Real Estate Information

Incline Village Real Estate

Chris Plastiras


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 30

Chris & Patti Plastiras wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

by Chris Plastiras

North Lake Tahoe October 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

by Chris Plastiras
  • North Lake Tahoe October 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of October in the past 5 years. These reports we're created individually for Residential Home sales and Condominium Sales.

  • Residential Home Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Residential Home sales.

  • Condominium Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Condominium sales.

To access all the Incline Village and Lakeshore Realty listings please click here. You can also contact us by email or call us at 775-831-7000. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.

Get a Better Mortgage Interest Rate

by Chris Plastiras

People will clip coupons and drive across town to save a few cents at the gas pump, but few will shop around for the best interest rate on their mortgages. Most buyers tend to go with the first lender they talk with, perhaps out of fear of losing the house if they don't act quickly enough. Paying one-eighth of a point too much can add up to thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

You're smarter than that. Know you have the right to shop lenders and negotiate mortgage interest rates and fees. Here's how to do it.

First, you need to decide on which loan program you're going to compare. You need to decide between a fixed, an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and a hybrid. A fixed rate is fixed throughout the life of the loan, so it costs a little more. An ARM has an interest rate that can vary throughout the life of the loan, which would be cheaper now, but might cost more down the road. A hybrid is an ARM that is fixed for a predetermined period, such as five years, then it morphs into an ARM.

With interest rates still near historical lows, most people select a fixed rate because it's safest and protects you better the longer you stay in your home. An ARM or a hybrid loan is best if you plan to move in five years or less, but most people stay in their homes as long as nine years or more.

Next, you need to select a loan term, which refers to its amortization period. The most common fixed-rate term is the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Lenders also offer fixed rate loans in five-year increments beginning with ten-year loans, so you can select a 15, 20, and 25-year fixed rate. The advantage to doing that is that you'll pay the loan off faster, but you should know that the loan will cost more monthly because you're paying down more interest and principal at a time, even with a lower interest rate.

How do you decide which loan is best? By what you can afford. If you want the best rates, conventional loan-to debt-ratios prevent you from having more than 41% of your gross income used toward debt payments and mortgage payments. The ceiling for mortgages is about 28% of your income, with the rest of your debt payments going toward a car payment, student loan, or revolving credit card charges. If you have low debt, or are buying a modest home compared to your means, it's a good idea to get a shorter term.

Once you select the proper loan as well as the term you can start shopping. Give the lenders you call the exact same facts -- what kind of loan you want, how long the loan term will be, how much you want to put down toward the purchase price, and your credit score. According to the new loan disclosure requirements, which went into effect in August 2015, you have to provide six pieces of information to qualify for an "application":

  • Your Name
  • Your Income
  • Your Social Security Number
  • The Property Address
  • The Contract Price of the Property
  • The Mortgage Loan Amount

The lenders have to return a good faith estimate of what your closing costs will be within three business days. Then you can compare and choose the loan with the most favorable costs to you.

Combining Two Condominium Units

by Chris Plastiras

~~Question: I currently own a one-bedroom condominium unit. My next door neighbor has offered to sell me his unit, so that the two units could be combined into one larger unit. In all likelihood, I will initially move into the new unit as my primary residence and rent out the one in which I presently live. However, in the future, I plan to make improvements and do construction so as to make them into one large unit. 

When the two units are combined, will I have to record the lot or title change with the recorders office? Will I have to refinance my two mortgages into one loan? And will I be allowed to break through the wall between the two units without having to refinance?

There is a possibility that after combining the two units, I may want to separate them at a later date and sell each one separately. What will this require?

Answer: This is a common situation. However, there are two different scenarios. The first is what you have proposed -- namely just merging the two units together. A second approach is where the two units are reconfigured, so that one unit becomes larger and the other gets smaller.

Let's look at each situation:

Merging of two units: here, you will own two units. For all practical -- and legal -- purposes, they will continue to stay as two separate units. You will continue to pay two separate mortgages, pay two separate real estate tax bills, and two separate condominium fees. You will vote the percentage interest for both units on association matters. The only title change will be when you purchase the unit from your neighbor, since title will then go into your name when you go to settlement.

If you decide to break down a wall and do some major (or minor) construction, you will have to get the approval of your association. Most associations impose conditions on the renovation, such as requiring that you use licensed contractors, that you have adequate insurance in place, and that the work is done only during specified hours during the day.

But even after you have cut through the dividing wall and made one large unit, they are still two separate units.

You can legally merge the two units into one, but that would require a lot of work, money and time -- and in my opinion, does not make sense. In order to create one unit out of two, you need approval from your association, your plats and plans must be revised and recorded with the official surveyors office, and a condominium amendment to the legal documents will have to be recorded in the land records where your property is located.

You have indicated that at some point in the future, you may want to separate the units, so that you can sell them individually. Obviously, you will have to replace the dividing wall, but once that has been accomplished, you still have two separate units. You have not changed the legal structure, and thus each unit retains its separate identity for all purposes.

Relocation of Boundaries: here, we have an entirely different situation. You want to purchase the unit next door, break down the dividing wall, and make one of the units larger.

The first thing you have to do is confirm that your legal documents -- Declaration and Bylaws -- will permit such a relocation. Assuming that this is not a problem, then you will need the approval of your Board of Directors.

Prepare a plan -- usually through architectural drawings -- and formally submit them to your Board of Directors. Most Bylaws require that the Board must act on an architectural proposal within a set number of days, or the plan will be "deemed to have been approved".


Since you clearly will be doing renovation, your plans should spell out what work will be done, when it will be done, and who will do this work. As indicated earlier, most associations require that you use licensed contractors for the work -- especially if you will be doing electrical or plumbing installations.

In addition to obtaining Board approval for your plans, you will have to arrange for a revision to the existing Plats and Plans. Look in your legal documents; you should see a document which contains drawings depicting the location of all of the units in your complex. These are referred to as "Plats and Plans" and they have been recorded officially with the local government office of the surveyor or in land records.

The Plats and Plans are important documents. Often, there is confusion as to what is -- and what is not -- a common element, a limited common element or even a unit in the condominium complex. Generally, the Plats and Plans -- if drafted properly and carefully by the developer -- will show these areas.

The existing Plans for your building will show two separate units; since you now want to reconfigure these units, a new Plan must be prepared and formally filed.

Additionally, you will want to advise the local real estate taxing authority of these changes. Clearly, if you decide to sell the smaller unit, your purchaser does not want to pay the real estate taxes on what used to be a larger unit.

Changing the boundaries of condominium units is not impossible -- but there are a number of architectural and legal steps which must be taken. You should seek competent professional advice before you undertake such a project.

North Lake Tahoe September 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

by Marius Poltan

As we are approaching the end of the year it looks like the median price is pulling back a little suffering a 14.7% decline compared to 2014 and 2.4% compared to 2013, but the home sales are seem to be very close to past years numbers.  

To access all the Incline Village and Lakeshore Realty listings please click here. You can also contact us by email or call us at 775-831-7000. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.

Swing That Hammer, Sellers!

by Chris Plastiras

If you're selling a home that needs updating, you'll net more for your home because you're making it look closer to new. You're solving problems that current buyers don't want to take on, making your home more competitive in today's market.

According to the latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, home improvement spending is set to climb nearly four percent.

Among the reasons cited for the upswing are stronger pending home sales and continuing low interest rates. Other reasons may be just as significant. Purchase prices are still lower than the 2006 peak, inventories are tight, and the production of new homes has stagnated since 2007.

The 2015 Generational Report by the National Association of Realtors found that 84 percent of buyers purchased an older home, and with good reason.

The median age of homes purchased in the survey was 22 years, built in 1993, and over 53 percent of homebuyers purchased homes older than that. The median seller sold their homes after occupying it for 13 years.

Sixty-four percent of buyers chose older homes because they cost less than new homes and offered more value, while 17 percent preferred the charm of older homes.

Yet, the exact same number of buyers who purchased new homes said they did so to avoid maintenance problems and to choose their own designs.

A whopping 88 percent of buyers used the Internet to view homes before they drove by or called an agent, and 50 percent of buyers used mobile apps such as phones or tablet devices. The number one thing they wanted to see were photographs of homes.

In other words, it's time to get a facelift. Your home could be selected or eliminated based simply on how it looks.

So where should you spend your money? Kitchen and bathroom projects remain the most popular remodeling jobs, said the National Association of Home Builders in 2015, but smaller projects are becoming more common.

Bathroom remodels were cited as the most popular type of remodel by 78 percent of remodelers, and kitchen remodels were next at 69 percent. Other popular remodeling categories reported by remodelers included window/door replacements, whole house remodels, room additions, major repairs and handyman services.

North Lake Tahoe August 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

by Marius Poltan
  • North Lake Tahoe August 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of August in the past 5 years. These reports we're created individually for Residential Home sales and Condominium Sales.

  • Residential Home Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Residential Home sales.

  • Condominium Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Condominium sales.

To access all the Incline Village and Lakeshore Realty listings please click here. You can also contact us by email or call us at 775-831-7000. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.

10 Tips for Turning Your New House Into "Our Home"

by Chris Plastiras

When you're moving into a new house, the more you know about it before you must know— during a high-pressure day, emergency, or crisis — the happier you and your family will be.

Closing day took care of the legal and financial aspects of taking on ownership of your new home while move-in day got you and your stuff into the premises. We helped you, sanity intact, move-in with Three Sanity-Saving Tips For Moving-In Day. To top off this success, we've compiled a list of practical "must do's" to ensure settling in is the beginning of belonging.

Get off to a great start in your new home — new or resale — by attending to these "little details" which will also make this feel like "our home." Ignore them and they can cause problems down the road. Involve the whole family in dealing with these 10 tips and everyone will feel at home.

#1. Our New Passwords: Change codes and passwords for security systems and anything else you are taking over from the previous owner. Make sure the new version is significantly different, so it can't easily be guessed. Record passwords and keep in a safe place.

#2. Our New Keys: Change the locks on the house, garage, outbuildings, and gates. If you're happy with the existing hardware, a local locksmith can re-key or change the lock cylinder or replace the interchangeable core, depending on your system. Check window locks to ensure all are fully functional.

#3. Our Smoke/CO Detectors: Check with the local fire department to learn where smoke/ CO detectors and fire extinguishers are required or recommended. Interconnect units if possible. Check existing units for expiry dates. Never install a smoke/CO detector in your home without understanding how it operates whether it is hardwired or not. If not, install new batteries today and add a replacement date to your maintenance calendar. (This will also be a move-in anniversary reminder.)

#4. Our Manuals: Start a digital and/or paper folder for manuals for every appliance, detector, and operational device that could need repair or replacement. Jot down maintenance reminders on your maintenance calendar while you inventory what you have.

#5. Our Electrical Breaker Panel: Where is it? What does each circuit breaker connect to? Get out the labels and do a room-by-room check so you know what's what and record this by each breaker. If you have cable or other wired services, find out when the exterior and interior cables and hardware were last updated. You may be due for an upgrade.

#6. Our Water Shut-off: Where is the main shut-off? How do you turn off the water line to the refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, and every other potential source of leaks? Check temperature settings where applicable to suit your conservation plans. If the water heater or anything else, is rented, compare this arrangement to the cost of buying a new one.

#7. Our Furnace: Clean or replace filters in the furnace, range hood, air conditioner, and any other filtered appliances. Note times for the next clean on your maintenance calendar.

#8. Our Clean, Dry Home: Steam cleaning carpets is a no brainer, but make sure gutters and downspouts are cleaned, too. To ensure the house stays dry, check that the grading is correct all the way around the house. Are windows and doors properly caulked to keep interiors cosy and draft-free? If you'll be parking under sap-dripping evergreen trees, you'll need something to safely remove the sap, but not the car paint.

#9. Our Undisturbed Garbage: Ask neighbors about local pests and wildlife to make sure you prevent their invasion. That's a lot easier than getting rid of them once they settle in — pests, that is, not neighbors. A copy of the garbage pickup schedule is essential.

#10. Our New Closets: Don't make do with someone else's closets. Fit out closets with racks and shelving that suits you. Do it now instead of later wishing you had and you'll always be pleased you moved into your closets properly from the start.

3 Tips for Making Your Garage a Fishing Equipment Base

by Chris Plastiras

A 2013 report by the American Sportfishing Association estimated that American anglers spend $7.2 billion annually on fishing equipment. Diehard fishermen typically possess 20 or more rods, several reels and even gear for ice fishing for those living in the Northeast and Midwest.

It's simply smart business for avid anglers to protect their investments by organizing and storing their fishing equipment so it's accessible and ready to use regardless of time elapsed between fishing trips. Garages provide the perfect space to create a fishing base that would make both Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam proud. Here are three tips to efficiently and effectively store your gear.

Tackle Advice

Some anglers like to go after the same type of fish every time out. This makes for easy tackle selection and storage. However many fisherman target catfish one week, bass the next and trout the following month. It's these individuals who need multiple tackle boxes and a more detailed system of organization.

Crank baits should be stored in their own tackle box. All terminal tackle (hooks, sinkers, swivels, etc.) should also have dedicated boxes. Plano's four-drawer tackle boxes are great for separating your gear for each species of fish.

All of your soft plastics need their own dedicated storage spaces and should be organized by style. Curvy-tail worms for bass and walleye, for example, should be stored together. Drop shots and senkos for other species need their own space as well.

Rack 'Em

All rod racks are not created equal. The type and style you choose will depend on the amount of space you're working with and the general layout of your garage.

Rod holders are typically made of plastic, aluminum, fiberglass or custom-built with various types of wood. The two main varieties are vertical ground racks and wall racks. The latter have the advantages of not taking up surface area on the ground and allow your lines to hang loosely. You also don't have to worry about wall racks tipping over.

Make certain vertical ground racks are sturdy. Don't buy it if you're not able to view and test one on display. It's best to use wood or steel ground racks because of their weight. If you're willing to pay $500 for a rod and reel, it behooves you to also invest in an adequate means of storing it.

Advanced Tips

The little steps you take before putting your rods away until the next fishing trip make all the difference in preserving and protecting your equipment.

When storing your rods, make sure there's no tension on the lines. Most anglers hook the line to the reel when rods are not in use. But rods have memory and will maintain that bend if you leave it hooked that way long enough. Ideally lures should simply be cut off completely when storing your rods.

Loosen the drag and spool tension on bait casting reels when poles are sitting for extended periods. These steps will eliminate the possibility of bending your rods and negatively effecting casts.

Finally keep the garage at room temperature if possible. Excessive heat weakens the graphite and fiberglass in rods. Filet knives should be cleaned, sharpened and dried before long-term storage. It's also a good idea to coat them with a light oil to protect from rust.

Secure Your Home With Cutting-Edge Technology While On a Budget

by Chris Plastiras

A burglary occurs every 14.6 seconds and a property crime every 3.5 seconds, according to the FBI. In addition, Safeguard the World reports that homes without security systems are up to 300 percent more likely to be broken into. Fortunately home security products and apps help deter burglars and stop them in their tracks. While an expensive home security system helps safeguard your home, there are other ways to stay safe without breaking the bank. Check out some of the best home security technology that can be controlled from your iPad no matter where you are.

iSmart Alarm

Check out iSmart Alarm for a robust home security system with no contracts or monthly fees. Motions sensors, iCameras and contact sensors alert you to activity in your home and record what's going on. A smart switch controls your lights remotely with a schedule of your choice, and it can be used to turn appliances off and on while you're away. You also can mix and match products or only order those that meet your home security needs.


Couple smart lighting with your home security system or devices. Philips’ Hue is designed with style in mind if you want to set a certain mood or even match the colors of a sunset right from your favorite photograph. Hue also secures your home by scheduling when lights go on and off and changing the colors remotely. Set a lighting schedule for different rooms to illuminate when you want and program them to come on automatically the moment someone walks up to your door. Potential intruders who see the unpredictable change in lighting will think someone’s there and move onto the next house.


Download the free Presence home security app to turn your smartphone into a live video feed. This is ideal when you just need to monitor your front door or specific room. The app alerts you when motion is detected and also has convenient two-way video and audio capabilities. You can talk directly to your kids who just got home from school while you're still at work or even verbally confront an intruder even though you're on the opposite side of the world. A burglar who's taken by surprise when you tell him or her to leave and you've called the police is likely to flee and not come back.

August Smart Lock

Send a virtual key to guests, contractors or your children with the August Smart Lock. Especially useful for real estate agents, August Smart Lock offers encrypted locking technology that is scheduled to work when you need it. You can access a log record to see who entered right from your iPhone or iPad. And if your Wi-Fi goes down, the August Smart Lock still works with the use of a back-up battery.


Try Goji if you like the idea of the August smart lock but want additional features. Goji sends out virtual keys and unlocks your door whenever you program it to. Additionally, it sends picture alerts of visitors to your door and logs it into the system. Set a date and time for guests to access your home and use the on-call help if anything happens to your smartphone. Instead of getting locked out, Goji representatives can virtually unlock your door and cancel access for your lost or stolen phone.

Regardless of what home security apps and products you use to secure your home, don’t forget to employ old-fashioned techniques. Ask neighbors to keep flyers, newspapers and mail from littering your driveway and signaling your absence. Refrain from posting updates about going out of town on social media, and check your windows and doors to ensure locks are working properly.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 30