House Hunting Isn’t Easy

We’ve had a few clients looking for a second home approach the buying process a little differently, and with such low inventory we think it is a great strategy and wanted to share. Buying a vacation home in this market can be a real challenge. Some of the obstacles include not enough supply, a competitive marketplace with multiple offers listings, and sometimes the challenge is not having enough information about where on the peninsula you might want to focus your efforts. There are many reasons for this last component shown below, but the great strategy we are referring to is the idea of renting vacation rentals before you commit to buying!


I was showing property a few days ago. We looked at four or five houses – each in a different community. Pacific Grove was cold and damp, Carmel was sunny, Monterey was overcast, Carmel Valley had us shedding layers. And sometimes, Pacific Grove is perfect and Carmel is cold. It really depends on the day, and for a second home buyer who has spent some quality time in Carmel but just started the home search, it can be difficult to really understand the weather of the different neighborhoods without experiencing it first hand for themselves. 


The different communities on the peninsula have different pro’s and con’s – all subjective and sometimes there are so many pro’s that it can be tough to decide where to buy. Let’s take privacy vs walkability for example. Buying in downtown Pacific Grove would be, for some, a blast because you can quickly walk to the beach, and quickly walk to restaurants. Similar situation with buying in downtown Carmel. While I love to walk to a local coffee shop, I also appreciate a bit of land and privacy from neighbors. So, maybe Carmel Valley or Aguajito makes sense. A bit of driving gets you more square footage, land, and solitude, but you can’t walk to Wild Fish(link). 

This all leads to a great strategy from some of our clients to rent 30+ day furnished vacation rentals and see for themselves what communities fit their lifestyle and climate preferences the most. Rent a hacienda in the valley for a month or two and explore Garland Ranch hiking, Bernardus wine tasting and lunch on the patio. Refuge spa is a few miles away, as well as Carmel Valley Village restaurants and shops. Then maybe try a month in a classic Carmel-by-the-Sea cottage where you can walk to restaurants and walk to the beach. This brings us to architecture. There’s certainly not an abundance of listings to choose from, but buyers can still pursue their architectural taste, and different communities have a higher density of some architectural styles than others. You might find throughout this vacation rental process that you love living old Victorians. The highest population of these properties is located in Pacific Grove, and if PG checks the other boxes for you in regards to lifestyle, climate, and any other requirements you might have, you might be ready to pounce when the right Victorian comes on the market. The process of renting one or more vacation rentals as you refine your real estate search might be a great way to get you to experience the Monterey Peninsula without committing to a big purchase that you might not be quite ready for. 

If you followed any of the links in this post, you’ll notice Sanctuary Vacation Rentals, Pine Cone Properties, and Monterey Rentals – three great companies that offer vacation rentals. We are an open book, so please ask us any questions that you have about real estate and if you do land a great vacation rental and decide to explore some neighborhoods to purchase, we would love to facilitate property tours and share our market insights with you during your search with no commitments and no contracts until you decide you’re ready to make an offer.