Carmel hosts Luxury Real Estate Conference

Last week, there were 150 luxury real estate professsionals in Carmel-by-the-Sea for 11th Annual Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate Spring Retreat. Carmel Realty Company played host – inviting attendees to local wine tastings at our office on Dolores and opening up some of our exclusive listings for an unmatched Pebble Beach Golf & Ocean Property Tour.  In addition, our very own Bill & Vicki Mitchell received the Luxury Real Estate Lifetime Acheivement Award for their more than 30 years experience.

It was a great opportunity for luxury real estate professionals to network, exchange best practices and learn from our colleagues.  Full release from Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate as well as photos by Carmel Realty’s in-house photographer, Ryan Rosene, below.  Visit our Facebook page at

LRE Carmel - Monday - CRC Party-9LRE Carmel - Tuesday - Afternoon Session and Home Tour-22LRE Conference - Sunday - BoR Mixer-31LRE Carmel - Tuesday - Afternoon Session and Home Tour-15

The 11th Annual Luxury Real Estate Spring Retreat was recently held Sunday April 21st to Wednesday April 24th, at the La Playa Hotel in Carmel, California. Keynote Speakers included International Race Car Driver and Indianapolis 500 winner, Danny Sullivan and Digital Marketing Strategist, Philippa Gamse of Websites That Win.

The Retreat was hosted by John Brian Losh, Chairman/Publisher of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, (, a network of top luxury real estate brokers. The network includes the most prominent global luxury brokers and meets three times each year, nationally and internationally, to discuss current real estate trends.

At the conference, discussions centered on topics pertinent to those who serve the high net-worth demographic in real estate, with particular emphasis on public relations, how the financial markets are driving luxury sales, entrepreneurship, team-building, website effectiveness, and running an efficient business. The Board of Regents, the governing body of the network, met preceding the conference. Other networking activities such as a Carmel & Pebble Beach property tour, wine tastings and a golf outing were held. Sponsors included Title Sponsor RPM Mortgage, Carmel Realty Company, the Wall Street Journal, Hualalai Realty, Unique Homes, duPont Registry, and Empower Consulting Group.

The presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Vicki and Bill Mitchell of Carmel Realty Company was the culmination of the event. This prestigious award is given to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate members who set an example for the real estate industry and display excellence throughout their career.

About, a Webby Award Honoree, has been voted ‘Best of the Web’ by Forbes magazine multiple times, praised by the International Herald Tribune, Town & Country, the Wall Street Journal and has been ranked ‘Best Website’ by consumers according to surveys by the Luxury Institute. Since its debut in 1995, has remained the #1 portal for luxury properties on the internet, consistently driving more traffic to member websites and generating more qualified inquiries than any other website. has several times more $1,000,000+ content of any near-peer.

Known in the industry for the last quarter-century as the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network, a global collection of the finest luxury real estate brokers in the world, this group of more than 70,000 professionals in more than 85 countries collectively sells in excess of $190 billion of real estate annually, with an average sale price of $2,450,000. Members sell homes for record prices and handle transactions of incredible complexity and magnitude with complete discretion. Every member is carefully selected by Chairman/Publisher John Brian Losh, one of REALTOR Magazine’s 25 Most Influential People in Real Estate and broker of fine properties and estates through his Seattle-based brokerage firm, Ewing & Clark, Inc.

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The Brokers’ Newsletter – Week of March 18, 2013

Real Estate in Pebble BeachPlease find below Closed Escrows, New Listings and other updates from Carmel Realty Company. To view all of our homes for sale in Pebble Beach, Carmel and Carmel Valley, California, visit our Real Estate Listings page on our website, Also find us on Facebook and on Twitter @Carmel_Realty.

Special congratulations to the Mitchell Team and Mike Canning & Lynn Knoop on 1495 Padre Lane.  Stunning home on Pebble Beach with amazing views (see photo to the left).


1495 Padre Lane, Pebble Beach
Listing Agents: Shelly Mitchell Lynch, Bill & Vicki Mitchell
Selling Agents: Mike Canning & Lynn Knoop
Sales Price: $4,100,000
Mission 4 SE of 13th, Carmel
Listing Agent: Cheryl Heyermann
Sales Price: $1,750,000
Mission 2 NW 11th, Carmel
Listing Agent: Bobbie Ehrenpreis
Sales Price: $1,700,000



OFFICE EXCLUSIVE, Not on the Multiple Listing Service
1021 Ocean Road, Pebble Beach
List Price: $1,975,000
Listing Agent: Dana Bambace
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About Tsunamis…

san francisco plates | malone hodges When an earthquake hits Japan, fear of a tsunami striking is instantaneous. Tsunamis, a Japanese word meaning “harbor” and “wave,” are triggered by the result of immense energy being transferred when an earthquake displaces ocean water.

