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House Hunters
updated: Sep 20, 2012, 11:05 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Are house hunters having trouble finding homes available for sale in the under $600k price range right now? Seems like the inventory is very very low. Just curious what people are experiencing in their home search under that threshold.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 322185 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 11:10 AM

Your house may be a condo if you are looking under $600,000. Don't overlook them because this smaller house may be the type of situation you want when you retire. And then it will be all paid for and you are on easy street in your Golden Years which are coming sooner, rather than later. One year at a time.

 

 COMMENT 322186P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 11:12 AM

Yep.I know I am. Heck, even sub $700K. All houses in that range, it seems are snatched up long before they make it to MLS (I am told by some realtors that they have meetings and decide who gets them before ever going "on the market"). If by some miracle, they make it to MLS, we are told they already have multiple offers on them and are sold. If they are on MLS for more than a few days, there is something seriously wrong with them.
Its very frustrating.

 

 COMMENT 322191 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 11:33 AM

There are a lot of homes in that range, just in neighborhood's that are not ideal. Is home ownership worth living in a bad neighborhood with even worse public schools? Or, is renting better...we have faced the same issue for the past few years.

 

 COMMENT 322204 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 12:07 PM

problem with a condo is that you often share walls with your neighbor, don't have a yard, often don't have your own laundry hook ups, limited storage and you have to pay any where from $200 - 600 EXTRA a month for the rest of your life in association dues.

 

 COMMENT 322206 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 12:11 PM

Condos come in many styles. That prior post was a very limited description. Most likely describing an apartment building condo-conversion.

Look for purpose-built projects, townhouses, and stand-alone unit condos and not cheesy conversion projects. That should be obvious up front. Condo fees pay for what homeowners also have to pay every month for the rest of their lives too: utilities, insurance, maintenance.

 

 COMMENT 322209 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 12:14 PM

The answer in short would be a big YES!

 

 COMMENT 322216 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 12:32 PM

I don't remember the last time decent homes could be bought in SB for under $600k. That is one of the biggest problems facing SB businesses in attracting top tallent.

 

 MACSCIDOR agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 12:33 PM

The SB NewsPress (Business section) [Thurs 20 Sept 2012] has a good Associated Press article about this very topic: lower supply of homes on the market, many buyers today are investors, a lot of cash sales, etc.

 

 COMMENT 322219 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 12:37 PM

I bought a home 2 years ago for $655k in a good neighborhood (N of 101, between Turnpike and Patterson). At that time, there were several in the $600-700k range, but they went quickly. Fast forward 2 years later, and those homes in good neighborhoods in that price range are gone. Glad we got ours when we did - if you can find one in that range, snatch it up. Mortgage rates are very, very low right now.

 

 COMMENT 322244 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 01:07 PM

I just refied and they said my house on a large corner lot on the westside in an R-1 neighborhood was only worth $511K. Just barely met the refi requirements. I guess maybe it is worth a bit more now?

 

 COMMENT 322249 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 01:10 PM

206... association fees pay for utilities? first I've ever heard of that....

 

 MESARATS agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 01:12 PM

Inventory is low in that range. There are a few on the Mesa in currently in that range and a 2/1 on Shoreline recently sold for 590k and a 3/2 with a .30 acre lot that sold for 575k on Juanita Two I was interested in both went to inside deals. One bank owned never made it to the MLS sold for 545k to a guy who did a quick remodel and flipped it for 850k and the other was bank owned that was briefly listed and went into escrow almost immediately, to a friend of the realtor. Wouldnt even accept a offer. I wish I had a crocked realtor or banker. Even in that range you need to decide your must haves and location, but the good deals go quickly.

 

 COMMENT 322254 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 01:16 PM

Far too many people demand that "affordable" means a 3 brd ranch on .5 acres in a good school district for $300,000, with no down and a 30 year 2% fixed rate mortgage.

Affordable is what you can get for what you can afford to pay. Plenty of people make it work for themselves here, without demanding hand-outs.

Minimum wage can get you into some form of housing in this area so everything is affordable, if you really want to live here and start your savings plan that may mean sacrificing short-term indulgences

There are affordable mobile homes in Santa Barbara and if this is what you can afford, this is what you get. Affordable.

But please don't ask others to subsidize the gap between what you want, yet refuse to work for and pay for.

 

 COMMENT 322268 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 01:34 PM

"Afordable" housing does mean densely constructed condos, not houses with yards.

 

 COMMENT 322284 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 01:56 PM

My association, at least, pays partial utilities -- it covers my trash (but not recycling) and my water. I assume some other HOAs do as well.

 

 COMMENT 322286 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 01:58 PM

Guys and gals... Let's face it.... Realtors will always try and say things like "house prices are rising, you should buy", "economy is doing great, time to buy before house prices sky rocket again"... Uhhh not true. It is harder now than ever to get approved for a mortgage loan; there stricter provisions in place (e.g. co-signers are not what they use to be)... The economy is getting hammered with floating around 8% - 9% unemployment... Fedex just announced yesterday they don't predict the economy to get any better any time soon; most home buyers in the 600k range or investors right now in SB. We are soon to experience a technology bubble with the stock market; in-fact we are already in one, look at Facebook.. Groupon.. Zynga.. all getting hammered by the economy and tech bubble. So..... Next time your friendly realtor suggests nows the time to buy a house, consider whether or not they are being "truthful" or just good ole salesmen...

 

 COMMENT 322288 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 02:01 PM

Two houses on Puesta Del Sol recently went for $500 and $550, so if you're willing to invest some sweat equity, bargains are out there. As stated by a previous commenter, these types of deals often go to inter-office sales first, so make sure your agent is well connected and on top of things and you have your financing in hand and ready to jump.

The $500k house seems to have been bought by a flip company because it's completely redone and is now going for $750k 3 months later. It's nice, but it's not that nice...

 

 COMMENT 322302 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 02:28 PM

There is a house that has been just standing empty in Goleta off Shamorock .

 

 COMMENT 322334 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 03:20 PM

There are no affordable homes in Hope Ranch or Montecito - this is totally unfair. I want to work in Santa Barbara and should not have to commute - I also want my kids to attend the best school. Why isn't the Mayor doing anything about this?

 

 COMMENT 322340 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 03:23 PM

I know 334 is a parody of people who think like this and I LOVE IT!

 

 COMMENT 322357 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 03:52 PM

334 lol

 

 COMMENT 322359 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 03:57 PM

a few years ago, with two good incomes (over 120K+ a year, of which we had no deductions and taxes were killing us), we couldn't qualify for more than $450k, SB/Goleta nothing was that cheap except teardowns and condo's or "bad" neighborhoods. The bank would not allow condo's or anything with "HOA" fees as the additional monthly expense pushed us over the edge for what we could "afford" for housing and they wouldn't approve the purchase, We took our down payment , got our FHA loan, got the 2009 tax credit for first time buyers, and left SB after living here our entire life, and bought a large house 30 miles away, for under $450k , we are very happy with house, schools, etc but it was a HUGE life changing decision, you can't have it all, unless you have a pocket full of cash, but there are options

 

 COMMENT 322360 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 03:59 PM

Purchased a 4bdrm 2bath home (approx. 1400sq ft) with a decent backyard in Goleta for $460K a year ago. Couldn't be happier, considering I thought I could never afford a place in my hometown! It was a short sale. Put the offer sheet in June, closed escrow in September.

 

 COMMENT 322361 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 04:01 PM

We bought a two + bedroom house, downtown in a good neighborhood, and great school district one year ago for $460K.... it so happens that it is part of a condo association, but it was the original home on the lot with a relatively large private yard. A deal and a half as far as I am concerned and will even be a better deal when we go to sell....

They are out there, but you gotta get lucky.

 

 COMMENT 322365 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 04:08 PM

360 again: By Goleta, I mean a block from DPHS.

 

 COMMENT 322379 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 04:26 PM

2249... HOAs are responsible for maintaining outside and common spaces and that will include water for landscaping and power for exterior lighting, perhaps even gas to heat the pool if there is one.

 

 COMMENT 322415 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 05:24 PM

Forget the house hunting in SB/Carp in the $500-700K range. Every offer accepted is a cash deal for buckets over asking. Who the heck are these cash paying people???

 

 COMMENT 322444 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 06:35 PM

Could be drugs and the underground economy (the 47% who don't pay taxes) which as you know make a lot of money, all cash and it needs to find a place to land and get laundered.

Or, their parents died and left them enough of an inheritance they cashed in? Naw, if they are paying in serious cash only, probably illegal.

 

 COMMENT 322470P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 08:22 PM

I'd like to suggest you expand your search to mobile homes. Particularly in a resident owned (no rent) park like Rancho Goleta. We moved into one about 6 years ago from a downtown condo and even though we didn't think of it this way at the time, now consider it an upgrade. No shared walls, plenty of space, much more reasonable payments. You can get great deals right now on a tear-out, put in a new home of your choice, and still be well under $600k! A newer model would still have you well under that price. Even less in a rental park, but then you're paying rent. Good luck with your search!

 

 COMMENT 322473P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-20 08:32 PM

RV registered in South Dakota - no property tax, no use tax, you can get a mail service to forward all your mail to general delivery SB post office of your choice or get a UPS store box here. Beachfront parking on Cabrillo or Butterfly, drive to Yosemite and the Sierras when you need a break from SB. No jury duty ever. Vote by mail. Direct TV satellite. Free waste dumping at Marborg downtown. Easy peasy.

 

 COMMENT 322518P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 08:03 AM

Regarding 73P. One more good reason the county needs to start charging more fees for park usage is the parsites that come here to enjoy what others are paying to maintain.

 

 ARCHIE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 08:56 AM

I've lived here for 33 years and housing prices are the most reduced that I've seen. My own small house is "worth" $400,000. less than 2004. Mortgage interest in general is lower than I remember from the East coast in 1975. Now's the time to go after what you want.

 

 COMMENT 322553 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 09:12 AM

73P and we wonder why we have to have laws to prevent people from parking on certain streets over night. Sure, everyone would love all the benefits without the costs, but can you imagine our town with more moochers? No thanks, I think we have enough.

 

 COMMENT 322575P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 09:51 AM

322415 says "Forget the house hunting in SB/Carp in the $500-700K range," but how come when I go to get an appraisal on my very nice, upgraded, beautifully landscaped, close-to-transportation, upper Westside house, it comes in at at barely $540K??. I love my house, but I'd be happy to sell it to you for $700K! It's worth it, and much more charming than anything we saw in Goleta. Foreclosures and short sales have decimated my house's value.

 

 COMMENT 322586 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 10:10 AM

I would not buy on the Westside for $540K much less $700K, that neighborhood has been ruined.

 

 COMMENT 322594 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 10:23 AM

anyone can transform their property into charming, landscaped and upgraded for well under $50k. Real value comes from square footage and location.

575, maybe you should put it on the market since there is such a shortage in inventory.

 

 COMMENT 322602P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 10:37 AM

Sorry, I'll take box-house in safe, quiet, convenient, good neighborhoods and schools... Goleta;
over "charming" Santa Barbara anytime!

But thats not the discussion, is it :)

I think my wife and I have found, at least at this stage, that we are pursuing houses that "will" be going on the market, and getting ahead of the game...sans real estate agents. We are going directly to the owner/sellers, and have found a few now. Very excited over here! Essentially, we are doing what the realtor agent was supposed to do for us, that is aggressively canvas neighborhoods we want to buy in and talk directly to the owners and ask them if they want to sell. We have found a few and if you take away the agent commission, and a reasonable sell price to start with, we are under $600K for some single family fully detached homes!!
...and no, we are'nt telling which ones we found ;)

 

 COMMENT 322685P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 12:03 PM

I bought my house in San Roque, 3b, 1500ft lot, good street, for 300k in 1996. It had been on the market for 6 months because the owners were asking too much. At that time the market had been flat since the early 90s, after the 80's bubble popped. We offered $290 and they countered at $300. It needed a new roof, but it was not otherwise a "fixer." At that time there were several tiers of price points in the market, starting at $249k for a little 2b.

 

 COMMENT 322818P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-21 04:36 PM

One reason for difficulty getting a loan: idiotic appraisals. Just re-fi'd to lower our interest rate. Nice part of Noleta, 1/3 acre, 1600 sq ft house, island view, with three BR, 2 1/2 baths and a detached garage with a 1BR/1BA, 700 sq ft apartment with a full kitchen and a better view. Lots of upgrades. Everything permitted. We rented the apartment for $1800 per month when we last rented it to business travelers a couple years ago. That was more than the payment was going to be on the re-fi. Appraisal was in the mid 700s; we'd lost more than 50% in the last three years, despite the fact the income potential alone would pay a mortgage of $400k. Even the re-fi banker thought the appraisal odd. Glad we're not selling.

 

 COMMENT 322948P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-22 09:22 AM

I lived in a Carp condo for several years and wanted something better than the noise, congested parking, HOA fees, etc. So I went looking for a house. Santa Barbara was laughable, priced out of Carp, priced out of Goleta, priced out of Solvang and Santa Ynez, didn't like Santa Maria, Lompoc too far away, found a house in Los Alamos and love the house for the price, the commute to downtown SB is an hour each way but your employer may help with telecommutting, etc, and their are car pools to join.

 

 COMMENT 322949 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-22 09:22 AM

$600,000 is still a rip-off - the housing market will continue to decline - despite the low interest rates they are still not affordable. This piece was probably written by some realtor trying to convince people the market is "hot." Yeah right, dream on. Nothing like buying a $650,000 house in a neighborhood infested with gangbangers, or with gangbanger types who put three families into one house at a time, and park their seven cars all over the street and on the lawn. Not politically correct? Go ahead edhat nanny, censor this - if it offends your delicate sensibilities.

 

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