2010 Here We Come.
Can someone tell me if I am going crazy? While packing away the Christmas ornaments, pangs of guilt hit me hard. I swear, everyone of my Mark Roberts’ fairies pleaded with their eyes not to be put back in their boxes. “We just got out” “Please, don’t do this to us.” It’s so lonely in here.” I suppose in many ways, the same holds true when thinking of the 2009 highlights.
Although it was a difficult year in so many way, if you really take the time to think about it, there were so many more gifts. Do it. Take a bubble bath, massage, or meditate and slowly go through the images in your mind, month by month of all you accomplished, witnessed and shared. I am willing to bet there are smiles a-plenty. What’s included in this month’s newsletter? Let’s see. There is the usual real estate market comparisons (it is what we do after all).
This month’s newsletter features articles on the local and national real estate markets, an update in our business, and upcoming events. Enjoy and be sure to click on the little video found at the end of the upcoming events.
South Lake Tahoe Market Update
The end of the year stats are in and the news is TERRIFIC (if you are a buyer.) The South Lake Tahoe multiple listing services reported that as of Jan. 4, 2009, the median home price at the end of December (when compiling data from the entire previous 12 months) had reached its lowest level since late 2003. In fact, the overall values have dropped approximately 35% since the peak in 2006. Be sure to check out the graph included at the end of this article.
Here’s the good news for home owners. Overall, the values have held pretty steady for the past three months AND the inventory is depleting. In fact, as of Dec. 31, 2009, the number of active listings for single family homes in the South Lake Tahoe area was 360 of which 70 are in escrow. This is the lowest inventory count since February of 2007 when there were 352 active listings yet only 25 were in escrow.
For the month of December, 48 homes were reported sold with a median home price of $346,500 (note that this is higher than the overall median for the previous 12 months reported above) as compared to the same month in 2008 where only 26 homes were sold with a median home price of $412,450. Of the homes sold this past December, those sold within the first 30 days averaged a sale to list ration of 99.22% Foreclosure sales had a heavy influence on these numbers.
Souers & Pinnacle Update
Time is flying by and with amazement, we celebrated our third year of owning our new business. Now that I think about it, I guess we aren’t so new any more. In fact, with all of the change of companies and mergers in our area, we are almost “old school.”
With great pride (and a lot of hard work behind us,) the Pinnacle Real Estate Group was listed among the top three brokerages in overall sales throughout the South Lake Tahoe area. (Reneber the saying, #2 tries harder – watch out for us next year.) When you consider that the other two companies have at least three times the number of agents, our high ranking represents quite an accomplishment. We also personally ranked among the top five in agent production. Again, lots of work with great satisfaction.
On a final note, I am proud to announce that I will be serving as the 2010 President of the South Tahoe Association of Realtors. Although this position adds to the year’s work load, it also enhances my professional contacts and information sources. I look forward to the year and will keep you posted of highlights throughout the year.
This past summer, I experienced the most mind- boggling evidence of how “out of hand” the process of obtaining loans or short sales can get. Sadly, one of my clients was needing to sell his home for less than that which was owed (certainly not out of the norm these days.) We did find a willing buyer and in the process of trying to obtain short sale approval, the bank holding the note, hired a “team” to discover the true value of the home in today’s market. I won’t go into great detail, but let me share with you the following: That “team” in turn hired a real estate agent from out of the area that never even came to see the house. Through some investigation, we discovered that he hired someone through Craig’s List and together with some photos and mis-information, came up with a value that was far above current market value. End of the story? The short sale was denied, the seller lost the home in foreclosure and the bank ended up listing the home with that same out of area brokerage. And guess what? The home eventually sold for less that the offer we presented months earlier EVEN AFTER the bank had the home painted and new carpets installed. Sadly, this story is not unique. It has gotten out of hand. Really out of hand.
