Video Draws Lakeshore Home Buyers, Incline Village

After attending the INMAN connect technology conference in San Francisco last week,there is no doubt about it ,that video is the platform for marketing real estate now and the future.With the next generations of 20-30 somethings all engaged in social networking on MySpace,Facebook, and engrossed in Youtube and like media,this is the new way for screening and shopping for homes.So get your flip cameras ready and be ready to build this into your marketing plan.

I am a firm believer in that providing a quality digital package, combined with unlimited distribution on the www is a necessity in marketing real estate.I am wondering though, who out there has had true success with actual videos,not virtual tours….but video, either with or without sound, in truly more than attracting buyers, but closing sales?

“Last weekend I was with buyers who were shopping in the $2-4m range in Incline Village.They picked the properties that they wanted to see from viewing online.They also eliminated potential properties based on their online selections.These Buyer’s made a comment about one of Lexi Cerreti’s (Chase Incline) videos.They preferred the video,more so than the house.The interesting note was that they complimented Lexi, and were very comfortable with pointing out what looked better on video than live.So,would like to hear who is using affordable,quality video,and are your Buyer’s responding,more so than to the quality virtual tours?”
Kerry Donovan, Chase International, Incline Village

It really goes to show how video draws buyers to a particular listing. When I greeted Kerry’s buyers at 928 Lakeshore Blvd, they already recognized me from the video and were very open about saying what features they loved- the kitchen, the great room with open ceilings and were impressed in person. It was refreshing that they felt comfortable enough to give honest feedback about why the home didn’t work for them- needing more bedrooms and wanting more privacy in the backyard. So while they may not end up buying this property, they chose to see it over several other options they had on Lakeshore Boulevard (24 other listings, at last count). The video was an icebreaker, they gave them the feeling they were familiar enough with me to open up, and gave me the opportunity to offer suggestions about adding walls to create an extra bedroom, and planting trees to screen the neighbors home. Not everyone has access to professional grade video productions- I happen to be lucky in that my dad is a videographer and produces mine. But flipbooks are a great alternative that can give buyers a sense of the layout and better feel of the home, where photos leave much to the imagination.
Lexi Cerretti, Chase International, Incline Village


Incline Village Real Estate Report July 2008

The numbers are in and sales for single family homes are down for the 1st half of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. It seems there are lots of buyers on the sidelines looking for good deals, and weakening sales prices offer more opportunities, especially if you know which sellers are motivated.

The median price for an Incline Village home sank to $1,042,500, down 13% from the median price in the first half of 2007 at $1,200,000. The average price was down 17% to $1,419,464 from $1,708,492 in 2007. (Based on data I compiled from the Incline Village MLS, EXCLUDING PUD’s).

The median price for a condo in Incline Village dropped to $489,000 from $587,500 in the first half of 2008 from that period last year, a decrease of 17%. The average price for a condo was down 20%.

The lowest priced home to sell in 1st half 2008 was $560,000 compared to a $600,000 home sold in 2007. The highest priced home to date in 2008 is $6,700,000 down from the $8,500,000 home sold 1st half 2007.

Average list to sale price in 2008 is 90% compared to 94% in 2007 for the same period, showing some strength in buyer positioning in this down market. The average days on market is 154 in 2008 compared to 187 in 2007- are sellers more motivated to sell?

Through June 30, 44 homes sold in 2008 compared to 73 homes sold last year- this is a 40% decline in # of units sold. In 2008, 22 homes sold over $1M and 22 sold under $1M, compared to 2007, 48 sold over $1M and 25 sold under $1M. Last year at this point, there were 20 home sales over $2M, whereas midyear 2008 we have only seen 6 sales over $2M. The high-end market is contracting, with a lot of supply and much less demand.

View all of the homes sales for both the first half of 2007 and 2008

2007 1st Half Single Family Home Sales

2008 1st Half Single Family Home Sales

View the 2008 Midyear Home Sales Report for Lake Tahoe, note that the report includes PUD’s (freestanding townhomes) in the single family home category in Incline Village, whereas the stats reported above exclude PUD’s.

