Vacation Homes: Protecting Your Property and Yourself

Ocean view terrace in a Santa Barbara home

If you simply do not have the good fortune of calling Montecito or Santa Barbara “home” year-round, purchasing a vacation property to lure you to  this casually luxurious, coastal paradise as often as possible is the next best thing. Recently, Zillow released an article detailing a number of ways to protect your second home when you are not there to enjoy it. Below, Riskin Associates tailors these steps to the Montecito/Santa Barbara area  for an quick and informative read.

Homeowners Insurance Policies:

  • The policy on your primary residence may not cover all of the personal property in your second home. While many standard policies will cover a portion of the belongings, it is important to check with your provider as to the extent of that coverage.
  • Taking out a mortgage on your second home will likely require you to purchase a second homeowners insurance policy. Be sure that this policy is covering a vacation home, as unique risks of such properties should be outlined and covered. Below are a number of these unique risks.


  • Oceanfront parcels are undoubtedly a desirable location for a vacation home. However, close frequent hurricanes can often cause flooding, which is usually not covered by your insurance policy. Fortunately, Montecito and Santa Barbara do not experience tropical storms with any regularity. However, the Santa Ynez Mountains are literally in the backyards of many Montecito estates while fires do not present danger frequently, fire insurance is highly encouraged.
  • Earthquake concerns do tend to come up for many out of the area buyers. Earth quakes do happen occasionally in the southern California area, earthquake insurance is another option for homeowners to protect themselves and their properties. Riskin Associates provides buyers with an in depth booklet detailing the risks of earthquake damage and the many ways to protect your home.

Vacancy Vulnerabilities:

  • Vacation homes are often left vacant for much of year. This can leave homeowners at risk for unnoticed electrical fire, pipe flooding or theft. Renting your home to tenants during your absence is a great way to ensure your property is cared for. Another way to protect your home is to ensure that your insurance coverage lines up with the current replacement cost of your home. Finally, have a professional inspect the major systems in your home (plumbing, electrical etc.) to ensure that these systems are up to date and in good condition.

Leasing Liabilities: 

  • Should you decide to lease your home to tenants to avoid leaving it vacant, there are a number of precautions to take. Homeowners insurance may cover incidentals and personal injury of tenants if you rent out your home only occasionally and for short periods of time, if you plan to rent your home for longer than four weeks, consider landlords insurance to cover a wide range of circumstances. Also, take the extra steps to conduct background checks on potential tenants, draft lease agreements or purchase an umbrella insurance policy.

Owning a vacation property in Montecito or Santa Barbara offers a lifetime of memories with family and friends in one of the west coast’s most coveted locales. If you are purchasing a home in the area for the first time, working with a team of real estate agents who hold an intimate understanding of this niche market is crucial, particularly when navigating the myriad of intricacies vacation homes can present.





Summer Fun in Santa Barbara! Downtown Art and Wine Tour

Santa Barbara Downtown Art and Wine Tour

Everyone knows that summer is everyone’s favorite season, and in Santa Barbara summer seems to last all year. But come the month of May, a shift can be felt in our fresh coastal air and there is a distinctive feeling that summer fun is about to be kicked into high gear. Summer events seem to happen weekly in Santa Barbara from cultural celebrations such as the Solstice Festival and the Old Spanish Days to beer tasting at the Santa Barbara Zoo’s ZooBrew! event and everything in between, there is no shortage of opportunities for casual family fun and upscale socializing.

The long weekend kicks off this Thursday with the annual Downtown Art and Wine Tour. The self-guided tour, which begins at 5:30, invites participants to meander through retailers, galleries and restaurants experiencing the works of local artists, vintners and chefs, on their way to the tour’s Final Party at the Santa Barbara Club. Feasting on hors d’oeuvres and sipping wine or beer, party goers will eat, drink and dance the night away in celebration of all that Santa Barbara’s Downtown District has to offer.

Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased online, at the Downtown Organization office or at the box office of the Arlington Theater.

Arlington Theatre Box Office
1317 State Street
Monday – Saturday: 10am-6pm, Sunday: 10am-4pm
(805) 963-4408
(credit card or cash + $2.50 surcharge per ticket)

Downtown Santa Barbara Office
27-B East de la Guerra Street
Monday – Friday: 9am-4pm
(cash, check, Visa and Master Card)

Village Properties’ Carpinteria and Summerland Artists Studio Tour

Village Properties Artists Tour

The 8th Annual Carpinteria and Summerland Artists Studio Tour generously presented by Village Properties takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, the 10th and 11th of May from 10am – 5pm. This event is FREE and open to the community. A map and Art Studio Directory will be available both online at and from the Carpinteria Arts Center and will guide you through some of the diverse fine artists studios of Carpinteria & Summerland.

