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Chrissy Smith
REALTOR®
(208) 720-2981
Commercial Real Estate Agent
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Articles Tagged "Moving Tips"

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October
3

Fall Fun at the Idaho Botanical Garden

Idaho Botanical Garden

Fall brings a fresh crispness to the air here in the Boise area, and the changing leaves make it a great season to spend some time outdoors. In particular, fall is one of our real estate agents' favorite seasons to visit the Idaho Botanical Garden. 

But lovely weather and beautiful foliage aren't the only reasons to visit the gardens this fall. Just like they do every year, the Idaho Botanical Garden is hosting a wide range of fun, family-friendly autumn events and festivities in 2022. Be sure to mark your calendar for these garden events in Boise this fall!

  • Fall Harvest in the Garden (Every Saturday in October)
    You have multiple opportunities to experience Fall Harvest at the Garden this year. Returning every Saturday throughout the month of October, Fall Harvest days include arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, great local craft beer and cider, live music, and a fall plant sale. It's a great way to get into the spirit of the fall season. The events take place from 10 am to 3 pm, and each Saturday's lineup will be different, so don't be shy about catching more than one! Plus, it's all happening just minutes from these Boise homes for sale.

  • Fall Fairy Gardens Workshop (October 16)
    The Idaho Botanical Garden host a wide range of workshops and classes throughout the year. One of the most anticipated this fall is the Fall Fairy Gardens Workshop, taught by Wendy Irwin on October 16 at 10 am. This family workshop invites adult/child teams to work together to create single fairy-sized outdoor fall container gardens. Participants should bring their own containers, but all the soil, plants, and decorations will be provided. Sign-ups will remain open until they reach capacity!

  • Autumn Yoga with Becca Hayes (Every Saturday in October)
    It's hard to imagine anything more restorative than a yoga class amid the outdoor splendor of the Idaho Botanical Garden. You can experience that every Saturday this October as yoga teacher Becca Hayes brings her Autumn Yoga series back for another season! The classes are suited for all levels and include a lot of great foundational poses to build strength and balance. Autumn Yoga takes place from 9:30 to 10:30 am on Saturday mornings in October. 

  • Scarecrow Stroll (October 1 - October 31)
    The Idaho Botanical Garden is open to self-guided tours year-round. But visitors during the month of October will see a decidedly spookier garden than they would in other seasons! It's an annual tradition that the gardens are decorated with dozens of scarecrows throughout the month, adding a splash of autumnal ambiance to the space. This year's Scarecrow Stroll will be on display all through October, featuring scarecrows designed and installed by talented local artists and volunteers. 

  • Fall Harvest Costume Contest on (October 29)
    The final Fall Harvest in the Garden event of the season takes place on Saturday, October 29, and it includes something special: the annual Fall Harvest Costume Contest and Parade. After the regular Fall Harvest happenings have concluded (including live music from Dela Freed), kids and grown-ups alike are invited to dress up in their spookiest or cutest Halloween attire for the Costume Contest. Think of it as practice for Halloween night!

Contact us today to learn more about living life to the fullest through all the changing seasons in Idaho. If you're looking for your dream home, our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find it in Boise and the surrounding areas. 

April
4

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

DIY Products for Spring Cleaning

Sometimes it seems there is no end to house cleaning, and while there is no clear-cut answer for how to keep your home perfectly clean at all times, it might be surprising just how much you can do with a little baking soda and white vinegar.

Spot Cleaner for Carpet

  • After cleaning up any excess spill, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda or cornstarch. Let stand for 10 minutes and then vacuum.
  • Mix one tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon white vinegar with two cups of warm water.
  • Using a white cloth, blot the stain with the vinegar solution.
  • Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Oven Cleaner

  • Make a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Coat the oven (or just the dirty parts) with the paste and let stand overnight. Be sure to avoid the heating elements and bare metal.
  • Use a plastic spatula to remove the paste. (Wear rubber gloves.)
  • Wipe away any residue with a clean, wet sponge.

Grout Cleaners

  • Fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of white vinegar and water and generously spray the tile/grout. Let sit about five minutes.
  • Scrub area with a grout brush, or even a toothbrush.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • If stains are more stubborn, mix a paste of baking soda and water and using your grout brush, work it into the grout.
  • Immediately follow with the vinegar spray. This should cause the baking soda paste to bubble.
  • Use your brush to finish cleaning.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • For mold or mildewed grout, hydrogen peroxide is a gem. Spray it on the stain, let sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with your grout brush. You can even mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste for a stronger clean. Apply the paste to the grout lines, wait a few minutes, scrub and then rinse with water.
  • NOTE: Do not apply vinegar to grout that has not been properly sealed.

Showerhead Cleaner

  • Carefully mix 1/3 cup baking soda with 1 cup white vinegar in a plastic bag.
  • Place the bag over the showerhead, submerging the head in the mixture; secure bag with rubber band or twist-tie.
  • Let soak for at least 3 hours.
  • Wipe clean.

 Window Cleaner

  • Mix together in a spray bottle: ¼ cup vinegar, ½ tsp natural liquid soap, and 2 cups water. Shake to blend.
  • Spray on windows and use newspaper to rub dry & clean, avoiding the window frames (newspaper can leave dark marks on the frames).

February
21

Why Tech Companies Love Boise

Boise Tech

While our real estate agents have always known that Boise is a fantastic spot to call home, tech companies are increasingly turning to Boise to set up their operations. The influx of tech companies to Boise began more than a decade ago and has only increased in recent years. Here are just a few of the reasons that tech companies are flocking to Boise.

  • Boise Has Business-Friendly Policies
    The policies in Boise make it an affordable place for businesses to operate or set up a new company. There are multiple business-friendly laws that help companies lower their expenses. The corporate tax rate is lower than most cities, and Boise has one of the lowest energy costs in the nation. Access to cheap energy is a huge perk for companies that depend on energy-intensive technology. Many Idaho businesses also qualify for property tax exemptions.
  • Boise Offers a Low Cost of Living
    Boise living expenses are a relief for individuals who are used to dealing with a much higher cost of living in other popular tech towns. Even though home values have increased in recent years, property in Boise is affordable when compared to prices in other large cities. When you're shopping for Boise homes for sale, you'll notice that property taxes for potential homes are also affordable and won't erode the money that you save by purchasing a home in a city with a lower cost of living. This makes Boise an attractive city for tech workers who are tired of exorbitant housing costs and high taxes. Utility bills, construction costs, and operating expenses are also cheaper for Boise businesses than the costs in other comparable towns. 
  • Boise is Centrally Located to Multiple Tech Hubs
    Boise is located in close proximity to other cities popular with businesses. Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, and Phoenix are only a short plane ride away. A central location allows tech companies to take advantage of Boise's low costs without sacrificing a quick connection to hubs and supplies in other cities. 
  • Boise Has an Educated Population
    Practically all of Boise's students graduate high school, and almost half of Boise's residents have a bachelor's degree. Boise State University is Idaho's second-largest university with more than 20,000 students. This means that Boise has a large pool of educated workers for tech companies to hire. 
  • Boise is a Fantastic Place to Live
    There's a lifestyle and culture in Boise that other cities want to replicate. Boise boasts extensive natural beauty, including wide, clear blue skies, peaceful forests, and picturesque lakes. The streets are walkable, and the city offers a high quality of life. With over 100 parks, a bustling downtown area, lots of playgrounds, and museums, Boise offers a small-town atmosphere with big-city amenities. Companies and potential employees find Boise an attractive place to live and are often more than happy to relocate. 

There's so much to love about living and working in the Boise area. Ready to start looking for your Boise home? Contact us to begin your search!

