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When looking for a great real estate agent, there are many things that you'll have to consider. Your ideal agent will be knowledgeable about your local market, experienced, and have a plethora of connections to navigate you through the home sale process. Here are some important questions that you should ask your real estate agent before you list your home with them:

1. In which neighborhoods do you primarily work?

This is important because you'll want a realtor that is experienced in the specific market in which your home is located.  The more knowledgeable your agent is about the neighborhood you're selling in, the better, because they will be able to price your house according to the comps and first hand information that they glean from being familiar with the area.

2. What percentage of your clients are buyers versus sellers?

You want to make sure your agent has buyers for your home at the ready, but you also want to make sure they know how to list a home for sale to get you the best price.

3. Will I be working with just you, or any other associates?

This is important so that you know what to expect when it comes to working with your agent. If your agent has an assistant or anyone working under them that you can contact when they are not available, you should find out as soon as possible.

4. Do you work full-time or part-time?

Some agents work full time and some work part time, so you'll want to find out what to expect. Obviously, if your agent is working part time because it's their side job, they may be more difficult to contact at certain times. If this is the case, you'll want to figure out a set time that you can call them during the week.

5. How many homes have you closed in my neighborhood?

If your agent has closed a good number of homes in your neighborhood, you can assume that they have the experience to get the job done. Having this track record is a good sign that your agent knows the neighborhood well and has the right contacts.

6. How many other sellers are you representing?

When you ask your agent this you might want to note that the busiest agents are usually the most efficient. If your agent has a lot on their plate they know how to multitask, have processes in place and always manage to get things done.

7. Is your license in good standing?

You can check your agent's certification yourself with your state's Department of Real Estate, as many states provide this information online. This can give you peace of mind if you are nervous about hiring an agent and getting started.

8. How many years of education and experience do you have?

Typically, experience and a record of continued education is a sign of a seasoned agent that you can count on. Of course you can also find a great agent that does not have extensive education, but it certainly helps to know in your initial search.

9. Are you also a broker?

Agents that are also brokers have taken additional education classes and have earned a broker's license. A broker may have more experience and may hold responsibility over other agents that are working under them.

10. Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references?

By doing this, you can gain valuable insight from past clients so you can learn more about your agent. This can create a greater level of comfort when working with your agent after hearing the advice and comments from real people that they worked with.

When it comes to asking your agent questions, don't be shy! There are tons of questions that you can ask that will aid you in your decision to choose who represents you. If you're a first time seller, take advantage of these questions to help find the best agent that fits your needs. Don't worry, there's an agent out there for you! Good Luck!

For more information and tips, please visit: www.exposeyourselfpr.com

5 Exotic & Affordable Summer Home Locations

by Lakeshore Realty

 

Whether you enjoy outdoor recreation, beachside lounging, or wine tasting while gazing spectacular vineyard views, here are some of the most sought after (and affordable!) summer home locations to consider.

1. Lake Tahoe, United States

Nestled in the majestic Sierra Nevadas lies Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. Lake Tahoe’s pristine waters and sweeping mountain views are what make this one of the most grandiose and beautiful places in the country for a summer residence. Tahoe offers a variety of recreational activities for residents and visitors alike, especially in the warmer months. Summer outdoor adventurers enjoy hiking, biking, and a variety of watersports.

If you choose to call Lake Tahoe home for the season, be sure to obtain your boating license online and maximize your time on the water.

2. Puglia, Italy

Ever dreamed of spending your summer days wandering the beautiful cobblestone streets of Italy, weaving through the lively mercato, while enjoying a refreshing gelato? If so, Puglia, Italy is the perfect place to live “la dolce vita."

Housing prices are significantly lower in comparison to the popular regions of Tuscany and Umbria, and small towns surrounding the area are known to have a low crime rate, low unemployment rate, and a strong sense of community. Puglia has a long coastline and many options for seaside real estate, and with its Mediterranean climate, summers are long and annual rainfall is scarce—making it an ideal getaway all around.

3. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful regions of North America, with its multifaceted terrain of mountain ranges, island archipelagos, beautiful coastlines, and lush flora. Vancouver, BC, is a great city for a summer home, and has been consistently voted the most livable city in the world, due to its high ranking in overall quality of life.

The area has many housing options, whether you fancy a condo in the city’s downtown or a craftsman home in a more rural setting. In Vancouver you get the best of both worlds—experience the cultural excitement of the city while still enjoying easy access to nature, outdoor recreation, and adventure.

4. Mendoza, Argentina

If you are a wine enthusiast and have always dreamed of owning a vineyard, Mendoza, Argentina may be the perfect place for you. The vineyard prices in Mendoza are significantly less than other popular wine regions, like Napa. Situated in the desert, the region experiences little rainfall, though a highly-efficient irrigation system developed during the pre-Hispanic era keeps the region surprisingly green.

