What’s In and Out with Regards to Santa Barbara Real Estate in 2009

What's In and What's Out for Home Buyers and Sellers here in 2009?

A lot has changed here in just 12-15 months with regards to how home buyers and sellers are approaching real estate here in Santa Barbara CA. This got me to thinking about some of these noticeable changes that I wanted to share below. What's In

  1. Buyers that were waiting on the sideline. Those that had been waiting out the market transition to finally get off the fence are starting to do so.  For many, price benchmarks have been reached and pending sales are jumping.
  2. Smaller home renovations. Many sellers are staying put and with the combination of the changed housing market and the overall economy, current homeowners are only making small home upgrades to satisfy their current needs.
  3. More accurate home pricing. Sellers are really looking to their agent's expertise when setting a listing price for their home.  A lot of research is going into looking at closed comparables, the current competition for like houses, the likely mortgage needed based on the sales price, what an appraiser would say etc.
  4. More balanced reporting in the mainstream news. The doom and gloom that was throughout the mainstream news headlines in 2008, does not simply apply to all markets.  Santa Barbara has for sure taken a hit, but the national headlines often do not translate directly to our town.  There is a lot of foreclosure hype nationally that simply does not apply to most of our local area.  I would estimate that 90% of the foreclosures that do exist in our area can pretty well be categorized both geographically and to a specific price range.
  5. Creative home seller financing. Home sellers with little to know mortgage on their home are offering self-financing to very qualified buyers as one option to move their properties.
  6. Real estate agents as a complete housing resource. Most realtors that jumped into the business in the boom and/or simply average realtors are having a hard time.  Seasoned, educated, hard-working and customer driven realtors on the other hand are doing relatively fine.  The old adage of 20% of the realtors are making 80% of the $$ is really holding true.  These 20% are true resource-driven agents looking to advise and guide their clients.

What's OUT

  1. Fixer-upper homes.  Unless a home is truly priced as a fixer upper...no way.  With larger down payments required by pretty much all mortgage lenders and consumer credit cards maxed out, home buyers simply don't have the extra money to fix up homes.
  2. Home buyers endless "circling" the 1 or 2 homes they love. The Santa Barbara market is moving and overly optimistic buyers circling their #1 choice indefinitely are losing out.  Homes that are priced right are selling.
  3. Part-time realtors as well as most newer real estate agents that started their career in the boom. For several years, having a instant client based was expected by both part-time and newer agents.  To a certain point, many deals for 2-3 years were often about order (contracts) taking.  Now the market and industry has changed dramatically and consistently servicing clients needs along with skill and knowledge is both expected and needed. There are mixed numbers out there, but I would personally estimate that the amount of realtors in the business is down 40% from its peak in 2006.

Further Reading:

  1. How is Santa Barbara's Real Estate Market Doing Today? May 26th, 2009
  2. Are Trulia and Zillow and Realtor.com the Best Place to Search for Santa Barbara CA Real Estate? - NO!!
  3. What Does $1 Million Buy You in Santa Barbara Real Estate These Days? - April 2009

For information on Real Estate here in Santa Barbara, Montecito and/or our surrounding areas, as well as any other aspects of life in our area, please don’t hesitate to contact Kevin Schmidtchen at Sotheby’s Int’l Realty. Thank you for reading.  I hope you find Santa Barbara Real Estate Voice informative. Please feel free to contact me or comment below with any thoughts. Subscribe to Receive Personal Listings of Santa Barbara Real Estate Search The Santa Barbara Area MLS

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