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Category Archives: Santa Barbara Realtors

The Real Estate Home Inspection and Request for Repairs

The following blog post is by Sue Irwin, Realtor. Thank you for your guest post Sue!

The Real Estate Home Inspection and Request for Repairs

The home inspection is a major part of a buyer’s investigations when purchasing a property, and it is the basis for other possible inspections (such as roof, heating system, foundation, geology) that a buyer might decide to do during the period allotted for investigations during escrow. Even if the seller has provided a home inspection, the buyer may want to have their own inspection done.

There are a number of competent home inspectors in our area, and I like to get the inspection ordered as soon as we have an accepted offer. Home inspections cost from $450-$600, paid by the buyer at time of service.

The job of the home inspector is to do a general but thorough inspection of the entire property: the lot, fencing and retaining walls, foundation, exterior and interior of the home, the roof, and any areas under the house. They check that the main appliances are operational, that the main plumbing, heating and electrical systems are safe and operational, and if there are any health and safety issues that might be a problem with the specific property. Home inspectors are “generalists” and may recommend that the buyer get an additional inspection from a specialist if there is a problem with a roof, foundation, etc.

I personally like to be at the inspection the entire time (about 3 hours). Buyers can be there the whole time but often come for the last hour of the inspection, at which time inspector will go over his findings and point out areas of the home that may have problems. Then within a day or two, the inspector emails the buyer and agent a 30- to 50-page report of all the findings, along with photographs of items that may need attention. The inspection report is the buyer’s property, and is not automatically sent to the seller or seller’s agent.

You Have the Home Inspection… What’s Next?

Your home inspection will inevitably point out some problems with the property, even if it is brand new. You can discuss these problems with the inspector at the time of the inspection or by phone later on, and he will let you know as much as he can about them. Most home inspectors have many years of experience, and they know what is truly problematic, what needs common maintenance sooner than later, and what to keep an eye on for future possible maintenance.

You may decide to get further inspections as indicated in the general inspection (most of these are inspections you will pay for), or you may want to get estimates from electricians, contractors, plumbers, and other service providers for the most important issues on the report. The extent of this secondary phase of inspections depends on what is called out on the report and what you decide is important to you after speaking with the general inspector. As an agent I may also recommend that you take the inspector’s advice about further investigations, and I can recommend inspectors or service providers and facilitate getting estimates for repairs.

This information may be only for your benefit if you are truly buying a house in “As Is” condition. Otherwise you will use it as proof of problems when asking the seller to either have a problem fixed or credit you money for repairs. These requests are presented in a signed Request for Repairs document, at which time your agent will most likely send the listing agent a copy of the home inspection and any estimates or further inspections you have received.

Deciding What to Ask For in a Request for Repairs –

and What to Expect from the Seller

What repairs or credits a buyer decides to ask for depends on the extent of the problems with the property, what issues are the most important to them, and how they think the seller might react to the request. Most often a buyer is advised to stick to health and safety items, and damage that could adversely affect the structural integrity of the home over time.

The Request for Repairs process is a negotiation during escrow, and crafting an effective Request for Repairs is an important job of a buyer’s agent. Part of this is learning as much as possible about the personalities and goals of the seller and the seller’s agent before you decide what to ask for. You may have a list a mile long, but it is advisable to get the list pared down to the most important items and be willing to let the small stuff go for the moment. Again, it depends on all the people involved. Even in an “As Is” sale, a buyer may be able to get repairs or credits for maintenance issues if the Request for Repairs is done skillfully.

What can you expect as a response from the seller? Anything from a complete No to a complete Yes! Discuss ahead of time what you hope to get in a response, and what you will do with different levels of response from the seller. If the seller response is not enough to keep you in the sale, you can keep negotiating to try for the response you need. At some point you may have to let the home go and try another property – it may just be too problematic of a property for your budget or your time and abilities.

More often than not, however, a Request for Repairs can be negotiated to everyone’s satisfaction, making you one step closer to closing your escrow and owning your new home!

Sue Irwin is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and a Coastal Housing Partnership member. She can be reached at 805-705-6973.

