Anyone active in Santa Barbara, CA?

23 Replies

Looking for any Santa Barbara (or nearby) BP folks who have any kind of experience to share (especially with house hacking or new ADUs). Have listened to BP podcasts and other financial independence materials but pretty much new to the real estate game. 

Considering purchasing first property as primary residence but uncomfortable thinking I'm wasting my resources just because this is the only area I know! Eager to take action (house hack) though conscious that there are not "deals" in a market like Santa Barbara. Am I correct to be apprehensive of my steps? Is my only option to get familiar with other areas to live in (at least while house hacking)?

Any sincere suggestions for nearby or comparatively desirable areas of growth to consider?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Emi!

I’m a realtor in SB...there’s deals to be had but you’ll most likely have to find them off market. If I can be of help, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

@Chad Beuoy Thanks for being the one person to respond! What would you advise using as resources and avenues for off-market deals?

Note to self and anyone else who may stumble upon this thread: Some of my questions (sort of) were addressed over here

@Emi M. to make the 2-4-unit "house hack" work in SoCal I had to go  "off the beaten path" was a small sacrifice since I worked in Downtown LA at the time but it has paid off in the end...good luck.

Thanks @Logan Allec for the hopeful response. How long was your commute? Was the "off the beaten path" location enough to make the price right, or were there other special factors that made it a deal? Would love to hear how you were searching and how you found it.

@Emi M. , my one-way commute went from a 20-minute subway ride to a 90-120-minute ordeal involving car, train, and subway. The major factor was the price, which by extension meant that the property would cash flow, even with me living in one of the four units (though I did have to rent out the bedroom in my unit to get that cash flow while living there). I had been searching in Los Angeles proper for a while but was getting beaten by cash offers way over asking nearly every single time, so I decided to expand my search radius. When I was willing to accept that I may be living on the fringes of civilization, I found the property rather quickly on the MLS.

@Logan Allec Great story! Thanks for sharing the details. Would you say it was still competitive when you expanded your radius, just not as much? Did you have any market criteria deal-breakers or really only proximity to your work and price?

@Emi M. It was not very competitive at all when I expanded my radius.  Mind you the property is in a rural area on the outskirts of Santa Clarita.  I didn't really have any deal breakers other than the ones you mentioned: price / ability to cash flow and close enough to work that I could still keep my job.

@Emi M.   Welcome to BP!  I live here in SB but invest in Vermont, where I'm originally from.  I know the market there and have my father as a trusted property manager, so it's worked well for me.  I know others here who have invested in Vegas too.

There's a monthly REIA meeting, I believe it was at Fess Parker last time I attended. You can find it through Very informative and lots of contacts - I would definitely recommend it.

- Tom

Hi @Tom S. and thanks for the welcome! So does that mean you rent here in SB? I have kept an eye on the SBREIA meetings on meetup and I saw some clips on Youtube. Glad to hear good things about it.

Hi Emi,

I went to school in Santa Barbara (UCSB) and I lived in Santa Barbara for a few years. 

I do believe that the Goleta area is generally a little less expensive than the city of Santa Barbara itself, but I do think it's worth looking at neighboring communities. With Santa Barbara being a bit of a pricy market, I think Santa Maria (up north) and Carpinteria (a little south) are markets I would take a look at.

Hi @Emi M. , I'm in Santa Ynez. My activity is dependent on market conditions. I'm not full time, so it ebbs and flows with the market.

Hi @Andy S. yes that pier looks familiar! Are you considering markets up here, or in the LA area or elsewhere?

Originally posted by @Emi M. :

Hi @Allen Maris Does "not full time" mean flipping? 

 That means real estate investing isn't my only source of income right now. 

@Emi M. I live in Santa Maria and I agree with @Andy S.  that it's worth taking a look. The investors I've spoken to say Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo is pricier. I started investing in my own backyard for that reason. 

@Joel Montoya Thanks for your input! I'll have to get familiar with Santa Maria. I've only been to the new Costco while passing through. 

Hi Emi,

My partner and I live in Goleta and are new to the investing game as well.  However Ive been studying the local area for many years. Im finally going to take the plunge and start investing.  It is true this area SB/Goleta can be very expensive to start, so i recommend looking in SM, Lompoc, Ventura, Oxnard, and possibly Simi Valley or Santa Paula. Maybe we can get together some time and talk. There is a local Investors club. We meet in Goleta and the next one is April. Maybe we can go together? Shoot me an email sometime with your questions maybe i can help. Maybe we can help each other.

Ally Edwards

Hi @Allyson Edwards  Thanks for responding so nicely to my post. I’d be interested in hearing how you’re starting and what you’ve found in your years of studying the area. Also would love to hear how your search for a “power team” is coming along. I'm surprised you call yourself a "newbie" when you co-own 33 North Homes and seem to know how to deal with investors?! Does your investors club in Goleta have a website or posting somewhere?

@Emi M. If you want a break down of Investor groups on the central coast give me a call.  there are also other markets near Santa barbara that are affordable like Lompoc and Taft.

@Emi M. Hey Emi, I'm in the same boat; just moved to SB a year and a half ago and am a newbie in real estate. Maybe we can catch up some time, I'd like to know where you're coming from. I was passively checking out the SB REIA as well, I might attend the next session.

@Tom S.   Woah, crazy coincidence.  I'm from Burlington, VT as well, and recently moved to SB!

Hi @Emi M. ! LOL first to respond and then take a looong time to get back to you. My business partner and I have the most success getting off-market properties from doing calls...door knocking is another good one.

I have 9 properties in Charleston SC and Huntsville AL, all SF. I've had family in Charleston for 20+ years and am quite familiar with its pros and cons, etc. I'd heard good things about Huntsville last year, and started looking into it (online research, talking to realtors, and eventually making a trip last fall), and pulled the trigger on two properties earlier this year. 

I'm looking at Lubbock TX and Lexington KY next. Wife and I rent in downtown SB, and REI is a side hustle only at present

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.

By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions.