Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's a dog's life...

What to do with your pooch in Tahoe? Having 2 canine children myself, I have some ideas on dog friendly places and other useful information. (Jasper is the big gray one, Lily is the spotted one.)

If you are going to partake in the fun at Northstar or Squaw, both villages are very dog friendly. Don't be surprised to find water bowls outside stores and treats inside. Leashes are a must! Your animal friend will think the these Villages were made just for them.
Most hiking and biking trails are dog friendly. You will want to make sure you know whether it is a "leash required" trail or a "voice command" trail (meaning that your dog does not have to be on a leash but must be in control).
The beaches around Lake Tahoe are fairly restrictive regarding dogs (for obvious reasons). Check out this link and scroll down to "Lake Tahoe" to see where it is ok for the pooches to play.

For a more laid back water experience, try Boca or Stampede reservoirs, just off the Hirschdale exit on I-80. These are both beautiful reservoirs with warmer water and nice views. Bring your beach chairs and an umbrella while your dog frolics in the water. You can drive right down to the waters edge in some places.

Staying in a pet-unfriendly place, but still want your dog in Tahoe? Try the Truckee-Tahoe kennels. I have not boarded my dogs there but know a lot of people who have. All good reviews.

Need a vet? I have recently discovered a place that my older dog Jasper LOVES. (Yes, you read that right. My dog loves the vet...just this vet though). The Animal Outpatient Care Center, Dr. Brooks Bloomfield 530-587-5144. They have been amazing with my dogs and me...they have a whole new spin on how you treat dogs at the vet that is VERY refreshing and good for the dog. Not to mention that the waiting room is full of nice plush dog beds. Sierra Pet Clinic is a good place too.
Squaw hosts the "Bark Fest" not to be missed by dog lovers. Click here for more info. This is a benefit for the Truckee Tahoe Humane Society on Sept. 19 and 20.
And some dog quotes to leave you with...
We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. In return, they give us their all. it’s the best deal man has ever made – m. acklam
If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise – unknown
My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog thinks I am – unknown
Bark on..!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Good Life...

Someone asked me what I had been up to lately, and my answer made them say, "pretty rough life...". (Sarcastically, of course).

Let's see...

Last week, I tubed the Truckee, swam in Donner Lake, went wakesurfing on Lake Tahoe twice (which means that I also went to Garwoods and Sunnyside), went for 4 trail runs, one 20 mile bike ride, a mile swim at the pool at Old Greenwood, and a 2 day camping trip with friends near the Stanislaus river.

This week is shaping up to be just as stellar...I have already been out on Lake Tahoe surfing (Garwoods), on another 20 mile bike ride, several trail runs, and am all set for more swimming and a concert at the Truckee Regional Park tonight, back out to Tahoe tomorrow evening for more surfing.

It really makes a difference when all of these options are right out your door!


1. Tubing the Truckee is very fun, but can be quite a scene. If you are looking to do it with kids, rent a raft in Tahoe City and use the shuttle service. Also weekends are much more crowded and crazy.

2. The bike trails from Tahoe City are GREAT. You can ride on a paved trail from TC to the Village at Squaw for a shorter loop that follows the river (~14 miles) or you can ride from TC to Sugar Pine State Park (~18 mile loop)-this ride has some road crossings and sections where there is no bike path, but is very scenic and fun. You can rent bikes for very reasonably at Porters Outlet in TC ($10 for 2 hours).

3. Open water swimming is hard!! If you are swimming for recreation, stay towards the shore line and try to pick a day that is not so windy. I went on a weekday so there were less "big" boats out on the water.
4. There are some really great trails for running and mountain biking all over this area! Again, check my link to http://www.truckeetrails.org/ but also ask around in outdoor shops. Some of them have great maps and recommendations.

5. Wakesurfing is amazing. It is easy to learn, low impact, and a lot of fun. If you know anyone with a boat who has the right stuff and will teach you how, give it a shot! It can seem intimidating, but really is great. My husband Brad's parents brought some friends out last year and one of their friends surfed on our boat, he was probably 60+ years old and had a blast. My mom has tried it too...so don't be afraid!
6. Truckee Regional Park- Town Concerts are on Wednesdays through August 27th from 6:30-8:30 pm. They are free! Bring a blanket and some snacks and enjoy...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Know Your Real Estate Terminology 101

Most of the folks I talk to every day are pretty real estate savvy. However, it seems that in the past year or so (since the market has gone crazy...) some new language has surfaced that not everyone is familiar with. Here are the terms I get asked about the most and what they mean in today's real estate market.

