6 Decisions to Make Before the Home Search

In the market for a new home but have no idea where to start? There are several decisions you should begin to make before you even start your home search. By asking yourself the right questions, you can quickly pinpoint what you want – and can afford – in your next home.

1. What's your budget? See how your finances stand up to the 28/36 rule, which lenders use to see what you can afford to pay each month. A financial adviser or your real estate agent also can help you crunch the numbers. Going through the mortgage pre-approval process lets you know how much lenders will allow you to borrow – plus it helps you show sellers that you have the funds to backup your offer.

2. What do you need in your new home? How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? What about a large kitchen, a home office or a playroom for the kids? How many cars need covered parking? It's critically important to ensure the home you select meets your family and lifestyle needs.

3. Do you want a condo or single-family home? Condos come with much less maintenance. You typically won't be shoveling snow in the winter or replacing the roof, but you'll likely pay monthly association fees to cover services and repairs in the community. Houses, on the other hand, come with more privacy and freedom to customize. They also come with full responsibility for maintenance.

4. How do you feel about living under covenants? Depending on where you buy, you may have to pay homeowner association (HOA) fees in addition to your mortgage. There are benefits to HOAs, such as maintenance, community centers, and maybe even a pool or gym. But you also could be faced with more restrictive rules about the look of the outside of your home, down to the color of your front door, types of window coverings, and whether you can plant flowers in your yard.

5. What school district do you want to be near? Even if you don't have children in the house, local schools will affect your property value. Prospective homebuyers tend to search with education in mind. Do your research on the schools in the areas you'd like to live in.

6. Should the home be move-in ready? Ask yourself how much elbow grease you're willing to put into a home – or how much you'll pay someone else to do the work. Fixer-upper homes can be great after the work is done, but you'll want to figure out your renovation budget before you start your home search. A 203k home-renovation loan might be the right resource for you. If you're not ready for the extra financial commitment of rehabbing a home, or you can't or don't want to wait for remodeling projects to finish up, then a home that's move-in ready might be right for you.

After considering all these factors, you'll be ready to start the home search with a clearer picture of where you're headed. When that time comes, let me guide you all the way there.

If it Snows, They Will Come!

Once the snow falls, people flock to the mountains to ski on our slopes, eat at our restaurants and buy our homes. During last year’s “snowpocalypse”, the Incline Village and Crystal Bay housing market was booming and local Realtors continued to have strong sales numbers throughout the year. The walls of snow in the higher elevation neighborhoods made it difficult to find homes that were for sale without pulling out your GPS. It was almost impossible to make it from one home to another without getting lost or praying you could actually find the home underneath the pile of white fluff. Luckily, spray painted snowbanks with street names on them were a thing last winter.

According to the Incline Village MLS, there were 62 home and freestanding condo sales and 64 condo sales from October 2016 to January 2017. So far, during the same time frame in the 2017-2018 winter we have seen 66 homes and freestanding condo sales and 71 condo sales, ahead of last years total.

This could mean two things. The first is that people are coming up here on holiday and find the slopes and few runs that are open to be extremely crowded or the snow level to be disappointing and they are looking at more property during their vacay instead of getting those runs in. Another option is that last year’s winter gave Buyers a well needed reminder of how truly magical the mountains can be when we have moderate to above average snow levels and you have the best pow run of your life.

Snow making helps curb the appetite of an everyday skier but it will not produce the same experience and true, nature made snow. Holiday season visitors kept our restaurants, slopes and resorts bustling for a few weeks. Now that the main holiday season is over, all we can do is pray for snow and impatiently watch the weather channel in hopes for a cold and wet forecast for spring. Our community depends on it.

Summer buyers are also heavily influenced to buy and Sellers are convinced to sell based on their experiences and memories made in the area. Drought years can mean reduced water levels, limited boating activities, docks covering rocks, and no floating the Truckee River – all important elements of summer life here in Tahoe.

We still have a long spring season ahead of us and look forward to the next few months with optimism for the real estate market and the skin industry. There’s not doubt that the Incline Village and Crystal Bay Real Estate Market sales totals have continued to grow over the past few years. With tax reform and rose-colored glasses for a late snow season, we are looking forward to a successful 2018.

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 01/16/2018                                                   

Houses                Condos               PUDs

For Sale                                         102                          42                       19

Under $1 million                         25                           24                          7

Median Price For Sale          $1,645,000         $840,000             $1,150,000

YTD Sales 2018                            7                               6                            0

YTD Sales 2017                            6                              12                           0

New Listings                                 6                      

In Escrow                                      11

Closed Escrow                              7                                                             

Range in Escrow        $175,000 - $1,695,000

 

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of January 16, 2018.

 

With deduction evaporating, more California homeowners pay property taxes early

Spurred by changes in federal tax law that will hit high-tax states like California hard, more Bay Area homeowners are rushing to pay their property taxes early, according to local officials.

Property tax payments in California are due in two installments, one in December and one in April. Some tax advisers have long recommended that certain individuals make both payments by Dec. 31, depending on their specific situation — to offset higher income in the current year, for example. But the Republican tax plan, which is awaiting President Trump’s signature, limits the deductibility of all state and local taxes to $10,000, far lower than the property tax bill on a newly purchased median-value home in San Francisco.

Alameda County put out a media advisory this week encouraging people to consider paying the second installment early.

Henry Levy, the county treasurer-tax collector, said his background as an income tax professional prompted him to issue the advisory. He said he’s been hearing that many people’s tax advisers have been giving them advice on prepaying their taxes, so he wanted to make sure that those without advisers had similar information.

Levy said his office has seen more people making early payments. In past years at this time, he said, 49 to 51 percent of Alameda County property owners have paid the second installment. This year, it’s up to 54 percent.

“I sort of have a feeling that now that Congress passed the bill, that number will go up,” he said.

Levy also said that his office had explored whether it could collect next year’s taxes early.

“It turns out we couldn’t really mechanically do it,” Levy said.

His office determined that collecting 2018 taxes now might break state law.

“If you were to try and pay 2018 taxes now, the check would end up being sent back to you,” said Mina Martinovich, Marin County’s assistant director of the Department of Finance .

Amanda Fried, a spokeswoman with the San Francisco Treasurer & Tax Collector, said that about 23 percent of San Francisco property owners have paid their second installment so far this year, versus 21 percent at the same time last year. The office has not sent out a special advisory.

San Mateo County posted a message on its website notifying property owners that they could pay their second installment. The county has also seen an increase in prepayments, said assistant tax collector Robin Elliott.

Napa County also saw a “substantial increase,” said treasurer-tax collector Tamie Frasier. Her office is not offering advice on prepayments. “We always say that’s up to the taxpayer,” she said. “Everybody’s finances are different.”

Contra Costa County also has seen an increase in collections on the second installment, said Brice Bins, chief deputy treasurer-tax collector. It was “uncertain,” he wrote in an email, whether that was related to the tax overhaul or the continuing economic recovery.

Article curtest of Sophie Haigney, a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. 

2017: The Year in Review

No matter what your view of the world, 2017 was not a dull year for newsworthy events, changes in the global political scene or the Incline Village / Crystal Bay real estate market. By historical standards this was an above average year with the Incline Village MLS reporting 433 sales of houses, condos and freestanding condos as of December 31st. This is about a 5% increase over the 412 sales we had in 2016.  It is also a good sign that our market is healthy and not in either a boom or bust cycle. Overall, prices for single-family homes and condos continued a steady march upward.

As we head toward the start of 2018 there are 156 total residential properties for sale which is about 18% below the level at this time last year. The inventory of properties during the course of the year ranged from the mid-100s to the high 200s depending on the season and pace of sales activity. The total number of properties for sale moved above a 9 month supply during the late summer and early autumn.  Then it retreated back to the current level as a result of strong late-season sales and listings either expiring or being withdrawn from the market.

The net result is that we have seen a return to a healthy real estate market without the extreme price volatility that was witnessed during the previous decade when prices rose dramatically and subsequently surrendered a large portion of their gains. The combination of moderately low inventory levels, healthy but not excessive demand and strong local economies in the markets that provide most of the buyers for properties in our community, has brought a nice balance of diversity and stability during the past year.

Sales of condominiums outpaced those of single-family homes steadily throughout the year. The most popular complex was McCloud with 20 sales followed by 16 in Mountain Shadows.  Bitterbrush came in 3rd place with 14 sales while Burgundy Hill saw 13 units change hands.  Third Creek had 11 closed escrows and would likely have seen more activity except for a severe lack of inventory.

There are currently only 9 single-family homes with asking prices under $800,000 and many are fixer uppers or tear downs. There were a total of 43 sales of houses that closed escrow below $800,000 and this wiped out a lot of the inventory in this price range. Luxury homes had a very good year by local standards with 38 houses selling at prices in excess of $2 million in Incline Village and Crystal Bay in 2017.

Barring some catastrophic economic or political event we believe that real estate sales in 2018 will remain relatively strong in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. Buyers will want to keep an eye out during the winter months for any new listings that may be of interest. We anticipate that reasonably priced properties in good locations with desirable floor plans will likely see a significant amount of showing activity and attract offers swiftly.

12 Reasons to List Your Home in Winter

“Listing your home in the winter may offer a better opportunity for a stronger sale.”

While winter is not considered the traditional home selling season in most areas, Lake Tahoe’s seasons are what draw many buyers to the area. With recent snow and ski areas open from Christmas, retailers and lodging providers are gearing up for the busy holidays and winter weekend visitors. A new wave of interest in home buyer often occurs in winter months at Lake Tahoe, spurred by good snow conditions at the ski areas, for snowmobiling, winter festivals and family activities. These are a few of the reasons why listing a home in winter may offer Sellers a better opportunity for a strong sale.

Less Competition There aren’t as many listings now on the market to compete with on pricing. If a Seller waits until Spring to list, there will be more listings for Buyers to choose from. Some of these may be homes that were previously listed and withdrawn or the winter that may relist for a low price and drive pricing pressure. Nationwide, there is about 20% less inventory during the winter months and inventory around the Lake drops even further as so many Sellers have the misperception that Buyers are not looking in the winter. Most Sellers don’t put their homes on the market during the last or first couple of months of the year. So, as Buyer activity continues to be strong this winter, Sellers may be at an advantage selling when most others are waiting.

Serious Buyers  A higher percentage of Buyers looking in Winter are serious about buying.  The number of showings decreases in Winter, but sales do not decrease proportionately. Many Buyers who are looking in warmer months enjoy seeing homes, but do not end up buying.

Stronger Pricing  A serious Buyer will boost pricing. With less competition, by marketing a home ahead of the spring listing season, a Seller may be able to secure a higher price. While the Buyer may have had thirty homes to compare and choose from in June on the Nevada side of the Lake, there may only be ten homes that fit their criteria in January. If they are motivated to buy, and Incline Village is their desired location, there is more leverage with pricing.

Tax Planning Some buyers may be eager to establish residency and need to move quickly to enjoy the majority of the year in Nevada and vesting their interests here. Tax incentives for Buyers can justify paying more for a home when they are up against the clock to make their move.

January is the Biggest Transfer Month  More corporate moves happen during the month of January than at any other month of the year. Corporate transferees, who need to buy a house now, may not wait until spring.

Reinvestment Opportunities By selling a home during the winter, a Seller may have the opportunity of selecting from a larger inventory on the buy side, if they intend to acquire another property in the spring or summer. While Winter may be the best time to garner a higher price in the sale of a home, a Seller can turn around and take advantage of the more selection and pricing pressure to get a great deal a few months down the road.

Nuisance Showings  With many Buyers “just looking” at homes and greater numbers of visitors in summer, numerous showings may just be lower level interest buyers. Showing the home is an inconvenience for Sellers and often warmer months bring showings on “short notice”. Sellers will endure many more showings in the Spring and Summer that don’t bring in any offers, which can become a burden if the home is occupied.

Search Technology  Shorter days and bad weather may seem like two barriers inhibiting Buyers from wanting to see homes, but this rationale is not as relevant as it was in the past. According to the National Association of Realtors, nine out of ten home Buyers search for homes online at their workplaces, on their smart phones, and from the comfort of their homes after dark. Many Buyers come to Tahoe looking for ski homes, and others come to get away from crowds in places like the Bay Area. Winter is an ideal time to target these Buyers who may spend more time indoors, and searching online.

Anticipated Rise in Mortgage Rates  Seasonal fluctuations and long term anticipation of rising rates offer good buying opportunities now. As the Federal Reserve retreats from its stimulus, mortgage rates won’t stay this low forever. There are a higher proportion of cash sales in the Tahoe area, but high net worth Buyers often use home equity for other investments and low borrowing rates make second home purchases very attractive.

Positive Press Driving Sales Although home prices have not returned to their pre-recession highs, pricing has climbed in the past couple of years and buyers seeking value may not want to wait much longer as inventory continues to decline, overall.

Marketing Advantage As there are fewer listings on the market in Winter, there are also fewer properties being advertised. Your listing will garner more exposure in media and print outlets, as fewer properties are taking up ad space.

National Data Supports Strong Winter Sales  A nationwide survey done by industry professionals analyzed homes listed over the span of two years and found that those listed in winter have a 9 percentage point greater likelihood of selling, sell a week faster, and sell for 1.2 percentage points more relative to list price than homes listed in any other season.

 

Real Estate Licensing Standards Need to be Raised

The standards for earning a real estate license are determined state-by-state and there is no standardized nationwide test like there is for earning a securities license. In fact, the educational requirements and level of knowledge needed to earn a real estate license and to renew that license in Nevada fall far short of the requirements for a cosmetology license. Having someone who knows what they are doing when they take care of your hair and nails is important.  But shouldn't the person handling one of the most expensive investments you'll ever make also have a high level of education in their field?

 

The sad reality is that anyone with a junior high school reading level willing to spend about two weeks studying for the Nevada real estate licensing exam can easily pass the test. Continuing education requirements are minimal as evidenced by the requirements set forth by the Nevada Real Estate Division.  While a new licensee is required to take 30 hours of continuing education for the 1st renewal, for subsequent renewals the continuing education requirement is just 24 hours every two years.  That’s an average of just 1 hour a month. And the cost to renew your license is so low that it is hardly a barrier to anyone wishing to stay in the field.

 

The minimum standards for obtaining a real estate license should be made uniform nationwide in an effort to protect buyers and sellers and to ensure a higher level of performance within the industry. The requirements to obtain a license to sell real estate should be at least as rigorous as the ones to practice in the securities industry.  And continuing education requirements should be raised dramatically to ensure that practitioners remain up-to-date with the latest information and competent in their ability to write contracts and complete transactions from start to finish.

 

With approximately 80% of the real estate agents in our local market consummating between zero and three transactions per year, continuing education is essential to keeping on top of all of the changes with the contracts and disclosure forms. It's remarkable how often we see agents using documents that are many years out of date and unaware that the form they just gave to us was replaced several years ago.

 

A good start would be to require that all new agents entering the business perform a minimum one-year apprenticeship under the supervision of a broker or agent with more than 10 years of experience. This would help to provide much more hands-on training and a higher level of education before a real estate agent goes out on their own.  When experienced agents mentor a new comer to the business it has positive benefits for buyers, sellers and the other agents involved when you are doing transactions.

 

Every agent working in the real estate business should be a highly trained professional, especially since buyers and sellers are depending on our expertise as part of their decision-making process.  Imagine having 50 different sets of rules and regulations for stockbrokers and you can see why real estate licensing needs to undergo a substantial change.  While agents and brokers need to learn the nuances particular to their state and local market, the general public will be much better served when the minimum licensing requirements and continuing education standards are raised dramatically and made uniform nationwide. 

 

Post curtesy of Don Kanare, for this and more great real estate related content visit www.InsideIncline.com

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 11/26/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       110                          43                          25

Under $1 million                          31                           30                          13

Median Price For Sale          $1,695,000              $595,000               $998,000

YTD Sales 2017                          150                        180                          51

YTD Sales 2016                          151                        184                          52

New Listings                                  2                       

In Escrow                                      11                         

Closed Escrow                               2                                                             

Range in Escrow        $300,000 - $1,399,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of November 26, 2017

Early Ski Season Helps Vacation Rentals

The snowstorms that arrived recently are not only a blessing for the environment they are also a positive sign for the ski industry and vacation rental properties. Normally, vacation rentals are very slow during November and early December as we are in between the season for summer activities and the wintertime onslaught of skiers and snowboarders. But the big winter of 2016 - 17 has skiers and snowboarders excited about the possibilities for the upcoming season.

 

Winter sports enthusiasts of all types are looking forward to a big year and get some good use of their equipment that was sitting in the closet during the extended drought that ended last year. Since only a tiny fraction of wintertime visitors to Lake Tahoe actually own a property up here, anyone who wishes to stay overnight needs some type of accommodations. While vacationers during summer have the option of camping at one of the many campgrounds around the lake or backpacking into the wilderness, that is not a viable alternative with snow covering the ground for all but the heartiest back-country travelers.

 

Consequently, we anticipate that vacation rental properties of all types will see an uptick in activity between now and the bustling holiday season. With almost all of the major ski resorts opening at least some of their runs in November, there is sure to be a rush of vacation renters to Lake Tahoe. Visitors have many options to choose from including traditional vacation rentals managed by local firms, AirBnB properties and places rented by property owners on VRBO.com and other websites.

 

Anyone considering booking a vacation rental property during the time period from December 15 through January 7 would do well to make reservations now before the inventory of available properties disappears completely. You generally pay a premium for renting a house or condo during that timeframe since there is so much demand during the prime holiday season. But the extra cost is well worth it if you wish to enjoy a traditional white Christmas with friends and family, especially if you live in the Central Valley or Bay Area.

 

In local real estate news, the Incline Village Board of Realtors held its annual installation gathering on Friday November 17th.  At the meeting Sabrina Belleci was named President-Elect by the Incline Village Board of Realtors for 2019.  She will lead the Tuesday morning MLS meetings and will be involved with IVBOR issues including policy making, bylaws, and a variety of local real estate topics.  Sabrina is one of the youngest people ever to achieve this position and is highly qualified to handle the responsibilities that go along with it.  Congratulations on this important accomplishment and well-deserved honor for this hard working broker / owner at RE/MAX North Lake.

 
Post curtesy of Don Kanare, for this and more great real estate related content, visit www.InsideIncline.com

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 11/19/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       113                          44                          27

Under $1 million                          32                           31                          14

Median Price For Sale          $1,595,000              $575,000               $998,000

YTD Sales 2017                          149                        179                          51

YTD Sales 2016                          149                        182                          52

New Listings                                  1                       

In Escrow                                      12                         

Closed Escrow                               8                                                             

Range in Escrow        $385,000 - $3,595,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of November 19, 2017

Low Inventory Equals Higher Prices

Lower Inventory Equals Higher Prices

We have come a long way since the Great Recession ended and the economy turned around.  But, it's worthwhile to take a look back and quantify some of the changes so we can understand the current state of the real estate market on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe.

During the depths of the recession between 2008 and 2010 inventory levels skyrocketed as prices plunged anywhere from 25% to 60% depending on the location and attributes of any particular property.  While prices have recovered substantially they are still below the peak that was reached during the middle of the previous decade.  As prices have risen we have seen a steady decline in the inventory level of houses, condos and freestanding condos for sale in our community.

In mid-November of 2009 there were 439 properties for sale in Incline Village and Crystal Bay.  Fast-forward to 2017 and the current inventory level is hovering around 190 houses, condos and freestanding condos listed on the Incline Village MLS.  We are looking at approximately 400 total unit sales in 2017 vs. just 156 sales in 2009.

Prices in our market didn't bottom out until the end of 2011.  One of the main reasons for that is because the vast majority of purchases here are vacation homes and there tends to be a time lag when markets are rising or declining.  Also, most property owners in Incline Village and Crystal Bay are relatively affluent and have more staying power than a typical residential buyer in middle America.  As a result, it took longer for prices to decline here than in most parts of the country.  And the same was true when it came to prices recovering after the recession ended.

There was a rather significant jump in both prices and units sold in 2012 and 2013 as buyers rushed in to take advantage of a perceived bottom in the market.  Sales have continued strong during the past 4 years even as prices continue to rise; albeit at a much healthier rate and not characterized by the spikes we have seen during previous boom and bust cycles.  The increase in demand has eroded the inventory of properties for sale to the point where we now have a supply that is less than half the level seen during the Great Recession.

