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”.

 

Buyers Who Procrastinate Will Be Disappointed

During the recession patience was considered a virtue when shopping for real estate at Lake Tahoe. Buyers who waited until late summer or fall to make a purchase decision were finding a lot of excellent opportunities and an unusual willingness among sellers to negotiate price and terms. But times have changed in the post-recession era.  Buyers who wait around hoping to pick up a bargain in September or later in the year are going to be severely disappointed in 2017.

 

Houses and condos that have asking prices close to fair market value are getting a large number of showings every week as the crowds of summertime visitors pursue buying opportunities. While we have not yet returned to the feeding frenzy of the real estate boom during the previous decade, prices are still moving upward and buyers are out in full force. With real estate prices on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe clearly in an uptrend, buyers need to be nimble and willing to pull the trigger when they find a place they like.

 

The strategy of waiting until after the summer crowds depart and then trying to negotiate a great deal between September and December is a losing proposition in 2017. Buyers who procrastinate this year will find that the property they hope to pick up at a bargain price after summertime will likely no longer be available.  Some sellers are sticking to their guns and refusing to budge very much off the asking price, but this does not mean that when the off-season arrives they will be any more motivated to cut and run. More likely, they will sit tight in the up-trending market and possibly ask for an even higher price next year.

 

If you have been shopping for real estate in Incline Village or Crystal Bay, returning in the fall to write an offer on your favorite property will probably result in disappointment. There is so much pent up demand among buyers who exhibited patience the past few years that it is unlikely the property you are holding out for will still be available when the Aspen trees start changing color. While we will continue to see some new listings arriving on the market between now and the end of August, buyers should not expect a wide variety of new properties to be put up for sale once the schools are back in session. After the third week of August there will be fewer new listings to choose from and the current inventory will have steadily eroded to a lower level than where it sits now.

 

The best buying strategy in 2017 is to be decisive and not procrastinate if you are seriously interested in purchasing a particular property. Your agent can provide you with comparable sales information and guide you through the negotiation process to help you strike the best deal. The long-term intrinsic value of owning real estate in Incline Village and Crystal Bay means that buyers can proceed confidently knowing they are making a good long-term investment when purchasing a property in 2017.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 8/13/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                        124                      75                         33

Under $1 million                           29                         59                         13

Median Price For Sale          $1,744,000            $525,000                $1,195,000

YTD Sales 2017                            92                        108                        30

YTD Sales 2016                            93                      122                          25

New Listings                                 18                     

In Escrow                                      14                         

Closed Escrow                               9                                                           

Range in Escrow        $364,000 - $5,300,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of August 13, 2017

 

 

Incline Village Real Estate Update 6/11/17

It was another spectacular week for Incline Village real estate sales.  The market is really hopping with 15 properties going under contract, 11 new listings and 16 places closing escrow.  We saw a demand in the single-family marketplace making up 12 of the 15 accepted offers, with a median property under contract coming in at $1,699,000.  Sales totals on the Incline Village MLS continue to track about 15% behind of last year for single-family homes due to the still low inventory in our market.  Condo and freestanding condo sales in units are almost identical with 2016.

The properties going under contract last week ranged from $599,900 up to $12,000,000.  Inventory levels are still low for this time of year with only 11 new properties coming to market in the last week.  The summer crowds are steadily trickling in, but some winter-like weather has come in as well, with snow expected for this evening and tomorrow. 

New Listings     Price Changes       In Escrow     Closed Escrow

Dave had a great week closing on #22 Alpine Terrace for his Buyers. We listed a nicely maintained single-family property with lakeviews at 922 Dorcey, which will be hitting the market for $585,000. The property is in the process of being prepared for sale with photos coming soon.  We anticipate having the listing up and running on the Incline Village MLS sometime in the next few days.

There are 2 new listings on the Incline Village real estate scene that grab our attention.  Condo shoppers looking for a warm, nicely refurbished lakeview property will want to consider 400 Fairview, Unit #79 in the Bitterbrush complex.  This is a two-bedroom, 2 bath, 1,307 square-foot property with a one car attached garage.  The spacious living area features an open truss ceiling along with a gas log river rock fireplace and expansive views of Lake Tahoe off of the deck.  In the master suite, enjoy a well appointed and newly updated master bath with beautiful finishes throughout.  Offered at $580,000.

Nestled between the trees, you will love to entertain in the unique and remodeled home at 825 Jeffrey in the Jennifer Subdivision.  Built in 1979 with a mountain style flair, you'll find 2,450 SF of living space in which to roam with soaring windows in the great room allowing for plenty of natural light.  The floor plan boasts 3 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, family room, loft, large master suite with generous sitting area, a well sized dining area, and an attached two-car garage.  Offered for $890,000.

If you are planning to look at Incline Village real estate while visiting Lake Tahoe this summer we would be happy to show you the best values that meet your criteria.  While new listings are coming on the Incline Village MLS every week we are seeing multiple offers on a more frequent basis.  The best way to avoid a bidding war is to let us know what type of property you are seeking so we can network with the other agents and find you a great property before it ever hits the market.

Please be careful when you are driving around Lake Tahoe this summer.  We anticipate more visitors than at any time in the past 5 years.  While the roundabouts in Kings Beach and Spumoni Circle in Incline Village help to keep traffic moving, please remember to yield to cars that are already in the roundabouts before you enter.  A little bit of courtesy will prevent accidents and get everyone to their destination just a bit quicker.

Incline Village Real Estate Blog 5/6/17

The Incline Village real estate market had a little something for everyone in the past week, and the title companies haven’t had time to slow down.  Another 7 properties closed escrow and 11 properties went into escrow with 9 of them being single-family homes.

There were 30 new listings on the Incline Village real estate scene in the past 7 days.  Our team listed 3 properties this past week: 692 Palmer Court #1, #85 Royal Pines, and #48 Cedarcrest.

New Listings     Price Changes      In Escrow    Closed Escrow

692 Palmer Court is a beautifully remodeled townhouse with golf course and lake views being offered for $1,375,000. This 3,290 SF 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom townhouse has been completely renovated with up to date contemporary features. It boasts a redesigned modern kitchen with quartz countertops, oversized bar, and new Kitchen Aid appliances. With vaulted ceilings, the spacious great room is ideal for entertaining and features a modern tasteful fireplace, a formal dining area and large picture window with stunning views of both the Mountain Golf Course as well as Lake Tahoe.

Click here to view the virtual tour: 692 Palmer Court

Unit #85 in the Royal Pines complex is a nicely remodeled unit with high, beamed ceilings, a large room with recessed lighting, gas price place, nice built-ins and storage closets, all being offered for $540,000. It offers a spacious kitchen with granite counters, breakfast bar, gas appliances, oak flooring, fresh pain and great natural lighting. The top floor deck is set over the common area grass with mountain views. This is an end unit on the back side of the complex, across from the gate to the walking path into town.

Click here to view the virtual tour: #85 Royal Pines

Unit #48 in the Cedarcrest complex has just undergone an extensive remodel. It features high, beamed ceilings, a gas fireplace, wood flooring, and new carpet. The spacious kitchen is complete with slab granite counters, breakfast bar, gas appliances, wood flooring, and new cabinetry. Overlooking deck off the main living area, great for summer barbecues. Two-car attached garage with extra storage closets off the back, making storage space ample. Being offered for $509,000.

Click here to view the virtual tour: #48 Cedarcrest

Buyers who are contemplating purchasing Incline Village real estate this year may wish to make a trip up during the month of June before the summertime crowds arrive.  A lot of good properties have come on the market in just the past 2 weeks.  The weather is beautiful, lots of hiking trails are now free of snow and you won’t have to compete with a bunch of other buyers just yet…

Have a great week!

 - Cole

Agents Need to Know the Inventory

As we move toward the busy summer season, a lot of new listings will be coming on the market each week.  In order for agents to do a good job helping their buyers they have to familiarize themselves with every property that is listed for sale.  Since the Incline Village / Crystal Bay real estate market is characterized by custom homes, it is imperative for agents to visit each property and learn as much as they can about the particular features and attributes.  This can be done by making the rounds on the MLS tour on Tuesdays or previewing properties in advance of showing them to prospective buyers.

One of the biggest problems we experience with agents who do not work full-time in our community is their lack of specific knowledge about the properties for sale.  It's impossible to do a good job representing a buyer if you are not educated as to the particular nuances that you will find at each place.  Attributes such as the floor plan, interior quality, lot lines, sun exposure during each of the seasons, ease of driveway access, proportionality of the rooms and many other features can only be ascertained by visiting a property and spending enough time there to absorb everything.

