Cristal's Blog


December 23, 2022

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Every January, we make New Year’s resolutions, vowing to lose weight, get healthy or spend more time with family and friends. But what goals do you set for your Santa Babara home? In the spirit of new beginnings, I’ve come up with resolutions designed to make your home even more beautiful, efficient, clean, and fun in the coming year.

Expansive living room, with open-beam ceiling, luxury furnishings, and a wall of glass looking out to the ocean

5 top New Year's resolutions for your Santa Barbara home:

1) Streamline all your stuff
Get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home with this simple yet important step. Clear the clutter, like in my Dramatic Blufftop Ocean-View Hope Ranch Estate listing pictured above. Because there’s no clutter in the living room, you can focus on the view!

Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Some regular purging of those jam-packed drawers, cabinets, tabletops, and even entire rooms makes it easier to find the things you use and enjoy the most. Besides, leading interior designers say all that clutter makes your house look dated and dirty anyway.

Begin by clearing your counters of everything you don't use daily, then go room-by-room, periodically removing anything that you don't use, wear or love and donate those items to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in, focusing on the things that raise your energy level and make you feel good while getting rid of the things that drain your energy.

2) Put safety first
There are a few things that every Santa Barbara homeowner should do to guarantee they're not living with a potential health hazard or fire risk. Begin by calling the Fire Safe Council of Santa Barbara County and arrange for a home hardening assessment.

According to the Fire Safe Council of Santa Barbara County’s website, "It is your responsibility to prepare your home and private property before a fire threatens your area. The Ready! Set! Go! Program is designed to provide you with critical information on retrofitting your home with fire-resistant materials, creating defensible space around your home so there is a safe working environment for firefighters, and preparing you to safely evacuate well ahead of an emerging wildfire.”

Also, schedule a mold inspection. Mold growth can occur within 24-48 hours after any water incident in your home. Leaks can be hidden inside walls, under cabinets, or in your attic. Flooding in your crawlspace or improper ventilation in your bathroom/kitchen can provide enough moisture for mold to take root in your home. A trained inspector can track down water leaks, evaluate water damage, and determine the presence of mold growth in any and all areas of your home.

3: Shrink your carbon footprint
It’s time to cut your energy usage at home with a little old-fashioned common sense. For example, switch off the lights when you leave a room, turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house, and dial your heater to 55 degrees at night. Another easy way to go green is to install LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads. With our current water crisis, why not plant drought-tolerant landscaping? And give composting a try in 2023. Your garden will thank you.

3 houseplants in copper pots, sitting on a table with a copper watering can and gardening gloves
Photo by Kaufmann Mercantile on Unsplash

4) Get home healthy
A healthy home is ground zero for a healthy life. Clean air is one of the hallmarks of a healthy home. After all, you never want to take chances when it comes to the air you breathe. So start by having the air in your home tested. You should be testing our home regularly for radon, the #1 leading cause of lung cancer, besides smoking.

By adding lots of house plants, you’ll make a statement while keeping the air clean through a well-known process called photosynthesis. Plus, live plants always look good in any room.

Have your ducts professionally cleaned, and by all means, install an air purification system like the whisper air repair from Panasonic. Open your windows for at least 15 minutes daily and use your kitchen and bathroom fans. Finally, invest in an ERV or an HRV.

The backyard of a contemporary luxury Santa Barbara home, with a pool and several terraces in the foreground

5) Make time for entertaining
I love entertaining. For me, it’s all about getting the right people together and not stressing about having everything perfect. So instead, I keep it simple, ordering food from one of our excellent Santa Barbara restaurants or caterers, or hiring a chef and bartenders. That way, I can spend time with my guests cultivating meaningful memories.

I also like to keep it more intimate, opting to invite fewer people. By not asking the entire neighborhood to attend, I can be more thoughtful when catering to my guests' needs. And nothing says Santa Barbara like the great outdoors. So I always prefer to host gatherings in my backyard, and many of my listings offer plenty of outdoor entertainment spaces, like the home in the image above.

Here's my big secret when it comes to entertaining at home: Create a signature moment that your guests will enjoy. The moment can be a special dish or drink, some music, or your favorite scent. Even the way you welcome people into your home can become a signature moment.

If moving in Santa Barbara is one of your 2023 New Year’s resolutions, I’m your agent. My discerning clients know they can count on me to both buy and sell their real estate assets, which makes both transactions easier. I'd be honored to add you to that list. Contact me at (805) 886-9378 or at Happy New Year!

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Client Reviews

“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