Getting a Loan for your Lakefront Property in Big Bear? Make sure you’re prepared for possible delays


Below is an informative article I recently read from the LA Times regarding a tweak in Fannie Mae’s appraisal process which they will be implementing over the next couple of weeks.  Critics claim that adding an additional step to the appraisal process will; a) lead to more expensive appraisals; and b) favor lower valued comparables which will complicate the process and make it harder for an appraiser to justify the value.  It might not seem like a big deal but with low inventory and fewer sales along the lake it could pose a problem if you plan on getting a loan for your lakefront purchase.  As always, the key is being informed and being proactive with your lender.

New Fannie Mae Program Could Bust Deals, Appraisers Say

Could a controversial new program set for launch nationwide this month by giant mortgage investor Fannie Mae lead to slower and costlier home sale closings and more disputes over prices between sellers and buyers — busting deals when the appraised value comes in below what the parties agreed to in the contract?

Fannie Mae doesn’t think so, but many appraisers are worried that the new program might mess up the marketplace. Here’s a quick overview of the issue and what it could mean to you as a seller or buyer:

Starting Jan. 26, Fannie Mae plans to offer mortgage lenders access to proprietary home valuation databases that they can use to assess the accuracy of and risks posed by the reports submitted by appraisers. The Fannie data will flag possible errors in the appraiser’s work before the lender commits to fund the loan, score the appraisal for overall risk of inaccuracy and may provide as many as 20 alternative “comps” — properties in the area that have sold recently and are roughly comparable to the house the lender is considering approving for financing but were not used by the appraiser.

Lenders can then forward Fannie’s alternative comps and risk scores to the appraiser or the management company that hired the appraiser requesting explanations and changes to the appraisal.

Professional appraisers rely on comps as key indicators for value. If houses “A” and “B” in the neighborhood sold within the last three months for $250,000 and are similar in size and features to the house under consideration by the lender, the appraisal should come in close to that number, absent any dramatic recent marketplace changes.

But if the appraiser values the house at the contract price of $300,000 agreed by the seller and buyer, the valuation may be judged too high. Excessive valuations create the risk of future losses to lenders and investors if the borrower defaults and the house goes to foreclosure.

On its face, the new Fannie program appears unassailable. Lenders and investors have an inherent right to be sure the appraisals they use for their funding decisions are accurate. If Fannie has developed a high-tech tool to help lenders spot risky appraisals upfront, where’s the problem?

Start with delays to closings and higher costs.

Appraisers say if they have to justify piecemeal why they chose the comps for their valuation rather than those selected by Fannie’s computers, it will add days — a week or more in extreme cases — to closing times. Meanwhile, sellers and buyers who had planned on dates for moving may suddenly find themselves knocked off track because the appraisal report was flagged. Realtors’ commission payouts also will be delayed.

Mike Turner, an appraiser in Northridge, told me it will be “an utter waste of time” if he has to explain point by point why he didn’t use the comps supplied by Fannie.

Pat Turner, an appraiser in Richmond, Va., and no relation to Mike, told me appraisers will have to raise their fees to compensate for the additional time.

“You think I’m going to do this for free?” he asked. “Hell no!” He predicted that his per-job fee could jump $150 to $200 or more simply because of Fannie’s new program — all paid for by consumers at settlement.

Another problem: Fannie Mae won’t give appraisers access to the “black box” databases it uses to produce risk-rating scores. A national petition sponsored by the Illinois Coalition of Appraisal Professionals is now circulating, demanding transparency.

Critics such as Mike Turner charge that Fannie’s data will not be able to recognize differences between adjacent neighborhoods — a key factor in valuations — because it is based on census tract groupings, which may include mixes of lower-priced and higher-priced homes from different neighborhoods. He believes that the risk-rating system inevitably will be biased toward lower-priced comparables — something he says appraisers “will figure out quickly” — and will therefore reward appraisers who choose less costly properties for their comps.

“Lower-risk comps will tend to kill deals,” he predicts, forcing sellers and buyers into needless disputes when appraisals come in below the agreed contract price.

Fannie says appraisers’ concerns are overblown and that if widespread problems arise it will make adjustments.

Andrew Wilson, a Fannie spokesman, denied that the system will be biased to the downside.

“It’s going to flag mistakes,” he said, “and frankly everybody should want that.”

Fees to use Big Bear Lake increase in 2013

East Boat Launch Ramp

I saw this in the Big Bear Grizzly last week and thought I should pass it along.  The increase in fees won’t be substantial for the consumer but it will bring in quite a bit of revenue for the MWD to get it back in “the black” again.

Fees to rise for lake use

By KATHY PORTIE Reporter | Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2013 2:45 pm

The cost of recreation on Big Bear Lake is going up. Faced with a $150,000 shortfall in recreational operations revenue, the Big Bear Municipal Water District board of directors approved an increase in lake use fees for the 2013 season.

The board considered and rejected a proposal to institute a launch access pass in addition to a boat permit. A seasonal launch access pass would add $25 to the season registered and nonregistered boat permit fee. In addition to the boat access pass, a quagga inspection fee would rise $3 per seasonal pass under option A, bringing the total increase to $28.

Board member Todd Murphy favored Option A, saying it spread the recreational fees fairly between recreational users. “Why are we charging the same for those using the ramps as those that don’t?” Murphy asked. “Those who don’t use the (public) ramps shouldn’t have to pay for them.”

Option A would bring in about $126,500, leaving a deficit of about $24,000 according to MWD staff reports.

Former Pine Knot Concessions owner Larry Cooke and former Big Bear Marina owner Alan Sharp told the board it makes more sense to go with Option B, which increases boat permit fees and fully funds the shortfall at an estimated $154,000.

“I know you are looking at revenue, and I understand that,” Cooke said. “We’re getting into more paperwork (with Option A). Why not just put this (increase) as part of the boat permit and leave it at that?”

Board member Skip Suhay said that life isn’t fair. “I think (Option B) is as fair as we can get it,” Suhay said. “Plan B is the only one that covers our options.”

Board president Vince Smith agrees in principle with Murphy, but after hearing from marina owners during a recent workshop, he changed his mind. Smith compares the fee to people shopping at a grocery store. “There are those who shop there every day and those who maybe shop once a week,” Smith said. “We all pay the same price.” He said going with Option B makes it less difficult for the end user and staff.

In the end, the board accepted Option B and Murphy voted along with the rest of the board. This summer seasonal boat permits will increase by $20 for registered vessels and $5 for nonregistered vessels. Daily registered boat permits will increase $10 for one day, $15 for two days, $20 for three days and $25 for four days. Daily nonregistered boat permits will see an increase of $5 per day. And float tube daily fees will increase $3 per day compared to 2012.

New fees at Big Bear Lake still fall well below most other lakes in Southern California. A Big Bear Lake annual motorized boat permit is $120 compared to $225 at Lake Elsinore, $135 at Castaic Lake and $195 at Lake Perris State Recreation Area. The other lakes also charge vehicle entry fees in addition to the boat launch or boat permit fees.

“I think we still compare favorably with other lakes in Southern California,” Murphy said after the meeting.

MWD General Manager Scott Heule said the fee increase is necessary to avoid dipping into property tax revenue to subsidize recreation operations costs. The fees help pay for staffing the launch ramps, Lake Patrol officers, quagga mussel inspectors, SS Relief maintenance, a portion of administrative and directors salaries, and stocking the fisheries.

Property tax revenue is used to maintain the district’s administrative facilities, dam safety and maintenance, as well as funding the in-lieu water agreement.

The board has a philosophy that lake users should pay for the recreational use of the lake, Heule said. Roughly half of the district’s $3 million in property tax revenue pays for the in-lieu agreement, which keeps water in the lake, which in turn keeps Big Bear in business and is a benefit to residents, Heule said.

