Season of change for Lake Tahoe real estate agents |

Season of change for Lake Tahoe real estate agents

Don Kanare & Sabrina Belleci
Special to the Tribune
Don Kanare and Sabrina Belleci, ReMax Realty

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday signals the time of year when real estate agents contemplate whether to renew their membership for the coming year, consider a change of brokers or possibly seek alternative sources of income.

The total number of agents practicing in Incline Village and Crystal Bay has risen dramatically in the post-recession era. There are more than 300 agents competing for business in a community that will see about 420 closed transactions in 2017. This makes our real estate market one of the most competitive anywhere in the United States.

During the past year the number and size of Incline Village real estate brokerage firms remained relatively static along with the addition of the new Engel and Voelkers office on Village Boulevard. None of the big real estate firms expanded to new or larger offices, although some of them did take on a few more agents in their existing quarters.

With so much business being conducted on the internet and agents able to work efficiently from a home office it’s no longer critical for the largest offices to keep expanding their square footage unless absolutely necessary.

It is much easier for an agent in the Lake Tahoe region to switch brokerage firms between November and April than during the busy summer season. Due to the slower pace of activity, you can change brokers and re-brand yourself during the off-season with fewer disruptions to the flow of business.

Whether changing firms is beneficial depends on a number of factors and the goals of each agent. But every year several agents will change offices or on occasion even get a broker’s license and open their own office in the hopes of achieving better performance.

Agents who have enjoyed a stellar year will use the off-season to contemplate the current commission arrangement they have with their broker and sometimes try to renegotiate more favorable terms. It’s always a little bit of a cross between a tug o’ war and a balancing act whenever agents and brokers sit down to discuss compensation packages.

And since each broker is free to use whatever compensation structure they deem appropriate, it can often be a case of comparing apples and oranges when agents try to analyze offers from different firms and decide what course of action to take.

We are seeing more out-of-area agents trying to sell real estate in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. It’s important for agents who are not extremely knowledgeable about our market to partner with an experienced agent or broker.

There are many nuances to our contracts, along with local regulations and customs that agents need to be familiar with in order to conduct a smooth transaction. But whether an agent chooses to live at Lake Tahoe full-time or commute from outside the area is a highly personal decision.

The property management and vacation rental firms in town have generally remained fairly stable in the past year with staff turnover holding at relatively normal levels. However the possible passage of Measure T could have a huge impact on property management firms around South Lake Tahoe.

While market share ebbs and flows, no new major players have entered the game and all of the longtime firms are still standing. This industry has undergone a revolution during the past decade with the advent of online booking and the proliferation of websites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and many others

The rental agencies that are still thriving are the ones who managed their businesses well after coming out of the recession and continue to work hard as they adapt to a changing industry.

Don Kanare is the founder and Sabrina Belleci is the owner and broker of RE/MAX North Lake in Incline Village. You can follow their blog at

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