So you want to build your own home?

What homeowner, over the years, hasn't considered this? Even those of us who have bought fully remodeled homes, come to see over time the little nuances of finish quality or floor plan that we would do differently if we were to do it ourselves ... the kitchen really needed a walk-in pantry, or the formal living room that seemed like such a great idea when you bought the home now feels like a waste of space. The list goes on.

Building is a great idea. Right up there with quitting your day job to take up writing or glass blowing, it's fraught with just about as much risk and unforeseen challenges. I know because I tried it. Almost 20 years ago, after losing a house we wanted desperately with sweeping view of Mt.…

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Mistake #1

OK, so you have made the decision to move ... or maybe you have to move for work, and you need to get your home sold quickly. Knowing no one in the business, you go with the gal your uncle recommended because she seems like a nice person and she agrees with you that your home is worth more than the one around the corner that sold for less. A week goes by with no offers. Then two. In fact, there are not only no offers; there are no requests for showings.

Now what?  Well, the sad truth is that your home is about to settle to the bottom of the pond.

Buying a Listing

Real estate is a very competitive business, and in the push to get a new listing, some agents will tell sellers what they want to hear to get a signature on the bottom…

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As a realtor who works both sides of Lake Tahoe, I like to share with my clients the tax differences between the California and the Nevada side of the lake. As many people know, Nevada has no state income tax, no tax on inheritance, and no pension tax. But property tax bills can present similarly significant savings on the Nevada side of lake Tahoe.

Two lakefront properties that are currently for sale present an excellent example of how this is possible.  One is on the California side of the lake in Star Harbor, a marina just outside of Tahoe City fed by a year-round creek, with natural water features, and floating docks (in a good water year). It's Unit 20, pictured here, a beautifully remodeled lakefront 3-bedroom priced a bit above $1.5 million.

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During the many years I lived in Tahoe Donner, one of my favorite spots was the Euer Valley, a pristine stretch of the High Sierra long owned by the family that bears its name. For many years, access to the valley floor was limited to the winter months, when the Tahoe Donner homeowner's association leased it for their cross country ski operations (38 miles of beautiful - and groomed - terrain).  The Euers ran cattle in the valley during the summer, and bikes or joggers were not allowed. That changed in 2011, when Tahoe Donner purchased almost 500 acres of the valley for year-round use. And a good thing is about to get even better ...

 Tahoe Donner is adding another 640 acres to this open space paradise with the purchase of Crabtree Canyon and the…

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Some of Reno's most popular condo complexes are showing strong gains over last year, with median sales prices in areas like Silver Creek and Fleur de Lis up 30 to almost 40% over 2015.  At Silver Creek, just off the Robb Drive exit in NW Reno, 12 units (2+ bedrooms) sold in the 1st quarter of this year, compared to just 4 at this time last year. And the median sales price at Silver Creek is up to $157,500, just $1k under the median asking price. The highest price for a 2-bedroom so far this year is $165,000, and one of the 3-bedroom models fetched almost $190k.

With summer approaching, sales of condos like these with swimming pools tend to benefit from the rising mercury.  The Resort at Tanamera, which has a year-round heated pool, has seen prices…

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An analysis of 1st Quarter home and condo sales in Tahoe/Truckee reveals that Tahoe Donner posted the strongest gains over this time last year.  From January to March of this year, 73 homes were sold in Tahoe Donner, more than a 50% gain over 2015. The median sales price also rose to $584,000, with the most expensive being a 4-bedroom home on Skislope that sold for $1.3 million cash (more than $200,000 over the asking price).  The "Lodgettes" near the Tahoe Donner ski area remained the most affordable way to dip a toe into the resort market, with prices still below the $80,000 mark for a studio.

Sales at the Lake were down slightly compared to the 1st quarter of 2015, with Tahoe City and the North Shore communities holding a steady pace with last…

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Up for a day of outdoor exercise, good food & fine wine?  Check out the "Taste of Truckee" event on Sunday, March 19 at the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Center. Popular Truckee restaurants like Drunken Monkey, FiftyFifty Brewery & Morgan's Lobster Shack will serving up tasty bites, and local wineries will be pouring. Tickets are on sale here.

Tahoe Donner's Cross Country Center is one of the best in the country (voted #3 by USA today), featuring 38 miles of groomed trails to match all levels of skiers & skaters. Cruise gentle hills into the Euer Valley, a 500-acre pristine alpine meadow purchased a few years ago by the TD Homeowner's Association.  Or climb up to Drifter Hut (elev. 7,635) for stunning views of Donner Lake and the Pacific Crest. Lesson…

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   Once again, Truckee has been voted the "best ski town" in North America, beating out Whistler, Sun Valley & many others in a recent Curbed Ski competition. Truckee's proximity to Lake Tahoe and a host of awesome ski areas made it the top pick among ski.curbed fans.   Add the latest ribbon to the top awards Truckee's gotten from NatGeo, Sunset Magazine and Travel + Leisure.  An article in the San Jose Mercury News says it's not just the great snow and diversity of outdoor activities that makes Truckee special, it's the smorgasbord of diverse restaurants, from fine dining to authentic ethnic cuisine, and the host of local hotel options. It's a railroad town that's retained its 19th Century charm while moving gracefully into all that the 21st…

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Check out today's Wall Street Journal for an interesting national take on what's happening in Reno and the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.  ("Reno Sees Future, and It Isn't Casinos" WSJ 10/24/15)

Old news, perhaps, for those who have seen the Industrial park grow to a size that dwarfs even Reno itself. With private rail connections to the Union Pacific, industrial park businesses can get a cargo container delivered to the Port of Oakland and have it shipped via rail to their back door.  For internet-based businesses, this means one-day shipping from Seattle to San Diego. Combine that with Nevada's favorable tax climate, easy access to Interstate 80 and an eager supply of workers, and you have an incredible cocktail for business success.

I first…

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One topic that's really gotten a lot of discussion in my circles lately has been downtown Reno, and by extension, what we call "Midtown." A year ago, I tried to convince a newspaper friend of mine from the City (caps for SF) to consider an article about the changes taking place here.  Mark Estee, a Johnson and Wales-trained chef who has been taking over the downtown culinary scene had recently opened his Heritage Restaurant on the bottom floor of the Whitney Peak Hotel (no smoking, no slot machines, and the hotel that broke the Reno mold is getting great reviews from as far afield as England as Reno's new "hip" hangout ~ fancy that). It was a tough sell.

But since that time, I have seen the transformation first-hand. Downtown Reno, long a freeway ad…

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