Of particular note is the generally low level of inventory for condos.  At the present time we have approximately a 3 month supply which is far below the norm.  Consequently, condos in good locations with desirable floor plans are being snapped up quickly if they are priced reasonably.  In some complexes such as The Pointe or Skylake there are no properties for sale at all.  There are 3 properties for sale in McCloud but none of them are three-bedroom units. 

Buyers need to keep in mind that as long as the inventory is relatively low in any particular area and demand remains reasonably high, prices will continue a steady march upward into the foreseeable future.


Post curtesy of Don Kanare, for this and more great real estate information, visit www.InsideIncline.com

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 11/12/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       118                          46                          27

Under $1 million                          32                           34                          14

Median Price For Sale          $1,595,000              $559,000               $998,000

YTD Sales 2017                          146                        177                          48

YTD Sales 2016                          145                        176                          51

New Listings                                  6                       

In Escrow                                      14                         

Closed Escrow                               4                                                             

Range in Escrow        $260,000 - $1,899,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of November 12, 2017

 

Mortgage Rate Outlook for 2018

While media pundits prognosticate on a regular basis as to whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates further this year, there is a negative undercurrent that we will get to later in this article that no one wants to discuss. Keeping rates artificially low might have been a good idea for a short time after the financial crisis in 2008 – 2009. But, it has created a situation where people who depend on earning interest from certificates of deposit and other fixed income instruments have been taking a beating for many years.  On the other hand, it has kept mortgage rates at or near historical lows which is good for those buyers who would be priced out of the market if interest rates were to rise substantially.

 

The reasons that mortgage rates will not rise very much in the coming year are a bit complicated and require some background and analysis.  The biggest beneficiary of low interest rates has actually been the U.S government itself. The reason for this is that when the Federal Reserve does begin to raise rates, everyone will experience a higher cost to borrow money and that includes Uncle Sam. With the national debt in the range of $20 trillion, a 2% rise in interest rates would result in a budget busting additional $400 billion per year in interest payments on the debt.

 

So, while the Federal Reserve would like to see a return to market driven interest rates, the reality is that any significant increase in interest rates would put extraordinary pressure on the federal budget and increase the deficit even further. Concomitant with this is the falsification of the consumer price index which helps to suppress cost-of-living increases for recipients of Social Security.  Anyone who has been paying for their own health insurance, buying food at the store or making discretionary purchases has seen prices rising for a wide variety of goods and services, even though the CPI in official terms has barely budged in the past few years.

 

Imagine for a moment that interest rates were to rise by 2% which has the net effect of raising the cost of borrowing money for individuals, businesses and the government. Most businesses cannot absorb the additional cost of borrowing so they have to raise prices which ultimately drives up the CPI. The double whammy of higher borrowing costs and a higher consumer price index would create so much financial pressure on the federal budget that it would be unsustainable and massive spending cuts somewhere in the budget would be necessary.

 

Keeping interest rates artificially low for approximately 9 years has helped to push up valuations in the stock market because for the vast majority of investors there is no alternative to achieving better returns than through equities. If we step back and look at the big picture, the Fed will most likely make slow incremental moves upward.  In our opinion, the rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage for a primary residence will likely not exceed 5% any time in the coming year and may well remain closer to 4% depending on how the economy fares.

 
Post curtesy of Don Kanare, for this and more great real estate related content visit, www.InsideIncline.com

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 11/5/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       118                          51                          27

Under $1 million                          32                           38                          13

Median Price For Sale          $1,650,000            $545,000                 $1,100,000

YTD Sales 2017                          145                        174                          48

YTD Sales 2016                          141                        178                          51

New Listings                                  7                       

In Escrow                                       6                          

Closed Escrow                              16                                                             

Range in Escrow        $379,000 - $1,450,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of November 5, 2017

Season of Change for Real Estate Agents

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday signals the time of year when real estate agents contemplate whether to renew their membership for the coming year, consider a change of brokers or possibly seek alternative sources of income. The total number of agents practicing in Incline Village and Crystal Bay has risen dramatically in the post-recession era. There are now approximately 330 agents competing for business in a community that will see about 400 transactions in 2017.  This makes our real estate market one of the most competitive anywhere in the United States.

 

During the past year the number and size of Incline Village real estate brokerage firms remained relatively static.  None of the big real estate firms expanded to new or larger offices, although some of them did take on a few more agents in their existing quarters.  With so much business being conducted on the Internet and agents able to work efficiently from a home office it's no longer critical for the largest offices to keep expanding their square footage unless absolutely necessary.

 

There are rumors that a couple of well-established real estate brokerages in Northern California are contemplating expanding their operations into the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe.  Whether they actually open up new offices or just have a couple of their agents acquire Nevada real estate licenses is yet to be determined.  The existing real estate pie is already divided into a number of pieces.  So, any new players should be trying to increase the size of the pie instead of just taking a sliver and not providing any additional value to our local marketplace.

 

It is much easier for an agent in our market to switch brokerage firms between November and April than during the busy summer season.  Due to the slower pace of activity, you can change brokers and rebrand yourself during the off-season with fewer disruptions to the flow of business.  Whether changing firms is beneficial depends on a number of factors and the goals of each agent. But every year several agents will change offices or on occasion even get a broker's license and open their own office in the hopes of achieving better performance.

 

Agents who have enjoyed a stellar year will use the off season to contemplate the current commission arrangement they have with their broker and sometimes try to renegotiate more favorable terms.  It’s always a little bit of a cross between a tug ‘o war and a balancing act whenever agents and brokers sit down to discuss compensation packages.  And since each broker is free to utilize whatever compensation structure they deem appropriate, it can often be a case of comparing apples and oranges when agents try to analyze offers from different firms and decide what course of action to take.

 

We are seeing more out of area agents trying to sell real estate in Incline Village and Crystal Bay.  It’s important for agents who are not extremely knowledgeable about our market to partner with an experienced agent or broker.  There are many nuances to our contracts, along with local regulations and customs that agents need to be familiar with in order to conduct a smooth transaction.  But whether an agent chooses to live at Lake Tahoe full-time or commute from outside the area is a highly personal decision.

 

The property management and vacation rental firms in town have generally remained fairly stable in the past year with staff turnover holding at relatively normal levels. While market share ebbs and flows, no new major players have entered the game and all of the longtime firms are still standing. This industry has undergone a revolution during the past decade with the advent of online booking and the proliferation of websites such as AirBnB and VRBO.com.  The rental agencies that are still thriving are the ones who managed their businesses well after coming out of the recession and continue to work hard as they adapt to a changing industry.

 

Post curtesy of Don Kanare, for this and more great real estate related content visit www. InsideIncline.com
 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 10/29/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       117                          55                          29

Under $1 million                          31                           42                          15

Median Price For Sale          $1,650,000            $545,000                 $995,000

YTD Sales 2017                          141                        165                          46

YTD Sales 2016                          138                        167                          50

New Listings                                  7                       

In Escrow                                       7                          

Closed Escrow                              11                                                             

Range in Escrow        $220,000 - $825,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of October 29, 2017

 

Same Town; Different Markets

The Incline Village real estate market is not your typical residential or even big-city market.  Our local real estate economy is divided into several sectors.  These sectors do not always behave the same way at the same time.  As a result, it can be a little bit confusing when people come here to shop for property as to whether they are dealing with a buyer’s, seller’s or neutral market.

