Remodel vs Flip – Details Count


Remodel vs. Flips — understanding the difference matters in a long-term home investment.

Reality: Most home buyers want a home that’s “move in ready.” Investors, listing agents and savvy sellers know homes that show well sell faster and for more money.

Opportunity: No home is perfect. Those in need of updating or sold “as is” may offer buyers the opportunity to save significant money, if they’re willing to invest their time and elbow grease.


Challenge: Some “flipped” homes consist of little more than “slapping lipstick on a pig” and jacking the price. Examples include cleaning, painting and re-carpeting. If that’s all a home needs, then great … it’s a win-win. Some homes need much more and cosmetic fixes merely put a veneer on a sub-par property.

In older neighborhoods, buyers may want to search for a home that’s been “renovated” which, for today’s article means, its had extensive work done to professional standards. Quality counts. Google home renovations to read expert advice and data regarding projects that payoff, and those that don’t.lwk_3554

Location matters. The seller of one of my listings in Reno decided to buy and renovate a 1970s-era five-bedroom property zoned for some of the city’s most established schools. She intended to live there for years, then sell. She did a huge renovation. Professionals replaced the roof, furnace, a/c, water heater and updated the electrical. Inside, professionals installed new hardwood floors, gutted and remodeled kitchen, remodeled all the bathrooms, painted, updated light fixtures and more. Overall, more than $200,000 in updates brought this old home into the 21st century. The home shines.


2985 Rustic Manor Circle, Reno, NV 89509: Five bedrooms, 3 baths, 3,070 total square feet. Price: $600,000

The cost: At $600,000, this home’s features and amenities now compare favorably to many newer homes in the same zip code — plus it has RV parking and the advantage of not being in an HOA.

Whomever buys this home will have the best of both worlds — a quality-renovation of a home with character set in an older neighborhood near popular schools. The list of upgrades completed by licensed professionals makes it it so much more than a flip. If this appeals to you, contact me for a private showing!

Interested in learning more about this home or about real estate in Reno? I can help. Contact me! Email: Office phone: 775-850-5900.

Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor at Chase International Real Estate in Reno, NV.

Million-dollar Home Sales Spike at Tahoe

25 Back 4 10611 Buckhorn Ridge Ct. High Res (36 of 59) Back

10611 Buckhorn Ridge, Truckee offers outstanding craftsmanship at $2.999 million

By Holly O’Driscoll

Not all homes around or near Lake Tahoe sell for more than $1 million, but many do and activity in that price bracket pushed overall sales in the region up 8 percent for the first quarter of 2016.

Here’s an interesting data point behind the numbers: Sales of homes priced above $1 million jumped 11%, while the number of homes sold that were priced lower dropped 9%!

How often does that happen?

These numbers are part of a report released by Chase International Real Estate,comparing all MLS sales from January 1, 2016 through March 31 to the same time frame of 2015.

  • Biggest increase: Incline Villagesaw the biggest jump in sales and a 19% rise in the median sales price to $949,000
  • Losing ground: Tahoe Citywhere sales were down and prices dropped 3% to $529,950.
  • Most affordable:South Lake Tahoe with a median home price of $393,000 (up five percent) and average price of $453,830 (up two percent).
  • Hot Hot Hot:Truckee saw a 110% leap in homes selling for more than a million and 25% increase in homes selling for under a million. The median price of a home rose 13% over last year’s numbers at this time, to $655,000.

Truckee and Incline Village are less than 30 minutes from Reno and serve as the gateway to the rest of the communities around Lake Tahoe.  Spectacular scenery and outdoor adventures surround every home. It’s why we love living here!


Serene Mountain Retreat — New Listing! Price: $3.295M

25 Back 4 10611 Buckhorn Ridge Ct. High Res (36 of 59) BackRelaxed sophistication and timeless craftsmanship fill this 5 bedroom, 5.5 bath mountain retreat in Truckee, CA. Set on 8 level acres in a gated enclave, the 10,040 square-foot home is just 30 minutes from Reno Tahoe International Airport and an easy drive from San Francisco. Close to skiing, hiking and all outdoor sports, the property has private corporate retreat potential.

The price: $3,295,000.

Quality craftsmanship details include artisan-created hand-forged iron work, intricate masonry and stonework designs. Master woodworkers installed Douglas fir beams, floors and hand-oiled cabinetr2. Living room 10611Buckhorn2Int10 Living Roomy.

The recent $1 million-plus in renovation created:

  • Stunning formal living room and separate formal dining room with a
    massive two-sided fireplace
  • Game and billiards room with a full wet bar14. Master 10611Buckhorn2Int18Master Bedroom Fireplace
  • 2 offices
  • Quilting room (conference room/office potential)
  • Home theater/media room
  • Sunroom/lounge
  • 2 curved staircases
  • Master suite with 2-sided fireplace and spa-quality bath16 Master 10611Buckhorn2Int16 Master Bath
  • 4 bedrooms with lofts and walk in closets
  • Spectacular kitchen w/top-grade appliances, breakfast bar, wood-fired pizza oven, separate prep/catering kitchen with private entrance.

