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Are You The Perfect Tahoe Buyer?

November 18, 2013

For many of us in the Bay Area, when we want to get away for a bit – we flee to Tahoe. That is why it is no surprise that the great outdoor playground is a very popular place for many Bay Area residents to have vacation homes. To find out what every Bay Area resident need to know when looking at Tahoe, we asked Linda Granger, Alain Pinel Realtors Lake Tahoe Manager, a couple questions.

What does any buyer need to know before looking for a vacation home?
No matter what kind of home purchase you’re making, some questions always remain: how much can you afford, what type of home appeals to you, etc. With a vacation home though it’s really important that it suits what you’re looking for: what kind of activities do you enjoy? What climate suits you? What kind of escape appeals to you? It also is important to establish what your goals are. Are you looking to rent it out? Are you just purchasing it as an investment?
Why is Tahoe so popular for Bay Area buyers looking for second homes?
Proximity is a huge factor – you don’t have to get on a plane. Tahoe is also a unique vacation environment that can be enjoyed year-round, with a full roster of both summer and winter activities in a relatively moderate climate. It’s also a huge playground where people can get away from their busy lives and just enjoy amazing outdoor experiences. There’s also something for people of all ages – so it really allows families to spend quality time together that might not otherwise.
What specifically should they be asking themselves before looking in Tahoe?
The perfect Tahoe or Truckee buyer is someone who wants to gain equity over time, may do some vacation rentals to help cover costs, and really enjoys and values the activities Tahoe has to offer. If you’re just looking for a “cash cow,” in most scenarios, you are not the perfect buyer. From there, you need to know what it is about Tahoe that appeals to you. There are so many different communities – Serene Lakes, Donner Lake, Lake Tahoe – all with different benefits. If you can describe your ideal Tahoe getaway (setting, house, views, sun, recreation, season they enjoy, etc.), we can usually pinpoint where you should purchase.
What’s going on in the market in the Tahoe area right now?
With an eventful summer all over California for real estate, the Lake Tahoe area was right there in the midst of a bustling seller’s market. Although we saw a drop in the overall volume of sales from last year this time, we are observing both the median and average prices make a steady creep up. With steadily rising sale prices, the market is continuing to create a comfortable environment for sellers all around the Lake Tahoe Basin and Truckee areas. In turn, it is offering buyers opportunities to take part in this competitive market while loan rates remain relatively low.
Are there any new developments in Tahoe that Bay Area buyers should be aware of?
There is a new development called Martis Camp that is a very high-end community which includes fantastic amenities that has really taken off. The homes are big and beautiful with much more modern luxuries and architecture – something we haven’t really seen in Tahoe before. People love that they don’t really need to leave; the community has it all, including its own ski lift to Northstar! There will always be the Bay Area contingents that love the Tahoe cabin feel and just want a cozy place to rest their feet by the fire, and others that want to be right on the Lakefront, but Martis is providing a place for those really high-end buyers that are used to the ultra-luxury homes of the Peninsula.
This article recently published in the Autumn 2013 Exquisite Living.
It also ran in the November 15th, 2013 Palo Alto Daily News publication Premier Homespg 12 

About Exquisite Living

Exquisite Living is a premier digital luxury magazine presented by Alain Pinel Realtors. The magazine immerses readers in the luxuries of the Bay Area and beyond as one flips through luxury trends, market updates, community spotlights, and of course some of the most magnificent homes and estates.
Community Spotlights

Alain Pinel Realtors Carmel Celebrates Classic Car Week

August 14, 2013

Now in its 63rd year, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a world-class event – taking place this Sunday, August 18th. Once a year, about 200 of the most prized collector cars roll onto the legendary 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. What began as a single event, has turned into a week long celebration known as “Monterey Week” to car enthusiasts. From auto shows, rallies and auctions – spectators and competitors converge on the Monterey Penninsula to enjoy the festivities.
The Concours d’Elegance draws international crowds, but is also cherished by the local community – and Alain Pinel Realtors Carmel office is no exception! As a special client appreciation event, APR Carmel hosted a VIP Concours d’Elegance party earlier this week (see photos in this Facebook gallery). Additionally, they’ve put together this fantastic Calender of Events as a guide for visitors. Check it out below:

For more information on the Concours events, other community activities, or moving to the Monterey Penninsula – visit
Search homes in Pebble BeachCarmel, Monterey, or Pacific Grove.

APR Tools Community Spotlights

Finding a Home in the Wine Country When You’re a Vodka Drinker

July 23, 2013

Author: Sara HauterSales Manager of Alain Pinel Realtors Sonoma and Regional Director of Career Development for the North Bay.