In San Francisco, only two hours north of Carmel and Pebble Beach, several earthquakes strike each year. Homes in Pebble Beach and Carmel have been impacted and it’s not uncommon for us to experience similar patterns.   A reasonable question, and one we often get asked, is:  What about tsunamis?

Short answer?  We don’t have to worry about tsunamis.

The long answer?  San Francisco and Japan are both at risk of earthquakes because they lie close to plate boundaries.  The type of plate boundaries, though, decides the impact to earth when they interact.  In Japan, they are on a single convergent boundary and when the plates move, one will slide under the other.  San Francisco is on multiple plate boundaries, which are sliding against one another – creating the friction, thus the earthquake- but not the movement that would cause a tsunami.

For a full explanation, checkout “Why Aren’t We Afraid of a Tsunami Hitting San Francisco,” by Dan Nosowitz with Popular Science on

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Seeing the Cliff in the Rearview

The 112th United States Congress bid us adieu – after nearly sending us over a cliff with no apparent ground in sight.  Congress gave us a bill, the President signed it.  The potential impacts are open for interpretation and too far reaching for me to have the knowledge to summarize.  So far, reports are clear that anyone making over $450,000 a year (for MFJ, or $400,000 for individuals) will see an increase in taxes.

With many buyers in the Pebble Beach and Carmel housing markets most likely near or above $450,000/year, it’s certainly worth taking a closer look at how their taxes could increase. Tragically, I’ve found this to be tedious and often confusing process; many of the experts are still trying to piece it together.  So, I’ll turn to those that know more than I do. A great starting point is the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Saunders “High Earners Facing First Major Tax Increase in Years.”

Housing in Pebble Beach and Carmel

If you make $250,000 (single) or $300,000 (married filing jointly), consider this article by Ron Lieber, New York Times, “Piecing Together a Tax Plan’s Effects.”  This group will face new limits on personal exemptions and deductions, which essentially leads to it paying more taxes.  Mr. Lieber lays out very clearly how alternative minimum tax and the Pease provisions impact those between $250,000 and $400,000 (or $300,000 and $450,000 for MFJ)

Capital Gains Tax will increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.  Individuals with an income of $400,000 or married couples at $450,000 a year will face a 4.5 percent tax hike at 39.6 percent for all income above those levels, excluding capital gains.  For more on the capital gains increases and other increases, check out Tony Nitti’s “Secrets of the Fiscal Cliff Deal” in Forbes.

Is the mortgage interest deduction still available?  Yes and no.  It is a deduction, so it is subject to the Pease provisions cited above.  If you make less than $300,000/$250,000, your mortgage interest deduction will continue for now.  Keep in mind, though, there’s still a debt ceiling battle, the great budget war of 2013 as well as sequester to tackle – all before the end of the 1st quarter.  The mortgage interest deduction could still be on the chopping block.  Checkout Inman’s “’Fiscal cliff’ bill addresses some key housing issues” by Ken Harney for more details on the MID and on energy efficient tax credits as well as short sale/foreclosure relief also in the bill.

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A gift that can’t be wrapped

Shops in Carmel, CAIn honor of the holiday season, it seemed a good time to have a little fun.  The San Francisco Chronicle has a great, holiday-inspired article by Jeanne Cooper titled, “Carmel Offers Gifts that can’t be Wrapped.”  Enjoy!

Carmel Offers Gifts that can’t be Wrapped

After compiling the Sunday Chronicle’s recent round-up of unique, family-owned shops around the Monterey Peninsula, I realized two things: There’s no way to research a story like that before the holidays without spending your earnings in the process, and there are many more ways to share the special quality of the region that can’t be gift-wrapped.

Using Carmel as a sample, here are a few experiences to which you can treat yourself or loved ones, which an overnight stay and a memorable meal or two can enhance. Note that January not only brings lodging discounts but also dining specials as part of California Restaurant Month; just a few of Monterey County’s participating restaurants are noted below.


No need to worry about a designated driver when wine tasting in Carmel Village. Just walk, and window-shop, between a growing number of venues that sample vino from Santa Lucia Highlands, River Road and other rural wineries. On Thursday, Dec. 13, all 15 tasting rooms will participate in Carmel-by-the-Glass, a fundraiser for the Carmel Mission Foundation, at Devendorf Park from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is $10, with individual wine tasting tickets for sale at the event.

Too short notice? Not to worry: The Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea — seven tasting rooms within one block on the south side of Ocean Avenue — offers a Wine Tasting Passport for $50 that’s good for one $10 flight at each of the venues; samples can be spread out over multiple days. The tasting rooms range from the intimate, cellar-style nook of Manzoni Wines in charming Paseo Courtyard, where I happily took refuge on a recent rainy day, to the rlight-filled Scheid Vineyards room on the corner of San Carlos and Seventh, relocated from Cannery Row. Pick up passports at the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center on San Carlos between Fifth and Sixth.