The Cost of Recreation at Southern California Lakes

Lake Elsinore Lake Use Fees
Annual Pass
Motorized Vessel- General public $225, city resident $150
Non-motorized Vessel- General public $50, city resident $40
Launch Fees
$10 per boat at most marinas
Daily use fees
$10 per car at most marinas
Castaic Lake State Recreation Area
Vehicle Entry Fees
Vehicle annual pass $125
Senior/disabled annual pass $65
Boat Launch Annual Fees
Motorized $135
Non Motorized $105
Senior/disabled $65
Lake Perris State Recreation Area
Annual Passes
Day use $195
Golden Poppy Pass $125
Boat use pass $100
Big Bear Lake
Annual Passes
Registered boats $120 (includes $10 quagga inspection fee)
Non-registered boats $50 (includes $5 quagga inspection fee)

Big Bear Lakefront Quarterly Report: Looking at the 2nd Quarter of 2010

July 4th Fireworks Show over Big Bear Lake

Activity along the lake is picking up…from a recreation standpoint as well as a real estate standpoint.

Movies are being shown over at Swim Beach…the firework show was a big success (as usual), Boulder Bay Park re-opened for the Holiday weekend, Big Bear Cable Wake Park is opening soon and Big Bear Paddlefest is this weekend.

From the real estate side of things…

There are 5 Pending Lakefront Home Sales Right Now

Pending Sales for 2010

5 Closed Sales in the Second Quarter of 2010

Closed Lakefront Sales for 2Q 2010

A couple things worth pointing out here.  1).  Nothing closed escrow along the lake in the first half of the year over $1M.  Buyers are being very cautious and conservative.  We have 3 sales pending over $1M which I expect will close escrow later in the month, but you can’t put too much weight on those until they’re a done deal.  Once things loosen up later in the Summer I would expect 2-3 more sales in the $1-$1.5m range….the rest I predict will be below $1M.  This might come as a shock to you…considering more than half of all lakefronts currently on the market are listed over $1M but I just don’t see a lot of confidence right now on the upper end.   2).   If priced properly, buyers are still paying (on average) 95% of the asking price.  It’s the same ratio on the water as it is off Big Bear Lake.  So we’re not seeing a bunch of “low-ball” offers.  Buyers are being patient and they’re waiting for the right deal to come along.

Lake Level

A few weeks ago, the lake hit it’s highest point.  With the temperature warming up, we should see the lake level go back down a couple of feet.  Nothing to be alarmed about.  Hopefully we’ll have a wet Winter and the Lake will fill right up again.

Lake Level Update

One last thing.  It seems like each year we encounter some sort of tragedy along the lake.  This past week an 18 year old from Yucca Valley drowned over in Boulder Bay.  A few weeks before that, someone had to be air lifted to Arrowhead Regional after they jumped in the lake to retrieve a hat but failed to shut off the motor and got tangled up with prop-related injuries.  The lake is a great place to hang out but remember to use some common sense while you’re out there.

Kayak Rentals on Big Bear Lake


There was an article in the Big Bear Grizzly this past week that I thought would be interesting to share. There’s a noticeable increase in kayak activity over the past year and its gotten the attention of the MWD (Municipal Water District). I’m all for competition and letting the free market determine what’s best for consumers, but I do think we need to regulate the non-marina businesses that rent kayaks and canoes so everyone is on an even playing field. Personally, the limited-use permit makes sense. It’ll be interesting to see how all of this plays out.

Stirring MWD Waters

Published: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 7:57 AM PDT

On one side stand the marinas, armed with permits to run their businesses on Big Bear Lake. On the other side are the boat rental companies that slip past the Big Bear Municipal Water District marina permit requirement by conducting business on dry land.

The two sides will meet across the table at an MWD workshop Oct. 15 to consider regulating the booming nonmotorized boat rental business.

There are several nonmarina businesses renting kayaks and canoes in Big Bear Lake and nonprofit organizations providing kayaks and canoes for tours, instruction and other programs. Jory Lyle, owner of the kayak rental company Big Bear Paddling, said he’s willing to comply with new regulations so long as he can stay in business.

Lyle said his company provides a vital service to the boating community. “When I first came to Big Bear and went to try to rent a kayak, I went to several marinas and the equipment was terrible,” Lyle said. “That’s OK. It’s not their primary business. I want to provide a service and do it legally.”

Scott Cordner, who is a certified canoe and kayak instructor, echoed Lyle’s remarks. “I have seen a lot of equipment at the marinas first-hand and seen it’s in disarray,” Cordner said.

John Saunders of Captain John’s Fawn Harbor marina in Fawnskin plans to be at the workshop to oppose the rental companies. According to Saunders, when the lake was purchased one of the rules set up at the time was that marina permit holders held exclusive rights to commercial business on the lake. “I’ve done a good business with kayaks and now everybody wants to get their fingers into it,” Saunders said. “These carpetbagger guys are coming in with trailers in my zone of influence. I’m responsible for everything that happens in that zone of influence. It’s not fair. The rest of the marina owners feel the same way.”

MWD General Manager Scott Heule said the exclusivity of rights is the argument marina permit holders have debated for years. “Their permit allows them to conduct marina activities at their landing site,” Heule said. “The interpretation of that has gotten complex. We’ve struggled with that for some time.”

Heule said he is unaware of any documents that grant the marinas exclusive rights. “I think they do have exclusive rights to rent boats at the lake shore,” Heule said, which is not the same as renting kayaks at businesses in town, he added. “The whole kayaking thing has brought the issue to the surface.”

Lyle said he spent thousands of dollars to provide quality kayaks and canoes. “I’m doing this with insurance and with integrity,” Lyle said. “I think it’s a positive.”

Jim Dooley of North Shore Trading Company said there is a growing demand for nonmotorized boat rentals. “Seven years ago you might have seen two or three canoes at a time on the lake,” Dooley said. “This has become a user-friendly area to paddle.”

The marinas control business on the water, Dooley said. He approached several marinas about providing kayak and canoe instruction, but found no takers. “We can instruct on the shore, but if we step foot in the water we’re breaking the law,” Dooley said.

MWD board member Paula Fashempoor said the debate could be compared to ski rentals at the resorts and through outside shops. “Looking at this issue, it reminds me I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall 50 years ago when Snow Summit was renting skis,” she said. “This could kind of play into that. That’s a very good argument on your side,” she said to the kayak rental companies.

Lyle said regulating local companies won’t stop kayak and canoe rentals by nonmarina businesses. “What happens to all these huge businesses down the hill like REI?” Lyle asked. “You’re shutting us down and you can’t enforce the people coming up here with those rentals. I’m out there as an advocate for the lake and the community. Give us a limited-use permit. The MWD has the power to do it.”

“That’s why we’re having the workshop so we can figure this out,” board member John Eminger said. “I think the lake is under used. If we can increase the use, that’s what we want to do, but we also have to protect the marinas.”

For more information on the Oct. 15 MWD workshop, call 909-866-5796.

Big Bear Grizzly Reports, “City wants More Public Access On Lake”

Kathy Portie of the Big Bear Grizzly reports that the City of Big Bear Lake wants more access points for the public to view the lake along the south side of the Lake. Below are google maps showing a couple of the proposed areas which would be improved.

City Wants More Public Access on Lake
by Kathie Portie, Reporter

The city of Big Bear Lake wants to improve public access to the lake along the south shore. City Manager Jeff Mathieu and City Engineer David Lawrence met with the Big Bear Municipal Water District board of directors May 7 to present the city’s plan.

“We have responsibility to private property rights and the public’s ability to look at the lake,” Mathieu said. “We want to see what we can do on the south shore, which is one side of the lake where there are very few opportunities to view the lake.”

Mathieu said city staff has identified about a half-dozen to a dozen sites with potential as view points or access points on the south shore. “These areas do not seem to have any conflict with the marinas,” Mathieu said. “We wanted to present this to you before we go before the City Council. It’s very important that we work with you on this project.”

There are four existing sites the city would like to develop including access points at Fisher Road, Red Ant Hill Landing, Eagle Point and Widgeon Landing. Each of these sites will include walking paths, benches and trash cans. Many are along the established bicycle routes within the city limits, Lawrence said. “We want to mimic what we did at Paine Road,” he said. “We’ll include boulders to prevent (motorized) launching at these locations.”

The city will also address parking issues at each location. Some, like Fisher Road, has parking on the east side. “There is a potential partnership with Shore Acres here,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence calls the Widgeon site a prime location. “It has a great ability to be developed for picnicking and sitting. There is parking available here, and it’s close to bike routes,” he said. “We’ll install bike racks to encourage bikers to stop for lunch.”

