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








Orange County








Riverside County








San Bernardino









San Diego
















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.


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.


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, 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, 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.


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, 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.


Home Owners: It's SO easy Being “Green”

The benefits of owning a “green” home go far beyond sustaining the environment. In fact there are huge financial benefits for the homeowner. “Green” homes can ensure less long-term maintenance costs and improve overall energy and water savings. Here are some suggestions that might have you singing: It’s so easy being green.

1.) Insulation:

In hotter climates, room temperatures can soar causing your energy bills to sky rocket. Better insulation can have a dramatic effect on the need for air conditioning, by dropping the numbers on your thermostat by a whopping 10 degrees. Says an article on 8NewsNow titled, Going Green Can Save Homeowners Money. the savings can be dramatic.

Going green can dramatically reduce energy costs … Attics usually reach 150 degrees in the summer. Good insulation can drop that temperature to approximately 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house – reducing air conditioning use.

2.) Green Building:

Use green building materials. Environmentally friendly, “green” building materials can actually be more durable. In some cases, they even have warranties that could outlast the time you live in the home! HGTV Remodels suggests:

  • Durable roofing materials. Some have 40- or 50-year warranties.
  • Recycled-content decking. Made of recycled plastic mixed with wood-waste fibers, this decking can last up to five times longer than traditional wood decking, and it never needs to be treated or painted.

3.) Water Conservation

Reducing the amount of water needed to run the home can be an important step to going “green”. Notably, in Southern California water restriction policies are often mandated by the government because of drought concerns so this is vitally important here. Tips include:

  • Install energy saving appliances to reduce water usage. This can include toilets, dishwashers and washing machines.
  • ·Water Treatment: Whole-house carbon filtration and water conditioners can solve conservation concerns

According to Jason Bolas, water treatment technician at Bill Howe Plumbing in San Diego:

Many people may not realize that a failing water heater is likely due to hard water causing scale build-up. Pinhole leaks also appear frequently because of the aggressive effects of hard water that is found in high concentrations in the local municipal water supply. Water treatment is the best defense against these problems.

4.) Solar

Although going solar requires a bit of an investment up front, you could save thousands in energy bills over time. Say architects KoningEizenbergSolar Panels: Not Just Big Rectangles on the Roof Anymore” in an article by the same title. They say:

Dow’s Powerhouse shingles, for example, pretty much disappear when applied to a traditional asphalt roof. The thin film is also much more cost-effective when it comes to installation.

Here are some ideas for solar

  • Install a solar hot water heater. It will save you money and conserve energy
  • Solar panels on the roof will protect it from wear and tear and can again save you money through the years

Green Homes in Westlake Village

Small steps to transition to “green” living will not only improve your own living conditions and save you money, but these little steps now could ensure a brighter and healthier future for your children and generations to come. For questions on this or any topic or to view “greener” built home listings in and around Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable today for a consultation.


Spring Projects for Home Sale

Spring is a good time to take on interior and exterior projects that will increase your home’s sale value especially if you have hopes of selling the home this year. Remember to focus on projects that will add light, clean minimalistic design, and will ultimately increase your home’s curb appeal. Following, are some tips that will instantly turn your down- in-the-doldrums digs into the hottest home listing in town!

Let the Sun Shine In!

Spring is about renewal – so there is no better time to throw out what you don’t need and take on the bigger de-clutter projects. Any spot in a home that is cluttered can detract from the space, making it appear darker, smaller, and essentially unappealing, not to mention uncomfortable. A simple fix might be to store any unused items in boxes for the winter. Or make a day of it and have a garage sale. And if you are feeling really ambitious, steam clean a carpet, give the walls a fresh coat of paint and maybe switch out the dark winter-time curtains for more sheer panels that let the sun shine in.

Light, airy, spacious and more specifically clean homes are always better sellers. Clean closets, carpets, windows, show that the home is well maintained. But just as important, de-cluttering and reorganization of an old home can give it a renewed energy whether you are selling today or six months from now.

Energy and Renewal

Spring is usually a good reminder time to change out the batteries on smoke and CO detectors. But it’s also a great time to consider making updates to technology. So why not go an extra step this year? If typically, you check and change out the batteries in your CO and smoke detectors at the beginning of spring, now may be the perfect time to add a programmable thermostat by Nest or a new energy saving water heater. Energy savings and smart technology actually add appeal to the home when it’s time to sell and best of all you’ll save money while you still live there. A recent article in MoneyCrashers says:

… install a programmable thermostat. Most buyers expect to see programmable thermostats these days, and they can save you money. And if you need to replace your hot water heater, consider spending a bit extra to purchase a high-efficiency water heater.

Curb Appeal

Last but certainly not least, never forget your home’s curb appeal. After a long winter, get outside and see what isn’t working. Maybe stain the bricks on the walkway or light the walkway toward your front steps. Manicure the garden around the front entrance. And speaking of the front entrance, a simple change like painting the front door can make a huge difference! Curb appeal is just like a first impression at an interview. It’s incredibly difficult to change a negative impression once it goes sour! HGTV Front Door, showcases 8 homes with Colorful Curb Appeal that do it well. As they describe a beautiful Hancock Park home in Los Angeles, the walkway is exquisite, increasing the home’s curb appeal.

The long walkway to the front door is elegantly lit and highlights the exotic exterior space.

The lesson: You can make even small changes to a home like installing elegant lighting sconces or adding color to the landscaping that can change the feel of your home the minute a visitor arrives.

For more tips on selling or to view home listings in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.


Hot Spring 2014 Home Design Trends

Spring Into a ‘New’ Home

Does the spring season have you yearning for a change – itching to buy a new house or to redesign current home? Maybe you’re just looking for some small punches that will make a big splash on your home’s style? As we usher in spring which is traditionally a very busy season for home sales, it’s a perfect time to reveal the spring home design trends for 2014. In January, I updated you on the Top Home Design and Remodeling Trends for 2014 and now here is part 2.

Below check out the top three hottest spring 2014 home design trends.

1. Mother Nature Returns Home

Mother Nature has moved indoors this season. I forecasted some of this in my January article where I quoted Michael Booth, Interior Designer at BAMO, as saying, ‘In 2014, we’ll see warm woods, serene blues and refined textures integrated into private spaces designed to restore body and soul’, and it looks like the elements are here to stay through 2015. Whether incorporating greenery, wood, minerals or rock into the home design – nature is hot, hot, hot this season.

This home by architect Keith Anding and designer William Anderson featured in the SFGate article Keith Anding home in Glen Ellen Draws the Outside In is a prime illustration of the nature trend. The greenery is the focal point of this pared down, neutral toned living room. Photo: Michael Hospelt

The Journal Sentinel reiterates the nature theme in their recent article Six hot home design trends for spring 2014. In the section titled, Ode to the Elements, they say:

Mother Nature is inspiring design in a big way this year and homeowners are finding unique ways to incorporate rocks, minerals and other natural elements into their home’s design.

2. Old is New Again

New this season is a trend toward repurposing – making the old new again. According to a survey in this weeks’ MarketWatch Spring 2014 Home Design Trend Report, members of the Zillow Digs Board of Designers, a group of design experts from across the country, say ‘old’ is new again in home design:

Repurposing antique furniture into hidden storage solutions is a popular trend among interior designers and homeowners alike. An old trunk can double as the perfect coffee table.

Says Zillow Digs Board of Designers Member, Mara Miller of Carrier and Company Interiors Ltd. in New York City:

…be selective [with antiques] and use beautiful pieces of furniture for an instant design statement.

3. Color Trends: A Changing Hue

Color is still the hot topic as we move into spring. In an article titled From floor to fixtures: Top spring home decor trends add style and personality in the Seaside Courier, Vickie Gilstrap, director of design services for The Dixie Group, a top U.S. carpet manufacturer, says design color schemes are warming up.

Colors are getting warmer. Taupe is the bridge color taking us from gray to browner tones. Warm pinks are returning, as well as warmer greens like moss and olive – even apple.

As I mentioned in the January piece, color was the big news in home design as we started 2014. At the start of the year however, there was a move toward a more serene, clean color palette of cool blues and neutrals. But as we head toward 2015, nature themed colors are in – all kinds of warm greens are the hot spring colors!

4. In the Kitchen

The trend of nature and color has also spilled over into the kitchen. Elle Décor in their article titled Big in 2014: The Trends that Will Define the Year Ahead reports that “custom cabinetry painted in rich gemstone colors, and accented with gleaming brass or chrome, all lit by unusual lighting fixtures.” Also hot are ‘surfaces that mimic malachite, agate, and other exotic semi-precious stones’.

Do you agree with trends – are you going to rush out and redo your living room or kitchen? It might be fun, but the best part about home design trends is that while they are a great guide to stay in line with what is hot and selling right now, as a home owner, you don’t have to agree – it’s your sacred space!

For more information on the hottest spring home design trends for 2014 or to schedule an appointment to view home listings or sell a home in Westlake Village or the surrounding neighborhoods, contact Lydia Gable today for a consultation.


The FHA Lending Limits Take Effect

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has revised loan limits on single-family mortgages as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Although the revisions went into effect on January 1, 2014, the change has been long anticipated by economists and real estate professionals alike — especially in terms of forecasting and what this might mean for the housing market. Passed in 2008 and intended to be active at the start of 2009, Congress delayed it due to what they called, “continuing strains in credit markets” as reported by the HUD at that time. The changes amount to this: according to Mortgagee Letter 13-43, the FHA single family loan ceiling limits will come down by nearly $100,000 – capped at a $625,000 lending limit from the much higher $729,750.

Changes to Qualified Mortgage Rules

In an article on CNNMoney, titled, What the new mortgage rules mean for you, it reports that the bulk of the impact will be felt in Qualified Mortgage rules. Here the major changes:

  • · Changes in debt-to-income ratio – it must be below 43%. Banks can still make loans to people with debt-to-income ratios if there is a high level of assets, justify the risk.
  • · Qualified mortgages cannot include risky features, such as terms longer than 30 years, interest-only payments or minimum payments…
  • · Upfront fees and charges cannot add up to more than 3% of the mortgage balance.

Los Angeles & Ventura County FHA Lending Limits

Most Southern California area realtors are bracing for impact as the FHA guidelines impact the market, although the larger picture still looks quite positive. For the coastal communities—where the homes tend to be $650,000+ and up—many wonder what this means long term? Home owners planning to sell—especially in this first quarter when buyers may be reticent due to changes—may feel a big impact.

In Los Angeles County the new FHA lending limit is $625,500 and in Ventura County, it’s now $598,000.00. These new FHA lending limits could force those in a higher priced market like Ventura County to lower the initial listing price. On the flips side, the changes could ward off those that wereready to buy from actually taking the plunge. Ultimately, whether this means sales will slow, or sellers will hold indefinitely, we’re currently in the speculative stages, but the conversation is none-the-less, important.

Austin Lampson of OnQFinancial, says the biggest impact will be on first time buyers and it may indeed slow the successful boom reported by many realtors last year in Southern California. Lampson says:

This [change] can greatly impact one’s buying power in high-cost areas of the Gold Coast, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. For example, right now the single family limit for an FHA-insured mortgage in Santa Barbara County is $729,750. If you are putting the minimum 3.5% down, that equates to a $756,217 sales price…at the updated loan amount of $625,500, $648,186.

Home Buyers/Sellers in Ventura County…

One inevitable truth: the housing market is as excitingly unpredictable as it is volatile as it is rewarding and that will is predictable. So as the FHA, in an effort to restore the economy and incentivize banks to lend to the under-served, imposes lending limits on the higher priced markets, we all brace for impact…and it’s only January! Happy house hunting!

If you have questions on any of the issues raised in this article or you would like to list a home or view listings in and around the Ventura County area, contact Lydia Gable today for a consultation.


Finding 'My' Home on HGTV's 'HouseHunters'

Recently I appeared on HGTV’s HouseHunters on an episode titled, New Parents Look for a Home with Good Feng Shui in L.A. The segment centered on new parents Jake and Jenny who were ready to buy a nicer home outside of Los Angeles. The couple’s hope: to relocate to a bigger home in the suburbs right outside of L.A. However, the conflict—because all TV needs some conflict— in this particular episode was that Jenny had a requirement. She had compromised on style in her first home with Jake and chose not to do that this go-around. The deal: Jenny insisted on an open, airy design with good Feng Shui. Enter the realtor—that would be me. My job ultimately, was to find the couple a Mediterranean style home in the suburbs of Los Angeles with the open, airy feel and good Feng Shui that Jenny insisted upon but in addition—in order to keep Jake happy—find a property which also fulfilled his wish to have a home with a cozy feel and a sense of privacy.

HGTV admitted in the teaser as the episode air date approached:

… their healthy $750,000 budget will limit their options in L.A.’s pricey housing market.

My Road to HGTV…

My buyers Jenny and Jake absolutely loved their home buying journey with me. Because they not only loved the experience of buying the house but also are fans of HouseHunters, they asked if I would participate in an episode. Of course, it sounded like fun so I agreed. The couple submitted their story for review. We all had to submit videos as well to make sure we were right for TV and the tone of the show. Production loved it – before I knew it I was filming the episode. The total filming took 4 days all of which was a very fun experience.

In the end – and this is what matters most to me—my clients Jenny and Jake now live happily in the home they selected.

From HGTV to You: What Will Your Realty Experience Be?

Whether on TV or in my community of Westlake Village, my approach to home sales remains consistent. As a top ranked Southern California realtor, I am a staging expert for the home seller and I have a lengthy track record of happy home buyers. If you, like our featured couple Jenny and Jake on HGTV’s Househunters, have a specific wish list, contact Lydia Gable today to view listings or meet for a consultation.


What is a Staging Expert? Why It's Important?

Will the Dining Room Table Fit?

What is a staging expert? Essentially a home staging expert is there to anticipate the home buyer’s expectations before the showing. The staging is sort of the visual answer to common questions like “How will my furniture fit in the space” or “Where will my bed go?” or “Is the kitchen a good space to cook?” and “Does the home get a lot of light?”

When a realtor stages a home with real furniture and accessories, it’s easier for the buyer to visualize where things will fit. The aim is usually to create an upscale feel in order to achieve the desired sale price. A good staging expert not only knows the space, but has a good understanding ofwho the buyer is.

An Over-Looked Part of the Selling Experience

As a staging expert myself, I can’t stress the importance of finding a realtor who is an expert in this often over-looked part of the selling experience. Good staging is a balance between enough furniture to fit the space while still creating the element of spaciousness, imagination, and minimalist design. (For more 2014 design trends that lean more toward clean minimalist spaces and a blue palette, see my article, Top Home Design and Remodeling Trends for 2014).

When choosing a realtor, make sure that he or she is indeed an experienced home staging expert. Below are a few must-dos when staging the home for buyers, so you know ahead of time, what itshould look like.

1. Maid Service Anyone?

It’s no accident that five star hotels present rooms as first and foremost, sparkling clean right down to a fresh, corner-folded roll of toilet paper. Your house should be sparkling clean. Don’t assume that the buyer will understand that someone lives there. Most staging experts will have a cleaning service come in to make the floors sparkle and the place have that scent of clean. Remember, buyers will open the cabinets, the closets, look behind doors, and under throw rugs. Don’t let dust or grime become deterrents to a great sale.

2. Your Home is a Show Case

An article in Realtor Magazine, Staging: Small Things Can Make a Big Difference does a really nice job of illustrating through the use of before and after photos, how small changes can make a huge difference psychologically for a buyer.

In these before and after pictures the kitchen counters are transformed from ‘lived in/organized’ into a kitchen show piece. As stated in the article, the expert purchased just a few items including vases for $40; pears and a tray for $25; and towels $8

Photo: Cynthia Howe

3.) The Home Starts at the Curb

As I stated in my article How Do You Increase Your Home Sale Value, don’t ignore the home’s curb appeal. The garden, the light fixtures, the walkway even the front door—all of these elements are ‘on stage’ when a buyer drives up to the home. Even a door knocker – believe or not — can add to the feel of the home.

‘It Used to be an Extra, Now It’s Just an Essential’

Real estate mogul and the ABC’s Shark Tank star, Barbara Corcoran suggests that staging is no longer a choice if you wish for your home listing to be competitive. In January, Barbara Corcoran spoke at the Real Estate Staging Association’s Annual Convention in Las Vegas. In an interview with RESA’s CEO Shell Brodnax, Corcoran summed up the need for home staging.

There is no better way to end this article and sum up the importance of good home staging the with Corcoran’s succinct statement:

… 9 out of 10 people start their search online…home staging used to be an extra, now it’s just an essential. Why wouldn’t someone stage a home if they want to get more money for their house?

Lydia Gable is an experienced and respected Realtor® and staging expert who has helped countless clients buy and sell homes in the Los Angeles and Ventura County communities. For more information on any topics covered in this article or if you are interested in buying or selling a home in Westlake Village or the surrounding areas, contact Lydia Gable today for a consultation.


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