Incline Village at Lake Tahoe, Nevada Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 1, 2016


SEPT 4 | Alpen Wine Festival | Squaw Valley

Wine tasting, live music, a silent auction and raffle. Entry into the event is a donation to Can Do MS. With the donation, attendees receive a crystal souvenir wine glass and tastings from over 40 vineyards.


SEPT 9-10 | Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival | Northstar

Lake Tahoe’s most prestigious food, wine, spirit and brew festival. Celebrity Chefs, hands-on cooking demonstrations, Farm to Tahoe dinner, winemaker luncheons and dinners, food and wine seminars, mixology... all topped off with the Sunday Culinary Competition and Grand Tasting.


SEPT 9 | Parasol Foundation Community Dinner | Shakespeare Ranch

Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty is honored to sponsor this culinary highlight of the fall social season at Tahoe. Guests include the who’s who of Tahoe’s affluent philanthropists and the generosity makes the evening magical. This year’s featured chef is Pamela Mazzola of San Francisco’s acclaimed Prospect Restaurant.


SEPT 16-23 | Tahoe South Restaurant Week

Restaurants from Meyers to Zephyr Cove will offer special menus and deals, featuring the best of the South Shore culinary scene. This is the perfect opportunity to try a new restaurant, connect with friends and family.


SEPT 17 | Sample the Sierra | South Lake Tahoe

This farm-to-fork festival celebrates the best food, wine, and art in the Sierra Nevada. Sample award winning wines from the Sierra foothills. Peruse booths with unique handmade products. Enjoy live entertainment, storytellers and cooking demonstrations.


Posted in Community News
Aug. 29, 2016


New Home Sales soared in July to highs not seen in nine years. Existing Home Sales experienced the opposite, plagued by low inventory and higher prices.

New single-family home sales surged due to a strengthening job market and low home loan rates. New Home Sales rose 12.4 percent to an annual rate of 654,000, above the 580,000 expected, while June was revised lower to 582,000 from 592,000. The Northeast led the charge with a whopping 40 percent surge. Sales are up 31.3 percent from July 2015. The median price for a new home slipped 0.5 percent from a year ago to $294,600.

The sale of new homes is making up for an unexpected slip in July Existing Home Sales. The National Association of REALTORS® reported that sales of previously owned homes declined in July from June due to low inventories and higher prices. July Existing Home Sales fell 3.2 percent from June to an annual rate of 5.39 million units, below the 554,000 expected and down 1.6 percent from a year ago. Inventories are now at a 4.7 month supply, which is nearly 6 percent below last year. The median existing home price was up 5.3 percent from July 2015.

In terms of overall economic growth, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 1.1 percent in the second quarter of 2016, in line with expectations, according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. GDP represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.8 percent. While consumer spending drove the increase, the buying power was offset by companies unloading excess inventory.

If you or anyone you know is in the market to invest in a new or existing home right now, home loan rates are quite attractive, hovering in historically low territory.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 23, 2016


Housing news and economic growth in the form of Gross Domestic Product will be closely watched.

The week begins with New Home Sales being released on Tuesday followed by Existing Home Sales on Wednesday.

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims and Durable Goods Orders will be delivered on Thursday.

On Friday, the Consumer Sentiment Index and the second reading on second quarter Gross Domestic Product will be released.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds have traded in a tight pattern recently. Home loan rates remain in historically low territory.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Aug 19, 2016)

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 22, 2016

Incline Village Real Estate Market Price Trend

I calculated the Real Estate median price for residential homes sold in the past 10 years on the Incline Village and Crystal Bay real estate market in order to determine the price trend for North Lake Tahoe home sales. The chart bellow reflects the data we collected starting 1//1/2006 through 8/19/16.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 22, 2016


More families may soon be on their way to homeownership as July Housing Starts hit their highest level in five months. Meanwhile, consumer inflation remained tame.

July Housing Starts rose 2.1 percent from June to an annual rate of 1.21 million units, above the 1.167 million expected. The sector continues to be a bright spot in a muddling along economy. The 1.21 million is the second-highest Housing Starts rate since the recession, and multifamily units are leading the increase. Building Permits fell 0.1 percent from June to an annual rate of 1.152 million, in line with expectations. These figures should be welcome news to potential homebuyers, especially those in areas that have struggled with a limited supply of homes.

Consumer inflation remained tame in July because of low energy costs. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged from June to July, as expected. Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy, rose 0.1 percent, just below the 0.2 percent expected. The Core rate rose 2.2 percent on an annual basis, just below the 2.3 percent recorded in June. Inflation reduces the value of fixed investments, like Mortgage Bonds. This means tame inflation tends to be good news for home loan rates, since they are tied to Mortgage Bonds.

Inflation is also one of the many economic factors the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) considers when setting monetary policy. The recent release of the July FOMC meeting minutes did not provide any clear signal regarding when the Fed may next change the Fed Funds Rate. This is the rate banks use to lend money to one another overnight. September provides the next opportunity for the Fed to consider an adjustment.

For those looking to invest in a home right now, home loan rates remain in historically low territory.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 15, 2016


After big gains in June, consumers didn't move the needle on Retail Sales in July. Economists were looking for a 0.4 percent rise, rather than the zero percent change reported.

Lower sales for gasoline, sporting goods, food and beverages, and building materials were a drag on the data. However, there was one bright spot: Retail Sales were up 2.3 percent from a year ago.

Also of note, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported real hourly compensation decreased 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016 rather than the previously published increase of 4.2 percent. Compensation also fell another 1.4 percent in the second quarter, from April to June. These revisions followed an update to the National Income and Product Accounts released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce on July 29, 2016 and don't bode well for the average pocketbook. Consumers may further tighten the purse strings as the reality of wages catches up to them.

Wholesale inflation remained tame in July, as the Producer Price Index (PPI) saw a 0.4 percent decline. The Core PPI, which strips out volatile food and energy readings, also fell 0.3 percent. Inflation reduces the value of fixed investments, like Mortgage Bonds. This means tame inflation tends to be good news for home loan rates, since they are tied to Mortgage Bonds.

For those looking to invest in a home right now, home loan rates are still on their side. Rates remain in historically low territory.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 11, 2016


Figuring out how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”

The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision! Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.

There are basically three stages to viewing a property:

1. Macro

2. Micro

3. Professional

When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard. Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes.

If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.

The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer. Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.

As your REALTOR®, I will guide you through a viewing so you’ll know what to look for and can make a smart, informed decision. Call today

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 3, 2016


After the announcement of Tesla’s gigafactory in September, 2014, the Greater Reno-Tahoe area has experienced a major economic boom and the ramifications are far reaching. As the relocation announcements of large and well-known companies are publicized, other businesses, investors and developers from all over the country are moving quickly to position themselves to take advantage of this unprecedented growth. The ease of doing business, coupled with favorable taxes and incentives, is creating an unparalleled environment for both business leaders and developers. With the dual benefits of having no corporate or personal income tax and an unsurpassed quality of life, Reno tops the list for many companies who are looking to relocate. In addition to Tesla, Apple recently chose Reno as the site for their massive iCloud data facility, making the largest land purchase in its history. In addition, the Las Vegas based tech company, Switch, plans to invest $5BB in an 8 million square foot data center. It is projected that the above companies alone will create over 55,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Greater Reno-Tahoe is a diverse region of eight distinct counties located in the northwestern portion of Nevada. A meaningful sense of community binds the region. Included in these counties is the third largest city in Nevada; Reno. Reno has become commonly known as “The Biggest Little City in the World” with its diverse variety of activities, ranging from outdoor recreation to a vibrant nightlife. Located just east of Reno is the growing city of Sparks. With the combination of four vibrant seasons of recreation, arts and culture, this region provides a very attractive place for a wide variety of companies and individuals alike. Housing Market

Since the announcement of Tesla’s Gigafactory landing in Northern Nevada, the local real estate market has experienced nothing short of a new boom. With the expectation of unprecedented job growth from multiple entities which are relocating, the Northern Nevada housing market will be faced with massive shortages over the next several years.

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) has projected that approximately 5,000 new housing units will need to be built each year over the next five years to meet the unprecedented demand for new homes in Nevada.

EDAWN is projecting that by 2020 Reno will have:

52,000 NEW JOBS



As of today, Reno has approximately 2,000 finished lots with only an additional 1,000 in the planning stages. If all 1,000 lots come online, this provides just over one year’s supply of finished lots based on 2016 projected sales and permits and obviously falls far short of what will be needed on a yearly basis for the foreseeable future. Given the significant demand, the following factors seem to be in play:

• Limited supply and growing demand will continue to drive home prices up

• Quality locations will command higher prices as in-fill land is disappearing quickly; and

• New builders and developers will continue to attempt to secure a presence in this market

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 1, 2016


Buying a new home is a dream that most of us cherish but we keep postponing the decision to do so as it poses a tremendous financial challenge. However if you look at the various tax benefits attached to investing in a home you would rather feel incentivised than challenged. The attractiveness of tax benefits will push you to seriously weigh your decision of renting a house and giving your landlord monthly sums of money against owning a house by leveraging.


