In today’s housing market, an optimistic builder is hard to find. One who is selling out is virtually unheard of, but that is exactly the position that builder Trudi Carey of The Carey Group finds herself in as she prepares to share her advice and insight with Realtors at First American Title’s monthly education seminar on Aug. 19.

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Trudi Carey

Carey says her new homes are selling faster than the homes she built eight years ago when the housing market was much stronger.

“There are some things that work in your favor in a competitive market,” Carey said.

In her presentation, she will discuss the goals she believes motivate today’s buyer: getting a great value, i.e. price per square foot; acquiring a home with privacy while remaining within walking distance to schools, restaurants and shopping; purchasing a home in “move-in” shape, i.e., one that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance or remodeling; avoiding peripheral costs such as homeowners association dues and high utility bills; avoiding risks, i.e., being able to sell or finance their current home before purchasing a new home; and buying a newer home with the latest design features and finishes.

“It all comes down to being a problem solver, coming up with creative financing solutions and offering unique features in addition to all the standard features included in a new home,” Carey said. “Those things can really set you apart in tough times.”

Before launching her newest home project off Camino Campana in Santa Barbara last fall, Carey put in countless hours of marketing research to come up with a list of the top 50 features most sought after in a new home.

“We are ‘A’ students. We did our homework on what’s popular and what people didn’t like about their current homes,” Carey said. “Then we built our new homes to satisfy their needs, avoid their dislikes and exceed their expectations.”

She managed to include 48 of the top features in her newest homes, a decision she believes played a substantial role in the project’s success.

Carey put together a list of all the features included in her homes, as well as the features included in other new and resale homes in the area to see how she stacked up.

“When you look at the big picture, you have to be sure that a buyer will get more for their money if they buy your home,” Carey said.

Included in the 48 features are items such as a studio rental, private outdoor patios and luggage storage. “Features like illuminated wall niches and two Miele dishwashers in the kitchen, along with location, views and school districts, are going to be the deciding factors between two homes in the same price range,” she said. “You need to make sure that you have the right things and that you are priced correctly.”

The local architect and builder also has advice for individuals trying to get their own home sold. Carey says it is very important to look at your house as a prospective buyer would.

“It’s hard, but you have to put aside the emotional attachments that you have to your home and objectively compare it to other houses on the market,” Carey said. “Remember, that is exactly what the buyer is doing.”

For more information, visit or call 805.964.7000.

Rea Warrecker is the marketing director for The Carey Group Inc.