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Chrissy Smith
REALTOR®
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Commercial Real Estate Agent
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Date Archives: November 2021

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November
22

Welcome Prospective Buyers with These Warm Aromas

Boise Showing Tips

From the moment prospective buyers open your front door the home's scent can make or break the sale. Smell is incredibly emotive and could make the difference between someone liking and loving your house. Plus, you don't want an odor you've gone nose blind to prevent the sale of your home. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents on how to make a great first impression with your home's scent.

  • Eliminate Unwanted Odor
    The very first thing you need to do is get rid of any unwanted odors lingering around your house, whether it's from mildew, dirty socks, or pets. Our noses are incredibly good at detecting when a scent is just trying to cover up an icky odor. Start by cleaning the house thoroughly. Shampoo the carpets if needed and replace any throw rugs. If your rugs don't need deep cleaning, or if you don't have time, you can deodorize your carpets and upholstery by sprinkling baking soda over them about 15 minutes before vacuuming. Don't forget to pay special attention to areas that tend to generate odors, such as the fridge and the kitchen sink, and make sure you take out the trash!

  • Top it off with Soap
    Are you a hoarder of scented soap? Many people keep thoughtful gifts like these but never use them. Now is your chance! Unwrap these little soaps at last and leave them in the bathrooms, where they'll fill the small room with a light, clean fragrance.

  • Add Essential Oils
    Many people have diffusers, which can be either fan-powered or something more subtle, such as reed diffusers. Be choosy about which scents you choose, though. Anything too perfumed may actually deter some people. Instead, opt for clean, fresh citrus or herbal scents. Try to stick with one scent throughout the entire house, as too many different smells can become overwhelming.

  • Use Your Kitchen
    If you're not an essential oils type of person, don't feel like you have to go out and invest in a bunch of stuff you'll never use again. Your kitchen provides everything you need to create welcoming and lasting scents. One option is to use a simmer pot recipe to scent your home with nothing more than boiling water and a concoction of herbs and other scents. For instance, citrus, vanilla, and cinnamon are common ingredients in simmer pot recipes. If you have the time, though, the absolute best way to make your house smell good is to bake something! Bonus points if you bake something you can leave out for prospective buyers, such as cookies.

  • Don't Forget the Nooks and Crannies
    Remember, when people browse Boise homes for sale, they like to look inside closets and cabinets. Don't forget to clean and freshen these areas too! Clean out all your cabinets and make sure there are no mildewy odors lurking there. You can also leave sachets of lavender or blocks of cedar in your closets and drawers for a fresh, clean fragrance if someone happens to open them up.

When you stage your home for sale, it's important to consider how it'll appeal to the senses. Most real estate advice focuses on making the house look good, but good smells can also be a powerful incentive for a buyer! To find out more about how to stage your home for a successful sale, contact us today.

November
15

Dealing with Junk Email

 

More Email Best Practices: How should you handle junk email?

From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

We all are familiar with that random email from a weird sender that makes it into your inbox, that phishing attempt on your non-existent Dropbox account, a message to verify your Apple ID, or even emails you may have subscribed to that are just plain annoying… how do you get it to stop?  Unfortunately, email spam is almost more common than legitimate messages it seems. 

How you handle email messages is super important.  Email servers like Gmail, Office 365, Yahoo!, etc. and mail programs on both computers and phones like Outlook, Thunderbird, Microsoft Mail app, etc. are heuristic and learn how you handle email.  The trick is staying on top of it and being consistent. Simply deleting messages does not help.

Our best practices for messages that are spam and junk?

  1. Mark junk and spam messages as such, ALWAYS.
  2. Do not open junk messages if you don't have to.  If you do, do not click on any content within it once you determine it's spam/junk.
  3. You can always right-click on any message for more options, and find the option to move to junk or report as spam.  You can also check the box for a single message or multiple and use the menu at the top of your email provider or email program to handle it accordingly.
  4. If an email is junk (random advertising or content), move to your junk or spam folder or report it as spam.
  5. If an email is phishing (asking you for personal or account information) definitely report it as spam. Reporting emails tells a mail server important information.
  6. Block senders or domains if necessary.
  7. Unsubscribe from email lists you know you signed up for but don't want to receive emails from (usually an unsubscribe link can be found at the bottom of the email).  Do not use the unsubscribe function on emails you do not recognize.
  8. Covet your email address, especially if it is used for business or real personal use; don't use it to sign up for anything.
  9. Create and use a separate email address that you use specifically for spam content like newsletters, rewards programs, and the like. 
  10. If you are unsure of the validity of an email, send it to an IT professional you trust to check it out for you. We are happy to let you know if something is legitimate or not and how to handle it.  (However, if it is truly spam, it will sometimes get stuck in our spam filter; so if you do not receive a timely response, please call our office!)

If you need help with anything listed above, this can be done remotely.  Please call our office (208-288-4345), or email us (info@integrityidaho.com) if you have any questions or need immediate assistance!

November
12

Home Prices Drop Slightly in Ada County in October

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

PRICES DROP SLIGHTLY AS ADA COUNTY HOUSING MARKET SLOWS ITS RAPID PACE

The median sales price for homes in Ada County was $533,950 in October, a slight 0.2% decrease from the September median sales price of $534,950. Inventory was up 158.5% year-over-year, with 1,145 homes available for purchase at the end of October.

We're starting to see a shift in our market. While homes still sold for near record highs for the last few months, we haven't seen the same month-over-month price jumps and properties aren't flying off the market quite as fast as they were this spring and summer.

Generally speaking, the more competitive the market, the faster properties have an offer accepted and go under contract, as measured by the Days on Market (DOM) metric. Overall, DOM for existing home sales has trended down for the last five years, with the fastest DOM at nine days in May 2021. Since then, the DOM metric has inched up, reaching an average of 21 days in October 2021 — eight days longer than in October 2020.

Ada County Average Days on Market for Existing Homes

As competition for homes increased, more buyers were willing to pay over list price. This became the primary factor driving up the median sales price from October 2020 through July 2021, when more than half of all home sales were sold for over list price. Since July 2021, the share has dropped significantly, making up 26.1% of all home sales in October 2021.

Additionally, price reductions on listed existing homes have become more common since June 2021. Weekly price reductions averaged less than one a week between January 1–June 6, and nearly eight a week from June 7–November 1. The $500,000-749,999 price range had the largest share of price reductions, making up nearly half of all adjustments year-to-date.

Weekly Price Reductions by Price Range for Existing Homes in Ada County

If existing homes are staying on the market longer, price reductions are becoming more common, and the majority of buyers are no longer paying over list price, why haven't we seen a major drop in the median sales price?

One reason is that list prices have also gone up. Typically, homes for sale are priced based on comparable properties that have recently sold. As sales prices have risen, so have the comparables, or "comps." These higher sales prices have may have also inspired more homeowners to sell, as existing inventory has also been trending up, with 703 available properties for sale at the end of October, an increase of more than 300% year-over-year.

Weekly Average Original List Price of Existing Home Sales in Ada County, YTD

The average list price of existing homes reached the $550,000-mark in June and remained above that level through the competitive summer months. Higher list prices were supported by the comparable sales in the weeks and months prior, but sale prices are ultimately determined by what buyers are willing to pay. As list prices shifted up in the latter part of the year, buyers were less likely to have to pay over asking to secure the property.

As the market adjusts to buyer's expectations and needs, we may continue to see price reductions or even a drop in the average list price for existing homes. If list prices go down, it doesn't necessarily mean sales prices will also drop. The median sales price for existing homes has held relatively steady, as has buyer demand. Homes are still selling at near record highs, but the rise in list prices may have eliminated some of the multiple offer situations and competition we saw occurring earlier this year.

This fall is still proving to be a great time for homeowners to capitalize on the current home prices. For those who are considering selling, we recommend talking to a REALTOR® about the different factors at play within our market and how they may affect different situations.

Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

 

November
11

News From Our Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Solid Job Gains Spotlight Uncommonly Busy Week for Mortgage Markets

The past week saw solid job gains amidst a packed week for mortgage markets. Highlighted by key labor market data and a Fed meeting, the U.S. economy did not see a shortage of economic news. When the dust settled, mortgage rates ended the week a little lower.

Solid Job Gains

Analysts closely watched Friday's Employment report. Overall, Employment modestly exceeded expectations, showing solid job gains.

Against a consensus forecast of 450,000, the economy gained 531,000 jobs in October 2021. Revisions added 235,000 jobs to the results for prior months. Though the gains extended broadly across a wide range of industries, the leisure and hospitality sectors led the improvements.

Declining Unemployment Rate Accompanying Solid Job Gains

Alongside the solid job gains, the unemployment rate declined from 4.8% to 4.6% in September 2021. Thus, unemployment fell below the consensus forecast of 4.7%.

Investors view average hourly earnings as an indicator of wage growth. The most recent average hourly earnings data displayed an impressive 4.9% increase from a year prior. Additionally, average hourly earnings jumped up from 4.6% last month, hitting the highest level since February 2021.

Supply Chain Issues Plague Manufacturing

Aside from the solid job gains and declining unemployment rate, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) highlighted several other reports. The ISM reports demonstrated the negative effects of supply chain disruptions on the manufacturing sector.

The national services sector index unexpectedly skyrocketed from 61.9 to a record high of 66.7. Meanwhile, the national manufacturing index remained roughly flat at 60.8. Levels above just 50 indicate that the sectors are expanding. Readings above 60 are rare.

While both reports hold strong by historical standards, supply chain issues greatly impact manufacturing companies. Many of these manufacturing companies need materials to produce goods.

Fed Tapering to Begin

All in all, the Fed did a commendable job of communicating its plans to investors in advance. Once again, there were no surprises and little lasting impact from the latest meeting.

According to the Fed meeting statement, the Fed plans to taper its $120 billion per month of bond purchases by $15 billion per month beginning later this month. This revelation fell right in line with expectations.

Officials anticipate that inflation will ease from current elevated levels as supply chain resolve, and solid job gains persist. However, the Fed offered little new guidance in determining the exact timing of the first federal funds rate hike. Lastly, investors anticipate the rate hike to take place near the middle of next year.

Looking Ahead After Solid Job Gains

Looking ahead after the solid job gains, investors seek hints from Fed officials about the timing for future rate hikes. Additionally, investors closely watch COVID-19 case counts around the world, particularly in Europe.

Beyond that, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was released on Wednesday. Analysts widely follow CPI as a monthly inflation indicator. CPI looks at the price changes for a broad range of goods and services.

Mortgage markets close in observance of Veterans Day. Finally, the JOLTS report, which measures job openings and labor turnover rates, comes out on Friday.

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

November
6

Should You Renovate or Move?

The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

If you're a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

  1. A possible desire to relocate
  2. The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
  3. Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

In either case, you'll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners' equity. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:

"Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high."

As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

If you decide to renovate, you'll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you'll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.

Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you'll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you're one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you're one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

If you're ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you'll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report.

Bottom Line

If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home. Contact us today to help guide you through the process and help determine what makes the most sense for you!

November
4

7 Ways to Warm Up Your Home's Entryway

Entryway Tips

Your entryway is the first space guests experience when they step into your home. And more importantly, it is the first space you experience when you get home! As such, you really want your entryway to feel warm and welcoming. Here are a few useful tips to help you make your entryway a sight to behold.

  1. Include a Bench Seat
    Sometimes, entryways have a tendency to become cluttered with items like umbrellas, hats, and bags. Including a bench seat in your design takes care of this problem. You can store all of your accessories in the bench seat and also sit on the bench as you put your shoes on or otherwise prepare to go out.

  2. Create Symmetry With Two Plants
    In a small space like an entryway, decorating with symmetry can help create a sense of balance. An easy way to create symmetry is with two identical potted plants. If you have a bench seat, place one plant on either side of the bench. If you have a larger piece of furniture, such as a set of cabinets, you could place two small plants on top of it — one on either side. 

    Plants are perfect for an entryway because greenery evokes a calm, peaceful feeling. They also help unify the outdoors with the outdoors, which is exactly what your entryway is intended for.

  3. Include a Clock
    Clocks are timeless decor, and you don't see them in homes as often as you used to, now that everyone has the time on their own smartphone. But your entryway is the perfect place for a clock. People will appreciate knowing exactly what time it is as soon as they step in the door. You'll also appreciate being able to check the time without pulling your phone out as soon as you get home. A large, decorative clock mounted on the wall directly across from the door is perfect entryway decor.

  4. Use Warm Colors
    When choosing paint colors for your entryway, be sure to opt for warm undertones. This will subliminally make guests and family members feel cozy when they step into the space. "Warm colors" does not have to mean brown or red, either. Your paint store professional can point you towards all sorts of different colors with warm undertones.

  5. Include Large, Fuzzy Doormats
    Doormats can warm up your entryway not only visually but temperature-wise. In the winter, you'll really appreciate not having to step onto the chilly floor. Pick mats that are generously sized to fit everyone's shoes. Those with a plush or fuzzy look tend to make the space look and feel warmer.

  6. Add Texture, When Possible
    As you decorate your entryway, look for ways to add texture to the space. For example, you may include a wall hanging with some burlap. Or, you might find a light fixture with some roughly hewn wood in its design. Incorporating a mixture of smooth and rough textures can make any space feel warmer and more balanced overall.

  7. Install a Dimmer Switch
    If your entryway does not already have a dimmer switch, consider having one installed. This lets you set the mood for your home.

These tips can make any entryway give a warm welcome! If you're still looking for Boise-area homes for sale, please feel free to reach out. We can help you navigate the house-hunting process with ease.

November
1

About Boise's Freak Alley Gallery

Boise Art

National Go to an Art Museum Day was on November 9th and was all about going out of your way to appreciate the work of the talented local artists in your community. Luckily, the Boise area is home to many talented artists and art spaces showcasing their work, and any time is a great time to check out the art! 

Our real estate agents have always enjoyed visiting Boise's Freak Alley Gallery when attending to our roster of Boise homes for sale. This unconventional gallery is located at the crossroads between 8th and 9th street and Bannock and Idaho, and it's the perfect place to dip your toes into the local art world.  

Origins of Freak Alley Gallery

Freak Alley Gallery began as a single project by local artist Colby Akers. Akers was hired to paint the alley-facing side of the Moon's Café eatery in 2002. His completed painting was so impressive that other businesses around the area began asking for similar work to be done on their outer walls. Pretty soon, the entire alley was covered in stunning vibrant artwork by local artists from all walks of life.  

Akers spent years as the gallery's unofficial curator, reviewing hundreds of proposals for new art for the alley. As of 2020, this role has been taken over by Melissa Nodzu. 

Over the years, the gallery has added some indoor space to its premises to give more artists a chance to participate in this beloved community tradition. Freak Alley Gallery is sustained primarily by donations and volunteer work. If you want to help the organizers continue to do the work that keeps the gallery going, they are always happy to accept donations of time or money to the cause.  

Planning a Visit 

Freak Alley's annual painting even is held every summer, usually during the first Saturday in August. During this event, all the paintings that were on display in the gallery during the past year are painted over and replaced with new, specially curated works. The new murals are primarily painted by specially chosen artists, but ordinary members of the community are sometimes invited to participate as well. Visitors are not allowed inside the gallery for a full week during this time, so be sure to plan your trip for a week that doesn't coincide with this annual refresh.  

Freak Alley Gallery is a hidden gem that is well worth at least one visit in your lifetime, and it's far from the only noteworthy spot for arts and culture in Boise. If you know where to look, this city is full of creativity and expression with plenty of local artists that call this area home.

After your visit here are other local art museums and galleries to view art throughout Boise:

Or spend the day walking around downtown and appreciate the local art in the area! 

Contact us today to learn more about our real estate listings in Boise and how we can help you become a part of this one-of-a-kind community.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/03/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/03/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of INTERMOUNTAIN MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:33:47 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Tomlinson may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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