Alisa Varney is a realtor in Ojai; here is a linkk to her website:
Q: How did you become interested in real estate?
A: Since I started in the real estate business at the age of eighteen, I was looking for a career which had flexible hours so I could support myself, continue with my education, and to be able to assist others. Helping people to achieve their goal of investing in real estate is very rewarding, whether it’s for their own personal home, vacation home, or investment property. I always feel honored when people ask me to be a part of such a huge step in their lives and oftentimes my clients become long-term friends.
Q: What makes Ojai an interesting place to live?
A: There’s never a dull moment! Weekends are filled with art, music, theater, tennis, food, and other fun events and festivals. And if you’re looking for some down time, Ojai boasts many hiking and horse trails. There’s a special event in the evening called the “Pink Moment” when the fading sunlight casts a vivid pink shade on the top of the bluffs of the Topa Topa Mountains.
Q: What is the most challenging thing about the real estate market in Ojai?
A: With so many unique homes and not a lot of housing tracts, it can sometimes be difficult to find comparables for pricing.
Q: What is the most unique feature you have seen in a home?
A: I was surprised to see a hot tub set-up in a spare bedroom!
Q: What is the most important thing to the average house hunter in Ojai?
A: Most of the requests are about location. It seems that a lot of people want the luxury of leaving their car at home and getting to their favorite spots by foot, bike, or sometimes even by golf cart. Because our town is smaller in size, only ten miles long by three miles wide, this request can usually be fulfilled.
Q: What do people overlook when house hunting?
A: If you’re looking at a property with oak trees, you’re going to have to learn to live with them. They are protected here and can’t be cut down without approval, which probably wouldn’t happen unless they are a hazard. We place great value in our oaks and even have some that you have to drive around that are growing in the middle of the street. A lot of our water comes from Lake Casitas, so we try to conserve our resources. Ojai has a more dramatic seasonal climate and new residents may have to learn about different landscaping options. Planting California natives is encouraged. You should see our spectacular fall display!
Q: What makes Ojai so popular with celebrities?
A: Celebrities can feel relaxed and not be bombarded with paparazzi. Also, if you time the traffic right, we are only a 1 1/2 hour drive from Los Angeles.
Q: Do you think forbidding chain stores has helped or hurt Ojai in attracting residents?
A: It certainly has helped. Ojai residents and visitors enjoy the shopping experience from a variety of unique stores. Many carry products that are either grown or made in Ojai and can’t be found anywhere else. We’re proud to support our local artisans.
Q: What misconceptions do people have about the city?
A: Many are surprised that we are not all artists or farmers. We have a variety of social groups and activities for everyone to feel involved and welcome.
Q: What is the oddest request you have heard from a client?
A: One time a prospective buyer contacted me to locate a large parcel so he could have his own hiking trail. Because Ojai has so many eclectic features, many requests would not seem so odd here.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)