The most common problems discovered during home inspections – and how to fix them!

If you have gone through the trials and tribulations of listing your home and have finally found a buyer, you might be popping champagne and sitting on cloud nine… but you may want to wait until after your home inspection before beginning your celebrations!

Many home buyer contracts include a clause that allows them to rescind if any serious problems are discovered during the inspection process. As a result, many sellers feel (understandably) nervous when it comes to this stage in the sale, but as long as you are prepared for potential issues, you can identify problems, fix them in advance and save the deal.

Here is a list of four of the most common issues found during home inspections – and what you can do to fix them.

  • A leaky roof – A leaky roof can be one of the most costly home repairs to make, and so you might despair if your inspector discovers this program. With that said, there are many simple ways that you can repair your leaking roof, but your best bet is still always to keep up on your maintenance. Having an independent ASHI-certified inspector come to give your roof a ‘check up’ every few years is a great idea.
  • A dark and smelly basement – This common problem is not just the realm of dank old houses; even the basements in new homes can easily become infested with mildew and are prone to leakage and water damage. Basement seepage can eventually become flooding – in order to nip this in the bud, you should invest in professional or DIY waterproofing and leakage prevention.
  • DIY gone wrong – If you fancy yourself a bit of a handyperson around the house, unless you are a real pro your efforts may have in fact caused more problems than they solved! Amateur workmanship can cost you a lot of demerits on a home inspection, so it often pays to have a professional assess all of your past projects and double check that your work is stable.
  • Dangerous wiring – Older homes can often have ungrounded fixtures, improper wiring, spliced wires, over fusing and just plain dangerous electricals. When it comes to wiring, the concern is about so much more than simply your home inspection – it is about the safety of your family. Shoddy electrical in your home can cause fires, and so this should be seen to as soon as possible.

Selling your Lake Tahoe home is an exciting process, but after taking care of all of the details above you might find yourself overwhelmed or unsure of how to best prepare your home for further inspections. Your best option is to consult with a professional who can help you every step of the way. The realtors at Homes at Tahoe, Century 21 are well versed in all of the steps involved in a successful transaction, and they can help you get the best price without the headache.

As long as you are prepared for your home inspection, you have nothing to worry about. Assess your home and get started on any changes that need to be made today.


How to Avoid Disputes with Moving Companies

South Lake Tahoe moving companyMoving house can be a difficult chore. If you have ever packed and moved an entire home’s worth of furniture, possessions, appliances and clothing then you know better than anyone just how stressful and exhausting this can be. The process can stretch on and on for days (or even weeks), and the upheaval in your life can feel unending.
In order to reduce your stress and help the moving process feel less chaotic, many people elect to hire a moving company in order to transport their belongings, box up their home’s contents and even unpack and help them get settled at their new home.

It is this expectation of ease and trust that can make it all the more shattering when disputes arise with your moving company. Broken objects, missed deadlines, ballooning invoices and simple intrapersonal conflict – all of these things can lead to a disagreement with your movers.

Moving is stressful enough without conflict. Here are some tips that can help you avoid potential disputes with your moving company. 

  • Minimize your possessions – One of the best ways to avoid disputes is to minimize the amount of possessions you have in the first place! You don’t want to have to pay for boxes of old junk to be transported between houses, so you should cleanse your space as much as possible before you move. Consider having a garage sale, donating to charity or simply junking those items that are cluttering your space – you will feel better, lighter and owe your movers less!
  • Ask for a recommendation – One of the best ways to avoid arguments with your moving company is to get a recommendation for a great one in the first place. Ask friends, local real estate agents, colleagues and acquaintances and gain a trusted referral.
  • Agree on a contract with penalties for late delivery – The last thing you want is a so-called “hostage delivery” (when a moving company holds your belongings until their payment is agreed)! In order to avoid this, agree in advance to a contract that both parties sign. This contract should have stipulations for what will happen in the event of weight overages (you will owe more) and late deliveries (they will charge less). This contract is important – read every aspect carefully, and insist on changes if you are not comfortable.
  • Move your most precious items yourself – Movers aren’t perfect, and mistakes do happen. It is always a good idea to keep precious heirlooms, antique jewelry, expensive items, laptops, tablets and anything else of sentimental value with you in your vehicle at all times. Don’t casually throw irreplaceable objects in boxes and trust they will be fine – if you can’t be without it, it should stay with you.

This time is stressful enough – you don’t need an argument on your hands! By following these simple tips you can help to minimize the potential for disputes with your moving company.

