Where To Buy A Vacation Home in Santa Barbara

A bustling beachside community ~ For every personality

Purchasing a vacation home in the Santa Barbara area with the intent to rent can be rather complicated, but is always well worth it. Knowing exactly where you want to be and about any potential rental restrictions associated with that specific locale is really half the battle. And because Santa Barbara neighborhoods are so individually diverse and unique, InvitedHome is here to help you identify the community that best suits your personality...as well as any revenue goals you may have for your most recent purchase along the way.

Choosing a Location

Be aware of complicated zoning laws ~ And prepare accordingly

So let’s first start by being upfront: Due to local laws, most areas in the city of Santa Barbara require a minimum of 30-day long guest stays if you intend to rent your high-end home. You can reference a relatively ambiguous zoning map here. Confusing? Perhaps. Point being, due to many unique factors and site-specific limitations involved in converting existing residential units into short-term vacation rentals, a Planner Consultation will be required. This is a good thing. You must obtain detailed procedural information for a site, and only after you have confirmed that the use is allowed in the zone. Think of it as getting the green light ahead of time, and then you can be confident that all systems are “go” moving forward. A potential hurdle? Sure. But speaking from experience here at InvitedHome, with Santa Barbara’s extensive scenic coast, gorgeous ocean views and perfect year-round weather, we find that 30 days is usually not enough for our guests anyway. There’s no such thing as too much of a good thing, we suppose.

However, if maximizing revenue is indeed one of your long-term goals for your newfound home, you’ll want to seek ownership in one of the neighborhoods that already do allow for short-term stays. While they may seem few and far between at first, if you know where to look, choosing the right Santa Barbara vacation home for both pleasure and prosperity can be quite a breeze. Let’s cruise right into a list of areas where you can do just that.

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Mission Canyon - Let’s start inland first, as short-term rentals tend to be more restricted around here. Not in all of Mission Canyon, however. One can easily distinguish where such rentals are indeed permitted by merely looking along the boundary line that is Foothill Road. Those homes situated north of the road - and the ones that tend to have the most beautiful views anyway - generally permit short-term rentals. So for hiking enthusiasts who also enjoy leisurely strolls in the Botanical and Rose Gardens or a jaunt to the Old Mission, you can now rejoice. This is where you want to be.

Montecito - Now we head back down to the beach, as this is where the bulk of Santa Barbara’s permitted short-term rentals are welcomed. With the exception of the mostly commercial Coast Village Road, short-term rentals in single-family homes (within the county lines) are permitted all throughout this gorgeous suburb. An exquisite and exclusive area of Santa Barbara, it is here - along the coast - that locals enjoy easy access to Butterfly and Miramar Beaches. And just a little bit further back in the foothills, homeowners can seek a little more acreage and seemingly endless ocean-facing views. If you choose a home within a gated community in Montecito, you’ll want to check in with your new HOA, as Montecito and exclusivity do still go hand-in-hand in some parts.

Summerland - Located on a hill conveniently right off the freeway, finding the right vacation home in this tiny town can prove difficult, but could deliver significant value for the easy-going lifestyle the neighborhood provides. With a small population that hovers around 1,500 and a central hub so small you could miss it, Summerland is filled with everything you might imagine a quaint town would: quirky antique shops, cute boutiques, funky burger joints, and charming locals who take great pride in living here year-round.

Carpinteria - Perhaps the most lenient neighborhood in Santa Barbara when it comes to short-term vacation rentals, homeownership options abound around here. And while the downtown area of Linden Avenue has become increasingly trendier, it still somehow retains its old beach-town charm. There are signature homes around world-renowned Rincon Beach Park and plenty of ocean-view ranch properties back in the foothills. But all-in-all, it’s the awe-inspiring coastal homes that reside along the “World’s Safest Beach” that still remain the most desirable for those seeking vacation homes in the area.

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Homeownership in Santa Barbara

We would be remiss to not note that while wildly popular, there are very few rental-friendly buildings in the trend-setting Funk Zone. As such, if the majestic beauty of Santa Barbara’s inland - and a closer proximity to downtown - is what you desire, head to Mission Canyon. If you want to be right in the heart of downtown, look for properties in the R4 Zone just west of State Street. For waterfront areas with the potential to rent short term, begin in West Beach and then make your way east when searching for potential purchases. But no matter which neighborhood you choose in Santa Barbara, ask your local realtor to help you find the best one for you and your short-term rental goals. And should you also need help finding a trustworthy realtor, well, InvitedHome can help with that too. Just give us a call at 855-666-8064, and our team will be happy to share our local recommendations.

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