On December 1st, the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors awarded Kelly Knight with the prestigious Howard Gates Award for her exceptional contributions as a Realtor in successfully navigating one of the most complex transactions in Santa Barbara in 2023 that would not have closed without her “exceptional perseverance, determination, diligence, patience, and expertise.”

While real estate deals often present challenges, this transaction stood out as truly unique. In 1999, a family member generously donated their 20% share of a vacant property to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara with the intention of establishing an endowed scholarship in memory of a young individual bound for Stanford University who tragically lost his life in a car accident. At the time, there was an offer on the table to purchase the property. Jointly owned by ten separate individuals and entities, nine had been unable to reach a consensus on selling the property. Twenty-four years later, and with no title starter to work from, Knight received an unsolicited offer on behalf of the Foundation from an individual to purchase the property. She volunteered to serve as an agent for all ten owners even though it meant that she would not be compensated for her time and effort even if a successful sale transpired. Over the years, multiple offers were made to purchase the Property, but the family could not reach a consensus to sell. Consequently, the gift and its noble purpose remained unfulfilled for several decades.

A former lawyer who worked for Santa Barbara’s top law firm, Knight joined the Board of the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation in 2017. Her expertise in dealing with the nuances of complex real estate contracts and keen ability to understand and explain the ramifications of a purchase or sale in a way that most agents cannot was essential to connecting all parties to the sale. The sale of the property marked the realization of a directive set from over twenty years ago, allowing the Foundation to establish an endowed $400,000 scholarship using its proceeds from the sale.

“I take immense pride in having provided the vision, commitment, and determination required to facilitate the sale of this property to attain this noble objective. This fund will continue to source annual scholarships indefinitely in memory of the young man who tragically lost his life over two decades ago. It’s important to stress, however, that this was not a solo effort. I owe my gratitude to various individuals and teams, including Renee Grubb, my Broker at Village Properties, for her generosity and trust; the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara’s Executive Committee for their support; my fellow Board Director and commercial real estate agent, Gregg Bartholomew, for his invaluable guidance and wisdom; Becky Forrester, my Transaction Coordinator, for her tireless document coordination and teamwork; and Jacinta, Danielle, Missy, Steve and the entire team at Fidelity Title & Escrow for their outstanding title work and management of the escrow. I genuinely hope that this Santa Barbara real estate sale success story serves as an inspiration to fellow Realtors, motivating them to explore opportunities to leverage their skills for the betterment of our community.”
– Kelly Knight, Founder, Knight Real Estate Group
Director, Trust & Estates Division of Village Properties Realtors

Known for her exceptional communication skills, professionalism, unwavering integrity, and esteemed background as a real estate and business attorney, Knight has personally managed over 220 transactions with sales in excess of $350 million.

Congratulations Kelly on this outstanding recognition!

About Knight Real Estate Group
Knight Real Estate Group of Village Properties Realtors is a boutique Santa Barbara real estate team that brings outstanding client advocacy, true professionalism and unsurpassed knowledge of the field of real estate to all aspects of the buying and selling process in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Hope Ranch and Goleta. Offering a unique value proposition, Knight Real Estate Group provides exceptional real estate representation with a lawyer’s training and insight, truly listening to clients’ needs and presenting them with opportunities, solutions and the type of creative thinking that only a realtor well-versed in real estate law can provide. Knight Real Estate Group was the #1 producer in Village Properties’ Santa Barbara office for 2022, and the #3 producer company-wide with over $150M in sales since 2020.

Photo credit: Santa Barbara Association of Realtors