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Articles Tagged "Remodeling"

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October
24

Remodels Worth the Investment

Home Renovations That Offer the Best ROI for Resale

The following is a guest post by GUSTAVO GONZALEZ, Senior Manager of Content and Multimedia at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC

Looking to make some upgrades and wondering which will have the biggest payoff? If you guessed kitchen and bathrooms, you're spot on. Another good one is landscaping. Whether they're big or small, a few upgrades can pay big dividends when it's time to sell your home. Follow these tips to prioritize and put more money in your pocket when you're ready to sell.

Before you do anything, make sure you consider the value of your house, the neighborhood, the housing market where you live, and how soon you will sell after you make the improvements. If you live in a neighborhood where properties are selling for $300,000, doing a $150,000 renovation may not add as much to your property value as you might think.

Kitchens and Baths
One thing to keep in mind is that just because a remodel is expensive doesn't necessarily mean it will give you the best return on investment. Even minor updates can yield a big return. Consider painting, refinishing surfaces, and upgrading appliances, which can lead to a big payout.

Sticking to a budget is always important, and keep in mind that an average, medium-sized kitchen remodel can cost between $20,000 – $50,000, while the average bathroom remodel is $10,000. In most cases, homeowners see a return of 100% or more with a kitchen or bath remodel, so it's definitely worth the investment. Plus, you get to live in a beautiful new space.

A Finished Basement
If finishing your basement is something you've been putting off, now might be the perfect time. According to cost versus value surveys conducted annually by Remodeling magazine, "The average return on investment for a basement project is around 75 cents on the dollar. Besides the financial gains, refinishing a basement will add new functionality to your home: more bedrooms, more efficient storage, and more space for entertaining." Seems like a sure-fire win, win.

Add Curb Appeal
When buyers see that the outside of the property is taken care of, they'll be more excited to see the inside. Remember, first impressions make lasting impressions. According to Anji, "Curb appeal can increase your home value by 7%. Buyers are increasingly prioritizing outdoor living spaces and an attractive lawn has the biggest ROI at 256%. Trees can add $1,000 to $10,000 to your home value and simple landscape maintenance tasks usually pay for themselves."

Whether you're in the market to sell your home or just want to make some budget-friendly renovations that you and your family can enjoy, making the right upgrades can help enhance your quality of life and add a few more dollars to your bank account down the road.

September
26

Appeal to Buyers with These Tips

Curb Appeal Tips for Fall

Delta Media Group

First impressions are everything when it comes to selling your house.  When a potential home buyer drives by your home, what will they see?  The outside of your home should serve as a preview for the inside of your home.

"WOW" home buyers from the curb with these tips perfect for the fall. 

  1. Spruce up your lawn
    Brilliant fall foliage can automatically "sell" your home for showings, but that doesn't mean you should forget about raking the leaves and mowing.  Keep those leaves raked and give your lawn the TLC it needs to look great. Patch any brown spots, and water the lawn as long as possible to keep it green and vibrant.

  2. Plant fall flowers
    Once lawn maintenance is handled, add a splash of color to your landscape by planting fall flowers.  Some of the best fall flowers include vibrant mums, yellow marigolds, sedum, or goldenrod.  You can also place fall flowers in pots near your front door along with a few pumpkins as accents.

  3. Highlight the front door
    Calling attention to your front door is a good selling tactic no matter what season when you're selling your house.  Your front door is like an invitation to your home. Hang a fall wreath for added color and a festive touch.  A fresh coat of paint in a vivid color can make your entrance stand out.

  4. Tidy up the exterior
    During the fall, your home becomes more exposed making its exterior appearance even more important.  Before listing your home for sale, pressure wash your siding, sidewalks, and walkways.  Clean the windows.  Apply a fresh coat of paint as needed.

  5. Clear out the gutters
    Being diligent about home maintenance tells buyers you care about your home's upkeep.  Keeping your gutters and downspouts clear from leaves and debris protects your home from water damage and ups the ante for curb appeal.

  6. Invest in outdoor lighting
    Days get shorter during the fall.  Exterior light adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your landscape and improves safety. Illuminate your walkways, front door, and important landscaping elements so the home shines no matter when people drive by.

  7. Keep outdoor decorations simple
    A simple fall wreath on the door and seasonal flowers make your home look inviting to potential homebuyers.  However, scarecrows and spooky Halloween decorations may "scare off" homebuyers and distract them from the gorgeous exterior you've worked so hard to otherwise create.

August
29

Easy Home Project Tips

MAINTENANCE HACKS FOR YOUR HOME

From our friends at Delta Media Group

Little fixes around the home can take time and money. Try one of our quick tips to save both! 

  1. Fasten a Tennis Ball to your Mop Handles
    Never get on your hands and knees again to scrub scuff marks off your floor. Simply attach a fuzzy tennis ball to the end of your mop handle, and whenever you find a difficult scuff, flip the mop over and use the tennis ball to buff the mark from the floor.

    Bonus Hack: Keeping a couple of tennis balls in your swimming pool helps remove the oils, lotions, and sunscreens from the water.

  2. Plunge the Clogs from the Drains
    The next time your bathtub or sink drain backs up, don't reach for a bottle of expensive chemical drain cleaner. Grab your toilet plunger instead. Fill the basin with a few inches of water, use a bit of cloth to cover the overfill hole, and use the plunger over the drain. More often than the clog loosens after just a few plunges.

  3. Easy Spackle
    If your drywall cracks, make your own spackling compound by mixing a small amount of baking soda with glue.

  4. Loosen Stubborn Nails
    Whenever you engage in a home improvement project, there always seems to be that one nail that refuses to come out. A homeowner's trick that frequently works involves using a hairdryer to warm the nail, causing it to expand, creating a larger hole so that after the nail cools and returns to normal size, you can easily remove it.

  5. Repair Windows
    If you have a small hole or crack in your windows, fill the space with clear nail polish. It prevents the hole/crack from spreading when the temps drop below freezing.

  6. Caulking Made Easy
    Caulking isn't always a favorite home maintenance chore. Many struggle to keep the tip of the caulk gun straight or they find that they get caulk everywhere but the spot they want it at. Rather than having a professional come into handle routine caulking for you, stock up on painter's tape. Simply place a strip of painter's tape above and below the area you need to be caulked. Caulk the area and peel the tape away while the caulk is still wet. All the mess goes on the tape.

  7. Fix Holes in Drywall
    Don't worry if you get a small hole in your drywall. Fixing it is easy. Home improvement experts will tell you that you'll need to invest in paper tape or mesh. However, those with strong home maintenance skills know that all they really need is a small makeup brush to spackle their walls. Use the brush to fill the hole with spackle and sandpaper to sand down the spackle.

  8. Take the Elbow Grease Out of Shower Cleaning
    Rather than scrub by hand, easily clean your shower by fastening a foam ball to your cordless drill attachment. It'll have your shower gleaming in no time.

July
11

Take Action Now on these Home Repairs

Home Repairs that Can't Wait

Delta Media Group

Home improvement can be costly and time-consuming, so it's no surprise that many homeowners put off making repairs as long as possible. Smaller repairs can usually be safely left until the timing is more advantageous, perhaps when you have more money in the bank or some vacation time. There are some repairs, however, that should be taken care of as soon as possible. These home repairs are so important that failing to make them could result in serious injury and increased costs.

  1. Electrical System
    Some home improvement projects include work on the electrical system, such as installing a ceiling fan or changing a light switch. These are examples of repairs that can be done whenever you can fit them into your schedule. Some electrical problems require immediate action, though. These include unexplained circuit breaker failures, flickering or inconstant lighting, and switch plates and outlet covers that feel warm or hot. If you notice any of these problems, it's a good idea to enlist the help of a qualified electrician as soon as possible.

  2. Roofing
    The roof is an important part of your home's defense against the elements. Leaks, missing or damaged shingles, and sagging areas need to be addressed as soon as you notice them. A sagging roof could collapse under the weight of snow or heavy wind and may indicate other problems like improper attic ventilation. In addition, small leaks and damaged areas can lead to big problems like rotted support beams, mold growth, and an overall weakened structure.

  3. Foundation
    Foundation cracks are a fairly common problem, but many people choose to ignore them when they're small. This leads to their spread and growth, eventually becoming so problematic that it can cost many thousands of dollars to repair. While smaller cracks don't typically contribute to structural instability, as they grow larger, they increasingly undermine the foundation's integrity. In extreme cases, this can lead to the collapse of the entire home. Have foundation problems been addressed as soon as they arise, both to save money and ensure safety?

  4. Gas Lines
    Gas leaks in your home can be extremely dangerous. Natural gas and propane are dense and have a tendency to "sink" below regular air. They pool in the low areas of your home, meaning that you're more likely to smell them (they smell like sulfur; "rotten eggs") on the first floor or in the basement if you have one. Anytime you smell gas, or even think you smell gas, get yourself and your family out of the home immediately and call the gas company from outside. Repairs to gas lines should be made before you return to your home, and only by experienced professionals.

  5. Plumbing
    Water leaks and damaged pipes give mold a perfect environment to take hold in your walls, and you may not notice a leak until long after it started. Should you notice any dark spots or weakened areas in walls, or water bills that seem abnormally high, it's important to find the cause and address it before it leads to larger problems.

Managing Home Improvement Tasks

It can be tempting to leave smaller home improvement tasks until "later," but keep in mind that doing so could cost you more in the long run. Not every repair constitutes an emergency, but that doesn't mean that non-emergency repairs should be ignored. Keep on top of home maintenance and repairs by keeping a checklist of necessary tasks; focus on completing one each weekend or each month. This will help you keep your home improvement projects from piling up and becoming major problems.

June
27

Tips for Updating a Concrete Patio

Ideas for Upgrading Your Patio

Delta Media Group

Maybe you've been pondering all those cool ideas seen on TV and the web about redoing your drab slab of a concrete patio so that it's a standout feature of your indoor/outdoor entertainment area. Here's the deal. We are all in love with the idea of extending our living and entertainment area into the outdoors. And why not? There are dozens of relatively inexpensive and yet innovative hacks that will make your outdoors as inviting as the indoors, so let's start working from the ground up by renovating that boring, cracked, or scuffed-up concrete patio and see how dazzling it can be.

  1. Paint it.
    For basic painting, you will need concrete binding primer; concrete paint; painter's tape, a roller tray with liners (for fast cleanup), a paint roller, nap roller covers, and paintbrushes.

    Pressure wash the patio and let it dry. Cover up with painter's tape everything you don't want to be painted. Apply concrete binding primer, allowing it to dry one to four hours prior to painting. Apply two coats of paint, allowing the first coat to dry overnight. Wait 72 hours before you move furniture back onto the patio.

  2. Stain it.
    Apply a stain over the patio, then seal it. 

  3. Paint a pattern.
    Using a circular saw, score a concrete slab with a diamond pattern, then paint it with two shades of gray concrete paint. You can also use a stencil to create interesting patterns like a carpet design.  

  4. Lay decking on top of the concrete.
    Not a fan of concrete? You can lay decking on top of the concrete and attach white fascia boards along the sides.

  5. Create a stamped concrete patio.
    Stamped concrete is wildly popular these days. A bit cheaper than pavers, it comes in a variety of patterns and colors. Installers will try to delay cracking (be advised, it will crack someday) by installing control joints. Obviously, you will have to pour concrete and stamp the new concrete before it hardens. So if you've already got a concrete slab there, you'll have to figure out how to get rid of it. 

  6. Fake a stone look.
    Another redo that involves pouring new concrete is to fake the look of brick or stone with a patterned rubber roller. You'll need a concrete roller to create indentations that look like brick or stone, and those rollers can be costly. Concrete stamping mats are a more affordable option. These flexible pieces of rubber have embossed patterns. Stamp them on wet concrete and apply pressure. Lift the mat and repeat the process. 

  7. Resurface with pavers.
    How about resurfacing your patio with clay pavers? These bricks are hard-fired in a kiln, so they are extra-strong and can stand up to the harsh sun and inclement weather. Less expensive than stone, clay pavers cost more than concrete pavers. 

Although all these projects are relatively inexpensive, you can obviously spend more on some than others. So if cost is a factor, then you may want to go with simple painting or staining.

Once you're done with your new floor, it's time to think about decorating. You might start with a weather-resistant outdoor rug, perhaps in the dining area. Decorate with flower boxes or containers of flowers that can change with the season and move indoors when it's cold. Hang up strands of lights. Add a water feature, which could be a fountain with plumbing or a self-contained model that runs on electricity and recirculates the water.

Let your creativity and inner interior decorator run wild as you think up ways to jazz up that formerly dull space and make it shine.

Have you made some updates to your outdoor living space? Show us some pictures in the comments! 

May
9

Considering a Remodel? Some Tips to Get You Started

How to Choose a Contractor for Your Remodel Projects

Delta Media Group

Homeownership is an exciting time — one filled with many new possibilities and experiences. One possibility that has the potential to elevate your home to the next level is a remodel. Remodeling can transform your space into something more functional by better reflecting your lifestyle and adding value to your home. However, your dreams of the perfect renovation project can turn into a nightmare if you don't do your homework. To have a successful remodel, you need the right contractor.

It's understandable to want the best person for the job but finding that person often involves a number of factors like availability, cost, and areas of expertise. The best way to choose a remodeling contractor is to do your homework and take steps to ensure that you find an ideal match for your project.

Ask around or research

If you have a friend or neighbor who has a remodel you like in a room/area you're looking to work on, too, it can be helpful to ask them who they used. You can also ask around your network of people — i.e., friends, family, business partners, or your real estate agent—to get recommendations for remodeling contractors. Once you have a list created, make your own as well by researching resources like Google, Angie, the local Better Business Bureau, and other online places that give you the names of local companies. Weed out any contractors with consistently poor reviews or contractors that don't specialize or have experience in the space you want to remodel.

