Your Island of Privacy- 1610 Arapahoe St- South Lake Tahoe

This Meyers 2-bedroom, 2-bath home is perfect if you are looking for an islArapahoe pictand of privacy: surrounded by a mixture of unbuildable public and private land, there is not a neighbor to be seen from the redwood deck in the backyard, only a peek of the mountains and mature aspens and willows along the seasonal creek. You enter to open plan living with a gorgeous kitchen, new in 2014, with locally-made alder cabinets, stainless appliances, and granite slab countertops. The two bedrooms are both large, the master with an en suite bath; the other bedroom, currently used as an office, would have been split to two small rooms in many houses this size but here remains a single, very large room. A classic woodstove will keep you warm in winter. Between the one-car garage with bonus space and the 10×10 shed in the yard, you’ll have plenty of storage. This is a very livable house in a flat, sunny area that anyone would be proud to call home.  All this for $396,000.

2917 Springwood South Lake Tahoe- Great Views- Impeccable Finish

This ultra custom home was designed and constructed by a local artistic builder as his personal residence and showroom. The designer materials and custom finish only add to the quality of this lake view home backing to 311 acres of public land. Upon arrival you are greeted by the Aspen Hollow designed landscaping that surrounds the entire property. The first floor offers a private guest suite and game room. The game room contains a media closet wired throughout the entire property. A seven foot hot tub with amazing views is just steps from the back door. A one of a kind stairway lead you to the living room with its impressive floor to ceiling natural quartzite gas fireplace with a juniper mantle surrounded by built in cherry cabinets. The impeccable quality finish continues into the kitchen with cherry lower and alder upper cabinets, stainless Jenn-Air appliances, and Bellagio granite countertops and backsplashes. No detail has been spared here- true Tahoe Elegance.  All  this for only $875,000.121371[1]

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Looks Like Winter is Here :)

First snow fall this year

Well it looks like old man winter showed up a little earlier than usual this year.  The unusually large snow was a welcome sight for the local ski areas and the school kids who got to miss a couple of days of school.  We are looking forward to a snow-packed, fun filled, water producing year.

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10 Foreclosure Myths (busted?)

Half million dollar house in Salinas, Californ...
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The following is insite to what a majority of people think about buying a foreclosure and what is actually true.  I hope it helps.

Trulia.com and RealtyTrac recently surveyed US adults to get some insight into what people *think* is involved with buying a foreclosure. Here are the Top 10 Myths that came up, and the facts to set the record straight:

1.       Foreclosures need a huge amount of work.  92 percent of consumers expressed that if they bought a foreclosure, they would be willing to make home improvements after they closed the deal, with 65 percent being willing to invest 20 percent or less of the purchase price.  Although stories of foreclosures missing plumbing and every electrical fixture are very memorable, many foreclosed homes need only the (relatively inexpensive) cosmetics that many new homeowners want to customize no matter what kind of home they’re buying: paint, carpet, etc. 

 

2.       Foreclosures sell at massive discounts, compared to other homes.  Almost every member – 95 percent – of the surveyed group expected to pay less for a foreclosed home than for a similar, non-foreclosed home; 18 percent had realistic expectations of less than a 25 percent discount.  However, 36 percent expected to receive a bargain basement discount of 50 percent or more off the value of a similar non-foreclosure.  Reality check: while foreclosures might be discounted massively from what the former owner paid or owed, their discounts are much more modest when compared to their value on today’s market and the prices of similar homes. 

 

3.       Buying a foreclosure is risky.  49% of respondents said they perceived buying a foreclosure as risky.  And yes – buying a foreclosure at the auction on the county courthouse steps can have risks, including the risk the new owner will take on the former’s owner’s liens and other loans.  But most buyers looking for foreclosures are looking at bank-owned properties, which are listed on the open market with other, ‘regular’ homes.  Buying these homes is really no more risky than buying a non-foreclosed home. 

 

4.       You can’t get inspections on the property when you buy a foreclosed home.  County auction foreclosures don’t often offer the ability for buyers to have the homes inspected.  But virtually all bank-owned properties for sale on the open market not only allow, but encourage buyers to obtain every inspection they deem necessary. This is because almost every bank sells their foreclosed homes as-is, and they want to avoid later liability.  It’s in everyone’s best interests to make sure that the buyer has full information about the property’s condition before they close the deal.

