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.

Protecting your Lake Tahoe home during the holidays

keyThe holidays are officially in full swing and that means there are company parties, gatherings among friends and enough travels to make you feel like a glamorous jetsetter in a matter of weeks. It is truly a wonderful time of year, but it also means you are most likely not at home as much. In Lake Tahoe, it also means that the summer folks have left and more homes are left vacant. Whether you are leaving your Lake Tahoe home vacant for a couple weeks or a couple months, it is pertinent that you protect it. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind before you throw that suitcase in the car and head out of town.

Secure your Lake Tahoe home by locking it up. This is obvious.  However, when we say lock it up, we mean everything. Doors are typically the first thing to be locked, but what about ALL the windows, pet doors and garages? It is so easy to forget about that downstairs window in the room no one really goes in, which could leave you coming back to an empty house. Tour the perimeter of your home to ensure that you have everything locked up. Add reinforcement to slider glass doors by placing a wood or metal stick in the track. If your garage door opens on a track, secure a C-clamp next to the roller on the track. Unplug the power to keep it from being opened with a universal remote.  Also take it a step further by locking the door leading into the house from the garage.

Now that the perimeter has been secured, it is time to move on to the next step, which is making it look like someone is home, even when you are not.  You can achieve this in a few simple ways. First, use timers on your electronics so that lights, televisions, radios or music players come on at different times. This creates the illusion that someone is at home. Also ask a neighbor if they can grab your mail and newspapers. Nothing says vacant home like a full mail box and a pile of newspapers scattered all over the lawn. Additionally, ask this trusted neighbor if they wouldn’t mind keeping an eye out for any funny business while you are away. Go out on the sidewalk and look to see if you can see any valuables from the street that burglars would find of interest. If so, consider relocating in a different spot of the house or shutting the blinds or curtains.

Thanks to advanced technology, you may want to consider keeping your vacation quiet on social media OR changing your privacy settings while you are away. Social media is a fabulous tool to stay in contact with multiple people at once, however, if people know you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, your home could be a target.   Also remove any portable GPS from your car if it is being parked at the airport or a nearby parking lot. A burglar could easily break in, take it and then be led straight to your front door.

A couple more last minute tips to remember are to keep the exterior of your home well lit. While some burglars are braver than others, most will not pick the brightest house on the block. Also remove that spare key hidden outside. Burglars are in the business of knowing all the sneakiest spots. If someone needs to get into your home while you are away, arrange for them to get a key prior to your departure. These tools are also great for your properties that you use as a vacation rentals a few months out of the year.

The holidays are a supposed to a wonderful time filled with moments spent with your nearest and dearest. Dealing with a house that has been burglarized is the last thing anyone wants to deal with. For more questions on the different home areas in South Lake Tahoe, call us at 53-577-0389 or contact us. Happy Holidays from The Souers Team.

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