December
8

New Home for the Holidays: 5 Ways to Make it Extra Memorable

Boise Holidays in New Home

Moving close to the holidays can be emotionally challenging. You may have found your dream home, but it's hard to get moved in, settled, and still make things feel like a typical, festive holiday season all at the same time. It's not impossible, though, once you accept that things are just going to be a little different this year! Here are a few suggestions our real estate agents have for people moving into a new home just before the holidays.

  1. Decorate as You Unpack
    It's tempting to say you'll forget about decorating this year, but don't give in! Decorating is the first and best way to make it feel more like the holidays, even if two-thirds of the house is still packed away. If you don't know where your decorations are or can't get to them, go to the store and buy new ones. If you invest in indoor-outdoor lights and some other things that you can add to your stash of holiday decorations and use in future years, it won't seem like a waste, and you'll be able to get yourself in the holiday spirit even with the house in disarray.

  2. Start a New Tradition
    Test drive a few new holiday activities and see what might take as a new family holiday tradition. For example, driving around your new neighborhood to look at holiday lights can help you get excited for the holidays and also get to know your new community, much more than you did while searching for Boise homes for sale. You can celebrate by doing something that you couldn't do in the old house, too, like putting a big Christmas tree on display in a front window or starting a fire in the fireplace.

  3. Put Your Boxes to Good Use
    There's one thing about moving into a new home that is inevitable: boxes. Lots and lots of empty boxes. Instead of lamenting them, have fun with them! Wrap a few emptied moving boxes and decorate with them, especially under the tree, to make your holidays look more festive.

  4. Don't Forget About Local Events
    Every community has its holiday traditions. Whether it's shopping at holiday craft fairs, attending a parade of lights, visiting a zoo lights display, or some other local holiday attraction, find what your new community has to offer and get out there to enjoy it! Don't let yourself feel too busy to enjoy the holiday season. After all, once the necessities are accessible, the rest can be unpacked and organized at leisure.

  5. Skip Cooking
    With all of the unpacking and your kitchen probably not fully set up yet, you may not be feeling up to cooking a big holiday meal. Don't stress out about it! If ever there was a year where you should order a prepared meal, this is it. Whether you order a traditional holiday meal or opt for something completely different, take that item off of your to-do list so that you can relax and enjoy the holidays a little better.

Celebrating holidays in a new place is part of making your new house feel like home. Starting your home search in the near future? For more information about our local community or to get started looking for your dream home in Boise, contact us 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!

October
15

Stark Autumn Beauty: Shoshone Falls

Don't Let the Lack of "High Water" Keep You from Visiting this Fall

Looking for some weekend adventure, but want to explore somewhere new? If you are in the Boise area, take the two-hour trek to Shoshone Falls in south-central Idaho's Magic Valley. Located approximately three miles west of the city of Twin Falls, the "Niagra of the West" drops an impressive 212 feet, 45 feet higher than the real Niagra.

Though the most dramatic time of year to visit is in the spring when flows can reach in excess of 20,000 cubic feet per second, the fall and winter bring a different kind of beauty. Striking rock formations and stunning pools reveal themselves only when the water is low.

Lying within the Snake River Canyon, the Falls and surrounding geology is a fascinating scene created over millions of years and is truly one of nature's—and Idaho's—most glorious wonders worthy of visiting any time of year.

Shoshone Falls Park is situated at the bottom of the canyon via a fairly steep and curvy road that is open year-round, except when snow and ice make travel too dangerous. The road is paved and fine for all vehicles. In the fall and winter months, the park is open from dawn to dusk, and there is no charge for access. Picnic areas, overlooks, and portable toilets are accessible all year.

Wear comfortable shoes and plan to take a hike along one of the many trails in and around the Falls. Centennial Trail takes explorers 1.4 miles to the site of Evel Knievel's failed attempt to jump the canyon in 1974. The out-and-back trail is paved and features canyon overlooks.

To get to Shoshone Falls from Boise, travel east on I-84 to US 93/exit 173 south to Twin Falls. Turn east on Falls Ave. E to N 3300 E/Champlin Road and follow the signs.

Be sure to stop at the Twin Falls Visitor Center at the south side of the Perrine Bridge for breathtaking views of the canyon and to pick up a trail map.

October
14

View the Latest Employment Report from the Mortgage Professionals at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Latest Employment Report Reveals Job Gains Went Down

This past week, analysts and investors closely watched the latest employment report. Unfortunately, it revealed that job gains went down, falling short of expectations. For the most part, the other major economic reports coincided with expectations. In other news, investors shifted to riskier assets. While doing so, stocks increased while bonds decreased. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week higher.

Job Gains Fall Short in Latest Employment Report

The latest employment report suggested that COVID-19 hindered job creation. Friday's release showed that the economy added just 194,000 jobs in September 2021 against a consensus forecast of 500,000. While this result resembles August 2021, job gains plummeted dramatically from over one million in July of this year.

However, there were many offsetting factors. First, upward revisions added 169,000 jobs to the results for prior months. Second, the unemployment rate declined from 5.2% to 4.8%. Not only did unemployment decline far below the consensus forecast of 5.1%, but it also hit the lowest level since February 2020. These two components often paint a somewhat different picture. While companies provide data for the job gains calculation, the unemployment rate is based on a separate survey of individuals.

Analysts also looked for the latest figures on average hourly earnings. Average hourly earnings, an indicator of wage growth, rose 0.6% from July 2021. This statistic jumped well above the consensus of 0.4%. Of note, average hourly earnings clocked in at an impressive 4.6% higher than a year ago. The latest employment report showed that this number also climbed above an annual rate of increase of 4.0% last month.

Education jobs sharply underperformed expectations. Analysts attribute this due to distortions in the seasonal adjustment caused by the pandemic. Experts adjust education job data to reflect historical seasonal trends, such as the start of the school year. Concurrently, many of the usual hiring and firing patterns changed during the pandemic. To summarize, job gains fell short partly due to seasonal issues related to the pandemic. On the other hand, wage gains remained very strong. Conclusively, the report barely affected mortgage rates.

ISM Service Sector Index Reports Growth

Aside from the latest employment report, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) released another significant economic report. The ISM national service sector index rose to 61.9. Not only did the service sector index rise above the consensus forecast of 60.0, it also neared a record-high. Levels above just 50 indicate that the sector is expanding. Readings above 60 are rare.

Of note, a large number of companies reported difficulties in hiring enough skilled workers to keep up with growing demand. Many other companies indicated that supply chain disruptions held back production. Because of these current obstacles, later months may see stronger readings as companies catch up.

Looking Ahead After the Latest Employment Report

Looking ahead after the latest employment report, investors closely watch global COVID-19 cases. They also look for hints from Fed officials about the timing for changes in monetary policy.

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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!

 

October
13

Home Prices in September Hold Steady

Fewer Buyers Paid Over Asking Price for Homes in September 

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

The median sales price for homes in Ada County moved to $534,950 in September 2021, marking a slight 0.8% increase over August when the median sales price was $530,500. 

While prices remained steady month-over-month, the most notable statistic was the share of homes that sold for over list price dropped to 33.1% — the lowest level since June 2020. 

Competition for homes has been fierce for nearly a year, and as market times fell, more buyers were willing to pay over list price, which became a primary factor driving up the median sales price. When the share of homes that sold over list price exceeded 40% in August 2020, the median sales price moved into the $400,000-range for the first time. When it reached nearly 65% in May 2021, that's when prices exceeded the $500,000-mark.  

(For more on this, and additional factors driving home prices, check out our blog post: "Making Sense of the Rising Home Prices in Ada County.") 

That jump in price likely brought prospective sellers to the market, which has helped inventory levels increase. In fact, September marked the sixth consecutive month of inventory growth. The 1,249 homes available for sale at the end of the month represented an 11.1% increase from August and a staggering 165.7% increase compared to September 2020. 

