The purpose of our blog is to educate our readers on the current Boise Idaho real estate market, to inform potential buyers and sellers of the process of buying or selling a home in the Boise area, to provide pertinent home improvement ideas for current homeowners, and to present desired community information for Boise and the surrounding area.  We hope you enjoy the content.  If you have questions or ideas on things you would like us to write about, let us know!

Nov. 25, 2017

Seller's Market: How To Know When To Drop the Price

 

High demand and low supply have made it a seller's market pretty much all over the country, and especially for lower-priced homes.  That does not mean every house will sell or sell quickly.  Price is still important, especially as some markets begin to overheat.

The low number of listings has made the market more competitive, pushing prices higher at a fast clip.  Nationally, prices are up about 7% from a year ago, and in the hottest markets they are up double digits.  Still, a house can be overpriced, and today's savvy house hunters can smell an overpriced house a mile away.  If a listing is overpriced and sits on the market for too long, it gets stale.  Potential buyers will see the time on market and click past your listing, often without even looking at it.  That is why it is best to lower your asking price before your listing hits the stale stage.

So when is that?  "I typically drop the price after the second week on the market," said Laura Barnett, a real estate agent with RE/MAX DFW Associates in the Dallas area.  "But I may be more aggressive than most.  Usually just in $5,000 to $10,000 reductions for the most part."  Barnett said she rarely had to drop prices in the last few years because the Dallas market was just that hot.  Instead, the norm was multiple offers and sale prices above asking.  "But there is a strange change that is in the air, and sellers are starting to have to humble a bit.  I would not say it is a buyer's market, but a new balance between buyers and sellers has been hitting us since August," Barnett said.

That may be because home prices have hit a tipping point in affordability.  There is only so much buyers can handle after a multiyear run-up in prices.  Of course, every market is different, and some markets may have overheated, while others are still competitive.  The average time on the market for all homes nationally was 34 days in September, according to the National Association of Realtors.  That is down from 39 days in September 2016.  But markets like Seattle and Denver are still seeing homes sell in just a few weeks.  It would be easy to say that all you need to do is price your house correctly and competitively in the first place, and then you won't have any problems, but there are several schools of thought on when to be competitive and when to test the market.  "I don't believe in 'testing the market,' but … if we enter the market that might be pushing the top of the range, we can easily gauge response within seven to 10 days," said Dana Rice, a real estate agent with Compass in the Washington, D.C., area.  "It's almost a certainty that if we don't get an offer within that first 10-day period, then we've missed the mark," she added.

If the home doesn't sell in two weeks, Rice said, she then considers a price cut.  "And we've had a lot of success doing a rapid price adjustment and bringing those same buyers back — the ones who liked the property in the first place who will view the price adjustment as 'the seller is listening to me,' and most buyers want to feel that the seller is listening to them," she said.  It can also be beneficial to reach out to people who may have toured the home first and let them know that there may be a price cut coming.  The buyer may make an offer that is slightly above your intended cut.

What sellers should do: If you and/or your agent are considering a price cut, first research your neighborhood, right down to the ZIP code, to see how long it takes most homes to sell.  Then look at homes that sold after a price cut.  "From your research, calculate the average price reduction of pending sales in your ZIP code over the previous three to six months.  Get a rough idea of how much you will have to lower your price," advises Steve Coo, editor of Real Estate Economy Watch.  "Then compare your rough final price with current listings in your market.  Find the average of those homes and reduce your rough price by the list-to-price ratio to get a price that will beat the competition," he said.  Once a price is reduced, all listing websites will be able to see that, and some will send an alert to buyers.  Real estate agents will also market a price reduction, both on the front-yard sign and the online listing.  While a price drop can bring in more buyers, it can also turn off some buyers who might have been on the fence, fearing that the home is not as desirable as they thought.  Cook recommends that if you don't need to sell quickly, you might consider taking the home off the market for a few months and then relisting at a lower price.  "Your listing will look like a new listing and you will avoid the stigma of the price reduction."

Content from USA Today

Posted in Selling a Home
Nov. 25, 2017

Boise Real Estate Market Update - October 2017

We have seen three full years of falling inventory in Ada County.  It is interesting to consider some of the factors that have been working together to cause this, especially in the $250,000 and under price range. 

1.      Increased Demand: Our local population is growing which is increasing demand for housing. 

2.     Rental Cost Is Outpacing Mortgage Cost:  There is a high demand/low supply issue in the rental market as well, which has caused rental costs to become increasingly expensive.  With our still historically low interest rates and tax incentives for homeownership, it is usually less expensive to buy than to rent.  Thus, many people pursue this option—increasing demand in the housing market even further.

3.     Increased Building Cost: Our local builders were hit hard by the housing bubble bursting in 2008.  They are trying to rebound, but land and materials are more expensive now.  Also, labor is challenging because there are fewer local trade workers available.  This makes it difficult for builders to meet the demand for lower to mid-priced housing. 

4.     Overloaded Approval Process: City planning, zoning, and permit departments are receiving more local project requests than they can manage.  Although there are housing projects in the pipeline they want to approve, the entire process has been slowed by the volume of paperwork. 

5.     People Aren’t Moving Up As Often: In the past, the trend has been for people to move from starter homes to larger homes as their families or their incomes grow.  In 2012, the average time a person lived in a house before moving up was six years. Today, that timeframe is ten years, which results in less entry level housing coming available. 

6.     Investor Impact: Investors are able to outbid the average buyer on lower-priced homes and either flip them into a higher price points or turn them into rental properties.

Returning to a more balanced market by seeking to minimize these factors would benefit our economy. But, it is difficult to achieve and requires realtors, builders, investors, and homeowners to work together toward a common goal.   As realtors, we are seeking to educate homeowners on the current market conditions and help those who have owned their properties for awhile realize their equity positions and options for moving up may be much more positive than they had assumed.  As people move up or purchase new construction, we hope to see the inventory of existing homes increase.

If you’d like to talk more about the market conditions and how they could personally affect you and your home investment decisions, please don’t hesitate to call us.  We’d be happy to meet with you!

Posted in Housing Market
Nov. 25, 2017

Hiring a Realtor May Not Cost You a Penny

 

There is no doubt that it is easier to sell your house when using the services of a local real estate professional. The agent will provide:

  • Greater exposure to more buyers
  • The skills of a professional negotiator
  • A layer of protection from possible legal liabilities
  • Professional guidance in navigating any pitfalls that may arise
  • A level of safety while showing the home

There is no doubt that these services are valuable to any family that decides to sell. The only question is – how valuable? One of the main reasons For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) don’t use a real estate agent is because they believe these services are not worth the fee an agent charges. But, what if those services didn’t cost the seller a penny?

study by Collateral Analytics, however, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything and, in some cases, may be costing themselves more by not listing with an agent.

In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)

Why would FSBOs net less money on their own than if they used an agent?

The study makes several suggestions:

  • “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids on with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
  • “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
  • “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property.

Three conclusions from the study:

  1. FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
  2. The differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%.
  3. The sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, FSBOing may end up costing you money instead of saving you money.

Content from Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Selling a Home
Nov. 25, 2017

The Bown House

The Bown House, located in front of Riverside Elementary, is an Idaho landmark I pass almost everyday.  This past week, my oldest daughter, Hadley, was able to visit for a field trip and share what she learned about this unique property.

In 1841, at the age of 12, Joseph Bown immigrated with his family to America from England.  He grew up in Illinois, married Temperance Hall, and moved to Iowa to start a farm and a family.  In 1862, Joseph  took a wagon train west and ended up with a gold claim in Idaho City.  When his efforts at gold mining failed, he moved to Boise and spent the next few years establishing one of the first ranches in the Boise Valley.  As soon as he was able, he moved his wife and seven children to Idaho as well.  They lived in a log cabin, farmed their ranch, and saved their money until they were able to build a new house in 1879.  The large and luxurious home, known as the “block house,” was built from local sandstone and was set on the highest site in the area, providing sweeping views of their 240 acre ranch.

In addition to raising their family there, the Bowns also used their home as a school when a nearby school burned down.  Many parties and dances were held there.  In 1893, the Bowns moved to a new farm.  The house transferred ownership a few times until 1987, when the Independent School District of Boise purchased it to use as office space.  In 1991, the school district entered into a stewardship agreement with Preservation Idaho to restore the house and make it the centerpiece of the heritage education program.  The house remains as such today.  It is open for tours the first Saturday of each month from 1pm-4pm and is the namesake of the mixed-use Bown Crossing neighborhood.  

Posted in Local History
Nov. 25, 2017

Boise Real Estate Market Update - Sept 2017

When home prices drastically inflated 10 years ago, a disastrous market crash soon followed.  As we now know, this was largely caused by a combination of hyped-up market speculations and loose lending practices.  With the current escalation in prices, concern over another market crash has grown.  To help ease those fears, it is important to consider the stark difference between today’s market and that of the last bubble.  Today’s price increases are driven by normal economic factors of supply and demand, not speculation.  How can you tell?  Well, a good indicator is the comparison of average “Days On Market” (DOM) statistics (a good measure of demand) next to inventory level statistics (a good measure of supply) .  For a helpful look at the last bubble compared to today’s market conditions, see the chart below created by Boise Regional Realtors using MLS statistics:

In 2006-2007, you will see the average DOM was 32 days (indicating high demand) and the average number of homes to choose from was 3,875  (indicating high supply).  This scenario of increasing prices occurring in a high demand/high supply market is not an economic norm and would be cause for concern.  These statistics show that in the bubble, buyers were grabbing up homes quickly, even though there were plenty of homes to choose from and  no need to rush. Compare that to statistics from earlier this year or from more recently, where the average DOM was 42 days (indicating high demand), and the average inventory was 1,748 homes (indicating low supply).  This scenario is a normal economic driver for price increases.  Buyers are having to act quickly because there are so few homes on the market.  They know they have to make a competitive offer to get the house before someone else does.   Hopefully, this helps explain why current price increases are expected given the high demand/low supply market conditions and why they should not cause fear of another bubble.  We can expect this upward pressure on housing prices to continue until supply increases or demand decreases.

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for September 2017 compared to September 2016:

  • Closed sales – 1,022 (up 3.7%) 
  • Median Sales Price (including new construction) - $274,700 (up 9.9%) 
  • Days on the Market - 32 (down 23.8%) 
  • Pending Transactions - 1,595 (up 11.1%) 
  • Inventory: 1,985 (down 8.6%) 
  • Months of Supply – 1.8 (down 18.2%)

We also wanted to show how the number of months supply of inventory fluctuates based on the price range.  The current month’s supply condition in each price range is as follows: 

  • $159,999 or less: 0.8 months.
  • $160,000 - 199,999: 0.6 months 
  • $200,000 - $249,499: 1.2 months 
  • $250,000 - $299,999: 1.9 months
  • $300,000 - 399,999: 1.9 months
  • $400,000 - 499,999: 2.1 months
  • $500,000 - $699,999: 3 months
  • $700,000 - $999,999: 6.6 months

If you’re interested in knowing more about the current state of the market, check out these informative September 2017 Boise Regional Realtors Market Reportfor both Ada and Canyon Counties.

Posted in Housing Market
Nov. 24, 2017

Harry & Ann Morrison

Harry Winford Morrison came to Idaho from Illinois in his early 20s to work on the Lucky Peak Dam.  Seeing opportunities in government subsidized irrigation projects, he started a Boise construction engineering firm in 1914 with Morris Knudsen, who he met while working on the New York Canal project.  The Morrison Knudsen Company played a crucial role in developing the area.  They were responsible for completing projects such as Bogus Basin, the Cascade Reservoir, and Boise Memorial Bridge as well as numerous roads, railroad lines, and power projects.  Harry traveled all over the world with his wife Ann, securing large jobs such as the Three Mile Falls Dam, the Hoover Dam, the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the Grand Coulee Dam, and the subway system in Buenos Aires. 

 

Harry and Ann lived at 912 Harrison Blvd. in the historic North End.  Ann Morrison was known as “the First Lady of Construction” and traveled with her husband from project to project.   In 1951, she wrote a book about their 37 years in the construction business called Those Were the Days. She was described as being an incredibly kind and generous person and was the driving force in the formation of the Morrison Knudsen Foundation—a charitable organization that continues to help those in need today.  When she passed away in 1957, the company magazine paid the following tribute: “And now she is gone. But, the eternal radiant spirit that never dies and that glowed in her heart, warming the hearts of her beloved construction people the world around, will live on as a cherished inspiration.” She was buried in the Morris Hill Cemetery.  In 1959, Harry purchased 153 acres of land on the Boise River and Morrison-Knudsen employees built Ann Morrison Park in her honor.  

 

After Ann’s death, Harry married Velma Shannon, a California restaurant owner.  His company became a major builder of missile facilities and also expanded into mining.  Harry died July 19, 1971, at the age of 86. In 1996, Morrison Knudsen Company was acquired by Washington Group for $380 million.  Today, the company and its owners are still remembered for their contributions to our city and for the employment of its citizens.

Posted in Local History
Nov. 19, 2017

A Veteran's Refuge

 Luke & Katie Miller Marine Corp Ball

With Veteran’s Day and Luke’s Facebook posting of some old Marine Corp Birthday Ball photos, I am reminded of Luke’s service in the military and a very long 9 month deployment to Iraq early in our marriage.  Although the memory of those days crosses my mind less often now, I cherish the times they do.  There is a sweetness in recalling how close the Lord was to us during that time and how faithfully He cared for us in what was perhaps the greatest hardship we have yet walked together. 

When Luke first left, I had a relentless aching in my stomach—“sick with worry” as some would say. My mind frequently wandered to the questions of, “Where is he now? Is he safe? What if something bad happens? What if he doesn’t make it home?”  I wanted to have more control of the situation and to have the assurance he would be okay.  But, I quickly realized I had absolutely no control over what might happen to my husband—the environment, the people, the places, the situations, the potential man-made securities, and the lack there of were all out of my hands.  This was difficult for me and plagued me daily with the burden of worry. 

One day, Luke sent me the words to Psalm 91, which we decided to memorize and pray through regularly throughout his deployment.  The first verses, especially, were of great comfort:  “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.’”   Although still prone to worry, God used this truth to loosen my grip on my fears, to give my worry to Him, to remember the Lord is both Luke’s and my one true refuge and protection.  Most of all, it helped me to stop trusting in myself or in man but to trust the only One who actually has the power to control what happens. I had to learn to release Luke to the One who “holds the whole world in His hands.”  And, I had to rest in the shelter of the promise that nothing would happen to him outside of God’s good and perfect plan.  There was no assurance (and still is no assurance) that Luke will be safe from harm or come home at the end of the day, but there is a blessed assurance that no matter what happens—in life, suffering, or death—the Lord is in control, He loves us, and His plan is good.  

Despite life threatening battle engagements and one incident in particular that left three of his friends badly wounded and Luke in the direct line of fire as he came to their aid, the Lord chose to bring these men home. We are thankful for this but also know there are several stories with different endings.   We are uncertain of God’s purposes in war—why some soldiers come home, some don’t, some come home altered for the good, and some seemingly for the worse.  But, we are certain of this, that “God works all things (even war, pain, suffering, and death) together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purposes” (Romans 8:28).  We praise God for protecting Luke so he could come to the aid of his friends.  We praise God for the ways He has worked through that event to profoundly and positively alter the lives of those men—drawing them back to the Lord and to a deep trust in His good purposes, despite the suffering they have endured. 

To all those men and women who have served and to their families who have also sacrificed, we thank you and pray you find refuge in the Lord.  May He be your fortress in whatever joys or sorrows life brings, and may He be the God in whom you trust!  “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).  

Luke Miller United State Marine Corp

 

Posted in Katie Miller
Oct. 22, 2017

Growing in His Grace

TripleCord Real Estate Boise Real Estate Agents

This past Friday, I had the pleasure of gathering around a table with the people of TripleCord Real Estate for our annual company dinner.  What a privilege it was to share our personal joys and struggles from the past year and to be reminded again of the unique and beautiful friendship we share.  By the grace of God, whenever we are together, I believe we all leave encouraged, thankful, and stirred up to better love and serve the clients we are privileged to represent.  

This year, our dinner table was packed a bit tighter with the addition of three new agents and their spouses.  We are excited to have these friends as part of our team and to enhance our service with their unique gifts, backgrounds, and skills.   “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).  It is with sincere gratitude and great joy that I get to introduce these three new incredible members of our company:  

Tony BallTony Ball has been a health coach for the past several years.  He and his wife began coaching after they lost 80 lbs together with Take Shape for Life and have greatly enjoyed helping others achieve similar success. Tony is looking forward to applying his coaching skills as a Realtor by assisting buyers and sellers in accomplishing their real estate goals.  He has a huge heart for people.  And, if he had limitless time, I have no doubt it would be spent getting to know new faces, learning about their lives, and hearing their stories.  He values relationships greatly and cares for people well.  The combination of his coaching skills and his love for others will make him an incredible agent for those he is honored to serve. You can read more about Tony HERE!

Joy Logan Boise Real Estate AgentJoy Logan is a dear friend, a mother of three, and expectant mother of two identical twin girls due in January!  Because of her personal experience in real estate investments, she and her husband are well versed in the buying and selling process as well as in property management.  She is now excited to use her acquired knowledge and skills to help others with their real estate endeavors.   Despite morning sickness and incredibly low energy during this time of growing two humans inside her, she has excelled at meeting the demands of her job with excellence and caring for her clients well.  Watching her work with professionalism, passion, promptness, and joy even in this physically trying time makes me marvel at how well the Lord has gifted her to be a Realtor.  You can read more about Joy HERE!

Sara Walker Boise Real Estate AgentHaving been an agent a few years back, Sara Walker is not new to the world of real estate. Although it has been difficult to say goodbye to the students and staff at the elementary school where she was serving as an educator, she is excited for the opportunity to be a Realtor again and eager to see how the Lord may use her in this new role.  With Sara’s love for the Treasure Valley community (where she was born and raised), her incredible “heart of a teacher,” and her understanding of the special significance of the place a person calls “home,” she will, no doubt, be a wonderful asset to her clientele—proving a valuable resource to anyone who is looking to buy or sell in the Boise area.  You can read more about Sara HERE!

Each of these new team members live out Romans 12:9-10 which reads, “Don’t’ just pretend to love others.  Really love them.  Hate what is wrong.  Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”  Should you have the pleasure of working with Tony, Joy, or Sara in the future, I am confident you will see for yourself that these are genuine, hard working, trustworthy Realtors who truly care about promoting their clients’ best interests above their own!  How blessed I am to have them as part of the TripleCord family!   

 

Sept. 22, 2017

Boise Real Estate Market Update - August 2017

Boise Real Estate Market Update - August 2017

With Ada County’s increased economic development, limited housing supply, and growing population, it is no wonder August’s median sales price hit a record high of $278,000—up 9.6% from a year ago!   Despite these strong statistics, we are beginning to see  a cool down in the pace of price increases.  This is largely due to less buyer foot traffic  in the busy “back to school” season as well as to the  overpricing error of sellers who are still basing their current home value on  hotter summer sales activity.  The positive pressure of our “low supply/high demand” market will keep home values trending upward, but the rate of upward movement will continue to decline. 

Since January 2012, when the real estate market turned back up from its long dive, the recovery rate has been strong.  Between 2012 and now, Ada County has seen an average year-over-year price growth of 7.9%!  Most real estate economists predict price growth will slow to 4-5% per year  in the coming 1-3 years.  After which, they anticipate consumer demand and home supply will balance out—returning price appreciation closer to regular inflation rates.

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for August 2017 compared to August 2016: 

  • Closed sales – 1,128 (up 10.4%) 
  • Median Sales Price (including new construction) - $278,000 (up 9.6%) 
  • Days on the Market - 33 (down 5.7%) 
  • Pending Transactions - 1,742 (up 15.3%) 
  • Inventory: 1,951 (down 13.4%) 
  • Months of Supply – 1.8 (down 18.2%)

We also wanted to show how the number of months supply of inventory fluctuates based on the price range.  The current month’s supply condition in each price range is as follows: 

  • $159,999 or less: 0.8 months
  • $160,000 - 199,999: 0.7 months 
  • $200,000 - $249,499: 1.3 months 
  • $250,000 - $299,999: 1.9 months
  • $300,000 - 399,999: 1.8 months
  • $400,000 - 499,999: 2.2 months
  • $500,000 - $699,999: 3.2 months
  • $700,000 - $999,999: 6.6 months

If you’re interested in knowing more about the current state of the market, check out these informative August 2017  Boise Regional Realtors Market Reports for both Ada and Canyon Counties. 

 

 

Sept. 22, 2017

Growing Your Family's Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.64% per year on average and to grow by 18.4% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey. 

 

So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position? 

 

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years? 

 

 

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 5.0% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $12,500 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $49,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

 

Not only is home ownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!

Posted in Home Values