Discovering Luci’s Trail – Ojai

I love Ojai.  I especially love the hills above downtown Ojai. Serenity abounds!  Hiking is one of my favorite things to do! So good for the soul.

The trails system in Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s Valley View Preserve is one of my ultimate favorite places to explore. The hikes are a bit strenuous (which is what I am looking for) and are absolutely  beautiful. They also keep you relatively close to town so that always helps me lessen my inhibitions of encountering  a wild animal!  Plus, they are well used meaning there are other people around pretty frequently,  if you should need assistance.

I was eager to try out Luci’s Trail.  I have heard great things about it!  Access is off of Shelf Road just pass Fox Canyon trailhead.  Ojai Valley Land Conservancy has a great map of the Valley View Preserve.  click here to see the OVLC 2014-valley-view-map-web

img_9594

Luci’s Trail is super fun. It is a bit steep in the beginning so be prepared to spend a bit more time on the trail if you want to complete a loop.  I decided to go up Luci’s Trail from Shelf Road and hook up to the Foothill Trail (take that West) and then come back down Fox Canyon Trail.  It was a great mix of ups and downs and kept my senses active with all the different sights. Amazing views of the Ojai Valley!   I would highly recommend it!  This loop can be done in about 1 hr – 1.5 hr.  My fitness tracker measured about 3.5 miles. Parking is available on N Signal Street.  Please be courtesy of the residences nearby!  OVLC has clear marking of each trail.  Although, their website has a great mobile trail finder that you can access while on the trails at ovlc.org/trailfinder/.   Have fun and enjoy Ojai!

Upscale Mediterranean For Sale in Ojai

Beautiful Listing For Sale in Rancho Matiija, Ojai/CA

This amazing Mediterranean home with spectacular panoramic views was custom built in 2010.

TwoFishDigital_12930BlueHeron-17A generous floor plan offering 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, separate office, large master suite with luxury bathroom and oversized walk in closet.

TwoFishDigital_12930BlueHeron-34Approximately 6,800 square feet of generous, upscale living with a very comfortable atmosphere.

TwoFishDigital_12930BlueHeron-2The views are amazing. Enjoy life while sitting by the fireplace on the outdoor balcony deck and be mesmerized by Ojai’s stunning pink moment, sunset views.

TwoFishDigital_12930BlueHeron-45Entertainer’s Delight. Entertain your friends and family in the spacious game room with pool table, air hockey table, and full bar.

TwoFishDigital_12930BlueHeron-55Treat your guests like royalty; they can stay overnight with comfort and privacy in the formal 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom guesthouse with fireplace and separate garage.  Situated in the friendly, gated community of Rancho Matilija.

TwoFishDigital_12930BlueHeron-50This home is a fantastic blend of fine living, entertainer’s delight, and a wonderfully pleasing atmosphere.

Why Buying a Home is Better Than Renting

Why Buying a Home is Better than Renting

Conventional wisdom used to state that buying a home is always a great investment. But after the housing crisis, many people who saw their equity sliced in half began questioning this logic.

That’s unfortunate. In most parts of the U.S., home buying is still a better decision than renting for people who plan to remain in the space for at least 4-5 years or more, both for financial and emotional reasons. Let’s explore some of these factors in-depth.

Price Security in Home Buying

Historically, prices tend to rise over time. For example, a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a semester of college tuition cost more today than they did in 1990.

Your mortgage payment, however, is one constant you can rely upon. If you hold a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly principle and interest (P&I) payment remains the same, regardless of how prices are moving in other industries. (Your property taxes and homeowners insurance may rise.)

Price consistency offers the advantage of planning for the long-term future. As a homeowner, you can anticipate your monthly housing costs in 5, 10 or 15 years.

As a renter, you can’t lock in this type of security. As prices climb, landlords raise the rent to meet the current market. In fact, some landlords write rent escalation clauses into their leases, systematically raising the rent annually.

If you’re renting with a month-to-month lease, your landlord may announce a price jump with only 30 to 60 days of advanced warning, depending on the laws in your area. This puts renters in the difficult position of needing to either find the additional funds or scramble to secure new housing with little advance warning.

Investment – Cash-on-Cash Return

As a homebuyer, the outlay of a small down payment can give you the opportunity to make outsized gains.

Hypothetically, for example, imagine that you put a 20 percent down payment on a $100,000 house. The price rises 5 percent, to $105,000. You would earn $5,000 on your initial outlay of $20,000 – a return of 25 percent. This is known as cash-on-cash return, and homeownership can make this type of gain accessible to the average person.

Forced Savings

A home can be a type of “forced savings.” Each month, a portion of your mortgage payment is returned to you in the form of equity. The longer you own your home, the more equity you build – both via mortgage payments as well as in potential value increases.

Renters don’t have this luxury. Many of the pro-rental arguments hinge on the assumption that money “saved” (either via lower monthly payments or through alternate uses of the down payment) would be invested in the stock market.

Realistically, though, what’s the likelihood that a renter would invest that money, rather than spend it on a trip to the Bahamas? And if that money were invested, what’s the likelihood that a renter wouldn’t panic during the next crash and sell at the bottom of the market, turning paper losses into actual losses?

A home functions as ‘forced savings,’ helping you build equity. Like a personal trainer, it keeps you accountable.

Flexibility with Home Improvements

As a homeowner, you can have the freedom to upgrade your home to your heart’s content – without carrying risk or ongoing financial commitment.

If you get a bonus at work, you can celebrate by installing hardwood floors or renovating the bathroom. If you suffer a financial setback, you can defer your plans to remodel the kitchen.

Renters don’t hold this flexibility. The only way they can upgrade their living space is by moving, and this entails both hassle and commitment.

Homeowners, by contrast, can upgrade their home piecemeal as they accumulate cash over the years. Home improvements are a one-time expense that doesn’t require continuous commitment.

Pride of Home Ownership

You wouldn’t invest hundreds of hours cultivating an exquisite garden in a rental property. You wouldn’t hang wallpaper or replace the light fixtures on a rental property.

As a homeowner, you can take pride in crafting, personalizing and perfecting your home. The space can truly morph into a reflection of you, in a way that a rental property never could.

Neighborhood Connection

As a homeowner, you’re more likely to become involved in your local community. There’s a stronger chance that you’ll join the neighborhood association, organize potlucks or block parties with your neighbors, coach a local sports league or volunteer at the local school.

While it’s possible that you’ll get involved with the community as a renter, you’ll also likely feel an emotional barrier that stems from knowing you might move in a year or two. Committing to an area for the long-term can inspire you to invest more time and energy into improving the neighborhood and connecting with the surrounding community.

Credit: Article published on coldwellbanker.com

The Ojai Loop – A Great Hike in Ojai

For those who who love to experience nature and all of Ojai’s glorious energy, this is a great hike for you! Start at Pratt trail head near the top of Signal Street. Hike up Pratt Trail, upFoothill Road, past the water tower till you come to what locals call the “saddle” or better yet a fork in the road. At this junction you could go left and the trail will hook up to the Cozy Dell Trail which is also a phenomenal hike but today, we went right on the Fuel Break Trail.

This meanders in the gorgeous backcountry, some ups and downs of small hills varying steepness. It is a bit exposed so it was great today being it was a bit cloudy. Tremendous views of Ojai and the majestic National Forest. Eventually, this trail will come to Gridley Road. If you have small children, I would recommend parking an extra car at this point. We hiked down Gridley for a short distance and then took Shelf Road back to Signal street where are cars were. This hike has 3 great trails in one giant Loop!

I clocked it at 6.7 miles, it took us about 1.5 hours and we ran some along the way. If your visiting Ojai, this is a great morning excursion! Have fun!

IMG_1380

IMG_7850

IMG_7855

IMG_7851

IMG_7852

IMG_7854

SOLD Mid Century Near Downtown $750,000

MID CENTURY  SOLD for  $750,000 in just 3 days!SocialMedia Post

4 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom 1,836 SF House  and 9,600 SF Lot

Classic mid century design and modern luxuries are expertly embodied in this 3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom home located in one of Ojai’s most desirable neighborhoods. This beautiful, extensively remodeled home invites comfort, and exudes modern elegance. Stunning professional kitchen remodeled with granite counter tops, dual ovens opens into the inviting great room with high ceilings and wood burning fireplace. The sophisticated travertine floors and plenty of natural light flow throughout the home’s open, airy layout. Entertain with class in the large dining room. The master suite has generous living space, vaulted ceilings, dual closets, and a remodeled private bathroom. You’ll enjoy a perfect setting for relaxing and entertaining with a sparkling salt water pool, a generous sized vegetable garden, plus a patio area. Incredible location, nestled near the base of the Topa Topa mountains offering ample outdoor activities like hiking, biking, walking etc. Fruit trees on the property.

Ojai Meadows Preserve

Ojai Meadows Preserve is a must! Great walk or run along dirt paths meandering throughout this wildlife preserve maintained by the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. Located adjacent to Nordhoff High School on Maricopa Highway. Parking is on shoulder on Maricopa Highway. Take notice of the beautiful native plants and animals and gorgeous Topa Topa mountains. Dogs are welcome on leash.

IMG_7693-1

IMG_1359

IMG_1357

IMG_7690

Final Walk Through Tips

 

 

What To Expect During a Real Estate Walk Through (For Sellers and Buyers)

20140330-152120.jpg

Guest Blog Post by Cara Ameer

THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WALKING… THROUGH THAT IS.

One of the last pieces that a buyer does before going to closing is to “walk though” the house. What exactly is a walk through and what should happen?

