Award-Winning Montecito Home

We just got word that one of our listings here in Montecito is receiving an award! Next month, Qualified Remodeler Magazine will publish its annual Master Design Awards, recognizing the best in residential remodeling. 1134 Hill Road in Montecito, CA earned the Master Design Award this year with both the Gold and Judge’s Choice Award!

Contemporary Montecito Villa

The home, Villa Vicin’ ‘O Mare, is a wonderful transformation of a classic Montecito bungalow into a contemporary beach villa with seamless indoor-outdoor living. Redesigned by Santa Barbara architects Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis and remodeled by Allen Associates, impeccable attention to detail has been paid to every aspect of the home’s design, from the champagne limestone floors to the wide plane wood paneled ceiling.

Seamless indoor/outdoor Santa Barbara Living

Custom mahogany bi-fold doors and windows effortlessly connect indoor and outdoor living spaces, opening completely for endless entertaining opportunities. A glass-enclosed patio includes ample room for dinner parties, complete with an artistic wall of water and fire table feature.

Glass-enclosed patio

Outside, a large garden oasis awaits with wandering paths through fruit trees, palms and towering bamboo. Generous patios, water fountains, a walled private garden and lush tropical landscaping allow for true indoor-outdoor Santa Barbara living.

Lush garden oasis

Inside, an open-plan living space designed with yacht-like efficiency showcases exquisite, contemporary décor and interior details, revealing understated elegance. The eye-catching gas fireplace, featuring Rasmussen FireBalls, makes the living room feel sleek and modern while warm in ambience.

Sleek, modern design

Beautiful double doors open on to a sunken master retreat, enhanced by a luxurious spa-like bathroom and private patio. A blown glass pendant chandelier adorns the freestanding soaking tub, overlooking a serene courtyard with an eight-foot privacy glass gate.

Spa-like master bath with private patio


Located in the heart of Montecito and steps from Butterfly Beach, the Biltmore and Coral Casino, Villa Vicin’ ‘O Mare combines  the highest quality amenities for modern living in an exquisite 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom beach retreat.


Local, National Sales Continue Strong

Santa Barbara South County Sales July 2012Zillow announced yesterday that U.S. home values continued to climb for the eight consecutive month, according to data from their July 2012 Real Estate Market Reports. Home values are up 1.2% nationwide, a healthy number supported by low inventory in many markets.

Here in Santa Barbara, July South County sales shook off the previous month’s dip to return to positive growth. 2012 sales are an astonishing 44% higher than last year. Meanwhile, inventory is at a 6 year low! Does this mean home prices are finally on the rise?


The Village Properties Vacation Raffle!

We’d love for you to consider purchasing a raffle ticket from Village Properties to support The Teacher’s Fund, established to help local public and private K-12 school teachers buy the supplies and books they so desperately need. Only 50 tickets will be sold, so your chances of winning a dream vacation are pretty good! The winner gets to choose their vacation of choice (Europe, Telluride, Pebble Beach/Carmel or Hawaii). The drawing will be held at the Futures Golf Tournament in Santa Barbara on Friday, September 21st (winner need not be present). Simply contact Rebecca Riskin & Associates to purchase your ticket!

Village Properties Vacation Raffle to support The Teacher's Fund

Southern California Median Home Prices Hit 4 Year High

Montecito Estate For Sale

A Montecito estate offered at $34,000,000

The LA Times reported today that the median home price in Southern California hit its highest point in nearly four years as buyers compete for fewer homes. The median is up over 8% from this time last year, and has been increasing steadily for six consecutive months. Last month’s sales were also up 13.8% over July 2011, with approximately 20,500 properties sold throughout the six-county region.

While home prices in Montecito don’t quite compare to the Southern California media price of $306,000 (according to DataQuick), we have been seeing full price or multiple offers in some high-demand price ranges. And as we reported last week, the high-end market at $10+ million is seeing a local resurgence.

The $10+ Million Real Estate Market Resurgence

Montecito Estate

A Montecito Estate sold by Rebecca Riskin & Associates in 2012 for nearly $20,000,000

We’ve been following some recent news regarding the high-end real estate market picking up in certain pockets across the country. For example, an estate in Miami just broke records for a single family home sale at $47 million, while New York and Silicon Valley keep making headlines. According to RealtyTrac, home sales of $1+ million are up 23% from one year ago.

Having seen a similar pattern here in Montecito, we decided to dig a little deeper to decipher our perception of the high-end market resurgence. According to the MLS, there was only one recorded closed sale at over $10 million in Montecito for 2011. Compare that to 2012, where year-to-date $10+ million sales already total 9. Montecito also had its first closing of over $20 million this year already.

Some experts explain the resurgence in closed sales by the drop in house prices, which have fallen 20% this year in the $1+ million range. Here in Montecito, we’ve definitely seen prices come down from their highs, but we’ve also seen some properties sell for prices above their previous sales price. Full price and multiple offers are also becoming the norm on well-priced homes in limited inventory ranges.

Viva La Fiesta

Old Spanish Days Santa BarbaraWhether you’re a Santa Barbara native, a recent transplant or simply a visitor, Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is an event not to be missed! Dating back to 1924, Fiesta is a celebration of our city’s Spanish heritage through the tradition of colorful dance, music and song. This year’s theme, Viva La Familia, captures the spirit of family and community as Santa Barbara extends its warm hospitality. Join us in celebrating our city’s rich culture this weekend. Viva la fiesta!

For more information about Old Spanish Days, click here.

Why A Pocket Listing?

Pocket Listing Montecito, CA

One of our current pocket listings in Montecito, CA

Pocket listings can be used by sellers and their real estate agents for a handful of reasons, but each pocket listing comes with a unique strategy in mind. Before we dive in to some of these strategies, which were highlighted in a recent article published by the RealtyTimes, let’s quickly define what exactly a pocket listing is.

Simply put, an agent may choose to list a home without listing in on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  They figuratively keep the listing in their pocket, instead of broadcasting it out to the audience of millions using the MLS. A pocket listing is thus an unofficial, off-market listing.

Pocket listings are generally a strategy of high-end, expensive homeowners looking for a unique approach to their house sale. Because of changing market conditions, however, pocket listings have become more mainstream.

Some sellers aren’t happy with current market prices, so they’re happy to wait for the right buyer to come along who will pay the right price, and will settle for the lack of marketing through traditional real estate channels. In a similar fashion, sellers can use a pocket listing to test the market quietly before taking the plunge.

Meanwhile, other sellers may select a pocket listing because of the ability to generate a quick cash sale, even if the pre-determined price is below market value.

Another issue with listing high-end properties in the MLS is the time on the market shadow that may follow a property if it sits for a period of time. This can give buyers the feeling that there’s something wrong with the home, or they may feel obligated to submit offers much lower than market value based of the length of the time the home has sat on the market.

Finally, pocket listings can be a great alternative for sellers who require privacy. Keeping their home out of traditional marketing channels can work in their favor when trying to avoid the media.

For more information on listing strategies, please visit our website. To read the complete article by RealtyTimes, click here.