“We want to keep these areas as natural as possible,” Mathieu said. “These will be surface improvements and we’ll address erosion problems.”

MWD board president Todd Murphy, who represents the North Shore area of Fawnskin, likes the idea. “It’s a great concept,” he said.

MWD General Manager Scott Heule recommended the MWD lake improvement committee review the proposal. “We’ll see about setting up a meeting with the committee, and Jeff and David to tour the areas,” Heule said.

Fisher Road

Widgeon Landing

Big Bear Grizzly Reports on the Summer Boating Season

Big Bear Lake is officially open…. this weekend has been a little slow because of the weather (lows are still in the 20’s and highs are in the 40’s and 50’s) , but I’m sure that’ll change in another couple weeks.   It’s suppose to warm up after Easter. 

Kathy Portie of The Big Bear Grizzly reports the marinas are ready for Boating Season.  

north shore landing

The Sound of Big Bear Summer
Boat Engines Rev as Marinas Open
by Kathy Portie, Reporter for The Big Bear Grizzly

Big Bear Lake is ready for business.

The 2009 boating and fishing season officially opens Wednesday, April 1. That’s when the Big Bear Municipal Water District’s public launch ramps on the North Shore and several marinas open their gates.

Pleasure Point Marina, Big Bear Marina, Holloway’s Marina and Captain John’s Fawn Harbor are among the marinas that start operations by April 1. “Basically we’ll have pontoons ready to rent,” said Kevin Aley, general manager at Pleasure Point Marina. “We aren’t opening full-tilt until probably May 1 unless the water warms up.”

Full tilt for Pleasure Point includes kayak, paddleboat and fun boat rentals as well as Desi’s wakeboarding operation. These operations require warmer weather for safe operations, Aley said.

Because most recreational boating activities require warmer water, April is prime time for fishing, according to Alan Sharp of Big Bear Marina. “You don’t have the noise and crowds, you pretty much have the lake to yourself,” Sharp said. The trout are waking up from their long winter nap and hungry. April hours for Big Bear Marina are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fishing tournaments begin in May with the Jim Hall Memorial May Trout Classic May 16 and 17. The classic tourney is sponsored by the Fishing Association of Big Bear Lake. To register for the event, call 909-585-4007. But hurry, this tournament fills up fast.

Those who don’t make the cut for the Jim Hall classic can turn their rods and reels on the Fishin’ for $50K Tournament May 30-31. The Resort Association-sponsored tournament is back after a four-year layoff. The tournament is May 30-31. For more information, visit the Resort Association’s Web site at

Fishing isn’t the only attraction during the early lake season. John Gill at Holloway’s Marina said the Time Bandit tour boat is expected to set sail Saturday, April 4. “We already have a charter booked,” Gill said. “If we have the interest, we may start it up sooner.”

There are tour boats at Big Bear Marina and Captain John’s Fawn Harbor, too.

Not all marinas will be in operation on April 1. Jet Skis and kayaks will be rented out of Holloway’s North Shore Landing, which is slated to open some time in May. And Pine Knot Landing expects to be open by May 1. “We’ll have boat rentals, our big tour boat Miss Liberty, Jet Skis and parasailing,” Pine Knot Landing’s Leo McCarthy said.

Marina owners and managers are excited about the upcoming season, hoping the close proximity of Big Bear to the Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas is attractive to tourists looking for a good deal. “We just want people to have fun,” Gill said.

Press Enterprise writes about Lake Levels in Big Bear

Here’s an article written yesterday by Darrel Santschi of The Press Enterprise about the current lake level in Big Bear. 

Click here to see the video they shot while in Big Bear.

Photo courtesy of William Wilson Lewis of Press Enterprise
Photo courtesy of William Wilson Lewis of Press Enterprise

From his desk near the south bank of Big Bear Lake, Scott Heule looks up at the snow-covered hillsides and prays for rain.  “This would be the perfect time to have a couple inches of rainfall,” he said Monday.

Some 120 inches of snow fell in the San Bernardino Mountains this winter, much of it during a fierce December storm. But without spring rain to quickly melt it and send the runoff gushing into the seven-mile-long lake, the melting snow will soak into the ground or evaporate — along with Heule’s dream of keeping the lake near full through the long, hot summer.

