The right neighborhood..how do you know?

A Riskin Associates Montecito listing

This Riskin Associates listing has many of the “top choice” amenities: a private lot, a beautiful view, and a great school district”

It’s the old real estate adage, “location, location, location!” You’re heard it time and time again, but what does it mean to you? A neighborhood can be many different things, but what makes a neighborhood great? MSN Real Estate‘s Melinda Fulmer gives us some insight.

  • People and place: People in the area make small adjustments and improvements, and these small changes can add up to the perception of a larger movement within the community. When an area is “up and coming” it usually means it is seeing a number of things happening at once. Someone adds a small shop, a new park bench, or a new open-air market. These changes seem minuscule when they stand alone, but when paired together, they add up to the flourishing of the neighborhood’s character. They allow interaction between community members, which results in, well, more change. In short, it’s the character of the people that determine the character of the place.
  • Location location location. This should actually read: opportunity, opportunity, opportunity! Access to well-paying jobs, efficient public transportation, and abundant shops and services all create opportunity for the people who live in the area to improve their lives, be it financially or socially. So opportunity and access to the utilization of these important community aspect are what make the difference when it comes to the desirability of an area.

The next time you hear someone say “location location location” ask them exactly what it means to them to be in a “prime” location. Does it mean great weather? Privacy? A good school? All of these aspects are important, but to each home buyer, what makes a community great is more than just a great lot.

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Party at the Polo Fields!

Riskin Associate Sarah Kelly presents the trophy to Team Restoration Hardware

Sarah Kelly Presents the trophy to Team Restoration Hardware!

While the sun was shining in beautiful Montecito, Riskin Associates broker and Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate, Village Properties  hosted a day of field-side fun. Sunday, August 18th the USPA Bombardier Pacific Coast Open was hosted at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club! Village agents invited clients and their families to enjoy the games from a private field-side tent and catch all the action. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres were served as players raced across the field in exciting style. Rebecca Riskin attended with her daughter Julia, marketing director Phoenix Smith also showed up to take in the games and partner Sarah Kelly presented the trophy at the close of the afternoon!

Sarah Kelly, Rebecca and Julia Riskin and Phoenix Smith catch the games field-side.

Sarah Kelly, Rebecca and Julia Riskin and Phoenix Smith catch the games field-side.

California Home Prices? They’re up too!

Riskin Associates Montecito Listing

The economy is up! Housing prices are up! It’s time sit back and relax!

News is spreading quickly that the US economy is rapidly approaching a full-blown recovery! All over the country people are gaining confidence in their investments and are returning to their pre-recession economic standings. Housing markets, unemployment and the stock market are returning to levels which reflect a healthy economy, and everyone is feeling the warm and fuzzies. Californian’s in particular are jumping for joy as across the state homeowners are watching their home values skyrocket.  Leverage Global Partners is reporting that this time last year, the average home value was $320,990. But 2013 is blowing that number out of the water, with an over $100K increase to $428,510! Thats 33% in one year!  Aside from the rise of home prices, other factors also indicate a strengthening market. Riskin Associates recently reported that a pick up in the luxury home market indicates confidence of affluent demographics in the economy as “discretionary spending” increases. Riskin Associates is excited by the news of increasing home prices in California and across the nation!

Deer Lodge is being featured on BRAVO’s Property Envy Tonight!

The pool and patio at Santa Barbara's Deer Lodge!

180-Acre Deer Lodge is a cool hideaway with every imaginable amenity!

Riskin Associates is excited to announce that our listing, Deer Lodge, will be featured on BRAVO network’s new real estate show Property Envy. The show looks inside some of the county’s most unique and distinctive properties as a panel of comical real estate personalities provide commentary. Deer Lodge fits the bill of the show, an incredible property with amenities akin to the coolest summer camp you never had the opportunity to attend. With 180 acres of hiking trails, sport courts, mountain view terraces, pool and spa, game room, and multiple structures with five star sleeping accommodations. Riskin Associates will be watching as the cooky panel of Property Envy sounds off on this and a number of other amazing properties tonight on Bravo! For airing times, check your local listings!

