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Updating The Bath: Standalone Tubs

by Chris Plastiras

One of the hottest interior design trends today is the standalone tub. From classic clawfoot models to more modern shapes, the tub is having a renaissance.

"A renewed interest in the freestanding tub has seen design firms rolling out an array of amazing bathtubs that are aesthetic and economically viable," said Decoist. "Bringing along with it an aura of luxury, elegance and affluence, the standalone bathtub is all about revving up the style quotient of your bathroom while you enjoy a refreshing soak! "

These tubs provide function for those who like to luxuriate in their spa retreat, but it is the style of the tub that often provides the draw.

"These tubs are favored by those who want a true focal point in their bathroom, a beautiful fixture that functions as a piece of furniture," said HGTV. "These statement pieces typically need a larger bathroom space for full effect, but with some careful planning, they can work in smaller spaces as well."

Kitchen Bath Trends adds that freestanding tubs give those who formerly had built-in shower/tub combos an opportunity to refresh, renew, and rejuvenate.

"Homeowners are starting to see that the shower/tub combo is great for efficiency, but not so much for relaxation and comfort. They relate freestanding bathtubs to a sense of self-indulgence and downtime because these tubs are much deeper and more spacious than a traditional bathtub."

Choosing a style and material is a matter of taste (and budget!), and with all the options available, it can be a challenge.

"There are acrylic, cast iron, resin, stone, stainless steel, copper bathroom tubs which vary in price," said Lushome. "Acrylic bathtubs are more affordable, and copper tubs or stone tubs are for those who are willing to spend a lot more money for creating amazing, timelessly elegant, rich and expensive bathroom design that make a statement."

Check out a few of our favorites below and get some inspiration for your bath.

A copper tub is an incredible choice in any setting. Add an indoor-outdoor element, and you have a space you may never want to leave.


Decoist

Who says your tub needs to be white? A black tub provides an injection of cool.


Furniture Fashion

How about a tub for two?


News Notepad

Refinishing an old clawfoot tub allows you to bring in a bit of the old and some of the new.


Prestige Bathtub Refinishing

New shapes bring in a modern touch.


Alocrest

A metallic tub ties into another modern trend while turning a just-OK bathroom space into a showstopper.


Decoholic

A freestanding tub can stand up to any décor style. Even a brick wall makes a great backdrop.


Signature Bath

A wood bath? Why not?!


Decoholic

See more examples here.

North Lake Tahoe June 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

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

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of June 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.

Upgrade Your Garage With These Gear Essentials

by Marius Poltan

It is easy to clutter your garage with miscellaneous items, but if you streamline the space by getting rid of what you don't need and investing in some helpful gear, your garage can become an organized and practical space that makes your household more efficient. Deck out your garage with this essential gear and add some functionality to your home:

Purchase a Workbench

A garage is incomplete without a proper workbench. A sturdy workbench will not only store tools, but also creates space to complete those do-it-yourself projects. Most come with built-in-drawers and are equipped with a light to tackle projects after the kids have gone to bed. There are many options available, ranging from the sophisticated to simple.

Install Lighting

To take full advantage of your space, your garage must come equipped with plenty of lighting in order to allow you to work at convenient times in your busy schedule. Poor lighting hurts the quality of the work you are trying to accomplish and if a project requires small parts you don't want to spend your time searching for tiny items on your hands and knees. If you prefer not to install a mounted light on your ceiling, invest in a portable light, a less-expensive option to create the lighting you need.

Buy a Tool Chest

A garage with tools on the floor and scattered across different surfaces isn't the best for productivity. This haphazard approach leads to buying multiples of the same tool because you keep losing them in the clutter. A tool chest will keep items organized and save time whether you are working on a small repair or a long-term DIY project.

Purchase Spare Tires

How many times have you realized you have a flat tire and need an immediate replacement? For convenience, always keep a set of spare tires in your garage. Order a reliable tire brand from Tire Buyer to ensure your backup set of tires is of the highest quality. With a little preparation, a flat tire will no longer have to be a major setback in your day.

Add Garage Storage

Is your rake and broom in one corner and your bike on the ground? A functional garage needs proper storage options, like a peg board affixed to the wall. This storage option will accommodate your small tools, larger items and any miscellaneous tools unable to fit in drawers. If you prefer not to splurge on this expense, at least add sturdy hooks on the wall to store a garden hose, lawn equipment or other tools. With items hung up out of the way, your garage will appear clean and neat.

Invest in Proper Safety Gear

If you like home improvement projects, keep appropriate safety gear in your garage. Invest in protective goggles, gloves and masks to protect your face. Keep a small first aid kit handy for minor emergencies.

