Is Spring Time Really The Best Time To Buy in Lake Tahoe?

When it comes to selling and buying real estate in Lake Tahoe, it is extremely common to hear people say “We are going to re-list in the spring” or “We are going to start looking in spring”. Spring is considered to be the “on season” of real estate as it seems to be the most popular time to start the buying or selling process, but that doesn’t always mean it is the best time. Truthfully, every season has its perks and downfalls and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. Read on to see when it is ideal for you to buy a home in Lake Tahoe.

“The On Season”

The on-season is when inventory starts to increase, peak and then tail off and slow down.  Peak inventory is based on location, the weather, demographics (an area with more families will probably time their move around the school calendar) and more, so every area will vary a little bit.  If you’re looking to buy during the on-season, be aware of the following:

More Inventory

During the on season, there are more houses on the market to choose from. This is very desirable if you are looking for a specific neighborhood or a home with distinct details. If there are more homes on the market, you are probably going to have a higher chance of finding your dream home. The downfall is that there is also more competition which means more bidding wars, busy lenders and home inspectors.

Easier to spot flaws

The perk to sunny weather is you are going to see a lot more flaws compared to if a home is covered in snow. This could be the roof, foundation, and so much more that is all of a sudden clearly exposed. While appraisers and inspectors in Lake Tahoe are used to doing their job in snowy weather, it is nice for you personally to see everything clearly and know that nothing is hiding.

Firm Pricing

When it comes to contracts and money, things are usually always negotiable. During the busy selling season, another buyer could swoop in and snatch your spot if you pause too long. Low ball offers will get rejected quicker and any offer that has unique contingencies or requests could get pushed to the bottom of the pile. This is time where playing games with a seller is a very risky move.

During the “off season”, there is a decrease in homes on the Lake Tahoe market. Depending on the market, this could be a lot, or it could be only a slight decrease.  This has a few perks. There is less competition, and because of that you might find a great deal depending on how much the seller is willing to negotiate.  There are a few downfalls though. Bad weather can make it hard to get it around if you are not familiar with the area and you don’t always know what things look like under the snow.

Truthfully, the best time to buy is when it is right for you personally. If  you have questions about buying real estate in Lake Tahoe, call me at (530) 308-4762.

April 2015 Events in Lake Tahoe

April 1st-June 21st: Train for an event challenge at Barton Hospital. Get inspired, fit and motivated with local fitness experts as they prepare you to compete in the Rock Tahoe Half Marathon – June 20, or the Burton Creek Trail Run – June 21. Call 530-600-1958 for more info.

April 1st: Pints ‘n Paddles with Ike & Martin on the Tahoe Paradise. $15 in advance & $20 at the door. 5:30-7:00m leaving Ski Run Marina. Come listen to Tahoe’s Best local band two years running while cruising Lake Tahoe. For more info, call 800-238-2463.

April 1st: TOCCATA – Tahoe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. Tickets range from $5-$35. 7:00pm at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. The Orchestra and Chorus continues its Winter MusicFest with the 10th annual presentation of J. S. Bach’s masterpiece, The Passion according to St. Matthew.

April 3rd: Easter Egg hunt at Kahle Community Center. From 11:00a-1:00p, come enjoy the family fun sponsored by the Tahoe Douglas Firefighter’s Association. There will be eggs to find, fire trucks to climb on, a bounce house and so much more. For kids age 0-6.  Call 775-586-7271 for more info.

April 4th: Easter Egg hunt at Lake Tahoe Community College. Hosted by the South Tahoe Optimist Club, The 48th annual event will have 2,500 hidden eggs throughout the parking lot near the college gym. There will also be an Easter costume parade, an Easter Bonnet contest and more. For more info, call 530-416-0195.

April 4th-Equinox Spring Festival at Lake Tahoe Golf Course. Come to the final installment of music hosted by Sierra At Tahoe resort from 3:00pm-6:00pm at the golf course. The family Crest is a 7 piece band known for making people get out of their seat at dance. For more info, visit www.sierraattahoe.com.

April 8th: Yappy Hour ACT Fundraiser at Base Camp Pizza from 5:00pm-8:00pm. Come support this Animal Coalition of Tahoe Fundraiser. There will be happy hour drink specials, half price garlic fries and chips, raffle prizes and more.  For more information call (530) 307-3638 or email info@tahoeanimals.org.

April 11th: Lit at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe at 9:00pm. Tickets are $25-$35. Lit is a high-energy alternative rock band from Fullerton, CA. They are known for their catchy, pop-punk sound that propelled them into a major player in the post-grunge era. For more info, call 775-588-1010.

April 14th: Lake Tahoe Historical Society’s Fireside Chat at Camp Richardson Resort. 7:00pm, $3 for non members, free for members. Bill Kingman will be sharing his photo presentation of “Then and Now” images of South Lake Tahoe. Call 530-541-5458.

April 16th: Z&G&E Featuring The Grouch & Eligh at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. 10:00pm, $27. Call 775-588-3515 for more info.

April 17th: A Special Screening of Chasing Ice at the Lake Tahoe Community College, 6:30pm-9:00pm. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for non-students. Lake of the Sky Outfitters, the League to Save Lake Tahoe, and the Sierra Nevada Alliance have partnered to bring Chasing Ice to Tahoe. In addition to the 75 minute film, there will be an introduction to the movie and the issues as they pertain to Tahoe and the Sierra, a closing discussion and raffle.  For more info, visit http://sierranevadaalliance.org/chasingice

April 18th: Little River Band at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, 9:00pm, $42.50-$52.50 plus fees. Little River Band is considered to be one of Australia’s most significant bands. Worldwide album and CD sales now top 30 million. They also set a record for having Top 10 hits for 6 consecutive years. For more info, visit www.montbleuresort.com .

April 18th: Alert Tahoe at the South Lake Tahoe Library, 1:00pm. Dr. Graham Kent from the UNR Seismological Laboratory will give a presentation on ALERT Tahoe, which is a new, one-of-a-kind fire camera/multi-hazard tracking system that includes smoke investigation, prescribed fire oversight, wildfire tracking, Earthquake Early Warning, and the monitoring of extreme weather events. For more info, call 530-573-3185.

April 18th: Soroptimist International of Tahoe Sierra’s Annual Fundraiser, “An Elegant Evening” at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. 5:30pm-10:30pm, $60 per ticket. This wonderful evening includes a beautiful plated dinner, spirits provided by our friends at Crystal Basin Cellars, Grace Patriot Wines, Tahoe Blue Vodka, and Wofford Acres Vineyards. There will also be live music, a silent and live auction. All donations and a portion of the tickets give back to the local women and youth.  For more info, visit http://sitahoesierra.org/elegant-evening

April 18th: Leon Russell at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. 7:30pm, $51.75 per ticket. Leon Russell is a music legend and perhaps the most accomplished and versatile musician in the history of rock ‘n roll. For more info, call 800-427-7247.

April 21st: Annual Tourism Forum at the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. 3:30pm-5:30pm. Guest speakers Ken Fisher and Jonathan Weidenhamer from Park City. This year’s forum will feature lessons learned from similar mountain towns and how the South Shore can distinguish itself as a world-class recreation destination. For more info, call 775-588-1728.

April 24th & 25th: Lake Tahoe Home & Garden Show at 1180 Rufus Allen Blvd. Friday’s event is 4:00pm-7:30pm & Saturdays event is 10:00am to 4:30pm. This years Home and Garden show will feature live music, door prizes every twenty minutes, drawing prizes, food, and classes with tips on how to re-purpose dozens of items people normally throw away! For more info, visit: http://goldenbearevents.com/Lake_Tahoe_Home_and_Garden_Show.html

April 25th: Logan: The Honorable Life and Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman at the Lake Tahoe Library. Starts at 1:00pm, This story is about Ms. Boor, the great granddaughter of this historic sheriff and has unearthed the untold story of his 1906 murder. Dealing with rowdy miners, drunken gamblers, and even Wild West legends like Wyatt Earp was a routine part of the job for onetime Nye County Sheriff Thomas Logan. For more info, call 530-573-3185.

April 25th: South Tahoe Earth Day at Bijou Community Park. 10:00am-3:00pm, come learn about ways to counteract global climate change through recycling and composting, alternative energy, water conservation, sustainability, and reducing our ecological footprint. There will also be live music and dance, a Kid Zone, local booths and vendors and so much more.

April 28th:  Trail Talk: Geology of the Tahoe Rim Trail at the South Lake Tahoe Library, 6:00pm-8:00pm. Join us for our monthly “Trail Talk Series” where you’ll hear from local experts who will share their Tahoe Rim Trail knowledge and expertise, what you can find while exploring and how you can be safe!

April 30th: The Genoa Cowboy Festival is a wonderful blend of beautiful setting, entertainment, heritage and Western culture. This year’s event is free to the public and also features cowboy mercantile crafts and clothing, Western art exhibits, pioneer and Old West living history reenactors, and a variety of delicious food from popular local eateries. For more info, visit: www.genoacowboyfestival.org

Tips For Pricing Your Lake Tahoe Home

Ifkey you decided to sell your Lake Tahoe home, then chances are you have thought a lot about the selling price. If you are new to doing real estate transactions, there are a few key things to follow when pricing your home that can aid in getting it sold quickly.

 

Price it right

Most seller’s think their home is great and typically pick a selling price that is based more on how much money they want to make, and not so much on actual market factors. Pricing your home right from the start will determine how long the house sits on the market. A majority of Realtors will tell you that the first two weeks of exposure are the most important. When you come in at a good price, the chances of getting a lot of buyers touring your home is high. If the home sits on the market for too long because it is priced too high, it creates the perception that something is wrong with the home. It also sometimes causes buyers to think you are desperate to get an offer resulting in low ball numbers.

Comparable SALES are key

Want to know how much you should list your home for sale? Look at the “comps”. While you can look at other active listings within the neighborhood that are similar to your home, the best way to figure out asking price is looking at the solds. This will tell you what people are willing to pay for a home like yours. The number of beds, baths, square footage, lot and upgrades are a few good things to look at when comparing your home to your neighbors. A qualified Realtor will be able to provide you comparable activities straight from the MLS and help you pick a good asking price.

Keep it fair while comparing

If your home is a darling 1970’s Lake Tahoe ski chalet with original appliances and shag carpeting, chances are it is not going to be the same price as the brand new construction across the street. Even if you have the same square footage and amount of bed and bath, it isn’t realistic to think that you will get the same amount. This is where paying attention to the comparable Lake Tahoe properties your agent gives you is very important. They are only going to pull homes that are truly similar to yours.

Do a little background check

To get an all inclusive idea of the real estate market on your block, check the listing history. Look at the amount of time a home was on the market, the original listing price to the final sold price. This will be another area where your Lake Tahoe Realtor is going to be of service with a wealth of information.

Consider those home improvements

Consider whether or not those recent upgrades you made warrant a higher listing price. A big high end remodel can definitely be reflected in the home price, just don’t expect to get your full return on investment back. While upgrades help, they don’t always get back as much money as you put in. Every situation is unique, so be sure to chat with your Realtor about this.

Consider supply and demand

Are you selling your home in a buyers marker or a sellers market? If it s a buyers market, your home will have a lot more competition and you may want to ask a bit less in order to attract the right buyer. In a seller’s market there is a smaller inventory with a big buyer demand so you can ask a bit more.

As every home and neighborhood is different, like every seller’s situation, you will want to make sure you discuss with your Realtor what the most attractive selling price is for your home. If you are looking to sell and would like more information, contact us.

The Costs Associated With Buying A Home

If you are preparing to buy a home in Lake Tahoe this year, you may have heard already that there are extra costs that go into the process, aside from just the actual selling price of the home. In fact, there are a few that can contribute to the final statement at the end of the transaction that may leave you perplexed and wondering what exactly  the extra money is for. Before you let the wave of anxiety wash over you, your Lake Tahoe Realtors are here to walk you through the fees and what they mean.

Earnest money

Ernest money is also known as a sign of good faith in the Lake Tahoe Real Estate world. It proves to the seller that you are committed to this purchase. This amount usually depends on the local market and affiliated factors, but typically you can expect to write a check from 1%-2% of the purchase price. If the market isn’t too hot, a seller may be happy with less. The importance of a qualified realtor is key here as there may be rules and state limitations that cap how much a seller can request.

Escrow account

An escrow account is an account separate from the mortgage account and it is how a mortgage company ensures you have the funds to cover the mortgage insurance and taxes. While the amount paid varies, it could cover the costs for up to a year. Escrow accounts are a mandatory requirement for FHA loans and common for loans where less than 20% is being paid for the down payment.

Inspection

Inspection is one of the most important, and necessary, aspects of buying a home in Lake Tahoe. This ensures the home you are getting is free of mold, pests, flooding issues, radon, structurally sound and so much more. If something negative comes back, you can figure out whether you want to back out and keep looking, negotiate price, repairs, credits and more.  Plus it keeps you from moving in only to have unwanted surprises you were not expecting, nor ready for financially. Inspections typically cost between $300-$500. Pest inspections and radon inspections are usually extra and can definitely tack on a few hundred extra dollars, but knowing whether or not the new home you are about to invest in is safe, is priceless. A quality realtor will be able to give a good reference on who they find to be the best in the inspection business.

Origination

The origination fee is the money you pay the loan officer or broker for finishing the loan. This includes originating, underwriting and processing. It is usually around 1% of the total loan, but can vary.  Definitely shop around before settling on one.

Appraisal

Lenders like to know what the fair market value of a home is before they lend you the money. Once again, your realtor can recommend a good appraiser. The costs vary, factoring in property size and location, but you can usually expect to pay between $200-$400.

 Title company

You want to make sure that the property you are about to buy has a title that is free and clear. There is an extra fee associated with this. Your Lender and your Realtor can recommend a title company.

Survey

Getting a survey done is not always required, but a lender may require you to find out where precisely the property lines start and end. This is another service where prices vary quite a bit.

Something to keep in mind as you read about the extra fees is to remember that you have the power to bargain. There are many options, you just need to shop around and find out what fees and rates are in your area. Feel free to ask questions, especially if you are unsure what a fee is for. A qualified Lake Tahoe realtor will not only be able to recommend the best vendors in the business, but they can give you a heads up on rates, fees, who is the best and so much more. If you have any questions about extra costs associated with buying a home, or just the process in general, contact us.