Jason, Home Seller in Santa Barbara, CA

Had a house for sale for 12 mos. It's been priced below what we paid 3 years ago for 4 months. How much?

Asked by Jason, Santa Barbara, CA Thu Oct 16, 2008

longer do I wait until I give up and rent it out? The home is in Montecito and is priced below $1.4 Mio.

Help the community by answering this question:


Hey Jason

Remember, whether a house or a stock, it's not a loss until you sell. I live in Santa Barbara on Laguna St, between Anapamu and Victoria, have a two unit property, and rented my front house out, and the demand was unbelievable. Rather than individual interviews, I had two open houses, and applicants submitted best offer over $X amount of dollars. I narrowed it down to three, interviewed each, ran check, and now have a super great couple in the house, paying absolutely on time with zero hassles. Best move ever. The realtor who said "loaded gun" 100% wrong. Most renters in this area are great people who treat homes with respect, while most realtors area waste of time and money. Jason, I also sold my house in West LA, in the declining market (summer of 2007 when everything was falling apart) with no realtor in 30 days. How? Hustled. Had open houses Sat and Sun from 9am to 7pm. Staged the house epically. Created a spectacular website. Even branded the house with a unique name and walk through, as it was originally a church. My advice, keep your assets if you can in this reverse bubble, rent your house using a mix of Craigslist, open houses, and a website that shows off the house gorgeously, and don't use realtors when it comes time to sell. Your hustle and a real estate attorney is all you need. Best luck!!!! - AB
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 1, 2009
Hi Jason-

Unfortunately I don't have a simple answer to your question. Many factors including price versus comparable properties, agent capabilities (marketing and networking leading to overall exposure of your home to the right potential buyers), and general economic/lending conditions are all probably contributing to your time on market.

There are several properties on the market in Montecito that are very good buys right now, but lending difficulties are making it difficult for buyers to commit to a property. Are there specific buyers that would be attracted to your type of property? Your agent should have had this discussion with you and should be targeting them specifically. Is there anything you could or should do to make your property cosmetically more attractive? Are you priced higher than comparable properties? Would you be willing to carry a second mortgage for a short term to help financing? Any of these items could help.

I'm sorry to say there may be continued downward pressure on pricing if the economy worsens. The low end in Santa Barbara has gained a measure of stability, but your price range, even though it's entry-level for Montecito could still require price reductions. Look at it this way: If you own a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1950s home in relatively original condition a $1.4M price was great a while ago. A buyer could spend $300k on remodeling and still be confident in their value. As the market pushes higher priced properties lower, a property that was once $2M could sell at $1.7M. That potential buyer, as long as they can afford the $1.7M, will get a larger house, in better condition, possibly in a better location for about the same money as yours and they wouldn't have to remodel. If they cannot afford the higher price, you have to look better than anything else on the market. In short, your buyer pool is shrinking to entry-level buyers only and you need to focus marketing efforts.

I would generally be happy to discuss further details with you but am restricted if you're actively listed. Your agent should be able to help as an experienced professional, and their managing broker may be able to offer further advice.

Best regards,

Jon Perkins

PS - The higher end of the market from $2M to $30M is likely to be pressured over the next year or two. It will be interesting to see how many sellers are willing and able to hold firm, and how many drop prices to get their homes sold. Santa Barbara and Montecito have been better able to weather downturns in the past because of, well, the weather (and the natural beauty, the great people, the great restaurants, the cultural offerings, the range of outdoor activities, etc.), but we're not completely immune.
Web Reference: http://www.timeforsb.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 16, 2008
Andrew, I'm also an investor. I love that open house idea for finding tenants. I hope you don't mind me borrowing that golden nugget. :)

Jason, Keith is correct: houses are selling in your area. Andrew is also correct that renting doesn't have to be a losing proposition; you'd have to screen your potential tenants like a lender would screen you before lending to you--after all a lease is for all intents and purposes basically another form of loan. Combined with effective property management, this could be an option for you.

Also, since your pool of buyers has shrunk, and since many buyers would have to qualify for a jumbo loan (which is harder to do today), you might find that you'll get a lot more interest (and offers) if you were to offer seller financing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 1, 2009
I am very sorry to hear of your situation. I would ask your Realtor, since your home hit the market, how many homes have
- come on the market
- lowered their price
- gone into escrow
- sold
- expired.

The truth is that over 250 homes have sold recently in your area, so the problem is not that homes are not selling. The problem is your home is not selling because Realtors are showing other homes to their clients that offer more value.

The rule of thumb is ten to twelve showings or one offer in the first two weeks on the market. I don't know your carrying costs but if you really need to sell, what you've paid in mortgage, taxes, etc. would certainly have allowed you to price it to sell. Now the market has slipped pricewise you might be best off renting it out...if you don't have to sell. If you would like me to refer a top Realtor that works that area for you to speak with directly regarding getting your home sold, I would be happy to do so.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 17, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
Hi Jason,
Renting is alot like pointing a loaded gun at yourself.
This market is only going to get worse and your value will diminish over the rental period.
Keep this in mind and price the property to sell it now!
Later my be to late.

All the best,
James Joseph
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 17, 2008

This is too loaded of a question for a simple email. The market is very up and down right now. There are a lot of buyers out there that are starting to buy but lending is an issue as well. Unique homes or homes priced well are going into escrow as of late.

Why your home is not selling is impossible to say without knowing the home, how it is priced, how it is being shown, how it is being marketed etc. There are too many factors to answer you without getting the answers to several questions.

I would be happy to touch base with you if you would like to.

Take care

Kevin Schmidtchen
Sotheby's Int'l Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 17, 2008
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