Upgrade Your Flooring

To give your garage a polished looked, consider adding an upgraded finish to your floors. Coat the cement with epoxy or tile - this will give your garage an instant face-lift and make it look more appealing.

Home Improvements Projects That May Be Financed

by Chris Plastiras

‚ÄčIf you think your home needs an update, you're in good company. The U.S. Census Bureau recently produced an info graphic that puts home improvements costs into perspective. Some of the highlighted static include: Americans spent $359 billion on home improvements in a span of just three years—which breaks down to an individual median spending of $3,200. Well over half of homeowners who live in their homes made renovations, and one in four of those made energy-efficient updates. Kitchen remodel costs averaged $5,000 for individuals, while bathroom updates came in around $2,432.

Costs can quickly add up, but savvy homeowners know that many necessary improvements can be financed through their bank or their home equity line of credit.

Here is a sampling of the types of projects that may be easily financed:

Invest in a New Roof

Damage from weather, natural disasters, and wear and tear can put stress on your roof and compromise the overall structure and safety of your home. You know a new roof is a sound decision, but it doesn’t come cheap. According to Homewyse, a shingle roof replacement could cost as high as $11,000.

Homeowners with a good credit situation, however, may be able to finance a new, higher-quality roof with reasonable monthly terms. See if you qualify for financing, and invest in a quality roof with lifetime shingles for the added protection and peace of mind.

Empower Your Home

Give your home a green energy boost with solar panels. Many companies, like SolarCity, will install solar power systems at no cost, however, you pay them for the power it generates. This typically costs less that most homeowners' traditional electricity, and a solar lease package also offers system monitoring, repair, and insurance coverage at a reasonable monthly price. Solar panels can be installed on your roof, in your yard, or on an outbuilding such as a detached home office, garage, or other structure.

Make it a Smart home

Transforming your home into a smart home can be as complex as installing appliances that think for themselves and tell you when you're out of milk. It could also mean a self-monitoring thermostat like Nest, which can monitor pipes for leaks.

Fortunately, the price of many home automation systems is within a few hundred dollars to start. Many smart improvements can be purchased at major retailers like Home Depot with credit card that has project loan financing available.

Get a Lift Garage

Not every home has the space and requirement for a large garage, however, parking in your driveway can increase the wear and tear on your vehicle as it is exposed to inclement weather. Keep your driveway clear and maximize space at the same time with a lift garage, which stores your car below your driveway and out of sight. Some garage lift companies offer financing, or you can approach your bank about a loan or line of credit. With a lift garage, you’ll get a new space for your car without the upkeep of a garage.

Drought got your garden feeling lonely? You don't have to go naked this summer. Xeriscaping with drought-tolerant plants can bring in color and texture without sucking down that precious water.

Xeriscaping has been practiced in the southwest for years, but with several states now facing drought conditions and mandatory water restrictions—in addition to a growing desire to conserve natural resources—the practice has grown.

If you're looking for ways to pack some drought-friendly punch into your garden this year, here are a few places to start.

Portulaca

"This easy-care, drought-tolerant annual is a sure source of perky color," said Birds and Blooms. "Portulaca grows in low clusters, bloom in a rainbow of hues and thrive in the hot, sunny spots where other flowers might wither."

Blanket Flower

Better Homes and Gardens calls blanket flower "a tough prairie plant" and also "flamboyant," which is great for someone who likes lots of color. Better yet, this perennial "blooms all summer and into fall."


Prescott Valley Growers

Lavender

This favorite scent is also a hearty plant that can add color and fragrance to your garden with minimal upkeep.


BestGarden.net

California Poppy

Plant it in full sun even in soil that's not the best quality, and watch this sunshiny flower grow.


LoveToKnow

Licorice Plant

If you're a fan of the way vines look trailing around fences are among other plants, this "fuzzy, silvery foliage (that) thrives in partial shade to full sun and spreads out to 6 feet," said Birds and Blooms, is a unique option.


Wilson Bros Nursery

Coneflower

Looking for something that requires little effort and can grow without perfect soil and with minimal water? Try coneflower. A bonus: It is also "often self-sowing," said Birds and Blooms.


Gardening Know How

Angelina

This succulent brings in chartreuse leaves and "spreads freely, making it a fluffy groundcover or filler between other plants," said Sunset magazine.


Sarilia Country Estates

Voodoo

One of our favorite succulents is also one called out by Sunset. "Small, rounded burgundy leaves cover this low-growing, quick-spreading succulent from the Caucasus," they said. "Tiny reddish flowers bloom in summer."


Sunnyside Gardens

Succulents are a favorite choice today for those who are looking to be water wise while still creating a standout garden, said Monrovia. "Easy care and attractive, these succulents provide high style when potted in containers in urban settings and in rock gardens, paths and challenging dry spots in the garden."

