Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boise sees slightly improved outlook.

This from the Business Insider, an Idaho Statesman weekly magazine.

ECONOMIC OUTPUT GROWS The Boise region outpaced the country and ranked in the top third of the 100 largest metro areas in its economic growth in the first quarter of 2011, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. The gross metro product, the value of all goods and services produced, grew by sixth-tenths of 1 percent from the previous quarter. The national average was four-tenths of 1 percent.

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? Brookings analysts say exports played a large role and Micron Technology Inc. has continued to recover. The out-of-country sales have been bringing cash into the region.

JOB GROWTH IS UP, TOO Employment grew by nearly 1 percent in the first quarter. That ranked Boise ninth best among the top metro regions. The growth rate was three times the national average.

HOWEVER... When Brookings crunched the numbers on several economic indicators, the Boise region, which includes Ada, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee and Boise counties, was weaker than other metros in its performance recovering from the recession. The reasons: a naggingly high unemployment rate — which continued to rise as it dropped elsewhere in the country — and the region’s plummeting housing market.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Idaho's Own Flat Fee Realtor!

I am excited to announce that Lowes Flat Fee Realty is joining forces with companies offering similar options from around the country. One company from each state are banding together forming FlatFeeGroup.com.

We have been working on the overall site and I have been tweaking my state site. It is exciting to be in contact with other brokers and learn of their success and business models. The site is now live and will begin active marketing any day.

We offer such a great program, where you pay a flat fee to get your property into the MLS while still retaining the right to sell it yourself. Either way you save thousands on the sale of your home!

In the near future I will be expanding my service to other parts of the state. Currently I cover from the Twin Falls area to the Oregon line. Likely the Idaho Falls and Coeur d'Alene MLS service areas will be the next ones to add.

If you are thinking about selling your home, I have an option that is a perfect fit for you! Give me a call at 208/386-2992 or shoot me an e-mail roger@lowesflatfee.com.

Results and Savings!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Buyer strategies for negotiating home improvements

Buyers often make mistakes when they buy based purely on emotion. They fall in love with the view or charm of the home, but fail to take into account the ongoing maintenance that will be required to keep the French doors operating properly, the garden looking pretty and the skylights free of leaks.

Home maintenance is generally more expensive on older houses than it is on new homes. However, a poorly built newer home can develop problems in the early years of ownership.

This is not to say that you shouldn't buy a home that catches your heart. Just make sure that maintenance costs are included in your housing budget. If you can't afford the maintenance and you let the home fall into disrepair, its appeal will diminish, as will its value.

Buyers who walk into a listing and know they want to live there are fortunate. Most buyers never have this experience. Usually compromises are made when buying a home. You should make a wish list of everything you'd like to have in a home and then prioritize it. You probably won't find everything you want in one home.

There are a couple of issues that complicate homebuying decisions in the current market. One is how to deal with deferred maintenance. Another is: How do you evaluate improvements you want to make to the property for your own enjoyment? When home prices are moving up quickly, buyers don't give much thought to these matters.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: You have several options when the house you're buying has been neglected by the seller. Let's say there's $10,000 of termite work recommended in an inspection report. One option is to ask the sellers to have the corrective work completed before closing.

Sometimes there isn't time to have the work done before closing. Or perhaps you want to incorporate improvements into correcting the deferred maintenance, in which case you might not want the sellers to do the work.

For example, if the bathroom floor needs to be replaced because of water damage to the floor joists and the shower pan leaks, you could redo the entire bathroom to your taste, if you could afford to. Even if you just want to replace the floor and redo the shower, you might prefer to use finishes that you select.

In cases where you don't want the sellers to do the work, reduce the offer price by $10,000 and buy the property "as is" regarding the termite work.

Buyers who don't have extra cash for repairs could offer a price that doesn't reflect a reduction and ask the sellers to credit them $10,000 in escrow to be applied to their nonrecurring closing costs. Even though the buyers pay a higher price, they bring $10,000 less to closing -- money that can be applied toward deferred maintenance.

Almost any home you buy will need modifications so that it will satisfy your taste and intended use of the property. Perhaps the house lacks a developed backyard or deck. You might not like the color scheme. It may look too plain; you envision spending money to improve the curb appeal.