Outside, the flagstone patio has a stone fireplace, outdoor kitchen, bar seating, and a hot tub with spectacular mountain views that stretch for miles.

To see this property, contact me directly. Text/phone: 775-762-7576. Email:

See virtual tour for more photos. 

Coaching — It’s Not Just for Athletes

Even the best athletes benefit from coaching — having someone analyze their moves and their mindset.  The best want to get better — and rDSC_0003_edited-1ealize they need help to improve.

The same is true in business.

“Self-made”  man/woman is a fallacy. Drive and ambition certainly set successful business people apart. Few executives make it to the top of their professions without mentors along the way.

If they didn’t have an official mentor, they certainly learned lessons, found outside motivation from one, or many, people.

Coaching takes many forms:

Management/leadership training, project management workshops, specific industry training courses add useful strategies and tactics to our professional toolboxes.

Hiring a professional business coach to develop your skills and personal style can take that to the next level.

In researching an article I wrote for a private client, I spoke with numerous A-list professionals about getting ahead in business, and in winning contracts of all sizes. The advice and insights they provided is applicable in most business situations.

I found it interesting that many of the same research skills journalists use apply.  Research, Research, Research. Talk to people, toss ideas out, get a feel for a company/idea or product.

Whether you actively seek out and pay a mentor/coach or use life lessons and advice from family and friends, we learn.  The best acknowledge the value!







Matchmaking — and Teamwork — Make Real Estate Work

551 Tarn Way

For me, real estate is not about “selling” — it’s about helping people.

As a listing agent, my job entails discovering what a homeowner/seller wants to accomplish — and providing the expertise on pricing and marketing to make that happen.

As a buyer’s agent, I listen to what clients want, where they want to be, and what they can afford — then help them find it.

It’s about matchmaking … and about orchestration. Each real estate transaction — whether on the buying side or the listing side — involves more than a dozen people. Lenders, appraisers, inspectors, escrow/title professionals, repair people — plus the staff it takes in each office to pull all the records and documentation together. I work with incredibly skilled people across the board.

Each closing — such as the one that happened today involving the Reno property pictured above — required tremendous attention to detail by the professionals on all sides. This particular transaction included negotiations on price, repairs, recalls and appraisals. My clients were the buyers — and absolutely lovely people to work with. The sellers, and the sellers’ agent, were equally lovely and reasonable to work with. That is not always the case. On some contentious transactions a commission may feel more like “combat pay” (and low combat pay at that!).

So today was a very good day. The deal was finalized; the buyers received the keys; the sellers received their funds. Everyone won.

Coffeebar: Getting Local in Truckee, California

20150227_112525[1]I love discovering new meeting places and great independently owned businesses. Ones with character, great food and energy. The latest: The Coffeebar in Truckee, Calif. — about 30 minutes from Reno.

I met a friend who works in Truckee on a Friday at 11 a.m. The place was packed — and not with tourists. If you’ve been to Truckee, you understand that statement.The Coffee Bar is tucked into a tiny shopping complex at 10120 Jibboom Street — just a block off the main drag.

Most tourists never venture beyond the shops and restaurants now occupying the historic buildings along Old Donner Pass Road in Old Truckee.

What a difference a block makes!  Patrons gathered around various sized tables, stand-up counters and a comfy couch. The atmosphere was casual, and understated  — a distinctly upscale local Truckee vibe. People were wearing well-broken in jeans & fleece. ll less glitzy than the “mountain wear” of the weekend Bay Area visitor. The crowed included older guys with longer hair; moms with tots; 20-somethings sporting fleece and./or snow-border pants; a few people glued to their laptops. Lots of business talk flowed.

We had coffee and split a panini, Friendly employees took our order — and told us the place is almost always this busy. We found a place to sit — and the employees brought us our coffee & sandwich. They provided excellent service, and made a really good sandwich and great coffee. Obviously, all key to attracting and sustaining a loyal local following.

The Coffeebar website says the company only serves sustainably-grown coffee and products. They boast of roasting all their beans in Reno and of individually French pressing each cup of coffee.

The Coffeebar in Truckee has been around since 2010. It’s obviously a favorite local hangout. What I didn’t realize is that it’s the same company that the Coffeebar opened a location at 682 Mt. Rose Street in Reno last year — and that I ate breakfast there in January. So there’s a local option as well!  The menus are the same.

So three questions:

  1. Have you been to either the Truckee or Reno locations?
  2. Was your experience as good as mine? 
  3. What other great, locally owned shops do you recommend? 


A story that proves a point:

A story that proves a point: “It is our choices, far more than our abilities ….” Dumbledore

This link leads to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about a senior in high school who, by making the right choices, now has many outstanding opportunities.

He listened to his hard-working parents, did his homework, and kept his nose out of trouble.

That’s harder than it sounds sometimes.  Doing the right thing doesn’t always make a teen popular. It helps to be a quiet, physically mature person … He flew under the radar of many of his peers, and of his teachers.

Not calling attention to himself allowed him to do the right thing with fewer  hassles …

Where will he go from here?