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Moving to a New Home: 6 Considerations for Families

October 14, 2020

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Child in a box n moving day to illustrate 6 considerations for moving with a family

Moving to a new home can be a fun and exciting time for a family. Whether you’re moving with children or aging parents, there are some important things to consider before you begin your search. To find the right home, make sure to consider these 6 things:

1. The Importance of our local school districts

The quality of a local school district is top-ranked among today’s home buyers’ wish lists. And that means that the quality of schools has a major impact on home prices. In fact, economists have estimated that homeowners can reap a 2.5% increase in the price of their home just from a 5% improvement in a district’s overall test scores.

Affluent homebuyers seem to choose to live in the most sought-after school districts. Right or wrong, according to recent statistics, the more affluence there is in a community, the higher the test scores. These scores are just one important measure of “good schools,” but they’re a highly quoted gauge. It could even be suggested that high home prices make for better schools. surveyed homebuyers to find out about the importance of good schools to property purchasers. The results showed that 29% of people considering moving to a new home listed school quality and 22% listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase. The survey also found that many homebuyers are willing to pay more for homes near good schools.

We who are fortunate enough to live in Santa Barbara have a lot to be grateful for when it comes to our schools. There are excellent public and private elementary, middle, and high schools in the community.           

Buying in a good school district is important, even for those who don’t have school-age kids and have no plans to have any. The fact of the matter is, when researching moving to a new home, young families always will do their home search based on location in general and good school districts in particular. The better the school district, the higher the values of the surrounding homes can be. We also have colleges, universities, and graduate schools, which makes Santa Barbara an excellent choice for those looking to invest in real estate. 

READ: The Santa Barbara School District

Elderly woman swollen feet using walker in backyard

2. Sidewalks

Most parents steer clear of homes located on busy streets to ensure their little tykes don’t end up chasing baseballs into oncoming traffic, and aging relatives will be safe to walk outside. Sidewalks offer an extra layer of safety, providing a buffer between cars and people at play. Sidewalks are also crucial while children are in the stroller/tricycle/wagon phase. Plus, a nice family walk after dinner is always enjoyable in our neck of the woods.

READ: Open, Closed and Beyond: A Real Estate Pro’s Guide to Kitchen Design

3. An open floor plan

Bonus rooms may sound like the perfect place to corral rambunctious kids, but they’re not so great for toddlers or any children who have to be constantly supervised. An open-concept or great room, where the kitchen, dining, and family room all open onto one another offers parents a bird’s eye view of the common areas. Having a great room within an open floor plan increases quality time and allows for families to gather together while each member still has space for themselves.

The great room of a Montecito Ocean View Mediterranean-style Charmer that is currently on the market

4. Easy sightlines to the backyard

Everyone knows the importance of having a yard, but unless you plan to go outside every time your children or aging parents do, you'll also want to check how viewable that yard is from indoors. Take the backyard of my Montecito Ocean View Mediterranean-style Charmer pictured above. As you can see, the backyard is easily monitored from inside the magnificent home’s grand room from a myriad of large windows and French doors. Perched atop Mariposa Lane, this Mediterranean charmer is an oasis of peace and tranquility with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths. 

READ: Montecito: Best Place to Live in the Santa Barbara Area

5. Nearby amenities

There are many family-friendly things to do in and around Santa Barbara; from our museums, like the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, to exploring all there is to do up and down the coast. Among our beautiful beaches, many are many family-friendly, including Leadbetter Beach, East Beach, Butterfly Beach, Miramar Beach, and Carpinteria State Beach. The Santa Barbara Zoo, home to exotic animals from diverse ecosystems, is the perfect destination for kids of all ages. I’d say it’s worth a visit just to see the native California condors and to hand feed the ​resident Masai giraffes. There are also many parks around town including Alameda Park. Known as Kid’s World, this playground has plenty of slides and swings, and a huge castle structure for children to explore, plus a separate area for smaller kids.

Santa Barbara County seniors have access to a variety of fun things to do as well as necessary services. The surrounding mountains and breathtaking ocean views make the quiet, old mission town a great place for seniors. Our year-round Mediterranean weather is perfect; not too hot and not too cold. Plus, there are many community programs designed just for those who are older and wiser. Check out the Santa Barbara Senior Resource Guide for more.

READ: Celebrity Living in Santa Barbara

6. The neighbors

People who live in Santa Barbara tend to be educated and community-oriented. We even have many celebrity residents that enjoy the peace and safety found in Santa Barbara. Still, when moving to a new home, families need to check the  National Sex Offender Public Website to pinpoint the locale of any sex offenders in any given neighborhood. Remember, there are people who prey on those considered more vulnerable. Typically, that includes women, children, and seniors.

As you can see, there are many things to contemplate when thinking about moving to a new home. If you’re considering buying in any of the upscale communities of Santa Barbara, I’m here to help. Just call me at +1 (805) 886- 9378 or email me at I’ll be happy to offer my expertise and help you make the right decision where your family can be safe and flourish.

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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