Most people feel they should recoup investments they make on improvements when they sell. However, studies have shown that most remodel projects don't pay back 100 percent of the amount invested. For this reason, you should select your projects carefully and keep resale value in mind.

Making changes to a home to make it reflect your taste improves the quality of your lifestyle while living there. It's hard to quantify this. The longer you live in the home, the more valuable the enhancements will be to you.

THE CLOSING: Before improving your new home, make sure you won't be over improving for the neighborhood.

Courtesy of InmanNews

Friday, June 24, 2011

Boise's 100 year old trees-"City of Trees"

I was down in Boise's North End previewing a home and appreciating the massive trees and enjoying the peaceful feeling that all the trees bring forth in me. For me, looking down Harrison Blvd is always a treat.

I remember as a youth, the first time I flew into Portland with it's forest of trees, my first question was why do they call Boise the "City of Trees." In contemplating that,  I suppose it likely came from the large disparity in the "old days" between the surrounding area of desert sage brush and the trees located along the river. If you are traveling through trees a city with trees would not beg mention. But I can only imagine the welcome sight of shade after approaching Boise from the east and all that barrenness. That "lovely" drive from Mountain Home to Boise is still mighty barren!

I do enjoy this "City of Trees!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Buying A Boise-Nampa Metro Area Foreclosure?

A lot of the foreclosures that are available need some cosmetic work to make them more livable. Many times buyers may overlook these homes even though they are often the best values because of the cost invovled in bringing them up to what they would consider living in.

There are a couple of great loan programs currently available that addresses this exact issue. The FHA 203k streamline and HomePath Renovation Loan. I use a great mortgage lender that can offer both of these programs, and show you the advantages and differences between the two.

I will provide the highlights of both.


The FHA 203k And FHA Streamline 203k Loans

Highlights of the FHA 203k streamline loan include:

  • It works very similar to a construction loan – it allows you to purchase a home that wouldn’t qualify for FHA financing due to repair work being needed

  • The loan amount is equal to the purchase price of the home plus the amount needed for repairs

  • FHA 203k streamline program allows for repairs ranging from $5,000 and $35,000

  • Qualifying for FHA 203k loans are the same as regular FHA loans

  • Repair work cannot begin until loan closes and the money to pay contractors comes from an escrow account set up when the loan closed

  • FHA 203k loans require UFMIP and MIP just like regular FHA loans

  • Appraisal required

  • Currently available for owner-occupied properties

Fannie Mae HomePath Renovation Loan

When the housing downturn began and Fannie Mae started owning more homes than ever before, one of the things Fannie Mae did to help move the homes to new owners was to design the HomePath mortgage program.

The HomePath mortgage program has two different programs within it – the HomePath loan and the HomePath Renovation loan.

For homes that are in need of repairs, the HomePath Renovation loan is the loan program that is often compared to the FHA 203k loan when weighing options.

HomePath Renovation loan highlights include:

  • The property must be currently owned by Fannie Mae

  • The loan amount is for both the home and the repairs required for the home

  • Repairs can be up to 35% of the as-completed value, but not to exceed $35,000.

  • Down payment requirements can be as low as 3%

  • Fixed or adjustable rates are available

  • No mortgage insurance required

  • Investment properties or 2nd homes and investment properties are allowed

  • No appraisal required

HomePath Renovation Loan Or FHA 203k Loan?

  • Is the home owned by Fannie Mae? If yes, it probably makes the most sense to get a HomePath Renovation loan.

  • Is the home owned by someone other than Fannie Mae? If so, then your best option is the FHA 203k loan.


So before you eliminate a potential home it may be beneficial to weigh a couple of these loan options. The home of your dreams may be just a specialized loan program away.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Hate It When....

I read this article and thought it was worth repeating here, if you are see yourself, then please STOP.

Real Estate Agents Hate It When Sellers …

June 15, 2011 · 1 Comment

It’s no secret that home sellers are under a lot of stress. It’s a tougher market, home prices have fallen a lot, and many are trying to get as much money as possible to recoup their investment. We feel your pain and we’re on your side. But sometimes, sellers do things that make it harder to sell a home for what it’s worth.

Here are four things sellers do that make their real estate agents cross their fingers, and hope for the best.

