New Mobile Responsive Website

The Mahoney Group is excited to announce the launch of our New mobile responsive website, LuxuryInSantaBarbara.com.
We always endeavor to provide our clients with easy access to up-to-date listings and information that impacts the real estate industry. Whether you are buying or selling a home, our goal is to enable you to make the right decision about one of your largest investments. We encourage you to sign up and enroll on our site, and take advantage of the best online resource for all of your real estate needs from Santa BarbaraMontecito,SummerlandCarpinteriaGoleta, and Hope Ranch.

Our website features the best real estate search for homes, condos, land and foreclosure properties available. It is the only site you will ever need! It is easy-to-use and updated by the official Realtor’s database every 15 minutes, so you can get up-to-date reporting, on what’s going on. You can save searches, and get daily email alerts of new listings, price changes, sold data, and market reports. Our Interactive Map Search allows you to view properties on a map or refine your search by drawing the boundaries around the specific area you are searching for.

If you are curious about what’s happening in your neighborhood, you can easily create a custom market report to see what’s active, under contract, and sold, in all of the areas that you have special interest!
Furthermore, if you are considering selling or refinancing your home you can Get an INSTANT property valuation now! Contact us today to find out how we can be of assistance to you!

This feature rich website has everything you need to help you in your search for local homes for sale in Santa Barbara. Start your advanced search forSanta Barbara real estate now.  Also check out our featured Santa Barbara properties for sale. Have any questions about a listing or real estate in general then contact us by email or simply give us a call.  805-689-0532.

Interested in being notified of the hottest listings to hit the market? Then be sure to sign up for FREE New Listing Email Notifications or a Free Market Analysis and stay informed of new listings as they the hit the Santa Barbara real estate market. Only get listings emailed to you that meet your specific criteria. Sign up today!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Mahoney Group – your local Santa Barbara Real Estate Experts.

New California Law Requires Additional Pool Safety Devices

Effective January 1, 2018, California law requires that when a permit is issued for the building or remodeling of a swimming pool or spa, that pool or spa must be equipped with at least two of seven specified safety devices. Moreover, home inspectors are now required to make note of the presence or absence of such devices.

Under state law, this will apply to any structure, in or above the ground, that is intended for swimming or recreational bathing and that has a water depth of at least 18 inches.

 The legislative act that brought this new law about was Senate Bill 442 (Newman). It amends section 7195 of the Business and Professions Code and sections 115922 and 115925 of the Health and Safety Code.

The Senate Bill Analysis notes that drowning is the second leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Additionally, for every drowning in this age group, five or more suffer from near-drowning injuries that can cause life-long disabilities.

In 1997, California’s Swimming Pool Safety Act went into effect. That law required that any single-family home pool built thereafter had to be equipped with at least one of the five following safety devices: (1) a permanent fence, of specified dimensions, that isolates the pool or spa from the home; (2) a pool cover meeting certain safety standards, (3) exit alarms on doors leading from the home to the pool, (4) self-closing, self-latching devices on doors leading from the home to the pool; or (5) any other safety device feature providing as much protection as the specified four and as verified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

In 2006, the act was amended to include (6) removable mesh fencing that meets ASTM standards and a gate that is self-closing, self-latching and can accommodate a key lockable device, and (7) a pool alarm that sounds when someone or something of a certain size (determined by ASTM) enters the water.

The new law requires that any pool or spa built or remodeled after January 1, 2018 must have at least two of the specified safety features. The bill does not apply to any of the estimated million-plus pools that were built before 1997, unless they are to be remodeled. It also does not apply to public swimming pools, hot tubs with ASTM-approved locking covers, nor to apartment complexes or any residential setting other than a single-family home.

The bill also requires that, if a home inspection report is issued for a single-family home that has a pool or spa, “… the report shall identify which, if any, of the seven drowning prevention safety features [as listed] the pool or spa is equipped with and shall specifically state if the pool or spa has fewer than two of the listed drowning prevention safety features.”

The new law does not specify any penalty for a home inspector’s failure to include this information in his or her report. Nor does it make installation of any safety device a requirement of property transfer.

In 2016, an identical bill was vetoed by the Governor. In his veto message he wrote, “Nothing prevents a homeowner from adding as many additional safety features as they desire to their own pool. The choice on how to protect children is best left to parents.”

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

10 Hot Trends For Your Home In 2018

10 Hot Trends For Your Home In 2018

Starting to think about making changes to your home? The new year is, not surprisingly, a popular time to try on new trends or make overdue updates. Before you hit the paint store or buy those new kitchen cabinets, take a look at what industry experts are predicting will be some of the hottest home trends for 2018.

Brass

Brass has been showing up in kitchens, baths, and lighting for a few years, but homeowners who were hesitant to take the leap can feel more confident next year. Brass accents are expected to be huge for 2018.

 

The end of the all-white kitchen?

It’s been the dominant interior trend for several years now, with white cabinets, white subway tile, and white quartz or marble countertops dominating kitchen design. But, next year, don’t be afraid to add a little color. Everyone will be doing it.

“Houzz says white will always be a classic color for kitchen design, but homeowners are expected to throw in bits of color, especially other neutrals like gray and blue,” said inman. “In order to add a little warmth to such a cool palette, designers are ditching painted cabinets for warm wood tones, such as mahogany.”

Mindfulness

Last year, hygge made a splash, bringing “the Danish concept of finding contentment in cosiness” to the home,” said The Independent. While we’re not quite ready to get rid of this homey trend, a new one is burgeoning: Ikigai. Will this lifestyle concept from Japan “help us live our best lives?”

The central principle of Ikigai is about finding purpose in life, and covers everything from a mindfulness surrounding daily tasks and goals to social connections to what we buy—and keep—in our home.

Wabi-Sabi

Of course, don’t fear that following Ikigai means you have to be perfect. If you also follow the principle of wabi-sabi, “the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection,” said Country Living, you can relax your mind and enjoy your surroundings without needing everything to look just so. “In home design, this translates to handmade or hand-painted items including rough linens and pottery. The result? A deeply personal, organic aesthetic.”

Into the purple

Ultra Violet, a rich, dark purple, is Pantone’s new 2018 color of the year, so if you’re a fan, you’ll have lots of options for incorporating it into your home in 2018.

Lavender

If Ultra Violet is too dramatic for you, there are other options within the purple family that designers say will be hot for 2018. “Millennial pink is still around and I still love it, but it’s morphing into lavender and lilac,” Nancy Fire, creative director of HGTV HOME, Design Works International and Studio NYC Design told House Beautiful. “People were sarcastic about millennial pink at the beginning, but it’s being used to bring out beautiful, soft tones with accents that are deeper.”

The end of gray?  In other very important color news: “Beige and brown are back,” said Gates Interior Design. “If you never got around to embracing the grey trend, well guess what? You’re back in!”

A sink to remember

Popularized in large part by HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, the farmhouse sink has earned superstar status in the kitchen. But, they have mostly been stainless steel. Not so in 2018. Houzz predicts “warmer hues and grittier textures,” with “concrete, stone, copper and granite composite sinks in darker hues of gray, bronze or black.”

Circles

Geometric shapes aren’t going anywhere, but we may be seeing more than linear shapes next year. “Hard geometrics are going to be huge, and I think circles are the new triangle,” interior designer Genevieve Gorder told House Beautiful. “You can start small with accent pillows or dive in with graphic wallpaper.

Non-linear shapes are also showing up in other areas, like these curvy couches.

Standout lampshades Make a little, no-commitment update by addressing your lampshades. “White drum lampshades, begone,” said My Domaine. Anna Brockway, co-founder of Chairish, told them, “We’re seeing strong interest in pleated, patterned, and even wicker lampshades. This is a great way to get a sophisticated, decorated look and bring freshness to existing lighting pieces.”

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Slaying That Credit Score – New Tips For A New Year

Getting ready to buy a house or just thinking about it?

Where to buy, what to buy, and how you’ll afford it are probably top of mind. But if you’re not also concentrating on your credit score – and by concentrating on, we mean actively trying to raise your scores as much as possible – you’re not looking at the whole homebuying picture.

Not only can does your credit score factor greatly into what you’ll pay for your house, it can keep you from being able to buy one, period. Your credit history determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay. A credit score provides an easy way for lenders to numerically judge your credit at a point in time. It gauges how likely you are to repay your loan in a timely manner. The better your history appears, the more attractive you become as a loan customer.

Thankfully, your credit score is not static; it can (and does) change all the time, and there are all kinds of ways to improve it, some better than others. I’m running down the smartest options to boost your score in the new year.

