Author - Michelle

virtual tours

Virtual Tours

During these unforeseen times Real Estate, much like every other business, has been forced to adjust to align with social distancing regulations. However, these circumstances should not prevent you from selling your home, investing in a new home, or purchasing your dream home. It does mean that we need to take extra precautions in order to ensure the safety of your family and everyone else involved. Luckily, there are still many ways including Virtual Tours, our team can help you adjust to these new regulations.

  • Phone Apps such as Zillow and Redfin. In this digital age, most people are very familiar with searching for properties digitally. These apps are still functioning with accurate and up-to-date information. This is one of the most efficient ways for you to inform yourself of available listings in real time.
  • Digital Tours. Some homes have recorded video of the property that you can watch from the privacy of your own home. Other homes have digital walk-throughs available. Either option is great for giving you a more interactive tour than viewing still photos.
  • Facetime. We are able to Facetime available properties for you so that you can ask questions as we tour the property and take your time to make sure you feel comfortable.
  • While we realize this can be a difficult adjustment as we all figure out a “new normal” these precautions allow us to best serve you in the immediate future. We want to remind all of our clients that we are available day or night to address any concerns you may have during this time and we understand you may be facing additional worries. We are informing ourselves daily of the ever changing guidelines and making sure we are taking every precaution necessary to help keep everyone safe. If we can assist you with a virtual tour please feel free to reach out to us at any time 805-990-7580.

    Moorpark Highlands

    Top 5 Spring Cleaning Tips for 2020

    Are you safe at home and feeling like a little Spring Cleaning is necessary? I think we’re all feeling like a little organization might help bring us some peace. Spring-cleaning is important for everyone, particularly if you’re preparing to sell your home in the near future. After all, a clean, well-cared for home is much more attractive to potential buyers than a messy, disheveled one. And as long as most of you out there are sequestered at home for obvious reasons, now is as good a time as any to start spring cleaning. Here are some of my favorite tips.
    • Make a schedule: Commit yourself to times when you will be cleaning and de-cluttering your home. Have a plan for each room and stick to that plan. Hit one room at a time and do not go back and forth as this will only make the task harder and more disorganized.
    • De-clutter: Spring cleaning provides the perfect opportunity for one to throw away unneeded items in the home. Go over those items that you have not used for years and consider selling, donating or throwing them away. Clothing is always a good place to start. Some experts suggest that if you haven’t worn a particular item for at least 6 months, it may be expendable.
    • Get the entire family involved: Many hands make light work. One of the advantages of having a large family is all the manpower that is potentially available when it comes to tasks such as spring cleaning. Give everyone in the family a special duty including young children. Often, children of a certain age are happy to feel as though they are contributing in some way. Just be sure to keep it organized so that you don’t get in each other’s way.
    • Break cleaning down into 10-minute chunks: Spring cleaning is a marathon not a sprint. Pace yourself. Take small breaks when you begin to grow tired so that you will have enough energy to complete the task.
    • Stock up on cleaning supplies: I know – great joke. If and when you are able to purchase your favorite supplies try to get the supplies you need but not a surplus. These supplies can consist of much more than Lysol but include: sponges, rags, mops, etc.
    Many of us think of spring-cleaning as being an odious task that must be performed once a year. The truth is a 15-minute cleanup routine practiced every few days can make spring cleaning a breeze. It can also produce a home that is healthier, more pleasant to live in, better organized and easier to sell. We have plenty of Moorpark homes for sale or coming available soon including those in the Moorpark Highlands. My team and I will help you find a clean, safe home that you and your family will thrive in for years.


