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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 738

So You Think You Want to Live in a Houseboat?

by Lakeshore Realty

If you’ve been looking for a change of scenery and are comfortable around water, you may be interested in moving into a houseboat. Houseboats have been used for recreation and residency in the U.S. for more than 100 years and there are many places across the globe where people make a permanent home out of floating real estate.

However, making the switch from land to water isn’t as simple as moving down the street. If you think the watery life is for you, there are a few things to consider.

Cities with Houseboat Neighborhoods

If your heart is set on a floating home, you may have to consider moving to one of the cities that is known for having beautiful houseboat neighborhoods along the waterfront. Seattle, Washington is one of the most well known places for houseboat living, specifically the famous Lake Union neighborhood with its unique floating homes. Other cities in the U.S. that are popular for houseboat dwellers include Tampa, Florida and Sausalito, California. Lake Tahoe is another popular spot for recreational and residential houseboating, as well as beautiful traditional lakefront homes and communities, so you can have the best of both worlds.

Houseboating is also a global way of living and neighborhoods can be found all over the world. If you’re more interested in international waters, you may want to consider the beautiful waterfront of Vancouver, B.C. or the world-renown houseboat villages in Amsterdam.

Types of Houseboats

According to The Independent, a houseboat is technically a structure sitting atop pontoons, what you’d usually think of for a houseboat, but there are different types of floating dwellings. It is common to convert commercial vessels into small or large homes for single people or families.These range from small homes, like a “narrowboat” which is usually about seven feet wide and up to 70 feet long, or a “barge,” which is a converted boat up to 12 feet wide and 50 feet long. The Independent also lists a “cruiser” as a large converted ferry or fishing ship that can be turned into a residence. Whether you go with a traditional houseboat or a converted boat, the options are endless for unique floating homes.

Costs and Fees

Just as with a traditional home, there are certain costs and regulations you need to consider. There are “mooring” costs which will run about $200 to $600 monthly. This will cover homeowner fees like docking, sewer and general maintenance. In some places, property taxes still have to be paid for houseboat ownership, just as with land-based homes. There may also be specific regulations, fees or licences depending on where you live with you houseboat and if you have other boats or water vessels. For example, according to, in Nevada, which has lakes popular for houseboat dwellers, you must have a boating license to to operate motorized watercraft more than 15 horsepower.

Maintenance Needs

Another important factor to consider when moving to the water from solid land is the differences in maintenance and upkeep. Rust and saltwater damage are common issues with floating homes. suggests maintenance often depends on the material of your houseboat. Fiberglass and Aluminum are popular materials for hulls and will generally have low-maintenance costs. Steel and wood are also often used and look better, but will have higher costs. Other common maintenance requirements will be bilge pump upkeep, battery replacement and water leak repairs. Maintenance is a large part of becoming a houseboat owner and should be seriously considered when deciding if floating real estate is right for you.

The 5 Worst Winter Staging Mistakes

by Lakeshore Realty

When a winter listing comes in it usually means the clients are driven by serious urgency. Unfortunately that urgency doesn’t always translate into the best staging decisions. Here are five all-too-common winter staging decisions that can crush a late-year sale and a few suggestions for cutting them off at the pass:


1. Over-Holidaying

Yes, we’ve reached one of the jolliest seasons of them all and that comes with the urge to get in the spirit. For sellers there is a dangerous line between spirited and off-putting holiday decor. Remember that you can never know the preferences of prospective buyers. So, gently guide sellers to decorate in a way that won’t deter anyone and make sure the tinsel doesn’t outshine the home.

2. De-Heating

Remember a showing is about both look and feel. If your sellers are the habit of having the heat off when they’re not home, make sure you call or text to remind them to heat it up before home tours. Prospects won’t hang around an unheated home long and this little distraction could cause them to miss a listing’s best features.

3. Pet Pandering

It’s cold outside and that means cats, pups, and other family friends are more likely to be inside with their belongings and “gifts.” When working with winter sellers, come up with a plan early on for what happens to pets during a showing and special checklist to make sure the toys, hair, and other accessories are stored in a way that doesn’t ruin the showing.

4. The Missing Doormat

It seems simple, but this can be big. Whether your clients go all out or not on staging, the doormat is essential for the winter season. They don’t want to return home to traces of their prospects in every room or end up with a showing stain they can’t overcome.

5. Under-Renovating

Winter repairs take more effort than in any other season in most areas. Make sure the cold or changing weather doesn’t deter your prospects from securing a sale. Just as only serious sellers list during the winter, only serious buyers are on the market. Those buyers have plenty of choices and your staging and listing have to be enough to move them off of a very cold fence.

How to Raise the Money You Need for a Down Payment on a Home

by Lakeshore Realty

How to Raise the Money You Need for a Down Payment on a Home

More than one person out of five finds coming up with a down payment the biggest challenge of the homebuying process, according to a 2013 HSH survey. Almost 23 percent of 786 respondents identified the down payment as their biggest hurdle, representing the second most common obstacle cited, behind home price at 23.5 percent. It's not easy, but you can come up with the money you need to buy a house. We've highlighted some of the best strategies below.

Estimate Your Down Payment

In December 2013, the median price for existing homes was $198,000, according to the National Association of Realtors. Under traditional lending guidelines, this equates to a 20 percent down payment of $39,600. Government and private mortgage insurance enables some low down payment mortgage options—as low as 3 to 5 percent down, as this FCIC online guide explains.

Make sure you compare multiple lenders to help identify a payment plan within your means. To keep payments manageable, test your repayment capacity by projecting a monthly savings amount equivalent to the difference between your current rent and projected mortgage.

Create a Savings Plan

Use a tool such as TimeValue's online calculator to determine how much you need to set aside per month to achieve a savings goal within a given time frame. For instance, to save up a $40,000 down payment for a $200,000 house within three years, starting with a $1,000 deposit into a 0.87 percent APY savings account, you would need to set aside $1,068.92 a month, or $246 weekly. For comparison, a 5 percent down payment of $10,000 on the same house would only require $246 per month.

Your plan should include a strategy for making your financial profile attractive to prospective lenders. Lenders consider factors such as the ratio of your down payment to your home's value, your debt-to-income ratio and your credit rating. Lenders will view you as less of a loan risk if you improve your credit score. You can do this by making monthly payments on time and keeping your balance low, ideally within 10 to 20 percent of your limit.

If you have high debt balances, look for ways to pay them down or off, thereby increasing your credit score. If you receive periodic payments from an annuity or structured settlement, you may be able to raise a lump sum of cash now by selling your future payments to a company like J.G. Wentworth. You could put this money toward reducing your balance or raising your down payment.

Start Saving

A good way to start is setting up a dedicated savings account. NerdWallet's John Gower reviews the best savings account rates available as of summer 2014.

Some homebuyers use retirement savings to raise their down payment, an option with various pros and cons. One strategy is reducing your retirement contribution temporarily, just long enough to raise your down payment. Some 401(k) plans have borrowing and hardship distribution provisions. First-time home buyers can withdraw $10,000 from an IRA without incurring a penalty, although if you have a traditional IRA, this is subject to tax.

November 2014 Incline Village Real Estate Office Rankings

by Lakeshore Realty

Lakeshore Realty is still the leader in Real Estate sales in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay real estate market. So far this year our office was involved in the sale of 143 properties around the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. 


9 More States hit New Price Peaks

by Lakeshore Realty

9 More States hit New Price Peaks -CoreLogic

Nine states established new price peaks in August CoreLogic said today.  The company's August Home Price Index which includes distressed sales was up 0.3 percent nationally during the month and was 6.4 percent higher than in August 2013, the 30th month in which year-over-year home prices have increased.  Along with the national increase Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming all had HPI numbers above their pre-crash peak and all for at least the second time.

Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest home price appreciation were: Michigan (+11.1 percent), California (+9.2 percent), Nevada (+9.2 percent), Maine (+9 percent) and West Virginia (+8.7 percent).

Excluding distressed sales, home prices nationally increased 5.9 percent in August 2014 compared to August 2013 and 0.3 percent on a month-over-month basis.  Mississippi was the only state which did not post an annual increase; its HPI was down 1.7 percent from a year earlier.  Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions.

When distressed sales were excluded the greatest appreciation on an annual basis was in Massachusetts (+9.4 percent), Maine (+9.3 percent), West Virginia (+8.9 percent), Hawaii (+8.7 percent) and South Carolina (+8.1 percent).

"The pace of year-over-year appreciation continues to slow down as real estate markets find more balance. Home price appreciation reached a peak of almost 12 percent year-over-year in October 2013 and has since subsided to the current pace of 6 percent," said Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic. "Continued moderation of home price appreciation is a welcomed sign of more balanced real estate markets and less pressure on affordability for potential home buyers in the near future."

"Home prices continue to rise, albeit more slowly, across most of the U.S.," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Major metropolitan areas such as Riverside and Los Angeles, California, and Houston continue to lead the way with strong price gains buoyed by tight supplies and a gradual rebound in economic activity."

While increasing numbers of states are establishing new price peaks the national HPI including distressed sales is still 12.1 percent below its peak in April 2006 while the HPI excluding distressed transactions 8.6 percent.

CoreLogic is forecasting that home prices, including distressed sales, will increase 0.2 percent from August to September and the annual price growth from August 2014 to August 2014 will be 5.2 percent.  With distressed sales excluded those gains will be 0.2 percent and 4.7 percent respectively.  The CoreLogic HPI Forecast is a monthly projection of home prices built using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state.


  • Sold Properties by Lakeshore Realty Agents and Sold Lakeshore Realty Listings in November 2014

Below we have a list of properties that were sold in November 2014 by Lakeshore Realty Real Estate Agents and properties that were listed by Lakeshore Realty agents and were sold on the North Lake Tahoe, Incline Village and Crystal Bay real estate market.

1025 Apollo Way

Bed: 3
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1978
Sq. Ft.: 1530

Days on Market: 68
Sold Date: 11/14/2014
Sold Price: $510,000

Listing Agent:
Dianne Brown


931 Jennifer St.

Bed: 4
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1984
Sq. Ft.: 2352

Days on Market: 197
Sold Date: 11/25/2014
Sold Price: $550,000

Selling Agent:
Tyler O'Neal 


567 Bronco Ct. 

Bed: 3
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1983
Sq. Ft.: 2100

Days on Market: 134
Sold Date: 11/14/2014
Sold Price: $583,500

 Listing Agent:
Jamie & Kristi


546 Lucille

Bed: 4
Bath: 4
Year Built: 1964
Sq. Ft.: 3860

Days on Market: 111
Sold Date: 11/14/2014
Sold Price: $1,455,000

Selling Agent:
Wade Holiday 


To access all the Incline Village and Lakeshore Realty listings please click here. You can also contact us by email or call us at 775-831-7000. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.


North Lake Tahoe November 2014 Real Estate Sales Comparison

by Lakeshore Realty
  • North Lake Tahoe November 2014 Real Estate Sales Comparison

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of November in the past 5 years. These reports we're created individually for Residential Home sales and Condominium Sales.

  • Residential Home Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Residential Home sales.

  • Condominium Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Condominium sales.

To access all the Incline Village and Lakeshore Realty listings please click here. You can also contact us by email or call us at 775-831-7000. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.

Could Lower Energy Prices Stimulate Housing Demand?

by Lakeshore Realty
Could lower energy costs translate into a more lively real estate market?  It seems logical - the less consumers must spend to keep their cars moving and their houses warm the more they can save toward or spend on owning a home.   CoreLogic Senior Economic Molly Boesel takes a different approach to the question, one revolving around the cost of commuting, in an article in the company's blog Market Pulse.

Boesel says that home heating oil prices in the first week of November were 40 cents lower than they were at the same time in 2013 and that in the four weeks before her article was written the average price of gasoline had fallen by almost 30 cents to just over $3 per gallon, the lowest since the end of December 2010.  (After last Friday's energy bloodbath AAA puts the average price at $2.769).  However, she sees only gasoline prices as having a direct impact on housing choices.

Gas prices remained under $2 per gallon for the first 13 years she tracks in Figure 1 while per capital vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased steadily.  Those miles began to level off as gas prices surpassed $2 and then to decline as they reached $3 per gallon.  After that mileage declined steadily even as gas prices bounced around, surpassing $4 on one occasion and falling below $2 on another.  VMT in August 2014 were at about the same levels as in 1994.  Boesel notes that some of the drop in driving can be attributed to the extreme stress (and probably a drop in commuting due to unemployment) of the financial crisis.



Homeownership rates more or less paralleled VMT between 1994 and 2004.  During this period VMT increased by 12 percent and homeownership rose by 5 percentage points.    Boesel says that, with gas prices under $2 some of the increase in homeownership occurred as many homebuyers moved further from the urban core to buy larger and more expensive homes.  Then in 2005 the trend reversed and homeownership as well as VMT has now fallen back to 1994 levels.



So Boesel asks, if consumers believe the drop in gas prices is here for a while, might it incentivize them to again migrate outside of urban cores?  She quotes a paper written in 2012 by Sexton, Wu, and Zilberman which found that low fuel prices helped lead to urban sprawl, pushing the lowest income mortgage borrowers furthest out into the suburbs and where they were the most vulnerable to the energy price spikes of 2008 and later.  However, she concludes, "Another major factor that led to that sprawl was an environment of easy credit and low interest rates - and while interest rates today are low, credit is tighter than it was in the mid-2000s, making the decision of whether or not to move far from the urban core a very different calculation."


Lakeshore Realty wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!

by Lakeshore Realty

At this time of Thanksgiving we pause to count our blessings.

The freedom of this great country in which we live.

It’s opportunity for achievement.

The friendship and confidence you have shown in us.

For all of these things we are deeply thankful.

Our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

FHFA Will Allow Some Foreclosed Owners to Repurchase Homes at Market Value

by Lakeshore Realty
In what could be a controversial move the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to allow foreclosed homeowners to repurchase their former homes at fair market value.  Prior to Tuesday's directive foreclosed homeowners were required to pay Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae the entire amount that had been owed on their mortgage prior to foreclosure.  This requirement applied as well to any third party who sought the buy the home for the benefit of the previous borrower/owner.  This requirement had meant that the GSEs had to treat such prospective purchasers differently than others who wished to purchase the property and were allowed to do so at the fair market price as determined by the GSEs.

"This is a targeted, but important policy change that should help reduce property vacancies and stabilize home values and neighborhoods," said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt.  "It expands the number of potential buyers of REO properties and is consistent with the Enterprises' practice of requiring fair-market value for those properties."

The policy change does not alter the existing rule that a borrower who has gone through a foreclosure on a GSE owned or guaranteed loan must wait a minimum of three years after the foreclosure to regain eligibility for another GSE related loan.  The REO property purchased for the benefit of the prior owner must also still be intended to be occupied by that owner as a primary residence

The policy change is limited to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac REO inventory of single-family homes as of November 25, 2014.  FHFA estimated that the two companies have approximately 121,000 properties in their combined REO inventory.  Certain property exclusions may apply and will be handled by the GSEs on a case-by-case basis.


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 738




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