Waking Up on the Beautiful Central Coast!

VineyardsToday I just want to say how wonderful it is to begin and end my day here in the Santa Maria Valley.  It may not seem fair to expound on this good fortune, especially when so many others across our great nation are currently suffering zero degree temperatures and very treacherous weather conditions.

But we who are fortunate to live on the Central Coast can thrill to glorious sunrises and sunsets in fabulous weather almost year-round, if we just take a minute to be aware of our surroundings.  Some stay, or arrive purposefully, just because of these things!  Personally, my husband and I left California once — and it took nearly ten years to journey back home!  So in spite of my occasional nostalgic wishes to return to my home state of Kansas, that shall remain a fleeting dream, as we vowed never again to be tempted away from this incredible Central Coast haven!

Sunset Santa MariaAnd friends, there is no better place than the Santa Maria Valley!  The people here are welcoming, warm and friendly — housing prices are among the most reasonable in the entire area — and we are centrally located between the City of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.  If you can’t find it here, you have only an hour drive south or 45 minutes north!

Want to know more about Santa Maria?  Here is a link to the Chamber of Commerce.  Orcutt, our suburban area to the south (yet attached), is an unincorporated county area, so no Chamber, but there is an association of businesses called OTORO that has some interesting information.

Feel free to call me at (805)937-5777 or use the Contact form below when you are ready to be blessed by living right here in the beautiful Santa Maria Valley!  Need to be closer to the beach (we are about 10 miles inland)?  I can help with that too!!

Santa Maria Valley temps


Fridays Are For Fun!

The weekend is almost upon us, so it’s time to make at least one commitment to FUN!  Sure, there are probably some mundane chores that must be taken care of too, if you’ve had a busy work week, like laundry, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, etc.  But here are a few Central Coast activities to consider adding to your Saturday and/or Sunday schedules that will take you out of your routine and give you something to remember when Monday rolls around!

Avila Beach Farmer's Market 2013Starting this afternoon, head  on up to The Promenade at Avila Beach for the weekly Farmer’s Market!  Music, food booths, great local produce — it’s a dynamic atmosphere, and you can duck into The Custom House for dinner on the patio and watch the sunset!

Beer tasting at marketTravel not your thing?  How about beer tasting at Mark Steller’s Old Town Market!  Mark always has unique beers lined up for you to sample.  Tonight, 5-8:30.  Tomorrow night, and every Saturday night, join Mark for wine tasting, same time, same place!  This Saturday features a collection of six outstanding local wines, including wine by Kenneth Volk, Taz, Doug Margerum and Alec Franks.


Car Show 2013As I reported earlier, tomorrow is a great car show in Old Orcutt: the 11th Annual All Ford Car Show & Swap Meet, 9-3 for the car show and the swap meet starts at 7am.  Located at the Orcutt Union Plaza on Broadway just south of Clark!  There will be food booths, music and crafts and the money stays in our community in the form of scholarships for Hancock College students!  While in Old Orcutt, be sure to visit the boutiques, wine tasting rooms and our new antiques mall at the old Loading Dock!

PCPA Patsy Cline 2013This is the last opportunity to see the final performances of “Always…Patsy Cline”, presented by PCPA at the Solvang Festival Theater!  Tickets still available, so call right away to reserve your seats.   (805) 922-8313, and the box office is open today and tomorrow from 12:30 to 7:00pm.

And in Morro Bay both Saturday and Sunday, indulge yourself at the Avocado & Margarita Festival!!  714 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, hours are 10:30 – 7:00 Saturday, 10:30 – 4:00 Sunday.  Enjoy the best California avocados in many variations of culinary delights, as well as refreshing margaritas, beer, local wines, specialty foods, live entertainment, arts & crafts vendors and more!  Oh, and you could win a year’s supply of avocados!  What’s not to like about that??

2013 Avocado Festifal

Always something to do on the beautiful Central Coast, and this is just a small sampling but I hope it starts you thinking about how to fill your weekend with a little excitement!

If you are focused on real estate, though, please feel free to give me a call and if I’m not out having fun at one of the above events, I’d be glad to discuss your real estate goals! Otherwise, there is always Monday, when it’s back to business as usual!  You can reach me by phone at (805)937-5777, email or just complete the form below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

Have a great weekend!




Do Buyers Always Get What They Want?

buyer survey generalWhat do buyers often wish they could have had with their home purchase? What would they have willingly paid more for, if possible? A 2013 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors indicates buyers would want more storage, walk-in closets, new appliances, hardwood floors, granite counter tops and air-conditioning. Nice that we here on the Central Coast do not need to worry about air-conditioning since our climate is near perfection!

Other than the walk-in closet, the other items can easily be added.  Buyers may need to save for the appliances, counters and flooring, if they were cash-strapped when buying their homes, but sometimes just getting the offer accepted is the primary focus in a market with low inventory, like ours.  Cosmetic features can be part of a gradual change, and after all — that’s part of “making it yours”, reflecting your own good taste and personal preferences!

buyers_pref_report_infographic4 - cropped


When you are ready to purchase a home, whether it is your first home or not, let my 27 years of experience be your guide!  For a free consultation, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the form below, and let’s get started!


Santa Maria – Orcutt Monday Market Update

Santa Maria - Orcutt Real EstateIt’s the first Monday in November, the 11th month of 2012, and it’s been an interesting year so far for real estate here in the Santa Maria Valley!  Today I am going to compare the stats that I normally do on Monday with the same time frame last year, to see if there are any major differences in the way our market looks.  Has our inventory changed?  Could it be any worse, as far as numbers go?  We have so little inventory right now, and still so many buyers wanting to take advantage of historically low interest rates (under 4%) and low housing prices, that it’s created multiple offers on many properties, and yes — a seller’s market!  The doom and gloom here is lack of inventory, not lack of willing and able buyers.

Statistics for October 28 – November 4, 2012





Statistics for October 30 – November 5, 2011







The glaring difference between this year and last year is inventory!  In 2012, we have only 30% of the homes for sale that we had last year!  SEVENTY PERCENT OF OUR INVENTORY IS GONE! In some ways, that is good.  Lots of new homeowners over the past year, and hopefully happy people making their mortgage payments regularly and at a much lower amount than they would have been paying two or three years ago.  Yay!  But look at the number of sales in the same week last year: 52 vs. the number of sales this year: 49.  The same number of buyers are struggling to buy the same number of homes, in a much reduced, far tighter, market!  If you have heard it is “dog eat dog” out there when it comes to making offers and getting them accepted — does this lend credence to the rumor??

Be Prepared

Never before has it been so very important for buyers to have their ducks in a row.  Take the time to work with a reputable lender who can get the job done; it’s not all about the very lowest rate you can find, it’s about credibility, reliability, honesty, communication, professionalism and ability to complete the task.  Those are the best descriptions I can give you when choosing a lender, and LOCAL is the other best description.  Take the time to get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified.  Experienced Realtors® know the difference: pre-qualified is meaningless.  If you need lender recommendations, please ask me, I have them and they are based on track records.

Know What You Want

Make your list and check it twice.  You will probably need to make some compromises, but it’s really smart to know what your top priorities are, and then you’ll be ready to pounce once you find the house that best fits the majority of your needs and wants.  (I did that on purpose: needs first, wants second….)

When you are ready to buy or sell, I’m ready to help. It’s advisable to have a consultation first, in many cases — about the market, about a plan of attack so to speak, and just to see if personalities click and we would enjoy working together!  Consultations are complimentary, so give me a call at (805) 937-5777 or send an email and we’ll meet at my office for a cup of coffee and talk about your plans!



Santa Maria – Orcutt Monday Market Update

Very interesting!  Product once again is diminishing, with only 120 single family homes and condos available for purchase in the Santa Maria – Orcutt real estate market area.  Even more interesting, here we are at the time of year known as “the Spring Market”, and sales are actually down.  Compare pendings and contingent sales, not the closed sales, as those sales were instigated usually about 45-60 days ago.  Here is a link to the prior week, and here is the chart for this past week, April 8-14.









With this continued decline in inventory — there soon won’t be many Realtor families able to pay bills.  The Santa Maria Association of REALTORS® has over 500 members!  I’m not starving yet, so please call on me at (805) 937-5777 for all your real estate needs, or send an email and tell me how I can help!

Santa Maria-Orcutt Monday Market Update

Certainly some good news to report today for the Santa Maria – Orcutt real estate market update for the week of March 18 – March 24!  Pending sales are up, in fact doubled from the week of March 11 – 17 — has our Spring Market arrived early this year?  With interest rates under 4% for many buyers, and inventory shrinking weekly, perhaps those home buyers who have been on the fence have finally decided to take action.

Let’s watch this closely, and hope it is a developing trend towards a housing recovery here on the Central Coast, at least in Santa Barbara County’s northern-most area!

For more real estate information about the Santa Maria real estate market, please feel free to call me at (805) 937-5777, send an email or visit my other real estate website at: www.SantaMariaRealEstate.net!

