Conejo Valley Real Estate News

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
March 3, 2017

The Perfect St. Patty's Day Tartines

avocado pesto mozzarella tartine

Avocado Pesto Mozzarella Tartines

Herbs are the easiest way to punch up flavor in your food (after lemons, of course). They can be expensive to buy in little packages, so I recommend trying to grow a few yourself, but I've had decent luck with basil, mint, thyme, oregano, and safe. When I cook with herbs, I always add the lighter herbs (basil, mint, chives) at the very end so they stay bright and vibrant.



8 slices whole-grain bread

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

16 fresh sage leaves, de-stemmed

1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

Few leaves of watercress

Few sprigs of fresh thyme


Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



1. Drizzle the bread with olive oil, and then toast in a toaster or on a grill.

2. In a small skillet over medium heat, drizzle enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the sage leaves, and lightly fry until they turn vibrant green without browning, 10 to 15 seconds on each side. Transfer to a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

3. Top each piece of toasted bread with slices of mozzarella and avocado; some watercress, thyme, and sage; and dollops of pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra pesto on the side.



Posted in Recipe
Oct. 12, 2016

Find Fresh Produce And Tons Of Fun On Moorpark Real Estate

Search homes in Moorpark real estateAutumn is in full swing at Underwood Family Farms on Moorpark real estate. On this full working farm, located at 3370 Sunset Valley Road, visitors can pick their own produce, shop in the country store and spend time with friendly critters. In the Animal Center, children of all ages can interact with farm animals from horses to chickens. Youngsters can climb the haystack and play in the sand pit before hitting the playground.

Pick A Pumpkin On Moorpark Property

These days pumpkins adorn the ground on this Moorpark property. Coming up orange in all shapes and sizes, the pumpkin patch is plentiful. The month of October is ripe for Fall celebrations. At Underwood Family Farms, the Harvest Festival is in full swing. Happy smiles and skipping feet can be seen all around during this seasonal celebration. Each weekend focuses on a different theme including a Western Weekend and All About Pumpkins. Live entertainment and delicious food add to a lively vibe.

There are plenty of activities to participate in. Watch the pig races and cheer for your favorite oinker, master the corn maze and chuckle along through Craig’s Chicken Show. Little wranglers may want to saddle up and take a pony ride. And, the budding artist in the family may choose to paint a pumpkin. Plenty of colorful scenes set the stage for wonderful photo opportunities.

Other festivals are held throughout the year at Underwood Family Farms on Moorpark property. Spending time on the farm is also educational. Families nearby may want to consider purchasing an annual pass. Think of all the memories to be made together year round on the farm.


Posted in News
Oct. 12, 2016

It’s All About The Beach For Those Living In Ventura

Search homes in Ventura real estateIt’s all about the surf and sand for beach goers living in Ventura. Beach life is the best life and those playing on Ventura real estate make the most of the Southern California sunshine. Whether relaxing in the surf or hitting the waves, perfect spots for all can be found along Ventura coastline. Surfers Point is a sweet locale for surfing and windsurfing alike. Large waves and river cobblestones mark this landscape. Local surfers can catch big waves pretty much any day of the year. Located off of C-Street, Surfers Point is just steps away from more fun in the sun.

Stroll Along The Water’s Edge On Ventura Real Estate

While Surfers Point is great for riding the waves, neighboring Ventura Beach keeps the swimmers happy. This spot of sandy beach is great for making sandcastles and boasts a playground perfect for families. The nearby Ventura Pier makes an ideal stroll with people watching at its best. Sit on the deck at Eric Ericsson’s and enjoy a vibrant sunset. Watch as fishermen bring in a fish or two. Various vendors may be set up selling unique and quirky items to passersby.

Nothing beats a beach day. Scenic shorelines are second to none on Ventura real estate. Pack up the kids, grab the beach gear and get out into the sunshine.


Posted in News
Oct. 11, 2016

Art And Amusements Flourish On Thousand Oaks Property

Great Entertainment Awaits in Thousand Oaks HomesArtistic endeavors abound on Thousand Oaks real estate at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. With two theaters in the center, the venue’s calendar is packed full of events varying from concerts to comedy acts. Upcoming shows include Mom-O- Palooza, a stand up comedy masterpiece dedicated to messy love of motherhood. All moms will relate to this unique yet commonplace humor. Eighties iconic band Culture Club rocks on with the one and only Boy George. The legendary Beach Boys also bring their magic to the stage. Top hits will be sung and memories relived by both bands. The holiday season gets into full swing with musical sensations Broadway Christmas Wonderland and Tis The Season. Classic favorites The Nutcracker Ballet and A Christmas Carol are time honored traditions.

Thousand Oaks Real Estate Owners Take In Dinner And A Show

Guests viewing productions in the Fred Kavli Theatre will be treated to art exhibits as well. In the lobby of this Thousand Oaks property, pieces of art are proudly put on display. Artists featured are both local to the Thousand Oaks real estate community and from further afar.

Dinner and a show make for a perfect evening. Several restaurants are adjacent to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza including Umami Burger, Sabor Cocina Mexicana and California Pizza Kitchen. Plan a night out appreciating the arts and enrich your spirit and your mind.


Posted in News