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What You Need To Know About Home Inspections

August 27th, 2015 · Home Inspections, Hope Ranch Real Estate, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate

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For most of us, our home is the biggest investment we will ever make. For those preparing to buy, a quality home inspection is key. An inspection is usually required for a home purchase. A highly rated home inspector will look at every nook and cranny to gauge structure stability, present and potential dangers. But remember, a home inspection is not a guarantee or a warranty – it may not find everything

HOW TO FIND A GOOD HOME INSPECTOR

1. Do your homework: While many homebuyers hire a home inspector by their real estate agent, you can hire your own, but be sure to check them out. Ask to see proof of state certification or proof of membership in the National Associations of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

2. Look for experience: Both NAHI and ASHI require a minimum of 250 inspections, however most experienced professionals will say it’s better to find someone who’s performed at least 1,000 inspections and has at least three-to-five years of full-time experience.

3. Ask for licensing & insurance: Ask to see proof of licensing if your state requires home inspectors to be licensed, and inquire about proof of general liability insurance as well as and errors and omission (E&O) insurance.

4. Consider average cost: Home inspections generally cost between $300 and $450, and typically take three to four hours. The cost of an inspection will vary depending on such factors as the age and size of a home.

There are a number of things homeowners should do and know before getting a home inspection:

Get involved with your home inspection: While it’s not required that you attend the inspection, you should be there with your home inspector to discuss expectations and findings.

Demand a detailed inspection: Home inspectors should look for structural problems; roof damage; fire hazards, such as improperly vented chimney flues; electrical safety issues, including old wiring; and problems with plumbing and major appliances, like the HVAC system and hot water heater. Inspectors should physically crawl the attic and crawl space, if possible, rather than just taking a quick look around from the opening or doorway.

Read the inspector’s report: Many inspectors provide the report the same day as the inspection. The report should be thorough and easy to understand and should include narrative accounts of the inspector’s findings that are specific to your house, along with pictures and diagrams. Many inspectors will also include photographs with their reports. Keep in mind that few houses are perfect, so you should expect some issues to be found. Don’t hesitate to question your inspector about the report. 

Do you need a home inspection if you’re building or buying new? Newer homes can have just as many problems as an older home. And, if you are building a home, inspections at key points during construction should be a part of the process.

Home inspection report can impact sales price: A home inspection report reveals problems that need to be fixed. You might use this information to renegotiate the price that you originally offered or you may be prepared to adjust your selling price. Keep in mind, sellers aren’t required to fix anything, no matter how egregious the situation.

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Santa Barbara “Live” Real Estate Statistics

August 27th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends, SB Real Estate Statistics

real-time real estate market research
Something new for Santa Barbara Real Estate! Live Statistics! Sales asking prices for the last 7 days, and the last 90 days. If you’d like to take the “Pulse” of today’s market here’s where you’ll find it.

Iif you’re not familar with Santa Barbara’s Zip Codes, here they are:
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

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Real Estate vs. the Stock Market

August 24th, 2015 · Hope Ranch Homes For Sale, Montecito Homes For Sale, Santa Barbara Homes For Sale

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The current volatility in the Stock Market might make investors consider if their money might be put to better use in real estate. Here are 8 reasons why real estate is a better investment.

1) You are more in control. Every physical real estate investment you make puts you in charge as CEO. As CEO, you are able to make improvements, cut costs – refinance your mortgage, raise rents, and market accordingly. Of course you are still at the mercy of the economic cycle, but overall you have much more leeway in making wealth optimizing decisions. When you invest in a public or private company, you are a minority investor who puts his or her faith in management.

2) Leverage with other people’s money. Leverage in a rising market is a wonderful thing. Even if real estate only tracks inflation over the long run, a 3% increase on a 20% downpayment is a 15% return. In five years you will have more than doubled your equity at this rate.

3) Tax Advantages. Not only can you deduct the interest on up to $1.1 million in mortgage indebtedness on your primary home, you can also sell your primary home for tax free profits up to $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for married couples if you live in the home for the last two of a five year period. If you are in the 28% or higher tax bracket, it behooves you to own property

4) Tangible asset. Real estate is something you can see, feel, and utilize. Stocks aren’t event pieces of paper anymore, but ticker symbols and numbers. When the world comes to an end, you can seek shelter in your property. Real estate is one of the three pillars for survival, the other two being food and shelter.

5) Easier to analyze and quantify. If you can calculate realistic expenses and rental income that’s all you really need when it comes down to valuing a piece of property. If you can borrow at 4% and rent out for a 6% yield, you’ve likely found yourself a winner. There’s not only the cash flow component but the underlying equity component that helps investors build wealth. Stocks require you to trust what the company reports.

6) Less visible volatility. Your house value could be tanking and you would never know it since there isn’t a daily ticker symbol. During bad times, the utility of your home really helps soften the blow as you enjoy your home and create great memories. When your investment is less volatile, it’s much easier to stay the course and not sell at the bottom.

7) A source of pride. Real estate is a constant reminder that taking calculated risks over time pays off. There is an indescribable feeling nobody tells you once you’ve closed on your property. Even though the bank probably owns most of it in the beginning, you literally feel like the King or Queen of your castle. Plus you can always add value to your property.

8) More insulated. Real estate is local. If you’ve made a good decision to buy in an economically strong region, you will be more insulated from the national economy or the global economy. Look at prices in superstar cities such as Manhattan, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Paris, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. They fall the least, recover the soonest and gain the most.

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Santa Barbara Weekly Mortgage Watch

August 19th, 2015 · Hope Ranch Homes For Sale, Montecito Homes For Sale, Mortgage Information, Santa Barbara Homes For Sale

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Freddy Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey August 2015

30 year fixed rate mortgage rate fell to 3.91% this week compared to 3.89% last week. Lowest 30 year rate touched in the last 10 years is 3.55%.

15 year mortgage rate fell to 3.13% this week compared to 3.17% last week. Lowest 30 year rate touched in the last 10 years is 2.83%.

5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgatge is 2.95%, just the same as last week. Lowest 5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage touched in the last 10 years is 2.75%.

Mortgage rates remained level over the last week.

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Smart Home Technology & Real Estate Values

August 15th, 2015 · Hope Ranch Real Estate, Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Smart Home Technology

2SmartHomeTechImageThere are plenty of reasons to incorporate smart-home technology into your life — greater convenience, improved efficiency, and added security, to name just a few. And here’s one more: greater home resale value.

A recent survey found that smart-home devices such as connected lighting and thermostats, remote-access security, and smart locks could make a big difference in how much a buyer might spend on a home purchase and how quickly they might act.

In fact, 81 percent of current smart-home device owners said they would be more willing to buy a home with connected tech already in place, according to the survey by Cnet and Coldwwell Banker. And 66 percent said they would leave their smart-home products behind if they thought their house would sell faster as a result.

Parents with children under 18 are nearly twice as likely to have smart-home products, with security the most pressing issue. Among all respondents, 59 percent of parents said they would be willing to pay more for a home equipped with smart products compared with 47 percent of respondents without children.

In the survey, smart-home devices were defined as “products or tools that aid in controlling a home’s functions such as lighting, temperature, security, safety and entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or with a separate automatic system within the home itself.”

Forty-seven percent of millennial respondents, ages 18 to 34 (and 33 percent of those ages 35 to 44) said they own at least one smart-home product. Of those who currently use it, 81 percent said they would be more likely to buy a home if smart products were already installed.

Of those who own a smart-home device, virtually all (91 percent) said they would recommend it to others.

Eighty-seven percent of smart-home device owners said the technology makes their lives easier, and more than half said it saves them time — an average of nearly 30 minutes per day. Forty-five percent also said that, on average, they have saved more than $1,000 a year with smart-home technology.

Also: 76 percent of those with smart-home products said they control them with a mobile device. Fifty-one percent said the living room is the most common place for smart-home technology, followed by bedrooms at 45 percent; a family/rec room at 35 percent; and the kitchen at 30 percent.

For smart-home news and product reviews, check out Cnet’s smart-home technology page.  Best Smart Home Technology Devices 2015

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Sotheby’s International Realty Santa Barbara

August 13th, 2015 · American Riviera, Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Realtors, Santa Barbara Realtors


Sotheby International Realty’s Santa Barbara Television Ad

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Santa Barbara Real Estate 2nd Quarter Statistics

August 8th, 2015 · Carpinteria Homes For Sale, Goleta Homes For Sale, Hope Ranch Homes For Sale, Montecito Homes For Sale, Santa Barbara Homes For Sale, Summerland Homes For Sale

August 8, 2015   Year over year sales are up 12% with the median sales price up to roughly $1,175,000 for a 5% rise. The average sales price is also up from just over $1,700,000 in 2014 to approximately $1,900,000 in 2015 while the number of escrows are up about 19% with the median list price on those escrows down about 3.5%.

With escrows and sales up for the 2nd market quarter the prospect for a strong 3rd quarter look good.  The vitality in the market is still dependent on the inventory however.  The graphs below reflect 2nd quarter activity for those areas. Graphs provided by Sotheby’s International Realty Santa Barbara.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Q2SantaBarbara

Q2CarpSummerland

Q2Montecito

Q2HopeRanch

Q2Goleta

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Nixle for Santa Barbara

August 5th, 2015 · Hope Ranch Homes For Sale, Montecito Homes For Sale, Santa Barbara Homes For Sale

Like to know what’s going on around you? Like instant news about fires, earthquakes, medical emergencies, and just stuff going on here in Southern Santa Barbara? Visit  Nixle  where you can sign up for free text and email notices. Check it out!9ViewTVHill2015

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Weekly Mortgage Watch

August 4th, 2015 · American Riviera, Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Mortgage Information

9WeeklyMortgageWatch2015 (Click on image to enlarge)

30 Year Mortgage Rate is at 4.04%, compared to 4.09% last week . Lowest 30 year rate touched in last 10 years is 3.53%.15

15 Year Mortgage Rate is at 3.21%, compared to 3.25% last week. Lowest 15 year rate touched in last 10 years  is 2.83%.5/1

Adjustable Rate Mortgage Rate is at 2.97%, compared to 2.96% last week. Lowest 5/1 Adjustable Rate touched in last 10 years  is 2.69%.

We are seeing a consistent upward movement in rates.  Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey June 2007 to June 2015.

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Simple Tips To Improve Your Home For Sale

August 3rd, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Realtors, Real Estate News, Santa Barbara Realtors


ABC US News | World News

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