To begin your search for Big Bear lakefront properties or any other type of real estate for sale in the Big Bear Multiple Listing System (MLS), please click on any link(s) above. The Big Bear real estate team is prepared to find the property that you are looking for whether it is a luxury lakefront property, a cozy mountain cabin for your family, or an income-producing vacation rental property. So, if you are looking for a great rental property right on Big Bear Lake or just a cabin to enjoy weekends and holidays with the family, we’ve got the right choices for you. In conjunction with our local vacation rental companies, we can provide a list of turn-key properties with a history of vacation rental income.
It is important to know upfront whether you are looking for a primary home, second home, or vacation rental/combination property, as different areas are better for each. In general, Big Bear Lake, Moonridge, and Fox Farm tend to rent the most days per year on a vacation basis. Therefore, the further you go from the lake and/or the slopes, the more the prices go down, but so does the rental potential (we can provide rental histories for any area you are interested in). Please let us know if you see anything you like or if you want us to set up a custom search for you based on area, price range, number of beds, baths, etc.
Big Bear offers a full four seasons of fun and truly is the premiere four-season resort in Southern California. Winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, tubing, and just plain, old-fashioned playing in the snow! Spring, Summer, and Fall activities include hiking, boating, fishing, horseback riding, jet-skiing, zip-lining, off-roading, mountain biking, bird-watching, and anything else you can imagine in the cool, almost perfect weather, with 320+ days of sunshine per year! Even when it is raining or cloudy in Los Angeles or San Diego, it is often sunny up here because we are often above the cloud-line. That’s why we have one of only a handful of Solar observatories in the world here in Big Bear! It’s also why you may have experienced passing through the clouds while driving up through the Running Springs or Lake Arrowhead areas. Because of their lower altitude, they are usually right at cloud level, so they are literally in the clouds many days when it is perfectly sunny in Big Bear. The newly-renovated Village also offers year-round shopping, entertainment, and unique eating experiences. In addition, there are also many planned events held through-out the year, such as our world-famous Oktoberfest (which runs from the middle of September until the end of October), fishing tournaments, film festivals, Renaissance/Pirate Fairs, bike races, fun runs, car shows and more!
One of the questions that we get fairly often is “What is the difference between Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead?” One of the reasons that people sometimes ask this question is probably because they are looking at all kinds of different sites such as Realtor.com, Trulia, or Zillow and see various price ranges that don’t seem to make sense. First, the most important difference is that Lake Arrowhead is a private lake and Big Bear is a public lake. This means that, even if you own a property in Lake Arrowhead, you aren’t allowed to use the Lake unless you also own lake rights (only available in Arrowhead Estates). Therefore, some properties seem less expensive because the owners don’t have the right to do anything but look at the Lake. In Big Bear, on the other hand, anyone can use the Lake (whether they own land here or not). There are also other restrictions on Lake Arrowhead (such as no jet skis), but this is really the most important. There are also very different areas of Arrowhead from lakefront to Crestline, just as in the Big Bear area, where you can spend $600+/sqft for a property right on the Lake, down to $120/sqft in the more outlying areas which are 10-15 miles from the Lake and resorts. Another important difference is the altitude. Big Bear is at approximately 6800ft which explains why we have 320+ days of sunshine a year. In addition to the Lake, hiking trails, ziplines, and sledding/tubing hills, we also have two world-famous ski/snowboard resorts right here in the Valley (Snow Summit and Bear Mountain). Our local resorts were recently bought by Mammoth Resorts (which also own Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain). Besides a 4-mountain season pass (the Cali4nia Pass), Mammoth has started bring several exciting new changes, such as new restaurants, a new tubing area, and plans for new runs and additional improvements. All of these attractions and activities make Big Bear the top choice for a 4-season vacation rental destination.
The different types of properties in Big Bear are as varied as the Big Bear Valley itself, which ranges from deepwater lakefront areas on the west end of the valley, to much more mountainous terrain in the Moonridge area, and finally a more high-desert-like environment on the far east end of the valley where the dry lake beds (“Erwin Lake” and “Baldwin Lake”) are located; so please feel free to ask us questions about any specific areas and the best places for a full-time home, second home, or vacation rental property. We look forward to helping you find the perfect Big Bear real estate option for you and your family!
When it comes to rental properties in the same area (which are going to have approx. the same tax rate and same property management charges), we typically divide the gross rents by the price of the property for a rough “cap rate”. This gives you a quick “apples to apples” comparison. To compare investments in different areas, you need to include more variables. For example, the taxes on our investments in TX are 2-3 times as high as those for our properties in CA, so we need to figure this in when deciding where to invest. Of course, you also need to figure in personal preferences (like the fact that you might really like to have a place that you can use yourself, right on the water); but that doesn’t figure into the cap rate equation, which is more of a rule of thumb. It’s also up to you as to whether or not you include the property management figure because it would be 0% if you did it yourself and around 10%, if you rented it on a full-time basis, rather than vacation rental (which typically makes more money in the 92315 zip code, although it takes more work for whoever is doing it); but it affords you the luxury of being able to use it yourself when you want, rather than having a full-time tenant in the property.
We began investing in Real Estate in 2001 with the purchase of our first townhouse in Encino and the lot on which we eventually built our first home in Big Bear. In 2001, the real estate market was very similar to the current market. Prices were down from previous years and interest rates were low (although not anywhere near as low as they are today). At the time, our interest rate was 7.75%, but the price was still low; and even after paying taxes and HOA fees, we were only paying a little more than what we had been paying for rent in West Los Angeles. That townhouse in Encino and the lot in Big Bear were the beginning of a string of real estate investments (including several in Texas, Florida, Burbank, and San Diego) that eventually allowed us to quit our 9-5 jobs and move to our “vacation home” in Big Bear. We now live off of the income from our rental properties and are able to spend time helping others find properties that will not only provide years of enjoyment for their families, but hopefully also lead them to the kind of financial freedom that we have found through Real Estate in Big Bear and beyond.