    Ventura County’s Housing Market: The Spring 2020 Outlook

    Spring has sprung and it is usually a prime time for people seeking to buy a new home. However, we live in strange and uncertain times. The housing market in California is being impacted by economic uncertainty which has been worsened by the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), this uncertainty is behind what may be a 2.5% rise in the price of new homes in Ventura County. This trend, according to the CAR, is likely to continue through the spring and for the foreseeable future. However, the news here is not all bad. If you are a seller, then this could mean that you may be able to make a profit from selling your home. (The Catch-22 here is that you may have to market to relatively fewer buyers.)
    Other Developments in the 2020 Spring California Housing Market
    • San Jose, Calif., will continue to be a tough housing market. With only four homes for sale per 1,000 households, Ventura County and indeed San Francisco will both remain challenging territories for realtors and for people who wish to sell their home.
    • Low housing supply in Ventura County is expected to carry over from the last decade and last through the spring of 2020.
    • Rental list price is expected to rise for Ventura County to nearly 2.8K. (Source Zillow).
    • Millennials will still dominate the market. Just as in other parts of the country, Millennials will continue to be the largest part of the home buying market in Ventura County. This will be aided by their relative comfort with searching for a home via virtual Internet tours and their ease with using mobile technologies to scan for homes. This is good news as they were expected to dominate market regardless of COVID-19 and is one of the many positive indicators that the market will survive these uncertain times with stability.
    At the end of the day, both buyers and sellers will need to rely on experts to help them navigate these difficult times in the real estate market in Ventura County and in the nation as a whole. Real estate experts such as my team can help homebuyers and sellers in their ability to research and collect data that effects the decision to either buy or sell a home. My Ventura County real estate team can help you decide what is best for you in the near and long-term. We have Ventura County homes for sale that suit a variety of needs.


    The Coronavirus: How it May and Already has Impacted the Housing Market

    There has scarcely been an industry that has not been affected by COVID-19 better known as the Coronavirus. This of course includes the real estate industry, which is by definition a business that is intimately connected with the health of the overall economy, and therein may be an indicator of how profoundly COVID-19 will affect the housing market. Where goes the economy so goes the housing market which although not subject to the volatile up and downs of the stock market, is still a part of our financial system.
    Specific Effects the Virus may have on the Housing Market
    For now the impact of the Coronavirus has not had an effect on the real estate industry. However, that is likely to change as developments around this crisis continue. Here are several ways COVID-19 may ultimately impact buyers and sellers.
    • Mortgage rates could fall as a result of Coronavirus. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already cut its forecast for global economic growth by 0.1%, despite the impact Coronavirus is having on businesses.
    • The outbreak may drive investors into the bond markets, where lower rates are creating more attractive debt/refinance options.
    • Some domestic buyers may be dissuaded by rising economic uncertainly in light of the impact the virus is already having on the overall economy. Buyers who can make regular monthly payments are likely to take advantage of falling interest rates to significantly reduce their borrowing costs. This is a benefit they will be able to enjoy long after the virus has receded.
    • New home construction in California could slow down even further. The Coronavirus is already disrupting supply chains that the California Building Industry uses to support new home construction. As this disruption continues, the cost of materials may increase or become limited. This may impact the cost of construction and ultimately housing itself.
    While it is true that the Coronavirus already is having an impact on the housing market, it is also true that ours is a resilient industry. We have survived many a crisis and have continued to thrive as one of our nation’s most important industries. Thus, if you are looking for a Moorpark realtor we are still able to provide you with many options in a new home. We have Moorpark homes for sale that are still solid investments in a time of uncertainty.


    4 Surprising Benefits of Downsizing into a Smaller Home

    Here on the West Coast, we are trained to think of bigger as always being better and that having more is the best of all. However, there is something to be said for austerity. There is something to be said for simplifying your lifestyle and shedding away the excesses of life that can sometimes create stress, plunge us into debt etc. This is the pressure that people with large homes can sometimes feel. With that said, here are 4 ways that downsizing to a small house can actually make your life better, more efficient and cozier.
    You have less to clean: Cleaning a 2,500 square foot house can be an all-day chore. It can also take away from time you could spend doing other, more productive things. In contrast, smaller homes take less time to clean freeing you up to do other tasks.
    Downsizing to smaller home cuts energy costs: One of the biggest downsides to living in a large home is that it takes a lot of energy to heat and cool them. With small homes there is less space to heat and cool. At the same time, they also reduce your family’s carbon footprint. Even if you decide to remain in a larger home, you can contact your local energy provider for tips on how to save money on heating and cooling costs.
    Downsizing means you spend less on unnecessary items: Having a smaller living space requires that you seriously cut back on things around you that you do not need. It forces you to equate each purchase you are about to make and put in the context of how much less room you have.
    Lower maintenance costs: While big, beautiful homes seem like a dream, the cost of maintaining them can sometimes be rather costly. In contrast, with less space you can usually do a lot of the maintenance work yourself thereby saving the cost of labor.
    According to the U.S. Census, the average size of an American home was 983 square feet in 1950. By 1973 it had grown to 1,660 square. Finally, in 2010, the average house was almost 2,400 square feet. Despite this trend, many Americans are seeing the utility of downsizing to a smaller home. They are beginning to see this as a way to make their living space more efficient. My Ventura County real estate team can help you decide what is best for you in terms of house size. I have Moorpark homes for sale that suit a variety of needs.


    5 Signs You’ve Found the Right Realtor

    Whether you are in the market for your first or fifteenth home, finding the right realtor is a huge key to locating and settling into exactly the place you want. The right realtor can make the entire home buying process – from making negotiations, communicating with the others involved – much easier. So how will you know when you’ve chosen the right realtor to guide you through the all too-real journey of buying a home? Read on to discover how you can tell if the realtor you have chosen will be a help or a hindrance to your home buying efforts.
    Agents, Brokers, and Realtors: What’s the Difference?
    Real Estate Agent – An agent is a real estate professional who has earned a license to help people buy sell or invest in homes. They must pass their state’s real estate licensing exam before they are able to help the public. Once done, they must align themselves with a real estate brokerage
    Broker – This is a real estate agent or realtor who represents sellers or buyers of real estate property. They often work under a licensed broker to represent clients. Additionally, a broker must pass a specific exam to earn certification.
    Realtor – A realtor is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS®
    Signs You’ve Found the Perfect Real Estate Agent
    • The agent you’ve chosen is knowledgeable: This is the primary value that an agent can bring to homebuyers and sellers. They should be familiar with all areas of real estate and be familiar with the market in which you are home shopping.
    • Your real estate agent is responsive, available, and communicative: The agent you’ve chosen must be someone who will return your calls and answer any questions you may have. A great agent understands the importance of keeping in contact with his/her client as delays can cause deadlines to be missed, etc.
    • They are persistent: A good agent not only knows that real estate is full of setbacks and delays but he or she must also know how to persist in getting the results their clients desire.
    • You like being around them: When you engage a real estate agent you are also starting a relationship that may last for some time. Therefore, be sure that you can get along with the person you have chosen to do business with.
    • They’re honest with you: Honesty is the best policy when it comes to real estate agent/client interactions. A good real estate agent should be able to give you the harsh truth that what you’re looking for is not available if necessary.
    Screening Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents
    So how do you find the right agent? One way is to ask questions – plenty of questions, such as:
    • How many years have you been in the business?
    • Is your real estate license in good standing?
    • How many other clients are you working with?
    • Have you ever recommended that a buyer not buy a property? Why?
    Whether you’re looking for Moorpark homes for sale or searching in some other area of Ventura County, hiring the wrong real estate agent can be disastrous. That is why you should take as much care as possible in choosing the right partner in your search for a home. As the number one Century 21 Small Teams Realtor Nationwide, our team can help you find the home of your dreams and we will strive to make the process as seamless as possible.


    Browsing for Homes Online: Is it a True Panacea?

