National Trend Holds True in Reno

Interesting article from Realtor Magazine points out that, nationally, neighborhood names have a certain cache’ — that can translate into cash for home buyers and sellers.

The article leverages data from Porch.com, which states that neighborhoods that include “Village,” “Hills,” and “Island” in their names report higher average incomes.

Free tahoe photo

We see a few of those neighborhood names in Northern Nevada. Incline Village — an area knows for its luxury properties, comes to mind. The names vary considerably by state. In our area, I would put “Ranch” in the top five indicators: Caughlin Ranch, Rancharrah, Callahan Ranch, for example. The research doesn’t go town by town, rather it looked at the entire state.

Here’s a list of other “high value” names nationwide:

Realtor Mag Graphic on Name and Income

Porch researchers looked at the neighborhoods with the highest incomes and home values in each state. Read the full article here.

Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, NV. Contact: hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com or 775-850-5900. 

 


Get to Know Reno Fun Facts, Home Prices

I love living in Reno. Trademarked as the Biggest Little City in the WorldReno has evolved from a rough and tumble frontier town into a modern city with diversity in lifestyles, businesses and economy. Named Reno 1868, farming, ranching gold and silver mining drove the economy.  In the 20th century, fame came from gaming, tourism and availability of “quickie divorces”.

truckee-river-reno-view-as-runs-nevada-43491126

Water Feature: The Truckee River runs through the center of downtown Reno.

These days, high-tech, distribution and creative companies broaden the job opportunities here. Major corporations, entrepreneurs and startup ventures have created 50,000 new jobs in the last 10 years. Yet, it is still a very livable city. Locals joke about our rush “15 minutes” of traffic in the morning and evening.

 

  • Fun Fact: Originally called Lake’s Crossing due the toll bridge over the river, Reno was named for Civil War Union General Jesse Reno — who never actually visited this area.
  • Fun Fact: On the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada at an elevation of 4,500 feet, Reno boasts an average of 250 to 300 days of sunshine annually. 
  • Fun Fact: Reno has as many as a dozen “micro-climates,” meaning temperatures and rain and snowfall can vary widely from the wetter west side to the drier eastern edge.

I love being able to be on the ski in the morning then bike in the afternoon. People in the valley with south-facing driveways, rarely have to shovel snow!  Great free events, accessible music/plays special performances and an interesting array of restaurants. Here are a few of my favorite reasons for living here:

Culture and Sports  

Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada offer easy access to every sport imaginable — winter or summer. Special events abound. Some of the biggest:   

Reno Rodeo, Hot August Nights and the National Championship Air Races. July is “Artown” — a month of music, arts and cultural happenings.

My favorite: The Great Reno Balloon Races in September.

 

Many special events center around or near the Truckee River.  The Truckee flows from Lake Tahoe east through downtown Reno, ending up at Pyramid Lake.

Downtown hosts minor league professional sports teams:  Aces baseball  and Reno 1868 FC USL soccer club both play at Greater Nevada Field.  Museums abound, including the Nevada Museum of Art, The Discovery science museum and the National Automobile Museum. Local music, arts, acting and singing organizations showcase local talent and draw national acts to Reno.   Parks, trails and recreation opportunities abound.

Education: Local high schools graduates attend universities, colleges and skilled trade programs throughout the country and the world — including top tier and Ivy League schools.  Some might argue that being from Reno helps get them noticed! In town schools include University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC).  Nearby: Western Nevada College in Carson City and Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village. UNR also has a medical school and nursing school. 

Business Opportunities

So much is happening here, this post would be out of date the minute it goes live. Economic development organizations from the state, regional and city levels coordinate efforts to diversify the business base in every community. Non-profit groups, venture capitalists and business incubators support entrepreneurs in all stages of development and growth. The goal: Jobs creation. It is working. These efforts interesting people with creative minds and incredible drive to northern Nevada. Learn more at EDAWN.org

  • Lesser-Known Fun Events:  Discovery Museum and the Nevada Museum of Art and the hold “adult only” nights throughout the year. Both offer terrific opportunities to mix, mingle and see the e
    Sky-Tavern-1

    Hit the Slopes: Sky Tavern teaches children to ski in a weekends-only program each winter.

    xhibits.

  • Unique Sport Opportunity: Sky Tavern Junior Ski Program — volunteer run, weekends only, just for local children to learn to ski at a very reasonable price. In summer, Sky Tavern runs ropes and bike programs. Unique to this area.

Full disclosure: I am a Realtor. This blog is on a real estate website, so here’s the scoop on housing:  Home prices are on the rise — especially in the entry-level price bracket.

Real Estate Prices for Homes sold from January – June 2019

  • Sold Single-family Homes:  2002
  • Median price (half sold for more/half sold for less): $400,000
  • Lowest price $75,000
  • Highest price: $4.5 million

What does $400,000 buy? Here’s a look at the stats from homes that sold for $395,000 – $405,000:

  • Smallest: A 952-square-foot home built in 1947 with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a 1-car garage, located in the popular Old Southwest near downtown.
  • Largest: A 2,881-square foot home built in 2005 with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2-car garage in the Clear Acre Lane area north of McCarran Boulevard
  • Middle size: 1,900 square feet, 3-bedrooms, 2-baths, 2-car garage in at least six different neighborhoods.

Next blog: Inside scoop on Sparks!

 

Holly O’Driscoll of Chase International Real Estate, is a Realtor, journalist and entrepreneur.  NV. License# S.0176271.

Website: http://hollyodriscoll.c.chaseinternational.com/

Wonder what your house might sell for? Click here to check value of any address in the USA at this link Have a question about living here or about real estate?  Send an email:  hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com


Will Reno’s “Crazy” Growth Continue?

Reno, Nevada

Reno, Nevada expects 50,000 new jobs in the region in the next five years.

By Holly O’Driscoll 

Worried home prices and growth in Reno will crash? Many people seem to be. I have clients who think prices are too high and want to wait for the next downturn before purchasing a home.

Advice from the economic development and building experts: Don’t!

Growth of jobs and population in Reno/Sparks outpaced the “crazy” projections in the last five years — and those who study the numbers say the next five years will be more of the same.

Citing data from the Economic Planning Indicators Committee (EPIC Report), Aaron West, CEO of the Nevada Builders Alliance, contends Reno, Sparks, Carson City and surrounding communities are in for a wild ride and long-term growth in home prices and availability.

Growth is outpacing the “crazy” predictions

Some of the EPIC statistics and projections, West shared at a recent recent Residential Real Estate Council meeting include:

  • From 2014-2020 (a five-year span) the region was projected to add 52,400 jobs.
employment_chart 2018

  • The reality: by the end of 2018, there were 58,400 new jobs in the region!

That’s more than 10,000 jobs per year — and we have a year to go on that projection. 

What about the next 5 years? 

That growth trend is expected to continue for the next five years, West said.

  • At that pace, this area will have 50,000 more jobs by 2024.

That means more than 100,000 jobs will have been created in this area between 2014 and 2024. Each “job” is estimated to add 2.3 people to the area (spouses, children, extended family). 

Crazy right? That’s not all: Retirees are moving here in huge numbers. Many sell their outlandishly-valued California homes. They come — and buy here for cash. 

When we marvel that home prices in Reno have jumped by 10+ percent year over year, this is why. 

This is basic supply and demand economics. All those newcomers have to live somewhere — construction of new housing has NOT kept up.  

To further support the job-growth projections, take a look at the industrial/commercial side of the equation:

  • In 2018, nearly 2.4 million square feet of industrial space was added to the region.
  • Another 4 million square feet is in the works for 2019.

Does that sound like a recession is coming? No. Big businesses are investing here. They will need workers. 

Facts:

  • Nevada has a much friendlier business climate in terms of regulations and costs than many surrounding states.
  • Nevada has an incredible personal tax advantages over neighboring states (No income tax, no inheritance tax, no estate tax).
  • While housing costs in Nevada are rising, elsewhere on the West Coast is much worse.

Conclusion: If you want to move up, do it soon! Prices are unlikely to fall, and with more people arriving monthly, competition will heat up for the best available properties.

For more information on this topic see the Epic Report produced by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN)

Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor (R) with Chase International Real Estate in Reno. Contact her at hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com


A Super Month in Reno Real Estate

One of the things I like best about my job as a Realtor in Reno: Helping people across the life spectrum realize their real estate goals.

In the last month I had four terrific transactions that illustrate this.

Lifetime achievement

After owning a lovely home on 2.5 acres with a spectacular view off Lakeside Drive in Southwest Reno for nearly 30 years, my clients decided to downsize. They purchased this property in the 1980s. The home offers timeless design with vaulted, beamed ceilings, large rooms — and an unbeatable view. They also decided to sell the 2.5-acre undeveloped lot next door, which they bought to protect their view. The combined list price topped $1.6 million.

These two properties went on the market in mid-July, accompanied by a strong marketing campaign that included regional, national and international exposure. I also held numerous open houses.

In just over a month, the sellers accepted an offer for 99% of list price for both properties from one buyer. The two properties closed 76 days after being listed.

That’s an interesting statistic. Comparable resale properties priced at $1 million or more in Reno this year took 210 days to close and sold for about 94% of list price.

Several factors helped this sale: A home in excellent condition, a desirable location and proper pricing. Each played a key role in delivering value to the sellers for their long-term investment.

A word to open house skeptics: The buyers came through the open house “just to see it.” They fell in love with it and knew it was “their home.” Never discount the value of hosting an open house!

 

 

Working from Home 

Some Realtors shun working with buyers. Not me. Relocation is a specialty. As a journalist writing about real estate, economic development, schools, neighborhoods and special events for 15-plus years I know the nuances and micro-neighborhood characteristics of nearly every corner of Northern Nevada. I use the knowledge I’ve gained to match buyers with properties that fit their wants and needs.

This month, a couple relocating here from Arizona chose me to negotiate the purchase of their ideal home in the Wingfield Springs area of Sparks. The $449,900 property had everything they wanted — including no backyard neighbors and great mountain views.

Lacerta Front Photo

Wingfield Springs, a master planned community in Spanish Springs Valley north of Reno-Sparks.

Telecommuters and consultants like these buyers choose to base themselves in Northern Nevada for numerous reasons, including:

  • Taxes: Nevada’s lack of income tax gives them an instant raise
  • Location: Set at the base of the Sierra Nevada, finding outdoor adventure means opening the front door. World-class skiing, biking, off-roading, hiking, kayaking take mere minutes to access. Plus, it’s easy to get to and from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
  • Weather: Four seasons, combined with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, is tough to beat.
  • Affordability: Californians — and those from high property tax states — are amazed at what their housing dollars can buy here. People moving from the Midwest or the South, are shocked at housing costs. The prices are somewhat offset by lack of income tax and relatively low property tax. For many new Nevadans the price vs less tax may balance out.

First-time Buyers 

This month, I helped a lovely family finally close on their first home. They found their dream home in the Cold Springs neighborhood about 18 miles from downtown Reno. The house needs some updating, but they bought a 2,700-square-foot home that works for their family for $293,000.

180011159(1)

Cold Springs — an area of moderately priced homes about 25 minutes from downtown.

This transaction had many “hiccups” along the way right up until the morning they signed. It nearly didn’t close, but thanks to a truly dedicated team that included the lender, the escrow company, the listing agent and me, it came together. A day late — but it happened because none of us gave up. The family could not be more grateful, and it is truly satisfying to deliver the key to people who worked so hard to become home owners.

Many people struggle to buy their first home. Income, credit score, job history all play into qualifying for a mortgage. Finding a lender that offers a “road to home ownership”  and a loan officer willing to take on complex loans is key.  In Nevada, people with moderate incomes qualify for various financial grant programs, rural housing loans and other incentive programs to help buy a home.

Across the price spectrum

Sellers and buyers hire Realtors to protect and promote their real estate wants, needs and goals. That’s more complex than many people realize. Negotiating happens at every stage  — not just on price and contract terms, but throughout the process with inspectors, repair people, lenders, escrow and title officers. Many transactions have at least one serious challenge, when one side or the other (sometimes both) get s angry or disappointed at some aspect of the process. Emotions run high when money is on the line. Staying calm and finding a way to satisfy both sides to reach a win-win solution takes patience, skill and determination.  It’s the best job I have ever had.

Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada. You can reach her at hodriscoll@ChaseInternational.com or 775-850-5900. 

Visit her real estate website https://hollyodriscoll.chaseinternational.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bikes and Blackbirds in South Reno

South Reno bike trails edge wildlife-filled wetlands in Damonte Ranch offering a lovely alternative to street or mountain rides. Developers and planners built more than five miles of paved paths around huge swaths of marsh areas that today host such a broad array of birds that would pique the interest of the most ardent Audubon Society member.

Just a few years ago this area was mostly swampy marsh. Track team members from nearby Damonte Ranch High School would refer to it as “the pond run” through dirt paths, jumping from stone to stone to avoid mud holes.  My (now adult) twins still talk about their teammate who insisted on running with his phone — only to drop it into the marsh.

Today, the area is nearly built out with homes and condos with planned sitting areas and numerous accesses to the various neighborhoods.

In the last week we have twice ridden our bikes along what is officially called the Damonte Ranch Wetlands Loop.

Redwing Blackbird

Tweets, chirps and distinctive trills fill the air. Birds ranged from a flock of eight Pelicans, to dozens of Redwing Blackbirds. Photographers bring their large lenses to zoom in on at least a dozen different (and to me unusual) avian visitors. We’ve seen swans, hawks, several species of ducks, maybe an ibis? I am not a bird expert. If you are, you will be happy on this trail.

For those seeking a peaceful escape from the desert, take note: there’s not a sagebrush or rabbit brush plant along the route.

Mature trees shade seating areas, with flowers edging the shady areas. Looking across the marshes, it’s easy to ignore the many homes and condo complexes that edge the various paved paths.

A bike or walk can be anywhere from three miles to 10 miles on gently undulating terrain. It’s not completely flat, but there really aren’t hills.

Bike lanes line every major roadway in South Reno, making it ideal for the casual rider, and each new subdivision seems to include more trails. This loop is nice because it is not a “street” ride — we couldn’t even hear traffic.

Above it all, the snow-capped Sierra rises to the west offering a spectacular contrast between blue sky, majestic mountains and serene waterscapes.

bike path south reno

Googling “bike trails in Reno” seems to focus on mountain bike trails and trails at Lake Tahoe. The Damonte Ranch Bike Loop didn’t even come up, perhaps because it is more suitable for casual cyclists and families with young riders. It’s not a great place for “serious” street cyclists. Visitors can park at Damonte Ranch Park along Steamboat Parkway, then head south across the grass to access the trails.

What birds have you seen here? Do you have a favorite bike trail/walking path? Tell me about it!

Holly O’Driscoll, has lived in Reno for more than 20 years. She is a Realtor with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada. 


Rain in Reno? It happens — once in while

Rain in Reno rarely lasts more than an hour or so. A two-three hour soaking is considered unusual. Residents love the occasional thunderstorm. Moisture in the air produces fabulous rainbows.

So far, in May of 2018 we’ve had a showers nearly every day for two weeks. Highly unusual for this high-desert oasis — and I love it!

The foothills to the Sierra have a green hue. Plants burst to life, lawns look quenched. My flower beds and tomato plants are in heaven.

All too soon we’ll segue into summer — clear hot days and cool clear nights. For now, though, the gray skies contrast nicely with happy green trees. When the sun bursts from the clouds: it’s magic.

Reno Rainbows

Rain brings back memories of my mom singing to us, dancing around and stomping in puddles — generally making rainy days fun. Some tunes from childhood include:

Then there’s the most classic of all: Singing in the Rain

Reno boasts about 300+ days of sunshine as a major reason to move here. Some of the other 65 days include snowy days, just clouds. My two cents: Enjoy the rain while it lasts!

Do you have a favorite song about weather? A story about a fun rain event? Please share!!

Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor with Chase International Real Estate in Reno. Reach her at hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com or 775-850-5900.

 


FSBO Follies: 8 Reasons NOT to Sell Your Own House

Why selling without a real estate agent could lead to disaster

 

Sure, Reno’s housing market is hot, and prices are rising. Homes priced correctly sell pretty darn fast. Some sellers in Reno wonder why they should pay a Realtor to “help” with the transaction. They think they can do it all themselves — and save the commission.
Ha! What most people don’t know about selling real estate can cost them money — or land them in court.
Do-it-yourself home sellers are called FSBOs: For Sale By Owner.  Below are just a few of the pitfalls hovering over such sellers. Selling a home on your own may risk time, money, and most importantly, a final sale that leaves you in the clear. Some of the ideas and tips below come from a recent article in Inman News, a specialty real estate publication.

Factors to consider: Time, Hassle and Money

1. Let’s start with the big motivator: Money 

How much would you save? Quite possibly nothing. Overall, data show that FSBO homes sell for less — sometimes a lot less.

  • Lower sales price: Research data from 2016-2017 shows that FSBO listings sell for about 5.5 percent less than comparable properties, according to Collateral Analytics.  So FSBO sellers lose money right off the top — Especially if they end up paying a buyer’s agent a commission of 2-3 percent. (Any buyer without their own agent faces a whole other set of problems!)
  • Knowledge: What you don’t know can absolutely hurt you financially, and it can come back to bite you in a lawsuit. A real estate agent’s knowledge is priceless. Realtors know how to make sense of the data and the entire selling process so that sellers and their home are fully prepared before hitting the market, navigate the complicated escrow process and close the sale with the fewest possible hassles.
  •  Time Everyone’s time is valuable, but as a seller, do you truly have time to schedule showings or to personally show your home in a safe manner at any given moment? Do you want strangers knocking on your door when they see the sign in the yard? What is your plan for days you work, or go on vacation?
  • Negotiating: Do you feel confident to negotiate with a buyer or a buyer’s realtor? Are you capable of answering questions about home conditions without getting defensive?
  • Disclosures: Realtors have a legal duty to be honest with all parties in a transaction. A FSBO seller must be honest about the property as well, even when it means disclosing uncomfortable facts about the property. If a buyer questions an issue or has a concern, can do you have access to inspectors, repair people or other experts? If not, you may lose the sale.  Can you say lost opportunity?

2. Preparation and Presentation = Money 

Image is everything when it comes to real estate.  Good Realtors explain how to prepare your home to show it’s best, and ranges from re-arranging furniture to fixing long-neglected items that turn buyers off — from chipped paint to leaky faucets.Realtors offer dispassionate advice that may translate into a higher sales price.

Hint: Buyers notice everything. A dirty oven can scuttle a potential offer. 

Photos: Realtors pay for professional photography Fsbo graphicout of their commission.  As a FSBO seller this cost — anywhere from $150 to  $500 (or more) falls on you and cuts into your “savings”.  Will you invest in photography? Or will you take cell phone photos, because in Reno, homes sell no matter what?

 

  • Fact: Studies show that homes advertised with dark, out of focus photos, or photos of messy homes tend to garner fewer visits, take longer to sell and lower offers.
  • Fact: More than 90 percent of people look at a property online before visiting it. This is a money issue. For me, it is part of my branding whether I am representing a condo or a castle.

 3. Marketing

Do you have a the facts, a plan and a marketing budget? Do you know the buyer demographics for your property? The neighborhood? A competent Realtor does, and can show you the difference between what you “want” and what the market will pay. Numbers (generally) don’t lie.

Reno home prices are rising. At the same time, buyers are not stupid. Nor are lenders and appraisers. Sellers confuse sentimental value and “news” with what buyers will actually pay and the data appraisers use to support a loan.

4. Pricing

An overpriced home will sit, or sell for thousands less than a properly priced home. Do you know the buyer demographics for your neighborhood? Your type of home? A good Realtor will.  Some websites such as Zillow allow FSBO sellers to post information. Will that be enough? It won’t be in the Reno Sparks Multiple Listing Service — cutting out thousands of potential buyers.  What other marketing will you do (and pay for)?

Chase International Real Estate has extraordinary worldwide connections and marketing networks to share information about your property. Some other brokerages also offer expanded marketing. Some just input data into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), then sit back an wait. What if your property needs a wider audience? Homes listed for sale at Chase International receive local, regional, national and international exposure.

5. Negotiation experience

When an offer comes in, how will you evaluate it? What parts of the purchase agreement impact your bottom line? How would you evaluate multiple offers? By price alone? A Realtor digs deeper into the terms and conditions. How do they strike a delicate balance between protecting their interests as a seller and working with the buyer toward the goal of putting an agreement together?Here’s where what sellers don’t know can hurt them the most.

6. Inspection and repair know-how 

Inspections and repairs can be the most difficult parts of a real estate transaction, even for Realtors. Do you know which inspections are needed/advised? Inspections often reveal items or systems that need repair. There’s a protocol for divvying up who pays for what. This can cut into your “savings.”  Lenders may require certain repairs as a condition of funding a loan. Certain types of loans prohibit a buyer from paying for some repairs. Are you, as a seller prepared to deal with this? Do you know licensed repair people who will come to your house immediately  — at a fair/reasonable cost? Fixing it yourself or hiring an unlicensed worker can land you in court years down the road if the repair fails.

7. Transaction management

Once you accept an offer, how do you shepherd it through the escrow process? Who makes sure all the provisions of the contract are met? Who makes sure the deed is clear, that the sale transfers properly? How do you verify the buyer’s financing? How do you follow up to make sure the financing actually happens? Have you disclosed everything required by law? If you “forget” to say there was a leak years ago, or a tree fell, or any of thousands of other defects, a buyer could sue you years down the road.

homeselling proccess8. Clunky Closings 

Finalizing the sale — the escrow and closing process — is generally handled by a third party in Reno. Last minute issues often arise — the lender needs an addendum, the buyers or sellers have to waive a condition of the contract, one party or another makes a concession that must be documented. If the paperwork isn’t right, the sale (and your money) is delayed.

Are the “savings” worth it?

Only you can decide. Consider: The funds you “save” on commission by listing your house as a “For Sale by Owner” could quickly disappear. The perceived savings can evaporate through uninformed decisions and costly mistakes that — in the long run — end up costing sellers more money than if they had used a Realtor to protect their interests and help them justify their home’s value in the first place.

 

Holly O’Driscoll is a full-time professional Realtor with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada. Search for property here