Does It Matter What School District I Buy In?

schools and real estate is santa barbara

There are so many factors to consider when you start looking at homes. Recently I was showing property to a young couple for their first time. We talked a lot about the type of property they wanted and what they could afford to do in terms of repairs, etc. We talked about the need for a larger yard, the type of neighborhood they wanted and then I asked them if they had thought about schools. “Does it really matter what school district we are in?” was their response. Well, yes – it does, if you plan to have children you want to think ahead and even if you do not have children, your school district will affect the overall value of a property. I know many parents who have passed on a home they loved, because it wasn’t in the district they desired.

What if you don’t have kids now, but plan to someday? When property values were going up every day, it was easy to think, “we will just sell this house and move when we have kids.” Unfortunately, as priced began to fall many people who had planned to move found themselves stuck. So even if you don’t have kids now, but are thinking about them in the future – take into consideration the schools that are available too you and if they are options you would be happy with. If the answer is “no” then you need to ask yourself if private school is feasible or look for another property.

How much does private school cost? We are very lucky to have a lot of private schools available in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Goleta and Carpinteria. From small Carden based schools such as Howard in Carpinteria to college preparatory high schools like Laguna Blanca. Each school has a unique feel and student body, and the tuition for each varies greatly. The lowest cost private schools start around $6,000 and can be as high as $26,000 per year. Many of the more affordable schools are faith based institutions.

If you are considering a home purchase or a move – research your schools and know your options. Then you won’t be surprised when your child is ready for kindergarten.

Some resource:

Santa Barbara School Resources 

You can also get information on school ratings at

Photo credit Santa Barbara Junior High: Flickr/bredgur


Montecito’s Amazing Gardens

I love to tour Montecito properties because of their huge, manicured gardens. I love my own back yard, but it is just a yard – I would love to have an acre or two with places for boys to explore and me to relax. Today I found 2 acres that were truly inspiring on Sycamore Canyon. As soon as you pass through the iron gates and  into the shaded gravel driveway, you know someone has spend a great deal of time and effort into planning this park like environment. There are stately oaks trees, gurgling fountains and meandering paths. I could have explored the landscape for the entire day. I am sure the owners do, and at the end of the day they can stroll home to ocean views and Tuscany elegance. Priced at $4.9 million it is a truly special property.

After exploring the large estates, I ventured off to see a home in a more familiar price range ($829,000) and listed by a familiar face, Natalie Grubb who is also with Village Properties. What a treat I discovered. This smaller home on a quiet street, Chelham Way, has a huge surprise. When I ventured into the yard and past the little redwood gate, an entire canyon opened up to me. There are oak trees and little pathways – there is even a small stream. The home is located in Cold Springs School District and would be an amazing place for young minds to explore. I guess you don’t have to spend $4.9 million to own an amazing garden.