Buyers routinely do searches on the Internet where they see lots of pictures and virtual tours.  But these images only tell part of the story.  Whether a property suffers from a lot of street noise, unruly neighbors, long flights of stairs or other possible negative situations can only be learned while at the property.  Even condos with identical floor plans in the same complex can have radically different locations and views resulting in a significant difference in desirability and market value.

Just last week we got a phone call from an out of area agent who was trying to show a property and they claimed the key did not work.  It turns out the agent was on Apollo Court when the house for sale was located around the corner on Apollo Way.  Now, anyone can make a mistake or get a bit confused by the streets in our community.  But, if the agent knew the inventory, they would have realized immediately when they arrived at the wrong house that it was not the correct property.

Most buyers have very specific criteria that are important to them.  The only way that agents can show the most appropriate properties to each of their buyers is to be intimately familiar with each place before they show it.  Buyers can get discouraged quickly if they are shown one property after another that holds no interest for them.  Realistically, most buyers can only absorb looking at between 6 and 8 properties in one day.  Trying to show too many properties can lead to confusion and an inability to differentiate between all of the different places they have seen.  Yet agents unfamiliar with the inventory will often take a shotgun approach hoping something hits.

So, it behooves agents to not only learn the inventory but only show properties in the areas where they have detailed knowledge of the houses and condos for sale.  With the average price in Incline Village and Crystal Bay being significantly higher than most other Northern Nevada communities, out of area agents are attracted to doing business here.  However, their lack of familiarity with the individual properties and subdivisions makes them a liability, not an asset to their clients.  We have learned that it is better to refer our buyers to agents in other communities who have detailed knowledge of the inventory in their local market and to concentrate our efforts on the areas we know best.


Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 4/23/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                         93                       47                         23

Under $1 million                           15                         38                          7

 Median Price For Sale          $2,150,000            $535,000                $1,325,000

YTD Sales 2017                            32                         44                          9

YTD Sales 2016                            39                       41                         12

New Listings                                 13                     

In Escrow                                       9                          

Closed Escrow                               6                                                           

Range in Escrow        $327,800 - $35,000,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of April 23, 2017

 

 

Writing Tips for Writing Offers in 2017

With sales activity moving along at a steady pace, buyers will want to pay careful attention to establishing reasonable time frames when writing an offer this year.  The Incline Village Board of Realtors purchase agreement provides for a number of contingencies during the escrow period.  It behooves buyers and their agents to group contingency deadlines together so that the escrow process is easier to manage and you don't have a deadline coming due every couple of days. 

Most lenders are currently taking between 30 days and 40 days to get a loan approved. While it’s possible to get a loan approved and documents drawn up more quickly, it’s better to have a realistic time frame and avoid the need for requesting an extension on the deadline.  Setting the appraisal contingency removal somewhere between 21 and 30 days should provide enough time to get this important element of the purchase process completed.

As a general rule of thumb, buyers who are paying all cash can shorten the contingency removal periods because you will not have to deal with a lender and all of their time-consuming requirements.  It’s possible to close escrow in as little as 5 to 10 days if everyone has their ducks lined up on an all cash transaction. For purchases involving a loan, it is better to establish a 35 to 45 day escrow period so that you are not continually asking for extensions from the seller.

Home inspections are a critical part of the due diligence that each buyer performs when purchasing a property. Allow enough time to get the inspections performed, reports written, estimates completed and then a few days to contemplate and analyze the results. Generally speaking all of this can be performed in 14 to 21 days depending on the size and condition of the property, weather and snow conditions and the availability of personnel needed to do the inspection work and estimates.

Some items for which the title and escrow company will be taking primary responsibility include providing a preliminary title report, escrow instructions, and Homeowners Association documents such as CC&Rs, financial statements, Board of Directors minutes, etc.  While the title companies do their best to provide all of these documents as expeditiously as possible, condo buyers are very often at the mercy of the HOA or their management firm to get the needed materials. Rushing this process usually ends up with the need to write an extension. We recommend that you allow at least 10 days to acquire, review and approve (or disapprove), escrow documents and extend this timeframe to 15 to 21 days if you are requesting documents from a Homeowners Association.

Buyers can write offers in a way that group contingency removals so that deadlines fall on days 10, 15, and 21 (with loan approval possibly being longer). This way you only have to worry about contingency removals on a few specific dates and have plenty of time to plan for writing an extension on any topic where you do not have all the information necessary to make a decision.

It's imperative that buyers, sellers and their agents stay in constant communication throughout the escrow process to keep things running smoothly and to avoid missed deadlines. Every escrow will have some type of issue or problem that needs to be dealt with. So, having a well-established timeline where the contingency removals are handled in an organized and coherent manner will keep everyone on the same page and the transaction flowing smoothly.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 3/25/17

                                                    Houses                Condos               Free-Standing

For Sale                                         87                        38                         21

Under $1 million                           15                          28                          8

 Median Price For Sale           $2,100,000           $564,000                 $1,150,000

YTD Sales 2017                            23                          36                         6

YTD Sales 2016                            28                        30                         6

 New Listings                                10                     

In Escrow                                        7                         

Closed Escrow                                1                                                           

 Range in Escrow        $499,000 - $1,650,000

These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service as of March 25, 2017

What Buyer's Are Seeking This Year

Demand remains strong for properties in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. The fairly low level of inventory has resulted in a shortage of particular types of properties in our market. Most buyers would prefer to have a low to moderate elevation house or condo. And this is where we have a lack of inventory, especially in some particularly desirable locations.

 

For example, there are no 3 bedroom condos currently available for sale in McCloud or Third Creek. At Mountain Shadows there are only 2 places currently listed for sale. In these 3 complexes combined there are only 7 properties currently listed on the MLS. But last year these 3 developments accounted for a total of 51 transactions. With condo sales in 2017 well ahead of last year’s pace, buyers are chomping at the bit for condos in good locations at low elevation. Owners in McCloud and Third Creek who have been thinking about selling may wish to put them on the market in 2017. Prices are up significantly in the past 2 years and the shortage of inventory makes it a seller’s market in both complexes.

 

Most buyers prefer a property that has been updated or at the minimum well maintained. They are also willing to pay a premium for low elevation properties that have a modicum of privacy. Houses and condos that are near a creek, U.S. Forest Service land or have some other type of buffer from the neighbors sell quicker and for higher prices. Most buyers are coming here from urban areas and many of them would prefer to have some space between their place and the folks next door.

 

Whether a buyer prefers a single-family home or a condo is very much a personal decision. A significant percentage of buyers who are purchasing a vacation home, lean towards condos for a number of reasons. Usually the Homeowner’s Association will take care of exterior maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, roof repairs, etc. This relieves the vacation home owner of the burden to maintain these aspects of the property. Buyers who want more space for family gatherings and don’t want any shared walls will tend to focus on freestanding condos and single-family houses.

 

News Flash: RE/MAX North Lake is proud to announce that Sabrina Belleci is now the majority owner and managing broker of the Incline Village office. Sabrina will be in charge of all day-to-day operations and oversee the management and strategic planning at RE/MAX North Lake.

 

Don Kanare will retain his broker license but is transitioning into a new role. Don will focus his efforts on being a mentor, negotiator and advisor to the business along with working closely with a select group of clients. Don will continue to work with Sabrina as co-author of this weekly column along with creating content for the InsideIncline.com web site.

 

The RE/MAX North Lake office recently underwent extensive remodeling under Sabrina’s watchful eye. The new contemporary style incorporates decorative elements focusing on Lake Tahoe and the beautiful surroundings. The new furnishings create a warm and inviting feel for agents and clients alike.

 

We invite you to stop by our office at 923 Tahoe Blvd. – #101 and congratulate Sabrina on her new role as managing broker and majority owner of RE/MAX North Lake.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 3/19/17

Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       89                        39                         16

Under $1 million                         17                          30                         7

Median Price For Sale          $1,998,000           $560,000                  $1,099,000

YTD Sales 2017                           23                         36                          5

YTD Sales 2016                           27                       27                         6

New Listings                                 6         

In Escrow                                      9

Closed Escrow                              9

Range in Escrow                  $299,000 – $4,260,000

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

Make A List Before Listing Your Property

With Spring just a week away, this is the time of year when sellers began to contemplate whether or not to put their property on the market. Due to the seasonal nature of visitor traffic at Lake Tahoe and the concomitant increase in real estate sales during the summertime, most sellers put their property up for sale sometime between the beginning of April and the end of July.

Whether or not you put your property up for sale this year is a purely individual decision based on your family and financial situation, the direct competition your property will be facing, the demand for properties similar to yours and whether or not the market supports the price you are seeking.

If you get past the first hurdle and believe that you have a reasonable chance of selling at a fair price in the next 6 to 12 months there are a host of other issues that have to be considered. Take a good look around your property and see if there are items that need to be repaired or anything that could create a hazard to people who are viewing your property. Getting a physical inspection report and a pest inspection report in advance of putting your property up for sale might cost $500 to $1000, but it can uncover maintenance items that you might have missed. Most sellers are not going to repair every little item in advance of putting their property up for sale. But taking care of those “deal killers” in advance of showing your property will make it much more appealing to a greater number of buyers.

Decluttering and staging are critical elements of preparing your property for sale. While many sellers and agents believe they can do an adequate job, the reality is that staging is an art that requires a special talent and vision. It can be difficult for a seller to emotionally detach themselves from the interior flavor they have spent years or even decades creating. A professional home stager brings an objective perspective to creating a warm and inviting feeling without having an emotional attachment to the pre-existing interior design. Many properties that have languished on the market for years sell relatively quickly after getting a visit from a professional stager and sometimes a few minor upgrades.

Creating curb appeal is very important especially since the first picture that most people see on the Internet when looking at properties is the exterior of your house or condo. While you can’t easily change the architecture, there are a number of simple things a seller can do to make your property create a great first impression. Repair any glaring deficiencies to the exterior such as loose trim, cracked steps or driveways, missing shingles or anything that is obvious. Consider painting or staining the exterior if there is evidence of weathering. Remove dead branches from trees and prune vegetation as necessary. Touch up the landscaping so it always looks well maintained.

Working closely with your agent to put together a comprehensive marketing plan is an important piece of the puzzle. Each property should be analyzed for its special attributes and features. Then your agent will be able to create a marketing strategy and promotional materials that will help you sell your house or condo. Buyers generally see only what is on the surface when making a first visit. Promoting attributes such as in-floor radiant heat, upgraded plumbing and electrical systems and other things not readily visible to the naked eye will help buyers appreciate the value added features of your property.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 3/12/17

Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                       92                        39                         16

Under $1 million                         15                          31                         8

Median Price For Sale          $1,995,000           $558,000                  $1,099,000

YTD Sales 2017                           21                         31                          4

YTD Sales 2016                           25                       23                         6

New Listings                                10         

In Escrow                                      4

Closed Escrow                              4

Range in Escrow                  $459,500 – $4,250,000

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

 

What Makes An Agent A Specialist

One of the things that some real estate agents do to differentiate themselves in the marketplace is to take on the moniker of “specialist”.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has sponsored or recognized many certifications over the years that require specific educational standards in a particular specialty.  Some designations can only be achieved after performing a certain number of sales in a specific market segment.

 

There are widely varying degrees of difficulty to achieve a specialist designation in different areas.  One of the more rigorous programs involves becoming a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS).  To complete this program there are 4 different paths from which to choose.  Each path requires a minimum number of classroom education hours combined with exceeding a threshold for a certain number of transactions or dollar sales volume.

 

Lots of other designations abound including categories for luxury homes, resort properties, etc. Here is a quote from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing which sponsors the certification for a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist.  “The Certified Luxury Home Marketing SpecialistTM (CLHMS) designation assures affluent buyers and sellers that real estate professionals have the knowledge, experience, and unique skills to meet their needs. Members of The Institute who hold the CLHMS designation have documented performance in the TOP 10% of their residential markets and have successfully demonstrated their expertise in the luxury home and estate market”.

 

Some agents will call themselves a specialist in a particular area without having achieved any certification that falls under the NAR umbrella.  This is where things get sticky.  If an agent has sold a lot of properties in a particular condo complex or subdivision they will sometimes call themselves a specialist in that area and rightfully so.  They likely have acquired a significant amount of market knowledge specific to that niche and can guide buyers and sellers satisfactorily in that area.

