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THE COUNTRY CALLS!

THE COUNTRY CALLS!

07/20/21 Hertha Wolff-Arend

  From my previous blogs, it is pretty obvious that I am a great fan of country living. I am lucky to live in a beautiful home on some acres with my family and animals. One person’s heaven is the other person’s nightmare, but working as a real estate agent, I observe that more and more people are moving from the cities like LA and San Francisco to the rural Central Coast. Is there a shift in attitude and/or lifestyle? Is it the aftermath of COVID that drives people outside the cities into the country? I am sure there are statistics and trends that relate to this development, but it is not my intention to build on those trends that you can read about online. Instead, I would like to describe the perfect evening in the North County, which is the area north of San Luis Obispo. I live in Paso Robles, famous for good wine and restaurants – a major tourist attraction. When heading north of Paso Robles you will drive to Lake Nacimiento with communities like Heritage Ranch, Oak Shores, Riverview or even further north to Bradley, Bryson Hesperia and Lockwood. I am not surprised if you never heard about these places, but I consider them hidden gems. You are away from the crowds but still close to Highway 101 which gets you quickly to the nearby towns. Be prepared for drought and heat in summer, temperatures can go up into the three digits on certain days, but the nights mostly cool down significantly. These are the kind of North County evenings that are magnificent. Imagine sitting on your porch sipping on a glass of wine watching the sun going down. The temperatures are dropping rapidly, and a slightly cool breeze is blowing the stress of the day or any burden away into the horizon. These evenings are priceless. You might see deer passing by and later when it gets dark you hear the coyotes calling each other. The sun melting in the horizon turns everything into a warm reddish light, the hills are blending in like dark shadows and the houses far back turn into magical castles. These moments will imprint you for life and you will not miss city noises or neighbors anymore. What sounds like a dream for many people can be turned into reality easier than ever. The pandemic taught us that we can work from home and still be productive. I have sold homes to people from the Bay Area who are working from home now while living their dream of country living. Once a week or whenever necessary, they drive to an office meeting or wherever they need to be. Checking your options and asking yourself what lifestyle makes you happy would be the first step in making a change in your life. As a real estate agent, I cannot help you make this decision, but once the decision is made, I can help you find your new home. I serve all of San Luis Obispo County – I am passionate about helping people finding their place, I am a professional and I know the area very well.

“Green Acres” or the Conversion From Businesswoman to Country Girl

“Green Acres” or the Conversion From Businesswoman to Country Girl

05/26/21 Hertha Wolff-Arend

When we moved to Paso Robles over 15 years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I left the corporate world working for a big advertising corporation in Frankfurt, Germany and moved with my husband and son into the back country of Paso Robles. I am a local Realtor® based in Paso Robles. I understand the challenge of moving into a rural area and I like to share my experience with my clients and everybody else who considers to make a lifestyle change.Learning by doing is how I tackled this change of a lifestyle. I was lucky to hiring a ranch help who turned into a friend and source of wisdom. Today, I want to share what I have learned so far and help my clients to avoid making the same mistakes I made. Let me just begin with a few anecdotes that can give you a broad idea what to expect in case you are planning to leave a metropolitan city like LA or San Francisco to live a more laid-back life in the country. If the pandemic taught us one thing, it is that we can work from anywhere if needed. Thank you to the worldwide web for allowing us to work and learn remotely! First of all, as a newcomer, be prepared for a much slower pace of life. There is a reason why they call San Luis Obispo, SlO(w) County. Compared to life in the big city, people here still take their time to get things done. It actually feels good to be surrounded by kindness and a slower pace of life, but there is a downside to it as well. Service companies, contractors, handymen etc. might need more time to come out to your place to serve you. It is a good idea to develop a basic skill set and get things done by yourself. Good handymen are rare and usually booked out. I am pretty much hands on in the meantime, at least when it comes to anything that has to do with classic ranch work. I didn’t know it was in me, but I can handle a tractor, drag the arena, fix fences… just to name a few of my new skills. Secondly, make sure you have a few people on speed dial if needed. Broken water pipes, snakes in the garage, horses having a colic, somebody got injured… just to name a few unforeseen disasters. Know your neighbors, even though next door seems fairly far away. People are helpful and when I had my first confrontation with a snake in my garage, I was very grateful for my neighbor’s courage removing the unwanted intruder. Have at least two vets in your contacts you can call in case one of your animals needs help. Vets come to your home 24/7 but only if you created a relationship and you are in their client file. The same applies to farriers, hay delivery and any other essential services. Thirdly, start learning anything you need to know to enjoy your new lifestyle. I had to get used to occasional snake encounters, hearing the coyotes screaming in the night and not to forget the tarantulas that are crawling out of their holes in September/October. For me as a City Girl, these seemed to be problems I would not be able to overcome. When I understood that all of those critters didn’t want to have anything to do with me, we are now all friendly cohabitating without any problems. Last but not least, be yourself and create the environment you were longing for. You might miss the cultural life, the variety of shops and the big brand stores, but you can always hop into your car and get your taste of city life. Country living does not prevent you from nurturing your relationship with the big city, but it offers you the opportunity to breathe fresh air, live your life comfortably, being in the moment and living close to nature. It is not that there is no ‘life’ in the area. Paso Robles is the new Napa or Sonoma with great bars and restaurants. San Luis Obispo is a City with charm and opportunities just to name a few. In this blog I shared my personal views and opinion and I talk about my own experience. Please feel free to share your story and how you adjusted to Country living. 

Thinking of Fencing Your Property?

Thinking of Fencing Your Property?

04/15/21 Hertha Wolff-Arend

Living in the country entails many decisions that are crucial for safety and convenience. The choice for the right fence is one of them. No matter how many acres you own, fencing is important. The decision about a fence depends on how you use a property. Safety and convenience for humans does not necessarily mean safety for your animals. A wire fence might be safe for you, but it can be a threat for your horses. A wooden fence might be exactly what you like, but it will not stop your dogs from running off. The point is that the decision on the best fence for you is based on your needs and the needs of your animals on the property.Whatever you decide, never go cheap. Professional farmers don’t mess around when they build a fence. They would rather drive an old pickup truck and instead spend their money on a decent fence. A solid fence does its job for more than your lifetime, and this is the one and only solution you should consider.Here a list of the five main fencing solutions:   Wood Fence Everyone loves a wooden fence. It looks great and blends in beautifully. The downside: This kind of fencing needs a lot of maintenance. The wood must be treated to withstand weather and occasional horse teeth. Boards need to be replaced or repaired. Nevertheless, this is my favorite type of fencing for pastures and the outer perimeter fencing. From my experience, the wood lasts for a very long time, paint is needed about every 5 – 7 years which is not that much of a problem. I love how this kind of fence blends in; it is natural and does not look like an artificial barrier. Wire Fence There are different types of wire fences. The woven wire is the less expensive version and is usually combined with a top board or electrified tape at the top. This prevents horses from leaning on the fence. The so called no-climb fencing is the safest option. It is expensive and can be used in combination with a wooden fence or the oil pipe fencing. Make sure the wire goes deep enough into the ground to prevent horses getting stuck with their foot under the wire. Smooth wire fences are much less expensive to build. However, they don’t work well with horses and, therefore, are usually used with some sort of electric tape or hot strand. PVC Fencing Many people like PVC fencing even though it is extremely costly and is designed to break under pressure. Often used in conjunction with electric fencing, it is a solution worth considering. No painting and maintenance are needed, but it has a plastic, less traditional look. The decision whether to use a PVC solution is acceptable, is also an aesthetic point for the property owner.  Pipe Fencing Pipe steel fences are strong and durable. There is no ‘give’ should a horse or any other livestock run into it. This can be a problem as much as a blessing. This type of fence is expensive, but it truly lasts a lifetime. Steel pipe fencing is often used for turnouts for horses since it is virtually indestructible. However, I recommend combining it with no-climb wire to make sure a horse cannot get a foot or leg stuck and severely injured. Electric Fence Electric wire and tape are inexpensive and work in conjunction with almost any other type of fence. They can help protect an existing fence, for example, by preventing horses from chewing on boards or pushing against the fence. It takes only one zap from the fence to keep horses and other livestock away from the fence. However, an electric fence by itself is not an acceptable solution for horses. A visual barrier together with the electric fence reminds them to keep their distance.Whatever you decide, the safety of your horses and livestock is your No. 1 priority. Your decision will be influenced by the costs for installation and maintenance. The best solution is the one that gives you the most peace of mind in the long run.In this blog I shared my personal views and opinion and talk about my own experience since I am living on a country property with a bunch of animals.5 Best Types of Fencing for Horse Farms

Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, Location

03/3/21 Hertha Wolff-Arend

When you start looking for a horse property, be aware of the location. Yes, it is important to have land with usable acres, but it is equally important to find a location that fulfills so many other needs to make it suitable for you and your four legged friends. Let me guide you through the process of finding the right home or the right piece of land if you decide to start your equine adventure from scratch.   Country living has many faces. Decide how far away from town you are willing to move before you fall in love with a property. Consider commute traffic when living outside of town. This small factor can turn into a lifestyle killer. Pay attention to the road conditions. Driving a horse trailer on a bumpy road is no fun for you and certainly not for your horses. Imagine yourself driving this road in all types of weather and for many years to come. You cannot pick your family, but you can pick your neighborhood. It would be helpful to move into an area with other horse properties nearby. This way nobody dwells on the smell of horses, the many more flies and the noise of early morning feedings. Check out the back country to see if it is suitable for trail riding. If you don’t trail ride your horses and prefer training in the arena, this issue is not as crucial. If you don’t mind trailering your horses to a nearby trail, you can skip this aspect. From my own experience though, having trails right behind your property is a privilege and even my dressage horses love a change of routine on certain days. Get information about the horse community in the area. Are there any local trainers and farriers, horse shows, clinics or any horse clubs that might be fun to join? You don’t want to turn into a lonesome rider far away from other horse enthusiasts. Inform yourself about veterinary care in the area. You will appreciate a nearby vet in case of an emergency. We all know emergencies happen when we least expect them, so be prepared. Become familiar with the zoning regulations in the area which might also define the number of horses you are allowed to have. Do not expect the resale value of a horse property rising due to all the stalls, pens etc. you put in. You need to find the right buyer to appreciate steel pipe fencing or a round pen. Horse properties are a niche market, and it will always be more challenging to find the right buyer. Finally: Ask what your horse has to say about the location. I am sure that open range land, views and room to roam without the sound of annoying dirt bikes or other nuisances is what your horse would pick. When you are ready to go house hunting, have this checklist ready. We often get carried away by the great aspects of the property itself and tend to forget about the location. Always remember, you aren't just buying a house, but a piece of happiness.In this blog I shared my personal views and opinion and talk about my own experience since I am living on a country property with a bunch of animals. 

My Land Is My Castle

My Land Is My Castle

02/1/21 Hertha Wolff-Arend

When looking at horse properties, you will find all kinds of houses, barns and settings. Some of these settings are meant for the so called gentleman ranches, others for the more serious horse addicts like trainers or professional riders. Some people just keep horses in their yard and enjoy the sight of their four legged friends. There may be as many reasons why people own horses as there are breeds in the equine world.There are different disciplines in equine sports which need to meet different measures and settings. For example, if you are a dressage rider you might want a 20 x 60 meters arena, while if you prefer jumping or roping you will probably prefer a bigger arena. As a jumper, you need storage for poles and jumps while as a roper you might like to have room for pens to keep cattle.Nevertheless, there is one thing the various disciplines and horse enthusiasts have in common: The need for usable acres when buying an equestrian property. This is what you have to look for: You must have enough flat land to build a barn, an arena as well as other outbuildings if they do not already exist on the property. Get confirmation that zoning allows horses. The size of the land does not necessarily mean horses are allowed. Take into consideration the number of horses you own or you want to own. Horses need room to roam and you should plan 1.5 to 2.0 acres per horse.  Some hills and slopes are fine, but avoid steep and rocky ground to avoid injury to your horses. Ideally there should be enough room to build a loop road that makes it easier for you to trailer in and out of your property. Avoid any property that is listed as studded with oak trees. Although some shade from trees is fine, you don’t want your horses chasing each other under tree branches. The horses can get injured and will be prevented from enjoying what they like most, aside from grazing in a herd, i.e. scoping the horizon. It does not matter if you have 5 acres or 50 acres; a property without plenty of flat acres is not appropriate for keeping your horses. It does not matter if you start to build your dream from the scratch or buy an existing equestrian property. Your land is your castle and your horses will be grateful when you make the right choice. Please share your experience and let me know what you think about the importance of usable acres for horses. In this blog I shared my personal views and opinion and talk about my own experience since I am living on a country property with a bunch of animals.

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If you’d like to know more about the strategy of how she can help you to achieve your objectives when it comes to selling or buying a home, Hertha invites you to have a conversation with her.

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