Agoura Horse Property - Custom & Equestrian Real Estate by Nona Green

Friday, June 28, 2013
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Demise of DOMA is good for real estate in the Conejo Valley.

Yesterday's landmark decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was a hard won victory for same sex couples who want to be married.

It's fantastic how public opinion has seemed to shift in such a short time. In 2008, the overwhelming majority of Californians voted to pass Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state.

Was it really the majority of California who would deny equal rights to anybody? After all, California consistently votes Democrat; it's about as liberal a state as any. What happened to California was the promotional campaign waged by the Church of the Later Day Saints. LDS spent $20 million promoting Prop 8 in California.

The Conejo Valley is the hotbed of LDS members, or Mormons. There are more churches, colleges, community centers and administrative offices for the LDS in the Conejo Valley than anywhere this side of Salt Lake City. The Conejo Valley is home to a fire and brimstone of a lot of Mormons.

Prior to the vote on Prop 8, Yes on 8 lawn signs outnumbered NO on 8 signs by 10 to 1. If there were any enthusiasm for the NO on 8 position, it was suppressed by a LDS sponsored YES on 8 consonance.

At the time, I was trying to sell homes in the Agoura Hills neighborhood of the Conejo Valley. Trying to sell a home next to one with a YES on 8 sign on the front lawn is like trying to sell right next to one where the weeds grow sky high. Actually it was worse. I was showing homes in Old Agoura to a dapper young couple with two adorable toddlers. HE had just been hired to be in-house counsel for the Las Virgenes Unified School District. His husband was a stay-at-home dad. The couple asked about all the YES on 8 signs. I was apologetic and explained that while there were a few devout Mormons, I also knew of many resident gays and lesbians. The argument fell flat; it only takes one child molester in the crowd to ruin a good 5-year-old's birthday party. The couple decided to look elsewhere.

I was basking in yesterdays good news when I woke up to today's Acorn, the Conejo Valley local paper. I read an article about how long time Old Agoura resident Kevin Hamilton was called by the LDS to do missionary work in Africa. Hamilton was lauded by the church for helping the Yes on 8 campaign. While the church elder surmised in a public statement that the LDS influence was not the reason for Prop 8 passing, it was the LDS signs that seemed to be on every block.

Hamilton's home is on the market for sale. Also, I read an article recently that Mormons have left the church in record numbers over the last few years. Too late for one adorable family of four.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, can we agree that limiting large groups of buyers can not help your sale? And that publicly displaying one's political opinions will automatically set the buyer apart from many, which is most crucial when the issue is about human rights?

Comments: 3

Monday, June 24, 2013
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I showed a home in Old Agoura on Saturday. I must have missed the warning sign upon entering the home that said "WARNING - Use discretion when viewing this home as the visual presentation may be disturbing".

What I saw in that house has left me unsettled for the past 3 days. HEADS - attached to necks and chests, of exotic wildlife - endangered species: elk, gazelle, wildebeest, water buffalo - trophies on the walls.

My customer gasped audibly. My reaction was physical as well. The owner of the property saw our expression and commented with pride, "and we ate every one of those animals!"

Old Agoura is an equestrian community. As a rule, people want to live there because they are kindred spirits with animals and they commune with nature and wildlife. Animal heads on the walls are just so WRONG.

Unless they live in a cave, people know that big game hunting is bad for the animals, the ecology, and for the economy of Africa where threatened animal populations hurt tourism.

The listing agent for the home compared it to a lodge in Montana. Is that where hunters and other rednecks live? I imagine fat impotent rich men getting off by shooting lions in virtual cages. Certainly that's a distraction when viewing a home for sale.

If you recognize yourself as the owner of the home I showed on Saturday, you can thank your real estate agent for not persuading you to take the heads off the walls before putting your home on the market.

Perhaps you can donate the animal heads to the Museum of Natural Science. Pretty soon, that will be the only place left where these creatures can be seen.

Comments: 0

Sunday, June 23, 2013
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Team Logan Fundraiser sponsored by Ewing and Associates Sotheby's in Agoura was a great success.

Logan Nobriga is the 9 year old son of Kyrsha Wildasin, who is the graphic designer for Logan is undergoing treatment for leukemia. Kyrsha is unable to work full time while caring for Logan. The event, consisting of a Happy Hour and Silent Auction, raised over $11,000 to help with living expenses for the family.

"I am having the hardest time trying to figure out what to say that will adequately express my thanks for all of your thoughtfulness, hard work, support and love. Everything I write seems so lacking. The event was amazing and I am so happy I was able to make it. Hopefully I thanked and hugged each one of you personally, but if I didn't please know that I am beyond appreciative for everything you have done, not so much for me, but for Logan. Please know that what you are doing is affording me the opportunity to give him the care and love he needs to get through this. You are allowing me to put my head on the pillow at night at least knowing that our needs are met and I can use my energy to focus on what is most important, my son. My hopes are that one day I can give back or pay forward all the amazing kindness and compassion that has been shown to us and that Logan will have the kind of character you all have. Please take a moment to acknowledge yourselves and recognize that what you did was part of a miracle for us. I constantly pray for Logan to be taken care of and you all showed up. Truly amazing. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and soul.

With much love and gratitude.

Kyrsha xox"
Comments: 0

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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This article highlights a local talent.
Jim Sterling's license plate on his Porshe Carrera is PURE 925. 925 is the elemental number for his namesake silver. The number on the side of the car is 79, since Jim has attracted attention for being "almost an octogenarian."
Jim is racing this weekend at Buttonwillow Racetrack in the speed trials.
An architect who is credited with designing some of the major Federal offices and hotels in downtown Los Angeles, Jim is keeping busy in his retirement years. He is a long way from slowing down - we'll see just how fast he can go at Buttonwillow.
Jim's wife Carol, is an active equestrian. She rides dressage and keeps her horses in Triunfo Canyon. The Sterlings reside in Calabasas.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that prohibits stores from using single use plastic bags. A Los Angeles County similar ordinance has been in effect for a few years and was based on extensive study about the effect the bags had on the environment and the economy. Calabasas bans the use of plastic bags. Why does the City of Agoura Hills still allow the use of plastic bags, or styrofoam for that matter?

Single use plastic bags present both an economic and an environmental burden on society. Litter cleanup of unincorporated areas costs County taxpayers over $20 million annually, of which plastic bags are a significant amount of the litter stream. If not collected, plastic litter often finds its way to the ocean where it can drift for years, or be mistakenly eaten by animals where the plastic will remain in the animal’s digestive tract for the rest of its life. At recycling facilities, plastic bags clog machinery which slows the recovery of other recyclables. Studies have also shown that a charge of 10¢ per paper bag would discourage customers from simply switching from one single use bag (plastic bags) to another (paper bags). Customers may bring their own reusable bags every time they shop to avoid paying 10¢ for a paper bag. In addition, these single use plastic and paper carryout bags were never “free”, but instead the costs were built into the price of commodities.

Isn't it time for Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, etc. etc. to follow the lead set by Calabasas? In fact, the charge for a paper bag should really be $1. Then maybe shoppers will remember to bring their reusable canvas bags.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
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California Wildlife Center in Malibu Canyon has been getting several calls lately (as they always do this time of year) from concerned people who found baby birds. The Center says that if the bird is not in a dangerous place, is fully feathered and able to hop around, the best thing is to leave it be, or move it to a low branch or bush close to where it was found.

Many species of birds such as hawk, crows and owls leave the nest and spend as many as 2-5 days on the ground before they can fly. This is a normal and vital part of the young birds' development. While they are on the ground, the birds are cared for and protected by their parents and are taught vital life skills (finding food, identifying predators, flying).

Taking these birds into captivity denies them the opportunity to learn skills they will need to survive in the wild. Unless a bird is injured, it is essential to leave them outside to learn from their parents.

