Lake Tahoe real estate: Choosing between and house and a condo |

Lake Tahoe real estate: Choosing between and house and a condo

Don Kanare and Sabrina Belleci, ReMax Realty

In a resort destination like Lake Tahoe, there are many reasons why people purchase property — second home, investment purposes, and some are lucky enough to have a primary residence in Incline Village or Crystal Bay. There are many factors that buyers take into account when choosing the location and type of property to purchase.

Within our local community there are a variety of locations and settings you can select from. There are panoramic lake views mostly at moderate to higher elevation and lake front properties that are usually a short distance from the private beaches and need minimal snow removal.

The golf course neighborhoods provide a great setting, possibly a mountain view and a good amount of privacy for most of the year. The subdivisions located around the center of town provide a more suburban feel with neighbors nearby and are close to restaurants, shops and a bike ride to the lake.

Deciding where in town you want to be goes hand in hand with what your property is being used for and what your needs are.

There are many things to consider when comparing a single-family home to a condo or a freestanding condo. Often, a single family home provides more privacy, can sleep larger numbers of people and give more freedom to the owners.

But, single-family homes can demand a good amount of care and attention. Exterior maintenance can be costly and time consuming, especially if you live in a lake front neighborhood or a golf course frontage property where the home is expected to carry a certain look all year long.

The responsibility that comes with home ownership can make owning a condominium seem more appealing and as with anything, there are positives to both.

Condos are great if you are looking for an investment property to rent out, if you spend a lot of time traveling, or have less time for home care. There is something very appealing about paying a monthly fee and not having to handle landscaping, contractors, painters and snow removal.

Depending on the HOA, the condo may come with many strings. Living in a condo you give up a bit of privacy by being so close to your neighbors. The HOA can regulate where and how many cars you park, the exterior look of the home, what you keep on your deck, and if you can rent out your unit. Generally, exterior and sometimes interior renovations may have to be approved. Depending on the level of financial reserves, assessments for improvements may occur.

Condos can be a more affordable option during the initial purchasing process offering a lower price, smaller down payments, property taxes and escrow fees. However, if you are unable to put at least 25 percent down on the condo you are purchasing, the lender may require a full review into the HOA documents and you better hope the HOA meets all of the underwriter’s requirements or you may have trouble getting the loan.

When making the decision to buy a single-family home or a condo in Incline Village or Crystal Bay it all boils down to you and your family’s particular wants, needs and preferences for the enjoyment of a property at Lake Tahoe.

Don Kanare and Sabrina Belleci are the owners of RE/MAX North Lake. Read their blog and find weekly stats on their website at

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