 

There are times such as the real estate boom and crash of the previous decade where prices for houses, condos and freestanding condos were either swiftly rising or precipitously dropping.  And that is typical of economic times that are characterized by feverish activity in one direction or the other.  However, outside of the buying and selling panics there are more normal times where prices trend for the most part slowly upward.

 

Our local market is characterized primarily by discretionary sales.  People buy and sell here mainly because they want to and not necessarily because they have to.  It creates a different dynamic than most residential markets where people are buying and selling because of a job change, desire for a particular school district, etc. The current inventory level of properties for sale in our community provides a great example of a market with sectors that are not all moving equally in the same direction at the same time.

 

Taking a look at the chart below we see that the number of houses currently for sale on the Incline Village MLS reveals an inventory of approximately 9 months.  In contrast, the inventory of condos is closer to 3.5 to 4 months.  And the supply of freestanding condos is about 6 months.  The shortage of condos is causing consistently upward price pressure especially in some of the more popular complexes such as McCloud and Third Creek.  Even the older Mountain Shadows complex has seen the inventory decline and prices rise during the past year.

 

Prices of freestanding condos especially in Lodgepole Parque and Country Club Villas have risen significantly while inventory remains sparse in these complexes.  Whenever a property in either of these developments has come on the market in 2017 there has been a flurry of showing activity and generally a relatively quick sale.

 

In contrast, the moderate supply of single-family homes has resulted in slower price increases and longer days on market for this sector.  We occasionally see houses listed for sale that have some very special attributes which cause them to get a lot of showings and go into escrow rather quickly.  Since we are a community of custom homes each property has its unique appeal to a particular subset of buyers. 

 

Within our market each of the various sectors can have different characteristics at the same point in time.  And that's one of the things that makes working in the Incline Village real estate business both challenging and interesting!

 

*Please visit www.InsideIncline.com for more great real estate and community related content*

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 10/22/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       116                        55                        29

Under $1 million                          32                           42                        14

Median Price For Sale          $1,650,000             $535,000                $1,100,000

YTD Sales 2017                          137                        160                        44

YTD Sales 2016                          132                      161                        48

New Listings                                  6                     

In Escrow                                      12                         

Closed Escrow                               9                                                           

Range in Escrow        $369,800 - $3,595,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of October 22, 2017

Time to Plan Interior Remodeling Projects

Pumpkin carving time is a reminder that it's time for Incline Village and Crystal Bay property owners to put away the garden hose and rakes and contemplate those interior remodeling projects that didn't get done last year. With the chilly autumn weather putting a damper on outside projects, it's a great opportunity to call your interior decorator or contractor and get the ball rolling.

 

Most properties in our community have floor plans that lend themselves to breaking down remodeling projects into smaller bites so you don't have to do your whole house or even an entire floor at one time. If you have an attached garage with some extra space, that will make it easier for the workers to perform tasks that are not conducive to being outside in the cold and snow.

 

Thoroughly planning the details of each remodeling project will save you a lot of time, money, grief and aggravation further down the road.  Utilizing the expertise of an architect, space planner, interior decorator or experienced contractor can makes things go a lot more smoothly.

 

One way to get some good ideas during the planning process is to visit other homes that have already been remodeled. Your real estate agent will be happy to show you a few properties that have been updated to give you some ideas that you may never have previously considered. Looking on the Internet at virtual tours of properties for sale can spark new thoughts that may lead to creating a completely different vision than what you originally imagined.

 

Once you have the general concepts down on paper it's good to sleep on everything for at least a couple of weeks because you will likely come up with new ideas that will alter the original scheme. When shopping for materials, be aware that all of the natural products made with wood and stone will have variations from what you see on the show room floor. Always bring home samples of the materials you plan to use and put them in the rooms you will be working on for at least one week to be sure that the colors and textures are what you anticipated.

 

Get estimates in advance of any work being performed and remember that you will always need more materials than the actual square footage when replacing flooring, doing painting, etc. There is bound to be a certain amount of waste, a general rule of thumb is to purchase 10% more of the materials that you will need than the actual square footage you are covering. It's also good to keep around some extra materials after the project is completed so that you can replace or touch up anything that becomes damaged in the future.

 

Interior remodeling projects can be fun and rewarding but they can also be frustrating and upsetting if you don't take the time to plan in advance and get the expertise you need to solve problems before they become major headaches.  So, while you might have to allocate a few extra dollars on consulting and planning prior to the start of your interior remodeling project it is money well spent.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 10/15/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       121                        55                        30

Under $1 million                          31                           42                        14

Median Price For Sale          $1,650,000             $535,000                $1,100,000

YTD Sales 2017                          132                        157                        43

YTD Sales 2016                          131                      156                        46

New Listings                                  6                     

In Escrow                                      10                         

Closed Escrow                              11                                                           

Range in Escrow        $167,000 - $3,995,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of October 15, 2017

 

 

Home Watch Services

For all of your Home Watch services, please visit www.ManageTahoe.com. Cole Mizak REALTOR and RE/MAX North Lake are not licensed property managers nor do they handle any aspect of property management.

 

From October to April many owners of Incline Village real estate close up their properties while they reside in warmer climates. There is the potential whenever a property is vacant for a long period of time that some type of damage or problem can go unnoticed.   If a broken pipe or other major issue is not corrected promptly it may escalate dramatically resulting in a huge expense and headache to repair.

 

The purpose of a home watch service is to inspect the interior and exterior of your property on a regular basis and check for damage, leaks, broken windows, unlocked doors, invading squirrels, and other issues that could cause concern.  While condo owners may feel they are immune to this sort of problem, most homeowners associations will only look for visible damage from the outside of a property.  No one will tell you if the furnace or boiler is broken and the heat is off or if a faucet is leaking. For absentee owners of houses and condos, employing a home watch service when you are away for extended periods of time could be very valuable. 

 

If you have a security alarm system, consider adding a freeze alarm and a redundant fire alarm system to provide backup for your smoke detectors. The freeze alarm is especially helpful in the event that your heating system goes out while you are away. It can take just a couple of very cold nights for pipes to freeze and burst creating an enormous amount of damage inside your property. While home watch services can help with your peace of mind, electronic monitoring devices such as a freeze alarm provide an added layer of confidence for absentee owners.

 

There are some firms in our communities that in addition to doing landscaping and other maintenance services can perform the home watch for you. Some property management firms offer home watch as one of the menu items on the list of services that they provide. Whether you choose to have the service performed all year round or just from autumn to spring will depend upon your personal schedule and use of your property. You can also stipulate that the home watch service provider pay special attention to particular attributes of your property especially if you have some unique features that could be overlooked by the untrained eye.

 

The prices and services provided can vary greatly so it is advisable to interview a few different companies and see who will be the best fit for your particular situation. Some home watch service providers can also be named as the primary contact in the event that your alarm system goes off.  This ensures that a local person can quickly visit your property and remedy the issue as soon as it arises.  Best of all, a good home watch service can give you peace of mind when you are away for any length of time so that you are not constantly worrying about what could be happening with your property at Lake Tahoe.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 10/8/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       119                      57                      31

Under $1 million                          30                           41                      15

Median Price For Sale          $1,650,000            $549,000                 $1,100,000

YTD Sales 2017                          125                        146                      43

YTD Sales 2016                          127                    149                      44

New Listings                                  7                   

In Escrow                                      11                         

Closed Escrow                              13                                                           

Range in Escrow        $324,000 - $2,995,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of October 8, 2017

Third Quarter Sales Finish on a Strong Note

As the leaves on the Aspen trees change from green to autumn gold it's time to take look at the real estate sales in Incline Village and Crystal Bay during the third quarter of 2017.  In spite of the fires in Yosemite National Park and other spots in Norther California bringing smoke to the Tahoe Basin, sales were solid in the third quarter.

 

There were a total of 136 closed escrows on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe last quarter.  We saw 56 houses, 56 condos and 24 freestanding condos change hands to new owners.  Prices for single-family homes ranged from a modest $499,000 for a 1368 square-foot cabin in the Woods subdivision all the way up to $7 million for a lakefront home in Crystal Bay.  At the present time there are 29 houses in escrow ranging in price from $599,000 up to $6.5 million.  We are seeing a fairly typical price point distribution with 11 properties priced under $1 million, 12 places between $1 million and $2 million and 6 properties in escrow over $2 million.

 

Some buyers in the moderate price range have been sitting on the sidelines hoping to pick up a bargain during the off-season. Unfortunately, most of these shoppers will be disappointed as a significant number of properties falling into this price category are finding their way into the rental pool as discouraged sellers seek to earn some income during the winter months. 

 

Condo sales in Incline Village and Crystal Bay were nothing less than extraordinary with 56 units being snapped up during this three-month time frame.  The Burgundy Hill condo complex led the charge with 6 sales in the quarter.   There were 5 closed transactions in McCloud and no other complex had more than 3 or 4 sales.  Only 6 condos sold at prices greater than $800,000.  But there were some super-luxury properties in the mix including 3 lakefront condos selling between $2.9 million and $3.9 million.

 

During the next couple of weeks readers will be bombarded by statistical information from a variety of sources trying to spin the third quarter statistics in a way that favors a particular firm or locale. It is not practical to lump together statistics from the Tahoe / Truckee area since each community has very different market attributes.  What is most important is to focus on the general trends within each local market and ignore the statistics being spouted that emphasize average prices or other meaningless numbers that are used to promote someone's agenda. Like politics, all real estate is local and you cannot aggregate unit sales or prices from disparate communities and have an analysis that makes any sense.

 

With the inventory of properties for sale in Incline Village and Crystal Bay at a relatively low level buyers would be well advised to continue shopping during the fall of 2017. It is almost certain that prices will continue to rise during 2018.  This is a result of a couple of factors.  1st and foremost, the year-to-year inventory continues to decline.  Also, demand remains strong due to a host of economic factors and the effects of Proposition 30 which continue to drive high income individuals to seek residency in the tax friendly environs of Nevada.

For more great real estate and Incline Village related content visit: www.InsideIncline.com

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 10/1/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                        119                      57                         30

Under $1 million                           27                         40                         13

Median Price For Sale          $1,699,000            $549,000                $1,100,000

YTD Sales 2017                           125                      144                        42

YTD Sales 2016                           123                    149                          44

New Listings                                  6                     

In Escrow                                       8                          

Closed Escrow                              17                                                           

Range in Escrow        $325,900 - $4,295,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of October 1, 2017

 

Preparing Your Property for Wintertime

With night time temperatures dropping into the 30s on occasion it is a reminder that winter weather can come early to Lake Tahoe and property owners need to be prepared.  As we approach the autumnal equinox it's time to tackle the annual household chores to prepare your property for winter at Lake Tahoe.  We can't address every item that requires attention in advance of wintertime in this short column, but here are a few of the major tasks to keep in mind.

 

Snow removal is at the top of the priority list, so make sure that your snow blower is tuned up and you have fresh gasoline. If you have hired a snow removal service to clear your driveway, now is the time to double check your arrangements and get your snow stakes in place.  Eliminating pine needles and other debris from decks, driveways and sidewalks will make snow removal much easier.

 

Drain and shut off your irrigation system for the winter. While condo owners can generally rely on their homeowners association to handle this responsibility, all single-family homeowners and many freestanding condo owners are responsible for their landscaping and irrigation systems. Owners of freestanding condos should check with their association manager if they are not sure who is responsible for maintaining the irrigation system at their property so you don't suffer a nasty surprise.

 

Be sure to check windows and doors for cracks, leaks and drafts and address them as necessary. Caulk and weather stripping are very inexpensive materials that are relatively easy to install and they go a long way towards reducing your heating bills.  Ensure that your thermostat is programmed for the proper hours and temperatures. If you still have one of the old manual type thermostats, we highly recommend replacing it with a programmable electronic one. 

 

Absentee owners departing for the next several months may wish to drain the interior plumbing and put some type of antifreeze solution in the toilets. In the event of a power outage and the loss of your heating system for any length of time, this tactic will minimize the chances of pipes freezing and breaking. In any event, vacant houses should have their thermostats set no lower than 50 to 55 degrees to maintain an internal temperature that will prevent pipes from freezing.

 

For more great content and real estate info, visit www.InsideIncline.com

 

If you have a roofline that pitches over your sidewalk or driveway now is the time to check that your heat tape system still functions or if you don't have heat tape, consider installing it to minimize the danger from falling snow and ice. Remove leaves, pine needles and other debris from any gutters and slotted drains so that snowmelt will run off properly and not form dams.

 

Critters of every shape and size are always looking for a warm and sheltered place to survive wintertime at Lake Tahoe. Unless you want bears, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and other wildlife taking up residence in your abode it is absolutely critical to take a thorough look at your property and seal up any openings that could be attractive to animals. And don’t leave any trash or food in your garage as it will attract bears and other creatures looking for a meal during a time of year when natural food sources are scarce.

