Tips to sell a vacant home

vacant roomWhen listing a Lake Tahoe property for sale, the seller and Realtor will typically do a walk-through of the home to get it ready to list. We have discussed tips for de-cluttering and staging in addition to several other ways to make a house feel like a home to a potential buyer. However, what if the property is vacant? Selling a vacant home sometimes comes with a set of questions from a buyer such as “Is the home vacant because it has been on the market so long, the owners cleared all their stuff out?” or “Is there something wrong with the home that it is not selling?”.  With Lake Tahoe being a second home resort market, there can be several quality reasons that a home is left bare and unfurnished.  For example, a job relocation would require the sellers to move quickly to a new area and take their belongings with them. One tricky thing Realtors run into when it comes to marketing properties that are left vacant is that on some occasion, especially in photos, it can be hard for a buyer to imagine the layout or size of the rooms and how they can be used. Truth be told, it also has some perks. After all, you don’t have to negotiate the move in dates of the buyer with the move out dates of the seller.  If you are getting ready to sell your home as a vacant property and are worried that you may be looked over for furnished properties, we have some helpful tips for you to consider.

Virtual Staging

What will they think of next? Virtual staging is where furnishings, accessories and general décor are computer generated and placed in photos of the vacant rooms. Some Lake Tahoe Realtors have the ability to do this on their own computer programs, while others will out-source the project. Just keep in mind that if this is the route you go, you will need to state in the advertising that the rooms are virtually staged.

Consignment Furniture

Consignment furniture is one way to make your house look more lived in and on the cheap too. This option allows a seller to purchase enough pieces with an inexpensive price tag and make the home look a little more lived in. Thanks to Pinterest, we now can get a step by step on turning the ugliest of items into a glamourous work of art with a quick trip to the fabric store.  The perk to this option is that if you don’t want to keep any of the pieces, you can offer the furniture to the buyer as an incentive.

Furniture Rental

If you want to have furniture in the photos AND the house while people are touring, leasing your furniture may be the way to go if you don’t want to commit to pieces of furniture you will later need to get rid of. While this option gives you the perk of not dealing with the furniture after your home sells, you will need to realize that you will have to sign a lease agreement and depending on the size of your home, costs can vary quite a bit.

Closeout Furniture

This is similar to the consignment furniture idea except that the furniture in question is brand new. Even if it is just a few major pieces like a sofa or a dining set, you can still make the home look inviting and cozy. Head to TJ Maxx for the side tables, accent chairs and lamps and you can have a fully staged room for cheaper than a price reduction.

Regardless of what you choose to revitalize your Lake Tahoe home for sale, time is of the essence in real estate. In fact, a listing is in its prime the first two weeks it hits the market. That is your time as a seller to make your property shine compared to the competition. If none of these options will work for you, be sure to chat with your Realtor about what you can do and how they can present the property during showings to make it stand out as a blank canvas. Are you getting ready to sell your Lake Tahoe home? Contact us at 530-577-0389.

Generate sales with a fireplace

fireplaceFireplaces are an amenity commonly seen in South Lake Tahoe homes for sale. While some homes may not feature one, the majority will. If you are getting ready to sell, and you have a fireplace, use it to your advantage. A cozy fireplace, especially in our resort mountain town, is something at the top of several home buyers’ wish lists. Don’t believe us? The National Association of REALTORS® recently reported that a classically designed fireplace that functions can add up to $12,000 to the home value! Read on for a few reasons how that fireplace you have come to love can add to a higher home price.

Additional warmth is the first obvious reason. But did you know that in any climate, buyers are drawn to fireplaces because they create a cozy, homey atmosphere. Fireplaces create a focal point in not just the living room, but the entire home itself. Let’s take California for example. Most of California is known for being warm. However, according to the Director of Research at the National Association of Builders, trying to sell a brand new construction home in California without a fireplace is actually difficult. Gas fireplaces are so easy to install, there is no reason a contractor shouldn’t put one in.

