Ask Lydia: Your Home Value – Is Zillow Accurate?

Real estate inventory in the Conejo Valley is historically low which means its still a seller’s market. It’s the summer season and interest rates remain low. There’s been talk that the Feds will raise rates by the end of the year, but right now buyers are buying and multiple offers are happening on well-priced homes. If you have been thinking of downsizing (or even upsizing), selling your home now can be to your advantage. Of course, when you begin to consider selling, some questions come to mind and I hope my thoughts below are helpful. If you have more specific questions pertaining to your home, please contact me at 818-383-4335 or ask away at asklydia@lydiagable.com as I am here for you and your home always.

How accurate is the Zillow zestimate?

Use the online home valuation tools as a beginning guide. Zillow just upgraded its valuation feature claiming it will be more accurate than before but it readily admits 50% will be off by more than 6% (it’s median rate of error)[1] It’s important that when selling a home, the value is determined by a top Realtor in your local area, not an internet website. A good Realtor will prepare a comparative market analysis (“CMA”) specific to your home. A CMA is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold “comparable” homes in the past 6-12 months and the valuation takes into account your home, it’s unique features, such as upgrades, backyards, views, and pools, the features of recently sold similar homes, the local area and neighborhood.

Should I price my home higher to leave room for negotiations?

In my mind, there are three strategies to price a home and I leave it up to the homeowner to decide what works. Price the home low with the hope of multiple offers. Price it right and it should sell quickly and close to its listing price. Price it high does leave room for negotiations, but you risk buyers hesitant to make an offer. In a tight market that we are in presently, my recommendation is to price it low or right. Remember, a good top Realtor will get you the most value for your home in the best time because he/she is an expert in your area. Happy selling and please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or need additional information: 818-383-4335.

[1] Todd Bishop, “Zillow Upgrade the Zestimate, promises lower error rate with newer algorithm,” http://www.geekwire.com/2016/zillow-launches-major-zestimate-update (June 8, 2016)

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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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Little Changes in a Bathroom – Big Impact for Your Home

It’s Spring. You are looking around your house and you feel like you need a change. Something needs to be brighter or cleaner or “more today” and you don’t know what that something is but you know it’ time for a change. How about refreshing your powder room? It’s that small half bathroom that you and all your guests use. Aside from the kitchen, it’s the place usually everyone sees when they come over. Here’s the thing, it probably doesn’t need a complete gut job that could cost you your tax refund and then some. It may just need a refresh. And before you get exhausted just thinking about it, this stuff is easy to do yourself or inexpensive if you hire a handyman to do it for you (Need a referral? Just me know at asklydia@lydiagable.com)

If the Walls Could Talk

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 10.35.52 AM

Go bold in color for a dramatic statement.

Painting your walls is the single most impactful change any room can make and a good gallon of paint is less than $40. If your powder room is the sage green that was so popular years ago, it’s time to lighten and brighten. Going with a neutral color for your powder room is a wonderfully safe bet. Neutrals tend to be classic and you can easily refresh it from year to year by just changing out your towels and accessories. White is making a huge comeback. More so, white walls with a white vanity/sink. If you want a clean, crisp look, white is it. A popular favorite is Cloud White from Benjamin Moore. But grab those paint chips from your local paint store to see which white is right for you. Who knew white could come is so many shades?! And here’s a few tips about using those paint chips. Never just grab one of any color. Grab at least 4 of the same color and tape them together so you can get a bigger visual of the color and then tape that larger section to your wall. Move this enlarged sample from wall to wall around the room so you can see the color from all sides because natural and fixtures lighting as well as mirror reflection can change a color based on angles and shading. Not a fan of white? Want a color more warm for you and your guests? Grey is the new neutral and it comes in a wide array of hues which is great because you can find the perfect shade that flows with the colors in the rest of your home.

On the opposite end of the paint spectrum, a deep paint color can be bold and dramatic, especially in a small, windowless bathroom. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this if you will be selling your home, but if the change is just for you, “go big or go home” may be your makeover motto. Try a navy – it goes with deep woods in your vanity or flooring or white sink and toilets.

Sink Into It

Before you go painting the walls, how’s your sink and/or vanity looking? If it’s the builder’s grade golden oak color wood cabinetry, we can bring that into “2016” so easily. Sure, you could swap it out for a terrific new cabinet. There are some great style options today with consoles that

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 10.38.30 AM

Painted cabinetry can be just as “new” as brand new.

have shelving and look more like nice furniture than the vanities of years gone by. But, if you are looking to keep costs low, a light sanding of the cabinetry and some paint can go a long way. Here white is the most popular choice. It’s timeless and cheerful. White walls and a white vanity can give a very polished look. White cabinets with pale gray or tan walls are something right out of the house magazines. Have you considered trying a bit of color on the cabinetry if the walls will be white or a pale neutral? Think gray or a deep chocolate color. A great idea would be a pale neutral and then simply paint the cabinetry a darker shade of that neutral – just go up three or four colors on it’s paint chip strip.

The finishing touch of a vanity makeover is the hardware. This is where you can go modern, traditional or whimsical, but please do me a favor and think outside the standard silver knob or no knob at all. Put your personal touch on the vanity with a great piece of hardware. It is a statement piece.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall…and everything else

Today, mirrors are considered an accessory so make it reflect your sense of style. If your mirror goes wall to wall and from sink to ceiling, frame it out with molding and watch your powder room suddenly have go from ho-hum to chic. You can check out HomeGoods or flea markets to find a unique mirror if you would rather hang one. Just remember, taller ceilings require a taller mirror.

 

I am not even going to go over lighting since we discussed that last week. But a great new thought is pendant lighting in the powder room if it has tall ceilings.

 

When thinking about what to hang on the walls of your powder room, my favorite cheat is to look at Pinterest or Houzz to see what the designers have done and then hit Pottery Barn or Home Depot to re-create something similar. Maybe it’s a simple shelf that has a basket, a cute little plant and a tchotchke of some sort. Enlarging a photo in a great fame always works. You can do one large picture and mat/frame it or arrange several like-kind pictures together to create your own collage wall. It’s as simple as printing out some of your favorite pictures from your smart phone. The pictures could be amazing views from your last vacation, sweet shots of the kids or your pet or even a cool close-up of a flower from your garden. Experiment and have fun with it. Remember, the little stuff is easy to change out from time to time.

 

That’s it for this week. This is totally a weekend warrior project that you can make happen. The powder room in your home may just need one or two of the ideas here to make a big impact. Send me pictures at asklydia@lydiagable.com if you do decide to switch things up; I’d love to see them.

If you have any questions, please ask away! I am here for you and your home always.

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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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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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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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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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