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Inventory Blamed as Pending Home Sales Slip

by Lakeshore Realty

The volume of pending home sales lessened a bit as summer wound down after strong numbers were posted in May and June and the July numbers, while smaller, remained in positive territory.  In August, however the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings for home purchases, was down 1.4 percent from the previous month.  Analysts had expected that the index would hold at July's half percentage point gain. NAR said, however that August sales represented a healthy level of activity, continuing was is now a 12-month streak of consecutive year-over-year gains.

The PHSI dipped from the 110.9 level in July to 109.4.  This is a 6.1 percent gain from where it stood in August 2014, at the 103.1 level.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said that that buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale and prices are continuing to rise in a number of markets. "Pending sales have leveled off since mid-summer, with buyers being bounded by rising prices and few available and affordable properties within their budget," he said. "Even with existing-housing supply barely budging all summer and no relief coming from new construction, contract activity is still higher than earlier this year and a year ago."

Bloomberg commented that, "Existing home sales are being limited by lack of homes on the market which itself, however, reflects softness in home prices and general demand. But there is strength in housing and that's in new home sales and construction."

According to Yun, sales in the coming months should be able to roughly maintain their current pace. However, he warns that there are looming speed bumps that have the potential to impact housing.  "The possibility of a government shutdown and any ongoing instability in the equity markets could cause some households to put off buying for the time being," he said. "Furthermore, adapting to the changes being implemented next month in the mortgage closing process could delay some sales."

Sales fell in three of the four regions with only the West posting a slight gain of 1.8 percent in August to 104.9, putting it 7.6 percent above a year ago. The PHSI in the Northeast fell 5.6 percent to 93.3 but remains 8.9 percent higher year-over-year.  In the Midwest the index inched down 0.4 percent to 107.4 and is now 6.5 percent above August 2014. Pending home sales in the South declined 2.2 percent to an index of 121.5 and was 4.1 percent higher than during the same period last year.

The national median existing-home price is expected to increase 5.8 percent in 2015 to $220,300. Yun forecasts total existing-home sales this year to increase 7.0 percent to around 5.28 million, about 25 percent below the prior peak set in 2005 (7.08 million).

A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing. The PHSI is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.


Home Security Options on a Budget

by Lakeshore Realty

​Your home is a sacred place for you and your family. Burglary can make you feel as though your house is not safe, or can leave you with the sense that your privacy has been violated. Here are some tips so you can keep your house secure.


Burglars don't want confrontation. They want in and out of your house before anyone has noticed anything is wrong. If they suspect someone is home, probably look elsewhere for an easier target. You can leave on lights in your house as a deterrent, but some may suspect you're out and watch the house before entering. A light timer can take care of this problem. Schedule lights to turn on and off throughout the day or night. This will keep burglars away, searching for a different target. Go high-tech with an Intermatic Timer. These will not only control the lights, but you can do it from a device when you're not home to change up your illumination schedule.

Place motion detection lights around your property. If burglars have no cover, they'll be discouraged. Motion detection lights lessen the places thieves can hide and gain entry to your home without being seen.

Security Cameras

 Over the years, Lorex has established itself as an industry powerhouse in terms of residential and commercial security hardware. Many security and home monitoring companies require pricey monthly subscriptions, Lorex security cameras, on the other hand, don't have such fees (despite their solid reputation). Their wireless cameras can be placed a good distance away from your digital recording device without a network of wires and can be extended even further with signal range detectors to achieve full coverage around your property. They shoot in color during daylight hours then switch to black and white automatically when night falls to achieve a better quality image in low light. As a way to save hard drive space, you can also program them to record footage only when the motion detector indicates movement. 

Smart Locks

Time is the most precious commodity, and with so much on your plate in terms of social, work and family obligations, you can't always pick up the kids from school, guitar lessons and soccer practice. With a smart lock, you can track who goes in and out of your home. This is handy when you work late and want to make sure your son or daughter is home safe.

August, Goji and Lockitron are all smart locks with similar features. Each has an app for your smartphone. A device is fitted on your dead bolt. Your smartphone connects with this device via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology. You can grant anyone with the app access to your home. When they use their smartphone for entry, you will be alerted on your phone who entered the house. Similarly, if the door is forced open you'll get an alert. They range in price from $99-$300, depending on the options they come with.

9 Reasons You Need To Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets Right Now

by Lakeshore Realty

They're gross, they're grimy, and they're dragging the rest of your kitchen down with them. They're your kitchen cabinets, and they alone could keep you from getting a decent price on your home - if you can sell it at all. If you're getting ready to list your home and your REALTOR® has told you that kitchen is a buyer repeller, you may have all the reason you need to paint those cabinets. But if you need a few more, read on.

1. Kitchens sell homes

Everyone's heard that saying, right? But what it really means is that bad kitchens cost people sales or at least profits. Nobody's shelling out top dollar for your dingy, dark, outdated mess. But that doesn't mean you have to do a full-blown renovation. Painted cabinets can give the feel of an updated kitchen at a fraction of the cost of a total redo.

"Painting cabinets, especially if you do the job yourself, costs far less than outright replacement. Bargain-basement cabinets for a 10x12-ft. kitchen can easily top $5,000," said This Old House. "Refacing cabinets, a process of veneering existing cabinet boxes and replacing doors and drawer fronts, is another option, but a top-notch refacing job starts at $3,500. The materials for painting (brushes, primer, paint) will cost about $200.

2. It looks dark and dreary

Older kitchens that don't reflect today's open floorplan trend can feel small and cavelike. Dark cabinets exacerbate the issue.

Erin Williamson Design

This kitchen, with its outdated layout and mismatched appliances, would distract potential buyers. Blowing out those upper cabinets and updating, well, everything, would be great. But even without making major changes, it could be improved greatly by painting out the cabinets. Going with white will make it look larger and blend in with the appliances and countertops.

3. It looks dated

"It's not updated" is code for "It's going to cost me too much money to renovate that mess myself," which is code for, "I'm not buying that house."


Look at how this kitchen went from meh to masterful just by painting the cabinets white and swapping out the hardware. The once sorry space is now a selling point.

4. It looks dirty

Knicks, scratches, and worn surfaces will elicit smirks, not smiles. The takeaway is a house that's not taken care of, not one that buyers are clamoring for.

5. It looks small

Those dark wood cabinets are making your kitchen feel tiny, and tiny kitchens are not a selling point. Dark colors suck up the light, while lighter colors like white reflect light. If you have a small space or one that's closed in (or both!), lightening up the cabinets will make a world of difference in how the space feels.


A reflective surface for your backsplash will help further, by bouncing light around the room to make it feel more spacious.

6. It looks cheap

And if your kitchen looks cheap, perception is that the rest of the house might be cheap too.

7. It makes everything else look bad

Even a kitchen with nice countertops, appliances, and fixtures can be brought down by cabinets that aren't up to par.

If you think a fresh coat of paint can't make a real difference, just take a look at this kitchen.

Willow Oaks New Homes

8. It's a cheap and easy DIY project

Easy doesn't mean it won't bring a certain level of pain, but the pain is in the tediousness of having to patiently go through all the necessary steps to achieve a good result, not in learning new and complicated skills or using dangerous equipment that—for us clumsy people—might mean the loss of a finger.

Those couple hundred bucks you spend can bring thousands of dollars in value when you sell. And if you don't want to do it yourself, it's still a relatively low-cost option. "Having a pro do the work will run at least $1,000, more if the painter insists on stripping all cabinets," said This Old House.

If it's all the sanding that has you concerned, try a product like Cabinet Transformations.

That's how this kitchen was transformed. The no-sand option uses a deglosser to remove grease and grime and take the shine off the wood to prepare them for painting.

9. It may just cause a divorce

The thing about kitchens is that everyone wants them updated, but few people actually want to do the updating. A complete renovation: a) takes too long; b) costs too much; c) is an enormous hassle; d) and can cause such a rift between people that it may end their relationship.

Do your fellow man (and woman) a favor, and paint your cabinets.

North Lake Tahoe August 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

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

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

Selling With A Contingency

by Lakeshore Realty

Question. We have been trying to sell our house for several months, and have just received an offer. The price is right, but the buyer wants the contract to be contingent on the sale of her own house. Our real estate broker has suggested that she could list the buyer's property, and would probably be able to sell that house quickly. What do you think of this kind of contingency?

Answer. You have raised two different questions, and both deserve a comprehensive response.

I personally do not like contingencies based on the sale of the purchaser's current residence. However, it is a fact of life which sellers have to accept if they want to sell their property quickly. Not everyone can afford to buy a new house while at the same time having to carry the financial burden of their existing home.

A contingency is a legal concept which basically means that if a particular condition is not met, then the real estate contract becomes null and void. In a home sale contingency situation, if the buyer cannot sell his or her house, then the buyer does not have to go forward with the sales contract to buy the new property.

Clearly, such a contingency is in the best interest of the buyer.

However, there are certain protections that a seller can obtain if they are properly incorporated into the sales contract.

If you, the seller, are prepared to accept a home sale contingency, this means that you will not have any certainty as to whether your buyers will in fact go to closing on your house until such time as the buyers have contracted or sold their current residence.

Thus, one important provision to add into any such contingency is a time limitation. How long are you as a seller prepared to keep your house off the market? Generally speaking, these contingencies expire by their terms between 90 and 120 days from the time the contract is entered into. At the end of this time period, the contract can be declared null and void at the option of the seller.

On the one hand, you have to be realistic; you cannot put a short time fuse on the buyer, because he or she may not be able to sell the home within such a short period of time. On the other hand, you do not want to have this open-ended, whereby the buyer at any time in the future can suddenly announce their house cannot be sold, and the current contract is null and void. Thus, a range of between 90 and 120 days is a fair compromise between both of these positions.

A seller should also incorporate into the contract what is known as a "kick out clause." The usual language reads as follows:

Seller shall have the right to continue to show the property for sale to others. On receipt by seller of any offer from another purchaser which is acceptable to seller, seller shall give purchaser ___ hours written notice to remove the contingency regarding the sale of purchaser's present residence. In the event purchaser fails to waive said contingency in writing and/or fails to provide seller with evidence satisfactory to seller that purchaser is able to complete settlement without regard to the sale of purchaser's present residence, then seller may, at seller's sole discretion, declare this contract null and void, in which all deposit money shall be refunded to purchaser. For the purpose of this paragraph, the ___ hour period shall commence upon delivery of the aforementioned written notice to purchaser or to the real estate agent, and such delivery date and time shall be recorded in writing on a separate receipt. Time is in the essence for this paragraph.

This will give the seller the opportunity to continue to market the property, and most real estate agents and brokers will be happy to assist in these efforts. If the seller obtains another satisfactory offer, the existing purchaser will be given a period of time in which to determine whether to cancel the contract or to go forward with the contract. The general rule of thumb is 72 hours.

It is important to note, however, that even if the existing purchaser decides to remove the contingency and go forward with the purchase, that purchaser must demonstrate satisfactory financial ability to the seller that he will be able to purchase even though the current residence has not yet been sold. If this language is not included in the real estate contract, the purchaser could remove the contingency, but nevertheless still not be able to get financing until the house is sold, and obviously the settlement will not take place.

The sellers should also keep in mind that if an acceptable second offer is received, they cannot accept that offer until they have given the 72 hour notice to the first purchaser. Alternatively, the seller could accept the offer as a "back up" contract, making it clear that this is a back up contract which will not become the primary contract until the seller gives written notice of that fact to the second purchaser.

Clearly, the seller does not want to be in the position of having sold the house twice under two different contracts.

By incorporating a kick out clause, this permits the seller to continue to show and market the property, while at the same time preserving an interested purchaser who presumably will diligently attempt to sell his own house.

The second issue raised by your question is, in my opinion, quite controversial. It is common practice for real estate agents or brokers to want to obtain a listing so that they can sell the purchaser's house also. However, there is, in my opinion, a clear potential conflict of interest created by these dual transactions. On the one hand, the real estate agent owes a duty to the first seller. Now, on the other hand, by obtaining a listing from the purchaser, the agent also owes a duty to that individual. It may very well be that the interests of the two will differ. The seller wants the purchaser to sell quickly, so that the purchaser will go to closing. The purchasers, on the other hand, will no doubt want to get the best possible price, and may not be anxious to settle on the new contract until their own house is under contract. Indeed, a properly drafted home sale contingency should make the first contract contingent not only on the purchaser obtaining a contract for the sale of their house, but also on the actual settlement on that house.

Additionally, when an agent receives certain information, there is a duty to disclose that information to the principal. There are times, however, when the purchaser make want to discuss and disclose certain private and financial information to a broker, which information may be significant if known by the seller. My recommendation in this case is for the purchaser to obtain his or her own real estate agent who will not have to be concerned with the possibility of a dual loyalty.

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Lakeshore Realty
954 Lakeshore Blvd.
Incline Village NV 89451
Fax: 775-831-6777


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