Archives for October 2011

Tahoe Swiss Village: $1.45m goes in escrow today / $1m falls out of escrow

Tahoe Swiss Village, one of the great West Shore neighborhoods, has it’s own pier and buoy field. One of the best listings in the neighborhood just went in escrow today, list price was $1.45m. It’s just shy of 3000 square feet, 5 bedrooms, two large living areas, and nice outdoor space replete with a respectable bocce court.

A different property in the neighborhood just fell out of escrow today. Listed at $1.025m, it’s a nice-looking cabin with peeled log accents on a sunny lot.

Also in the neighborhood, a cabin toward the back of the Tahoe Swiss Village just came on the market at the attractive price of $475,000.

View all Tahoe Swiss Village listings here. Note – Tahoe Sierra MLS links show Active listings only.


Keep Tahoe Swell / Surf The Big Blue

Surf Lake Tahoe 1Powerful Pacific storms and our location high in the mountains can generate pretty serious winds. They can happen on bright blue days when folks are out on the beaches. All of a sudden there’s a rustle in the trees, a subtle wind line appears a couple miles out on the Lake and next thing you know it’s whitecapping just about everywhere. The prime place for surfing on Tahoe is the North Shore. Most of the winds we get are southerly (because of the way storms spin when they approach) so when you let them run rampant over 20+ miles of light water you get an incredible fetch.

Waves here are sloppy in most places although there are some gem spots where it doesn’t even feel windy nor choppy when conditions are right. Generally, though, it’s like a mini-Ocean Beach (SF) with multiple lines of whitewash to contend with while paddling out. There are so many surreal things about the surfing experience on Tahoe and here are a few:

  • No sharks!
  • The water is so incredibly clear and fresh that it’s unlike anywhere you’ve ever surfed. You can mistakenly get some in your mouth and doggedly decide to swallow…because you can and it tastes great!
  • On the coast when winds pick up, it’s over. Here you keep hoping that the wind sustains all day
  • Even if you surf back east in the snow, it’s even weirder when you look west and catch glimpses of Squaw as it braces for another pounding today which you know means a good pow day tomorrow
  • When surfing at Sand Harbor on the East Shore you’re directly under the Bear Claw which rises 3000’ out of the Lake. Some of us ski this backcountry-style in the season and seeing it from the water is quite the unique perspective

Surf Tahoe 2

One of my favorite things about a good surf day at Tahoe is also one of the elements of a surf break anywhere in the world: people stopping and looking, taking about the swell and how it is there compared to other nearby spots. Some folks living in Tahoe sacrifice things like high quality shopping, culture (!), and social diversity to be here. For me, not having these regular surf ‘meetings’ is one of the little ‘misses.’ So even if you’re not into surfing but you’re up here when the wind is whistling feel free to pull up your hoodie and get into the chatting circle because having people from out of town ask about conditions is also a part of the worldwide surf meeting….

Litttttle Surfer Gurrrrrllll......

Mrs. The Big Blue Lake heading out

Thunderbird in Tahoe City marina

The Thunderbird graces Tahoe City with its presence – even if it was just to gas up…

Carnelian Bay Lakefront dropped to $1.325m

This great little pad dropped $600,000 this week. A substantial, attention-grabbing change which is probably what it will take to sell this one before year end. This property/price is perfect for two young couples to split a lakefront where there’s huge potential on the upside once the market picks up again. If it takes a number of years for that to happen, well you’d just be forced to enjoy spending your time along the lakeshore before parting ways and finding some profit and another property. The reason this one is most likely for the young: your neighbor is GarWoods restaurant. There’s also a walking path in front of the house so you have some pedestrians occasionally. But the view is great, the privacy is much better than one would expect and the new price shows some serious seller intention to make something happen soon…

See 4990 North Lake Blvd, Carnelian Bay 96140 on Tahoe Sierra MLS here

If the link doesn’t work then the property is in escrow so email Alex for more information.



Little Meeks Bay Lakefront Closes at $1.2m with pier…

She only lasted 6 days on the market at this price. Tahoe lakefronts witnessed a pretty incredible feeding frenzy this summer, particularly in July and August. A few new entrants to the market have been some very, very low-priced lakefront properties looking to get in on the action.

Here’s one in Carnelian Bay that just dropped $600k to $1.3m

Here’s the MLS write-up on the Meeks Bay lakefront:

GREAT LOCATION ON MEEKS BAY. This” Old Tahoe Cabin “is in a perfect spot for a family. You are very close to the Meeks Bay Resort and Marina; it has a wonderful new pier and your own buoy. Easy winter access, easy lake access. There are very few gentle steps going to the lake! A perfect view of Zephyr Cove and some of South Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the calm waters of the West Shore. Our Cabin has been a great retreat place for many years….”

Absolutely Impressive West Shore Lakefront

Rubicon lakefronts had a tough summer with zero selling and not many receiving showings. Over the last five years and average of 1.5 Rubicon lakefronts sell per year. There are usually a couple beautiful, relatively level parcels on the bluff at the south end of Rubicon for sale. Currently there are two like this on the market ($3.9m and $4.2m) and also a nice Morton-designed home further north on Rubicon Drive ($3.6m).

But there is another Rubicon lakefront which is absolutely magnificent. I picture either an active family or a couple young-ish SF web-trepeneur buddies splitting a home like this. It’s one of the nicest, biggest and most fun homes I’ve seen in a while. It’s got a humongous great room with lakeviews and space for about three simultaneous cocktail parties. Doors open to a lawn with lake access. Down the hall is a huge barn door for the kids’ separate living room and a large bunk room for when the eyelids get heavy. Suites and an office are located up and away from the action. An elevator wasn’t installed but there appears to be a spot for one near the front hallway. Master is on entrance floor with great lakeviews – the bathroom, especially the tub, has great vistas of Tahoe, too. This home is a rental so those interested can spend some time here to get a feel for it.

Check out 8747 Lakeside Drive

Oct-floater Fest

For many native Californians this may seem a little inappropriate. Heck, even for some Tahoe locals this may be pushing it. I am here to tell you that now is a great time to go boating on the Lake.

Follow That Bow...

True: it’s not even 70 degrees out. True: there’s snow on the high peaks. True: most people have stopped swimming in the Lake. But also true: just about everything goes better with beer…

Well if these things make you absolutely not want to get on a floating craft and make your way across Tahoe, well just give this a read and think of next summer. For the rest of you who are hardy enough, consider hooking yourself up with a day on this incredible, and boat-traffic-free, body of October water.

One of the best things you can do on a boat here at Tahoe is simply cruise around and check out this amazing place. You can mix in other activities like eating and cocktailing at joints where you pull up to their pier. Or you can do boat sports and the like but I enjoy a simple ride to the less-traveled spots. From Tahoe City, the most obvious thing to do is head down to Emerald Bay. Although that’s gorgeous let’s save it for next summer…and now go where the sun and water are warmer: Tahoe’s East Shore.

The Bear Claw

Point the bow just north of what we call the Bear Claw (long vertical scratches in a huge mountain) and you’ll find yourself at the historic landmark Thunderbird Lodge. This place is a whole essay in and of itself – and actually you’re probably better off ‘touristing’ the place on land. That’s when you get to walk through the tunnels, see the ladder in the pool from a man who had his last fall there, check out the cages for the former owner’s lion and elephant, his waterfalls for unclothed beauty’s, etc. From the water you can marvel at the Bat Man garage which houses the infamous SS Thunderbird.

From here you can putt-putt south along the coastline where the mountains come steeply down into the Lake. The boulders that have bounced down these cliffs rest now in the bottom of the bluest water we have. Snorkeling and swimming around these behemoths makes you feel as though you’re floating among dinosaurs. It’s very cool – and you can get the sensation by swimming for even a minute above them (ie. if it’s too cool to dive in and around). My father-in-law was curious how deep we were at one point. When I told him 25 – 30 feet, he almost laughed at me because it looks like 10. He believed after watching me take a huge breath and dive down, down, down before pushing to come up holding a rock from the bottom and gasping as I broke the surface (and my eardrums).

just another East Shore point

We continued the stroll south and then simply picked a miniature cove and threw out the anchor. We stayed there for over an hour watching osprey fly high overhead and listening to squirrels and small birds rustling in the brush. A simple picnic lunch always tastes best on the water so we feasted on whatever was thrown in the cooler. Oh, and we saw a friend cruising by in his boat so we bummed a couple beers…

Looking DEEEEP into the Blue

Looking DEEEEP into the Blue

Tahoe’s Best Short Hikes

Is your idea of a vacation just sitting by a pool, sipping on something delicious and generally being about as active as a manatee? Well, believe it or not Tahoe is the place for you!

There are a number of really easy hikes in the Tahoe Basin some of which offer incredibly vast views of the Lake. Honestly we don’t deserve these vistas given the effort put forth but they are here and I am going to tell you about them.

The best one, which happens to be only 3 miles south of Tahoe City (you can bike or drive) is called Eagle Rock. It’s a huge rockpile located right on West Lake Blvd just after Sunnyside and before the Tahoe Pines neighborhood. On a bike (or in a convertible/sunroof car) you go past this incredible thing and feel as if it’s leaning over you. That’s the beak of the eagle. Park right at the base and start heading up, simply keeping an eye on the summit will get you there via obvious trails. Once on top you pick your way among old lava flows to get to the end and the most incredible view of Tahoe. This is a great date spot, a fantastic place to watch the full moon rise, and one of the coolest places to be when a storm is blowing into town. It’s perched at the base of Blackwood Canyon so wind and snow flurries get funneled through at high speed. Normally you’d have to be on top of a ‘real’ peak to feel this kind of angry nature but all you did was walk for 10 minutes!

The next best one is the old fire lookout above Crystal Bay Point and the north shore casinos. It’s a paved road that makes one big switchback so in about 20 minutes your at the top, looking directly over King’s Beach and due south down the length of Tahoe. It’s another phenomenal view with way more reward than risk.

Both of these are also great in winter, by the way. If you’re not in a rush it’s relatively easy snowshoeing, especially above Crystal Bay because it’s a wide trail.

The third and most popular of all Tahoe hikes is Eagle Falls. The reason it gets the most numbers is because it’s located in the number one tourist stop here: Emerald Bay. Supposedly each year hundreds of thousands of long-pants’d and leather-shoed visitors make their way to the bridge that’s about a half-mile above the parking lot. It’s a neat spot but I also like to hike down to the Lake from a nearby parking lot. At the end of this 1-miler awaits Vikingsholm and tiny Fannette Island, two of the most intriguing places in all of Tahoe.

Agate Bay listings – heavy on the low end

Agate Bay currently has 6 listings under $500,000 – unheard of before the bubble, of course, but showing some serious softness in this desirable neighborhood.

To see the current homes for sale in the neighborhood click here for Tahoe Sierra MLS listings.

For information on the neighborhood, go to the Agate Bay page.

Price Range Performance Throughout the Year in CA

This comes from the Ca Assoc of Realtors. They have all sorts of propaganda articles on their site. They are intended for us realtors to use to keep our clients informed of the market. Most are pretty useless but I thought this one was interesting. You have to download the PDF to see it (takes two clicks):

Market Snapshot CAR