 

 5.       There are hidden costs to watch out for when buying a foreclosed home.  Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents who felt there is a negative stigma to buying a foreclosure expressed  the concern that buying a foreclosure poses the danger of hidden costs. At some foreclosure auctions, there are buyer’s premiums and other hefty fees that can really add up and take a chunk out of the effective savings the buyer stood to realize. However, when you buy a bank-owned property that is listed for sale with a real estate agent, the closing costs are the same as they would be if you bought a non-foreclosed home. Overdue property taxes, HOA dues and other bills left behind by the defaulting homeowner are cleared by the bank that owns a foreclosed home before it is sold on the market, though these items should be watched out for if you buy a home at the county foreclosure auction.

 

6.       Foreclosures are more likely to lose their value than “regular” homes. Thirty-five percent of U.S. adults who believed there are downsides to buying foreclosed properties believed this myth. In fact, because foreclosures often offer a discount from the home’s current market value, they may offer some degree of insulation from further depreciation.  Whether a home loses its value or not has to do with the dynamics of the local market, including the area’s supply of homes, demand for homes, interest rates and the health of the employment market – not with whether the home was or was not a foreclosure at the time it was purchased.

 

7.       Most foreclosures happen when homeowners just walk away.  Out of homeowners with a mortgage, only 1 percent said walking away from their home would be their first choice if they were unable to pay their mortgage.  And a whopping 59 percent of mortgage-holders said they wouldn’t walk away from their home – no matter how upside down they were on their mortgage. Most foreclosures happen when the owners lose their jobs or their mortgage adjusts to the point where they absolutely cannot pay the mortgage, no matter how hard they try.  Voluntary ‘walk-away’s are simply not as popular as many people think.

 

8.       When you buy a foreclosure, you should lowball the bank – they are desperate to get these homes off their books.  Stories about in the press abound about the large numbers of foreclosed homes the banks have on their books.  We’ve all heard the adage that banks have no interest in owning these properties.  But the real deal is that they’re simply not desperate enough to give these places away.  Also, the banks mostly service the defaulted loans – they don’t own them.  Various groups of investors do, and they hold the banks accountable to selling the bank-owned property at as high a price as possible, helping them cut their losses.  Many banks won’t even consider lowball offers, and many bank-owned properties actually sell for above the asking price.  Before a bank will take a lowball offer, they will almost always reduce the list price first, and see if that attracts a higher offer than the lowball one they have in hand.

 

9.       You need to be able to pay in cash in order to buy a foreclosure.  Again, if you buy a foreclosed home on the county courthouse steps, you might need to bring a cashier’s check and be ready to pay for the place on the spot.  By contrast, bank-owned homes are bought through a more normal real estate transaction, which means buyers can obtain a mortgage to finance the home just like they would if the home weren’t a foreclosure. It is true, though, that in some markets, banks prefer offers from cash buyers, but this tends to be in situations where the property’s condition is pretty dire, and the bank knows this may make it hard for a buyer to obtain financing.

 

10.   It’s easier to buy a foreclosure with bad credit if you get a mortgage with the same bank that owns the property.  Think about it: why would the bank want to end up with the same property as a foreclosure, again? Well, that’s what would happen if they allowed buyers with low credit scores to buy their foreclosures just to earn the interest on the mortgage. In reality, many banks do offer incentives like lower fees or closing cost credits for buyers who use their bank for their mortgage. But the buyers must meet the same credit, income and other qualification standards as anyone else would to seal the deal. 

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Crab Feed to Benefit St. Theresa School

Crab Feed
Image by sflovestory via Flickr

St. Theresa Catholic School is hosting its 16th annual “Claws for Cause” crab dinner and auction at 6 p.m. Friday in Grace Hall, 1041 Lyons Ave.

Proceeds from the event benefit the private school. The event is for adults 21 and over. Childcare is available for $15 per child in the social hall.

No-host cocktails begin at 6 p.m., the crab dinner is at 7 p.m., followed by the live auction at 8:30 p.m.

Every class, from preschool to eighth grade, will sponsor a gift basket for the silent auction.

Volunteers are still needed.

Tickets are $40 per person in advance, $45 at the door.

For information, visit www.stslaketahoe.org/crabdinner10.html or call (530) 544-8944.

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Recessions Impact on CA Schools

Some of Butte's School Buildings (1915)
Image by Butte-Silver Bow Public Library via Flickr

Widespread teacher layoffs, larger class sizes and increased economic hardship for children are among the impacts California’s budget crisis and the recession have had on public schools and students, according to a report released Thursday.

Researchers at UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access interviewed 87 elementary, middle and high principals across California to gauge the impact of the recession and budget cuts on student welfare and school learning environments.

Before the recession began, California K-12 public schools, which were among the nation’s best in the 1960s, already ranked near the bottom nationally in many measures of academic achievement and school quality.