Image Credit: © Shannon Fagan | – Movers unloading a moving van, passing a cardboard box

5 Things Tahoe homeowners should consider when pricing their homes

If you are like most shoppers, you probably have a rough idea of the average cost of consumer items and could take a pretty accurate guess at the price of most goods – but home prices can be incredibly hard to determine from first glance. Countless small factors and details are considered when properly and accurately pricing a home – after all, your home is unique, and so is your ideal buyer.

If you are considering selling your home, here is a list of five important things that you should consider when working with your local South Lake Tahoe real estate agent in order to come up with a realistic, advantageous and (hopefully) profitable price.

1. Spend time pouring over recent listings

The very first thing you should do is look at all recent sales (as well as active listings) of homes that are similar to yours in the South Lake Tahoe area (all while remembering that seemingly small differences – and even décor – can spell out a big difference in price). It is wise to only look as far back as three months; a lot can change in a short period of time on the market. As a hint – pending sales are often the most helpful.

2. Remember – all homes are unique!

You may look at another home that has a current pending sale online or in the newspaper and feel confident that it is the same as yours; after all, it is a 3000 square foot, 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home on a half acre lot, so of course the prices should be the same, right? Wrong. The other home might have a bizarre lay out, an old, dated look and need extensive restoration. Or, it could be a true stunner with gorgeous interior decorating and a large, open floor plan – you just never know. This shows you that looking at comparable homes is helpful, but not 100% fool proof.

3. Your agent should be your number one resource

You have a lot of time, energy and happy memories invested in your home, and so it is natural that you will want to be heavily involved in the pricing process, but your real estate agent is the expert in the South Lake Tahoe market. Let them help you – work with them and rely on and trust their expertise, but always do some independent research so that you are in the know.


4. Small nuances in the market will affect price

Understand that each comparable home requires some serious research before calling it a “comp.” A house down the block may seem like it’s the same location as yours, but it could be in a different school or tax district, which will affect its value.

A smaller home may have sold for 20 percent more than yours, but maybe it was on a double lot that could be split, which makes it more valuable to a builder or developer.

If you see a nearby home with a price that seems off the mark, there must be a reason. Dig deeper to uncover what it is, and realize that the home may not, in fact, be a comparable one.

5. Go see homes for sale

Rarely does anyone decide to sell overnight. Once you realize a sale is in your future, get out and see what’s in your market. Check out open houses nearby to see the interiors for yourself.

Homes you see in January will likely be pending or closed by the time you list in April. Or they may still be on the market, which is an indication of poor pricing.

Check out the different floor plans, finishes and fixtures of nearby homes for sale, and consider whether each is more or less valuable than yours.

The best seller is the informed one. So don’t rely solely on your agent’s word about a particular house, or the market in general.


Top Tips for Selling Your Own Home in Tahoe

If you are considering making a move to a new home or property in the Lake Tahoe area, then it is time to start thinking about how you plan to sell your current home. While common sense dictates that you should use a trained real estate professional in order to achieve the best results possible, there are plenty of people out there who claim that selling your own home is the best way to go.

If you elect to sell your own home in Tahoe, here are some great tips that will help you to get the best price possible in a “for sale by owner” transaction.

  • Ensure your home looks it’s very best – Treat this process as a time to make your home look its absolute best; in fact, it should look so good that you have second thoughts about moving at all! If you are unsure how to do so, consider hiring a professional cleaner and a professional home staging expert.
  • Write a great listing ad – Your listing ad is one of the most important factors when it comes to attracting desirable buyers to your home. Many people scan ads quickly; ensure your ad highlights all of the main benefits of your property in easy to read language. Writing not your forte? Consider hiring a writer to help you with your ad and/ or scan this list of tips that will help you write a winning listing.
  • Take amazing photos – Similar to the point above, the photos that you include in your ad are important to the success of your listing. Ensure that you use a camera with a high number of megapixels, and use natural lighting whenever possible. Not confident in your photography prowess? It might be best to hire a professional.
  • Set your price realistically – You should research the Tahoe market extensively and ensure that you know how much your property is worth. Setting a reasonable price is more difficult than it seems – you may want to consult with contractors, landscapers and appraisers in order to determine your ideal number.
  • Yard signs are key – Though the internet and social media is more important that ever when selling a home in Tahoe, never underestimate the power of a yard sign. Ensure that these are professionally printed and include all relevant information.

These are only a few of the things you will need to consider and organize if you plan to sell your own home; this process, though seemingly simple at first, is actually quite involved. Many people who choose to go this route report wishing they had hired a professional real estate agent in the first place, as the small additional fees are certainly worth the headache. Real estate agents arrange for all photography and listing content, yard signs and advise on price and staging.

Whether you choose to sell your home in a “for sale by owner” fashion or hire the services of a tried and true Lake Tahoe industry expert, we wish you the best of luck and a smooth sale process.

