What Home Buying Strategy Best Suits You?

Home Buying

Long Term Strategy v. Short Term Investment

What type of home buying strategy best suits you? Is your personality more suited to flipping homes, short term investment—this means you plan to resell within a few years—or buying and holding long term?

If you have never even thought about your buying style, it’s important since the purchase of a home is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll make over your life time. Mortgage News Daily asked a similar question in a recent article, Longer Term Investors Outnumber Flippers 2 to 1 in California. The piece reveals the most common types of investors in California, based on a survey. The results support the notion that certain styles are more appealing to people based on their own personal comfort zones.

Here is an excerpt:

The California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) looked at the current modus operandi of investors through a survey conducted in April. It was conducted among investors who had worked with a Realtor. It found that64 percent of investors have a long-term strategy in investing, indicating they planned to keep their property formore than a year although three-quarters intend to resell within six years. About 36 percent of investors intend toflip the property.

Flipping, Buy-and-Hold, Short Term…

If you are a first time buyer, knowing your personality as it relates to risk is essential. For example, if you are a safe, low risk type of individual, a long term buy-and-hold strategy might be the best for you. While you may deal with market dips and spikes over time, applying this style means that you have the space to decide when the market is primed to sell. Conversely, if you are a high risk, high reward type, ‘flipping’ a home as a form of investment may be the right move. Or even perhaps short term investing—that is staying in the home for only a few years.

What is flipping exactly? Flipping is when a buyer purchasesreal estate at a discounted price, renovates it in some way, and then sells it for financial gain. To make the biggest profit, this is preferably done within a very short period of time. Flipping is not necessarily risky in terms of market fluctuation because in the very short term, rates don’t change all that much. However there are transactional costs and sometimes repairs and investments that need to be recouped in the sale ultimately, that can affect your profit. But, if you are accustomed to taking risks, then you probably won’t crumble if the profit isn’t great or you only break even. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes.

‘The Biggest Factor is: You’

For the seasoned buyer, before you say pishaw to the getting-to-know-you theory, been there done that, consider this: your current strategy may not suit you anymore. You may be operating under an old modus operandi. Ask yourself this question: every time you buy a new “dream” home, do you end up hating it within months? Maybe the home isn’t the issue, but instead, your strategy is simply outdated. It no longer suits you.

Says author and real estate investor Michael LaCava in his article on Bigger Pockets,flipping and long term investing are the most popular buying styles, but which one is better for you comes down to your personality. He says:

The biggest factor of all is: you…your personality, your tolerance for risk, your financial goals and your personal financial situation…Do I necessarily think [house flipping] is the superior way to invest in real estate? Not necessarily. Still solid and always a good investment, long-term buy-and-hold real estate investing is been around for years and has created untold millions, if not billions in dollars in wealth to its participants.

Consult with a Realtor

As an experienced real estate agent in Westlake Village, I not only work to help my clients buy and sell homes, but I become friends with many of them. I like to get to know who I am working with. Because of this I am keen to the hurdles that can arise in the buying process. If you are considering buying a home and aren’t exactly sure what type of investment strategy is right for you, contactWestlake Village Real Estate for a consultation and we’ll decide the right way to proceed together.


Is Social Media Changing Real Estate?

Zillow, Google Earth…

Social media has revolutionized the way home buyers search for and buy homes. People can now search online from the comfort of their home, neighborhood walkability scores, aerial real-time images of the neighborhood on Zillow and Google Earth, and even in some cases, take online virtual 3D tours of a property before ever stepping foot inside. However, while all these tools are very good guides, they shouldn’t be solely relied upon.

A person in the market to buy or sell a property should seek out the services of a reputable, experienced, real estate agent. A computer will never take the place of a professional who knows how to stage the home optimally, market, negotiate, and fill out paperwork to protect either the buyer or the seller. A home purchase or sale is potentially the biggest investment or divestment you will make in a lifetime. Therefore while the internet makes the real estate venture seem simple, it’s far from an uncomplicated process. Professionals are there to make it look easy, but the best real estate agents know that it takes years of experience to succeed in the fast moving and ultra-competitive world of real estate.

In a recent article on Fox Business titled, How Social Media is Changing the Way We Buy and Sell Homes, Brad Officer, a realtor in Florida, says that while the internet offers tools for buying and selling that were never before available, it should never be a replacement for a real estate agent.

