With the real estate market in Lake Tahoe absolutely booming, even CNBC recently highlighted the huge influx of buyers flocking to the Lake Tahoe Basin stating that Lake Tahoe is the fastest growing, second home/vacation home real estate market in the country closely followed by Bend, OR. All the while prices are increasing every month (although still very reasonable compared to big feeder cities) and interest rates remain historically low. This has not only attracted more buyers to Incline Village and Crystal Bay, but also out of area agents who are lured by the higher prices when compared with the market in which they regularly work. Anyone with a Nevada real estate license can represent buyers and sellers anywhere in the state. But there are significant benefits to working with an agent who focuses on the Lake Tahoe real estate market and develops the knowledge and expertise that only comes with years of experience.
All real estate is local and there are nuances to each market and neighborhood that an agent needs to understand if they are going to adequately represent their clients. While Lake Tahoe and Reno are not far apart on the map, the mountain range that separates them also creates a world of difference when it comes to buying and selling real estate. You have different real estate boards (5 operating in the Lake Tahoe basin) with different MLS systems, different rules and regulations, contracts and addendums and even a different form of government. While the Realtor Code of Ethics defines how real estate agents will behave in the performance of their duties that is about the only similarity you will find when conducting business in disparate geographic locations.
Incline Village and Crystal Bay are unique in that we do not have any tract housing, it’s all custom homes. The different subdivisions each present their advantages and disadvantages which can only be learned after spending a great deal of time learning about the vast array of properties in our community. Even on the same street homes of the same square footage and lot size can have wildly different values based on the floor plan, slope, driveway, interior finishes, view, etc.
There are also a number of environmental factors to take into account that can dramatically impact the price and desirability of any given property. What type of sun exposure does the property receive? Is the location prone to afternoon winds or is it sheltered? How much snow accumulates in relation to other parts of the Village? Are the trees on the property an asset or liability based on their health, location and impact on sun and wind? Is there a stream nearby and what effect does that have on the value and use of the property? Understanding each of these issues and being able to relate the pluses and minuses to a buyer requires local knowledge and a strong understanding of the microclimates within the Lake Tahoe basin and even within our community.
Then there are the basics. If an agent’s main office is 45+ minutes away, it’s hard to feel confident that during these snowy winter months the agents’ sign will be secured, the home will be routinely checked on, flyer boxes will be filled, your home will be represented locally with local insights. We routinely get calls to our office about out of area agent whose signs have fallen over or have been neglected.
The form of local government in Incline Village and Crystal Bay is not a town or city but rather a General Improvement District under Nevada law. Real estate agents need to be familiar with this type of governmental entity so they can provide accurate information when buyers ask questions about our community and how it is managed. It’s important for buyers to understand the services that IVGID provides and what the limitations are so they can make an informed decision. Having knowledge about all of the different recreational venues, who gets access to the beaches plus the benefits of the recreational passes that come with each property can help buyers understand the value added amenities that we are fortunate to have.
TRPA Rules and Regulations are so complex and ever-changing that it’s impossible for even the local real estate agents to know everything all the time on this subject. However, having a basic understanding of how the TRPA as a separate governing agency impacts property owners is fundamental to being an effective real estate agent at Lake Tahoe. Buying and selling property in the Lake Tahoe basin requires knowledge of how the coverage rules work, what a stream zone environment is, BMPs and that’s just scraping the surface. An entire consulting industry has grown up around the need to understand the complexity of TRPA rules and regulations. Having a local agent with some knowledge in this realm is critical when doing real estate transactions at Lake Tahoe. It is a huge disservice to buyers and sellers to been promised expansion and building plans by out of area agents just to fulfill an expensive purchase that they will end up reselling or not being bale to build on.
Even within the Lake Tahoe Basin there are five different real estate boards and a multiplicity of micromarkets. It’s not possible for one person to know intimately the entire real estate inventory at Lake Tahoe with so many different communities, two different states and five counties. Agents from outside the Lake Tahoe basin have every right to sell real estate wherever they are licensed. But it’s better for clients who have an out of area agent representing them to work in partnership with a local agent who has the specific knowledge and expertise that can only come from living and working for many years in the unique Tahoe real estate environment.