 

Do you have a good brush for clearing snow off your windshield along with a pair of gloves handy?  These items need to be accessible without having to open a frozen car door.  Keeping an extra brush and set of gloves in the coat closet can be a blessing for out of town guests who come over for a visit during a winter snowstorm.  And make sure you keep extra warm clothing, water and a flashlight in your car throughout the winter. You never know when you might get stuck in a snowstorm or have to wait for an accident or avalanche to be cleared on the Mt. Rose Highway while making that routine shopping trip to Reno.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 9/17/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                        115                    60                       33

Under $1 million                           25                         44                       14

Median Price For Sale          $1,699,000            $549,000                $1,100,000

YTD Sales 2017                           112                      132                      37

YTD Sales 2016                           119                  139                          35

New Listings                                 10                   

In Escrow                                      15                         

Closed Escrow                              12                                                           

Range in Escrow        $305,000 - $6,300,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of September 17, 2017

Condo Sales Continue to Shine

It has been a very good year for condo sales on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe with 125 total units sold year to date in 2017.  While there have been flurries of activity in different locations and price ranges, there are currently 35 condos in escrow spanning the gamut from $169,500 up to nearly $4 million. While 5 of the properties under contract have asking prices of $1.5 million or higher, there is nothing in escrow priced between $840,000 and $1.5 million.

 

All year long we have seen very strong sales activity for condos priced under $700,000 with over 80% of the properties changing hands year to date falling into this sector of the market. There have been only 14 condo sales with final prices between $700,000 and $900,000. This is a testament to the relatively large number of single-family homes that have been for sale in this price range during 2017. Once you cross the $700,000 price point many buyers will also look at single-family homes and freestanding condos before making a purchase decision.

 

Sales activity has been particularly strong in the McCloud and Mountain Shadows condo complexes which historically are two very popular developments in our community. So far this year 13 condos have changed hands to new owners in McCloud and there are currently 2 more units in escrow. A total of 12 properties have sold in Mountain Shadows.  These are the largest condo developments in Incline Village and they routinely have a lot of transactions each year.

 

For more great content and real estate info, visit www.InsideIncline.com

 

Third Creek has been another hotbed of activity with 9 closed sales in 2015. As of this writing there are 2 condos listed for sale on the Incline Village MLS in Third Creek.  The most recent new listing at #132 went into escrow at around 98% of the asking price after being on the market just over 2 weeks.  Properties in Third Creek have been greatly in demand in 2017 and condos in the most desirable locations have been getting a lot of interest.

 

The inventory of condos for sale has fluctuated between a 3 and 6 month supply during 2017. This is in contrast to the supply of single-family homes which has varied between 6 and 12 months during the course of this year. As a result, prices of condos continue to trend slowly but steadily upward.  We anticipate that sales of condos priced under $700,000 will remain strong while condos in the $700,000 to $1 million price range will continue to face competition from lower to moderate priced single-family homes. Buyers shopping for a condo this fall would be well advised to write an offer when they find a place that they like or risk paying a higher price in 2018

 

.Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 9/10/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                        115                      67                         33

Under $1 million                           29                         51                         14

Median Price For Sale          $1,699,000            $535,000                $1,100,000

YTD Sales 2017                           110                      125                        35

YTD Sales 2016                           116                    136                          33

New Listings                                  8                     

In Escrow                                      14                         

Closed Escrow                               7                                                           

Range in Escrow        $169,500 - $2,490,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of September 10, 2017

 

This content was generated by Don Kanare of RE/MAX North Lake.

East Slope Land of Lake Views

Incline Village and Crystal Bay are made up of a number of different subdivisions each with their own character and special attributes. While a lot of attention has been focused lately on properties in the Lakeview and Mill Creek Subdivisions, the parcels on the East Slope provide some of the most spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and nice sunny locations that you will find anywhere in our community.

 

If you are traveling uphill on Country Club Drive above Highway 28, the streets on your right that are carved into the mountainside (not including Ski Way and it’s offshoots), comprise the neighborhood that is generally referred to as the East Slope. While you can still find the occasional cabin or chalet that was built in the 1960s or 1970s there are a significant number of newer homes that exude a mountain style elegance and luxury that will satisfy even the most discriminating buyer. Since coming out of the Great Recession we have seen a number of properties in this subdivision undergoing major transformations including the occasional tear down and rebuild project.

 

As of this writing there are 13 single-family homes on the East Slope listed for sale on the Incline Village MLS. Prices range from $1,089,000 for an older home on Mountain Lake Court all the way up to $12 million for a palatial estate on Alpine View Drive. Many of the properties have street to street lots of one half-acre or more.  You will occasionally find nice size chunks of U.S. Forest Service land strewn throughout the neighborhood.  This helps to provide an additional sense of privacy and makes some parcels more desirable than others.

 

With excellent sun exposure, properties situated on the East Slope tend to stay pleasantly warm in the winter time. Even the largest houses will generally have moderate heating bills when compared with similar size properties in other parts of Lake Tahoe. Some homeowners have taken advantage of the power of the sun by installing solar panels which help to further reduce their monthly utility bills. And you would be hard-pressed to find a better place to enjoy spectacular sunsets!

 

Adding to the ambience are a few creeks that will generally run all year round in a normal hydrology cycle. After the big winter we had last year you can still see and hear these creeks tumbling down the mountainside as we approach autumn. A wide variety of native wildlife call the East Slope their home including bears, deer, coyotes, along with the obligatory rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks. If you keep an eye on the sky you may be lucky enough to see hawks and eagles soaring overhead either searching for prey or just riding the thermal currents.

 

What you will not find on the East Slope are large condominium developments. There is one significant group of freestanding condos located at 725 Fairview Blvd. known as Incline Pines. Otherwise, this neighborhood is characterized by single-family homes on relatively large lots. The proximity to the Diamond Peak Ski Area and quick access to the Mount Rose Highway are additional benefits enjoyed by property owners in this locale. If you like abundant sunshine, spectacular lake views and colorful Tahoe sunsets, then the East Slope may be just the right place to focus your search for a property on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 9/3/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                        124                      67                         31

Under $1 million                           31                         52                         12

Median Price For Sale          $1,695,000            $525,000                $1,150,000

YTD Sales 2017                           108                      123                        33

YTD Sales 2016                           111                    134                          33

New Listings                                  8                     

In Escrow                                      15                         

Closed Escrow                              15                                                           

Range in Escrow        $169,500 - $2,150,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of September 3, 2017

Sellers Making Late Summer Price Reductions

There are many different philosophies when it comes to marketing and selling properties at Lake Tahoe.  But when the end of August arrives one issue that all sellers of unsold properties contemplate is the asking price. Price is not always the overriding factor when it comes to getting a property sold.  There are many other issues such as the condition, upgrades, location, floor plan, view, amenities, driveway slope, etc. that will affect how long a property sits on the market until a willing buyer comes along.

 

However, if a property has not been getting showings or if the feedback from the people who have seen the property is that the price is significantly too high, now is the time for sellers to adjust the asking price before it’s too late.  Waiting much longer will result in missed showings and lost opportunities.  It is important to look at the comparable sales most directly affecting your property and also the places you are competing with. If the asking price is significantly higher than the most direct competition and you do not have some other special feature such as great remodeling or a fabulous view, then a price reduction could be the best strategy.

 

A significant number of buyers especially from Northern California will be returning to Lake Tahoe in September and October for second or third looks and to make their purchase decisions. If a property has been on the market during the summer of 2017 and has received very few showings and no offers it's essential to determine if the asking price is too high or if there are some other issues that need to be addressed.

