Category Archive: Tips

Jan 15 2015

Top 10 Tips for Real Estate Buyers

 

Being a local Real Estate agent in South Lake Tahoe for many years, I’ve worked with several buyers and have helped many families find the perfect home or get the best deals. Along the years I have educated many buyers throughout the home buying process giving them great advice in order for them to make the best decisions for themselves. The key to successfully buying a home is preparation. Preparing for the purchase of a house is just as important as the offer you make. In this article I’m providing my top 10 tips for real estate buyers. If you are thinking about purchasing a home in South Lake Tahoe please feel free to give me a call, I’d love to guide you in this exciting process and help you find the perfect home.

 

Top 10 Tips for Real Estate Buyers 

Buyers

1. Buy less than what you think you can afford and definitely less than the “approval” amount. In this economy, it’s important to have a bit of a cushion.

2. Get a home warranty, any major setback in the few years can become disastrous to a budget.

3. Do your research. With information right at your finger tips you can access records, school information, statistics, neighborhood info and much more. It is important to have an idea about what you NEED and see what you WANT beforehand.

4. It is very important to be aware of the buying process and know what your closing cost will approximately be. The amount you will pay in closing costs varies by location and typically costs between 2% and 3% of the loan amount. Closing costs are not calculated on a percentage basis, but instead are based on specific line items related to your loan application and lender fees.  When you arrange your financing with a lender you should receive an explanation of anticipated closing costs and a Good Faith Estimate.

5. The difference between renting and home ownership is the sleeper costs. Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but they also need to be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities, home insurance and homeowner-association dues. New homeowners also need to be prepared to pay for repairs, maintenance and potential property-tax increases.

6. Now, more than ever, a mortgage pre-approval is the first step in home buying. Whether you’re anticipating competition or not, you should be pre-approved for the loan before you write an offer. In competition, this will make a big difference, particularly if everyone else who is offering is pre-approved. If you’re not competing, it puts you in a good bargaining position with the seller. Also, getting pre-approved first will let you know know how much you can realistically spend on a home before you go shopping.

7. Finding a great deal doesn’t necessarily mean purchasing a foreclosure or a short sale. These can be tough purchases for a buyer without a lot of resources including time and money. Use an agent very familiar with the area who can help you identify good deals. Also, make sure you have a clear decision on what’s important for things you can’t change like location and size.

8. When viewing properties create yourself a checklist to use during the viewings. Also always take pictures or even make videos. That will really help you later when u’re trying to remember the details to make a decision.

9. Make sure that the house you purchase is functional to your needs and has enough features that you can utilize. There will, in most cases, be a need to add minor items. If you plan to remodel make sure the remodel will increase the value to the home.

10. Hire a Realtor® who is willing to teach you the process along the way. If he/she has been in the business for a while, they will also be able to recommend a good mortgage company. Make sure your credit is in order before you begin.

 

Prices for homes and interest rates for loans are so incredibly desirable right now that I’ve noticed homes that are priced right, are not staying on the market for long. So if you find the one you like, act quickly or you will run the risk of loosing it. Good luck!

 

Dec 03 2014

Make your Vacation Property More Appealing to Winter Renters

 

It’s that time again: you’re thinking about building fires in the fireplace, bundling up in your warmest sweater, sipping hot cocoa while you watch the snow, and fretting over that unrented vacation home.

Here are some tips for making your vacation property appealing to winter renters:

Winterize your marketing. It won’t matter how perfect your place is for a mid-winter getaway if people don’t know about it. If you’re like many vacation property owners, you’re already listed on at least one “rent by owner” website, so make the most of your exposure. Play up features like hot tubs and fireplaces. Sprinkle copy with words like warm, cozy, cocoon, snuggle, and cuddle. Finally, add a few “off-season” photos of your property to your website. Photos of the home framed in brilliant autumn leaves or dusted with snow will speak louder than a thousand poetic words.

Consider off-season specials. Everyone loves a bargain, and in the winter, they expect one. My favorite off-season booking magnet is rent three nights and get one free. Or, when you get a call from someone looking to book for next spring or summer, offer them a winter special—say, half-price off a weekend stay—so they can come check out the place early. That would be tough to resist.wood_fireplace

Add warm, cozy touches. Put thick, warm comforters on the bed and fleece throws on the sofa. Place a few spice-scented candles on tables or countertops. Leave savory winter treats in the kitchen: cocoa mix and marshmallows, spiced apple cider, ginger cookies, chili fixings, and a crock pot. You might even consider leaving an extra coat or two in the closet, along with toboggans, gloves, and scarves—chances are they won’t be used, but guests will appreciate the hospitality.

Plan for snow. If guests should happen to get snowed in at your home, you want to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Make sure to have a snow shovel, ice melt, and a windshield ice scraper on the premises. The possibility of inclement weather is a good reason to have a selection of nonperishable foods on hand, as well as movies and books. You certainly don’t want a houseful of hungry, stir-crazy, cranky renters who are cursing their vacation experience (and by association, you).

Consider adding a hot tub, sauna, or ventless gas fireplace. If your vacation property is a “summer home” with no winter appeal, such additions can make a world of difference. You may be thinking that these are pricey upgrades, but you’ll be amazed at how fast they pay for themselves via increased winter bookings. If you install a ventless gas fireplace, be sure to get a carbon monoxide detector as well.

Make your home baby- and toddler-friendly. You’ve probably noticed that people with very young children are more likely to travel off-season. (After all, they’re not constrained by school schedules). Appeal to these people by including baby and toddler paraphernalia. A high chair and a porta crib should cost less than $150 combined, and can increase your bookings.

Accept pets. Vacation properties that accept pets increase their occupancy by 10-50%. When you accept pets, it’s okay to take an additional $20-$25/night or $140 to $175/week. This extra (which pet owners would have to spend anyway on boarding fees) is enough to pay for any carpet cleaning that needs to be done.

Offer a “customized” special to repeat guests. If you’ve tried everything and you still have lots of weeks unbooked, it’s time to get creative. Consider calling or e-mailing prior “VIP” guests and offering them discounted off-season stays. You might even link the stay to a special event in their lives. For instance, if you know that John and Jane Smith have an anniversary in March—thanks to the detailed file you keep on them—call them and offer a special celebratory weekend at a reduced rate. When they accept, have a champagne gift basket waiting for them in the bedroom along with a handwritten “Happy Anniversary” note.

 

Jul 22 2013

7 Home Inspection Red Flags

 

A home inspection is serious business. It’s the buyer’s opportunity to make sure that the house they’re about to purchase doesn’t hold any expensive surprises. A home inspection is a buyer’s opportunity to see if any problems lurk that may prove expensive to fix later. Home inspections nearly always uncover something in a home to watch for or minor repairs needed.nx4ioph0yx48_womanwithplumberlookingundersink4-web

A typical home inspection includes a check of a house’s structural and mechanical condition, from the roof to the foundation. Depending on the seriousness of what the inspection uncovers, the buyer can walk away from the deal (most contracts include an inspection contingency in the event of major flaws) or negotiate with the seller for the necessary repairs.

These are some red flags that should send a buyer back to the negotiating table.

1. Termites and other live-in pests: The home you’ve fallen in love with may also be adored by the local termite population. The sooner termites are detected, the better. The same goes for other wood-devouring pest. Keep in mind that getting rid of the intruders is just the first step. Once the problem has been addressed, have a pest control expert advise you on what needs to be done in order to prevent their return.

2. Drainage issues: Poor drainage can lead to wood rot, wet basements, perennially wet crawlspaces and major mold growth. Problems are usually caused by missing or damaged gutters and downspouts, or improper grading at ground level. Correcting grading and replacing gutters is a lot less costly than undoing damage caused by the accumulation of moisture.

3. Pervasive mold: Where moisture collects, so grows mold, a threat to human health as well as to a home’s structure. Improper ventilation can be the culprit in smaller, more contained spaces, such as bathrooms. But think twice about buying a property where mold is pervasive — that’s a sign of long-term moisture issues.

4. Faulty foundation: A cracked or crumbling foundation calls for attention and repair, with costs ranging from moderate to astronomically expensive. The topper of foundation expenses is the foundation that needs to be replaced altogether — a possibility if you insist on shopping “historic” properties. Be aware that their beautiful details and old-fashioned charms may come with epic underlying expenses.

6. Worn-out roofing: Enter any sale agreement with an awareness of your own cost tolerance for roof repair versus replacement. The age and type of roofing material will figure into your home inspector’s findings, as well as the price tag of repair or replacement.

7. Outdated wiring: Home inspectors will typically open and inspect the main electrical panel, looking for overloaded circuits, proper grounding and the presence of any trouble spots like aluminum branch circuit wiring, a serious fire hazard.

 

Source: AOL Real Estate Editors posted on July 19th, 2013 – http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2013/07/19/home-inspection-red-flags/

 

 

May 23 2013

Emergency Preparation Guide provided by the City of South Lake Tahoe

 

imagesAre you prepared for an emergency? The City of South Lake Tahoe offers Emergency Preparation Guides for community members. As part of the City’s initiative to increase communications, they are offering a 12 part monthly series during 2013 highlighting emergency preparedness. These useful tools help you be better prepared in the event of an emergency. Below is a list of emergency guides which have been released in 2013:

 

 

Month 1 – Creating a Family Disaster Plan
Month 2 – Emergency supplies
Month 3 – Preparing important documents
Month 4 – Utility safety
Month 5 – Preparing extended event supplies
Month 6 – Fire Safety

To receive these monthly Emergency Preparation Guides via e-mail or to your mobile device, make sure to sign up on the City’s website at www.cityofslt.us/signup.

Please CLICK HERE to see the Emergency Preparation Tips booklet.

The guide also provides contact numbers for agencies located within City limits and throughout El Dorado County.

 

May 13 2013

Where is Lake Tahoe?

 

Lake Tahoe is often referred to as the perfect year round vacation and destination with terrific weather and breathtaking scenery!

Split down the middle by the California and Nevada border, Lake Tahoe boasts of over 300 days of warm sunshine, 396 inches of annual snowfall, 15 world-class ski and snowboarding resorts, incredible golf courses, Tahoefantastic hotels, casinos and of course, beautiful blue Lake Tahoe itself! Click here to see it’s exact location on Google map!

Surrounded by mountains, the present day lake sits in a valley at an elevation of 6,229 feet. It is the highest lake of its size in the United States. It is the third deepest lake in North America and the tenth deepest lake in the world. This breathtakingly blue lake is so clear that in some places objects can be  seen to depths of 75 feet! The reason the lake is so blue is that the thin, clear mountain air allows the lake’s pure, crystalline water to reflect the blue sky above. The lake can also appear red during sunsets or gray-black during storms.

Lake Tahoe is known for many things. Today it is a major tourist attraction. It is surrounded by a number of ski resorts. There are a variety of summer and winter outdoor recreations and tourist attractions all year round. There are so many attractions out there for people of all ages to enjoy.

 

Source: RETahoe.com – http://www.retahoe.com/about/

 

Mar 28 2013

Lake Tahoe Homes for Sale

 

If you are searching Homes for Sale in Lake Tahoe click on this link to have access to every property that is current available on the market. This is the best place to search properties for sale in the Lake Tahoe area.

The market is constantly changing but you can keep checking our blog to get updates on new listings, the latest housing market trends, news about South Lake Tahoe and much more!

 

If you are looking for a certain type of property just check the categories below to find the perfect Tahoe Home:

– Map Search208-cedar-ridge-22

– Lake Views/ Lake Front Homes

– Homes Adjacent to Forest

– Multi-family Properties

– Featured Listings

– Vacation Rentals / Second Homes for Sale
To make your search even easier click below to search South Lake Tahoe Homes for Sale by price range or Neighborhoods.

– Search by Price Range

– Search by City Neighborhoods in South Lake Tahoe

– Search by County Neighborhoods in South Lake Tahoe

 

However, here’s the best and most efficient way to search Lake Tahoe Homes for Sale. All you have to do is Sign up for the New Listings Notification. This way you will be updated on price reductions and new listings as soon as they become available. Be the first one to know when a brand new listing becomes available in your desired area and don’t miss any opportunities. Go ahead and sign up, it’s free and easy to use. You’ll receive notifications directly to your e-mail of only the properties that meet your criteria.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about a particular property or if you’d like to visit any property in Lake Tahoe that is for sale.

 

Feb 15 2013

Home and Garden Show 2013 in South Lake Tahoe

 

The 2nd annual Lake Tahoe Home and Garden Show will feature live music, food, door prizes, drawing prizes, and free admission. You can’t miss this event on April 26th and 27th, 2013. The show will be held at the Recreation Complex Gymnasium on Rufus Allen Blvd.

Friday’s event will be open to the public from 4pm to 8pm. Saturday it will be open from 10am to 6pm. Vendors for all types of services and goods that relate to anything for the home, garden, maintenance, protection, decorating, auto, health, fitness, and recreation will be available.

 

Here’s a list of vendors that are already confirmed:

  • Beachcomber Inn
  • Awning ProsHome and Garden
  • CML Distributors
  • Affordable Construction
  • Second Chances
  • Cachet Candles
  • I Can Fix That!
  • Identity Theft Shield
  • Upgrade Media Network
  • Decorative Overlays
  • Larry Jackson Log Homes
  • Jamba Juice
  • Legal Shield
  • Jafra
  • Tastefully Simple
  • A Brush with Kindness – Habitat for Humanity
  • Don’s Cakes by the Lake
  • Master Gardeners

 

The Master Gardeners will answer questions, and the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department will provide a public service by allowing hands on practice on how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Lake Valley Fire will present on Defensible Space around your home. Second Chances will be offering short classes on how to re-purpose just about anything for your home, garden, or auto.

 

For more information, please visit www.goldenbearevents.weebly.com or call JoAnn at 530/544-7412.

 

Dec 04 2012

South Lake Tahoe CA is the place to be!

 

 

Nov 09 2012

Lead Safe Tahoe Program – South Lake Tahoe CA

 

WHAT IS THE LEAD SAFE TAHOE PROGRAM?
Lead Safe Tahoe is a program funded by the federal government to reduce lead hazards in homes where children live or regularly visit.

The City’s grant will cover the cost to:
* Test for lead paint hazards
* Construction to control lead paint hazards that may be identified
* The cost to have children’s blood lead level tested.

The best part is the program is available to eligible individuals and families whether they rent or own their home. And the program is provided at NO COST to homeowners or tenants.

What are the requirements?
* The residence is within the City of South Lake Tahoe limits and was built before 1978.
* Children under age 6 must reside in or frequently visit the home – 60 hours per year
* Meet the low income eligibility requirements set by the HUD/Housing and Urban Development Department.

Where are lead-based hazards found?
* Homes, apartments, public buildings and day care centers built before 1978 often have lead-based paint hazards.

Who is at risk?
* Lead is highly toxic and can harm everyone, but it’s even more dangerous to children under the age of 6. Kids under 6 are at greatest risk, because their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
* Newborns
* Pregnant women and women of child-bearing age are also at increased risk, because lead ingested by the mother can cross the placenta and affect the unborn fetus.
* Unborn babies
* Other adults – even low levels of exposure can cause high blood pressure and hypertension, fertility problems, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, muscle and joint pain

Lead-based paint is the leading cause of exposure to lead in the home.

Are there symptoms?
You can’t tell if a child is lead poisoned just by looking. Sometimes there are no symptoms. The best way is to get a blood test from their pediatrician. It’s quick and simple. Many people mistake the symptoms of lead poisoning for other common illnesses like a cold or flu.

Kids may develop behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, speech and language problems, poor muscle coordination and aggressive patterns of behavior. It can also cause nervous system and kidney damage, as well as decreased muscle and bone growth.

In more rare instances, high levels of lead can cause severe mental disabilities, convulsions, coma or even death.

How does the poisoning occur?
Most children are poisoned by invisible lead dust that is released when paint is peeling, flaking, chipping, or chalking.

The dust settles on floors and other surfaces. From there it can easily get on children’s hands or toys and into their mouths. Lead-based paint dust can also be on interior surfaces such as window sills, walls or doors.

How do children get lead poisoning from lead in paint, dust and dirt?
* By chewing and sucking on things with lead dust on them, like their hands and toys
* By chewing and sucking on painted surfaces, like window sills
* By breathing in lead dust
* By eating paint chips, dirt or mud that contains lead based paint dust

Lead dust is heavier than environmental dust. It’s also sticky and may taste sweet to children and pets. Frequent and thorough cleaning of high risk areas like floors, entryways, and windows is necessary to reduce lead hazards.

Dust can form when lead-based paint is scraped, sanded or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together, such as when windows and doors are opened and closed.

Children may also be poisoned by playing in bare soil which can contain lead from paint that has peeled or chipped from outside walls.

Lead dust may not be visible, but may be present in your home or in the dirt surrounding play areas.

Lead enters the body through the mouth or nose. Kids are known for putting their hands and toys in their mouths, so they ingest it during play or during every day activities. It is not absorbed through the skin.

——————————————————————————————

FACTS ABOUT LEAD BASED PAINT & EXPOSURE:
An estimated 38 million homes in the U.S. contain lead-based paint.

When paint remains intact or encased behind paneling or siding, it does not present an immediate hazard. However, when lead-based paint begins to deteriorate, it’s a serious health risk.

Lead poisoning is a very serious environment hazard threatening children throughout the United States, affecting an estimated 310,000 to 440,000 children under the age of 6.

Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized.

For more information about the Lead Safe Tahoe Program please visit http://www.cityofslt.us/index.aspx?NID=521

 

Sep 20 2012

South Lake Tahoe Housing Market

 

Economic Update: Inventory across the board is down about 45% from last year, and with less homes for buyers to choose from its creating a short term sellers market. Now this will bounce back to a buyers market in spring when everyone puts their home back on the market so take advantage of this time, one thing I learned about real estate is its ALL ABOUT TIMING!! If you were thinking about selling your home in South Lake Tahoe now might be the perfect opportunity. 

 

South Lake Tahoe Homes Hot List
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South Lake Tahoe, CA Homes for Sale
Fernanda Dozier
Pinnacle Real Estate Group Lake Tahoe
(530) 721-2552
Nanda@RETahoe.com

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