Matt’s Blog

Evacuation Preparation for Your Home – July 16, 2017

The Whittier Fire is blazing in Santa Barbara County. Our friends at Cal Fire have a great checklist to help prepare your home both inside and outside if you do have to evacuate. Check out the link here

Class I Bikeway – June 24, 2017

Last week I posted several photos of the beginning of construction of the new Class I bikeway in Goleta, along Hollister Avenue. This project is part of the Hollister Avenue Complete Streets Project. The completion of this project will take about six months; when finished it will create a very safe space to cycle and connect many City of Goleta destinations, very exciting! For further information and project specific updates click the following City of Goleta link. 

ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT LEGISLATION SUMMARY –  APRIL 13, 2017

Background

  • Increasing concern about local agency housing policies motivated legislative intrusion.
  • In some communities such as Montecito, water, sewer, and fire used to curtail Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) development.
  • AB2299 Richard Bloom (CD-Santa Monica), SB1069 Bob Wieckowski (CD-Fremont)
  • Impact on Existing Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinances
  • Legislative intent is permitting process made simple through ministerial, not discretionary review.
  • Any existing ADU ordinance that does not meet the legislation’s requirements became null and void as of January 1, 2017.
  • Local governments must approve accessory dwelling units based on “state standards” until jurisdiction adopts compliance ordinance.
  • Adopting ADU ordinance is exempt from CEQA (considered not to have significant effect on environment thus categorically exempt from preparation of environmental documents requirement).
  • Not applicable in Coastal Zone; California Coastal Act supersedes ADU/JADU legislation under CCC has jurisdiction.

Parking:

  • Requirements reduced to one space per bedroom or unit.
  • Off-street parking allowed to tandem or in setback areas.
  • Fire Sprinkler Requirements
  • If not required for primary single-family structure then not required for ADU/JADU.

Required State Standards

  • ADU applications must be approved/disapproved within 120 days of receipt.
  • Unit may not be for sale separate for primary residence; may be rented.
  • Lot is zoned for single-family/ multi-family and contains existing dwelling.
  • ADU may be detached on same lot, attached to existing dwelling, or located within living area of existing dwelling.
  • No setbacks required for garage conversions.
  • Increased floor area of unit does not exceed 50% of existing living area, with maximum increase floor area of 1,200 sq ft.
  • Total area of floor space for detached accessory dwelling unit does not exceed 1,200 sq ft.

Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADU) [AB2406 Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond)]

  • Contained completely within existing space;.max. 500 sq ft with independent ext. access from existing residence.
  • Limited to 1/per residential zoned single-family residences.
  • Owner required to record deed restriction and occupy primary or accessory residence.
  • Efficiency kitchen required (no gas) and may have shared utilities/sanitation with existing residence allowed.
  • Meets building codes.
  • No additional fees required (utility fees may be applied by special districts; ex: Montecito
    Water District).

Accessory Dwelling Unit Memo

 

Home Sold in 4 Days! (March 7, 2017)

This week has been a great sale week, the home at 140 Kinman sold in 4 days for full price!

The real estate activity is hottest in the “under $1 Million market segment” and Kinman was well under that. Congratulations to the young family that secured their future after missing out on several other properties. Happy buyer, happy seller. 

Please call me if I can assist you with your real estate needs.

Real Estate Outlook 2017 (March 1, 2017)

With the beginning of a new year there is often a renewed optimism in all things, not just real estate, and 2017 is proving to be no different. Year-to-date listing and sales activity is up over last year and sale prices are creeping up again slightly. Of course, interest rates have risen a bit as well, and maybe that is causing the uptick in sales. Buyers are motivated to jump into the market before rates go higher. Business and consumer confidence is also very high right now. The first half of 2017 is positioned to be advantageous for sellers, but there is also opportunity for buyers in this market.

March 31, 2014

Key factors affecting the outook for Real Estate in the next 3 to 5 years:
1. Pent-up demand has been growing over the past 6 years. Household formation: Thousands of individuals locally and millions nationwide are reaching the prime home-buying age of 25 to 35 years old.
2.  New construction has not kept pace in California or locally.
3. Interest rates will rise a little, but remain low by historical standards. We could see 5.5% rates by year end, still low.
4. Qualifying for a home loan will get easier. The average FICO score for approved loans has just dropped from 750 to 725, and should go lower.
5.  Increased wealth and cash-heavy individuals, pushed by a soaring stock market, will seek real estate in our area as a good long-term investment and hedge against inflation.
6.  Lower unemployment and higher savings rates translate into more home buyers.
There you have it! Housing is headed in an upward direction for several years to come. Invest with confidence!

February 18, 2014

The stats are in for February, and CAR economist Leslie Appleton-Young has briefed us on the overall California market. I’ll spare you the numbers here since I think it can be summarized in a few words… the same few words we’ve all been hearing for the past year or more anyway: “Low inventory of homes for sale, multiple offers, and rising prices”.  These same words apply to homes and condominiums and up to about the $1.5 Million price level.  Statistics are going to vary by neighborhood and location, and this is what you really need to look at anyway for the specific area in which you are buying or selling.  There does not appear to be a trend towards increased listings, except possibly for the condo market.  Its too early to tell if this will play out as we get into the Spring selling months.  Stay tuned.

January 23, 2014

Another hot January is in the works. Santa Barbara property tour today: lowest priced home was on the West-side, Mountain Ave. 2 bed 1 bath, cosmetic fixer, agents and buyers swarming all over the place. This house will be sold by Monday at or over the $585,000  asking price I’m sure. Another home on upper Chapala St. , a 1920’s Spanish style abode in nice condition, $1.195 Million, sure to sell fast. Short sale on the Mesa on Salida Del Sol, 4 bedroom with some updating but still needing a little TLC.  This well located home will also go into escrow quickly despite the nearly $1 Million asking price, subject to lender approval and likely an extended escrow timeline due to this. Scant inventory and high Mesa demand will move this one out in short order. 2014 poised to see another solid increase in the median price home on the South Coast.

January 31, 2013

The market is starting out fast and furious as low inventory continues. Multiple offers at the low end, and bidding over the asking price is common. For instance, I just represented a buyer for a low end condo, under $300,000. Their offer was all cash full price, however there were 5 other offers, and the winning bid went over the asking price.  Many listing agents are purposely underpricing their listings to create a bidding war, and in my opinion contract prices that exceed market value. Only time will tell if prices are once again rising too fast, but it looks to me like the California bust and boom cycle that real estate has exhibited for decades, is once again in play.

December 12, 2011

Record short sale closing!!!  2 years 7 months, 12 days, initial offer to closed sale.  We closed escrow on a downtown SB cottage for a client, buyer, whose patience and persistence enabled the successful closing of this transaction.  There were two lenders, B of A, and Wells Fargo. It took two separate escrows, two separate short sale negotiators, numerous appraisals, BPO’s, back-and-forth negotiations with the lenders, cancellations, re-submittals, 8 foreclosure sale postponements, etc., etc. but in the end the lenders settled and the buyer got the property they wanted!

4.75% 30 year fixed rate home loan!

April 5, 2011

I just closed escrow for a client on a new home in Goleta. The buyer received excellent financing for this home, 4.75% !!! that’s outrageous.  I know, it has been lower, like the house I sold in Santa Barbara last August where the buyer received 4.375%.  These rates are just unbelievable.  A year from now when they are 5.75 or 6%, we will all regret that we had not bought more property when rates were in the 4’s.

Feb. 28, 2011

Well, here’s one of the largest percentage drops for a South coast Santa Barbara property:
The Big Yellow House in Summerland just sold for $1,220,000, previously sold in August 2006 for $4,250,000. That’s a whopping 71% drop!!!! This property used to be a bustling family style restaurant and enjoys prime visibility from Highway 101. The Historic 1890’s structure is over 7000 square feet and sits on over half an acre with commanding views of the Pacific. No news yet on what the new owner plans for this commercially zoned property….

Real estate values have typically dropped 25-40% in the Santa Barbara/Goleta/Montecito/Carpinteria area since the highs of 2006-7 depending on the area and who you talk to, so the Big Yellow House sale really stand out. What a buy!