Archives for June 2013

Top 5 List: Prepare Your Tahoe Home For Sale

‘Tis the season for sellers to list for the first time or consider re-listing a property which didn’t sell previously. One of the things I excel at is knowing what a property needs in order to add value and decrease time on market. The strategy will include things I can do but there could be other jobs which are best left to experts. In my stable I have decorators, home stagers, and a long list of tradespeople. From pier contractors to touch-up painters I know who to bring to your property. When it’s all ready I enlist my high-end photographers, a well-respected graphic design firm and my two web developers to prepare high-quality marketing  for your listing.

The Top 5 things you and your realtor can do to prepare your home for sale are:

5. Research and locate beneficial County, Agency and/or Assessor docs. We want to work to eliminate buyer hesitation and minimize room for further negotiation after the deal has been struck. For example an unpermitted living space might be brought into compliance easily. Sometimes getting rid of a refrigerator or installing a smaller sink will satisfy the Public Utility District. I can find these things out for you.

4. Maintenance / Completion / Small Repairs. Keep up with maintenance and complete any unfinished items around the house. I can help identify these and we can figure out if you’d like to do any of them or hire out. If you’re not here I can monitor tradespeople’s progress to ensure prompt service. We can also get Home or Pest Inspections before the listing to disclose or fix unseen items.

3. Complete disclosures now. In a sellers’ market it is important to give potential buyers the full disclosure packet before they write their offer. This eliminates CA’s statutory 3-day right of rescission and gives them less elbow room as we head down the escrow trail. If that living space can’t become conforming it’s nice to have buyers head into the deal fully aware.

2. Use time as your friend. While I can get staging and marketing done very quickly there could be some prep work which would serve you well. Minor planning research and even medium-sized repairs can take more time than we’d think. If we get started on your listing now we will have plenty of time to come to market looking our best.

1. Consider your goals for timing and potential value of the sale. To assist with this, I give sellers an in-depth, preliminary valuation of their homes and educate them on things like average days on market, MLS sales-to-list price ratio, specific neighborhood action, etc. Expectations meet market dynamics and we are paving a smooth road to getting the most for your property.

End note: Right now the timing is perfect. If I were selling one of my properties I’d get it on the market as soon as possible.  Listing inventory is very slim and buyer demand is at a healthy level. I don’t foresee a dip like there will be in appreciating areas which have mostly investor-driven sales. I think Tahoe home values will jump up in the near term then continue increasing at a slower, steadier rate.

What's My Property Worth?

Alex will do extensive research then present you with an in-depth analysis of your property's value.

Alex quoted in Reno Gazette Journal

The Reno Gazette Journal recently ran a piece on the jump in high-end Tahoe real estate sales. They interviewed Alex about action in the Tahoe Sierra MLS and Incline Village (Tahoe Sierra MLS runs from Rubicon to King’s Beach).


“Lake Tahoe home sales surge in 2012 –

$25.5 million sale of Osprey Estate tops list

Jan 13, 2013

Lake Tahoe capped off a busy year in the real estate market with its largest sale since 2008.

The Osprey Estate in Incline Village was sold for $25.5 million to Nevada Pacific Development Corp. in early December, according to public records…One of the principals in Nevada Pacific Development is David Duffield, cofounder of Workday and PeopleSoft. He is listed as one of the world’s richest people by Forbes magazine, and Duffield’s trust also owns several other properties in Incline Village. The previous owner was the late inventor Jerome Lemelson, who held hundreds of patents. Lemelson died in 2007, and the home was held in a trust under his wife’s name. Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy, designed the 7,100-square-foot contemporary home, which was featured in Architectural Digest and the Wall Street Journal…

The estate was part of a surge in purchases of lakefront property. More than three dozen transactions occurred on prime land surrounding the CA-side of Lake Tahoe in 2012, according to Alex West, a luxury real estate agent with Tahoe Real Estate Group.

“The Tahoe lakefronts, in many cases, we look at as a lead indicator for the market,” he said. “The rest of the market is probably going to be picking up as well.”

Overall, Lake Tahoe homes sales increased 34 percent in 2012, according to a report…

…Currently, there are 19 single-family lakefront homes on the Multiple Listing Services. During the busiest season, summer, more than 50 are on the market. The region usually experiences a spike in sales during summer but this year agents experienced three such occurrences, West said.

Real estate experts were expecting that markets would start to turn around in 2012, but they were surprised by the extent of the improvement… More than $862 million of property changed hands in the area, up nearly 40 percent compared with 2011.

Tahoe’s luxury market saw increased activity with the return of the high-end buyers, with a 59 percent jump in sales of homes worth more than $1 million. The South Shore saw a 100 percent increase with 20 sales in the luxury market. Incline Village had 56 sales, and Tahoe City, 53.

The end of the year especially was productive for agents. Four of the seven sales of more than $10 million occurred in December. The previous year had zero sales…

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Importance of Measuring Water Depth


Tahoe lake level Spring 2012 -2013

When handling prospective lakefront properties for a buyer or seller I personally measure water depth at the pier head and boat docking locations / catwalks. The depth is an important consideration for the usability of a pier and therefore affects the value of a property. Since Tahoe’s surface is affected by our “yearly tide” it’s important to compare the current lake level to recent high’s and low’s in order get an idea of where the depth might be during most summers. This gives prospective buyers an idea of whether or not their 27′ Cobalt or 24′ Malibu will make it into the pier when they want to use it. And this knowledge gives me another tool to help sellers understand how to best market and sell their property.

I use the USGS data taken in Tahoe City for current lake level and historical charting: Lake Tahoe Water Data. Adding to and subtracting from the current rim gives us an idea of the potential highs and lows of water depth for each pier (note: it is possible for Tahoe to go below the natural rim).

Measuring pier depth is a useful way to help ascertain values and it’s just another detail I like to cover for my clients.

Many lakefront property owners know how far their property extends beyond the low water mark. This is an important number because it’s part of the function which CA State Lands uses to charge for its pier leases. For more info on this or to get your pier depth measured, get in touch with Alex.

Measuring Depth at a North Shore pier head


Lake Tahoe Water Level 1998 - 2013

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