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As your most expensive purchase to date, buying your first home can be an intimidating process. Between mortgage rates, hefty down payments (you have an extra $50k lying around, right?) and actually finding that perfect place to call home sweet home, it all makes you want to reconsider renting for life. Here's some tried and true advice to help prepare you to take that big next step:

Determine a Budget

How much can you reasonably afford to pay towards your mortgage each month? Use your current rent payment as a guide to help determine what kind of payment is ideal for you and then work backward to determine what price range of home that equates to. Then, peruse online real estate listings in that price range in your desired area and find out if the options available will suit your needs. If so, your price range estimate is in line with both your real estate wishlist and what you can actually afford. If not, you need to get back to the drawing board to determine where you're willing to make compromises. Perhaps you are willing to spend more each month to be in that great neighborhood downtown.

Boost & Protect Your Credit Score

If you want to get one of the best available mortgage rates, you need to have a top-notch credit score to match. In an interview with Bankrate.com, former FICO executive John Ulzheimer noted that to get the best rates, strive for a credit score of 750 or above, though you can still get a good deal with a score between 700 and 750. While you still may be able to secure a decent rate with a lower credit score than that, you will likely be required to make a larger down payment in order to secure that rate than someone with a higher score would.

Once you find out your score, review the results to ensure everything is accurate. It's not uncommon for a settled debt to be mistakenly lingering or for identity theft to render your report inaccurate. Protect your credit from identity theft with a protection service that monitors your profile to prevent from becoming an unknowing victim of cybercrime. Boost a lower score by making on-time payments to settle debts. Stabilize your rating by not applying for any new lines of credit between one year before buying a home and your closing.

Start Saving

You may already have a little nest egg set aside, but once you've determined your budget, calculate the exact amount you'll need for a down payment. Consult a real estate professional or use an online closing costs calculatorto help you calculate a ballpark figure for your closing costs so you can have cash on hand for those as well. Once you have an estimate of how much you'll never to save for a downpayment and closing costs, develop a schedule for how much you need to save between now and when you plan to start house hunting.

Save Some More

Don't stop stashing away extra cash just because you've hit your savings goal to cover a down payment and closing costs. Mortgage lenders want to see that you have a healthy savings cushion to protect their investment. For the best rate possible, stick to a tight budget so it's obvious you aren't living paycheck to paycheck (even if you currently are). Use a budgeting app like Mint or a more in-depth financial planning program from a guru like Dave Ramsey. Set a goal for how much to save from each paycheck or at the end of every month to help keep yourself on track. To lessen the temptation to spend, have the funds direct deposited into your savings account from your paycheck each pay period. You'll be proud of this extra effort once you finally find your dream house. The extra cash on hand can be put to good use for home maintenance, improvements or emergency repairs.

  

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

Below we have a list of properties that were sold in September 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.

875 Donna Dr.

Bed: 4
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1969
Sq. Ft.: 1900

Days on Market: 79
Sold Date: 09/29/2014
Sold Price: $625,000

Listing Agent:
Yvette Shipman

 

517 Cross Bow

Bed: 5
Bath: 5.5
Year Built: 2014
Sq. Ft.: 6600

Days on Market: 595
Sold Date: 09/18/2014
Sold Price: $5,100,000

Selling Agent:
Pat Evans  

 

416 Country Club Dr.

Bed: 6
Bath: 4.5
Year Built: 1976
Sq. Ft.: 3677

Days on Market: 225
Sold Date: 09/29/2014
Sold Price: $820,000

 Listing Agent:
Tim Lampe 

 

964 Jennifer

Bed: 3
Bath: 3
Year Built: 1979
Sq. Ft.: 2240

Days on Market: 27
Sold Date: 09/08/2014
Sold Price: $680,000

Listing Agent:
Peg Augustus 

 

914 Jennifer

Bed: 3
Bath: 3.5
Year Built: 1996
Sq. Ft.: 2886

Days on Market: 290
Sold Date: 09/19/2014
Sold Price: $765,000

Listing Agent:
Peg Augustus

 

899 Southwood Blvd.

Bed: 3 
Bath: 2.5
Year Built: 1996
Sq. Ft.: 2323

Days on Market: 196
Sold Date: 09/29/2014
Sold Price: $925,000

    Selling Agent:
     Peg Augustus

 

931 Incline Way

Bed: 2
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1989
Sq. Ft.: 1111

Days on Market: 175
Sold Date: 09/16/2014
Sold Price: $444,000

Selling Agent:
Carole Madrid

807 Alder 

Bed: 1 
Bath: 1
Year Built: 1978
Sq. Ft.: 667

Days on Market: 8
Sold Date: 09/09/2014
Sold Price: $175,000

    Listing Agent:
     Wade Holiday

 

 

123 Juanita Dr.

Bed: 3
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1971
Sq. Ft.: 1168

Days on Market: 174
Sold Date: 09/02/2014
Sold Price: $398,000

 Selling Agent:
Carole Madrid

 

939 Incline Way

Bed: 2
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1990
Sq. Ft.: 1111

Days on Market: 6
Sold Date: 09/10/2014
Sold Price: $439,000

Listing Agent:
Peg Augustus

 

 

213 Lark Ct.

Bed: 3
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1999
Sq. Ft.: 1481

Days on Market: 7
Sold Date: 09/26/2014
Sold Price: $465,000

 Selling Agent:
Tim Lampe

 

120 State Route 28

Bed: 4
Bath: 4.5
Year Built: 1980
Sq. Ft.: 2857

Days on Market: 129
Sold Date: 09/15/2014
Sold Price: $2,450,000

 Selling Agent:
Carole Madrid
​​

 

 

335 Ski Way

Bed: 1
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1988
Sq. Ft.: 1064

Days on Market: 770
Sold Date: 09/12/2014
Sold Price: $274,000

 Selling Agent:
Pam Fernandez
​​

 

 

400 Fairview Blvd. #99

Bed: 2
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1991
Sq. Ft.: 1351

Days on Market: 96
Sold Date: 09/29/2014
Sold Price: $429,000

 Selling Agent:
Sharon Peplau

 

400 Fairview Blvd. #94

Bed: 4
Bath: 3.5
Year Built: 1993
Sq. Ft.: 2376

Days on Market: 86
Sold Date: 09/09/2014
Sold Price: $615,000

 Selling Agent:
Carole Madrid

 

 

321 Ski Way #242

Bed: 3
Bath: 2.5
Year Built: 1971
Sq. Ft.: 1360

Days on Market: 25
Sold Date: 09/15/2014
Sold Price: $330,000

 Selling Agent:
Pam Fernandez

 

 

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 September 2014 Real Estate Sales Comparison

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

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of September 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 Raise the Money You Need for a Down Payment on a Home

by Lakeshore Realty

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.

Single Family Home sales in 2014

by Lakeshore Realty

Single Family Residential homes sold so far in 2014, broken down into Incline Village Real estate subdivisions.



September 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 124 properties around the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Looking forward, our office is dedicated to ensure that all our clients real estate needs are fulfilled.


4 good things about rising interest rates — and 4 bad

by Lakeshore Realty

4 good things about rising interest rates — and 4 bad

By Stephen Cook of HSH.com

 

Mortgage rates have crept up in recent weeks. But are higher mortgage rates really so terrible? Is there a silver lining or two?

Here are four benefits and four concerns about rising mortgage rates.

 

 

Good thing No. 1: Rising rates are often a sign of an improving economy

Rising interest rates are, according to many experts, a sign of national economic recovery.

Increases in mortgage interest rates suggest that consumer confidence is rebounding and that consumers are better able to pay higher interest rates. Higher mortgage rates are also a sign that uncertainty is lifting among investors who perceive that the economy is getting better -- and that their money can get better returns with more risky assets. But before scaling back bond purchases and risking higher rates, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke wants to see substantial improvement in the economy.

