2017 Real Estate Lessons & What Not To Do in 2018

Whether you were selling or buying homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe this year, you probably felt like you had your work cut out for you. Whether it was trying getting your house ready for tours or trying to tour before an offer was made, this last year had everyone (especially South Lake Tahoe realtors) moving a mile a minute. Luckily, we learned a lot from this past year. If you are still on your home buying or home selling journey, check out these lessons and use them for yourself as we head into 2018!

1.) It’s closing day and you are feeling like you are home free. But you may be homeless if you can’t keep certain details to yourself. One example: Financial changes. We always tell folks to hold off on making any major changes to their finances while buying homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe. The littlest thing can impact your loan and halt that closing process completely. Rarely can anyone pull the wool over a lender’s eyes as they will re-pull all your info right before closing to make sure everything is good to go. It is not uncommon in this industry to have an escrow fall out due to an issue with lending the day of close. If you have made a change, your lender likely knows, but if they don’t say anything, you don’t say anything. In fact, when it comes to buying South Lake Tahoe homes for sale, use the old saying “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Selling can be emotional, so don’t make any snide comments that could offend the seller either.

2.) Which brings us to our next one: Sellers, you need to watch what you say as well. Buyer’s may ask why you are selling your South Lake Tahoe real estate and you want to give them an honest answer, without fully disclosing any negative details. If you give too much, you could hurt yourself in the process. Regardless of what side of the transaction you are on, let your South Lake Tahoe realtor do the talking. This is why you hire us. We help you navigate the market while getting the necessary details that help you get the most bang for your buck. If your South Lake Tahoe realtor isn’t present and you find yourself stuck in a tricky dialogue, stay as neutral as possible. 

3.) Get specific with the inspection report. Inspectors have over 1,500 tasks to check when going through homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe. That is A LOT! If there is something that is hard to reach or impacted by weather conditions, be specific in finding out how that will be checked or what can be done. Roofs for example may not be looked at if there are several stories and the conditions make it slick. It just isn’t safe. Also, snow or flooding could be blocking crawl space access. Be specific and find out what your options are. 

4.) Sellers, do not skimp on the cleaning. We have covered this in several blogs. When it comes to preparing your South Lake Tahoe homes for sale, understand the impact of first impressions. You may have turned a blind eye to the oil splatters in the kitchen or the dust on the blinds, but a fresh set of eyes will see it right away. Especially if they are about to spend money on it. A buyer is going to be going through South Lake Tahoe homes for sale with a fine toothed comb to make sure this is the property for them. Sure, your South Lake Tahoe real estate could be in good condition and just messy. However, a messy home suggests an owner doesn’t take care of the property, which is a red flag. Dust, deep clean and de-clutter! 

5.) Staging works. In fact 80% of staged South Lake Tahoe homes for sale go quicker and for more money when professional staged. Of course, this is a service that costs 4 figures and finding someone who does it well, is not always easy. Us realtors in South Lake Tahoe will always help and advise on this, but making your home appeal to buyers is huge. In fact, little things such as a TV above the fireplace or a statement wall or taxidermy can be a huge turn off. Buyers know it is your home, so they expect to see your things. However, you want to make it as neutral as possible so they can imagine their things as well.

6.) Speaking of what buyers think about your South Lake Tahoe real estate, there are a lot of trends that can turn them away. Bathrooms are just as much of a deal breaker as the main living spaces. It also isn’t the super retro trends (we’re looking at you green & orange 70’s countertops!) that are doing the deal breaking either. Turns out, the recent trends like all white bathrooms and double sinks could be a turn off for buyers. If you were thinking of making some upgrades, check out your bathroom to see if it deserves a little attention. 

7.) Get pre-approved! Pre approved, pre qualified…same thing right? WRONG! The smartest thing you can do when looking at a home is get all your financing in order first. If you know how much you can afford to spend and you have an approval letter from your lender, you have a good chance of getting your offer accepted over someone who doesn’t. If you are serious about home buying, this is the next step after finding your realtor in South Lake Tahoe. 

For more information on buying or selling real estate in South Lake Tahoe, give me a call! I have been working in our local market for a long time and served as the local board’s president for 2017. I take great pride in being informed on what is happening in our market and how it impacts buyers and sellers. 



Why You Should Sell During The Holidays

Generally, listing homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe during the holidays isn’t the top of anyone’s list. Sellers feel like the can’t put up their favorite decorations, or their annual holiday events will be interrupted by the phone ringing and everyone will have to get kicked out for a showing. Not to mention, South Lake Tahoe homes for sale don’t actually sell unless it is spring or summer….right? False! South Lake Tahoe real estate is a year round show. Think about it, this is a year round town with activities for both beach babies and snow enthusiasts. We really only see a brief slow down during the shoulder season, which is the couple of months transitioning from summer to winter or vice versa. And even then, that is not always the case. Sometimes we go straight from warm and sunny to snowy conditions for our slope lovers with no break in between. So why is winter a good time to list homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe? Check it out! 

Seller competition is lighter during the holidays

All those thoughts about holiday selling? It is a common misconception, which means a lot of people take their homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe off the market during the holidays with the intention of putting them back on in the spring. Some do this because they are part timers who want to use their home during the winter. They may put a renter in it. Or they may want to decorate and host parties without having to keep their South Lake Tahoe real estate in showing condition through the holidays. There are plenty of reasons. Thankfully, for other sellers, this means less competition. 

Winter buyers are usually pretty serious

Trekking through snow storms and touring South Lake Tahoe homes for sale when it is cold out is not everyone’s idea of a good time. During the winter, people generally want to stay warm and relax inside. Not put on their winter clothes and walk around properties. Whether these are people who are new to the buying game or didn’t have luck during the summer months, these folks are usually pretty serious. Which means most of the time, they will have their financing in order and will be ready to make a move. 

Internet searches increase during the holidays

Folks aren’t just shopping for stocking stuffers and that hot toy of the year. Buyers are searching for South Lake Tahoe homes for sale too! Having your home on the market means it will actually be seen in search results. 

This coming year in real estate has some interesting forecasts that could impact sellers too. If your main goal is to get more money than you paid for it, the next six months is your time to shine. We are expecting inventory to catch up with demand the last half of 2018. While prices will continue to go up in most areas for the first part of the year, they are expected to ease once new inventory floods the market. Not to mention, mortgage rates are expected to go up to 5% within the next year, which impacts buying power. If listing your home is something you have had on your mind, don’t let myths about holiday real estate deter you. If you have questions about buying or selling South Lake Tahoe real estate, give me a call. I would be happy to help! 

South Lake Tahoe Real Estate Update

Whether you are listing or buying homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, being informed on the current conditions can go a long way in your success. Knowing the average and median sold price, along with percentage of list price, days on market and more can guide you as both the buyer and the seller. Buyers will get an idea of how much they will spend and seller’s can come up with that “magic listing number”. Of course, as a long time local South Lake Tahoe realtor, choosing a qualified realtor is incredibly important. This is the person who will be guiding you throughout the entire process, and in a lot of situations, after. A qualified South Lake Tahoe realtor not only acts as your advocate, they also educate you on every aspect. You need someone who is honest, informed and at the end of the day has your best interest at heart. So, how is the local South Lake Tahoe real estate market doing? Let’s take a look! 

Good news for sellers is that the average and median sold price has gone up. The average sold price for homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe is up 6.7% at $514,582 and the median sold price for South Lake Tahoe real estate is up 7.8% at $430,000. Percentage of list price (your negotiation power) is up minimally at 98.1%. Homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe are down 13.5%, which is not great news for buyers. However, new listings are up (albeit, not by much) 2.6%. Pending South Lake Tahoe real estate sales have seen a slight decrease at 4.7% and closed sales have seen no change. The median days on market are just 75. The decreases in some of these categories while prices continue to go up is par for the course with a seller’s market. Which we are still in with a 3.4 month supply. A balanced market needs 6 months and anything under 4 is considered a seller’s market. 

If you are thinking of listing or buying South Lake Tahoe real estate and need a South Lake Tahoe realtor, give me a call. I would be happy to help! 

How To Know If You Found “The One”. House That Is.

If you are buying homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, or anywhere in the U.S., you could be feeling like you can’t find “The One” that is perfect for you. If you are new to this whole buying experience, it can kind of feel like dating at first. You check out a bunch of houses, some you don’t like AT ALL. Some you are interested in, but after finding out more, decide not to make an offer. Some homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe you fall head over heals for….only to have it not work out for whatever reason. Buying South Lake Tahoe real estate can feel like a lot of pressure even in a buyer’s market, so if you think you found “The One” in a seller’s market…is it desperation to get out of renting, or is this really the home for you? Check out these tips! 

1.) Does it match your “need” list? The “want” list is usually filled with superficial needs. Example: Farm sink in the gourmet kitchen, heated floors through out, vaulted grand entry way with a crystal chandelier imported from Harrod’s in London and an infinity pool that looks out over those dreamy Lake Tahoe views. All for under $500,000 no less! Yes, we all have certain desires, but is the South Lake Tahoe real estate you are about to buy close to the right schools, amenities and recreation you need? Does it have the appropriate amount of beds and baths? Does it have extra buildable coverage? Can you safely park your car during winter storms? You need to create a list that has all your “must haves” and use it as a guide to make sure you are looking at homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe that truly fit your needs. The “wants” can be handled later on according to your timeline and budget. 

2.) Speaking of those spendy projects that can happen later on…find out if the South Lake Tahoe homes for sale have had any major renovations done. Usually this can indicate how much effort they have put into the home as well as how much they might expect to get back. Now, they should not be pricing over market value otherwise they can sit too long and grow stale. However, that is a conversation between them and their South Lake Tahoe realtors. Plus, we have seen it time and time again where sellers will make major renovations and list at a price in the hopes that they get 100% ROI. It doesn’t happen like that in most cases, yet folks still try. 

3.) How many times has the South Lake Tahoe real estate in question been sold and for how much? This may not seem important but, trust me, it is. When buying South Lake Tahoe homes for sale, you want to see how often a home has sold and what the price is doing each time. Is it being sold for more or less money? Also, if it is being sold  often, try and find out why. Your South Lake Tahoe realtor may not be able to track down every former home owner, but they might be able to get the skinny from other South Lake Tahoe realtors. For example, is it constantly on the market because their is something wrong with the home or the neighborhood? Or is it simply a fluke and homeowners are selling due to job transfers or changes in family needs?

4.) Don’t ignore property taxes. This can be an additional chunk of money that you will need to consider. If you can’t find it on the listing details, ask your realtor. 

5.) Also know that if you are concerned about unusual activity that has happened in the past, the seller needs to inform you via the disclosures. These events can include a death, crime, famous residents or if a movie or television show was once filmed there. These things may not bother you, but they could bother someone else when it comes time for you to resell. So keep it in mind. 

Only you will really know, deep down, if a home is “The One”. It is super important during the home buying process to listen to your gut…..and realtor in South Lake Tahoe. Happy house hunting! If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I would be happy to help! 

Buying? Don’t Scare Your Sellers!

We may just be having fun with the Halloween holiday just a few days away, but if you are buying in this market, you want to make sure you don’t scare away the sellers. We aren’t the hottest market in the nation, but homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe are still low. We are consistently at a 3 month supply and the need for a balanced market is 6 months! So appropriately priced homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe are moving and doing so quickly. Which means the sellers still have the upper hand, which means buyers have to try and stand out above the competition. Looking to make a good impression? Check out these tips! 

1.) You aren’t Pre-APPROVED

“Approved” is meant to be in all caps. Pre-qualified and pre-approved are two different things. Approved means you have the loan approval, you can spend that much and you are good to go. Qualified is a “guesstimate”. We have seen the head aches Zestimates cause and this is no exception. A seller wants a buyer who is ready to go and committed. Don’t make an offer when you aren’t REALLY ready. 

2.) You low ball your initial offer

Listen, we all want a good deal. No one wants to spend more money than they have to. However! When you low ball on the offer price, the down payment or the earnest money, this suggests you are tight on cash. Not to mention, a low offer price can offend the seller. So don’t come in with a low price when making an offer on homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe. Also, consult your South Lake Tahoe realtor on your offer strategy. This is what we do for a living. Let us help you. Otherwise, that seller may disappear without a trace. 

3.) You work with a sketchy lender

While we are still on the money topic, work with a legit lender. Your realtor in South Lake Tahoe should be able to help you with this area by giving you a good recommendation. Since sellers generally want a quick close, they want to work with someone who’s lending won’t go bump in the night. Also, don’t switch lenders mid-deal. It once again suggests your financing is on shaky ground. 


4.) You send a novel length list of repairs

While you are touring the homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, you may see some things you want fixed before move in. That list may increase once the home inspection comes back. It is unrealistic to expect them to make the home perfect though so pick and choose your battles. A high maintenance buyer can be a real nightmare so handle the “deal killers”, close and make the home yours. 


5.) A list of contingencies

Speaking of a “deal killer”, this is another “pick & choose” your battles scenario. In fact, one of the number one tips a realtor in South Lake Tahoe suggests is removing as many contingencies so long as it is reasonable and doesn’t negatively impact you down the line. If you suspect the home of having lead paint, have it tested. If it comes back negative, move the transaction along. If it comes back positive, ask that it be removed. If you think the fire place isn’t up to code, or their is mold, or whatever you are scared of lurking below, let the home inspector do their job and wait for the results. Then use them as negotiations if appropriate. The scariest contingency of all is when a buyer wants to wait until their current home sells. Sellers want to move on their timeline, not yours. 

6.) Asking for their stuff

That antique chandelier from Harrod’s in London is a show stopper, isn’t it? And that floor to ceiling mirror in the entryway is hard to find! Not so fast. Not everything stays with the house and don’t ask for all their belongings. There will likely be a list of what stays. If there is one item that you can’t stop thinking about that isn’t included in the listing agreement, have your South Lake Tahoe realtor ask their South Lake Tahoe realtor if they are interested in parting ways. If not, don’t make a big deal about it. It can really put off sellers when a buyer is continually asking for their things. 

For more information on buying in this market, give me a call. As a long time local realtor in South Lake Tahoe, I would be happy to help!