The number of sightings in 2020 are up. The annual bald eagle count showed that 24 of our magnificent national symbols were calling the Lake Tahoe Basin home this year.
The second Friday in January is designated for the official Mid-Winter Bald Eagle count. As part of the nationwide effort, about 90 volunteers from the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS) fanned out across our basin, binoculars at the ready. Two dozen bald eagles were spotted this January.
Bald eagles were plentiful in1782 when they were adopted as America’s national bird. Their population began to decline, not only due to loss of habitat, but to poisoning and poaching as well. People believed the eagles were a threat to livestock, and a competitor for hunting game.
By 1940 bald eagles were almost at the point of extinction. Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act, prohibiting killing, selling or possessing them.
However, in 1945 DDT became available in the United States and its use spread rapidly. Eagle populations began to plummet. DDT, effective in controlling many insect pests, poisoned America’s waterways and contaminated the food chain. DDT also proved to be instrumental in eggshell thinning. Female bald eagles can weigh as much as 14 pounds, so it’s easy to imagine what would happen to a thin shelled egg during incubation.
By 1963, only 487 nesting pairs of bald eagles remained in the United States. It took almost 10 years for the U.S. to ban the use of DDT, but shortly after the 1972 ban went into effect, our eagle population began to rise.
These days over 10,000 nesting pairs live in the lower 48 states. Additionally, it’s been estimated that there are over 30,000 bald eagles in Alaska.
Even though the bald eagle is no longer in danger of immediate extinction, a loss of habitat is still a concern. Eagles need large mature trees for perching and roosting, and especially for building their nests, which can be up to 5 feet in diameter and as much as 2 feet deep. Eagle pairs prefer to use the same nest year after year, adding to it each breeding season. Older nests weigh as much as a ton. That calls for strong branches on a large tree.
No one ever feels complacent at the sight of a bald eagle. Residents of the Tahoe area always catch their breath when they spot those white heads and enormous outstretched wings cruising the mountain air currents.
Let’s all remember to keep them safe. A blue Tahoe sky without eagle wings? Never!
All buyers expect a professional home inspector to provide an in-depth report of the property’s structures and systems. Certainly, it is a worthwhile investment that can either warn buyers away from a bad purchase, or provide buyers with the knowledge of deficiencies they can use to further negotiate with the sellers.
The inspector’s report will also list minor repairs that, when made, will help to maintain a property over the long term. Inspectors sometimes make a prediction about the standard life expectancy of the roof, HVAC, and other systems expensive to replace. That means buyers can plan for their eventual replacement.
However, some mistakes could be made during the inspection process that cost buyers time and money. Avoid common buyer oversights to have confidence in any home purchase
Make Your Own Inspection
Always make a visual assessment of the property before submitting an offer, so that expected expenses can be considered in the offer price.
Turn on a bathroom sink or tub, then flush the toilet. Is there a drop in water pressure or a strange sound coming from the pipes? Running the water in sinks and tubs for might indicate drainage issues. Always look underneath sinks to spot signs of leaks.
Suspicious cracks in walls and ceilings could indicate foundation issues. Look for yellow spots on walls which might be from water damage. Black spots are usually mold. In a basement, powdery white deposits along the walls and slab are caused by water seepage.
Feel around windows and doors for significant drafts. They may need replacing. Look at the roof. Are the shingles in good shape or is it obvious the roof needs work? Check all wooden structures for signs of rot.
Does the whole property appear to be well maintained? Take the overall condition of the property into consideration when you submit an offer.
Work with your real estate agent to factor in repairs and updates you know you’ll need to make when you determine your offer price
Carefully Read The Inspection Report
Inspection reports can be long. But there is a risk of missing important information by not carefully reading the report.
The time to address any areas of concern is as soon as the inspection report is issued. Time is limited for buyers to request repairs or negotiate the selling price in the event of significant problems.
The inspection may also flag some minor items. However, ignoring small issues can sometimes lead to bigger problems. Make sure to read everything in the report to avoid surprises.
No House Is Perfect
Lengthy inspection reports uncover a great number of deficiencies. It is important to understand which problems require simple fixes, and which ones will require expensive repairs.
Your real estate agent can help decide if, and how, to approach the sellers. Focus on the major issues identified in the inspector’s report, and don’t expect the sellers to address every minor item on the list.
There are times when an agent or inspector will recommend bringing in a specialist. For example, they may suggest testing for mold, radon or consulting a roofer.
Some buyers, in their rush to close or desire to save money, choose to ignore the recommendation for additional testing.
In some cases, the specialist will offer a free evaluation that are quick to schedule. And if not, the small investment you make could provide peace of mind and could mean future savings.
Have Repairs Re-inspected
Receipts to prove that repairs have been completed are received by buyers or deposited into escrow as part of the closing procedure. It can be prudent to go a step further to have repairs re-evaluated even if there’s an additional charge.
To avoid problems, be specific when requesting repairs. Identify the problem, how repairs should be completed, who should complete the work, and how the repairs will be verified.
Don’t depend on anyone else for information about weather conditions. There is nothing like seeing for yourself. If you want to know the road conditions, there’s a webcam for that. How about snow? Want to see whether it’s snowing or not at your favorite resort? There’s a webcam for that.
North Lake Tahoe boasts a multitude of webcams for your convenience. Below are links to them, so you get a head start on your weekend plans.
It seems like a new webcam pops up almost daily, so we’ll keep updating as we discover the new views.
Tahoe City Marina
Before buying a home, most purchasers need to qualify and obtain a mortgage. Very few people have hundreds of thousands of dollars in their bank account.
A smart buyer is a well-prepared buyer. That’s where a pre-approval letter from a lender comes in.
Many buyers are unaware that there is a difference between a mortgage pre-qualification letter and a mortgage pre-approval letter. But that difference could make or break a home purchase, especially in a tight real estate market.
Pre-qualification simply means that a buyer’s credit-worthiness has been evaluated, and the buyer may be eligible for a loan up to a given amount. This type of letter is not a promise. The conclusions in the letter are based on information given to the lender by the buyer. It is simply an evaluation of supposed facts by a mortgage professional.
A pre-approval letter is a lender’s statement that a buyer qualifies for a certain mortgage amount based on reviews of all financial information. A buyer’s credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, assets and obligations are taken into consideration before any lender will issue a pre-approval letter.
A purchaser with a pre-approval letter is the closest thing to being an all-cash buyer. If the buyer’s chosen property appraises at or above the agreed-upon price, and nothing in the purchasers financial picture changes before closing, a pre-approval letter is like having money in the bank.
All buyers should remember that a pre-qualification letter helps them determine approximately how much of a loan they can obtain; the pre-approval letter lets all parties know that there is cash backing up an offer.
If a seller happens to be choosing between two like offers, which kind of buyer would be in a superior position: one with a pre-approval letter or one with a pre-qualification letter?
Want to learn more about Lake Tahoe? Do you feel the need to explore? Well, there’s an app for that. Below are ten apps that might answer any Tahoe questions you have.
Please note that the list is for informational purposes only. This blog is not associated with, nor does it endorse any particular app.
- VISITOR GUIDE (Free, charges to unlock features)
Geography, ecology, climate, ecology activities, transportation
Rating: 1 star – 5 ratings
- LAKE TAHOE APP – TAHOE TV (Free)
Not only TV listings, but weather and links to webcams, information about TART
Rating: 3.3 stars – 3 ratings
- AROUND TAHOE GPS ($5.99)
Self guided audio tour of Tahoe with selected music. Bluetooth
Rating: 5 stars – 5 ratings
- JOLLYTURNS SKI AND SNOWBOARDING (Free)
Resort information, Interactive Maps, Weather, Conditions, Record Keeping
Rating: 4.6 stars – 32 ratings
- AROUND TAHOE GPS AUDIO TOUR ($5.99)
Audio tour about Tahoe, its legends, movies, history, points of interest. Ad free
Rating: 5 stars – 5 ratings
- TAHOE SNOW MAP & WEB CAMS (FREE)
Detailed snow history, 24-hour totals, current conditions, plus year-round web cams
Rating: 4.9 stars – 128 ratings
- LAKE TAHOE CALIFORNIA GPS ($4.99)
Gives latitude and longitude, GPS heading vector, distance measuring tool
- SOUTH LAKE TAHOE TRAVEL GUIDE ($4.99)
Searchable for attractions such as museums, restaurants, bars, theaters, hotels, bars. Includes prices & hours. Offline map.
Rating: 2 stars – 1 rating
- TAHOE LAKE LOVE (Free)
Vacation rentals, food delivery, boat chargers, recreation rentals
Rating: 4 stars – 2 ratings
- LAKE TAHOE CALIFORNIA OFFLINE ($2.99)
Searchable, travel utilities, hotels, currency converter, weather, offline map, directions, points of interest
You hear them everyday, but can you see them? And if you do spot a flash of bold color in the trees, or a great pair of wings spread out over your head, do you know what it is? The birds living around Tahoe are a wonder to know and a pleasure to see. From the ever-present noisy, bold Stellar’s Jays to the thrilling sight of a bald eagle gliding overhead, they are an ever-present part of this special place. Learn all about them here.
Do you know about Tahoe’s kokanee salmon? Do you want to help celebrate our annual salmon run? Of course you do! It’s a great excuse for a picnic or just a family outing. Mostly though, seeing all those fish doing what they’ve done for generations is fascinating. Click here for information.
Like to fish? Whether you are an experienced or a newcomer, our great, big Lake is full of ‘em. Catch and release or catch them for dinner, these top 10 fishing spots will help.
Do you know whether you are a hiker or a walker? There’s plenty of trails in and around the Tahoe basin that will help you distinguish between the two. Choose one of the trails listed and remember you are at a higher altitude, so start small.
It is the loveliest bay in all of Lake Tahoe – well, actually, the only one. But it’s still a gem, which is why it’s named Emerald. It is a place that’s endlessly fascinating and worth visiting over and over.
Want to know more about the natural history and ecosystem of the Tahoe Region? Then join in the activities sponsored by the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS).
The Tahoe Institute for Natural Science sponsors events and activities for everyone throughout the year. You surely will find something that will surprise and delight.
It is just a short walk from the Stateline casinos, yet it feels like wilderness. Van Sickle Park is a bi-state park – Nevada and California – with outstanding views of the Lake, along with views of the hustle and bustle of Stateline, Nevada. Take a beginners hike or connect to the more strenuous Tahoe Rim Trail.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is designated by National Geographic as one of the top ten hiking trails in the United States. The views are stunning, well worth seeking out but it is for experienced hikers. This trail is not for the inexperienced or the faint of heart, though.
One of the most under-appreciated parks around is the North Lake Tahoe Regional Park. Especially with its Treetop Adventure Park. Read all about it, and then go there!
Clean – Everything – Always
Spend at least 3 hours out in the fresh air. Then take a good whiff of the inside of your house as you walk through its front door. Proceed accordingly. Do this at least once a week
If you’re a seller you were once a buyer. What pleased you – what turned you off? Stage accordingly
If you must cook cabbage or fish, do it on the barbeque
Get rid of clutter. Keep the closets half empty. It makes your house look bigger.
Repair everything that needs fixing – everything
You will recoup expenses spent on repairs twofold when the house is sold
It is okay to keep family pictures on display. Buyers aren’t stupid; they can look beyond personal items
Bathrooms must be spotless at all times
Remember that once you sign a listing agreement, it is no longer your home. It is merchandise.
This app helps you search for your new home as it has the most accurate listing information available.
iPhone and Android
Mortgage Calulator Plus
As a top 100 financial app in the United States as well as 30 other country’s, the Mortgage Calculator Plus estimates your mortgage, then provides analytics and graphs to show principal payments over time.
Real Estate Dictionary
It’s an app covering over 2000 common real estate terms, and fundamentals. Knowing the jargon helps buyers and sellers alike.
iPhone and Android
How close is your new dream home to banks, bars, grocery stores, and entertainment? Will that influence your opinion of the home and its neighborhood?
iPhone and Android
An app by the United States Census Bureau showing commuting information, education statistics, home values and more.
iPhone and Android
Have you seen a house for sale that seems like it would suit your family? Find out for sure. With this app you can take a photo with your smart phone and Homesnap can pull the interior photos from the local Multiple Listing Service.
iPhone and Android
This app with fill you in with detailed ratings, testing scores and reviews of local schools.
iPhone and Android
Get moving! We’ve all heard that advise time and again; from friends, from family members, at the doctor’s office, even TV commercials urge us to stop watching and start moving.
There are fewer better ways to increase your and your family’s physical activities than buying a home nestled in the spectacular mountains. As we all know, the point of living high up is to get outside as often as possible. Even the athletically challenged take advantage of the high country’s opportunities.
How about a springtime walk along a mountain trail? That is not hiking; it’s a pleasant stroll.
Want to get back into biking without facing the hazards of road traffic? The new bicycle trail from Incline Village to Sand Harbor was built just for your use.
Love to swim but hate the smell of chlorine? There is a large lake waiting for you with brisk, clean, clear water.
Whether swimming, boating, fishing or simply lounging on the beach, Lake Tahoe is at the center of everything in its part of the Sierra Nevada.
Keep a picnic basket at the ready in your new home, because it’s a fact that a Lakeside meal tastes much better than one eaten inside.
Early risers love to watch the light appear over the eastern peaks. Nighthawks gasp with awe at the sunsets and starlit skies. Locals know that on moonless nights it is hard to tell where the house lights end and the stars begin.
It may seem like skiing is the one and only wintertime activity. Not so. A walk around a quiet snow-covered golf course is just as pleasurable but not as tiring.
Ice-skating is popular, but so is sitting beside that busy ice rink while slowly sipping a cup of steaming hot chocolate. Sure it‘s cold, but think of all the calories your body is using to keep warm.
Do yourself a favor and follow your dreams; buy a home in the mountains. Come on up and get outside.