Fireplaces are also a cold weather must have. Here in Lake Tahoe, a California/Nevada town that can experience extreme winter conditions in addition to our warm summer weather, a fireplace is a necessity. Recently, the town experienced a power outage that lasted for hours. The wind was howling and the temperature was cold. In situations such as this, a fireplace is the only way to stay warm. When listing your home for sale, you hear and read a lot about how you can spruce your home up affordably, where to put your money and where to refrain from spending. A fireplace is not an area to skimp. After all, no one wants a fireplace that looks burned out and is releasing smoke and gas into the home. On the other end, you don’t want your fireplace to be the reason a home inspection fails. Cleaning and upgrading this feature of your home is worth the time and cost. If you do not have a fireplace but think you may want to install, this upgrade will likely pay off in the long run. Here is a breakdown of the standard costs associated with each type:

  • Standard gas fireplace without installation: $600 to $3,000
  • Electric fireplace: $1,200 to $1,500
  • Re-lining an old chimney: Usually less than $5,000.

If preparing your home for sale in Lake Tahoe is something you need assistance with, The Souers Team has been helping buyers and sellers successfully and is well versed in all aspects of the local real estate market. If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call us at 530-577-0389 or contact us here.

Things to Consider When Buying Your Lake Tahoe Vacation Home

The Conways Celebrate

The Conways Celebrate

Lake Tahoe is a year round destination. During the winter, Lake Tahoe is a world class ski destination and during the summer people escape here to enjoy warm weather, sunny blue skies, beaches and pretty much every outdoor activity one could imagine. If you happen to fall in love with the area and find yourself visiting often as many people do, the thought of a vacation home in Lake Tahoe could be very alluring. Especially when you think of the potential financial benefits.  For example, many people rent their second homes out when they are not using it. However, as exciting as buying a vacation home in Lake Tahoe is, there are some things to consider and really think about before the entering the process.

First, think to yourself realistically “What Can I Afford?” According to the National Association of Realtors Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, the 2013 median price for vacation homes was $168,700. That does not include the extra costs accrued when purchasing a home. You need to keep in mind that you will also be paying for insurance, year round utility costs, winterizing/de-winterizing, property tax,  exterior landscape maintenance (old tree’s must go!) and potentially a caretaking/maintenance service. There are other potential costs such as HOA fees if applicable, furnishings for the home if your purchase did not include them as well as a security system if you must have that extra reassurance while you are away.

“Location, location, location!” You have heard this phrase several times when it comes to marketing Lake Tahoe real estate. While this is your vacation home, and you should buy what you want, you also need to think about the resale and renting value. After all, a house located in the middle of nowhere may be attractive to you, but chances are the masses want to be conveniently located close to all that South Lake Tahoe has to offer. Especially with current housing trends showing that the young professionals are moving away from “suburbia” and moving more towards cities and all their attractions. Thankfully in Lake Tahoe, there are several  areas that are away from the heavily tourist populated areas, but close to all the best beaches, trails, resorts and more and still minutes to the nightlife.

Even if you plan on purchasing a Lake Tahoe vacation home without the intention of selling it (we see cabins and homes that stay in the family for decades), still view the property as an investment. Look at what it is located next to, the walkability score, the safety of the general surrounding area and the amenities readily available from the front door. While you may never intend to sell the property, it could eventually happen and if it does, you will want a smoother transaction with a bigger pool of buyers.

Be aware of the local rent prices. While you also may not intend to rent the property out for various reasons, it could be something that appeals to you at some point. After all, you can rent your property out for up to 14 days tax free every year. This gives you some extra cash without the responsibilities of being a full time landlord.

Think about the travel time. The median driving distance between a primary residence and vacation residence is 3 hours according to the National Association of Realtor’s. Truly, the best vacation home is easy to get to.

Also be sure to spend more than just a few long weekends in Lake Tahoe. Get to know the local spots and chat with the locals about any limitations or annoyances they experience from living in Lake Tahoe. While we are sure you won’t hear much, there may be some grumbling about heavy traffic on holiday weekends, or construction on roads during the summer time. Also ask about their favorite neighborhoods and why certain areas are their favorite. The more familiar you are with the area, the higher the chance you will find a property perfect for you.