1. Sellers who think their property is unique and therefore worth more money.

A seller’s home is special to them; they’ve put a lot of heart, soul, and money into fixing it up. It may be where they started a family or built a lifetime of memories. Most agents get that, but trust me, unless it’s the Winchester Mystery House, most properties aren’t that unusual.

When a seller believes their home is unique, however, they also believe it’s worth more and can fixate on an asking price that’s too high, despite the advice of an agent. If it’s priced too high, a home will sit on the market for months. Unfortunately, nine out of 10 times, the seller will end up selling for less money than they would have gotten if the home was priced appropriately from the start.

2. The seller doesn’t clean up the home.

Sellers: It’s important to pick up the home before a showing. Potential buyers touring a home probably won’t appreciate stepping on a child’s toy or fail to see the charm of a dog’s discarded tennis ball. Buyers want to feel that a home is clean and well maintained. If it’s not, they’ll likely move on to the next.

3. Sellers who hold out for extra money at the last minute.

Say a buyer made an offer that was $40,000 less than what the seller wants. The agent and the buyer’s agent have gone back and forth with a series of counter offers. The seller is only about $3,000 from their dream price but they insist on trying to squeeze another $1,500 out of the buyer.

During escrow, the buyer may find a reason to ask for that $1,500 or more back in credits anyway. In demanding more money, the seller may have created bad will, as well as stressed those involved in the purchase. When it comes down to it, extracting that last $1,500 may actually cost the seller more at the end of the transaction.

4. Sellers who don’t clean up before turning over the keys.

Sellers should imagine themselves as the future buyer. Would they want to walk into their new home and find 12 cans of old paint in the garage? Or an old sofa with a broken leg in the attic?

The tip to sellers is to try to make the home as spotless as possible for the new owners. They’ll appreciate it and so will the agent. And besides, it’s good karma.

Courtesy of Harris Real Estate University.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Boise Take a Look, is this the New American Dream?!

I saw this cartoon today, it made me chuckle because it seems almost realistic at times.

It can be tough out there, but if  a home is priced to our current market,  there are buyers ready to buy. Especially in the more affordable ranges.

Pricing correctly is so very important. In a traditional appreciating environment, the market eventually catches up with an over-priced property. But in today's market it is left high and dry!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Five Nasty Surprises That Can Scuttle Your Deal!

Think the keys to your new dream home are as good as yours, do you? Not so fast. In this tough financial climate, some unexpected issues might scuttle the deal.

By Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate

5 nasty surprises that can stop your home purchase cold (© Pascal Broze/Onoky/Corbis)


When a seller wants to sell a home and finds a buyer who wants to buy it, you'd think they'd have a deal. What could go wrong?

These days, plenty. In this tough financial climate, there are both longstanding pitfalls and a crop of new ones. At best, these can cost you time or money. Or both. At worst, the home you want could slip from your grasp.

1. The appraisal kills the deal
Even after you and the seller have agreed on a price, the appraiser — the expert assigned by the bank to authenticate the home's value — can ruin everything.

A little background: Your lender needs to know that the home you're buying is worth what you're paying. Banks are touchy on this subject at the moment. They own nearly 1 million foreclosed homes and stand to inherit millions more from defaulting borrowers. Your lender wants to be sure your new home won't be added to this pile.


Appraisers arrive at a home's value in part by comparing recent sales of nearby homes. But falling prices, and foreclosures and short sales in the neighborhood, make these comparisons tough.

Your sale can suffer if the appraiser doesn't know the neighborhood. Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, says federal rules meant to prevent lenders and appraisers from getting too cozy have unintentionally increased pressure on appraisers, which he says has led to sloppy, hasty and inaccurate appraisals.


With home values falling and distressed sales making comparisons difficult, appraisal problems are common:

In any given month, 10% of the National Association of Realtors' members see a sale die because of a low appraisal.

Another 10% of NAR members report sales were delayed by appraisal issues.

Occasionally, though, the buyer enjoys a silver lining: 15% of sellers agree to drop the price after a low appraisal, the NAR says.

Pre-emptive action: Choose an agent with deep experience in the neighborhood. Robertson, for example, could show the appraiser that several nearby homes of the same size and floor plan had sold for more. The appraiser revised the home's value to the price the buyer and seller had agreed upon.

