Interest Rate Jump Hurts Home Buyers

Since the election, mortgage interest rates jumped 1/2 percent, according to a briefing this morning from one of our mortgage partners.

“Interest rates should increase gradually during the next four years under a Donald Trump administration, which could dampen growth in the housing industry, economists and housing experts predict,” according to The Street, an online economic blog.

It’s already happening. Rates offered to borrowers with excellent credit jumped to 4.25 percent for  30-year fixed-rate loan. That’s a real shock to consumers used to rates starting in the 3-percent range. The new numbers are low by historical standards — yet psychologically, it hurts.


It also cuts into consumers’ buying power. The lender I spoke with explained that a half percent adds about $44 per month to the payment on a $200,000 loan.

That may not sound exorbitant. Over time it adds up. And, it cuts buying power for many clients. Depending on their income and credit rating, every incremental increase in mortgage interest rates means they can afford less house.

Various economic websites are using “skyrocketing” “relentless move upwards” when talking about recent spikes in interest rates. Will rates continue to rise? I have no crystal ball. In one weekly report, 50% of economists said “yes” If that happens, buyers will afford less house.

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

10611 Buckhorn Ridge, Truckee, NV $2,999,000

How does that impact buyers? Higher interest rates mean higher monthly payments and it will take a higher income to qualify for the amount a consumer could get last week.

How does it impact sellers? By shrinking the buyer pool. Will it hurt list prices for homes?  Not immediately. Logically a sustained increase in mortgage rates has to effect sellers.

  • Will it spur buyers to lock in a rate before they climb even higher?
  • Will it price buyers out of the market?
  • Will sellers have to lower the property price? Will they negotiate more?

What do you think? Let me know!

Holly O’Driscoll, Chase International Real Estate, Reno, Nevada. Call/text: 775-762-7576



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.

Real Estate Makes People Crazy!


My listing in South Reno recently sold for $269,500. This 1,738 sq/ft, 2-bedroom + loft condo has a 2-car garage. It was in contract 3 days after listing.

Rational, intelligent people become unreasonable, inflexible deal-killers when buying or selling a home. Why? Because money is emotional, and these days, real estate involves a LOT of money.

In northern Nevada, $250,000 (a quarter of a million dollars!) or less doesn’t buy much: most likely a tiny, older home, a manufactured property or perhaps a condo. Homes $250,000 – $300,000 buys a bit more. Most homes are higher. In many California cities, that wouldn’t buy a thing.  

Add to that the fact that even the most straightforward transactions usually have at least one “bump” in the road, and people panic.  The size of the investment dwarfs nearly any other transaction. It’s scary. I’ve had clients threaten to walk away from a $400,000 home over $150 in repairs. 

Realtors earn their commissions — at least I do! My services includes massive orchestration to transfer a home from seller to buyer. I manage 20 or more people per transaction: My client, the other client’s agent, the lender, the title company, the appraiser, various inspectors, the office people, and the repair people. Emotional support, mediation, discretion all play rolls.

Every transaction includes a learning opportunity — digging through county assessor records to discover when an easement was put in place, helping out of state buyers find good repair/remodel contractors, the list goes on and on.  

Experience matters. Service matters. Commitment matters. That’s what to look for in a Realtor!  Call/text me with real estate questiHolly O'Driscoll_AA_260x300 (1)ons! 

Holly O’Driscoll
Chase International Real Estate
Reno, Nevada


Disappointment at Napa Sonoma South

Saturday’s breakfast date had so much potential at Napa Sonoma South in Reno. If only … 20160521_092330[1]

  • Spacious dining area tastefully decorated
  • Cloth napkins wrapped the silverware.
  • Varied menu
  • High expectations based on reputation and experience at the flagship location

We entered the dark wood and brick store just after 9 a.m. A sign invited us to seat ourselves. Three parties occupied the dining room: A group of six (including two small children) and two couples.  We sat at a table near the brick wall.

And waited. After a while, I turned the stop watch function on my stop watch. Three more minutes passed.

An elderly couple with  a golden retriever came in and sat at a table near us. A server appeared — and offered them water and coffee.  Then noticed us and asked the busboy to offer us water/coffee. He brought coffee, but not water. The server was annoyed.

Menus arrived. We made our selections. The food arrived in a reasonable time frame.

Buttermilk pancakes by definition are bland. My companion said his were light, fluffy and unremarkable.

My Veggie Eggs Benedict looked great, with Hollandaise sauce draped nicely over the dish.

As I took my first bite, the phrase “if only” popped into my head. The Hollandaise sauce had a lovely flavor — but, sadly, was barely lukewarm. Perhaps the cold china plate cooled it off on the way from the kitchen. Perhaps the refrigerator-cold tomatoes and cold, crunchy onions that chilled the eggs and sauce. The avocado chunks were fresh and properly ripe.

Several other parties arrived for a late breakfast, and more wait staff appeared offering coffee refills every few minutes. No one asked if we needed or wanted anything. As I munched on fruit, a bus person reached across me to grab my empty plate.

The server quickly gave us our bill, didn’t thank us, didn’t invite us back.

Perhaps that’s a sign. So much potential. Such poor execution.

Have you eaten at Napa Sonoma South? Did you have a better experience? Tell me about it.

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!


What’s Spring w/o Snow on the Daffodils?

By Holly O’Driscoll

Snow on Cherry Blossom

Spring snow! 

Spring has sprung in the Sierra. Cherry trees, flowering Plums bursting with color. Daffodils emerge from their long rest. Temperatures in the mid 60s. Lovely spring weather.

Which means this morning’s snowfall (12-inches and counting at
my house), was both
inevitable and welcome.  It’s March 28 Snowstill March!  Reno gets the
occasional snow storm in April, sometimes in May … and, every few years, a few flakes fly in June.

So, kuduos to those of us who still have snow tires on, who have both ski gear and bikes in the garage!


Favorite Spring Snow memories or photos? Please share!