Best and Worse Housing Markets 2008

Incline Village homeThis just in… view the video for the $100 million Tranquility Estate on

View a virtual tour of Incline Village $47 million Estate at 585 Lakeshore

View a current list of Tahoe Lakefront Homes, Nevada side

While the housing market in general continues it’s downward trend, there are locations faring much better than others. In areas like Tampa, Phoenix and Las Vegas where speculative buying was rampant, now high vacancy rates have driven down prices. In markets where home building far exceeded occupancy demands such as in Reno and Sacramento, home builders are reducing pricing to fill the surplus in supply.

What does this mean for home buyers and sellers? In Incline Village, the deficit of buyers coupled with stable list prices means longer time on the market and a decrease in sales under $1 million. We have seen buyers refusing to make offers on homes they feel are overpriced, rather than submitting a low bid. The state of the market can be used as a good bargaining point for buyers, and many sellers are very eager for offers at any reasonable price.

I have compiled a collection of news sources reporting on market conditions around the US:

Spotting Market Bottoms in 2008, Strategies for Home Sellers
Real Estate Journal- January 1, 2008

Steve McLinden of agrees that home values will “stabilize again,” but it will be a rocky ride until they do — especially for home sellers, he says. For buyers, he recommends not waiting to pounce on good deals, as the housing market may be “at or near bottom,” and using the glut of homes on the market and sellers’ anxiousness to sell to bargain more effectively…

What $1 Million Will Buy You in Homes
A flat in London, and apartment in Manhatten, a Victorian home in San Francisco or a two story loft in Sydney, Austrailia with harbor views…

Homes of Billionaires
From Washington to Texas, Palm Beach to the Hamptons, see where Billionaires make their roosts…

Housing Bubble: Top 30 Cities to Watch
Markets That Will Keep Growing
Boise Idaho
El Paso Texas
Albuquerque NM
Seattle WA, Portland OR
Salt Lake City
Raleigh NC

Cities That Will Top Out
Washinton DC
Fort Meyers, Cape Coral FL
San Francisco

Cities Where Prices Will Deflate
Las Vegas
Boston MA
Los Angeles
Naples FL

Top 25 Real Estate Market Forecast
Albuquerque NM
McAllen TX
Salt Lake City UT
Austin TX
Seattle WA

America’s Most Stable Housing Markets
Seattle has experienced strong price appreciation over the last six quarters, and that’s expected to continue in the new year, though at a slower pace. Also primed for a stable year are Pittsburgh, Columbus, Ohio, and Dallas. They follow Seattle in our ranking of the country’s 10 most stable markets. All are projected to have median home sale price increases next year, thanks to a combination of factors including lower-than-average inventory levels, little price volatility and high job growth.

Best and Worst US Housing Markets
Best: Seattle, San Jose, Raleigh and Charlotte NC, San Francisco, San Antonio, New York
Worst: Detroit, Cleveland, Sacramento, Tampa, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Minneapolis

Most Expensive Zip Codes
Alpine NJ, Miami Beach FL, Ranch Santa Fe CA, Glenbrook NV, Amagansett NY (Long Island), Water Mill NY (Hamptons), Santa Barbara CA, Purchase NY (Westchester County), Ross CA (Marin), Chilmark MA (Martha’s Vineyard)

rundown of housing markets across the US

Incline Village Homes for Sale Aug 1, 2008

Lake Tahoe Beaches
We’ve seen a wide variety in listings this week, and I am intrigued by the pricing along with some hard to find features. Just listed- a newer creekside home in Lakeview Sub., and two golf course area listings with quality newer construction and creekside settings. These are the types of home I get excited about sharing with my buyers!

Overview- 12 new single family homes were listed in Incline Village this past week, along with 3 townhomes, 6 condos, and 1 lot. There were 6 new escrows last week including one Shari Chase lakefront listing on the East Shore, 4 sales closed (3 homes, 1 condo) and there were 34 price changes, lots of price reductions!

View this week’s open house schedule for Incline Village, too!

New Single Family Homes:
Some great buys this week. The 4 bedroom home on Garen is nicely updated for the low price of $479k, and the new listing at 910 Harold is on the Championship Golf Course- a great buy for $599! 842 Ophir Peak really catches my eye- this newer construction home has a great layout and is on a year round creek in Lakeview Subdivision, just off of Lakeshore. I would compare it to Country Club Villas in the $1M-$1.2M range or the townhome listed at 779 Freels at $1.295, except you are getting a single family even closer to the beach!

If you want lake views, 809 Jeffrey has them, and 645 14th Green and 615 Country Club are two large, newer construction homes near the golf course and on creekside settings. 831 Lakeshore is a good buy for lakefront, with just under 4,000 sq ft living area, and 650 Lakeshore is a grand, custom home very close to Burnt Cedar Beach with beautiful custom detail!

(Note- click on a link to a listing, and virtual tour links are shown below the description, where available)
954 Garen $479,000 Wow- Low Price! 4 beds, 2 baths, 1,656 sq ft
910 Harold $599,000 Golf Course, 3 beds, 1.5 baths, 1,576 sq ft
561 North Dyer $849,000 Central Location, 3 beds, 3 baths, 2,916 sq ft
130 Mayhew $975,000 Millcreek, 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,508 sq ft
842 Ophir Peak $1,490,000 Lakeview Sub on Creek, Newer Home! 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,606 sq ft
809 Jeffrey $1,795,000 Panoramic Lake Views, 5 beds, 4.5 baths, 4,524 sq ft
615 Country Club $1,799,000 Newer on Golf Course, 5 beds, 3 baths, 2 lavs, 4,056 sq ft
645 14th Green $1,875,000 Gorgeous Setting, 5 beds, 3 baths, 2 lavs, 4,564 sq ft
88 Shoreline Circle $2,695,000 Off of Lakeshore, 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 4,496 sq ft
580 Ponderosa $3,750,000 New Home, 5 beds, 4.5 baths, 4,570 sq ft
831 Lakeshore $4,299,999 Lakefront, 5 beds, 5 baths, 3,951 sq ft
650 Lakeshore $4,850,000 New Custom Home, 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 4,620 sq ft

New Condos, Townhomes, Lots:
6 New Condos-
999 Lakeshore $1,175,000
Village Highlands $1,125,000
Wolden Woods $950,000
Royal Pines $599,000
Coeur du Lac $545,000
Pinebrook $149,500

4 Townhomes-
775 Freels $1,295,000
1084 Lucerne $1,150,000
978 Glenrock $479,000
702 College $339,000

1 New Lake View Lot-
584 Amagosa, Crystal Bay $495,000

Note that all listings posted are couresty of Incline Village MLS, and no listings are my own unless specifically stated.

Incline Village Lakefront Condominium under $1 Million

Incline Village Lakefront Condo
Think of Tahoe in the summer time with family cookouts by the lake, going out to your boat for early morning wakeboarding right in front of your own beach, strolling out to the Hyatt Pier & Bar for a cocktail to watch the yachts come and go. There are two 999 Lakeshore units available- these are adjacent to the Hyatt and have their own beach right next to the Hyatt Pier.

There is one condo being offered for $935,000. Unit #5 has bedrooms with a sleeping loft and 3 bathrooms. The complex shares a private beach with boat buoy’s available! The head of the HOA is a really nice guy- my husband has remodeled some of the units which are redone beautifully with updated kitchens, baths and living areas.

Unit # 31 just sold today, closing at $1,100,000 and #35 sold in April for $1,104,000. The only two sales below $1M in recent years were two sales in 2005- one at $880k and another at $957k.

If you could get into the complex in the upper $800k’s, it would be a great buy, in my opinion, as you usually can’t touch lakefront for less than $1M in Incline Village.

Here is the virtual tour for unit #5 $935K

Here is the virtual tour for unit #33 $1,119,000 also on the market- look at these photos as they show the beach and the exterior of the complex.

Please call me to see these- I would love to show you the amenities and negotiate the terms for your lakefront getaway!

Good News- Weekly Economic Update Sept. 19

Yes, the Fed took a serious chunk out of the fed funds rate and I finally have good news–something happy–to write about. I am grateful. More to the point, though a rate reduction is certainly not a panacea that will solve every problem out there, it will help…at least, for now.
What’s left to be concerned about? For a reasoned introduction to that subject, listen to a recent interview with Alan Greenspan. He’s speaking far more plainly now than when he was the obscure delphic oracle at the Fed.

30-yr Fixed-rate Mortgage 6.86%15-yr Fixed-rate Mortgage 6.551-yr ARM 6.34%[HSH average rates: 30-yr up 11 bps, 15-yr up 14 bps; ARM up 4 bps]Thumbnail Sketch: A growing number of economists are watching today’s economy with increasing concern, fearful that a drop in personal consumption (retail purchases by the likes of you and me) could lead to recession. As Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, states it: “The U.S. expansion is hanging by the thread of business and consumer confidence.” As a result, the decision of the Federal Open Market Committee [FOMC] as to how much of a slice to take out of the fed funds rate had the more sober economists hoping for a 50 basis point reduction (which would give us a 4.75% target rate and reduce the prime rate at most banks by the same amount)…but most, having watched the Fed move very slowly toward a rate reduction, were actually expecting a 25 basis point rate reduction. What were the arguments for and against a 50 basis point rate reduction?  It is reasonable to assume that the members of the FOMC were weighing two opposing problems. First, there was the possibility that, without an adequate shot in the arm, the economy might slide perilously downward, as consumers and business leaders lost confidence in its faltering path of growth. On the other hand, there was a genuine concern that, with a rate reduction larger than the usual 25 basis points, markets might react to what they saw as greater negativity and fear in the Fed’s response than they had expected. (Those who have observed the Fed over the years, too, have come to understand that our central bank carefully avoids surprises. Markets tend to overreact to them. So there was good reason to expect a 25 basis point reduction.) That was the backdrop. What we got, though, was a 50 basis point rate reduction. The Fed also cut the discount rate (the rate at which banks borrow short-term from the Federal Reserve) by 50 basis points to 5.25%, clearly signaling a readiness to provide necessary funds to banks. Further, there are less than subtle signals that the Fed will consider future rate cuts. Lastly, it’s notable that the vote yesterday for the rate cuts was unanimous. 

As far as the Fed is concerned, therefore, we have moved from an economy in which rising inflation is our predominant concern to an economy in which recession has become our primary worry, and we can reasonably expect that a series of rate cuts is in the offing. The effect of these rate cuts is difficult to predict but, for the short to medium term, at least, it cannot be a bad thing. We receive this decision, therefore, with a degree of gratitude and hope—though we remain concerned about the longer-term future of this economy.

Technology, Real Estate and Insiders Information

The home computer is playing a very important role in the home search process. It is estimated that 80% plus of all real estate searches begin online with buyers and sellers using sites such as, Trulia, and Zillow to educate themselves about inventories. They will then contact a realtor to negotiate, advise and close tranactions. This only enhances the consumers education with the many tools that these online services provide. The buyer can readily see all pricing and inventories in most markets that they can take with them when they decide to visit the local markets. The agent still has a very important role in listing and marketing these properties. Local advice to area pros and cons as well as negotiations are critical for the buyer to use local agents expertise on.

In our Tahoe market, we often get inquiries from people that have visited here and want to buy, but aren’t sure where. There is a large selection of homes to choose from on the west shore, and the Nevada side has it’s tax advantages. Incline Village is often the area of choice for those who can afford the higher prices, as this town is the only area around the lake to buck the trend of declining prices, and ammenities like the golf courses, ski mountain, recreation center and beaches are hard to come by. The local knowledge is essential to home buyers, who really don’t get a feel for it until they drive around with someone who knows the town well. This online process gives the potential buyer a huge advantage in time savings and educates them prior to going into areas they would previosly have no knowledge of. Then once they arrive, a good agent with local knowledge can give them the insight to choose the best location for them.

Sept. 12 Economic Update- Every down turn is followed by an upturn

As we go through these challenging times, I have to reflect on the difficult real estate market of 1994 and 1995.

Every down turn is followed by and upturn.

In a few years when home sales and home prices are increasing, many a procrastinator will think to them selves “I should have bought in 2007.”

30-yr Fixed-rate Mortgage 6.75%
15-yr Fixed-rate Mortgage 6.41
1-yr ARM 6.30%
[HSH average rates: 30-yr down 23 bp, 15-yr down 24 bps; ARM up 14 bps]

Weekly Commentary

Thumbnail Sketch: At this point, a consensus has been reached that the Fed will lower the fed funds rate at the September 18 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee Meeting. Indeed, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, suggests that the possibility of a recession has risen from 15% in the last quarter to 40%.

The argument today, therefore, is over the size of the Fed’s rate reduction. This observer feels it will be a standard quarter of a percent. Some suggest it may be a stronger half-percent drop. As Zandi notes, “A 50 basis point cut would probably buoy sentiment more than a conventional 25 bp reduction, as it would send a convincing signal that policymakers will cut rates as needed to avert a downturn. A larger cut would also help alleviate the ongoing stress in global money markets.” The distance between American and European short-term securities has widened dangerously.

Zandi further suggests that economic growth will prove lower overall for the next year, with GDP growth hovering at about 2%, unemployment rising to 5%, and core inflation remaining near or below 2%. This means interest rates may come down in a more significant way that most analysts had been predicting over the past several months, taking ARM rates attractively lower. 30- and 15- year fixed rates should also fall as well.

This would take rates—which are already quite attractive—to near-irresistible levels for many potential homebuyers. That’s great…but it won’t provide a very convincing benefit to today’s housing market’s problems unless it is accompanied by an increased willingness among investors to funnel the needed funds into more mortgage originations.

“The lack of credit is undermining home sales and precipitating delinquencies and foreclosures,” Zandi observes, “as subprime borrowers who took on loans in the midst of the housing boom are unable to refinance before their mortgage payment resets higher. Homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages facing their first payment reset will crest this fall, but remain elevated well into next year. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the percentage of homeowners entering foreclosure has never been higher since they began keeping records.”

Don’t sit up into the night waiting for the next real estate boom to make its appearance, therefore. But do find every possible way to put another lowering of rates to your clients (and your own) benefit.

Weekly Economic Update Sept. 5, 2007

Dear Friends–
When the going gets tough, the tough know better than to write newsletters. Nonetheless, I plunge ahead, fool that I am–and I hope that these updates help a bit to make sense of the current economic crisis. Please enjoy this week’s economic update.

30-yr Fixed-rate Mortgage 6.98%

15-yr Fixed-rate Mortgage 6.65%

1-yr ARM 6.44%

[HSH average rates: 30-yr up 1 bp, 15-yr up 2 bps; ARM up 11  bps]

Weekly Commentary

Thumbnail Sketch: Few positive signs for real estate. Construction spending was up 0.4% in July, but private residence construction spending was down by 0.7%.

What we have is a very quiet, but rather negative, flow of real estate economic indicators. Indicators in other areas, however, are quite good.

This creates an anomaly. How bad can it get in the real estate sector while things continue to look rather good in other sectors of the economy? Observing this, James Grant recalled, “Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd, in the 1940 edition of their seminal volume ‘Security Analysis,’ held that the acid test of a bond or a mortgage issuer is its ability to discharge its financial obligations ‘under conditions of depression rather than prosperity.’ Today’s mortgage market can’t seem to weather prosperity.”

The disconnect between mortgage market—or, more to the point, the entire credit/debt market—and the rest of the economy, though, is probably quite important. It is as if a couple million people jumped into the deep end of the pool, thinking they could easily keep their heads above water as the day passed…and then the level of the water rose abruptly, leaving them treading water as best they could. Perhaps the rest of the economy, though, remembered its life vests.

It is this observer’s increasingly firm suspicion that the world’s debt problem (for that is now what it is) will not let go of the economy for quite some time. We won’t be able to sweep it under the carpet with the broom of rising home values. We won’t be able to continue attracting adequate investment funds to investments whose quality and value are impossible to verify.

We will therefore have to determine how large the problem is, where it is, how much each Collateralized Debt Obligation, each hedge fund, each mortgage-backed security is worth. And we will need to devise standards and methods that create a transparency, allowing us to look at the entire paper trail for even a “tranch” that has been placed in a hedge fund. We can no longer rely on computer models. Garbage in, garbage out.

Until that is done, the economy will have a dark cloud hovering over it, and the real estate market won’t bear a very good reputation, even if it is, at bottom, simply the purchase and sale of homes to live in and rent out. And that’s the point The real estate business doesn’t have to be anything but simple. Return to that fact, and the market will almost certainly return to gradual growth and continually increasing prosperity.