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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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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Lydia Gable at Keller Williams Adds to her Team

LydiaGableandTeam

Thousand Oaks Acorn


*This article was recently published in Thousand Oaks Acorn. Great article… 

Lydia Gable, Keller Williams Adds to her Team

Realtor Lydia Gable with Keller Williams Realty recently announced the addition of two employees to her team.

Aubrey Slack has been licensed in real estate for over 13 years and has worked throughout California, Alaska and Texas. She will join Lydia Gable Realty Group as an executive assistant, managing all of Gable’s transactions.

Lisa Kass has been licensed since 2010 and has successfully helped buyers and investors in Los Angeles and the Conejo Valley. She will join the team as a buyer’s agent.

I am thrilled to welcome these talented women to my team,” Gable said. “We have worked tremendously hard to get where we are today, and now we have even greater capacity to provide outstanding customer service to our clients. That is our highest priority.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

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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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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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