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Freddie Mac: Doubtful Rates Will Return to Recent Lows

by Lakeshore Realty

"One thing seems certain: we aren't likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012."

- Freddie Mac,  March 24, 2014

There are those that hope that 30-year mortgage interest rates will head back under 4%. Obviously, for any prospective home purchaser that would be great news. However, there is probably a greater chance that interest rates will return to the greater than 6% rate of the last decade before they would return to the less than 3.5% rate of 2012.

Freddie Mac, in one of four original posts on their new blog, explained that current rates are still extremely low compared to historic averages:

"The all-time record low – since Freddie Mac began tracking mortgage rates in 1971 – was 3.31% in November 2012. Conversely, the all-time record high occurred in October of 1981, hitting 18.63%. That's more than four times higher than today's average 30-year fixed rate of 4.32% as of March 20...rates hovering around 4.5% may be high relative to last year, but something to celebrate compared to almost any year since 1971."

Rates over decades

If you are thinking of buying a home, waiting for a dramatic decrease in mortgage rates might not make sense.

Source: keepingcurrentmatters.com 

Meet Your Merchant: Lakeshore Realty celebrates 20th anniversary

by Lakeshore Realty

By Jenny Luna

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nevada — Twenty years ago, Patti and Chris Plastiras helped co-found Lakeshore Realty. The couple’s partnership, both at the office and at home, has contributed to their success of one of the area’s reputable real estate companies.

“For Chris and I personally it has been a real plus being a couple,” Patti said. “To be able to go in to a situation, you listen differently as a female than you do as a male, you observe differently as you show homes to people.”

When inspecting a house, it isn’t rare for Chris to be examining the home’s garage and Patti to be in the kitchen, asking different questions.

“There are always two perspectives,” she said. “It has been very much in our advantage because we have different area of expertise and analysis of things. It does bring more to the table.”

Patti admits that she and her husband talk business at home— the “board room in the bedroom” as they jokingly refer to it.

Even when the couple first began dating, Patti remembers the phone ringing during dinner and how she gave Chris complete understanding.

“I just knew it was business and I never thought anything of it, because I was in sales too,” she said.

SHARING THEIR SMALL TOWN

Lakeshore Realty was formed in 1994 by a group of real estate brokers that included the Plastirases “to create a more personal and less corporate way of brokering on the North Lake Tahoe real estate market in Nevada,” according to the company’s website.

Its agents are specialized in Lake Tahoe and Incline Village real estate, bank-owned properties, luxury listings, vacation homes and rentals. The office is located on Lakeshore Drive, just across from Incline Beach.

About 80 percent of the buyers at Lakeshore Realty are Californians, Chris said, many who seek the financial perks of being a Nevada resident and the small-town feel of Incline Village.

“I think a lot of people are coming back not just to the tax advantages, but to the small-town environment with educated people around them,” Patti said.

Many people return to Tahoe, just as Chris did 35 years ago, to live where they grew up vacationing with their family.

“It makes us really feel good to work with people who are here simply because they’ve spent many a summer up here in their youth and have always thought in the back of their mind that they were going to have a place here,” he said. “It’s very fulfilling to see that dream come true.”

During their two decades owning Lakeshore Realty, the Plastirases have watched families come up summer after summer, growing from a getaway cabin to a panoramic lake view home on the water.

“We’ve sold houses not only to the parent, but to the child 20 years later,” Chris said.

Every year, the family at Lakeshore Realty grows as well. With 32 agents and a committed office staff, the sense of family and community continues in its tradition of closeness and support.

And after $225 million in sales in 2013, the Plastirases have high hopes for 2014.

BUSINESS BREEDS FRIENDSHIP

It isn’t unlikely for Patti and Chris to become friends with clients. In fact, Lakeshore Realty makes it a priority to stay in contact with clients after they buy a home.

“We become a really good resource for them after the sale,” Chris said.

People turn to Lakeshore Realty for ideas such as pet sitters and restaurant recommendations. And learning from the clients is an experience the couple is grateful to have.

“We get to meet some of the most amazing, unique people from all walks of life,” Chris said. “They’re so interesting because they have a story to tell and they have a history. We learn so much about other parts of the United States and other professions right here in this office, that’s really exciting.”

LISTENING BEYOND WHAT’S SAID

Listening to clients and establishing good communication is a priority for all the brokers at Lakeshore Realty.

Intimately knowing the 15 gated communities in Incline as well as the entire area of Incline Village and Lake Tahoe means the Realtors and agents can work with buyers to find properties that work best for them.

Being professionals with a combined 50-plus years experience, Patti and Chris have learned how to truly listen to clients and anticipate their needs.

“Our job is to interpret not only what they say but what they mean,” Chris said. “We’re trained to listen beyond what they say.”

Technology is a big part of Lakeshore Realty as well. Patti applies her background and experience in the tech business to good use.

“When we first opened the office it was extremely important for me to get a website up and going and the rankings immediately, and because of that it has stayed up there and continually is being improved upon,” she said.

Lakeshore Realty just finished its new iPhone app, which allows users to find a property’s information when seeing it in Incline Village.

The company is also working with yelp.com to create a map of the area. Virtual tours and videos of each property are available on the website.

 

Checklist: 10 health hazards to avoid when remodeling

by Lakeshore Realty

Checklist: 10 health hazards to avoid when remodeling

By Kelly Pate Dwyer of SwitchYard Media

Perhaps you're gutting an old kitchen or adding a master suite. As you daydream about the ideal layout, ambient lighting and cabinet finishes, remember the less thrilling but essential safety aspects of remodeling.

We're not just talking about the hard-hat variety. During the project, you have some big issues to consider.

Air-quality issues account for the lion's share of remodeling health dangers. Then there's where to dispose of paints, solvents and other potentially toxic materials properly.

1. Asbestos

If your home was built before 1980, hire an inspector or environmental consultant to check for asbestos before cutting into or removing potential asbestos-containing structures.

"Always test suspect material," says Devin Arnett, an environmental consultant in Charlotte, N.C. "It's cheap, and then you know what you're dealing with."

Asbestos can be found in wall, heating and plumbing insulation, siding, roofing, flooring, caulking, window glaze, drywall, joint compound and plaster.

Any project that involves exposure to old insulation or cutting through walls, floors and roofing in homes built before 1980 are most likely to need testing and abatement.

2. Lead

Federal law requires contractors be certified in the safe removal of lead and to test for lead before remodeling homes that were built before 1978. Exposure to lead paint typically starts with scraping and sanding old paint, or when paint chips are ingested.

Arnett recommends remodelers skip stripping and sanding and replace the painted item, such as a window frame. If you own a historic home, hire a lead-certified renovator to complete the stripping safely.

Lead can be anywhere you have old paint, indoors and out. It also can be found in soil, water and pipe soldering.

Sanding and scraping wood trim is one of the main ways lead exposure occurs.

3. Mold

In 2002, Johnny Carson's sidekick, Ed McMahon, won a $7 million settlement after alleging that toxic mold made him and his wife sick and killed his dog. Most mold situations are less dramatic but can still cause allergic and asthmatic reactions. Unchecked, some mold can cause death.

Mold typically grows on drywall and other organic materials, often in kitchens and bathrooms.

Homes in humid climates are more likely to develop mold, and homeowners often find it when they remove old cabinets and drywall.

4. Volatile organic compounds

Most building materials contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde, which are emitted into the air as fumes. If you whiff a heavy dose of VOCs, they can irritate your eyes or respiratory tract and cause headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory impairment.

When possible, choose low- or zero-VOC paints and other finishing materials. Wear a mask and goggles and keep air flowing while working with VOCs inside your home.

VOCs are emitted from a long list of construction and household products, including paint, paint strippers, glues, cleaners, carpeting, flooring, upholstery and cabinet finishes. Nearly every remodeling project is bound to involve some VOCs.

5. Mercury

Mercury was used in heating systems and thermostats in older homes, and it can be found in fluorescent bulbs and thermometers. It can leak when these features are removed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when a product containing mercury spills, it can emit an odorless toxic vapor, which even in small amounts can cause learning disabilities and liver damage.

"Mercury vapor is one of the most toxic things on the planet," says Brent Jorgensen, an environmental consultant in Tualatin, Ore.

6. Radon

Radon is an odorless, invisible radioactive gas that seeps into a home, typically from rock below the foundation. It can flow anywhere in your home. The EPA estimates that radon causes 21,000 U.S. lung-cancer deaths every year.

Inspector Dale Pope of Pope Associates Inc. in Gloucester, Mass., tells clients in his area -- which has a high incidence of radon -- to add pipe around the foundation of a ground-level or below-ground addition. It can be vented outdoors if high levels of radon are detected.

Projects that add to your home's footprint need a fresh radon test once work is complete. Homes in the Northeast have some of the strongest radon-gas readings.

7. Underground oil tanks

Before sending digger trucks into your backyard, consider whether an old heating oil tank lies beneath. Heating-oil tanks are typically buried within several feet of the foundation and 7 to 8 feet below ground, Jorgensen says. They often come into play when you're expanding on your property.

The steel tanks often corrode and leak, causing oil to seep into groundwater or posing a fire hazard, Jorgensen says. Removing the tank may cost thousands of dollars. If it leaks, cleanup costs climb much higher. Inspectors search for tanks with a magnetic scanner or test soil for leaks.

Dangerous leaks are most common in areas that get lots of rain or where groundwater levels are high.

8. Pressure-treated wood

If you have wood garden beds, decks or play sets that were built before 2004, chances are they are made of a pressure-treated wood that contains chromated copper arsenate, or CCA, which contains arsenic and has since been banned.

Arsenic is linked to some cancers, and it can leach into garden soil.

"You get in trouble with the treated wood when you're working directly with it," Jorgensen says.

If your remodeling or landscaping project involves cutting or moving pressure-treated wood, wear gloves. Do not grind the wood or burn it.

9. Electrical hazards

Electrical wires run through nearly every wall of your home. They can run along exterior walls and through your yard.

Any remodeling project that involves electrical power poses the risk of shock or fire, particularly those in kitchens and bathrooms that involve additions or changes to wiring, plumbing or both.

Many do-it-yourselfers get shocked or create a fire hazard when doing their own electrical work. Inspector Peter Hopkins of San Diego-based SoCal Infrared, which uses thermal imaging to diagnose energy issues, says that there are unexpected dangers that only a licensed electrician knows to avoid. These include one brand of square outlets that can cause a fire when used with aluminum wiring.

10. Combustion appliances

Combustion appliances -- such as furnaces, clothes dryers, space heaters, boilers and gas stoves -- warm your home or provide cooking fuel. They use natural gas, petroleum, kerosene, oil, coal or wood.

"Homeowners know not to move these without a professional," Pope says. "It's the long-term threats many people don't understand. Combustion appliances are the air-breathing dragons in your house."

Projects that involve moving these appliances, disconnecting them from vents, rebuilding vent systems or building walls or doors near or around them require caution and expertise.

Distressed property graphs for March 2013 to Feb. 2014 for all of Washoe County.

For a larger image click here.

5 REASONS TO SELL NOW

by Lakeshore Realty

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage?  These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are five of those reasons.

1. The Most Serious Buyers Are Out Now

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen.  Selling now will make the process quicker and simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Rates are projected to be well over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and decide whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

You already know the answers to the questions we just asked. You have the power to take back control of the situation by pricing your home to guarantee it sells. The time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Source: keepingcurrentmatters.com

  

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

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

1590 Vivian Lane.

Bed: 2
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1952
Sq. Ft.: 2200

Days on Market: 44
Sold Date: 02/14/2014
Sold Price: $2,400,000

Listing & Selling Agent:
Tim Lampe

 

545 Ponderosa Ave.

Bed: 5
Bath: 6.5
Year Built: 2005
Sq. Ft.: 6617

Days on Market: 1503
Sold Date: 02/18/2014
Sold Price: $2,962,500

 Selling Agent:
Jamie & Kristi

 

641 Martis Peak Dr.

Bed: 4
Bath: 3.5
Year Built: 1964
Sq. Ft.: 2804

Days on Market: 247
Sold Date: 02/04/2014
Sold Price: $1,075,000

Listing & Selling Agent:
Carole Madrid

 

213 Robin Dr.

Bed: 2
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1997
Sq. Ft.: 1574

Days on Market: 5
Sold Date: 02/28/2014
Sold Price: $395,000

Listing Agent:
Pam Fernandez

 

144 Village Blvd.

Bed: 2 
Bath: 2
Year Built: 1985
Sq. Ft.: 1111

Days on Market: 129
Sold Date: 02/14/2014
Sold Price: $416,000

    Selling Agent:
     Yvette Shipman

 

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.

The Do's and Don'ts of Renting Inherited Property

by Lakeshore Realty

More than one-third of U.S. households rent, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. In many areas, demand exceeds supply, which spells good news if you've just unexpectedly inherited property. Capitalize on your windfall by renting out the home using these do's and don'ts as your guide.

Dos of Renting Inherited Property

  • Make necessary repairs. Before you advertise the home, asses its condition and attend to any needed repairs. Use a contractor directory to find reputable, homeowner-approved service providers in the area.
  • Clean up the property and take nice photos. Clean the home's interior and exterior to show it off at its best. If you're not nearby, you may want to team up with a realtor who can stage the house for you and bring tenants by at the perfect time of day.
  • Screen tenants for peace of mind. When renting out inherited property, be cautious about the tenant to preserve the home's integrity. AAOA (American Apartment Owner's Association) screening packages can be very useful if you don't have time to screen tenants yourself or if you don't live near the rental property. You'll also save yourself a lot of trouble (and money!) should a tenant have a bad history.
  • Listen for red flags. If you're showing the home to tenants, look out for red flags. Tenants who badmouth their former landlords, ask about your policies regarding drug use, or balk at authorizing the credit report have something to hide. If you develop a bad feeling about a potential tenants, listen to your gut and rent to someone else.
  • Get your taxes straight. Renting inherited property can be a smart idea. It's certainly not easy, and does come with some tax liability. If you manage the rental yourself, acting as landlord, you can write off any money spent on the property (i.e. making repairs, advertising the listing and performing yard work). If you use a property management company, you can only deduct the rental expenses against income.

Don'ts of renting inherited property

  • Dismiss insurance on your inherited home. Insurance protects you and your investment in the event something goes wrong. Whether you live across town or across the country, protect your inheritance with property insurance from a trusted company like The Hartford, which covers loss of income, medical expenses, personal liability and home structure.
  • Leave the family jewels in the closet. Before you rent the home, remove any valuables. Better to pay for a storage unit than find Grandma's heirloom silver trashed.
  • Take on a commitment you can't handle. Evaluate whether you have time to market and manage the property. If you realistically have several hours a week you can devote to property management, be a landlord. However, if you work 60+ hours a week or live remotely, do yourself a favor and find a property management company.

LOCAL SCHOOLS CARRY THE LARGEST SHOE DRIVE IN TAHOE’S HISTORY

by Lakeshore Realty

6 schools launching a massive shoe drive for needy.

Tahoe, CA. – March 20, 2014 Incline High School will be joining the massive ‘Tahoe’s Got Sole’ campaign, one of the largest shoe drives ever conducted in the Lake Tahoe basin, funded by Lakeshore Realty and hosted by Think Kindness. Incline’s campaign will launch with a school-wide assembly with Brian Williams, nationally acclaimed youth motivational speaker and founder of the non-profit organization, Think Kindness.

“Our goal is to bring all the youth within the Lake Tahoe basin together for one massive Kindness initiative, so large in scale, that it truly impacts the lives of individuals not only within the community, but around the globe,” says Williams.

Williams founded Think Kindness in 2009 with the core mission of inspiring measurable acts of Kindness in schools and communities around the world. Each year the organization inspires over 60,000 students across the United States to partake in a 15 Days of Kindness challenge. The Tahoe’s Got Sole campaign is unique in that nearly every middle and high school in the basin will be partaking in the challenge.

“This campaign will ban each student body together in an initiative to inspire and cultivate a Kindness movement within each school and our community.We are so happy to be able to help bring this campaign to fruition here in the Tahoe/Truckee area” says Patti Plastiras, Owner of Lakeshore Realty.

Each year the 15 Days of Kindness campaign has one unique call-to-action. This year’s CTA is a massive shoe drive. . . 10,000 pairs of shoes to be exact.

“A massive pile of shoes is an inspirational visual that proves that one simple act of Kindness, when done in solidarity with others, can truly add up to something massive,” says Williams.

The goal for the initiative will be to collect 10,000 pairs of gently used shoes within the Tahoe Basin. All of the shoes collected will be first distributed to local shelters and needy during a ‘free shoe day’. In addition, local students, teachers, and community members will be volunteering to personally deliver the remaining shoes to children and families in developing countries.

According to Williams, there are over 300 million children in the world that can’t afford a pair of shoes. This becomes a shocking figure when compared to the 2.4 billion new shoes Americans purchase every year, with the old shoes either collecting dust in a closet or filling up a landfill. “We hope to re-purpose gently used shoes and find them a new home on the feet of someone in need. To those, it’s not just a pair of shoes, but the gift of hope for a brighter future,” says Williams.

The campaign calls for any style of shoes, spanning from high heels, athletic shoes, to sandals.

“As long as they are gently used, we will gladly accept them and find them an incredible new home,” says Williams

As of now Williams will be challenging a total of 6 schools in the Tahoe/Truckee area to the Think Kindness’ ‘15 Days of Kindness’ Challenge and Shoe Collection. He will be visiting North Tahoe High, Truckee High, Incline High, Sierra Continuation, North Tahoe Middle, and Alder Creek Middle School putting the studentsin the Tahoe/Truckee area together as a cohesive group!

If you would like more information about attending the assemblies, shoe drop-off locations, and to inquire about how you may get involved visit: www.ThinkKindness.org/LakeTahoe or call 775-636-8026.

 

 

 

 

Incline Village Real Estate Market Update

by Lakeshore Realty

Incline Village Real Estate Market Update

The charts below reflect North Lake Tahoe, Incline Village and Crystal Bay real estate data collected from the MLXchange system. 

The data reflected in these charts was collected starting 1/1/14 through 03/12/14.

To see a larger image of the chart above click here.

To see a larger image of the chart above click here.

To see a larger image of the chart above click here.

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.

Real Estate facts

by Lakeshore Realty

Average Home is 300 sq ft Bigger Since 2009

The growth in the average size of a new home paused briefly at the beginning of the recession as Americans retrenched in a lot of ways, but times have changed.   According to Census Bureau data presented at the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) International Builder's Show earlier in the month, the average home size has increased by over 300 square feet since 2009, from 2,362 square feet in 2009 to 2,679 square feet in 2013.  

Things have changed within that square footage as well.  New homes 

have more bedrooms, more bathrooms, and more amenities than they did in 2009. 

  • Forty-eight percent of homes built in 2013 had four bedrooms; 34 percent had that many in 2009.
  • The percentage of homes with three or more full baths has gone from 23 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2013.
  • Twenty-two percent had three-car (or more) garage bays compared to 16 percent in 2010.
  • Two-story homes have gone from a slight majority - 51 percent of new homes - in 2009 to 60 percent in 2013.

Amenities most likely to be found in new single-family homes built today are a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, low-e windows, a laundry room and a great room.  Granite countertops, double sinks and a central island are kitchen features favored by many builders as are nine-foot or higher ceilings, a front porch, exterior lighting, and a patio.  Energy-Star rated appliances and windows are also featured in many homes. 

As homes get bigger, so does the average sales price, rising from $248,000 in 2009 to $318,000 in 2013. Consequently, according to Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president for survey research, "It requires a high credit score and a nice income to qualify for a mortgage."   Quint said that the spread between the average Experian credit score of all U.S. consumers and the average home borrower's score has risen from 33 points in the early 2000s to 58 points in 2013.  The median income of new-home buyers has climbed as well, from $91,768 in 2005 to $107,607 in 2011.

During the same period, the number of new-home sales has dramatically declined, from 1.28 million to 306,000. "There are not as many people who have the income that can qualify for a new home," said Quint.

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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

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