Cristal's Blog

Tips on Buying a Home During the Holidays

December 21, 2020

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front view of a French country-style home in Montecito at twilight

Most people cringe at the thought of buying a home during the holidays. Only the Grinch would want to pack up and move during the holiday season, right? Wrong. Hold on Cindy Lou Who, there are several excellent reasons December is actually a great time to buy.

According to a study from ATTOM Data Solutions, December is truly the best time to buy, especially this year, and especially in Santa Barbara, where home sales are booming right now. Simply put, buying a home in December can result in huge savings when compared with other times of the year. The analysis from ATTOM proves that buying a home on December 26 can result in as much as $2,500 savings on the final price.

READ: The Santa Barbara Luxury Real Estate Market is Booming

In fact, as you’ll see in the list below, December holds seven of the top ten days where buyers can reap the best discount on a new home; making it the best month of the year to buy a home:

  • December 26
  • December 7
  • December 4
  • December 29
  • December 21
  • December 1
  • October 12
  • November 9
  • February 9
  • December 8

READ: Selling Your Montecito Home During the Holidays

REASON #1: Buying in December Means Getting a Better Price
That’s because sellers are motivated, and fewer lookers means buyers can potentially make a better deal. If your seller needs to make a move before the end of the year, they will be willing to work with you on all other terms besides the closing date. But price breaks are not the only good reason for home hunting during the most wonderful time of the year. Plus, the right real estate agent might have more luck during this time of year negotiating the closing date and giving the buyers peace of mind with a home warranty.

READ: Montecito Realtor Cristal Clarke in the News

Here are 5 other reasons to consider buying a home during the holidays:

REASON #2: Sellers are highly motivated
People who are listing their homes in December are usually on a timeline. They may be relocating for work, wanting to move over the school break, or need to sell their home before the end of the year.

REASON #3: You have less competition
Listings do go down in December, but many buyers also take a break during the holiday season. So, while the overall number of homes available might be lower, you also have less competition looking.

REASON #4: Historically low-interest rates
The silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, if there is one, might be the historically low-interest rates we’re experiencing. According to the Federal Reserve, in all likelihood it will take a long time to recover from the recession the pandemic has caused. For that reason, interest rates will likely stay low until that recovery is complete. But why take a chance they won’t go up soon? Better to buy now.

REASON #5: Take advantage of tax benefits
If you close on your home purchase by December 31st, you can take tax deductions for mortgage interest, loan points, and property taxes. That means more money for holiday gifts!

REASON #6: Personal schedules are more flexible
You might think December is too busy a month for moving, but most people tend to have more flexible schedules in December. Children’s activities are suspended, work schedules are more lax, for both you, your sellers, as well as your lender, home inspector, and moving companies. All that makes scheduling all the parts of your transaction including your actual move a bit easier.

THE MAIN REASON: If you fall in love with a house that’s on the market, you shouldn’t allow the holidays to deter you from making an offer.

Backyard of a Premier Mediterranean-style Ennisbrook Estate for sale in Montecito

I have many amazing listings on my comprehensive website for serious folks considering buying a home during the holidays. For example, take my new listing pictured above, a Premier Mediterranean-style Ennisbrook Estate. Located in Montecito's exclusive Ennisbrook community, the spectacular 5-bedroom, 9-bath main house, along with two additional structures, rest on approximately 2 acres featuring panoramic vistas of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

The versatile 2 room pool house has a fireplace and kitchenette and would be the perfect spot for a private home office, gym, or additional guest suite. The additional spacious guest house is a generous retreat, featuring a kitchenette, bedroom with bath en-suite, and a cozy fireplace. The home is perfect for anyone who loves to entertain, or for those looking for a sanctuary for family and friends.

About Ennisbrook
The private Ennisbrook community is made up of wonderful estates, with most sitting on parcels ranging from 1 to 3 acres. Many of the properties command golf course views, or spectacular ocean and/or mountain vistas. The entire enclave is blessed with extraordinary landscaping, privacy, open spaces and a connection with nature. More than 50 acres in the community have been set aside as open space.

If you’re considering buying a home during the holidays in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, or are contemplating selling your home in the Santa Barbara area, I’m here to help. Please call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Together we’ll find the perfect place where your dreams can come true when the pandemic is over, and we can celebrate the holidays together in 2021.

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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