in Santa Barbara County
in Santa Barbara County
Enjoy the convenience of on-base living with Vandenberg Family Homes. Base living has never been easier or more comfortable. Vandenberg Family Homes offers contemporary homes in a community where you’ll be surrounded by support from other military members and their families. The community offers move-in ready two-, three- and four-bedroom single-family style homes. Located on Vandenberg Air Force Base, residents enjoy a secure and comfortable hometown environment with the convenience of 24-hour maintenance, lawn care services and community events.
Spacious homes are equipped with a variety of features such as central heating and air conditioning, walk-in closets, fully equipped kitchens and a one- or two-car garage. Average monthly utilities and exclusive amenities, such as the community center with a fitness room and a heated pool and splash park, are included in the monthly rent, allowing residents to maximize the value of their rental dollars.
Vandenberg Family Homes is a privatized housing community managed and maintained by Balfour Beatty Communities. For information about housing services, contact the Community Office at 805-734-1445 or visit www.vandenbergfamilyhomes.com.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
Santa Barbara County, on the western coast of California, is about 2,735 square miles. It lies about 100 miles north of Los Angeles and 300 miles south of San Francisco. San Luis Obispo County and a small portion of Kern County are north of the Santa Barbara border, while Ventura County is to the east. The western and southern border of Santa Barbara lies along the Pacific Ocean.
From the urban-chic city of Santa Barbara to the Old West towns of Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Los Alamos and Ballard, and from Montecito, the city cherished by celebrities and those who can afford to live in one of the nation’s wealthiest ZIP codes, to the Danish Capital of America — Solvang — Santa Barbara County’s communities are diverse.
In 2017, an estimated 448,150 people called the county home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Population density in the county was 155 people per square mile, the Census found. More than 23,000 veterans live in the area. The county has eight incorporated cities — Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta, Carpinteria, Guadalupe, Solvang and Buellton.
Santa Barbara County’s communities give newcomers to the region plenty of choices to consider when selecting a home. Enlist the help of a reputable real estate agent to help you sort through the area’s home options. The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors is a central source of local real estate information and services. Its members can provide expertise and professional services for those interested in purchasing a new home. Visit www.sbaor.com for more information.
130 Cremona Drive, Suite B
Goleta, CA 93117 805-961-7500
Famous for its lemon orchards and annual lemon festival, the coastal community of Goleta is near the University of California at Santa Barbara, about 10 miles west of Santa Barbara at the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
Goleta is 8 square miles with a population of 31,116. Mean travel time to work is 16.2 minutes. Median rent in the city is $1,708, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage are $2,543.
Residents enjoy parks and open spaces such as the Coronado Butterfly Preserve and Girsh Park.
100 Civic Center Plaza
Lompoc, CA 93436 805-736-1261
Home to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompoc lies to the west of Buellton in the valley of the Santa Ynez River. Flower fields light up the terrain with bursts of color during the summer, and the downtown boasts famed murals, boosting Lompoc’s image as “The City of Arts and Flowers.”
The city is 11.6 square miles with a population of 43,542. Mean travel time to work is about 24 minutes.
Median rent is $990, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage average $1,645.
The city’s parks and recreation department maintains 13 parks, a recreation center, an aquatics center, a civic auditorium and a community center for residents’ enjoyment.
735 Anacapa St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101 805-963-0611
From mountains to the harbor and red-tile roofs to white-sand beaches, Santa Barbara does not disappoint. The city is the county seat and hub for California’s Central Coast. It lies about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
Santa Barbara’s land area is 19.5 square miles. The population is 92,101. Mean travel time to work is about 17 minutes. Median rent is $1,575, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage are $2,851.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy waterfront dining as well as beautiful beaches. The parks and recreation department maintains walking paths and trails, passive open spaces, playgrounds and more than 33,000 street trees. A lively arts and entertainment community hosts special events such as the International Film Festival and the Children’s Fiesta Parade.
110 E. Cook St.
Santa Maria, CA 93454 805-925-0951
Santa Maria Valley is known for producing fabulous California wines, world-famous barbecue and more than 20 million trays of strawberries annually. Santa Maria is the fastest-growing city in Santa Barbara County. It is 76 miles north of the city of Santa Barbara and just 12 miles from the Pacific coastline.
Santa Maria covers 22.8 square miles and has a population of 107,014. Mean travel time to work is 20.5 minutes. Median rent is $1,205, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage average $1,690.
Local fairgrounds host the Santa Barbara County Fair and Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival each year.
Recreation & Parks maintains 27 neighborhood and community parks, part of the 1,774-acre Los Flores Ranch Park property, a youth center, a softball complex, an aquatics center and community centers to enrich the lives of residents.
Planning Your Move
Relocating to a new home can be one of the most stressful situations in life. Whether moving across town or the nation, preparation and organization make all the difference.
For military moves, visit www.move.mil for information about moving resources and to learn about the allowances and responsibilities of a military-sponsored move.
Decide whether or not to make your move a do-it-yourself operation.
For a DIY move, consider distance, labor help and the costs of renting the moving van, gas, lodging during the move and insurance. A transportable storage unit can bridge a professional and DIY move. When the unit is delivered to your residence, you load and secure it for transport and then unload it at your new residence.
Whatever the method, be sure to obtain as many quotes as possible from professional movers, as well as cost estimates for a DIY move. Next, compare the costs for each type of move, factoring in the stress and physical exertion involved. Ask any company you are interested in for references and use them to inquire about reliability and customer service.
Regardless of which method you choose, the first step should be to inventory your personal belongings. The list, with photographs of any valuables, will be important for both insurance purposes and to help keep you organized during transit.
Plan for one full day to pack each room — though the kitchen and garage may take longer. Make a rough estimate of your packing schedule and then add 50 percent more time. It always takes longer than predicted to pack. Toss or donate unused items to lighten your load. Visit www.goodwill.org, www.salvationarmyusa.org or www.clothingdonations.org for locations near you or to arrange a pickup.
Pack for success:
- Consider what you are packing and control box weight. Books should go in small boxes while bedding can easily fill a larger box.
- Wrap fragile items with cardboard dividers, tissue paper or air bubble wrapping.
- Use bright colors when wrapping small items so they don’t get thrown out accidentally.
- Use crumpled paper or newspaper to line the top and bottom of boxes.
- Tape a copy of your inventory list to boxes to identify what’s inside and where it should go.
Buying Versus Renting
The decision to buy or rent is the most important step in your relocation process. Purchasing a home entails a long-term financial and emotional commitment with various pluses and minuses. Advantages include the possibility of building equity and the freedom to design and decorate your property or landscape. And don’t forget the tax benefits. Disadvantages include upkeep, property taxes and fluctuating property values.
Renting, on the other hand, makes moving easier and someone else maintains the property. Amenities such as laundry rooms, exercise rooms, swimming pools and tennis courts vary from one rental complex to another. The main disadvantage is a loss of control over the residence. Some complexes, for example, restrict or prohibit pets and personal touches such as painting. And the landlord or property managers can also raise the rent with proper notice.
To determine your best choice, account for all of your needs, review your financial situation and research your options thoroughly.
Finding an Apartment
Be prepared when you meet with the leasing agent, property manager or owner. Bring a list of what you are looking for in a rental; it is important to be clear about your needs and to get all of your questions answered. You will also need to provide information and verification about your job, your income and your past rental history. Dress to make a good impression and treat the meeting like a job interview — be polite and arrive on time.
Before you sign a lease, inspect the apartment with the landlord. Look for the following problems:
- Cracks, holes or damage in the floor, walls or ceiling.
- Signs of leaking water, leaky fixtures or water damage.
- Any signs of mold or pests.
- Lack of hot water.
- Inadequate heating or air conditioning.
Use a written checklist with the landlord to document the condition of the rental before you move in, and keep a copy of the completed checklist to use when you move out.
Buying a Home
Buying a home is a complex process and, as the recent housing crisis demonstrated, requires a thorough education on the part of the buyer. First, fully understand your financial position — credit score, available savings, monthly income and expenditures. Subtracting your expenditures from your income, for instance, will yield the amount you can afford for housing.
Be sure to account for all insurance costs associated with owning a home, possible homeowner association fees and property taxes in your monthly expenditures. Overall, loan rules changed in 2015, but according to www.ginniemae.gov (Government National Mortgage Association) and www.homebuyinginstitute.com (the Home Buying Institute) loan programs continue to vary on the percentage of your income that can be used for housing-related expenses. Lenders balance debt against income to decide if an applicant will be able to repay a loan. Most conventional loans require borrowers to have no more than 43 percent total monthly debt versus their total monthly income, though there are exceptions, such as for those with significant savings. The Federal Housing Administration has a two-tier qualifying system: FHA sets its top thresholds at 31 percent front-end debt (housing expenses as a percentage of income) and 43 percent back-end debt (all debt as a percentage of income) for a 31/43 qualifying ratio. Like commercial lenders, Veterans Affairs combines front-end and back-end debt for a 41 percent limit against income.
Next, research the different types of home loans to determine the right fit for your financial situation and discuss your options with a lending professional. Lenders are diverse today, and not all homebuyers obtain their mortgage loans through their banks and credit unions. For example, you may choose to work with an internet lender, a mortgage broker, a homebuilder or a real estate agency lender. To determine which lender is best for you, get recommendations from friends and family members and check credentials as well as Better Business Bureau ratings.
A preapproved loan before starting your search for a home can determine your spending limits and signal any potential issues in the way of receiving a loan. For any home loan application, the mortgage company will order a credit report, so it would be good to get a free report in advance to determine your credit status and make sure the report contains no erroneous information.
To order your free annual report from one or all of the national consumer reporting companies: Visit www.annualcreditreport.com and complete and submit the request form online.
Home Loan Application
To complete a home loan application you’ll need: photo IDs (such as a driver’s license); Social Security numbers; residence addresses for the past two years with landlord contact information if you rented; names and addresses of your employers for the past two years; your current gross monthly income; recent financial institution statements with names, addresses, account numbers and balances on all checking, savings, CDs, money market, bonds and mutual funds accounts; recent financial institution statements with names, addresses, account numbers, balances and monthly payments on all open loans (including student loans) and credit cards; addresses and loan information of all other real estate owned; estimated value of furniture and personal property; W2s for the past two years and current paycheck stubs; copies of all divorce decrees, child support documents or any other court proceedings that affect your financial status; verification of any child support payments; and evidence of any retirement or pension benefits. VA or military forms include: DD 214 (veteran), Form 22 (National Guard), DD 1747, Off-base Housing Authority (active duty) and Certificate of Eligibility (active duty).
For more information, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/credit-and-loans.
Knowing your monthly budget and the amount of your loan is invaluable during the next phase, especially finding the answers to questions before the hunt for a home begins.
First, determine your home preferences. Does a single-family house, condo, town house or duplex best fit your needs and budget? Do you prefer a new home, an existing home or to build one? Though new homes generally cost more, existing homes may come with maintenance issues and renovation costs. How many bedrooms and bathrooms would you like? Do you want an attached garage? Will you live in the city, a suburb or the country? How close to work, school, shopping or public transportation do you want to be? Answers to these questions will greatly assist your search and the next stage — hiring a real estate agent.
The ideal agent will help find your ideal home and guide you through the purchase process. First, interview potential candidates to ensure they understand your needs, know your homebuying and neighborhood preferences, and are readily accessible.
Good luck and happy hunting!
Santa Barbara County Programs
Santa Barbara County provides housing programs and incentives to help residents with home ownership. For more information contact Housing & Community Development at 805-568-3534.
California provides housing programs and incentives to help residents with home ownership. For more information, visit http://portal.hud.gov and select California from the “State Info” drop-down menu.