Truckee and North Lake Tahoe
Buyers “Helpful Hints” Guide:

Considering purchasing one or more of the following in the Truckee and North Lake Tahoe area:

  1. Vacation/Second Home
  2. Primary Residence
  3. Investment Property
  4. Undeveloped Residential Lot
  5. Acreage Parcel

If you answered “yes” to any of the above you should put Ellen Grace, REALTOR® to work for you today …so that you can play the rest of your tomorrows!

Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned, experienced home buyer, the plain and simple truth is buying (or selling) a home will be one of the most important financial transactions of your life. The idea of spending your free time evaluating homes, neighborhoods, calculating your down payment and monthly costs, applying for a loan, and finalizing the purchase can be an arduous process – especially when being done from afar. It pays to use a Real Estate Professional and as a licensed California REALTOR®, a member of the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors and as your Coldwell Banker Sales Associate, I am here to guide you each and every step of the way.

The vast majority of buyers and sellers in our local Truckee/Tahoe marketplace are second homeowners that are buying or selling vacation properties. Typically, the buyers and sellers I come into contact with have already purchased at least one home before - their primary residence.

How will this transaction be different from your past real estate purchases? For starters, this is a long distance purchase. The buyers and sellers in our marketplace live out-of-area …a minimum of 1½ hrs. drive to upwards of 3-4 hrs. driving time (weather and traffic conditions permitting). What are the advantages of having local representation, more specifically, in hiring Ellen Grace to represent you as your professional REALTOR®?

  1. My in-depth knowledge of the Truckee and greater North Lake Tahoe inventory of homes and/or parcels available for sale that are:

    a) Located in the area(s) that you want,
    b) Listed for sale within your price range and most importantly,
    c) Making you aware of new properties before or as they come on the market.

  2. Pre-screening properties on your behalf before you get in your car and make that 1½ hrs. to 4 hr. drive to Tahoe. Not only will I notify you of new properties listed for sale via e-mail, I will phone you and if so desired, take digital photographs and load them onto a web page for your viewing convenience – allowing you to develop a truer sense and feel for the property in question before you make any unnecessary trips to the Truckee/Tahoe area.

  3. When you are ready to make an offer, I will prepare a comparative market analysis, sit down and review in person with you what homes of like kind (age, size, condition, etc.) have sold for in the same neighborhood. More importantly in the Sellers Market that we are in, we will look to what else is currently listed and available for sale that is of like kind. This will be most helpful in establishing an estimated market value of the property you are making an offer on.

  4. On your behalf, I will negotiate not only the purchase price, but also the conditions and terms and items to be included in the purchase agreement (i.e. appliances, tools, firewood, etc.). Most contracts for sale include some standard provisions (property taxes, insurance costs, utility bills and special assessments to be prorated at time of closing). I will educate you on the various optional or non-standard issues that need to be addressed on your behalf such as the Town of Truckee Woodstove and Sewer Clearance Ordinances, Tahoe Regional Planning Authority Best Management Practices, etc.

  5. I will guide you through the offer writing stage. Together, we will leverage the information gained from the Comparative Market Analysis prepared earlier (step 3. above) and I will offer my professional advice on the initial price, terms and conditions to offer. Ultimately, as the buyer, you determine what a particular piece of property is worth to you and you also will establish what you can afford but know that I am here to answer any and all questions and share with you what the market indicators point to in terms of price.

  6. Once your offer has been accepted, I will assist and guide you every step of the way from opening of escrow with the title company of your choice, to obtaining reports/inspections, reviewing preliminary title report to ensure a free and clear title, providing copies of the contract to your lender (for appraisal and loan underwriting purposes), reviewing inspection findings with you and providing you with the names of several qualified professionals on any inspection findings that are of concern to you (i.e. structural engineers, licensed contractors, surveyors, etc.), reviewing estimated closing statement prior to signing closing documents with title company and much, much more.

  7. Once escrow has closed on your new home, I am available for follow-up on any details or service needs you might have. I want to make certain that you are pleased with my services – long after the purchase has been completed. I am here to help you, your family and friends when other real estate needs arise.

  8. I have assembled a network of tried and proven local service providers – Homeowners Insurance, General Contractors (second home care providers, handymen, snow removal service, electricians, roofers, window washers, painters, driveway sealing, plumbers, HVAC, carpet cleaning, landscape and gardeners, glaziers, chimney sweeps, etc.) Home and Pest Inspection companies, Appraisal Services and so much more. When it comes time to furnish your new mountain home, again you can look to Ellen Grace for names and addresses of local Truckee/Tahoe retail furniture stores (advise you of any discount programs that I may have in place with retailers) along with retail operations in nearby Reno. In addition, I can recommend interior decorating service providers to give your home that Old Tahoe warmth and charm.

Perhaps you’ve vacationed in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee area before. We all know that vacationing in an area is not the same as owning and living in that same area. How well do you know the various neighborhoods? Have you kept up on on-going real estate development in Truckee/Tahoe and are you aware of how these developments could impact the property that you are considering for purchase? So while you have experience in buying or selling property, if you haven’t had experience buying or selling in our local market, it just might make sense to complete a Buyer Needs Worksheet. This will help determine the usual real estate purchase questions such as how many bedrooms and bathrooms your home should have but it will also address how long you intend to hold the property, if you will be renting the property out to supplement your mortgage payments, what type of setting are you looking for for your new home – will it back to a designated open space or “greenbelt” area? Will it be situated on or in close proximity to a golf course community? Are you seeking panoramic mountain or lake views?

If you would like a copy of "The Keys To Smart Home Buying”, a guide and workbook that can assist you in determining your price range, calculating your estimated monthly payment, deciding what you want in a home, understanding the asking price, getting the mortgage application underway, facilitating the financing process, negotiating the offer and contract, initiating the property evaluation and inspection process, understanding the title search process and preparing you for the close of escrow and associated costs – please e-mail me at and be sure to ask for your copy of “The Keys To Smart Home Buying”.

Ellen Grace and Satchmo

(530) 448-3068
Office Direct (530) 582-2455

Fax: (530) 579-3234