What to Do When You Buy Your New Home in South Lake Tahoe

Whether you are moving to South Lake Tahoe, CA on a permanent, year round basis or you are investing in a vacation home in order to take advantage of the crystal waters in the summer and the epic powder in the winter, you have just purchased a little piece of heaven. People all over the globe clamor for the quality of life and stunning beauty that South Lake Tahoe can offer, and now is the time to start settling in and nesting in your new home.

Here are some great tips that can help you during this exciting time as you move in to your new home.

  • Check for any leaks – Leaks can cause unsightly damage, structural problems and will cost you a fortune if left unchecked. Your house inspector will have already done an assessment, but there is never any harm in checking again. Have a thorough look at all taps, faucets and toilets in your home, including the oft-overlooked vegetable sprayer. Have a look at your water meter, and then check it again two to four hours later when no one has used any water – if the numbers are different, you clearly have a leak.
  • Change the locks – Let’s face it – you never really know who has keys to the existing locks, do you? Better be safe than sorry – replacing locks can be a simple DIY process, or you can call a locksmith for a professional job. The peace of mind that this simple step affords is well worth the minimal cost involved.
  • Assess your surroundings – You are in South Lake Tahoe, CA – this is truly one of the most amazing places on the planet. If you haven’t done so already, scout out your neighborhood and all nearby amenities and start making plans for all of the activities you and your family can soon start enjoying.
  • Familiarize yourself with all utilities – This is a great time to do a complete walk through and ensure that you understand how to use all appliances (including sourcing any missing manuals), know where your circuit breaker box is located and find the aforementioned water meter. Better now than in a future emergency.
  • Do a thorough clean – Whether you do this yourself or hire a professional cleaning service, a full deep clean of your new home will make you feel like you are truly at home, free of the dirt left behind by the previous occupants. Make sure that you don’t forget the insides of cupboards and closets – these areas are often coated in sticky residues that get missed the first time around.

Still haven’t completed the search for your perfect home in South Lake Tahoe, CA? Myriad highly rated, professional real estate agents are working eagerly for your business in the region – get in contact today, get results and soon you’ll be completing your own new home walk through.

The 8 Most Important Questions To Ask Your Agent Before Hiring

Hiring the perfect real estate agent can be a difficult process. In any given area there are dozens, if not more, real estate agents to choose from. Your real estate agent is one of the most important decisions you’re going to make during the buying process.

A lot of first-time homebuyers, or those who are buying in a new area for the first time, will end up asking a friend for a referral. This isn’t a bad idea, but sometimes the agent they recommend won’t be the right fit for your needs.

Below we outline the most common questions you’ll want to ask any agent you’re thinking about working with.

Questions To Ask Your Referral Contact

If you are considering working with the agent that one of your friends refers, then make sure you ask your contact the following questions.

1. What Are Your Main Methods Of Communication?

In real estate communication is everything. You need to ensure your communication styles match up. For instance, if the agent only communicates via email, but you prefer to discuss over the phone, then the relationship might not work.

2. Were There Any Drawbacks To Working With The Agent?

Ask your friend to be honest about their experience. Was there anything they wished the agent could have done better? You need to trust the agent you’re working with.

3. How Knowledgeable Were They About The Market?

Knowledge is incredibly important. You need to work with an agent who’s constantly up to date on the latest properties for sale, and has access to other insider information. It’s also incredibly helpful if the agent already has experience working within your desired location.

Questions To Ask Your Potential Agent

If you’re considering working with an agent you found on your own, then it’s a great idea to ask them the following questions.

1. Do You Do Real Estate Full Time?

Full-time agents tend to have more knowledge about the market than part-time agents. Part-time agents might also have other obligations that could detract from the sales process.

2. Have You Worked In My Target Neighborhood Before?

Having actual experience within the neighborhood or area you’re considering buying in can be very helpful. When an agent is comfortable and has sold properties within a specific area there’s a chance they’ll have more relevant knowledge.

3. How Will We Communicate and How Often?

As mentioned above how your agent communicates with you is incredibly important. Make sure you cover preferred methods of communication, and if they’re willing to adjust to your needs.

4. Do You Work With A Team, Or Are You Solo?

Having a team that assists the agent can be very helpful. This will enable to agent to do more in less time, and will reduce your stress knowing there’s always someone available to help.

5. Do You Represent Both Sides Of The Transaction?

Sometimes agents can work as a dual agent. This means they can represent both the buyer and the seller. In some places this is common practice, while in other areas it’s very rare. If you’re uncomfortable about this, then make sure this is communicated up front.

By asking the right questions you can increase your chances of finding the right agent. If you’re looking for the perfect agent in the Lake Tahoe area we hope you consider our team.