Heule is general manager of the Big Bear Municipal Water District, formed in 1964 to balance the irrigation needs of thirsty Redlands orange groves — for which the lake was created — with the boating, fishing and scenic beauty that fuels the Big Bear Lake economy.

Big Bear Lake is now five feet below its maximum depth and slowly rising.  That is a far cry from the drought-induced dust bowl days of the early to mid-2000s –when the lake was down 17½ feet — but still about a foot lower than last year at this time.

It’s more than enough water, however, to spark optimism in the mountain resort community.

Caltrans and the Travel Industry Association estimate that Big Bear Lake gets 8.5 million visitors annually. Nearby Lake Arrowhead is not open to public boating.

The Big Bear Lake water district will open two public boat ramps Wednesday to accommodate fishers eager to get on the water.

“It’s fantastic,” said Curt Dills, 58, a fishing guide who lives in nearby Fawnskin. “It gives you a lot more area to fish in. The boats are not so congested. The fishing seems to get better.”

It didn’t hurt that fish and game department wardens stocked the lake with nine tons of fish for a fishing derby last year.

Also, two grow-out pens, where young trout are caged and fattened for the summer season, will release their bounty this year. In previous years, there was only one pen.

“When the water is down, everything is a problem,” Dills said.

When the water recedes, people have to carry their gear farther from their vehicles to get to their boats. “Right now, you just drive right up and get in the boat,” he said.

At the 24-room Lakefront Lodge, owner Lori Lascola said she’ll be shopping for a second 40-foot gangway so her customers can get from their rooms to their boats. When the weather was dry and the lake began receding — dropping to two-thirds of its surface area by 2004 — the owners of large boats had to anchor far from shore to keep from running aground.

These days, a sagging economy and sharply lower gas prices, figure to bolster her business, she said, as Southern Californians look for vacation destinations closer to home.

“This summer will be a good summer for us,” she said. “With the lake starting to open up, we’re starting to get calls. People want to bring their boats up. They’re ready to relax on the water.”

Lascola is unsure how bad the downside will be.

“With some people losing their jobs and their homes, and the economy down, some prices for lodging and restaurants soften a little,” she said.

Alan Sharp, 54, opened his Big Bear Marina on Saturday for the first dozen of what he hopes will be thousands of dock rentals over the summer.

“We had record snowfall,” he said. “However, there is a caveat to that. It didn’t contain a lot of moisture. Even though there is 120 inches of snow, the reality is that the lake is down and it will be difficult to get to the level we had last year.”

Still, runoff could raise the level of the lake by at least a foot by the end of April, he said.

Heule said he is counting on melting snow, which in places has piled up right on the shoreline, to gradually replace evaporating lake water through the summer.

The lake’s busy season starts on Memorial Day weekend, he said, and continues through Labor Day.

Sharp said he still cringes when he thinks back five years, when he had to move his marina a quarter mile out into the lake and put up new power and telephone poles to stay in business.

“We went through the nightmare of the lake being 17½ feet down,” he said. “I never want to go through that again.

“You know what they say. Regardless of the circumstances, it can always be worse.”

Big Bear Favorite Oscar De La Hoya fights tonight


Okay…I’m stretching it a little bit by trying to tie Oscar de la Hoya and lakefront property together.  But as you can see from the YouTube video above, Oscar has rented a lakefront property on Big Bear Lake for his upcoming fight against Manny Pacquiao.  Oscar has been coming up to Big Bear for years to train before his big fights.  He owned a 7100 square foot log home compound on North Star since 1997 which he recently sold to UFC star Tito Ortiz. If he wins tonight’s fight in Las Vegas he won’t need to rent anymore! 🙂

If you’ve watched the HBO mini series De La Hoya/Pacquiao 24/7, you’ve seen Oscar hanging out at this log style home in all four episodes. This property is currently for sale with Gilligan Log Homes for $1,999,999.   I’ll dedicate a separate post next week for this home but thought I would give you a preview. 

