“Dedicated to the Pure Enjoyment of Chocolate”
Owner Denise and able bodied super-barista Cory.
By: Roger Ewing
Tifa Chocolate and Gelato just relocated their store to a new location in the Whizzin’s shopping center, right across from The Canyon Club and easy walk from Wood Ranch and the other restaurants in the Whizzin center. They have outstanding gourmet chocolate and the home made gelato that is to die for. Not only that, but they make what I consider to be the finest coffee to be had in the Conejo Valley. Friendly service combined with outstanding products at a reasonable price. If you are a prior customer, or if you haven’t yet enjoyed the Tifa experience, you must visit their new store and sample some of their amazing gelato, chocolate and coffees.
The new store is spacious with much more indoor, and soon, outdoor seating than their prior location at Kanan and the Ventura freeway. With summer coming you will want to head to Tifa for ice cold gelato, and your favorite iced coffee concoctions. www.TifaChocolate.com
Tifa Chocolate and Gelato
28888 Roadside Drive
Agoura Hills, California
“Be a rainbow in someone else’s world” – Maya Angelou
By: Roger Ewing
A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of seeing renowned ukelele player, Jake Shimabukuro perform in Agoura Hills. I’ve always had a passion for music and recently took up guitar which made my appreciation for Shimbukuro’s talent all the much greater.
Shimbukuro has been a huge supporter of ChildFund International, an organization dedicated to helping both children and their family’s around the world. On his ukelele tour, ChildFund International has followed Shimbukuro around the US to promote awareness. While at his performance, I visited their booth and couldn’t help but feel compelled to help the cause. I decided to sign up as a sponsor for a child in need. By signing up, I received a small package describing the child I would be supporting. The young girl that I have the fortune of helping, is currently living in Cambodia wit hher grandparents because her parents work too far from home. There is more to her story, just as there is more to the story of many other children that need our help. For a very minimal amount per month, I am able to make the different a someone’s life who was not given the same opportunities that many in the US are afforded.
I strongly suggest looking into the ChildFund International organization. The organization states that “the well-being of the world’s children leads to the well-being of the world”. As globalization continues, it is incredibly important to maintain a global mindset. By helping a child in need, we are helping the world grow as a whole.
Tips for Home Buyers During the Shopping Process
By: Roger Ewing
For anyone who has purchased a home, you know that there are a multitude of factors that go into the home buying process. From picking out the perfect location to staying within your budget, buying a home is much more strenuous than your average shopping transaction.
With the housing market burst in 2008, it is extremely important to be mindful of your financial behavior while looking for a home. Banks tend to err on the cautious end of things when offering home financing so for anyone looking for a home or thinking of doing so in the future, check out this list from Michelle Stanisch at Prospect Mortgage.
16 Things Not to Do While Obtaining Home Financing
1. Leave an existing job for any reason
2. Open new bank accounts
3. Deposit funds over $300 into a bank account*
4. Buy new furniture, a car or make any other major purchase*
5. Allow your bank statements to go into a negative balance, even if you have overdraft protection
6. Stop paying credit card debt
7. Shop for furniture, a new car, or any major items, which may result in your credit being run
8. Transfer money between accounts, unless receiving complete documentation from your bank, itemizing all transfers
9. Apply for any new credit
10. Close existing bank accounts
11. Inquire about new credit or better rates on existing credit
12. Co-sign on any debt with a family member or anyone else
13. Pay a bill in collections. If about to pay a bill in collections from a collection agency, try to pay it at closing*
14. Stop paying any bills
15. Ask a tenant to move out, or give your landlord notice that you are moving out*
16. Have a friend or family member pay for anything else related to purchase of the home (appraisal, earnest money, down payment, etc), since gift are only allowed under certain guidelines
*For Real Estate Professional Use Only
“America’s Most Exclusive Gated Communities” – Forbes
By: Roger Ewing
As of late, suburbia has taken the spotlight in real estate. Trends in celebrity movement to these communities as well as buyer wars over the low inventory in the LA area have made the suburbs a hot topic. A recent article featured in Forbes highlights the mentality behind this trend by interviewing Ewing and Associates agents, Dana Olmes and Jeff Biebuyck.
One of the driving forces behind the trend is the intangibles that come along with buying a prestigious home in the suburbs. “‘Buyers are not only buying a home, they’re buying a lifestyle,’ said Dana Olmes, an agent with Ewing and Associates Sotheby’s International Realty in California. ‘I have clients who pick up their children on horseback.’” This type of mentality rings true to celebrities and the general public alike. Just like purchasing a new luxury car or brandname bag, the purchase extends beyond the object itself; buying a home in an exclusive and gated community enhances the lifestyle of the purchaser.
