Incline Village real estate blog, Lake Tahoe real estate blog.


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August New Home Sales Retrench but Still Solid

by Lakeshore Realty

After a spectacular run for new home sales in July, it was anticipated that August activity would be considerably more modest.  While sales did retrench from the post-crash highs reached the previous month (which improved even further when revised), the August numbers still came in above analysts' estimates

The Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that August sales of newly constructed single-family homes were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 609,000, a 7.6 percent drop from July when the rate was 659,000 units, a number originally reported at 654,000.  The August sales rate was 20.6 percent higher than that of a year earlier, 505,000. 

Analysts polled by Econoday had expected sales to be within a range of 575,000 to 630,000.  The consensus was 598,000.

On an unadjusted basis, sales during the month totaled 50,000 units compared to 57,000 in July.  In August 2015 there were 41,000 units sold. Units going under contract in August were on the market for a median of 3.2 months.

The median sales price of a home sold during the month was $284,000 compared to $300,200 a year earlier.  The most recent average price was $353,600, up from $348,800 in August 2015.

There were an estimated 239,000 units (unadjusted) available for sale as the end of the reporting period, a 4.8-month supply at the current absorption rate.  In August 2015 the inventory was deemed sufficient for 5.2 months.  Of those units currently available, construction is complete on 56,000, 138,000 are in process, and work has not begun on 45,000 units.

Sales in the Northeast region dropped by 34.3 percent from July and were 25.8 percent lower than a year earlier.  In the Midwest sales, while down 2.4 percent month-over-month, were 39.7 percent higher than the previous August.  Sales were also lower for the month in the South, by 12.3 percent, but remained 15.9 percent above sales in the same month in 2015.  New home sales in the West maintained their momentum, rising 8.0 percent in August and gaining 35.0 percent year-over-year.


Home Improvement Projects That Boost Resale Value

by Lakeshore Realty

When homeowners are getting ready to put their house on the market, they often consider taking on a few improvement projects in order to boost the sales price. However, not all projects will deliver a worthwhile return, so it's important to look at how much bang for your buck a project will deliver. If you're looking to sell your home, or just prepare it for a higher return on your investment, here are five home improvement strategies for success.

Give your kitchen a makeover

Investing $30,000 in a kitchen remodel can recover up to $20,000 of its value at resale, according to the Remodeling Impact Report. The report also found that 82 percent of respondents said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project, with 75 percent citing an increased sense of enjoyment.

If your kitchen needs a refresh, consider upgrading with granite counter tops. For remodels on a budget, give your kitchen a fresh coat of paint or install a new bright backsplash to bring more life to your counter area.

Get smart

The 2015 State of the Smart Home Report found that 50 percent of consumers say they plan to buy at least one smart home product in the next year. Home monitoring cameras and smart security upgrades top the list, and it's no wonder why. The report states that a burglary takes place every 14.1 seconds in the U.S., and 56 percent of break-ins are through the front or back doors. Install a security camera system to give buyers and yourself peace of mind, while monitoring the safety of your home during home showings and as foot traffic increases in and out of your home.

Landscape your yard

Spending just a few hundred dollars on landscaping can return thousands on your investment. Adding fresh flowers, taking care of problematic trees and weeding your lawn can add curb appeal. It can also uncover problems before your buyer goes through the inspection process.

The exact return can be hard to pin down. However, some could yield a whopping 1,000 percent, depending on how you are investing your money and if your landscaping plan matches your home's style.

Upgrade your appliances

Over 60 million refrigerators are over 10 years old and cost consumers $4.17 billion a year in energy costs. Give your appliances an upgrade and reduce your environmental impact at the same time by replacing washers, dryers and dishwashers with energy-efficient models that have the Energy Star stamp of approval.

Replace vinyl siding

Increase your home's curb appeal and protect its exterior at the same time with a vinyl siding replacement. According to the National Association of Realtors, a vinyl siding replacement returns 72.9 percent of costs. While you're working on the outside of your home, do a vinyl window replacement as well, and return 73.3 percent of your investment and potentially increase the energy efficiency of your home at the same time.

Radon: The Silent Danger

by Lakeshore Realty

Many homeowners all across the country have no idea that they may have dangerous levels of radon gas accumulating in their home. What is worse is that unless you specifically test for it, you have no way of knowing how much is present in your house. So what is there to do? Fortunately, we can shed some light on the subject.

 Let’s begin with the obvious question; what is radon anyway? Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is found in all 50 states. Radon is formed when the uranium in the soil, rocks and water breaks down over time and is released as a gas. Once produced, radon seeps through the ground into the air and can often accumulate in basements, crawl spaces, and other low lying areas of the home.

The real danger is that radon is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert. Most homeowners wouldn’t even think to check for it until their Realtor advises them to do so when they decide to list their home for sale. Radon poses a serious health risk and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer for the general population. Due to this, the EPA recommends that all houses be tested for Radon at the point of sale. A reading of 4pCI/L or more is considered dangerous and requires some form of mitigation.

So what do you do as a homeowner to deal with the risk of radon exposure? The first step is to buy a testing kit. You can find them online here. Most kits require you leave them in a low lying area of your home for 2-4 days. You then send the kit (materials and lab fees are usually included) to a lab for testing. The results often arrive in a few days. Once you have your results, you can then assess if mitigation is necessary. If radon levels are high, you should contact a licensed contractor to install a mitigation system. At the point of sale, buyers will often negotiate with the seller to cover the costs of these systems. 

Fortunately, the costs of radon mitigation systems are usually not more expensive than typical home repairs so resolving this issue shouldn’t break the bank. We highly recommend testing for radon frequently and not just when your home sells. You never know the danger unless you test for it!

For more information, visit our office or check out these official sources:

  • EPA Radon Site:
  • EPA Regional Offices:
  • Radon Guide:

Mortgage Rates Finally Break Higher: What You Should Watch

by Lakeshore Realty

Mortgage rates took their biggest leap in two months on Friday, thanks to a sell-off in the U.S. bond market. Mortgage rates loosely follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury (U.S.: US10Y). It was only an eighth of a percentage point move, but enough to send stocks of the nation's homebuilders, as well as anything else that touches housing, tumbling.

The numbers on the tickers are dramatic, but the impact of higher mortgage rates on the nation's neighborhoods will take different forms.

First and foremost, rising rates scare a whole host of housing players: buyers, sellers, builders and homeowners. The average contract interest rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage is still historically very low, around 3.5 percent. The historical average for that rate is just more than 8 percent, and it has been as high as 18 percent. Still, a move higher is scary.

"When it comes to rates and financial markets in general, things can always go either way, but I will say that the past two days are the scariest we've seen since before Brexit," wrote Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily on Friday. "This is the kind of move that should be treated as a serious threat to low, stable mortgage rates until proven otherwise."

Higher mortgage rates make homebuying more expensive. No question. The move now could make some buyers want to get into a contract quickly before their costs rise. That, however, has always been a very short-term stimulus. Higher rates could also scare some sellers into lowering prices slightly, to sell before they lose potential buyers. For homeowners, this could be one more reason to jump on a mortgage refinance. Even with rates sitting at near-record lows for months, there are still hundreds of thousands of borrowers who have yet to take advantage and reduce their monthly payments.

But even if the Federal Reserve raises its funds rate this month, mortgage rates may not move much higher. After the central bank made its first increase last December, mortgage rates moved up briefly, but then fell again.

"The easiest way to say it is that 'longer-term' rates (stuff like 10-year Treasury yields and mortgage rates) do indeed tend to move with Fed rate hike expectations, not the Fed rate hike itself," explained Graham. "Let December be your guide. The Fed hiked and rates fell. Now, why was that? Because rates had just spent the past 10 months rising in anticipation of an impending Fed rate hike."

So let's say rates rise a little bit in anticipation. There is only a small chance they would move a full percentage point higher; that has happened 14 times since 1971, according to an analysis by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Burns is predicting rates could stay below 4 percent at least through 2018. Still, a mortgage rate increase will have different outcomes for different segments of housing.

"Historically, they have hammered builder stocks, hurt new home sales bad, hurt existing home sales a little, and had very little impact on home prices unless there was a recession too," noted John Burns. "My conclusion is that investors are right to punish the stocks, but often punish them too hard."

Even if rates make another small move higher, there are bigger things weighing on housing right now than mortgage rates. For one, tight supply. The severe lack of homes for sale is pushing home prices higher and hurting affordability far more than a slightly higher interest rate. Homebuilders need to ramp up production, but they are fighting higher costs for land and labor, as well as a far more restrictive landscape in terms of construction regulation.


Recycling Carts Now Available!

by Lakeshore Realty

Attention Residents! Waste Management will be delivering your new recycling cart starting Sept 12th. These new carts will look just like your regular trash carts but with a blue lid. You don't have to lift a finger, WM will deliver your cart based on the size of your original trash carts directly to your home.

To change your service size or to opt out of a carts before the September 12 delivery please contact WM at (775)831-2971 or email

For more info, see the original article here:


7 Tricks Hotels Use That Can Make Your Home Look and Work Better

by Lakeshore Realty

Looking to breathe some life into your house? Maybe all you need is a vacation. A hotel stay is great for a lot of reasons - as a romantic getaway, an opportunity to see the world or explore new places, a break from work or kids - but taking a good look at your surroundings can also give you great ideas for refreshing your space when you get back home.

"Whether you actually travel the world by getting on those planes, trains and automobiles or mainly explore from your sofa with an iPad in hand, you'll know that hotel designers are full of clever ideas on how to make bedrooms comfortable, visually interesting and small space smart," said Apartment Therapy.
Economy of space

For the most part, hotel rooms are small spaces that have to pack a lot of function and style into close quarters. If you think you don't have enough room to spread out or enough storage in key places in your home, maybe you just need a quick hotel stay to inspire you. Like the Arlo hotel set to open this year in Hudson Square in New York.

