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Selling a Home: Want to do it Quickly and For Top Dollar?

July 13, 2018

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Sold Real Estate Sign and Agent Handing Over Keys to New Home. to illustrate selling a home
Avoid These 10 Mistakes While Selling a Home Fast

Preparation is key if you’re interested in selling a home fast and for top dollar. That’s why I’ve created this list of the top 10 mistakes home sellers make that can keep their home sitting on the market for months with no or low offers. Don’t let that happen to you! Just take care of these 10 mistakes home sellers make before you list:

1. Extreme damage
I’ve seen this problem before, especially from clients who were selling a rental home. I always tell my sellers to pay attention to every square foot, both inside and out.

2. Yucky bathroom flooring
Never leave carpet in your bathroom. Potential homebuyers will have two issues running through their heads while they tour your home:
• Is there mold under that carpet?
• Is that carpet covering urine around the toilet?
The bottom line: carpet in the bathroom is undesirable.

3. Vile stains
A potential buyer can be turned off by nasty or vile stains in the carpet. Those stains are more than an eyesore, the can leave the impression that the whole property is nothing more than a dump. This is an easy fix, though, and shouldn't be ignored before listing.

4. Pet odor
I absolutely love pets, but I hate the foul smell they can leave in your home. Buyers don’t like the odor either. I recommend pet owners deep clean carpets as well as their upholstered furniture. They should also get some air fresheners and remove all evidence of pets (cat boxes especially).

5. Barking dogs
If your neighbor’s dog barks incessantly, that can ruin an open house. Just offer to pay for daycare for your neighbor’s dog and eliminate the issue altogether when potential buyers are coming to tour your property.

6. Dead or dying grass
If your front yard screams neglect, potential buyers will expect the inside to be unkempt too. I can’t stress enough the importance of curb appeal. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Make sure it’s a good one.

7. The wrong agent
I’ve blogged in the past about What You Really Need to Know to Find a Real Estate Agent. I’ve also shared the Top Real Estate Agents in America. But my blog posts are not the only place to do a little research before you sign a real estate contract. Do your due diligence!

8. Your messy drawers
Buyers open stuff up – like closets and drawers. If you leave your mess, even hidden, potential buyers will think there’s a lack of storage in your home.

9. Be reasonable
Inspections that uncover big problems can kill a deal. Think plumbing, electrical or some other big ticket issue when selling a home. That’s an easy fix during the negotiation process. Just be reasonable and willing to negotiate with a potential buyer.

10. Interior decorating
Sure, you have your own taste in decorating. You keep up with the trends. But not everyone will appreciate your taste. A few simple updates can make your home look fresh, and appeal to a maximum amount of potential buyers. Want some inspiration? Then check out HGTV's 10 Best-Kept Secrets For Selling Your Home.

If you’re selling a home, and want to do it expeditiously, efficiently and lucratively in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please call at 805.886.9378 or email me at Just ask the sellers of this Contemporary Montecito Home, situated in an exclusive enclave, or this Picacho Lane Mediterranean, located on one of Montecito’s most prestigious streets. I sold both listings in record time for maximum amounts.

With 30 years behind me as a top Realtor, I know what it takes to sell your home fast and I'm not afraid to give you my honest input before we list your property. I can also help buyers find the perfect home -- like I did for the new owners this meticulously maintained and upgraded home located on a quiet cul-de-sac.

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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