Sunday, September 27th, was World Tourism Day, and although we may not be able to travel the globe right now, we can still discover new and interesting places in our own backyards. Don't despair if you missed the actual Tourism Day! You can still spend some quality time being a tourist in Boise. Idaho's capital city has so much history and culture to explore that you may be surprised what you can stumble upon without venturing far from home.
From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair
In this day and age where many people are resorting to buying online rather than going in-store for purchases, this is becoming a rampant trend.
What is brushing?
Simply put, it's receiving an unsolicited package from an online retailer. You may have heard about the mysterious seed packages being sent from China (which the US and Idaho Dept. of Agriculture are requesting you do not plant and report the receipt of such packages to them), but it isn't just seeds. Clothing, technology, beauty products, and sundries are often being sent to unsuspecting consumers.
So, what is the problem with receiving these free "gifts"? It means that your personal information (such as name, address, and phone number, at the very least) is out there on the internet and being bought and sold illicitly. Online retailers are using this information to create fake reviews to boost product and seller ratings.
What can you do?
Notify the marketplace of the seller. You can either keep or discard the items; that part does not matter. However, use this as an alert to start monitoring and adjusting how you buy things and what information you are providing to anyone requesting it, both in-person and online.
A few recommendations to safeguard your information:
If you have any questions about any of the above you can always check in with us! If you have an urgent need, please call or email our office.
Reminder: Coronavirus – technology cleaning best practices:
*We are seeing an increased amount of port damage due to Lysol wipes; please be very cautious using these around the ports in your phone and computers.*
We recommend using rubbing alcohol rather than wipes. You can find the rubbing alcohol wipes in the first aid section of most stores.
If you have any questions about updates, pop-ups, emails, or need a clean-up, this can be done remotely. Please contact our office via phone at 208.288.4345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need immediate assistance.
Neither the Federal Reserve meeting nor the economic data had much impact on mortgage markets over the past week. Rates again ended little changed, close to record-low levels.
At Wednesday's meeting, Fed officials confirmed what most investors had anticipated for quite a while. In short, to help support the economy, the Fed has no plans to raise the federal funds rate for the next few years. According to the statement, the Fed will maintain short-term rates near zero until the labor market reaches "maximum employment" and inflation has risen above 2%. Officials also revised their 2020 gross domestic product (GDP) projections from June, which forecasted a decline of 6.5%, to a smaller drop of 3.7%.
Since consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of all economic activity in the U.S., the retail sales data is a key indicator of growth. Following large declines in March and April due to the pandemic, retail sales have bounced back rapidly, and the trend continued in August with a solid increase of 0.6% from July. Purchases of clothing and furniture were particularly strong.
The reduced economic activity from previous months has caused a significant decline in inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a widely followed monthly inflation report that looks at the price change for goods and services. In August, core CPI was 1.7% higher than a year ago. While this was up from recent levels of just 1.2%, it still was far below the readings of around 2.3% seen during the first few months of the year, prior to the pandemic.
The City of Trees, the valley's many parks, and the surrounding foothills are rich with learning opportunities for all ages. With most of the valley's schools in some combination of online school and after a summer of social distancing and activities that were likely far from normal, parents might feel exhausted at the possibility of coming up with something new to get their kids away from the screen.
Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor places to explore. From area parks and the Greenbelt to foothills trails, now is one of the best times to make your own adventure.
Identify birds common in SW Idaho – visit whatbirdsareinmybackyard.com and challenge the kids to make a list of the birds they see. If they have cameras or smartphones, encourage some picture-taking. Keep track and set out each time to add to your list.
Take part in some autumn science – as the summer turns to fall, what changes are you seeing around your yard, a nearby park, or on your street? Keep track of where the sun is on the horizon at the same time each day for a week. How much has it changed? Ask the kids to draw pictures that include the differences the observe.
Check out kindercare.com for some fun ideas you can all do with the leaves that will start falling soon. Make it a family affair with everyone participating. Even mom, dad, and the older kids will have fun making art, tossing maple seed pods in the air and watching the helicopters spin to the ground, and enjoying cooler evenings.
Pack a picnic and visit Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve – Nestled between Maple Grove and McMillan and just south of Chinden, this lesser-visited park is a wonderful treasure waiting to be explored. This 44-acre park provides a haven for birds and wildlife. Well-maintained trails and educational signage provide a learning experience for the whole family. Because this is a reserve, pets are not allowed. Make note that restrooms are closed for the time being due to COVID-19.
Take in the MK Nature Center in SE Boise – This 4.6-acre site runs along the Greenbelt offers visitors a unique view of nature tucked in the city. The StreamWalk offers underwater viewing windows so visitors can see fish in their natural habitat. Bird and wildlife viewing is plentiful, as well. There are four online lessons available that you can watch before your visit, and a mobile-friendly brochure lists 30 fun things to discover while you are there.
Challenge yourself with the Great Boise Scavenger Hunt – Put on your walking shoes, head downtown, and learn about the history of Boise while solving puzzles and discovering treasures. The approximate two-mile course generally takes between two and three hours to complete, depending on stops in between. Using smartphones, teams (who must register/purchase tickets) will be given clues to solve about monuments, parks, statues, and more. Points of interest include the Basque Block, Freak Alley, and the Anne Frank Memorial.
Boise and the surrounding cities have much to offer, so take a break from sitting in front of a computer screen, and go outside to play!
By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®
The median sales price for all homes sold in Ada County in August reached $400,000, up 12.7% year-over-year, surpassing the previous high in July 2020 of $390,000.
Our home prices continue to be driven by a shrinking supply of existing homes available for sale compared to demand, more new homes selling at ever-higher prices, increased purchase power due to low mortgage rates, and now, buyer activity being compressed into a shorter time period as a result of COVID-19.
First, the number of existing homes for sale has trended down for years now, and there were only 239 existing homes available for purchase at the end of August. This is a dramatic decrease of 72.1% compared to the same month last year, and a record low since BRR began tracking the metric in May 2006.
To further illustrate this imbalance, the months supply of inventory for existing homes in Ada County was also at a record low of 0.3 months as of August. For reference, a balanced market would be between 4.0-6.0 months. This lack of inventory is putting tremendous pressure on existing home prices, which reached a median sales price of $385,500 in August.
Another factor impacting prices is the mix of sales. With fewer choices among existing inventory, many homebuyers are purchasing new construction, increasing the demand in that segment. In August, new homes made up 32.9% of all closed sales, at a median sales price of $444,900. In addition to greater buyer demand, new construction prices are being driven by rising lumber prices. According to the National Association of Home Builders, "The price of lumber has staged a staggering increase in recent months, rising roughly 80% since mid-April… [which is adding] thousands of dollars to the cost of a typical newly-built home."
Third, the historically low mortgage interest rates are allowing buyers to purchase at higher price points. For comparison purposes, the rate in August 2006 (the market's previous peak) was at 6.5% versus 2.9% in August 2020. This has kept monthly payments at roughly the same as what they were during the previous peak in 2006, despite the increase in home prices.
Finally, after a brief COVID-related slowdown earlier this spring, home sales rebounded in August with 1,251 homes closing during the month, up 18.9% compared to August 2019. Interestingly, closed sales year-to-date versus the same period last year were nearly even, with 7,737 and 7,547 sales, respectively.
Off-market new inventory is allowing us to have consistent sales numbers despite low inventory. With so many buyers looking at new construction, builders can sell homes that are not yet built, and therefore, not yet reflected in the IMLS as inventory.
In August, nearly 25% of newly built homes sold were not previously listed on the MLS showed up as a closed sale. This should give hope to homebuyers that while inventory is low, there are options available. Identifying new construction opportunities, in addition to options in the existing market, is just one more way a REALTOR® can bring value to your home search.
Buying a house that requires renovations can be a great way to find a deal, but before you decide to move forward with an offer to purchase, ask yourself some important questions.
Can Your Budget Accommodate Renovations and Unexpected Costs?
While you are compiling costs, don't forget to add any permitting expenses. Check your local city, county, and state regulations so you can acquire the appropriate permits and order any inspections that might be required.
When you've finished estimating your budget, add 15% for unexpected expenditures and repairs required by any inspections, such as lead paint removal, mold remediation, etc. The "Murphy's Rule" of thumb is that everything takes longer and costs more than first anticipated!
Further, you'll need to check with your lender to find out whether you will qualify for a conventional mortgage or will need a renovation loan. Be sure to ask your lender about the financing that might be available to you and what type of home to include in (or remove from) your search.
How Much of the Work Can You Handle Yourself?
One way to keep renovation costs down when buying a fixer is to tackle as much of the work as possible yourself, but it's important to be realistic about what projects truly qualify as DIY. If you have experience in the contracting trades or have renovated a home in the past, you may be able to do much of the work yourself. Most people, though, will need to leave the bigger, more expensive projects to the pros. Determine how much of the work is truly cosmetic and what will require more than some new paint or carpet. Check the ego at the door to avoid getting in over your head and, ultimately, spending more money than you have in the budget – or worse, putting yourself in an unsafe situation.
How Soon Do You Need to Move In, and Do You Have a Place to Stay in the Meantime?
If you have a place to stay and don't need to move into the home right away, then time may not be a major issue. If you need to move in ASAP, a fixer-upper might not be the right choice when buying a house. Depending on the level of work that needs to be done, living in the middle of a renovation with nowhere to get away from the mess can create a great deal of stress. Don't let the "romance" of creating your dream keep you from being realistic about the work it involves. The programs on television may make things look easier than they really are.
Do You Have Trusted Service Providers?
No matter how much or how little of the work you can handle DIY, you'll likely still need contractors, an architect, and other service providers to tackle key tasks. It helps to have people you know and trust – or referrals from trusted sources – when coordinating work on a fixer-upper. Having quality service providers helps keep added costs down and makes it easier to keep the project on schedule.
Do You Have a Vision for the Home You'd Like to Create?
Success with a fixer-upper depends in large part on having a plan and being able to see it through to completion. Before you begin looking at homes, do your best to have a vision of the home that you want to create. Then, as you are house-hunting, keep that vision in mind so you can avoid trying to push a round peg through a square hole. If you are set on a 2-story, looking at a single-story with plans to add on might be one bite more than you are ready to take. Again, be realistic in your expectations and plans.
A fixer-upper can be a terrific way to get a great home. Take the steps needed to protect yourself and your investment by doing your research first!
Healthcare professionals have long promoted spending time around water as an effective method of relieving stress. Nearly 23 million people each year participate in paddlesports as an eco-friendly way to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of water-based activities.
Fortunately, Boiseans have convenient access to some of the best lakes and rivers in the western United States. Whether you're a newcomer or experienced paddler, check out these scenic locations and great shops for an exciting experience on the water.
Boise has a wide range of outdoor and cultural attractions to accommodate any lifestyle. Let Coldwell Banker Tomlinson handle your real estate needs, so you have more time for fun. Contact us today for more information.