Shoot for perfection

850 is the best score you can possibly get, and, while it may seem completely out of reach, there are people who actually crest that credit mountain and reach the top. It’s the Holy Grail of all credit scores: 850. On the widely used FICO credit score scale, approximately one in every 200 people achieves perfection, at least as of a 2015 estimate by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Careful budgeting and detailed attention to every aspect of their financial picture are the umbrella tactics they use to get and maintain that score – and they’re ones you should be using, too.

Or, shoot for 750

If 850 is out of reach within a reasonable timeframe (reasonable being the maximum amount of time you want to wait before buying a home), try for 750. This is the magic number for many lenders and creditors. It puts the ball completely in the corner of the consumer rather than the lender. You’ll often have lenders fighting for your business, and in nearly all instances, you’ll be offered the best interest rate by lenders, meaning you’ll have the lowest possible long-term mortgage and loan costs of any consumer.

Talking to your lender about the items on your credit report that have the best chance of raising your score is key. You may think that paying off that old unpaid account from six years ago is an easy way to get a score bump, but is it about to fall off of your report on its own?

Set up automatic payments

According to CreditCards.com, a good 35 percent of your credit score is taken from your payment history. You may have missed payments in the past that you need to deal with now, but you certainly don’t want to make another mistake while you’re trying to get homebuyer-ready. Almost every creditor, from your utilities to your car payment to any outstanding student loans you may have, offers the option of automatic payments. This is the easiest way to ensure you never miss a payment because you got busy or spaced on the due date.

But, just remember to make sure there is enough cash in your account to cover the payments on the day the money will be coming out. If you have been busy moving funds into savings for your down payment, you’ll want to set a reminder to put money back into whatever account your auto payments are attached to.

Ask before you shut down credit cards

The amount of credit you have is a factor in qualifying – or not – for a mortgage. Too much debt is a bad thing. But, long-term credit use that has been managed properly can be helpful to your score. If your lender does recommend getting rid of some of your available credit, it likely won’t be older cards. Length of credit history is considered when determining your score – so the longer you’ve had a credit card, the better.

Also beware that closing any card triggers a change in your “utilization,” and that might not be a positive. Be sure to consult with your lender first.

Watch your credit limits

Banks don’t look kindly on those who have used all of their available credit because it gives the appearance that you’re not living within your means. The amount of available credit you use is the second most important factor in your score. Experts recommend you keep your balance on each card below 30% of your limit — if your limit is $5,000, your balance should be under $1,500.

Of course, even lower is better. Get to 20% or even 10%, and you’ll be in great shape. But don’t go below that. While it may seem like a zero balance would indicate that you are financially savvy, banks like to see responsible credit management. That means using your cards and paying down the balance to a reasonable level every month.

Pay down your debt…but check with your lender first

If you’re trying to weigh the best tactics for improving your credit and you don’t have the funds to take care of every outstanding wrinkle on your credit report and pay down your existing debt at the same time, you definitely want to check with your lender before you make any move. Every dollar is important, and while NerdWallet notes that your credit score will “soar” as you “pay off your debt as aggressively as possible without acquiring more”, it could be that your lender has a strategy that places more importance on other credit issues in your report, or has structured your credit repair according to a different timeline.

This underscores the importance of working with a lender who is skilled and experienced in credit repair. Using the tools, allows you to qualify for the home you wanted and get a great interest rate.

Don’t be afraid to refinance

You may end up buying a home before you get your credit score exactly where you want it to be. If you’re in an appreciating market, which much of the country is, and your score continues to rise after you close escrow, you might be in a position to refinance sooner than you think. Especially if you buy your home with an FHA loan, their streamline refinance program can potentially lower your rate without an appraisal, a credit check, or job/income verification.

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Biggest mistake homebuyers make in trying to get a good deal

