Home inspections are a very important part of the home buying experience. Have a quick listen so you understand its purpose and process. Remember, it’s about function not cosmetic.
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 (email@example.com or 818-383-4335) if you would like to have access. Here for you and your home always!
Making a List and Checking It Twice…
Have you ever thought of writing a real estate new year’s resolutions list? New Year’s Day is weeks away and most likely most of us are looking back at our year and deciding what goes on our 2016 New Year’s resolutions list. But as a homeowner or potential homeowner, you should also jot down some real estate new year’s resolutions. It’s a good idea to get your real estate ‘house’ in order. Not to mention you can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t make a decision to get there. So on that note, here are five good real estate new year’s resolutions that can help you manifest your home owners’ goals more quickly.
Jot down all five of these practical and some more enjoyable tips onto your New Year’s resolutions list for 2016 so you can see all your homeowners dreams realized this year.
- Annual Property Tax Assessment
This resolution can set you on a better financial path in the future. Maybe you are saving for a better home or want to make upgrades to your current home. Every little bit saved helps. So, if you are a homeowner and your home appraisal value has dropped even by a smidge this year, you be able to pay less for property tax by contesting your property tax assessment. Many realtors will even issue an annual reminder to clients to remind them to review their property tax. You may also not be aware that if you do discover that your property tax is too high vs. the current value, you may request a hearing date within a limited time frame. Call me for more information on this. Bottom line: put this on your must-do’s for 2016.
- Home Owner Insurance Discount
Now, still on the financial goals side of things…Did you make any major repairs or upgrades to your home this year? If so you may be able reap the benefits of this even if you don’t plan on listing the home for sale. Major repairs or improvements that you made to your home last year may qualify you for a discount on this year’s home owner’s insurance coverage. Be willing to do a little research and prove the costs of the repairs but this resolution can be well worth the effort. Don’t forget this one your list. Home owner’s insurance discount, resolution #2, 2016.
- Upgrades… Finally
Resolution #2 flows very nicely into this resolution which is… Resolve to make those “put off” home owner upgrades finally this year. As you can see, even if you don’t sell, it may definitely pay off in the way of discounts. But if you are planning to sell, do it now. Don’t wait until the last minute. Kitchens and bathrooms are the areas that will pay off most in the sale so be willing to make the investment. Granite countertops, spa showers and pedestal tubs. A 2014 article in U.S, News Money & World Report says there are definitely home improvements that will boost your home sale:
As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” When people drive up and first see your house, you want them to think of it immediately as a home that has been maintained and well cared for. “It’s you putting your best foot forward,” says Christy Biberich, owner of Christy B. Design in Los Angeles who appears on the HGTV show “Brother Vs. Brother.” “We do judge a book by its cover.”
- De-Clutter, De-Stress
Maybe you have no plans on selling just yet or perhaps you have even just moved in – whatever the reason, a cluttered home is not a happy home. Your home is supposed to be a sanctuary away from the hectic outside world so treat it as such. A blog on Luxury Simplified suggests starting with the most clutter-prone areas like closets. Says the writer:
Empty closets. These are the graveyards for all the belongings homeowners don’t know what to do with. Spacious closets are a coveted feature among buyers. Make yours appear larger by being uncluttered and well organized.
- Find a Real Estate Pro
As with any high stakes endeavor, a coach or mentor can determine success. So if you know that your dream home is your next goal but it’s a full one year away, use this time now, effectively. Research. Seek out your best team, now. A realtor can make all the difference between buying your dream home and simply buying any old house in price range. And to that I would say, look around your neighborhood. Look at potential dream homes. Go to open houses at home that you have deemed “dream homes” so you can decide if these houses are actually living up to the idea in your mind. Then find a real estate professional while you have the time to interview and decide. A top real estate agent can make all the difference!
- Find Your New Dream Home
A home is more than just a front door, a living room and a few bedrooms and bathrooms. There are several factors that can boost a home’s potential: different designs, commuting and proximity to local highways, luxury location, lot size, taxes, interior dimensions, façade and curb appeal. Take the time if you are so privileged to do so. Put “finding your dream home” on your resolutions list now and then take your time and search thoroughly.
Lastly from all of us at Lydia Gable Realty Group, a happy and safe holiday to all. My wish for you in 2016: All of your home owner new year’s resolutions come true and that all your dreams are realized right where you are – happy at heart and happy at home.
By now unless you live under a rock, you have all heard of the meteorological label known as, El Niño, but are you aware of how it may impact homeowners and real estate investors, especially in Southern California in the not so distant future? Experts are now predicting that the weather pattern — a term that has become all too familiar in our everyday vernacular — is due to pack a serious punch to real estate owners in the near future especially on the West Coast. If you have heard the term, but aren’t exactly sure what it is, here is CNN’s tiny, encapsulated version of a not so tiny weather pattern. CNN refers to El Niño as:
…a weather event which “heats up the atmosphere and changes circulation patterns around the globe, especially the jet stream over the Pacific, which becomes stronger and dumps more frequent and intense storms over the western U.S., especially California.
The National Weather Service issued an El Niño advisory on October 8th, 2015, indicating “…an approximately 95% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, gradually weakening through spring 2016.” What does this mean for you? Rain. Rain and lots of it. And after four years four years of being lulled by drought conditions, of course Californians will welcome the wet weather, but is your home prepared to withstand torrential down-pours? If not, and even if you aren’t sure, don’t wait for the rains to start.
Ventura County Roofing BOOMING as Homeowners Prepare
Make sure that your roof is inspected and repaired if necessary. It’s a good thing to do annually anyway. Check your sewers and drain pipes. I’m afraid Californians have become all too comfortable but now is not the time to sit back and do nothing. And it’s important to note that weather experts are only “predicting” heavy downpours but even they will admit they aren’t exactly sure. However, if you are buying, selling or currently own a home – chance isn’t on your side, not this season. Do the due diligence to protect your home, your investment and most of all your safety. A recent article in the Ventura County Star and reporting by ABC are saying that Ventura County roofing companies are booming due to El Niño. Homeowners are being cautious – hype or safety first? You be the judge? Says Steve Radenbaugh of Bilt-Well Roofing, while it’s probably not a great time to be removing your roof as that’s a 3-5 day job, he does point out in a recent ABC video report on El Nino:
You want to make sure your roof is free of debris, your valleys, your gutters, so the water is flowing off it like it’s supposed to … some trouble spots that could lead to an El Nino leak include the seals around vents and sunlights. Waiting until the rainy months to address roof issues could lead to other problems.
El Niño: Ventura County Prepares
So as we steel ourselves for the El Niño storms ahead, are we proceeding in fear? Of course not. Does this mean don’t buy or sell a home here? Absolutely not! What it means is that the best defense is a good offense. And we Californians are very aware of uncontrollable natural events in SoCal as it’s earthquake country. Does a little or a lot of ground shaking scare us enough to pack up and leave? No. We would miss out on the almost — well except when El Niño hangs out — perfect year-round climate and all the wonderful things that come with living on the Pacific Coast. So what do we do? We get prepared. El Niño is no different. Of course, as always when purchasing or selling, have your eyes open. If you are buying a home, pay extra special attention to gutters, seals and roofs when you are inspecting. If you own or you want to sell, do your best to repair these cracks or leaks now. But if in the event you do find yourself at the mercy of an El Niño downpour – here are some tips from the Ventura County Emergency Preparedness site – ReadyVenturaCounty and they are good ones. You will want to pay attention:
Download the checklist: Emergency Supply Kit Assemble an emergency supply kit.
- Register your phone number(s) at vcalert.org.
- Purchase flood insurance. Many homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage.
- Create a list of items to take with you if you are asked to evacuate. Items such as: keys, cash and credit cards; photos; insurance papers; computers; prescriptions; and pet supplies.
- Clear debris from roof gutters, downspouts and drains so water can flow and drain properly.
- Have a supply of sandbags and other flood prevention materials such as plastic sheeting, plywood and tarps.
For even more on emergency preparedness, visit the full Ventura County website for more information. It is really informative.
Hiking, Beaches, Fun … oh and a Little El Niño
Now that that you are sufficiently informed, you can relax and enjoy all that Westlake Village and surrounding communities have to offer – it really can’t be beat! So for now at least, enjoy the amazing weather that we are blessed to enjoy. Take a drive to Malibu beach for a sunset stroll or get out on the many hiking trails near Westlake Village or even better catch up on your holiday shopping at The Shoppes. El Niño can’t break our spirits in SoCal – we’re having way too much fun!
If you like this article on El Nino feel free to comment. For more information on any topics covered in this blog or if you are interested in buying, selling or viewing properties in Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable Realty Group today.
*This article was recently published in Thousand Oaks Acorn. Great article…
Lydia Gable, Keller Williams Adds to her Team
Realtor Lydia Gable with Keller Williams Realty recently announced the addition of two employees to her team.
Aubrey Slack has been licensed in real estate for over 13 years and has worked throughout California, Alaska and Texas. She will join Lydia Gable Realty Group as an executive assistant, managing all of Gable’s transactions.
Lisa Kass has been licensed since 2010 and has successfully helped buyers and investors in Los Angeles and the Conejo Valley. She will join the team as a buyer’s agent.
I am thrilled to welcome these talented women to my team,” Gable said. “We have worked tremendously hard to get where we are today, and now we have even greater capacity to provide outstanding customer service to our clients. That is our highest priority.
Often I sell homes to clients who are relocating from out of state or to young couples looking to move up. The common sentiment expressed is, “Wow I didn’t know about all the great things this community had to offer.” In light of the best kept secret in real estate, the Conejo Valley, I thought I would share some juicy info that you may not know about this community – things to do, clubs to join, and more. If you have ever thought about moving to Westlake Village, Agoura Hills or Thousand Oaks, read more for facts and fun that you never knew. Read more to find out about the community I love and in which I have the privilege to work and play.
Let the Music Play On…
Did you know that during the summer and early fall there are free concerts all over the community? Here is an upcoming event in Westlake Village – part of the Concerts in the Park Series:
City of Westlake Village Concerts in the Park Series – Boogie Nights (Disco)
Sat, August 22, 7pm – 9pm
31800 Village Center Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91361
Says the Conejo Valley Guide:
The 12th Annual TGIF Westlake Village series offers families a series of free performances at the Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 Oak Crest Drive. Events start at 7pm. The lineup includes: Saturday Concerts in the Park planned this summer at Berniece Bennett Park, 31800 Village Center Road: Sat, August 22 at 7pm: Boogie Nights (disco). Food is available for sale from local restaurant vendors each week. Concerts start at 7pm. More information and updates at www.wlv.org.
Farmer’s Markets abound in the Conejo Valley – I am going to go out on a limb and say there are probably a larger variety of Farmers Markets here in then in most Southern California communities. Take a look at all of these choices and it’s only a small selection:
- Westlake Village Farmers Market – Sundays 10a-2pm 2797 Agoura Rd, Westlake Village
- Agoura Hills Farmers Market – Sundays 9a-2pm 5835 Kanan Rd, Agoura Hills
- Thousand Oaks Farmers Market – Thursdays 1:30p-6pm The Oaks Mall, east parking lot, Thousand Oaks.
Clubs, Volunteer and Networking Orgs…
Did you know that Ventura County, part of the Conejo Valley, is home to a slew of professional, service and networking clubs and organizations? If you are a corporate professional, a community volunteer enthusiast or just looking to get involved, this is the place to be. Have you heard of the Optimists Club? There is a chapter in Ventura County – the name is quite appropriate. We are an optimistic set for sure. Take a look at Optimist International – this is just one of many clubs you can join as soon as you move here. According to Optimist International:
Optimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local Clubs whose Members work each day to make the future brighter by bringing out the best in children, in their communities, and in themselves.
They have events and groups for both adults and youth and there is a chapter right in Ventura County. What better way to settle into a new community.
Here are some more professional organizations..,
- Assistance League of Conejo Valley
Philanthropic organization founded in 1995. 100% of donations go towards programs.
- Assistance League of Ventura County
Nonprofit volunteer organization founded in 1946 dedicated to the enrichment of the lives of children in Ventura County
- Association for Corporate Growth – 101 Corridor
Group for professionals involved in corporate growth, development and mergers and acquisitions initiatives in the West Valley-Ventura County-Santa Barbara areas.
You can find a myriad of organizations and charitable groups at The Conejo Valley Guide Service Clubs page.
Taste of Conejo…
If you only just relocated to the Conejo Valley or you are planning on it by summer’s end, well you will be right in time for a fantastic annual event, Taste of Conejo, held every October. According to the event sponsored website, Taste of Conejo gives you the opportunity to:
Join over 1,000 local food and wine enthusiasts at the 7th Annual Taste of Conejo on Thursday, October 1th from 5-8 p.m.! Enjoy an evening of exceptional food, wine and spirit tasting, and live entertainment, all under one roof! This inclusive event invites you to sip and taste the creations of over 50 local, premier food and beverage participants.
Sherwood Country Club…
And finally you may not know that if you buy a home and relocate to the gated community of Lake Sherwood, you will have the opportunity to join the prestigious Sherwood Country Club. Says the site:
Sherwood is a private golf, tennis and country club set at the base of the majestic Santa Monica Mountains in Thousand Oaks, California. The Club is home to a championship 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, driving range and golf clubhouse. Adjacent to the golf club is the tennis clubhouse, complete with 14 courts, a sparkling pool, fitness facility and full-service spa.
The Conejo Valley: Your are Home
This is only a sliver of the many goodies offered to the residents of the Conejo Valley. Beyond the great people, the year round perfect climate, and luxury resort living, it’s a community that you can live, work and play in but most of all, it’s a place to call home.
If you are ready to buy a home, you can learn more about the community and view listings in Westlake Village or anywhere in the Conejo Valley by contacting Lydia Gable today.
David Seaburg, head of sales trading recently said as reported by CNBC, “I think housing stocks are names you should continue to own here, especially in the face of wages improving and jobs growth.” The consensus by a myriad of experts is that housing is on the verge of breakout. In May, the housing market saw the biggest numbers in years and real estate stock continues to grow. With real estate stock booming, this kicks the economy into high gear and then you guessed it, buyers go out and spend more.
Home Buyers: California is a Hot Market
Are you ready or are you still in a recession mindset? Maybe you are saying, “Well I don’t know if that applies to my corner of the world.” Certainly some markets are still struggling, but there are areas of the country that are very hot right now. Says chief economist at Realtor.com, Jonathan Smoke:
Our early read of real estate trends in June suggests good news ahead for the U.S. residential real estate market, especially in the hottest markets with healthy growth in supply. California again dominated the hottest markets list.
So if you are ready to buy or even poised to sell, now is the time.
Why Buy Now in Ventura County?
Terry Savage, expert on personal finance, the economy and markets wrote recently on a Huff Post Money Blog,
The time to get into the market is when there is little competition pushing prices higher.
But if you look at the numbers, you have an exceptionally advantageous window of opportunity right now. It does not mean you cannot buy later, but in terms of investment, every economist is saying “get in now.”
As I wrote in my recent blog Housing Market Hits Record Highs, May and June numbers are leading housing experts to sit up and pay attention. According to a recent Metro Study Report, Ventura County closings are up.
Ventura County closings increased from 95 to 183 (+93%), and annual closings increased from 502 to 566 (+12.7%).
We can all focus on the the past mistakes of the 2008 housing crisis but it makes much more sense to embrace that we are in a strong recovery and it’s a time of growth and opportunity. The numbers, while they off to a slow start in January, have been steadily climbing. It is likely now that we are going to continue to prosper. If you are ready to sell, make sure your home’s curb appeal is shinier and more appealing than any others, so you sell at your listed asking price. The competition is tough. Make sure to get the right agent and professionally stage your home so buyers are begging to get in. If you are looking to buy, many of you who are new to Southern California might not know about a community, just a short jaunt from Los Angeles, Westlake Village. If you are looking for a home that includes Southern California resort style living, top schools and a close proximity to Los Angeles, this is the place to view luxury home listings.
For more on Westlake Village and surrounding areas like Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills, contact Lydia Gable today.
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.