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The Buying Process

Buying property in Lake Tahoe & Truckee is different than anywhere else in the world.


Get Pre-Approved

When you’re ready to start house hunting in Lake Tahoe, it’s time to get “pre-approved” for a mortgage. When you apply, your licensed lender will give you a pre-approval letter that states how much you’re approved for based on your credit, assets and income. During this pre-approval process, it’s important to remember up front that you’ll need to have saved for a down payment and for “closing costs”. Typically, closing costs for a Lake Tahoe home range between 3-6% of the home value and they are most commonly split 50/50 between buyer and seller. 

The pre-approval process typically involves answering some questions about your income, your assets and the home you want to buy. It will also involve a credit check. I always recommend working with a local Lake Tahoe lender who knows the ins-and-outs of our local market and regulations.

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Begin House Hunting

As your trusted REALTOR®, you’ll be able to know that you can count on Cole Mizak to search far and wide for the perfect property. You can also start your search for your Lake Tahoe or Truckee dream home right here on my website with up-to-date MLS listings in your favorite neighborhoods all around the lake. Create your free account to save your favorite properties, request showings and add feedback!

When you find a home that you like, we’ll schedule a showing tour for you to preview the property in person. I recognize that you may not live locally and that you may not be available to view a property immediately in person. With that in mind, I’ve developed a system that mimics an in-person showing, but that all can take place virtually through the use of video and Facetime or Skype. We will be able to have an in-depth view at all aspects of the property.

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Making An Offer

When we’ve found the perfect Lake Tahoe home for you, I will advise you on constructing the strongest offer possible based on the property and market conditions. Myself and my full-service transaction coordinator will draw up all offer agreements and paperwork. Together, discuss the purchase price, the closing date, sale contingencies and any special stipulations for your particular purchase.

Purchase offers and counter offers require expert level advise and it’s important to have a REALTOR® who knows the local Lake Tahoe real estate market and any nuances or addenda that need to be included. 

Once an offer is submitted, the seller may accept, reject or counter our offer. If the seller returns a counter, we will enter a negotiation period until an agreement is reached. When we have a fully executed agreement, we will move onto the escrow process! 


The Escrow Process & Contingency Period

Many times a lender does not require a home inspection. However, when buying Lake Tahoe real estate, I recommend that each client go through their due diligence and hire a licensed home inspection to perform an inspection. This step in the process is essential in re-confirming your decision to move forward with a particular property. In Lake Tahoe, it is not uncommon to also see minor issues arise from pest, fireplace or radon inspections. 

Depending on what is found during inspections, we may enter an additional round of negotiations. 

Other  vital parts of the “escrow process” in Lake Tahoe are placing our earnest money deposit in escrow, having a title report prepared, ordering and reviewing any HOA documents, and completing additional underwriting steps as required by your lender.



If you’re selling your Lake Tahoe property, pricing it correctly and securing a good appraisal are crucial steps in the home-selling process. So it’s important to be prepared.

Appraisals carry a lot of weight, and closing a sale can hinge on the results. Thus ensuring you’ve correctly priced your home at the listing stage is key. An acceptable appraisal is a primary contingency for many buyers, with 43 percent of buyers including that contingency in their offer, according to a January 2020 report from the National Association of Realtors.

The appraiser will confirm the appraisal value of the property for all parties involved. If the home appraises at less than the expected value, you may have the option to renegotiate the purchase agreement or terminate the contract.



Once all of your conditions are met with your lender (verification of income, other assets, other expenses, etc), and your loan has been approved by underwriting, you'll be cleared to closing and have received final loan approval! You're almost homeowners!



You're almost to the finish line!

Your lender will provide a final closing disclosure that summarizes the loan terms, monthly payments, taxes, and other costs associated with the closing. 

You will sign all of the paperwork required to complete your purchase and loan agreement (typically at the title company).

Once the paperwork is signed by all parties and your loan is funded, you will receive keys, and you'll be ready to move into your new Lake Tahoe home!

Work With Cole

Cole’s mission is to elevate the real estate experience for his clients. He is a long-time Lake Tahoe local and luxury home expert who has developed innovative strategies to provide his clients with an unmatched, bespoke level of service, attention, and support.