10 Things to Avoid while in Escrow

10. Increase balances on existing credit cards or apply for new credit. (no credit checks should occur during the entire loan process!)This also means do not purchase big items until after you close.

9. Purchase a car or shop for a car. Or a boat, jet ski, RV, anything really!

8. Open a new bank account or make large deposits. (the source for all deposits over $500 showing on the last 2 months bank statements needs to be verified)

7. Transfer funds from one account to another. Unless directed by the lender

6. Shift credit card debt from one Creditor to another. Leave all revolving credit as is making normal and regular payments as usual.

5. Sell major assets.

4. Get married, divorced, or go on maternity leave or get laid off from your employer.

3. Go on vacation…making you unavailable to the Lender or agents. IF you have a vacation scheduled just let everyone know and then communication can still be ongoing.

2. Borrow money from any source.

1. Change employers or quit your job

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression-12 Tips to selling your home faster

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression-12 Tips to selling your home faster

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, there are some lesser-known words that match the importance of the famous real estate phrase “location, location, location.”

 Curb appeal.

As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” When people drive up and first see your house, you want them to think of it immediately as a home that has been maintained and well cared for.

You should also spend time scoping out the competition by viewing listings and photos of similar homes for sale and attending open houses in your neighborhood.

Once prospective buyers are inside your home, you want to make sure the entire house puts its best foot forward. That starts with cleaning and de-cluttering, two improvements that cost little money and provide a big return.

Next, focus on low-cost the No. 1 thing you can do is paint, using neutral tones, but that doesn’t have to mean just white and beige, as brown and cream are also safe choices.

Since every dollar counts, hold off on pet projects and only devote your time and money to renovations that will bring you a return. If you’re looking to sell, do not do the improvements/renovations that you’ve always wanted to do. Do the ones to make the home look clean and well maintained.

If, like most sellers, you have a limited budget, here are a dozen home improvements you can make to sell your house for top dollar

1. Consider removing popcorn ceilings. Most folks are going to walk out the front door  as soon as they see those. But you need to be careful because the popcorn ceilings of pre-1979 homes are likely to contain asbestos. That means this is far from a do-it-yourself project, and you need someone licensed to remove it or at least test and then remove. Newer ceilings, on the other hand, can be wet and scraped. Or, if it’s feasible and the ceilings are high enough, just drywall over and create new ceilings even adding pine makes homes warmer and provides a touch of cabin-esque feel that buyers are looking for in Tahoe.

2. Remove window treatments, unless they are current and high-end. That cuts the risk of turning off would-be buyers who don’t share your taste. Uncovered windows also let more light into the rooms which can help make your home feel larger and brighter. You can never outguess buyers on window coverings.  Once you’ve got a contract, you can always offer buyers the ones you took down.

3. Return rooms to their original uses. If you’re using your dining room as an office, turn it back into a dining room. If your third bedroom is an office, turn it back into a bedroom. You can, however, display a photo of the room’s other potential use.

4. Replace dirty or worn carpet. You might try cleaning it first, but dirty carpet is always a turnoff for buyers. In Tahoe most times, you’re better off removing the carpet if there are hardwood floors underneath or if the carpet is older than 5 years.

5. Depersonalize. That means packing away family photos and taking the children’s drawings (and everything else) off the refrigerator. You want a new family to envision themselves living in the home. This will also provide you with a less daunting task when you go to move your things from the home when it sells.

6. Clean thoroughly. Do a deep cleaning before you put your home on the market so everything shines. Be sure to wash the windows, launder curtains and blinds, cleanup the yard of pine needles and other debris that hide the natural landscaping.

7. Paint. Your children may love their purple room, but a prospective buyer probably won’t. Repaint all rooms in neutral colors. A fresh coat of paint also makes the house look newer and more modern. It also will brighten up a home and it is a low cost fix.

8. Improve your landscape. Put down fresh sod, replace tired bushes with new ones and add some color, either with flower beds or potted flowers. Even just a little bit goes a long way it shows prospective buyers the home has been cared for.

9. Spruce up your entryway. Buy a new front door or paint the old one. If your house number and mailbox look tired, buy and install new ones. A new doormat is also a good feature to show prospective buyers that the home is welcoming.

10. Change out light fixtures and plumbing fixtures. Gold light fixtures are long outdated, and brass is less popular than brushed nickel. Replacing outdated ceiling fixtures and bathroom faucets can give your home a modern touch for a minimal investment. Nothing dates a home like brass and gold light fixtures.

11. Clarify any spaces that might confuse buyers. If you have an odd alcove, add a desk or a dresser – something that will suggest how the space is best used. Don’t keep would-be buyers guessing. Providing staging in odd areas of homes gives a prospective buyer an option they may not have considered.

12. Do partial renovations. Rather than gutting an old bathroom, for example, consider just installing a new vanity and refacing the existing tub. In the kitchen, keep the old cabinets or paint them white, you can also replace the counter tops and the hardware to freshen a dated kitchen and it is less likely to cost a fortune. Remember kitchens and baths sell homes.


RECALL notice: White-Rodgers Recalls Thermostats-FIRE HAZARD

White-Rodgers Recalls Home Heating and Cooling Thermostats Due to Fire Hazard

More than one million thermostats sold in the United States and Canada since 2006 are being recalled because the batteries can leak and cause a fire.

Product: The thermostats are made by White-Rodgers, but some have different brand names printed on the front, including ComfortSentry, DICO, Emerson, Frigidaire, Maytag, Nutone, Partners Choice, Rheem, Ruud, Unico, Water Furnace, Westinghouse and Zonefirst.

Hazard: The alkaline batteries used in the thermostat can leak onto the circuit board posing a fire hazard.

Remedy: Consumers should check thermostats for battery icon on the left side of the blue lighted screen, if the battery icon is not shown, contact White-Rodgers to receive a free repair or a replacement thermostat.

Consumer Contact: White-Rodgers toll-free at (888) 624-1901 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday 

April 2014 Market Stats

email market reports

Prepare for New Retrofitting Law in California

Conserve Water, Save Money, and Prepare for New Retrofitting Law
Courtesy of car.org
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, property owners who obtain permits to remodel a property that was built prior to 1994 are required to retrofit with toilets that use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, shower heads with flow rates of no more than 2.5 gallons per minute, and other interior fixtures that use less than 2.2 gallons of water per minute

This applies to all single-family property permits, as well as multifamily and commercial property permits where 10 percent or more of the square footage is included in the remodel.

By Jan. 1, 2017, all residential properties in California that were built prior to 1994 will need to be in compliance with water fixtures as outlined above, which will bring them up to the same standards as homes built since 1994.

Camping in Lake Tahoe






Lake Tahoe offers many camping options from back packing to car camping with Lake Tahoe views. To check out available camping areas and to see what works for your friends and family check out the printable map of campgrounds around the lake.

Campground map


Snowmobiling map

Lake Tahoe has some very fun and exciting areas to snowmobile and explore the back country in Lake Tahoe.   As we have a lot of protected areas there are still areas offering amazing terrain for a printable map of areas to go explore click on the link below.

snowmobile area map

10 Things to check before buying a home

As most of us learn things the hard way this short list offers some very important things that should be checked before signing the papers to buy a new home. Scheduling inspections is always good because they able to give you an overview of condition and look over the place to make sure you’re termite and flood/mold damage free, but these following items fall into a different category — the immediate honey-do list!

Knowing there will always be cosmetic changes to make to a new home, trying to avoid costly repairs upon first moving in is always a bonus its seems there is always something. Being able to save that money for the couch of your dreams, or even just for gas and groceries can be extra beneficial especially for first time home buyers who are still adjusting to new budgets that now  include a mortgage.

Here’s a few items to check before you make the final commitment and inherit possible issues.


1. Check The Drains And Water Pressure In The Shower: This might sound silly, but anyone who has taken a low water pressure shower understands shampoo stays in the hair with out this type of test. Checking the drains is also very important running water to see if the sinks and bathtubs are draining adequately important plumbers don’t come cheap.

2. Open All The Windows: Replacing windows isn’t fun and it isn’t cheap either. Open them all to find out if they stick, are stuck or just refuse to open.

3. Turn On All The Faucets: Although changing out faucets isn’t exactly rocket science it’s always a pain to lay under a cabinet and reach for the sky with funny tools to get things removed. Just check to make sure they all work before buying to eliminate the back ache. Checking for leaks in the faucet is also a good way to gauge if a new faucet is needed.

4. Turn On Appliances To Test The Electrical: Most homes built today are able to handle the dishwasher and other appliances while they are running but its always good to check for yourself as some older homes may not have the electrical updated this could cause problems when you move in by flipping the breaker.

5. Taste The Water: This lesson is always learned the hard way. Even if your city has great water, your pipes might be old enough that they’ll send a little extra something out of the tap and into your glass. Knowing up front if you’ll need to install a whole house filter or invest in a few Brita pitchers is always helpful. Luckily Lake Tahoe boasts some pretty amazing mountain tap water.

6. Flush The Toilets: Knowing that all the toilets in the home can handle toilet paper is a bonus. Although they’re easy enough to replace or fix, finding ones that flush well are a bonus. If you’re dissatisfied they could issue you money back to make the replacement in order to get you to sign on the dotted line!

7. Open The Electrical Panel: A clean and labeled panel is a happy panel. Something that looks like squirrels got up inside can signal trouble. Lookout for loose wires or ones that simply don’t connect to anything.

8. Turn On The Heat/Air: Knowing that the heat works adequately prior to actually needing it can be a serious bonus. Check to make sure the furnace blows its respective temperature in addition to just turning on.

9. Pull The Carpet Back: Before you move in, you’ll want to find out if there’s any mold or mildew or water stains under the carpets. Look for the lowest side of the room and if possible pull a corner back. Many homeowners will have a section of carpet removed in a closet to allow you to see the condition of the floors below.

10. Attic And Crawl Space Moisture: Although most home inspectors will sniff this one out for you, look for signs of dampness or plain old water stains. A well ventilated attic is a happy attic that allows air to flow and mold to not grow. Crawl space moisture is typically signs of possible leaks and looking for compacted dirt can alert you to a leak from the past. SO grab a flashlight and take a peak better safe than wet.

The Home Buying Process

A lot of sellers and buyers alike wonder how most homes are sold the infographic below is a perfect example of where buyers and sellers are going to find or sell homes. In times when there is market uncertainty its clear using a REALTOR sells your home and makes for a better buying experience. If you are looking to sell or buy a home in the future use a REALTOR.


Tips for bear-proofing your home

Tips for bear-proofing your home

Never Feed the Bears! Not Ever!
Report any neighbors or visitors who are doing so to the BEAR League  530-525-PAWS (7297)

  •  Make bird feeders inaccessible to bears or take them down.
  • Do not leave accessible windows or doors open. Screens are not bear-proof.
  •  Be sure your doors are solid wood or metal and install and use heavy deadbolts.
  • Spray Pinesol on window and door casings to mask food odors coming from inside. Repeat often.
  • Check out deterrents at www.rexplus.com and think seriously about getting a motion activated barking dog device.
  • Replace single pane windows with double pane.
  • If your house is not permanently occupied (if is a vacation home) it is highly recommended that all food be removed between visits or rentals and while the house is unoccupied. Bears smell spices, teas, and other food through the walls and normal bear instinct dictates that they use their claws, teeth and incredible strength to get at it.
  •  Securely block access to under-house crawl spaces.
  • Leave lights and radio or TV on when not at home.
  • Do not use DeCon. It attracts bears.
  • Don’t leave any garbage near the house.
  •  Don’t leave pet food outside and don’t feed pets outside.
  • Don’t leave food in cars. Roll up windows and lock doors.
  • Don’t talk nicely to bears who come near your house. Make them think you will harm them.
  • Be aggressive with them.
  • Use a paintball gun to scare a bear if he comes into your yard.
  •  Yell or blow a boat horn to let the bear know he’s unwelcome in your yard. When he turns to run throw a rock at him.
  • Be dominant, not submissive, if a bear comes onto your property.