Lake Tahoe’s luxury real estate is moving at unprecedented levels. For the first time in his 18-year history of selling real estate, Mike Dunn, a luxury listing agent with Chase International, is witnessing luxury homes selling within days.
Dunn’s recent record-timing sale, 465 Lakeview Ave. in the exclusive gated Elk Point Country Club community of Zephyr Cove, accepted an offer within five days. The sophisticated, modern-designed estate sold for more than the $3.95 million asking price, at $4.1 million cash sale on July 7.
Within 72 hours of listing the property, Dunn received more than 50 inquiries. During the first five days on the market, Dunn had over 15 scheduled private showings, resulting in multiple offers.
“That is extremely rare for Lake Tahoe,” Dunn said. “What happened here is a story. I’ve never had a response like this on any property I’ve listed.”
Record-breaking sales, multiple offers and bidding wars are the result of migration into the region.
“We used to tell people on a $5 million to $10 million lakefront property to plan on it taking a year-plus to sell,” Dunn said. “It’s all changed now.”
The migration has resulted in property values doubling and even tripling, in some areas over the last few years.
“Two years ago, the average selling price was only $900,000, today, the average selling price is $2.2 million,” Dunn said. “Most of our interest comes from California, specifically, the Bay area.
Another emerging trend in the Tahoe luxury market is the high percentage of the property sold virtually.
“Buyers are now making decisions remotely utilizing FaceTime for property tours and writing offers sight unseen,” Dunn said. “I closed over $13 million in Lake Tahoe real estate (in virtual sales) over FaceTime last year.”
The home at 465 Lakeview Ave. is an example of this virtual trend, as the entire sale transaction was done using FaceTime.
Fully renovated, the cabin showcases incredible modern industrial design combined with its coveted private lake view location presented a rare opportunity for potential property seekers.
“It has a perfect blend of current architecture with Tahoe comfort,” Dunn said. “Highlighted by the finest craftsmanship and stunning finishes. The home absolutely nailed it when it came to delivering the perfect product for today’s buyer.”
Sited on a 0.12-acre lot, the lake-level property is minutes away from an incredible homeowner’s beach. The private beach features an elevated deck with barbecue area, volleyball and a designated swim area.
Owners Laurel and Vance Ulrich purchased the property four years ago as an investment. The Tahoe area offered a special connection to the California couple. Vance Ulrich grew up in the area and attended South Lake Tahoe High school.
“We wanted something up here,” Laurel Ulrich said. “We were looking for something that would have great rental or great flip potential.”
Two years after the purchase, the couple decided to completely renovate the property. They invested over $1 million in interior and exterior renovations, amenities, furnishings, artwork, landscaping, professional-grade appliances, and mechanical upgrades.
“We sat on it for a while,” Ulrich said. “We tried to live with the area and the house to see what felt right before we jumped into what we were doing.”
Hiring local general contractor Greg Williams of Stateline Builders, construction began early 2020 just prior to the pandemic shut down. It was completed earlier this year.
“Greg did an amazing job,” Ulrich said. “He only does one project at a time, so it went very quickly.”
Once construction began, the ambitious project involved demolishing the interior down to the studs. The original cabin was 1,968 square feet with four bedrooms and 3½ baths.
The transformed 2,498 square foot three-level modern aesthetic features three bedrooms including a private master suite, three baths, high-quality finishes, seamless indoor/outdoor living, lower-level wine cellar and heated driveway. The couple designed the interiors themselves.
“We turned it into something modern industrial,” Ulrich said. “It’s very clean, white and minimal. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea but it’s what we wanted.”
Pushing out the north side and front wall added over 500 square feet to the home’s footprint. With the addition of removing the main-level bedroom and half bath, it provided space to enlarge the dining room, master bedroom and bath. It also increased the size of the main-level guest bath and allowed space for a kitchen pantry.
Expanding the main level afforded the option to create an open functional design flowing seamlessly from the living, dining kitchen and exterior deck.
In the great room, the contractor removed an existing wood-burning fireplace, replacing it with a newly constructed one that was graced by a locally sourced granite surround with a wood mantle. It creates a strong focal for the room.
“We moved the fireplace to the center of the room,” Ulrich said. “I think the granite fireplace makes the biggest impact.”
The project’s challenge involved moving and adding a staircase, located directly off the great room. The custom floating black staircase features a metal banister with pinewood treads painted black.
“We completely moved the staircase,” Ulrich said. “That took us a long time because it’s really expensive to do.”
The room’s clean modern aesthetic of white walls, 8-inch white oak flooring is contrasted by the warm, nickel gap cedar-plank ceiling, built-in wood shelving, comfortable leather furnishings and custom-designed red throw rug.
“The art and rugs are the only color,” Ulrich said. “Having everything white around you is relaxing and puts your focus on the lake.”
Floor-to-ceiling accordion-style doors open the spacious floor plan seamlessly to the outside deck and lake views.
The dining room’s expansive windows and slider allow natural light to flood the space. The unique design divides the dining from the kitchen using a central quartz-topped island.
On the outer wall of the dining a voluminous Miele wine refrigerator, Sub Zero ice machine and glass front custom cabinetry provide a unique beverage area.
Striking white quartz counters contrast the dark gray custom cabinetry in the chic kitchen. A long counter facing the great room keeps the space open and inviting.
Its professional-grade appliances include an expansive 48-inch Sub Zero refrigerator, 18-inch freezer, eight-burner Wolf stove top, double Wolf ovens and Miele dishwasher.
“I was pretty picky on what I wanted in the kitchen,” Ulrich said. “The whole design evolved around the Wolf stove, and it was a challenge on how we were going to get everything into the space.”
The private upper-level master features vaulted ceilings, a dark gray wood accent wall, custom rustic antler chandelier, a walk-in closet with built-ins and an exterior balcony.
The updated sophisticated master bath has dual sinks, custom cabinetry with gray granite counters, oversized walk-in shower with white marble surround and skylight.
A lower-level mudroom functions as the home’s entrance. The renovated space features natural granite floors, a wine cellar and large bench seating with hooks for ski gear.
“That room turned out to be my favorite part of the house,” Ulrich said. “It’s exactly what I wanted.”
Changes to the exterior included altering the roofline, re-decking and adding black metal railings to the balconies, and painting and updating all the siding materials. The updated gray exterior features a strip of natural wood down the center creating incredible curb appeal.
“Every piece of the house is new,” Ulrich said.
She insisted on installing a heated driveway after falling and breaking three vertebrae the first year they owned the property.
“I didn’t want anybody else to fall,” Ulrich said. “It was a huge expense, but it was totally worth it. It’s all automatic. It knows when to heat up so the snow melts.”
The home sold move-in ready with all the furnishings, artwork and household appliances included.
“It was marketed as completely turnkey,” Dunn said. “Everything you see comes with the home including the tequila. Basically, bring your toothbrush.”
The Ulrichs, who are commercial insurance brokers in Los Angeles, plan to purchase another investment property. They currently own six properties, but this home was the couple’s first complete renovation.
“We’ll do another one,” Ulrich said. “We’re trying to find the right place.”