Real Estate August 4, 2015

Comparing Santa Barbara homes

Buyers, sellers, lenders, insurance companies, Zillow, and many other entities are interested in making home comparisons for many reasons. In Santa Barbara the task of comparison can be more complicated than in other communities where land values, views and factors such as proximity to ocean and mountains don’t play as big a role. When using comparison to estimate a property’s value one can be totally misled. There are some very important considerations to take into account when comparing homes in Santa Barbara. Following are some of the most significant that are very often overlooked.

Not all measurements are created equal – Tax assessors, appraisers, and those doing quick estimates measure the outside of a house, adding a lot of space that’s not usable to the final measurement. Garage space is also sometimes included when in most instances it’s assumed not to be.

Not all views are created equal – In fact in Santa Barbara every view is different, and the differences can add up to big dollars depending on who is evaluating the property. The terms “panoramic” and “unobstructed” tend to be used very loosely, and really depend on what perspective is taken.

Neighborhood borders are close together – This year a 3bd/1ba house at 329 E. Canon Perdido Street sold for $485,000, while literally a stone’s throw away a 2bd/2.5ba house at 310 E. Canon Perdido Street, designated in the neighborhood of El Caserio, closed escrow for $2.475 million.

Immediately neighboring properties are a consideration – It’s wise to look at the homes to the left, right, and in the view of any home you’re considering. Most buyers do, realizing that neighbors can make a big difference.

Higher remodeling costs should be considered – The privilege to live in a paradise like Santa Barbara doesn’t come inexpensively, including construction costs which can be double or more than what you may find in other parts of the country. This makes remodeled properties much more valuable. Unfortunately even experienced appraisers who are forced to use national average costs don’t give proper credit for this.

School districts are heavily discerned – Many families moving to Santa Barbara take notice that certain school’s ratings are far better than others. With private schools being quite costly there are very often substantial value differences assigned to properties depending on what school attendance area they’re in.

Entities like Zillow take into account none of the above. I’ve seen errors in some of their Santa Barbara property value estimates by as much as 50%. Professional appraisers can also land heavily off the mark on values in Santa Barbara because of the expensive variances in what they define as “similar” properties. To ensure an accurate estimate of what any property is worth (value when sold on the open market) there is no better place to turn than a professional and experienced local Realtor. For this and any other real estate services I’m happy to assist you and appreciate your inquiries.