 

Maybe the asking price looks reasonable compared to other similar properties, but there are cosmetic or structural issues that are scaring buyers away. The vast majority of buyers in Incline Village and Crystal Bay are not interested in doing significant amounts of updating or repairs. Having a property that is move-in ready is much more appealing to our typical demographic. Sometimes simple cosmetic work such as touching up paint, fixing a decaying fascia board or replacing the torn bathroom linoleum with some nice new tile will be enough to dress up the property and make it more appealing.  You may not recover the cost of the improvements. But the updating will make your property more attractive to most buyers and could provide for an easier sale, especially if it makes your place look better than the competition.

 

Whether to make improvements reduce the price or hold the line on price and change the marketing strategy is a decision that each seller will have to make based on the nature of their property and their own personal circumstances. Just making a big price reduction so that you are well below the most direct competition is no guarantee that your property will get sold if there are other weaknesses that are making buyers shy away. You can have a great view, beautiful interior and nice amenities.  But if the location or floor plan is not desirable, then reducing the asking price is not necessarily the answer. Some properties are appealing to a very limited pool of buyers and it is a question of marketing the property in a way to attract that special buyer.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 8/27/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                        125                      75                         32

Under $1 million                           33                         58                         12

Median Price For Sale          $1,575,000            $525,000                $1,150,000

YTD Sales 2017                           101                      117                        31

YTD Sales 2016                           105                    125                          30

New Listings                                 14                     

In Escrow                                      14                         

Closed Escrow                               7                                                           

Range in Escrow        $335,000 - $4,295,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of August 27, 2017

August Sales Remain Strong

It has been a strong month for the Incline Village / Crystal Bay real estate market with 23 properties going into escrow in just the last week ranging in price from $335,000 up to $4,295,000.  The property mix consisted of 7 condos, 5 freestanding condos and 11 single-family homes. Sales activity is strong across all price ranges as the summer of 2017 continues to hum along at a solid pace.  Total Year to Date sales in units have almost caught up to 2016 after lagging about 10% behind most of the year.

Our market is characterized by mostly discretionary purchases of 2nd, 3rd and 10th homes resulting in a rather random distribution of sales activity within any price range at any given time. Looking at historical data we can tell over the course of the year that there will be occasional flurries of activity along with random periods of drought in any particular price range or subdivision.

This is not unusual for a vacation resort market such as Lake Tahoe. We don't have the typical residential cycle of families packing up and moving for a job or to a new school in the late spring and early summer. While summertime tends to bring an increase in sales activity, it is completely unpredictable as to which price ranges or locations will be highest in demand in any given year.

Heading into the last 10 days of August there are 29 houses on the Incline Village MLS currently in escrow spanning the gamut from $689,000 up to $7.3 million.  Twelve of these properties have asking prices between $1 million and $2 million which demonstrates a nice level of sales activity in what is normally considered the “sweet spot” for homes in our market. 

Almost every subdivision is represented along with a nice diversity of locations, views and architectural styles.  Of particular note is that 7 of the properties getting accepted offers last week are located in the Mill Creek subdivision.  No other area has more than 4 properties in escrow. The Mill Creek neighborhood features properties with nice large level lots located within a block or two of Lakeshore Blvd.  The lots generally range in size from .3 acres up to around 1 acre/.  Most parcels feature natural landscape with the occasional property bursting with colorful wildflowers or an expansive lawn.

With large numbers of visitors enjoying the beautiful summer weather and spectacular scenery, we will likely continue to see a solid pace of showing activity in the foreseeable future.  The most motivated sellers will generally either make a price reduction or offer some type of incentive in an effort to get their property sold before the arrival of ski season.  And with 15 price reductions in the past week there are a number of properties that look more appealing.

Buyers should not hesitate to write an offer if they find a property that they like. While we continue to see new listings each week, that will likely taper off as we move into September.  Multiple offer situations are sometimes the case when a good value hits the market.  2017 has provided us with many reminders of the old adage “if you snooze you lose”.

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 8/20/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                        120                      77                         30

Under $1 million                           31                         61                         10

Median Price For Sale          $1,698,000            $515,000                $1,200,000

YTD Sales 2017                            97                        114                        31

YTD Sales 2016                            98                      124                          27

New Listings                                 12                     

In Escrow                                      23                         

Closed Escrow                              13                                                           

Range in Escrow        $335,000 - $4,295,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of August 20, 2017

Incline Village Real Estate 8/20

It was an incredibly strong week for the Incline Village real estate market! 23 properties went into escrow ranging in price from $335,000 up to $4,295,000.  The property mix consisted of 7 condos, 5 freestanding condos and 11 single-family homes. Sales activity is strong across all price ranges as the summer of 2017 continues to hum along at a solid pace.  Total Year to Date sales in units have almost caught up to 2016, after lagging about 10% behind most of the year.

The Incline Village real estate scene is characterized by mostly discretionary purchases of 2nd, 3rd and 10th homes.  This results in a rather random distribution of sales activity within any price range at any given time. There will be occasional flurries of activity along with random periods of drought in any particular price range or subdivision.

This is not unusual for a vacation resort market such as Lake Tahoe. We don't have the typical residential cycle of families packing up and moving for a job or to a new school in the late spring and early summer. While summertime tends to bring an increase in sales activity, it is completely unpredictable as to which price ranges or locations will be highest in demand in any given year.

Heading into the last 10 days of August there are 29 houses on the Incline Village MLS currently in escrow spanning the gamut from $689,000 up to $7.3 million.  Twelve of these properties have asking prices between $1 million and $2 million which demonstrates a nice level of sales activity in what is normally considered the “sweet spot” for homes in our market.

New Listings     Price Changes       In Escrow     Closed Escrow

Almost every subdivision in the Incline Village real estate market is represented along with a nice diversity of locations, views and architectural styles.  Of particular note is that 7 of the properties getting accepted offers last week are located in the Mill Creek subdivision.  No other area has more than 4 properties in escrow. The Mill Creek neighborhood features properties with nice large level lots located within a block or two of Lakeshore Blvd.  The lots generally range in size from .3 acres up to around 1 acre/.  Most parcels feature natural landscape with the occasional property bursting with colorful wildflowers or an expansive lawn.

With large numbers of visitors enjoying the beautiful summer weather and spectacular scenery, we will likely continue to see a solid pace of showing activity in the foreseeable future.  The most motivated sellers will generally either make a price reduction or offer some type of incentive in an effort to get their property sold before the arrival of ski season.  And with 15 price reductions in the past week there are a number of properties that look more appealing.

Buyers should searching for Incline Village real estate should not hesitate to write an offer if they find a property that they like. While we continue to see new listings each week, that will likely taper off as we move into September.  Multiple offer situations are sometimes the case when a good value hits the market.  2017 has provided us with many reminders of the old adage “if you snooze you lose”.