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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South Tahoe Real Estate Stats for March 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sold Stats for March 2010

  •  37 Total Sold Listings in March                  
  •  14 REO (37.8%% of total March sales)
  •   7 Short Sales (18.9% of total March sales
  •   Distressed Properties Comprising 37.8% of total homes sold in March

Active Listings Stats

  • 306 Single Family Properties Currently Listed (Not in Escrow)
  •   19   REO (.063% of total)
  •   35  Short Sales (11.44% of total)
  •  Distressed Properties Comprising 17.65% of Market Total

Pending Listing Stats (Homes in Escrow)

  •  110 Currently in Escrow  
  •    20 REO (18%)
  •    53 Short Sales (48%)
  •   REO & Short Sales Comprising 66.3% of the Total Homes in Escrow

Average Number of Days on Market (DOM) From Listing to Close of Escrow

  •  96 DOM for REO Sales
  • 204 DOM for Short Sales
  • 232 DOM for Non Distressed Properties

These numbers still show that homes that are a better value are selling quickly, as any of you who have attempted to get an offer accepted on any of these well priced homes can attest. 

The Average sales price for March was $407,790 which is up slightly from February, whose average sales price was $401,652.  Does that mean the end is near, I think not with the number of notices of defaults and notices of sales still out there.  What it does means is that there is still plenty of opportunity for people who are in a position to purchase these homes.  With the threat of increasing interest rates, things could heat up in the buying arena.  Stay tuned for more updates.

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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.

Free Radon Testing Kits

Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive case that arises from the decay of naturally occurring minerals in the soil. The gas is linked to 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year, second only to cigarette smoking, according to the EPA.  A report from the California Geological Survey in June 2009 estimated that 23,400 people in the Lake Tahoe area live in buildings where radon is likely to equal or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level of 4 picocuries per liter.  The report was based on geological data, as well as results from a survey of 443 homes in South Lake Tahoe between 2006 and 2007.

According to the survey, about 40 percent of homes in the Lake Tahoe area are at or above the EPA’s recommended action level, while approximately 55 percent of homes in the El Dorado County portion of the basin who participated in the survey are at or above the recommended action level.

Winter is a good time to test a home for radon, Huber said.

“It’s the best time to test because your house is closed up,” she said.

I had a recent conversation with Ginger Huber who is in charge of Environmental Health in El Dorado County, and she wanted me to make sure and let you know that she is almost out of the “free” testing kits, but you can get them from the State of California for a nominal fee.  I found this article in a past issue of the Tahoe Daily Tribune and thought you might find the information on radon gas helpful.