In addition, the average number of days between when existing homes were listed for sale and an offer was accepted increased to 17 days — the longest market time in the last 12 months — and 21.4% longer than the 14 days we saw in August 2021.  

The increased inventory and a slightly slower pace are good news for buyers and may be two reasons that fewer homes sold over list price last month. 

That said, while the Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) continued to trend up — reaching 1.5 months in September — Ada County is still not in the 4-6 month range of supply which is typically considered a balanced market — creating ongoing opportunities for sellers. 

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.

 

September
27

9 Tips for Buying and Selling Your Home at the Same Time

Selling your home while shopping for a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner––especially when the competition for housing is so high. That doesn't mean, though, that you should just throw up your hands and give up on moving altogether. In fact, as a current homeowner, you could be in a better position than most to capitalize on a seller's market and make a smooth transition from your old home to a new one.

We can help you prepare for the road ahead. Here are some of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients who are trying to buy and sell at the same time.

"What will I do if I sell my house before I can buy a new one?"

While it may be an inconvenience, this is a common scenario that can usually be handled with a little creativity and compromise. Here are some options to consider:

1: Flex your muscles as a seller.

In some cases, a buyer may agree to a rent-back clause that allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a set period of time and negotiated fee. We can discuss the benefits and risks involved and whether it's a good option for you.

2: Open your mind to short-term housing options.

If you're lucky enough to have family or friends who offer to take you in, that may be ideal. If not, check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals, and month-to-month leases. If space is an issue, consider putting some of your furniture and possessions in storage.

3: Embrace the idea of selling now and buying later.

With cash on hand from the sale of your current home, you'll be in a better position to budget for and buy your next home. And by focusing on one step at a time, you can alleviate some of the pressure and uncertainty involved.

"What if I get stuck with two mortgages at the same time?"

If you can't afford to carry both mortgages, then selling before you buy may be best. (See Tip #3.) But if you have flexibility in your budget for some overlap, it is possible to manage a home sale and purchase simultaneously. Here are some steps to help streamline the process:

4: As you get ready to sell, simplify.

You can condense your sales timeline if you only focus on the renovations and tasks that matter most. We can advise you on the repairs and upgrades that are worth your time and investment.

5: Prep your paperwork.

If you'll need a mortgage for your next home purchase, get pre-approved in advance. And start pulling together relevant records for your current home, such as appliance warranties and renovation permits. That way, you'll be ready to provide quick answers to buyers' questions should they arise.

6: Ask about other contingencies that can be included in your contracts.

For example, it's possible to add a clause to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven't sold your previous home. This tactic could backfire, though, if you're competing with other buyers. We can discuss the pros and cons of contingencies and what's realistic given current market dynamics.

"What if I mess up my timing or burn out from all the stress?"

To make sure you're in the right headspace, take the time to slow down, breathe and delegate as much as possible. In addition:

7: Relax and accept that compromise is inevitable.

Rather than worry about getting every detail right with your housing search and home sale, trust that things will work out eventually––even if it doesn't look like your Plan A or even your Plan B or Plan C. Luckily, if you've got a good team of professionals, you can relax knowing that others have your back and are monitoring the details behind the scenes.

8: Don't worry too much if your path is straying from convention.

Remember that rules-of-thumb and home-buying trends are just that: they are estimates, not facts. So if your home search or sale isn't going exactly like your neighbor's, it doesn't mean that you are doomed to fail.

9: Enlist help early.

This leads us to our final tip: If possible, call us early in the process. We'll not only provide you with key guidance on what you should do to prep your current property for sale, we'll also help you narrow down the parameters for your next one. That way, you'll be prepared to act quickly and confidently when it comes time to list your home and make an offer on a new one.

Call today for tailored advice that works for you.

Buying and selling a home at the same time is challenging. But it doesn't have to be a nightmare, and it can even be fun. Click here for a free consultation so that we can help you review your options and decide the best way forward - or visit our site for a listing of homes for sale.

September
16

Facebook: Spoofed Profiles

 

What is a "spoofed" profile?

From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

A spoofed profile is where a scammer copies your profile and pretends to be you. The scammers use the information that the original profile makes public.  This includes profile pictures, location(s), and biography information, so they are very convincing. Oftentimes, these spoofed profiles send out another friend request to people on copied profile's friends list.  While more and more people are becoming aware that this is an issue when they get a second friend request from someone they are already friends with, many people still don't know what is happening (no, their friend has not been "hacked" i.e someone has gained unauthorized access to the account) or what to do about the profile, and there are many people who still will add the fake profile and further perpetuate this activity. 

 

Besides it being annoying, what damage does this cause?

Once a spoofed profile is created, the creator will add friends listed on the original profile, send messages that ask for money… or worse, send videos and/or clickable content via messenger or page posts that contain phishing sites, adware, malware, or viruses when clicked.

 

How do you prevent this from happening?

Make your friends list viewable to "Friends only" or better yet, "Only me".  These settings can be accessed both on the computer and in the Facebook app on phones.  Simply view your profile, then go to Settings and Privacy, then under Audience and Visibility, "How People Find and Contact You".  Select "Who can see your friends list", and select Friends or Only me.  Setting it to "Only me" is the only sure-fire way to make it so people cannot use your friends list to create fake profiles and spam your friends, colleagues, and clients who may be friends on your page.

 

It's already happened to you. Now what?

Have your friends report the spoofed profile as soon as possible.  All you or they have to do is go to the scammer's duplicate Facebook page and click on the three dots.  Select "Find Support or Report Profile" and then "Pretending to Be Someone."  You will then be asked who they are pretending to be.  If it's a friend, you'll report which friend it is and then confirm your submission.  Facebook will then review your report and notify you of the outcome.  The process is pretty quick and painless.

Next, take steps to secure your public information. And it wouldn't hurt to complete Facebook's privacy checkup, and lock down your privacy settings which includes not allowing people to post anything on your page without your review.

Any of these things can be done remotely.  Please call or email our office if you have any questions or need immediate assistance!

September
14

Number of Homes for Sale in Ada County Increases

Encouraged Sellers Add More Homes to the Market 

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

The median sales price for homes in Ada County was $530,500 in August, down nearly $10,000 from July, although 32.2% higher than the same month last year.   

While our region has faced insufficient supply compared to demand for years — the main driver of home prices over the past few years — August marked the fifth consecutive month of inventory growth. There were 1,124 homes available for sale, up 6.5% from July and up a tremendous 90.8% compared to August 2020.  

These inventory gains were very encouraging — and likely prompted by higher prices — although still low compared to what they might have been had they tracked with the historical trendline. 

On the other hand, both pending and closed sales tracked with their respective trendlines. In August, there were 1,606 pending sales — homes with an accepted offer that should close within the next 30-60 days — and another 931 homes closed during the month.  

Both pending and closed sales were down compared to last year, at 22.9% and 28.3%, respectively. Some in the national news have speculated that declines in national sales activity indicates buyers are backing off. This may be the case in some situations, especially among more price-sensitive buyers, but the declines likely have more to do with the seasonality and limited inventory.  

As evident in the chart above, sales activity begins to increase each December/January, typically peaking around May/June, then tapering off throughout the fall and winter as kids go back to school and the weather gets colder. The past two years haven't had that same seasonal feel with the pandemic compressing the traditional market cycles, but any additional declines in activity from now through the end of the year are not completely atypical.  

 

Note on Historical Trendlines: These are helpful tools but should be used in conjunction with other metrics to understand why something may be trending higher or lower than past data might otherwise suggest. To that point, we released a blog post about a recent Florida Atlantic University study suggesting Boise metro homes were overpriced compared to historical trends, which you can read here. You can also check out our mid-year housing summit presentation for insights as to why inventory levels continue to be constrained despite ongoing demand.

