Socially Distant house hunting in Reno

Generally, furnished or staged homes homes look more inviting to home buyers. The right amount of furniture makes spaces seem larger. These days, with “social distancing” recommendations, touring vacant homes to buy seem less risky.

Buyers, and agents for that matter, worry about encountering Covid-19 germs in occupied homes. Sellers worry about unknown people bringing germs into their homes.

Yet, people still need to have a place to live. They need to relocate, sell, buy or rent, which is why real estate has been deemed an Essential Function in Nevada. The question becomes, how to make that happen as safely as possible.  Marketing has changed. I can’t do open houses during this time. Video offers another avenue.

Before listing 6269 Golden Meadow Road in Reno, I hired professionals to photograph it. I do this for every property I list — humble to luxurious. More than 95 percent of buyers start their search online, so photos mater.  You can see furnished photos of 6269 Golden Meadow here..  The photos show a nicely furnished property.    

Yet times have changed. The sellers of this home relocated — now it is empty.  Which just might be an advantage right now. So I made the video below.

Video offers another avenue to reach people stuck at home and, at this property, reassures buyers it is less risky to visit.

Facts about this home:

  • 6269 Golden Meadow Road, Reno, NV 89519
  • MLS #200003081.
  • 2,645 Square Feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3-car garage
  • Schools: Huffaker Elementary, Swope Middle, Reno High
  • Price: $550,000

This property is available by appointment only. Call your Realtor to see it, or reach out directly to me at Chase International Real Estate in Reno, NV.  775-850-5900.

 

Holly O’Driscoll is a licensed Realtor at Chase International Real Estate, Reno, NV (NVL S.176271).  Website: hollyodriscoll.chaseinternational.com   Email: hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com  775-850-5900 

 

 


Waiting until 2020 to buy a home may cost you — a lot

Experts  in the economic development sector predict robust growth in Northern Nevada for years to come, with national companies continuing to migrate here, creating more jobs and putting more pressure on home prices. National commercial and home builders seem to agree — investing millions in land development, infrastructure and housing projects. Business people running these companies do their homework and focus on profits.  Their investments speak to Reno’s future.

What does that mean to the average resident? To me, it signals that home prices likely won’t drop significantly anytime “soon.”

The graphic below outlines the cost of waiting based on data from home sales across the nation. In Northern Nevada, very little sells below $200,000 — so add about $100,000 to these numbers. Waiting to buy a home could — and quite likely will — cost more in 2020.

Cost of waiting to buy a home

What is your perspective? For the most up-to-date data on home sales in Northern Nevada, please email/contact me directly.

Holly O’Driscoll is Realtor at Chase International Real Estate (NV lic: s.176271)  and a freelance journalist and in Reno, NV.   Email her at hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com  phone: 775-850-5900.  

http://hollyodriscoll.chaseinternational.com/


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. 

 


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


5 Reasons to Buy a Home in Winter

Evans Ave Front pix

On the Market: 1056 Evans Ave., Reno, NV: The sellers of this 4-bedroom home near the University of Nevada, Reno, are motivated! The property was listed in December for $529,000. 

 

The “best deals” for home buyers often happen in winter. Sure, there are fewer homes on the market to pick from, but homes newly listed or still on the market when it’s cold outside, are there for a reason: Sellers either need to sell now, or the property didn’t sell earlier in the year.

Plus: With fewer buyers out looking, there’s less competition for those homes. In a tight market like Reno/Sparks, that can make a huge difference in actually getting a home. Multiple offers still happen, particularly in the lower price ranges, but a buyer in Reno/Sparks might be up against one other offer vs. six.

Here are five great reasons to buy a house between December and May:

  1. Bang for your Buck   

In a tight market like in Reno/Sparks, prices tend to jump several percentage points as the weather warms.  On average, about 40% of homes sell in spring and summer (May – August), according to The Housing Wire. Homes generally sell for $1,500 – $3,000 more than those sold in winter, according to Zillow.

  1. Sellers are Motivated (or Finally Ready) 

Whether a house is a new listing, or simply didn’t sell earlier, sellers tend to be serious, and ready to consider all offers, during the winter. This may give buyers more room to negotiate and perhaps get a better deal.

  1. Fewer Choices = Easier Decision

Fewer homes may seem like a disadvantage at first, but perhaps it’s not.

There’s an overabundance syndrome known as the paradox of choice. This happens when people have so many good options they dither and end up losing out or second guessing themselves. They dwell on the “what ifs” – which leads to less satisfaction with whatever choice they make.

  1. More Attention

Buyers flood the market in spring and summer, which strain the time resources of Real estate agents, lenders, title companies and other professionals. In winter, homes may not sell in two days. And, once in contract, it takes less time to arrange for appraisals, inspections and repairs.

  1. Furnishing a New Home May Cost Less 

Need new appliances or furniture for that new home? In general, winter sales offer great savings, according to Consumer Reports.

Conclusion: A buyer may indeed find that perfect home in winter. If not, looking now helps buyers clarify what “perfect” means. By doing their on the ground research now, when that ideal home does come up for sale, they’re ready.

Buying a home is the largest investment most people ever make, and should not be done in haste just to save money. Consulting with a lender, personal finance professionals all come into play before buying a home at any time of year.

That said, do consider starting your search soon. Forecasters say the housing shortage in Reno/Sparks will continue for some time.

Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor (R) with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada. Email her at Hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com or call her at 775-850-5900.

 

Thanks to Mike Pulley, who contributed to this article.

 


Why Reno? Lifestyle, Opportunity, Value

Cityscape taken from TMCC. Photo by Sandy Goff.

By Holly O’Driscoll, Chase International Real Estate 

Surrounded by mountains and blessed with an enviable climate, Reno and Sparks offer a breathtaking beautiful place to live, work and play.

Living in the RenoSparks area with its quick commutes, attractive and affordable housing options and its easy access to outdoor adventures attracts thousands of new residents every year. Those who already live here understand the specialness of being able to escape to the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe or Pyramid Lake; to find adventure kayaking in the Truckee River or exploring the Great Basin; or to just relax in one of the many parks. Few communities in the world allow you to ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon. From Reno, both options are within just a few miles of each other.

Here work-life balance is a reality.

Quality of life and the business-friendly philosophy attract global co2014-05-24-13-56-37rporations to the area and encourage start-up businesses. Tesla’s decision to locate here grabbed the headlines, yet many other high-tech firms, manufacturing plants, distribution facilities and service companies thrive here, plus add balance to our economy’s important tourism and special event sector.

Job Growth

In 2016, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) reports that 25 companies relocated or expanded operations in the region bringing hundreds of new jobs. More companies — and jobs — are coming, EDAWN says.

Culture

Museums along with music and theatrical companies enrich the community and draw nationally known artists perform throughout the year. Generous local and national philanthropists support The Nevada Museum of Art, the National Automobile Museum, the month-long ARTown Festival in July.

The Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts hosts the Reno Philharmonic, Reno Opera, the AVA Ballet, as well as national touring productions of Broadway plays. Headline entertainers regularly perform at the spectacular showrooms at the many casino resorts, at events centers and at other local venues.

Sports

Sports enthusiasts fill the seats to watch the Reno Aces, the minor league baseball Pacific Coast League team play and they support the Reno Bighorns, a D-League basketball team affiliated with the Sacramento Kings. The latest pro team: Reno 1868 FC, a United Soccer League team will debut at Greater Nevada Field in February 2017.

Residents participate in adult leagues for nearly every sport imaginable from rugby to coed softball. Area youth leagues serve even the youngest soccer, football, basketball and baseball players.

Serious bicyclists train here by peddling up mountain highways while mountain bikers hurl themselves down rocky trails in the Sierra. Hikers can find a trek to suite any ability. With 18 world-class ski resorts within a one-hour’s drive and thousands of square miles of back country skiing nearby, skiers and snowboarders use Reno and Sparks as a base camp. Golfers can tee up at more than a dozen championship ranked courses within Reno-Sparks, with a dozen more in surrounding resorts.

Buying a Home 

One of Reno’s main attractions is affordability.  Urban lofts, historic bungalows, gated golf course developments, luxury custom homes, active adult communities, horse properties and homes in subdivisions give people many choices in living style

In 2016 the median price for a single-family home in Reno/Sparks was $304,999 – which means half sold for less, half for more, according to a report from Chase International Real Estate. Condos are an increasingly popular option. On the lower end, buyers can find condos below $200,000. The luxury condo market is growing as well, with penthouses selling for $1 million or more.

Education

The University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College systems enroll more than 25,000 full-time students, plus numerous private colleges offer continuing education in many fields. Public/private partnerships with area industries are expanding curricula and training people for local high-paying careers. Entrepreneurship plays a significant role in the area economy.

Reno-Sparks has four major hospitals offering state of the artsnowman1 medical care, Carson City has a large hospital, plus the University of Nevada, Reno has a medical school and nursing program.

 Climate

The high desert climate of Reno and Sparks offers four distinct seasons and basks in
more than 300 days of sunshine each year. Most of the valley sits at about 4,500 feet above sea level and the dryness of the elevation soften the seasons. Summer days can top 90-degrees, yet the lack of humidity makes that tolerable, plus most nights cool down dramatically. In winter, even the coldest, snowiest days lack the bite of dampness.