Lakefront Log Style Home for Sale
Lakefront Log Style Home for Sale

[polldaddy poll=1170381]

Related Articles:

LA Times May 13, 2007- “Boxer exits the ring in Big Bear” “De La Hoya training in Big Bear, slimmed down for next bout”

Architectural Styles found in Big Bear Lake California

Most of these styles are pretty standard throughout the real estate industry, however, there are a few local terms that I thought might be beneficial to share with you. What was interesting to me was that more than half of the homes in our current MLS were placed in the wrong architectural category. I’m not throwing my local members under the bus, but I couldn’t believe how inaccurate this category ended up being under my search.


Well known for it’s barn style shape roof, there are different variations to this type of construction in our area of Big Bear. This type of home was popularized in the 1960’s and 1970’s by several well known local builders. In the 1960’s Hillcrest Construction (where Butcher’s Block is) would advertise on their lumber yard these affordable homes as a “you-finish-it” project. They would frame the house, put the windows and doors on and let the owner hang the sheet rock, install cabinets and flooring and do all the finishwork. John and Joe Voss (local builders in the 70’s and 80’s) were two of the original sales people who later made a big influence in construction in our Valley. Then in the 1970’s and 1980’s builders such as Rafferty, Looney, and Nootenboom made their living building these types of homes under speculation.

*This particular home is currently listed with Tyler Wood at Coldwell Banker. To see more photos of this home and to get specific information click here.


This style of home generally has a rectangular shape to it with a steep A-frame pitch in the middle of the house, usually right above the door, for dry access during the wet seasons. This home was also built in the 1960’s by Hillcrest Construction and has a nice mountain flare to it.


If you are not familiar with the Big Bear area, you probably wouldn’t recognize the term “Maltby”. This is because it is named after Gus Maltby, a local builder who used to build up here in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Some of the main features that separate this type of construction are the exterior half log siding, the local natural rock he used to make the fireplaces, large porches, and the custom cast iron lighting fixtures. He owned the Bear Valley Milling and Lumber Company and milled the log siding for all of his cabins there. He is most notably known for the Peter Pan Woodland Club, which he built and also built cabins on the land that members of the club belonged to. The term “Maltby” in our community is more commonly referred to the builder’s own style of craftsmanship and time period, not necessarily a particular shape of construction.


Right now, this is the most popular type of construction in Big Bear because it looks like a mountain cabin. There are full log homes (which typically are more expensive to build because of the labor involved) and there are log-sided constructions in Big Bear. The log-sided homes are built just like a typical home would be built (stick frame construction), they just add log accents to make it look like a log construction. Normally the builders incorporate the Chalet style, the A-Frame style or Ranch style architecture when they build these types of homes. Builders who have specialized with the full log construction include Bruce Picciolo (Country Heart Homes), and Brad Lindley (Lindley Log Home Construction). Bob Gilligan (Gilligan Log Homes) has built more log sided homes in the valley than any other builder, but there have been dozens of other builders to specialize in this type of construction.


This style of architecture is popular for vacation homes in ski resort areas so it is obviously popular in my area. This type of construction is more typical in wintery conditions because it ensures good snow melt. With the dramatic sloping roof (shaped like an “A”) it has a very distinctive style.


This is another popular style because of the number of vacation homes people own in Big Bear Lake, CA. The chalets are typically rectangular shaped with a fatter pitched roof than an A-frame. They generally have big lofts or second floor balconies and have exposed beams on the inside. This type of construction is also good in snowy conditions because of the ease of snow melt.


This type of home is noted for its long low to the ground profile. Some features might include but are not limited to: single story, retangular shaped, simple long floorplans, large windows, and low simple roof lines.

*This property is currently listed with Steve Hirschler at Coldwell Banker. For more information regarding this home click here.


This type of home is not found very often in my particular area. This style is much more modern and high tech. There are many different variations of contemporary that I won’t get into. I think the picture is self-explanatory.


This style of home was popularized by the Victorian Era and normally is characterized by multiple stories, smaller sized rooms, it usually has a turret and long sweeping covered balcony. There are many types of Victorian style homes, but this is another type of construction that we don’t see much in the mountains. I would say there are approximately 50 in our area.

I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions or if I can help you with your mountain home search feel free to contact me.