Cristal's Blog

Selling Luxury Real Estate in Santa Barbara

March 7, 2020

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Birds Eye View of Luxury Santa Barbara home for sale by Cristal Clarke

Selling Luxury Real Estate in Santa Barbara requires a different approach than that used when selling a more modest piece of real estate. While I have the knowledge and contacts to help in the sale of a modest single-family home or starter condominium, I also have what it takes when it comes to the luxury sector, starting with my winning strategy.

Strategy for luxury home sellers

My strategy is designed to elevate a high-end property above the ordinary: marketing the estate’s unique features in the right way to a highly qualified buyer, and at the right price. That’s why discerning homeowners of the finest homes and estates in Montecito, Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara, Summerland, and Carpinteria connect with me. With more than three 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.

7 facets of my winning strategy:

  • Advertising and Marketing

    To achieve the highest price for your luxury home, a generic marketing plan isn’t going to cut it. Your home needs to be carefully positioned in the right way to the right buyers. This means ditching the generic marketing blueprint and promoting your property to the most qualified buyers who have both the intent and the means to buy.

    As one of the leading real estate agents in the area – and in California -- I always use my extensive resources and connections to make every transaction as smooth and successful as possible. In addition to guaranteed placement of your luxury real estate in Santa Barbara in our local MLS, my luxury 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 the local publications.

    One example, from a property I recently sold, is the Palmyra: A Grand Montecito Estate pictured at the top of this blog. My marketing strategy for this property included getting the estate showcased in the Wall Street Journal "Behind the Listing" I also pointed out in all the marketing material that this Mediterranean home, its lovely guesthouse and vintage pool house rests on the grounds of historic El Mirador.
  • Attention to detail is crucial

    When marketing a luxury home, creating a perception of quality means focusing on the smallest of details. Every aspect of how the property is presented needs to be refined. A typo in any marketing copy might seem like a small issue, but it can make a big difference in how sophisticated prospective buyers perceive the home. That is why I retain a professional writer to make sure all your marketing materials are flawless.

    scren shot of the home page of Santa Barbara Realtor Cristal Clark's website
  • Completing, and accurate 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 blogs highlighting my luxury listings, industry trends, and local events. I also am active on social pages posting frequently on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. A strong 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 gives me insight into the worldview of potential buyers in the luxury sphere. Not only do I personally know many of the luxury buyers, 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, there’s one decision home sellers must make that can ultimately have the biggest bearing on a sale. That one thing is pricing. Deciding on what that price should be isn’t easy. There is a certain amount of strategy, knowledge of the area, and psychology that goes into determining the right price. It all comes down to finding the price buyers are actually willing to pay. Make sure your agent does his or her homework by sharing current buying trends and the local market with you.
Beautiful red tiled patio with table and chairs and a wood fireplace in the backyard of this Montecito luxury home for sale
  • 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 rather a “lifestyle residence,” one that piques their interest. That’s why I always highlight lifestyle in my listings. Essentially, think about the kind of “lifestyle” potential buyers would enjoy.

    For instance, my Montecito Hacienda-Style Estate listing is an homage to Montecito’s coveted indoor-outdoor lifestyle with its spacious al fresco dining terrace that features a beautifully painted Spanish tile fountain and vignettes of the grounds. The estate also boasts a lovely pool, spa, tennis court, and trampoline and more. I’m marketing this estate to high-end buyers who would appreciate those amenities.

  • Partner with the right agent

    Even when you’re aware of the major principles involved, knowing how to market a luxury home effectively isn’t easy. That’s why it’s important to choose a top agent for personal guidance and expertise. Trust definitely plays an important role in what should be a two-way relationship.

    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 an agent who is socially connected 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 greatly increased.

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

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Client Reviews

“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