Deluxe Santa Barbara Condo For Sale In SB’s Exciting Downtown Area – A Great Place to Live, Work, and Play.

September 17th, 2015

Santa Barbara Condo For Sale: Located in Santa Barbara’s beautiful downtown area, this Deluxe One Bedroom Condo With An Expansive (1330Sq.Ft.) Single Level Floor Plan, Shares No Common Walls, and is Situated on the Main Level of The Beautiful Mediterranean Villa España Complex. This Special Unit is Quietly Tucked Away From the Hustle Bustle of State St. Its Open and Versatile Floor Plan Offers:

Villa España

Villa España

A Grand Entry Foyer, An Inviting Living Room with Lovely Fireplace, Built-in Bookcases; A Formal Dining Room (*Alternatively Used As An Office/Guest Room); A Spacious South Facing Balcony; Full Size Kitchen; Powder Room; An Over-sized Master En-Suite with Updated Bathroom; Abundant Built-in Storage Cabinetry and Triple Master Closets.

The Well Maintained Mediterranean Complex Offers Manicured Grounds, Terraced Gardens, and a Private Sun-Drenched Gated Pool Area with Club House. Near Shopping, Fabulous Restaurants, Santa Barbara’s Renowned Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara Golf Club, Santa Barbara’s Historical Old Mission, Acclaimed Peabody Charter School, and much much more.

HOA fee; $540/Mo, uniquely includes:- Water & Gas, in addition to the typical Costs for Fire insurance, Earthquake insurance, Trash, Building Maintenance, and Gardening.

Formal Entry Foyer

Formal Entry Foyer

Living Room Opens to Large Balcony

Living Room Opens to Large Balcony

Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Call Today to Schedule a Showing.

Listing Agent/Broker:
Sylvia Miller/Coastal Properties
CA BRE # 00558548
Santa Barbara MLS #15-2910

Smoke Detector Code

June 10th, 2014

Smoke Detectors Specifications Changed

smoke detectorStarting July 1, 2014, the California State Fire Marshall will not approve a battery-operated smoke alarm unless it contains a non-replaceable, non-removable battery capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years.

This rule was originally slated to take effect on January 1, 2014. Until July 1, 2015, an exception to this rule applies to smoke alarms ordered by, or in the inventory of, an owner, managing agent, contractor, wholesaler, or retailer on or before July 1, 2014.

Furthermore, starting January 1, 2015, the State Fire Marshal will not approve a smoke alarm unless it does all of the following: (1) displays the date of manufacture on the device; (2) provides a place on the device to insert the date of installation; and (3) incorporate a hush feature.

A previous requirement for the smoke alarm to incorporate an end-of-life feature that provides notice that the device needs to be replaced has been eliminated. The requirements taking effect on January 1, 2015 was originally slated to take effect on January 1, 2014.

You can find the specifics of this new law at the California Legislative Information Website, Senate Bill 745 (codified as Cal. Health & Safety Code § 13114) (effective January 1, 2014)

SEC. 21:
Section 13114, paragraph 2B, explains that although the law became effective July 1st of this year, the deadline for residential property owners to actually change out their smoke/CO detectors to the new 10 year detectors will be July 1st of 2015. Consequently, any sales before July 1st of next year are not affected!

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax

October 19th, 2012

Learn the most important takeaways for REALTORS® when it comes to the 3.8% tax that’s part of health care reform:

1.) When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will not be subject to this tax.

2.) The 3.8% tax will never be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll never pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.

3.) You’ll never pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.

4.) If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will not pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.

5.) The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

6.) The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7.) In any particular year, if you have no income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll never pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8.) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will always protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would never be imposed on more than $1,000.

9.) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. But: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10.) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE 3.8% Medicare Tax

October 16th, 2012

You may have seen rumors about a 3.8 percent tax on real estate sales since health care reform was enacted into law more than two years ago. But there’s a lot misinformation out there. Watch a short video featuring NAR experts to get the facts on how this legislation affects only certain home sales.

Calif. Real Estate Fast Facts

September 27th, 2012

Calif. Median Home Price: August 2012: $343,820 (Source: C.A.R.)
– Calif. highest median home price by region/county August 2012: Marin, $806,450 (Source: C.A.R.)
– Calif. lowest median home price by region/county August 2012: Tehama, $89,170 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. Pending Home Sales Index: August 2012: 118.9, up 2.7 percent from July’s 115.8
Calif. Traditional Housing Affordability Index: Second quarter 2012: 51 percent (Source: C.A.R.)
Mortgage rates: Week ending 9/20/2012:
– 30-yr. fixed: 3.49% fees/points: 0.6%
– 15-yr. fixed: 2.77 fees/points: 0.6% 1-yr.
– Adjustable: 2.61% Fees/points: 0.4% (Source: Freddie Mac)


Thanks for reading this blog and I welcome your comments.

-Sylvia E. Miller
Cell: 805-448-8882

Remember my virtual compatriots, until we blog again, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Monty Python)!

New HARP 2 Streamlined Application Rules

September 26th, 2012

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have adopted changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), and you may be eligible to take advantage of these changes.

There is a new refinance program that went into effect in early Jan 2012 that allows underwater homeowners the ability to refinance into a lower interest rate, regardless of their Loan-to-Value (LTV).

Referred to as HARP 2.0, DU Refi Plus and the Obama Refinance Plan, the Home Affordable Refinance Program is a federal program under Making Home Affordable that is intended to help 4-7 million responsible homeowners lower their mortgage rates.

Below is a list of questions to help determine if you are potentially eligible for a HARP refinance:

  • Is your home loan owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?
  • Was your loan sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before May 31, 2009?
  • Are you current on your mortgage payments?
  • Do you owe more than your home is worth, or is there minimal equity in your home?
  • Have you made all of your mortgage payments on time in the last 6 months?
  • Streamlined application process: Borrowers will apply through a streamlined process designed to make it simpler and less expensive for borrowers and lenders to refinance. Borrowers will not be required to submit a new appraisal or tax return. To determine a borrower’s eligibility, a lender need only confirm that the borrower is employed. (Those who are not employed may still be eligible if they meet the other requirements and present limited credit risk. However, a lender will need to perform a full underwriting of these borrowers to determine whether they are a good fit for the program.)

    For more info go to


    Thanks for reading this blog and I welcome your comments.

    -Sylvia E. Miller
    Cell: 805-448-8882

    Remember my virtual compatriots, until we blog again, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Monty Python)!

    Brokers’ Confidence in Market Increases

    September 26th, 2012

    By Inman News.

    Real estate brokerage executives are increasingly confident about housing markets and the economy. That’s according to a “Thought Leader” survey of more than 850 brokerage executives at leading franchises and independent brokerage firms that handled more than one-third of U.S. residential real estate transactions last year.

    The survey, conducted in September by real estate marketing technology firm Imprev Inc., found 81.5 percent of brokerage executives were more confident about the housing market than they were in January.

    Most (70.8 percent) said they were “highly confident” (6.2 percent) or “confident” (64.6 percent) that the housing market would continue to improve in the next 12 months, compared to 30.8 percent who said they were “less than confident.”

    Survey question: How confident are you that the housing market will continue to improve in the next 12 months?
    Less than confident
    Highly confident
    Not confident at all

    Source: Imprev Inc.

    Thanks for reading this blog and I welcome your comments.

    -Sylvia E. Miller
    Cell: 805-448-8882

    Remember my virtual compatriots, until we blog again, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Monty Python)!

    FHA eases burdensome condo financing rules

    September 24th, 2012

    By Kenneth R. Harney

    September 23, 2012

    FHA Update

    WASHINGTON ― Here’s some encouraging news for condominium unit owners, sellers and buyers: The biggest source of funding for low-down-payment condo mortgages, the Federal Housing Administration, has revamped controversial rules that caused thousands of buildings across the country to lose their eligibility for FHA financing.

