Kevin Costner lists Home for Sale

Kevin Costner’s sprawling Southern California coastal estate is on the market for $60 million. The 10.25-acre property is on a bluff in Carpinteria, approximately 10 miles outside of Santa Barbara. The property features unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Barbara mountains, and several nearby islands. Residents also get exclusive access to a quiet beach and a path for horseback riding.

The property’s sole structure is a “modest house,” according to Tim Hoctor, co-listing agent for the property and a friend of Costner’s, as reported by Mansion Global. Costner reportedly ditched past plans to build a bigger residence, a guesthouse, and a pool; the existing home has just two bedrooms and one bath. Still, the breathtaking photos of the estate more than make up for the mystery of the Padaro Lane house itself.  Judging by the sweeping pictures provided, the grass seems to go on forever, and the ocean and mountain views are stunning. (Image from Architectural Digest)

Montecito Real Estate at a Glance

Last year 203 single family homes, condos, and vacant lots sold in Montecito. This analysis was derived from the Santa Barbara Association of Realtor’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) using Montecito’s Zip Code of 93108 for the search parameter. In 2016 selling prices ranged from $525,000 (for an adobe studio on Coyote Road) to $28,850,000 (for the Seamair Farm which Oprah purchased)

In 2016 167 homes sold in 93108 from 170 sales in 2015.  Under $2,000,000 there were 48 home sales. Between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000 68 homes sold in that price range.  From  $4,000,000 to $6,000,000 32 homes sold.  From $6,000,000 to $8,000,000 15 homes sold. And, for more than $8,000,000 there were 6 home sales.

Second Units vs. Accessory Dwelling Units

Last September Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1069 and Assembly Bill 2406 that promotes secondary dwelling units aka accessory dwelling units (ADU) which as of January 1, 2017 has gone into effect.  Accessory Dwelling Units are defined as housing structures that provide complete independent living facilities and include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel as another dwelling. The idea is this will hopefully help defeat the affordable housing crisis in California by creating more affordable housing. So, what’s the difference between an Accessory Dwelling Unit and a Second Unit?

Accessory Dwelling:

  • Not recognized by city or county as a second unit (sometimes it is though)
  • The market does NOT consider it a second unit
  • Probably does not contribute as much to value
  • Inferior to the main unit in size and location (maybe quality too)
  • Has kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area
  • May or may not be separately metered
  • May or may not have a separate address
  • May or may not be attached to the main house

Second Unit:

  • Recognized by city or county as a second unit
  • The market recognizes it as a second unit
  • Likely contributes more substantially to value
  • Zoning allows two units
  • It is probably separately metered
  • Most likely has a separate address
  • May or may not be inferior in size and location to the other unit
  • May or may not be attached to the main unit

On a local level,  Accessory Dwelling Units supersedes local jurisdiction (until or unless a City adopts a new ordinance) for Secondary Dwelling Units. It’s important to note that projects within the Coastal Zone still fall under the permitting requirements of the Coastal Act.

Ellen and Portia list their Montecito Home for Sale

Ellen and Portia have listed their newly remodeled home on Hidden Valley Lane with Sotheby’s International Realty for $45,000,000. Click on the link for more details and photos: Ellen and Portia’s Hidden Valley Lane home

Live Near a Surf Break?

Researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey found that being located within a mile of a surf break adds about $106,000 to a home’s value.  Living near a desirable public park or outdoor recreation space boosts it significantly higher — as much as 8 percent to 20 percent.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of neighborhood attributes that can affect a home’s value. Some are obvious and some are not. Analysts at Houselogic, a website operated by the National Association of Realtors, did some digging recently and uncovered surprising facts.  As for the parkland bonus, a recent study examined 16,400 home sales within 1,500 feet of 193 public parks (in Portland, Oregon) and found that nearby natural areas added $10,648 to a home’s value. Golf courses add $8,849, specialty parks add $5,657, and urban parks add $1,214. On the downside, a park that is overcrowded and not well-maintained can drag down nearby home values.

Meanwhile, California homes with photovoltaic (solar) systems sell for an extra $17,000 over homes without solar systems, according to experts at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Add walkability to the home-value bonus list, too. Being able to stroll to schools, parks, stores, and restaurants will raise a property value anywhere from $4,000 to $34,000, according to a 2009 study from the nonprofit group CEOs for Cities.

Accessory dwelling units are another big attraction. Whether it’s a granny flat, an in-law apartment, or a carriage house, having a separate unit can increase a home’s value by 25 percent to 34 percent, according to a study of 14 properties with accessory dwelling units in Portland. Bonus: A second unit can also provide a steady stream of rental income. Elsewhere in this blog you can find a post:  “The Difference between Second Units and Accessory Dwelling Units” that you may find helpful.

Museum of Exploration and Innovation in Santa Barbara

MOXI – the Museum of Exploration and Innovations in Santa Barbara is gearing up for it’s grand open in early 2017! Located near the train station on lower State Street MOXI provides an interactive experience with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).  17,000 square feet of exhibits designed to engage visitors. The building is the creation of the late architect Barry Berkus and completed by the AB Design Studio.

The exhibits areas organized into seven content areas called Tracks (Tech, Sound, Light, Speed, and an Interactive Media Track).  Floor staff and volunteers will be there to facilitate the experience.  MOXI’s third floor opens to a Sky Garden and the site of the Whitewater exhibit, a giant water feature that explores water pressure and fluid dynamics, as well as a weather orchestra with instruments powered by wind, sun, and humans.  MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation will be open daily from 10am to 5pm. Adults $14, children 3-10 $10, and under 2 free. Individual memberships start at $90 annually.  MOXI

New California State Property Regulations 2017

On January 1, 2017 a new California Civil Code: Senate Bill No. 407 Chapter 587 requires that all homes built on or before January 1, 1994 must be equipped with water conserving plumbing fixtures including low flush toilets (1.6 gallons per flush) , showers (not more than 2.5 GPMs), and interior faucets (not more than 2.2 GPMs).

The Bill requires that a seller or transferor of a home, multi-residential, or commercial property disclose to a purchaser or transferee in writing the specific requirements to replace these fixtures. The Bill also requires to make specific disclosures in this regard. This most likely will factor into negotiations where the seller could remedy the issues, or the buyer  accepts those conditions and takes on the responsibility to make the upgrades. Understandably this should be documented to protect all parties involved.

Locally, the City Council of Santa Barbara on December 6, 2016 passed a regulation banning lawn watering with limited exceptions as we go into our sixth year of a drought. This regulation takes effect on January 1, 2017. Photo Santa Barbara Courthouse by Technopanorama

Supreme Court Rules on Dual Agency

For the first time in history, homebuyers are deliberately creating dual agency situations as many refuse to work with anyone but the listing salesperson. The thinking being that they may get a better deal working with the listing salesperson when actually they may be creating a possible conflict of interest. How can the listing salesperson negotiate the best deal for you when their fiduciary obligations are to the seller?

In 2016, a surprising trend emerged almost everywhere in the country. When buyers call about a listing that is unavailable or unsuitable for their needs, they have no interest in hearing about other properties – instead agents are constantly hearing the refrain: “We’ll just contact the listing agent directly.” This shift is just another sign that clients have not been educated about the benefits of having a fiduciary relationship with their buyer’s agent.

In Horiike v. Coldwell Banker, the California State Supreme Court ruled that for in-house deals, that the agency (Coldwell Banker and its respective salespersons in the transaction) had a fiduciary duty to both the seller and the buyer. This ruling could limit the ability of large firms to do in-house deals, raise transaction costs due to increased litigation and force agents to disclose “sensitive information about the client’s motivations or the salesperson’s personal beliefs to the other side of the transaction. Sadly, agents divulge this type of information all the time.

Couple this with pocket listings, lax agent attitudes toward dual agency issues, and a recent California Supreme Court decision changing dual agency requirements in that state, and you have a perfect storm that could fundamentally transform how Realtors conduct their businesses. Realtors refer to themselves as agents, but when it comes to the agency law, the brokerage is the “agent,” not the individual salesperson.

The best way to avoid agency issues is to ask, “Whom are you advocating for and what are your legal obligations in terms of what you can and cannot disclose?” Most real estate attorneys believe the solution to the dual agency issue is to work with a buyer’s agent exclusively.

Santa Barbara Film Festival 2017

2SBFilmFestivalPoster2017 The 32nd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival  poster celebrates architecture and it’s link to cinema. This year’s poster was created by Barbara Boros and Bob Blackwell.

This year’s celebrity attendees include Denzel Washington, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Jeff Bridges, Casey Affleck, Isabelle Huppert, and Michelle Williams. For a complete list of special events, galas, films, free screenings, panels, and educational programs click here: Santa Barbara Film Festival 2017 Program

Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends

Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends through December 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 most peaked based on the number of homes sold for that month. The light purple line reflects 2013 which shows the highest number of sales per month going back to 2010. The graph reflects the number of sales for that month for southern Santa Barbara. (Carpinteria to Goleta) Click on image to enlarge.