 

However, as the market gets more competitive we are seeing agents promoting themselves as specialists in one area or another without having the requisite knowledge, expertise or sales experience.  In a high-end resort market such as Incline Village we have a lot of luxury homes.  So, some agents will call themselves a “luxury property specialist” when they may have never sold a property that falls into the luxury category.  You can't call yourself a “golf course specialist” when you have never sold a property adjacent to a golf course.  Yet we have seen agents putting these specialist titles on their business cards and marketing materials in an effort to enhance their image and hustle up business.

 

Buyers and sellers are often attracted to doing business with someone who portrays themselves as a specialist in the market segment where they plan to conduct business.  While this is great if you have someone with the qualifications and expertise representing you, it can be a nightmare if you find yourself in a transaction with someone who is using the specialist moniker without possessing the requisite skills and knowledge base.

 

Weekly Real Estate Update

Statistics gathered from the Incline Village MLS on 2/19/17

                                                    Houses                Condos                     PUDs

For Sale                                        97                         39                          16

Under $1 million                          18                           32                         7

Median Price For Sale          $1,998,000            $579,000                  $1,099,000

YTD Sales 2017                           12                           27                         2

YTD Sales 2016                           21                         15                         6

New Listings                                 6                    

In Escrow                                      5                           

Closed Escrow                              5                                                           

Range in Escrow        $349,000 - $1,295,000

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

 

 

February Market Update

Happy February! Throughout January, Incline Village saw well over 10 feet of snow! For many of the ski resorts around the Tahoe basin, snow totals for January were all-time record breaking. 

January was a great month for the Inside Incline Team as well as for the Incline Village real estate market as a whole. We collectively closed on 5 deals within the first two weeks of the month! We closed our listings at #284 Ski Way Ridge, 696 Bidwell Court, #84 Tahoe Racquet Club, and #43 Pinebrook, as well as our listing at #62 Creekside East, which we double-sided, representing both the listing and selling side. All in all, our sales volume for the month of January totaled $2,182,500! We would like to thank all our clients for their patience through each transaction, we look forward to working with you again in the future!

In total, the Incline Village real estate market saw 10 sales of single-family residences ranging in price from $507,500 for a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, livable fixer-upper at high-elevation to $1,182,500 for 2,500 square foot lakeview home in Crystal Bay on HWY28. We have also seen the sale of 1 freestanding condo in the Incline Creek Estates subdivision that sold for $1,389,500. In the condo market, we have seen 17 sales ranging in price from $150,000 for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 600sqft apartment-style condo, to $975,000 for a 1,200sqft peek of the lake condo at the prestigious 999 Lakeshore address. 

As we will be quickly approaching the Spring months (fingers crossed for more winter!), Buyer's are currently finding they have attractive negotiating power as opposed to waiting until the Summer months, where prices will generally be pushing 5-10% higher and a "buyer-frenzy" will be taking place for under-priced properties. 

4 Ways Tech is Used in Real Estate

You may not think "real estate" when you think about modern technology, but several advances are making the lives of homebuyers, home sellers, and agents a lot easier – not to mention adding peace of mind with added security measures. Here are a few.

1. Drones

Fitting a small camera onto a helicopter drone lets agents capture aerial images of homes, properties and neighborhoods to feature in sales listings. Drones can also be useful for checking out things like roof damage without a ladder. The Federal Aviation Administration loosened its guidelines on commercial uses for drones in June, making it easier for more agents to adopt the technology.

2. Digital signature platforms

Years ago, an agent could spend hours driving back and forth to collect buyer and seller signatures on forms. Today, they can toss their pens and manage everything from the office – or wherever they may be – thanks to digital signing platforms. The government passed laws that make electronic signatures as valid as physical signatures. Platforms like DocuSign let agents securely send documents for clients to authorize with a simple click on a computer – or a phone.

3. Electronic lockboxes

Smart lockboxes on homes have several features that can make showing a home more secure. These new boxes allow smart phones to work as keys, which means they also can track who enters and leaves the home. Some boxes can also be programmed to host real-time information about the home and the neighborhood which visitors can access using their smart phones.

4. Wireless video monitors

Security cams help agents (and homeowners) keep an eye on vacant properties without having to physically stop by to check things out. Cameras can provide interior and exterior views, allowing agents and homeowners to monitor everything from maintenance issues, like whether leaves or mail deliveries are piling up on the porch, to basic security, like seeing if someone is parked outside.