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Sept. 25, 2019

What is the Boise Bench and Why It Matters

What do you think of when you hear the words “Boise Bench”? Does it make you think of breathtaking 19th century architecture? Beautiful neighborhoods with lively, mature landscaping? Or a rich, eclectic selection of grocery stores, shops, and restaurants?

In truth, the Boise Bench is all of these and more. Whether you’re looking for a bite to eat or a curio shop to browse in, you will likely find it here.

History of the Boise Bench

The Boise Bench is a historically rich area that roughly spans from Cole Road to Federal Way. It has been aptly named as such due to its position 60 feet above Downtown Boise, residing on a shelf that roughly resembles a bench.

 

After the gold boom, Boise found itself cut off from the rest of the country, with no easy mode of transportation in a climate that was too dry for farming. A dedicated group of residents set about constructing an irrigation system, while Union Pacific Railroad set up a train depot. 

 

Current residents may recognize these as the Ridenbaugh Canal and the Boise Depot, respectively, and both played a big part in making Boise more accessible and sustainable.

Restaurants of the Boise Bench

Regardless of where your personal tastes run, Boise Bench definitely has it. For example, Vista Avenue alone is home to fast food like Jack in the Box and McDonald’s, specialty burger and pizza establishments like Bad Boy Burgers and Red Bench Pizza, and more exotic fare like those on offer at Sakana Sushi and Saffron Indian Bar and Grill.

 

And if the sheer number of different eateries in a single area isn’t enough to boggle your mind, there is also a ton of food trucks that operate in the area as well, from chicken and waffles to fish and chips. Even better, many of these mobile entrepreneurs also participate in the Southwest Idaho Food Truck Feast, where multiple food trucks convene at one location, giving visitors a plethora of tasty choices to consider.

Boise Bench’s Beautiful Architecture

As mentioned previously, the Boise Bench is home to some of the most iconic architecture this town has to offer. The Boise Depot stands out among the rest with its breathtaking 19th century Spanish-style motif, with a clock tower that is bathed in floodlights at night. After the building’s renovation work that began in 1990, the Boise Depot is now maintained as a historical building and can be reserved for weddings and other special occasions. 

 

Not to be outdone, home seekers will also find a lot to love in the Boise Bench, with available homes running the whole spectrum from historic and beautiful to modern and efficient. The majority of Boise Bench neighborhoods were established in the 1960’s and typically follow a general motif (i.e. Cape Cod Style, Dutch Colonial Style, etc.).

Summing Up the Boise Bench

From amazing restaurants to beautiful homes, the Boise Bench quite literally has it all. Couple that with an amazing view on its outer edges and its central location, we don’t think that our love affair with the Boise Bench will be ending any time soon. Contact us to learn more about real estate on the Boise Bench!

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Sept. 12, 2019

Moving To Meridian, Idaho? Your Guide For Relocation

Meridian, Idaho is one of the very best places to live in the state and an argument can be made that it is the best place to buy a home and live in the Treasure Valley itself. Yes, Boise often is the most talked about destination, but Meridian is such a great city that offers (in many ways) much more than Boise, all while being very close to Boise! Meridian is an often overlooked but in many ways a better place to live and raise a family. Let’s take a look at some critical differences between buying a house and living in Boise versus Meridian. 


Crime Rates Are Lower In Meridian 

While Idaho is among the top safest places in the nation and even the entire world to live, Boise is home to one of the highest crime rates in the state. As more and more people start to move there and the city grows, so does the crime rate. The latest numbers show that Boise’s crime rate is 211.7 while Meridian’s is 127.7. That is a 49% difference! If you buy a house in Meridian, you can expect to see 49% less overall crime. When people are choosing to relocate to another city from out of state, safety for their family is typically a number one concern. The numbers speak for themselves! Meridian is a great place to live if low crime rate is important to you.

 

Home Prices Are Better

Right now, the median list price per square foot in Meridian is $174 per square foot while Boise’s is slightly higher at $176. Meridian home values have been trending steadily upwards as of 2012 and are predicted to increase another 4.8% by August of 2020. Buying a house sooner rather than later is going to be your best bet while you can take advantage of that predicted equity growth. If you are moving to Idaho and your workplace is in Boise, then you could live in Meridian and get a larger house for the same budget and your commute from downtown Meridian to Downtown Boise is only 17 minutes by car or 54 minutes by bike to cover the 11 mile distance. 

 

Compare that to a big city like New York and the 17 minute daily commute time is almost laughably short. If you were to start in Lower Manhattan and commute to Fort George, which is also 11 miles, you’re looking at 55-60 minutes by car, 55 minutes by subway, or 65 minutes by bike. 

 

Meridian Is A Prime Entertainment Destination

Whether you’re a thrill seeker or more of a homebody, Meridian is the place for you. In recent years, the city government of Meridian has put some serious effort into making their fair city a true destination for the people of Idaho and beyond. Meridian is home to some of the best and newest entertainment spots in all of Idaho which include: Meridian Speedway, The Village at Meridian, and Settler’s Park to name a few. Oh, and did we mention that Meridian is home to Idaho’s largest water park and only theme park? Wahooz Family Fun Zone and Roaring Springs Water park are both located in lovely Meridian.

 

Conclusion

So, if you’re looking for a place that has low crime, great home prices, and endless family entertainment, then Meridian, Idaho is the place for you. Contact us today to get your move to Meridian started or if you have any questions at all about Idaho real estate.

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Aug. 28, 2019

Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell This Fall

Here are some great tips for getting your home ready to sell! We are always happy to share our thoughts and ideas with you. Fall is a great time to sell your home, give us a call and let’s make a game plan

 

 

Curb Appeal 

As the season starts to change you want to make sure you keep your yard, walkways, and windows clean and looking well maintained. Continue to mow the lawn, rake leaves, weed flower beds, and trim bushes until your home sells or the first snowfall. Many buyers decide on whether or not to buy a home by its outward appearance, so make sure your home shows well for them from the moment they drive by to the moment they walk up to your home and enter your front door. Also, you may want to consider hanging a fall wreath and adding a new door mat to make your front porch appear more inviting.

 

Color 

When it is time to sell your home, neutral colors are best. If you have paint that is tired or worn, consider freshening it up.  Also, if you have rooms in your home that are painted a bright color or a color that is unique to your style and taste then consider painting the room a more neutral color to help make it more attractive to buyers.

 

Accessorize Well

Bring in a pop of color with fun accents and decor. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to freshen up the look of your home for potential buyers. Fun colorful pillows, throws, and new rugs all help to add a splash of color to your home. Again, you want to make things neutral so others can visualize themselves and their things in your space, but you also want to make your home look inviting and attractive at the same time.

 

Art Placement

Art is subjective and personal. It is important to consider the placement of your art. Showcase things in groupings, which gives your art a much bigger impact as a focal point in the room. You’ll also want to depersonalize the space and take down any family photos.  If you are hanging an art piece on the wall, be sure to hang it 60 to 66 inches from the center of the piece to the floor.

 

Freshen up the Bathrooms

Freshen and update towels, shower curtain, and a rug in the bathroom. This helps demonstrates that the house is well maintained. Buy white towels, which help bring a spa or hotel like feeling into the bathroom and shows the home is well cared for.

 

Lighting

Lighting helps create ambiance in a room. Adding more light, especially in rooms with few windows, will help make a room cozier and inviting. Maybe even consider freshening up your lamps or even the type of light bulbs you are using in your lamps. Also, before showing your home make sure you are bringing all the natural light into your home and turn on all the lights in every room. This will help your home look nice and bright and showcase your home in the best light, no pun intended.

 

What to do With a Spare Room

Consider the function of the rooms in your home. Do you have a spare room? Consider making these rooms either a guest room or an office. Convert a room so that people can see that each room has a function and purpose. Make each room as pretty and bright as you can to attract potential buyers to the home.

 

Clean Your Home

Clean, clean, and clean your home. A clean home is a well-loved and maintained home. This helps make an attractive home for potential buyers. You want to show that you have a lot of pride in your home, which will also help attract buyers. Be sure to clean up and keep your home nice and tidy before you have a showing.

 

Declutter Your Home

This is the number one rule to follow when staging your home to sell. Go through your home and pare down your personal items and things that you are no longer using. Consider donating items to a local shelter or Goodwill.  You want to look at your space and reduce the number of items in the room to help potential buyers focus on the size of the room. Make sure each room does not appear to be overly cluttered.  Also, take a close look at your furniture and what’s functional. If you are not using pieces of furniture or they are taking up too much space in the room, consider putting these items in storage until you sell the home or parting with the furniture you are no longer using.  The key is to pare things down to pure necessity and make sure each room is not overly cluttered. Again, you want to help the buyer envision what their life and things might look like in the home.