While social media gives buyers more tools to find homes, they shouldn’t wait too long to get their agent involved… At some point, a buyer has to shut down the computer, put down the iPhone, and start visiting the homes for sale.

And in the same article, Marilyn Urso, owner of Long Island Village Realty in Syosset, N.Y., says that social media is also important for an agent to stay competitive:

…buyers want to see detailed images, videos and floor plans before stepping foot into a home…clients want to see tweets from realtors about the market, mortgage rates or what it takes to own a home–not just marketing filler about a new property.

Working in Tandem

Ideally, when a real estate agent and client are working well in tandem, social media is a must. It can be helpful in terms of the immediacy it offers buyers and agents so that the agent can better target the home search. An agent can now post pictures on Pinterest in real-time of a particular property or an upcoming open house or perhaps even a specific request like a chef’s kitchen or a cool bathroom with a pedestal bath tub. And the feedback from the client is instantaneous. In this way the real estate agent can cut the search time in half by better understanding the clients’ tastes.

A ‘Real’ Social Media Professional

Ultimately, you need an actual living, breathing real estate agent to handle all of your real estate transactions. But when you do the research to find one, make certain that s/he is indeed a relevant presence on social media. If not, you might want to reconsider this choice because just as you should be able to look up properties, you should also be able to find information about your broker including testimonials, recent sales and listings as well as view quality pictures. Choose a real estate professional who values the in person negotiation, marketing and staging techniques and the benefits of social media.

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks or the surrounding areas, contact real estate agent Lydia Gable today for a consultation.


Client Thank You Day at Lydia Gable Realty Group

Thank You to My Real Estate Clients & Friends

friendsofLydiapic[4]Last week I threw a client appreciation party for the clients of Lydia Gable Realty Group. As an expression of thanks and our appreciation for our clients’ Real Estate business, referrals, and good will we provided a custom pie for Thanksgiving dinner to each and every family that attended. It was a celebration at our new office and a truly a celebration of all of you!
A great time was had by all! We gave out almost 100 pies!

piesI can’t say thank you enough to all my real estate friends and family who attended! I would also like to invite all of you to celebrate the launch of my new web site. For those of you who attended I am sharing some photos of the day. For those who were unable to make it I have no more pies so…THANK YOU!
To all my future clients and referrals, if you are interested in viewing listings and/or setting up a real estate consultation, contact Lydia Gable today.


Selling Smart

A Unique Perspective by Realtor, Lydia Gable

Lydia is an exceptional agent with a warm professional approach. It’s clear that selling a house in today’s market requires something extra. In Lydia’s case we found her objectivity, negotiating skills and smart use of the web and social media in her sales process to be outstanding. Her strong business and marketing background helped us present our house in its best light through multiple media channels. We recommend her highly.~01/18/2011-5 Stars, Zillow

‘What Makes You Different from Other Realtors?’

Lydia Gable

In reference to my success as a realtor, I have been asked one question many times by both prospective and regular clients: “Lydia, what differentiates you from all of the other realtors?” My answer has always been, “Look to my track record.” It’s the only way I know to answer, especially since I’m very humble and don’t for a minute, take my success in real estate, for granted. However, when I do allow myself to ponder the question, I wonder: What is it exactly that sets me apart?

The following is my best answer…

Positioning Your Home Well for the Best Sale

The decision to sell a home involves many choices that need to be decided before listing it. Many sellers struggle with these choices therefore helping them make the right ones is my specialty.

  • Pricing Your Home to Sell

First, how do we set the price for the home? Although prices are constantly moving, it seems the smarter seller is pricing correctly as well as combining the price listing with great internet marketing.

  • Planning & Staging A Home to Inspire Bidders

In addition to proper pricing, proper choices in deciding which repairs are necessary vs. not necessary, painting, uncluttering and staging- neutralizing the home, are all parts of the combined service that I provide in terms of exceeding expectations.

Selling Your Home

A home has one chance to launch well. You have one shot to make sure everything is in place before it goes into MLS and online. That first listing is so important. In fact it’s essential to achieve thebestsale outcome. Lastly, it’s also important to enlighten the seller about where it is they are moving to and the benefits of selling their current home.

If all of the aforementioned things are done incredibly well, if you make the right choices—proper price setting, staging, marketing, research and clear and honest communication with the client—you’re almost assured a bidding war that will drive the prices up.

When I allow myself to ponder the question: “What makes you better than any other realtor, Lydia?” I always answer: Look to my track record.

Does a Good Realtor Work Harder or Smarter?

In the end, whether it’s all skill or a little bit of luck and hard work meets opportunity, I do know a few things for sure. I know that many realtors claim to go that extra mile–to stage the home meticulously for a quick and beneficial sale or to price the property perfectly for the market–but do they really?. Why is that I am so competitive within the market? Again, I don’t profess to know with certainty what others do, but I know what I always do. With certainty I can say that based on my track record, I do things differently.

So I’ll leave it to you to decide: Am I working harder to sell Westlake real estate or just smarter?


July 4th Around the Conejo Valley

Fourth of July

If you are a long time resident of Agoura Hills or Westlake Village, you already know that there is never a shortage of activities and recreation to choose from in these thriving communities. However if you have just relocated to the area or are looking for something different, check out all of the many options available for July 4thfestivities. Come one, come all. Let’s celebrate!

Behind the Hillcrest Center of the Arts

The Annual July 4th Spectacular fireworks event sponsored by the Conejo Recreation and Park District and the city of Thousand Oaks will launch there celebratory fireworks show display from the hill behind the Hillcrest Center of the Arts in Thousand Oaks. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Call theConejo Recreation and Park District for more information. Other events around the area include a Pancake Breakfast and Home Run Derby in Newbury Park and a Concert in the Park featuring the Conejo Pops Orchestra. If you are looking for the perfect viewing spot for your family, Janss Marketplaceonce again opens their doors to host a free viewing of the fireworks. They have free music and family activities starting at 5pm on the 4th.

Run, Fun and Ice Cream

If you are into sport, sign up for the 3rd Annual Miller Family YMCA 5K/10Kthe morning of July 4th in Newbury Park. There is music and entertainment and it’s a great, healthy way to start the day with your family so you can enjoy guilt-free treats later on. Speaking of guilt free treats, there’s an Ice Cream Social and Patriotic Celebration at Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park from 1-4pm on July 4th. What better way to enjoy the holiday with your kids?

Westlake Village & Calabasas

If you haven’t yet, it may not be too late to purchase your tickets for The City of Calabasas 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular at Calabasas High School. It opens at 5 p.m. and fireworks start at 9 p.m. There is live music and a kid zone but they do warn that tickets are limited. $10 admission price includes parking, entertainment and activities. Children under 2 are free. Food and beverages are on sale on site.

Also in Calabasas there is a free Summer Splash Party, at Calabasas Lake and the 35th Annual Lakeside Fun Run 4 mile, 2 mile, 1/2 mile and 1/4 mile events.

In Westlake Village The44th Annual 4th of July Parade starts at 9:45am followed by music, and more at Berniece Bennett Park until noon.

Fireworks by the Sea

Here is a great option. The 13th Annual Fireworks by the Sea takes place at Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard, CA at 10:00 a.m. This event has become the one of the favorite events of residents. It attracts folks from all over California. Activities all day including a parade, 5K & 10K run/walk, live music and entertainment, children’s activities, BBQ, food, arts & crafts, and more. The night ends with a spectacular fireworks show by the sea.

So there you are–my guide to July 4th fun. What else is there to say but this is the greatest place in the country to sell real estate because it is honestly the greatest place to live! With all these choices of fun activities, the choices are endless.

A happy and safe July 4th to all my past, future, present clients and many friends!


SoCal & Westlake Real Estate Market Update

SoCal & Westlake Village

SoCal Real Estate Cools

Some Southern California Real Estate watchers are pointing to a hint of a chill which is washing over the market as we near the end of summer. While I have never been one to feel the negative down-turns—at least not in my business—I thought it timely to report an end of summer market update. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, experts say that home prices aren’t rising as quickly in the booming metro areas as they did earlier this year. In a recent Times article titled, Red-Hot Housing Market is Cooling Slightly all indicators point to a slight shift in numbers. However it’simportant to point out that they also say the revival is still happening:

Multiple-bid competitions aren’t as intense in many markets. Inventories of homes for sale have increased this summer…The revival is still well underway — it’s just not as effervescent.

According to the article, there are several factors that warn of a slight decline including price decline, an increase in inventory, and lower buyer turn out.

But, says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac, as reported by the Times:

…the recovery is simply moving into a second, more sustainable” phase. During the last 18 months we saw eye-popping numbers on prices and sales…Sales should continue to see “healthy” growth and prices should continue to rise but the percentages will be less.

Westlake Village Real Estate Still Rebounding

Unlike many real estate markets across the country, Westlake Village continues to rebound. Prices are on the rise with listings averaging 30-60 days on the market. As reported on Househunt.com in their update, Westlake Village Real Estate Market Trends–California, prices are up 5% since last year and they call Conejo Valley a real estate ‘hot spot’ with Westlake Village leading the charge.

According to the report:

Sellers are receiving multiple offers at 90-95% of asking price. The market is heating up–particularly due to move-up buyers. This desirable community [Conejo Valley] is still selling strong. The housing market is moving for those sellers that are pricing their homes in line with the most recent sale prices of similar style and area. Interest rates are very low.

Housing Trends Don’t Last but Sensible Realtors Do!

All throughout the burst of the Los Angeles housing bubble and during the climb back, myWestlake Village real estate business remained successful. While I understand the importance of and I always stay on top of all the market trends and numbers, ultimately I rely on what has always worked for me: experience and impeccable service. My clients continue to buy and sell with me and I still have houses going into escrow days after listing. Trends go in and out of style, but classic real estate experience will go the distance.

If you are planning on exploring Los Angeles home buying or you have questions about the current Southern California real estate market, contact Lydia Gable today for more information.


Housing Market: Opportunities Abound

Housing Market

Housing Inventory and the Market

Based on recently published data, the once depressed real estate market in Southern California is currently—although it’s a bit volatile—a prime “seller’s market” at least for now. Keeping Current Matters attributes the current state of the market to rapid inventory fluctuations:

Housing inventories increased in August and stood just 2.5% below their levels of a year ago, offering the latest sign that more sellers are testing the market after swift home-price gains over the past year.

Certainly, many smart homeowners have already rushed to cash in as home prices throughout the state continue to rebound at a record pace. If you are tentative, perhaps waiting on the sidelines to see if it will hold steady, consider the following data as it may push you toward the ‘for sale’ direction.

The Real Estate Market Spurs Investors

The increase in inventory is also ideal for buyers seeking to purchase a home since interest rates have dropped recently. This window of increased inventory and reduced interest rates is a great opportunity for buyers as they may not need to move as quickly as earlier in the year. Experts like those at Fiscal Times are comparing the present market to the investors’ market of years past that spawned the flipping frenzy:

Now that a housing recovery is in progress, more traditional buyers are trying to get in on the action, seeking investment returns beyond what they can find in the stock market.

Although some critics are sending out warnings of a potential housing bubble, according to HousingPredictor Southern California is forecasting well all around for the rest of 2013:

According to trulia.com, the price per square foot of homes in Los Angeles has increased by 32 percent compared to the same period last year and is currently at $371. Median home prices also increased by 37.5 percent. The median home sales price for Los Angeles is $440,000. Moneyjournal.com expects the Los Angles’ real estate market to improve by 5.9 percent in 2013.

‘The Biggest-Year-Over-Year Jump’

Consider a recent report by KABC. The piece claims that the average price paid for a home in California last month went up from $274,000 in June 2012 to $352,000. That’s a 28 percent price hike. According to the article, it’s “the biggest year-over-year jump since records began in the late 1980s” as published by the real estate tracking firm DataQuick. And, says Steve Berkowitz, Chief Executive Officer of Move in a recent report on Realtor.com:

Inventories on realtor.com reached their highest level in June since the beginning of 2013. We’re seeing increases as high as 51 percent month-over-month in many southern California markets. Sellers are continuing to list homes at a steady pace…signs that the market recovery is continuing at a healthy pace.

Invest in the Right Realtor

Of course no one can predict with 100% accuracy what the real estate market will do over time. Inventory dips and increases especially in this current unpredictable pattern. However many experts and investors are saying that selling now could yield a homeowner a sizable profit. Further, the economy has indeed continued to reveal a steady incline over the past year as forecasters—both economists, real estate proponents and those pesky ‘bubble’ naysayers—carefully tracked the data.

If you are ready to sell or invest, choose Westlake Village Real Estate. Choose the realtor who knows the market and the area best! Strike while the iron is hot, especially in the Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks area. Contact Lydia Gable now to view current home listings.


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