Cristal's Blog


April 24, 2023

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When it comes to owning a vacation home vs. renting a vacation home, many factors must be considered. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and which one is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances and goals. This blog post will examine some of the pros and cons of buying vs. renting a vacation home.

4 white Adirondack chairs sitting on the lawn of a vintage beach house with palm tress and a blue sky

Pros of Buying a Vacation Home:

  1. Investment
    A vacation home can be a good investment, as it can appreciate over time and provide rental income when you are not using it. You can also benefit from tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes.
  2. Convenience
    Having a vacation home of your own means you can have a place to escape to without worrying about availability or prices of rental properties. You can also leave your personal belongings there, making it easier to travel and pack.
  3. Familiarity
    Owning a vacation home means you'll have a familiar place to return to year after year. You can create memories and traditions with your family and friends in a place you already know and love.
  4. Personalization
    When you own a vacation home, you can make it truly your own. You can decorate it, renovate it, and even rent it to guests. Or your vacation home can be a separate space for friends and family to stay.

A row of traditional beach homes sitting directly on the sand, with a blue ocean andgentle waves

Cons of Buying a Vacation Home:

  1. Expense
    Buying a vacation home is a significant financial investment. You'll need to consider the purchase price and ongoing costs such as property taxes, maintenance, repairs, and insurance.
  2. Responsibility
    Owning a vacation home can be time-consuming and expensive—especially if you live far away from the property—because you will be responsible for its upkeep and maintenance.
  3. Limited use
    If you only plan to use the vacation home a few weeks out of the year, it may not be worth the expense of owning it year-round.
  4. Market fluctuations
    The value of your vacation home can fluctuate with the real estate market, and you may need more time to sell it.

The backyard of a spectacular Montecito estate with green grass surrounding a pool, with a portion of the Meditshowingerranean style home

Pros of Renting a Vacation Home:

  1. Flexibility
    Renting a vacation home allows you to choose from a variety of locations and properties, depending on your needs and budget. You can also choose the length of your stay and the dates that work best for you.
  2. Cost-effective
    Renting a vacation home can be a more cost-effective option if you only plan to use it for a short time. You won't have to worry about ongoing expenses such as maintenance and repairs.
  3. Variety
    Renting a vacation home allows you to try out different locations and properties, explore new areas, and try out new experiences.
  4. No responsibility
    When you rent a vacation home, you won't be responsible for its upkeep and maintenance, which can be a significant advantage if you live far away.

Cons of Renting a Vacation Home:

  1. Lack of control
    When you rent a vacation home, you will have less control over the property than you would if you owned it. You may not be able to make changes or customizations to the property.
  2. Limited availability
    Depending on the location and time of year, finding a vacation rental that meets your needs and budget may take time and effort.
  3. Cost fluctuations
    Rental prices can fluctuate based on demand, making it difficult to plan and budget for your vacation.
  4. Uncertainty
    When you rent a vacation home, you may not know precisely what you're getting until you arrive. The property may not be as advertised, or unexpected issues may arise during your stay.

The living room of a luxury home with dark paneling, a huge fireplace, a barrel vaulted ceiling, and a massive multi-paned arched window with an ocean viewy elegant yet comfy furniture

Owning a Santa Barbara Vacation Home

If, after reading the pros and cons of owning vs. renting a vacation home you have decided to buy one, I suggest you search right in your own backyard. Santa Barbara is a popular vacation destination with its unique combination of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and year-round Mediterranean climate.

Besides the pros listed above, owning a vacation home here can be a good investment in the form of the time and effort required to make it profitable. One way to make money is by renting out your vacation home when you're not using it. This can be done through various platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO or local vacation rental management companies like Santa Barbara Vacation Rentals. By renting out your vacation home, you can earn passive income.

You can also make money with a vacation home by using it for personal use and then selling it for a profit when the market conditions are right. This requires a good understanding of the real estate market and timing your sale to get the best possible price.

I'd be honored to help you when it comes time to buy or sell a vacation home. I also have a fantastic selection of homes for lease. With my understanding of the real estate market here, I can share invaluable information. So take a look at my portfolio of listing in the area, and if you see something you like, don't hesitate to contact me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch