I was invited to go to Nicaragua on a Medical/Dental Mission trip by a longtime Tahoe friend and I said “Yes”. Way back when, I was a dental assistant and they needed one on this trip. We had no dental instruments or supplies built up in reserve as this was a first mission of this type for my friend who generally does construction projects in Central American countries. I made a few phone calls and was amazed at the generosity of all my old dental contacts so we had more than enough to do the job.

We went to a very poor area in the north western part of Nicaragua called San Ramon and Bonete #7 (which is a word similar to borough) to serve the people, some of them had walked 6 hours to get there. I was told it would be hot, but it was HOT. The work was hard in hard in dirty, smelly places. We were able to provide basic medical services and the Tahoe dentist and I helped approximately two hundred people with pain relief (extractions) over four and a half days of clinics. It was a stretch for everyone and nerves were frayed at the end but I just had to think that I would be cool, comfy (with enough food to eat) at home soon but the Nicaraguans would still be right where we left them. I hope I don’t forget them and their conditions as I see how rich we are here. I am glad I had something to give to these people who gave me so much more than they know.

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Beat the Banks at Their Own Game

Year to date in South Lake Tahoe there have been 42 single family homes that have closed escrow.  I continue to see the number of bank owned and short sale properties making up over 50% of the market.  Especially surprising numbers since that type of listing is just 19% of the properties that are for sale.

Sold Stats for 2010

  • 42 Sold Listings in 2010                    
  • 15 REOs
  •   9 Short Sales
  •   Comprising 57% of total homes sold

Active Listings Stats

  • 307 Single Family Properties Currently Listed (Not in Escrow)
  •   24   REOs
  •   34  Short Sales
  • Comprising 19% of Market Total

Pending Listing Stats (Homes in Escrow)

  • 87 Listings Currently in Escrow
  • 20 REOs
  • 45 Short Sales
  • Comprising nearly 75% of the Total Homes in Escrow

These numbers are amazing to me because they show that the distressed properties are selling and other listings are not.  I would caution any seller who attempts to navigate these turbulent times of home selling to price their home boldly, perhaps even a bit under the current market value to play the same game as the banks.  This strategy can create a “feeding frenzy” and savvy sellers could end up with multiple offers which can go over the listed price.  Otherwise you may be looking at a listing that can languish on the market without activity for months while the value continues to decline.  If you need to sell a property now,  price courageously and get the listing on as many websites as possible with an agent who has access to an extensive National Distribution Network on the Internet.

Tahoe Keys Bear

What a great day here in South Lake Tahoe. We were just working away, happy to be inside the warm office when “What to our wondering eyes should appear?” No, not a reindeer, but a a big black bear right across the street from the office on Tahoe Keys Blvd. He (she?) was just lumbering along then decided to dash safely away from the oncoming cars (approaching slowly, as this is a BIG BEAR). After about ten minutes our Bear friend wandered off down Council Rock probably looking a a place to sleep for a few months.Tahoe Keys Bear

What’s The Deal With These Little Cabins Along Highway 50?


Cabin on Echo Summit
Cabin on Echo Summit


Did you ever ask yourself this question as you were driving up to Tahoe along the Highway 50 corridor?  There are an amazing number  little cabins beginning at about Whitehall.  Well . . . the answer is they are mostly recreation residences, or Forest Service Cabins.  There are almost 600 of them on on the El Dorado National Forest and that includes those in the Lake Tahoe Basin.  You can buy these cabins, not the land, just the cabins when the present owners wish to sell them.  It is sort of like buying a car or a boat because they are considered personal property in the form of improvements on land that is owned by the public, you and me.  You get to use the land with a 20 year special use permit (not a 99 year lease) issued by the Forest Service.  There is a yearly fee for the land use and, get this, you also pay real property taxes at about 1.1% of the purchase price to the county where the cabin is located.  They tell me taxes are charged because you receive county services for your cabin which is good, especially if you need a fire truck or a paramedic.  These are cash transactions and there may not be winter access or winter water, so are you wondering, “Why in the world would I want to pay cash for a cabin on land that I don’t own that does not have winter water or winter access and I can’t rent it our more than 14 days per year?”  Good question.  The answer to that one seems to be the lifystyle that comes with these wonderful places.  In my many years of representing sellers and buyers of these cabins I have been witness to the amazing transformation that comes over families who rest at ease as they see the new families who are buying the place where their family  memories  were born as they realize that more wonderful memories will continue to be created for the new owners.  Each cabin tells it’s own story and I can say that I’ve never  heard the same story twice.

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