Category Archives: Lake Tahoe Real Estate

Northstar Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe Courting the High End Market in a Ski in/Ski out Paradise

Being a real estate writer has depressingly few perks. I don’t get free tickets to concerts or desert on the house at Michael Mina. The product I write about, you see, can’t really fit in a gift bag. Mostly, I get accused of being a Realtor (I’m not) or of being “in bed” with the NAR (which again, I’m not. That sounds exhausting, by the way.)

But two weeks ago this perk-less-ness changed. Together with several other writers from across the country, I was flown to Tahoe for an all-expenses-paid tour of/experience with Northstar’s new Home Run. Aptly named, the development is a system of homes built mid-mountain, far above the (pleasurable, but at times, overly popular) melee of the Village. No waiting in line for the lift, folks. The ski run awaits just a few steps from your back deck. Wake up, ski out. Sweet!

Still, sometimes when I see construction in the middle of a forest, no matter how spectacular that construction, I feel uncomfortable. You know this feeling?  Human guilt? But at least here, as with all Mountain Residences projects, East West developers aim for LEED certification for each home- and we were introduced to many trees (including my favorite, old “Grandpa”)  and rock formations that had to be protected, built around rather than pulled from the earth.

Construction with a conscience means I was better able to relax, take in my surroundings, which that day were sparkly- a cold blue sky setting the freshly falling snow ablaze, everything studded with tiny diamonds on fire. Between each of the Home Run residences lie trails, tunnels, and bridges- everything inter-connected.  It’s very exclusive-village-in-the-Alps:  charming architecture, soaring vistas, the hush of a thick blanket of snow.

Our group toured one model home, mostly complete, which you see pictured here. The view alone made me want to hide in the (huge! Sexy!) bathroom until everyone left so I could stay forever. So what if the water wasn’t hooked up yet? I had miles of it, frozen and pristine, for my private use right outside.

But we had plenty to look forward to, including a meal at the Ritz Carlton which also rests mid-mountain. Over course after course of carefully paired wine and cuisine (developed under San Francisco’s own, chef Traci Des Jardins), we learned that two of the custom home lots have already been purchased, one by a young “Silicon Valley tech” family (for some reason, I thought Zynga. Unconfirmed). We also learned what Northstar is doing to change its more “vintage” easy-going (read “affordable to the middle-class”) ski area image. Purchased by Vail (of Vail, Colorado), Northstar is in full luxury market upgrade mode, adding high –end shops, linking new developments with exclusive rights to the Ritz and Schaffer’s Camp, and planning to cut ski runs on Sawtooth Mountain whose verticality will do away, finally, with the “Flat Star” label.  Meanwhile, the wine and food kept coming. I was drunk on luxury.

The almost surreal opulence of it all was capped off by the gondola ride back down to the Village at Northstar, a full moon casting blue light over the snowy expanse.

Back home now, I offer you this story, and the skinny on Home Run, because if I had the money, I would buy in immediately. I can see Christmas up there with my parents and maybe the kids I’ll have one day. I can see a week there, just me and my man, in our hot tub sunk deep in the snow. I see summers on my bike, hiking with my dog, and many, many gondola rides to the Ritz.  And remember, I am just a real estate writer and teacher: not only can I actually not afford to buy one, I receive nothing if anyone else can and does, even if that person does so because s/he saw my story. And yes, East West wined and dined the writers. But that was two weeks ago. The wine’s worn off. The food’s digested. I can hardly be asked to give it back should I chose not to write about Mountain Residences.  But why would I choose that, when I can’t stop thinking about how cool they are?

3-4 bedroom, 1,900-3,200 square-foot, Home Run townhomes are priced from $1.6-$2.3 million. East West Partners anticipates Home Run move-ins to begin spring 2012, so that means right now. If you’re lucky enough to be in the market for your own private ski-in/ski out chalet just a short drive from the Bay Area, you should grab Alex, grab your skis, and head to Northstar.

