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Will Real Estate agents go the way of the Dinosaur?

April 28th, 2016 · Santa Barbara Real Estate

Brad Stone wrote an article for Bloomberg on how and why real estate agents have survived in the digital age when so many other occupations have been negatively impacted or are now extinct.  Some start ups and digital visionaries would like you to think that you can put on a pair of ” 3D Virtuality Goggles” and experience a home without ever visiting the property. Thereby, eliminating the need for a real estate agent.  I’m sure at some point new technological advances will find their way into the various mix of digitally experiencing a home but it appears the personal touch continues to win out. I wonder why?

This article points out what everyone knows who has ever bought or sold a property. Who knows, someday they might come up with an android whose real estate artificial intelligence is off the charts…? Uh oh!

Here’s the article: Brad Stone Bloomberg Article

What buyers want from a real estate agent (and their online alternative)

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Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends Update

April 23rd, 2016 · Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends

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Click on image above to enlarge. Santa Barbara Market Trends through March 31st, 2016. Number of Sales/Closed Transactions by month. Initially it appears we’re following a similar pattern to 2015. This data provided by Fidelity Title Company of Santa Barbara and covers Carpinteria to Goleta (South County of Santa Barbara County)

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Santa Barbara “Live” Real Estate Statistics

April 20th, 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 “Next Big Thing” Real Estate Ad Campaigns, Really?

April 18th, 2016 · Hope Ranch Realtors, Montecito Realtors, Santa Barbara Realtors

2LicensedToSellImage2016Recently Santa Barbara has had an influx of new real estate companies enter the local marketplace.  Engle & Volker, NextHome, Insites, Teles Properties, and most recently Compass. Almost all of them promising to be the “Next Big Thing” in Santa Barbara real estate. Interesting. The larger more established companies here such as Sotheby’s International Realty, Village Properties, Coldwell Banker, and Bershire Hathaway are well aware of their smaller counterpart’s claims of greatness.  Also, that these self professing claims are being made without much of a local track record. Curious.

This is only my opinion but many of the new companies claims of being technologically superior to their competition may be a misconception while implementing buzz words in their advertising such as new, cutting edge, or razor sharp technologies…phew.  But then again, if these claims by these new companies results in the local real estate practitioners here improving their technological skills that could be good for everyone. 

What I perceive to be the two most significant areas in technology for real estate professionals are paperless transactions and professionally produced videos. Even though the truth is that these technologies such as Matterport 3D photography (not a fan of) and aerial imagery have been around for for a while it’s only recently that real estate professionals here in Santa Barbara have begun using them? Other than 3D and aerial imagery most everything now can be accomplished with a smart phone or tablet. Most property searches are done online, and more and more people searching for property are using their mobile friendly devices.

In this post I’m avoiding discussing at length the new Zillow.com like apps that give you a “Quickie” valuation of a property. If you think you can walk into a bank with a “Zestimate” and get a loan you’re mistaken. Appraisals, evaluation methodologies, and Comparative Market Analysis takes more than an algorithm to come up with an accurate property value. An algorithm has no idea what condition the property is in, or if improvements have been made. These new apps make for great show and tell but oftentimes are misleading (just like Zillow).

Does your agent and their company have a mobile friendly web site that offers local property searches? Does your agent  use social media and blog to promote your interests? The future has been here for years and curiously not everyone here in the Santa Barbara real estate community has embraced it? What’s in your best interest when you hire someone to find you a home, investment, or sell your property? Does technology matter in today’s real estate marketplace? I would suggest very much so, but that’s just my opinion.

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ABC News – Home Prices Surging

April 14th, 2016 · Montecito Homes For Sale, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Realtors


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

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More About Real Estate Scams

April 14th, 2016 · Real Estate News, Real Estate Scams, Santa Barbara Real Estate

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If it sounds too good to be true…

Recently, in the Santa Barbara News Press Sunday magazine supplement House and Home, a reader asked realtor and columnist Marsha Gray, “My elderly mother has owned her home here in Santa Barbara for decades. Ten years ago she took out an equity loan for needed repairs on the house. She’s current with her payments and isn’t struggling. Recently she’s been receiving phone calls from a gentleman who claims there is a government program that forgives Second Mortgages for Seniors. He’s pressing her to meet and sign documents to get the process started. It sounds like a scam to me, but she won’t stop talking to him because “he’s so nice.” What do you think?  Marsha’s response, “Yes it sounds like a predatory scam on an elderly person. You should contact the Police.”

Unfortunately we live in a day and age where fraud has become a fact of life. Scams and schemes in real estate can vary from Mortgage Fraud to hackers breaking into Real Estate Agents and Title Company escrow officer’s emails.  Criminals seem to come up with new scams and schemes every day. Before making any major decisions take a moment and check with the professionals you’re working with directly (by phone) before transfering any funds. Your vigilance may make all the difference.

Forbes Business: 3 Real Estate Scams and How to Avoid Them

Four Popular Real Estate Scams That Are Making Headlines

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The Latest Real Estate Scam

April 13th, 2016 · Santa Barbara Real Estate

Hackers are targeting buyers, Realtors, and Title Company escrow officers. Always check with the Title Company via phone to verify any transfers before sending any funds. Video from the National Association of Realtors.
The Santa Barbara Real Estate Blog: “To Protect and Serve”

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Shortage of Homes?

April 4th, 2016 · Santa Barbara Real Estate

NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun reported in the March/April issue of Realtor magazine , “that there’s a troubling shortage of homes nationwide.”  Housing costs are still climbing, and that rents rose at their highest pace in seven years while home prices nationally increased by 6 percent. That’s 3 times the pace of average wage growth. Housing costs are expected to keep rising in 2016 simply because not enough homes are being built. This might explain why rental vacancies are falling and housing inventories are shrinking. Local market conditions vary and States with declining populations are less affected. The American Dream of home ownership may be threatened if we don’t spur more housing development in the country soon.”

In Santa Barbara some buyers seem frustrated with the available  inventory due to the fact that many “new” listings are actually old listings relisted (some have been on the market for years).   Statistics continue to show that new listings that are priced competitively sell within a reasonable time frame, and for more money then when they languish on the market for indefinite periods.

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National Association of Realtors national Market Pulse and Supply and Demand chart published March/April 2016

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For Sale By Owner?

April 2nd, 2016 · For Sale By Owner, Hope Ranch Realtors, Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Realtors, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Realtors

In today’s market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising, some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.Here are five of those reasons:

1.      There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With / Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

•The buyer who wants the best deal possible

•The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer

•The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)

•The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house

•The appraiser if there is a question of value

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 89% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 20% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3. Results Come from the Internet :Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

•44% on the internet

•33% from a Real Estate Agent

•9% from a yard sign

•1% from newspaper

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult: The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years. The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent: Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $210,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $249,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $39,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line: Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

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664 Oak Grove Drive in Montecito

March 26th, 2016 · Montecito Estates, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate

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This is a rare opportunity in one of Montecito’s finest neighborhoods. This four bedroom three bath home is situated on approximately 1.3 estate like acres. Located in Montecito’s Golden Quadrangle, this home is close to the renown Montecito Union School, shopping, trails, beaches, and all the best Montecito has to offer. The house is approximately 2276 square feet on a fairly level lot.  Offered at $2,740,000 Listed with Sotheby’s International Realty.

  For more information or a private showing contact Mark or Kirsten

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