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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HOLIDAY HOME DECORATING TIPS

HOLIDAY HOME DECORATINGHum-Drum to Holiday Happy

It’s holiday time again and when there are holidays, you can bet there are homeowners thinking up new holiday home decorating ideas. Some folks really embrace the idea of holiday decorating but for some, it’s not as easy either because of a lack of ideas or a lack of funds. But you don’t have to spend a ton of money nor does it have to be complicated. There are simple ways to decorate your home so that it reflects the joy of the season! With a few of the following tips, you can go from hum-drum to holiday happy in just minutes. Take a look at the following list of holiday home decorating ideas.

A Festive Centerpiece

An article on RealSimple offers some great tips. I particularly like the five-second centerpiece. The idea here is to use what you to make a gorgeous decoration with simplicity. It’s not only simple but it makes for an elegant centerpiece for any holiday party.

Mix clementines or oranges and peppermint balls in a single glass compote (or a grouping of three).

Holiday Garland for Decorating

Do you have columns at your entrance or maybe a trellis? This could work with both or even just a fence. Wrap the columns or drape the fence with white lights and green garland. The entrance is the perfect holiday starting point for decorating because guests will feel the holiday spirit as soon as they step on your property.

Hanukkah Holiday Decorating

Hanukkah is the first week in December this year. Decorating isn’t just for Christmas. If you celebrate Hanukkah and want to add some festive flavor to your home, SFGate has some ideas for you. One of the best ones involves window decorating. Says the piece:

Set up a raised platform on the sill of the central bow window during Hanukkah and cover it with a silver-and-blue velvet cloth. Place a large menorah — one that holds candles or a decorative menorah with powered lights — on the platform so its light is clearly visible through the window.

Holiday Home Decorating: Curb Appeal

Don’t forget holiday curb appeal – your mailbox can be covered in red bows and wreathes which is small decoration that packs a big punch. It’s just a simple way to add a touch of holiday decorating without doing too much and being called the Griswolds of the cul de sac. I also like the idea that Southern Living had which if done well can add such a classy touch. They decorated the window sill with a view varied vintage-looking Christmas lanterns. It’s the small touches really and that doesn’t cost much. You can paint some old lanterns you may already have or pick up a few interesting pieces at the local flea market.  Says the article:

Arrange a grouping of festive lanterns at your entryway for quick-and-easy holiday style. Consider using flameless candles as a worry-free alternative to regular pillars.

The Smell of a Christmas Home Sale 

Maybe you are putting your home up for sale, decorating might be a bit much. But you would be surprised how the smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, hot apple cider, the smell of pine in the entrance or even a scented hot chocolate candle, can evoke the emotions of home. If you are staying in your home over the holidays and want to still enjoy the feeling of the festive season, but you don’t want to go overboard with decorating because you plan on listing it during the holiday season, don’t forget the smells of Christmas. It can make all the difference. A gorgeous homemade wreath on the door and the smells of Christmas past, could be just the added touches of staging you need.

The Home is the Hearth

Let’s be honest we all decorate for our guests and neighbors to enjoy. But don’t forget, your home is your hearth. When you walk in, it’s the place to leave all your cares from the outside world on the doormat. So set a tone that is comforting and even festive. Maybe you are from family this holiday year or perhaps you just moved into a new home. Turn on some holiday music, grab a few friends and family members and start decorating. It’s a fun way to bond with others but also a lovely way to make your house feel like the home you always dreamt it could be. You take such good care of your home, let it take care of you.

Oh and last but not least… A happy and safe holiday season from all of us here at Lydia Gable Realty Group. From my home to yours, I wish you joy and happy holiday home decorating!

 

 

 

 

 

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What Does El Niño Mean for SoCal Homeowners in 2016?

MALIBUEl Niño – Intense 2015-2016

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 almostwell except when El Niño hangs outperfect 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.

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Conejo Valley – Zombies, Ghosts and Ghouls!

HALLOWEENPUMPKIN

Conejo Valley ideas for Halloween

Live in the Conejo Valley and want some ideas for Halloween? Whether you live here or you are courting the idea of relocating, what better way to get to know your neighbors and have some fun than to be scared out of your wits by ghouls and goblins? But seriously if you have never ventured out in the Valley on Halloween, there are so many organized activities. There is no excuse not to have fun! Take a look at just a few of the splendid goings-on.

Zombie Walk?!! Ahhh!

The Stagecoach Inn Museum at 51 South Ventura Park Road, Newbury Park, does something awesome every year forGhouls1 Halloween. This year is no exception. On Saturday, October 31st from 12:30pm and 4pm the museum is hosting Halloween crafts, games and storytelling for the kiddies and even a pre-carved pumpkin contest. So get to carving – you could win big and it’s a fun event that the whole family can enjoy together. The museum states on their website that costumes are optional but highly encouraged. Of course – Halloween is all about costumes but I guess they want have too much of a ‘fright’ if you decide to go sans costume. But the best part is the museum sponsors a Zombie walk! That’s right you read that right – you can take part in a Zombie Walk! How fun is that?

Admission $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students (not to mention senior students and student seniors) and $2 for kids ages 5 to 12. Under 5 is free! www.stagecoachmuseum.org

Visit an Enchanted Forest!

Prefer to stay in with your little ones on Halloween? Why not head on over to the Oak Park’s 10th Annual Indoor Halloween Carnival? The Oak Park Community Center does it big every year for Halloween and this year is no exception. The event will take place at Oak Park Community Center, 1000 Kanan Road, on Saturday, October 31st from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Only $2 for 2 and up and $1 for under age 2. Parents are free when accompanied by children.

Ghouls2The Halloween Carnival is for so fun for children but kids and their parents will enjoy games, attractions, food and even prizes. Costumes are encouraged. If you haven’t been to this carnival before, you are in for a ‘treat’. They will display a Trick or Treat Village and even an Enchanted Forest! They also have fun stuff like face painting, game booths and of course food for all. The best part – the entrance fee covers UNLIMITED use of all games and attractions. If you have children, The Halloween Carnival in Oak Park is definite must-do.

For more information visit www.rsrpd.org or call 818.865.9304.

Hempstead Halloween Tour

If you just moved to Agoura Hills or to one of the surrounding neighborhoods in the Conejo Valley, you may not be aware of this beloved Halloween tradition. A cul-de-sac, on the 5700 Block of Hempstead Drive, does it HUGE for Halloween. The Hempstead Halloween is famous that it attracts several thousands of visitors each year both from the Conejo and San Fernando Valleys and Los Angeles

The neighbors on the block take this 20 year old tradition very seriously. In fact, according to the website, “Themes are established each year and the residents carry out the design work, lighting, props, and music or sounds to make the surreal scenes come to life.”

So take your family for a night or terror and torture and then when you are sufficiently scared out of your gourd, head over for some comfort food at The Shoppes in Westlake Village. Sounds like the perfect evening. If you dare…

Note: From the City of Agoura Hills: To ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the annual Halloween festivities on Hempstead Drive, all access points will be closed (open only to pedestrians and/or residents who will need to present verifiable identification) on Monday, October 31, between the hours of 5 through 9 p.m.  http://ci.agoura-hills.ca.us/

Reign of Terror – Are You Brave Enough

Are you a “Freddie” fan? Is gore and horror your favorite Halloween activity? Then look no further! The Reign of Terror Haunted House at Janss Marketplace is waiting for you… Gahahaha, if you can stand it! Halloween weekend for two nights of horror on Friday 7-10 p.m. and Saturday 7-11 p.m. you can test your mettle. This haunted house is the real deal. In fact it was voted the best walk through attraction in SoCal.Ghouls3

Buy tickets, RSVP and get the details at the link below. Plus, enter for your chance to WIN a FREE VIP Ticket and “I SURVIVED” T-shirt. See you there! http://bit.ly/ROT15

This is just a small smattering of the Halloween activities availed to you in the Conejo Valley.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, living here is all about a sense of community. This is why I love and feel privileged to live and work as a 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 Group today to view current listings in Westlake Village and surrounding communities. Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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