Short Sale:

A sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. Many lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale and forgive the rest of what is owed on the mortgage when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments. By accepting a short sale, the lender can avoid a lengthy and costly foreclosure, and the owner is able to pay off the loan for less than what he owes. This process can take a lot of time. If you are submitting an offer on a short sale property, expect a 2-4 month time frame and have a lot of patience.


The legal process by which an owner's right to a property is terminated, usually due to default. Typically involves a forced sale of the property at public auction, with the proceeds being applied to the mortgage debt. Auctions can be conducted by the county or by a company that the lender has hired to handle the auction. Auction notices have phone numbers that you can call to get more information on where the auction will take place, what type of funds are approved, etc...When my clients have questions about auction properties, I do a search on the property, pull up the title report to examine any liens, etc...on the property and call the party handling the auction to get the best information.


Real estate owned or REO is a class of property owned by a lender, typically a bank, after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction. After repossession and the property becomes classified as REO, the bank will go through the process of trying to sell the property on its own. It will remove some of the liens and other expenses on the home and try to resell it to the public, either through future auctions or direct marketing through a real estate broker.

So in practical terms, when I look on the MLS to provide my clients information on homes that are listed on the market, there are categories to tell me who is selling the home. I can see if it is a short sale or an REO.

If there are 2 properties that fit my clients' needs, but one is a short sale and another is a "clean" seller, I will know how to set my clients' expectations with regards to what the offer process will be like with each seller.

There are some shocking deals out there right now, it is important that you know what you are getting into when making an offer on a property. Have your bases covered and work with someone who knows what they are doing!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Furnishing your mountain home? Here are some tips...

I found this article while helping one of my clients make a list of interior design companies that he was going to call to furnish their new construction home. I thought it was interesting and had some good tips about "Tahoe" decor... Enjoy!

Next up....
Know the difference between a short sale, REO, foreclosure??? You will soon. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Glass half full?? Thoughts on the real estate market...

I talk to a lot of people every week. The main question I always get asked is, "How is the market up there now"?

My immediate answer is: Much better than it was 6-9 months ago.

How could that be? Well, the Tahoe area was feeling the impacts of the market/banking crash way before the national media was reporting a crisis. Probably 6-9 months before most areas were . So, if this is true, it would make sense that things have been looking up. I don't want to jinx us all, but I also am an optimistic person.

I have talked to a lot of folks who have been around here 25 years + and they say, "Northern California will feel economic impacts first and will be the first to recover". I am hoping this is true.

Here are my main reasons for my "glass half full" attitude:

1. I have personally been swamped with emails, phone calls, appointments, etc...related to real estate, in fact, more so than when the market was "hot".

My take on this is that people want to know what is going on. Where are the good deals? Are things turning around? Are values going up again? And so on...and many of these people are toying with the idea that now IS the time to buy! In a lot of cases, it is! It would be crazy not to buy at 50 cents on the dollar, right?

2. The lending world has loosened up a little. About 9 months ago we could not get ANYONE to lend money to our very well qualified clients on certain properties. Now there are lending groups emerging to get back in the game AND they have proven themselves by actually closing some transactions.

3. I watch the MLS daily, and while prices are still very good, the inventory is getting absorbed. Case in point is Old Greenwood, where 6-7 homes sold at VERY low prices, and now there are few options for folks who come in and say they want "the deal of the century" at Old Greenwood. That "deal" was taken advantage of by other families who are now enjoying their homes over the 4th of July weekend.

4. Sellers are not necessarily desperate. I have noticed in my conversations that there is a general perception that all sellers are desperate and will take anything they can get. Not true. While there are certainly some sellers who are more motivated than others, I have seen increased instances in negotiations where sellers have hit their bottom and are not negotiating below that number. Period. There is some confidence there regarding values that was not there 9 months ago.

5. A lot of people still have money that they want to invest in real estate. I talk with many of them daily. It is just a matter of finding the right situation.