Did you know? Zoning Information Reports (ZIR’s) are gone! Since 1974 if you were looking to sell your Santa Barbara home the City of SB would require you to pay for one of their employees to come into your home, conduct a visual inspection and create a report to determine if any unpermitted work had been performed. This rule was created at a time when homebuyers were far less informed than they are today; they were typically not provided with disclosures regarding property history or provided a professional report of health and safety concerns by a professional home inspector. If unpermitted work was discovered the city could create an enforcement case whereby the property owner would need to pay to correct the infraction to the City’s satisfaction. While well-intentioned, the program was highly susceptible to human error and actually hurt many people. 

*”The reports are only as good as the inspectors involved and as solid as the files with which they worked. Problems missed during successive inspections have been ‘suddenly’ discovered… leaving prospective buyers and sellers responsible for fixing expensive discrepancies they never knew existed. Deals have fallen out of escrow, and much aggravation needlessly inflicted.” (Nick Welsh, “Realtors Win Big in Showdown over Inspection Reports,” read the full article here).  

After spending the last ten years disputing the flawed reports the Santa Barbara REALTORS® Protecting Homeowners Campaign gathered over 11,000 signatures in 2019 to place the Homeowners Fairness Initiative on the City of Santa Barbara’s ballot. This effort applied enough pressure on the City Council to have them shift their perception of ZIR’s and realize they are a burden for the homeowners of Santa Barbara.

Now, the ZIR program has been made into a disclosure, just like many other aspects of a real estate transaction. By working with the City, local Realtors were able to save the taxpayers $200,000 in election costs by creating a reasonable solution without having to go to the ballot. What a win!

Have questions about ZIRs, buying, selling, or anything real estate? Contact The Hall Team today for answers, conversation, and a taste of the local culture!

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