May 30, 2018

Is this Tahoe Donner's best amenity?

img source:

From the Tahoe Donner Golf Course and Alder Creek Adventure Center, to the members-only Donner Lake Beach Club Marina and Tahoe Donner downhill ski resort, few neighborhoods have as rich an array of amenities as Truckee's Tahoe Donner.

However, it never takes long for homeowners to tell us that their favorite benefit of living here is its natural surroundings. The tree-filled lots. The tumbling streams.

And of course, the Eure Valley, it's stunning crown jewel.

Resting well below and just north of the ebbs and flows of the wooded streets, Eure Valley is a testament to unfiltered outdoors.

Named after the ranching family that settled it, the valley was once home to the Eure's dairy farm, eventually becoming grounds for its beef cattle.

The animals roamed the thick grasses and deep stream banks for several generations before being phased out the last couple of years as part of the sale to Tahoe Donner six years ago.

(The Eure family still owns 40 acres in the valley's center, and are always good for a wave from the driver seat as they chug along back home along its rutty access roads.)

Since Tahoe Donner's acquisition, the valley has been allowed to flourish mostly undisturbed. Winding through its old growth forest and shaded ridgelines is a series of marked, maintained trails for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian activities. Some of the region's best singletrack can be found here; and there are trails for all levels of rider.

Despite the presence of Tahoe Donner residents, the Eure Valley is once again the grounds of black bears, coyotes, deer, and an array of bird species. Nature will always be a special part of living in the northern Sierras, especially in Tahoe Donner.

The south fork of Prosser Creek flows from Summit and Frog Lakes on Donner Summit to nourish the valley's dense wetlands. It then becomes an inviting, meandering aquatic respite through the valley's center, and is home to trout, birds, and bountiful Sierra Nevada plant life.

The Eure Valley is accessed easily via trails from the Alder Creek Adventure Center, or any other number of trailheads along the hills of Ski Slope Way.

We can't recommend enough taking the time to explore this incredible outdoor space, especially in the early, cool mornings of spring when the visitors are few and the blooms are many.

The wide, twisting access road from the end of Alder Creek Road (be sure to park at the Adventure Center) is an easy route, and can be followed all the way to the start of private land, at which point hikers can cut immediately left through the meadow, past Coyote warming hut (for winter activities), and back on another dirt road that reconnects with the primary road you came down.

However, the best way to explore Eure Valley in Tahoe Donner is to grab a map at the adventure center, ask a few questions, and hit the trail.

Once you get to know a few of its trails, viewpoints, and quiet spots, it'll be hard to not want to revisit them every time you're at the cabin.

Ultimately, the best thing about living in Tahoe Donner, is everything that encourages you to be outside of it.

Posted in Things to Do
May 25, 2018

Weather or not, it's Memorial Day weekend in Truckee


You know it's May in the mountains when trying to predict the weather is tantamount to guessing the Powerball.

However, for those who know, May is the price the Sierra Nevadas charge for June through August, when clear, cool mornings fit for a puffy jacket give way to hot afternoons, and reasons to hang out on the docks at Donner Lake, sunscreen in one hand, cold drink in the other.

Summer in Truckee and North Tahoe is nothing short of summer camp for adults. And of course, the kids can have a great time too.

If you're heading up the hill for the 2018 Memorial Day weekend, we have a few ideas for you.

(As of this writing, our first, best recommendation is to dress accordingly.)

The Truckee Home & Building Show
5/26-27; 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Held at Truckee High School on Donner Pass Rd., just off of I-80, this annual event for builders, decorators, and of course, homeowners, showcases some of the coolest trends in mountain lifestyle. Meet new people, talk to the pros, and discover more reasons why owning a home here is so rewarding.

Made in Tahoe Festival
5/26-27; 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Held in the beautiful and historical Squaw Valley, this terrific locally-powered event is all about who and what makes the Tahoe region such an inspiring place to live. Experience local companies, artists, and the products they create to help us all live and enjoy our incredible surroundings. Shop for everything from mantle-worthy murals to custom skis and snowboards, and from portable dog bowls to essential oils. There's music, drinks, food, and of course, the beauty and history of Squaw Valley.

Made In Tahoe Festival from Rotor Collective Digital Cinema on Vimeo.