The process of buying a house requires an investment of time as well as money. So, if you want to get a good deal, doing your homework is crucial.
The fallacy is that ‘getting a good deal’ is all locked in at the initial transaction, on the purchase price or the initial loan.
In reality, that assumption is not always true. When you become a homeowner, the money you had been putting toward rent not only goes toward a mortgage, but to insurance, repairs, maintenance and upgrades.
You have to think of homeownership not just as a one-time event, but as a process over the life of you owning this asset that you’ll be able to manage it wisely and make smart choices with it.
Say you negotiate the purchase price down 5 percent from what the seller is asking and are able to get the loan you want at a quarter point below market rate. Sounds like a great deal, right? Well, not so much if the reason the seller is willing to decrease the price is because the home needs repairs or renovations.
If you’re saving $10,000 on the purchase price but you have to spend $30,000 gutting the kitchen, the home might not be much of a deal.
Don’t be fooled by the sticker price. It’s only the beginning.
For buyers who have saved up and worked toward buying a home for years, it can be overwhelming to think about all the abstract costs associated with homeownership. Think of it like buying a car: You might be able to afford a $300 a month payment on its own, but how much does it cost once you add the price of gas, insurance, oil changes and other maintenance?
It’s a misconception as a car owner to think that it’s the down payment on the car and the monthly cost, and that’s it. Ditto for homeowners. You should not think, ‘Oh I got an interest rate of 3 percent, I got a good deal!’ or ‘The home is being offered for $950,000 and I got it for $930,000. I got a great deal!’
In the context of owning your home, if you plan to live there for the next seven to 10 years — or for the rest of your life — knowing whether or not you got a good deal depends on how well you managed the overall homeownership process.
Homeowners can expect to pay around 3 percent of the of the closing price per year on hidden costs, such as repairs and utilities, although your expenses will vary depending on your location and the size and quality of your home.
I also recommend researching home warranties, which can provide another layer of financial protection.
If you’re trying to get the best possible deal on a home, you need to think long-term. In addition to the initial price of each home, consider the investments you’d need to make years down the line. Being aware of the big picture now could help you save big now — as well as later.

 

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

8 Design Tricks for Defining Your Open-Plan Dining Space

An open-plan living space gives your home a light and airy feel, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be one sprawlingly large room. Check out these ideas to zone off your dining area and create an intimate space in which to share dinner with friends and family.

11 Design Tricks for Defining Your Open-Plan Dining Space

1. Zone the floor. You can separate your dining space by marking out the area on the floor. Here, an unusual hexagonal pattern stands out beneath the table and instantly closes the space. You also could use floor paint to mark out simple lines or create your own more elaborate design.

2. Add a rug. A simple way to zone the floor is to position a rug under the table. It will create a cozy area and feel wonderfully soft underfoot. To counteract food debris, go for something lightweight, so it can be easily picked up and shaken out.

3. Use natural materials. You can add warmth to a space by introducing natural materials such as wood, plants, woven elements and fabrics. This solid wood table and the lovely textures surrounding it have created a snug spot in the center of the white room. The dining space looks comfortable and welcoming.

4. Frame your viewpoint. The modern white table here sits in the middle of a concrete floor and is surrounded by white walls. It’s prevented from feeling lost or clinical by the clever placing of two bright pictures. These colorful artworks root the table to its spot and allow other elements to fall into place around it. It feels cheerful and cozy.

5. Have everything close at hand. Create a comfortable space by bringing in practicality. The wall-to-wall sideboard in this dining area has plenty of room for glasses and tableware, which makes the area an easy place to be. The owners and their guests can quickly get at everything, so if someone needs an extra glass, it’s right there. The functionality of the space should help to create a relaxed atmosphere.

6. Break up spaces. You can make your open-plan space feel cozier by dividing zones with furniture. This large cabinet helps to separate the living room from the dining area to create a more intimate feel. It also has the added benefit of providing vast amounts of storage.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a custom cabinet, try placing a large sideboard or shelving unit between the two spaces. Any kind of barrier will help to break up the space and make it feel snug.

7. Build in a bench seat. Cushioned benches are comfortable and flexible. Make the most of an open-plan space by building one next to other elements in the room. Here, the bench rests against the kitchen countertop, creating a snug and sociable spot where guests can gather while the cook prepares food in the kitchen.

8. Soften the lines. Isolate your dining space from any sharp edges in the rest of the room by choosing a curvy table. The dark, industrial kitchen here provides a moody backdrop to the soft, white dining table and chairs. The angled light fixture puts a spotlight on the dining area and highlights it as a oasis in the center of the room.

 

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

5 Surprising Benefits Of Buying Or Selling Your Home In The Fall

Seeing fewer for-sale signs now that summer is over? That can be great news for buyers who are looking to score a new home and buyers who want to get rid of their place and buy a new one. If you think you missed the boat on making your move this year, we’re here to tell you why buying and selling in the fall can work for you.

Less competition

Yes, there may be fewer homes on the market, but there are also fewer buyers out there competing for the same home you want. That gives buyers an important edge. Families on a mission to move into a new home before school starts are out of the picture. Competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale – and in some cases, there’s just as much inventory as there was during the spring and summer.

The benefit to sellers is that those buyers who are out there tend to be more serious, which means your REALTOR® can key in on the real buyers without having to sift through the riffraff.

