After almost twenty years as a practicing attorney in high-stakes international patent litigation, the sole owner and operator of Best of Dunes, Stacey Stillman, discovered her true passion in hospitality and real estate! After having been involved in the “worst day in people’s lives” as an attorney (no matter how helpful), Stacey finds great joy and psychic reward in being involved in the best experiences families look forward to each year — their vacations at the shore. Stacey speaks with every single person who rents a home through Best of Dunes, finds out about their hopes and wants, and aims to make each guest’s experience as fulfilling as possible.
Stacey has her own portfolio of rental properties and many years of management experience. She holds licenses both as a California attorney and as a Real Estate Broker. Stacey is deeply familiar with tax considerations, cash flows, special issues in maintenance for homes on the shore, and the “tweaks” that will bring the greatest monetary rental gains for modest investments (you may be surprised what they are!). Stacey handles her own taxes and accounting for her rentals and business, and knows every detail necessary to provide you the best and most effective rental strategy for your home.
As a result, Best of Dunes is unique among rental agents at Pajaro Dunes. We bring the perspective of:
- having been a Pajaro Dunes renter (with kids!) prior to buying,
- being a Pajaro Dunes homeowner since 2014 (84 Puffin Lane),
- ongoing experience and updated information about the goings-on at the various Boards at Pajaro Dunes, and
- an 18-year professional background in Silicon Valley with deep legal, accounting, property investment and management experience.
Best of Dunes is not just a service agent, but a true partner in your rental efforts and managing your valuable asset. We bring a Silicon Valley work ethic and integrity to our representation and aim to exceed even your loftiest expectations. Our unique set of expertise allows us to run analytics, maximize your profit potential, converse with you on your level about your asset, monetize it within your preferred parameters, and address any concerns facing you as an owner in balance with the rental perspective.
Best of Dunes has zero bureaucracy — when you call, you reach Stacey every time. Same for renters. As a boutique agency, Best of Dunes will manage a portfolio of the best properties at Pajaro Dunes to maximum effectiveness and will never grow beyond Stacey’s ability to effectively manage each property personally. Less is more — a huge portolio of rentals limits the rental manager’s ability to give each one personalized attention. At Best of Dunes, we choose our properties as much as our clients choose us – and we have developed incredibly rich, rewarding and successful partnerships with every one of our clients. Prefer to meet on your turf on the peninsula? No problem – we can meet our clients for updates at Pajaro Dunes or in the Bay Area, or even by conference call or video chat. Because we understand the demands on your time and career, having been there ourselves.
Good business leads to great results. According to the information available to us, we are beating the returns for other rental managers by 125-150% year after year, plus charging owners far less in fees and maintenance – so they keep more of their profits. We have far exceeded the rental bookings by other managers for clients who switched to us, even in the same year they switched! Statistics are available for discussion.
We pay our cleaners a living wage and use nontoxic cleaning supplies whenever possible. All of the guests’ cleaning fees go to the cleaning effort — our homes are the cleanest available, and we spend 8-12 person hours in between each guest, plus laundry normally taken outside the home for service. We provide high quality supplies in plentiful amounts – paper products, soaps, etc – and not the discount “industrial” supplies other agents use. We refresh our owners’ long term rental supplies when needed and keep the homes in tip top shape. We even leverage the power of our many homes to obtain group discounts on services such as chimney cleaning, window washing, termite inspections and treatment, pest control and the like.
Best of Dunes handles maintenance issues and emergencies with professionalism and the appropriate speed and responsiveness called for by the situation. We rely on licensed professionals in each industry to get the job done right the first time — plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, and other specialists we have tested and approved. We have our own handyman on call for appropriate jobs. We’ve handled each issue to the satisfaction of our owners and renters, including all kinds of pests, leaks, failed appliances, water shutoff, roof and window leaks, broken glass, furniture repair, carpet repair, and the many things that can come up in the course of having a home marinating in salt air and renting one’s home to even the most responsible families.
Being a Pajaro Dunes homeowner herself, allows Stacey to understand the kind of information other owners want and appreciate. Best of Dunes provides information no other rental agent does: an accounting of all of the monies collected from each guest (not just rent); proof of payment of hotel tax for each specific property; a living total of the owner’s net income expected for the year as it progresses…. we also don’t add on “fees” and “taxes” to guests that go in the agent’s pocket — our accounting is transparent and our books and trust account are open to clients for examination, no questions asked.
We also have the strictest rental contracts around — leading to almost nonexistent cancellations, and zero problems with pets, parking or noise. Best of Dunes’ rental homes are excellent Pajaro Dunes citizens. Our rental demographic consists of highly conscientious, individual rental guests who are responsible and value their time in our clients’ homes. Speaking with each rental guest personally and providing detailed contracts and written expectations avoids misunderstandings and mistakes that would impact our neighbors’ quiet enjoyment of their homes.
Best of Dunes has converted several non-rentals into rental homes for the first time. We handle the creation of locked owner closets, putting away personal items, upgrading amenities and ensuring the rental has all the supplies it needs. The owner can be involved as much or as little as desired. We pass through expenses at cost without any upcharge or time charge for this service. The best time to consult Best of Dunes is before you make any changes to your home!! Don’t throw money away on improvements that have no bearing on your rental returns! We are also available for consultation with potential buyers and listing agents for homes listed for sale.
Maximizing client returns is not possible by putting rates out there and waiting for renters to show up – or not. Best of Dunes dynamically manages its bookings by constantly evaluating the current calendar, offering specials or adjusting rates when appropriate, evaluating demand or scarcity over periods of time, comparing past and current rental milestones, and monitoring the overall rental situation at Pajaro Dunes. It is this customized attention that brings maximum returns. Anyone can rent a home out in July, but it is what your rental manager does all year that makes a huge difference. Rental management is a marathon, not a sprint.
Best of Dunes doesn’t only do good business, it also simply “does good” for the sake of paying it forward. We host the Marine Mammal Center rescue teams at homes whose owners are interested in doing so, to support their rescue efforts for seals, whales and other marine life on Monterey Bay. Being able to stay on site rather than drive all the way from Marin County makes a huge difference in the marine staff and volunteers’ ability to perform at their best – which benefits all of us who cherish this special place on the bay. Best of Dunes is also a donor to the Friends of Pajaro Dunes organization. Stacey volunteers as an individual at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital — first as an “art cart” volunteer entertaining kids on the pediatric ward, and next as a “baby cuddler” holding at-risk infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (which is shown to improve their outcomes and further development). Stacey also organized a series of activities at Pajaro Dunes in summer 2016, in conjunction with the Pajaro Dunes Association, which included food trucks, yoga, massage, bird walks and photography, with the goal of benefiting the entire community. As Best of Dunes grows, we hope to support additional efforts and activities such as this.
One satisfied client who switched to Best of Dunes after using another rental agent for ten years prior, remarked that other owners “would be fools not to sign up with you, Stacey”! We agree! Best of Dunes offers a level and breadth of service that has never been available at Pajaro Dunes. We set out to create the rental management partner we would want to hire for our own Pajaro Dunes home.