Carmel Frequently Asked Questions for Buyers
What is the “Golden Rectangle”
The most frequent question I receive from buyers looking to purchase a home in Carmel is what is the “Golden Rectangle”. This is the most desirable area of Carmel-by-the-Sea which is a rectangular area outlined by Ocean Avenue, Scenic Avenue along Carmel Beach, Santa Lucia and San Carlos Street. Most of the homes in this area were built during the early 1900s and have a lot size of 4,000 square feet (approximately 40 x 100) and a home square footage of approximately 1,600 square feet. Most of these homes will be quaint artistic cottages with ocean views. This area is the most attractive to Carmel residents because it is so close to the shops, restaurants, art galleries, wine tasting rooms, theaters, and Carmel Beach.
How do I get my Mail if Carmel homes do not have Addresses?
The next most asked question I receive is how residents receive mail when they live in Carmel-by-th-Sea since there are not any addresses instead the homes are named, such as “Beach Dog House” or “Easy Escape” to help visitors find the resident’s home. Since homes do not have addresses, their mail is delivered to a PO Box at the Post Office. That is what makes the Carmel Post Office the central hub of the community.
How are the Schools in the Carmel area?
Many families and residents that are planning on having children ask me this question. As mentioned before, the Carmel Unified School District is one of the best in California and in the United States. Year after year, the schools within the school district receive awards for academic performance, additional school support for students, extra curricular activities such as music, and state of the art education programs for green, sustainable living. The easiest way to sum up Carmel’s school district is that it’s like getting a private school education in a public setting. The schools on each level offer a very supportive approach to the student and the student’s family, not only focusing on academics but also provide a welcoming experience, that is enriching and purposeful.
I understand there is a lot of Homeowners that have 2nd homes in Carmel, Is there really a Community in Carmel?
I get this question asked a lot because there are only about 37% of residents living in Carmel at this time. Most homeowners have purchased homes in Carmel with the intention of retiring to the community when the time is right. What usually surprises residents that are new to the area, is that there is a thriving community in Carmel. There are so many things to do and events to attend. With almost 100 art galleries, hundreds of shops, 10 wine tasting rooms, 5 wonderful theaters, gorgeous beaches, dozens of hiking trails, natural parks, marine sanctuaries, 100 non profit organizations to volunteer for, and world class restaurants to chose from, there is really never a dull moment in Carmel.
What Can I Do to my Home after I Buy It?
First, it should be mentioned that Carmel loves their trees. So if you have a tree on your property, most likely the only thing you will be able to do to it is trim it. If you would like to do additional pruning to the tree, you have to apply for a permit with the Forestry Department and have an Arborist examine the tree to decide if the permit will be granted. Secondly, there are many water restrictions in Carmel because of a water drought. Because of this, the town has limited the amount of bathrooms, laundry rooms and wet bars you can have in a property. Pretty much, what you have when you purchase the home, i.e. the amount of bathrooms, laundry rooms, wet bars, etc., is the limit to what you will be allowed while you own the home. And for those of you that think you can install another bathroom without the town of Carmel knowing about it, consider that town representatives have to come out to inspect your property to make sure you have just as many bathrooms when you sell as when you bought the home. If an extra bathroom or water room is found without property authorization, the owner will be forced to remove the bathroom in order to sell the property. Lastly, to ensure the character and charm of the community stays intact, the town asks you to check with them before any modifications are done to the home especially if the home is deemed a “historic” home.
Carmel Frequently Asked Questions for Sellers
How Long is it Going to Take to Sell my House?
I get this question asked a lot – “how long is it going to take my property to sell”. The timeframe of selling depends on a lot of different factors including but not limited to pricing, location, views, and condition of the home. Each of these factors will determine the timeline of when the property will sell and in most cases the seller has control of two of these factors, specifically condition and price.
What do I Need to do to Get My House Ready to Sell?
When homeowners are getting ready to sell their property, they like to know what they need to do to make it “market ready”. This is where my team and me shine. As a courtesy to my selling clients, I bring in my team of preferred architects, handymen, landscapers, and contractors to suggest constructive changes to my selling clients to make the house more appealing to interested buyers. I also have a staging company that can come in and add furniture to the property for vacant homes to give the property a warmer feel. Lastly, if clients need the additional support to keep the property clean during the sales process, I have a cleaning service I can arrange to help them with that.
Do I have to Participate in Open Houses?
Because Carmel is such a small and high traffic community, a lot of sellers wonder if they have to participate in open houses. The participation is completely up to the seller. I usually recommend that the seller does participate in open houses because it create additional exposure to the property for buyers and agents however if the seller would like to opt-out of open houses, I have additional marketing tools we can use to get property exposure.
Where is My House Going to be Marketed?
During the listing process, I work with my selling clients to determine the platform and delivery to which we will be marketing to homebuyers. Each home is different so each marketing plan is different. In most cases, the buyer is not going to be from the Carmel area so I work with my team to market my listings online on a national and global level to gain maximum exposure to attract just the right buyer. I have specific marketing plans that I use to gain exposure throughout the Central Valley and other areas in California along with marketing tools for homebuyers in Texas, which is where one in four buyers outside of California that buy in the Carmel area are from.
Does Print Advertising Really Work?
This is always a big question with sellers. They see other homes being advertised in the local newspaper or magazines so they would assume that in order to sell their home, they need to see their home in the same publications. From my experience, overall print advertising will not help sell the property because Internet marketing is much more effective to help sell a property. We know that 87% of all homebuyers start their search the Internet for homes. To attract the right buyer, my team and I work with excellent photographers in the area to provide amazing photos that capture the character and quality of homes. We also bring in professionals to create floor plans so online buyers can “get a feel” for the lay out of the property.
There are a few cases of when print marketing makes sense when done effectively. For example, print works well in the local newspaper (Carmel Pine Cone, Monterey County Herald and The Monterey County Weekly) to assist in promoting open houses. They have a very short shelf life and in my opinion, buyers only look at the open house sections. With Magazines, often the distribution is weeks or months after the initial reservation. The home is likely to be sold by the time of print. But if the magazine has a great Internet presence, then there may be some value to market in it.
So bottom line, from my experience, presentation of the property via the Internet with great photos and floor plans is the best way to market a property and if warranted, some print presence in a magazine that has a great online distribution or open house section of a local newspaper may make sense for print advertising.