Conejo Valley Real Estate News

Nov. 16, 2017

Spiced Cider Cocktail

Give your Moscow Mule a punch of fall flavor with tart apple cider and a hint of cinnamon. You’ll want to sip on this cocktail all season long!


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces apple cider
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 ounces ginger beer
  • Ice
  • 1 apple slice
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. In a glass, combine the vodka, apple cider, and lime juice. Fill the glass with ice, and sprinkle on the cinnamon.
  2. Top with ginger beer, and garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.



Posted in Recipe
Oct. 23, 2017

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread


Pumpkin bread and chocolate chips are delicious on their own, but what about when they come together? Find out for yourself with this go-to comfort treat that can be enjoyed (devoured) during the fall.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together. Set aside.
  3. Beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs. Gradually beat in the dry ingredient mixture from step two.
  4. Once combined, gradually beat in the milk, pumpkin puree, and chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased 9’ x 5’ loaf pan, and bake for 55 minutes. Let the bread cool before taking out of the pan.
Posted in Recipe
Sept. 15, 2017

Strawberry Mousse Pretzel Pie

Strawberries are so delicious in summer, it’s imperative to use them in your cooking for as long as you can. This cool and creamy pie is full of fresh strawberry flavor, combined with salty, crunchy pretzels for a contrast of flavor and texture in every bite!


  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar


  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon strawberry gelatin,
  • or ½ (3-ounce) package
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, pureed and
  • strained, seeds discarded
  • 2 cups whipping cream, divided
  • ? cup sugar


  1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients; firmly press on the bottom, up the side, and onto the lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake 10–12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool completely.
  2. Filling: Beat condensed milk, cream cheese, and gelatin at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add strawberry puree, and beat at low speed just until blended. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Beat ¾ cup whipping cream at high speed until soft peaks form; gently fold into strawberry mixture. Spoon into prepared crust. Cover, and freeze 8–12 hours, or until firm.
  4. Beat remaining 1¼ cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over pie.
  5. Freeze 1 hour, or until whipped cream is firm. Serve chilled.

Give this scrumptious summer dessert a try, and let us know what you think! Share photos of your creation on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #ALMbites.

Reprinted from Picnics, Potlucks, & Porch Parties: Recipes, Menus, & Ideas for Every Occasion. Copyright © 2016, Aimee Broussard.

Posted in Recipe
Sept. 14, 2017

10 Home Improvement Tips


by Diane Brewer



Get the advice of a local Real Estate professional:

DIANE BREWER • (805) 390-3986 •

Realtor® CalBRE LIC#01978606


If you are curious about the appearance of something in your home, or the current

“shape” it is in, a physical inspection may be worth the fee. For instance, an unseen leak

can cause mold and flooring damage which can be quite costly if not properly repaired.

Getting a home inspection will eliminate any surprises and help you decide which repairs

to make up front, ensuring a smooth escrow.


A simple color scheme update and touching up the base boards can really give a fresh,

clean sought after look.




Update your home décor to match the paint selection, such as coordinating throw

pillows, plants, towels etc. Replace overly worn area rugs and pillows with new ones

that compliment your interior and represent trending color palettes. Another option,

is to invest in home staging.


The two rooms that benefit the most from home renovations are the kitchen and bath.

KITCHEN: You don’t have to start from scratch to make the kitchen great and earn

buyer applause. If you are on a smaller budget, replace outdated fixtures, knobs,

old floor mats/carpets and accessories. If you have a bigger budget, consider fully

renovating with new appliances, counters, and sinks.

BATH: The most cost effective change is to replace outdated vanity/fixtures and

handles/knobs on cabinetry, or add a new tile floor. This will give you the biggest bang

for your buck and a modern look for buyers. If budget allows, take the time to replace

and update the counter and tub or shower.


Walk around your home and make a list of little things that are broken, or in need

of repair. Individually, they may not seem important, but if each room has one thing

wrong, it can create an impression that the home is neglected.

Keep your home running smoothly. Often deferred maintenance ends up costing more

in the end, especially slow leaks. If your home exterior is landscaped, check for proper

sprinkler coverage. If you are worried you might have pests, mice or rats, don’t let one

turn into a family, hire a pest exterminator. Dropping removal and build up can turn

into a big expense often becoming worse than the seller was aware of. If you aren’t

comfortable doing the repairs, hire a local handyman to help eliminate some of these

problems down the road.


If you aren’t able to do this yourself or with the help of your Realtor®, hire a

professional to get you organized. Ultimately this will help your homes overall

appearance, and make the moving process much easier.


