Purpose and Points of a Home Inspection

Buying a home is a huge investment. Having a home inspection on that home before your close on the purchase transaction is an even bigger investment for a lot less money. The home inspection is an important process in the home buying experience and one that is very informational so please do not skip it. The last thing you want to do is buy a home in need of thousands of dollars in repairs that you were not aware of and did not negotiate for in its price. So, let’s go through the process.

The buyer gets to choose the home inspector. As such, make sure you choose a reputable, licensed inspector. How do you find a good one? Ask your Realtor as they most likely have inspectors who are thorough and competent from past home inspections, research top inspectors on the Internet (sites such a Yelp can be very helpful), or ask your family and friends who they have used and liked. It a good idea to call an inspector and ask any questions you may have and even request recent referrals.

Once you have selected your home inspector, it is helpful to actually attend the house inspection and follow the inspector at the end of the inspection as he highlights and points out issues in the home. You may even pick up a tip or two about making your new home more energy efficient or how certain things work. It’s important to remember that no house is perfect…not even a new home. Believe it or not, inspectors even find repairs that are needed with a new home. Every home inspection seems to uncover conditions that need repair and/or potential safety-related concerns relating to the home. Mostly, the inspector is there to make certain the home is functioning as it should, checking items such as faucets and toilets to see if they leak, or the heating and air conditioning to ensure they are in good working order. If they see something that needs more attention they will recommend further inspections with a specialist. Home inspectors won’t address cosmetic items if they don’t impair the integrity of the home. They also do not do destructive testing so know there is always some risk of flaws (such as wiring and plumbing within the walls) that cannot be assessed.

When you get your inspection report back, however lengthy it is, your inspector will generally include a summary sheet as one of the first pages. Pay particular attention to this section with all its vital information because these are the items that the inspector believes are code and safety issues that need immediate correction. The rest of the report are other issues that you should know about but the inspector may not find to be a priority at this point. Most repairs are normally not a deal breaker between buyer and seller and can be negotiated for resolution. So go forth and buy that new home because you know exactly what you are buying.

If you have any questions about the home buying process or need additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact Lydia Gable at 818-383-4335 or asklydia@lydiagable.com.

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Is there a Housing Bubble?

It seems anywhere I go lately, people are asking me if there is a real estate bubble. Before I give you my thoughts, it first helps to explain exactly what is a “real estate bubble.” In its simplest form, a real estate bubble or housing bubble for residential markets is characterized by significant price increases of homes until they reach such levels unsustainable by incomes and other economic indicators. The general fear is if there is a real estate bubble and it “bursts,” homeowners and investors experience valuation decreases that can result in many owners holding negative equity (a mortgage debt higher than the value of the property).

 

The housing bubble and credit crisis we experienced in 2009 was horrible. During that time we experienced low mortgage interest rates, low short-term interest rates, and relaxed standards for mortgage loans. Today, interest rates currently remain low, but the government has imposed more stringent mortgage requirements and more money down on home purchases which should prevent that type of crash from repeating itself. People are asking the housing bubble question because we’re seeing mixed signals in this spring/summer buying and selling season. While there’s solid, strong demand for housing, low supply has escalated prices that could lead to lower than expected homes sales. However, we are still seeing very strong sales so I don’t believe there is a housing bubble currently in the Conejo Valley or beyond. “We see no housing bubble in Southern California,” says Ralph DeFranco, chief economist for Arch MI’s owner, Arch Capital. “Even though homes feel expensive, they are supported by the amount of income people have.”[1] The increases in home sales prices here are real. It’s real buyers with real income who are able to qualify for loans under the new strict guidelines and put 20% equity down in their purchase. I believe it is still a good time to buy a home or investment property. Interest rates currently remain low and you may get a tax deduction from your mortgage which makes it advantageous. Inventory in the Conejo Valley is also starting to increase some so finding a home that fits your lifestyle and taste may be easier than you think. Home prices will routinely fluctuate between 5%-10% which is historically normal and, over the course of time, evens itself out. That’s why it is important to be smart about making your home purchase and hire a reputable, highly rated realtor to help guide you in choosing the right home for you so that you can begin to enjoy and reap all the benefits of home ownership. If you have any questions, thoughts or need additional information, please call Lydia Gable of Lydia Gable Realty Group at 818-383-4335.

[1] Jonathan Lansner, “Housing bubble ahead for SoCal? Unlikely, report says” http://www.ocregister.com/articles/percent-721070-risk-arch.html (June 30, 2016).
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Tuesday Tips – June 21, 2016

 

We are so excited to roll out a new online tool called Homekeeper to our clients as an added value. It’s you online source for all of our recommended vendors for repairs, home improvements, inspections and more. Please contact me (lydia@lydiagable.com or 818-383-4335) if you would like to have access. Here for you and your home always!

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Ask Lydia: Your Home Value – Is Zillow Accurate?

Real estate inventory in the Conejo Valley is historically low which means its still a seller’s market. It’s the summer season and interest rates remain low. There’s been talk that the Feds will raise rates by the end of the year, but right now buyers are buying and multiple offers are happening on well-priced homes. If you have been thinking of downsizing (or even upsizing), selling your home now can be to your advantage. Of course, when you begin to consider selling, some questions come to mind and I hope my thoughts below are helpful. If you have more specific questions pertaining to your home, please contact me at 818-383-4335 or ask away at asklydia@lydiagable.com as I am here for you and your home always.

How accurate is the Zillow zestimate?

Use the online home valuation tools as a beginning guide. Zillow just upgraded its valuation feature claiming it will be more accurate than before but it readily admits 50% will be off by more than 6% (it’s median rate of error)[1] It’s important that when selling a home, the value is determined by a top Realtor in your local area, not an internet website. A good Realtor will prepare a comparative market analysis (“CMA”) specific to your home. A CMA is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold “comparable” homes in the past 6-12 months and the valuation takes into account your home, it’s unique features, such as upgrades, backyards, views, and pools, the features of recently sold similar homes, the local area and neighborhood.

Should I price my home higher to leave room for negotiations?

In my mind, there are three strategies to price a home and I leave it up to the homeowner to decide what works. Price the home low with the hope of multiple offers. Price it right and it should sell quickly and close to its listing price. Price it high does leave room for negotiations, but you risk buyers hesitant to make an offer. In a tight market that we are in presently, my recommendation is to price it low or right. Remember, a good top Realtor will get you the most value for your home in the best time because he/she is an expert in your area. Happy selling and please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or need additional information: 818-383-4335.

[1] Todd Bishop, “Zillow Upgrade the Zestimate, promises lower error rate with newer algorithm,” http://www.geekwire.com/2016/zillow-launches-major-zestimate-update (June 8, 2016)

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The Conejo Valley: There’s So Much to Do!

CONEJOVALLEYThe Conejo Valley : Doin’ It!

The Conejo Valley is an activity haven. If you are seeking a new neighborhood chalk full of things to do or if you currently live here, check out the local happenings. It doesn’t get much better than this eclectic mix of things to do for you and the whole family. And of course if you are on the hunt for a new home, taking part in some of these happenings is a fantastic way to test-drive a potential neighborhood.

The Taste of Conejo

The Taste of Conejo is an annual fave especially among the Westlake Village locals. The seventh Taste of Conejo will be presented by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, October 1, 5-8 p.m., at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village.

If you are a foodie or a wine aficionado, you will be in your glory at this event. But in any case, who doesn’t love good eats? The Taste of Conejo is an all-inclusive evening of gourmet food, wine, beer and spirits. Enjoy tastings from over sixty local restaurants, breweries and wineries.

VIP tickets are available at TasteofConejo.com for $100 a person, which includes complimentary valet parking and a one hour early entry into the event from 4-5 p.m.

General admission tickets are available until Oct. 1st, tickets online for $75. There are a limited number of tickets that will be sold at the door. 21 and over only will be allowed admittance.

For more on the events and its participants visit TasteofConejo.

The 11th Annual Reyes Adobe Days Festival

The Reyes Adobe Historical Site at 5464 Reyes Adobe Road, Agoura Hills holds an annual festival. This is good time for the whole family. And if your pre-teens are Disney fans, well you will make them quite happy if you plan on attending the parade. While the event runs from October 1 – 4, 2015. The weekend festival will take place 10/3 & 4 from 11am – 4pm.  But on 10/3 the Reyes Adobe Day Parade with celebrity grand marshal, Corey Fogelmanis, who plays Farkle Minkus on Disney’s “Girl Meets World”, starts at 10 am. RAD is not only fun but educational. The whole family can celebrate unique California culture and history on the grounds of an original 1845 California rancho. Rancho activities include pony rides and a petting zoo; art boutique and gallery featuring local artists; local craft beer; food; museum tours and more.

TICKETS: The family weekend festival admission is FREE of charge.  For select events (Senior Fiesta, Night@Adobe, RADrun, Gymkhana), purchase tickets at reyesadobedays.org 

Celebrate Westlake Village – More to Do!

Do not miss the City of Westlake Village’s 13th Annual City Celebration on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 3pm to 8pm. If you aren’t from the area, this is the best way to find out what we already know. Westlake Village is the best community to live and work in – I can attest to that. At the celebration which features local performers, food trucks, and even a twilight run, your whole family will enjoy tons of fun. Be sure to check out the Goblin Gallop, magic show at 6pm and the popular White Oak Elementary Family Festival which features rides, a cake walk, inflatables, and a bake sale and silent auction. The Triunfo YMCA Twilight Goblin Gallop 5K starts at 5:30pm. There is also a one Mile Trick or Treat Fun Run at 6:15pm for kids. How fun is that? Kids who participate can stop at the numerous Trick or Treat stations along the course. Not only just for the little ones, this annual city event offers exciting performances and scrumptious food for all who attend. Free admission. For more information visit the festival website.

Booh! You Better Run! 

Haunted Trails of the Night 5K/10K Family Run/Walk is Saturday, October 17th at Paramount Ranch. Packet pickup at 6pm; race starts at 7pm. Runners of all levels and abilities are invited to experience trail running at night. This is open to the whole family. Those who are running or walking on the moonlit trails, will have a unique experience in the historic motion picture town of Paramount Ranch. If you are feeling extra social, stay after the run for a haunted post run hang in the historic old ghost town of paramount ranch. Drinks, food and fun. Also dress up in your best costume, there are awards!

Address: Paramount Ranch

2903 Cornell Road Agoura Hills

Parking and restrooms on site. Children MUST be accompanied by an adult. For more on the event visit the socalultrarunning site to sign up.

Home is Where the Heart Is…

Last but not least, don’t miss the 41st Conejo Valley Home Remodeling & RV Show. Homeowners, if you are planning fall and winter home improvement projects, now is your chance to talk with professionals for ideas and tips. The fall show is Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11 at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza (880 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village). And it may be local, but this is no small production. Attendees will have access to over 170 vendors with information on everything from kitchen and bath remodeling to interior decorating and landscaping as well as advice for pools and spas. The latest RVs and offroad vehicles will also be on display from Simi RV & Offroad. In case you are a foodie, this event has you covered. Gourmet food trucks will be on site at the show on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., October 10.

Home Show hours: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free passes are available online at The Conejo Valley Home Show site. Admission at the door is $4 per person. For more information, call 805-529-0760 or e-mail showkase9@gmail.com. 

Bluegrass Music, Fire Engines, and Pumpkins!

The Underwood Family Farms’ 18th Annual Fall Harvest Festival will take place October 3rd to October 31st.  Here are only some of the highlights… 

  • Friends of the Farm Weekend on October 3rd & 4th. Proceeds will help benefit The Ventura County Sheriff’s Charity Organization Cops Running for Charity and The Ventura County Fire Department’s Charity Groups. Not only is this a worthwhile cause to support, your kids will love the demonstrations including fire trucks, ambulances, tank type vehicle, bomb squad with their bomb robot, police car/motorcycle and much more.
  • October 10 & October 11 listen to the best country and bluegrass music. And if you are a pumpkin lover, there will be a Giant Pumpkin Contest on Sunday, October 11!
  • Antique Tractor Weekend is October 17 & 18 (10am-4pm) with antique tractors and a tractor parade!
  • October 24 & 25 is Western Weekend – from 11am – 3pm, there will be stunt ropers, a covered wagon, music, magic and much more! At 3:00, the cowboys ride off, but the festival continues until 6:00pm with music, games, rides, races and tons of family fun.
  • The final day of the festival is Saturday, October 31, “All About Pumpkins” weekend, with live entertainment from 10:30-5:30! Also on the weekends, food vendors serve up the Lion’s Club hot dogs, hamburgers, roasted corn on the cob, pie, Spencer/MacKenzie’s Mexican food, shave ice, kettle corn, cookies and more.

The 2015 festival will be open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm. Admission to the festival is $15.00 on Saturdays and Sundays and $6.00 per person Monday through Friday. Children under 2 are free PLUS parking is FREE! For more info visit the website at Underwood Family Farms.

This is just a small taste of why I love living and working as Real Estate Agent in Westlake Village. If you are a home buyer and looking for an award winning real estate agent, contact Lydia Gable Realty today to view current listings in Westlake Village and surrounding communities.

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