Nov. 11, 2014

Boise Living is Awesome


In case you missed it, here's a link to the article about why Boise is one of the best places in the U.S. to live.


Money line: often hears that engaged citizens – who are welcome to attend the mayor’s open office hours each month – are a hallmark of a Best Place to Live. Several years ago, Boise residents were surveyed about what the idea of “livability” means to them. According to Mayor Bieter, one resident summed up what makes Boise great like this: “I can get about my day with an ease that allows me to contribute to the community.”

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Oct. 7, 2013

Is the Government Shutdown going to affect my Real Estate Transaction?

The answer is maybe. It all depends on your loan. Most banks are waiving the requirementt to have the tax transcripts in hand to close a loan as long as they have a signed 4506-T form. So even though The IRS tax transcripts are required by the banks, they are going to let these go ahead if the have the signed form, so they can pull those transcripts when the government is back from this little vacation of theirs. 

While some of the areas of the government that affect government backed home loans don't get their money through appropriations, and are not affect by the shu down, some areas are. So if you have or the person buying your home has a government backed loan, you will probably experience a delay.

Of course all this uncertainty affects the market. The market has slowed a bit more than normal heading into fall. So everyone keep your fingers crossed, and hope out leaders get bacck on track.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Sept. 17, 2013

The New Place to be in Boise

We watched it for years. When is it going to happen? Yes there has been some growth and development in Garden City, but it has felt long in coming. Especially having the Boise river right there. The Main Street corridor died as the car dealers all moved out leaving big buildings and lots empty. Hey, the River is right there, many of us thought. It seems as though maybe things are really getting rolling. As, I said, Garden City has been remodeling,, renovating and developing for some time now, but other things have started to happen on the Boise side of the River that are bringing it all together, that should make that area down by the River quite the place to be.

The Idaho Statesman just published an article detailing many of these changes ( Everything that is already in the works is exciting, and the possibilities are fantastic. The whitewater park has already started bringing businesses there, specifically water sport businesses. The Riverside Hotel renovated and added the Sandbar Patio Bar and Grill. Playing in the River makes you hungry and thirsty after all. When the Esther Simplot park is completed, the whitewater park will be able to host events, bringing more people into the area. Good for business and our reputation.

The 30th Street corridor, specifically where Main, Fairview and 30th (there is a map of the area involved in that Statesman article I mentioned above) all come together is getting a lot of attention. There is already development in the works with a lot more to follow. A new medical office building is already in development at Main and 30th.  St Lukes owns huge tracts of land in this area. What it all boils down to, is this won't be an area we just pass through on our way to somewhere else anymore. It'll become a destination in it's own right. Developers are envisioning small retail shops, not big box chains. The area will retain, that local Idaho "We love the outdoors" feel. 

It's all very exciting. It looks like we'll have another unique neighborhood, that will feel very much a part of us. It will host a wide range of opportunities for eveyone from the personal point of view as well as the Real Estate point of view. Whether you want to open a shop there or maybe buy a condo, or just enjoy the park and the shopping that will be there, it will offer something for everyone.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
July 23, 2013

It's a good year so far for our market.

The housing market as a whole continues to improve. That holds true in our market. June numbers are in and the market looks strong. Current prices are about the same as they were in late 2005. If you purchased your home in 2002, the market value has once again beat the 3% appreciation mark. Median prices are about $60k more than they were at the bottom of the market in 2011. June 2013 sales of 3760 are up 12% over June 2012 sales of 3344. Distressed properties have dropped to only %12 of the market (still a decent chunk) over %26 last year. Median home prices are up 21% over June 2012. The average days on market is 45 days.

What's it all mean? Well, I think we've hit a sweet spot. There is good financing, but it's not reckless. Prices are not too high, and not too low. There is inventory, but it is moving rather quickly. Buyers are getting what they need and Sellers are getting what they need in a timely manner. If these factors all hold, the market should stay nice and strong.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
July 15, 2013

Having Trouble selling your Home? Here are some simple tips to help.

So, your home has been sitting on the market longer than you expected, and you are having trouble figuring out why.  There are things you may not know, or misconceptions that may have led you down the wrong path. Here are a few issues and solutions to help you out.

1. Let the Professionals do their job. Find a listing agent that you can trust. One that will be brutally honest with you. Trust me, no one wants to tell you that you have poor taste in paint color, but you want some one who will do just that if you want your home to sell quickly for the highest amount. Even if you are selling your home by yourself, get someone to come in, take a look, and give you some advice. Don't ever assume that a buyer can see past the flaws. Subconsciously at the very least, those flaws are registering with them, and when they go into the house down the street that fixed all their flaws, you lose. 

2. Price it right. Never, ever price a home high. Some people will price a home high thinking that it gives them room to negotiate. The fact is you are drastically reducing the number of people that will look at your house. The first criteria buyers and agents put into their searches is price. Even if your home comes up in their search, why would they come and look at your home when a simliar home close by is less. When you have to drop your price, people will wonder what's wrong with it. It is better to price your home low and draw many people, and an auction atmosphere will develop, driving the price up. Your home will sell for more and sell quick if you price it right (low), than if you price it high and drop it as time goes on.

3. Mix it up. Try something fresh. If you have been doing the same thing for a while, yet nothing has come of it. Try something new. For example, take out a big newspaper ad. Leave out the specifics of the property, but give them interesting bullet points. It will catch peoples eye, and create curiosity. Or, do the tried and true open house, but maybe rent a bouncy house for the kids.

4. Rennovations are not the end all be all. It is important to talk with your trusted agent, or someone who can advise you on whether or not renovation is important to sell your home, and if it is cost effective. Price is what drives the market. Yes some rennovations can help make the property more marketable, and help with the sales price, but be smart. It is pointless to do $10,000 of renovation so you can raise your price by $10,000. It is more important to make sure the house is clean, well staged and priced right.

5. Lastly, Don't fight the market. If the market is not moving in your area, or prices haven't reached the point where you need them to be, there is nothing you can do about it. It may be better to wait for a while and not stress over it that try and wish it into happening.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
July 1, 2013

6 Must-Have Safety Items For Your Home

It's something most of us fail to do, plan for emergencies big or small. Sure we have some band-aids in the medicine cabinet. We might have even purchased a fire exinguisher at some point, but probably don't know where exactly it is or if it is still charged and usuable. However, every year Americans get caught in emergency situations with out the basic items essential to survival. So here is a short list of things every house should have to ensure small emergencies don't become tragedies. 


1. Smoke and carbon monoxide dectors- We all know how important they are, yet ever year people lose their lives because they don't have them or they weren't maintained. Interconnected dectors are great because if one goes off then the all do and you can be assured that everyone in the house will here it. Maintainance is as important, as purchase. Change the batteries every 6 months, and perform tests every month. Make sure everyone in the house knows what the alarm sounds like. It is also important to remember that some detectors lose sensitivity as times goes on, so they may need to be replaced every 10 years or so.

2. Fire Extinguishers- Many or most people don't even think to have one of them in their home, yet a fire extinguisher could make all the difference in stopping a minor issue from turning into a major tragedy. Each household should have one or more A-B-C in easily accesible locations. Make sure you know how to use it. Fire extinguishers lose their charge over time so check the pressure gage on them every quarter.

3. First Aid Kit- Sorry a box of band-aids don't cut it. You need to purchase one or make one. It should include basic wound dressing, essential medications for your family, and quantities should reflect the size of your family. Rotate stock of medications to ensure that they aren't out fo date. You should also make sure that at least one adult is first-aid and CPR certified.

4. Flashlights, Radio, and extra batteries- Power outages usually don't happen in the best of times, so it's important be ready. Keep a flashlight and radio with your emergency kit, and also more flashlights where they can be found easily when needed. It wouldn't hurt to get some of the crank/wind up flashlights/radios.

5. Food and Water supplies- you should have enough food, and water (1 gallon per person per day) for at least three days. If you have pets, don't forget their food and water. Food should be canned or other non-perishable form. Don't forget the manual can opener. Keep your emergency stach in a cool dry place. Check it every six months for expired items an replace. A good time to do it is when you are replacing the dector batteries.

6. Have a plan- You need to have a plan for whatever situation you may find yourself in. Fire is a concern for all of us, and some folks have issues with flooding, or tornados. It is important to have a plan and make sure everyone in the family knows what that plan is. Practice the plan together. You are less likely to panic and make a mistake if you have a plan and have practiced it.

These are all simple and easy things we can all do that could make all the difference when it comes to an emergency.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
May 16, 2013

Preparing Credit for Home buying

Pay the right things off - and take care not to pay off accounts you need to show your responsible use of credit. A few things that most lenders will demand you settle, bring current or pay off entirely before you can buy a home:

  • accounts in collections
  • state and federal tax liens
  • past home loans or lines of credit in default that were not extinguished through foreclosure or short sale (e.g., second loans, home equity lines of credit, etc.)
  • defaulted federal student loans (for FHA loan applicants).

If you do have to negotiate with any such creditors for settlements or repayment plans, consider including the way they report the account as one of the negotiables in your settlement deal.  Consult with your mortgage professional about how you should ask the creditor to report the resolution as part of the settlement - you might not get it, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
Your mortgage pro can also help you understand how you should sequence and prioritize the various items on this little laundry list. For example, some lenders might allow you to simply extinguish a tax lien at closing, while most FHA loans won’t allow for a credit pre-approval while you have a defaulted federal student loan on your report.
But do exercise some caution when you start paying off debt in preparation for home buying. Some house hunters take the opportunity to pay all their debt off and close out old, unused accounts, thinking it will document their readiness for the financial responsibilities of homeownership.  Not so: credit scores are optimized when they show that you (a) have credit available to you, and (b) are responsible in how you use it.  The ideal for the FICO score calculations is to be using roughly 30 percent of the credit available to you on your accounts.  So don’t pay them entirely off, and whatever you do, don’t close accounts that are open and/or current. 
That said, don’t go out charging up a storm trying to bring zero balance accounts up to 30 percent credit limit usage.  A flurry of new charges can upset your debt-to-income ratio and be seen by the FICO calculating robots as a sign of potential financial distress

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
May 10, 2013

Principle Reduction...Really

Many of our clients have found themselves strugglling in the housing market in recent years and have even been forced to short sale or worse yet lose their homes to foreclosure.  We have seen many try to attemp the supposed "fix" for the situation by applying for a loan modification just to be rejected.  Unfortunately, to even apply for the loan mod one of the requirements is that they be delinquent on payments.  So they are forced to put themselves behind on payments even to be considered for a loan modification and then are turned down.  Now all that has been accomplished is that they are in a positiion where they will never catch up on payments and are essentially forced into a short sale or foreclosure...something is wrong with this picture.

I ran into the article below and thought that I would share it with you just to give you something to think about and a bit of discussion content.



According to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are responsible for “nearly 13 percent” of underwater borrowers in the country. This does not mean that they caused the underwater situation, but that they hold the loans that are presently in negative equity. The CBO report directly addresses controversial suggestions that Fannie and Freddie modify loans by reducing principal, something that acting Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director Edward DeMarco has steadfastly refused to entertain. According to the CBO report, reducing principal on underwater GSE loans via the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) would not only result in “small savings to the government” and “slightly reduce mortgage foreclosures and delinquency rates,” but it would also “slightly boost overall economic growth”[1]. The report also suggests offering principal forgiveness only to borrowers who are already behind on payments when the principal forgiveness program goes into effect, thereby eliminating strategic defaulters who might stop paying their mortgages later in order to get a better rate[2].

The CBO estimates that about 610,000 borrowers qualify for HAMP assistance at this point in time, but also suggests modifications to the program to bring in an additional 550,000 borrowers. The report also suggests that principal forgiveness might be balanced out by borrowers agreeing to grant the lender the right to future increases in home value. The CBO report provided some congressional representatives for grounds for some strong words for the GSEs’ slow implementation of the HAMP program, saying that “rather than implement these programs years ago when their benefits were obvious, ideologues ignored…evidence and harmed our nation as a result.”

(Source...Bryan Ellis Investing Letter)

Posted in Short Sale
Jan. 25, 2013

Houses for 50% off.......Really?

Yep its true….those of you who have been with us for a while now know all about the Good Neighbor Next Door Program ( fondly referred to as Teacher Next Door).  This is a program where teachers, EMT’s, police, sheriff and firefighters can purchase a HUD repo home in certain areas for 50% of the appraised value. That explains why I should not call it the Teacher Next Door Program.  No Catch, I promise.  We can proudly say that we have placed many many buyers in these homes and it is by far one of the coolest things we do.  Oh Yeah and did I tell you that they can get in for 100.00 down (nope, I did not mess up the decimal point).

So even if you are not in one of the above professions we know you know someone who is.  Your kids have teachers,  some people know firefighters and most of us have had conversations with police (hey maybe you can trade info for that 35 in a 25 speeding ticket)…just sayin’

Call us or contact us through your favorite social media site for more info, we would love to hear from you!!!

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Jan. 9, 2013

Home Remodeling: Cost vs Value

Remodeling can be a great way to add value to your home or real estate investment, but not all improvements are the same. Some definitely can provide more bang for your buck when it comes to overall value.

For instance, exterior projects that add curb appeal routinely have been shown to be great investments for your home. 2013 is no different as REALTORS® have recently ranked exterior improvements among the most valuable home investment projects in their Remodeling Cost Vs Value Report.

“This year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report shows the value of putting your home’s best façade forward, so to speak,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Moe Veissi. “Inexpensive exterior replacement projects are not only crucial to a home’s regular upkeep, but are also expected to recoup close to 70 percent of costs. Specific exterior projects such as siding, window and door replacements are part of regular home maintenance, so many homeowners are already undertaking them. These projects also do not require expensive materials and they have the added bonus of instantly adding curb appeal.”

According to the Cost vs. Value, 7 of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects, with an estimated 78 percent of costs recouped upon resale.

A little work can go a long way toward adding value to your home and improving it for yourself as well!  Want to find out your homes current value? Visit our website for a FREE comparative market analysis of your home, or start searching for your next home in Idaho!


Posted in Boise's Best Blog