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Feb. 22, 2021

Relocating to Boise?

What can one expect when relocating to the Boise area?

What was once known to some as the "Arm Pit of the world" has stepped it up since the 80's. These days, Boise brings culture, arts, shopping, dining and so much more that a bigger city offers, yet we enjoy these amenities without the price or the crowd which typically accompany a good time. All this while still staying....well "Boise" in that we thrive in the comforts and safety we always have, even with the new amenities. 

Another popular feature celebrated by many Boiseans is our outdoor recreation! The fun never stops here. Year round you can find something for any activity level. For those 100 degree days the Treasure Valley offers multiple lakes to play in as well as the famous Boise River, which is a MUST FLOAT! If you are looking to bust a sweat, we have an abundance of hiking trails for all skill levels. The winter is when Boise really shines though. Take a short drive up to Bogus Basin, slip on your skis and cruise down the hill within an hour! Seriously, it is that close. 

Now, we do have relocation clients that often ask us where the best area to live is. That all depends on the individual and what is important to them. This is why we find it incredibly important to go into to great detail with our buyers on their wants and needs so that we can ensure we find the best area for them. After many years, we have learned to better help our relocation clients understand the area, we must take a tour....complete with a bit of wining and dining! We would love to give you spin on the boat too if that is your thing!

Clearly we like to have a good time here, and we certainly will if you choose to use us to relocate. Don't worry though. We understand how valuable your time and ours is. It is our priority to make sure you have a good time yes, but also to ensure you leave here knowing not just what a visit to Boise looks like, but what life in Boise looks like. 

We encourage you to reach out and ask your questions below. We are so excited to get you to Boise so we can share this amazing lifestyle with you!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Feb. 9, 2021

What to know about New Construction

 

From limited lots to rising material costs to extended time frames, there are several factors that make new construction a challenge of its own in this real estate market. On the other hand, there is no concern with updating the home or meeting appraisal. So what is the best option? That answer is unique to each buyer and their particular wants and needs. This is why Leigh and Rob decided to have a chat about this and educate anyone that may be in dark here.

Cons

  • Time Frame - Right now we are looking at anywhere from 9 to 12 months to build a home. There are some spec homes with entry level builders, but for the most it will be more than 9 months. So this is not the typical close and in 30 days you move in. This is going to be a planned process.
  • Lack of choices - As these builders get super busy, they are offering less and less options. This happens when we see low inventory, and builders need to get houses up which is done more quickly with spec homes where the builder makes the choices.
  • Contract Price Vs. Final Price - When you go into your build job, you are looking at their base price plus the lot and perhaps plus a few items you could change that were built into the base price. However, you may decide you want an extra outlet, more can lights or an extra gas outlet for your bbq. This type of item is what we call a change order will have an effect on the final price.
  • Scarcity of lots - Obviously we are in a tight market so there are not too many lots available. So, with new construction you are tasked with finding a lot with a builder that you like, then finding out if a house that you like by that builder will fit on that lot. Now our choices are narrowed down a even farther. So you either find a lot you love and hope that you love the builder, or you can find a floor plan you love and hopefully they own a lot that you end up loving.
  • Material Cost Rising - We just had a deal where the overall cost went up $18,000 for lumber! We know it is not typical for anyone to watch lumber trade, but these are things that effect builders and in turn effect you as the consumer. So, make sure that you are asking your agent to get that information for you so that you are able to make a decision with all of the facts. It is also crucial to get under contract as quickly as possible so that your price is set.

Pros

  • No bidding war - You have heard it. People are currently buying homes for $50,000 and $60,000 and even higher over asking price. You are clear of that with a build job. It is very rare that you have another buyer interested until the home is built so it is good to get in before it is advanced in the building process.
  • Appraisal will likely not be an issue - With prices rising, by the time a house is started and finished there should be no issue with appraisal unless you have gone crazy with upgrades or are perhaps out of now and there are fewer homes to comp.
  • No remodel cost - Enjoy that sparkle unique to a new home!

 

We hope this can help buyers find the option best suited for them. If you or someone you know has questions on the Boise Area Real Estate Market, we are here to help and advice is always free!

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Jan. 30, 2021

A Look at the Real Estate Market in 2021

For those of you in the market to buy a home in the Boise area or surrounding Treasure Valley, I am sure you have the same question as most do right now. That is, "So, when do you think people are going to start listing?" 

With inventory so low, we remain thankful for the accompanying low interest rates and keep our fingers crossed that the arrival of Spring will change things up and bump up our home inventory. At the end of December, Ada County had just 333 houses on the market which is down 80% from last year!

Now, we cannot overlook the median home price which is currently up 24% to $435,000. This, for many homeowners, is a dream price for their home. The problem is, where are they going to go? This conundrum leads to homeowners sitting on their properties, thus the low inventory. The good news is that this 24% increase in home price is not sustainable year over year as we are already running into affordability issues, even with the low interest rates we currently enjoy.

In December, we saw a 4% decrease in home sales simply due to low inventory. There is no question, the buyers are there, they just cannot buy if there is no inventory. Homes listed are currently receiving upwards of 30 offers and thousands over asking price. There is no question, this process will take time but the steps remain the same: Get preapproved, get zeroed in on what you want and most important in this market, be ready to jump!

We know that many buyers are thinking they will just build a house. New construction sales make up 38% of all home sales which is down 3% year over year. Right now, new construction is taking roughly nine to twelve months to build a house. This is just fine as long as you have the time to wait that potential one year until your home is complete. One common benefit of building that many enjoy is customizations. However, in this market, do not get your hopes up, even with high end builders. We just advise that you get a builder you like as most are so busy they are only doing spec homes right now.

If you have questions, feel free to comment below and we will get you answers as soon as possible! Keep in mind, real estate advice is always free and we are here to help.

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Jan. 20, 2021

Buyer Questions with Boise's Best Real Estate

Whew 2020 is over and we are onto making the most of 2021! You may have heard but the current housing market is a crazy one. Our team has gotten a lot of questions lately about what buyers and sellers can expect going into the New Year. So, we are just going to jump right into it and go over some of these answers. Interest rates are always of top concern so we cover that first.

Interest rates:

  • FHA and VA rates are sitting shockingly low, right around 2.5%
  • Idaho Housing, First Time Home Buyer rates are 2.37% - 2.5%
  • Conventional products are around 2.6% - 2.75%
  • So, now is the time to buy as far as interest rates.

First Time Home Buyers

  • Don't go shopping without your wallet! Get preapproved by a lender before you dive deep.
  • Now it's about the offer. With the current Boise Real Estate market, we have to look at how to make the most desirable offer especially if going up in price is not an option. We then look at other options like Inspection Contingencies or a possible rent-back to the sellers.
  • Following the offer, we walk you through the financing process, the appraisal process and the inspection process.
  • Now, knowing 1st time home buyers will likely only remember about 10% of that, we are prepared to repeat and rewind as much as necessary :) but the first step is to get you preapproved. 

How long does it take to buy a home?

  • This goes back to that strong offer as most homes will have multiple offers within hours of hitting the market.
  • If your offer is accepted right away: from the time of acceptance to the time of closing is typically about 30 days. 
  • If we count the time to find the house, we are typically seeing 60 to 90 days.

How urgent do we need to be once we find a home we like?

  • If you can shift your schedule to look at a home that may work for you, do it.
  • Sellers will likely review offers that same night as it was listed.
  • Expect your agent to be pushing you to get in these homes as there is no time to play right now!
  • Bottom line: The sooner the better, period.

What creates a seller's market vs a buyer's market?

  • NAR or National Association of Realtors says, if you have more than 6 months inventory of homes on the market then you are in a buyer's market.
  • Meaning if no one else listed their house today and buyers continued to buy at the current rate, we would have enough homes for 6 months.
  • Now if we were to run out of houses in under 6 months or have under 6 months of inventory, we would be in a seller's market.
  • The national average for inventory right now is roughly 1 to 2 months. Here in the Boise area, our inventory is less than 2 WEEKS! - Yes, this includes new construction!