For those who really want to be hands-on, you’re also in luck. The Shake, Rattle and Roll series of cocktail classes at the Sunset Lounge in Hyatt Carmel Highlands will return in the new year. Based on my recent engaging experience learning how to make holiday cocktails such as Mistletoe Mojito and Bourbon Baked Apple, the $45 cost per class is a true bargain. Not only do participants come home with a bag full of bartending supplies and housemade syrups (which I vaguely remember how to use — fortunately, a recipe card was also included), they don’t need to plan for dinner, thanks to sumptuous appetizers from the Pacific’s Edge kitchen. Of course, that didn’t stop us from returning to sobriety over an elegant repast at the adjacent dining room. This year’s evening classes will be held Feb. 13, April 17, July 17 and Nov. 7, with an appropriately seasonal beverage menu.

Popular Italian restaurant Cantinetta Luca provides gift options not just with its well-stocked salumeria and deli, but also with its monthly lunchtime cooking classes. Executive chef Jason Balestrieri shares his techniques for creating handmade pasta (Dec. 13), making fresh cheeses such as mozzarella and burrata (Jan. 17), shaping and baking pizza (Feb. 21), curing pancetta and guanciale (March 21), preparing lasagna from scratch (April 18), cooking arancini and other Italian fritters (May 16), just to name the winter-spring lineup. The cost is $50 per person, plus tax and tip, excluding beverages.

And for proof that the best things in life are free (or very inexpensive), give the gift of a trip through the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, which offers frequent guided walks, or simply stroll through the village down to the beach; winter days often mean clear skies and uncrowded sidewalks and sand.


Shake, Rattle and Roll participants can appreciate rolling into a bed at luxurious Hyatt Carmel Highlands, which has a variety of packages starting at $429, while wine tasting passport holders can walk from the family-owned Hofsas House, where many rooms offer cozy sitting areas with fireplaces and wet bars. For an extra $30, Hofsas House will bring a bottle of Ventana wine and a platter from the Carmel Cheese Co. to your rooms.

If you still need tangible gifts for the holidays, the recently restored La Playa Carmel has a Holiday By the Sea special: lodging for two, welcome cocktails (including an expertly made Mistletoe Mojito and Bourbon Baked Apple), free pickup of purchases at local stores and customized gift-wrapping, starting at $195 per night. The Vagabond’s House two-night packages with experiences such as vinotherapy massages, Monterey Movie Tour tickets and Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets are 50 percent off through April 15.


January’s three-course prix fixe dinner deals include Cantinetta Luca’s menu with choice of wood-fired pizza or handmade pasta entree for $50 and the option of Maine lobster on tony Aubergine’s $75 menu. Other Carmel restaurants with prix fixe menus during California Restaurant Month: Flaherty’s Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill($30) and classic French bistro Patisserie Boissiere ($24).

Diners who mention California Restaurant Month to their server during January can also get 10 percent off their food bill at the view-boasting California Market in the Hyatt Carmel Highlands (open for breakfast and lunch); the more budget-friendly Village Corner Mediterranean Bistro, a 60-years-plu staple in Carmel Village (try the ravioli on a cold day); and Southwestern-flavored Rio Grill (one of my favorite places for grilled artichoke) in the Carmel Crossroads shopping center.

Other participants in the 10 percent discount are Italian sibling restaurants (and local favorites) Vesuvio and Little NapoliAndre’s Bouchee Bistro and Wine Bar (home to a wine shop as well) and neighbors PortaBella and Merlot Bistro.

Jeanne Cooper is the former Chronicle Travel Editor and author of SFGate’s Hawaii Insider, a blog about Hawaii travel and island culture.

Read more:

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Increased Home Equity and Low Inventory

Underwater Mortgage/CarmelRealtyCompanyA recent headline from National Association of Realtors announced that homeowners saw a $760 billion increase in available home equity so far this year; by the year’s end, equity gains could reach $1 trillion.

How does this tie in with the current marketplace?  Let’s take a moment to explore the “underwater homeowner.”  Sometimes misunderstood, underwater homeowners are not necessarily in dire financial situations nor are they really on the brink of foreclosure.

Many are still able to pay their mortgages on time each month; what they aren’t necessarily able to do is sell their home.

If you’re underwater, you have two main options.  You can sell your home for what it’s worth now and pay the bank the difference on your loan.  For example, you bought your home for $1 million, made some improvements using your home equity, and owe the bank $950,000.  You’re able to sell your house for $800,000; leaving you to pay the bank $150,000.  Or, you can stop making payments, go into foreclosure and take a hit to your credit.

