Recognition for a Record Breaking Year!

IMG_5748Riskin Associates  is breaking records, and people are taking notice. In 2012, Montecito real estate team Rebecca Riskin, Sarah Kelly and Dina Landi of Riskin Associates sold over $223 million in luxury real estate.  The team’s success earned them national recognition when the Wall Street Journal named them the #3 agent in the US for metro-agent portfolio size. Not surprisingly, Riskin Associates also took home the #1 position in the Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service, although the positon is not uncharted territory as the team as earned the top spot seven times in the past decade. Despite 2012’s reputation as a “recovery year” in the real estate market, Riskin Associates found themselves with up to 30 listings at one time, representing 38 residential transactions in total, and a sales volume 60% higher than any other agent in the Santa Barbara MLS for that year. One of the team’s most notable sales of 2012 was that of ‘La Pumada,’ Reginald Johnson’s expansive 1929 classic Montecito manor. Riskin Associates represented both the buyer and seller on each side of the transaction, which closed for nearly $20 million.

An article in Santa Barbara periodical, Casa Magazine, also featured the team’s success in which Riskin calls 2012 “exceptional” and “rewarding” and states her clients as part of that reward, “We are so grateful to our incredible clients” she says.



Montecito Real Estate is Heating Up!

In the Montecito Journal’s Real Estate View, published the week of February 21, author Michael Phillips makes sense out of the Heat Index for Montecito. The article explains that the heat index measures present demand for single-family homes in multiple price sectors and scores are compared to those from a year ago. Astonishingly, today’s heat score is 378, which reflects a 302% increase over last year’s. While the under $1 million range saw an enormous gain with a score of 250, the luxury markets of $2-3 million and $3-4 million saw encouraging gains with scores of 25 and 26 respectively.

Rising prices was also a topic of interest in the article, stating that despite a demand-supply imbalance, resulting in a thin market, prices are rising and buyers are acting quickly on exciting opportunities. December marked the 10th consecutive nationwide monthly home price increase at 9%. However, Montecito real estate price increase far exceeded that number, with home prices rising 25%! As we enter into the Spring and Summer seasons, Riskin Associates hopes to continue to see gains across all price ranges.

A Growing Trend in Green Home Energy

GEOTHERMAL-system-in-houseIn his recent article, a custom home builder in Santa Barbara, Doug Ford of DD Ford Construction Inc., highlights the latest trend in home energy solutions, geothermal heating and cooling systems. The technology has gained popularity as homeowners are becoming more aware of their homes’ impact on the environment. Geothermal systems use the temperature of the earth 8 ft below ground to regulate the temperature of the air that is distributed through the home’s central air system. The temperature of the earth fluctuates far less than the temperature of the outside air, allowing a comfortable temperature to be reached using less fossil fuels than conventional heating and cooling systems. Also, geothermal systems emit no greenhouse gases, which have been linked to global warming.

Your inner economist will appreciate another benefit of the new technology, the investment return on geothermal system installation. Geothermal systems have been shown to cut monthly energy usage by half, and as an incentive the Federal Government is offering a 30% tax credit on the cost and installation of geothermal systems through the year 2016.

Cities across California, including Montecito, are doing their best to reduce their carbon footprint. Geothermal energy is a trending way to accomplish this goal while saving homeowners money on their monthly energy bill. Riskin Associates, like DD Ford Construction Inc., wants to know, is geothermal energy in your future?

Does your home insurance cover meteors?

montecito estate

Home insurance does cover falling objects including meteorites

With a meteor exploding in a Siberian neighborhood just last week, it’s a good question to ask: “Does my homeowner’s insurance cover falling objects from outer space?” Rest assured, the answer is yes.

Home insurance policies covers falling objects including meteorites, space junk and even blue ice – the frozen sewage that occasionally falls from airplanes. The chances of your Montecito estate actually getting hit by a falling object is incredibly low, as most debris turns in to dust particles by the time it reaches us.

According to an article by CNN Money, an asteroid would have to be the size of  Volkswagen when it enters our atmosphere to do any real damage. The recent event in Russia typically happens only once every 100 years.

“Well Past the Peak of the Foreclosure Crisis”

130213180304-foreclosure-filings-chart-620xaThe market is picking up and according to a CNNMoney article  foreclosures are coming down. January saw the lowest bank repossessions since 2006 and a 28% decrease from January 2012. California’s “Homeowners Bill of Rights” took effect on January 1, 2013 further protecting borrowers from default and resulting in a 62% decrease in new foreclosure filings in California, taking the state out of the lead for new filings. The market is continuing to recover and steady improvement is forecasted through 2013. As Riskin Associates sold over $220 million in luxury real estate in the Montecito area last year, we are looking forward to further market incline!

Local Indulgences for your Valentine


Valentines day gifts bouquet santa barbara montecito

Cupid’s favorite holiday is already upon us and in Montecito romance is in the air! In case Valentine’s Day snuck up on you, Riskin Associates can recommend a few ideas from local favorites to help you make the evening special.


1. No Valentine’s Day is complete without a bursting bouquet of red roses. Show your affection with a “Love’s Divine” arrangement from Gazebo FlowersLove’s Divine Bouquet, starting at $230


2.  Cloak her in colorful cashmere! This beautiful Franco Ferrari Barabba Air Paisley Colorblock Scarf  will keep her looking and feeling ready for Springtime ahead! Franco Ferrari Barabba Air Scarf, $298 at Dressed.


3. Is your man the king of the golf course (or does he think he is)? Treat him to a round at one of Santa Barbara’s luxury golf courses. Sandpiper’s championship course, which has been rated by Golf Digest as one of the Top 25 in the country, overlooks the Pacific Ocean, offering a beautiful break from the boardroom. Sandpiper Gift Cards can be purchased in the online store. Rounds start at just $139. 


4. Indulge your special someone and yourself (bonus!) with a couple’s massage at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. The Spa Ojai has been listed by Conde Nast Magazine as one of the Top 25 North American Spas. Spa Ojai’s Customized Together Massage, 50 minutes $145, 100 minutes $290 (price per person).

5. Can’t jet to Italy for the weekend? Visiting Olio e Limone for a romantic Italian dinner is the next best thing! Hand made pastas and an extensive wine list promise you and your date a Valentine’s Day meal to remember.




A Romantic and Rewarding Valentine’s Day Idea

Valentine's Day Fundraiser, Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara’s only women’s residential recovery home, Casa Serena has a thoughtful and philanthropic way to show your loved ones that you’re thinking of them this Valentine’s day.  The “Grateful Hearts” will hand deliver flowers and chocolate to your special someone in the Santa Barbara area on February 14th between the hours of 10am and 5pm. Orders must be received by February 12 and 100% of your $20 donation will benefit the women of Casa Serena. Riskin Associates is proud to increase awareness about this fantastic and romantic fundraiser!