 

The uptick in the number of homes for sale continues to be good news for buyers, but buyers must still be prepared to act quickly once they've found a home to purchase. We advise buyers to work with a REALTOR® and lender to determine ways to make an offer as competitive as possible.

One of the most popular ways buyers have competed is on price, offering to pay more than the listing price. Of the homes that closed in August, 42.3% sold for more than list price, paying on average, $22,675 more than list, which is a change from the past few months when a majority of homes were selling over list price.

For homes that sold under their original list price in August, buyers paid $24,423 less, on average. That said, decisions on what price to list a home at, or whether a buyer might offer more or less, can be made easier with the help of a REALTOR®.  

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 Market Report for August, CLICK HERE.

 

August
30

5 Factors That Reveal Where The Real Estate Market Is Really Headed

Boise Downtown

It's the old supply-and-demand predicament: U.S. home sales continue at a rapid pace, but the number of listings remains limited. Amid historically low mortgage rates, buyers keep shopping, reducing inventory and sparking a rise in home prices.

Meanwhile, homebuilders are coping with an increase in material costs and a shortage of labor. These issues come during an ongoing housing shortage. A National Association of Realtors study shows the U.S. has a deficit of about 2 million single-family homes and 3.5 million other housing units.

Follow along to learn the five factors that illustrate where the U.S. housing market is today and is heading tomorrow.

ROCK-BOTTOM MORTGAGE RATES TO GRADUALLY RISE

Low interest rates continue to fuel demand from homebuyers. Some experts believe mortgage rates will creep up later this year, but they expect rates to remain near historic lows. In June, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that 2020 closed with the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 2.8%. But the association anticipates the average rate climbing to 3.5% at the end of 2021 and 4.2% by the end of 2022.

What does it mean for you?

When mortgage rates are at or near historic lows (as they are today), you should seriously consider taking advantage of those rates to borrow money for a home purchase or to refinance your existing mortgage.

HOME PRICES EXPECTED TO KEEP CLIMBING

In June, the national median list price for a home reached an all-time high of $385,000, up 12.7% on a year-over-year basis. And according to the Home Buying Institute, various reports and forecasts indicate home prices will keep climbing throughout 2021 and into 2022. While this may be welcome news for homeowners, high prices are pushing homeownership out of reach for a growing number of first-time buyers.

What does it mean for you?

If you're a buyer waiting on the sidelines for prices to drop, you may want to reconsider. While the pace of appreciation should taper off, home prices are expected to continue climbing. And rising mortgage rates will make a home purchase even more costly.

SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES REMAIN ROBUST

Single-family home sales are down from their peak in October 2020 yet are still above the overall level last year. In May 2021, 5.8 million existing single-family homes were sold in the U.S. That's a 45% increase over the 4 million homes sold in May 2020.

However, home sales saw a 0.9% dip in May 2021 compared with the previous month, the National Association of Realtors says. That was the fourth straight month for a decline in home sales. The number of home sales has slid recently because of rising prices and a lack of inventory, but Fannie Mae expects total home sales to tick up slightly in the fourth quarter and finish the year up 3.8% over last year.

What does it mean for you?

The market for single-family home sales remains quite active. As a result, if you're a homeowner, you may want to ponder whether to sell now, even if you hadn't necessarily been thinking about it. With demand high and inventory low, your home could fetch an eye-popping price.

LACK OF INVENTORY STILL CONSTRAINS THE HOME MARKET

According to the National Association of Realtors, in May there were 1.23 million previously owned homes on the market, down 20.6% from the same time last year. This translates to a 2.5-month supply of homes, which is well below the 6 months of inventory typical in a balanced market. According to the Realtors group, the lack of inventory translates into tougher searches for buyers and contributes to a rise in prices.

What does it mean for you?

If you're thinking of selling your home, now may be the right time to do it. Across the country, it's a seller's market, meaning demand is outpacing supply. That supply-and-demand imbalance puts sellers in a great position to sell their homes at a premium price. The May 2021 Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors found the average home that was sold attracted five offers, and the association says nearly half of homes are selling above list price.

CONSTRUCTION OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES SEES SLIGHT UPTICK

Frustrated buyers may soon find some relief from an increase in new construction. Economists forecast that 1.1 million new houses will be started in 2021, compared with a predicted 940,000 units just six months ago, with 1.2 million new starts predicted for 2022 and 2023, according to the Urban Land Institute.

What does it mean for you?

Given the issues affecting the new-home market, it may make sense to widen your home search to include both new and existing homes. Your brand-new dream home may not be available, but you might be able to find an existing home that lives up to your vision. Keep in mind that we can help you find either a new or existing home and can advocate for you to ensure you get the best deal possible.

ARE YOU THINKING OF BUYING OR SELLING?

If you're in the market for a home, you're ready to sell your house or you've simply been wondering whether you should sell, you could benefit from an expert to help you navigate the hot real estate market. Let's set up a free consultation to discuss your situation. We can review your options and come up with a plan to capitalize on the value of your current property or to find your ideal next home. Contact us today. We are here to #guideyouhome.

August
23

Interior Design Trends: Cottagecore Home Decor

When you buy a new home, you want it to be a reflection of you and your style. As you consider various trends, you may come across a popular new one called cottagecore. But what is it, exactly, and will it work for your interior design needs? Essentially, cottagecore home decor is a nostalgic journey to a simpler time and place. If sipping tea in a garden, breathing in the delicate scent of roses and honeysuckle strikes your fancy, this could very well be the interior design style you are seeking. If the homes you are asking to be shown are reminiscent of country living, you may want to consider these key elements:

  • Nostalgia
    From the garden to the living room, the house should speak of bygone days. This may look different to each person. If your cherished memories include crocheted Afghans and ruffled curtains, by all means, include them. If they lean more toward the brown leather overstuffed couch and the roll-top desk you might find in an 1890's ranch house, then go that direction. It's even possible to blend styles a bit in this very unscripted decor. If you have antiques or just books and knick-knacks that have been in the family for a long time, cottagecore provides a perfect setting to display them.
  • Simplicity
    Although many of us work in the world of technology, we don't all want to live there. When incorporating cottagecore interior design trends, necessary technology will often be hidden inside wooden cabinetry or disguised in other clever ways. The lifestyle celebrates minimalism, including handcrafting, home cooking, and creativity over video games. Rather than the cold, sleek surfaces you will find in industrial decor, you will find the warmth of wood, the natural textures of organic materials, and the cozy atmosphere they bring. Shining wooden floors with simple rugs and a wooden coffee table that reflect the same color as the floor. You might find the same wood theme repeated in bathrooms and bedrooms. 
  • Nature
    Embracing nature is critical to the cottagecore style. This doesn't mean that you must raise your own chickens and livestock in order to enjoy the designs. But the interior of the home should blend with the environment surrounding the exterior. This can be accomplished with muted colors, natural materials, house plants, and fresh or dried flowers. Imagine a little girl collecting wildflowers and displaying them in a milk bottle. The romantic ideal of rural living can be reflected in prints and paintings without the less pleasant realities of farm life. An indoor herb garden is just the right touch to a cozy kitchen, while the fresh herbs bring your recipes to life. 
  • Vintage
    Antiques are certainly great additions to cottagecore home decor, but you can obtain the vintage feel without an extensive collection. Simple lines, wooden frames, and natural textures will help balance the design. Wooden chairs next to pristine white wainscotting in the dining room are reminiscent of homes of a hundred years ago, even if they were just purchased recently. The elegance of a colorful quilt can carry the sleeper back to Grandma's house. Overstuffed chairs reupholstered with soft, nubby fabrics or floral designs are both frugal and practical, echoing the lifestyle of the past as much as the appearance. 
  • Do-it-yourself
    To truly embrace the cottagecore lifestyle, you should bring in your own creations. Have you learned to embroider? Frame an original piece and hang it on the wall. Did you grow your own fruits and vegetables? Proudly store them in wire baskets on the kitchen counter. Craftspeople know that you can't create anything worthwhile without making a little mess. You can embrace the clutter a bit without letting it take over. A basket of colorful yarn complete with knitting needles will actually enhance the decor of the den. A loom in the corner will make a fascinating conversation piece. You may even discover common interests with friends you didn't know existed. 

