Real Estate: Mitigating fire danger on your property
Weekly real estate update
Statistics gathered from the Incline Village Multiple Listing Service on Sept. 13.
Houses Condos PUDs
For Sale 53 20 4
Under $1 million 4 17 3
Median Price For Sale $2,375,000 $650,000 $699,000
YTD Sales 2020 159 157 51
YTD Sales 2019 114 114 43
New Listings 16
In Escrow 24
Closed Escrow 18
Range in Escrow $499,999 - $4,195,000
These statistics are based on information from the Incline Village Board of Realtors or its MLS as of Sept. 13.
Weather conditions in late summer and autumn almost always create a recipe where fire danger is extreme due to low fuel moisture levels, low humidity, high air temperatures and the ever unpredictable wind conditions.
The recent spate of fires across California has pushed smoke into the Tahoe Basin and it’s a reminder of the need to do defensible space work at every property. The low snowfall last winter created a drier spring and summer than normal. With residential homes interfacing with the natural forest environment the conditions this year demand vigilance by residents and visitors alike in the Lake Tahoe basin.
Approximately 90% of wildfires are caused by humans with lightning strikes accounting for the majority of the fires created by Mother Nature. But this year was the first time in a long while that lightning ignited enormous blazes across the west in a very short period of time. It’s important now more than ever for property owners to limb up trees, remove dead branches and thin out the forest within prescribed guidelines to create defensible space around your structure.
Raking up the pine needles on your property (if you haven’t already done so) is a simple preventive measure that all homeowners can take. Removing dead branches and trimming trees is an important task each year. The local fire departments have excellent resources for helping you create defensible space at your property. In many communities they will even come to your property and do a defensible space audit to help you create a safer environment.
If you have a home with a shake roof this would be a good year to consider replacing it with one made of metal or asphalt composite materials. The vast majority of shake roofs in the Lake Tahoe area are nearing the end of their useful life anyway and most insurance companies will not write coverage on a property that has a shake roof that is more than 30 years old. Now is an excellent time to get estimates from the local roofing contractors and replace that old shake roof before an unpredictable wildfire creates the potential for reducing your home to a pile of ashes.
Homeowners who are considering painting the exterior or wrapping their house with cedar siding may wish to consider using fiber cement siding as a fire resistant alternative. This type of material is extremely durable, is generally resistant to damage from insects and woodpeckers along with providing a variety of options for the type of finished look you are seeking.
A large percentage of the homes at Lake Tahoe were originally constructed with various types of wood exteriors. So, instead of just slapping on another coat of paint, fiber cement siding provides a long-term, durable alternative to the traditional painting process.
As real estate agents, we are often talking about how when one analyzes a property a good portion of the value is in the land. That value will decline precipitously in the event of catastrophic wildfire. It is the responsibility of every property owner, resident and visitor to keep the Tahoe basin safe and to guard against all man-made causes of wildfire so that future generations can enjoy what we have all come to appreciate.
Don Kanare is the founder and Sabrina Belleci is the owner / broker of RE/MAX North Lake.
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