Tax breaks

If you’re a buyer who closes escrow before December 31, and you may get a nice write off on your taxes. Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December. Any payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.

There are also potential tax breaks for home sellers. You can include all sorts of selling expenses in the cost basis of your house. Increasing your adjusted cost basis decreases your capital gain because this is what’s subtracted from the sales price to determine how much of a gain – or loss in some cases – you’ve realized. If you have less of a gain, you’re more likely to fall within the exclusion limit, and if you’re gain isn’t excluded, you’ll pay taxes on less. And that’s just the beginning. Closing costs and home improvements may also be write offs for sellers.

Home for the holidays

Buy or sell early in the fall and you could be nicely situated in your new home in time for the holidays. Moving during a calmer time of year also means you may have better access to movers and other necessary resources than during the busier spring and summer seasons.

The right price

Did you list in the spring or summer with an exorbitant number that you thought you’d have no trouble getting because it was a hot market? That’s pretty common these days. Whether you’ve had a revelation about the price you should be asking or have made updates to your home to justify a higher price, you’re probably in better shape to get your (realistic) asking price in the fall. If you’re a seller and you establish a smart pricing strategy, you could find your home standing out in the crowd and selling while others sit on the market under a blanket of snow.

Buyers also may have a better time getting a home that’s within their budget because when there is less competition for homes, there is less chance of bidding wars and over-asking-price sales.

 

Great deals on stuff to fix up your home

Coordinate the timing right, and those items you need to fix up your home for sale in the fall or update and upgrade after a purchase might be priced to your advantage. Check Consumer Reports for a full list of the best times of year to buy everything, and keep in mind holiday and Black Friday sales. You could score some great deals at this time of year.

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

7 first-time homebuyer mistakes to avoid

It’s tough being a first-time buyer in today’s housing market.

Home prices are hitting record highs in many parts of the country, often selling for more than the asking price.

Don’t make it even harder (or more expensive) for yourself by making these common mistakes:

1. Assuming you won’t get approved for a mortgage

Ideally, you’d like to have as little debt as possible, an impeccable credit score, and a 20% down payment before borrowing money for a home. However, even borrowers with less can get loans in today’s market, thanks to options like Federal Housing Authority loans, which are meant to help first-time buyers.

2. Interviewing only one lender

The fees and rates offered by lenders may vary substantially, and they all offer different service levels and different loan products. Be sure to at least chat with a big bank, a regional bank or credit union, and an online lender.

3. Not getting pre-approved early on

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage serves two important purposes: First, it gives you a realistic understanding of how much you can spend on the house. Second, it shows sellers that you’re serious and gives you slightly more standing if you’re competing for homes with all-cash buyers.

Make it less stressful by gathering up relevant financial documents like bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs, and by checking your credit report for errors in advance. Given the competitive interest rate environment and the competitive housing market, it’s a good idea to be prepared and organized before you start the process.

4. Maxing out your mortgage limit

Just because a lender says that you can borrow a certain amount, doesn’t mean you should borrow that much. Staying below that limit will give you more financial flexibility to cover the added expenses that come with purchasing a home, as well as long-term changes to your income.

Create a budget that includes how much money you can spend on housing costs each month, and then use those numbers to figure out what your “real” limit should be.

5. Letting your emotions control your decisions

Buying a home can be a long and frustrating process. These days, starter homes go quickly, and it’s common for first-time buyers to experience rejection on the first offers they make. In that kind of environment, it’s easy to fall in love with a house that’s out of your budget, or get caught up in the heat of a bidding war and end up paying more than you expected.

It’s OK to get excited when you think you’ve found your house, but you don’t want to put yourself in a bad spot.

6. Waiving contingencies without understanding the risks

In highly competitive markets, it’s becoming increasingly common for buyers to make offers that aren’t contingent on financing or inspection. While waiving contingencies can make your bid more desirable to a seller, it can make the transaction much more risky for you. Have a conversation with your realtor and a lawyer before opting out of contingencies in your contract. In a worst-case scenario, you may end up losing your deposit.

7. Allowing your credit score to change before the close

A pre-approval letter is not a guarantee of funding, and if your credit score or income levels change drastically between the pre-approval and the closing of the loan, lenders may change their terms or rescind the offer entirely. While you’re home shopping, be sure to pay all your bills on time and steer clear of new credit accounts, even if that means you have to wait to pick out your furniture. If possible, try not to switch jobs until after you close, particularly if you’re moving into a new industry.

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com