The economic downturn and state budget crisis has undermined recent academic gains and widened the disparity between schools in rich and poor communities, said John Rogers, the institute’s director.

“It’s taken California several steps backward on the road to improvement,” Rogers said. “It’s also harmed the long-term prospects for California to rebuild a quality education system.”

The report, called “Educational Opportunities in Hard Times,” found that:

— 62 percent of principals reported that teachers in their schools had been laid off, threatened with layoffs or reassigned to other schools. The number of actual layoffs was four times greater at schools in poorer communities than wealthier communities.

— 67 percent reported that class sizes had increased, with 74 percent of elementary school principals reporting larger class sizes.

— 75 percent reported that summer school had been reduced or eliminated.

— 75 percent reported reductions in instructional materials and supplies.

— 70 percent reported cuts to professional development programs.

— 67 percent reported growing housing insecurity, which includes homelessness, families moving in together and families moving away for economic reasons.

— 51 percent reported an increase in the health, psychological or social service needs of their students.

Many principals are seeing the impact on rising unemployment and poverty on their students as parents lose their jobs and homes, according to the report. About two-thirds said their schools have referred students and families to health and social service providers.

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California State Parks Need Our Help

California Department of Parks and Recreation
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California State Parks narrowly escaped major closures during last year’s state budget crisis, and supporters are going to the voters for help to ensure the worst doesn’t happen in 2010.

The California State Parks Foundation and other organizations have created the State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010, needing more than 430,000 signatures to get it in the November 2010 ballot.

If successful, the act would add $18 to California’s annual vehicle licensing fees, said Pam Armas, California State Park Ranger Association President, raising about $500 million each year for state parks, wildlife, land conservation and ocean conservation projects.

“That may seem like a lot, but we’ve been so horribly under-funded; this will get us to where we need to be,” Armas said, adding that state parks have an approximately $1 billion backlog in un-funded work.

The $500 million would be split 85 percent to state parks and 15 percent to the other conservation efforts, Armas said, likely finding its way to groups like the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and California Tahoe Conservancy, among others.

In return, California residents who paid licensing fees would get free day admission to all state parks, year-round, Armas said.

“If you go two or three times it pays for itself — state park day use now ranges from $8 to $15,” Armas said.

The effort comes in response to the threat in 2009 to pull $70 million from state parks to help balance California’s eroding budget, which would have closed up to 220 of the state’s 279 parks.

That cut was later reduced to $14.2 million, meaning no full-time closures, but reductions of services and partial closures.

A similar addition to vehicle licensing fees was discussed by lawmakers over the summer, but never gained traction in the capital, so groups like the California State Parks Foundation, Audubon Society of California and the Sierra Club are taking it to the voters, Armas said.

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Lake Tahoe Unified School District Receives Huge Science Grant

An overview of the structure of DNA.
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The Lake Tahoe Unified School District will be part of a three-year, million dollar grant from the California State Department of Education for enhanced and ongoing professional development for teachers in grades three through eight. The California Mathematics and Science Partnership program seeks to establish partnerships to improve the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science, according to a prepared release.

Lake Tahoe Unified joins school districts in Modesto and Stockton for the Summit to Sand grant, which totals $339,201 per year for three years. More than 30 teachers have been recruited for a three-year professional development program that draws upon the diverse geography of California to educate teachers and motivate students. Teachers will receive instruction in life, earth and physical science, focusing on the natural environment of the state of California, in order to positively impact students’ English language arts and science achievement. Faculty from the Lake Tahoe, Columbia and San Joaquin Delta community colleges will provide instruction at three summer institutes from 2010 through 2012.

“This grant will provide important funds to improve science education in the district,” said district superintendent Dr. James Tarwater. “We are very excited to have been funded and to partner with districts and community colleges in our area and in other areas of the state.”

Additional partners include Tahoe Environmental Research Center at University of California, Davis, the San Joaquin County Office of Education, California State University, Monterey Bay, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

10 Big Impact Low Cost “Renovations”

The front door of a house is often decorated t...
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Do you have some—but not unlimited—cash for upgrades? Here are budget-minded enhancements to make your home stand out from the competition.

 

1. Tidy up kitchen cabinets.

“Potential buyers do open kitchen cabinets and look inside,” says Morrissey. “Home owners can add rollout organizing trays so when buyers peek in, they feel like there’s lots of room for their stuff.”

2. Add or replace tile.

“By retiling very inexpensively, you make a room look way cleaner that it was,” says Javier Zuluaga, owner of Home Repairs and Remodeling LLC in Tempe, Ariz. “Every city has stores that offer $1 to $2 tile, so home owners have to pay only for the low-cost tile and labor to replace a dated backsplash or add a new one. We also use inexpensive tile to upgrade bathrooms.”

3. Add a breakfast bar.

When a wall separates a kitchen from a family room, suggest cutting out an opening to create a breakfast bar. “In one home, there was a cutout in the wall between the kitchen and living room,” explains Matthew Quinn, a sales associate at Quinn’s Realty & Estate Services in Falls Church, Va., who handles estate and real estate sales for family members whose loved ones have passed away. “We left the structure of the cutout, added an oversized granite breakfast bar, and put chairs in front of it. That cost about $600.”

4. Install granite tile instead of a slab.

“Everybody is hot for granite kitchen countertops, but that can be a $5,000 upgrade,” says John Wilder, a general contractor and owner of Fence and Deck Doctor in New Castle, Ind. “Instead, home owners can put in 12-inch granite tiles for about $300 in materials and get very high impact for little money.”

5. Freshen up a bathroom without retiling.

“With a dated bathroom, I recommend putting in a new medicine cabinet for $100 to $150, light fixtures for about $100, a faucet for $50 to $75, and a vanity for $200 to $300,” says Wilder. “And instead of replacing the tile, the existing grout can be lightly scraped and regrouted, which leaves a haze that can be buffed out and will make the tile look brand new. Also install glass shower doors. A French door adds a lot of panache and elegance for $250, and people will notice the door, not the tile. With all that, you’ve done a bathroom remodel for $1,000 to $2,000.”

6. Freshen up the basement.

“If home owners have cement block or poured concrete walls in the basement, suggest they have a contractor fill in cracks with hydraulic cement and then paint with waterproofing paint,” recommends Wilder. “They can then add a top coat to add color. They can also paint the basement floor with a good floor paint, which spiffs it up. The basement may not be finished, but it’s no longer a damp dungeon.”

7. Add a room.

Look for large spaces that can be enclosed to create a new bedroom for just the price of creating a wall. “One time, we closed off a half-wall to an office and added a door to the other side of the room, thus creating another bedroom,” says Quinn. “That $400 procedure, which took a contractor one day, netted about $40,000 in the sales price.” Zuluaga has also added bedrooms inexpensively. “In a two-bedroom house, there was an archway that led to a third room that was used as a den,” he explains. “It had a dry bar where there would have been a closet, so we took out the dry bar and created a closet so the owners had a third bedroom.”

8. Spruce up cabinet fronts.

Suggest home owners update tired-looking kitchen cabinets. Reconditioning is the least expensive move for under $1,000. “If the wood is starting to look shabby from use or contaminants in the air, we take out the nicks and scratches, recondition it with oil, and put new hardware on,” explains Heidi Morrissey, vice president of marketing and sales at Kitchen Tune-Up in Aberdeen, S.D. For $1,500 to $4,000, owners can replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and for $4,000 to $12,000, they can have all the cabinets refaced. “With refacing, owners can change the color of the cabinets by replacing the door and having a new skin put on the boxes,” says Morrissey. “If they have oak cabinets today, they can have cherry the next day.”

9. Replace light fixtures.

“In a foyer and in bathrooms and kitchens,” says Wilder, “replacing overhead light fixtures provides a lot of pop for a little money.” If the kitchen has track lighting, Zuluaga suggests the home owner spend $450 to $600 to have an electrician replace it with recessed canned lights on a dimmer switch to add ambience. For about $700, Zuluaga also suggests installing pendant lights over a kitchen island or peninsula.

10. Tech-up the garage.

“Sometimes we replace the garage door opener with a remote touchpad entry system,” says Zuluaga. “That costs about $425 and makes it look like a high-end system.”

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Looks Like The BIG ONE Is Here!!

Hazardous weather condition(s):

This Afternoon: Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 4pm. Snow level 6300 feet. High near 42. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Tonight: Snow before 10pm, then rain and snow. Low around 33. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

M.L.King Day: Rain and snow. High near 35. Breezy, with a south wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.

Monday Night: Snow. Low around 26. Breezy, with a south wind between 20 and 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Tuesday: Snow. High near 31. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Tuesday Night: Snow. Low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Wednesday: Snow. High near 32. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Wednesday Night: Snow. Cloudy, with a low around 28.

Thursday: Snow. Cloudy, with a high near 29.

Thursday Night: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 25.

Friday: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a high near 29.

Friday Night: A chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 22.

Saturday: A chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 32.