Santa Maria-Orcutt Monday Market Update

This past week saw another reduction in inventory, so don’t let anyone tell you homes are not selling, at least in the Santa Maria Valley!  We had a total of 55 new sales this week, including short sales, REOs and regular sales, and I’d say we are holding on quite well heading into the traditional “Spring Market”.  It’s true prices are not up, and in fact are still in a declining mode in many cases, but there is plenty of interest on the part of qualified buyers and investors due to low prices and great interest rates!

Here is the chart for last week, and if you’d like a quick jump to the prior week (March 4-March 10), click here.

I’ll do a comparison in early April between the first quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012.

If you’d like to get a jump on the Spring Market, give me a call at (805) 937-5777 or send an email so we can discuss how to prepare your home for marketing — I’ll be glad to share my 26 years of knowledge and experience with you!

Very Important Information!

If you or someone you know plan to buy a home soon, and you are NOT a cash or conventional loan buyer — you are probably going to use FHA financing.  If that is the case, you need to educate yourself very quickly about changes on the horizon!  Very shortly, FHA will implement some critical limitations to allowances that have made this type of financing so popular: seller assistance with buyer’s closing costs.  The low down payments won’t be changed (at least not right now), and will remain at only 3.5%, but where buyers could once ask for up to 6% of their closing costs to be paid by the seller, guess what!  Also, starting April 1, the cost is going up for MIP (mortgage insurance premiums) that are required on FHA loans.

Please get the information you need to read right here, presented clearly by one of the best real estate writers in the country, Kenneth Harney of the Washington Post.

If you want to slide into the market before these changes go into effect, just give me a call at (805) 937-5777 or send an email and let’s get started.  Don’t wait too long, as these changes are going to have a negative effect on affordability!

New Homes in Old Orcutt

Even businesses acquire new homes!  Here in the Santa Maria Valley, the charming area known as “Old Orcutt” is now home to several businesses that are either new ventures, relocations or additions to other established locations.

Lucia’s Wine Company is a new wine tasting room, located at 126 East Clark, near Kay’s Country Kitchen. Open daily from 11-7, Lucia’s currently offers three whites (Muscat Canelli, chardonnay, and a Gewurztraminer) and three reds (pinot noir, syrah, and Sangiovese). The pinot won a silver medal at the Central Coast Wine Competition in July, and has become the winemaker’s most popular blend.  Welcome to  owners and winemakers Ben and Lucy Gonzales!

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab has now opened in the new building just west of the 4-way stop at Clark and Broadway!  A favorite of anyone loving ice cream in its many forms (sundaes, cones, shakes, malts…), this is one business sure to succeed!  I was there one evening around 9:00 and it was packed, even though the temperature must have been 50 degrees or less outside.  You can also find great coffee and some deli items too, and a decent size “lunch room” with tables and chairs, so stop by for lunch and stay for dessert!  Click here for the website.

Anytime Fitness has been open now for several months, but it’s still new enough to rate a big “welcome, neighbor” when next you’re passing by!  This gym is located at 153 E. Clark, next to Kay’s, and since it is open 24 hours there are no “scheduling” excuses left — there must be some time in 24 hours you can find time to exercise!  Click here for the website!

The legendary Far Western Tavern, open since the 1950’s in Guadalupe, is under construction at 300 W. Clark for its new home(the old one in the historic hotel will close).  It will be wonderful to have Chef Rick back in Orcutt again, and hopefully the grand opening will be sometime this summer, if not sooner.


The new library branch will be another very welcome addition to Old Orcutt, relocating from the current cramped location at Clark and Bradley next to Ace Hardware, to a space twice as large behind Doc Burnstein’s!  (Mmmm….a good book and a good ice cream treat, now that’s what I call having your cake and eating it too!!) Opening date is not yet scheduled.


Good things happening with the revitalization of this historical oil town, now thriving once again a century after the boom years!  If you are lucky, you live here already — if not, come visit, stay and play!

If you think you’d like to explore living in or near Old Orcutt, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or send an email — I will give you a tour, and help you find a home right in this wonderful community!

Monday Morning Market Update

Hard to believe Monday has rolled around so soon — wasn’t it a beautiful weekend?  A little breezy (okay windy) here in the Santa Maria Valley, but those ocean breezes keep our air clean and our skies blue, so no complaining!

Here’s the update of real estate sales activity in Santa Maria and Orcutt for the week of February 19 – 25, for single family homes, condos and PUDs.  Check here for the week prior.

Once again, we are down on inventory, and if anything is a trend — losing inventory is that trend!  Buyers are out there!  Your home may be the very one someone wants, in just the perfect location, with just the right amenities!  Do you have equity in your home, and would you like to “move up”  — or maybe even down-size to something more manageable?  Call me and let’s discuss the possibilities!  (805) 937-5777 or send an email and let’s schedule an appointment!  No risk in talking!