It's better than you think...
The news is full of stories about the pandemic’s effect on lives, the economy, and real estate across the country. Nationally real estate sales were down by 8.5% in March and according most sources the trend continued through April.
We decided to zero in on the effect we are seeing in Santa Barbara. As you read through, you will see that Santa Barbara is doing better than the country as a whole.
The graphs are all derived from data collected by the Santa Barbara MLS. While the data is subject to some errors, omissions, and duplication, it should be representative of what is going on in our local market in the period of January through April 2020.
In each of the charts we compare this year’s activity to last year’s during the same period. The blue bars represent 2019 activity while the orange represents 2020. Numbers in all charts represent unit sales for the period. Data is specific exclusively to Santa Barbara, Goleta, Hope Ranch, Carpinteria, Summerland, and Montecito.
After a strong start to the year, the Santa Barbara market unit sales started to decline slightly in March, then fell by almost half in April. Montecito unit sales declined in April but were above 2019 during most of Q1 2020.
Despite these initial numbers it appears that there is a rebound of activity in the Santa Barbara Area area.
As of May 11, there have been 35 additional closed sales in Santa Barbara and 11 in Montecito.
New listings are down overall in Santa Barbara, but up significantly in Montecito. Since May 1, 93 new listings in Santa Barbara, 16 of which are in Montecito. As of May 15 there are 541 active lisitings on the MLS. There 160 listings in Montecito.
Pended Listings: These charts show listings going under contract during the specific month. Pending sales are up overall in Santa Barbara but down slightly in Montecito. (Chart does not include pends that occurred before January 1.
Status of Pended Listings: These charts show the status of pended listings for each month. They include listings that pended before 12/31. The charts indicate that a most pended listings close. Current pends are cumulative and suggest an uptick in buyer activity
For the time being, it seems that the Santa Barbara real estate market has avoided the pain suffered in other markets. While nationally year over year sales of existing homes dropped by 8.5%, Santa Barbara sales and Eucalyptus Hills sales, listings, and pendeds have held relatively steady. As of this writing, it appears that trend will continue to hold through May.
The strength of the market seems to be fueled by a surge of interest on the part of buyers from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other urban areas in search of space and safety. For those who can afford it, Santa Barbara can be a haven from the pandemic.
In the near term, at least this should have a positive effect on local real estate values.
Feel Free to contact us
with any questions you may have
about the status of the real estate market
or the information presented here .
Ideas to keep a positive outlook amid the Covid-19
Too Much News!
Oliver and I have been consumed by all the latest news about the coronavirus. It's hard not to be. Every time you turn on the radio, the TV or even looking at your email brings some new update.
What are we doing to keep sane during these difficult times? Sometimes it's good just to urn off the computer, don't look at the latest email alerts and do something different.
Take a look at what we are doing...
Whether you take a hike or a stroll on the beach, or just a drive in the foothills. Go out and get some fresh air. A change of scenery is good for you.
With all of our recent rain the wildflowers are out in full bloom. There are poppies, and lupins lining the roadways and trails.
The air is fresh and clear, take a deep breath and enjoy.
Teach Yourself a New Trick
Earl gave me a new cookbook last year, American Sfolglino, by Evan Funke. Evan is a master at making all pasta shapes by hand. He tells you to throw the f**king machine away.
I have a great pasta machine, I've used it for years. Why would I want to throw it away?
I made some dough and rolled out some tagliatelle topped with fresh pesto and romano cheese. It was fabulous. I am now rethinking that machine. Could be a dust collector.
Guess what? Not only did I teach myself something new, I also distracted myself from the daily onslaught of news.
Grab A Shovel
We finished up a home remodel a few months ago, and while the inside is amazing, the yard leaves something to be desired. Weeds abound, especially with all the recent rain.
My daughter was visiting a few weeks ago, before the craziness began, and we got the shovel and started planting some natives, and a little jasmine for nighttime fragrance.
There is nothing like getting your hands in the dirt, and enjoying watching everything grow. I smile when I look out my window now. I have a long way to go, but I figure I have time now to work on it.
Share with us what you are doing to take care of yourself and stay positive during these difficult times.
Take Care and Stay Healthy
Santa Barbara is paradise, we hear it every day. It's not just the natural beauty and the weather, the community of people is quite amazing.
Ride a Bike and Then Watch the Peloton
Santa Barbara is a bike lovers dream. What could be better than riding the Goob Loop in the morning, and then heading out to watch the Amgen Tour Peloton cruise Coast Village Road in the afternoon.
Ready for a hill challenge, head up Gibraltar Road. Looking for something flat, grab a beach bike and head to the beach for low tide cruising.
You can even ride the bike path from Santa Barbara to Ventura along the beach.
Viva La Fiesta!
Old Spanish Days began in 1924, with the first Historical Parade representing Chumash Indians and the soldiers of Spain and Mexico. There were decorated floats drawn by horses, and Service clubs, such as the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, participating wearing costumes depicting the various historical periods.
It is now a multi-day event, featuring one of the largest horse parades, El Desfile de los Niños (Childrens Parade), Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado (don't miss the tamales), and numerous other events.
I Could Go On and On and On...
See a concert at the Santa Barbara County Bowl.
Grab some spiny lobster at the Saturday Fish Market.
See a film at the newly remodeled Riviera Theatre.
Take a stroll on the pier and look back at the amazing view.
Make a fresh fruit tart with berries from one of the Santa Barbara Farmers Markets.
Check out the summer music festival at the Music Academy.
And so much more....If you run out of ideas why Santa Barbara is so special, give me a call.
Why are Jeans so Short Today?
Try to find a pair of jeans that are long enough to cover your ankles. It's just about impossible. I have always thought they are short either because I am too tall, or because manufacturers are trying to save on fabric.
Well, I am not all that tall, just above average really...maybe there is another reason.
My office is on Coast Village Road, across from Lucky's. There are a couple of cute shops next to the office, but I am always in a rush so just quickly look in the window on my way in or out.
The other day, while walking past BASKE Boutique, something caught my eye. A rack of socks just inside the door. I know that sounds silly, but honestly good women's socks are hard to find.
I made a quick stop, the socks drew me in. I was not disappointed. So many to choose from, they are soft, the perfect weight, and color. I picked up a couple of pair.
I love them...they are amazingly comfortable. Now I know why my jeans are short, to show off my socks of course. Now I have another reason to visit Baske.
Next time you are strolling on Coast Village Road, make sure to stop in to say to Dave and Nana at BASKE. Their beautiful shop is well curated featuring their own line of shoes, casual clothing, accessories and do not miss the sock rack.
In todays digital world, everyone has near perfect information on home values. There are many websites which provide volumes of data for the home buyer.
Yet, homebuyers are so polite in making offers. They find the house they love, but it's a bit overpriced. They don't want to offend the owners, so they just sit and wait. They wait in hopes that the seller will reduce the price.
Study after study shows the longer the home sits on the market, the lower the sales price will be. Buyers can easily see how many days a home has been on the market. Yet, most buyers will still just sit and wait until the price is reduced.
The savvy buyer will just make an offer based on what they feel if the correct value. They are not afraid of offending a seller, rather they are trying to make the best buy they can.
So, don't just sit there, make an offer. There are real sellers who want or need to sell. If you wait until the price is reduced, you may have waited too long. You may end up having competition and find yourself in a bidding war. There are some deals to be had out there, JUST MAKE AN OFFER!
Take a look at my Collection below. It shows some of the amazing buys there have been in the past couple of months.
When searching for a home, most people think the difficulty lies in finding the perfect fit. Think of the Cinderella story. The prince searched to find the foot that would fit perfectly in the glass slipper. While it can be challenging to find your "place in the world", making it through the escrow process can be even more difficult. You need an expert Realtor to help guide you through the process.
Through your searches, you find the one. That perfect place you want to call home. It may have some warts, or be the wrong color, but you can tell, this is it from the moment you walk up the to the front door.
You want a real estate agent you can trust to put your interests first who will guide you through the next steps. What price to offer, pre-approval from a reputable lender, and drafting the terms of the contract.
Will there be multiple offers? Having an experienced agent, respected in the real estate community can lend weight to your offer.
Your offer has been accepted, now the work really begins. Your future home is going to be inspected from top to bottom. Your realtor can refer specialists to you for the following.
Even the smallest houses can have big problems. Is the foundation cracking, does the house need a french drain for water intrusion, have the termites eaten too much?
You need an agent who is not desperate to make a commission and will steer you into a house made of cards. You need an agent who will let you know you need to walk away.
How do you find the Real Estate agent that will work for you?
Most of all, interview a few agents to find your best fit. You will be spending a lot of time together through the home buying process. Make sure you will work well together.
You know that old catch phrase..."Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME."
I love our new kitchen! It has been so much fun to cook again. Unfortunately some of our cabinets arrived damaged. The trucking company was careless. We are now on the third go around of replacing parts. The most frustrating part has been dealing with the delivery people. The cabinet manufacturer and their representatives have all been great.
UPS was scheduled to deliver the last pieces on Friday. Everything was crated in a beautifully built box. There was no way they were going to be damaged this time.
The UPS guy assumed there would be workers at the house, since the last time he dropped something off we were in the midst of construction. There was only me. He said he was not going to haul that crate up the driveway by himself.
I suggested if he had called, we could have scheduled people to be there to help. Just use the phone, don't assume.
The solution was to have UPS drop the crate at a local moving company, and they would re-deliver the crate. The moving company assumed I couldn't take the delivery as I didn't have room in the garage for the crate. The moving company unpacked the crate, and blanket wrapped each piece!
What were they thinking? It would have been better for me to have the items in the crate. Now they are loose, lying on the garage floor waiting to be installed.
If they had just picked up the phone and called. It would have saved them an enormous amount of time.
Moral of the blog is, don't assume, just pick up the phone.
What do you do with the packaging?
We are finishing up our home remodel, a very exciting time.
The frustrating part is all the packaging materials. It seems everyday we have a new pile to get rid of. I can manage the cardboard, but what do you do with all the styrofoam? Those tiny bits that break off seem to have a mind of their own. They attach themselves to everything, Watch out if there is a breeze. They love to fly around the neighborhood.
I want to be a good human and recycle. Up until now there wasn't a solution.
Styrofoam was trademarked by the Dow Chemical Company for extruded polystyrene that’s used in thermal insulation and craft applications. EPS for short. Here are some objections for using it.
.It doesn't seem like we are going to get rid of this packaging nightmare anytime soon. So how do we deal with it?
There is good news! The amazing group of "Heal the Ocean" has teamed up with MarBorg Industries to divert styrofoam from going into our County landfill at Tajiguas. According to an article in the Santa Barbara Independent "Borgatello said if there’s sufficient public response, his company would invest in a compacting machine that reduces the foam into blocks that can be sold and re-used to make a host of products. But that, he said, would require 10,000-20,000 pounds a month."
“It’s a necessary evil,” said Hilary Hauser of Heal the Ocean, who helped spark the project. “It seems people can’t live without it.” By finding commercially attractive uses, it’s her hope to keep as much of it out of the landfill as possible. Some of the pieces turned in thus far, she said, were “as big as the State of Indiana.”
You can drop off your styrofoam FOR FREE at these locations
In Goleta at 20 David Love Place
In Santa Barbara at 132 Nopalitos Way
Of special interest is foam used for packaging big screen TV's, and construction materials. It has to be clean of tape and mud.
Let's all make the extra effort to bring our styrofoam to the recycling centers. If we all do our part we can make the world a better place.
Choosing a contractor...Nightmare or Dream experience.
So you've bought your dream home. Dream is the keyword here...it's a fixer that only you can love. You have a vision, you know this is the one. The hard part is how to you choose a contractor who shares your vision, and your idea of a budget?
This is personal for me. I found my ugly duckling. As my daughter says, "the uglier the better for you". It's a standing joke for us. When she was a kid I found an amazing house, of course I was the only one with the rose colored glasses on. She sat in the living room, and uttered, "you aren't going to make us live here, are you?". I did, and in the end no one wanted to leave it.
I was listening to NPR on KCRW the other day. Frances Anderton was interviewing Jean Brownhill. She sounds like someone I would love to meet. A trained architect at Cooper Union in New York. She has worked on multi-million dollar renovation projects. You would think when it came to hiring a contractor for her own remodel it would be simple. It wasn't.
I interviewed five contractors. Most said it would take a year and twice my budget, but I persevered. I finally found someone that shared my dream, and my idea of timeline and budget. We are moved back in after six months and half what the others thought it should cost.
,Jean Brownhill created the perfect solution to this contractor homeowner match-matching dilemma-SWEETEN-Think of it as Tinder for your home. Sweeten is derived from "Home Sweet Home"
Her company vets contractors and matches them to your project. They also follow the remodel project from beginning to the end. Simply log onto the website, describe your project and VIOLA! They will send you a shortlist of matches, you interview the contractors, get estimates and hire your favorite.
It's only available in NY, Philly, and LA areas. Jean please come to Santa Barbara! We need you.
Take a look at some of my favorite homes in the area.
There is no doubt that Montecito suffered as a result of the Fire and Debris Flow in 2018. There were fewer sales during that time period and buyers were hesitant to jump in the market.
The good news is we have made it through the rainy season, insurers are writing new policies on homes, the sun is shining, and there are some great homes available for purchase.
Montecito is a strong resilient community. Even more now than ever before.
Take a look at my Collection of special homes. Let us know if one of them sparks your interest, or if you just want to find out more about our great town.
My Curated Collection of Special Montecito Homes
Montecito is nestled between the ocean and mountains just east of Santa Barbara. I love the hiking trails and especially the fact they are National Forests, not State Parks. This means my pal Oliver is free to roam the mountains with me.
Pamela-Real Estate Romantic