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Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends

September 27th, 2016 · Hope Ranch Real Estate, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate

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Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends through the August for 2016. This graph was prepared by Fidelity Title Company in Santa Barbara. This year is reflected by the thicker purple line with diamonds. The green line reflects 2015, where in May of 2015, it appears the southern Santa Barbara real estate market peaked based on the number of homes sold for that month. The graph reflects the number of sales for that month for southern Santa Barbara. (Carpinteria to Goleta) Click on image to enlarge.

 

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Mortgage Rates Lowest in 40 Years

September 26th, 2016 · Hope Ranch Realtors, Montecito Realtors, Mortgage Information, Santa Barbara Realtors

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Afternoon Contrast at Butterfly by local artist Chris Potter

This year’s mortgage rates are the lowest in more than 40 years. Some analyst predict that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this year, but they should still be at their lowest levels since many of today’s homebuyers were born.  That’s according to Freddie Mac’s September 2016 Outlook, which projects the 30 year fixed mortgage will average 3.6 percent for the year, down from 3.9 in 2015.  The company is also optimistic about the housing market, upwardly revising its home price appreciation forecast 5.6 percent this year and 4.7 percent in 2017. “The housing market remains a bright spot for the U.S. economy,” says Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sean Beckett. He predicts that mortgage originations will spike in the third quarter to reach their highest levels in four years.

“Practicing the Fine Art of Real Estate”

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Ten Designer Tips to Improve Your Home’s Value

September 25th, 2016 · Hope Ranch Realtors, Montecito Realtors, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Realtors

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Fernald Point Oceanfront Home in Montecito offered at:$6,950,000. Formerly the home of Monty Python’s John Cleese.

  1. Make the room feel bigger than its square footage. Selecting and placing furniture that fits the scale of the room can go a long way in making the space feel larger than it actually is. While the actual square footage of a house will, of course, directly affect the price, perception is a powerful thing. If you can make a room feel more spacious, buyers will likely see more potential in the house.
  2. Not everything has to be new. Don’t be afraid to keep a home’s traditional elements. It’s impossible to please every potential buyer by selecting one particular style or trend; keeping honest to the home’s roots can pay dividends. In this Toronto living room, the stained glass windows add classic charm without making the space feel dated.
  3. Add custom closets in the master bedroom. A large, functional walk-in closet will add value to any home. It’s a luxury that really excites potential buyers. Prices for installing a custom closet vary widely, but finding an affordable solution that still has a high-end look is not too difficult if you do your research.
  4. The kitchen is king. If you’re going to spend money on your home, you’ll get no better bang for your buck than in the kitchen. Whether you’re an avid cook or more likely to order takeout on your way back from work, you use the kitchen for eating, drinking and storage. Even minor upgrades there, such as updating light fixtures and hardware, will add value to your home.
  5. When it comes to storage, the more the better. There is no such thing as too much storage. It’s important to provide ample storage for multiple purposes. Under the stairs is an ideal area for pullout storage for tall items like ladders that won’t fit in standard-height closets.
  6. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders. Painting is the most cost-effective way to freshen up a space. Freshly painted rooms feel updated, clean and crisp, without leaving a major dent in your wallet (especially if you do the painting yourself). When selecting paint colors, try to avoid anything too bold, as neutrals tend to be a safer choice in homes for sale.
  7. Try to be energy-efficient.Buying a home comes with many other costs beyond the sale price: closing costs, moving fees and energy bills are just a few examples. Try to offer potential buyers energy-efficient options. They can be as small as CFL or LED lightbulbs or as big as installing solar panels on your roof.
  8. Bathroom updates provide a big return. Bathroom upgrades are second only to kitchen updates in providing a great return on investment. Since bathrooms are usually the smallest spaces in the home, a little bit can go a long way. Consider replacing outdated vanities, changing light fixtures and updating hardware.
  9. Hire a professional organizer. It’s amazing what a little help can do. A professional organizer can help you create a clutter-free home. The money spent on hiring a pro for just one day will pay off when potential buyers see an organized home that feels larger and more manageable. Buying a house can be stressful, especially for first-time buyers. It might be subconscious, but a well-organized space may help to lessen that stress.
  10. Add curb appeal. First impressions count. Keep the front yard tidy, water the plants and do the updates that need to be done. Peeling paint and cracked exterior walls do not make a good first impression. If you’re adding new plants, try to select ones that are low-maintenance.
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Sometimes Clients Say the Darndest Things

September 23rd, 2016 · Hope Ranch Real Estate, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate

 A humorous, but true, article from InmanNews.com 

Buyers and sellers have blindsided agents with comments involving boa constrictors, spiritual cleansing and rebellious offspring, among other things.Gloria Commiso, a Hermosa Beach, California-based Realtor, was about to kick off an open house when she received an alarming call from the home’s owner“I couldn’t find my boa constrictor,” the client said.As far as Commiso was concerned, that was grounds for canceling the event.But after wrestling with what acting in her client’s best interest meant in this situation, Commiso acquiesced to her client’s wishes and moved forward with the open house.She locked the property’s garage — the last place the serpent had been spotted — and posted signs that read: “Warning boa constrictor is missing.” “The seller came back home, found it and put it in his cage,” she said in the Facebook group Lead Gen Scripts and Objections. “Open house went on as normal…the new normal. We have to work around pets because they’re family right?”

Homebuyers and sellers say the darndest things to agents sometimes. Entertain and fortify yourself with a few more bizarre, frustrating and hilarious statements that have come out of clients’ mouths.  ‘I’m getting out [of jail] soon and was wondering if this area is safe?’ That’s a question a man in an orange jumpsuit who had wandered into one of Lori Bee’s open houses put to the Bluffton, South Carolina-based agent.“I seriously thought I was being ‘punked’ (before the [TV] show ever came out) until I watched him leave and walk back up to the hill to the interstate road crew,” she said.“He was difficult to follow up with,” Bee added.

‘We’re waiting for God to tell us it’s the right time to sell.’ After hearing this from a homeowner, Blair Ballin responded that, for what it was worth, he at least thought it was.But the owner listed with another agent.Does that mean a competitor convinced the owner that the Almighty thought it was time to pull the trigger?“Not sure, but I’m guessing they’re going to hell because of it,” he said.

‘Make sure there are no condoms out in my son’s room’  It was a sincere request from Ryan Hvizda’s seller client. The client’s son had been “purposely sabotaging the sale with similar antics,” said Hvizda, a Concord, New Hampshire-based agent.“I was in disbelief … what do you say to that?” Hvizda said.Quick on his feet, he decided to go with: “I’ll be sure to bring my rubber gloves.”Hvizda was relieved to discover that the son had not resorted to the tactic his mother had feared.

‘They keep the other real bad vagrants from messing up the place’  Said a seller when asked by Jordan Connett about a report that three vagrants were living in his home. Connett, the CEO of real estate franchisor Redefy, made do.“The vagrants stayed and we notified showings and sold the house in seven days,” he said.

A seller’s client leveled this charge at Chesapeake, Virginia-based Barry Jenkins after a buyer’s loan officer revealed he’d made yet another mistake during the underwriting process, Jenkins said in the Facebook group Inman Coast to Coast. You’re bad luck, his client told him upon learning the loan officer’s latest bungle.  Jenkins later sold the property to another buyer for a higher price than what the previous buyer had offered.

‘Can you go to these homes ahead of time and sage them before I look at them?’  The request was made by a buyer to Jamie Williams, a Springfield, Illinois-based Realtor.Turns out “sage” was a reference to “smudging,” a custom that involves burning plants to purify or heal people, things and living spaces.Williams put her problem-solving skills to work. “I explained that they go many places without [the places] having been smudged and we would need permission to burn something in someone else’s home,” she said. “They were cool with it.”

‘It’s not your job to advise me on matters of pricing’  Said a seller to his listing agent, Theresa Kuyl.“We had a very good offer on the table,” said Kuyl, a Toms River, New Jersey-based agent. “Needless to say, they are still in the house.”

‘I want to buy a foreclosure that needs no work and is updated’  Oh, and the home would have to cost less than $200,000, Melissa Graham was told by a buyer.

That was $50,000 less than the cheapest house on the market, says Graham, an Illinois-based broker.

And then the always popular: Seller: “If you sell it quickly, I want to pay less commission.”  Agent: “So you want me to drag this out and keep the property from selling for several months?” All true tales from the front line. 

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Santa Barbara Artwalk

September 22nd, 2016 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Santa Barbara Artwalk, Things to do in Santa Barbara

Celebrate the 28th Annual Santa Barbara Artwalk that begins with an artist reception on Friday September 23rd and continuing on Saturday September 24th and Sunday September the 25th. The annual event is presented by the Museum League. The Museum is located at 2559 Puesta del Sol and admission is $10 for non-members and free for members at the door. For more information, please contact the Museum League at 805-682-4711 ext. 181  The image below is from their website featuring Calvin Liang’s Fishing Boats in Santa Barbara, 16×20            Santa Barbara Artwalk 2016

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Hope Ranch

September 1st, 2016 · Hope Ranch Estates, Hope Ranch Homes For Sale, Hope Ranch Real Estate, Hope Ranch Realtors

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In addition to being one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Santa Barbara, Hope Ranch is one of the wealthiest areas in California; the median home price was $2.61 million in 2006. Houses with ocean views generally list for at least $5 million, with oceanfront properties going for $25 million and more.

The local homeowner’s association manages the properties of private roads, bridle trails, and the private beach. Since Hope Ranch is in unincorporated Santa Barbara County, law enforcement falls under the jurisdiction of the Santa Barbara Sheriff County’s Office. The private regions additionally have a local “Hope Ranch Patrol,” who have only limited law enforcing powers. This group is controlled by the board of Hope Ranch and is in no way connected to either the City of Santa Barbara Police Department or the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

From 1888 until the 1920’s, the Pacific Improvement Company shaped the destiny of Hope Ranch, molding it into it’s present image as a wealthy suburb of Santa Barbara. Many of the amenities offered to members of the Hope Ranch Association since the 1930’s include cabanas for a private beach club fronting the ranch, a polo field, a archery range, skeet shooting facility, tennis courts, and 30 miles of bridle paths. Space prohibits a full account of Hope Ranch’s outdoor living background, shared by middle class families as well as the affluent. As a result of this independent spirit, Hope Ranch continues to maintain the lofty standards of suburban living which have been in effect since the late Harold S. Chase advertised his ” sun kissed, ocean washed, mountain girded, island guarded Hope Ranch” more than half a century ago.

The main stretch of road through Hope Ranch is Las Palmas/Marina Drive, a palm tree-lined stretch of roadway along which runs the coastal bike route. Hope Ranch is home to La Cumbre Country Club and Laguna Blanca School, an independent day school, which was founded in 1933.

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Santa Barbara “Live” Real Estate Statistics

August 30th, 2016 · Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends, SB Real Estate Statistics

Carpinteria: 93013, Summerland: 93067, Montecito: 93108, SB Westside: 93101, SB Westside: 93109 SB Eastside: 93103 (Riviera), SB Eastside: 93105, Hope Ranch: 93110, Goleta:93111. Goleta/county: 93117, and Santa Ynez: 93460
real-time real estate market research  
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The White House and the Playboy Mansion

August 26th, 2016 · Real Estate News, The Real Estate Scene

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Ever wonder what the White House might be worth in today’s real estate market?  Recently Realtor.com  estimated that the White House would list for $90 million if it listed today. Analysts arrived at this figure by projecting what it would cost today to build the 55,000-square-foot,132-room house, which was constructed in 1792 for $232,000. Realtor.com then used the value of a comparable property — in this case, candidate Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. Curious choice for a comparable ya think?

Finally, the analysis estimated that if the White House were used as a hotel, it would be a cash cow, with its 16 bedrooms pulling in $5 million per year.

But what’s inside the first family’s abode is even more valuable than the property itself. If a buyer were to purchase the White House fully furnished — including its plethora of valuable artwork, furniture, and china — the grand total would come to $250 million.

And what does any of this have to do with the Playboy Mansion?  The Playboy Mansion recently sold for $100,000,000. One hundred million dollars!  Ten million more than Realtor.com valued the White House.  That’s about half of Hugh Hefner’s original asking price, but still the most expensive home to ever sell  in Los Angeles.  And, where the White House has a change of occupants every four to eight years Hugh Hefner , now 90 years old, will remain at the Playboy Mansion for the remainder of his lifetime. (For Sale by Owner in this instance became For Sale With Owner!)

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Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends

August 20th, 2016 · Real Estate News, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends

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Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends through the July for 2016. This graph was prepared by Fidelity Title Company in Santa Barbara. This year is reflected by the thicker purple line with diamonds. The green line reflects 2015, where in May of 2015, it appears the southern Santa Barbara real estate market peaked based on the number of homes sold for that month. The graph reflects the number of sales for that month for southern Santa Barbara. (Carpinteria to Goleta) Click on image to enlarge.

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Luxury Buyers Would Just As Soon Drive

August 6th, 2016 · Santa Barbara Real Estate, Walk Scores, Walkability

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Miramar Beach by Chris Potter

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that “stroll friendly communities may be the latest housing draw, but in the luxury market the walkability premium is relatively small.” The “Walk Score” measures the effect of walkability on home values. The scale runs from 0 to 100 and tallies things such as population density, nearby restaurants, schools, and stores. A score above 90 is considered a walker’s paradise. The Wall Street Journal also reported that “luxury buyers favor exclusivity and privacy more than proximity to services. For some neighboring stores bring unwanted noise, and a variety of other issues.”

Here’s how the Walk Score works. 90-100 Walker’s Paradise (daily errands do not require car),  70-89 Very Walkable (most errands can be accomplished on foot), 50-69 Somewhat Walkable (some errands can be accomplished on foot), 25-49 Car Dependent (most errands require a car), and 0-24 Car Dependent (almost all errands require a car).

Here are some examples of Walk Scores for Santa Barbara. If you live on or near State Street the “Walk Score” is 83.  If you live on or near Coast Village Road in Montecito your “Walk Score” is 63. Personally, I disagree with these scores (they should be higher), but welcome to the Internet.

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