Cristal's Blog

How to Protect Your Home While You’re Selling

November 16, 2018

Back to Articles

8 home protection tips for Santa Barbara sellers

Selling a home in Santa Barbara isn’t necessarily unsafe; however, it’s always a good idea to take precautionary safety measures to protect your home and treasures as soon as you list with your favorite Realtor®. That’s why I’ve put together these 6 home protection tips that will not only protect you, your home and your valuables, but they might even make your property more attractive to potential buyers.

How to Protect Your Home

  1. Secure all your valuables
    In a previous blog, I discussed the importance of hiding your personal stuff and getting rid of any clutter when you’re selling your home. Why? Because you want to depersonalize your home to help prospective buyers imagine themselves living there. Start the process of protecting your collectibles and valuables by removing them from your home or at least tucking them away someplace out of sight. Some of the genuine buyers who want to take a look at your property have kids in tow who might have the mischievous (and embarrassing) habit of putting “shiny” things in their pockets. By hiding your valuables, you take away that temptation. Then there are the people who disguise themselves as prospective buyers but are actually staking out your place to steal from you at a later date. The most common items that go missing from homes on the market include jewelry and mini gadgets such as watches, iPods, tablets, and laptops. But other things that could go missing are kids’ toys, kitchen items, and expensive artifacts: just about anything that can fit in a pocket is at risk. Some people don’t think they need to hide their medications. That’s a big mistake. When it comes to how to protect your home, this is a big must-do. Before you show your house to anyone, go through your medicine cabinets and remove all prescription medications before showings.
  2. Keep a record of the people who tour your home
    I tell my clients to keep a record of all who enter their home. That means you need to create a space to register the names, addresses and telephone numbers of every single person who steps foot on your property. That way, if anything does go missing, you can go back to your list and contact everyone who toured your property to hopefully lead you to the person or persons who took your stuff.
  3. Work with a well-known Realtor
    The very best way to make sure your valuables are safe when selling your home is to work with a reputable Realtor. Be sure to check out my previous blog on how to find the right Realtor to work with. A good agent will have screening precautions designed to keep you (and them) safe from potential stranger danger. I always screen buyers ahead of time and know that other reputable agents do, too. I only tour people I know or those with a pre-approved mortgage or individuals who have enough cash to buy a home outright. Just keep in mind that the minute you register your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) with a particular Realtor, other agents can only visit your home with prospective buyers who should be already pre-approved by your agent.
  4. Say no to the open house
    Open houses are becoming a thing of the past. Statistics show that the open house is only profitable for Realtors who want to acquire buyer leads, but not so lucrative for the family selling their home. In fact, open houses account for less than 6% of home sales in today’s market. With an open house, a seller opens their home to the general public. I’ve learned that most people who attend an open house are there to get a peep into your lifestyle. Some could also be there to case your home with the idea of coming back and robbing you when you’re not home. Still, others come for the free food and drink most Realtors set up for an open house. The bottom line: if you’re truly considering how to protect your home, it’s much better to do individual showings with your chosen Realtor.
  5. Make sure your security cameras are in working order
    Security cameras are the best way to keep an eye on every nook and corner of your home, whether you’re present or not. And today’s homeowners have lots of choices when it comes to security. You can stream and record everything using an internet security camera, and these are very cost effective today. Installing one will not only keep you and your family safe while your home is on the market it will also increase its value. Make sure your Realtor and potential buyers know you are filming them. A simple sign that says you’re filming will do. Security cameras are an invaluable tool on the list of how to protect your home while it’s on the market. Potential buyers will keep their hands to themselves when they know they’re being watched.
  6. Secure your personal information
    Make sure you hide all personal information when you’re showing your house. I’m talking personal finance documents, pictures of you and your family, calendars, fridge notes, magnets and more. Basically, anything that gives away any personal information should be out of sight and secured. The key is to keep your home impersonal so that potential buyers can use their imagination to see themselves living there.
  7. Lock your windows and doors after a showing
    If someone is looking to get back into your home following a showing or an open house, they will look for doors or windows that have been left unlocked. Make sure your agent or their representative is present to show your home at all times.
  8. Know who and what is in your house
    If someone you don’t know walks up to your home asking for an impromptu showing, it’s perfectly okay to say no. Have some of your agent’s cards handy for those folks and ask them to make an appointment. Before you open your house to strangers, do a walk-through with your agent to make sure you have identified everything that needs to be removed or secured.

Though the home selling process is generally safe in Santa Barbara, by taking these precautionary steps regarding how to protect your home, you can ascertain the safety of yourself and your loved ones. The calming reassurance of a seasoned, knowledgeable, understanding and caring real estate professional like me will set you up for success and help to protect your home during the selling process. If you’re looking to move in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at I’ll happily add your listing to my portfolio of fine homes in the area and make sure you, your family and belongings are safe while your home is on the market.

Back to Articles

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