Nestlings on the Ground

If you are concerned that a bird fell from its nest too early, you may try and return the bird to its nest. If the nest has been destroyed or is unreachable, you may substitute a strawberry basket or small box lined with tissue and suspend it from a branch near to where you believe its nest is located.

Birds have a poor sense of smell and very strong parental instincts, which means they will usually continue caring for their young. However, adult birds are cautious after any type of disturbance and it may take several hours before they approach the nestling. During this period it is essential that humans not approach the nestling.

Fledglings on the Ground

Fledglings are typically fully feathered, with a short tail and wings. They are able to walk, hop and flap, and they may attempt short flights, but are still being cared for by the parents.

If you find a fledgling, it should be left alone or at the most placed in a nearby shrub. Keep people and pets away so the parents will continue to care for it until it can fly.

Placing fledglings back into nests is typically only a short-term solution, as they will quickly re-emerge. Moving fledglings to entirely new locations is also ineffective, as they are still dependent on their parents for survival and will quickly starve.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
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A pocket listing is one that is not in the MLS. The agent may or may not have a signed exclusive right to sell authorization. Either way, the seller who accepts an offer without the benefit of the exposure through the Multiple Listing Service affiliated with the local Board of Realtors, may be leaving money on the table.

Some of the top producing agents are eligible for membership in clubs and website that network listings outside of the MLS. This is not illegal, although some real estate boards are instating policies that prohibit this activity as a condidtion of membership.

A few sellers may not want their home listed in the MLS. They site privacy as the primary reason. The reality is, is this age of the internet, even a pocket listing is often very public knowledge.

In the Conejo Valley Association of Realtors MLS website, many listing are appearing as "in escrow" the moment they appear in the MLS. "Sold before processing" implies that an offer came in and was accepted before the members of the MLS even knew about the listing. The listing agent often acts as the agent for the buyer in these instances, earning the lion's share of the brokerage fee. In this regard, a pocket listing is in direct conflict of interest with the seller of the property.

What are your thoughts about pocket listings?

Comments: 3

Thursday, June 06, 2013
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A new listing in Old Agoura is priced right thanks to help from Old Agoura expert Nona Green. Nona recognized and coined the term 'LANDMARK" as it applies to this property, meaning that it was the quintessential example of the Old Agoura Overlay (City of Agoura Hills planning ordinance) intent when the ordinance was implemented.

Click Here to view the property

Comments: 3

Thursday, June 06, 2013
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A colleague asks:

My client who bought the short-sale on Mulholland earlier this year is asking about adding horse space, which he thinks will cost about $150K. I am not sure what he would add (barn, arena, whatever). How much value would this add to his property?


The added value of a barn and arena really depends on where the property is located. In other words, if the property is hard to access with a trailer, not close to trails, or otherwise less desirable for horses, adding the facilities would be a waste of money.
On the other hand, if the property is in an area already popular with equestrians, a ready to go facility has tremendous appeal to the right customer.
The design should be considered: Box stalls with no turnouts would be less universally desirable than a nice breezeway with in-and-out turnouts with the added bonus of a large turnout or pasture; an arena with quality footing, irrigation, and correct drainage, along with the implements to maintain the arena, i.e., motorized equipment with proper harrow and roller, would add at least the cost of construction and probably much more.
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Tuesday, June 04, 2013
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ETI Corral 36 Board Meeting 6:30-7:00 PM

at Diamond X Ranch,

26412 Mulholland Hwy.,

Calabasas, CA 91302.

@7:00-9:00 Guest Speaker: Robert M. Miller, DVM

-Problem Solving! Bring your general questions in WRITING to hand to Dr. Miller. Dr. Miller then answers each question in depth including prevention and a cure. Dr. Miller can speak on any subject about equines you might want to suggest.

Dr. Miller opened his veterinary practice 30 years ago in Thousand Oaks. Conejo Veterinary Clinic is the only large animal clinic in the Conejo. Dr. Miller pioneered and wrote a book on the concept of "imprint training" in foals. We are proud to have him speak at our local ETI meeting.

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