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A Luxury Realtor’s Guide to Home Security Systems

October 15, 2019

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Robber with black mask looking inside a pretend home.

We are all aware of the importance of home security systems these days. Every 14.5 seconds, a robbery is reported. While having a home security system installed can be costly, not installing one could cost Santa Barbara and Montecito homeowners even more.

Of course, the main reason homeowners should consider installing a home security system is that it offers protection from intruders for family members and valuables. Experts say homes without security systems are 2.7 times more likely to be targeted by a burglar. In most cases, the mere presence of an alarm system is enough to protect the home and its occupants from break-in.  

Additional Reasons Why You Should Install a Monitored Home Security System

These alarm systems also provide additional protection barriers for homeowners. One of the biggest benefits of having a monitored home security system is that it provides constant monitoring even when you are unable to do so yourself. Leaving town for business or going on vacation can be nerve-wracking even with a home security alarm, but with a monitored service, there is always someone to respond to emergency situations. You will also have the ability to monitor your own home remotely.

Then there’s fire prevention. Along with installing fire alarms, most homeowners can relax by knowing their monitoring company offers additional alerts when they detect smoke. Security systems also provide protection for pets. If a fire were to break out when no one but the family pet was home, without a home alarm system that pet would be doomed.

Consider home insurance cost savings. In general, homeowners receive a 10-20% discount on their insurance by having a functioning home alarm system installed. Plus, having a home monitoring system actually increases your home value, especially when it comes to selling your home. As an added bonus, it also keeps your home protected throughout the selling process, when a number of strangers will be inside your home.

What to Look For When Choosing a Home Security Monitoring System

There are various kinds of home security systems available for every household. But what are the important elements Santa Barbara and Montecito homeowners need to look for when selecting the right system?

  • 24/7 professional monitoring
    One of the most common features you’ll find with home security systems provides an added layer of protection and assistance for you and your home.
  • Security cameras
    Monitor both the inside and outside of your home via security cameras. Plus, the addition of security cameras is a great deterrent. Visible cameras are likely to make a criminal pass by your home.
  • Smart home devices
    Enhance your home security with smart devices that allow you to control security at your fingertips. Think garage door controllers, smart locks and smart lights; all designed to allow you to manage parts of your home remotely while adding an additional layer of security.

  • Mobile app access
    Mobile apps allow you to access and control your home security system through your phone while you are away. If you leave your house in a hurry, you can easily set your security alarm via your mobile app. Most security providers today offer mobile app access with your security system.

  • Motion sensors
    Motion sensors are essential. Think of them as the first line of defense against would-be burglars. These devices detect suspicious activity and can trigger your alarm or, at least, notify you of any movement.

  • Control panel
    Be sure your system has a central control panel or keypad that allows you to arm or disarm your system. Some alarm systems allow you to use the control panel for two-way communication, too, just in case of an emergency.

Choosing the Right Monitored Home Security System for Your Residence

With so many providers out there today, how does a Montecito or Santa Barbara homeowner select the right system? Be sure to do your due diligence before signing a contract. Start by reviewing this article by the editors of the personal-finance brand and website, MONEY and make sure to pay attention to the following:

  • Check out each home security provider’s history, certifications and customer service. Read security service reviews and speak with a team member to feel confident in your choice of the alarm company.
  • Think about your home’s security needs and choose the equipment and monitoring plan that meets only those needs. You can always upgrade later.
  • Consider how much you’re willing to pay for a home security system. Don’t forget to factor in additional costs such as equipment, installation, and professional monitoring.
  • A monitored home security system can save a lot in the future. Ask your homeowner’s insurance company about available discounts or waived fees that you get for having a home security alarm.

5 Top Home Security Monitoring Companies

 Once you have answers to the question above, you’ll be ready to select the perfect 24/7 security system. Here is a list of 5 of the best to consider when it comes to protecting your family and belongings:

1) Frontpoint Security
When the Frontpoint control panel gets a tripped alarm signal from one of the sensors, it immediately sends a secure signal via the cellular network to the monitoring center. That signal is encrypted, meaning that it's almost impossible to disrupt it. You have your choice of monitoring packages from Frontpoint. There are monitoring plans for a number of contingencies, including burglary, fire, and more. 

2) ADT
The two most important factors to consider when choosing a home security system are the reliability of equipment and quality of service. ADT offers both, which is why they have become the number one authorized premier provider in the country. It all starts when an experienced installation technique installs your system. After that, homeowners can relax knowing they have chosen a security company that provides exemplary levels of service after installation. 

3) Vivint 
Vivint Smart Home is another leading smart home company in North America. The company delivers an integrated smart home system with in-home consultation, professional installation, and support delivered by its Smart Home Pros. You can also count on them to provide 24/7 customer care and monitoring. Dedicated to redefining the home experience with intelligent products and services, Vivint serves more than 1.4 million customers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

4) ProtectAmerica Security
ProtectAmerica ( recently acquired by Brinks) believes safety should be within any homeowner's reach. That's why they have created customized home security systems that cost less than with ADT or Vivint while homeowners can still receive award-winning home protection.

Add door sensors, window sensors, glass break detectors, smoke detectors, and more to your system as well. The monitoring service provided by ProtectAmerica covers you all day, every day. If a sensor goes off, you have enough time to get to your control panel and enter your code in order to deactivate it.

5) SimpliSafe Home Security
This is one of the most popular DIY security providers, known for its affordable professional alarm monitoring. Select from a range of home security solutions from three different package options. SimpliSafe’s equipment is modern and easy to install. All packages include the security basics like motion sensors, while the more advanced packages include enhancements like video surveillance or key fob control. The monitoring plans include features like environmental monitoring, mobile alerts, security camera recording and more.

For the latest intel and reviews of the most popular home security systems, visit This Old House.

I delighted to offer this post on my blog since I’m confident it provides Santa Barbara and Montecito homeowners some good intel on all the home security monitoring system options out there today. Chances are, a home or estate you purchase using my services will already have a first-rate monitored security system. If you’re considering selling, remember state-of-the-art home security can make your property much more attractive to potential buyers. Either way, I’m ready to help with your purchase or sale of real estate in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, just call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at


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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