Yarrow

"Not only does yarrow tolerate heat and drought like a champion, but this easy-growing perennial is also a great cut flower—and it comes in a number of varieties with blooms in shades of yellow, orange, red, pink, and white," said Better Homes and Gardens.

Yarrow is also a great choice in areas where wildlife is known to feast. "Deer, rabbits, and most other pests won't touch it."


Gardenality

If you're creating a drought-tolerant garden from scratch, click here for some great tips.

North Lake Tahoe May 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

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

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of April 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.

Identity Protection Tips for New Home Buyers

by Chris Plastiras


There's nothing quite like getting your hands on your brand new house keys after months of researching neighborhoods, scouring online listings, and visiting properties with your real estate agent. When caught up in all the excitement, it can be very easy to lose track of the stacks upon stacks of paperwork involved in the process — some of which may contain sensitive information relating to your identity or finances.

Be vigilant about protecting yourself with these precautionary measures:

 

 

Freeze Your Credit Report

Freeze your credit report directly through the three major credit reporting bureaus, or through an identity protection service. Freezing your credit report means that no one will be able to access your credit report without your approval. Consequently, no one will be able to open new credit accounts under your name, or even check your credit report unless you give them direct and explicit permission to do so.

It is advised to freeze your credit report before purchasing a home. Even if you aren't concerned about identity theft, this also protects your credit report from any dramatic changes that could potentially lower your credit score and cause your loan qualification to fall through.

Work Directly with Reputable Companies

It's a great idea to shop around for a mortgage to find the best service and the best rates. But shopping around can also be dangerous if you aren't working directly with reputable mortgage lenders. Many third-party companies submit your application to several, if not dozens, of mortgage companies in an attempt to find the best rate. While some of these third-party companies may be reputable, if one of them experiences a data breach, your data may become compromised without you even realizing it.

Avoid Shared Computers or Mobile Devices

Throughout the process of purchasing a home, you'll undoubtedly end up verifying your banking information, applying for loans, and checking your credit report multiple times. When you do this, make sure you are not using a shared computer or mobile device. In addition, protect your computer and smartphone with a password. According to CNBC, 34 percent of smartphone owners don't apply a password to their device. If you're among this crowd, your personal information may be vulnerable if your device winds up in the wrong hands.

Additionally, avoid accessing your personal information online when using a public Wi-Fi network. If you must work from an untrusted public network, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which will encrypt your actions and communication, and keep it safe from prying eyes.

If you do find that you have become a victim of identity theft, all is not lost. If you have an identity protection service, your issue could be resolved quickly. If you don't, it may be time to invest in one.

Remember: Any time you complete a major financial transaction, you increase your exposure to potential fraud. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself and all of your sensitive data so that you can move into your new home, relax, and rest assured that your identity is secure.

Don't Be Afraid Of Making A Low Offer To A Home Seller

by Chris Plastiras

Question: I am a first time home buyer, and have been pre-approved for a $155,000 mortgage purchase. In my search, I have seen plenty of houses in the $159-165,000 range in good, move-in condition. The problem I am having is where to start my offer. My REALTOR is telling me that those houses are priced too high, but that no one there will sell their house for only $155,000. What do you recommend?

Answer: Before answering your question, I want to raise two important preliminary matters.

First, are you approved for a mortgage in the amount of $155,000 or for a home purchase in that amount. If you have been approved for a $155,000 mortgage, that means that you can probably buy a house worth at least 10 percent more. Most lenders will lend you up to 90 percent of the purchase price; check this out with your lender to make sure you understand exactly what you have been qualified to purchase.

Second, you used the words "my RELTOR." Is the real estate agent or broker really your agent? Have you signed a "buyer broker" arrangement with him or her? If not, it is important you keep in mind that the broker really represents the seller. If the broker knows your mortgage limit, he/she is duty bound to disclose that information to the seller.

Thus, whether or not he is your agent, I strongly suggest that you keep silent on your mortgage availability. You should also not divulge to anyone (other than your family or your lawyer) what your top price will be.

In answer to your question, as this column has suggested on many occasions, everything in real estate is negotiable. Don't be afraid of making a low offer. The real estate agent is obligated to transmit your offer -- regardless of amount -- to the seller.

The seller has three choices:

  1. your offer can be accepted, in which case you have a contract;
  2. your offer can be rejected in its entirety. In this case, you can either make a new -- higher -- offer or walk away from this house; or
  3. your offer can be counter-offered. This means that the seller is rejecting your proposal, but is putting a new offer on the table. Keep in mind that if you receive a counter-offer, you then have the same three alternatives just described.

Let's look at the following example: the seller is asking $159,000 for the house. You prepare a written offer in the amount of $147,500. The real estate agent submits it to the seller, who in turn counters for $154,750. The ball then goes back to your court.

How much do you really want to pay for your new home? Is this property really worth $154,750? Should you try to make another -- lower -- offer or should you accept the seller's proposal? These are questions only you can answer.

However, by reducing the price, the seller has sent you a signal. The price is negotiable. If this is the house you really must have, accept the counteroffer. But, as you know, there are many other houses out there, and if you are prepared to continue shopping around if you lose this house, I recommend you make yet another counter-offer -- this time in the amount of $151,750.

The negotiations will continue until someone takes a hard-line position and "draws a line in the sand." One of you will ultimately say "this is my final offer; take it or leave it."

It should also be noted that price is but one of the many items of negotiation in a real estate transaction. Often, a seller may be more interested in the timing of the settlement than in the price. For example, does the seller have to sell immediately and are you prepared to settle quickly. I have negotiated many a deal whereby purchasers received a very favorable sales price because they were prepared to go to settlement just 10 days after the contract was signed. Of course, we all know that lenders cannot approve a loan in such a short time, but it you are able to come up with all cash, that's one possibility.

On the other hand, some sellers may want to stay in the house for several more months. Are you prepared to wait? Are you prepared to purchase the house now -- so as to preserve a favorable mortgage interest rate and begin to get the tax benefits of homeownership -- but allow the seller to stay in your new house on a "post occupancy agreement" arrangement? In effect, you purchase the house and the sellers pay you rent until they move out.

Another important factor to consider is whether the seller is willing to take back financing -- either for the full amount of the purchase price or a small second trust. This is an issue which should be explored with the seller before you make an offer; once a sales contract is entered into, it may be too late to try to renegotiate that contract.

In the final analysis, once you have decided to purchase your new home -- and have zeroed in on the neighborhood you want -- don't be pressured into buying a home. Shop around, check prices, and negotiate everything.

When looking for a great real estate agent, there are many things that you'll have to consider. Your ideal agent will be knowledgeable about your local market, experienced, and have a plethora of connections to navigate you through the home sale process. Here are some important questions that you should ask your real estate agent before you list your home with them:

1. In which neighborhoods do you primarily work?

This is important because you'll want a realtor that is experienced in the specific market in which your home is located.  The more knowledgeable your agent is about the neighborhood you're selling in, the better, because they will be able to price your house according to the comps and first hand information that they glean from being familiar with the area.

2. What percentage of your clients are buyers versus sellers?

You want to make sure your agent has buyers for your home at the ready, but you also want to make sure they know how to list a home for sale to get you the best price.

3. Will I be working with just you, or any other associates?

This is important so that you know what to expect when it comes to working with your agent. If your agent has an assistant or anyone working under them that you can contact when they are not available, you should find out as soon as possible.

4. Do you work full-time or part-time?

Some agents work full time and some work part time, so you'll want to find out what to expect. Obviously, if your agent is working part time because it's their side job, they may be more difficult to contact at certain times. If this is the case, you'll want to figure out a set time that you can call them during the week.

5. How many homes have you closed in my neighborhood?

If your agent has closed a good number of homes in your neighborhood, you can assume that they have the experience to get the job done. Having this track record is a good sign that your agent knows the neighborhood well and has the right contacts.

6. How many other sellers are you representing?

When you ask your agent this you might want to note that the busiest agents are usually the most efficient. If your agent has a lot on their plate they know how to multitask, have processes in place and always manage to get things done.

7. Is your license in good standing?

You can check your agent's certification yourself with your state's Department of Real Estate, as many states provide this information online. This can give you peace of mind if you are nervous about hiring an agent and getting started.

8. How many years of education and experience do you have?

Typically, experience and a record of continued education is a sign of a seasoned agent that you can count on. Of course you can also find a great agent that does not have extensive education, but it certainly helps to know in your initial search.

9. Are you also a broker?

Agents that are also brokers have taken additional education classes and have earned a broker's license. A broker may have more experience and may hold responsibility over other agents that are working under them.

10. Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references?

By doing this, you can gain valuable insight from past clients so you can learn more about your agent. This can create a greater level of comfort when working with your agent after hearing the advice and comments from real people that they worked with.

When it comes to asking your agent questions, don't be shy! There are tons of questions that you can ask that will aid you in your decision to choose who represents you. If you're a first time seller, take advantage of these questions to help find the best agent that fits your needs. Don't worry, there's an agent out there for you! Good Luck!

For more information and tips, please visit: www.exposeyourselfpr.com

North Lake Tahoe April 2015 Real Estate Sales Comparison

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

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of April 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.

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