The Artists Studio Tour is a unique opportunity to view 35 participating local artist studios, some of whom have shown in well-known galleries internationally and in the U.S. from Los Angeles to New York. It is also a chance to see and buy work of established artists as well as budding emerging talent who live in the beautiful Summerland and Carpinteria Valley. Some of this year’s highlights include new works by well-known local artist, Cayetana (Tani) Conrad, daughter of famed author, Barnaby Conrad. Tani is well known for her paintings of figures and landscapes distinctly featuring California colors and light. Her Toro Canyon studio has been featured in a number of magazines and will be open both Saturday and Sunday of the tour.

Originally a native of Carpinteria and just returning back to the area from a career in Santa Monica where she was working as an award-winning network TV producer, Danielle Methmann will be showcasing her latest work at Café Luna. Danielle’s photographs exude laid back So Cal lifestyle and beautifully capture the inspiration she gets from her surrounding environments. Danielle’s photographs will be on display at Café Luna both Saturday and Sunday.

Open Sunday only studio tour goers seeking an adventurous art studio visit are urged to visit local painter, Thomas Mace’s art studio. Perched atop Shepherds Mesa, Tom built the studio that is his wood shop, idea factory and home for his current projects. Situated in the mountains above Carpinteria, Thomas’ studio is the converted lathe house and a must see.

For a full list of participating artists please visit Carpinteria Arts Center website at or on Facebook @CarpinteriaArtistsStudioTour. This weekend long opportunity to tour and visit local artist studios is FREE and open to the public. A small percentage of art sales will benefit CVAC’s missions to promote, support our local artists in their studios and galleries, Bellas Artes program, Art by the Sea kids camp, Art in Public Places, Flicks film club and more. In the belief that the arts are vital to a healthy community, the Carpinteria Arts Center is committed to providing challenging exhibitions, innovative learning opportunities, and cultural enrichment for people of all ages, interests, and abilities.

The Carpinteria Valley Arts Council would also like to thank Village Properties that generously donated at the Presenting Sponsorship level for this year’s 8th Annual Artist Studio Tour. Visit their website

Local Showcase: Santa Barbara Artist Lisa Pedersen

Artist Lisa Pedersen art studio in her Santa Barbara Riviera Estate.

Artist Lisa Pedersen’s home studio in the Santa Barbara Riviera.

As Santa Barbara’s top real estate team for over a decade, Riskin Associates has the pleasure of representing many fabulous clients. Currently, local Santa Barbara artist Lisa Pedersen, happens to be one of them. Pedersen, who lives in a quintessential andalusian estate in Santa Barbara’s Riveira, has been an artist her entire life and began painting professionally at the encouragement of friend and fellow painter John Brosio. Living on the Southern California coast offers endless opportunity for inspiration. Using water based oil paint, Lisa paints landscapes, architecture and cityscapes up and down the central coast.

Aside from painting, Lisa indulges her artistic and creative energies through other forms of design. After graduating from USC, Lisa went on to UCLA to study architectural and interior design. Lisa lives in one of her most impressive endeavors. The exceptional residence in Santa Barbara’s Riviera is an incredible example of Lisa’s finely tuned creativity. Together with her father, Harlan Pedersen and builder Ken Rideout, Lisa restored a magical estate, circa 1939, to perfection.

Lisa’s romantic vision, realized in 2004, includes custom designed kitchen tiles designed to emulate those in the historic Santa Barbara Courthouse, rich wood floors and beamed ceilings. Ocean and mountain views have been captured throughout via French doors, Juliette balconies and intimate patios. A jewel among jewels, a fantastic space has been utilized as an inspiring artists’ studio. A south-facing ocean view terrace is matched by French doors framing mountain views to the north.

As enchanting as the residence is, the estate grounds are an idyllic complement. Pathways wind through blooming rose gardens, lush lawns and vine-covered pergolas. A bocce ball court, hidden tree house and sensational Mediterranean pool garden await discovery and take thorough enjoyment of Santa Barbara’s enviable year round climate.

Lisa Pedersen, Riskin Associates, Sarah Kelly

Artist Lisa Pedersen and Riskin Associates Partner Sarah Kelly at Porch.

To experience Lisa’s repertoire of work, visit Porch in nearby Carpinteria where an exhibition features Lisa’s work throughout the month of May. Riskin Associates Partner joined Pedersen at Porch for the exhibition opening.For further information of Lisa’s romantic and enchanting estate, contact Riskin Associates.