The incident above was the result of out of area agent working beyond their expertise and it cost my client dearly. Another area in which we are experiencing difficulties comes from a pendulum swing within the lending industry where lenders are no longer able to request a particular appraiser. They now put the bid out to a pool of appraisers wait to see who accepts the job. The problem here is that, once again, we are dealing with the potential of being assigned to “out of area professionals” working beyond their expertise, I have seen a two bedroom, one bath, no garage, 1970′s cabin appraise for nearly the same value as a three bedroom, 2.5 bath home with a double garage built in 2002. It’s crazy and often, pardon my language, a crapshoot.
Fortunately, signs of possible relief are on the way. According to the California Association of REALTORS®, agents and their clients “who encounter unlawful or unprofessional conduct by an appraiser may file a confidential complaint with California’s Office of Real Estate Appraisers (OREA).” These complaints of appraiser’s misconduct may be filed with the OREA may be made confidentially, but you should know that if future prosecution is a result, you may be required to testify in a legal proceeding. It’s a mess yet I feel as though great improvement is on the way.
The following list will provide resources in which to address such appraisal issues: compilation of resources for REALTORS® and their clients:
- California Office of Real Estate Appraisers website is at www.orea.ca.gov.
- OREA’s Consumers’ Guide: Filing a Complaint and the Investigation Process.
- OREA’s Complaint Form and Instructions.
- Text of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct.
- Fannie Mae’s HVCC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
- Federal Housing Finance Agency Notice dated July 22, 2009 addressing certain HVCC issues.
National Real Estate News & Forecasts
Good Faith Estimates have been in use for many years. We’ve all seen them, signed them, tried to understand them. Yet, lenders have never been required to use a standard form. Starting Jan. 1 of this year, new rules will require lenders and mortgage brokers to provide customers standard estimate forms within three days of receiving a loan application.
This form requires lenders to combine all of the bank’s various fees, no matter what they call them, into one “origination charge,” with the purpose of allowing consumers to truly compare rates among various institutions. Although lenders are not allowed to increase the origination fee from that which was provided in the estimate, additional charges, including title services and recording charges, can increase by as much as a combined 10 percent.
Buyers and sellers will see another change within the HUD-1 form used by title companies prior to closing an escrow. This new HUD-1 includes a comparison of the estimated and the actual final costs, as well as a summary of the loan terms.
Lots of snow, perfect weather for the holiday tourists and 2010 is underway. Check out the highlighted events taking place during the upcoming weeks.
Let the “Swoosh” Begin
Honestly, there is nothing quite as wonderful as a snowy Christmas season. The decorations are popping up all around South Lake Tahoe, windows are being painted and yes, the Christmas channel can be heard on most radios. Our business partner, Michelle, even commented that our office looked like “Christmas on steroids.” This is quite a change from last year at the same time and why – SNOW! It’s here and more to come. This month’s newsletter features articles on the local and national real estate markets, changes in your Tahoe utility bills, and upcoming events. Enjoy and be sure to click on the little video found at the end of the upcoming events.
South Lake Tahoe Market Update
FINALLY! For the first time in 2009, the median home price for homes reported sold within the South Lake Tahoe multiple listing services remained level for two months. For too long now we have watched the median home prices sink lower and lower. MORE GOOD INDICATORS! The current inventory of active listings is considerably lower. For the first time in 2009, we have less than 400 homes on the active market. As of November 30th, there were 390 active listings with 89 of those in escrow. Compare that with the 561 active listings in July. Even then, there were only 88 homes in escrow. We would call that significant improvement!
Furthermore, the number of sales are also on the rise (just as in the reported national levels.) During the month of November, there were 40 closed escrows with an median of 127 days on the market while the same month in 2008 reported 31 homes sold with 129 days on the market. Even when looking at the year to date (Jan. 1 – Nov. 30,) there have been 386 reported sales as compared to 330 during the same period in 2008.
Pass the word – those that have been waiting for the bottom of the market might want to be paying closer attention these days. Check out the comparison graph below.
Local Electric Bills are on the Rise
Yikes – Baby, it’s gonna get cold inside! Sierra Pacific Power customers throughout Northern California, including South Lake Tahoe, will soon see higher bills with new rates starting December 1, 2009. A 7.75% increase was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission which calculates to approximately a $5.5 million growth. A recent press release from the Nevada Energy predicted that “a typical residential customer using 650 kilowatt-hours of electricity could see an increase of about $5.49, a 7.21 percent increase per month, from $76.16 to $81.65. Looks like we will be seeing more of those Christmas sweaters than in years past.
Sluggish Modification Programs Being Threatened
It looks as though steps are being taken to “shame” the mortgage companies “into doing a better job.” According to an article published within the SF Chronicle, the “Treasury will soon be publishing a list of mortgage companies that are dragging their feet when it comes to helping borrowers complete the necessary paperwork required for the current administration’s loan modification program.
The article went on to report that the Treasury Department officials state that they will “step up pressure on the 71 companies participating in the government’s $75 billion effort to stem the foreclosure crisis.” Starting this week, tthe eight largest companies will be visted by three person “SWAT” teams to monitor and request twice-daily reports on their progress thus far.
National Real Estate News & Forecasts
They’re baby steps for now, but slight breezes of change are in the air. The National Association of Realtors is anticipating a 4.8% jump in 2009 sales of previously owned homes which is higher than the 2 % annual rise they had forecast only a month ago. Also, NAR reported that its index gauging pending sales of resale homes gained for the ninth month in a row in October and recorded a 31.8 percent gain compared to the same month last year.
This is the first time such a series was recorded since the 2001 creation of the Pending Home Sales Index. The rise as compared to a year ago, is the biggest annual increase ever recorded for the index, and at the highest level since March 2006. NAR’s chief economist, reported “home sales are experiencing a pendulum swing.” and reminded folks to “keep in mind that housing had been underperforming over most of the past year. Based on the demographics of our growing population, existing-home sales should be in the range of 5.5 million to 6.0 million annually, but we were well below the 5-million mark before the home buyer tax credit stimulus,” he said. “This means the tax credit is helping unleash a pent-up demand from a large pool of financially qualified renters, much more than borrowing sales from the future.
It is also pointed out that it is important for folks to remember that due to the time it takes for buyers to make offers and close escrow and the recent news that the first time home buyer credit had been extended, it is highly likely that we will see a temporary decline in closed existing-home sales between December and early spring. At that point, we should see another surge.
The recovery process will remain slow as long as unemployment continues to run high numbers. Never-the-less, decreasing inventories will eventually bring about a balance between the “Buyer” and “Seller” markets. Again, baby steps – but we’ll take them.
It’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas, BUT – before you take a look ahead at what’s coming our way in December, be sure to click on the link below to have a peek back at November.
The Best Time of the Year
If folks in Lake Tahoe seem to be a bit confused these days (yet smiling) there is a good reason. From day to day, locals are not sure if it is summer or winter or something in between. We experienced all four seasons in one short month and now, here we are in the first week of November and we are back in short sleeves.
We hope you enjoy the articles we are including in this month’s newsletter. As always, we would love to hear your feedback about features you enjoy reading.
South Lake Tahoe Market Update
Good news, bad news – but news all the same. The South Tahoe Association of Realtors MLS reported that as of September 30, 2009, there was nearly a 10% increase in the number of home sales as compared to the same period last year. It was also reported that the median home prices dropped approximately 18.1% to $340,000, equivalent to that reported in June of 2004.
Traditionally, the Lake Tahoe real estate market follows the Bay area by 6 to 12 months. If this pattern continues to hold, this could be one of the best opportunities for investors to jump into the South Lake Tahoe real estate market. According to C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie-Appleton-Young, “A new milestone was reached in September, when five C.A.R. regions reported positive year-to-year increases in the median price, the first such increase since January 2008. September also marked the seventh consecutive month of month- to-month increases in the statewide median price and the first single-digit decline in the year-to-year median price since October 2007, after 22 consecutive months of double-digit decreases.”
The Californa Association of Realtors report that California home sales increased 2.1% in September as compared to the same period one year ago while the median home price of existing homes declined 7.3% (an increase of 1.1% above the August sales.)
Website Updates & Videos
We’re still in the process of designing our new website and hopefully will have some exciting news to share in the future. In the meantime, we are having a ball learning a new video system called Animoto. Check it out if you have the time to be obsessed with your photos. This newest video will give you an idea of the seasonal activities in which we have participated during the past month. All four season in one month, to be exact. Enjoy and we would love to hear from you.
“BIG PICTURE” Real Estate Market UPDATES
J immy Buffet said it perfectly, “it makes no sense that common sense don’t make no sense no more.” It has recently come to our attention that potential buyers with great credit and high FICO scores, are being denied mortgages by Fannie Mae’s underwriting system because credit reports are showing notations that an applicant has a disputed an item. What??!!
Here’s the skinny. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, we are all guaranteed the right to dispute inaccurate or misinformation in their credit files. Having just gone through a similar process, I can tell you it is a long, drawn out procedure – yet highly worthwhile. HOWEVER, until the notation of the dispute is removed from one’s file, most credit-scoring systems will not take into consideration that an error has been made. Applications that are denied through Fannie Mae’s system (nearly all loans) are suffering delays because the loan packages are being sent back to the lender for manual underwiting. If you or someone you know is considering a home purchase in the near future, it may be wothwhile to take a pre-emptive step to make sure that their credit reports are not showing such notations. Please pass the word.
Attention Tahoe Boaters
Over 12,000 boats were inspected for that dreaded mussel this past summer and in the process, 12 were successfully intercepted and over 2,000 were decontaminated. At the same time, it is anticipated that approximately 25,000 people were educated as to the troubles the mussels could cause to Lake Tahoe.
Inspections will continue this coming winter at Cave Rock and the Lake Forest Boat Launch. The hours of operation will be between 6 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, 7 days a week (weather permitting.) Other launch ramps with winter hours are the Tahoe Keys, Obexer’s, and Incline-Ski Beach. If you have an interest or concern, please contact these facilities for reservations and specific hours of operation. For further information on launches, inspections, and invasive species please call 1-888-TAHO-ANS (1-888-824-6267).
You never know what the weather will bring in November however one guarantee – there is plenty to do in South Lake Tahoe. One might even consider golfing with geese as experienced by my goddess friend Lynette Sheppard. (Check out her Digital Diva Photos through the link on the left.) Aside from the year-round outdoor recreation opportunities, check out the following highlighted events.
The Off Season is Far From
Here it is, almost the middle of October, and we are just getting around to sending out newsletter of the month. I, yi, yi!! The truth is, it has just been too wonderful, too beautiful and too fun to sit at the computer any longer than necessary. So much happened during the first week of October in regards to events, weather and business that it feels as though a month has already passed. To give you an example, check out the attached video clip called A Week In Tahoe (link on the left) demonstrating one little week in Paradise. Sun, Snow, Sun!
This issue of our newsletter focuses on the South Lake Tahoe real estate market, upcoming information regarding a new blog site, tips for sprucing up your home, upcoming events and, of course, the continual plug for Tahoe Home Lookout Services.
South Lake Tahoe Market Update
The South Lake Tahoe real estate market continues to see increased numbers of sales while the median home price remains strongly affected by short and bank-owned sales. According to the South Tahoe Association of Realtors’ MLS, when comparing the first three quarters of 2009 to the same period in 2008, we find that the number of sales has increased from 253 to 296 while the average sales price has dropped from $491,000 to $389,000 while the average sale to list price remains around 94%. The median home price has dropped from $405,000 to $315,000 largely due to stress sales.
Unit sales for single-family homes on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe were up approximately 12% as compared to 2008. Again, these sales were strongly affected by the increase in the lower priced homes where there was actually a 25% increase in the number of sales. The median price for Lake Tahoe, Nevada homes following the third quarter reports was approximately $590,000 which was around 18% less than the same time in 2008.
While we have seen a significant impact as a result of the first time Home Buyer tax credit (see last month’s newsletter for more information,) our strongest pool of buyers have been primarily investors entering the market. If you are interested in a brief overview of the national and statewide real estate updates, check the Quick Links to the left (under National and California) for current information.
Our Tahoe Blogs
Last month, we received numerous compliments and encouragement to do more photo videos following our posting of the Beach Night Dinner Finale. Locals, second home owners and many planning on moving here shared with us their enjoyment of the images capturing the beauty of the Tahoe lifestyle. As a result, we have decided to put together a second blog titled “Living Lake Tahoe.” We should be up and running in the next couple of weeks so be sure to check our website at www.HomeInTahoe.com for updates.
In fact, if you enjoy reading these articles and would like to be notified when they are ready to be viewed, provide us with your email address and we will be happy to notify you when new posts are available. And please remember, the more comments you make, the better for us in regards to our website presence.
Our current blog site focuses on the South Lake Tahoe real estate market. Here we post weekly market updates, neighborhood market updates and new listings. If you are interested in receiving these notifications as well (or instead of,) just let us know.
Quick Fixes to Spruce Up Your Home
I recently stopped by a recent buyer and future prospective seller’s home to give them a current market evaluation. The home had just been purchased within the past six months and they were curious as to whether or not their improvement efforts were going to pay off. I rather felt like one of those Realtors on a home improvement show. Worried that I was going to have to deliver some bad news, I just about fell over backward when I saw the change. And best of all, they spent VERY little in the process. After seeing what they had done and for how little, I thought I would pass along some of their tips for you that might be thinking of resale of simply putting on a fresh look prior to the holidays.
For under $2,000 dollars the new owners focused their attention on the WOW factor of kitchens and baths. Within the kitchen, old lighting fixtures were replaced with a more modern, energy-efficient style, the door handles and faucets were upgraded with clearance sale products, cabinet doors were sanded and painted and new face panels were put on their dated appliances. (Turns out their dishwasher had a reversible front panel with which they matched the rest of the appliances.)
In the two bathrooms, they replaced old toilets and vanities (which they said were easy to install,) had the tubs resurfaced and laid down tile floors themselves. Evidently, they took a class on doing this kind of work at a local Home Depot. My favorites were the large, fun mirrors that they picked up on a clearance sale at Pier 1.
Their small dining area came to life with a fun lighting fixture that they picked up at a flea market to which they some spray paint and white Christmas lights woven throughout the framework. The theme of the white lights was carried through to their dining table center piece and the adjacent window overlooking the yard. Really fun and inviting!
They MORE than recovered their costs. All I can say is poor Don. Now I want to attack my house instead of work. Bring back the 50′s. I want to stay home. (insert smiley face here.)
Oktoberfest and the Kokanee Festival are behind us yet there are plenty of schedule events in our immediate future. Take a look.
- Oct. 9-17: The 1st Annual Arts Expo Week sponsored by the Tahoe Art League (TAL), Tahoe Arts Project, Tahoe Tallac Association, the Lake Tahoe Community College and the El Dorado Arts Council.
- Oct. 12-17: Movies, photography, and comedian Gustavo Arrellano will be featured during the Hispanic Heritage celebration at the Lake Tahoe Community College, October 15-17, 2009. Don’t miss the hysterical comedy of Gustavo on October 16th, as he breaks down stereotypes with laughter. Monday, October 12, will kick off with a photographic history of Ameca from 1895-1968.
- Oct. 13: The Tahoe Art League’s Sphere of Influence youth/student art program and the Apres Wine Co. present the “Graffiti Minded Creations” youth art exhibition and sale at the TAL Showcase Gallery & Apres Wine Company, 3668 Lake Tahoe Blvd.,
- Oct. 14-15: Tahoe Art League presents the annual ART EXPO 12-9pm. Free admission. Meet the Artists each evening from 7-9pm. Refreshments and Raffles. Over 35 local fine artists.
- Oct. 14: Living Voices uses a unique combination of theater, video and live interaction to create a high impact experience allowing audiences to discover history’s relevance to their lives. 5:30pm performance at Edgewood Tahoe
- Oct. 16: The Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation is sponsoring a Food Fest on Friday from 6:30-10 P.M. at Harvey’s Convention Center to raise funds for enrichment programs in all schools in Lake Tahoe Unified School District. This fun community activity will feature great food by local restaurants, beer and wine tasting, a silent auction, and music at.
- Oct. 16: Alice Cooper’s Theatre of Death Tour 2009 at Harrah’s. Show starts at 9:00
- Oct. 20: Lets Get Together Tour 2 at MontBleu. Nothing has ever been done quite like this on the in the Action sports world. Combining the creative expressions of top local and national artists, filmers, photographers and musicians.
- Oct. 24: Laurence Juber in Concert at the Lake Tahoe Community College Duke Theater & Frank Sinatra Jr. at Harrahs
- Oct. 31: Montbleu Resort is proud to present the 31th Annual Freakers Ball. Lake Tahoe’s longest running Halloween Party. Doors open up at 8:00pm
Tahoe Home Lookout
Here’s our monthly plug for the “kids”. Second second home owners, you may want to check out the Tahoe Home Lookout services. Among the many services they provide are window cleaning, snow removal, monthly check-ups on vacant homes and so And soon on the scene – house cleaning. much more.
This could be the perfect time to get ready for the upcoming stormy months. Check them out! Just click on their logo or the link below and rest a bit more this winter.
September in Tahoe
September is here and we’re all smiles. This is time of year when the weather is spectacular, the beach is a solitary experience, and nature looks like Photoshop gone wild. This newsletter is a bit longer than some. We can’t help it – there is just so much to share. In this issue, topics featured are: the monthly comparison of this past years’ real estate sales with those in 2008, updates to our website and marketing efforts, important information regarding the current $8,000 tax credit, upcoming Lake Tahoe events upcoming Tahoe events and of course, a reminder about Tahoe Home Lookout Services.
South Lake Tahoe Market Update
We were hoping to see some improved numbers when looking at the past 12 months median sales prices (June 30, 2008 through through July 31, 2009) as compared to the previous twelve months, however the ongoing trend toward buyers’ seeking short sales and bank-owned properties continues to keep our prices down for now. Good news for buyers. Check out the link below to have look at the month to month comparison as far back as 2004.
When looking at just the months of June and July, 2009 compared to the same months in 2008 we found the following: June, 2009 saw 40 closed sales, a median home price of $302,500 and a dollar per square foot of $221 as compared to 30 closed sales, a median home price of $365,000 and a dollar per square foot of $232 in 2008. July saw 36 closed sales, a median home price of $360,873 (UP from June) and a consistent dollar per square foot of $221 as compared to 39 sales, a median home price of $395,000 and a dollar per square foot of $274 in 2008.
After a great deal of studying surveys, experimenting and planning, our website is in the process of, once again, providing more detailed real estate information for our clients and friends. Among the improvements are the following: updating and expanding the various neighborhood data to include links and median home prices as far back as 2003 and improved weekly market reports which can be found in our Blog section.
Another newly added feature to our marketing efforts is the creation of individual marketing sites for our sellers. These sights are unique to the property and include the ability for viewers to download flyers, mapping, a photo gallery, property description and a YouTube video. Yup – never thought we would actually be YouTube users but even the old dogs can change (albeit stubbornly.) We would love it if you would take a moment to check out the following link and give us your feedback.
One more cool marketing tool is the new banner ad we are running on our local newspapers’ online production. When someone tunes into the front page of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, we have a banner ad that promotes our listings and our Home of the Week. If a viewer clicks onto the home of the week, they are linked to the individual web site we described above. All in all, pretty cool stuff.
By the way – if you have a chance, check out some of our blogs from time to time. In fact, put a reminder in your planner to check it out on a weekly basis for topics such as: weekly real estate updates, notice of updates to neighborhood statistics, local area news, and our favorite, highlights of resort living. Are we asking too much? No – okay then go one step further and make a comment from time to time. We’re told that folks checking into our site will help a great deal with Search Engine stuff. Gratitude is sent out in waves.
So. Tahoe Back in the News
We LOVED the headlines in USA Today, August 13th, “Second Homes, the New Improved South Lake Tahoe.” “Hooray”, I cheered. “Bring it on.” So, with a smile on my face, I sat back to read the article. Having been misquoted myself a number of times, I was curious as to how this particular article would be presented.
And I must say, it was complimentary throughout with statements such as “no seasonal compromise” and “after extensive improvements, the South offers more than just value.” Never-the-less I knew that if I looked closely, I could find some, shall we say errors? And, I wasn’t disappointed. Statements to which I beg to differ were:
- “tonier” North Tahoe??? – Are they referring to fitness levels?
- small shops were torn down to make room for a 12 acre lake front development. Folks – this is our “hole in the ground” (although we may have an update coming soon.
- In the Tahoe Keys, one can find a lake front home with a private dock for $600,000. Lakefront – WHERE I ASK????
- Glenbrook is the most desirable neighborhood on the South Shore – Hey, it’s great but I have had many clients intentionally choose other neighborhoods over Glenbrook. Perspective folks – perspective
- And most importantly – they referenced realtor not Realtor. Respect folks, respect. Following is a link to the article. Check it out.
Foreclosures & Tax Credits
Tax Credit – Nov. 30th What tax credt and who is eligible, you ask? ANSWER – Up to $8,000 and First-Time homebuyers. Wait – don’t give up. Check out the current definition of a first-time homebuyer. “. . .those who have not owned a home for at least three years.” Basically speaking, the Fed may now credit up to $8,000 toward your downpayment or closing costs without having to wait until next year’s tax return. With all that is going on in regards to health care reform, etc, we recommend you not count on this program being continued in the immediate future.
If you (or someone you know and love) is interested in this program, get started NOW! Remember, Thanksgiving will cut into 4 of the remaining days. Not only do you need to find the right property, it is that you build in extra time to accommodate the lending process, which is taking approximately two weeks longer to process this year compared with last year.
Following are a few key points from the California Association of Realtors to keep in mind:
- The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the purchase price UP to $8,000.
- Single taxpayers are eligible if their modified adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less, while married taxpayers filing jointly must have a modified adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less.
- Only primary residences are eligible for the federal tax credit, including new or existing single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, manufactured homes, custom homes, and houseboats. Vacation homes and investment properties do not qualify.
- Purchases must be arm’s-length transactions, meaning the seller cannot be the buyer’s parent, grandparent, child, grandchild or spouse.
- Married people filing as such cannot claim the credit if either spouse has owned a primary residence within the last three years. However, unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit in any way they see fit, as long as it does not exceed the $8,000 maximum.
- Don’t try to cheat – they’ll get ya!
One quick plug – if you (or someone you know) is interested in this program and you are not already working with a great Realtor, give us a call or email. Through our connection in the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, we have a fabulous network of high-ranking professionals and would love to set you up with some of the best in the industry.
Okay, so in the last two weeks, we have been entertained, “up close and personal” (as Tahoe concerts are) by Bob Dylan, Willy Nelson and Lucinda Williams. Toby Keith was here and slew of others YET – now comes our FAVORITE time of the year! The weather is ideal, the colors sensational and the everything starts moving a bit slower. You simply will not find a better environment in which to say goodbye to summer. And if you can, give us a call. We would love to chat.
- Sept. 1: Wine Tasting at Apres Wine Company on Ski Run Blvd.
