Month: February 2014

Reno Business

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Reno is becoming a well Renown place to do business. (Do you see what I did there?) It’s not surprising considering the various incentives for businesses, the low cost of living, high quality of life and the close proximity to the bay area. A recent example: The Kauffman Foundation recently rated Reno-Sparks as the #1 Most Entrepreneurial Metropolitan Areas for per capita startups having five to 49 employees. An increasing number of companies are relocating to the area and I’m optimistic Reno will explode in growth over time.

EDAWN is the organization that brings companies to the area. Since my company, International City Mortgage, is the only mortgage company who is a Gold Investor with EDAWN, I receive advance notices regarding the companies moving to the area. I can tell you that it’s very exciting to see growth in Reno, although I would prefer to see more companies with higher paying jobs. One of the more exciting stories recently: The Reno Stead Airport has been selected to be 1 of 6 drone test site for the FAA. It will bring thousands of skilled workers with an average salary of $62,000 to the area, and it will generate about $2.5 BILLION in economic impact! 

Some of the big name companies in Reno include Microsoft, Intuit, IGT, Patagonia, Amazon, UNR, Renown, soon to be Apple,  and more. I’m a loan officer at a mortgage bank in town, and my industry employs many people as well: Some of the Realty Companies include Dickson, Remax, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, Realty Corner, Home Gate Realty, Trans-Action Realty 500, Krch, and more. Some of the title companies include: First American Title, North American Title, Ticor Title, Western Title, First Centennial and more. The best mortgage bank is obviously International City Mortgage, my employer, but some other good companies include Prime Lending, Guild Mortgage and Summit Funding. Reno is  also undergoing a “tech boom” in the downtown corridor along the river, and the area is supposed to develop into Reno’s tech hub. The area has been dubbed start up row, and it now has a website to follow the activity. In summary, there are a lot more companies in Reno than you might have thought and I’m excited to see that number grow.

Allow me to take a minute for a little shameless self promotion: I’m a loan officer for International City Mortgage, a residential mortgage banker established in 1987 who now has about 30 branches across the west coast. To my knowledge we are the only mortgage company in Reno who relocated out corporate headquarters to the area. I have all the important decision makers in my office, the CEO, VP, CFO, Director of Secondary Marketing, etc,  which means you can guarantee I will be held accountable for performing to the highest standards in the industry. If you’re interested in buying a house, I would be happy to provide recommendations to some of the top realtors in the area. If you’re interested in obtaining a mortgage, I would be happy to provide you with a free consultation to determine the loan scenario that will be the best financial option for you. Feel free to contact me at my office 775-376-7335 or email me at eric.swenson@icitymortgage.com.

Where do you work in Reno? What companies would you like to see in Reno? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Reno Restaurants

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Food. You want it, you need it and you love it. Reno has cuisine to cater to a large spectrum of palates, and wallets. Whether you want an authentic $5.00 burrito, a $100 fancy dinner for a special occasion or a “go to” restaurant you can visit frequently, there is probably a place for you. Below I have a few suggestions for different types of food.

1. Tha Joint – All You can Eat Sushi: Just typing it makes my mouth water. I love sushi and my friends from California are usually blown away to learn that all you can eat sushi is abundant in Reno, and it’s relatively cheap! I have eaten at most place in town and I have to say one of my favorite place is Tha Joint in Sparks. Their Nigiri contains a good ratio of fish to rice, and the fish tastes nice and fresh. (I can’t stand Nigiri when there’s a little piece of fish and a ton of rice.) I also think their roles have the correct balance of fish and sauces to make them yummy. You can check out their menu HERE. 

2. Campo – Italian: It’s probably the most well-known restaurant in Reno. Located on the river across from Century Theatres, it’s a prime location to eat outside or have drinks in the summer. The food is generally Italian and I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad dish. The food is sourced from local ranches and farms which is nice to consider from a health perspective, and a sustainability perspective. It’s also worth mentioning the cocktails are unique and very tasty. You can check out their menu HERE.

3. Food Truck Fridays – Everything: Food truck Fridays is a summer event where all of the food trucks in Reno pick a different location to sell their goods. One of the more highly decorated food trucks is the GourMelt, which serves gourmet grilled cheeses. I’m not a huge fan of grilled cheese, but this truck took my taste buds for a ride. You can see where the food trucks will be by liking the Food Truck Fridays Facebook Page.