    Part of the promise of the Internet is that it can save people time when they are searching for goods and services they need. With a few clicks and a fast connection you can browse 100s of sites for 1000s of items. So, it is no surprise than many people use the Internet to shop for a new home. Well, there are several precautions one should take when shopping for a home online. Here are some things you should know as you browse those listings.
    • Not all websites keep their listings current: Be sure that the site you are searching keeps current listings. Some sites update their listings as often as every hour or so. This means that some listings are likely to be far more up to date than others. After all, you don’t want to get your heart set on a property that is no longer available.

    • What you see is not always what you get: Cracked floorboards, busted boilers, and leaky pipes can easily be concealed when pictures of a house are posted online. After all, what you are seeing online is the best representation of what the seller wants you to see. This is why an online search should be supplemented with in person contact with the property, the buyer, the realtor, etc.

    • Understand the value that a local realtor can give you: A local realtor can steer you away from homes with hidden issues and from online listings that are too good to be true. Moreover, a local agent is much more likely to have knowledge of the local market you are shopping than an online real estate database site would.
    The bottom line is that shopping for a home online is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it should be supplemented with actual in person interactions with an agent and by attending open houses where you can see the home you are interested in up close and in person. In other words, take the listing on the mass home indexing sites with a grain of salt and use common sense as you would with any major purchase. As a Moorpark realtor with many Moorpark homes for sale, I can help you in your search for the perfect home by giving you information that you cannot otherwise obtain with a brief search through the online home aggregating sites.


    Tips for Visiting Open Houses: Rules Everyone Should Follow

    Whether you are a window shopper or a serious potential buyer, open houses present the perfect opportunity to browse the inside of a home that may one day be yours. Moreover, it is the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse at the neighborhood and neighbors who may someday make up the community around you. Finally, they are the perfect chance to gain valuable information on the very practical aspects of purchasing a particular home. So, how do you get the most out of this opportunity? Here is some information about open houses and the etiquette involved in attending one.
    What is an Open House?
    An open house is an event where potential buyers can tour a home that is on the market. The benefits of these occasions are several: First, potential home buyers don’t have to make a schedule to attend an open house. Second, it gives home shoppers an opportunity to “scout out” the competition. Finally, it gives potential home owners valuable data on a home that appeals to them.
    How to Find Open Houses
    As already stated earlier, open homes do not have to be scheduled. This makes them very convenient but sometimes tricky to find. However, there are four ways to know when a house is available for viewing:
    • Ask your agent
    • Use listing websites
    • Use social media
    • Simply drive around a neighborhood until you find one that appeals to you.

    How to Attend an Open House
    Once you’ve found a house that appeals to you, here’s what you should do once you decide to look further into what may be your new home one day.
    • Kindly wipe your feet before walking in: Remember that you are entering into someone else’s home.
    • Register your name when you walk in: This is necessary for the realtor so that he/she can have your contact information and for security purposes.
    • Ask questions: Now is the time to speak up so that there are no misunderstandings should you decide to make an offer. Ask probing questions such as – When does the seller want to move? Are there any issues? Have there been any renovations or recent repairs made to the home? What are the HOA restrictions? What are the average utility costs?
    • Get in and out efficiently: Be mindful of others who may be there. Open houses are not an invitation to loiter or wander about aimlessly. Also, watch your children if you have them with you.
    • Take notes and record a video if you are permitted to do so: You may need to do this if you attend several open houses in a short span of time. This can also be ideal if you are traveling from out of town to help jog your memory later.
    My final piece of advice is to try to have fun. Researching houses does not have to be as stressful as some people make it out to be. This is particularly true if you engage the right agent to help you. You can view many Moorpark homes for sale by my team, Tina Hare and Associates, one of the best Moorpark realtors and the number one Century 21 Agent Nationwide for Small Teams!


