FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
When did Best Buys In Ojai originate?
We booted up the website on June 10, 2011.
Why doesn’t the BBIO archive go back to June, 2011?
Due to the intricacies of search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.), maintaining an archive of all blog entries since 2011 so that there weren’t expired or broken links was too time consuming. Also, most of the information on the site is perishable over time (with perhaps the exception of the Pic of the Day). This is the reason the archive only goes back six months.
About the Pic of the Day – who does the captions for those?
Ray comes up with the captions himself. If he finds a photo that someone else has already captioned, he’lI spend time to come up with his own caption. There have been a few exceptions where the original author’s caption was already great, so it was published as is – with the original caption superimposed over the photo. Coming up with the photo captions is one of Ray’s favorite aspects of running the website!
Why do some of the MLS links show a nearly blank page with only the words, “This is not a valid link” at the top?
These links originate from the Ventura MLS. On December 12, 2016 the Ventura MLS switched to a different system for their listings. This new system only allows a 30-day frame for public links to remain active. What this means to us here at BBIO is, every day we need to check the pages for any of these expired links so that we can grab new, active links from Ventura’s MLS and replace them. However, once a listing has been sold, cancelled, withdrawn, or expired – and that 30 day time period has passed – we can no longer retrieve a new link; the Ventura MLS purges these listings and public links are no longer available.
We will replace links as they expire on the All Listings page, as well as in the blog portion of the website. However, since the information in the blog portion of the website becomes dated over time (as property prices and statuses change), we will only go back 30 days to replace those links. The good news is that most of the links on BBIO originate from the Ojai MLS, which aren’t affected in this manner. Also, this shouldn’t really affect your day-to-day use of the site. Unless you’re consistently going back several months to look at listings that are no longer relevant, this shouldn’t be much of an issue.
How do you preview a property?
From the moment we walk in the door we are looking at the home through the eyes of a potential buyer. It doesn’t involve just simply walking into each room; we take into account the feel of the property. In order to do this we have to spend more time in the home. (You’d be surprised how many realtors walk through a home in 3 minutes or less. How can you tell a prospective client about a home when you don’t take a moment to consider all aspects of the property? Beats us.) We take the time to stroll outside in the yard – are there views of the mountains? Is there an area or setting on this property that makes it special? What’s on the other side of the fence line – is it an open lot or does the neighbor store junk cars in their back yard? Does the roof look to be in good condition? As our client, you’ll want to know these things before you consider making an offer – it’s why we take a few extra minutes each time we preview property.
Do you make your own listings Best Buys or Honorable Mentions?
We will, as long as the consensus from other realtors is that the home is priced well. (We ask the opinion of people we trust during broker previews, which occur every Friday.)
Why does our opinion matter? What makes us think we’re qualified to deem a property a Best Buy? Do we think we’re special?
Well, our mothers both told us we were special, but that probably isn’t relevant here. We have a combined 50 years of real estate experience, some of that in the counties of Los Angeles and Orange. We’ve been involved in the Ojai market since 2006 and have watched the market soar, and unfortunately, sink. Our commitment to the Best Buys In Ojai website includes keeping daily tabs on the market, previewing properties as they become available.
You could ask 10 different real estate agents their opinion on price, and get 10 different answers. Follow the website for a while; check out the properties we’ve designated as Best Buys. If after following and looking at our designated properties, you find they’re off the mark – then shame on us! But in that event, go ahead a look for a Realtor whose opinions most closely mirror yours. In the meantime, use this website (and us) as your well-informed guides.
What is the best way to use the website?
The first thing you should do is head to the home page and read the blog to see if there’s anything new happening. Then, make sure to click on the “Best Buys” and “Honorable Mentions” tabs, especially if this is your first visit to the site. All Best Buys or Honorable Mentions have a straight-forward and honest review of each property. If you’ve not been to the site for a few days and want to see what homes have recently come on the market, go to the New Listings page. That shows you everything new in the past 30 days. After that, (and especially if you’re looking in a specific price range), you should peruse the All Listings page, where you’ll find every listing in the Ojai Valley. (The listings are culled from the Ojai, Ventura County, and Santa Barbara listing systems.) Once you’re up to speed on the market, just check in with the blog every day to see what’s up. If you have your eye on a specific property and you want to keep an eye on it, all you really need to do is read the blog. Listings that aren’t Best Buys or Honorable Mentions won’t have a review of them, but we’ll always notify you of any change that happens with any listing, while including a link to the MLS sheet.
How do you measure rainfall accumulation for your weather data?
We gather measurements from 5 separate weather stations around Ojai and average them, using data from www.wunderground.com.
What is the difference on the MLS sheet between “Contingent”, “Contingent No-Show”, “Contingent Show” and “Pending”?
When the MLS sheet reads “Contingent”, that simply means that an offer has been accepted. “Contingent Show” means that although an offer has been accepted, the owner of the property is willing to let other potential buyers tour the home. “Contingent No Show” means they’ve accepted an offer, but are not willing to let new potential buyers see the home. “Sale Pending” technically means that an offer has been accepted and all contingencies of the sale have been removed (such as the inspection contingency, loan contingency, etc). It’s the penultimate step to the home closing. To avoid confusion, we simply call any home that’s in escrow with an accepted offer a “Pending Sale.”
Why don’t we advertise these Best Buys in the newspaper?
Because our local newspaper only prints twice per week, by the time we find a Best Buy and it gets put into circulation, it’s very possible that it could be sold already. Some of the Best Buys we’ve put on the list have sold in only 1 day, so this is the quickest way possible to get this information to you.
We update the website almost every day, usually twice per day. We do take the occasional Sunday off, as well as major holidays – Christmas, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July. People have asked us, “Don’t you ever go on vacation?” Yes, we do – but all our vacations are working vacations. We’ve updated the website while in the middle of the Pacific, the Atlantic, from Washington D.C., even during the wedding of our daughter. (That last one’s made up; we don’t have a daughter. – Cheryl.) To best utilize this website, we suggest you check in a few times throughout the day. Although we’d like to update as early as possible every day, we’ve found that sometimes new listings or changes to current listings aren’t input into the MLS system until later in the morning.
What is a Short Sale, Bank-Owned, or REO Property?
A Short Sale is a sale that pays the mortgage holder less than the loan amount owed on the property – therefore the lender is taking a loss or a “short” on the mortgage. This kind of sale only applies when a seller has a true hardship, such as a loss of their job or something equivalent. Because the seller still owns the property the seller would put their home on the market based on what the market would bear. Once an offer is obtained the seller then supplies the bank with the offer and several forms required to show their hardship. The bank reviews the offer and the hardship, and depending on the lender, the approval process can take from 2 to 6 months (sometimes longer) from the time it was submitted. There is no guarantee that the bank will allow the hardship or the short, however, thousands of them are done monthly across the nation. Very often the listing price that an agent places on the property is a great, low price – but where you save money on the price, you in turn pay for that low price with patience.
An REO (Real Estate Owned) is a bank-owned property. These properties are typically homes that have gone through foreclosure and are now owned by the bank. Often these properties are good deals and the bank (on about 50% of them) paints, carpets, and cleans them up prior to putting them on the market. The amount of work they put into it depends on how much of a loss they have suffered from taking the property back through foreclosure. A home inspection is always recommended on any REO property (and for that matter, Short Sales as well) as neither the bank nor you know how the prior owner treated the property. Remember, when buying this type of property they are often sold in their current “as is” condition. Also, banks often take extra time to respond to offers because more than one person at the bank is required to approve it.
What if a home that we think qualifies as a “Best Buy” is a property that we know one of our own clients will be seriously interested in?
This is a situation we encounter every once in a while. In this case, our client’s needs must come first. After all, we are real estate brokers foremost. So, the usual course of action is that we ask our clients if they’re interested and if so, get them in to see the property before we put it on the website. This may seem unfair, but if you were our client you’d want us to do the same for you! If after seeing the home we find our client is not interested, we would then put it on the site as a Best Buy.
Are properties that are out of area, yet still listed in the Ojai Mulitple Listing Service included on Best Buys In Ojai?
No. The properties highlighted in this website are only those in the greater Ojai Valley – Ojai, Upper Ojai, Meiners Oaks, and Oak View.
If a property is re-listed on the Multiple Listing Service after having been previously expired, cancelled, or withdrawn – do you show it on the “New Listings” page?
This is a judgement call on our part. If the listing was cancelled 3 months prior and is now being re-listed, yes, we will show it as a new listing. Anything shorter than a month will likely not be listed as “new”, unless there has been a significant price reduction. Many of these types of “new” listings occur because the prior listing has expired and the agent simply hadn’t gotten a new listing signed before the previous one expired.
What exactly, does it mean when we show a property as “Sale Pending” on our website?
This means that an offer has been made and accepted on the home. Officially, the property isn’t “sold” until it closes escrow – which could be anywhere from 30 to 60 days – depending on the circumstances of the offer. This is why many of the “Sale Pending” listings stay on the page for so long: We want to make sure they actually close escrow before we take them off the page.
Does that mean I shouldn’t bother making an offer on a property if it shows as “Sale Pending?”
No! You might be able to write a back-up offer. Many homes fall out of escrow and are put back on the market. Having a back-up offer on a property could potentially sway the seller from putting the home back on the market, putting you first in line.
Why aren’t many of our own listings on the Best Buys list?
Because a Best Buy listing price is not necessarily something we would recommend to our own clients. Remember, a Best Buy price is typically a price that surprises us, and usually means the seller is highly motivated to get their home sold quickly. Having said that, if one of our clients wanted to sell their home in a hurry and the home was priced in such a manner, we would (and have) put it on the the Best Buys list.
On any given Friday you state (for example) “we’re going to check out seven new properties today.” Then later in the day you only add one of those properties as a Best Buy. What about the other six?
We’re already walking a fine line in the real estate community when it comes to Best Buys in Ojai – simply because we aim to tell you everything about a given property (including any negatives). Pointing out the flaws of homes (or stating that they’re overpriced) when they haven’t made the list seems a bit harsh to us. To put it simply, if we preview a home and have made no further comments about it, it’s not a Best Buy. This doesn’t mean the homes that don’t make the list aren’t nice homes. Most homes are nice, but for some reason or another (usually price) they just don’t feel like enough of a deal to us to brand them Best Buys. If there’s a particular property that’s not on the list and you’d like our honest opinion about it, feel free to give us a call.
Do you do a review for every home that you think would qualify as a Best Buy or Honorable Mention?
Unfortunately, no. While every listing can be found on the All Listings page, some agents or homeowners simply aren’t comfortable with us publishing a review of their listing (even though it’s a good thing). In order to maintain a good working relationship with our fellow brokers and agents, we abide by their wishes. After all, it’s a privilege for us to be able to publish their listings on our website. The good news is that since the inception of our website in June, 2011, this has happened on only two occasions. As always, if you have a specific question about any property feel free to give us a call; we have notes on over 1,200 Ojai Valley homes.