4. Murrieta’s – Mexican: This is a nice Mexican restaurant located in South Reno.  The restaurant isn’t particularly authentic but the food is so good. I usually go for the enchiladas, (#3) or the burrito, (#16) in the combination plates. You can decide what you would like to eat HERE. For a quick fix, I would recommend AlDertos in North Reno located at 2900 Clear Acre Ln, Reno, NV 89512. Don’t expect to walk into a nice restaurant. It’s an amazing whole in the wall that’s so authentic there is no website. The burritos are about $5 and I would highly recommend either a Carne Asada or a Chicken Fajita burrito.

5. Nick’s Greek Deli – Greek: This place is about as “hole in the wall” as it gets. I remember the menus being paper, as if the were printed them from the owner’s home computer, and the “pictures” on the wall were mounted with tape or thumb tacks. Let’s get to the point: Spend about $7 and get a massive Greek salad with covered and surrounded by pita bread and gyro meat. It’s completely delicious and not so unhealthy that you need to feel guilty afterwards. Don’t take my word for it, check out the Yelp Reviews. (I do not believe a website exists for this gem.)

There are approximately 1 million more restaurants I would like to discuss, and I plan on doing so over time. What are some of your favorite places to eat? Leave me a comment and let me know which restaurant(s) make your saliva flow.

Reno Recreation

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One of the biggest benefits to living in the little city of Reno is the amount of diverse recreation within a very close proximity. Reno is neighbors with the Sierra NV Mountains, Lake Tahoe, the Black Rock Desert and more. Whenever you see Reno ranked as a top place to live, (in this case #10,) the recreational benefits are always cited: http://www.livability.com/top-100-best-places-to-live. This post will discuss some things to do in and around Reno.

In the winter skiing and snowboarding steal the spotlight. There are about 12 ski resorts within an hour: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mt Rose, Northstar, Boreal, Sugar Bowl, Homewood, Diamond Peak, Donner Ski Ranch, Soda Springs, Tahoe Donner,  Sky Tavern Ski Area, and an additional 3 within about 1.5 hours on the south end of the lake: Heavenly, Sierra At Tahoe and Kirkwood. In addition, the area is home to some incredible back country around the Mt Rose area, Donner Summit, and various areas around the lake such as Jake’s Peak and Mt. Tallac. Further, there is good cross country skiing in many areas such as Tahoe Donner, The Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Area near Sugar Bowl, at Northstar (in the valley of Highway 267,) and more. Lastly, the Ruby Mountains have some incredible terrain for Heli-skiing and Cat skiing. That’s about a 4.5 hour drive from Reno, and you can learn more by clicking HERE.

Mt Rose back country
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In the summer there is endless hiking, biking, dirt biking and running trails both in Reno and in Tahoe. My favorite trails in Tahoe usually lead to an alpine lake to swim in at or near the summit. Click HERE for a list of hiking trails in Tahoe. Reno also has some beautiful trails to hike, bike run and dirt bike. Click HERE for a list of  hiking trails. The Mt. Peavine area is a designated ATV area where you can access miles and miles of well maintained trails. (You can also legally shoot guns out there. Combine the two, and you will have a good day.) I have attached 3 pictures of some of my favorite hiking trails in Reno. I took the following photos:

Hunter Creek Falls, Reno
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Keystone Canyon Trail, Reno
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Tom Cooke Trail, Reno
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Mt. Peavine, Reno
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2 hours to the northeast lies the Black Rock Desert, where the Burning Man Festival takes place. This is the most extensive span of large flat area you have ever seen, where you can legal drive any vehicle as fast as you want. It’s also a great place to launch the fireworks you can purchase in a variety of locations just outside of Reno. Lastly, there are a few hot springs on the edge of the Black Rock Desert, (also known as the playa,) where you can soak in hot water and have weird conversations with the locals.

Black Rock Desert
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2 hours east of Reno you can visit Sand Mountain, which is basically a random series of massive sand dunes in the middle of nowhere. It’s a great place to bring a dirt bike or sand buggy and camp with your friends. It’s a unique place and I don’t think many people are aware of its existence. It’s probably not area you would visit frequently, but it’s certainly worth checking out.

Sand Mountain (Photo Credit)
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I haven’t even scratched the surface on rafting, kayaking, fishing, cliff jumping, rock climbing and more. With 300 days of sunshine a year, you couldn’t pick a better place than Reno to pursue outdoor activities. What is one of your favorite trails to hike, bike, or run in the area? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Maximize Your Health and Wealth, In RENO!

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People in Reno have more opportunity to be healthy and wealthy than in most places. Many desirable places are very expensive in several aspects, making it difficult to ever achieve the American dream of a high quality of life. I don’t understand why anyone would settle for living in a place that is essentially going to rob them of their hard work through higher costs of taxes, living, transportation, etc. Below is a list of 4 reasons why you can more easily maximize your health and wealth in Reno.

1. Taxes: The state of NV does not have income tax. That sounds nice, but what does that really mean when translated into a dollar amount? Here are the 2014 California tax brackets.  As you can see, for singles making between $49,774 and $254250 you pay 9.3% plus $2,191.48. In other words, if you make $100,000 in Ca you would pay $11,491.48. If you could relocate your job to NV you would save $11,491 PER YEAR. That’s almost an extra $60,000 in your pocket in 5 years. How much would the state of NV have to “pay you” in tax savings before you would consider moving? What’s your price?

2. Low Business Taxes: Consider what I mentioned above and convince your company to open a branch or relocate to the area so you can take advantage of the taxes. In addition to saving money personally, you can cite the amount your company will be saving by relocating to the area. This page describes the lack of business taxes NV offers. To point out a few, there are no corporate incomes taxes, no taxes on corporate shares, no franchise taxes, etc.

3. Low Housing Costs: I can tell you from being a connected loan officer that the cost for housing is very inexpensive compared to places like San Francisco. You could buy a beautiful new house on a golf course in a gated community for what most would probably consider average down there. I have connections to some of the top realtors in the area and I would gladly put you in contact with them if you’re interested in learning more. Additionally, rent is also very affordable. I currently have  4 friends renting a 3100 square foot house with 4 bed rooms, granite counter top island kitchen, huge backyard, 2 living rooms downstairs, 1 loft upstairs, etc and they pay $1800 a month. This circumstance is not uncommon. Here are some stats regarding low housing costs.

4. Clean Water/Healthy Food: It’s scary to think the most essential ingredient to life, water, is contaminated to some degree in most places. Here are some facts from the Truckee Meadow Water Authority, stating that Reno has some of the cleanest water in the country. Surprisingly the air quality in Reno and even Tahoe is not rated among the highest in the country, although it’s much better than many big cities. Some of my coworkers moved up from LA and they comment on how fresh the air smells. Also there are farms to the east where you can buy organic, free range meat, and you can get fresh vegetables at the farmers market  or at the River School.

With all of this to consider, what would hold you back from living in Reno. Isn’t your health and wealth among your top priorities? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Introduction to This Blog

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Would you think I’m crazy if I told you I live in one of the most beautiful and unique places in the country, and then I told you I live in Reno NV? If you don’t live in the Reno area, then you probably would think I’m crazy. Reno has gained a bad reputation based on false perceptions people gain when visiting the area. There reality is Reno has much more to offer than what meets the eye of a visitor, and Reno has incredible potential for future growth. I hope this blog will shed some light about what living in Reno is really like in order to highlight what a great secret it actually is.

Historically Reno was a gaming town, but the culture has been changing and Reno is now at a tipping point. Reno is in the process of redefining its culture and there are several organizations pushing that initiative. In addition to what Reno currently has to offer, all the right pieces are in place for Reno to grow into a more desirable city. Will it become a prosperous center for California companies to relocate? Will  new businesses and their employees be the primary driver for change in the city? Will Reno’s future potential be limited due to the stereotypes that have been created by the mainstream media? I hope not, and I hope this blog can make a difference to curb that possibility.

This blog will focus on the advantages to living in the Reno area. I will focus on what Reno currently has to offer, what makes it unique and Reno’s future potential. Everyone wants to live in a place they enjoy, and I’m convinced more people and companies would choose Reno if they saw the area the way I do. Below is a list highlighting some of the specific items I will cover:

  • General benefits, (No state income tax, Low cost of living, Very low business taxes, etc.)
  • Recreation
  • Businesses
  • Events
  • Restaurants and Nightlife
  • Real Estate/Mortgage

With Lake Tahoe 45 minutes away, no income tax, clean air, clean water, a low cost of living, a strong entrepreneurial spirit, current and incoming businesses, an almost infinite list of activities inside and outside of the city, a small town feel, it’s a no-brainer to me why Reno is awesome.