The tax benefits associated with owning a home can be broadly classified as tax deduction and tax credits.

The most basic tax deduction benefit that comes with owning a home being that both the property tax, the mortgage insurance and interest payments you make on the mortgage are deductible from your taxable income. Not just that event the imputed rentals that you may earn from the property you buy are not to be included in your taxable income.

Tax credit is an incentive that allows one to deduct the amount of credit from the taxes owed to the government. There are many different examples of tax credit provided by the government. One well-known tax credit that is available to homeowners is the tax advantage that is provided to encourage people to promote energy efficiency in their homes. By opting for this, homeowners can enjoy tax benefits of up to 30% of the cost of installation. However, there are usually discrepancies from one state to another.

Tax deductibles, on the other hand, reduce your taxable liability by reducing your taxable income. There are various tax deductions available for homeowners on closing costs. However, there are sometimes fixed requirements that you may have to meet in order to avail the tax deductibles. Some of the many tax deductions that are available to homeowners are mentioned below.


1) Tax Benefits When Selling Your Home

There are tax benefits that you can claim at the time of selling the place. These can go as far as to exclude either a part or the whole profit that you obtain when you sell the house. Although there are plenty of criteria that need to be met to avail of these tax deductions too, there is a high possibility that you won’t be paying taxes on the profits you make.

Capital Gains Exclusion – This is considered the most considerable tax benefit that homeowners can enjoy. When you are looking to sell your home, you get a benefit of upto $500,000 if you are married and if you are single, you get a benefit of $ 250,000. This means that all profits up to that point can be kept by the homeowner. Considering that other investments are usually taxed at about 15%, this deduction helps you save about half a million dollars in the process.

Tax Saving on Home Improvements – While repair work may not have any tax benefits, works that are considered as improvements, like replacing countertops or putting in a new heating system, do come with some benefits. These costs can be added to the purchase price of your home when you plan on selling it. After all, home improvements add value to a house so keeping receipts of this kind of work when it is done will help.

2) Tax Benefits When Buying A Home

Although buying a home may be a hard choice, as you need a significant amount of cash input, there are numerous deductions that one can obtain when buying a home. Some of which are:

Mortgage Interest – Most people buy a house by taking a mortgage. The interest you pay on the mortgage is an allowable expense and you may deduct you’re your taxable income. With regard to the quantum of interest income that is deductible there is an upper limit. You are allowed to deduct interest expense on your mortgage until you have cumulatively deducted $1 million in interest costs. The ceiling is $500,000 if you are married and file your tax return separately from your spouse. The amount of deduction you stand to claim is usually higher in the first few years of the mortgage term as your monthly installments then carry a larger commitment towards interest. The interest component within the monthly payment comes down with time.

Discount Points – If you have purchased discount points when applying for a home loan, you will be able to enjoy a lower rate of interest on your home as well as lower monthly payments. This is because a point equals one percent of the loan amount thus getting points could save you more than $500 on your tax bill, in the first year after buying your home. If you plan on staying in the home for a long period of time, then purchasing discount points is a good option however, if you do not plan on living there long then you should opt out as the difference in payment would not be enough to offset the cost savings.

Real Estate Taxes – Depending on where you plan on buying your home, your property taxes will accordingly be steep or normal. However, the best part is that these taxes can be deducted from your yearly taxes. Your accountant will inform you on the amount you can deduct yearly but it can easily go up to $4000 to $5000.

Mortgage Insurance – Although most people choose to mortgage their homes, putting a 20% down payment may not always be possible. So you will need mortgage insurance. The good part is that, if you make less than $100,000 a year, you can deduct this amount from your tax bill. If you make more than that but less than $109999, it may still be possible for you to get a deduction for part of your mortgage insurance payment. This deduction ends up being quite sizeable, averaging around $1000.

Other Tax Benefits

Home Office Deduction – If you intend to use part of your home exclusively for running a business, you are allowed additional deductions on your taxes. The additional deductions may pertain to depreciation, utilities, repairs and insurance. However it is imperative that the space for which deduction is claimed is being principally used for business. It is a useful deduction, but you need to be prudent and honest as the audit rate is very high so you wouldn’t want to avail of it unless you really meet the criteria.

Home Equity Loans – When taking a home equity loan, homeowners are allowed to deduct the interest on the loan. You can take out an equity loan to cover home improvements. The interest from the loan can be used to deduct your taxes to up to $100,000 of mortgage debt.

These deductions and exclusions that are available to homeowners are more useful for those falling in a higher tax brackets. This is because, not only do they have higher marginal tax rates but they will also take most opportunity of itemized deductions on their tax returns.

Posted in Community News
July 28, 2016


Incline Village, on Lake Tahoe’s northeast shore, was relatively slow to develop. While visitors flocked to Lucky Baldwin’s 100-room hotel and casino in South Lake Tahoe in 1899 or the Bliss family’s renowned Tahoe Tavern in Tahoe City in 1901, Incline Village was still mostly a timber and milling town at the end of the nineteenth century, its timber sent via flume to Nevada’s Comstock mines.

Even by the late 1930s, few people lived in Incline Village full time. Most of the land was owned by George Whittell Jr., of Thunderbird Lodge fame, who bought more than 40,000 acres and 20 miles of shoreline from lumber companies and other shareholders that had done poorly in the stock market crash.

In the late 1950s, the Crystal Bay Development Company, spearheaded by president Art Wood, paid Whittell $5.3 million for 9,000 acres, establishing what today is Incline Village. In the 1960s, development finally took off in this corner of Lake Tahoe.

Sierra Tahoe Hotel

Incline Village’s first hotel, located where the Hyatt Lake Tahoe stands today, was the 100-room Sierra Tahoe Hotel, which opened in 1964 and played host to tourists or people looking to spend six weeks in a more scenic location than Reno while waiting out their divorce. The hotel was built by the Pacific Bridge Company, the main builder for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

In 1966, after an addition of 100 rooms and a casino, the hotel was sold to Miami Beach builder Calvin Kovens. Kovens had previously been convicted of a $25 million union pension fraud with the notorious Jimmy Hoffa; he purchased the Sierra Tahoe Hotel using Teamster union pension funds.

The Nevada Gaming Commission was uneasy with Kovens’ connections (a March 1966 Reno Evening Gazette article says commissioners cited Kovens’ “unsuitable background”) and denied Sierra Tahoe’s gaming license.

Wood took over the hotel and renamed it the Incline Village Casino and Lake Tahoe Hotel. Kovens stayed on as manager, though not long after, in 1967, the Nevada State Gaming Control Board temporarily revoked Wood’s gaming license, according to information from the Incline Village & Crystal Bay Historical Society, after charges that a casino croupier used loaded dice.

Kings Castle

The property switched hands again in 1969, when it was purchased by Nathan Jacobson, a Baltimore insurance executive who was a partner at Caesar’s in Las Vegas when it opened in 1966.

At Jacobson’s wife’s request, he invested some $20 million into the building, revamping it into a Camelot-themed hotel and casino. It reopened in July 1970 as the 470-room Kings Castle Hotel and Casino.

A Chicago Tribune article from August 2, 1970, describes the building as such: “The new Kings Castle has to be seen to be believed, and even then you’ll have problems. It’s an 11-story neo-Tudor structure crowned by a battlemented parapet from which medieval pennants wave in the mountain breezes.

“[Jacobson] predicted that it would become a hotel and entertainment complex to rival Las Vegas, a forecast that very well might please the boomsters but will drive conservationists even closer to suicide.”

A large model of Lady Godiva—naked astride her horse—stood near the entrance, as did figures of lancers and varlets. Nearby was a sign reading “Thy kingdom come.”

The same article continues, “Similar figures—probably of papier-mâché—of a king, queen and lady-in-waiting occupying the Royal Box of the 900-seat Camelot Theater helps create the strong impression that the décor is by Mme. Tussaud.”

Doormen in medieval, velveteen garb welcomed guests, where inside, the staff wore similarly inspired outfits—table captains in jesters’ tunics and bartenders in Robin Hood–style jerkins. When the staff addressed a guest, it was as sir or lady. Jacobson, for example, was known as Sir Nathan of Jacobson.

The casino floor included five craps tables, a roulette wheel, 15 blackjack tables, a 35-seat Keno lounge, slot machines and a baccarat table; hotel room rates ran from $24 to $32, or $45 to $110 for a suite.

Kings Castle held its grand opening in 1970, where celebrities such as Groucho Marx, Lana Turner, Barbara Stanwyck, Bob Hope and Chuck Connors were in attendance. Buddy Hackett gave a provocative performance, about which the Chicago Tribune, on July 6, 1970, in a piece titled “Buddy’s Bomb,” wrote “Sir Nathan of Jacobson, founder of Caesar’s Palace, has built a castle to put all other palaces in their place… A 16th century pleasure kingdom in the Tahoe woods that Sir Nathan says [in his eye-catching brochure] is the world’s most opulent hotel, casino and vacation resort. Kings Castle does indeed have quite a bit going for it, in spite of part-owner, Sir Buddy of Hackett, who bombed out on opening night with a new low in verbal orgy-lams and a nude scene that no one found funny. Sir Buddy of the billowing belly romped onstage clad only in a G-string and a couple of souvenir ersatz-gold medallions. So who needs a refresher course in human anatomy, especially his?”