The Latin culture is colorful and vibrant, yet a laid-back lifestyle is embraced by all.

5. Dominican Republic

Find your island oasis at a bargain price in the Dominican Republic. The island nation is becoming increasingly popular among retirees and second-home owners, due to its accessibility and affordability. Some of the more popular vacation home destinations include the areas of Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, and the Samana Peninsula—all are incredibly safe, well-developed, coastal locations.

You've either been furiously cleaning or you need to be. You've either been maniacally planting flowers or you're way overdue for a trip to Lowe's. You've either been redecorating your home or staring at all the things you haven't had a chance - but are dying to - change.

Yes, spring is the time we start coming out from the cold–literally—and tidying up, changing up, and lightening up. Our homes reflect that change of season with a bright, sunny outlook. But before we know it, breezy, light sweater days are replaced by sweltering afternoons. The season is short, albeit sweet. So how do you design for today and tomorrow? Better yet, how do you take the flirty romantic lilt of spring and transition it to the sultry stickiness of summer.

1. Use your nose

Introducing a fragrance into your home is one of the best ways to inspire the senses. And it's easy to do.

"Burning a delicately fragranced candle is easily the most luxurious way to fill your home with scent," said The Independent. "Adding instant romantic light, warmth and fragrance, it can help set a mood and help you to unwind."

Check out some of their favorite summer scents, from "fresh and uplifting or more sensuous and moody," and ranging from Japanese cherry blossoms to French luxury Lily of the Valley, pepper and tangerine, to mandarin and patchouli, here.

2. Pay attention to textures

Sexy textures can be a bit of an oxymoron when it comes to summer. Soft and warm doesn't mesh well with hot and humid. Instead, think gauzy. Swap out your heavy window coverings for something that will dance in the breeze. Strip the beds of heavy blankets and instead dress them with something like this crisp white lightweight blanket in cotton muslin from BCBlankets.

3. See the light

The right lighting can create - or kill - a mood. With more sunlight coming into your home during the longer days, you may not need such bright lights in your gathering spaces. Now would be a great time to install some dimmers, which have gotten much better looking over the past few years.

And while changing out a regular old light switch for dimmers might seem like a task for the electrician, it's actually a pretty simple DIY project. "Replacing a standard light switch with a single dimmer is a pretty simple do-it-yourself project," said Lutron. "In about 15 minutes you'll have the ability to adjust the light in a room for any activity - and you'll save energy." You can check out a how-to video here.

4. Clean up!

Dirt and clutter create chaos, and it's hard to feel fanciful and free when you're in a chaotic environment. Ready to turn over a new clutter-free leaf? See some great tips, like sorting mail directly over the trash can, here.

5. Through the looking glass

If you're in an area that has had some harsh spring weather, or if you simply haven't gotten out the squeegee for a while, it's time to get out there and clean those windows. It's an easy fix that will make a world of difference when you can gaze out your window and get a glimpse of nature instead of grime. Grime never made anyone feel sexy.

6. Take it to the bedroom

If your bedroom is more blah than bodacious, it's time to address the issues. Mismatched furniture can be made over with a can of paint. Same goes for dirty or dated walls.

For color, almost anything goes, as long as it makes you feel good. But, said Elle Décor, stay away from a few signature hues. "Avoid green or yellow: No one looks good in a green reflection; yellow can make skin appear jaundiced," they said.

If you've got money for one splurge in the bedroom, Elle Décor recommends spending it on the bed. "Even if you're watching your wallet, the place to spend the money is the bedding," they said. "Crisp white sheets in thread counts ranging from 450 to 650 create the sexiest tactile experience in terms of bedding. Keep the sheets plain; go no fancier than a top sheet with embroidery. And don't go overboard with too many pillows."

North Lake Tahoe April 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

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

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

Stretch Your Money: Worthwhile Rental Property Home Improvements

by Lakeshore Realty

Whether you bought the property with the intention of renting it out or if it was a family home that you can't bear to part with, rental properties are an investment, so you need to have a clear plan of how you will make money. The cost of improvements needs to be weighed against the income potential. Here are five areas to focus your budget and get the most for your money:

Roofs Are Mandatory

Compared to the other improvements, maintaining a roof is not an option but an essential. A leaky roof can destroy the structure of the home, rendering it unlivable. If you already have tenants in the property, you may be liable for damages to their property or to their health as a result of roof damage. Roof repair or replacement can be costly, depending on the type of roof, but there are several ways to spread it out to avoid high out-of-pockets expenses. In most cases, financing against the equity of the home is one of the best options. Most banks and mortgage lenders have some form of loan for roof repair. Some of the larger, reputable roofing companies have financing options as well.

The Importance of Paint

A new coat of interior paint has both tangible and intangible value. A clean, fresh-looking unit will allow you to charge more for rent. It also shows that you are receptive to tenant needs. Research by Harvard University shows that rental improvements fluctuate erratically over time, unlike new construction that matches national economic indicators. Painting the inside of the house or apartment should be a routine task after any long-term tenant moves out.

The Perennial Plant Value

A yard full of lush grass and thriving plants increases curb appeal and creates a sense of community. These are both significant factors in a prospective tenant’s decision-making process. Landscaping maintenance is also beneficial for tax purposes. According to IRS guidelines, a new landscape installation is a capital expense and not a deduction. Normal upkeep of landscaping is a maintenance expense and can be subtracted from the net income of the property.

Lighting To Make The Home Look New

Upgrading light fixtures and ceiling fans has a two-fold purpose. Ornate brass fixtures can make even the most well-kept home look dated and drab. Upgrading to modern fittings gives the entire space a refreshed look and feel. Lighting also plays a vital role in the visual appeal of the home. Soft lights can make a house seem dark and uninviting. Instead, use brighter lights to drive away the shadows that can make a space feel small. Spotlights also work to focus a potential tenant on key features of the home.

Pests That Eat Your Money

Like roofing, pest control should also be managed at the first sign of an issue. On the onset, a cockroach or rat can be a deal-breaker when renting or selling a home. More significantly, an infestation can harm the structure and value of the property and your tenants have rights of compensation if this happens. Not only should you have the home regularly maintained by a licensed professional exterminator for normal pests like termites, roaches, and vermin, but you should also have him look for any bedbugs, fleas and ticks around the property.

Bring The Spring Into Your Home!

by Rodenhiser Heating and Air Conditioning

Now that the snow has melted, the trees begin to bud, and the flowers start to sprout, you're probably itching to get your spring-cleaning on. But before you break out the rubber gloves, here are some ways to make sure your home's air is fresh, clean, and pleasant, just like the new season upon us!

1. Open up those windows: This may be an obvious tip, but it's easy to forget when you're rushing to work during the week with little time to do anything else. Don't save cracking open those windows until the weekend when you're free, try making a habit of opening some windows when you first wakeup and closing them before you leave. Something this simple can lower concentrations of toxic chemicals and carbon monoxide.

2. Move smoking outside: The smoke exhaled after smoking a cigarette contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, which are then released into the air. The only way to keep your home toxic free from cigarettes is to step outside or to even ask guests that smoke to go outside. Secondhand smoke is also a higher risk when smoke is contained in the air in a home rather than outside.

3. Keep it Clean: Practicing daily and weekly cleaning habits can improve the air quality of your home tremendously. Not only will your home smell fresh and clean, but it will also have cleaner, and higher quality air. Try dusting, mopping, and vacuuming at least once a week to improve your home's air.

4. Trade in Synthetic for Natural: Some air fresheners that you use to "freshen" up your home may create an inviting smell, but can also release harmful gasses. Excessively using an air freshener as your only means of getting rid of odor can decrease the quality of the air in your home. Try using simple products such as baking soda, lemon slices, or fresh flowers.

5. Monitor the Humidity: Keeping the humidity of your home between 30 and 50 percent can limit mold growth and dust mites that may pollute the air. Dehumidifiers can usually help with this, and even just making sure there are no water leaks in your home is a good start.

6. Grab some Green: Houseplants are a great way to bring some lively decor into your home and improve the air quality at the same time. Some great houseplants for this include, Chrysanthemums, Snake plants, Peace Lily's and English Ivy's. Although the plants' pollutant removal rate is small, every little bit helps!

Keep these tips in mind so that you can rid your home of the stuffy winter air and bring in the sights, sounds, and smells of spring. Not only will your home be cleaner, and safer, but it will also be a much more enjoyable environment for family and guests. You beat the winter blues, time to celebrate with some fresh air and sunshine!

How To Revive Your Lawn That Took A Beating This Winter

by Lisa Kaplan Gordon written for HouseLogic.com
 
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Most of the U.S. endured ridiculous subzero temperatures and record snowfalls this winter. So don’t be surprised if parts of your lawn—especially in low-lying areas—are dead on arrival in spring.

“Snow acts like a cover, but ice is bad for turf,” says Chris Lemcke, technical director of Weed Man USA lawn care. “Ice freezes plant cells and crushes blades and leads to death.”

Freeze-thaw-freeze conditions are even worse for turf roots, which can become brittle and die. Road salt is also bad for lawns. The turf near streets and along driveways and paths may need resuscitation or replacement when spring grass should be greening up.

Dead or sleeping?

When snow and ice melt, your late-winter turf starts awakening from hibernation and changes from brown grass to green. If your lawn died, it won’t change color.

The best way to see if your lawn is dead or sleeping is to tug the brown areas. If the turf comes up easily, the roots have failed and the grass is dead. If there’s resistance, then there’s hope.

How to bring lawns back

When is the right time to bury your dead lawn—grass, roots, clinging soil—in a compost pile and start growing new grass?

  • After the last chance of frost
  • When night temperatures top 35 degrees
  • When soil temperatures reach 50–65 degrees

Dead patches of lawn are easy to pull up because no roots bind the turf to the soil. Cut around dead areas with a spade, then yank up the patch.

Then it’s time to reseed.

1.  Scatter seed on soil and lightly rake it in.

2.  Water daily with a light mist for 15 minutes to keep the soil moist. If the soil dries out, seed will not germinate.

3.  When seed germinates, water deeply.

4.  Feed young blades a high-phosphorous fertilizer.

5.  Let grass grow at least 3 inches before its first cut.

If you can afford sod—about 8 to 30 cents per square foot compared with $28 for a 5-pound bag of seed that’ll cover 2,000 square feet—Lemcke recommends laying sod on dead patches instead of seeding. Sod is more forgiving when it comes to watering and resists weeds better than seed.

An ounce of prevention

You can’t control the weather, but you can mitigate winter’s effect on your lawn.

  • Add topsoil to low areas of your yard to reduce the impact of ice. Then reseed or sod.
  • If you notice dead turf where you piled shoveled snow, spread out your snow pile next year.
  • To reduce salt damage, apply de-icers after you shovel snow, so salt doesn’t seep into your grass. Also, use calcium chloride-based de-icers, which do less damage than sodium chloride-based salts.

Don't Sink Money Into the Wrong Upgrades

by Craig Donofrio (updated from an earlier version by

This article is full of great information for home improvements- Chris and I, Patti Plastiras are planning on building a new home this year. We are taking down an existing property on Freels Peak and building a new smaller ONE LEVEL- (the key ingredient) home. We plan on documenting our progress as the existing property is demolished this summer and the new structure begins! 

wrong home upgradesIf you’re considering home improvements—or even just adding a few extra touches to freshen up the place—don’t rush the process. A plan is key for any successful remodeling job.

You don’t want to pay for impractical or expensive home improvements that are out of style by the time you have to hang a “For Sale” sign in the yard.

Instead, look for smart, traditional and fashionable upgrades to provide value and aesthetic beauty for years to come.

While you’re looking for upgrades, consider these following tips for remodeling.

Kitchens

  • Spacious kitchens with abundant natural light make cooking a pleasure, not a chore.
  • Light-colored kitchens can create an illusion of a bigger space.
  • Adding a skylight is another way of creating a spacious feel.
  • Multiple storage shelves and cabinets plus an extra sink will reduce counter clutter.
  • Built-in microwaves, dishwashers, six-burner ranges and convection ovens are great for utility and convenience.
  • An island range with bar stools promotes an inviting, social atmosphere.

Bathrooms

  • Two-bath homes, plus a master bathroom, are optimal.
  • Many home buyers see high-end items like whirlpools, Jacuzzis, steam and jet showers, double shower heads and hand-held sprayers as essentials.
  • Large storage cabinets, freestanding or built-in, are great.
  • Avoid all-white bathrooms—splashes of color reduce the sterile feeling.
  • Bigger is better. Tiny bathrooms are out.  

Floors

Hardwood flooring increases resale value, so keep hardwood floors in top shape by refinishing them. As an alternative, laminate flooring is typically cheaper than hardwood and a nice upgrade from carpet.

Ceiling Fans

Try to install ceiling fans that make use of a remote control. This will allow you to change speeds without getting up.

High-End Home Amenities

  • Specialty rooms like media rooms, wine cellars, workout rooms and children’s playrooms can boost resale value and personalize a home.
  • Outdoor fireplaces, patio heaters, electronic insect control devices, decks and fountains are popular.
  • Outdoor kitchens can boost resale value.
  • If you live in a hot climate, an in-ground swimming pool can increase your home’s value. However, buyers in more more seasonal climates may see pools as an inconvenience. Ask a REALTOR® to see whether pools are popular in your area.

Additional Research Tips

  • Attend home improvement shows.
  • Consult with home designers, building contractors and handymen. Ask a REALTOR® for trusted references.

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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

Lake Tahoe's Incline Village Real Estate Market Experts & Home Sales Professionals

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