Say hi to Grandpa as you ski by.

[Guest Post By Anna Marie Hibble...THANKS ANNA!]

First Ever San Francisco – Lake Tahoe Real Estate Caravan And Ski Extravaganza


[R.I.P. Jamie Pierre]

We’re falling into ski season, and you all know I love me some powder. Many of you also know I grew up in Reno Nevada, with Lake Tahoe as my backyard. I learned to ski at the ripe old age of two, I raced, I burned out, I switched to snowboarding, and now I’m back on the two planks. And I can’t get enough.

I know many of you fellow San Franciscans feel the same way, and enjoy all of the same things I love about our proximity to Lake Tahoe. Being in real estate, I also know many of you have extra cash to burn and dream of owning your own slice of Tahoe heaven that frequently gets buried under multiple feet of snow. That’s why, with the help of my connections up Tahoe way, we want to get you your Lake Tahoe ski pad.

The plan: Spend a day (or more) skiing (with me and some local Tahoe rippers), go see property with proximity to Tahoe ski areas, grab cocktails, make offers, drink champagne (choke champagne powder), invite friends, ski more, and live the Tahoe dream.

The thoughts are preliminary at this point, but far enough along that connections up Tahoe way have been established, homes are being scouted, vans can be rented, and we just need you.

The question is, “Would you, or anyone you know, be interested in taking part in the first ever San Francisco-Lake Tahoe real estate caravan and ski extravaganza?” Feel free to share your yes / no, and thoughts in the comments below, or contact me directly to be kept in the loop or share thoughts privately. With any luck, we can put this together before the snow gets too deep and the “Out of Office Auto Replies” start kicking in.

Pray for snow!

Maybe we’d all be so lucky as to score days like this:

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[Snowboarders obviously welcome too. We don't discriminate.]

Walking Distance to a “Wet Woody”

View from the Carnelian Bay Lakefront

If incredibly convenient access to Garwoods restaurant and bar and its iconic drink, the Wet Woody, is your cup of tea (or your cup of Wet Woody – and yes, that’s the last time I’ll use that phrase in this article), this lakefront property may be for you. Not only is this house right next door (stumbling distance) to Garwoods, but like the Carnelian Bay favorite, it is also right on the Lake.
A nice place to relax

The most amazing part of this story? You can own a prime piece of Tahoe north shore lakefront property for $1,325,000, or maybe less, $1.325 mil is the “asking” price.
Carnelian Bay Tahoe Lakefront

One million three hundred twenty five thousand dollars is a screaming deal for anything on the lake, let alone on the north shore in a protected and centrally located bay. While some may not appreciate having Garwoods as a next door neighbor, it doesn’t diminish the fact that the property sits on one of the most beautiful sections of one of the world’s most beautiful alpine lakes.

Carnelian Bay Lakefront Interior

Obviously its owners have come to the point where they are very, very serious about selling, but looking at its asking price history, that has not always been the case. The 4 bedroom, 2 bath home (with a 2 car garage) was originally listed at $2.5 million on March 6th, with the price coming down to $1,999,000 on July 28th. Its current price reflects a huge drop from the almost $2,000,000 asked in July, and a gargantuan drop from the original 2.5 million dollar original asking price! I asked Paul Smith, the listing agent, about these very substantial price drops, and his answer was simple: “They just want to get it sold!” If this price doesn’t do that, I don’t know what will.

Carnelian Bay Lakefront, Lake Tahoe, $1,325,000 [Lake Tahoe MLS]

[Chris Anderson is a Tahoe based writer and real estate professional. You can contact him at chris@tahoetruckeehomes.com or go to TahoeTruckeeHomes.com.]

Living Large for Small Change on Tahoe

Tahoe Lakefront

I never really heard the term “Lakefront” until I moved to Lake Tahoe. Now, as a realtor in Tahoe, I hear it all the time – mostly in relation to the ultimate in luxury living on the most desirable lake in the country. Affordable? Not usually. Lakefronts are generally reserved for the very rich or those who bought back in the days of the dinosaurs when land was cheap. However, while “cheap” and “Tahoe lakefront” are terms that will probably never go together again, “sort of affordable” seems to have come back into vogue.

Check out this property in Rubicon on the west shore of Tahoe. While 1.6 million may seem like a lot of dollars, that is a bargain that hasn’t been seen in Tahoe for quite a few years. According to my recent MLS research, the average sales price for a lakefront home in this area going back to 2005 is $4,882,941, and no home has sold for anything close to 1.6 million; the next lowest sold price was $2,350,000 (that’s the sold price, not the asking price). Granted, most of those homes were larger and more grand than this little guy, but it gives you an idea of how even the most desirable real estate in the world (and this property is that) has become more attainable than it has in years.

Keep in mind, not all lakefront locations are created equal. Rubicon is an extremely beautiful part of the lake. Even if you don’t live there you will probably boat that direction (if you have a boat). This isn’t a large house, or even a new house (it was built in 1931), but only a fraction of your purchaser’s check would go toward the value of the house.

Check out the views of the turquoise water from the living room and deck. You can’t buy views like that! Well, I guess you can – for 1.6 million. Did I mention that is a bargain?

Rubicon Lakefront, Lake Tahoe, $1,595,000 [Lake Tahoe MLS]

[Chris Anderson is a Tahoe based writer and real estate professional. You can contact him at chris@tahoetruckeehomes.com or go to TahoeTruckeeHomes.com.]

$100,000,000 Tahoe Cabin Just Slashed $25,000,000. Hurry! Won’t Last!

Remeber this $100,000,000 home in Zephyr Cove I featured not too long ago?

Well…it’s now $25,000,000 more affordable, and we know who owns it…Tommy Hilfiger Co-Founder Joel Horowitz.

Opulent is an understatement. For $25MM less, I still wonder if I’d be able to wear my ski boots in the main room.

-525 Highway 50, Zephyr Cove, Nevada (Lake Tahoe) [Chase International Lake Tahoe]
-Walkabout [theFrontSteps]
-Hilfiger Co-Founder’s Home Gets A $25 Million Price Cut [Forbes.com]

When Men were Men and Mice were Movies Stars…

[Editor's Note: Because I know soooo many San Francisco residents love to visit Lake Tahoe regularly for any number of great things the Lake Tahoe area has to offer, and because I know you all love yourself a little real estate, I have found a talented writer/Realtor up there to share some insight. This is his first post. Please welcome him.]
Walt Disney slept here! Seriously. When I moved from Orange County to Tahoe, I thought I was leaving my Disneyland connection behind. But right here on the north shore is a little slice of Disney. Called the “Heigh Ho Lodge” because Walt himself was a frequent guest back in the day, this 1.6 acre lakefront estate includes over 280 ft. of south facing sandy beach along with 3 separate houses: a guest house, a caretaker’s house, and a 6 BR main house that sleeps 21. You could fit all 7 dwarves, Snow White, Mickey Mouse, and Walt himself and still have room for 11 more overnight guests!
At a touch under $9 mil, I only need to save $9 million more to afford it. But if you have ever spent any time at Buck’s Beach (a public beach just down the street from the Heigh Ho Lodge) you know why this property is on my short list of dream houses. The north shore enclave of Old Brockway is one of the most beautiful parts of the lake – granite boulder mini-islands dot the crystal clear, turquoise sandy bottomed shallows, beckoning anyone in possession of an inflatable raft and a couple cold Coronas.
Did Walt drink Corona? Maybe not, but I’m sure Mickey did.

-“Heigh Ho Lodge, Lake Tahoe, $8,995,000 [Lake Tahoe MLS]

[Chris Anderson is a Tahoe based writer and real estate professional. You can contact him at chris@tahoetruckeehomes.com or go to TahoeTruckeeHomes.com.]