Reno History

First settled in the 1850s, Reno was originally named Lake’s Crossing. The discovery of the Comstock Lode of silver in the mountains to the east led to one of the greatest mining rushes of all time. The area boomed, the Central Pacific Railroad built a depot here and in the 1860s the town was renamed to honor Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer who was killed in the Civil War.

Though the local mining boom faded, Reno continued to prosper as a commercial and business center. Large scale mining continues in other parts of the state and Nevada ranks as one of the top gold producing regions in the world.

Sparks History

The City of Sparks was built by the Southern Pacific Railroadmichael-train and named after Gov. John Sparks in 1904. Today tourist, commercial and industrial businesses fuel its economy and its residential areas extend far to the north into Spanish Springs.

Visitors from around the globe come to Reno-Sparks for its wide range of special events, from the Reno Rodeo in June through the National Championship Air Races in the fall the area covers the gamut of interests.  Once they discover the beauty, the quality of life and the affordability, most want to come here again.

Quality of Life is more than a hope. It is a way of life in Northern Nevada.

Have a question about Reno/Sparks? Leave a comment or send me an email! Email: Hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com


Christmas is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

Selling or buying a home in winter poses unique challenges — and real estate opportunities.

Seasonal swings in home prices and number of homes on the market happen in many cold climates, including Northern Nevada. Trees lose leaves, lawns turn brown. Hopefully, there’s snow on the ground. Sellers fret that buyers can’t see and appreciate the lovely landscaping they worked so hard on. Buyers must use their imaginations or rely on photos to understand the summer beauty of a home on the market in mid-winter.

Yet people buy and sell homes all year long. Families grow, promotions or new jobs require people to move, and many other life-changing events  prompt people to list a property for sale in winter.

Whether buying or selling a home, use these tips to get the most out of this real estate season!

Are you a  Buyer? 

Fact: There are fewer homes on the market from December – Marc2525 Rio Alayne Ct Sparks NV-print-006-1-11-2500x1668-300dpih, so buyers have fewer homes to tour and from which to select. BUT those homes that are available are there for a reason — their sellers are motivated! In many cases, price points may be less than homes that get listed in spring.

Fact: In many markets, prices frequently jump in the Spring and early summer, then level out or even retreat for the rest of the year. In winter, some sellers are more willing to negotiate, if not on price, on other points. Buyers who wait until spring to start looking, may miss the boat. If prices jump again, but a buyer’s budget doesn’t, then they may have to buy less house.

Fewer buyers = better chance at getting a great property at a better price.

Timing: The weeks before and after Christmas are great times to make an offer on a house!

The reason: Many agents and many buyers take the holidays off. Less competition may mean a better deal for those in the hunt for a great home.

Are You a Seller?

Homes for sale in mid-winter fchristmas-front-doorace the challenge of fewer buyers. Make the most of what your home has to offer with these tips:

• Turn the lights on! Outside  may be blustery, cold and dreary, so make the house you’re trying to sell warm and inviting.

Home buying is emotional.  Create a comfortable environment for buyers. Add lights to dark corners, Consider installing recessed lights in dark hallways. Add lamps on a timer. Both are fairly inexpensive, yet very effective tactics to make your home sparkle on a dark day.

• Keep the heat on! No one likes a cold house. Many modern thermostats have timers for night and day. Use one, especially in a vacant house. Set the daytime temperature at about 68 degrees.  If a home is barely warmer inside than it is out, clients just won’t stay very long. Don’t lose a sale over a few dollars for heat.ornament 2013

• Consider professional staging. Smart designers can re-purpose or re-arrange your furniture to give it a better flow for touring. Decorate — but not too much. Pack up your personal items — photos, toys, games, “stuff” you are moving anyway. Look at model homes — which maximize a room’s features by strategically placing a minimum amount of furniture. Just enough to give an idea.

Odd fact: empty rooms look smaller than furnished rooms. Again, play into the emotion of buying a home. You want a buyer to pick your property over all other options. Focus on staging the master bedroom and the rooms you spent the most time using and enjoying. Kitchens: Only one item on the counters, and perhaps a small breakfast table staged with coffee cups hint at cozy conversations.

• Show the summer scene with photos!  An album, 8×10 display stands clearly show buyers how much shade the now-barren trees provide your yard. Colorful fruit trees? Glorious roses? Share photos of how lovely your garden will be in just a few months.

dollar sign artReno Market Insights: Inventory is still low. Is buying new construction the answer? Maybe not. Developers used to price homes below existing homes in Northern Nevada. Not no much today — especially when factoring in lot premiums, nearly mandatory “upgrades” plus the hidden costs of window coverings, landscaping and customized paint. Buyers who think they really want brand new, may  find their dollars go farther in “used” home — especially before the traditional spring price hike hits.

So from today through January ‘Tis the Season to, perhaps find a great deal! 

For more information, call/text 775-762-7576 or send an email to hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com

Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada.