September 2009 Newsletter
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.