Why Writing A Backup Offer Is So Important!

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A backup offer is a secondary offer on a home that is already under contract. If the first buyer falls out of escrow then the second buyer with the accepted backup offer will immediately go into escrow. The property does not go back on to the market if you have an accepted backup offer. There are a host of different reasons why the first buyer can potentially fall out of escrow. Here are 3 common reasons why a property might fall out of escrow.

1) Inspections: The buyer will have an investigation/inspection period which typically lasts approximately 10-17 days. During this time period, the buyer has the opportunity to have a home inspection, roof inspection, sewer lateral inspection, termite inspection and more...  The buyer could discover something in their inspections that may be a red flag for them. Maybe they discovered mold in a bathroom which may be a deal breaker for them. It's possible the home may need more work than what they had anticipated originally and do not have the budget to accomplish the remodel they wanted to do.

2) Financing: The loan process can be challenging to navigate. Typically you will have contingency period of approximately 21-days to get your loan approved. Often times there can be hiccups during this time period that could result in not being able to get the loan approved. Here are a few examples that could put a loan in jeopardy: shifting finances, large purchases such as a car, new job or loss of a job.

3) Cold Feet: Often times when a buyer is competing against multiple offers on a property it can cause the buyer to act quickly and make a fast decision to make an offer. Once they get into escrow they may realize it was not the right property for them. Maybe another property hits the market that they want to pursue so they back out. Maybe the husband loves the property but the wife is feeling underwhelmed by the property.

As you can tell there are an infinite amount reasons why a home can fall out of escrow. That is why writing a backup offer is so important! Their loss can be your gain and sometimes it's just meant to be. 

Please feel free to contact our team with any questions regarding writing backup offers in the Santa Barbara Area!


Why We Strongly Believe Home Staging Works!

People often ask us why we recommend staging a home before putting it on the market? Why do we think it is so effective? According to the National Association of Realtors, "for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400." According to the Real Estate Staging Association "homes staged before hitting the market sell, on average, 73 percent faster than their unstaged counterparts." Here are some additional reasons why we feel staging is so important!

  • 90% of today's buyers start their home search online, so great photos are essential. Professional photos of a beautifully staged property will drive more traffic to your open house and create more interest. 
  • Photographing an empty house will make the interior space feel smaller.
  • Once a Buyer walks into a staged home they will start to visualize themselves there. They will picture how they themselves would enjoy and utilize the space on a daily basis. This will help create an emotional connection with the property.
  • Having professional photos of your beautiful staged home will not only provide a better online presence of your property but will enable our team to create gorgeous print marketing materials such as Newspress Ads, Magazine Ads, Bi-fold brochures, postcards, and more.

Here are some before and after photos of our listings that were beautifully staged by Alan and Ann Home Staging

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Professionally photography by Zach Brown of Atlas photography & Eric Foote of Elevated Horizons.

Written by Your Santa Barbara Home Team

What to Expect in Montecito


The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Economic Forecast for 2018 was opened with heavy hearts and a collective moment of silence honoring the tremendous loss of precious life and the devastation of property in Montecito due to the Thomas Fire and subsequent mud flow.  Leslie Appleton-Young, the Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors feels that it is too early to determine how these tragic events will affect the Montecito housing market, however she made the following predictions on what we might expect: 

  • The impact on the housing market will be more substantial in the immediately affected areas, but will remain relatively small in the county as a whole. 
  • Home sales activity and prices in the fire-ravaged areas are expected to drop in the near term. Potential buyers could be discouraged.  There will be a supply shortage. 
  • Average rental rate will pick up as displaced homeowners seek temporary shelter while their homes are being repaired, thus pushing up demand on rental properties in the short term. 
  • Housing supply will be lowered and the impact will be more substantial in the immediately affected areas.
  • Eventually, rebuilt homes in the burned and mud flow areas will gradually increase supply and could raise home prices in the neighborhood as these homes will be newer and improved from previous homes. 
  • Cost of home ownership could be higher in the immediate affected area, as homeowners' insurance premium may increase because of the catastrophe.  

While it is too soon to know exactly how the Montecito real estate market will ultimately be affected, one thing for certain is that the outpouring of love and generosity by both the Santa Barbara and Montecito communities has been overwhelming. One homeowner was quoted as saying “It was the beauty that brought us here, but it is the people make us stay.” We need more time to ascertain how the real estate market will react to these unimaginable and tragic events.

Santa Barbara Real Estate Values Are Back At Their Peak!

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People constantly ask us, “How is the market doing?”  If you are a seller, things are looking good in 2018.  If you are a buyer, the time to act is now.  After attending the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Economic Forecast for 2018, this was the message from Chief Economist of the California Association of Realtors, Ms. Leslie Appleton-Young, along with a local statistician/Realtor from the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR). 
At the end of December 2017, the median sales price for single family homes from Carpinteria to Goleta, was $1,250,000, up 8.8% from December of 2016.  Home prices in Santa Barbara are at the same levels reached at the peak of the market in 2005.

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Ms. Appleton-Young emphasized that the inventory level of homes on the market remains extremely low throughout California.  These low levels have become our “new normal.”  At the end of December 2017, there were 262 single family homes actively listed in our Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service from Carpinteria to Goleta.  This was the lowest inventory level for all of 2017.

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Rising interest rates also play an important part in our market this year.  Rates have been rising and are predicted to continue increasing.  Currently interest rates hover around 4.25%, depending on the type of loan.  In September of 2017 rates were as low at 3.78%.  For every percent that interest rates rise, a buyer’s purchasing power is reduced by $100,000.  For example, if a buyer is pre-approved for a $1,000,000 purchase and rates increase by only 1%, that buyer would now only qualify for a $900,000 purchase. 
Additionally, the new tax laws have an effect on our real estate market.  The limit on deductible mortgage debt was reduced from $1 million to $750,000 for new loans taken out after 12/14/17.  However, note that current loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered in and are not subject to this new $750,000 cap.  Interest paid on home equity loans is only deductible if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.  Lastly, homeowners who itemize their tax returns can only claim up to $10,000 total for state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes.
Lastly, both Ms. Appleton-Young and the statistician/Realtor from the SBAOR are predicting that California’s median home price will increase 3.1 to 3.2% this year.  Overall, home sales in California are expected to grow.  This is great news for sellers in 2018!

Please feel free to reach out to us with any of your real estate needs.  We are always happy to help!  The greatest compliment you can give us is a referral.  We appreciate you thinking of our team.


Our hearts go out to the Montecito community and all those affected by the tragic Thomas Fire and subsequent mud flow.  Thank you to all of the first responders and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help all of those in need.  For more information on what to expect in Montecito real estate market, please visit our latest blog post. 

Please feel free to reach out to us with any of your real estate needs.  We are always happy to help!  The greatest compliment you can give us is a referral.  We appreciate you thinking of our team.

Written by Your Santa Barbara Home Team. Statistic provided by SBAOR & Leslie Appleton Young

The Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Is Strong!

There is a lot going on in the world today, but none of it appears to be affecting the real estate market. It has been moving along steadily with no real apparent significant change.

There have been roughly 6% more sales of houses this year than last year.  It is not a record breaker, but it does show a fairly active market.

There have been more condos sold this year than last, up by about 3%.  This may seem low but the 3% increase represents primarily re-sales, not new condo sales.  There have been over 100 brand new condo sales that are not recorded through the MLS.  If these were included, it would probably exceed our 16 year high in 2015. 

The current median price is 5.6% higher than what it was last year at this time.  This indicates that prices continue to increase slowly.  It is still flirting with the all-time highs back in 2007.

The following chart breaks down the year-to-date information by area.  This gives a better understanding of how each area is doing.  It should be noted that the Hope Ranch area consists of less than 1,000 properties, so the numbers will be much smaller there.  Also, Carp/Summerland have fewer properties than the other areas. 

