Cristal's Blog


September 13, 2022

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Our current Santa Barbara real estate market conditions have many asking me if a buyers’ market will soon replace the record-breaking sellers’ market we’ve experienced over the past few years. And while we’re seeing fewer bidding wars here in Santa Barbara and across the nation, experts say we’re nowhere close to a market reset, especially in the luxury tier.

The front of an iconic Montecito beach house, with palm trees, blue sky and a circle of Adirondack chairs on the front lawn

It’s true: rising mortgage interest rates have slowed the once-hot California real estate market. However, few, if any, economists predict a crash in values like we experienced back in 2008. Those same experts say overall home values are likely to decline in the near future. To be clear, we are still in a sellers’ market, especially when it comes to the luxury sector here in Santa Barbara, as represented on my comprehensive website. Luxury properties remain in high demand, including the Rare Iconic Miramar Beach House pictured throughout this blog post. But, in an effort to be proactive, let’s take a look at the difference between a sellers’ and a buyers’ market.

Sellers’ vs. Buyers’ Market

The difference between a buyers’ and sellers’ market follows the fundamental laws of economics: supply and demand. In real estate, supply and demand can easily be illustrated by two opposing sides: buyers, who wish to keep their costs low, and sellers, who look to maximize their profits.

Luxury living room of an iconic Montecito beach house, with a fireplace, velvet grey sofa and other high-end furniture

What is a sellers’ market?

A sellers’ market simply means the supply doesn't meet the demand from buyers. That's when home prices rise, creating the perfect environment for multiple offers.

If you’re a seller

A lack of inventory means homes sell quickly as buyers compete for fewer listings. This lack can drive up prices—sometimes even above the asking price. The right agent will guide you on the many ways to make your property appealing to buyers. Yes, even in a sellers’ market you need to prepare for a sale. Without proper preparations, buyers might question your asking price. They’ll notice a lack of attention to detail and wonder what else has been neglected. Your agent will know the right price, too. When houses don't sell quickly, buyers might assume something is wrong with the home.

If you’re a buyer

In a sellers’ market, buyers should pay by cash or get pre-approved, act fast, be patient, and know they're at a disadvantage. That means when you find your dream home, don’t hem and haw, or you may lose the perfect opportunity.

Luxury galley-style kitchen of a Miramar beach house, with clean white walls and a wood floor

What is a buyers’ market?

A buyers’ market means the industry is experiencing a surplus of homes and low demand for them. That atmosphere decreases real estate prices, with the potential of homes lingering on the market longer. In this scenario, sellers have more competition when it comes to attracting potential buyers. That means sellers are more likely willing to negotiate offers.

For savvy sellers, a buyers’ market doesn’t have to mean holding onto your home, especially if your home is part of the luxury market here in Santa Barbara. A reputable real estate agent like me will suggest potential improvements and upgrades that will deliver a solid return on your investment. Small steps can make your home stand out in a buyers’ market.

Dining room of a Miramar beach house, with large table in front of a fire in the fireplace

If you’re a buyer

Working with the right agent will give you an advantage here, too. The agent will guide you in every step of the process to help you make the right offer and negotiate with the seller on possible contingencies. Still, patience is a much-needed virtue when it comes to finding and buying your dream home. I recommend my clients take the time to tour several properties before making an offer.

If you're a seller

Your marketing materials matter even more than they would in a neutral or sellers’ market, so make sure yours are stellar and professional, from photos to verbiage. Plus, if your home’s decor is dated, by all means, hire a stager who can transform every room in your home to look cohesive and polished.

Primary suite in luxury Miramar beach house, with hardwood floor and fireplace

It's also crucial to price your home correctly from the start. Look for an agent that keeps their finger on the pulse of the industry both locally and nationally; someone you can trust to come up with the right listing price and market to the right demographics.

It’s possible to be successful in both sellers’ and buyers’ markets as long as you work with the right real estate agent. If you’re looking to sell in Montecito, Hope Ranch, or any of Santa Barbara's upscale communities, that agent is me. Call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at to book a complimentary consultation. I’m here to help you sell and find a new home.

Other Resources:

What Makes a “Luxury Home”?
Maximizing Profit When Selling a Home
Is Wellness Real Estate the Next Trillion-Dollar Trend?

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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