What Do Buyers Want?

Here is a visual from the California Association of REALTORS® and sellers should be aware!

June 25 2014

Santa Maria Valley’s Distressed Real Estate Market

distressed_salesEvery week on Mondays I report on sales for the prior week.  Today I am sharing information about the “distress market” in our area.  In the world of real estate, “distressed” properties refers to bank-owned properties and short sale properties; both types played a major role in recent years, creating what is generally known as the “housing crisis” in the United States.  Lenders used very broad strokes when approving loans some ten years or so ago, leading me to wonder sometimes if only a pulse was required to get a loan approved.  And as a result, as everyone knows, the market crashed in 2006.  It’s now improving, and our local market area of Santa Maria and Orcutt is pretty balanced at the moment.

Here is a look at our current distressed properties.

REO – bank owned foreclosures listings

Active: 9

Pending: 4

Sold: 12, since January 1, average sale price: $226,000, average original list price: $217,000, average days on market: 33

Short Sale listings

Active: 16

Contingent (waiting for lender approval of the short sale): 22

Pending (lender approved, going through escrow): 11

Sold: 14 since January 1, average sale price: $256,000, average original list price: $261,000, average days on market: 133

Total, REO & Short Sale, 2014

Active: 25 or 13% of a total 192 properties (all property types inc. mobile homes)

Contingent: 22 or 67%  of 33 contingent sales (there are very types of contingencies allowed; the remaining 11 are based on the sale of the buyer’s home)

Pending: 15 or 11% of 138 pending sales

Sold: 26 or 13% of a total 205 sold listings since January 1, 2014

Total: 88 properties

There will be more REOs and Short Sales, to be sure, but knowing that just a few years ago this category was over 70% of our market, we can all be grateful it has vastly improved, and there really is light at the end of the tunnel!

If you are in the market to buy or sell, please give me a call — I’d love to help you!  (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  Thanks!



Sunday Funnies

When I was growing up in a family of five, it was always a race  on Sunday mornings to see which of the three kids would get to the Sunday “funnies” first!  As the youngest, I was always last and had to read them second hand, after my brother and sister had finished giggling and laughing at them.  I rarely read the comic section anymore, but thought this cartoon was cute enough to share for a little Sunday morning humor!  Any human owned by a cat will understand and appreciate it…cat etiquette

Have a wonderful day and remember, I’m a phone call away when you are ready to buy or sell real estate! (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.


Rain is GOOD!

rainy-weatherNot only is the rain we are currently experiencing a most welcome antidote to our recent drought, but it can also help you determine the condition of your roof!  Take a good look to see if any unwanted little leaks are springing up, either inside your home, or even in the garage.  Checking your rain gutters to be sure they aren’t clogged?  Maybe the wrong time for that, but on the other hand, when the rain stops for a few minutes, go out and see if you need to spend a little time on a ladder cleaning them.  Rain is wonderful and very much needed, and so is a good roof to keep you dry!  Bet the local roofing contractors are going to have their hands full in the next week or so!

Call me for local real estate information, I’m always glad to help! (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  Comments also welcomed, below the Contact form!

CAR Market Conditions Report

CAR Market Conditions HeaderThe California Association of REALTORS® most recent report on housing in our state.  This is a good overview, although the fact is, real estate is local.  What happens in the Santa Maria Valley real estate market is not going to match the status of the Newport Beach market, or even the Bakersfield market, to get a little closer to home.  Stay tuned to my weekly reports on Mondays when you want to dial into Santa Maria and Orcutt!

CAR Market Conditions Report used 02-28-14
















Give me a call if you would like more information, or just want to buy or sell a home — that’s my area of expertise, for over 28 years and counting!


Santa Maria – Orcutt Monday Market Update

GraphicSanta Maria Valley is now experiencing the highest inventory in months!  This is great news for buyers, but for sellers — there is a little more competition.  Sales are going along, but not at a pace that would be worthy of writing home about.  It would be safe to say the new year is off to a medium to slow start, hopefully gearing up for the touted “Spring Market” that often occurs from April to June, when school lets out for the summer.  June will slow down again, as it is a month laden with activities that outshine house-hunting: weddings, graduations, Father’s Day, the conclusion of the school year and the start of vacations.

Here are the results for last week.

Feb 16 - Feb 22  2014








Let’s take a look at the same time frame in 2013!

Feb 17 - Feb 23








A considerable improvement for 2014 on several counts: market values and lack of short sales and REOs.  It is a solid indication that our local real estate market is healing nicely!

For more information about our market, or to discuss buying or listing a home, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  Thank you!


Home Prices in the Santa Maria Valley

Facts signHave you ever been curious about price ranges in Santa Maria and Orcutt? Today seems like a great day to investigate, so I have broken down the total number of homes, condos and PUDs (Planned Unit Development) currently in Active status on our MLS into price ranges by $100,000 increments.  SFR = Single Family Residence.  Days on Market = the time between the when the listing goes on our MLS and the time the listing goes into a pending (under contract) status, i.e. the market time.

$0 – $199,999

There are 11 active listings.  5 are in Orcutt (all except one are in the Condo/PUD category); 6 are in Santa Maria (4 SFR, 2 Condo/PUD). The least expensive SFR is in Orcutt, at $149,900.  The average Days on Market = 24.