Hike Lower Carpenter Valley
5/26 & 5/27; each day from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Located a couple of mountain ridges north of Tahoe Donner, Carpenter Valley is as pristine a mountain environment as you'll find anywhere in the lower 48. Featured on multiple national news stories, this incredible preserve was recently taken over, and is now stewarded, by the Truckee-Donner Land Trust, a fantastic local non-profit dedicated to preserving our most cherished natural areas. Wildlife, wild flowers, streams, and mountain views combine to provide hikers with a few hours of much-needed natural solace. Rain or shine, don't miss it.

Little Big Bike Festival & Skills Clinic
5/26; 7:30 a.m. - till dark
Few mountain towns in the west are blessed with a dedicated—and free—mountain bike park as well organized or fun as Truckee's. Located near the airport on Joerger Dr. (but seen from Hwy. 89 over the river bridge), the Truckee Bike Park holds this annual fundraiser to teach kids and families the benefits and skills of mountain biking. There's something for every level of rider at the "Little Big," and it's a fantastic way for children to learn safely under the guidance of experienced riders. Go get dirty!

Need some things to do that aren't on the calendar? Easy stuff:

Stand-up Paddle Boarding on Donner Lake
Always best in the early morning before afternoon winds kick-up, paddling Donner is not only great exercise (can you go all the way around?), it affords views of Donner Summit, and offers looks at the many beautiful waterfront homes that line its shores.

By J.smith - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Hike Shirley Canyon
Located on the northwest side of Squaw Valley, this steep, rugged canyon has two trail options, both of which offer challenge, but 100%-Grade-A Sierra wilderness: old growth forest, snowmelt-fed wildflowers, bears, and deer. Sunday morning weather looks good!

Hike Emerald Bay
Eagle Falls are roaring this time of year, and their source, Eagle lake, is about a mile above it and always a must-see. On the other side and below Hwy. 89 is Vikingsholm Castle, a highly popular tourist draw. But, take the Rubicon Trail along the north edge of Emerald Bay to escape the crowds and see some of Lake Tahoe's most forested, pristine shoreline.

Obviously, we're only scratching the surface of everything we have to offer visitors and aspiring homeowners.

Speaking of which, if you're interested in seeing what the Truckee and North Tahoe housing markets have to offer this time of year, give us a call at 530-582-6900, or browse our exclusive listing website.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Things to Do
March 25, 2018

First Quarter of 2018: Video Market Report

VIDEO MARKET REPORT: How did the first quarter of 2018 go in the Truckee and North Tahoe?

Posted in News
Feb. 19, 2016

How to Sell a Home in the Winter

There are many great Truckee area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call me at (530) 582-6900 for a FREE home buying consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Up here in the mountains, we’ve had three years of drought. However, this year we are looking at a much heavier winter. The home selling season doesn’t slow down up here once the weather gets colder. In fact, we sold twice as many homes this November as we did in October. The market isn’t showing signs of slowing down, so we thought we would offer you some tips on how to prepare your home to sell this winter.

Here are our top 5 tips:

1. Make sure the home is heated

A lot of homes up here are second homes, and owners will keep the heat and water off during the winter while they aren’t there. If you don’t plan on selling, that’s fine. However, if you do plan on selling, you’ll need to keep that heat on while the house is being shown. Buyers don’t like looking at homes where they can see their breath.

2. De-clutter

This is a big one. You want your home to be clean, presentable, and a place where people can feel comfortable and at home. De-cluttering will maximize your space and minimize the distractions in the home.

3. Holiday decorations

The holidays are an emotional time for people. We want potential buyers to fall in love with your home, and with some holiday decorations, they are more likely to do so.

Discover Tips On How to Sell a Home in the Winter with Christy Morrison, North Tahoe Real Estate Agent4. Snow removal

Clear all the walkways and driveways. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve shown client's homes that are barricaded by snow drifts. Buyers don’t want to have to walk through snow piles just to get into a home.

5. Price correctly

When selling during the winter, you’ve got to price correctly. We want your home to be one of the best values on the market. This way, you’ll receive multiple offers and create a bidding war on your property. That’s how you sell for top dollar.

If you have any questions for us, or are interested in buying or selling in Tahoe this winter, give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help you out!

Posted in News
Feb. 19, 2016

What Are The Basics Of Estate Planning?

There are many great Truckee area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call me at (530) 582-6900 for a FREE home buying consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Today we are excited to be joined by local attorney and estate planning specialist, Michael E. Graham. He is here to give us an overview in estate planning and how it relates to real estate up here in the mountains.

