Cristal's Blog


October 18, 2022

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The keys to selling luxury real estate in Santa Barbara in today’s changing marketplace begin with selecting the right agent—one that will give sellers an edge over their competition. My success stems from developing a winning strategy for my discerning clients designed to elevate a high-end property through marketing the estate’s unique features in the right way to a highly qualified buyer.

beach homes lining Miramar beach houses, with waves lapping the sand a few steps away

Here are 7 facets of my winning strategy:

  • Marketing and Advertising
    To achieve the highest price for your luxury home, like my Rare Iconic Miramar Beach House listing just steps from the sand, a generic marketing plan just isn't going to cut it. Instead, your home needs to be carefully positioned in the right way for the right buyers. This means ditching the cookie-cutter marketing blueprint and promoting your property to the most qualified buyers with both the intent and the means to buy.

    As one of the leading real estate agents in the area—and in California—I use my extensive resources and connections to make every transaction as smooth and successful as possible. In addition to guaranteed placement of your Santa Barbara luxury real estate in our local MLS, my listings receive the unsurpassed support and global reach of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and its “Luxury Collection” branding. That includes a comprehensive corporate marketing and advertising program that promotes my listings wherever buyers are online: in their car, on their mobile devices, on social media, or at home or work reading local publications.
Gated Modern Farmhouse painted red with a beautiful pink and blue sky in the background
  • Attention to detail is crucial
    When marketing a luxury home, creating a perception of quality means focusing on the smallest details. Every aspect of how the property is presented needs to be refined. A typo in marketing copy might seem like a minor issue, but it can significantly affect how sophisticated prospective buyers perceive the home. That is why I retain a professional writer to ensure all marketing materials are flawless. Combined with professional photographs, my listings tell a unique story. My Stunning San Ysidro-Style Farmhouse listing pictured above is a perfect example of the importance of verbiage and images.

  • High-end marketing materials and photography
    Perception is everything when it comes to marketing a home. Given that 92% of all buyers use the internet to search for homes, utilizing the best digital marketing tools will ensure your home truly stands out in a highly competitive marketplace. I am proud of my comprehensive website, which includes weekly blog posts like this one, highlighting my luxury listings, industry trends, and local events and attractions. I am also active on social media, frequently posting on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages. A solid social networking presence online can attract both local and international buyers.

  • Understand your buyer
    The most effective kind of marketing is based upon a deep understanding of the needs and desires of the target market. When it comes to property sales, the same principle applies. My years of working in the industry focusing on the luxury market give me insight into the worldview of potential buyers in the luxury sphere. Not only do I personally know many of the luxury buyers, but I also market high-end properties by focusing on the values, features, and benefits these buyers care about the most.

  • Price your home right
    While factors such as understanding your buyer and investing in high-quality marketing are both vital, the most crucial decision home sellers must make is pricing. Deciding on what that price should be isn't easy. A certain amount of strategy, knowledge of the area, and psychology determine the right price. It all comes down to finding the price buyers are willing to pay. Make sure your agent does his or her homework by sharing current buying trends and the local market with you.

    Rear grounds of a Hope Ranch estate, sprawling lawn, trees and sunset sky

  • Build a ‘mystique’ around your property
    Marketing a luxury home isn’t just about selling its most distinctive features. It’s also about creating a certain prestige that sparks desire among interested buyers. I believe high-end buyers are interested in purchasing not just a property but a "lifestyle residence,” one that piques their interest. That’s why I always highlight lifestyle in my listings. Think about the kind of "lifestyle" potential buyers would enjoy.

    My Dramatic Bluff-top Ocean View Hope Ranch Estate pictured above is a perfect example. The listing verbiage starts with this invitation: "Experience spectacular bluff-top infinity vistas from this dramatic ocean view Hope Ranch estate." The copy continues to paint a picture of the luxury residence, complemented by high-end images that bring the property to life.

  • Partner with the right agent
    Knowing how to market a luxury home effectively isn't easy, even when you know the essential principles. That's why choosing a top agent for personal guidance and expertise is crucial. Trust plays an important role in what should be a two-way relationship.

  • Employ the “six degrees of separation” technique
    In today’s competitive real estate market, the sale of Santa Barbara luxury real estate can often happen via the tried and true "six-degrees of separation" sales technique. For example, a charity auction or country club function can often lead to a buyer through social connections. While you don't need your agent running to every social event in town, having a socially connected agent can bring a larger pool of buyers to your property.

In Conclusion

When you work with an agent who knows how to sell a luxury home in the right way, the chances of attracting buyers and ultimately achieving the successful sale you’re hoping for, with maximum return on your investment, are significantly increased.

When you’re ready to list your luxury real estate in Santa Barbara, Montecito, or Hope Ranch, connect with me to schedule a private consultation regarding your specific needs. Just call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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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