- September 2-7,7-14,16-21,23-28,30: Okay, we have to plug this show. If you haven’t yet seen Gypsy at the Horizon Casino – grab your hanky to wipe up the laughter tears and book a date. Nuff said.
- Sep 3 – Sep 5: “The Rabbit Hole” is presented through the Valhalla Arts, Music and Theatre at the Valhalla Boathouse.
- Sept. 5: Chickenfoot will be performing at Harvey’s Outdoor Concert Arena. Chickenfoot is Sammy Hagar’s new band featuring Joe Satriani, Chad Smith and Michael Anthony.
- Sept. 12: Blues Traveler will be playing at Harrah’s South Shore Room.
- Sept. 11-13: 24th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival at Northstar. 3 days of grape stomps, wine tastings, culinary classes, demonstrations, classes, wine seminars, family activities and more.
- Sep. 13: Tour de Tahoe – 7th Annual Bike Big Blue provides another opportunity to ride around Lake Tahoe’s sensational 72-mile shoreline. Gorgeous scenery, great food and support. What a way to end the summer. Limited to 2000 participants.
- Sept.17 – 20: 24th Annual Cool September Days Car Show at the Horizon
- Sept. 19: Check it out! Robert Cray is playing at Harrah’s
- Sept 26 – Merle Haggard is playing at Harrah’s
If you are planning ahead, be sure to note that October features a wide variety of outdoor activities. Many feel that these top the charts for the year. October 1 finds the South Tahoe Optimist Club hosting the Kids Fun Run.
Wait – there’s more: October 7-8 is Oktoberfest at Camp Richardson. Fun for the entire family, a traditional welcome to the fall, featuring great food, music, a Kid’s Carnival, and the famous Beer and Wine Garden. Free Admission!
Gardeners Alert: The Tahoe Resource Conservation District and the , South Tahoe Public Utility District along with the Lake Tahoe Community College Demonstration Garden Committee are presenting the
Autumn Fest: Fall in the Garden. This event is being held Sunday September 20th, from 11:00am – 3:00pm at the Lake Tahoe Community College Demonstration Garden off of Al Tahoe Blvd. And, its FREE!
During this event, you can earn how to maintain native shrubs and trees, attract birds to your garden, and how to utilize medicinal plants. Take a tour through the garden to learn about native and adapted plants that thrive in Tahoe. Enjoy willow wreath making, horse drawn carriage rides, live bluegrass music, and a variety of kids’ activities including bobbing for apples, face painting and a bouncy house! Pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, satisfy your cravings from the bake sale, and purchase lunch from the Blue Angel Café.
For more information or to volunteer, contact: Nicole Cartwright at 530-543-1501 *111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tahoe Home Lookout
The snow is just about all gone from the Mt. Tallac “T”. Legend says we are in for a big winter. If you are a second home owner, you may want to check out our kid’s business, Tahoe Home Lookout. They offer a number of services that could be beneficial for absentee owners. Among the many services they provide are window cleaning, snow removal, monthly check-ups on vacant homes and so much more.
This could be the perfect time to get ready for the upcoming stormy months. Check them out!
Beach Night Wrap Up
It’s hard to believe, but the final chapter of 2009′s Summer Beach Night has come to a close. Everyone involved would agree that this season’s weather was the best by far. And last night was no exception. To give honor to such a fabulous year, the group decided to “dress it up” and raise the elegance notch. Foie gras, cheesy potatoes, grilled rack of lamb (no kidding,) chicken, venison, on and on and finally . . . homemade scrumptious cookies and moon pies. Oh me oh my, love those rocking moon pies!
Roy, the “Keeper of the Gate” finally had to send us on our merry ways so that he could close the gate. The following link will show you some of the highlights from beach night, 2009. We hope you enjoy the images and please, if you have a chance, let us know the effectiveness of the link. In the meantime, we highly encourage you to gather friends together to create your own “Beach Night” no matter where you live. It is truly refreshing to the soul to LIVE in your own backyard.