Low maintenance, drought tolerant shurbbery and plants have become very popular

in recent years. Keep your yard as neat as possible, for a well manicured look. If your

landscaping could benefit from a spalsh of color, add in some vibrant, flowering

plants to the front and rear of your home. Potted plants can also work wonders as

if you wish to take them with you (make sure to disclose to buyers which items are not

included). If you don’t have any landscape, consider turf, gravel or bark in its place.


Trash any old or broken items that are taking up wasted space in and outside of

your home. Broken lawn chairs, mis-matched or faded patio sets can easily become

eye sores to potential buyers. When it comes to the interior of your home, consider

letting go of too many knick knacks, old magazines and newspaper collections. If you

can’t decide, box them up and put any unnecessary items in storage.


Staging can often help maximize the value of your home. Did you know that staged

homes spend half the time on the market than non-staged homes and typically sell for

more than 6% above asking price -Real Estate Staging Association. Talk to your agent

about whether or not your home is a candidate for professional styling services.

If you are able to accomplish all, or even some of these tips, your home will likely be

more appealing to buyers and ready to sell.

Posted in Selling Tips
June 23, 2017

BBQ Deviled Eggs


  • 6 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 ½ tablespoon sweet relish

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 cup finely chopped smoked BBQ chicken

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 2 ½ tablespoons of barbecue rub

  • 2 tbsp green onions, chopped

  1. Halve the eggs lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash with a fork. Stir in mayonnaise, relish, Dijon mustard, meat and salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well. Spoon the mixture back into the egg white, or use a piping bag to pipe the filling neatly into the egg white. Lightly sprinkle each egg with BBQ rub and top with green onions.
  2. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours until ready to serve.
Posted in Recipe
May 21, 2017

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

If you like your cornbread sweet, fine but then call it what it is—a cake. This makes an excellent light breakfast with coffee or juice.


  • ¾ cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3½ tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Sift together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, sugar, and zest. Set over a small pot of hot water, double-boiler style, and whisk until warm to touch, about 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until it thickens and lightens in color, and forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted, about 5–6 minutes.
  5. In another bowl, combine oil, milk, and lemon juice. Return mixer to medium speed, and drizzle this into egg mixture. Reduce to low speed, and add the combined cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Finally, drizzle in melted butter, and combine.
  6. Line an 8-inch metal loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into the pan, and bake for 40–45 minutes, rotating once. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick or the tip of a sharp knife into the center of the cake—it should come out clean, and the cake should spring back when gently touched.
  7. Remove cake from the oven, and immediately sprinkle the sugar on top. Place pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Carefully lift the cake out of the pan, and return it to the rack to finish cooling.
Posted in Recipe
May 17, 2017

8 Home Painting Hacks That Will Change Your Life

Search homes in Moorpark real estate

By Rena Behar

Of all the DIY projects you might tackle during your days as a home owner, painting a room seems like the easiest. After all, people let their kids do it, right?

It all starts with some objects that are probably already lying around your house. Next time you break out the paintbrushes and trays, implement some of these handy hacks that will help you avoid much of the stress—and mess!—of painting. Read More


Posted in Remodel
April 23, 2017

10 Best-Kept Secrets for Buying a Home

Get the most out of your money with these handy home-buying tips.

-HGTV's Buying & Selling

Buying Secret #10: Keep Your Money Where It Is
It’s not wise to make any huge purchases or move your money around three to six months before buying a new home. You don’t want to take any big chances with your credit profile. Lenders need to see that you’re reliable and they want a complete paper trail so that they can get you the best loan possible. If you open new credit cards, amass too much debt or buy a lot of big-ticket items, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan. 



Buying Secret #9: Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan
There’s a big difference between a buyer being pre-qualified and a buyer who has a pre-approved mortgage. Anybody can get pre-qualified for a loan. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Being pre-approved will save you a lot of time and energy so you are not running around looking at houses you can't afford. It also gives you the opportunity to shop around for the best deal and the best interest rates. Do your research: Learn about junk fees, processing fees or points and make sure there aren’t any hidden costs in the loan. 

Buying Secret #8: Avoid a Border Dispute
It’s absolutely essential to get a survey done on your property so you know exactly what you’re buying. Knowing precisely where your property lines are may save you from a potential dispute with your neighbors. Also, your property tax is likely based on how much property you have, so it is best to have an accurate map drawn up.




Buying Secret # 7: Don’t Try to Time the Market
Don’t obsess with trying to time the market and figure out when is the best time to buy. Trying to anticipate the housing market is impossible. The best time to buy is when you find your perfect house and you can afford it. Real estate is cyclical, it goes up and it goes down and it goes back up again. So, if you try to wait for the perfect time, you’re probably going to miss out.




