Browse Lakefront Homes for Sale
At 22 miles long, and 12 miles wide, Lake Tahoe is second largest lake in the world found at this elevation of roughly 6,200 feet. Thanks to years of conservation efforts, the waters of Lake Tahoe really are as clear and blue as you see in the photos of these beautiful lakefront homes. (Read more)
Tahoe Lakefront Homes
A true lakefront (where you can walk out your back door and dip a toe in the water) will run you anywhere from $1 million to $40 million, with many attractive options in the $5 to $12 million range. Development around the lake is governed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), which assigns a "coverage" score to each property that determines the footprint of what can be built. So while it's not uncommon to see smaller lakefront cabins being torn down to construct more elegant estate-type homes, the governmental controls keep a check on the scale of what can be built in the Basin, and that tends to keep lakefront properties at a premium.
TRPA also governs the construction of piers and buoys, a confusing set of rules that surprises some East Coast or international buyers, who have grown up with the idea that owning a lakefront home means you have the right to build a dock for your boat. (And you do, even in Tahoe; it just requires the proper application and permits, and not everyone who applies will be granted permission.) The new Shoreline Plan, adopted by TRPA in 2018, outlines a series of rules and regulations that are, in some respects, less stringent than what had previously been in place. (The leniency has been fueled in part in recent years by Nevada's threat to pull out of the bi-state compact (click here for an article I wrote on this)
*If you are eyeing a lakefront property that does not already have a permitted pier, please feel free to contact me for more information.
Lakefront Condo Options
If your budget is at or under $1 million, there are a number of lakefront condos that offer waterfront living and views without the hefty price tag of a home on the water. The HOA fees can be high at many of these condos, but they come with outstanding amenities such as shared piers, buoy fields, swimming pools, and white sand beaches in some cases. Some also cash flow nicely as rentals, but I caution buyers against viewing their Tahoe home or condo as a straight "investment" opportunity. Revenue neutral is a good approach to looking at the bottom line ... if you make enough on renting to cover the expenses of your Tahoe home, you're doing good. After all, it's a lifestyle investment, and there's no linear formula to calculate the ROI of family memories or a Legacy property.
Incline Village Real Estate
The lake is divided down the middle between California and Nevada, with the Nevada side beginning in the north at Crystal Bay, one of the deepest parts of the lake at more than 1,600 feet. The shoreline is steep there, and lined with a series of lakefront condos that offer outstanding views. Incline Village is perched at the northern tip of the Nevada side. With two golf courses, a fitness center with tennis courts, and beaches reserved for residents, Incline Village is a community unto itself. It has become somewhat of a tax haven for California billionaires seeking to take shelter beneath Nevada's favorable tax climate, and the gorgeous lakefront mansions here along Lakeshore Boulevard are a testament to that wealth -- often selling for cash.
The Lakeview and Mill Creek neighborhoods of Incline are very walkable, and it's common throughout the year to see pedestrians and joggers on the 3-mile paved trail along Lakeshore Boulevard. The trail runs from Ski Beach at the eastern end of Incline to Burnt Cedar beach at the west end of town. Ski Beach, near the Hyatt, has a boat launch, year-round kayak storage, and makes fora great dog beach in winter (no dogs in summer). And Burnt Cedar offers a fenced children's playground, as well as a heater pool that's open during the summer months.
Incline is its own MLS, and not all of the homes for sale here will turn up in other searches. If you are considering Incline Village, please contact me to set up a direct search on the Incline MLS. As a member of the Incline Board of Realtors, I would be happy to make appointments to show you any homes of interest here.
Lake Tahoe's East Shore
From Incline, the lakefronts wind along the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe, which is one of the most beautiful drives in the country. Beyond the gated community of Glenbrook, you have dotted lakefront estates stretching past Cave Rock and into Zephyr Cove, the banana belt of the East Shore with miles of walkable trails and easy access to restaurants and shops. Stateline, aptly named for its South Shore location on the dividing line with California's South Shore, has undergone a transformation in recent years. Edgewood Tahoe, a tony lodge on the famed golf course that bears its name, opened in 2017 with two restaurants, multiple lounges, and beautiful outdoor venues to enjoy the lake. Whole Foods is coming soon. And if we're lucky, Stateline will hopefully take its lead from Reno, where a couple of upscale hotels are now free of smoking and slot machines.
South Lake Tahoe
Cross the state line, and viola! No casinos, and no slot machines. South Lake Tahoe was remade almost a decade ago when Marriott came to town. The Heavenly gondola was moved to the center of town, and the old motels and mom-n-pop shops were bulldozed to make way for the new (not without controversy, for sure, but this was back when California still had "redevelopment," and the rights of eminent domain could be invoked to tear down the old to make room for the new). However you feel about the process, the result is a makeover that's brought new life to what had historically been a sleeper town for the casinos. Lakefronts here range in scale from waterfront estates with grassy lawns and sandy beaches, to the Tahoe Keys, a 1960s dredging project that created an inland marina where owners can park their boats in front of their houses.
Up the West Shore, and you cross the land bridge, a narrow stretch of Highway 89 that separates Fallen Leaf Lake to the west with Tahoe to the east. It's a white knuckle, amazingly scenic drive that's often closed during the winter for safety. On to Rubicon Bay. With its shallow turquoise waters and broad sandy beaches, Rubicon Bay is a pristine stretch of untouched Tahoe ... close enough to Emerald Bay to make for fantastic boating, but far enough from stores and restaurants that you have to prize solitude to want to make this your home.
Lake Tahoe & Truckee Neighborhood Profiles
The West Shore, with its A-frame cabins and wooded neighborhoods, smacks of "Old Tahoe." Shoreline buoy fields dot the lakefront here between estate properties and the famed Fleur de Lac (the old Henry Kaiser estate that's been transformed into standalone townhomes). Continue north to Tahoe City, a hub of summer activity and the spot where Lake Tahoe flows into the Truckee River.
Tahoe. Straddling two states, six counties and hundreds of neighborhoods, it's one Big Lake! Why not work with someone who knows it well. After all, your goals don't stop at the state line. Why should your Realtor? ~ Jackie