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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The Luxury Housing Market

‘Luxury Housing Differs with the Local Market’

The luxury housing market is evolving quite rapidly as the economy recovers. A luxury home—if it is to be deemed luxury by savvy home buyers—now requires not only the price point and zip code, but more perks and amenities than ever before, especially in Southern California. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, “luxury housing differs with the local market”. Very recently, a panel of real estate experts addressed the National Assn. of Real Estate Editors at an annual conference. When asked the question: “What is luxury housing?” – posed by Mark Moffa, managing editor of Unique Homes magazine, the responses were more varied than one might expect. According to the Times article titled, Local markets dictate price, features of luxury housing, “luxury housing nationwide has many price points and appearances.” But for the Los Angeles area, one expert pegs the luxury price point as much higher than years past:

Nick Segal of Partners Trust priced the luxury market at about $4 million and up – twice the amount he would have quoted eight years ago.

Ventura County Homes: Luxury Living

While I don’t particularly think Nick Segal’s price point is indicative of homes priced in the Ventura County housing market— more like $1 million, a tad bit lower— luxury is also a relative – it is Southern California after all.Luxury is in the eye of a beholder” was never a truer statement. Here, a home could be in a great location, nicely updated, grand pool, and still only be considered a “regular” home. That being said – in terms of this conference, one should note that the panel’s qualifications for what’s considered luxury was also quite subjective and very specific. Frankly, I think many of their opinions are just that, although it doesn’t make them any less valuable. One panel member agreed that just outside any metropolitan area, a luxury home in an upscale community will probably run about $500,000 in most parts of the country. The bottom-line: a running theme emerged from the conference – amenities and lifestyle are big deciding factors in addition to home size and mere location. Said the Times piece, generators are now becoming more popular in all parts of the country. Whoever thought of a generator as a luxury item? But as homeowners choose to pay higher prices, according to the conference experts, they now want built-in safe-guards for natural disasters. Frank Malpica of ERA Franchise Systems, also weighed in with his opinion adding that physical amenities aren’t the only attributes home owners are insisting upon when viewing luxury properties. Said Malpica, which he attributes to a rush in millennial home buyers, there’s more:

[Buyers] are searching for more lifestyle-related attributes such as lakefront, golf course or riverfront property.

Westlake Village, CA: All the Home Luxury You Need

All things considered, where does one find a home that is just outside a major metropolitan area, with beautiful homes that include lakefront, golf course and riverfront properties? Westlake Village, CA of course… We have all the luxury you need and you don’t need to pay $4 million. Who needs a panel to determine luxury – I live, work and play in Westlake Village! Believe me this is luxurious living!

For more information on any item discussed in the article or to view home listings in and around Ventura County, contact Lydia Gable today.

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

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

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

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

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

And, points out the author, Marilyn Kalfus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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