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    Mammoth Lakes Real Estate Buyers Guide


    Mammoth Lakes Home Buyer GuideMammoth Lakes, CA is one of the top ski and outdoor destinations in the country.  Mammoth Mountain is the highest summit of any ski resort in California and situated in the ideal location to receive massive snowfalls from winter storms.  Mammoth is also a very rewarding place to own real estate.  This guide is designed to help you understand the ins and outs of purchasing Mammoth Real estate  whether you are just browsing or serious about making the dream of owning property in Mammoth a reality for you.


    The Mammoth Real Estate Market has become one of the hottest in the country

    The Mammoth Real Estate market experienced a very slow recovery compared to the rest of California after the last down turn in 2007. One of the worst droughts in California brought poor ski conditions and many buyers were still being careful with their purchases from the previous recession.  From 2011-2016 Mammoth saw very little appreciation and prices were undervalued. In 2017 the market began to recover quickly and we have seen gains of 20-30% in the last year for both single family homes and condos.  Mammoth Mountain was also purchased by Aspen-KSL which will be heavily investing in the redevelopment and improvement of the Mammoth Mountain experience.  Real Estate in Mammoth is very attractively priced currently and still has plenty of appreciation upside. Nightly rental rates have been improving, Mammoth had some of the best skiing conditions in the country this last year despite below average snowfall.  If you look at the historical median condo prices in Mammoth you can see the current price levels are very reasonable.

    We believe Mammoth will exceed the previous peak in 2006 assuming the overall US economy continues to grow. We expect prices to continue to rise somewhat rapidly as prices return to more normal levels. This means if you are thinking of buying in Mammoth waiting or taking your time may not be the best approach.  We have already seen many clients get priced out who did not take advantage of good deals at the time.  We also have many other clients who purchased recently and are already enjoying substantial price gains in under a year of ownership.

    Mammoth Lakes Median Condo Prices


    The oldest rule in real estate: Location, Location, Location

    • There are over 80 condo complexes in Mammoth to choose from and many different single family neighborhoods. People come to Mammoth with different interests. Having a prime location will ensure you not only enjoy your Mammoth property but that it also becomes a smart purchase.
    • Prime locations include being close to Canyon Lodge, The Village, and Eagle Lodge.  These locations offer ski in-ski out or being within walking distance of the ski lifts. These locations tend to have the highest demand for nightly rentals.
    • The village offers excellent dining, shopping and easy mountain access.
    • South facing units are also highly desirable as they get more natural light and passive solar heating from the sun. South facing driveways will have less snow buildup.
    • Having the right Realtor helping you will ensure you find the best locations that match your price range while also saving you time and energy.
    • Certain condo complexes and homes are difficult to access during the winter during storms. This is something to consider before purchasing.
    • Lower level condo units can become buried in the snow in the winter reducing natural light and desirability.
    • There are several redevelopment projects planned for Mammoth that will improve existing locations. Main St redevelopment, Eagle Lodge redevelopment, & Canyon Lodge is headed for a remodel.
    • Some locations are more desirable in the summer and there are also properties near the 2 golf courses in Mammoth.
    • There is also a finite amount of buildable land in and around Mammoth Lakes. The majority of the land surrounding Mammoth is US Forest Service, BLM or owned by LADWP.  This means Mammoth is not likely to be overbuilt and the supply of real estate is limited.  This is unique and one of the reasons Mammoth Real estate is a great ownership and investment opportunity.

    Finding the Right Property

    Mammoth has over 80 condo complexes and many different neighborhoods for Single Family Homes

    • The amount of choices in Mammoth and varying locations and amenities can make the buying process overwhelming for some
    • Certain complexes rent great and others do not
    • Some complexes have covered parking and garages and others have outdoor parking (which in the winter can be a big negative).
    • Some complexes have low HOAs and others high HOAs
    • By working with The Millman Team Mammoth Lakes as your real estate agent we will ensure to help you find the best properties that suit your needs.  We are excellent negotiators and know of the best properties currently for sale.  Once we know what you are looking for we can help you find it quickly and then help you get the best price possible. We will share all of our valuable local knowledge with you and help you find opportunities you would not otherwise have known about. We also provide our clients with service people such as: handymen, electricians, plumbers, cleaning services and more.


    Obtaining a loan in Mammoth is much different than the rest of California

    • Financing for single family homes in Mammoth is fairly simple and on par with what you might expect elsewhere in California.
    • Getting financing on condos in Mammoth on the other hand can be quite complicated compared to buying real estate elsewhere in California.
    • Many condo complexes in Mammoth have on site rental offices that prevent them for being eligible for conventional financing in most cases.  This means that the big banks and out of the area mortgage brokers may not be able to obtain financing for you even though they told you that you are pre-approved.  These complexes that have rental offices are considered “condo-tels” and do not meet conforming .  These properties can be loaned on but the loans are considered “non-warrantable” and must be sold to an investor who lends on these types of loans.  These loans often require 25% down and have a slightly higher interest rate than conventional financing. Larry Ellison with Guild Mortgage specializes in financing condos in Mammoth. Larry and his team provide excellent financing options for the majority of condo complexes in Mammoth whether they have a rental office or not.  This puts you in an excellent position to purchase once you find the right property. Larry can be contacted at (424) 292-3939  or
    • Certain condo complexes also have active litigation between a home owner and the association. Complexes with these issues often can not receive any financing until the litigation is resolved and may require all cash in order to purchase

    Nightly Rental Considerations

    Owning a nightly rental condo in Mammoth has some great advantages if done right
    • Nightly rental can help offset some of the cost of ownership & provides income while you are not using your condo
    • Most single family homes are not allowed to do nightly rentals. Most condos do allow nightly rentals.
    • If you plan to have your unit professionally managed most companies charge 25-60% of the gross rental income. You won’t have to do much however this often only covers a portion of the ownership and while also contributing wear and tear. Most professionally managed rentals do not cover the cost of ownership if their is a loan on the property. In many cases the net income may cover less than 50% of the ownership of properties that have a loan. Self managed properties have the potential to cover 70-100% of the ownership cost with a loan in ideal situations.
    • Nightly rentals are required to pay a 13% TOT (transient occupancy tax) off of the gross income.
    • Self managed rentals are becoming more popular and easier to do. Airbnb only charges 3% of owner income and has a tremendous platform for getting your unit advertised and rented.  By managing your unit yourself you will have much higher net income.  There are several things that help make self managed nightly rentals easier. Having a reliable cleaning service, using a smart lock instead of keys, having an inspection company inspect the unit for you several times a month.  This self managed formula allows for higher net income, higher occupancy rates and higher rents if managed properly and you provide a well cared for unit for guests.  As you build your Airbnb profile and positive reviews you will see improved results as time goes on.  My wife and I manage our own Airbnb and it has been a fantastic experience.  We also have several clients who self manage their nightly rental in Mammoth with great success and we are happy to share our knowledge and insights with you.
    • Certain locations have much better demand for nightly rentals and we can help you find those complexes if this is important to you.
    • If you are interested in full management for your nightly rental we can recommend some of the best companies in Mammoth who provide great service and reasonable rates.

    Tax Considerations

    With the new tax plan there are new factors to consider whether classifying your property as a rental property or a 2nd home.

    • The new tax plan limits mortgage deductions to $750,000 for 1st and second homes. Previously this limit was $1million plus $100,000 in home equity improvements. This means for many who already own a primary residence and looking to purchase a 2nd home in Mammoth they will have less tax write off on the 2nd home and in some cases no write off at all. With the new tax plan that went into effect in 2018 second homes lost part of their tax deduction and for some buyers all together. SALT (state and local taxes) are now capped at a $10,000 deduction.
    • The benefit of owning a condo which you use for nightly rentals is the tax advantages.  With nightly rentals you can deduct the utilities, repairs, furniture, silverware, internet, TV, mortgage interest, HOA fees, cleaning fees and property taxes.  If you use your nightly rental for personal use you are only allowed to use it 10% of the rented days for personal use. So if your condo rents 200 days a year you would be allowed to use it 20 days a year and still qualify as a rental property for tax purposes. Visiting the property for repairs or maintenance does not qualify as personal use.
    • Due to the tax advantages of rental properties combined with the rental potential income from nightly rentals in Mammoth these condo properties are in high demand.
    • You should consult a CPA or tax professional prior to purchasing real estate and make sure you fully understand the tax guidelines in place.


    If you are interested in purchasing Mammoth Real Estate, the Millman Team can help you find the best properties and make your dream a reality. Our services come at no cost to home buyers and we have a strong track record for success in the Mammoth Lakes market.  Call us today at 760-914-4411 so we can find out more about what you are looking for and put you on the road to success. We look forward to speaking with you.


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