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Selling a Montecito Home This Fall or Winter?

October 7, 2021

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This Charming French Normandy Style Home Near MUS is the perfect example to what an owner must do when selling a Montecito home this Fall or Winter

Thinking of selling a Montecito home this fall or winter, like the owners of my Charming French Normandy Style Home Near MUS listing pictured above? A great place to start is by selecting the right real estate agent. Besides working with the best agent, homeowners should consider the following 6 tips to sell for the best price in the shortest amount of time during the fall or winter:

READ: The Art of Selling a Luxury Home: Secrets of A Top Realtor

1) Curb appeal during fall and winter

Have a problem resisting the temptation to buy every available pumpkin and decorative gourd at the market during this time of the year? Resist! If you're selling a Montecito home, don't make your front porch look like a farmer's market. Enhance your curb appeal; don't obscure it.

"While too many fall decorations will take focus off of your home and its best features, a few tasteful accents can create an inviting setting and make your home feel fresh," says HGTV.

Also, make the upkeep of your yard a priority. You only have one chance to make a good first impression.

A welcoming bedroom with the fireplace adding to the luxury ambiance

2) Put your fireplace to work

Staging your home for buyers means setting a tone, creating an atmosphere they want to be a part of. The best way to play up your home's best features during the fall and winter is by putting your fireplace to work, like this image of the primary suite in my French Normandy listing above demonstrates.

Before you light your fireplace for showings, make sure it's clean and presentable. Clean those doors well and sweep out the inside. You may even consider a quick fireplace facelift.

3) Go easy on the holiday decorations

Anything that has the potential to turn off potential buyers is a no-no when it comes to listing your house. I suggest you stick to safe decor choices for the fall/winter holidays. Appeal to the masses. I'm not saying you can't enjoy the holidays while selling your home. Tasteful displays will show your home in its best light.

READ: Selling Your Home During the Holidays?

4) Light up your home

Open blinds and make sure windows are sparkly clean. You want to maximize the natural light in your home, especially in sunny Santa Barbara.

According to HGTV, "Highlight your home's best features. Let in as much natural light as possible, and place plenty of lamps throughout your home for additional illumination."

5) Make sure your space is inviting

Create a warm and cozy atmosphere by adding fall accents like throw pillows, and get rid of clutter.

HGTV also suggests: "Try displaying vases of fall foliage or bowls of seasonal fruit throughout your home."

READ: Getting Back to Basics: At Home With Your 5 Senses

6) Appeal to the senses

Cinnamon, pumpkin spice and vanilla: the scents of fall and winter flowing through your home can create a powerful connection with buyers. The fall and winter months are associated with certain smells and flavors. Think pine needles, cinnamon, peppermint, and pumpkin pie.

"Beyond setting the mood with decorations, you could try appealing to buyers' senses in multiple ways," according to Smart Asset. "For example, if you're hosting an open house, you could keep hot chocolate and pumpkin muffins on hand for visiting buyers. If you don't want to go that far, keeping a scented candle burning in the background or playing some holiday music can work wonders."

Things to do before selling a Montecito home -- any time of year:

Before you open your doors for a showing any time of year, be sure to clean your home from top to bottom. The first thing your buyers should see when they walk in the front door should not be piles of papers or possessions. Leave tabletops, counters, and other flat surfaces clear or tastefully styled. Consider a vase of flowers, perhaps. Clear any ceiling cobwebs and wash the walls as well as floors. Everything should sparkle!

There’s power in turning on soft music. Just as stores use gentle music to create a cozy shopping experience, you can, too. Keep the tunes unobtrusive and suitable for a general audience. And don’t forget to power up any and all water features. Fountains are especially useful for drowning out traffic noise or loud next-door neighbors. Remember to tap into the power of touch as well: a strong emotional trigger. It’s easy. Just drape sensuous fabrics such as velvet wraps, chunky knit blankets, or silk throws over chair arms and sofa backs.

When it comes time to sell luxury real estate in Montecito, Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara, Summerland, Carpinteria or any of the upscale markets here during any season, discerning home sellers are invited to connect with me – Cristal Clarke. With more than two decades of Santa Barbara real estate knowledge and expertise, I offer my clients an unsurpassed level of marketing and negotiating skill along with an impressive roster of qualified buyers. Give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Let’s do this together!

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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