 

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Aug. 7, 2019

Art in the Park Celebrating 65 Years in Our Community

Boise’s premier cultural event featuring more than 200 artists selling their works is nearly here! Art in the Park, the outdoor festival held in Boise’s beautiful Julia Davis Park, takes place the weekend after Labor Day, Sept. 6th through the 8th starting at 10am. Visitors of all ages come from all over to participate in this event. There are tons of amazing local artists and craftsmen and lots of great food and music. Also, in conjunction with the festival, the Boise Art Museum will present a variety of contemporary arts and crafts and activities. You’ll want to make sure you stop by the Museum and check out their most current art installations.

 

 

Event Details

The event runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. September 6th and 7th and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. September 8th at Julia Davis Park, 700 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise. Parking and shuttles will be available. Contact 345-8330 or visit BoiseArtMuseum.org for more information.

 

A Boise Tradition

This fun family-friendly festival has been around for more than 65 years! That is something the community can truly be proud of and celebrate. During the three-day event, there will be musical performances, food vendors, and activities for the kids. There are so many beautiful one-of-a-kind things to be seen and had at the event. If you love art, you’ll especially love this festival.

 

Going to Art in the Park is an early fall tradition for those living in and around the beautiful City of Trees. If you enjoy strolling through the park, seeing and meeting friends, talking with artists, or art-like-minded people, and admiring beautiful pieces of work, then this is definitely an event you won’t want to miss. 

 

Something For Everyone

There really is something for everybody to love at Art in The Park. This is a great chance to try new and exciting foods and drinks from the different vendors. You’ll find everything from delicious local Mexican and other Latin style foods to authentic Hawaiian foods that offer a daring and exotic take on old favorites like french fries and pulled pork tacos. Outside of the food and the arts and crafts, Art in The Park is a great opportunity to get your 10,000 steps in while learning a little more about art and crafts and the different traditions behind them. Make sure to ask questions at each artist’s booth if you see something you like. They always love to talk about their craft!

 

Doing Your Part

Want to do something more than just show up and check the event out? You can volunteer for Art In The Park this year instead! While volunteering you get a chance to see how the festival is put together, both figuratively and literally and you can get a pretty good workout in as well. Volunteering is easy to sign up for and you can choose from a wide variety of fun projects to lend a hand in. You can do everything from the labor intensive set up and take down of the tents and attractions to a more calm and peaceful handing out of pamphlets and giving information. Either way, volunteering will be a unique and fun way to not only enjoy the great festival but to be a part of making it happen. What’s better than helping your community and having a great time? Nothing, that’s what! Check out the volunteer portal here for more info. Hope to see you there!

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
July 30, 2019

Summer Campfire Desserts

The end of summer is near, but there is still plenty of time for campfire fun. If you enjoy campfires and desserts, then you’ll want to try these fun recipes. They are sure to have your family and guests saying yum.

S'mores with a Twist

Roasted strawberries dipped in marshmallow fluff. First, wash the strawberries, take off the green stem, and place them in a bowl. Next, prepare the following toppings in bowls. Marshmallow fluff, chocolate sauce, and crushed graham crackers. Now you're ready to start roasting. Simply take a strawberry, dip it in marshmallow fluff, and roast it. Once the strawberry is roasted to your liking, dip it in chocolate sauce, and sprinkle it with graham crackers. Everyone will say yum!

Dessert Burritos

To make this great dessert you need tortilla wraps, pie filling in flavors of strawberry, cherry, blueberry, or apple, peanut butter, small marshmallows, chocolate chips, and heavy-duty aluminum foil. First, place two sheets of foil down. You’ll need enough to cover your tortilla wrap. Next, lay the tortilla down like you are going to make a burrito on top of the foil.  Start spreading the pie filling of your choice on to the tortilla. Then sprinkle a few small marshmallows and chocolate chips on top if you like. Finally, wrap it up like a burrito so that the filling doesn’t come out either end and cover it with foil. Place onto coals or indirect heat of the fire for 10 minutes or until all the ingredients are baked. Unwrap and enjoy.

Apples on the Fire

For this recipe, you’ll need Granny Smith Apples, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and caramel sauce. First core the apples. Then lightly sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and top with Caramel sauce if you’d like. Wrap the apple up in foil and broil over coals or indirect heat on the fire. Leave the apples on about 15 to 20 mins depending on how soft you’d like the apples. Remove the foil and then serve.

Grilled Banana Boat

First, take a banana and cut it lengthwise along the inside curve. Careful not to cut yourself or cut through the banana. Open the slit to form a pocket. Crimp and shape a piece of aluminum foil around each banana forming a boat. Then hold the banana with one hand and fill the pocket with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and nuts of your choice. Then wrap the boat in foil and place it on the grill, campfire coals, or indirect heat of the campfire. Leave for 15 to 20 mins. Then carefully open the warm banana and taste a boatload of yumminess.

Campfire Cinnamon Rolls

This simple but fun recipe calls for one package of crescent rolls, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon, and wooden skewers. First, combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Then separate the crescent rolls and wrap them around each skewer. Next coat the dough with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Cook over the campfire for five minutes rotating it until finished. To create a glaze mix ¼ cup powdered sugar and 2-3 tbsp water together and spread on the roll. These rolls are lip-smacking good.

Campfire Cones

This dessert is sure to melt in your mouth. Here’s what you’ll need. Sugar or Waffle Cones, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips or butterscotch chips, or both if you like. Next, fill the cone with a good mixture of all the toppings. When finished place aluminum foil around the cone. Then place wrapped cones on coals or indirect heat of the campfire. Cook for about 10 to 15 mins until the cones are melted. Unwrap and serve this delicious crunchy treat to your guests.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
July 16, 2019

Sign Up for Savings with HomePlace Rewards

Boise’s Best Real Estate is excited to announce that we are now offering our clients HomePlace Rewards. This is a no-cost members-only rewards program that offers you, your family, and friends generous discounts, exclusive offers and exciting rewards on real estate, home, and consumer products and services. Members save thousands of dollars through this rewards program. 

Here’s How it Works

HomePlace Rewards is able to offer significant savings at a discount because of the number of people participating in the program from various occupations, organizations, and groups.  These savings offer members deep discounts, exclusive offers, free resources, and VIP priority service. Simply enroll here and you will receive an email to get started. Your information is secure and never sold or shared. We promise that your privacy and security is our top priority. 

Who Can Join

The following individuals and groups have access to free membership. Know someone who fits this list? Send them this article or have them give me a call so they can access these savings too!

  • Local Employees
  • Self-Employed
  • Union Members
  • Seniors 55+
  • Teachers
  • Law Enforcement
  • Firefighters
  • Medical Staff
  • Military
  • Veterans
  • Alumni
  • Groups & Organizations

 

Benefits Include

My Benefits: View your entire benefits package

Real Estate Rewards: Save thousands of dollars when buying or selling a home

Buyer and Seller Resources: Helps you make informed decisions and avoid costly pitfalls

Savings MarketPlace: Generous discounts and exclusive offers on popular products and services

Enrichment Center: Financial wellness, health and fitness, assistance and support.

 

How to Join

Membership is fast, free and safe and there are no annual dues—ever. Join now to become an entitled member.

 

Bonus: Are You a Local Business Owner?

Boise's Best Real Estate is looking for ways to say thank you to the Treasure Valley and its businesses. We are always looking for great vendors to recommend to our clients and we are expanding our list. Become a preferred vendor of Boise's Best Real Estate and receive complimentary advertising and a No-Cost Benefits Program for your Owners and Employees.

As a local real estate professional, I provide my clients with a “recommended business list” of local companies. I only recommend businesses that I either have a personal past relationship with or those that have come highly recommended to me from people whose opinion I trust. I am adding local businesses to my list which are featured on my high-traffic website and in my community book, all at no cost to your company. Plus, you and your employees will receive my benefits program, packed with amazing rewards, perks, and resources, absolutely free. I love living in the Treasure Valley and want to continue to support our community by shopping at and supporting local businesses. 

 

 

Sign up today so that you can start taking advantage of the many savings available to you. We look forward to having you as a member. If you have any questions about the rewards program or the Treasure Valley real estate market, please give me a call at 208.472.8606.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
June 28, 2019

The Mysteries and Misconceptions of Lending

We recently sat down and talked with Kendra Graybeal, a loan officer with Evergreen Home Loans. In our conversation we talked about some of the mysteries and misconceptions about lending and financing a new home. Check out the video here. Below are the highlights from our conversation.  

Meeting with a Lender

We try to make the experience more of a relationship rather than a scary intimidating process. We are here to work with our clients and help them get into a home whether that takes thirty days or a couple of years from now.  We are here to help make the process easy and provide the customer with step-by- step instructions based on whatever their timeline is in order to help them get into a home.

Initial appointment

When we meet, we’ll go over the customer’s information and then pull the customer’s credit score. This process includes collecting the customer’s documentation to complete the pre-approval process for a home loan. Or, if they aren’t ready to purchase a home, we’ll help them work on building a plan so they know exactly what’s next in the process and how long it’s going to take for them to buy a home. Typically no matter where the customer is financially we will work with them and help them build a credit plan that gives them step-by-step instructions for exactly what needs to be done and the timeline that it’s going to take us to get them from point A to point B. In the end, we’ll work with the client to get them pre-approved for a loan and get them to the point where they know they are ready to purchase a home. The plan is like a checklist that helps the customer know exactly where they are at in the process and what’s needed in order to prepare for a home purchase.  

Credit Score Misconceptions

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people out there that think they need an 800-credit score and a huge down payment in order to qualify to purchase a home, but that isn’t the case.  In fact, there are many loan programs available where a customer can qualify for a home loan with a lower credit score. Take FHA and VA programs for instance. These programs will let you go down to a 580-credit score. However, they do require a little more in a down payment if your credit score is in this range. 

Typically, Evergreen can work with the client to help them get their credit score up within thirty to sixty days. It’s better if the client works to raise their credit because the higher the credit score the better the options are on loan rates. So, a 580-credit score is low, but a 600-credit score is really where we’d like to see credit scores and anything above a 640 score is the sweet spot because that’s the range where the client could possibly qualify for some down payment assistance programs and other benefits that might be helpful in getting the customer into a home. 

To help with the qualification process we can use a credit simulator. This is where we plug in all the customer’s information from their credit report. Then we use the simulator to play with the borrower’s credit score and check to see if we certain changes what will happen with the credit score, etc. We can do this with all three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. This gives us a really good idea of what each of these companies are looking at with the customer’s credit score since the algorithms for these companies are all different. This helps us make sure the customer’s new mid-credit score is exactly where it needs to be.

So, with an Idaho Housing Loan for example, how much can someone realistically get into a home they’d like to purchase?  A customer could get into a home for as little as half of one percent down. So, if they are purchasing a $300,00 loan, they would pay $1,500 out of their pocket to get into a home, which is typically less than what they are paying in rent. Also, this is less than what they will pay in earnest money as well. Bottom line is there are programs available out there that offer down payment assistance and closing costs so there are a lot of options for people when it comes to getting into a new home. 

What kind of documents are needed?

Pay stubs if they are working for someone else. W2’s and tax returns, usually the most recent two years. You’ll need 30 days of pay stubs, usually two months of bank statements, if they are self-employed their business returns.  There are some other documents we may need to ask for like bankruptcy documents or child support documents, etc. Typically, it is not a lot of document’s we need for the application process.

What does pre-approval and pre-qualification mean?

Pre-qualification is where they pull the borrower’s credit and we go off what they told us their income is and what they have in the bank. Pre-approval is where we’ve looked at everything. We’ve pulled their credit, we look at their income, we’ve gotten their verification from their employer that they are employed, verification of rent payments, bank statements to show what funds they have available, etc. Then there is a fully underwritten pre-approval on conventional VA and FHA loans. Evergreen will also guarantee to the seller that if for some reason the loan does not go through, they will give the seller $2,000 from Evergreen. This sometimes can help in a multiple offer situation and could give the client a one up on some of the offers on the table.  Sellers should make sure that a buyers’ offer should be a pre-approval, not a pre-qualification. 

How to Start the Home Loan application process?

You can go online to https://www.evergreenhomeloans.com/loan-officers/kendra-graybeal, or try Evergreen’s mobile app to start the home loan application process. If you have any questions, please feel free to give Kendra a call at 208-861-7775. 

If you haven’t already purchased a home and are wondering if home ownership is right for you don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to connect you with the right people like Kendra to get you into a new home today.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
June 24, 2019

Where to Cool Off on a Hot Summer Day in Boise, Idaho

The weather is heating up and that means it’s time to find a way to beat the summer heat and head to the pool. We are fortunate here in the Treasure Valley to have a variety of options when it comes to finding a great place to take a cool dip in the pool. A couple of tips to keep in mind when heading to the pool is shop around as admission varies by the pool and by age, so be sure to check the pool’s website before you go. Admission for 65+ is free at all pools. Also if you are looking for ways to save a few dollars this summer check to see if the pool offers admission discounts that may be available during certain hours of the day as well as consider taking advantage of the family discount when bringing the whole family for a day or evening of fun. Here are a few great local swimming pools you might want to consider visiting this summer.