$200,000 – $299,999

Of the 29 active listings, only 3 are in Orcutt and 26 in Santa Maria. Of the 29, just 5 are Condo/PUD.  The average Days on Market = 53, and the lowest price in this range is $225,000.

$300,000 – $399,999

This is the price range with the most Actives, at 50.  26 are in Orcutt, 24 in Santa Maria, so it’s pretty evenly split.  Only 8 are Condo/PUD and 42 are SFR.  The least expensive is $305,000, a short-sale in midtown Santa Maria.  The average Days on Market = 37.

$400,000 – $499,999

There are 18 active listings, with 10 in Orcutt and 8 in Santa Maria, and all of the listings are SFR.  The lowest price in this range is $408,005 and the average Days on Market = 41.

$500,000 – $599,999

Not so many in this price bracket: only 9 total, with 8 in Orcutt and 1 in Santa Maria.  The lowest price is $508,900, and the average Days on Market = 67.

$600,000 – $699,999

This price range produced 9 active listings, with 7 in Orcutt, 1 in Santa Maria, and 1 in Santa Maria Rural.  The least pricey is $619,000 and the average Days on Market rose to 132.

$700,000 – $799,999

Only 3 active listings, all in Orcutt.  $725,000 is the lowest price of the 3, and the average Days on Market = 193, the highest so far!

$800,000 – $899,999

There are 4 actives, all in Orcutt, with $849,000 being the lowest price and the average Days on Market = 106.

$900,000 – $999,999

Only 1 lonely listing in this range, in Orcutt, currently on the market for 41 days and priced at $906,000.

$1,000,000 – up

Talk about lonely, there is only 1 active listing over a million bucks in the Valley, at $1,250,000 in the Santa Maria Rural area, and it’s been on the market 163 days to date.  It’s unique and requires a certain type of buyer wanting acreage, as it sits on 10 acres and the home has over 4,300 square feet.

Here is the lowest price ($149,900) single family residence, and the highest ($1,250,000):

Lowest Price House - 02-16-14

Highest Price - 02-16-14(Photo doesn’t do this property justice.)

So there you go — from the least to the most, it is interesting to note that the higher price ranges remain on the market the longest time, our middle range is $300-399,000, and the majority of listings in that price range and above are in Orcutt, while the majority of listings below that price range are in Santa Maria.

Affordability is possible in North Santa Barbara County! If you don’t know your budget, let me know, and I’ll connect you with a great local lender.  There is no point in shopping for a home without knowing your parameters, both in qualifying for a mortgage, and in your personal comfort level.  Please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below, and let’s get started! And tune in tomorrow, Monday February 17, for my weekly report on real estate sales in the Santa Maria Valley!

Santa Maria – Orcutt Monday Market Update

GraphicAre home sales slowing down a little as the holidays are approaching?  Possibly a little, although not by much.  Inventory is definitely better than six months ago, as you’ll see from the two charts posted below, but activity is holding, with a total of 44 sales vs. 42 sales a month ago.  One thing is certain: there are folks who need to sell, and folks who need to buy, and those people will not let the holidays deter them!

November 2013

Nov 17 - Nov 23  2013









May 2013

May 19 - May 25  2013









What a difference in 6 months between the New Active prices and Closed Escrow prices!

When you are ready to buy or sell, I would appreciate the opportunity to be of service.  Please call me at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.




Old World Charm!

New ListingMy new listing is a great combination of the charm we expect and love in older homes, and the contemporary conveniences more suited to today’s lifestyle!  Built in 1941 in an established area of Santa Maria, it has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a formal living and dining room, and a large comfy family room that was added onto the original home probably many years ago!  Best of all, approximately 3-4 years ago, the kitchen and both baths were remodeled and updated to encompass a modern lifestyle.  New cabinets, new appliances, new butcher block counter tops, and tile flooring were installed.  The baths were also updated with new fixtures and lighting.  At the same time, a new furnace, roof and front landscaping went in.  There is a two car garage with a workshop, and a large back yard complete with a brick patio and a dog run!

Front 2

Please click here to view the full listing and 24 photos!  Call me for a private viewing: (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.

See the Momentum in Santa Maria Valley Real Estate Sales




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In order to understand the direction a real estate market is going, one must study the comparison of year-to-year monthly sales.  Did the number of homes sold this month beat the same month last year?  The answer is an indicator of momentum, and will give insight to the likely direction of pricing.

Pricing trends generally follow sales trends.  If homes sales go up, so will prices.  Declining sales = declining prices.  Well, you may see an exception to that generality, because we have a big lack of inventory, which is causing prices to rise faster than they would if we had more homes to sell.  Eventually that will even out.

Here are the sold stats for August 2013 vs. 2012:

August 2012 - 2013 - For Sale vs Sold

August 2012 - 2013 For Sale vs Sold table




And here are the averages for pricing, same time frame:

August 2012 - 2013 - Average Price

August 2012 - 2013 - Average Price table

Results in a nutshell:

Sales are down nearly 13%, August 2012 – 2013.

Prices for active listings are up 12%, prices for sold listings are up a whopping 24%.

The number of sales are down due to lack of inventory, and I’d say prices are up for the same reason.


Time to buy before it gets worse!  OR, time to sell while inventory is low and competition is too!

To buy or sell real estate in the Santa Maria Valley (and surrounding areas), please give me a call at (805)937-5777, send an email or complete the short form below and I’ll get back to you right away!