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Clever Home Staging Tricks You Can Steal

by Lakeshore Realty

Getting ready to sell your home? It would be awesome to hire a home stager.

Home stagers are paid to furnish a home and help it look its best. What they create isn't so much the ideal living environment but rather the idealized one—one in which there are no awkward furniture arrangements, toys on the floor, crumbs on the countertops, or surprises in the toilet. It's not maintainable for most people everyday, but boy does it work when selling your home.

Stagers typically have furniture and accessories at their disposal—not to mention interior design degrees. But they can cost hundreds—even thousands—of dollars. Fortunately, you can achieve great results by using some of their tricks.

Clear it out and clean it up

The first step in preparing any home for sale is to clear it out and clean it up, getting rid of clutter and personal items and scrubbing it down.

"De-cluttering -- and having a pristine home from top to bottom -- are the no-brainers that can make your real estate look better than the house down the block," said Better Homes and Gardens. "Your home must be cleaner and less cluttered than it's ever been. You need to banish not just the day-to-day buildup (the mail, the shoes, last season's clothes, the dog hair), but also several years' accumulation."

Removing kids' toys, outdated furnishings, and excessive knickknacks can help. Whatever you can't sell or donate, box up and store at a friend or relative's house, or rent a storage unit for a couple of months. Or, if you can do so neatly and without compromising your garage space, stack them along a wall.


Houzz

Depersonalize

A house that reflects your personal style from floor to ceiling and all over the walls (and every other surface) will have a hard time appealing to buyers.

"Prospective buyers won't be able to picture themselves in the house if they're surrounded by dozens of photos of your children and grandparents," said Bankrate.

Update the bathroom

Not everyone has the funds for a big bathroom renovation prior to selling. Smart changes can make a big difference.

"Avoid dated tile by painting. Bathrooms sell houses, but dated tile in a bathroom doesn't. A low-cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint," said HGTV. "First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer.

Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering. For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have an up-to-date bathroom that brings in big bucks."

Pay attention to design details

After you've cleared away the clutter, you want to focus on creating simple, elegant designs. It's easier than it seems.

"For a visual impact on a table without a lot of fuss, remember a design basic: Groupings of odd numbers always do the trick! Three of a kind, like…hurricane jars, filled with something as simple as pinecones, makes a ridiculously easy and dynamic table scape," said Katie Jane Interiors.


Katie Jane Interiors

Up your curb appeal

Make sure you make a great first impression, or you might not have an opportunity to make a second impression.

"You may have spent hours making sure the kitchen is clean, and doing so is worth the effort," sad Bob Vila. "But remember, the facade is the first part of your house a potential buyer will see. A little landscaping can go a long way. Strapped for time? Potted plants placed around the front door will add welcome charm to your entryway."

Pay attention to odors

We get used to our environment, so we might notice that musty smell or cat box aroma. Have your realtor or a trusted friend do a walk through and give you an honest assessment—not just of the way the house looks, but how it smells. Then take action to improve it. Start by steam cleaning the carpets and any upholstered pieces that need it.

Don't ignore the windows

Windows that are cloaked by outdated or heavy window coverings can negatively impact the image your home projects. Open the blinds and replace drapes with inexpensive versions that will let the light in and frame the views.


Pinterest

"Need to dress up a window but don't want to shell out big bucks for window treatments? Here's a trick: Use place mats," said HGTV. "First, apply a hook-and-loop fastener to the place mats and attach them in a row to a basic curtain rod. Now that the place mats are attached to the curtain rods, pin them together at the bottom, and you'll have a stylish valance that costs about $12."

Upgrade the Furniture

Giving your home a fresh, clean look with new furniture can make it feel more modern and appeal to more buyers. Don't have money for new stuff? "Try giving worn-out pieces a pick-me-up with new pillows or a slipcover," said Bob Vila.

While you're at it, take a look at your furniture layout too. "Your preferred setup may not be the most appealing one to would-be buyers. Where logical, opt for a social layout that makes it easy to envision the space being enjoyed among family and friends."