Boise Swimming Pools

The Natatorium and Hydrotube, 1811 Warm Springs Ave. is open 1:30-5:30 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Lap Swim (16+) is daily 12:05-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5:35 p.m.-6:35 p.m. (limited space). Also lap swimming is available June 10-July 26 Monday-Friday from 6:30-8:00 a.m. The cost of the Hydrotube is extra. Season passes are available. Online: Parks.CityOfBoise.org.

Ivywild, 2250 Leadville Ave. is open 1:30-5:30 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. daily Monday-Sunday. Lap Swim (16+) 12:05-1:30 p.m. Parent & Child Preschool Open Swim Monday-Friday 10:00-12:00 p.m.

Lowell Pool, 1601 N. 28th St. is open 1:30-5:00 p.m. and 7-9:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1:30-5:00 p.m. Sunday. Lap Swim (16+) is Monday-Friday 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 5:05-6:35p.m. Saturday and Sunday 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Borah Pool, 801 Aurora Drive is open daily 1:30-5:30 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. Monday-Sunday and 5:35-6:35 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays (shallow area only). Lap Swim (16+) is daily from 12:05-1:30 p.m. and 5:35-6:35 p.m. Monday-Friday.

South Pool, 921 Shoshone St. is open 1:30-5:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday. They do not offer lap swimming and the pool is not open on Sundays.

Fairmont Pool, 7929 W. Northview St. is open Monday-Saturday 1:30-5:30 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. The pool is not open on Sundays. Lap Swimming is offered daily from 12:05-1:30 p.m. and Monday, Wednesday, Friday (two lanes only) from 4:30-5:30 p.m.  Also Monday-Friday from 5:35-6:35 p.m.

Meridian Swimming Pools

The Meridian Community Pool, 213 E. Franklin Road is open from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 -9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 2:00-9:00 p.m. Lap swimming Monday through Thursday 6:15-7:15 p.m. (3 lanes available). Saturday 9:00-11:00 a.m. (6 lanes available). Sunday 9:00-11:00 a.m. (6 lanes available).

Roaring Springs, 400 W. Overland Road in Meridian is open for the season. This large water park is full of slides and other water features. Visit their website for discounts and park hours.

Caldwell Swimming Pools

Caldwell Municipal Pool  512 Harrison is open 1:00-4:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00-6:00 p.m. Lap Swimming (16+) Monday through Friday 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Nampa Swimming Pools

Lakeview Water Park and Pool Garrity Boulevard and 16th Avenue North is open daily 1:00-4:45 p.m. and 6:00-8:45 p.m.

Lincoln Pool in Lions Park at Davis Avenue and Winther Boulevard is open daily 1:00-4:45 p.m. and 6:30-9:00 p.m..

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
May 28, 2019

Easy Ways to House Hunt With Kids

Shopping for a home with your family can be both exciting and challenging all at the same time. Depending on how old your kids are you may want to consider involving them in parts of the home buying process. You don’t necessarily need to bring them along to every home on your preview list, maybe just the top picks.  If you do bring your kids along or want them to be involved in the entire process that’s great, here are a few tips to keep in mind when house hunting with kids.

Talk with Your Kids About Moving

Talking with your kids and involving them in the process as soon as you start to think about moving is always a good idea. Moving may impact everyone in the family differently and can be stressful, especially for children. Be sure to involve your kids and talk with them about why you’d like to move, the benefits of moving, the excitement, and fear, etc. The more you understand any concerns your kids may have the better you can address them throughout the home buying process. Remember kids have their roots, memories, and friends too, and may be more sensitive about the idea of moving than you realize.

When to Involve Your Kids in the Process

You might consider sitting down with your kids and checking out some online home listings together. Ask your kids for their input while you are looking at the homes. Discover what they like or don’t like about the homes you are looking at.  Ask older kids to research nearby schools, parks and other attractions on their tablets or phones.  Or ask them to create a list of must-have features and let them check the online listing to see if the home has them. It is a good idea to drive through some of the neighborhoods and homes you are considering so you can explore the community together as a family and see if you like it before you consider previewing any homes. All these things can help kids feel like they are part of the process.

