Carmel-by-the-Sea is impossibly charming. Only one-square mile in size, the quaint “village in a forest” enjoys a cozy nook along the coast, with craggy cliffs, spectacular sunset views, and the whitest sand you’ll find on a California beach. One-of-a-kind boutiques, restaurants, and galleries lend a lively feel and artistic flair to the postcard-perfect downtown area. Just the right amount of lively, mind you; this is still a tranquil town where people come to relax and escape the real world. This is a town rife with the kinds of quirks usually reserved for black-and-white television shows or fairytales. There are no street lights in Carmel; no parking meters; no sidewalks outside of the main commercial area. There are no street addresses – most homes have been christened with appropriately eccentric names like “Hansel” or “Sea Urchin”, and it is believed to be extremely bad luck to change the name of a Carmel cottage. It is against the law to wear heels taller than two inches without a permit. (Local police don’t enforce that particular line in the municipal code and free permits can be easily obtained at City Hall.) Chain restaurants are prohibited, but dogs are permitted almost everywhere. Clint Eastwood was once mayor. Check other good communities here.View Listings
Who Lives Here
The seaside retreat is both creative haven and home to around 4000 Carmelites - an eclectic mix of artists, intellectuals, athletes, and retirees. But to millions more, it’s a destination. Tourists greatly outnumber residents most days. Carmel’s idyllic setting, top-rated schools, abundance of outdoor activities, and close proximity to metropolitan areas make it a popular choice for families, many of whom who have lived in the village and surrounding areas for generations.
Carmel’s diverse artistic heritage is evident in its architecture. Craftsman-style homes sit in close quarters with Spanish Revival, Tudor Revival, and Art Deco designs, connected by cobbled walks and alleyways. A number of these are historic homes, beautifully restored and maintained. Frank Lloyd Wright’s oceanfront Walker Residence utilizes Carmel stone to make the home “as durable as the rocks and as transparent as the waves”, a flawless example of his organic design principles. However, the true architectural trademark of Carmel might be its 1920s storybook cottages, whimsical creations plucked from the pages of fairytales and crafted in meticulous detail. 21 of the original homes remain today, selling for upwards of $4 million. The beloved architect did build one commercial property – that fanciful space now houses a restaurant called Tuck Box where you can tuck in for breakfast, lunch, or afternoon tea.
Activities and Entertainment
There is always something to do in Carmel. Runners, hikers, and cyclists have their choice of pristine trails with breathtaking views, or you can catch some waves or a game of beach volleyball down on the beach. Local artists and an active cultural center produce a world-class calendar of renowned theater performances, gallery showings, films series, lectures, and other events. Find more cultural offerings at the Carmel Mission, the only Spanish Mission in California with its original bell and bell tower. Wine aficionados will be well taken care of in the village, with numerous tasting rooms, wine bars, and bottle shops, and, though this is an early to bed, early to rise kind of place, happy hours tend to be pretty happening, and Vesuvio’s rooftop bar and Barmel are fun late-night options on the weekend.
4th of July Celebration
Concours on the Avenue
Meet the Makers
Carmel-by-the-Sea Culinary Week
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HP Get In Touch and Testimonials
"We feel so lucky to have had Jonathan Spencer represent us with our most recent home purchase. He is professional, extremely market savvy, hard working, and best of all made what could have been a stressful experience fun and enjoyable! In the past, I have worked withsome agents who were only interested in closing any deal as quickly as possible, without regards to a client’s needs. Jonathan always listened and had our best interests at heart. He patiently showed us home after home weighing the pros and cons for us until we found what we really wanted and needed."
We recently purchased our new home with the help of our superb realtor, Jonathan Spencer. Jonathan is extremely knowledgeable about the housing market. Finding a home that was a perfect match for our needs was his primary goal. Since our home was a trust sale, we had no access to owner knowledge of the property. Jonathan worked numerous hours with outside resources and helped line up thorough inspections to assist us in discovering much needed information regarding our home. Jonathan, who is remarkably organized, used his negotiation skills numerous times throughout our process. We are happy with our decision to work with Jonathan and highly recommend him for all types of home sales and purchases.
"Jonathan was extremely knowledgeable, timely, and thoughtful. He kept us informed during each part of the selling process and was always willing to answer and entertain all of our questions and concerns--big or small. Jonathan was a pleasure to work with and made the pot
"Jonathan Spencer is my number one choice when it comes to selling or purchasing a home in the Monterey area. His knowledge of the market is unmatched. He takes the time to understand his clients and their needs. For some real estate brokers, each sale is just a sale but Jonathan’s personalized approach helps his clients feel more at ease with the process. He builds real relationships of trust with his clients. I am very happy we chose Jonathan Spencer to help with our Pebble Beach Sale. His professionalism and dedication to helping us make the best possible deal set him apart from other brokers we have worked with in the past." "Your help and skill in selling Canary Cottage were amazing. You took the time to get to know us and our goals to develop a marketing plan that fit our needs perfectly. The team that you put together to design our development package created a seamless process. You did not fail to deliver even with the large scope of our project. We greatly appreciate the discretion, honesty, loyalty and integrity you showed. I can tell that those are not just words in a dictionary for you. We count ourselves lucky getting both when dealing with you. You took what could have been one of the most stressful times for my family and smoothed out all the rough parts. It’s not every day you can create a bunch of raving fans on your side of the court. If we ever get involved in another project on the Monterey Peninsula you will be getting our business."
“Jonathan Spencer is very easy to work with. He responds quickly to questions and has a wide knowledge base. We found him professional while still very personable. He went the extra mile for us.”
"My husband and I have purchased and sold a number of homes over the years and we have worked with various agents through these transactions. This year we had the pleasure of working with Jonathan as a listing agent on a property we purchased and we found him to be one of, if not the best, agents we have worked with over the years. On this recent transaction, Jonathan represented both the seller and buyer (us). This special property was a very complicated transaction in many ways … one being a large gap in price objectives between the seller and buyer. Jonathan single handedly brought the buyer and seller together to reach a deal where both seller and buyer were satisfied with the outcome. Jonathan’s combination of low pressure; responsiveness; persistence; detail; flexibility and patience delivers results. We enthusiastically recommend Jonathan as an agent both for a seller or buyer."
"During the recent sale of my coastal ranch, I was impressed with the following real property services rendered by you: Cost-effective and necessary pre-sale maintenance and repair. Staging of my ranch in good taste with turn key leverage to attract the high net worth buyer. Offering a quantified fair market price with effective print and internet advertising. Negotiation with two high net worth buyers to close the sale in a timely manner. Since you fulfilled every commitment that you made, I am confident in your ability and integrity to close another sale on a prime property which I own in the Santa Lucia Preserve. I shall refer you to my friends." “Mr. Jonathan Spencer is my exclusive real property broker for three important reasons: When he makes a promise, he keeps it. My best interests are above his own. He knows the business and gets it done. I recommend Mr. Spencer to any buyer or seller who desires to get the right price for his or her real property at the right time for the right reasons."
"Jonathan helped make our dream become a reality. We were introduced to Jonathan through an acquaintance. He quickly understood what we were looking for and was instrumental in helping us refine our search, find the right property and negotiate on our behalf. Jonathan was incredibly responsive, diligent and transparent. He was instrumental in helping solve difficulties we encountered. He was extremely proactive and even brought in his own resources to find solutions to a particular issue. He did all this with a stellar attitude and positive energy. He has been a pleasure to work with. As a result, we’ve gained a friend. We’d strongly endorse Jonathan to represent us again in future transactions."
"We interviewed four realtors on the Monterey Peninsula to sell my mother’s 55-year-old house. Jonathan Spencer was the only agent that knew and understood the structure of the home and the procedures to sell the home which had been owned in a partnership account. Jonathan talked to us about the preparation to begin the advertising of our home, and he also had a group of people that did among other things; cleaning, removal of debris and age-old items from the home. The home was open every possible weekend, he had aerial videos, and pictures that captivated buyers. When the house went into escrow, Jonathan carefully managed the closing and all issues that made the sale comfortably easy. Jonathan is our realtor now!"
"We experienced working with Jonathan: - Constant positive attitude - Attention to details with the condition of the home to sell, showings of the home, and paperwork/contracts - Provided a "full-service" service, assisted with scheduling/communicating with various servicemen and being present at the house to assist the serviceman's visit - Professional manners and communication with ourselves, potential buyers and their realtors, and the servicemen - Prompt communication for responses and questions"
"Having been a Realtor for 24 years, I appreciated those who were professional, ethical and were masters at representing their client's interests. Fortunately, Jonathan possessed all of these qualities. He addressed the complicated issues related to the selling of my Ocean Front property strategically — encouraging me to obtain reports so that potential Buyers would be able to make important informed decisions. Once I’d ordered and received the Geotechnical and Geological reports, he quickly sent them to all interested parties for review. Within a few days, we received an above list price offer. I accepted it and we closed escrow in less than 30 days. I strongly recommend anyone — whether buying or selling property — to secure Jonathan to represent them."
"Thanks Jonathan – we received the wire and we feel very good about your efforts and our outcome with this sale. Thanks for working through things the last few months and hustling the last couple of weeks to pull all this together!"
"I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know how deeply grateful I am to have been introduced to you and to have selected you as the Realtor for the sale of the Hill House. You have many skills, but what stands out to me is your respectfulness, honesty and professionalism. From the very start, you demonstrated a sincere understanding of my personal feelings for the house and its importance as a historical property. You were always respectful and honest in giving your opinion about any necessary changes that might need to be addressed for sale. Mindful of costs to the owner, you used capable professionals to undertake the assessments and repairs needed prior to sale. Everything came in on time with your management of a tight schedule and the house got to market with a very successful outcome. I live at a distance from the property that you sold and you were always respectful of my time, my difficulty at times being present, and going the extra mile to get things done prior, during and after the sale. Your style is very hands-on which I am grateful for – just the right fit for a Carmel Realtor. I also appreciate your sense of humor and spirit of collaboration that you brought to this project at every turn. In short, working with you on this sale has been seamless from start to finish and easily the best experience that I have had in selling a property – and I have bought and sold a number over the past 30 years. I wish you much success in the years ahead and a very happy New Year to you and your family."
Jonathan helped us find and purchase our new home after many false starts and delays on our part and later helped us sell our existing home in a very efficient and professional manner. While searching for a larger home for our growing family, he never rushed us and was keenly aware of our distinct preferences, both spoken and unspoken. He took the time to get to know our needs and make recommendations with both existing inventory and off-market opportunities. When the time came to negotiate price he was a wise counselor and a staunch advocate for our position. During the sale of our home, Jonathan's advice and experience were invaluable in allowing us to receive an above asking price offer after mere days on the market. Jonathan's cheerful manner and professional results are a great combination in any real estate transaction and we recommend him highly to anyone seeking to buy or sell real estate in Monterey County. We would definitely use him again, should the need arise.
“Jonathan assisted us in both the purchase, and then several years later, the sale of our property. We've been very pleased with every aspect of his service. I would recommend him to anyone looking to buy or sell on the Monterey Peninsula.”
"Jonathan is a fantastic agent! He was very patient with us and never made us feel rushed or pressured. He paid attention to the things we liked and did not like and was really aware of the features we valued when looking for a house. He was quick to make us aware of unusual opportunities and was well connected to know in a timely manner when they were available. Jonathan is completely on top of things. Any question or concern received an immediate response. We never had to remind him of things, and it was him that had to remind us when paperwork was due. He went out of his way to make things easy for us and make the closing process smooth. He was always there to help explain things. Jonathan also did many things other realtors have never done for us, going way beyond to help us get acquainted with repairmen, contractors and specialty inspectors to make sure we were comfortable with our purchase. Jonathan's help did not end with the close and he was always available for further questions after we already had the keys to the house. We would highly recommend Jonathan to anyone, and feel assured that they would have a great experience working with him and benefitting from his wonderful expertise!”
“Jonathan’s help with our home was invaluable. His contacts and personal assistance quickly helped us finish out finalizing open permits, staging our home,and marketing it for a quick sale. Everything was handled with the utmost professionalism. He is very well connected, knowledgeable, and dependable.”
I want to thank you for your persistence and hard work that allowed me to be the successful offer on my new home in Carmel.You did a great job of educating me on the properties of Carmel for location and cost. The most important thought I have is that you kept me informed constantly of everything related to the property, within minutes of anything happening during both the offer process and the escrow period. You also networked very well with the selling party’s representative, knowing when we needed to be “tough”, and when to be “soft”. It all came together with me being the successful offer out of 11 total offers. I am also very pleased that you have put me together with an architect to design my new home. He has great ideas. I will definitely use you again for future property purchases. And, I will definitely recommend you to others as well."
“Jonathan helped my wife and I purchase a vacation property in Pacific Grove and we couldn’t be more pleased with his help in that transaction. The property was 95 years old at the time and we were to become it’s second ever owner. Needless to say there were many obstacles in this drawn out process. It was being settled through an estate with 6+ beneficiaries so the work required was excessive. We never could’ve gotten to the finish line without Jonathan. He brought tremendous energy and attention to our needs and in the deliberation with the sellers. He worked hard to uncover every potential hurdle or hiccup. He was extremely knowledgeable regarding local policies and procedures. Had an extensive network to leverage for our work with the city, both in preparing for the sale but also through the process of our remodel. Jonathan was just as passionate as we were in getting this done and remained passionate as we worked through our early ownership of the property. He took pride in what we had accomplished together and to this day shares in our excitement over that home. We love that home and attribute our ownership to Jonathan. We feel very lucky to have had him on our side. In addition to this investment property we also used Jonathan and his team in purchasing the home for our family. Once again Jonathan went above and beyond in helping us find our desired location and ultimately build the home for us and our children. There were numerous times where Jonathan dropped what he was doing to help us through this purchase. Once again we are indebted to Jonathan and highly recommend him for any of your real estate needs!”
“The best realtor I have used. Works tremendously hard and makes the right decisions to maximize results. Took care of all the tasks needed to get our house ready to sell. Coordinate tradesmen. Handled scheduling. Was on site during the work. Etc. We ended up selling our house well above ask and Jonathan was a huge reason why.”
“Jonathan is a very professional and patient person, who will go the extra mile to research and assist in your real estate endeavor. He is a good listener and resourceful which is very helpful when you are new to the area as we were. We anticipate doing more transactions in the future with Jonathan.”
“My wife and I have purchased and sold many homes over the years, most recently in the Martis Camp development at Northstar, at the Santa Lucia Preserve and in Carmel Highlands. We strive to find unique and one of a kind properties and these often come with lots of complexity. We can say, unequivocally, that Jonathan is the best agent we have ever had the pleasure to work with. Jonathan is not simply an agent. He is a project manager and possesses the knowledge of a property manager, contractor, insurer and financier. We needed every aspect of Jonathan's skill set to get done what we wanted. To give a sense for all that Jonathan did for us, I'll provide a few details on our most recent project. We found a home on Zillow and contacted Jonathan for help. We ended up bidding on the property with Jonathan's help and ended up walking away when the price got silly. We then investigated another piece of raw land which included Jonathan cajoling the seller at their own expense to commission a geotech report and survey and inviting three architects to provide some vision of what was possible on the land. This project ultimately had a degree of difficulty that we simply were not willing to take on. We then asked Jonathan to help us find a home with very specific specifications (ocean cliff views) and identified a neighborhood with some potential candidates. Jonathan prepared a package about us and distributed it to all of the homeowners in the neighborhood and we found two willing sellers. After reviewing their homes, we decided that neither fit the spec. You would think that Jonathan would have had enough of us by then, but he kept plugging along undeterred and committed to finding us our perfect property. A month went by and Jonathan was contacted by another owner in the neighborhood who was contemplating selling. Jonathan checked out the property and rang the five alarm fire bell and insisted we drive down from Tahoe immediately to check out the property. He was 100% correct. This was the spec of our dream home. I'll spare you the complexity of the fact the home is sitting on top of a cave and that we had multiple rounds with geologists, geotechs and contractors to evaluate the potential coastal risk, along with what the coastal commission might allow. We also discovered that the 43 yr old living roof had to be completely replaced and Jonathan dipped into his deep well of vendors to get us bids on a very unique piece of work. It seems there are no ends to Jonathan's contacts in the Monterey Peninsula. There isn't a problem Jonathan can't solve. We can say with complete certainty that we would never have been able to find, evaluate, negotiate and close on our dream home without Jonathan's help and persistence. As a big bonus, through the process we developed a deep friendship and we look forward to remaining close for years to come. We are eternally grateful for Jonathan's great business sense, contacts, wisdom and friendship.
“Not only is Jonathan the best real estate broker with whom I have ever worked, but he is also one of the nicest people I have ever met. In finding my wife's dream vacation home, unfortunately for Jonathan he had to also deal with me -I am a challenging client. Jonathan was incredibly patient throughout, showing the utmost in professionalism not just in dealing with me, but also in dealing with some very challenging situations. I give Jonathan my highest recommendation.”
"We have only the highest praise and recommendation for Jonathan Spencer. We were immediately impressed with Jonathan's preparation and professional approach during the interview process. As promised, Jonathan produced top of the line marketing tools and buyer access to ensure that the sale of our beautiful home was conducted with class and integrity. Jonathan also made us feel very comfortable throughout the entire process, which is a critical component when dealing with the purchase or sell of one's home. And finally, his access to general contractors and tradesmen rounded out the efficient and effective 360 service that we expect from an agent. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Jonathan Spencer to any person who is looking to buy or sell a home, as well as seek his service in any of our future real estate transactions."