Give rooms a single purpose

That home office that doubles as a guest room is useful, but when it comes time to sell your home, pick one and run with it. "Potential buyers are confused by extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses," said HGTV.

3 Tips for Making Your Garage a Fishing Equipment Base

by Lakeshore Realty

‚ÄčA 2013 report by the American Sportfishing Association estimated that American anglers spend $7.2 billion annually on fishing equipment. Diehard fishermen typically possess 20 or more rods, several reels and even gear for ice fishing for those living in the Northeast and Midwest.

It's simply smart business for avid anglers to protect their investments by organizing and storing their fishing equipment so it's accessible and ready to use regardless of time elapsed between fishing trips. Garages provide the perfect space to create a fishing base that would make both Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam proud. Here are three tips to efficiently and effectively store your gear.

Tackle Advice

Some anglers like to go after the same type of fish every time out. This makes for easy tackle selection and storage. However many fisherman target catfish one week, bass the next and trout the following month. It's these individuals who need multiple tackle boxes and a more detailed system of organization.

Crank baits should be stored in their own tackle box. All terminal tackle (hooks, sinkers, swivels, etc.) should also have dedicated boxes. Plano's four-drawer tackle boxes are great for separating your gear for each species of fish.

All of your soft plastics need their own dedicated storage spaces and should be organized by style. Curvy-tail worms for bass and walleye, for example, should be stored together. Drop shots and senkos for other species need their own space as well.

Rack 'Em

All rod racks are not created equal. The type and style you choose will depend on the amount of space you're working with and the general layout of your garage.

Rod holders are typically made of plastic, aluminum, fiberglass or custom-built with various types of wood. The two main varieties are vertical ground racks and wall racks. The latter have the advantages of not taking up surface area on the ground and allow your lines to hang loosely. You also don't have to worry about wall racks tipping over.

Make certain vertical ground racks are sturdy. Don't buy it if you're not able to view and test one on display. It's best to use wood or steel ground racks because of their weight. If you're willing to pay $500 for a rod and reel, it behooves you to also invest in an adequate means of storing it.

Advanced Tips

The little steps you take before putting your rods away until the next fishing trip make all the difference in preserving and protecting your equipment.

When storing your rods, make sure there's no tension on the lines. Most anglers hook the line to the reel when rods are not in use. But rods have memory and will maintain that bend if you leave it hooked that way long enough. Ideally lures should simply be cut off completely when storing your rods.

Loosen the drag and spool tension on bait casting reels when poles are sitting for extended periods. These steps will eliminate the possibility of bending your rods and negatively effecting casts.

Finally keep the garage at room temperature if possible. Excessive heat weakens the graphite and fiberglass in rods. Filet knives should be cleaned, sharpened and dried before long-term storage. It's also a good idea to coat them with a light oil to protect from rust.

10 Things To Never Say To A Real Estate Agent

by Lakeshore Realty

Real estate is serious business, and it can be easy to forget when we're involved in a complicated and emotional financial transaction that the person we're working with is just that…a person. An agent might not always show you when he's feeling disrespected or offended, but you may pay for it—literally. Establishing a good relationship early on and maintaining it through honesty, open communication and mutual respect is key to a successful transaction. You can help ensure that happens by watching what you say.

1. That price is ridiculous.

If you're dealing with a professional agent, especially one who has a good track record in the business, it's fair to assume she's done her homework on comparable and is recommending an offer price based on the local market and your financial situation. Most agents are going to expect some conversation to take place around pricing, but insisting on a price simply because it's what you want to pay doesn't typically play out well.

2. But Zillow said my house is worth $40,000 more than what you're telling me.

Zillow has become an industry juggernaut. While their home pricing estimates, known as "Zestimates," aim to inform buyers and sellers, they've been proven to be off by a whopping amount—somewhere between the 8% Zillow claims and upwards of 20%, 40%, even 61% depending on the house and the location, according to a recent L.A. Times report, said Housingwire.