Of Kings Castle’s very brief run, not many accounts remain. There are secondhand stories, rumors of mob ties and of unsuspecting bellhops used to ferry bags of money that higher-ups skimmed from the casino, or tidbits about the ceilings being extra high as to accommodate showgirl headpieces. But these rumors are minor compared to the trouble the casino was about to hit.

Casino Kidnapping

Ray Landucci worked as a keno manager at the Kings Castle casino. According to court records from 1973, the casino had been open less than two years when Landucci decided to test the honesty of an employee, James Martin, before promoting him. “With this purpose,” records state, “he told Martin of a fraudulent keno plan, solicited his cooperation to carry it through, and advised Martin that he would telephone him later that evening to explain the plan in further detail.” That plan, Landucci later admitted, was to rig a machine. Martin was going to “blow his nose and comb his hair to signal OK,” then a third man, identified only as “Norm,” was going to take $4,500 on a fraudulent keno card.

Martin was—rightly—suspect of this plan. Landucci’s role was not to test an employee and, in fact, if he suspected dishonesty, his role was to report it to Forrest Paull, then–vice president of Kings Castle. As it was, Martin reported the conversation to Paull, who monitored the telephone conversation between Martin and Landucci that night. Paull reported to Jacobson. Though others in the know wanted to let Landucci attempt to carry out his plan, Jacobson wanted to confront the keno manager immediately.

Jacobson got his way. At about midnight on September 1, 1970, Paull called Landucci into his upstairs office, where he interrogated him, allegedly saying at one point to give him the right answers or “Nate [Jacobson] would get them his way.” Landucci stuck to his story, however, that he was testing an employee’s honesty and didn’t intend to commit any actual fraud. Finally, after about 40 minutes, Paull left the room while Jacobson entered with his bodyguard, Thomas Bruno.

Jacobson was furious with Landucci and began calling him obscenities, but Landucci insisted he hadn’t planned to defraud the casino. According to court records, Jacobson and Bruno both struck Landucci several times in the head. Then the bodyguard took a revolver from a desk drawer and threw it at Landucci’s feet while also drawing out his own pistol. Bruno loaded and cocked the pistol and told Landucci to pick up the revolver. Landucci refused. Bruno pointed the pistol at the keno manager and told Jacobson to call an ambulance.

Landucci began pleading. He told the two men he’d give them whatever they wanted. Jacobson called Paull back to the office, and had him write a confession for Landucci to sign. Landucci signed at about 3:10 a.m. on September 2, then Jacobson had him taken to another room, where he remained under guard until about 4 p.m. that day. Jacobson waited to see if the unidentified man, “Norm,” would enter the casino, but no one came. Landucci’s wife was called and told that Landucci was working an extra shift.

After Landucci was released, law officials eventually became aware of the events. “Landucci was never a willing complainant,” then–chief criminal deputy district attorney Larry R. Hicks told the Reno Evening Gazette in a December 1, 1971, story. “The information of this case came from a leak in Incline Village, which I do not know myself.”

It would appear that Landucci himself would have preferred to stay in Kings Castle’s good graces. On several occasions, he met with Paull at a gas station away from the casino in an attempt to have the vice president put in a favorable report so Landucci could receive unemployment benefits. His efforts were consistently denied.

Jacobson and Bruno were charged with kidnapping, coercion and false imprisonment. Jacobson, in a 1973 interview, denied ever striking Landucci or seeing any display of guns. “I didn’t believe the days of witch-burning would still exist,” Jacobson said. In another report, Jacobson called Bruno “an innocent bystander.”

The trial lasted five weeks, though after eight hours of deliberations, the jury acquitted both men.

Despite beating the charges, the casino was bankrupt. Jacobson announced he was retiring and in 1972 sold Kings Castle to two Californians for $23 million.

The hotel reopened briefly (with the caveat that Jacobson stay off the premises), but failed again; the property was forfeited back to the Teamsters union pension fund.

Success at Last

The Hyatt Corporation bought Kings Castle in 1975. In the subsequent remodel, the banners and flags were removed, the velveteen costumes and jester’s tunics hung up, and Lady Godiva and the other medieval figures discarded. For the past five decades, the hotel has remained within the Hyatt, the property undertaking the occasional remodel and adding restaurants, a spa and various programs. While today’s Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino may not be the castle it was in the early 1970s, guests can still stay in the luxurious rooms or sit on the pristine beach, Lake Tahoe lapping at their feet, and feel like royalty.

Posted in Community News