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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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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The ‘Buffett’ Approach to Real Estate Investing

Warren Buffett recently penned a letter for the benefit of those who are interested in real estate investing. Of course I think anyone—not only real estate investors—could find value after reading it just by virtue of his expansive knowledge. Interestingly enough he refers to the experts, the pundits as offering nothing but impediments to success, mere chatter. He implies that you don’t need to be a real estate expert to invest well. The irony is, at least in my humble opinion, that he sounds every bit the expert—which obviously he is—in his attempt to make it accessible for every wo/man. As a realtor, I thought of course that I should share some of what Buffett believes are contributing factors to his own success. It’s an interesting read – I’m neither endorsing it nor refuting it. My aim: simply to share the information.

‘Expectations Proved Out’

As reported by Fortune Magazine, they state that in an “exclusive excerpt from his upcoming shareholder letter, Warren Buffett looks back at a pair of real estate purchases and the lessons they offer for equity investors.” In the letter, Buffett’s annual letter: What you can learn from my real estate investments, Buffett cites two of his early investments—a farm and an NYU property— which he describes as good lifetime investments and both of which he says in terms of the gains, “won’t be dramatic [but] will be solid and satisfactory holdings for my lifetime and, subsequently, for my children and grandchildren.”

Of the 400 acre farm investment which was made in 1986, he says that he had no unusual intelligence to conclude if it was a good or poor investment. He knew nothing about the industry. But he had a son who loved farming, and so he calculated some costs v. ROI numbers. He figured “both how many bushels of corn and soybeans the farm would produce and what the operating costs. Then he held these numbers up against a calculation of the normalized return from the farm which he figured at about 10%. He also thought productivity would improve over time. He says, ‘Both expectations proved out.”

‘Recognize Your Limitations’

Mainly Buffett cites these examples to show that he needed no unusual knowledge or intelligence to conclude that the investment had no downside and potentially had a substantial upside. Almost 30 years later the farm has tripled its earnings and is worth five times more than the original price. He stresses however it was based on his own analysis and business sense not so called fear chatter from experts which seems to be the big takeaway from the letter. Finally he offers these takeaways which I believe are very valuable for any real estate purchase:

  • You don’t need to be an expert. But if you aren’t, recognize your limitations and follow a course certain to work reasonably well. When promised quick profits, respond with a quick “no.”
  • Focus on the future productivity of the asset. If you don’t feel comfortable making a rough estimate of future earnings, forget it and move on.

Know Your Gut and Your Realtor!

Essentially it boils down to this: Do your homework, know what you like, trust your gut and don’t bail on an investment because you listened to other people’s fear. Before you bail, give it time, there will always be less than favorable markets, but trust your own sense and that the market will return.

Many real estate investors could have used his letter a couple years back. Of course it’s easy to have confidence in your investing decisions when your name is Warren Buffett. But none the less, we all have to start somewhere. But I would add one last small note to his infinite wisdom…find a Realtor that can help you figure out your gut!

For information on any information covered in this blog or list a home or view listings in the Conejo Valley, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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