First of all, its Thursday so click here for the open houses for this weekend. We finally have some sunshine though it is windy so leave your hats at  home! If you are out and about, visit Nina and I on Saturday from 1:00 to 3:00. I'll be at 5510 Baseline in Santa Ynez priced at $1,835,000 and Nina will be a 2727 San Marcos in Los Olivos priced at $799,000. Also interesting is 2109 Village, 750 Chalk Hill, 1030 Highland, 1120 Alamo Pintado, 4001 Long Valley and 493 Scandia. 

Number geeks take note. Tomorrow we'll be posting the year to date stat reports so check back for that. 

Scroll down for the inventory update but first, due to the uptick in land listings and interest, Nina wrote this article today to share with you all. I know more than a few of you out there are interested in building. You can also share the article by forwarding this link

In recent weeks, vacant land has kept me busy. In general, land stays on the market far longer than homes, however, with our current residential inventory fairly low and buyers wanting new or updated construction, land is being considered more frequently. I should point out, before I dive into the details of land transactions, the importance of selecting a real estate broker or agent who has a deep knowledge of land and how the process works. Having an agent who specializes in land will help you greatly through the process. 

My focus is now on residential real estate but what most may not know is that my background is in land assemblage and development. I spent my first several years in real estate working with developers through land identification, assemblage and the entitlement process (in my case, the creation of lots for the purpose of development and residential building - ie. a 20 acre parcel may have been divided into 30 vacant lots to build homes on each of those lots). It was, and still is, tremendously rewarding seeing how things unfold. Ultimately, it can take years from start to finish! 

Fortunately, this is typically not the case if you have the proper zoning for your use. For example, you would like to build a single family home and are considering vacant land with residential or agricultural zoning, you can skip the more complicated, time consuming steps like a general plan amendment or zone change. Yippee!! And within proper zoning, most issues can be negotiated and resolved. 

In Santa Barbara County, getting a building permit issued can be a lengthy and tiresome process, but the end result has the potential to be very rewarding. It is of the utmost importance to hire a land use consultant if you are considering building a home. Not only can a professional help you to decide whether or not a particular land parcel is right for you, they can also guide you through the permitting process with far greater ease. They have relationships with the people at the planning department, the fire department, the environmental health department (the list goes on) and they know the detailed items that are required by these departments. 

Once your real estate professional has helped you to identify your property, you may wish to hire a land use consultant to complete a feasibility study. I typically recommend David Swenk of Urban Planning Concepts because of his in-depth knowledge of the process. We only have a handful of firms in Santa Barbara County. Depending on what has occurred on the property in the past, you may also choose to have a Phase 1 investigation, which will uncover potentially costly environmental issues. If you are working with completely raw, undeveloped land, your land use consultant will likely recommend a survey, a percolation test and a soils report, among other things. These are all to determine property boundaries and whether or not your property is a candidate for a septic system. In the case that a sewer hookup is available, you will likely be able to forego the percolation test. Having a sewer hookup makes the process that much easier. In order to build, two major components are adequate access to the property and potable water. Without these two items, a building permit will not be issued. In some cases, you will need an archeological study to be sure there are no artifacts on the property, but not always. It's also important to determine whether or not you will be subject to architectural review, though once you are at this point, you have likely hired an architect and other professionals. One other piece to consider early in the game is the potential need for a fire hydrant and/or turnaround. Your land use planner and the Santa Barbara County Fire Captain can help with this. 

The County of Santa Barbara planning department states the following:"Our staff provides initial plan review for smaller projects (less than 600 square feet) within ten (10) working days from the date of submittal. Initial plan reviews for larger projects (greater than 600 square feet) are provided within 30 calendar days from the date of submittal." One thing to remember though is that the county almost always comes back with comments or revisions to your plan, and this can happen more than once, so the process continues until an agreement is reached.

I have not listed additional steps, as I do not wish to bore or overwhelm you, but they include a proposed development review period, plan check, grading and engineering plans, power and water availability, etc etc etc. The remaining steps really depend on your location, zoning, lot size and the availability of infrastructure. These items are unique to every project. I have worked closely with clients and consultants alike throughout the land purchasing and development process and I am here to help and to answer your questions.

Nina Stormo | Broker Associate
p: 805-729-4754   f: 805-688-5970

 New Listings (3) click here for the list

493 Scandia Drive, Buellton (3/3 on .28 of an acre) 519K Sharon: One of the rare single family homes in the 5's so may not last the weekend though it does say no access until Sunday open house 2:00 to 4:00. On almost a third of an acre and even has a pool! Listed by Jean Sedar of Coldwell Banker. 

475 Pheasant Canyon Court, Buellton (4/4 on .20 of an acre) 789K Sharon: The big model with almost 3,300 square feet. This is a lot of mint condition home for the money in a tidy and convenient small enclave of homes built around 2003. All the new stuff but a lot less money than if it were located just a few miles down the road. As Buellton melds into Solvang and Solvang in Santa Ynez, I'm not that sure the name of the town needs to matter that much any more. Good schools also here in Btown. See it. Nina:When you consider the list price per square foot on this listing of $237, it's a really nice value. Located in one of the newer parts of Buellton. Listed by Michelle Glaus of Village Properties

3610 Willow Street, Santa Ynez (4/4 on .23 of an acre) 999K Sharon: Corner of Willow and Faraday. Another big one at over 3,000 square feet. Listed by Carol Ramsey Broker

Price Adjustment (1)

1676 Kronen Way, Solvang (3/4 on .76 of an acre)  Sharon: Was $1,895,000 with a new price of $1,695,000. That is one amazing price reduction. Over 4,600 immaculate square feet with massive wrap around views and within walking distance of downtown Solvang. Nina:There are huge views of surrounding hills and the town of Solvang with lots of outdoor living space to enjoy them. With over 4500 square feet in the home, there is also plenty of room to spread out inside.  Listed by Micah Brady and Jennifer Nation of Sothebys

Under Contract (3) click here for the list

440 St Joseph Street, Los Alamos (4/3 on .16 of an acre) 595K Listed by Larry Torres of Pacific Realty

3166 Horizon Drive, Santa Ynez (3/3 on .88 of an acre) 915K Listed by Jodi Williams of Coldwell Banker 

4101 Roblar Avenue, Santa Ynez (multiple homes on 23+ acres) $4,995,000 Listed by Jeanne Hollingsworth of Douglas Elliman

**Click on each hyperlink to see the listing office related to each property. Property links may not open if you are using Internet Explorer as your browser. Transactions noted here were completed by myself and other Realtors. I clearly identify those that I participated in. The hyperlink to each listing shows the listing office name if you would like to contact them directly. If you aren't already, please ask to be on my Daily Real Estate Update email list to receive the complete blog post with pics and aerials sent to you daily via email versus you having to remember to check my website or Facebook.  Due to recent copyright issues, pics only appear on the email version. The identity of those on my list is not shared and I don't spam anyone. My daily updates are not a complete list of everything that happened today but instead events the general reader might find interesting or items you need to know to make good decisions. These informational items are also readily available on a variety of other sites. Readers should consult other venues of information gathering to find out more or to complete their information gathering efforts but this is a great place to start and I write every day Monday through Friday letting you know what I know. I will NEVER send you a request to wire money. If you ever receive a request from me to wire money, it is a scam. Do not reply to it but do forward it to me at for further investigation by our company tech staff. Real estate related wire fraud is rampant worldwide. 

Sharon Currie Realtor License #01357602 805.448.2727

Nina Stormo Realtor License #01341678 805.729.4754

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services BRE#01317331

Physical: 2933 San Marcos Ave #102, Los Olivos

Mailing: P O Box 778 Los Olivos CA 93441

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