Cielo makes changes to its ‘restrictive’ real estate rules

The view from a Cielo lot.

Behind the gatehouse at Cielo, the secluded streets wind up and up through the sprawling and hilly 1,400-acre residential community in Rancho Santa Fe. The 373 homes inside Cielo offer killer views with some of the highest vantage points along the coast, stretching from La Jolla to Lake Hodges and the mountains.

Trouble was, no realtors or potential home buyers could make it past the gates to get a glimpse of that view.

“Cielo residents greatly value the serenity, privacy and safety of this guarded and gated community in which burglary and robbery reports are essentially non-existent,” said Sharon Schulzki, a Cielo resident. “While maintaining this level of safety is of paramount importance to the community, many Cielo residents expressed concern that the Cielo real estate rules were overly restrictive.”

Following months of review, Cielo’s new real estate rules went live on Oct. 17, putting out the welcome mat for more realtors to come and hopefully generate more activity for homes and lots on the market.

Schulzki was part of a committee that formed in January to take a look at loosening up the real estate rules—the team included the Cielo homeowners association’s general manager and board members. The committee compared their rules to other gated and guarded communities in the area, including Fairbanks Ranch, The Bridges, The Crosby and Santaluz.

“It was painfully obvious that ours were very, very restrictive compared to the other communities,” Schulzki said.

Knowing Cielo’s prohibitive practices, many agents didn’t want to even bother with showings in the community, Schulzki said.

For agents that did have open house appointments, the rules were strict—agents would have to go down to escort people every time someone arrived at the gate. If there were several appointments that could mean a lot of back and forth within the expansive community; depending on the home’s location it could be 10 minutes every trip.

“It was crazy, you couldn’t make it work,” Schulzki said. “It was so challenging for agents to come in here and we were never getting showings...We couldn’t get any activity here.”

The committee’s solution was to create a preferred agents list—real estate agents can now ask to be put on the list and once approved, they can come in and out of Cielo without an appointment, with or without a client.

New rules have also been implemented to facilitate the entry process for open house visitors who are not escorted by a realtor. Visitors at the gate will be provided the contact information for the realtor holding an open house and will be added to the homeowner’s dwellingLIVE account. After entry is authorized, the visitor will be provided with information about all Cielo open houses taking place on that day and will be permitted to visit any of those homes.

Schulzki said the new rules make the agent’s job more efficient—they can preview homes and lots without a client and when visiting with a client, they can show off the neighborhood, views and different types of homes available. Schulzki said while the new rules make it easier for agents, they also provide a benefit for people who own homes in Cielo—at some point, everyone will sell a home, she said.

There were some concerns from Cielo residents about security with loosening up the rules but Schulzki said as far as she knows, they are one of the only HOA gated and guarded communities that takes driver’s licenses and license plate information.

“Everything is falling into place, it’s not a hassle to get in here anymore,” Schulzki said. “I just want agents to know we’re here. We’ve been way overboard with our procedures and we’re trying to correct that by extending an olive branch.”

In Cielo, there are currently 21 homes on the market, ranging in price from $1.8 to $5.7 million—the newest homes are located in the Upper Cielo community. There are also 12 building lots on the market, ranging in price from $500,000 to $1.3 million.

The community includes Club Cielo, which has a fully equipped fitness center, competition-sized swimming pool with spa, multiple children’s playground areas and two tennis courts, multiple entertainment areas and a catering kitchen. The newly opened- Upper Cielo club has a pool and tennis courts.

Cielo has an active schedule of community events including quarterly sunset socials, pool parties, a craft fair, book club and children’s events.

The Schulzkis have lived in Cielo for 16 years and for several years her husband has served on the architectural review committee. As they are now empty nesters, their home is currently on the market and they will be building on another lot they purchased in the community.

“We love it here and we don’t ever want to leave,” Schulzki said.

Real estate agents who wish to be added to the Cielo Preferred Agent List can contact Jack Farinas at