Originally designed under the Tommie brand, the rooms were designed as "micro scale." Niki Leondakis, the chief executive of Commune Hotels and Resorts, told the New York Times that, building hotels in "urban markets where real estate is at a premium and hotel rooms are notoriously small" requires "an approach to design that maximizes every square foot" - an idea that can translate to home.


Make it interesting

Small doesn't have to be boring. Look how this Great Gatsby-themed hotel room uses pattern and textured panels to create interest.


Luxury linens

You know how hotel room sheets are always so soft? They don't scrimp on thread count. Or the number of sheets they use. "To design your own hotel bed, "start with very clean, white, high thread count sheets," Sybil Pool, a spokesperson for Park Hyatt, told Huffington Post. "Three-hundred thread count seems to be the general rule - that's the standard at Park Hyatt Sydney, and Arizona's award-winning Miraval Resort uses 300 thread count as well. The Westin Heavenly Bed, likewise, gets its oomph from 300 thread count Egyptian cotton, along with a special twist: There are three sheets, says Hoover. That way, you're always touching a sheet. It's a really plush bed."

Huffington Post has a few more tips to make the bed at home and feel like you're in a plush resort.

A great mattress = a great night's sleep

Hotels buy great mattresses. So much so that many have become available to the general public over the years. There's the aforementioned Westin Heavenly Bed, or you can grab a Four Seasons Bed, the luxe bed you'll sleep in if you stay at the W Hotel, and a few more you can see here.


If cost is an issue, think about it this way: a good night's sleep can affect more than just your coffee consumption in the morning. It may be that buying a great mattress ends up being a small price to pay for better health, clarity, and an improved mood all day long.

Accentuate the positive

This tiny, budget room in Copenhagen puts the view front and center. And even though the space is limited (REALLY limited), they still found room for a desk and chair, as well as another accent chair. The wall-mounted nightstand is a great way to include a little convenience without a lot of space and the colorful drapes bring the eye out toward the city view.

Wake Up Copenhagen

Coordination is key

You may not have such a fantastic view to emphasize, but you can create a dazzling view inside by coordinating your décor like hotel rooms do. See how the patterns complement each other, multiple textures create a layered look, and the orange accents pop off of the neutral background?

Bentley Hotel NYC

Concentrate on lighting

Good lighting can make or break a space, and this is something that good hotels do particularly well. The trick: layer it in with overhead, ambient, and task lighting, making sure to illuminate key spaces, like in this Las Vegas room.


Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Lake Tahoe

by Marius Poltan

When most people think of Lake Tahoe, they think of skiing or snowboarding at Northstar or Squaw Valley. What they don't realize is how many other opportunities for outdoor activities the area offers, like hunting, water sports and hiking. If you consider yourself an outdoor enthusiast, keep reading to find out what activities you should be getting involved with in Lake Tahoe.


Hunting and Fishing

Since most of the Lake Tahoe area is in California and the rest in Nevada, it's important to be familiar with the hunting and fishing laws of both states. The Nevada area offers opportunities to hunt game like mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mountain goat and waterfowl. You will need a Nevada hunting license, a big-game tag to hunt big game and both a state and federal duck stamp for waterfowl. There are only a few regulations specific to firearm use within the Lake Tahoe Basin, so if you're looking to expand your rifle selection or if you're new to the sport, be sure to check the list before making a purchase.

When it comes to fishing, there are a variety of species living in the lake, including brown and rainbow trout, Mackinaw and Kokanee salmon, just to name a few. Chartering a boat and heading into the lake's deeper waters gives you opportunities to try your hand at trolling, drift-netting or jigging for fish year-round.

Water Sports and Boating

Spending time on Lake Tahoe is a very popular outdoor activity. For those interested in purchasing or renting boats, there are plenty of public and accessible boat ramps. Take a cruise around the lake on a sailboat, get fancy in a yacht or get a workout in on a pedal boat or kayak. With a motorboat, try parasailing or water skiing, and if you're looking to use alternate energy sources, windsurfing or stand-up paddleboarding are also options. With 39 trillion gallons of water in Lake Tahoe, there is bound to be enough water for your favorite lake activity.


With almost 64,000 acres of subalpine forests, glacial lakes, valleys and granite peaks, the Desolation Wilderness area offers access to 15 different trailheads. The breathtaking views attract big crowds, hence the quota system that requires day hikers to fill out registration forms and overnighters to pay and register before their stay. For a world-renowned trail, visit Tahoe Rim for a beautiful hike following the shore of Lake Tahoe. This extensive trail passes through California and Nevada, six counties, one state park and three National Forests. The full length of the trail spans 165 miles, winding from one peak to the other around Lake Tahoe. The multi-use trail allows hiking and horseback riding on every portion, but mountain biking is prohibited in wilderness areas, any trail sections part of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park and any sections that overlap with the Pacific Crest Trail. If you're looking to climb one of Tahoe's tallest peaks, standing at 9,735 feet, visit Mount Tallac, starting the loop to the peak from the Glen Alpine Trailhead and trekking 11.6 strenuous miles that will take the average hiker about eight to 10 hours.

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


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