The Estates of the Oaks is one of the notable gated communities listed in the article that both Dana and Jeff are quite familiar with. This neighborhood is home to Justin Bieber, Kourtney Kardishian as well as members of Michael Jackson’s family. Dana and Jeff currently hold a listing in the neighborhood (25305 Prado De Los Suenos) that once housed Britney Spears. “All the properties (in the Oaks) are exclusive in some way, and offer what Jeffery Biebuyck, an estate agent with Ewing and Associates, calls the three P’s: privacy, protection and prestige.”
With the upward trend in housing prices throughout these communities as well as the low inventory, the exclusivity of these communities will continue to flourish.
Jeff Biebuyck Weighs in on Auto Lifts
By: Roger Ewing
A recent article in Forbes Magazine discusses the latest trend in luxury real estate – auto lifts. Over the course of the past year home owners around the country have begun adding these subterranean chambers to their homes in order to store car collections or protect luxury vehicles. Lift specialist, Brad Davies noted that their company’s orders increased from 2-3 per month to their current amount of 19 orders. This phenomenon is generally reserved to car enthusiasts and collectors but the current listing of two of our agents, Jeff Biebuyck and Dana Olmes dubbed ”Chateau Suenos“, previously inhabited by Britney Spears is privy to a lift as well.
“Situated in the tony, gated development The Oaks (where the Kardashians and Justin Bieber own neighboring homes), the 9,211-square-foot château-inspired estate offers a split-level garage equipped with two PhantomPark hydraulic lifts that store autos below ground, safe from playing children as well as the auto-eroding effects of SoCal’s warm weather.”
“Jeffery Biebuyck, emphasizes that the garage is one of Chateau Suenos’ biggest enticements. ‘Every single person who has toured this home has had a car collection,’ Biebuyck says.” Although the lifts tend to only receive 58% on return in investment, they are a phenomenal marketing tool to attract buyers. Having an auto lift as an ammenity in a home sets the property apart from others and increases property showings for potential buyers.
Jeff and Dana’s eye for the distinct taste of luxury buyers has made them a great resource to anyone looking for insight on high end real estate. I’m excited to see journalists continually seek them out for their thoughts and look forward to Jeff and Dana’s future endeavors.
Dana Olmes and Jeff Biebuyck Give their Thoughts on Celebrity Housing in LA
By: Roger Ewing
In a recent spread by the Hollywood Reporter, two of our agents, Dana Olmes and Jeff Biebuyck were interviewed in regards to celebrity real estate. As of late, many celebrities have moved to Los Angeles suburbia so the magazine looked to gain insight on this trend. Having had many high profile clients, Dana and Jeff were able to offer reasons for relocating to the suburbs.
They cite privacy, safety and property value as the driving factors behind these decisions. Beyond that, areas such as Calabasas and Hidden Hills are renowned for their school systems and welcoming communities. Former mayor of Hidden Hills, David Stanley stated, ”It’s a time warp. We have no sidewalks or street lights. People are out walking, the kids gather at the community center to swim and BBQ, and once a year we put on a parade to celebrate the founding of our city — marching bands and all.”
This new trend is forecasted to have a positive impact on real estate throughout the area. Even though the economy is still in recovery, Jeff believes that celebrity names will encourage more property purchases in the suburbs. “They think if it’s good enough for them to live here, then it must be good enough for us.”
There is one problem with the recent rush to suburbia though – low inventory. Dana commented on the demand increase of homes in the area, “We’d be lying if we said we’re doing gangbusters, but the inventory is low right now.” She predicts that this will ultimately result in an uptick in prices. The increase may prove beneficial to sellers but will most likely be unideal for future buyers.
Over the past few months, both agents noted that they have seen a rise in showings at their properties in the area (seen below). Some of their most notable homes once housed singer, Britney Spears (Prado de Los Suenos) and top entertainment licenser, Al Ovadia (Bridle Trail).
We’re very excited that Dana and Jeff took the opportunity to share their thoughts on the market and look forward to their future successes.
This gorgeous modern California Ranch style architectural estate is in the exclusive community of Rolling Hills. Approximately 14,374 sq ft of luxurious living space designed by reowned Cliff May. The owner states that 2 million+ was spent to remodel/upgrade the home in 2010 while staying true to it’s modern “California Ranch” architectural heritage.
This rare and “one-of-a-kind” property is situated on 4.19 acres of park-like grounds with panoramic city and ocean views, the home features a unique indoor pool with retractable roof and wet bar for a year-round use, North/South tennis court with large cabana, this is an entertainer’s paradise with all amenities with an expansive living area that boasts distressed American walnut wood floors, dry sauna, gym, 5 fireplaces, skylight, cathedral ceilings with an oversized media room and full bar, wine cellar, and gaming area. Gourmet kitchen features a commercial grade Wolf range and built-in sub zero freezer/refrigeration units and built-in coolers. Second master suite has a private patio. Detached guest quarters with full bath maybe used as maid’s quarters. It also features a built-in closed circuit camera security system and ample paved driveways with parking for up to 30 vehicles.
This property is listed at $12,950,000 by Diana Kim. 27 Crest Road, Rolling Hills, CA