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rebecca riskin

Neighborhood Spotlight: Hope Ranch's Beach Access, Trails, and Top Schools Make it a Top Place to Buy Real Estate


Neighborhood Spotlight: Hope Ranch's Beach Access, Trails, and Top Schools Make it a Top Place to Buy Real Estate



Enchanting French Country Estate, Hope Ranch   |   offered at $14,900,000   |   click photo to learn more


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Private Beach Access

As a Hope Ranch member, you have private access to Hope Ranch Beach. This is a huge perk of living in the Hope Ranch community, and a main reason why people purchase homes in this neighborhood. There are lifeguards at the beach during the summer season, ensuring everyone experiences a fun and safe beach day while participating in a handful of activities. Hope Ranch beach offers picnic grounds, a play structure, a snack bar, kayak storage, storage lockers, bathrooms, and outdoor showers. The Hope Ranch Association also holds an annual summer beach party for residents where you spend the day barbecuing, surfing, kayaking, playing beach volleyball, building sandcastles in the sand, and at the end of the evening you have the option to set up a tent and camp overnight with the rest of the Hope Ranch community.



With miles of equestrian trails that span throughout the entire Hope Ranch community, horse enthusiasts can take their equestrian friends out on a trail ride and even ride along the beach at sunset.

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The highly acclaimed Laguna Blanca upper school is centrally located on 35-acres in Hope Ranch. "The Laguna experience shapes students in every possible way. While academics are at the core, it is just the beginning. Students are not only thinkers and scholars, but they are also artists, athletes, community volunteers, club members, leaders, and most importantly friends."



Lined with oak trees, and tucked away in the rolling coastal hills, Hope Ranch is one of the most exclusive communities on the Central Coast. There is exclusive Hope Ranch patrol guarding the roads and keeping them safe, as well as a monthly newsletter with all recent activity that occurred in the community. Those lucky enough to live in Hope Ranch will tell you they wouldn't live anywhere else!


Rebecca's Holiday Gift Guide


Rebecca's Holiday Gift Guide

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Never skip a beat with your holiday giving

There is a chill in the air, the lights have been hung on Coast Village Road, and the sunsets are brilliant.  To help you navigate your holiday list, Rebecca rounded up a list of her favorite gifts this holiday season. See her picks below!

scent of a woman

Let me say upfront that I am biased about Sarabecca, but that does not make me love it any less.  My husband created this line of all-natural perfumes, and I was there watching and smelling and suggesting every step of the way.  His vision was to create truly natural and truly beautiful perfumes, something that is very hard to do, and he has succeeded magnificently.  Sarabecca is his labor of love, and I love it too.  I wear Sarabecca every day, and love to give it to the special people in my life. Sarabecca Natural Perfume Gift Assortment, $70;

Warm his heart

If luxury was defined by a feeling, it would feel like the inside of a UGG slipper.  The Men's Ascot is the perfect gift, lined with soft, natural wool and rubber soles, these slippers will get him through winter, indoors and out!  UGG Ascot Slippers for Men, $120; 

The ultimate first ride

Three of our grandsons are toddlers, and this year I want to get them Skuuts balance bikes.  These cute little wooden bikes teach kids how to balance without the use of training wheels or a trike.  Parents say that having both feet on the ground builds confidence and is a great transition to pedal bikes.  Skuut Diggin Active Red Balance Bike, $99;

Rockin' around the christmas tree

Sonos PLAYBAR is a home theater soundbar and streaming music speaker in one.  We love music in our house, but TV has its place too!  We love that Sonos can deliver both.  Sonos PLAYBAR, $699;

treat yourself

On Sunday nights we like to snuggle in.  We often make a vegetable stew and watch a movie or a football game.  All of this goes perfectly with our favorite wine, Linne Colado.  Linne is a boutique winery in Paso Robles, and every wine they make is amazing.  You won’t find it in many restaurants or retail locations, so you might want to go up and visit their very cool facility (something else we love to do).  Their wines are pricey, but worth it.  We are club members and have never had one that we didn’t love. Linne Calodo Wineries;

Montecito Gift Guide

a signature staple

Even in the digital age I still rely on  pen and paper.  My quintessential luxury gift this holiday season is the Montblanc pen.  I treasure my Montblanc pen almost like a piece of jewelry!  A Montblanc pen is a timeless gift for someone truly special in your life.  Montblanc Etoile de Montblanc Sand Fountain Pen;


With so many holiday parties and get togethers this time of year it is great to have something on hand to show your appreciation for your host or hostess.  COS BAR has a wide selection of luxury gifts for any price range.  An office favorite, NEST's votive set can transform any space.  NEST Luxury Votive Set, $40;



Sumptuous Sarabecca is the Belle of the Ball

Sarabecca perfume
Sarabecca perfume

Rebecca Riskin, together with her Husband Ken Grand, has spent many months perfecting an all-natural perfume, Sarabecca, which has been named for Ken's two daughters Sarah and Rebecca, using only natural essence oils like vetiver, lemon, and an array of herbs. With two distinct yet harmonious fragrances, Day and Night, the duo provides a light and floral option ideal for sunny Spring afternoons and a silkier evening counterpart which is both warm and luminescent with notes of ginger and sage.

Respected perfume blog has caught wind of this enticing new fragrance, and like those of us around Montecito who have had the pleasure of experiencing Sarabecca, instantly fell in love with each version of the sumptuous fragrance. A glowing write-up perfectly describes the whimsical flirtation shared by Sarabecca Day and Night. The article aptly details the story of Sarabecca's creation while providing fun facts about the processes involved, and those not involved (read: Sarabecca is not tested on animals).

Do you need to experience Sarabecca? (Answer: Yes!) Head to Cos Bar in Montecito's Lower Village, try it to be instantly transported a sun drenched field of summer wildflowers.



Happy Birthday Rebecca!

Sarah Kelly and Rebecca Riskin at Via Vai
Sarah Kelly and Rebecca Riskin at Via Vai

The Riskin Associates team would like wish Rebecca a very happy birthday! Yesterday the team, Sarah Kelly, Dina Landi, Phoenix Smith and Sara Freberg treated Rebecca to an early celebration lunch at one of our regular lunch spots, Via Vai in Montecito's Upper Village. Happy Birthday Rebecca! 



Santa Barbara's Real Estate Market Continues to Pick Up Steam

Cort graph
Cort graph

Santa Barbara County's real estate market continues its steady ascent to full recovery. With 2013 in full swing, the market continues to show healthy improvement as sales for January and February exceeded previous years' numbers for those months, reflecting a 24% increase and 27% increase respectively. As shown in the graph to the right, representing the sales for southern Santa Barbara County, sale numbers for the first two months of the year have been turbulent between 2008 and 2011, however an intriguing trend is developing, as 2012's explosive increase is being surpassed by the numbers 2013 has yielded.

As we ease into the spring selling season, the Montecito market has seen a dramatic pick up in buyer interest as well as seller motivation. As Santa Barbara's leading agent team, Riskin Associates had an extremely successful year in 2012 with sales totaling over $220 million, and the team is excited by the prospect of another busy year!



Santa Barbara's Stellar Market

More than anywhere else in the country, California metros are showing some of the largest year-over-year asking price increases according to The Santa Barbara metro area tops that list, posting a 32.05% year over year increase, a staggering 6% higher than any other metro area nationwide. Complementing this trend, California metros are also posting some of the largest inventory declines.

September numbers are also in from CORT, confirming a continued improvement in Santa Barbara South County Sales over the past five years. Last month's closed sales were up 8% over September 2011. Here at Rebecca Riskin & Associates, we have had four closings in the past 30 days, with 3 more listings pending. Santa Barbara South County Sales September 2012



Southern California Median Home Prices Hit 4 Year High

Montecito Estate For Sale The LA Times reported today that the median home price in Southern California hit its highest point in nearly four years as buyers compete for fewer homes. The median is up over 8% from this time last year, and has been increasing steadily for six consecutive months. Last month's sales were also up 13.8% over July 2011, with approximately 20,500 properties sold throughout the six-county region.

While home prices in Montecito don't quite compare to the Southern California media price of $306,000 (according to DataQuick), we have been seeing full price or multiple offers in some high-demand price ranges. And as we reported last week, the high-end market at $10+ million is seeing a local resurgence.



The $10+ Million Real Estate Market Resurgence

Montecito Estate We've been following some recent news regarding the high-end real estate market picking up in certain pockets across the country. For example, an estate in Miami just broke records for a single family home sale at $47 million, while New York and Silicon Valley keep making headlines. According to RealtyTrac, home sales of $1+ million are up 23% from one year ago.

Having seen a similar pattern here in Montecito, we decided to dig a little deeper to decipher our perception of the high-end market resurgence. According to the MLS, there was only one recorded closed sale at over $10 million in Montecito for 2011. Compare that to 2012, where year-to-date $10+ million sales already total 9. Montecito also had its first closing of over $20 million this year already.

Some experts explain the resurgence in closed sales by the drop in house prices, which have fallen 20% this year in the $1+ million range. Here in Montecito, we've definitely seen prices come down from their highs, but we've also seen some properties sell for prices above their previous sales price. Full price and multiple offers are also becoming the norm on well-priced homes in limited inventory ranges.


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Viva La Fiesta

Old Spanish Days Santa BarbaraWhether you're a Santa Barbara native, a recent transplant or simply a visitor, Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is an event not to be missed! Dating back to 1924, Fiesta is a celebration of our city's Spanish heritage through the tradition of colorful dance, music and song. This year's theme, Viva La Familia, captures the spirit of family and community as Santa Barbara extends its warm hospitality. Join us in celebrating our city's rich culture this weekend. Viva la fiesta!

For more information about Old Spanish Days, click here.

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Why A Pocket Listing?

Pocket Listing Montecito, CA Pocket listings can be used by sellers and their real estate agents for a handful of reasons, but each pocket listing comes with a unique strategy in mind. Before we dive in to some of these strategies, which were highlighted in a recent article published by the RealtyTimes, let’s quickly define what exactly a pocket listing is.

Simply put, an agent may choose to list a home without listing in on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  They figuratively keep the listing in their pocket, instead of broadcasting it out to the audience of millions using the MLS. A pocket listing is thus an unofficial, off-market listing.

Pocket listings are generally a strategy of high-end, expensive homeowners looking for a unique approach to their house sale. Because of changing market conditions, however, pocket listings have become more mainstream.

Some sellers aren’t happy with current market prices, so they’re happy to wait for the right buyer to come along who will pay the right price, and will settle for the lack of marketing through traditional real estate channels. In a similar fashion, sellers can use a pocket listing to test the market quietly before taking the plunge.

Meanwhile, other sellers may select a pocket listing because of the ability to generate a quick cash sale, even if the pre-determined price is below market value.

Another issue with listing high-end properties in the MLS is the time on the market shadow that may follow a property if it sits for a period of time. This can give buyers the feeling that there’s something wrong with the home, or they may feel obligated to submit offers much lower than market value based of the length of the time the home has sat on the market.

Finally, pocket listings can be a great alternative for sellers who require privacy. Keeping their home out of traditional marketing channels can work in their favor when trying to avoid the media.

For more information on listing strategies, please visit our website. To read the complete article by RealtyTimes, click here.



Has the U.S. housing market finally turned the corner?

This week, Zillow reported an increase in U.S. home values for the first time in five years, marking a reported end to the slide of the real estate market. Numbers revealed a 2.1% increase in home values from the first to second quarter of 2012, the first of it's kind since 2007. Zillow's Real Estate Market Reports also highlighted a four month consecutive increase in national home values, while 2nd quarter 2012 home value appreciation was the highest it's been since 2005. The report varies widely across markets within the United States, however it appears that a gradual and steady increase in home values should become a reality for most of us. The worst could really be over! For more information on the market locally in Santa Barbara and Montecito, click here.



The Wall Street Journal Lists Rebecca Riskin & Associates on "The Thousand" 2012

The Wall Street Journal announced today the results for their annual "The Thousand" list, the 2012 Top 1,000 Real Estate Professionals by Transaction Volume. Not only did Rebecca Riskin & Associates make "The Thousand," they also made the Top 250! The list is compiled by The Wall Street Journal and REAL Trends, Inc. as a summary of the top 1,000 real estate professionals and teams in the United States, based on the amount of closed transaction volume for 2011. Rebecca Riskin & Associates also made "The Thousand" and the Top 250 lists for real estate teams in 2011.



rebecca riskin & associates ranked top agent in santa barbara

We are incredibly thrilled to announce that the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has ranked Rebecca Riskin & Associates  Santa Barbara's top selling agent in 2011. This honor is such an inspiration to us, and one for which we can thank our exceptional clients and colleagues.

Here are some gorgeous listings whose sales allowed our success:

Edgecliff Beach Cottage

Edgecliff Montecito Deck

edgecliff montecito bedroom

edgecliff montecito beach house

Italian Villa on the Prestigious Picacho Lane

Picacho Lane Montecito

picacho lane living dining room

picacho lane pool

Butterfly Beach Home

butterfly beach montecito real estate

butterfly beach montecito home

Sophisticated Santa Barbara Riviera Jewel

santa barbara riviera home

living room

ocean view

European Country Estate in Montecito

east valley road

family room

montecito courtyard

Parra Grande Creekside Home

montecito creek home

parra grande dining room


Again, we can't thank the community enough for its support this past year. We wish a very prosperous 2012 to all!