A walk through is the last milestone prior to closing where a buyer visually inspects the property to ensure what they are buying is in substantially the same condition as when they first saw it, and to check on the completion of any negotiated repairs or replacements that were agreed upon to be made.

Everyone has come a long way from contract offer to acceptance, financing, inspections, getting through the appraisal and now one last check before documents are signed and keys are handed over.

Because it is one of the last things prior to closing, it can often be a rushed process as sellers are often hurriedly trying to vacate, etc. This part of the transaction is often the least prepared for and least coached about the proper way to leave a property upon move out:

So, let’s talk about seller and buyer do’s and don’ts:

Sellers:

TIME – Plan ahead and give yourself more time than you think. Plan to be moved out two to three days BEFORE the closing. This will give you some extra time for any last minute things that need to be taken care of. The process often takes longer than what you think.

EMPTY – The house should be completely empty when the buyers walk through. Buyers are expecting to see a totally VACANT house. Empty means empty –nothing lingering behind or in “a don’t know what to do with” pile.

CLEAN – Leave the home THOROUGHLY CLEAN and not just surface level clean. Make arrangements to have the home professionally cleaned once you move out. The buyers will appreciate it and it is one less thing you will have to take care of. This also means having carpets professionally taken care of as well. Don’t forget inside the cabinets and the oven – yes – buyers look inside of that during the walkthrough –even if you last used it a year ago! Things will be that more exposed in a vacant home setting.

UNWANTED ITEMS – Don’t leave unwanted items behind in the garage or attic – those areas seem to be a repository for things like old paint, doors, broken hoses, tires….. if you don’t want them, the buyer likely does not either. Make plans to dispose of these things well in advance of your moving day – especially anything deemed hazardous.

MANUALS – Put all manuals for appliances, controls, etc. in one drawer and gather all keys and remotes and have those in one package for the buyer. Label any keys and where they go – the buyer will appreciate knowing what goes to what doors –especially if all are different. It is also nice to leave a list of any particular instructions, details about the house, garbage collection day(s), etc. for the buyer. A vendor list also helpful to leave behind – even if buyer got your list in advance of the closing, being in transition will help to have important information easily accessible.

TRASH – This needs to be taken away BEFORE the walk through, not left behind for the new owner to deal with. Make arrangements to take to a neighbors or arrange for a special pick up if your closing date is between trash pick-up days.

DAMAGE- Move out damage – this can often create stress at the end when a buyer notices a gauge or ding. If something is damaged during move-out, promptly notify your agent so they can advise the buyer’s agent. Have a plan in place to get it repaired – this can often happen with movers and walls, floor scratches. Be sure to take care on surfaces like wood floors.

And one last thing… sometimes floors are faded when area rugs are picked up –be sure to check this BEFORE you put the house on the market 🙂

BUYERS – Stay flexible… this may not be a perfect process.

A walkthrough can be a rushed situation as it is right before closing and you have a ton of things going through your mind. Recommend having your original inspectors come back to check any inspection repairs that were made PRIOR to the walkthrough. It can be very difficult to check all repairs yourself, even if you have a receipt right before closing. Some items may be difficult to determine or may not be the most accessible. Leave this to the professionals that did the inspection in the first place. There is usually a charge for a reinspection but it is WELL worth it. Can’t put a price on eliminating doubt.

If incomplete repairs are found, have inspector document their findings and submit to the listing agent immediately to issue(s) can be rectified. Reputable contractors warrant their work and should not have an issue coming back out to address.

Don’t plan to start moving things in prior to closing – you legally don’t own the home and there could be issues with insurance coverage in case something happened between the time you placed your belongings in or on the property until the closing. While it may not seem a big deal to bring over “a few boxes” – this could create some potential liability issues if something went wrong. You may need some interim storage arrangements.

Arrange if time allows to meet with the sellers prior to closing so they can orient you with the home and go through how things work.

Cara Ameer is with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Pontre Vedra Beach, Florida

What To Expect During a Real Estate Walk Through (For Sellers and Buyers).

Rancho Matilija

SOLD! Nestled under the Oaks on 2 acres this elegant California Mediterranean residence provides sumptuous living in the prestigious gated community of Rancho Matilija. Designed by famed architect Marc Whitman, this exquisite 4,000 square foot residence artfully captures Ojai’s natural essence with fabulous details in craftsmanship. You’ll love the impressive curvature of the walls highlighting the natural design of this custom home. The gourmet kitchen has professional grade appliances, an over-sized center island, & ample space. A spacious second story loft provides an ideal setting for an entertainment room/office. Impressive craftsmanship with hand carved Hickory floors, smooth plaster walls, state of the art security system & whole-house Lutron lighting system. Entertainer’s paradise complete with a saltwater pool & spa, outdoor patios w/ fireplace & 2 bedroom full guest house. A citrus orchard, rose garden, & majestic views of the Ojai mountains completes this impressive estate.