    The revised guidelines, which were issued Sept. 13 and took effect immediately, should make it easier for large numbers of homeowner associations to seek certification by the FHA. The certification process is intended to provide the FHA, a government-run mortgage insurance agency, with key information about a development’s legal, physical and financial status. Without approval of an entire development ― regardless of whether it’s a small complex in the suburbs or a massive high-rise in the center city ― no individual unit can be financed or refinanced with an FHA mortgage.

    One of the most significant changes the FHA made involves personal legal liability for condo association boards and officers. The previous rules required officers to attest that they had “no knowledge of circumstances or conditions that might have an adverse effect on the project or cause a mortgage secured by a unit” to become delinquent, of “dissatisfaction among unit owners about the operation of the project or owners association” or of “disputes concerning unit owners.” The penalty for officers who “knowingly” and “willfully” submitted information to the FHA that was found to be false: fines of up to $1 million and 30 years in prison.

    Although the previous rules focused on entire buildings, individual unit owners seeking to sell often have taken the brunt. The Community Associations Institute, the condo industry’s largest trade group, welcomed the relaxation of the FHA rules, predicting that “this will spark home sales and help tens of thousands of condominium communities begin to recover from the housing slump.”

    Not surprisingly, many board officers declined to take on what they interpreted as lifetime legal responsibility for such details as whether the condominium fully complied with state and local environmental and real estate requirements. Although the FHA insisted that the associations were overreacting, the new certifications contain much less scary language. The penalties for intentional frauds against the government remain the same, however.

    Among other key rule changes:

  • Greater flexibility on investor ownership. In existing developments, one or more investors are now allowed to own up to 50% of the total units provided that at least half of the units are owner-occupied. The previous rule required that no more than 10% of units could be owned by a single investor.
  • The previous treatment of unpaid condo association dues was raised to 60 days from 30 days. Under the revised rule, condo communities where no more than 15% of unit owners are 60 days late on payment of dues can be approved for FHA loans.
  • Clarification of certain insurance requirements that many communities found burdensome.
  • Source: L.A. Times

    Thanks for reading this blog and I welcome your comments.

    -Sylvia E. Miller
    Cell: 805-448-8882

    Remember my virtual compatriots, until we blog again, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Monty Python)!

    All the Tenant Screening Tools Landlords Need.

    September 21st, 2012

    For Your Credit Screening Needs…

    TransUnion SmartMove®

    TransUnion SmartMove®

    TransUnion SmartMove℠ – a web-based solution provides independent landlords with access to the same screening tools used by the largest property management groups. It’s fast and convenient…Check it out at TransUnion SmartMove℠

    Thanks for reading this blog and I welcome your comments.

    -Sylvia E. Miller
    Cell: 805-448-8882

    Remember my virtual compatriots, until we blog again, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Monty Python)!

    Welcome Autumn 2012!

    September 21st, 2012

    Did You Know:

  • September 22, 2012, marks the beginning of autumn, when the sun crosses over the Earth’s equator on its way south — an event in the Northern Hemisphere called the autumnal equinox.
  • The word “equinox” comes from the Latin words for “equal night” and refers to when day and night are most equal in length, which occurs twice a year with the arrival of spring and fall.
  • The best meteor shower show of 2012 will occur late this fall. The Geminids will reach maximum activity December 13 to14. There will be a new moon on December 13, which means viewing conditions will be near perfect throughout both nights with an anticipated 75 fiery displays per hour. Mark your calendar!
  • Santa Barbara Autumn

    Santa Barbara Autumn

    Thanks for reading this blog and I welcome your comments.

    -Sylvia E. Miller
    Cell: 805-448-8882

    Remember my virtual compatriots, until we blog again, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Monty Python)!