Don’t Drag Them to Every House

It might not be best to bring your kids to every home you’d like to preview. If you’ve done your homework with your kids in advance, you’ll know what your family’s needs are and can take those into consideration as you are looking. Once you’ve narrowed down the search to the top two or three homes then consider bringing the kids along. A good reason for this is that you wouldn’t want anyone in the family to get emotionally attached to a particular home until you are actually serious about buying it.

Involve the Kids When the Timing is Right

After you’ve narrowed down your top favorites it may be time to involve the kids and take them along to a second showing. It’s during this time you’ll want to ask them for their input. Also, you may want to consider discussing which rooms might be theirs but help them understand that you will be making the final decision. Again, you’ll want to be sure to talk openly about a move and its impacts on your kids. Teens especially may find it more difficult to switch schools and may be concerned about leaving their friends and having to make new friends if they will be attending a new school.  

Keep Entertained During the Showing

You’ll want to be prepared to keep your kids entertained so you can focus and talk with the real estate agent and go over any questions you may have. Bring iPads, their favorite games, books, etc. to help keep them entertained. Also, consider giving them a job while you are looking at a house. For example, have them look for the features that were most important to your family when you were doing your online search. If they find a feature, have them check it off a list. Maybe they’d like to test their photography skills if they are old enough and take some pictures that you can go back and look at later. If you feel like the kids may be a distraction and could prevent you from talking with the realtor about important features of the homes you are previewing, then you may want to consider leaving them at home for now.

It is possible to house hunt with kids; you’ll just want to understand your family’s limits. Also, be sure to make it an adventure and find something fun and new you can check out as a family while you are looking in a particular area. The key to successful house hunting with kids is to make sure you’ve done your homework and find ways to keep everyone entertained in the process.

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
May 20, 2019

Renting Versus Buying: Do the Math

Right now, there is a lot of debate out there about renting versus buying. We understand it is a tough market right now and it’s also difficult to find affordable rentals.  Because of this, it’s important to talk about what makes the most sense financially when it comes to renting versus buying. After all, it’s about the numbers and your individual situation.

Obviously, everyone’s financial situation is different and that’s why it is great to talk with a loan officer who can assess your financial situation and needs when it comes to buying a home. The reality is, when you rent you are paying on someone else’s mortgage versus if you buy a home you’d be paying on your own mortgage. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the most financial sense. For example, a person who makes $3,500 per month will spend 27.7 percent of their monthly income toward rent. That is $957 a month. On the other hand, that same person who purchases a home will spends 17.5 percent of their monthly income toward their own monthly mortgage payment, which is $612. 50 a month. Pretty simple math, right? The question is, would you like to spend over $950 a month and pay rent towards someone else’s asset or spend $600 a month toward owning your own asset and having the ability to watch that investment grow over time?

Benefits to Owning a Home

It’s still a great time to buy and there are several benefits of owning your own home versus renting. The first is home ownership helps create long term stability.  When you buy your own home with a fixed interest rate mortgage you will always know what your monthly payment will be as opposed to renting where the landlord may surprise you with a rent increase at the time your lease is renewed annually.

The second benefit is the pride of home ownership. You’re now responsible for taking take care of something you call your own. You can even paint the rooms in your home any color you want, decorate how you’d like, take care of a yard and grow a garden if you’d like. These are all things that bring a different kind of enjoyment and satisfaction that only comes along with owning your own home.  

The third benefit is building equity in your home. Over time a home will usually become more valuable than what you paid for it and can appreciate in value. This is great news because a rental can only provide you the money you initially invested in a security deposit.

Buying a home versus renting is not an easy decision to make. After all, it is a long term investment that you’ll have for quite some time, so you’ll want to be sure home ownership is right for you. That’s why it is so important to partner and talk with a good REALTOR and lender who can help guide you through the process, help you understand the market, and the financial decisions you will make when it comes to buying or even saving to purchase a home in the future.  There are often loan programs available (especially for first time home buyers) to help your dream of home ownership become a reality even when you think it may not be possible depending on your financial situation.

 

Go ahead and start the conversation today, you have nothing to lose. In the end, once your financial situation has been assessed you can decide if now is the right time for you to buy versus rent. If you’d like to understand your financial situation better to help determine if you are ready to buy versus rent, please contact me today. I’m happy to help you not only do the math but find the home of your dreams.

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog