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.

2017 Housing Market Predictions

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Recently Zillow jumped in with six predictions for next year’s housing market, touching on some of the more nuanced factors that influence who will be buying and selling homes next year, where they’ll be focused and what challenges they stand to face.  Speculation also brought up the potential effect of Trump’s hard-line immigration plans on construction industry labor — and its expectations for America’s historically low homeownership rate.  The 2017 predictions:

1.      “Cities will focus on denser development of smaller homes close to public transit and urban centers.”

2.      “More millennials will become homeowners, driving up the homeownership rate. Millennials are also more racially diverse, so more homeowners will be people of color, reflecting the changing demographics of the United States.”

3.      “Rental affordability will improve as incomes rise and growth in rents slows.”

4.      “Buyers of new homes will have to spend more as builders cover the cost of rising construction wages, driven even higher in 2017 by continued labor shortages, which could be worsened by tougher immigration policies under President-elect Trump.”

5.      “The percentage of people who drive to work will rise for the first time in a decade as homeowners move further into the suburbs seeking affordable housing — putting them further from adequate public transit options.”

6.      “Home values will grow 3.6 percent in 2017, according to more than 100 economic and housing experts surveyed in the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. National home values have risen 4.8 percent so far in 2016.”

Jeff Bridges Reduces Asking Price of Montecito Home

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Oscar winner Jeff Bridges recently cut $5 million more off the asking price of his estate in Montecito. It’s now available for $18.5 million. It was originally listed for $29.5 million.

The Tuscan-style property is drop-dead gorgeous with mountain and ocean views. The main house is 9,500 square feet with lavish hallways, soaring and exposed wood-beam ceilings, and a private tower/study that opens to a rooftop terrace. There’s a master suite, three en suite bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, and a four-car garage.

The estate also includes a one-bedroom guest cottage, a two-bedroom caretaker’s cottage, and a swimming pool. The19.5-acre property also boasts a sculpted fountain, walking path, fruit orchard, and Italian cypress trees. A stately, iron gate rests between two pillars at the property’s entrance. (Image from Realtor.com)