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The Smart House: More Valuable in Today’s Market?

January 4, 2021

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smart house device illustration with app icons


By now, every homeowner should know about the importance of integrating smart house technology into their abode. After all, it’s technology that can make life easier and add value when the time comes to sell.

While you probably didn’t think home technology could become an even bigger part of your life, experts predict that it will. And this is especially important for those Santa Barbara homeowners who are thinking of listing in the near future.

READ: How Santa Barbara Homeowners Can Create a “Smart” Healthy Home

The Internet of Things (loT)

Imagine connecting all the devices in your life to the internet and effortlessly communicating with them. Not just computers and smartphones, but everything. Think clocks, speakers, lights, doorbells, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils, you name it. It's not science fiction; it's the Internet of Things (IoT), and it's a key component of home automation and smart homes.

Popularity By the Numbers

For many years now, homes outfitted with the latest smart house technology sold at a premium price and spent less time on the market than those that didn’t. In fact, 75% of today’s buyers say they’re looking for a house with a smart thermostat, 75% want smart smoke detectors, 66% have smart home security cameras on their list of must-haves, and 63% say they must have smart locks in their new home. With those numbers, it’s easy to see why adding this technology is important for those considering selling.

home automation concept: young woman with smart home control app at the park

The Standard Smart Home Technology

Here’s a sampling of what today’s homebuyer wants in the way of smart house technology:

  • Smart thermostats
    Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to begin. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a tech wizard to control the temperature in your home. These devices are extremely easy to use. Plus, your smart thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature as soon as it learns your preferences and behaviors.
  • Smart door locks
    When it comes to smart door locks, consumers have many choices. With these devices, homeowners no longer need to use a key to get into their house. Instead, the door locks are replaced with a keypad and code. Consumer Reports suggests this August Smart Lock that communicates with your smartphone through your Bluetooth.
  • Video doorbell
    The video doorbell connects to your Wi-Fi network. This simple smart technology will do more than let you know when your friends have arrived. The built-in microphones and cameras enhance your home security, too.
  • Smart smoke detectors
    Faulty or missing smoke detectors are responsible for two-thirds of home fire deaths. These fatalities could be avoided with Birdi and or Nest Protect monitors that not only wake you up when they detect smoke, but will also alert you if carbon dioxide is leaking.
  • Smart irrigation system
    The next level in automatic sprinkler systems is the SkyDrop: Smart Irrigation System Controller. You can control the system from an app on your smartphone. The system will also adjust itself based on your local weather.

That’s not all! With smart house technology, you can also install smart lighting, smart speakers, smart outdoor security cameras, or even create a smart kitchen.

The Future is Now for Smart Home Technology

In 2021, Santa Barbara homeowners can look forward to embracing even more smart house technology. Experts predict devices that were once esoteric becoming mainstream, even among those who are technically challenged. Think streaming studios, high-speed connections and tech-assisted sanitization.

READ: Housing Market Forecast: Predictions for 2021

Be on the Lookout For…

Here are more details on what to watch out for in the coming year:

  • Streaming Studios
    Zoom Rooms, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing setups have grown exponentially in importance over the past year. That popularity is due to COVID-19, fueled by the current social distancing mandate along with the trend of working from home. The bottom line: the coronavirus has made video streaming the primary form of communication for both business and socializing.

    Santa Barbara homeowners should look for high-definition cameras that automatically adjust for lighting conditions, microphones that ignore surrounding noise, and lighting systems you can control with your voice. That means new, mainstream, easier-to-use, plug-and-play equipment is on the horizon.
  • Wither Wireless?
    For the past few years, the trend in home internet has been mesh—a system of routers spread throughout the home to blanket it in Wi-Fi. While that likely isn't going away, you may want to look into the reliability and security of a hardwired connection.

    For instance, ethernet and other hardwired connections have been standard in professional settings while home internet has relied on wireless connections. Although these are easy-to-use systems that allow the whole family to enjoy this online connection untethered, hardwiring guarantees you get the full download and upload speeds you are already paying for. 
  • Smart Sanitization
    When the coronavirus hit, homeowners became focused on their property’s health and cleanliness. That’s when intelligent air filtration systems, like Molekule, Rabbit Air, Coway and more, started to become popular. And that popularity is expected to increase in 2021 as more devices join their ranks.

    UV light-based cleaning devices, like PhoneSoap, will also be in increased demand. Expect UV light to be incorporated into other, larger devices too. In fact, you can look forward to devices that cleanse everything from groceries and clothes to deliveries. Basically, anything that was exposed to the outside world will have a device to clean it.

There are also many new gadgets designed to make life a little easier. For example, the metronome-light is scientifically designed to block out overactive thought patterns and lull you into a deep, peaceful sleep – fast.  

Now the only thing missing is your new home in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities that you can outfit with the latest smart house technology. And before we sell your current residence, we can consult with a smart house technology expert to ascertain how the latest innovations might increase your home’s value and speed of sale. The next step is to call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at so I can find you a new home in the area, and help you optimize the appeal of your current abode.

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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