The reality is that most underwater homeowners do not have the cash on hand to get out from under their loans even if they do sell the house.  In addition, owning a home is still the American dream – going into foreclosure can feel like giving up on that dream.

Home equity is the difference between a home’s fair market value and the all liens against it (i.e. the mortgage).   As fair market values increase, more homeowners could find themselves in a position where they can list their home and expect to cover their remaining mortgage with the sales price.

The market right now is in a uniquely balanced position – home prices are rising in part because of low inventory.  However, that isn’t sustainable for the long term as it limits overall participation in the market.  If home values continue to rise, we could slowly start to see increased inventory as underwater homeowners are able to sell without taking a significant loss.

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Existing home sales rise – in a season when they usually fall

Purchases of existing homes increased 2.1 percent from September to October, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), exceeding economists’ expectations.  In California alone, home sales jumped 15.4 percent, also up 15.2 percent from this time last year.

Historically, the housing market slows in October as families enroll children in school and prepare for the holiday season.  That activity increased during this time is significant, especially combined with the fact that property values rose over the past 12 months by the most in seven years.  In California, there are fewer homes on the market as well as significantly less distressed properties.  Also significant is activity in the San Francisco market, where home prices are nearing pre-bust levels.

As Courtney Jones discussed in “Bidding Wars – Enter the Ring or Stay Out” a few weeks ago, we’re in the midst of a perfect storm – low inventory and low prices.  This combination is driving some buyers into bidding wars, but in the long term could lead to a stable market as home prices are set by demand.

Follow this link for a full breakdown:  Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Rise Unexpectedly

To learn who’s buying and selling, check out the graph below from NAR.

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Providing Relevant Information to Buyers and Sellers

The 2012 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey reflected that 90 percent of homebuyers used the Internet in their research.  Of that 90 percent, 54 percent used their local MLS site, 51 percent used, and 47 percent used a broker’s website.

For the second year in a row, more buyers found their homes on the Internet (42 percent) than heard about it from a real estate agent (34 percent).  Ten percent of buyers learned about their home through yard signs and six percent through word-of-mouth.

What should we take from this?  If you’re considering selling your home, take the time research your potential broker’s website.  How are the homes presented?  Is the photography professional, the descriptions inviting?

The homes in Carmel, Carmel Valley and Pebble Beach offer sweeping views, unique architecture and access to high end amenities.  This area is luxury real estate and your home should be displayed as such to online viewers.

To learn more about the survey, check out the official NAR Press Release.

Posted in Carmel, Carmel Valley, Home Search, luxury, Pebble Beach | Comments closed

Summary of the California Ballot Measures

Election Day has passed, the news media has moved onto the Fiscal Cliff Drama and Petreaus affair.  On this blog, though, it seems like a good time to assess the 11 Propositions that appeared on Californians’ ballots and the potential impact to current and potential homeowners.  The table below details the measures that appeared on our ballots; click the title to learn more about each one.  I’ve aslo offered some details regarding Proposition 30 and Proposition 39, which should be of particular interest to those with homes in Carmel, Pebble Beach and Carmel Valley.

Taxes will increase, but hopefully so will the quality of our schools.  Proposition 30 passed, increasing the state sales tax by ¼ percent and increasing taxes on earning over $250,000.  If the measure did not pass, $6 billion would have been cut from K-12 and higher education.  There’s a lot of speculation on where the $6 billion will go, but with 54 percent of Californians approving the ballot measure, expectations are high that Governor Brown will follow through on his promise.  Expect a sales tax increase of ¼ percent and increased taxes on earnings over $250,000.

The other education/tax increase, Prop 38, did not pass.  It proposed raising taxes on every Californian making over $17,000 annually for the next 12 years, with the additional $120 billion in funding going directly to K-12 schools.

Proposition 39 requires multistate businesses to pay income taxes based on the percentage of their sales in California, increasing state revenues by $1 billion annually. The measure passed with 60 percent approval, with many applauding the closing of a “corporate loophole.”  What really has made headlines about Prop 39, though, is what the state plans to do with the money.  Over the next 5 years, half of the revenue will go to energy efficiency and clean energy project in California schools and other public buildings.  The other half will go to the General Fund, and after five years, all revenue will go to the general fund.

Posted in Carmel, Carmel Schools, Carmel Valley, community, Pebble Beach, Uncategorized | Comments closed

Veterans Day – Thank our Neighbors

Living on the Monterey Peninsula, we have the privilege of sharing space with Defense Language Institute and the Naval Post Graduate School.  Our armed service members come to the Peninsula to learn, grow and experience all we have to offer.  Each of our communities offer something, from the Pebble Beach’s Scenic Drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea’s shopping.  Please take a moment to thank a service member today.


Posted in Carmel, Carmel Valley, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach | Comments closed
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