Your Key To The Santa Barbara Real Estate Market

Ruth-Ann-BoweToday’s guest post is from Ruth Ann Bowe, of Keller Williams Realty Santa Barbara posted on April 29th, 2015.

South Santa Barbara County Real Estate Statistics
Through March 2015

This is an analysis of the Santa Barbara Real Estate market including Carpinteria/Summerland, Montecito, Hope Ranch, downtown Santa Barbara and Goleta through the month of March 2015. For the Home Estate/PUD market sales went way up for the month with about 117 closings from the 58 we saw in February. The Median Sales Price also rose to about $1.2 million up from $1,035,000 at the end of February while the days on the market for sold properties went down to around 54 from the 71 we saw in the previous month. The opened escrows stayed at about the same level from 121 in February to about 118 in March.

The median list price on those escrows went up however to about $1.249 million from $1,050,000 in February. There were approximately 160 new listings that came on the market in March with a median list price of roughly $1.45 million and an average list price of about $2.5 million with the overall inventory rising from about 260 units for sale at the end of February to around 280 at the end of March.

Year over year sales are up about 22% with the median sales price up to roughly $1.15 million for a 12% rise. The average sales price is also up going from just over $1.585 million in 2014 to approximately $2 million in 2015 while the numbers of escrows are up about 29% with the median list price on those escrows up over 11% to $1,175,000.

Looking at the Districts, Carpinteria/Summerland sales are up from 11 to 24 and the median sales price is up from $845,000 to $895,500. The numbers of escrows are also up from 23 to 29 with the median list price on those escrows falling from $865,000 last year to $829,000 this year

For Montecito, sales are up going from 38 to 46 with the median sales price rising from $2,112,500 to $2.86 million. Escrows are also up going from 41 to 53 and the median list price on those escrows is up from $2.795 million to $2.95 million.

East of State St sales are up going from 59 in ’14 to 68 in ’15 and the median sales price is up from $1,225,000 to $1.25 million. The escrows are also up going from 61 to 75 with the median list price on those escrows rising from $1,295,000 last year to $1,349,000 this year.

West of State St sales are up from 48 to 50 but the median sales price is down from $950,000 to $845,000. The numbers of escrows are also up with 49 in ’14 compared to 69 in ’15 and the median list price on those escrows is up from $895,000 last year to $1,055,000 this year.

Hope Ranch sales are up from 7 to 12 but the median sales price is down from $5.105 million to $2.86 million. The numbers of escrows are also up with 8 last year compared to 12 this year. But, the median list price on those escrows is down from $3.85 million in ’14 to $2.89 million in ’15.

Goleta South sales are up with 13 last year and 19 this year but the median sales price is down from $780,000 to $760,000. The numbers of escrows are also up from 15 to 20 with the median list price on those escrows rising from $739,000 to $778,000.

Goleta North sales are up with 31 in ’14 to 36 in ’15 with the median sales price rising from $770,000 to $862,500. The numbers of escrows are also up from 48 to 50 with the median list price on those escrows going from $789,000 to $949,000.

For the Condo segment of the market sales went way up to 56 in March from 27 in February. The median sales price also went up from $542,500 to $587,000 and the numbers of escrows went up from 38 to 68 with the median list price on those escrows rising from $542,000 to about $559,500.

There were about 45 new condo listings that came on the market for the month with a median list price of about $599,000 and an average list price of approximately $686,697. But, unlike the Home Estate/PUD market the overall inventory fell from just about 86 to roughly 65.

Looking at the Districts, Carpinteria/Summerland sales are up from 7 to 24 with the median sales price falling from $527,500 to $475,000. The numbers of escrows are also up from 10 last year to 30 this year but the median list price on those escrows is down from $478,500 to $474,000.

Montecito condo sales are up with 3 in ’14 and 7 in ’15 with the median sales price up from $850,000 to $950,000. The numbers of escrows rose with 5 in ’14 and 10 in ’15 while the median list price on those escrows is up from $950,000 in ’14 to $967,000 in ’15.

East of State St sales are up from 21 to 35 with the median sales price rising from $593,250 to $634,350. The numbers of escrows are also up going from 23 to 48 with the median list price on those escrows falling from $675,000 last year to $575,000 this year.

West of State St sales are up from 16 to 29 with the median sales price up from $607,500 to $618,500. The escrows went from 24 to 32 with the median list price on those escrows going from $644,900 to $699,000.

Goleta South sales are down from 16 to 15 with the median sales price even from $475,000 to $475,000. But the numbers of escrows are up with 15 in ’14 and 21 in ’15 while the median list price on those escrows is down from $537,000 last year to $475,000 this year.

Goleta North sales are down from 14 to 11 with the median sales price up from $429,000 to $497,000. The escrows are also down from 18 to 15 with the median list price on those escrows going up from $429,000 to $489,000.

Through the end of the 1st quarter both sales for the Home Estate/PUD and Condo markets are up compared to 2014 and prices are also up. Approximately 12.8% of the home sales went for over the asking price in March with about 13.4% of the condos. For Homes the percentage of the sales price over the asking price was about 3.1% while for condos it was about 1.7%. On the other side of the coin 23% of the Homes had a price reduction and 36% of the condos went down in price.

Escrows are up for both single-family homes and condos but the second quarter based on escrows looks like it’s stabilizing for homes and based on the inventory perhaps even falling for condos. The median sales price for homes has risen to roughly $1.1 million while the median sales price for condos is up to around $570,000. Listings are still the key for a successful 2015.

In March the inventory for single-family homes rose about 9% to roughly 285 properties for sale while it went down about 20% for condos to approximately 65 units. 2015 has started out strong for sales of homes and condos with the median sales price rising for both segments. The question is whether that momentum will be maintained.

kw-santa-barbaraThank you Ruth Ann for your guest post! You can learn more about Ruth Ann Bowe and Keller Williams Santa Barbara by visiting www.kwsantabarbara.com/.

Keller Williams is an Exhibitor at our Home Buying Fair on May 9th.

You Can’t Afford to Miss The Home Buying Fair!

Learning to navigate the home buying process can be daunting if you don’t have the right tools and resources. If you are looking or wanting to buy a home in Santa Barbara or Ventura County or other neighboring communities, then you can’t afford to miss Coastal Housing Partnership‘s 4th Annual Home Buying Fair Saturday, May 9th at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara.

-Learn how to navigate the home buying process and today’s real estate market
-Get information and resources to help you save money and make good decisions
-Meet with local home buying experts: local real estate agents, lenders, credit and financial advisors, and residential builders
-Attend free educational sessions on key aspects of the home buying process and local market conditions (there will be a session in Spanish as well)
-Leave with great information

The Fair is free for employees of Coastal Housing Partnership members and children under 18; $5 for adults.

Winter 2014 Guide to Mortgage Rates

Kelly Marsh, Branch Manager at Broadview Mortgage Santa Barbara shared an article with us from the CMPS Institute that focuses on 2014 mortgage rates and shares possible upcoming trends. Here are some of the key insights to help you as you navigate the home buying process:

The Fed to slow or stop their purchase of mortgage bonds as the economy improves

Photo via the Federal Reserve

Photo via the Federal Reserve

After the financial crisis happened in 2008, the Fed became the largest buyer of mortgage bonds. However, they stated in recent months that they were going to slow down or stop purchasing mortgage bonds as the economy improved. This caused mortgage rates to rise this past summer.

Mortgage interest rates might increase as the economy improves.

Not only is there a possibility that interest rates will increase, but there’s also a possibility that it might happen faster than expected. And as the economy improves, bond investors might be more likely to purchase stocks instead of bonds and be concerned with inflation.

Jobs, inflation and GDP can impact mortgage rates in the next couple of months.

Bond investors and the Fed watch the job, GDP, and inflation reports to see if they should buy, sell or hold mortgage bonds. All of this might impact mortgage rates in the upcoming months.

You can read the full Winter 2014 Guide to Mortgage Rates for the complete details.

broadview_mortgage_santa_barbaraBroadview Mortgage is the Key Sponsor and will be one of the Exhibitors at our Home Buying Fair on March 1st from 10am-3pm at Earl Warren Showgrounds.