If you've been waiting for some of the vintage things you love to come back in style, the time has come. Our real estate professionals will be happy to help you find your new home. Contact us when you're ready to make the change. 

July
9

How to Bridge the Appraisal Gap in Today's Real Estate Market

If you're searching for drama, don't limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs, the appraisal process is receiving more attention than ever. That's because, in a rapidly appreciating market, a property is more likely to appraise below the sales price—which can lead to major repercussions for both buyers and sellers.

It's never been more important to understand the appraisal process and the risks involved. It's also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you're a buyer) or overcompensating (if you're a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don't work—in today's unique real estate environment.

APPRAISAL REQUIREMENTS

An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property's market value performed by an independent authorized appraiser. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer defaults on their loan.

In most cases, a licensed appraiser will analyze the property's condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Appraisal requirements can vary by lender and loan type, and in today's market, in-person appraisal waivers have become much more common. If you're applying for a mortgage, be sure to ask your lender about their specific terms.

APPRAISALS IN A RAPIDLY SHIFTING MARKET

An appraisal contingency is a standard inclusion in a home offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on a satisfactory appraisal wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price. This helps to reassure the buyer (and their lender) that they are paying fair market value for the home and allows them to cancel the contract if the appraisal is lower than expected.

Low appraisals are not common, but they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we're experiencing now. That's because appraisers must use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property's value. This could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly, today's comps may be lagging behind the market's current reality. Thus, the appraiser could be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.

HOW ARE BUYERS AND SELLERS IMPACTED BY A LOW APPRAISAL?

When a property appraises for less than the contract price, you end up with an appraisal gap. In a more balanced market, that could be cause for a renegotiation. In today's market, however, sellers often hold the upper hand.

That's why some buyers are using the potential for an appraisal gap as a way to strengthen their bids. They're proposing to take on some or all of the risk of a low appraisal by adding gap coverage or a contingency waiver to their offer.

Appraisal Gap Coverage

Buyers with some extra cash on hand may opt to add an appraisal gap coverage clause to their offer. It provides an added level of reassurance to the sellers that, in the event of a low appraisal, the buyer is willing and able to cover the gap up to a certain amount.

For example, let's say a home is listed for $200,000 and the buyers offer $220,000 with $10,000 in appraisal gap coverage. Now, let's say the property appraises for $205,000. The new purchase price would be $215,000. The buyers would be responsible for paying $10,000 of that in cash directly to the seller because, in most cases, mortgage companies won't include appraisal gap coverage in a home loan.

Waiving The Appraisal Contingency

Some buyers with a higher risk tolerance—and the financial means—may be willing to waive the appraisal contingency altogether. However, this strategy isn't for everyone and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

It's important to remember that waiving an appraisal contingency can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back much lower than the contract price. Without an appraisal contingency, a buyer will be obligated to cover the difference or be forced to walk away from the transaction and relinquish their earnest money deposit to the sellers.

It's vital that both buyers and sellers understand the benefits and risks involved with these and other competitive tactics that are becoming more commonplace in today's market. We can help you chart the best course of action given your individual circumstances.

DON'T WAIVE YOUR RIGHT TO THE BEST REPRESENTATION

You need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal done...no matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you're a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you're a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

June
21

Moving Tips: How to Help Your Kids Adjust

Moving Tips

Moving is one of the most exciting yet stressful events in a person's life, but for kids, adjusting to a new environment can be especially difficult. The ages of your children also may play a role in how they cope with the change. Regardless, moving is an emotional experience, and taking the time to learn how to minimize the impact on your family is definitely important. Our real estate agents have helped many families move, and with our experience, we've pulled together a list of tips to help your kids adjust to a change in scenery. 

  1. Talk To Your Kids Upfront
    Kids often become upset when faced with the unknown, so it's best to talk with them upfront about your plans. If you're frequently discussing the move with your partner, your kids will be quick to pick up on the idea that something is up or about to change. Once you've figured out your plan, it's a good idea to have a sit-down family discussion and keep them in the loop.

  2. Provide Stability
    Most kids become anxious when they feel that life is changing. Reassure them and remind them that some things will still be the same. If you're moving a short distance, remind them that they can still visit with friends. If the entire family is moving, reinforce the idea that everyone will be together. If the move is a result of a divorce, plan and discuss visitation routines ahead of time. Whatever your situation is, make sure to build, prioritize, and communicate a sense of stability.

  3. Take Your Kids To The New House
    In the weeks leading up to the move, take your kids to visit the new home. Allow them to see their new bedroom and point out where your belongings and furniture will go. Be sure to drive by any nearby amenities such as parks, pools, and libraries, and take your kids to visit their new school well before the first day. The more kids can ease into the moving process, the smoother it will be.

  4. Allow Them To React
    During the moving process, your kids are likely to experience a wide range of emotions, including sadness, anxiety, frustration, and perhaps even anger. Don't dismiss or minimize their feelings. Talking and venting are important parts of the adjustment process. Allow them to express their emotions so they can adequately adjust to the changing environment. 

  5. Help Them Say Goodbye
    If your kids will be leaving parts of their life behind, helping them say goodbye can provide them with the closure they need to adjust to new surroundings. If changing schools, allow them to say goodbye to teachers and friends. Doing a final walkthrough of the old house is also a good way to reminisce and enjoy the good memories you had.

While changing homes can be challenging for families, it's a lot easier when you're moving to a place you love. If you're planning to relocate, check out some of these beautiful Boise homes for sale. We'd be happy to guide you through the process, so contact us today.

June
14

Ada County's Median Sales Price Sets Record

Ada County Median Home Prices Exceed $500,000 

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

 

Note: Last year, our May 2020 market report showed a nearly 30% drop in sales year-over-year in Ada County, the largest drop since 2008. Sales were down because REALTORS® and consumers heeded the statewide stay-home order that was in place at that time, and sales quickly rebounded as we moved through the phased re-opening plan. Since there will be stark fluctuations when comparing activity this year to last year, we will focus on month-over-month changes instead.  

+++

The median sales price for homes in Ada County reached a new record of $523,250 in May, up 8.7% compared to April 2021. Crossing this threshold may have been anticipated by some, considering the recent report from realtor.com shared by the Idaho Statesman noting that the Boise metro's price growth was the highest in the country over the past four years.

The Boise region has faced insufficient supply for years, which has been the main driver of home prices, but several factors have accelerated the growth in recent months. Buyer demand remains high due to historically low mortgage rates, and the added ability for more people to work remotely has likely increased in-migration due to our relative comparative affordability in comparison to more expensive metro areas.

Further, the supply of homes for sale continues to be restricted by longer homeownership tenure, baby boomers aging in place, and hesitancy from potential sellers who may be concerned about finding another home in these competitive market conditions.

New construction has often been an option for those looking to sell their existing home; however, due to rapid increases in material costs — especially lumber — coupled with supply chain disruptions, not only are new construction homes more expensive, some builders have held back available inventory until they are closer to delivery so they can price the property based on final materials costs. As a result, new construction home prices reached a median sales price record of $544,986 in May 2021 — an increase of 16.0% from the previous record of $469,900 in April 2021.