What is a stratified market?

  • Here we are talking about price point for the current real estate market.
  • We have more buyers looking under a half million-dollar price point and fewer homes than let's say a 2-million-dollar price point where there are not typically too many buyers.

How much do I pay an agent when I buy a house?

  • Typically...$0
  • Not always, as there are exceptions, however, typically the seller pays agents on both sides.

Where should my credit score be for buying a home?

  • Typically, 620 is a good credit score allowing you in the door to get an FHA loan among others.
  • Keep in mind that a higher credit score usually means lower interest rates.
  • Regardless of credit score, we must make certain there are no judgements on you or collections that must be paid off.

How much does a typical person need for a down payment on a home?

  • VA loans are 0 down but may not always be the best way to go.
  • There are Idaho Housing Loans that can get you in for .5% down.
  • Conventional Programs are down as low as 3%

Should I sell my current home before buying another one?

  • We have lots of variables here but to keep it simple, you may need to use that money from your current house to put money towards the new one.
  • If that is not the case, keep in mind we are currently at less than 1% vacancy rate for our rentals in the Boise area!

What is earnest money?

  • This is money, typically a check, that let's sellers know you are serious about this and if you just get cold feet and walk away, they will likely keep the earnest money.
  • It will be held with the brokerage or title company depending on the contract.
  • 1% is typical for the Treasure Valley.
  • However, a stronger offer has more earnest money.
  • Now, this is your money, and it will go back to your closing costs.

We hope this has been insightful and that if you have real estate questions in the future, you know you can always ask us. Keep in mind, real estate advice is always free, and we are here to help!

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Dec. 29, 2020

Tips to Get Ready To Be a Homeowner in 2021

The past year has been a real challenge for a lot of us, and now we can finally put this year behind us and look forward to a better 2021. If 2021 is the year that you decide to take the exciting leap into homeownership, then we have some great tips to get you well on your way. The path to homeownership can be a confusing and daunting one; we have put together these tips to get you in the best position possible to get the home of your dreams.


Take Control of Your Finances

It may seem a bit basic, but it cannot be overstated, you need to behave like a boss when it comes to your money. Take a look at your debts and make a plan to pay them off. Budgeting can be a lot more complicated than just telling someone to save their money. We recommend using a budgeting tool, there are tons out there that are really user friendly like Lola. Their spend management tools can help you curb wasteful spending and reach your savings goals. Taking care of your debt and saving for your down payment are critical steps to getting you into a home. Your new home is a big investment for your future, taking control of your finances now will secure your future home for 2021.

 

Get Pre-Approved

When you are ready to start shopping for a home you first need to shop around for a lender. A good lender will know all of the potential benefits you qualify for and the type of mortgage that will serve you best. Knowing the right questions to ask is important, NerdWallet has a great list of top questions to ask your potential lender to be sure that you have all the information you need. Building your financial literacy and knowledge is very important to ensuring you understand every step of the process. A home will be the biggest purchase in your life, don’t be shy about asking questions and be sure that you understand everything. Once you are preapproved you are able to shop with confidence. One step closer to homeownership!

 

Start Shopping

No matter where you are in the home buying process, just starting to save or pre-approved and ready to move, knowing what you want in a house is critical to getting you into your dream home. Looking at homes online early on will give you a good idea of what homes are going for on the current market. Knowing what you are looking for and what location you need to be in for schools and work is a big start in the process. We are experts in the local real estate market and would be happy to chat with you anytime to find the ideal Treasure Valley location. You can also search for homes on our website.

 

The excitement of buying a home can quickly turn into anxiety and even frustration as you begin to learn all of the ins and outs of becoming a homeowner. Going into the process with your finances in order, pre-approved for a loan, and a good foundational knowledge for what you want and where will make the home buying experience exponentially better. We wish you the best in 2021!

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Dec. 14, 2020

Holiday Cookie Recipes

‘Tis the season to spread holiday love and cheer to those far and near. There is no better way to do that this holiday season than baking up some sweet treats to share. In a time when being close to your loved ones may be challenging, we have some great recipes and tricks to share to remind them how sweet you are. So preheat your oven and get your measuring cups ready. These recipes are sure to brighten the season!


Chocolate Chip

Christina Tosi has been rocking the dessert world with her no frills take on classic American desserts. She is famous for creating heartwarming and nostalgic desserts unlike anything anyone has ever had, like cereal milk ice cream. Her Chocolate Chip cookies will make you the hit of the holiday pleasing all your little elves and reminding Santa just how good you have been all year. 

 

Pro Tip: GET THE REAL STUFF! – whether it is dark chocolate or vanilla extract, don’t scrimp getting imitations. There is no substitute for the real stuff, and it will make all the difference in your holiday treats. 

 

Sugar Cookie

No Christmas is complete without sugar cookies. These pillowy cookies are usually cut out in your favorite holiday designs and decorated with love and oh so many sprinkles. Cutler’s of Boston is world famous for their sugar cookies and when you make this recipe you will see why. The bakers at a Bountiful Kitchen cracked the code and are sharing this perfect take on the classic cookie with you. There are two camps in the sugar cookie world, buttercream frosting or glaze. Luckily this recipe includes both icing choices so no matter what you like on top you can get your sugar fix with this tried-and-true recipe.

 

Pro Tip: CREAM YOUR BUTTER AND SUGAR TOGETHER! - Whether mixing by hand or in a blender it is important to cream your butter and sugar together for at least two minutes. We get our butter and sugar in the blender for at least seven minutes while we get the other ingredients ready. We promise you will taste the difference.

 

Gingerbread Cookie

For the best take on this holiday classic we always go back to the queen of holiday entertaining, Martha Stewart. Her Gingerbread cookie recipe will have your home smelling of the holidays. Cut them into any shape or build them into a gorgeous cookie house, the only thing more fun than decorating these cookies is getting to eat them!

 

Cold Boise winter days are perfect for getting into the kitchen and filling your home with holiday smells and holiday cheer. Dropping off a plate of cookies to a friend or family is a great way to remind them of how much you care. In times when we cannot be as near as we would like, a bite of a homemade cookie is a thoughtful way to show you care. All of these cookies are perfect for shipping so you can share near and far.

 

We hope these recipes warm your hearts and homes as much as they do ours. 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Nov. 25, 2020

How To Get Curb Appeal in Winter

Preparing your home for sale at any time of the year can be a hassle, but it is especially so in the fall and winter months. Besides being colder, you have other factors like rain, snow, and slush to deal with. Oh, and the pretty leaves on your trees have fallen off so your landscaping will look bare and uninviting. No wonder the fall and winter is one of the slowest times of the year to sell your home! We’ll walk you through some great tips and hacks for making the best of this time of year so that you can get top dollar for your home, regardless of weather. 

 

 

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Selling Your Home In The Winter

Do Decorate Your Home Outside

That’s right. A few tasteful decorations on the outside of your home will help make your home look more inviting and festive. Some ideas for decorations for the fall would be: 

 

  • Pumpkins or other seasonal gourds on your walkway
  • Understated holiday lights around your home’s roof
  • Seasonal (but not too gaudy) welcome by the front door
  • Decorative holiday wreath
  • Small sign or plaque with a seasonal message
  • If you have evergreen trees, try hanging some garlands or discrete holiday bows
  • Anything else you’d like, but not too overstated or personalized or political

 

Do Clean Your Home’s Gutters And Roof

You’ll want to make the best first impression to potential buyers and that means showing your home’s roof and gutters at their best. Hop up on your roof with a leaf blower or broom and sweep off all the leaves and sticks that have accumulated there since the start of fall. You’ll also want to clean out your gutters and make sure that they are not leaking or damaged. 

 

Don’t Let Your Grass Go Brown

This can be fairly tricky, but it is very important. Make sure to keep watering and trimming your lawn as late into the year as you can. Your lawn won’t be covered by snow the entire winter, so if you let it get scorched or brown, then it will stay that way until spring! Don’t make a brown lawn the first thing buyer’s see when they pull up to your home. You can also avoid this by applying a good fertilizer or weed and seed a month or so before the cold weather hits, like in late August or early September. 

