Cristal's Blog

The Sweet Spot for Luxury Homebuyers: Not Too Big, Not Too Small

April 2, 2021

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A drawing of Goldilocks and the 3 bears to show how luxury real estate has a sweet spot when it comes to size.

As affluent Americans reconsider their priorities amid the pressures of COVID-19, a sweet spot has emerged for luxury homebuyers. When it comes to square footage, midsize homes are selling faster than both larger and smaller ones. This sweet spot might sound like something right out of the fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but it’s not. Turns out sellers of houses between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet are well-positioned to strike a deal quickly in today’s crazy U.S. housing market.

The Appeal of Midsize Homes

There are several reasons luxury homebuyers are looking for midsize luxury abodes, not the least of which is the pandemic.  Simply put, COVID-19 has sparked a migration from cities to suburbs. That has brought to the real estate market wealthy buyers searching for the ultimate primary or vacation property. These buyers want more square footage than their urban homes provide. They are looking for properties with space for working, learning and playing at home. However, many may feel overwhelmed if a home is too big. So that is how the sweet spot came to be.  

Price point is another major factor when it comes to buyers in the luxury sector. They can get a whole lot of bang for their buck when purchasing a midsize home. And if the property is turnkey, that makes it well-positioned for major competition and bidding wars in the current market. But, as I tell all my discerning clients, even in this hot market, correct pricing from the beginning is still critical.

Sales by the numbers

Last year, homes in the top 1% by price nationwide that measured between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet were on the market for an average of 97 days before selling. By contrast, homes measuring between 2,000 and 5,000 square feet remained on the market for 102 days. Larger luxury homes of 10,000 square feet or more took 126 days to sell.

READ: Housing Market 2020: Let’s Look at the Record-Setting Year

This trend has continued in 2021. In fact, today’s luxury midsize homes take an average of 110 days to sell, while larger ones require 127 days, and smaller ones 113 days. By the way, my listings are selling faster than this national average, no matter the size.

Luxury homes in Montecito come with a world-class setting

There are many reasons to pick this coastal spot to live your best life. Our perfect, balmy, year-round Mediterranean weather is a main factor that draws buyers of luxury homes here. Similar to the weather you’ll find on the French Riviera, the summers here are warm, arid, and clear, and the winters are mild. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 42°F to 78°F and is rarely below 34°F or above 84°F.

READ: Santa Barbara Living: Testament to Why It’s a Top 100 City

Then there is the excellent schools here. The Montecito Union School District and Cold Spring School District are award-winning and there are several excellent private schools in the area as well.

Living in Montecito offers luxury homebuyers a sparse suburban feel with plenty of outdoor activities, beautiful beaches and a wide variety of distinctive restaurants, cafés, boutiques and galleries.

As the #1 Individual Real Estate Agent in the entire Santa Barbara MLS, I am happy to show luxury homebuyers some amazing homes for sale in the beautiful sanctuary called Montecito; sandwiched between the rugged peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the awe-inspiring Pacific Ocean.

Here are three examples of luxury properties I represent in Montecito that hit the sweet spot:

The front of a magical cape cod estate in Montecito

First up, A Magical Cape Cod Estate in Montecito where East Coast traditions meet West Coast sensibilities. All 6,000 square feet of amazement in this stunning 4 bedroom, 8 bath property are situated at the end of a long, gated driveway for maximum privacy and security. Featuring the casual sophistication of iconic Cape Cod-or Hamptons-style residential architecture, the home has an abundance of multi-pane French windows and doors with soaring ceilings, making it a veritable homage to spaciousness and light. This stunning estate is considered one of the affluent enclave’s most beautiful properties. 

This Premier Mediterranean-style Ennisbrook Estate is the perfect size for the luxury market

Another prime example is my Premier Mediterranean-style Ennisbrook Estate. Showcasing timeless elegance, this 9,180 sq. foot home is graced with a wealth of large windows, many offering panoramic vistas of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The main residence hosts 5 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and a 5-car garage. Arched French doors throughout lead to the luxurious grounds where two additional structures can be found, perfect for a home office, Yoga studio or guest accommodations. There’s also a pool and stone spa on the stately grounds, complemented by an outdoor kitchen, 4 outdoor fireplaces, multiple entertaining patios and loggias, a koi pond, a raised bed vegetable garden, productive fruit trees and a vibrant rose garden. All in all, the amazing home sits on 2 acres in Montecito's premier private, secure and tranquil enclave of Ennisbrook.

The light is on inside this MODERNIST DESIGNED home that's for sale in Montecito

Finally, A Taste of European Modernist Design in Birnam Wood. The 7,369 sq. ft. creation from noted Santa Barbara architect Jack Warner and his contemporaries at Le Corbusier, has 4 bedrooms, and 6 bathrooms. It is perfectly suited to Montecito’s revered indoor/outdoor lifestyle with expanses of glass throughout and a versatile open floorplan. From the dramatic portico, and beyond to the polished marble floors, high ceilings, and gallery walls, the European Modernist sensibility is apparent everywhere you look. 

In Montecito, homes larger than 10,000 square feet are also selling quickly and for top dollar. If you're a luxury homebuyers looking to purchase, please take a look at my comprehensive website. See something you like? Just give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@Montecito-Estate. Known for my discretion and respect for my client's privacy, I specialize in the sale and acquisition of extraordinary luxury homes, estates and land of all sizes in Montecito as well as all the upscale communities surrounding it.

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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