Look deeper into credentials and projects

Most contractors have a website. Take the time to look at what credentials they may have and if they are current. See if they have pictures of their work as well. You can begin to get a feel for which contractors are more your taste or that have the knowledge necessary for your remodeling project.

Interview possible contractors

The next step once you have fine-tuned your list to a few favorites is to call and schedule a time to meet and talk about the project. Consider both the phone and in-person meetings an interview. It's your chance to ask about experience, find out about their knowledge and skills, and see if you mesh. Like any job interview, you'll be able to get an overall sense of who you're getting. There are also some things you'll want to ask them or have them do, including:

  • Itemize your bid
  • Ask how long they have been in business
  • Determine who their main suppliers are and who will be in charge of the site/project
  • Find out if the pricing is an estimate or a fixed price.

Check references

Even if you've done all your online research and read all the reviews, nothing is as effective as talking with someone who has worked with your prospective contractor. You may find out things you didn't think to ask, and it can give extra assurance that you're making the right choice.

Put it in writing

The last thing you'll want to do when you've made your choice is to put it in writing. This is a great way to keep all parties on the same page and safeguarded. 

Homeownership means making the decisions; it's your house, and you get to choose who remodels it. For the best remodeling experience, by taking your time and the correct steps, you're more likely to find the right person for your project. Not only will it save you time and money, but it will also get you the home of your dreams.

January
14

New Years News from Our Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Mortgage Rates Rise to Kick Off the New Year

The first week of 2022 saw mortgage rates rise. While numerous analysts predicted them increasing throughout the year, this week's reports pushed them to their highest levels since April 2021.

Meanwhile, investors pushed up bond yields due to inflation concerns. Finally, Wednesday's Fed minutes indicated a hawkish report. The minutes indicated that the Federal Reserve remains in favor of tightening monetary policy. As a result, the United States sparked another round of bond selling.

Mortgage Rates Rise After Fed's Purchase Program

Starting off the report, the United States faced a rise in mortgage rates. Early in the pandemic, the Federal Reserve initiated a new bond purchase program. They started this program to help stimulate the economy. Given the progress of the recovery and the rise in inflation, the Fed launched its process of winding down that program. Also, the Federal Reserve stayed on track to conclude it around the end of March.

With that in mind, investors sought guidance on the timing for additional tightening measures. Additionally, investors looked for insight into the timing of the federal funds rate increases. Lastly, investors hoped for information on the reduction in the Fed's massive portfolio of bonds that built upon its balance sheet throughout the purchase program.

Fed Meeting Minutes Lead Mortgage Rates to Rise

The sooner-than-anticipated reduction in federal demand for mortgage-backed securities, the first week of the New Year saw mortgage rates rise. With Wednesday's publication of the December 15th Federal Reserve meeting minutes, investors moved forward their expectations for these other tightening measures. Now, investors expect the first rate hike to take place shortly after the bond purchase program ends. Beyond that, investors anticipate two additional rate hikes prior to the end of 2022.

In addition, all Federal Reserve officials expressed support for a reduction in the enormous balance sheet holdings of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The current plan intends for this reduction to occur "at some point" after the first rate hike.

Mixed Employment Report

While the real estate market saw mortgage rates rise, the closely watched Employment report came out on Friday. Revealing mixed results, the economy gained just 199,000 jobs in December against a consensus forecast of 420,000. However, revisions added 141,000 jobs to the figures for prior months. These revisions offset most of the shortfall. Overall, the gains took place in a wide range of industries, led by the leisure and hospitality sectors. Now, the U.S. economy holds roughly 3 million fewer jobs than in February 2020, prior to the start of the pandemic.

Aside from job gains, the rest of the report came out stronger than expected. The unemployment rate, which is based on a survey of individuals, declined from 4.2% to 3.9%. Thus, the unemployment rate fell below the consensus forecast of 4.1%. In doing so, the unemployment rate hit its lowest level since February 2020. Average hourly earnings, an indicator of wage growth, exceeded expectations. Concurrently, average hourly earnings climbed an impressive 4.7% higher than a year ago.

Strong Manufacturing News

With the mixed Employment report and strong manufacturing report, mortgage rates rose to start 2022. On the manufacturing front, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) released a couple of significant economic reports this week. As expected, the National Services Sector Index and National Manufacturing Index remained at high levels. First, the Service Sector Index reached 67.6. Then, the National Manufacturing Index hit 58.7. Levels above just 50 indicate that the sectors are expanding. Also, readings above 60 are rare.

To date, supply chain issues still greatly impact manufacturing companies that produce goods. On the other hand, service-based companies, such as computer programming and banking, face less of an impact.

Looking Ahead After Mortgage Rates Rise

After the rise of mortgage rates, investors closely follow news on the Omicron variant. In addition, investors look for additional Fed guidance on the timing for future rate hikes and balance sheet reduction.

_____

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!

 

January
13

5 Ways to Improve Your Home in 2022

Home Improvement for the New Year

January is a good time to reflect upon the year, your wins, losses, and any lessons learned. Every new year brings with it possibilities to improve. It offers you a chance to reinvent yourself, and if you're in the market for a new home, our real estate agents can help you start the new year on a high note by helping you find your dream home.

Most people vow to exercise, save money, or spend more time with family. Few people remember to set goals to get their homes in shape. Let's look at some New Year's resolutions you can set for your home and how you can go about bringing them to fruition.

  • Declutter and Streamline
    Why wait for spring to declutter? Decluttering is one of the best ways to start the new year. And the best part is you get to feel instantly better about your home. Plus, a decluttered home is so much easier to look after and maintain. Decluttering an entire home is a big job. The best way to tackle the task is going room by room. Contrary to popular beliefs, you don't have to start with the hardest areas. Heading straight into the attic or garage could dissuade all your clean-up efforts. Once you're done decluttering your home, you can declutter other aspects of your life, too, like your digital life and your mind.

  • Reduce Your Energy Use
    Here's a resolution that helps you reduce your carbon footprint and save money. Installing a solar water heating system isn't the only way you can go green. Small things like switching traditional light bulbs with LEDs and getting a smart thermostat could drive your electricity costs down while helping conserve the environment.

    ​​​​​​​Changing your energy consumption habits could also lower your utility costs. Some practices that could help you trim your energy use include:
    • Switching off your appliances when they're not in use
    • Reducing appliance and water use whenever possible
    • Utilizing natural light
    • Buying appliances with a good energy rating
    • Recycling properly

  • Conduct a Safety Check
    Your house may be beautiful, but is it safe? Make a habit of regularly checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replacing the batteries. Repair and replace loose or frayed wires on all electrical devices and have an expert inspect your electrical system for any faults. If you have a pet, you should consider pet-proofing your home. Pets cause over 1,000 house fires each year. Pet proofing will protect your beloved furry friends as well as your home.

  • Improve Ventilation
    Prolonged exposure to polluted air can lead to respiratory conditions and diseases. Use your HVAC system as the first line of defense, and make sure to regularly change your furnace and AC filters. Plus, ensure your kitchen has enough ventilation to get rid of smoke and cooking fumes.

  • Invest in Home Improvement Projects
    Home makeover ideas don't have to involve knocking down a wall or adding square footage. DIY projects are a fun and creative way to spend time with your family and make memories, all while transforming your house into the haven you've always desired.

Nothing beats the feeling of finally moving into your own home. Contact us today so we can help you find your perfect home among our Boise area homes for sale.

December
14

Median New Construction Home Prices Set New Record

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

PRICES FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION REACH RECORD HIGH

In November 2021, the median sales price for new homes in Ada County was $601,301— passing the $600,000-mark for the first time. This is an increase of 39.8% compared to the same month last year.

This record reflects a variety of market factors that were present prior to the pandemic — namely increasing costs of land, labor, and materials — as well as the ongoing impact of pandemic-related shutdowns that continue to create delays in increased costs in the global supply chain. (A recent article from the National Association of Home Builders provides more context on this, and includes comments from a local custom home builder, Steve Martinez of Tradewinds.)

Speaking with Christine Comstock, Managing Associate Broker for CBH Homes, she echoed these sentiments, particularly on the impact of materials on the final price of a new home: "Lumber is a constant moving commodity. We work hard to keep our pricing in check in the midst of a fluctuating market. We are averaging a 24% increase year over year."

The external pressures causing delivery delays are also beginning to impact the number of sales for new homes, which were down 32.2% year-to-date compared to last year.

 Also affecting new construction sales is the uptick in existing inventory over the past six months. There were 426 existing homes available for purchase at the end of the month, an increase of 217.9% compared to November 2020.

There is a strong correlation between the existing inventory and new construction pending sales (properties under contract with an accepted offer that should close within 30-90 days). Looking at activity since January 2019, we have seen new construction pending sales go up when existing inventory dips, then begin to slip as existing inventory increases. 

You'll always have a certain number of buyers in the market that are strictly looking for a new home, but existing homes are often the starting point for many buyers looking for something that's move-in ready. So as existing home inventory has been limited, some buyers shifted to the new construction market. Then as delays in delivery occurred, and as more existing inventory is becoming available, some are reverting back to the resale market. This ebb and flow may seem obvious, but the big takeaway is that the demand for homes remains strong in our area, and motivated buyers continue to make purchasing decisions based on what's available.

The strong and consistent demand for housing is apparent when examining the Months Supply Inventory (MSI) metric, which takes the number of homes for sale divided by the average number of sales by month for the preceding 12 months. As of November 2021, Ada County was at just 0.9 months for existing homes and 1.5 months for new construction. This means, if no additional homes were listed, the supply of homes for sale would run out in less than two months. A balanced market — not favoring buyers or sellers — is typically between 4-6 months of supply.

Whether you're considering a new home or existing property, your REALTOR® is there to guide you through every step of your home buying journey. Once a seller or builder has accepted your offer, the sale goes "pending" and there are a number of steps that need to take place before you reach the closing table. From appraisals and inspections to negotiations and final paperwork, a REALTOR® is there to make sure your interests are being represented throughout every step in the process.

Other notable statistics from November 2021:

  • The median sales price for existing homes was $510,000, up 19.7% year-over-year and a slight 1.9% drop from October.
  • Existing homes were spending an average of 25 days on the market before going under contract, 92.3% longer than the 13 days we saw a year ago.
  • Total sales were down 7.8% from a year ago, primarily from delays in the new construction segment, as existing sales were up 3.5%. More existing inventory resulted in more existing home sales.
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.

 

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
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
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
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.

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.

 

October
4

Fire Prevention: Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe

Fire Prevention TipsOctober 3-9 was National Fire Prevention Week. If you missed it, this is still a great time to focus on fire prevention in your home. Whether you're on your way to buying a new home among Boise homes for sale, or just improving security in your current home, instituting a regimen of fire prevention can help give your family a feeling of safety while preventing tragedies.

Start on these tips right away to help prevent fires in your home.

  • Install Smoke Alarms
    Install smoke alarms in the hallways outside sleeping areas, in all bedrooms, and on every floor. Place smoke alarms high on the wall or on the ceiling. Do not install alarms near bathrooms as steam can cause false alarms and may also damage the unit. The detector placed outside a sleeping area should be loud enough to be heard through a closed door. The best plan is to connect all smoke alarms in the home so that when one sounds, they all do. 

    Test smoke detectors once a month. Press and hold fire alarm buttons until the alarm sounds. If the sound is weak, replace the batteries. Replace smoke detectors every 10 years. Hardwired alarms also require monthly testing.

  • Develop a Fire Escape Plan
    Develop a plan for getting out of your home quickly if an alarm sounds. Develop your plan with at least two ways to escape every room and a meeting place outside. Take into consideration getting pets to safety as well. Practice the plan at least twice a year to make sure all your family members remember the plan.

  • Never Overload Your Electrical Outlets
    Overloading electrical outlets with multiple appliances can lead to overheating and fires. If you need more outlets, have an electrician install them.

    Call an electrician if you are consistently blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers. This also goes for flickering lights, burning smells from appliances, or warm or discolored wall outlets.

  • Exercise Care with Power Cords
    Throw away damaged power cords, or have them professionally repaired. Use power cords labeled "For outdoor use only" for outdoor appliances. Do not rely on extension cords for permanent power sources. Again, if you need a closer electrical outlet, have it installed. 

  • Be Mindful of Heat Sources
    Keep anything flammable at least 3 feet from sources of heat. Exercise particular caution with candles, substituting whenever possible candles with a wick with flameless candles. If you burn candles, make sure they are located at least 3 feet from anything that can catch on fire. Keep hair and clothing away from the flame when you light the candle. 

    Keep lamps and light bulbs away from anything that can burn, such as bedding, clothing, curtains, or lampshades. Also, make sure you turn off space heaters before leaving your home.

  • Dryer Maintenance and Usage
    Do not leave home while a dryer is drying clothing. Always clean the lint trap of the dryer before starting the drying process. Make sure to have your dryer cleaned and free of lint to avoid fires.

  • Exercise Caution While Cooking
    Be mindful that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires. To help prevent this, never leave food unattended while it is cooking on or on the stove. Also, keep a fire extinguisher under your sink in case of emergency.

Our real estate agents have more good advice about home safety. Contact us today. 

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. 

August
2

Does Your Home Need More Natural Light?

Spokane Lighting

Plentiful natural light is one of the top factors that can help sell a home. Experts are quick to tout the benefits of natural light in spurring home sales: not only does natural light help you cut back on energy usage, but it also seems to provide certain health benefits. What's more, potential homebuyers appear to respond better to well-lit homes than to dark ones. If you're thinking of listing your home among Boise homes for sale, you may want to assess your home's natural light and determine if there are ways to boost the light quotient.

Here are some suggestions for augmenting natural light in your home. 

  1. Add mirrors.
    Adding a mirror will indeed make a room look larger, but an even better trick is to hang a mirror opposite of a window. A mirror can reflect double the amount of light that's shining through the window. Hanging shiny objects on the walls and opposite from the window will also help. Some items in addition to decorative wall mirrors you can hang in your home that will bounce light around: furniture with glass or mirrored accents; silver photo frames; metallic finishes on the ceiling; decorative nickel cabinet pulls; and metallic light fixtures and faucets.

  2. Install larger or more windows.
    This might seem like a pretty drastic step, but if your home needs new windows anyway, you might consider it -- particularly if your home is in serious need of more light. Picture, bow, or bay windows are just the thing to open up your home to more natural light.

  3. Let light in with retro-looking glass blocks in an exterior wall section.
    This retro look is totally contemporary now, particularly with unique textures and shading to complement your architectural style. It's a subtle way to let light in without sacrificing security, privacy, or energy efficiency. 

  4. Open up the ceiling with skylights.
    Skylights let light into your home through the ceiling. Just make sure you have a pro to do the work, so the installation doesn't cause issues for your roof. Skylights are usually ideal in single-story bathrooms and family rooms.

  5. Solar tubes, anyone?
    If you don't have a single-story room that lends itself to a skylight, maybe your home is right for a solar tube. These are reflective, twisting pipes that can be as long as 30 feet from the roof to the ceiling. Available in diameters of 10-14 inches, they cause minimal interference with drywall or paint. The tubes can bring in the equivalent of three 100-watt light bulbs in the smallest size. 

  6. Lighten up.
    Go light when it comes to interior paint or furnishings. Lighter colors will reflect light, while darker walls and furnishing will absorb light. Painting the ceiling lighter than the walls is another trick to make the room look bigger, as well as taller and brighter. A shiny satin or semi-gloss paint will boost the reflective properties of the walls. Select a light-colored sofa or loveseat.

Our real estate agents have valuable experience that can help you sell your home quicker. 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.  

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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.

 

March
16

Is This The Year You Should Upgrade Your Kitchen?

Kitchen Upgrade Tips

Many people call the kitchen the heart of the home, and it's easy to see why. It's used by multiple family members throughout the day and becomes a gathering spot for family and friends. And as people spend more time at home, this year is the perfect time to make your kitchen more appealing to yourself and your family as well as to prospective buyers if you're selling your home.

If your kitchen is outdated, an upgrade can improve its appearance and make it easier for you to complete your food preparation tasks. Our real estate agents suggest the following ways to upgrade your kitchen this year:

  • Appliances that feature germ-control  
    Several manufacturers – including LG Electronics and Whirlpool – are set to roll out products that remove germs and allergens. LG, for example, has a refrigerator that uses ultraviolet lights to sterilize. And Beko Electrical Appliances Co. has a fridge that has a disinfection drawer.

  • Lower-maintenance faucets, fixtures, and more 
    COVID-19 has also made homeowners prioritize cleanable kitchen finishes, and in some cases, microbial. Look for coated finishes like smudge-resistant stainless steel and countertops that are non-porous and stain-resistant. In some cases, countertops and other frequently touched surfaces can be antimicrobial.

  • Large kitchen islands   
    With more people staying at home, having room to prep for a meal is more important than ever. That's why homeowners want to add a kitchen island or improve the one they already have. If you choose to upgrade your kitchen with an island, make sure it features storage in the form of shelving, cabinets, or pull-out drawers.

  • Updated hardware  
    You probably don't pay much attention to your kitchen hardware. But if your knobs, pulls, and faucets are outdated, you can easily – and inexpensively – replace them to have a big effect on your kitchen's appearance. New hardware can give your kitchen a more modern, attractive look that creates an instant update.

  • A fresh paint job   
    Painting your kitchen yourself or paying someone to do the job can make your kitchen look newer as it provides an instant refresh. Especially if you don't have much natural light in the room, using a lighter or brighter color can instantly give your kitchen a boost. If you're selling your home, it's best to stick to a relatively neutral color.

  • Upgraded cabinets  
    Cabinets are workhorses in the kitchen, so if something about them has left you less-than-satisfied in their appearance or performance, now's the time to upgrade. Your cabinets don't need to be completely redone to achieve these results – often, a refreshed paint job will be enough to improve their appearance. You can also fix issues such as squeaky doors, chipped paint, and loose handles to help restore your kitchen into a point of pride.

  • New backsplash   
    Installing a new backsplash is a relatively simple and inexpensive task that can have a big impact. Metal tiles, glass, and other materials can be used to make your home's backsplash look sleek and attractive.

  • Modernized lighting   
    Many kitchens have outdated lighting, which negatively impacts the entire appearance and functionality. Choosing upgrades such as pendant lights or interior cabinet lighting can instantly make your kitchen brighter and focus light exactly where you need it.

Contact us if you're interested in listing your home. Our experienced, knowledgeable agents can suggest upgrades that will make your kitchen and home more attractive to prospective buyers while providing a good return on your investment.

February
15

7 Things That Can Decrease Your Property Value

Property Value BoiseEven if you're not planning to sell your home right away, it's a good idea to know how your actions affect your home's value long term. The updates you choose to do or not to do, or whether you do a repair now or put it off a while longer, can all impact how much you can sell your home for later on down the road. Here are 7 things that our real estate agents warn can decrease your property value.

  1. Poor landscaping.  
    You've probably heard how important curb appeal is when you sell your home. It's important the rest of the time, too. When you let your yard go over a long period of time, it becomes difficult and expensive to reverse the long term damage to your landscaping when it comes time to sell.

  2. Poor exterior paint.
    Curb appeal is also important when considering the exterior of your home. Specific paint colors can devalue your home by making it unappealing to buyers. Cracked and crumbling paint makes your home look run down, plus it might actually be causing damage by letting moisture get to your siding and woodwork.

  3. The wrong interior paint.
    The color you painted your walls might be your favorite color, but it's not everyone's, and bright colors especially can be a hard sell. This doesn't mean you shouldn't express your uniqueness in your own home, but unless you intend to repaint everything when it comes time to sell, choose colors that are warm and neutral.

  4. Deferred maintenance.
    Think it doesn't matter if you don't get that repair done right away? Think again. If you have a habit of putting off maintenance and repairs, the entire house will look run down, and chances are the small problems have become big ones by the time you get to them.

  5. Out-of-date or poorly updated kitchen.
    The room buyers almost universally pay the most attention to when looking at Boise homes for sale is the kitchen. Even if you don't put a lot of work into anything else, be sure to update your kitchen. Remember, the kitchen has always been thought to be the heart of the home, and buyer preferences show this to still be true.

  6. Bathrooms with bad taste.
    After the kitchen, the bathrooms are the next thing a prospective buyer tends to look at, so it's important to update them over the years. A dark bathroom with cracked tile, dirty grout, and outdated fixtures stands out like a sore thumb in today's world of bright, clean, spacious bathrooms.

  7. Garage conversions.
    Yes, it might seem like a great idea to turn that garage into more living space, but when it comes time to sell your home, prospective buyers aren't likely to think of it that way. Most buyers want garage space, or at least the ability to choose for themselves what the garage will be used for. If you're going to turn the garage into something, such as workout space, make sure it's not a permanent change.

Owning a home is just like any financial investment: Your decisions today can have an impact years or even decades down the road. For more information about how to maximize your home's value, contact us today.

January
26

Interior Design Trends to Know About in 2021

Design Trends

With 2020 behind us, our real estate agents are excited about the new possibilities 2021 represents. A new calendar is a blank slate, and maybe not just for you, but for your home too. So as we look to the future, keep these up-and-coming design trends in mind for your next home project. 

  1. Light Wood Tones
    A case could be made that wood is always in style. It's just the way we utilize it that changes. Lighter woods are a big design trend to watch out for in 2021. Taking a cue from Scandinavian inspiration, light woods bring a raw, natural look to any space. It's not just for floors, either. Lighter woods can help transform ceilings, shelves, cabinetry, even furniture. We love designs that let the natural light tones of the wood shine through, without dark and overpowering stains and finishes. 
     
  2. Modern Vintage Looks
    Striking a balance between the old-fashioned and the contemporary has been a growing trend that will continue through 2021. A big part of it has to do with incorporating vintage (or vintage-inspired) looks with their contemporary counterparts in a way that doesn't feel overpoweringly or artificially old-timey. Doing so creates not only contrast but balance. 
     
  3. Functional Comfort
    As we let a tough year go on its way, a desire for comfort and connection will play a huge role in shaping the biggest interior design trends of 2021. That includes an increased emphasis on soft curves, overstuffed furniture, and traditional, comforting designs. It's also about making spaces functional as well as comfortable. For example, if you have a formal sitting room, 2021 is the year to re-imagine it as a more welcoming, functional, and comforting space. 
     
  4. Bold Wall Colors
    Expect to see light and neutral walls give way to bolder tones this year. As we spend more time at home, there comes a need to introduce more life and color into our living spaces. If you're planning on repainting one or more rooms in your house this year, consider making a statement with your color choice, especially in living rooms and dining rooms. In other places (especially bedrooms), more relaxing neutrals are still the go-to choice. 
     
  5. Your Home, Your Office
    With record numbers of people working from home this year, many remote workers are discovering that they really do like working remotely. And a lot of companies are discovering that letting their employees work from home is actually a sustainable business model. We predict that more and more people will take the time to set up a truly epic home office this year. Choose a room with natural light, paint it a relaxing color, and get creative with storage options. If you weren't satisfied with your office at work, you can create your dream office at home. 

Whether you're planning on listing your Boise area home for sale in the new year or are simply planning a DIY project to improve your own living space, we're here to help. Contact us today to learn more. 

January
18

Your Guide to the Colors of the Year for 2021

Colors of the Year 2021

Color makes a huge difference in the appearance of your home's interior and exterior, with few changes making such a huge impact for a relatively small amount of money. 2021's colors of the year have been named by paint companies and color experts, and they're inspired by the need to create a sense of calmness, wellbeing, and optimism after a trying 2020.
  
Our real estate agents share the colors of the year for 2021 and suggest some of the best ways to use these hues on the inside and outside of your home:  

  1. Aegean Teal   
    Paint company Benjamin Moore has named Aegean Teal, a soothing blend of blue and green with subtle hints of gray, as its color of the year for 2021. It's a versatile mid-tone rich enough to impart a good amount of color, but it also has an earthy quality. Radiating warmth and wellbeing, the color is comforting, and according to Benjamin Moore, it makes the home feel more like home. Try using it as an accent color on a wall or in a small room, or paint your front door in this cozy color.
      
  2. Moss Green 
    This natural-looking color can work with a variety of styles. Use it in rooms with wood and natural fibers, and moss green brings a touch of nature's tranquility.

  3. Beige 
    Beige brings a feeling of comfort to a home, and it's expected to be popular in 2021. Different textures will help beige stand out, and it pairs well with decorative elements in darker tones.

  4. Euphoric Magenta   
    Behr's Euphoric Magenta is reminiscent of jewel tones and adds a touch of sophistication to your home. Despite its richness, it's a soothing shade that can be used successfully on only one wall or throughout the room.

  5. Ultimate Gray and Illuminating
    Pantone has chosen two colors of the year for 2021 – Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. Ultimate Gray is a solid, dependable color inspired by natural elements like pebbles on a beach, while Illuminating is a warm, cheerfully vibrant yellow. These colors work well together in areas like the kitchen, where Ultimate Gray walls or cabinets can be accented with canisters or other accessories in bursts of Illuminating yellow. The colors can also be used on the front door, with Illuminating being used to brighten up the door and Ultimate Gray used on exterior finishes.

  6. Orange  
    Somewhat surprisingly, orange can be a great addition to your walls. An intense shade of orange is lively and is best used on an accent wall, and a more subtle pastel shade can be used more liberally to bring a touch of summer to your home.
      
  7. Off White    
    Basic and traditional, off white is about as versatile as it gets. It provides comfort and tranquility and has a warmth that the purest shades of white don't have. Off white can be used in any room since it creates the perfect backdrop for virtually any color scheme.
      
  8. Turquoise
    Cheerful turquoise works well when it's combined with neutral colors. When combined with ocher (pale yellowish-brown) elements and furniture, it creates an appearance of warmth and sophistication.

Contact us to see Boise homes for sale, and if you'd like to sell your existing home, we can suggest the best ways to make it more appealing to prospective buyers with updates that will provide the best value. 

January
11

How Pet Owners Should Prepare for a Showing

Pet Owners Boise

Man's best friend does make for a good housemate, but unfortunately, not so much of a great real estate agent. Pets are an interesting element of the real estate process. Many of the buyers attending a showing may love animals and even have pets themselves. However, that doesn't mean that they're crazy about moving into a new home that has lingering traces of cats, dogs, or other animals. There are also those who do not like animals and aren't particularly interested in purchasing a home that once housed pets. If you're a pet owner, our real estate agents suggest these tips on how to prepare for a successful showing:

  • Step 1: Find a place for your pet.
    You definitely need to find a temporary place for your pets. First, ask your neighbors if they can watch your animal for a few hours. If they cannot, consider taking the animal to a friend or family member's house or a pet sitting service.


  • Step 2: Remove evidence of pets.
    As you prepare to stage your home, you'll need to remove all evidence of your animals. Before thinking about cleaning or damages, first, focus on physical items that either belong to your pets or represent your pets. Water and food bowls, beds and furniture, toys, and supplies, all of these items should be stored away. You may also want to remove any photos or décor that may alert prospective buyers to the fact that you share your space with an animal.


  • Step 3: Repair all damages inside.
    It's best to take care of any repairs in the home before cleaning so that you can ensure the whole home is completely clean. Go around each room and seek out damages from your pet. Keep an eye out for claw marks on the floors or furniture, wall marks where pets or their furniture rub, carpet stains, and hair clumps under furniture. If you can, throw away and replace heavily used spots like area rugs.


  • Step 4: Professionally deep clean your home.
    Though it should go without saying, you should always invest in a professional cleaning service to make your home sparkle. If you have pets, choose a cleaning service that knows how to combat animal odors and debris. Some scents may be imperceptible to the human nose, while some pet dander can linger even after a good dusting. An experienced cleaning company specializing in pets will make your home look, feel, and smell like no animals are on the lease.


  • Step 5: Repair all damages outside.
    Now that your interior has been taken care of, it's time to focus on the exterior. Many pet owners don't notice just how much of their outdoor space receive wear and tear from pets. Fill all holes in the yard and clean up any "presents" left behind. Remove all outdoor pet toys or furniture. Fix any areas where damage may be noticeable, such as scratch marks on a wooden fence or bite marks on any outdoor human furniture.

A pet is a wonderful guest to have in your home, but you should also understand why buyers may not be wagging their tails at the thought of sharing the same space. Contact us today for more pet-proof staging advice before listing your property alongside our Boise homes for sale.

September
10

Is a Fixer-Upper Right for You?

 

Are you in the market for a new home and considering one that needs work?

Buying a house that requires renovations can be a great way to find a deal, but before you decide to move forward with an offer to purchase, ask yourself some important questions.

 

Can Your Budget Accommodate Renovations and Unexpected Costs?

While you are compiling costs, don't forget to add any permitting expenses. Check your local city, county, and state regulations so you can acquire the appropriate permits and order any inspections that might be required.

When you've finished estimating your budget, add 15% for unexpected expenditures and repairs required by any inspections, such as lead paint removal, mold remediation, etc. The "Murphy's Rule" of thumb is that everything takes longer and costs more than first anticipated!

Further, you'll need to check with your lender to find out whether you will qualify for a conventional mortgage or will need a renovation loan. Be sure to ask your lender about the financing that might be available to you and what type of home to include in (or remove from) your search.

How Much of the Work Can You Handle Yourself?

One way to keep renovation costs down when buying a fixer is to tackle as much of the work as possible yourself, but it's important to be realistic about what projects truly qualify as DIY. If you have experience in the contracting trades or have renovated a home in the past, you may be able to do much of the work yourself. Most people, though, will need to leave the bigger, more expensive projects to the pros. Determine how much of the work is truly cosmetic and what will require more than some new paint or carpet. Check the ego at the door to avoid getting in over your head and, ultimately, spending more money than you have in the budget – or worse, putting yourself in an unsafe situation.

How Soon Do You Need to Move In, and Do You Have a Place to Stay in the Meantime?

If you have a place to stay and don't need to move into the home right away, then time may not be a major issue. If you need to move in ASAP, a fixer-upper might not be the right choice when buying a house. Depending on the level of work that needs to be done, living in the middle of a renovation with nowhere to get away from the mess can create a great deal of stress. Don't let the "romance" of creating your dream keep you from being realistic about the work it involves. The programs on television may make things look easier than they really are.

Do You Have Trusted Service Providers?

No matter how much or how little of the work you can handle DIY, you'll likely still need contractors, an architect, and other service providers to tackle key tasks. It helps to have people you know and trust – or referrals from trusted sources – when coordinating work on a fixer-upper. Having quality service providers helps keep added costs down and makes it easier to keep the project on schedule.

Do You Have a Vision for the Home You'd Like to Create?

Success with a fixer-upper depends in large part on having a plan and being able to see it through to completion. Before you begin looking at homes, do your best to have a vision of the home that you want to create. Then, as you are house-hunting, keep that vision in mind so you can avoid trying to push a round peg through a square hole. If you are set on a 2-story, looking at a single-story with plans to add on might be one bite more than you are ready to take. Again, be realistic in your expectations and plans.

A fixer-upper can be a terrific way to get a great home. Take the steps needed to protect yourself and your investment by doing your research first!

 

August
17

7 Creative Ways to Make Your Home Look More Spacious

Tips to Make Your Home Look Spacious

If you have plans to sell your home, solid home staging can make your property more attractive to potential buyers. Feel like your home is lacking in space or worry that it feels cramped? A few simple changes will help make your home feel roomy and uncluttered during your showings and open houses. Here are some creative ways to spruce up your home so that it feels spacious and inviting.  

  1. Opt for Light Colored Walls
    One of the easiest ways to instantly make a room look larger is to paint the walls a light color. Light colors reflect light, yielding a space that maximizes its natural light, and looks open and inviting. You don't have to stick with white when choosing a paint color. Lighter grays, blues, yellows, and greens can all make a room look bigger. 
  2. Add White Trim and Accessories to a Dark-Colored Room
    If you have a room that's a darker hue and you prefer not to change the color, you can still make the room more spacious with the addition of white trim and accessories. White floor molding and crown molding will instantly make a dark-colored room look more open. You might also add light accessories, such as an area rug or throw pillows, to maximize the effect. 
  3. Keep Your Furniture Away from the Wall 
    Make a room look larger in minutes by pulling your furniture a few inches away from the wall. Many people push furniture against the wall in an attempt to make the room look larger, but this actually has the opposite effect. 
  4. Pay Attention to Where You Hang Your Drapes and Your Shelving 
    When hanging your drapes and installing shelving, take a few moments to consider their placement. Hanging your curtain rod a few inches above your windows will make your windows (and your room) look larger. You should also select a curtain rod that's a little larger than the window to add to this effect. Your shelving should be installed at eye level or higher for the same reason. This will draw the eye upward and make the room look larger. 
  5. Integrate a Mirror into Your Wall Decor
    A mirror is a classic addition to help a space look larger. The mirror will reflect the light in the room so that it looks bigger. Mirrors also add depth, making the room look more interesting. When hanging the mirror, make sure that whatever it's reflecting is aesthetically pleasing for optimal effectiveness. 
  6. Vertical Stripes are Your Home's Friend
    Vertical stripes work to lengthen the appearance of a wall or floor, making it appear larger. A rug with vertical stripes is one option for your floors. For your walls, consider adding vertical shiplap or a print with a vertical design. 
  7. Utilize Your Home's Natural Light
    Whenever possible, avoid hindering the amount of natural light that enters a room. Homes for sale perform better with prospective buyers when they're filled with natural light. Sheer curtains are an excellent alternative if you like the look of draperies but don't want something that will hinder the flow of light into the room. Or, if you need a bit more privacy but want lots of light whenever possible, check out blinds or shades that you can open within seconds. 

Ready to use these tips and put your home on the market? Let's get started!

June
10

Four Things That Can Hurt Your Home's Resale Value

 

While likely unintentional, there are several ways to lower the value of your home.

By Tamara Oakley, Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Home resale value is something most homeowners strive to increase so that they can see a profit when it's time to sell. Unfortunately, there are many things that they accidentally do that have the opposite effect. Here are four ways that you can unintentionally lower the value of your home.

Not Keeping Up with Maintenance

This is the easiest way to lower the value of your home. Not keeping up with maintenance typically leads to larger problems down the road or hidden problems that are discovered when you try to sell your home. If you notice a damp spot on a wall or a wiring issue that you don't ever look into, you could be setting yourself up for massive problems in the future. Damp spots can turn into huge mold infestations (which must be included on your home disclosure and can cause potential buyers to pass on your home) and wiring problems can turn into electrical fires that cause massive damage and put you and your family's lives at risk. Pay attention to the tiny things that come up along the way and try to keep your investment in the best possible shape.

Trying to DIY When You Don't Know What You're Doing 

Incorrect installations and work not done up to code or with the proper permits can also lower home resale value and be a turn off to buyers since they'll have to make the necessary repairs. Trying to do some things yourself is fine, but consider hiring a professional before you make any massive changes.

Renovating Your Property Too Much 

Upgrades and renovations normally add value to a property, but it is possible to overdo it. If you live in a neighborhood where homes are in the $300,000 range and you add $200,000 worth of upgrades to your home, it's going to be challenging to find someone willing to pay the full value for your property because it will be much more expensive than the other comparable homes in the neighborhood (if there are any). Even if it does have the added value, someone interested in living in a luxury home probably wants to live in a luxury neighborhood as well. Be aware of the ROI for your upgrades and try not to price yourself out of your neighborhood.

Not Updating It at All

Not making any changes is another way that you can accidentally lower the value of your home. If your home is dated, buyers are going to consider the cost of updating it and might try to offer you less for it. There's a fine line between not enough and too many upgrades, but it's a line that's important to stay close to.

If you take care of your home and do your best to make sure that it keeps up with the times, you shouldn't have a lot of trouble with a decrease in your resale value. As long as the market in the Treasure Valley continues to grow, homeowners can expect to see higher sales prices as long as their homes are in good condition.

June
1

How to Make Your Own Backyard Fire Pit

Backyard Fire Pit Tips

Fire pits are hot these days-- literally and figuratively. They form a focal point for outdoor socializing and can extend your outdoor time with the warmth they provide in the evenings. Plus, let's not forget the joy of making s'mores in the backyard!

You can purchase a pre-made kit or have one professionally installed, but a DIY fire pit is a relatively simple project for a long weekend, and if you'd like to create a fire pit of your own, read on. 

Safety First 

Examine the area where you'd like to build your fire pit. The best spots for fire pits have a non-flammable material such as dirt or stone, and are free of overhanging or nearby branches, and are well away from other potential fuel. Your fire pit should be at least ten feet away from the house or other structures. What should be near your fire pit is a space for an appropriate fire extinguisher that's kept ready each time you light the fire pit. 

The Right Stuff

Stone, cement blocks, and brick make suitable materials for a DIY fire pit, as they can be arranged into almost any shape you want. Retaining wall blocks serve as ideal side material for fire pits. Pavers provide the perfect smooth surface for the bottom of your fire pit. Use paver sand to fill in the gaps and discourage shifting. If your fire pit is deep and you'd like the fire to sit slightly higher in the pit, use river stones or gravel for a non-flammable filler. 

Some Light Upcycling 

Some items require only a little refashioning to make a great fire pit. A large stone, concrete, or terracotta planter makes an excellent fire pit. If you'd like to give concrete casting a try, a container that is a great shape but in a less than ideal material, such as a plastic planter, might make a good mold for a concrete fire pit. 

Light Your Fire 

Only light materials designed to be burned in an outdoor setting. Seasoned wood, pressed wood logs, or gel canisters are all ideal for fire pits. If you use gel canisters, make sure the cap stays handy for extinguishing the flame. Avoid using green wood or other materials not prepared for fueling outdoor fires. If you plan to cook using your fire pit, make sure your fuel is designed for cooking. 

Home design trends come and go, but a fire pit has practical value and is very DIY-friendly. 

December
23

11 Ways to Improve Your Home in the Winter

Winter Home ImprovementsFalling temperatures send people into hibernation, but it's also a golden opportunity to add some improvements to your home. Move up to the most desirable level of Boise homes for sale with these winter projects that boost value.

  1. Fertilize the Yard 
    Before you head inside for good, take time to apply fertilizer to the lawn, trees, and shrubs. This keeps greenery nourished over the winter months for maximum curb appeal once spring comes around.

  2. Paint the Interior
    Painting is one of the home improvement projects that offer the most bang for your buck. It's relatively inexpensive, easy to complete, and creates a fresh new look. Stick to white or another soft neutral shade for a more pleasing aesthetic that won't turn off potential buyers.

  3. Install Programmable Thermostat
    The Internet of things (IoT) has made the concept of "smart homes" an attainable reality. Programmable thermostats let you automatically regulate home temperatures based on your specific needs using a phone or tablet. Federal energy efficiency program Energy Star estimates annual savings of $180 for homes with programmable thermostats.

  4. Add Insulation
    The best thermostat in the world isn't much use if the furnace has to work too hard. Head up to the attic and take a look. If you can see the floor joists, you need more insulation. Even if you can't see them, adding an extra layer of insulation helps reduce heat loss. Be sure to check the basement and crawlspaces as well.

  5. Seal Openings and Leaks
    A home can lose up to 30 percent of its heating and cooling from leaks around doors and windows. Use caulk, waterproof sealing, or weatherstripping to close up any leaks. If the windows are old and in poor condition, consider replacing them. 

  6. Redo Flooring
    Do you take your home's flooring for granted? You may be surprised to learn that, according to Realtor.com, flooring is the single biggest factor in terms of return on investment (ROI). Hardwood floors are currently the most popular option, averaging a whopping 70 to 80 percent ROI.

  7. Declutter
    A project doesn't have to be technical or skilled to qualify as "home improvement." Winter is a perfect time to brew a pot of coffee, turn on some good music, and start weeding out the junk. Break the job up into manageable chunks, so you don't get overwhelmed. Not only will the home be more attractive to buyers, but you'll cut down on packing.

  8. Install Crown Molding
    Looking for a quick weekend project? Crown molding provides a finished, custom look to a room without a lot of heavy equipment or labor.

  9. Change out Cabinet Hardware
    This is another seemingly minor project that pays big dividends. You can even enlist the kids to help.

  10. Install a New Bathroom Vanity
    Do the bathrooms still have the original vanities? Chances are you can gain major style points by updating them. Modern vanities make the installation process virtually plug-and-play.

  11. Add a Backsplash to Kitchen and Bathroom
    A backsplash adds visual interest and serves a practical purpose by protecting walls and preventing odors. Tiles come in an endless variety of colors, styles, and textures to enhance any decor. With options such as peel-and-stick, beadboard, and artificial stone, it's an easy DIY project.

No matter what the season, count on our REALTORS® for experienced help with all your needs. Contact us for more information.

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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