3. I know what my home is worth.

Not really. Your estimation of your home's worth may be based on neighborhood comps, but it's probably also colored by your emotions or by what you need to make from the sale. It's hard to separate out your personal connection. That's why it's important to let your Realtor be an impartial professional.


USA Today

4. I have a perfect credit score.

"Unless you're part of the 0.5% of consumers who reach the 850 mark, it's time to be real about your credit score and your financial ability to buy a home," said Agent Ace.

Overvaluing your credit, your down payment, or any other aspect of your buying ability, is pointless. Everything is going to come out during the buying process anyway.

5. I'm not going to bother getting pre-approved.

To an agent, this can indicate that you're not a serious buyer. Or that you don't understand the process.

In tight markets, you're at a disadvantage if you aren't ready to pull the trigger right away when you find a house. You could very well lose out because another buyer was ready with their pre-approval and you were just getting in touch with your lender.

And, as Lighter Side of Real Estate points out, "An agent worth his or her salt won't agree to invest countless hours showing homes to someone who isn't approved for a loan."

6. I have between $200,000 and $2,000,000 to spend with any number of bedrooms in any location.

Open-ended budgets and limitless expectations are great, but giving your agent a little more guidance can help him zero in on viable options. When you have no idea where or what you want to buy, most agents won't embrace the idea of spending countless hours trying to narrow it down.

7. I'm not doing any repairs.

Sellers want to think their house is perfect, but inspections may show otherwise. Drawing a line before you even know what problems may exist can be frustrating for an agent. It's her job to get you the best possible price, but unreasonable expectations make that more difficult.


GruntWorks Home Services

8. You can cut your commission. I mean, you make a ton of money.

While commissions are often negotiable, assuming an agent will cut it—especially when they've been approached in a callous or sarcastic manner, isn't the way to go about getting what you want.

9. I'm not ready to buy…I just wanted to see a few homes.

People looooove having their time wasted. Especially busy agents who could be out dealing with serious buyers instead of showing homes to someone who isn't sure they're even in the market.

"The best real estate agents are busy individuals for a reason. Their services are highly in demand and thus their time is valuable," said Agent Ace. "It's ok if you're just looking around and aren't sure whether or not you're ready to take the leap; but if that's the case, be upfront at the start not after several showings."

10. Can you give me some advice about my house? I don't want to hire an agent.

Most people wouldn't approach a CPA to do their taxes without hiring him or expect a lawyer to write up a divorce agreement without paying, but real estate agents often yield questions from people looking for free advice. Most will answer a question or two, but there is a limit.

LAKESHORE REALTY PRICE REDUCTION

by Marius Poltan

405 Tracy

By far one of Tahoe's most beautiful and exclusive great room floor plans! The entry says "You Have Arrived" as you take a step down into the main level.

A cabin designed for modern times with hardwood floor throughout.

Spacious dining room off living room and kitchen. Windows embrace this room  offering incredible views of forest and filtered views of the lake.

  • BEDROOMS: 5

  • BATHS: 5

  • PARTIAL BATHS: 2

  • SQ FT: 6330

  • LOT SIZE: 0.85

  • GARAGE: 3,ATT

  • HEAT SOURCE: Gas

  • NEW PRICE: 2,995,000

  •  

What Makes A Home a Good Buy?

by Lakeshore Realty

There's no perfect home, but some homes are more ideal for your household than others. When you look for your next home, carefully consider these four criteria –price, features, location and condition. The closer you get to meeting all four criteria, the better your chances are of making a good buy.

Price

In any market, price has to come first. To determine what you can comfortably afford, talk to your real estate professional. He or she can recommend a lender who will prequalify you for a purchase loan. When you know how much you can spend, it will be easier to shop for homes within your price range. With luck, one will stand out.

Features

The size of your household and your activities determine the features you want in your next home. The number of bedrooms, baths and living areas are a matter of comfort and convenience. You may want an extra bedroom for guests or a second master suite for parents.

If you work a lot at home, you'll want a private home office or a computer nook. You may want a playroom for the kids, a separate laundry area, and fenced yard and covered patio for entertaining. An eat-in kitchen may be more important to you than a formal dining room. You may want an outdoor kitchen or at least an entertainment area.

Think about your daily life from morning to bedtime, and how your next home can make these activities more pleasant. This should be your "must-have" list, and will help you look at homes more objectively.

Location

Some areas will always be more expensive to live in than others. Neighborhoods that are well-kept tend to maintain higher home values. Homes that are close to jobs, schools and shopping centers tend to sell for more money than homes without as much infrastructure.

What is the best home you can find in the area where you want to live? If these homes are out of your range, you can compromise -- buy a smaller home or a home that needs lots of work in the best neighborhood you can afford.

Condition

Condition refers to the state of repair. Does the home have curb appeal? Is it updated and well-maintained, or does it need extensive and expensive remodeling? Carefully consider any deferred maintenance, such as a roof that may need to be replaced in only a few years. Consider the design and functionality -- is the kitchen too small and would you be able to afford to remodel it? Look closely at repairs, cleanliness and traffic flow.

The one advantage of buying a home that needs updates and repairs is that these homes cost less than updated homes in the same neighborhood.

Be prepared to compromise. Don't frustrate yourself or your family looking for perfection. Sometimes the home of your dreams doesn't have every feature on your checklist, or it may be a little further away than your favorite neighborhood, but you'll be happy if it has most of criteria you want at the price you can afford.

North Lake Tahoe July 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

by Marius Poltan
  • North Lake Tahoe July 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of July 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.

How to Balance Style With Technology at Home

by Lakeshore Realty

Thanks to advances in technology, most homes contain at least a few amazing electronic devices. From the massive flat screen TV in your living room to the alarm system, state-of-the-art computer and more, there are plenty of gadgets from which to choose.

While an incredible home entertainment system complete with surround sound and digital electronics that would impress Mr. Spock is great to have, there is a downside to all of this technology. The wires, remotes and sometimes even the devices themselves are less than attractive. In order to balance technology with interior style, check out these tips:

4K television plus plush chairs equals perfection

Televisions are always changing for the better; we’ve come a long way from the bulky black and white consoles our parents had. One of the newest technologies to come along is 4K. Ultra high-definition 4K televisions have 3,840 pixels across the screen and 2,160 pixels down the screen. In English, this means that these televisions boast twice the resolution of current 1080p HD televisions. If you plan on investing in a 4K television, expand your budget a bit and shop for some extra plush and comfy seating for your living room as well. Then, set up your new sofas and loveseats a reasonable distance away from the 4K television; this will allow you to experience the ultra HD shows. The new furniture will also help your family room to look as stylish and welcoming as it is high tech.

Store or hide your remotes

Between the television, DVD player, stereo system, DVR and video game systems, chances are good that you have at least half a dozen bulky remote controls in your living room. To organize them all, consider buying a universal remote that will run all of your electronic devices. For example, Amazon sells a Logitech touch screen remote that can control up to 15 devices—including your home heating system and lights. Another option is to store the remotes together so you can always find them; for example, buy a sturdy-yet-pretty glass square vase and store each remote upright. You can also attach Velcro to each one and store them underneath your coffee table; this way they are accessible but out of sight when not in use.

Hide and organize cords and cables

Your home office probably contains at least one computer—more if your whole family uses the space—a printer, scanner, monitors and keyboards. Unless you have invested in wireless options for each device, all of these electronics have unsightly cords running from them to the walls. To make this tangle of technology look better, Homedit offers a variety of clever ideas. For example, instead of trying to hide an exceptionally long cord, turn it into art by using large staples to transform the cord into patterns on your wall. You can also buy a pretty patterned cardboard storage box, cut some small holes in the ends, and store your power strip and cables inside and place it under your desk.

Surround your switches with art

If your home alarm system monitor, digital thermostat and assorted light switches are all on one wall, surround the less-than-lovely switches with so much art, no one will pay attention to them. Add a variety of framed photos to the wall in assorted sizes to create a gallery wall display. You can place them around the switches and those unsightly must-haves will blend into your art wall.

Lakeshore Realty is the top selling real estate office in the Incline Village/Crystal Bay area in 2015.


Inclusionary Zoning Decision Likely To Have Major Consequences

by Lakeshore Realty

Last month's California Supreme Court decision (California Building Industry Association (CBIA) v. City of San Jose, June 15, 2015) will make it easier for California cities and counties to pass inclusionary zoning ordinances. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), inclusionary zoning or housing programs "require or encourage developers to set aside a certain percentage of housing units in new or rehabilitated projects for low-and moderate-income residents. This integration of affordable units into market-rate projects creates opportunities for households with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to live in the same developments and have access to [the] same types of community services and amenities…"

California counties and cities have long had an obligation to develop a general plan "…including a mandatory housing element consisting of standards and plans for housing sites in the municipality that ‘shall endeavor to make adequate provision for the housing needs of all economic segments of the community."

In the case at hand the city of San Jose had adopted an ordinance that would apply to all residential developments in the city that would create 20 or more new, additional, or modified dwelling units. The inclusionary housing requirement specified that "15 percent of the proposed on-site for-sale units in the development shall be made available at an ‘affordable housing cost'" (as defined in the Health and Safety Code). If the developer chose an available alternative option, such as constructing affordable housing elsewhere or paying an in lieu fee, the requirement increases to no less than twenty percent of the total units.

The CBIA challenged the ordinance on the grounds that there was no evidence that new developments of twenty units or more would have such negative public impacts as to justify the requirements of the new ordinance. If it couldn't be shown that the development itself would cause a lack of affordable housing, then, according to the CBIA, it couldn't be justified to make the developer sell units at below market rates. To do that, they argued, would amount to an unconstitutional taking of the developer's property.

The Superior Court agreed with the CBIA's contentions and ruled that the ordinance was constitutionally invalid. On appeal, however, the Appellate Court ruled that the city did not have to show a causal relationship (a nexus) between the potential harm caused by the development and the benefit brought about by the ordinance's requirements. Rather, the Appellate Court held, the ordinance only needed to be evaluated under the standards for general land use regulations: namely, did the requirements "bear a real and substantial relation to the public welfare…"?

The Supreme Court agreed with the Appellate Court and upheld its ruling. It noted that, "As a general matter, so long as a land use regulation does not constitute a physical taking or deprive a property owner of all viable economic use of the property, such a restriction does not violate the takings clause…"

In the case of the San Jose ordinance, no transfer of any real estate interest to the city was required; nor was any parcel of property taken. Moreover, it certainly was not the case that the property owner would be deprived of any economic benefit. Indeed, it was noted that "the San Jose ordinance makes available a number of economically beneficial incentives -- including a density bonus, a reduction in parking requirements, and potential financial subsidies …" such that "it is not the case that the San Jose ordinance will necessarily reduce a developer's revenue or profit…"

The Supreme Court acknowledged that "A municipality's authority to impose price controls on developers is, of course, unquestionably subject to constitutional limits." If they were deemed to be confiscatory – if they denied a property owner a fair and reasonable return on its property -- they would be deemed to be unconstitutional. But no evidence had been introduced to suggest that the effects of the San Jose ordinance would be so extreme.

The court wrote, "Most land use regulations or restrictions reduce the value of property; in this regard the affordable housing requirement at issue here is no different from limitations on density, unit size, number of bedrooms required set-backs, or building heights." [my emphasis] But such reductions in value do not in themselves constitute an unconstitutional taking. Hence, "the validity of the ordinance does not depend upon a showing that the restrictions are reasonably related to the impact of a particular development to which the ordinance applies. Rather, the restrictions must be reasonably related to the broad general welfare purposes for which the ordinance was created."

Currently, 170 California jurisdictions have some sort of inclusionary zoning ordinance. This ruling will make it easier for such ordinances to withstand court challenges. (Particular cases could still be found invalid if they were too extreme.) The burden of proof shifts from the city or county to the owner/developer. Unless this case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court and is overturned there, it can be expected that there will be more inclusionary zoning ordinances in California.

House Flipping 101: Safety Tips for Newbies

by Marius Poltan

A Queen-Anne-style fixer-upper sounds like a dream: original woodwork, period details, hand-carved mantles or molding. But a dream can quickly dissolve into a nightmare when you step on a rusty nail, put your hand through a window or fall off a roof. It's better to be well-prepared and informed before starting a project than to face an injury during it. Here you’ll find safety advice and quick tips for new house-flippers, including proper gear, procedures and legal documents for Lake Tahoe or Incline Village real estate owners.
.

1. Lead Paint Procedures

According to the EPA, houses built before 1978 are much more likely (than those built after) to have lead paint, which can cause serious health problems. Before renovating, take steps to protect yourself from hazardous lead-contaminated dust. Seal off contaminated areas with plastic sheeting and tape, including air vents, windows and doorways. Turn off forced air systems before beginning, and spray water on lead-painted surfaces to keep dust from spreading.

2. Dust Mask

Wearing a dust mask, or “Particulate Respirator,” will protect home renovators from potentially dangerous dust entering their respiratory tract. These disposable masks can be bought in bulk packs from Home Depot, and should be used while grinding, sanding, sweeping or bagging.

3. Tablet with Wi-Fi or 3G

This seems like a funny thing to include within home improvement stuff, but a tablet will be a lifesaver. Load up your iPad Air 2 with apps like a level and tape measure. Upload your tunes or stream from Pandora to keep you entertained, and download YouTube for when you need a visual tutorial to DIY fix that faucet. Use the camera app to take pictures and share your house progress on social media. Once the house is ready to put on the market again, use the ZipRealty or Trulia apps to view comps in the area so you know what price to set yours. If you don't have Wi-Fi installed at the house, a subscription for 3G service will help you remain connected the whole time.

4. Protective Gear

Knee pads, goggles and gloves will also be indispensable while flipping a house. Knee pads protect knees from injury or discomfort while working long hours on all fours to refinish wood floors. Goggles protect eyes and face from flying sparks and dust while grinding or sanding. And heavy-duty gloves protect hands from cuts, scrapes and splinters that result from rusty nails or rough wood.

Boots will never run out of uses on a work site. Rubber rain boots protect feet and lower legs from water as well as from loose nails, screws, splinters, or other debris left around the house. Boots with sawtooth rubber soles are best for construction as they increase traction during the wettest conditions.

5. Voltage Tester

The number of tools to buy before flipping a house may seem overwhelming at first, but there are a few essential tools that keep workers safe for a very affordable price. A non-contact voltage tester comes in handy when pulling out or rewiring electrical outlets or switches. With this tool, renovators test for live electrical currents without touching any wires or plugging in anything. Alternatively, renovators could plug a hair dryer or blender into an electrical outlet and turn it on before shutting off circuit breakers to test which breaker operates the outlet. When the noise stops, you’ll know the outlet is dead.

6. Stud Finder

Another small tool, a stud finder, is also useful to home renovators to safely hang shelves or cupboards. Stud finders can be found at hardware stores, like Lowe's for example. They indicate where a wall stud is located behind drywall so that heavy material can be screwed into solid wood instead of into only drywall, which could potentially crumble and come crashing down.

7. Legal Documents

Do yourself a favor now by creating an organizational system for all documents related to your house. An accordion binder or scanner and electronic file system will work great. This is useful to keep bids from contractors, receipts, warranty information, purchase agreements, loan documents, and inspection results. Keep all of these documents from the time of buying the flip to at least one year after selling it. You’ll need them at some point for the bank, the realtors, your buyers and their realtors, everyone’s inspectors, possibly lawyers, and of course the IRS.

Don’t Forget…

…to keep a first aid kit, a phone, and a friend nearby. You never know when you might need to clean a cut finger or need help lifting a chunk of drywall.

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LakeshoreRealty.com
Lakeshore Realty
954 Lakeshore Blvd.
Incline Village NV 89451
775-831-7000
800-954-9554
Fax: 775-831-6777

Lakeshore Realty - Incline Village and Lake Tahoe Real Estate Market Experts