April 19, 2004 - Ed Goes House Hunting
As we all know, Santa Barbara real estate prices have gone through the roof and to the moon. Even though the job market here isn’t so hot, the price of living is high, and we don’t have any professional sports teams, there are still many great things about this area that make it a desirable place to live. Just spend some time in Orange County and you will see why people want to move here.
On Sunday, the dedicated staff of edhat.com went out to see for themselves how outrageous the prices of homes had become. In the morning, we went down to Pawn Shop on Victoria Street and gave them our prized water bottle collection. In return, they gave us $300,000 we could use as a 20% down payment on a $1.5 million dollar house. We figured our payments would only be $8,000 per month. That’s about $100,000 per year for those of you who don’t want to do the math (or in denial).
Cash in hand, we set off to buy our dream home. We consulted a local real estate guide for the day’s open houses where we found 16 listings selling between $1 to $1.5 million. The dedicated staff was able to see 11 of them.
Two of them were new condos, million dollar condos, that is. One in the new mixed-use development on the corner of State and Hope was selling for $1.075 million. The other one, at 1521 Olive, would save you some dough by eliminating the need for a gym membership. The length and steepness of the Saltillo tiled stairs from the parking lot to the front door were exceeded only by the length and steepness of the Saltillo tiled stairs inside the unit from the living area to the bedrooms. The price was pretty steep too, at $1.375 million.
The rest of the properties we saw were not condos and were not new – a “charming craftsmen” on Donze, which was 1,000 sq feet and pink; a totally remodeled “Mesa hillside home” with a narrow shared driveway and a pushy realtor; a family home on Carlo, that was remodeled 13 years ago; a best-of-neighborhood “Goleta Beautiful” home on N. Kellogg, with a pool and a sunroom; a shabby looking home on Lassen with a big back yard and a cranky realtor (“No one is holding a gun to your head to buy it” he told us); a crowded view home with steep and narrow stairs above the west side; a dated, but newly painted house with a steep driveway and tons of ivy on the front slope; and a nicely landscaped Mission Canyon home with a newish kitchen.
Also, for $1.3 million you can buy a home on an expensive block of East Pedregosa. The house is ready-to-bulldoze, but the 17,000 square foot lot is very nice.
Of course the 2 new condos had new kitchens and roofs. Of the others, we found 2 new kitchens and 3 new roofs. That made the total 4 new kitchens (36%) and 5 new roofs (45%). None of the sellers had put down new sod prior to putting the house on the market. In fact, many of the listings didn’t even have lawns.
The closest guess in our contest was Turbo (K=40%, R=35%, S=20%), who wins movie tickets, coffee card, or edhat shirt. What’s the proper movie to watch after winning the edhat.com “Open House” contest? How about Million Dollar Duck?
Want to get instant fame and cool prizes? ... enter today’s contest
We want to hear from you ... tell us what you think of this tidbit