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  • Cole Mizak

Spring Signals Home-Improvement Season

It was a little over a week ago that we were all skiing fresh powder, but how quickly winter has departed (maybe temporarily), and with the onset of Spring comes thoughts of home improvement projects. The winter of 2011 – 2012 was rather benign when compared with the typical Sierra climate. We had far less snow and precipitation, only a couple of significant wind events and temperatures were above average much of the time.


So while most properties came through the winter season in relatively good condition, there is still the usual wear and tear to address. And major projects such as roof replacement, deck repairs and remodeling require a lot of thought and planning before you begin work. There are quite a number of specific rules, regulations and restrictions when it comes to doing improvements on your property at Lake Tahoe whether you own a house or condo. It could be something as obscure as a prohibition against using hardwood or tile flooring if you live in a condo above your neighbors. Or something more common like the need to get a permit when you are replacing your roof, building a fence or doing any one of a number of significant improvements to your property.


Lakeview property owners have to comply with TRPA regulations concerning the types of glass that are permitted to be used when replacing windows. Now this may seem to be rather bizarre if you have moved here recently from outside the Lake Tahoe basin. But there are specific rules concerning the types of glass and properties of reflectivity that are permissible when installing windows in your house. Boaters can be blinded by the glare of highly reflective windows. So, houses that can be seen from the Lake come under special scrutiny whenever a window replacement project is being undertaken.


Many homeowners and prospective buyers consider the possibility of fencing a portion of their property. In general, there is a 6 foot height restriction and there could very well be setback requirements affecting where you could position a fence on your parcel. You also have to take into account whether there is a snow removal easement because you don't want to build a fence right where the County snow-thrower generally piles up the snow in the wintertime. The requirements for getting a permit to build a fence are not all that complicated. But you do need to provide a site plan, show the location of the fence and all structures on the property along with ensuring the construction of your fence conforms to current building codes.


This is also the time of year when contractors, handymen and trades people of all types start see their calendars fill up. The nice weather makes it much easier to do all types of projects especially those that involve outdoor improvements and repairs. You may not be able to get all of the materials and supplies you need in short order. So make sure that you allow plenty of time to acquire everything needed for your project well in advance of beginning work. And if you are ordering items on the Internet, inspect every package upon receipt and immediately notify the shipper of any damage or missing parts so that you can get a replacement without undue difficulty. Using a credit card to make these purchases will provide much easier recourse in the event of a dispute.


It's exciting to do remodeling and spruce up your property. So take the time to get estimates, acquire samples of different materials, compare prices and carefully plan each project from start to finish. You'll save time, money and aggravation along with getting the finished look you desire whether it's a nicely landscaped yard or that new kitchen you've been saving for. We are fortunate to have professionals who live and work locally performing high-quality services in virtually every trade and craft. Your real estate agent can likely refer you to people they have worked with in the past so you can see their quality and workmanship before engaging their services.


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