2. Your lender demands home repairs
In this fussier climate, lenders may hold up a sale if the appraiser points out even minor repairs that need to be done. Bryan Wiley, a senior loan officer with Guild Mortgage Co. in Bellevue, Wash., says that when he worked for another company, he once had to delay a home purchase until window screens could be installed

The screens, included in the purchase contract, were nowhere in evidence. The appraiser pointed out the omission, so the bank's rules compelled him to withhold the loan.

"We couldn't get the loan documents out until the builder put up the screens and the appraiser signed off," Wiley says.

There's nothing new in lenders insisting that homes they finance be shipshape. But a few years ago, a lender might let the buyer and seller agree to complete the sale and fix any minor problems later, paying for them out of the seller's proceeds held in escrow. Today's buyers and sellers rarely are given that kind of slack.

Pre-emptive action: To anticipate issues an appraiser might raise, scrutinize the home inspector's report for any potential problems with the property. Also, be certain all conditions listed in your purchase and sale agreement are met.

3. The home has baggage
Remember any boyfriends or girlfriends from your past whom you fell for before realizing that he or she had deep "issues"? Homes can be like that, too. Some come with baggage.

Any surprises usually crop up when a title search is done to clear the way for your purchase.

For example, there's a chance, given all the financial turmoil these days, that someone besides your seller has a claim on the house. For this reason, many deals today "are not clean and easy," says David Townsend, an attorney and CEO of Agents National Title Insurance Co. For example:

  • A bankruptcy — not uncommon these days — may have produced creditors who have filed claims against the home to get what's owed them.

  • Your seller may have argued with a contractor who did work on the house years ago. Contractors or suppliers with beefs against the owner can file mechanic's liens against the property, preventing it from being sold until the claim is settled.

  • Maybe the seller lost a lawsuit and failed to pay — or perhaps didn't know about — a court judgment worth thousands of dollars. You can't buy the home until the debt is satisfied. Ditto for unpaid child support or alimony.

Missing permits are another deal-stopper, Townsend says. Sellers occasionally complete do-it-yourself remodeling and think, "What the heck, I don't need those expensive permits." But they do. Typically, the real-estate agent listing the home makes sure all permits are in order. But sometimes this escapes notice.

Occasionally, buyers are shocked to learn that the boundaries of the property they're buying aren't correct. Maybe the seller built a carport, addition, shed or fence that crossed onto a neighboring property. No one's the wiser until your title search uncovers the error. But you can't buy the place until the error is corrected. The seller may have to tear down the structure or negotiate with the neighbors to buy or sell a few feet of land. These problems can set back your purchase or end it altogether.

Pre-emptive action: Buy title insurance. "We've run into situations where errors have come out of the woodwork years later," Townsend says. With insurance, your claim to your home is protected. Warning: If an insurer declines to insure the title of a home you want to buy, walk away from the deal.

4. Tougher financial requirements
Financing is a deal-stopper for many buyers. Lenders are edgy these days. They're rejecting a quarter of all mortgage applications.

A few years ago, the average credit score for a mortgage loan was 720. Now it's 760.

"Lenders appear to be willing to lend only to the cream of the crop of potential borrowers," says Molony of the NAR.

To be fair, here's what the lenders are up against: With home prices still sliding in most markets, no lending agent wants to give you $350,000 today for a home destined to drop $50,000 in value within a year.

Your application gets even more complicated if you're self-employed. Without an employer — and pay stubs — a lender will want your last two years' tax returns. Fine, you'd think. But there's a hitch: Smart entrepreneurs and freelancers claim all tax deductions legally possible. You may have grossed $100,000 last year, for example, but you reported just $50,000 in taxable income. And that's not enough to support a request for the loan you want.

That's what's happening to a client of Robertson, the Silicon Valley, Calif., agent. His client, a self-employed dentist, wants to buy an office property in pricey Palo Alto.

"Her gross income is pretty substantial." But the net income she reports to the IRS is much less, Robertson says. "And with the tight (lender) income guidelines, she has not got enough to come close to qualify. A couple of opportunities have come up, and she hasn't been able to make them go because she hasn't got the loan."

Pre-emptive action: Get your ducks in a row before home shopping. Start a year ahead if possible. Clean up your credit score and squirrel away a big down payment. Apply for financing and get preauthorized before hitting the open houses.

5. Preapproved? We changed our minds.
Experts advise you to apply — and comparison shop — for a mortgage loan before shopping for a home. This is called getting "preapproved." Unlike a "prequalification," a quick check of your credit score and employment, preapproval is supposed to bind the lender to give you a loan at specific terms in a specific time period.

But lenders may preapprove you and later back out. More than a quarter of loans that are preapproved are ultimately rejected, Molony says.

Robertson tells of a seller whose townhouse recently attracted a buyer. The buyer made an offer and showed his preapproval letter from his bank, and everyone thought the deal was set to close.

The lender, however, pulled back after seeing the property. It was in a planned unit development with common spaces, homes, businesses and a homeowners association. The bank didn't like the ownership structure
It can be harder to get financing on condos and townhomes. With shared property and homeowners associations, there's a greater chance of lawsuits or liens. "Some lenders just don't want to take the risk," Robertson says.

Luckily, he could point the buyers to a lender that had financed previous sales in the development. Still, the hitch delayed the sale, costing the seller about $500 to extend a rate lock on a mortgage so he could move up to another home.

Here's the reality about preapprovals: The term doesn't mean much. There's no standard industry definition, so the strength of your preapproval depends on the competence and experience of your loan officer. Also, you and the property must pass muster. So, even if you've submitted your loan application form for preapproval, until you've identified a specific home your application won't get the really serious scrutiny required for final approval. Even if the bank thinks you're good for the loan, the property you like might have boundary issues, legal problems, a property dispute with neighbors or any of a host of other problems.

Pre-emptive action: Ask your lender how firm your preapproval is and what else could be required. Your lender should say you've been preapproved under certain conditions and should name them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

May continues Ada County real estate market recovery...

May sales were 595 in Ada County, a decrease of 4.9% compared to May 2010.

Historically May sales increase somewhere between 2% and 28% (2006).  May 2011 had 11% more sales than April 2011.

Year-to-date 2011 sales are within 3% of YTD 2010.

Of our total sales in May… 53% were distressed….down 3% from April 2011. (Short sales 16% and REO’s 37%). Distressed sales continue to dominate the market...but have show modest decreases each month in 2011.

Pending sales at the end of May were 1002; and increase of 5% from the end of April. This is five consecutive monthly increases. The percentage of pending sales in distress decreased 5% from April 2011 totaling 43% overall.  This is our third consecutive month’s decrease. We are now at two consecutive months below 50%.

Last month I wrote that “pending sales at the end of May would be a true “test of our recovery”.  Based on that, we are continuing to move forward.

The number of houses available for sale at the end of May was 2,629; unchanged from April and 30% less than last year at this time. Currently available inventory compares to February 2006.

At the same time, the percentage of active inventory that is distressed dropped almost 1% from April to 36%.  This is the third consecutive monthly decline and keeps us below the 40% levels set last spring....when we were on the increase.

In Ada County we have 4 months of inventory on hand…historically this number defines a strong “seller’s market”.  The price category in shortest supply is <$100,000 with 2.4 months available. This is closely followed by the $100,000 to $120,000 with 2.6 months and $120,000 to $159,000 with 4.3 months. These are the lowest numbers in more than a year!

There is also positive news on some of the higher priced inventory; $500,000 to $699,999 inventory dropped for a second month in a row to 12.

May median home price jumped $11,000 to $144,000; down 7% from May 2010.

New Homes median price for April 2011 was $223,500, an increase of almost 40% from April 2010.

We continue to “benefit” from inventory levels much lower than national average.

We still have a long way to go…but at least we are farther down the path and making progress every day.  Coming out of this market is like climbing Mt. Borah; its steep and taxing, but as long as we keep doing the right things and putting one foot in front of the other, it’s doable.

There continue to be “squalls” around us threatening bad weather at any minute.

We’ve had six weeks of Wall Street declines; private employment is not generating the number of jobs we need and gasoline costs, although less than a month ago are nearly a dollar more than a year ago.

Courtesy of Marc Lebowitz,  Ada Association of Realtors

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Answers to "Name that Sub!"

Did you guess yesterday's subdivision entrances?

Sub A is one of our newer entrances, in fact the workman finished working on it in the last few weeks.  Billed as "Idaho's Best Golf Course and Country Club Community." Located in Meridian, or more accurately north Meridian. New homes available by 4 local builders with current prices ranging from $254,800 to $425,000. Do you know it yet?

It is Spurwing Greens on Chinden Blvd.  I will even reprint some of the website's spiel.

"SpurWing Greens is a country club community, one of three communities in the Treasure Valley located next to a private golf course and country club and the only neighborhood among these that has property available to build or purchase a new home. Residents of the community will receive a SpurWing Greens Lifestyle Membership to the country club that includes access to the clubhouse, restaurant, pool and a new outdoor tennis center. SpurWing Greens also features considerably more open space than most Treasure Valley neighborhoods including 6.5 miles of intimate, undulating paths suitable for walking or biking. Above all, we feel that SpurWing Greens will offer residents a peaceful place to call home where they can enjoy shared interests with friends and neighbors."

So grab your clubs and come on down!

Now for Sub B.

There are very few places in Treasure Valley where you find this decidedly southwest feel. With the cactus and red rock you feel transported to the desert, and not this high desert in which we live in that has been transformed into an agricultural heartland by irrigation water.

It is Saguaro Canyon also located in north Meridian, main entrance off of McMillan road between Locust Grove and Meridian roads. Current homes prices range from $200,000 to $339,725.

So how did you do?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Name That Boise Subdivision! Or is it in Meridian, Eagle or Nampa?

Many of the local area subdivision entrances attempt to be unique or stand out and establish a certain level of expectation with their entrances or focal features. So I wondered how recognizable they really are. So I will post a few on an occasional basis  for your guessing and then will post the answers the next day.

So for today I will do two entrances with two photos each to see how many of you can, "Name that Sub!"

Sub A:

And for Sub B:

Some of the angles are less than ideal due to having to miss the names on some of these entrances. But these are a couple of the easier ones so give me your guesses and tune in tomorrow to see if you are correct!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Boise, New Rules on Delinquent Loans.

Fannie Mae announced this week new rules that will require mortgage servicers to act more quickly and consistently in helping troubled home owners avoid foreclosure. 

Fannie told servicers they must strive to build a "strong customer service relationship," better understand why the borrower is missing payments, and educate them on ways to prevent foreclosure.


"We want home owners to be able to understand their options when facing foreclosure, and we want servicers to reach home owners early in the process, communicate frequently and clearly, and help home owners avoid foreclosure," says Jeff Hayward, senior vice president of Fannie Mae's national servicing organization.


Also among the revamped guidelines, Fannie told servicers they will be required to contact home owners verbally and in writing within 120 days after a loan first becomes delinquent. They will need to try to complete a loan modification or other option that keeps the borrower in their home or helps the borrower avoid the foreclosure process.


If foreclosure is unavoidable, servicers will need to follow a clear timeline and must begin the foreclosure process once a loan has been delinquent for more than 120 days. Servicers also must make it clear when a property in the foreclosure process will be sold.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two Financial News Icons Say Now is the Time to BUY!

  • When it is a slow news day in the Treasure Valley it seems like recently the Idaho Statesman takes the opportunity to publish some negative news about out housing market.  So it was refreshing to note these two articles from the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine!

  • We received some tough news on housing last week. Prices are still softening. There was a lot of negativity surrounding these reports. The news caused more consumers to be concerned. However, the real question is what this means to you and your family. This could actually be great news if you are buying (either as a move-up buyer or a first-time buyer).

We don’t want you to take our word for this. Instead, here are excerpts from articles published last week by two of the country’s iconic financial publications: The Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine.

The Wall Street Journal: Why It’s Time to Buy

“Despite all the gloom, there are growing indications that it is a good time to buy… The long-term benefits of homeownership remain very much intact. For now, at least, you can deduct the mortgage interest on your taxes—a big perk for people in higher tax brackets. You get to paint your walls any color you wish, without having to clear it with a landlord. And assuming you can buy a home for about the same price as you can rent one, buying will give you the ability one day to live rent-free. Come retirement time, a paid-off mortgage means your monthly expenses are significantly reduced, and you have a chunk of equity to play with.”

Forbes Magazine: 9 Reasons to Buy a House Now

“If you’re planning to buy a house right now, the next few months may be the best time to buy… With a convergence of the factors (mentioned in the article) all of which are favorable to the prospective home buyer, there may not be a better time to buy than right now. It’s a buyer’s market, but like everything else in life, the bargain deals won’t last.”

Bottom Line

When the Wall Street Journal and Forbes have articles saying now is the time to buy, maybe it’s time to buy


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Idaho Housing Has Emergency Grants Still Available!

If you are behind on your mortgage due to job loss, under employment or medical condition, you may be eligible for a zero interest loan to get you caught up. Although it is a loan, HUD will forgive 20% of the loan per year if you stay in your house for the next 5 years.

I mentioned this program when it first became available and I am surprised that it still has money available.  While it does not solve any negative equity issues that are so abundant in our market, it can make up more temporary loss of income issues that have gotten home owners behind on their mortgages.

To get more information you can check out Idaho Housing's website at www.ihfa.org, or call them at 1(877)888-3135. If you qualify and decide to apply please take care to provide complete documentation. Most of the rejections have come from incomplete documentation.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hidden Springs, Idaho. Is it all in a Bubble?

Saturday I went out to Hidden Springs to do a report on this house located there for a bank's short sale consideration. Hidden Springs is one of the more unique communities in the Treasure Valley.  It is surrounded by rolling hills and by the looks of the landscape, you would think you are in the middle of nowhere. It feels quite isolated yet it is just 2 miles to the south you can access many shops & restaurants along State Street.   It is a lovely community and  Hidden Springs offers it’s residents a great variety of amenities.

Amenities Offered At Hidden Springs Subdivision Boise, Idaho

  • Preschool and elementary school (K-6th Grade

  • Post Office

  • A general store and restaurant inside the Dry Creek Mercantile

  • Community Library

  • A section of commercial and office space

  • Clubhouse with a pool and workout facility

  • Separate salt water lap pool

  • Tennis and sand volleyball courts

  • Walking/hiking paths

  • Manned fire department

  • Community organic farm

  • 800 acres of open space (made up of parks, playgrounds, orchard, natural wetland, wildlife habitat, agricultural fields, the Dry Creek corridor, and the surrounding foothills).

Facts Regarding Hidden Springs Subdivision Boise, Idaho

Hidden Springs Subdivision is a master planned community that spans over 1,800 total acres.  It is built around a 180 year old farm located in the Dry Creek Valley and is situated NW of downtown Boise.  Hidden Springs Subdivision has a total of 1,000 residential lots.  They vary in size from .10 to 1.88 acres.  

Personally, I have never really known what I think about that little community,  whenever I go there I sort of feel like I am in that movie," The Truman Show," of a few years ago. Where Jim Carey stars as character Truman Burbank, a man trapped unknowingly in a live TV broadcast of his life. Discarded as an unwanted baby, he is the first child to be adopted by a corporation, where his life is made for a TV show and is all in a bubble. So it sort of freaks me out a little bit, I guess I feel like I am in a bubble when I am out there.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Snake River View Mansion!

Yesterday, I was out to take some additional photos of a listing I have overlooking the Snake River, and Homedale valley with the Owyhee mountains in the background. It really is a beautiful peaceful location.

The house sits of just over two acres, fenced and currently in lawn, although it would be great for a few animals.

The sellers like to refer to their home as the river view mansion.

The home features lots of  custom interior details such as hand textured walls and ceilings, greek columns, abundant tile work and soaring windows to take advantage of the expansive views equipped with remote control blinds.

So if you are looking for a unique house out in the country while still being within easy commute to the Nampa, Boise Metro area, give me a call!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nampa house wins the "Take my Breath Away" contest for May.

As I drive around showing houses to prospective buyers, or taking listings or preparing value reports for banks, I come across homes whose bright vibrant colors shout LOOK AT ME! Last month we had a tie between a house in Meridian and one on the Boise bench. But for May we have a solo winner, located in south Nampa.

Truly a "take my breath away" winner! If you know of a good competitor,  snap it's picture and send to me for consideration for June's contest!