 

Why Luxury Real Estate is a Vote of Confidence for the U.S. Economy

A luxury montecito estate

A luxury Montecito estate offered by Riskin Associates

The U.S. economy is in full recovery mode! Over the last year, middle class families have jumped at the opportunity to purchase homes with record-low interest rates, contributing the boost in the market. Homes priced under $1 million rose 11% in price during the first half of 2013. Now the luxury home market is gaining momentum as well, with homes priced over $1 million jumping an average of 37% during the same time frame. According to an article released by Financial Post, these are the highest numbers seen since the market’s height in 2007. The article goes on to explain that the luxury market tends to follow (closely) behind the broader market, as luxury property purchases tend to be “discretionary spending” and generally waits until a stable market is experienced.

This upswing the in real estate market is a sign of widespread economic growth.  According to the article, economists predict a U.S. economic expansion of 2.3% in this quarter alone. How does home purchasing indicate general economic growth? Home buying spurs consumer spending, with decorating, remodels and entertaining.

Wealthy families are gaining confidence in the economy as they are beginning to see stabilization of their investments, and beginning to purchase high-end homes. For this reason, the surge in the luxury real estate market reflects a vote of confidence in the broader economy. Riskin Associates is excited by a recent article published on AOL Real Estate which named Santa Barbara as the #3 city seeing the highest rate of market rebound in the US!

Trending: Luxurious, Low Maintenance Finishes!

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One of the fastest growing trends in luxurious residential interiors are environmentally friendly and low maintenance finishes. Designers are searching far and wide for unique, sustainable, and easy to live in materials to outfit homes. These days, homebuyers want durable finishes that can withstand day to day living, while maintaining lavish design and aesthetics. While classic materials will always be in style, fresh new materials are taking over our homes. Take a look at the luxurious finishes in the latest Riskin Associates listing…

…Designed by Montecito design team Becker Studios, this contemporary hacienda is adorned in low maintenance materials such as wide-plank drift wood oak floors, combed Chinese basalt, concrete, Lagos Azul and Arival Spanish  Limestone and Calcutta marble. The landscape design acknowledges Montecito’s temperate climate, utilizing low maintenance succulents to create attractive gardens, while oak and olive trees line the gravel drive.

Want an inside look into this fabulous hacienda? The home will be open this Sunday from 1pm-4pm, 770 Via Manana, Montecito.

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Coastal Golfing in Santa Barbara

The montecito valley

This Riskin Associates property overlooks several of Montecito’s prestigious golf courses.

 

Santa Barbara and it’s neighboring communities of Montecito and Goleta have many attractive qualities. Idyllic, year-round weather, luxury shopping, and gourmet dining are just the beginning of the area’s wonderful offerings. But Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas are not just for ladies or lunch and shop! Gentlemen who golf can also find themselves with a plethora of courses where they can practice their swing at the driving range, get a quick round at a 3-par in, or indulge in a relaxing 18- or 36!- hole round. Feeling competitive? Many Santa Barbara golf courses host tournaments throughout the year. Here, we explore some of the area’s most luxurious private and public golf courses.

We start with Montecito Country Club…A members only club in the heart of the Montecito Valley, the course overlooks incredible ocean and mountain views. Need help with your swing? PGA Pro Scott Johnson can get you into top form.

Moving on to the ultra-exclusive Birnam Wood course in Montecito, built by Robert Trent Jones, where even if you have the cash for the membership dues you have to be invited to join the membership.

Santa Barbara Golf Club is a public course of par-70 18 holes. Fun for the whole family, book a tee time and enjoy the Santa Barbara sun at affordable rates. PGA Pros are also on hand to help you with your game, and whats even better, gift cards are available so you can treat you closest golf buddy to a round or two without breaking the bank.

Only have time for 9 holes, pop over to Hidden Oaks Golf Course for a quick round while enjoying majestic mountain views. Rates are affordable and instruction and Junior Golf is available.

Head north about 15 minutes from Montecito and you find yourself in Goleta where there are two stunning courses. Glen Annie Golf Course provides the best of the area’s two golf worlds, unpretentious atmosphere at a prestigious, challenging course. Island views from the course as well as the Club’s restaurant and snack bar create a leisurely and relaxing atmosphere.

Sandpiper Golf Course is a luxurious course right on the bluff of Goleta. Panoramic ocean views are a breathtaking backdrop to 18 championship holes. At Sandpiper, you get what you pay for: five-star service and dining as well as incredible event facilities make this course a Santa Barbara favorite.