I discovered the Wine Country by playing tourist when my brother, Dru, came to visit with his family. We drove up to Sonoma from Marin for the Harvest Festival and were impressed by the firemen lined up on either side of the street, trying to get a barrel on a wire across the street by the sheer force of the water spraying from each team’s hose. Activities were centered in the Plaza, which felt like the heart and soul of the town. “You fit in here,” Dru said, like I didn’t anywhere else. But, he was right! Sonoma felt like the small agricultural town where we had been raised, except the crop was grapes instead of corn and soybeans. I had been looking around – spending time exploring the possibilities. Like Bolinas – too cold and gray. Petaluma – too big except for Brown Court. Sonoma, and its sense of community, felt just right for me.
I began telling everyone I was looking for a home in Sonoma (the town, not County) and I drove up every Tuesday and Friday to get a copy of the Sonoma Index Tribune. I’d sit in Murphy’s and read the real estate ads and see if anything spoke to me. My dear friend, Kay Maynard, invited me to the Red and White Ball, a picnic of sorts, where everyone wears red and white and celebrates the virtues of red and white wine. I was in love! Kay’s neighbors, Dean and Randy, were going to Paris and asked me to house/dog sit. They all lived at the end of Second Street East, one of the best addresses in Sonoma. Well, this stay really sealed the deal (even though I got locked out with two dogs as I was leaving for the Barbra Streisand concert in San Jose – but that’s another blog!).
It took a while, but one Thursday, the phone rang and my friends, Nancy and Hank Bruce, said they had found “my” house. They were also looking in Sonoma and saw a house that Nancy said looked just like me! I called their real-tor (not real-la-tor) Nicki Naylor (who happens to be with Alain Pinel Realtors) and she told me there were already two offers. She said, “It’s really cute.” And, I said, “I don’t like prissy.” And she said, “Bring your checkbook!”
Well, I saw the house, did my best, and lived the past 18-years happily ever after. Kay had said, “Make sure you buy on the east side and never go to Steiner’s (the local watering hole). Well, at least I did one right.
Over the years, I’ve often been asked, “Please find us a place in the Wine Country!” I say, “Where?” They say, “Sonoma.” I say, “City or County?” They say, “Well, maybe, Napa.” I say, “City or Up Valley?” I love this little game. Then, I say, “Are you looking for a particular place, or a life style?” At which point they are overwhelmed and ready for a glass of wine.
Today, Alain Pinel Realtors takes the stress out of searching for a place or a lifestyle. The travelling is easy and the journey worthwhile. It all begins at On the home page you’ll see the “Your Lifestyle,” box. Click to find a community and home that fits your lifestyle. You may choose a County or an Area and Neighborhood. Rate what’s important to you – top-rated schools? The Arts? Entertainment and Dining? Pet friendly? Price range and more. You’ll find the places most closely matching your lifestyle criteria and the scores and active listings. What if you’re not familiar with the areas? Visit the communities section of – and start exploring!
I was lucky to find my place, my home, my lifestyle – let us help you find yours. Whether you prefer the clear stuff, red, white or sparkling – cheers!
See homes and condos for sale in SonomaVisit our Wine Country community page. Use APR’s Lifestyle Search.

About Author:
Sara Hauter, a Certified Residential Broker, is Sales Manager of the Sonoma office of Alain Pinel Realtors and also serves as the Regional Director of Career Development for the North Bay. Licensed since 1986, Sara has lived and sold real estate in San Francisco, Marin and Wine Country.

APR in the News Community Spotlights

Alain Pinel Realtors Participating in Street Soccer USA Event

June 13, 2013

PHOTO: APR Agents, from left to right, Jennifer Gilson, Len Weaverling, Andrew Greenman, Sheldon Rilliet, and Emma Elfving post with SJ Earthquakes Chris Wondolowski (front).

The Burlingame and San Francisco offices of Alain Pinel Realtors (APR) are participating in an upcoming Street Soccer USA event, aimed to transform the lives of homeless men and women. The 4 vs. 4 tournament will be held June 22nd and 23rd on custom-built street soccer courts at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco. Teams of homeless and formerly homeless athletes from across the region will compete side-by-side with amateur and business teams.
APR is an event sponsor, with the Burlingame and San Francisco offices fielding a corporate team in the tournament, and agents from both offices volunteering at the event. Chris Wondolowski, player for the San Jose Earthquakes and one of the Major League Soccer (MLS) Ambassadors for the event, will be attending the APR team practices to help out with coaching.
Street Soccer USA creates positive community through sports around youth and adults who are homeless, dramatically transforming the context in which they live from one of isolation and marginalization to one of goal-setting and support. 75% of street soccer players connect to jobs, housing, complete a rehabilitation program, or further their education within a year of joining the program.
“Homelessness is a serious issue in the Bay Area,” said Joanne Wondolowski, Vice President and Manager of APR Burlingame. “We are proud to support an organization that gives individuals the opportunity to get back on their feet by providing them with the skills and confidence to transform their lives.”
For more information about this event, visit:

Community Spotlights

Alain Pinel Presents 12 Days of Holiday Fun!

December 17, 2012

We love the holidays here at Alain Pinel Realtors – and we want to share that with you! Check out our Facebook where we’ve just launched our 12 Days of Holiday Fun. Each day, we’ll post another holiday activity in the Bay Area for you to enjoy with your family and friends.
We’re already on our 5th Day! Here’s a taste of some of the events you’ll see …

Join the fun and like us on Facebook.

APR in the News Community Spotlights

Alain Pinel Realtors Expands to Lake Tahoe

November 12, 2012

Alain Pinel Realtors (APR) is pleased to announce their expansion into Lake Tahoe, with the opening of their office at 775 North Lake Blvd #202, Tahoe City. The firm also has plans to open an office in Truckee in coming weeks.
With many Bay Area residents seeking vacation homes in the recreational haven, the new office will help the firm better serve their clients who are purchasing a second home. APR is committed to sustainable growth, seeking out markets that meet the firm’s standards for dynamic growth, quality real estate, and strong community. The Lake Tahoe lifestyle, with its year-round recreation and luxury real estate opportunities, is a natural fit for APR.
“We’re very excited to announce our expansion into Tahoe,” said Rainy Hake, Executive Vice President of Alain Pinel Realtors. “With roughly ¾ of all buyers in the Lake Tahoe area purchasing second homes, and most coming from the Bay Area, we are pleased to be able to offer our peerless level of service and excellence to our clients who are looking to purchase a vacation property.”
Linda Granger, Lake Tahoe Office Manager, will oversee the new Lake Tahoe office and ensure delivery of the firm’s comprehensive services and support to both agents and clients. Granger joins APR from a successful real estate career at Chase International, where she was a top producing agent for several years. She is excited to bring APR’s well-known luxury brand to the Lake Tahoe market.
“As the leader in Bay Area luxury real estate, we are pleased to offer our clients the convenience of our new office in Tahoe,” said Granger. “We look forward to bringing our unique brand of customer service and world-wide marketing to our clients in the area, and offer a luxury office for Tahoe’s luxury market. Our friends and clients are already buying vacation homes in the Tahoe area, and we are excited to now have APR sales professionals involved in these transactions.”
The office is located in the heart of Tahoe City, right across the street from the lake and close to downtown restaurants and conveniences. The newly revamped office space features modern design and amenities, along with the cutting-edge technology tools that APR is known for.
This will be the firm’s 32nd office. For more information visit

Community Spotlights

Alain Pinel Carmel Prepares for Concours d'Elegance

August 17, 2012

Pebble Beach has long been known for its Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of the most beloved and beautiful golf courses in the nation. It has drawn golf enthusiasts from around the world to the Monterey Pennisula community, but on Sunday, August 19th, it’s not golfers you’ll find at the legendary 18th fairway. Now in its 62nd year, The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a world-class event, bringing only the finest and most pristine cars to the green.
While only the 175 best collector cars in the world are given the opportunity to roll down the fairway on Sunday, classic automotives take over the entire Monterey Penninsula during what is now known as Monterey Auto Week. From the streets and parks to the golf courses and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, visitors are surrounded by spectacular automotives from the past.
The Concours d’Elegance draws car-enthusiasts from all over the world, but is also cherished by the community. Alain Pinel Realtors Carmel office is no exception – and they are actively taking part in numerous events! To help out all the visitors from the community, they’ve put together a great calendar of events. Check it out below:

Not to be outdone by all the other events around, Alain Pinel Realtors also hosted a VIP Concours d’Elegance Party at their office this week. You can see photos in this facebook gallery.

They also are participating in the Concours on the Avenue Window Contest – check out their submission below!

For more information on the Concours events, other community activities, or moving to the Monterey Penninsula – visit
Search homes in Pebble BeachCarmel, Monterey, or Pacific Grove.

APR in the News APR Tools Buyer / Seller Information Community Spotlights Featured Open Homes Market Updates Notable Listings / Sales

Welcome to The Black & Gold Blog!

March 8, 2012

Welcome to the Black & Gold Blog – the newly redesigned company blog of Alain Pinel Realtors.  Named after our distinctive colors, this blog focuses on what we do best – providing the best information to our clients.  Whether you are a current or future homeowner, this blog will have something for you. On this blog you’ll find:

  • Weekly tips for buyers and sellers
  • Answers to common client questions
  • Helpful tools that Alain Pinel Realtors provides
  • The latest commentary on real estate industry trends and the current market
  • Company news and press releases
  • Notable listings, sales, and achievements

Want to be notified when this blog is updated? Follow this link to receive an email alert when new entries are added.  If you have questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact us at For more information about Alain Pinel Realtors, please see