 

Don’t Forget To Provide PPE

A little forethought can go a long way to making potential buyers feel more comfortable. At the front door, either just inside or just outside, make a small PPE station for your visitors. Make sure to include things like hand sanitizer, extra masks, gloves, and shoe liners. Don’t forget to have a small trash can nearby so they can discard things like paper towels or used masks. 


There’s a lot to consider this year so don’t let your home get left behind in the market. We’re always here to help you sell your home so contact us today to get started!

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Nov. 16, 2020

Top Pumpkin Pie Recipes To Spice Up Your Holiday Season

Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving staple and an absolute must for this time of year. Whether it’s in the form of a spiced latte or ice cream or even rum, pumpkin pie flavor is an American favorite. Assuming that you have the rest of your Thanksgiving (or Christmas) feast covered this year, let’s take a look at some of the very best and some unconventional pumpkin pie recipes from around the web for you to try this year. What’s the worst that could happen? If your pie is fantastic, then everyone will love it and remember how well you did. If your pie isn’t up to your standards, then you can eat it in secret and no one has to know. An absolute win win. Here are some recipes to get your creative juices flowing.


The Gold Standard: The Perfect Traditional Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Like a love poem written by a Pilgrim sutor this recipe is short, direct, and lacking fanfare. It’s an absolute smash home run of a pumpkin pie… but it is the absolute most basic pumpkin pie that ever pumpkin pied. That having been said, it will be delicious, full of spicy pumpkin and cinnamon flavor with a rich, flaky crust that will be crunchy and buttery. Without further ado, here is the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. 

 

The Standard, Bit Of A Twist!: Pumpkin Pie With Brown Sugar, Hint Of Lemon, And Ginger

This has everything you love about pumpkin pie, but with a few small variations. It has a hint of lemon zest, some ginger, and is made with brown sugar instead of all white sugar. It also has a hint of vanilla to meld everything together. If you want to stray a little bit from the traditional favorite, but not go too deep into the woods, then this is the pie for you! From Chef Lindsey Farr’s website.

 

An Outside The Box Take On Pumpkin Pie: Chocolate

Pumpkin pie is great. No one is debating that. But, you know what would make it just a little greater? Lots and lots of chocolate! This recipe is not just a twist on an old favorite, but a swirl. It is Food And Wine’s take on adding chocolate to a traditional pumpkin pie recipe and it is divine. Check it out here.

 

Way Outside The Box Pumpkin Pie: The Non-Pie 

Why have pumpkin pie be limited to just a plain old pie when you can make it so much more? Introducing pumpkin pie cake trifles with (optional) whiskey! These trifles are simple to make and assemble and will blow your friends and relatives away with just how much pumpkin pie flavor you’ve packed into these little serving glasses. This dessert is a perfect take on an old favorite that will keep your guests guessing and coming back for more. It’s also a great way to safely serve food this holiday season as each trifle comes in its own serving container rather than as part of a central pie that everyone will be taking slices out of. Safer and delicious! A total win. Here’s the recipe from Delish.com.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Oct. 29, 2020

Fun Fall Events In And Around Meridian, Idaho

While the nights are getting cooler, the Meridian real estate market has never been hotter! While many of the larger and more crowded events have been cancelled, there are still fun things to do with the family this year. We’ve collected a few of the best ones for you to try!

 

Boo At Night At The Zoo. Zoo Boise. October 15th Through The 31st

Boo At The Zoo is always a hit and this year is no different. Yes, it is heavily modified and will seem quite paired down from last year’s event, this year’s Boo At The Zoo will still be a fun outing! Here are the activities you can expect while there this year:

Idaho Botanical Garden’s Fall Harvest Festival. Every Saturday in October

The Botanical Garden is a great place to bring the family and have fun while still remaining socially distanced. This year they are doing tons of special events like a huge self-guided pumpkin patch tour, a Scarecrow Stroll, one-way hay maze, and local food trucks! Each Saturday features an additional special activity, seen below. For complete information and ticketing services, check out the full event on their website. 

  • Oct 17th: Live Music from Rebecca Scott Band!
  • Oct 24th: Scary Stories with StoryFort and Old Idaho Penitentiary
  • Oct 31st: BONUS EVENT. Halloween Costume Parade – FREE TO PUBLIC, RSVP Required – 3pm-5pm

Discovery Center Of Idaho. October, November, And December Events

Always a fun place to spend time with friends and family, The Discovery Center of Idaho is ramping up its schedule for the end of the 2020 season. In addition to their packed daily schedule of learning and outreach they have tons of events coming up for the end of the year. One of the most interesting ones is called “Hour With The Expert” which features real life Egyptologist and Boise resident Jan Summers Duffy. Join Jan as she takes you through the highlights of the King Tut: Treasures of The Tomb exhibit and answers all of your questions about Tut, Egypt, mummies, and more! Fridays starting at 1pm. More information on their website here.

 

Here are a few more of their event highlights for October, November, and December:

  • Letting Off STEAM
  • Member’s Night
  • Young Discoverers project, featuring slime!
  • Red Cross blood drive night 

 

Linder Farms Corn Maze And Pumpkin Patch. 

Linder Farms is back and better than ever! Come on by for a great pumpkin patch tour where you and your family can take a free hayride out to the field where you can choose and pick your very own pumpkin! You can also check out their other rides for kids and young adults and even try their paintball shooting gallery. They also serve a variety of fun fair foods like corn dogs, french fries, tater tots, and burgers. Check them out while the weather is good and the crowds are manageable! More information on their site here.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Oct. 14, 2020

Autumn Checklist for Homeowners

So, fall weather is setting in, children are picking out their costumes, and the morning air carries the brisk promise of an early autumn. For homeowners, this is the perfect time to get your home ready for the cold winter months.


Even one critical overlooked item can leave you in the cold, soaking wet, smoked out from a hearth fire gone bad, or all three. In the interest of protecting not only your investment but your loved ones as well, it’s time to give you a working autumn house maintenance checklist to work from to prevent any catastrophes that can occur otherwise when you really don’t need them to.

Check, Clean, and Possibly Replace Your Rain Gutters

While trees can bring out the natural beauty of a neighborhood, they can also present a risk to homeowners in the form of discarded leaves. While raking them from your yard is something most homeowners already do, a large number of them forget that those same leaves are clogging up their rain gutters. You know, the convenient contraptions that trap water from your roof and safely disperses it back to the ground in a controlled fashion.

 

When these gutters become clogged with dead leaves, they can not only clog your drain pipe and result in all of that water making its way into your home, but also play host to a variety of pests and lead to wood rot.

 

This is also the perfect time to check your gutters to ensure that they are in good working order. Are the support brackets sound? No water leaking behind the gutter? If you find your gutters in desperate need of replacement, do it now because later will be too late.

Inspect Your Windows and Doors for Air Leaks

Over time, settling of the foundation and aging of building materials can lead to energy leaks.In the wintertime, it will behoove you to inspect all of your doors, windows, and any other openings leading to the outside.

 

For every drafty room or window, heat is allowed to escape as it rises, which is money out of your pocket. Not only that, but it also, for lack of a better phrase, leaves the door open for pests, snow, rain, and other malefactors to enter your home.

 

Short of repairing loose or damaged frames and reinstalling weather stripping as needed, some heavy curtains will help keep that heat where you need it most: in your home.

Check Your Furnace Filter

This one is not only important for getting the most out of your HVAC system, but it’s also important because a dirty filter can reintroduce many pollutants into your indoor environment. Most furnaces work by pulling in outside air, pushing it through a filter, heating it, and redistributing it throughout the house.

 

This can lead to the redistribution of pet dander, carbon monoxide, and more. The filter is located where the duct that draws in outside air connects to the HVAC system. Inspect yours, locate the filter, and be sure to replace it if need be. Just be sure to install the new filter with the arrows pointing with airflow as opposed to against it.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog