’s still good news for homeowners. But how many more rounds of funding can the agency approve? The initial $100 million dedicated to the program was dispersed in about 6 month’s time. With mounting pressure for conservation, including Governor Brown’s 25% reduction mandate announced last month, MWD’s newly approved funding will likely disappear even more quickly this time around.

Locally, Calleguas Water District, which serves much of Ventura County, once added $1 per square foot to the MWD rebate but ran out of funding. The Calleguas website states the agency is taking three months to “streamline” the process, and refers customers directly to MWD.

Incentives are great, but unfortunately it’s not possible for these agencies to fund rebate programs for the duration of the drought. That’s why I encourage the homeowners I interact with to reduce consumption simply because it’s the right thing to do. Sounds “pie in the sky”, I know. And as a real estate professional, I know firsthand the leveling of pride that is required to let a lawn fade to brown, particularly for high-income clients who, realistically, can afford to pay fines for maintaining a lush, sprawling landscape.

However, there is a greater good to keep in mind, here. We are all in this together as Californians. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful place with a climate that is easy to take for granted – as easy as it is to take for granted that water will always pour from a tap when it’s turned on. But like any given region in the country, we have our own unique set of challenges inspired by Mother Nature. There should be no greater incentive than overcoming the threat of an unstoppable force in order to protect a place as uniquely beautiful as California.

It is my hope that we keep our priorities above the vanity of maintaining stellar curb-appeal and the simple comfort of a 20-minute shower, and truly sacrifice for this amazing place we are so fortunate to call home.

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Home Buyers – Location, Location, Location

 

Home LocationWhen searching for a new home, keep in mind location. Most buyers usually consider the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, the lot size, but in the final analysis, location is everything. We’ve all seen mansion-sized homes that are listed for a low asking price and then seen the same size home listed somewhere else for three times the price. What is the differentiating factor? Usually, the location is prime for the higher-priced home. Once the thrill of finding your dream home is worn a bit and you realize the commute to work is awful or there are no schools in the immediate vicinity, having a game room and several acres will mean a lot less.

When searching for a home in a great location, do the following research.

  • Commute

How long is the commute to work? If you love the home, it’s not going to mean as much if you are grumpy every time you return home from work. Also sometimes it’s not always the length of the commute but rather, can you handle it every day. Some commutes are longer but easier because of the direction you drive at rush hour. So try making the commute – can you handle it?

  • Safety and Schools

Is the area safe? Safety is always important. You can look up any statistics on crime for a given area. Obviously a potential buyer views a home during the day, but a neighborhood can appear very differently at night. Also, if you have children, it’s important to research the good schools in the area. Keep in mind, you may stay long term. So don’t forget to study the school rankings. Your children’s education depends on it.

  • Entertainment and Activities

Does the area offer entertainment options, shopping and activities? No home is the final answer. We don’t spend all day inside. So explore the area for nightlife, activities and local shopping. Are there things to do? Is there any good shopping, coffee shops, restaurants and/or outdoor fun near-by?

  • A Home Investment

Don’t forget that when you buy a home, location is not only a huge advantage while you live there, but of paramount importance when you decide to sell it. You may start out thinking “this is the home. I’ll never leave.” But things happen like job relocation, promotion, or you may just change your mind. If you decide to sell, being in the ideal location gives you a much better shot at getting your asking price.

The Conejo Valley: Why the Location is Everything

The Conejo Valley in Southern California is the prime location for home buyers. For all the aforementioned reasons, I sometimes list and close a property faster than you can say, “This is my dream home.” Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills are consistently ranked high in safety and school scores. Just a short commute to Los Angeles, the location is perfect if you want to live in a luxury, resort type setting but work in the city. The weather is perfect and shopping, outdoor hiking trails, lakes and Malibu Beach are just a stone’s throw from your door step.

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

 

 

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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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Quality Service Certified® Platinum 2015  

Quality Service Certified® Platinum

Typically not one to toot my own horn, I do like to celebrate good news – As such I’m honored to share with you the latest which is that I have been granted the highest level of service achievement in real estate, Quality Service Certified® Platinum. The award is given in recognition to those who receive 100% client service satisfaction according to the Leading Research Corporation. So I am proud to say that 2014 for me, did indeed garner 100% client satisfaction. But I won’t take all the credit – I have the best clients in the world.

Truly, what I really like about the consumer feedback from QSC is that it’s reliable, a real gauge for me that I’m doing my best work. QSC uses a “closed” survey approach which means that consumers can be assured of the legitimacy of the reviews; they are collected from real life home buyers and sellers on their past customer experience. Larry D. Romito, President and CEO of QSC added:

Nothing is more important to a prospective client in selecting a professional than the service results achieved with past clients. Consumers have greater confidence in service reliability, results and satisfaction with a Quality Service Certified real estate professional because they know that the agent’s service record has been validated by an independent third party.  100% service satisfaction record like Lydia Gable has achieved is just awesome.

Living and Working Where I Love…The Best Reward

Larry’s comments are lovely, but my real estate clients are simply awesome. What a privilege to work with home buyers and sellers in the beautiful Conejo Valley. I’m so lucky to be able to work with terrific peers at Keller Williams in the real estate industry and to live, work, and play in the best community in America.  It doesn’t feel like work when you do what you love. Moreover, when you love where you live – helping people buy and sell homes in the very same community I call home – well it’s more like a passion than a job.

If you want to view homes in the Conejo Valley or you are ready to sell, 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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Drones in Real Estate Marketing

Dronepic‘Drones Set to Flood the Skies…’

As a Realtor and marketing professional, of course I understand the value of crystal sharp images as a tool in real estate marketing. If anyone had told me ten years ago that in just a mere decade, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would approve the use of drones in real estate marketing by allowing the use of aerial photography for real estate, I certainly would have doubted the sanity of the source. However, here we are a decade later and the FAA has approved (with restrictions) the use of drone photography for commercial users which includes Realtor. But before you go rent a drone for your next hot property, currently there are a litany of restrictions, enough paperwork to keep most newbies out of the friendly skies…at least for now. Not for long I predict—as with any trend this one is building speed quickly—and it’s a competitive industry.

In a recent article titled, Drones set to flood the skies of America under new FAA rules, the reporter claims that these remote controlled robotic quad-copters are set to become common sightings within the next two years. And judging by their popularity for commercial use, it’s likely be less than two years although challenges regarding privacy laws are already be waged in California. Says the article…

Mickey Lindsay, vice president of Oregon First, Realtors, said she is certain that pilotless aircraft “will become a standard tool in property marketing.” While real estate agents and prospective buyers already have access to satellite and street view images, drones may be the best way to capture an overall view of some properties, she noted.

Jackson: ‘Aerial Invasions of Privacy’

As the real estate market continues to rebound and investors flood the California market to scoop up properties, the addition of drone use definitely brings with it a newness and enthusiasm to an industry which has suffered in past years. And this recent ruling over the weekend is exciting to say the least. However, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, says essentially, not so fast. Jackson is proposing stiff privacy regulation following the recent FAA ruling. According to a report by KCRA news, “Jackson has introduced SB 142, which she said would protect people from aerial invasions of privacy.” She told the station:

Suddenly a drone was about 15 feet away, hovering about eyeball to eyeball. If you were to jump over your neighbor’s fence and stand in their yard recording what they had to say, that’s a trespass, Why should it be any different with a drone?

The Final Word on Drones in Real Estate…

As the final word, while the final book on commercial drone use has not been written, I cannot predict with accuracy the future prevalence of drone photography use in the housing market. However, until then, here’s what I do know –

With or without aerial drone photography, I bring 15 years of experience as a business executive in marketing and management and over a decade of real estate experience to all my Westlake Village real estate clients.  If you are interested in purchasing a luxury property in Ventura County, I promise to provide the most up to date, tech-savvy marketing, excellent satellite images, crystal clear professional photos, and a virtually unsurpassed track record of award winning experience. Where are the drones, you ask? Let me get back to you on that…

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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Homes – Hidden Hills and Calabasas

Hidden Hills and Calabasas

In our spotlight on home series which has become quite popular, this article focuses on luxury homes in Hidden Hills and Calabasas. The swank Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas, California, has an ever expanding roster of past and present celebrities. Most known for its celebutantes like the Biebs, his on-again off-again love, Selena Gomez, and of course the Kardashians, this community is home to a myriad of TV and film stars. While there are some more moderately priced neighborhoods in this suburb, what you see in the media is typically the lavish homes located in Hidden Hills.

As part of the San Fernando Valley, Calabasas is part of the West Valley and is considered one of the more wealthy suburbs located about 30 minutes from Los Angeles – although it feels like a hidden enclave a million miles away from L.A..  A little history, according to Grantland.com, reveals:

Calabasas was originally home to the Chumash people, the area “discovered” by Spanish explorers in 1776. And…Most of the public idea of Calabasas comes from the gated community of Hidden Hills, which is actually considered its own municipality (California is the only place in the U.S. where gated communities have been legally categorized as separate cities).

Hidden Hills is an area in Calabasas made famous by wealthy bad boys and reality stars but the truth is that it is a gorgeous, affluent, gated community. Hidden Hills is the second-wealthiest neighborhood in Los Angeles County.

Hidden Hills: More Bang for Your Buck?

Although Hidden Hills is rife with mansions and wealth, your money is quite frankly, well spent on homes here. In the valley there is more land for your dollar especially in the West Valley. The weather is a little warmer so you give up a bit of the ocean breeze and lower temps, but you are still a stone’s throw from Malibu. If you choose to venture out. Malibu is just over the hill.

In addition to its glitz, if you are starting a family, Hidden Hills is home to the Round Meadow Elementary School, one of the highest rated in the community – take a look at what parents say about this gem in the “hills”.  Also, you are adjacent to the very high rated school districts of Oak Park and Malibu.

Dining, Shopping and Leisure in Calabasas…

For leisure, shopping and dining in Calabasas is not to be outdone. Residents here enjoy the famed outdoor promenade known as The Commons – designed by the same developer Rick Caruso of Caruso Real Estate who designed Los Angeles’ The Grove. As with The Grove, it’s just as lavish and has become as much of a tourist attraction. According to The Commons Web Site:

With its elegant open air layout, distinctive Mediterranean architecture, lavish landscaping and fountain areas, The Commons is the ultimate in shopping, dining and entertainment

Outdoor Activities: Golf, Hiking and Surf…

Activities in Calabasas abound – home to the Calabasas Country Club, the city boasts a championship golf course.  If you enjoy hiking, you are steps away from some of the best Southern California hiking trails as you will live nearby to Saddle Creek which is in the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu Creek State Park. And if you want to get your surf on at the beach, hop in the car and head to Malibu Beach.

Undoubtedly, Hidden Hills in Calabasas is the place to live in Los Angeles County and obviously the reason so many celebrities and business magnates flock to buy estates in the West Valley. If you are looking for your dream home and the ultimate in luxury and quality of life, consider a home in Hidden Hills.

For more information on viewing homes in Hidden Hills or in the surrounding communities, contact Lydia Gable today. And stay tuned for the next spotlight which will be on Westlake Village, a dream community and my very own town for home, work and play.

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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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