    The Pros and Cons of Buying a brand New Home

    The Pros and Cons of Buying a brand New Home
    If you are in the market to purchase a home you have probably realized there are many decisions to make. One of the most important of which is whether to buy a new home or one that has been pre-owned. While the answer may seem obvious at first – especially if you have the means to buy a new home – the decision can be a rather difficult one to make. Here are a few of the pros and cons of buying a new home.
    Advantages of Buying a New Home
    • Everything is new: This means that you will probably spend very little time having things repaired or replaced throughout the house. This is particularly important when it comes to flooring and roofing as both can be quite expensive to have repaired or replaced.
    • Your home is protected by a warranty: For new homes the warranties usually begin from the closing date of the home. This means items like appliances will have at least a 1 year builder’s warranty on them. This is can be one aspect of purchasing a new home that appeals to homebuyers the most.
    • New homes often come with more safety features: It is relatively rare for older homes to come with built in safety features such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. One the other hand, this is quite common in newer homes. Of course, this means that you will have greater peace of mind that your family is well protected.
    • New homes are usually more energy efficient than older homes: On average, new homes can provide up to 20% more insulation than older homes. Newer homes generally have better insulation and air sealing, heating and cooling, and energy efficient appliances. These can all add up to great savings on your utility bills.
    Of course, buying a new home is not a panacea. They come with some drawbacks especially for those who assume that such houses will always be “perfect.” The drawbacks to purchasing a newer home are:
    • New homes are costly: On average new homes can be up to 20% more expensive than older homes.
    • You may have to deal with ongoing construction around your property: Often, newly built homes are situated in developing communities. This means that there may be construction occurring around your property for some time.
    • Problematic location: Newly constructed homes are often located on open land meaning that they may be far from city centers. This means that you may have to travel some distance to reach restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. However, this is not always the case.
    In the end, the best way to figure out whether or not a new home is the right choice for you is to gather all the facts, do your research, and think clearly about what you want in a home. My Ventura County real estate team can help you decide what is best for you in the near and long term. We have Ventura County homes for sale that suit a variety of needs and would be more than happy to help you in the New Year to accomplish your real estate dreams.


    The Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying an Older Home

    According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the typical owner-occupied home was built in 1976—43 years ago. This means that many of the homes available to home buyers today will be at least that old if not older. As you might expect, buying a home this old requires a great deal of thought and careful research. While older homes can sometimes be more affordable than newer homes and usually posses a certain charm, they can also be a challenge to own. How do you decide if an older home is worth it? Consider our list of pros and cons:

    Advantages of Buying an Older Home
    • Lower cost: This is the feature that many people find to be the most attractive about older homes. Additionally, buying an older, less expensive home means that people tend to be able to pay off their mortgage sooner and have more money for the other costs associated with home ownership.
    • Location: Just as newly constructed homes tend to be built away from city centers, older homes tend to be located closer to the center of towns. That means that shops, schools and other businesses and institutions can be far easier to reach either by car or on foot.
    • Strong investment potential: Older homes, as it so happens, make strong investments. This is especially the case if you find buyers who are into homes with rare architecture or vintage design. Thus, you will usually have a good chance of making a profit on your purchase.

    Disadvantages of Buying an Older Home
    • Less energy efficient: Older homes tend to have windows and doors that are not as efficient at keeping in heat as newer homes. Moreover, older homes tend to have old or little insulation. These kinds of defects can result in a huge loss of heat in the winter and higher heating bills.
    • Subject to contain building code violations: Older homes tend to have heating systems or inefficient plumbing that can put them in danger of being in noncompliance with modern building codes. Thus, it can be quite costly to have the heating, wiring, plumbing, etc., in them updated.
    • Older homes can come with “imperfections”: For example, an older home that is located near trees can have roots that threaten its foundation, its plumbing system, etc. Such foundation repair can be and usually is quite expensive. Additionally, older homes tend to come with other flaws that require handymen and other professionals to correct.

    In short, an older house can offer benefits—and character—that a modern home doesn’t have. However, to truly avoid the potential pitfalls of owning one you must fully vet and inspect any older property you are considering. You also need to confer with a realtor who can help place you into the right home. As a Westlake realtor, I would be happy to show you any Westlake Village homes for sale that are in excellent condition and that are located in thriving neighborhoods.