With delays in new home delivery, demand for existing homes that are ready to move-into, further increased. Prices followed suit with nearly 70% of buyers willing to pay over list price for existing homes in May 2021, compared to 30% from a year ago. This led to a new record median sales price for the existing segment of $523,250, up 8.7% from the previous record of $481,208 in April 2021.

However, the amount buyers were willing to pay over list price varied by the price point of the home, with the most expensive homes selling for the highest amount over list. For homes that sold at or above $750,000, buyers were willing to pay nearly $80,000 beyond list price, on average, in May 2021, putting additional upward pressure on the overall median sales price.

Average Paid Over List Price - Existing Homes - Ada

The speed at which Ada County homes went under contract also accelerated, as the average number of days between when a home was listed for sale and an offer was accepted dropped to a record low of 12 — two days faster than in April 2021. Existing homes had accepted offers within just nine days, on average, the shortest amount of time on record, and 10.0% faster than last month.

The drastic rise in home prices and competitive market conditions can be challenging for those looking to get into the market, particularly at the lower price points. Some may decide to wait awhile before starting their home search or continue to save for a down payment to improve their purchase options, while others may consider expanding their search area for homes farther from the Boise metro. But for those who are ready to buy, we want to stress that while it's taking more work to purchase a home right now, it isn't impossible to buy a home in the Treasure Valley. We have hundreds of sales closing just in Ada County every month and working with a REALTOR® is your best bet to help guide you through the fast and complex process.

When you're ready to start your home search, your REALTOR® will likely present a buyer representation agreement, giving them permission to work on your behalf, including the ability to write, present, and negotiate offers for you, once you find a home you'd like to purchase. Additionally, your agent can advise you on search strategies to find homes that fit your needs and budget and discuss the financial and legal implications of presenting offers over list price or that may waive certain contingencies like an inspection or appraisal, and whether those tactics are right for you and your specific situation.

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 Market Report for May, CLICK HERE.

 

May
3

Why Boise's North End is a Great Place to Call Home

Boise North End

Why are sources like Inman, the leading real estate news site, pointing to Boise's North End as one of the country's hottest neighborhoods? Our real estate agents have long known what others are just now learning. Here's why Boise's North End is a great place to call home.

  • Hyde Park - 1413-1620 N. 13th St., Boise, ID 83702
    The one in London may be more famous, but when it comes to urban centers, the North End's Hyde Park can't be beat. Named to the National Register of Historic Places for its unique architecture, Hyde Park blends the charm of Boise's past with the vibrant shops, services, and amenities of the present. Each fall, Hyde Park hosts its annual street fair, a fundraiser for the North End Neighborhood Association that draws 40,000 people over a weekend.

  • Goody's - 1502 N. 13th St., Boise, ID 83702
    When it comes to their homemade ice cream and chocolates, Goody's slogan is, "Only Too Much Is Enough!" Originally founded in Sunriver, OR by the Palmateer family, Goody's quickly became a North End favorite when son Brett opened the Boise location in 1997. The old-fashioned soda fountain and glass jars of candy enhance the shop's retro appeal. Choose from classic favorites like egg creams or contemporary treats such as Express-O-Ly Yours, a coffee-flavored sundae that's perfect for the Pacific Northwest. Goody's is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

  • Camel's Back Park - 1200 W. Heron St., Boise, ID 83702
    Whether you prefer team sports or solo fitness activities, there's no better place than Camel's Back Park. In addition to an outdoor gym, accessible playground, and tennis and volleyball courts, the park has spacious open play areas for visitors of all ages. Park hours are sunrise to sunset daily.

  • Hulls Gulch Reserve - 3001 N. Sunset Peak Rd., Boise, ID 83702
    Perched above the Boise skyline, at the base of the Foothills, is Hulls Gulch Reserve. This 292-acre area forms a connection with Ridge to Rivers, a network of multi-use trails extending more than 190 miles that are tended by a full-time crew of volunteers. Hulls Gulch features a pet-friendly 6.3-mile loop trail with wildflowers and a waterfall. Great horned owls, mule deer, coyotes, and red foxes are just a few of the wildlife species that are often spotted throughout the year. Hours are sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.

  • Bogus Basin - 2600 N. Bogus Basin Rd., Boise, ID 83702
    Boise's outdoor glory is on display all year long at Bogus Basin, less than 20 miles from the North End. The "community mountain" is the site of downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter and tubing, hiking, and mountain biking during summer. Don't miss a ride on the Glade Runner, a thrilling mountain coaster that twists and turns 4,330 feet through wooded terrain. Visit the website for a full list of activities along with schedules and prices.

  • Downtown Boise - 850 W. Front St., Boise, ID 83702
    When you're craving the culture and entertainment of the city, downtown Boise is less than 10 minutes away. Shop till you drop, check out a new restaurant, or view the latest exhibit at the Boise Art Museum. It's all waiting for you.

Boise regularly sits at or near the top of national rankings of best places to live, so you can't go wrong with Boise homes for sale in any neighborhood. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson to learn more.

January
15

Great Tips from Integrity Computer Consulting

 

Proper Passwords & Great Keyboard Shortcuts

From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

Password Best Practices

To help safeguard your card data and personal information on sites that require a login, we recommend:

  1. Make sure your password is secure even if the site you're logging into does not require it.  We recommend using a combination of upper and lower case letters, with numbers AND special characters, and not using any recognizable words.  For example, a password of "Ilovedogsalot" can be made more secure by changing all the vowels to look-alike numbers and special characters, breaking up the actual words into something more secure: !L0v3d0Gs@Lo+ 
  2. Use two-step authentication if it is available.
  3. Get into a habit of changing your password on a schedule (especially if it is a site that houses financial information or credit card numbers), even though it is a pain, we recommend changing passwords every 30-90 days. 
  4. Do not use the same password for every site. Make each password different (even if it is off by one or two characters) and keep a record of it.
  5. Write your passwords down or consider using a reputable password keeper like LastPass (www.lastpass.com).

 

Tech Tip – Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can make quick work of a lot of things.  They can be valuable when right-click on your mouse doesn't bring up what you want it to, or your mouse is not working.

Some of the most common keyboard shortcuts are listed below.

Press this key

 To do this

F1

Display Help

Ctrl + C

Copy the selected item

Ctrl + X

Cut the selected item

Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert)

Paste the selected item

Ctrl + Z

Undo an action

Ctrl + Y

Redo an action

Ctrl + A

Select all items in a document or window

Ctrl + P

Print

Delete (or Ctrl + D)

Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin

Shift + Delete

Delete the selected item without moving it to the Recycle Bin first

F2

Rename the selected item

Ctrl + Right Arrow

Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word

Ctrl + Left Arrow

Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word

Ctrl + Down Arrow

Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph

Ctrl + Up Arrow

Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph

Ctrl + Shift with an arrow key

Select a block of text

F3

Search for a file or folder

Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel

Change the size of icons on the desktop

F4

Display the address bar list in Windows Explorer

Shift + F10

Display the shortcut menu for the selected item

Ctrl + Esc

Open the Start menu

F10

Activate the menu bar in the active program

Right Arrow

Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu

Left Arrow

Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu

F5 (or Ctrl + R)

Refresh the active window

Alt + Up Arrow

View the folder one level up in Windows Explorer

Esc

Cancel the current task

Ctrl + Shift + Esc

Open Task Manager

Ctrl + Alt + Delete

Lock the Computer, Switch User, Sign out, Change Password, and Open Task Manager

Shift when you insert a CD

Prevent the CD from automatically playing

Windows logo key

Open or close the Start menu.

Windows logo key  + Pause

Display the System Properties dialog box.

Windows logo key  + D

Display the desktop.

Windows logo key  + M

Minimize all windows.

Windows logo key  + Shift + M

Restore minimized windows to the desktop.

For a full list of keyboard shortcuts for all operating systems and common programs visit:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12445/windows-keyboard-shortcuts

If you have any questions about anything above, would like help with your Mac, need help installing or uninstalling any programs, removing malware, or viruses, you can always check in with us! These things can also be done remotely. Please contact our office via phone at 208.288.4345 or email info@integrityidaho.com if you need immediate assistance.

November
9

5 Tips for Buying a Home in a Different State

Buying a Home in a New State

When exploring Boise homes for sale, your to-do list will look a little different if you're moving from a different state. Interstate home purchases require careful planning and preparation to minimize the expense and hassle associated with purchasing a home while you're living in another state. Check out these helpful tips to follow to help the process go as seamlessly as possible. 

  1. Research All the Costs Associated with Living in a Neighborhood
    If you're buying a home in another state, see that you research all the costs associated with living in a specific area. It's easy to focus only on the amount of your potential mortgage payment, but this is just one portion of your housing expenses. You should also consider:
    • Property taxes
    • Housing insurance (more expensive for some neighborhoods)
    • Homeowner's association dues
    • The city's cost of living
  1. Look for Neighborhoods That Fit Your Lifestyle
    To ensure you'll be happy in your new home, you want a neighborhood that's compatible with your lifestyle. For example, if you prefer a home with lots of shops and eateries within walking distance, you're unlikely to be happy in a house that's nestled out in the country where it's a necessity to own a car. Getting a feel for a neighborhood can be tricky when you're doing the majority of your home shopping out of state. When you contact our real estate agents, tell us what you're looking for in a neighborhood. This will help us match you with properties that meet your priorities. Social media groups and online neighborhood groups are two other useful resources to help you get a better feel for the environment in a neighborhood. 
  1. Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
    An experienced real estate agent is always a valuable resource, but their expertise is even more invaluable when you're buying a property out of state. Look for a real estate agent who has extensive experience selling homes in the area you're interested in.
  1. Utilize Technology To Learn More About Potential Homes
    While a virtual tour can't completely replace an in-person examination of a potential house, it's the next best thing. Look for an agent who is willing to conduct video walkthroughs of properties that you're interested in. Don't be afraid to ask the agent to zoom in on any areas that you want to reexamine or that warrant a closer look. Virtual tours can cut down on the amount of travel associated with purchasing your new home, as they can help you decide which homes have characteristics that are deal-breakers.
  1. Prioritize Attending the Home Inspection Over Other Home Buying Milestones
    Some out-of-state buyers can't see their homes in person at all until after closing; if you can only see the home once, try to make it to the home inspection. This will give you a chance to learn about any prospective problems the home has and receive an explanation as to how the major systems work (like the HVAC system or fireplace). Your home inspector is also a fantastic resource for what items in the home will require ongoing maintenance.

Ready to get started on your out-of-state home purchase? Contact us today!

August
11

From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

The Services Sector Improves; Inflation Falls

 

Overview

Over the past week, the economic data continued to reflect a stronger than expected recovery following the partial shutdown due to the pandemic. Mortgage rates held relatively steady near-record-low levels.

The major economic reports have broadly revealed a rapid rebound in June and July from the historic weakness seen in April and May, and recent data from the services sector continued the trend. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Services Index rose to 58.1, which was well above the consensus forecast of 55 and the highest level since February 2019. Services account for over two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, and readings above 50 indicate an expansion in the sector.

The decline in economic activity due to the coronavirus has caused inflation to fall, which has helped keep mortgage rates low. In June, the core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index was just 0.9% higher than a year ago, which was down from an annual rate of increase of 1% last month. Core PCE is the inflation indicator favored by the Federal Reserve (Fed), and officials have stated that their target level for annual inflation is 2%.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest measure of economic growth. Economists had long been forecasting massive declines of around 30% to 35% for the period from April through June due to the pandemic, and the actual report revealed that second-quarter GDP fell a record 32.9% on an annualized basis. Early estimates for third-quarter GDP growth are about 20%, which reflects the improvement in more recent economic data.

 

 

July
28

Tips for Moving During COVID-19

 

Planning on moving soon? Here are some of our top safety tips for moving during COVID-19 to protect your family and your belongings.

By Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company

Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Over the past few months, we have all been learning how to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of our social events or travel plans have been put on hold, moving does not have to be. Moving and Storage are actually considered essential businesses, which means they remain open. With a little extra planning and by following the CDC and WHO safety measures, you can safely move during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some of our top safety tips for moving during COVID-19 to protect your family and belongings.

What to do before your move:

1. Plan a Contactless Move during COVID-19

As you begin researching moving companies online, remember to also ask questions on how they are mitigating the health risks of COVID-19. A few movers can provide virtual estimates, rather than in-home visits. The video estimate feature allows you to get the cost of your move without having an onsite estimator in your home. You can also use this handy moving box calculator to figure out how many moving boxes you will need.

2. Get packing supplies delivered to you

Since studies have shown that the coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, it's best to purchase new moving boxes and tape from your mover. Eco-friendly moving companies, like NorthStar Moving, use moving boxes made of 100% recyclable materials and also give you a discount when you recycle them back. Even during a pandemic, we can do our part to care for our environment.

3. Let others know ahead of time

If you are moving out or into an apartment building or condominium complex, notify your management company of the time and date of your move. Remember to make these arrangements ahead of time on both ends of the move. Ask your management team about using a service elevator for the day of your move and special arrangements needed for parking the moving truck. You should also notify your neighbors by phone or email so that they can be aware to keep a safe distance in halls and elevators on your moving day.

4. Donate unwanted items during this time of need

As you prepare for your move, mark boxes of unwanted clothing and non-perishable food items that can be donated to Goodwill or local food banks. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused food insecurity for many families; donating your shelf-stable foods is a great way to lighten your load and give back to your community.

What to do during your Move:

5. Extra Sanitary Precautions while moving during COVID-19

Movers should come prepared with their face masks. Keep your distance from movers and avoid handshakes. Keep soap, running water, and paper towels available for movers and your family to wash your hands throughout the day. As much as possible, keep windows opened to allow plenty of fresh air to circulate.

6. Label rooms and boxes to make the move seamless

Take the time to label your boxes and the rooms in your new home before your movers arrive. Clear signs will help movers know where to place each moving box and large furniture without you having to come into close contact with them. Creating a simple floor plan ahead of time will save you time and money.

What to do after your Move:

7. Clean your new home before unpacking

After the movers leave, take some time to disinfect any areas that are high touch zones. Wipe down door handles, light switches, and bathrooms before you finish unpacking. Get rid of any germs that could have been brought in on foot traffic by sweeping and mopping your floors. 

8. Pack your patience and an overnight bag

Finish unpacking by disinfecting boxes or simply wait 24 hours. Pack a fresh set of sheets, pajamas, and toiletries in your overnight bag. This will come in handy after a long day of moving.

Stay informed while moving during COVID-19

Keep in mind, as we all continue to adapt to the changing times, it's important to stay informed and follow any local or state restrictions. At NorthStar Moving, we want to alleviate the anxiety and stress of moving during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please consider all of the extra safety precautions our team is taking during moves and in our offices. If you are not ready to make the move yet, learn how to transform your home for stay-at-home needs.

 

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award-winning, "A+" rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com

July
16

From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Low Inflation Helps Keep Rates at Record Lows

 

Overview

During a light week for economic data, investors remained focused on the concerning spread of the coronavirus in many regions. Mortgage rates dropped slightly to new record-low levels.

Reduced economic activity resulting from the pandemic has caused a significant decline in inflation, which has helped keep mortgage rates low. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a widely followed monthly inflation report that looks at the price change for goods and services.

In June, core CPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, was just 1.2% higher than a year ago — the same annual rate of increase as last month. This was down compared to readings above 2% during the first three months of the year.

Both Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported that average rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages reached record-low levels again this week, in part due to recent tame inflation data like CPI. In addition, the MBA revealed that applications to purchase a home were 16% higher than a year ago at this time, and refinance applications were a massive 107% higher.

New claims for unemployment benefits continued to decline this week after spiking dramatically due to the pandemic. During January and February, jobless claims typically were a little more than 200,000 each week. Beginning in late March, there were three weeks of readings above 6 million. Since that time, however, they have steadily dropped each week, and the latest results came in at a relatively better level of 1.3 million.

 

 

July
15

Lights, Camera, Action! 6 Tips for Staging Your Home for Real Estate Photos

Real Estate Photos

There are a lot of ways to gain an edge when you're listing your home for sale, but few are more effective than staging. When it comes to showing your home in the best possible light, it pays to go the extra mile. 

We have lots of experience staging and showing homes, and we're happy to share some of our favorite tricks and tips we've learned along the way! With more homes being shown online these days, staging is more important than ever.

  1. Cut Down on Clutter
    You want your home to look as clean, clear, and clutter-free as possible when you stage it to be photographed. Some professional home stagers recommend removing one-third of the furniture and decor and storing it somewhere off-site. In any case, if you haven't already been de-cluttering as you've started to pack, now is the time. 
  2. Leave a Few Choice Decorations
    As important as it is that your home not appear cluttered, it also should look like an inviting place to live. Hang onto a few well-chosen pieces of decor to keep your home looking stylish and welcoming. A stack of nice-looking books here, a couple of tasteful throw pillows there—little touches make a big difference. A few well-placed pieces of artwork or photographs are a nice touch as well but avoid personal family photos. You want future owners to be able to envision themselves living there, not thinking about the previous occupants. 
  3. Let There Be Light
    Natural light is your best friend when it comes to making your house look open, warm, and inviting. Always photograph your house in daylight, with the shades and curtains open to let in plenty of sunlight. At the same time, you want to be careful not to photograph in direct, intense sunlight to avoid pictures looking blown-out. The ideal conditions are often in the late morning and early afternoon, when there's plenty of indirect light coming through the windows. 
  4. Keep it Clean
    Now is the time to clean your house like it's never been cleaned before. You may even want to hire a professional to get your entire house spotless before having pictures taken. Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathroom; these are the two most important rooms in the home, and potential buyers will be unforgiving about dirt and grime in these areas. 
  5. Highlight Improvements
    Don't shy away from highlighting your home's best assets. That includes any unique features or anything that's recently been redone or improved. Whether it's new windows, a redone bathroom, or just a few simple fixture upgrades, it helps to let buyers know. If you have any special lighting in your house, make sure to turn it on and show it off. 
  6. Stage the Outside Too
    Your home's exterior is just important as the interior, and there are plenty of ways you can spruce up the outside of your house before having photographs taken. Make sure the yard is as neat and clean as possible, and give shrubs and hedges a trim. Stash the trash cans out of sight, and either put your car in the garage or park it down the street. If your landscape is lacking, spruce it up with some colorful flowers if you can. 

Contact me today to learn more about how staging can help you sell your home. I look forward to serving you!

December
9

Ways to Save Money During the Holidays for a Move

Money Saving for Downpayment

Surrounded by nature, Boise offers big city amenities with a small-town feel, which is why many people choose to move to this area every year. Whether you choose to move to Boise for the education, the opportunity, or even the ale -- you'll find beauty in all four seasons in your new home.

While you might be ready to cuddle up near your new fireplace for winter in that special Boise home, moving during the holiday season can offer financial challenges. It's difficult to not overspend during the holiday season, let alone save up for a move. Fortunately, our REALTORS® are here to help with these tips for saving money during the holidays for a move.

Make a Shopping Map

That's right, make a map -- not just a list. With so many deals happening during the holiday shopping season, it's easy to lose sight of your savings goal and spend more than you planned. Whether using a bullet-style journal, a regular notebook, or a high-level PowerPoint, try creating a visual diagram of where and when you'll be buying these items. Match your purchases to paychecks and try to combine trips. A visual guide will let you see if you are driving across town to save $1 in cost but spending $5 in gas and time. Perhaps it makes more sense to buy both items in the same place?

Expert financial consultants note that lists and planning are proven time and time again to save you money when holiday shopping.

Enjoy Affordable Community Amenities

With a small amount of searching, you might be surprised at the free and donation-based events available in your community over the holidays. Start enjoying festivities without the fees. Instead of spending $100 for ballet tickets, try donating cans of food to see your local choirs. Tour neighborhood holiday lights all around town instead of paying for a commercial light show and installation. 

You don't need to sacrifice the holiday fun to save, instead, choose cheaper traditions

Buy in Bulk

Another fantastic way to save some extra cash for the holidays is to buy in bulk. If you have a membership, you can purchase many holiday treats and family meals at a considerable discount through retailers like Sam's Club or Costco. If you don't have access to a bulk seller, you can still often find family-sized and value quantities at your local retailer. Check out the price per pound on the tag and watch how quickly those pennies add up as you save on mashed potatoes, stuffing, and even holiday greeting cards. Doing the math at the store adds up to savings for you and your move! 

Start planning for your holiday savings now - you'll thank yourself on move-in day. Contact us to discover more ways to find yourself an affordable home. With many Boise homes for salenow is the time to buy -- why wait?

October
14

9 Money Saving Tips Before You Relocate to Boise

 

Saving Money for a Move

Moving always presents its challenges, and moving long distances across state lines can be even more challenging. Luckily, our REALTORS® are here to help. 

If you're looking for Boise homes for sale, chances are you're also looking for ways to finance the move. These simple money-saving tips will help put some cash in your pocket before moving day and make relocating less stressful. 

  1. Start planning early.
    The sooner you start preparing for the move, the more you'll be able to save, and the less pressure you will feel. The advantage of time also allows you to shop around for the best deal on moving companies and other expenses, rather than feeling like you have to take the first thing that comes along due to time constraints. 

  2. Add up all the costs.
    Consider all the costs of moving, from transportation and storage to loading and unloading services, insurance, moving supplies, and fuel. Once you have a solid budget, you can start figuring out how to save up enough, as well as start figuring out where you can shave some money off the potential expenses. 

  3. Save your tax refund.
    It's tempting to spend this money on something fun, like a vacation, but if you know you're moving, it's best to set your refund aside and use it to finance your moving costs. 

  4. Leave some things behind.
    The more stuff you have to move, the more it will cost. Take a hard look at your belongings, and make some choices about what you don't need. Have a big yard sale to get rid of unwanted items (and earn a little extra cash), and donate what you can. 

  5. Make some money on the side.
    If you're looking at your moving costs and worrying about falling short, consider a new side-hustle to earn some extra dough. Taking an extra part-time job, starting a side business, and renting out a spare room are great ways to put cash in your pocket while you prepare for the move.

  6. Decide what you can do yourself.
    If you can pack, transport and unpack your things yourself, you don't have to hire a moving company. Be sure to also consider what your family and friends can do to help, from loaning you a moving vehicle to donating their time to help you move.

  7. Choose a better moving date.
    It might come as a surprise, but when you move affects cost just as much as where you move. Avoiding peak moving days like weekends and the first and last weeks of each month to help keep moving costs low. Also, keep in mind that summer is generally the busiest and most expensive season to move. So consider moving in the spring or fall.

  8. Find free moving supplies.
    The cost of buying boxes and packing materials can be shocking, especially when you consider many of these materials are free if you know where to look. Check with local businesses, family and friends, as well as online platforms like Craigslist and Freecycle. 

Ready to learn more about starting your new life in Boise, ID? Contact us to find out more about how our team of dedicated REALTORS® can make the whole process as easy as can be!

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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