(Note: the area indicated as “Goleta” encompasses the city of Goleta along with the unincorporated area between Goleta and Santa Barbara.)

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The Months of Inventory (MOI) is an interesting number to watch.  This indicates roughly how long it would take to sell all of the current active listings without adding additional inventory.  The overall months of inventory for single-family residences is currently at 3.7 months.  This reflects that we are in that active, steady market.

As indicated earlier, the real estate market continues on a steady path.  A healthy number of properties are selling with a median that is going up gradually.  The economy is still on the upswing and makes people more comfortable which can only be good for the real estate market.  There is talk of another quarter point of the Fed Funds rate going up, which may slow things down just a bit.  Barring any major catastrophies, the market should stay strong!

Article courtesy of Village Properties and written by Carol Kruckenberg

Just Listed! | 1407 School House Road | Montecito



5 Bedrooms  |  3 Full Bathrooms  | Approx. 3,140sf & 1.3-acres

Have you been dreaming of renovating a charming ranch style home, or building a beautiful grand estate? Nestled in the heart of Montecito this wonderful property offers endless possibilities. Located down a private lane just past the coveted Montecito Union School, this single-story home is situated on a park-like approximately 1.3-acre parcel. The residence boasts 5 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms, open beam cathedral ceilings, oak floors, a lovely fireplace, and walls of windows offering an abundance of natural sunlight. French doors open to a spacious patio, seamlessly extending the living space, perfect for al fresco entertaining. The approximately 3,140sf home enjoys a flexible floorplan with 2 master bedroom suite options, 2 additional bedrooms, and a separate wing that includes a den, and bedroom with full bath, perfect for guests. The usable parcel offers ample space for a pool and guest cottage. Located just minutes to the Upper Village, San Ysidro Ranch and Butterfly Beach, this home is being offered for the first time in 50 years! Your opportunity awaits! 

Offered At $2,495,000

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Tuesday's Tips & Tricks: 5 Exterior Home Renovations That Will Appeal To Buyers

This week's Tuesday's Tips and Tricks are brought to you by the California Association of Realtors. Have you ever wondered what home renovations are important to buyers? You know that buyers love remodeled kitchens, wood floors, lots of natural light... but what are buyers drawn to on the exterior of your home? According to the California Association of Realtors the following 5 projects appeal most to buyers when re-saleing your home:

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Image brought to you by California Association of Realtors and the "One Cool Thing" Infographics.

Estate Planning Strategies To Protect Your Real Estate Investments

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Real estate is a valuable long-term investment that can bring in substantial income if you use high-end properties as rentals. However, it is essential that you properly protect your real estate investments for yourself and your family. Whether your total investment is a modest home in the suburbs or a string of rental properties that are a source of passive income, you should use estate planning strategies to protect your assets.

There are two things that put your real estate assets at risk. First, a lawsuit from an angry tenant could strip you of some or all of your assets. Secondly, the probate process could fragment your family as they disintegrate into a frenzy after your death. The emotions associated with the loss of a loved one can cloud rational thought and exacerbate an already tedious process.

Fortunately, there are some estate planning tools that will really help you in both of these instances. Not only will this allow you to privately divvy up your estate as you wish, you can keep the information away from public scrutiny. The probate process is part of public records, meaning that your loved ones could fall prey to predators going after their inheritance.

Limited Liability Companies, or LLCs, are an effective tool to manage your rental and income-producing real estate. You can form an LLC that owns the property, rather than taking title under your own name. As such, the property will not be listed under your name when you purchase it. And, if someone sues the owner, it is the company rather than your personal assets that are at stake.

Living trusts are an equally viable option, depending on your circumstances. There are various types of trusts available, and your estate planning attorney can help you choose which suits your circumstances best. For many people, a combination of a revocable living trust and LLCs is the ideal strategy to protecting their investments. There are also tax benefits associated with certain trusts as well.

If you have real estate property that you need to protect, make an appointment with an estate planning and asset protection attorney today. Protect your personal assets from lawsuits and your family from the heartaches that can follow from the loss of a loved one.

Thanks to our friend, trusts and estate planning attorney in Carpinteria, Neal Bartlett, for his insight on estate planning strategies to protect your real estate investments. Neal is the founding attorney at Bartlett & Herrington, PC. He helps families in Carpinteria, Montecito, Ventura and Santa Barbara create estate plans and elder law plans to protect their families and assets.


Tips To Spruce Up Your Bedroom Prior To Hitting The Market!

When listing your home, it's easy to think of all of things you want to spruce up in the living room, kitchen and dining area. It's easy to forget about preparing the bedroom spaces as well. Here are some great tips to prepare your bedrooms prior to putting your home on the market!

Eight Santa Barbara Women Recognized at Annual BRAVO Awards

Entrepreneurial women, industry leaders and business owners honored by National Association of Women Business Owners.

 Eight local women who have enriched the Santa Barbara economy, politically, philanthropically and socially were recognized Thursday by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. They are, from left, Lyla Krock, Kristen Miller, Kris White, Marine Schumann, Anne Pazier,  Renee Grubb , Anna Lopez-Carr and Cam Gittler. (Kim Clark / Noozhawk photo)

Eight local women who have enriched the Santa Barbara economy, politically, philanthropically and socially were recognized Thursday by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. They are, from left, Lyla Krock, Kristen Miller, Kris White, Marine Schumann, Anne Pazier, Renee Grubb, Anna Lopez-Carr and Cam Gittler. (Kim Clark / Noozhawk photo)

Eight local women who have enriched the Santa Barbara economy, politically, philanthropically and socially were recognized Thursday by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

NAWBO-SB held its third annual BRAVO Awards honoring entrepreneurial women, industry leaders and business owners at the Hyatt Santa Barbara.

“Think about the women that inspire you,” said NAWBO-SB president Amy Collins. “Follow their advice and wisdom and you’re going to continue to change the world.”

Among those honored were Anne Pazier of Santa Barbara Gift Baskets as Woman Business Owner of the Year; Marine Schumann, co-founder and general manager of Brighten Solar as Entrepreneur to Watch; and Renee Grubb, co-founder of Village Properties, as Philanthropic Champion.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by these women that I admire in the community,” Pazier said.

Pazier added that about 95 percent of the local Santa Barbara products carried at her Old Town Goleta storefront are owned and operated by women.

She also offered some words of wisdom: “Surround yourself with an incredible support team.”

Kristen Miller, president and CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, was named Public Policy Leader of the Year; Kris White, retired director of Computers for Families, waschosen as Education Advocate of the Year; Cam Gittler, president and license partner of Engel & Volkers, received a Lifetime Achievement Award; and Anna Lopez-Carr, co-founder of Le Sorelle, was selected as Member of the Year.

“I’m humbled — there are exceptional women in this organization,” Lopez-Carr said. “Santa Barbara is a special place because there are many women small-business owners and business owners — it’s a unique environment.”

Lyla Krock, a San Marcos High School student, was recognized with the Rising Star Award for her work with raising money through Cards for Cats to donate funds to the Animal Shelter Assistance Program.

Krock teaches third-graders at Monte Vista Elementary School about the importance of volunteering and getting involved in the community. 

“I volunteered at the Animal Shelter Assistance Program shelter, and it has found a place in my heart,” 15-year-old Krock said. “I’d like to expand the Cards for Cats and make more of an impact. “

More than 100 attendees at the luncheon had the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker Nancy O’Reilly.

O’Reilly is a licensed psychologist, motivational speaker, women-empowerment expert and international philanthropist.

In addition, she is the founder of the Women Connect4Good Foundation, a nonprofit that urges women to support each other to create a better world. 

O’Reilly’s speech centered around the theme of “Women who dare together can do anything.”

“Celebrate who you are, what you do and your accomplishments,” O’Reilly said. “Success is sharing time and energy.”

Since 1975, NAWBO has become a unified voice of more than 9 million American women-owned businesses representing the fastest-growing segment of the economy, according to the organization.

The dues-based professional association represents the interest of all women entrepreneurs across all industries, and includes more than 5,000 members and 60 chapters across the nation.

Since its founding in 2007, NAWBO-SB has grown to more than 80 members, and is committed to advancing the economic development of women entrepreneurs by providing support, networking, education and networking opportunities

NAWBO-SB members thanked the following corporate partners: Women Connect4Good, Inc. FoundationBuynak Fauver Archbald & Spray, Montecito Bank & TrustSanta Barbara Community BankFoundation for Santa Barbara City CollegeCox BusinessWitMark Marketing & Branding Group, Impact Hub Santa Barbara, N&S ExpressionsNoozhawkDowitcher DesignsLinda Blue PhotographyAccountability Plus, Tiffany & Co.Kelsey Crews Photo and Pacific Coast Business Times.

Article courtesy of Noozhawk, Written By Brooke Holland

8 Popular Tips That Cost Homeowners More In The Long Run


You’re always on the lookout for smart ideas and hacks to manage your home (and save money!) — whether that means listening to the wisdom of your parents who’ve owned a home longer than you’ve been alive, or scouring every corner of the internet for savvy tips.

But just because a tip has been pinned, shared, and Instagrammed thousands of times doesn’t make it smart. Here are eight tips (myths, really) that most people believe are good advice, but instead will cost you cash you don’t need to spend:

Myth #1: Lemons Are Great for Cleaning Garbage Disposals

What it could cost you: A plumber’s visit (and maybe a new disposal)

Proceed with caution when it comes to this well-circulated DIY fix. Citric acid is a natural deodorizer, but plumbing experts say it can corrode the metal in your disposal. That tough lemon peel can also damage the grinding components and clog your pipes. Next thing you know you’re Googling reviews for plumbers.

The better way: Turn on the disposal and, while running cold water, dump in two or more trays of ice cubes. Despite the clamor, this will safely dislodge buildup on the walls and the impellers, which grind up the food. Use vinegar to deodorize.

Spend Oh-So-Wisely on a Kitchen Remodel

  1. 6 Materials to Never Use in Your Kitchen
  2. How to Shop for a Retro Kitchen — and Not Get Stuck with Junk
  3. Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets: The Options and Costs

Myth #2: Use Duct Tape to Seal Ductwork

What it could cost you: Pricier energy bills

Despite its name, don’t rely on duct tape to seal leaks in your HVAC’s ductwork. Testing by the U.S. Department of Energy found it deteriorates over just a few years (hot air from the HVAC system degrades the glue), letting conditioned air escape without doing its job.

The better way: Use duct mastic (a gooey substance kind of like caulk that dries after applied) to seal metal and flexible ductwork, and use it along with a layer of fiberglass mesh for gaps larger than 1/16 of an inch wide. Use gloves with metal ducts because the edges can be sharp, and mastic is messy stuff.

Myth #3: Bleach Will Banish Mold

What it could cost you: A threat to your health, plus hundreds of $ (even thousands)

Although bleach can kill mold on non-porous surfaces, it isn’t effective on absorbent or porous materials — you know, the places it loves to lurk, like grout, caulk, drywall, insulation, and carpet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Instead, it just bleaches it so you can’t see it. And diluted bleach can feed future mold growth (yikes!) because only the water will be absorbed, which mold just loves.

The better way: Use a commercial anti-fungal product to take out mold at its roots. And only tackle mold removal yourself if the area is less than 10 square feet and you use protective gear, such as a respirator and chemical-resistant gloves. Otherwise, call in a mold remediation specialist who’ll know how to remove it without spreading it’s yucky (and potentially harmful) spores.

Related:  How to Get Rid of Mold Forever

Myth #4: Change Your HVAC Filter Every Month

What it could cost you: Around $100 a year

Although the air filter should be changed regularly to keep your home’s HVAC system operating efficiently, this piece of advice is more of a convenient general rule that could cause you to throw away perfectly good filters (and money!).

“The harsh truth is that it’s easier to say, ‘Do it every month’ and know that means people might do it every three or four months,” says homeowner advocate Tina Gleisner of Home Tips for Women.

The better way: The Department of Energy recommends checking, but not necessarily changing, your air filter every month. Change it if it looks dirty, replacing it at least once every three months.

Myth #5: Buy a Rinse Aid for Spot-Free Dishes

What it could cost you: Dollars instead of cents

Most dishwashers now come with a built-in dispenser for commercial rinse aids, plus a free sample to get you started. So now you’re hooked (spot-free glasses every time!), and it has become a regular item on your shopping list, even if it does cost almost $4 for 8 ounces.

The better way: If you’ve never tried, run your dishwasher without a rinse aid. If your water is soft, your dishwasher may deliver spot-free sparkle without any extra help. But if you’re still seeing spots, just fill the rinse-aid dispenser with plain white vinegar (less than a 50 cents for 8 ounces).

Money Tip: Rinse aid does help dishes dry faster, which stops those annoying wet drips from top rack to bottom when you unload. But instead of spending money, unload the bottom rack first while letting the top rack air dry.

Related: Which Homemade Dishwashing Detergent Is Best?

Myth #6: Home Improvement is Always a Good Investment

What it could cost you: Thousands of dollars in disappointment

Dreaming of diving into your own pool or adding a second bath to put an end to those morning squabbles? That’s the beauty of owning your own home, you can renovate to make all your dreams come true. And you’ll get money back on most any improvement you do, but don’t expect it for all improvements. FYI: A new bath returns 52% of its cost.

The better way: First off, your own happiness matters, so by all means, follow your remodeling bliss if you’re financially able. But if payback is important, do some research and talk to a REALTOR® who knows what buyers are seeking in your market. The Remodeling Impact Report from The National Association of REALTORS® (the sponsor of HouseLogic) is a fantastic resource to get the scoop on what projects will boost your equity the most. For example, it points out that small projects such as an insulation upgrade, refinishing floors, and even seeding your lawn will recoup almost all, and in some cases more than, your original investment.

Related: Find Out What Projects Have the Best Return on Investment

Myth #7: Put Dryer Sheets in Air Vents for a Sweet Smell

What it could cost you: Higher energy bills and a potential fire hazard

Social media PSA: Thousands of pins and shares do not mean a remedy is smart or safe. If you follow this popular hack, you’ll block the flow of air in your vents, making your HVAC system work harder and increasing your energy costs. The blockage even can pose a fire risk when the furnace is pumping out hot air. 

The better way: If fragrant air is what you’re after, there are no shortage of options available that won’t burn your house down. Give each room — or each day — a signature scent with all-natural scented candles, sprays, oils, and aromatherapy devices. If you’re seeking a scent to mask an offensive odor, however, it’s important to find and remove the source. Some stinky suspects — like mold, mildew, sewage, and gas leaks — can carry health risks.

Myth #8: Product Warranties Will Save on Repair Costs

What it could cost you: $50 to $100 or more

The last time you bought a major appliance or even a hand mixer, you were probably offered a warranty or service plan. While marketed to cover repair costs, these contracts typically cost more than you would ever spend to fix an item. And keep in mind that most manufacturers offer at least a 90-day warranty anyway.

The better way: Maintain the appliance as recommended by the manufacturer, and smartly stash the dollars you would spend on a warranty in a repair fund instead. Also, buy with a major credit card, such as AmEx or Visa. Many credit card companies extend product warranties (for free!) up to a year or so. Might be worth checking to see if yours does. 

Article courtesy of www.houselogic.com and written by Amy Howell Hirt