"Higher rates mean the economy is doing better, which is good for housing prices," says John Walsh, president and founder of Total Mortgage in Milford, Conn.

Good thing No. 2: The return of purchase mortgages

Higher mortgage rates have caused refinance activity to dry up, resulting in more competition for homebuyer business, improved service and even relaxed lending standards.

Two of the most important lending standards have already begun to ease, Walsh says.Loan-to-value ratios have already responded a bit, and debt-to-income ratios are a little more flexible now than they were.

"Efforts by lenders to get more mortgage business is positive, and there's even more interest in jumbo loans," Walsh says.

Good thing No. 3: Today's rates are still historically low

When all is said and done, today's current mortgage rates are still historically low, and the rate increases to date have not significantly hurt affordability.

"The real question is not what effect rising mortgage rates will have on the housing recovery," says Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac in Washington, D.C. "There's sure to be an impact, but will it be enough to stall the recovery? We don't think so. Demand is strong, supply is limited and, for most families in most markets, housing affordability is still strong."

Good thing No. 4: More sales

Higher rates coupled with rising prices will push buyers "off the fence," resulting in increased sales, says Bernice Ross, founder and CEO of RealEstateCoach.com in Austin, Texas.

An increase of 25 basis points on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan at today's prices could cost borrowers thousands over the life of the loan, Ross says. "Coupled with today's rising prices, [higher] rates will highly motivate buyers to jump on the bandwagon."

Bad thing No. 1: Increased costs

"Quite simply, higher rates make homeownership more expensive," says Will Stein, a real-estate broker at Bel Air Realty in Bel Air, Md. "Buyers pay more for less of a home, and higher rates price some buyers out of the market altogether."

According to HSH.com, 30-year conforming mortgage rates have risen from 3.49% in May to 4.63% in July. That increase adds about $66 a month to a $100,000 mortgage. Rate increases to date combined with the 12% rise in home prices in the past 12 months mean that mortgage payments have gone up by about 25% for a typical homebuyer.

Bad thing No. 2: Deterring homeownership

Low interest rates do more than low home prices to keep affordability in place for homebuyers. According to the State of the Nation's Housing 2013 report by Harvard University, home-price gains in 2012 did little to offset affordability thanks to consistently lower interest rates.

Bad thing No. 3: Higher rates could threaten the housing recovery

"The rate increases since April 1 are a tough pill to swallow for someone buying a home who has to settle for having $20,000 or $30,000 less to buy a home than he would have if he had bought before April," Walsh says. "Some people aren't going to be able to buy a home where they could have before. These are going to impact the housing recovery, which isn't as strong as many think."

Bad thing No. 4: Fewer refinances

With about 20 million homeowners still underwater and unable to refinance, rising mortgage rates will continue to diminish the pool of qualified borrowers who can refinance at an attractive rate.

Price Reduction: 952 Lakeshore View

by Lakeshore Realty

One of our listings at Lakeshore Realty had a major price drop:

952 Lakeshore View Court

Exclusive Gated Community!

One of a kind lodge style home.  This home is an architectural masterpiece, extensive use of logs, pine and stone.  All bedrooms are en suites.  Beautifully landscaped grounds.  This home overlooks Incline Beach with wonderful lake views. 4 fireplaces, separate dining area, large kitchen with top of the line appliances, granite counters, hardwood floors, breakfast nook, walk-in pantry and more! Master bedroom has a wonderful sitting area, office & 2 walk-in closets.

 

Bed: 5
Bath: .5
Sq. Ft.: 5,716

 

VirtualTour

OLD PRICE: 4,200,000

NEW PRICE: 3,950,000

 

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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 775-831-7000 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.

4 mortgage-rate trends for 2014

by Lakeshore Realty

4 mortgage-rate trends for 2014

By Michele Lerner of HSH.com

A lot of attention has been paid to the fact that mortgage rates are expected to rise throughout 2014. As mortgage rates creep upward in this year, borrowers need remember that rates will still be historically low and nowhere near the interest rates consumers faced in the early 1980s.

Four unique trends will unfold in 2014 that will influence the direction of mortgage rates throughout the year.

 

No. 1: Conforming loan rates are rising

While no one can know for certain what will happen with mortgage rates in 2014, Cameron Findlay, chief economist at Discover Home Loans in Irvine, Calif., believes rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will reach 5.25 percent by the end of 2014.

Bob Walters, chief economist for Quicken Loans in Detroit, Mich., says conforming rates are driven by market and institutional forces such as fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lenders which are embedded in your interest rate.

"A planned increase in guarantee fees has temporarily been put on hold, but it would have increased mortgage rates by about one-eighth percent," says Walters. "In order for the market to push rates up significantly higher, the economy would have to be running on all cylinders with wage and employment growth. That's not happening yet, so I think rates will range from 4.5 to 5.5 percent this year."

Walters says current fees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac add as much as 0.5 to 0.75 percent to conforming rates and could be raised later this year. Walters suggests homeowners who want to refinance act early in 2014.

"If you want to buy a home, make sure you're ready and know where you want your family to live, but if you do, then you should act earlier rather than later, too," he says.

No. 2: ARMs are low and making a comeback

Qualified Mortgage (QM) rules have virtually eliminated interest-only loans and loans with 40-year terms, often used by borrowers to afford a costlier home. Some borrowers may look to ARMs, with their lower initial interest rates, to stretch their budget in 2014. Walters says borrowers mostly choose ARMs when the gap widens between adjustable and fixed rates.

"Right now the difference is almost a full percentage point, so we're seeing more interest," says Walters. "ARMs are right for more people than are using them right now, such as first-time buyers who are likely to sell their starter home in five years as their income and family size increase, or for people who are transferred often."

ARM borrowers have to qualify at the fully adjusted rate and within tight debt-to-income ratios, so even if you’re using this to stretch your budget you’re doing it within the construct of fully qualifying for the loan, he says.

No. 3: Fixed-rate jumbos priced lower than conforming loans

"Two factors are driving rates lower on jumbo loans," says Findlay. "First, these loans typically have a lower loan-to-value, often as low as 60 percent. Also, the Federal Reserve is paying banks to have excess reserves on hand, which creates excess liquidity. Lenders are concentrating on offering jumbo loans because these loans require very high credit scores and a lot of equity so they're considered very low risk."

Walters says that jumbo rates are also priced lower because they're private loans that don't carry the fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Lenders are more competitive with jumbos, too, because they can earn higher fees on larger loan balances and are therefore more likely to offer lower interest rates to entice customers, says Walters.

No. 4: The Fed's influence over mortgage rates will wane

"The Fed's likely to continue removing itself from the mortgage market even if the economy isn't as strong as we'd like, in part because [Quantitative Easing] isn't working as well as it did in the beginning," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com in Riverdale, N.J. "Mortgage rates didn't go back down to rock bottom rates even after the Fed initially delayed tapering their bond-buying activity. They'll still have influence over short-term interest rates, but direct manipulation of the mortgage market is likely to stop."

New Lakeshore Realty Homes for Sale in Lake Tahoe, Incline Village Nevada

by Lakeshore Realty
  • New Lakeshore Realty Homes for Sale in Lake Tahoe, Incline Village Nevada

These are some of the newest listings at Lakeshore Realty on the North Lake Tahoe's Incline Village Real Estate Market.

900 Ace Ct.

Bed: 3
Bath: 2
Year: 1988
Sq. Ft.: 1960

Price: $770,000

 

Listing Agent:
Diane Brown  

Light bright wonderfully maintained single level home with large 2 car garage and quick access to the golf course! Gourmet kitchen, new roof, water heater & furnace. Spa Tub & Shower in master bath with additional closet space. Separate fenced area for garden (with raised bed), or a dog run. Sit out on your covered deck or your open deck to enjoy the yard. Boat parking on side yard. **Contact listing Agent to arrange showing.

 

716 Birdie Way

Bed: 4
Bath: 3
Year: 1984
Sq. Ft.: 2504

Price: $750,000

 

Listing Agent:
Carole Madrid

Mountain retreat on cul-de-sac surrounded by forest service and creek.  Home is set back from street and driveway is south facing and has a turn-around.  Super neighborhood -4 bedrooms/3 bathrooms, beamed ceilings and remodeled kitchen w/french doors to sunny deck overlooking woods.  Master on main level.  Family room and bedrooms on lower level.  New roof in 2008.  Lovely Home!

 

180 Lake View Ave.

Bed: 4
Bath: 3.5
Year: 1979
Sq. Ft.: 3149

Price: $2,200,000

 

Listing Agent:
Pat Evans  

HUGE, Stunning Lake View with one level living! Privacy galore-other views are the forest, mountains, ski runs & landscaped yard! This is what buyers look for! Entry, Garage, Living rm, Dining, Kitchen, Master Suite, guest bath & deck all on main level! Floor to ceiling wall of windows in living rm w/rock FP. Granite kitchen counters & island. Guest bedrooms/office & Family rm w/FP on lower level, all w/Lake Views. 2 baths, laundry rm & several storage areas on this level too. Air cond. Must see!

 

207 Nadine

Bed: 4
Bath: 3.5
Year: 1979
Sq. Ft.: 2550

Price: $674,000

 

Listing Agent:
Peg Augustus

Beautiful garden greets you as you enter this lovely home on a quiet cul-de-sac just minutes from hiking trails. Kitchen features granite counters, gas cook-top, stone tile flr & breakfast room. Wood floors extend into the living room with vaulted ceilings & fireplace w/access to side deck. Separate dining room & add'l loft. Master on entry level with living area. Backyard has spacious stone patio & garden. Best buy under $700,000...don't miss it!

 

829 Carano Ct.

Bed: 3
Bath: 2
Year: 1965
Sq. Ft.: 1256

Price: $575,000

 

                                               Listing Agent:
Diane Brown 

Wonderful quiet neighborhood at low elevation and close to schools. This Lot has a 3/2 AS IS, Where Is, How Is, home located on a half acre lot. This could be the opportunity you have been waiting for to own a piece of Incline Village in a desirable neighborhood and build a new home.  An As Built Survey is awaiting you and your architects designs. TRPA total allowable coverage is 6,611'.  

 

203 Robin

Bed: 3
Bath: 3
Year: 1995
Sq. Ft.: 1866

Price: $549,000

 

                                               Listing Agent:
Chris & Patti Plastiras

Wonderful low elevation Townhome!  No HOA dues!  Open kitchen dining and living area.   Master bedroom on main living level with walk-in closet, large bathroom, double sinks, separate shower and jacuzzi tub. Original owner, property shows perfect!  Large 2 car garage.  Entry level has second master bedroom with private bath, walk-in closet and kitchenette/wet bar.  New Trex deck,  roof a few years old and fenced back and side yards.      

 

123 Juanita Dr.

Bed: 3
Bath: 2
Year: 1971
Sq. Ft.: 1253

Price: $439,000

 

Listing Agent:
Peg Augustus

Ideal location just 1/2 block from the lake.  Easy walk to center of town and Hyatt.  This sunny end unit has a great location in the complex close to the pool. The living room has vaulted ceilings, skylight and wood-burning fireplace.  The master is conveniently located on the first floor with the living room and there are just a few steps at the outside entry. Upgraded with gas furnace and dual-pane windows. Living room/dining room furniture included. 

 

391 Willow Ct.

Bed: 2
Bath: 2
Year: 1978
Sq. Ft.: 1544

Price: $305,000

 

                                               Listing Agent:
Jamie & Kristi

Nicely maintained end unit with updated appliances, a fenced yard and two master suites.  Surprisingly private once inside with open space views from the back deck.  Short sale terms apply

 

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.

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