Monday Morning Market Stats

No fair, it’s Monday morning again!  What happened to all the big rainstorms predicted for the past weekend?  Sometimes I think the weather forecasters know as much about the future as real estate forecasters, and we all know how that story goes.  Like when is the onslaught of foreclosed properties we are always being threatened with coming on the market?  Been waiting for this dire occasion for a couple of years now.  Thankfully, here in the Santa Maria Valley market area of Santa Maria and Orcutt, we are holding steady, even heading into the holiday season.  Here is the link to the last report, if you are so inclined, and here is today’s report of last week’s sales real estate activity:

Live in the now!  If you need to sell, or want to buy, you may not wish to wait for the crystal ball forecasters.  Remember, by the time you know the market has hit bottom, it will be six months later and on the rise!  Call me at (805)937-5777 or send an email, and let’s get started!

Sunday Open House: the Virtual Way!

Just in case it’s raining today, Sunday November 13, I thought I’d make it really easy for you to attend my online  “Open House”!  Grab a cup of coffee and stay in your jammies if you wish, while you take a virtual tour of this lovely home in Orcutt!  Located near schools, banks, restaurants, shopping and not far from the 101 freeway and the 135 Highway to Lompoc/Vandenberg.  Price has just been adjusted in your favor, to only $280,000!

If you would like to have a “real” tour of this home, just give me a call at (805)937-5777 or send me an email, and we’ll make arrangements!  How sweet to see this one-owner-home have a new family to love it!

Building Homes, Building Community!

If there is one philosophy about which I am passionate, it is giving back. There isn’t a single one of us who doesn’t have something for which we can honestly be grateful, and giving something back is just a way to show appreciation. Whether you return a favor or a blessing on a small scale or a grand scale, the important thing is to just do it. It pleases me so much to discover businesses who share this philosophy, and today I want to focus on a local Santa Maria builder who shares it and lives it: Halsell Builders, Inc.

Take a moment right now to visit the  Halsell’s Blog, where you can get building and design tips, and also learn about the wonderful contributions this outstanding company has made to people in our community!  Then enjoy their gallery of completed jobs on their main website — some of those kitchens are to die for!  Hats off to a local family business that deserves your business, whenever you are ready to remodel or build!!

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation  is not to utter words, but to live by them.”    John F. Kennedy

Veteran’s Day 2011

Today is a special day to honor America’s veterans, from all our wars.  I know of at least two local businesses here in the Santa Maria Valley who are honoring veterans in their own special way, so without further ado — I’m providing links to their information!

First up is California Fresh, and while you won’t find this information on the website (at least I couldn’t), I have copied it from the email I received.  If you know any vets, please give them this information ASAP, so they might enjoy a free lunch!  The new location is noted on the website.

“This Veteran’s Day, California Fresh in Santa Maria is continuing our tradition of feeding US Military Veterans a lunch of a 6 inch sandwich, a bag of chips, and fountain drink, for free. It’s a small token of appreciation from us for the wonderful blessing of living in the US and having brave men and women protect our precious freedom around the world.”

Next, here is an offering from Oldtown Market in Old Orcutt!  5:00 to 8:30 today at 405 E. Clark, $5.00 cover.

“Bring along a Veteran to Beer Tasting Friday Night and they can have a taste on us.  That’s right, to celebrate Veteran’s Day all veterans who attend will get beer tasting FREE as a special thanks for all the sacrifices that they have made for our Country.”

Finally, here is a link to the Santa Maria Times notices of several local Veteran’s Day ceremonies, including an amazing event that started small a number of years ago, and has blossomed into a major event!  I’m referring to the free BBQ hosted by the law offices of Michael B. Clayton, and my hat is off to him for doing this every year — this man is dedicated to “giving back” in a big way!

Have a wonderful day, and remember to thank a vet — every day, not just today!

 If you know a vet who wants to buy or sell a home in the Santa Maria Valley, please refer him or her to me and I’ll be honored to help!  As my way of showing gratitude, I will provide a home warranty policy at close of escrow.  Just give me a call at (805)937-5777 or send an email.



Most Expensive Homes in California

You aren’t going to believe it.  (Well, maybe you will, once you consider Santa Barbara is in the mix….)  Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Barbara ranked Number 2 in September as having the priciest homes in California, second only to San Francisco.  According to a report, “2. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc — $549,000 median selling price; down 8.35% in a year. Homes listed for sale was 1,942 — down 17.20% in a year. Median time on market of 95 days; up 2.15% in a year.”  Here’s the link to the story posted in The Orange County Register!

But don’t panic, here in the Santa Maria Valley, of our current inventory of 232 single family residences, condos and PUDs, the average market price is only $313,701, which is affordable for the coast of California!  When you are ready to become a homeowner, just call me at (805) 937-5777 or send me an email — I’d love to help you get to one side of that average cost or the other!

1,000 Day Roadmap to Economic Recovery

In September, I reported on the Economic Forecast and Strategy Workshop hosted here in Santa Maria by the Economic Alliance of Northern Santa Barbara County.  (Click here for that report.)  Yesterday, the 1,000 Day Roadmap was presented as the result of that day’s input of nearly 300 North County economic stakeholders, as well as other research by the California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting (CERF) and the Praxis Strategy Group.  (It hurts my head to write all of the above…).  Here is the Santa Maria Times article about it.



How Do You Value Your Agent?

This is a really simple question and I have a very brief answer: the value of your real estate agent is not an MLS key card to get you into listings you want to see, and if you are a seller, it’s not putting a sign in the yard and running a few ads.  The true value of your real estate professional is his/her knowledge and experience!!  Can your agent go through the purchase or listing contract and all the disclosures without breaking a sweat?  And explain it clearly, without having to read it?  Can your agent interpret statistics and data to help you form a smart buying or selling decision?

I have a large list of things a good real estate agent can and should do for you.  Call me when you’re ready, at (805) 937-5777 or send an email!

Published in: on November 8, 2011 at 5:00 AM  Leave a Comment  

Monday Morning Market Stats

Gee, the weekends go fast!  Here it is Monday already, and another week has passed with nothing earthshaking to report (except a 5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma, of all places!).  Our real estate market in the Santa Maria Valley towns of Santa Maria and Orcutt is holding steady, and we can be grateful for that!  There were a total of 52 sales this week, as compared to the week of October 23-29 when there were 47.

So remember, when you are ready to shake, rattle and roll your way to a new home, please give me a call — I’ll help you sell or buy and keep your cool all at the same time!  Call me at (805) 937-5777 or send an email!

Santa Maria Valley Home Sales for October

Heading into the holiday season, it’s a good time to reflect on the past month to see just how we are doing with home sales in our local market.  It is fairly typical for sales to slow down during November and December, but I will track those sales too, at the end of the year.

We had a total of 90 condos/PUDS/single family homes go pending in the month of October!  That is not bad at all.

Here is the breakdown:

9  Condos and PUDs (Planned Unit Developments)

2  Traditional sales

2  Short sales

5  REOs (bank-owned, foreclosed homes)

81 Single Family Residences

32 Traditional sales

15  Short sales

34  REOs (bank-owned, foreclosed homes)

 *Source: Central Coast Regional Multiple Listing Service (CCRMLS)

It looks like the bank-owned homes are still more popular for buyers than short sales (I wonder why), but it also seems that traditional sales are back in the running.  Maybe it has just taken regular sellers a long time to adjust to the idea that if they want to sell (for any reason), they have to price to compete with REOs and short sales, not some mythical value that existed 5 years ago.  REOs and short sales are here to stay for the next few years, so there really isn’t any “waiting for a few months until prices rise again”.  Want to sell?  Get IN the market, not ON the market!

When you are ready to sell, please give me a call and put my 25+ years of experience to work for you — I’d love to help!  Call me at (805) 937-5777 or send an email!

All the World’s a Stage…

Thank you, Mr. Shakespeare, and it was never so true as it is in today’s highly competitive real estate market!

What is “Staging”?

Basically there are 2 kinds: Staging for Life, i.e. decorating with your tastes, reflecting your individual style and preferences — and Staging for Sale, i.e. considering what an average buyer needs to see in order to fall in love with your home!  We’ll focus on Staging for Sale, since this blog is mostly about real estate sales, and presumably if you are trying to sell your home, you are willing to do what is necessary to accomplish that goal!

First Impressions

You have one chance to make a first impression on visitors.  Potential buyers may only be in your home for a few minutes, so a positive impression is critical.  Think “curb appeal” and be sure your lawn is kept mowed, hedges and trees trimmed/clipped, walk-ways swept and a colorful pot of flowers at the front door is always a plus!  Take a critical look at your front door (and window shutters if you have them) and if a fresh coat of paint is needed, it is an easy and inexpensive improvement.  Make your home look welcoming from the time the prospect pulls up to the curb!

A Room with a Use

Buyers need to see rooms as they were originally intended, so if you have been using your living room as a gym, it’s time to store the treadmill, weights and exercize bike and restore it to a place for conversation and gatherings.  Spare bedrooms in use as craft rooms should be restored to the original function.  Not everyone is able to “imagine”, in fact few can, so it is up to you to help.  Remember too that less is more!  It’s really important to store your personal collections.  You may treasure your ceramic doll collection, and your dozens of family photos spread throughout the home, but these are distractions for buyers, and doesn’t help them visualize living in the home.

Clear the Clutter

Probably the most important rooms in the house, because they are the most expensive to upgrade, are the bathrooms and kitchen.  Make a dramatic first impression by de-cluttering: first, remove everything from the countertops!  Clean them thoroughly, including back-splashes.  Then add back only a few items, such as an attractive bowl with fresh fruit in the kitchen, or a vase with vibrant flowers in the bathroom, and neatly folded towels.   Throughout the house, have carpets and windows cleaned, paint touched up as needed, and add emotional warmth with throw pillows, plants and candles.  “Less is more” and “de-clutter” cannot be over-emphasized!!


Remember how pleasant it is to walk into a kitchen smelling of freshly-baked cookies?  Not that you need to bake every time there is a showing scheduled, but there are many little tricks, such as keeping vanilla in a small flat dish unseen under a chair in the living room, or in a barely warm oven, that will help to create an impression of “home”.  If you have pets, please keep litter boxes in the laundry room or garage, if possible, and clean them several times a day if you have multiple users.  There is nothing that turns prospects off more than litter box odor!  Smoking is another major issue, although thankfully not as prevalent as it once was.  If there are smokers in the house, it will be advantageous to use an outdoor area away from living areas, perhaps on the side of the garage where the smoke won’t drift into the house.

There are many more ideas and HGTV has tons of them available to you, on TV and on the website!  I would encourage you to investigate and ask questions as much as you can, because this is not a good market for just slapping a home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and expecting multiple offers in the first week.  Marketing a home is a joint effort between the homeowner and the Realtor, and it’s time to take a hard look at your home if you are going to commit to selling.  If not —  it’s time to re-evaluate your goals.

Call me at (805) 937-577 or send an email if you’d like more tips for staging!

Published in: on November 5, 2011 at 2:53 PM  Leave a Comment  

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