To Rent or Buy in 2019, That Is The Question

Every year around this time we start thinking and planning for the upcoming year. For some, the goals are fitness oriented, career driven or financial. For a lot of folks, buying homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe may be the goal instead of renting. And for good reason! 74% of renters are planning on purchasing homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe over the course of the next 5 years with half those planning on doing so in the next 2. The reason behind this is because a lot of renters simply don’t like renting. While there are a few perks, like the homeowner being responsible for repairs, most people want freedom where they live. They also want to invest and not throw money away each month on housing when they could be gaining equity. If you are on the line between renting and buying, work with your South Lake Tahoe realtor to understand the benefits. Here are a few reasons to make this goal of buying South Lake Tahoe real estate a reality and not just a dream in 2019.

  • Rising rent. Every year when it comes to resigning a lease, your rent usually goes up at least a bit. In fact, over the last 30 years, the median rental rates have steadily increased. When you purchase homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, you are locking in your rate. Which means you can budget and plan your housing expenses, as well as your future.
  • In a resort town like South Lake Tahoe, renting property could result in moving frequently depending on the market. Some homeowners decide they want to take advantage of the market and sell. Others decide they want to use their property for themselves. Or some only want to do a 6 month lease because they come up a lot during certain seasons. This makes it hard to plan for your future and truly settle into a place to call home.
  • When you purchase homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, you are investing in yourself. That monthly mortgage payment earns equity which you can tap into later. You also have the choice to put money back into the property and increase your resale value later on. When you rent South Lake Tahoe real estate, you not only rarely have that option, but you will most definitely not gain from it financially.

Not sure if you qualify to buy South Lake Tahoe real estate? Worried you don’t have 20% down? Your South Lake Tahoe realtor will be able to weigh in on your options, debunk myths, share their preferred lenders and more. If you are looking for a South Lake Tahoe realtor to help you, feel free to reach out. I would be happy to help!

Navigating The Emotions Of Buying Homes For Sale in South Lake Tahoe

If you are in the process of looking at South Lake Tahoe homes for sale, you might be feeling the high and lows of potential home ownership that go well beyond the financial aspect. Luckily, working with a South Lake Tahoe realtor can help alieviate some of the stress and anxiety that can come with the experience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the hunt for South Lake Tahoe homes for sale! 

1.) When the search is on for homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, open houses seem fun at first. These are a great way to view properties without trying to schedule a showing. However, after a while it can feel a bit overwhelming. It can also feel like your weekends are completely scheduled out and dictated by real estate open house maps and trying to figure out which houses to hit first when some of them are on opposite sides of town AND happening at the same time. When you work with a qualified South Lake Tahoe realtor, they will advise you that getting into homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe shortly after going on the market is always a great way to get an edge on the competition.  Have your agent schedule private showings for the South Lake Tahoe real estate you are super interested in so you can get an offer in fast if it turns out you love the home. Serious buyers need to be vigilant about touring open houses too, but be sure to go to properties that match your criteria. If you are going to everything that is open, you could be wasting valuable time. 

2.) Be patient. Finding that dream South Lake Tahoe real estate can feel similar to finding “The One”. The right one takes time. You don’t want to rush into something that isn’t right just for the sake of being a homeowner. Sure, some homes match your needs, but not necessarily your wants. Be realistic about the process, what you can afford and don’t settle for a property because it works “right now”. 

3.) Don’t be surprised if homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe don’t totally match their online presence. Professional photos are a really important part of real estate marketing and every realtor in South Lake Tahoe should be providing their sellers with this service. However! They don’t always fully capture certain details like size of rooms, light, proximity to the road, the neighbor’s house, etc. Go into each house knowing that a property may not measure up to the listing photos OR that it could actually be better in person. 

4.) Just submitted an offer on that perfect South Lake Tahoe real estate you have been dreaming about? Waiting is not fun, but it is a part of the process. Your South Lake Tahoe will you guide you through this, but there is a lot of paperwork involved and if a seller has multiple offers, they are smart to take their time with each contract and figure out which is the best fit for them. One thing you can do is add an addendum with your offer that states it expires within a certain amount of time after making the offer. Once again, work with your realtor in South Lake Tahoe as it may not be appropriate in all cases. The other thing you can do is continue to look at other South Lake Tahoe homes for sale. Also stay busy doing things you love. It will help pass the time quicker! 

5.) One of the other important (and smart) aspects of buying real estate in South Lake Tahoe is understanding the condition of a home. There are a lot of inspections and disclosures that sellers have to submit and while you may not be sure how to differentiate everything, your realtor in South Lake Tahoe can help you navigate the pile of paperwork and what everything means. If something feels like a deal breaker on a home, chat with your real estate professional and find out what it really means for the transaction, what the fixes are, options, etc.  

6.) Speaking of #5, be prepared to negotiate. Especially if you submit a lower offer. Lowballing is generally never a good idea for multiple reasons, but if you come in lower than asking, expect the seller to counter. You will have opportunities to make changes to the sale price later. For example, let’s say the appraisal comes back lower or the inspector finds some bigger fixes. You will likely return to the drawing board to come up with an offer that both parties can agree on. 

Just remember during the process to rely on your realtor in South Lake Tahoe during the process. If you start feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, they can usually provide some insight or ideas that will help get you through the bumps and hurdles of home buying. It is, after all, an exciting time and worth it in the end! For more information on purchasing real estate in South Lake Tahoe, feel free to give me a call! I would be happy to help! 


Buying? Don’t Miss This Advice For Buyers

If you are preparing to buy your first home for sale in South Lake Tahoe, you are either looking for advice OR you keep getting it from well meaning family members and friends. While tips from loved ones can be great, you will want to be discerning with the info that comes your way. The writers over at put together a great blog this month on advice from buyers and realtors that we thought would be worth passing on. Of course, it is important to note that every client and every home for sale in South Lake Tahoe is different, so these aren’t going to apply to everyone. Be sure to work closely with your realtor in South Lake Tahoe so you can feel confident you are making the best moves for you. No pun intended.

Buy less house than you can afford. Everyone’s financial situation varies, so this may not be something you need to think about when looking at homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe. However, being house rich and cash poor is no fun. When you buy less than you can afford, you can rest assured that you won’t have to stress about making your mortgage payment or falling behind. Additionally, furnishings AND utility bills cost more in a larger home. If you can’t afford to put furniture in every room of the house or the monthly bills or upkeep that comes with more square footage, think twice before looking at South Lake Tahoe homes for sale that push your budget. Also, steer clear of any South Lake Tahoe Realtor that tries talking you into maxing out your budget.

Speaking of maintenance and cost, don’t think of your mortgage payment as the only cost associated with buying homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe. The age of the home as well as the size will impact your annual housing budget. You can expect somewhere around 1%-4% of the properties sale price to be what you spend each year in maintenance costs. Your South Lake Tahoe realtor can always find out what the current sellers pay to give you a better idea. Just be sure to fix things as they come up. If you let tasks slide for too long, they will cost more in the long run.

Money isn’t the ONLY things that matters when it comes to making an offer on South Lake Tahoe homes for sale. The highest offer doesn’t always win. A lower offer can still be appealing if it comes with a high earnest money, you don’t have a ton of contingencies, and you make sure to have as competitive of an offer as possible. Your Realtor in South Lake Tahoe will work with you on putting together an offer that stands out, just don’t talk yourself out of making an offer simply because you can’t come up with some extra cash.

There are more than just 30 year mortgage options. Yes, a fixed interest rate is great for a lot of people, but it won’t work for everyone. You may need an option that has a lower down payment or a 15 year mortgage. Shop for loans before locking in the one that seems to be the most common.

Leave the kids at home when you tour South Lake Tahoe homes for sale. At first anyway. This actually has a couple perks. If your children are on the younger side and need full attention on them at all times, this allows you to fully concentrate on the houses you are looking at and not be distracted. It also keeps the kiddos from falling in love with a property that just isn’t going to work. Bring them through once you have narrowed down the list and are getting ready to make an offer. Moving is already tough enough on kids, especially if they have to leave behind friends. Being dragged through multiple homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe when you aren’t looking forward to moving can be, well, a drag.

Visit the property at different times of the day. This isn’t necessarily just for safety purposes either. Although, that is important! Check out traffic patterns and noises that are present when people aren’t at work. For example, is your potential neighbor in a garage band or is traffic so bad after work that it takes forever to get through the neighborhood during rush hour?

Check for any upcoming development or construction in the area. If you prefer a quieter dwelling away from all the noise and action, make sure that there is no way that additional buildings could go up and block your view, or that there is commercial zoning nearby. Stay open though if there is! New local businesses mean cool amenities within walking distance which is a pretty great convenience to have.

For more information on what to know as a buyer, feel free to give me a call. As a long time South Lake Tahoe realtor, I would be happy to walk you through the process of becoming a home owner.

South Lake Tahoe Real Estate Update

The monthly market report is in! If you are purchasing or selling homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, there are a few things you will want to do to get started. Before you do anything, align yourself with an experienced South Lake Tahoe realtor. We act not only as your advocate, but also your guide, from start to finish and beyond whether you are selling or buying. Once you have chosen a professional you trust, ask them for a detailed market report not only for South Lake Tahoe real estate in general, but your neighborhood and or the neighborhoods you are most interested in. If you have picked a qualified pro, chances are high they will give you this info right off the bat. But if not, using up to date details like average and median sold price, days on market and month supply can guide you regardless of what side of the transaction you are on. As a seller, you can rest assured you list your real estate in South Lake Tahoe at a market appropriate price while a buyer can feel confident they put together a competitive offer. So how is Lake Tahoe real estate doing? Let’s look!

The average sold price for homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe has increased 8.2% from this time last year at $538,917. The median sold price for South Lake Tahoe homes for sale is up 5.3% from last year (although unchanged from the past couple months) at this time at $440,000. The median percentage of list price has increased 98%. This number is great to use as a tool for determining your negotiation power when it comes to making or accepting an offer on South Lake Tahoe homes for sale.

The amount of South Lake Tahoe homes for sale has increased slightly from 216 last year to 225 this year. New listings have gone up 15.4%, pendings are up 4.2% and closed sales are up 1.5%. Both the average and median days on the South Lake Tahoe real estate market are down from this time last year. The median is at 72 and the average is at 102. The month supply is still at 3.7, but that number is up 8.8%. To understand this number, South Lake Tahoe realtor’s look for a 6 month supply in order to be considered balanced, while anything less than 4 is a seller’s market.

It is important to understand that these numbers are for real estate in South Lake Tahoe in general. If you have a specific neighborhood you need a market update for or are looking in certain neighborhoods, these numbers will likely vary. Once again, the best place to get this info is from a realtor in South Lake Tahoe as we use up to date stats from the local MLS. Have questions about real estate in South Lake Tahoe? Feel free to reach out. I would be happy to help!

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!