The first step in estate planning is gathering all the information necessary to assess what the estate planning client’s needs are. Michael likes to send out a questionnaire that asks potential clients all the necessary questions about their family and life so that everything can be put in order. After he gets all this information, he has full lists of assets and liabilities to determine what the nature and extent of the client’s estate is.

After he has that information, Michael works as a filter, using the information to determine what the client would want in an estate plan. As a basic rule of thumb, he likes to start his clients off with a core plan of a basic will and trust. Trusts can be amended or changed at any time while the older is living, and the will acts in conjunction with the trust. If you have assets that are not in the name of the trust at the time of death, the will works to put in those assets.

"Trusts Are Very Beneficial"

Another document he likes to have his clients fill out is a durable power of attorney. This is a document where you essentially authorize an agent to act on your behalf in financial matters. The benefit of this is that if the principal becomes incapacitated, the agent can take action on their behalf. Usually, the “agent” is a close family member, like a spouse, sibling, or child. Attorneys like Michael can serve as the agent for a client under power of attorney only if there is a certificate of independent review from another attorney.

Trusts re very beneficialFinally, the last important document we will talk about today is the advanced healthcare directive. This has a lot of important information on it for you to fill out in case of a health emergency, and there are a lot of decisions to be made. What organs you are willing to donate, how you want your body disposed of when you die, and what you want done in a medical emergency. This isn’t something that only needs an oral contract, you have to have this in writing. A copy of this document can usually be obtained through your local health care provider for free.

Trusts are very beneficial, allowing you to avoid probate, while still taking advantage of property tax laws, like the parent-child exclusion. If you have any questions for us about estate planning or real estate in general, give us a call or send us an email. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Posted in News
Feb. 19, 2016

Different Options For Holding Title

There are many great Truckee area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call me at (530) 582-6900 for a FREE home buying consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Today, I’m joined by Michael E. Graham, a local attorney who specializes in estate planning. Today, we’ll discuss some of the different ways to hold title and the respective pros and cons of each.

Michael says that for single persons, holding title alone is a no-brainer because you’re taking the title as separate property. The exception is if you’re a married person and you take title solely under the married person’s name, under California law, that’s still considered to be a community property acquisition, unless there is proof that it is separate property.

If the married person wants to take title separately, the title company requires the other spouse to sign off on an inter spousal deed or some kind of quit-claim deed. Simply notify the escrow officer, and they should be able to assist you.

If more than one person is taking title to property, then there are various forms of title. The two most common are joint tenancy and tenancy in common. Joint tenants must hold equal interests in the property. If one person owns 60% and the other owns 40%, then you would fall under a tenancy in common arrangement.

The joint tenancy form of title is the default option that title companies usually offer married people. However, it is not the best option for married people. If one spouse were to pass away, the surviving spouse would record an affidavit with the death certificate in order for the title to pass to them. This is a simple way of avoiding probate court.

"Joint tenancy is the default option for married couples, but is not always the best"

There is also a new option for married people who want to hold title with right of survivorship: community property with right of survivorship. This is essentially the same thing as the joint tenancy, and an affidavit if one spouse passes away for the property to vest in the surviving spouse. Michael recommends this for married people in California because there is an important tax ramification.

Joint Tenancy DangersTenancy in common is the other form of holding title between adults. Tenants in common means people can own unequal interests that are then passed by the will. If you say in your will that you want the title to go to someone who is not a tenant in common, then that can happen. Tenants in common also allows for restrictions. You may want to consider some type of tenant in common agreement so you don’t end up owning the vacation home with your ex-wife.

A popular alternative is holding title through a trust. The property can still be a community property asset within the context of the trust, and the title can be passed to the person entitled under the trust by the surviving trustee. This guarantees you a sound estate.

We know this is a lot of information, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us! We look forward to hearing from you!


Posted in News
March 10, 2014

Why March Is a Great Time to Sell

Today I wanted to talk about why March is the best time of year to buy and sell in Truckee and Tahoe. March is one of my favorite times of year to sell real estate in Tahoe and Truckee! This is because the inventory is still very low and we have buyers who are just coming off of their ski leases looking to buy in the winter months. We also have buyers looking to buy homes from the summer. This creates lots of activity and really low inventory!

Last March, 76% all homes that were listed had sold compared to the yearlong average of 68%. Listing your home now gives you a better chance of selling! Homes in Truckee and Tahoe sell best when the inventory is low and when your home is in great, sellable condition.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to call me at (530) 582-6900. Thanks and have a great day!

Posted in News