How To Make An Offer

Spring home buying season is in full swing and buyers are out in full force looking at homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe. If you are one of them, and this is your first time, you may be wondering how to make an offer once you have found that dream real estate in South Lake Tahoe. If you have chosen an experienced South Lake Tahoe realtor, you can rest assured that they can guide you through the entire process. But, if you are just in the preliminary stages, you came to the right spot. First you will want to get pre-approved. This helps you figure out your budget on what you can spend on South Lake Tahoe homes for sale. This is crucial for a few reasons: It keeps you from wasting your time (and everybody else’s) looking at homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe that you cannot afford. It tells home owners that you are serious about buying because you already have the financing. It also shortens the closing process because a lot of the paperwork in regards to financing has been done. But if it is time to make an offer, read on to see how it works.

Typically your South Lake Tahoe realtor will help you draft a competitive offer and then present it to the sellers realtor in South Lake Tahoe. From here, the owner will either counter, accept or reject. If they counter, which they likely will, the realtors will help both parties negotiate terms that are agreeable and then move forward. Or not, depending.

Part of the offer, and usually counter, is the offer price. In a seller’s market, lowballing is a bad idea so you will want to make an offer that waives as many contingencies and is inline with market value. In really tight seller’s market, homes are selling in days well over asking with multiple offers. In a buyer’s market, you can come in a small percentage lower depending on the scenario. Your agent will help you with this one, but usually you have more wiggle room when the inventory is plentiful and the demand is low.

Inspections are another big part of making an offer on real estate in South Lake Tahoe. You want to know you are getting a home that isn’t going to be a money pit or a total head ache. Inspections help you get a good idea of what you are getting yourself into. From making sure the wiring isn’t faulty to making sure the title is clean, these contingencies and inspection gives buyers confidence. If an inspection report comes back with bad news on the foundation, mold, pests, etc. the clients will go back to the drawing board with their respective realtors and draft a new offer. Sometimes the seller will close for less, add in a buyer credit or make the necessary repairs and close at the agreed upon original price. Btw, buyers can attend these inspections. As can their realtors. Once the show is back on the road, you are one step closer to being a homeowner!

To lowball or not to lowball? That is the question.

So you are searching for homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe and you are thinking of making an offer below asking. But how low do you go? After all, everything has a price and everything is negotiable, right? Not so fast. Before you make your first impression on a seller a potentially bad one, let’s look at a few things that can help you determine whether this is really the best way to break into the South Lake Tahoe real estate market.

  • What does your South Lake Tahoe realtor say? If you are working with a qualified realtor in South Lake Tahoe, they will be able to not only advise you on the neighborhood market conditions, but also on these key details as you put together a competitive offer. Also, a professional realtor in South Lake Tahoe is NOT going to advise you to make a bad deal. So if you know you are working with the best, you can have confidence that every move you make will be backed by experience.
  • A South Lake Tahoe realtor can also tell you what kind of market you are in, which determines when a lower offer may be acceptable. In a seller’s market? Don’t even try it. There are multiple other serious buyers who are willing to pay over asking. The homeowners control this kind of market and coming in under asking will not be the best way to land homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe. In a buyer’s market? You may have a chance. This is the kind of market that is more flexible for buyers because inventory is really high and demand is really low. Some realtors in South Lake Tahoe will recommend around 10% below asking as the max for offering under asking price. Since South Lake Tahoe real estate varies so much, it is recommended you discuss this in depth with your realtor.
  • Find out how long the listing has been active. This can give you a little insight, although it is important to know that every situation is different so a longer market time doesn’t necessarily mean the sellers are desperate and the South Lake Tahoe home for sale has something wrong with it. Especially if it is luxury, since let’s face it, not everyone has millions of dollars lying around. The South Lake Tahoe home for sale in question could also be a super custom home that isn’t the right fit for everyone. If the seller is motivated, which a realtor in South Lake Tahoe will usually make known, they might be more willing to negotiate. But definitely don’t come in $50,000 under asking if a home for sale in South Lake Tahoe has been in the MLS for less than 24 hours.
  • What are the comps for similar homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe? The thing about comps is they are based on actual SOLDS. Not active properties. This means that we know what people are actually willing to pay because they already did within the last 6 months. So if the area comps tells us similar South Lake Tahoe homes for sale are going for $500,000, it is not advisable to offer $400,000. Now if similar homes are selling at $400,000 and they are listed at $500,000, well then, that is a different story.


How bad do you want the home? If you aren’t serious and just want to try your luck, then by all means, roll the dice. But if you REALLY want a home and they are priced according to market, offer asking or a little more if you want to seal the deal. Keep in mind that selling a home is not cheap. PLUS! Lowballing can be taken offensively as you are telling someone their home “isn’t worth it”. That can sting. So work closely with your realtor and let their knowledge on the market help guide you as you search for that dream home in Lake Tahoe.

South Lake Tahoe Real Estate Update

If you are getting ready to list or buy homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, knowing the state of our current South Lake Tahoe real estate market can make or break your experience. In fact, whether you are a buyer or a seller, you stand to benefit from knowing this information regardless of what side of the transaction you are on. As a buyer, you understand what sellers are looking for and can use that to craft a competitive offer. As a seller, you have the inside info to prepare your listing appropriately as well as choose a market appropriate list price. The most accurate way to get this information is from a South Lake Tahoe realtor. As a long time, local realtor, I use the local multiple listing service to ensure our reporting is up to date and accurate. So how is our local area doing? Let’s take a look!

Good news for those interested in putting their homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe on the market! Sold prices are up, for both the median and the average. Not only are they up from this time last year, but they are up from just last month! The average is up 8% at $536,325. The median is up 9% at $445,000. Keep in mind these prices are for South Lake Tahoe in general. Each neighborhood has their own market report so the stats vary from area to area. This is why it is always important to chat with your South Lake Tahoe realtor.  Just because your friend’s house is similar and listed for a certain number in Montgomery Estate doesn’t mean your home in Stateline will fetch the same number.

As far as inventory levels go, homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe are down 1.3% at 220 from last years 223. New listings are up 9.8%, which is great news for buyers. Although, closed sales are down 5.2% along with pending sales, which are down 2.8%. Our current month supply continues to inch up. We are at a 3.7 month supply. Anything less than 4 is a seller’s market and a balanced market needs 6. We are currently in a seller’s market. When it comes to figuring out your negotiation power, I recommend finding out the percentage of list price. Currently, that number for our area, is 97.%

Whether you are looking for more information on South Lake Tahoe real estate, or need a South Lake Tahoe realtor, give me a call. I would be happy to help you navigate out current market!

Selling? These Rooms Can Scare A Buyer Away!

If you are in the process of getting your home ready for the South Lake Tahoe real estate market, you came to the right spot. As I have discussed in several past blogs, there are a lot of steps to take in order to properly prepare homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe. Especially because you can think you are doing everything right, and still find that potential buyers may just not be that into your home. However, there are things you can do to make sure you make the best first impression on everyone that walks through the door. The most important is choosing a qualified South Lake Tahoe realtor. They will be able to advise on the steps that need to be taken as every property is different. However, there are some good, general “rule of thumb” tips to follow. Check them out here!

Unless your entire home for sale in South Lake Tahoe is vacant, avoid the lone empty room. It can kill a sale as it leaves buyers wondering what the space is meant for. As a seller, you may think it leaves things open for interpretation, but taking the steps to stage it like an office or a den can make a world of difference. Not to mention, when a room is empty, the flaws stand out. Like the chipped paint or stained carpet.

On the other end of the spectrum is the cluttered play room. We have all seen them, and we may even have them. One of the best things a seller can do is prepare their home for sale in South Lake Tahoe by de-cluttering, donating, selling, tossing or packing up what isn’t in use. Clutter anywhere gives the impression that a homeowner isn’t clean. So take the time to go through and clear things up. Also remove any art left overs like paint hand prints and stickers that have made their way to a wall or a window. Don’t think you can take a shortcut either and shove everything in the closets. A cluttered closet makes South Lake Tahoe real estate look like it doesn’t have enough storage.

Not every home can be light and bright throughout, however, one dark room can kill the deal. When buyers are looking for South Lake Tahoe homes for sale, they are looking for their dream home while simultaneously looking to see what negative each property features. If you have one room that doesn’t get a lot of natural light, try these tips.

  • Keep doors and blinds open so light can flow.
  • Add lamps and keep them on.
  • Use a mirror which reflects light AND makes spaces look bigger.
  • Take off window screens.

Otherwise, a dungeon like room can turn people away.

The dingy bathroom that has seen one too many baths can also cause a buyer to walk straight into the arms of other South Lake Tahoe homes for sale! Carpet in the bathroom, leaky faucets and a dirty tub can gross people out. Don’t go out of your way to do a complete remodel if it isn’t in the budget,  but do what you can to fix it up and make it appear clean.

Speaking of needing a spruce up, kitchens are the center of a home. When buyers are touring South Lake Tahoe homes for sale, the kitchen is one of the main rooms they are looking at. So while a spendy remodel may not be in the budget, do what you can to make it shine. If your appliances need updating, consider replacing them if possible. Affordable changes include a new coat of paint or stain on cabinets as well as new finishes. Fix creaky cupboards or broken drawers. Buyers are visual, so if you still have appliances from the 70’s, they are going to see dollar signs and start calculating what needs to be done if they buy your South Lake Tahoe real estate.

And finally, the formal living room that buyers feel like they can’t go in. These pristine rooms were once super desirable, but now feel like a space that doesn’t serve a purpose. While some folks still desire a fancy living room that only gets used for special occasions, most buyers want their living areas to be functional. Depending on the flow of the home for sale in South Lake Tahoe, you can use this room as an office, a dining room or a den.

Chat with your South Lake Tahoe realtor about what are the popular features buyers are looking for in a home for sale in South Lake Tahoe. Every area is different. So while some folks may be looking for new and modern in others, some may be interested in the charm of an older cabin.

To get more information from a South Lake Tahoe realtor, give me a call. I would be happy to help!