Buying Secret # 6: Bigger Isn’t Always Better 
Everyone’s drawn to the biggest, most beautiful house on the block. But bigger is usually not better when it comes to houses. There’s an old adage in real estate that says don’t buy the best house on the block. The largest house only appeals to a very small audience and you never want to limit potential buyers when you go to re-sell. Your home is only going to go up in value as much as the other houses around you. If you pay $500,000 for a home and your neighbors pay $250,000 to $300,000, your appreciation is going to be limited. Sometimes it's best to buy the smallest. Because the worst house per sq ft always trades for more than the biggest house.


Buying Secret #5: Avoid Sleeper Costs
The difference between renting and home ownership is the sleeper costs. Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but they also need to be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities and homeowner-association dues. New homeowners also need to be prepared to pay for repairs, maintenance and potential property-tax increases. Make sure you budget for sleeper costs so you’ll be covered and won’t risk losing your house.



Buying Secret #4: You’re Buying a House – Not Dating It
Buying a house based on emotions is just going to break your heart. If you fall in love with something, you might end up making some pretty bad financial decisions. There’s a big difference between your emotions and your instincts. Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value. Going with your emotions is being obsessed with the paint color or the backyard. It’s an investment, so stay calm and be wise.



Buying Secret #3: Give Your House a Physical
Would you buy a car without checking under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t. Hire a home inspector. It’ll cost about $200* but could end up saving you thousands. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. It’s really the only way to get an unbiased third-party opinion. If the inspector does find any issues with the home, you can use it as a bargaining tool for lowering the price of the home. It’s better to spend the money up front on an inspector than to find out later you have to spend a fortune. *fee varies based on location.


Buying Secret #2: The Secret Science of Bidding
Your opening bid should be based on two things: what you can afford (because you don’t want to outbid yourself), and what you really believe the property is worth. Make your opening bid something that’s fair and reasonable and isn’t going to totally offend the seller. A lot of people think they should go lower the first time they make a bid. It all depends on what the market is doing at the time. You need to look at what other homes have gone for in that neighborhood and you want to get an average price per square foot. Sizing up a house on a price-per-square-foot basis is a great equalizer. Also, see if the neighbors have plans to put up a new addition or a basketball court or tennis court, something that might detract from the property’s value down the road.

Today, so many sellers are behind in their property taxes and if you have that valuable information it gives you a great card to negotiate a good deal. To find out, go to the county clerk’s office.

Sellers respect a bid that is an oddball number and are more likely to take it more seriously. A nice round number sounds like every other bid out there. When you get more specific the sellers will think you've given the offer careful thought.

Buying Secret #1: Stalk the Neighborhood
Before you buy, get the lay of the land – drop by morning noon and night. Many homebuyers have become completely distraught because they thought they found the perfect home, only to find out the neighborhood wasn’t for them. Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. Do your regular commute from the house to make sure it is something you can deal with on a daily basis. Find out how far it is to the nearest grocery store and other services. Even if you don’t have kids, research the schools because it affects the value of your home in a very big way. If you buy a house in a good school district versus bad school district even in the same town, the value can be affected as much as 20 percent.

Posted in Buying Tips
April 8, 2017

Spring Polenta with Radishes and Garlic Scapes

This dish keeps things wonderfully fresh for spring, with creamy polenta and vibrant radish sprouts and broccolini. The use of garlic scapes and pecorino cheese add an unsurprising depth of flavor to this savory dish.



  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated pecorino cheese (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 radishes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 garlic scapes, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups broccolini
  • Radish sprouts


  1. Make the polenta: In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil over medium high heat. Add a few generous pinches of salt. Gradually whisk in the polenta, and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat, and continue cooking until the polenta is tender, 20 to 30 minutes, whisking often.
  2. Turn off the heat, and whisk in the garlic, olive oil or butter, pinches of salt and pepper, and cheese, if using. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Cover to keep warm.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the radishes, chickpeas, and a pinch of salt, and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir, then add the garlic scapes and broccolini, and cook until the vegetables are tender but still have a vibrant bite, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon the polenta into bowls, and top with the vegetables and radish sprouts.


Posted in Recipe
March 23, 2017

Midcentury Modern Remix

Midcentury Modern Remix

How does one go about restoring an icon's work? That was the challenge facing interior designer Jessica Helgesson, who was tasked with reviving a Portland, Oregon, home that was built by a well-known local architect in the 1950s but had subsequently been renovated. Helgesson sat down with us to explain how she managed to modernize the home while staying true to its original midcentury design.

Read More Here

Posted in Remodel