If buying a vacation home in Lake Tahoe is something you are interested in, The Souers Team has been helping buyers and sellers successfully and is well versed in all aspects of the local real estate market. If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call us at 530-577-0389 or contact us here.


January 2015 Lake Tahoe Events

Nevada Boulder 2January 3rd UFC 182 Public Viewing Party in the Zone Sports Book & Bar at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. Jones VS. Cormier, a mixed martial arts event based out of Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena.

January 3rd Mark Hummel’s Harmonica Blowout. 7:30pm at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. Come check out this Bluebird Records Tribute with Elvin Bishop, Mark Hummel, Bob Welsh and more.

January 7th Pints & Paddles Cruise with Ike & Martin. 5:30pm-7:00pm on the Tahoe Queen at Ski Run Marina. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Call 530-543-6191.

January 8th Internationally Renowned Experts Discuss Climate Change at Harveys Lake Tahoe. 7:45am-10:00am. Operation Sierra Storm, Tahoe South’s TV meteorologists’ conference, is offering complimentary admission to the public. This year’s keynote speaker is former director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr. James Hansen.  Bernice Notenboom, will also be presenting and she is the first woman to reach the North, South and Cold Pole in Siberia in addition to being a climate journalist, science writer and speaker. This event is sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and the whole entire Lake Tahoe community is invited to participate.

January 9th-16th Tahoe South Restaurant Week “Made with Altitude” is one of the best food and wine experiences of the year in Lake Tahoe. Participating restaurants feature special menus and designated flavors.  More information and menus available at

January 9th Himmel Haus Party Winter Music Series. The Haus Party Winter Music Series will take place every other Friday night starting at 9:00pm. $10 admission, $4 drink specials and live music from all over California, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest every other Friday night.

January 16thAuthor & Psychic Medium John Edward at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. 7:00pm, $150 per ticket. John Edward is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium, lecturer, and author of several New York TImes best sellers as well as his popular internationally syndicated television shows. The seminar will last for two hours with a questions and answer session and possibly a reading, although they are not guaranteed.  For more info visit

January 17th Tainted Love at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. 7:30pm, $33.25 per ticket. Come check out this live cover band in the South Shore Room. For more info, visit

January 17th Kool and The Gang at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. 9:00pm, Tickets range in price from $55 to $ 65.50 plus taxes and fees. Kool & The Gang has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and influenced the music of three generations. For more information, visit

January 24th G Love & Special Sauce featuring Matt Costa at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. 6:30pm, 21 and over. Tickets are $38.75 plus taxes and fees. For more info, visit

January 31st The Guess Who at Mont Bleu Resort. 9:0pm, tickets range from $44.50-$55.50 plus fees. The Guess Who is a band that became Canada’s first international rock music superstars with #1 hits there and chart topper hits here in the U.S. Visit

Sierra House Grow Domes are Up and Running.

growhousesWhat the heck are they growing at Sierra House Elementary?  Two strange looking domes have appeared on the campus and the kids are looking pretty proud.  Something’s up.

That’s right, after much work, fund-raising, donations and community cooperation, two 18-foot growing domes, designed specifically for high alpine climates, are in place which will allow Sierra House students to move closer to growing and then eating the “fruits” of their labor.  The Sierra House grow domes rely solely on passive solar heat.  Among many goals of this project, the domes will provide the opportunity for students to study soil, aquaponics, math, language arts and science.  In addressing the  500 plus students, parents, teachers and community supporters at the ribbon cutting event, Principal Ryan Galles exclaimed “As pioneers, we are the first in our community to have something like this.  Adults paved the way, but now it’s your turn.”

Funds for the project have totaled nearly $120,000 at this point.   One of the major contributors was the local Soroptimist International chapter which donated $25,000.

The school is located at 1709 Remington Trail  and the growing domes can be viewed from Pioneer Trail on the left as you drive by. To take a tour and get more information, call Sierra House Elementary at 530-543-2327.

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