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!

May 21, 2018

Dealing with Disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment

Last week, I randomly received three different articles from friends as well as two sermons, all of which happened to be on the same topic: dealing with disappointment in my circumstances.  Whenever a topic shows up randomly in that many places, I can’t help but say, “Alright, God, I get it…you’re trying to teach me something about this =-).”  And, He was! 

I’ve never really thought of myself as a goal setter, but I  most definitely have expectations—expectations for myself, my day, those around me, and my circumstances.  When those expectations are met, I am happy and content.  But when unmet, I am robbed of joy and quickly filled with disappointment.  Often my solution is simply to set lower expectations—if I lower the bar I will more often feel the success clearing it.  But, I’m learning quickly, that’s not the most fulfilling option.  A much more fulfilling one is to set my expectations high and reach for them but not to rest all my hope in meeting them.  Rather, I should rest my hope in this one truth that never waivers—that I am loved by my heavenly Father whether I meet my expectations or not, and there is nothing I could do or not do that would ever cause Him to love me less.

There was a verse I came across in one of the sermons I listened to that painted a great picture of this truth for me.  In Luke 10:17, Jesus’ friends came to him incredibly excited because they were able to cast out demons in his name.  I know some of you may think that sounds weird, but imagine your excitement if you were able to witness a person who was tormented, self-hurting, and deeply depressed suddenly become free of that torment—to witness a cloud being lifting off their soul and seeing their eyes flood with joy and happiness for the first time.  How cool would that be!  These men and women had an expectation that Jesus would heal people, because they had seen him do it before.  But, their expectations were blown out of the water when they realized they were able to do the same, just by the power of Jesus’ name.   

When they came to Him rejoicing in their exceeded expectations, Jesus replied, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).  Jesus was reminding them that, yes, although what they witnessed and did was amazing, it was not this exceeded expectation that should make them so happy, but rather the simple resolute fact that the Lord loved them and saved them and gave them eternal life.  

This week, whether your expectations are met and disappointment is far from you or whether those same expectations go unmet and disappointment comes knocking at your door, I pray you will not rejoice or wallow in your circumstances, but rather rejoice in this truth, that you are loved by the God of the universe.  And, if you put your hope in Jesus, your joy—the one expectation we all long to be met—is secure, regardless of your circumstances. 

Posted in Katie Miller
May 11, 2018

Tips To Help Seniors Downsize to a Cozy New Home

Now that you’re in retirement, money might be a little tighter. Even if you have great investments to bolster your income, it won’t be like it was in the past. That’s why seniors have to be careful about their costs.

 

To help with that, many seniors are downsizing and moving into a smaller home. Read on to learn the benefits of downsizing and how you can handle everything from finding a new home to moving into it.

 

Seniors Downsizing to a New Home

Image Source: Pixabay

Why downsizing is great

What can you expect from downsizing? Although it can vary slightly from person to person, you should enjoy saving money from it. Moving into a smaller house means paying less for property taxes, utility bills and monthly mortgage payments. If you own your current home, the price difference can earn you a nice nest egg to bolster your retirement income.

But as CNBC reports, some seniors downsize to have a higher quality of life. For example, mobility can be a problem as you age, making that split-level house troublesome thanks to all those stairs. Downsizing into a one-story structure can really make a difference. The same is true for feeling lonely. A big house feels empty with all those unused rooms, whereas a smaller home in a new community can help you feel better. It can even give you plenty of social opportunities.

Don’t neglect your needs

With the right realtor, finding a smaller home to move into shouldn’t be a problem. However, any move can be a tiring experience, both physically and emotionally. That’s why you cannot ignore your needs during this time.

Self-care is important for seniors, as you may not have too many people able to help out. That’s why Senior Helpers recommends you make sure to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. It will be tempting to blame packing and moving for not taking care of yourself. Instead of ordering fast food and sleeping in, eat the right foods. Unless packing is taking a lot of energy, you also need to stay active with walks or time at the gym. Getting enough sleep is also crucial to your self-care during this time.

The process of packing can be stressful as well. Chances are, you have a lot of memories tied to the old place, and even thinking about moving can be emotional. To help reduce the stress, Harmony Moves recommends you pace yourself. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack and clean your home. Instead, create a plan that lets you slowly declutter and pack up your belongings at an easy pace.

If you have a pet, you should consider taking your four-legged best friend to a pet sitter or family member. Moving is a stressful process, so it’s ideal to keep your dog or cat safe from a lot of floor traffic of packing and movers.

Surviving moving day

As you get your belongings packed and ready to move, there are a few things you can do to make moving day easier to handle. Create an “unload first” box with your prescriptions, some toiletries, cleaning supplies and paper plates. This can really come in handy if the movers are running late. A few days before the move, contact your moving company and make sure they know to visit your house. It also helps to color-code boxes so everyone knows which room they belong in, such as red for the kitchen and green for the basement.

When you arrive at your new, smaller home, the last thing you want to do is start cleaning. Although the previous owners should clean it before vacating, many do not. That’s why it’s a great idea to hire a maid service to clean and prepare the new place. In the St. Louis area, the average price to clean a home is $117-$255 and can take up to five hours.

Enjoy the new home

Seniors can benefit from downsizing, which is why you should start speaking to a real estate agent today. Just be sure to practice self-care during the process and hire cleaners for your new place. All of this can help you enjoy your new home that much quicker.

 

Content provided by Jim Vogel with Elder Action

Posted in Seniors
May 10, 2018

Zestimates

Do you flip through Zillow, watching homes and checking Zestimates? Do you sometimes wonder how one house estimates high when a similar home is much lower?  Zillow has changed the game when it comes to information. And that includes pricing. But, use caution when looking at Zillow to determine the price of a home in Idaho. Sometimes the estimates are right on. Other times they are way off. The problem is you never know.  Did you know that by its own admission, at least half of all Zillow’s estimates are off by 4.6% or more[1]? Zestimates are not intended to be the final say. “It is a starting point in determining a home’s value and is not an official appraisal.” This comes directly from the Zillow website.They admit it. And acknowledge that their own estimate should only be a conversation starter. Zillow also recommends that buyers and sellers connect with local professionals for help. Pricing a home accurately is the result of several opinions and sources.  Here are few things to consider when looking at Zestimates.

Zestimates are based on the information that others provide to Zillow. This could be MLS data or data provided by users. However, from Idaho, Zillow is not receiving all the information.  Idaho is a non-disclosure state. When a home sells, the buyer and seller are not required to inform the public of the final sales price. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. This creates an information gap that can affect final results.  Other information missing from a Zestimate is what is going on outside of typical data. Has there been major upgrades to a property? Is the home located in a high traffic area of the neighborhood? Is there a new development going on up the street or did the city rezone an area nearby? A colleague I work with always asks, “Has Mr. Zillow walked through that home recently?” If not, you will need more info to get a good price with any confidence.

Zillow rates its Zestimate accuracy on a scale of 1-4. Idaho is a 1, the least accurate rating. It either uses tax assessed values or “unable to compute Zestimate accuracy”
[2]. When was the last time a tax assessor walked your home and noted the updates and improvements?

Recently, we saw a home that sold in Eagle for $242,500 on April 6, 2018
[3]. The Zestimate on April 13, 2018 was $229,218, a 6% difference. But then it got stranger. The next day, April 14, 2018 it appears that the sold price was updated on Zillow. Naturally, the Zestimate would go up to reflect the current market price. Except it didn’t. It went down to $222,384, now 9% off the sales price. Clearly, something is off.

For higher priced homes it can be even less accurate. And no one is immune. Including Zillow’s CEO.  In 2016, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold his Seattle home for $1.05 million. Zillow’s Zestimate of his home: $1.75 million.[4]

Zillow is a helpful tool to buyers and sellers. It provides a lot of public information in one place. Information that previously took an individual a long time to uncover. And if you are moving and want to get a feel for what an area home may cost, it can give you a good starting point.  But if you want to know what a home is really worth, use a professional. Banks pay appraisers to do this. Real Estate agents do pricing everyday. Some even specialize in it.  In the end, if you are serious about getting the right price of a home, Zillow can help get you close but a trained professional is probably your best option.

[1] 
https://www.zillow.com/zestimate/

[2] https://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracyID.htm

[3] Sales data provided by Intermountain MLS

[4] http://www.inman.com/2016/05/18/zillow-ceo-spencer-rascoff-sold-home-for-much-less-than-zestimate/

 

May 10, 2018

Pierce Park

Boise Mayor, Walter E. Pierce, a successful real estate promoter from 1890 to 1930, wanted to attract buyers to the outlying areas of Boise. So, he created the Boise & Interurban Railway which ran six miles west of Boise to his 185 acre picnic location, Pierce Park. Opened in 1907, the park was located on Valley Street, which is now State Street. Visitors entered the park through a large archway where they paid an all inclusive fee to get into the fully fenced grounds and utilize the facilities. A year after the park opened, a bandstand, tennis courts, croquet plots, and a refreshment stand were added to the array of enjoyments the park had to offer. In 1908 a man-made lake was added for row boating, and, in 1912, a dan

 

ce pavilion was built. It is no wonder it was the main leisure park destination of its day. In 1915, ownership was transferred to Idaho Power. And then, in 1928, the railway line

 

 was purchased by the state and converted into what is now Highway 44. Pierce Park was sold to The Plantation Company and in 1932 evolved into what is now Plantation Golf Course.

 

Posted in Local History
May 10, 2018

Boise Real Estate Market Update - March 2018

In this market, it has been a joy to help sellers!  We assist in preparing their home to show its best, get it listed, and then, many times, receive multiple offers on the property—allowing us to negotiate incredible prices and terms for our clients!  Assisting buyers, however, is a very different story.  Current low inventory has led to intense buyer competition and discouragement and defeat for our clients, as well as for us.  It seems the frustration is felt greatest by our local, first-time, entry level buyers.  These buyers, who are usually looking at homes under $250,000, are competing against investors and out of state buyers who also find this price range attractive and who are often able to offer prices and terms more favorable to the seller.

If this makes the prospect of buying a home seem bleak, take heart! We have been encouraged that although the search for a home often requires several tries and a few defeats, our buyers have still been able to secure properties.  We can also attest to the great joy we and our clients have felt when one of their offers is finally accepted and they are able to move into their new home!  Given that Boise is growing and demand is increasing without signs of slow down, it is projected that home prices will only continue to rise.  So, if you’re a prospective buyer and you’re able to buy, it’s likely worth it to walk the rough road of buying now.  The market may be less competitive in the future, making the road to homeownership less bumpy, but the price you will pay will likely be a great deal higher. 

If you are considering buying or selling, we would love to meet with you and share more about what you can expect and how you can best prepare.  Having accurate and up-to-date information can greatly increase your ability to navigate the potentially rough waters of our current market. 

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for March 2017 compared to March 2018:

Existing/Resale...

  • Closed sales – 588 (up 2.1%) 
  • Median Sales Price - $290,000 (up 24.5%)
  • Days on the Market - 27 (down 22.9%) 
  • Pending Transactions - 920 ?(down 4.7%) 
  • Inventory: 498 ?(down 33.1%) 
  • Months of Supply – 1 ?(down 37.5%)

New Construction...

  • Closed sales – 260 (up 11.6%) 
  • Median Sales Price - $345,870 (up 11.6%)
  • Days on the Market - 68 (down 15%) 
  • Pending Transactions - 871 ?(up 45.9%) 
  • Inventory: 645 ?(down 18.7%) 
  • Months of Supply – 2.7 ?(down 35.7%)

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

  • $159,999 or less: 0.6 month
  • $160,000 - 199,999: 1 month
  • $200,000 - $249,499: 0.3 month
  • $250,000 - $299,999: 0.5 month
  • $300,000 - 399,999: 1.1 months
  • $400,000 - 499,999: 1.6 months
  • $500,000 - $699,999: 1.9 months
  • $700,000 - $999,999: 5 months

If you’re interested in knowing more about the current state of the market, check out these informative? March 2018 Boise Regional Realtors Market Reports for both Ada and Canyon ?counties.

 

Posted in Housing Market
April 26, 2018

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter

Having moved to Boise just a few years before Mayor Bieter became Mayor Bieter, his name has become synonymous to me with that of our city. Other than his face and name, however, I knew little about his background.  Since that’s likely the case with many of you, we thought we’d share a bit more about our town’s mayor.

David Harold Bieter was born in Boise November 1, 1959, and grew up in the North End.  His father, Pat, was a professor at Boise State University.  And his mother, Eloise Garmendia, was the daughter of two Basque immigrants who met in the Boise area.  Dave attended Bishop Kelly High School and, in his youth, spent time in the Basque Country with his family.  He earned a degree in International Studies from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and then moved to Moscow, Idaho, where he obtained a law degree from the University of Idaho. 

After being admitted to the Idaho State Bar in 1986, he worked as civil counsel to Bonner County.  He later relocated to Boise, where he served as a land-use specialist with the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office.  Eventually, he opened his own private practice and, in 1998, married his wife, Julia.  At that time, his father was serving as an Idaho State Representative.  But, the following year, when a tragic car accident killed both his parents, Dave succeeded his father as Representative of the 19th District (North Boise).  He served there until 2002 and then was elected Boise Mayor in 2004. 

Dave is currently serving his fourth term and is the longest serving mayor in the state’s history.  In addition to English, Mayor Bieter is fluent in Spanish and Basque. During his time in office, he has served Boise well--supporting a housing project for the homeless, Esther Simplot Park, a facility to enhance water quality, as well as a future initiative to create a modern transportation system.  His family remains one of the most prominent Basque families in America. His brother John runs the Basque studies program at Boise State University.  His sister Mary is a teacher at Bishop Kelly High School.  His brother Mark is a Washington, DC attorney.  And, his brother Chris is an Ada County magistrate. Although Dave continues to happily serve as Boise’s mayor, it is speculated he may become the Democratic candidate for Governor of Idaho in the future.

Posted in Local History
April 24, 2018

Boise Real Estate Market Update - February 2018

It’s no secret that Boise is growing rapidly (see the Forbes article below). With this increase in population comes increased need for housing, and we are struggling to keep up with demand.  Inventory was down 18.8% from last February, hitting a new record low of only 1,205 homes available for purchase. 

 The effects of this shortage are definitely hitting prices hard, resulting in a new record high median sales price of $297,500 in Ada County.  This is up 16.7% from last year!

 With increased competition from people moving from both inside and outside the area, buyers need to be prepared to give their best offer to secure a home.  Some suggestions for how to do this when looking to buy are as follows:

 1)      Have an Advocate: Have a Realtor who knows the market and has experience in advocating for their buyers with sellers and listing agents.  Your Realtor should be able to provide suggestions for how to improve you offer and make it most attractive to the seller.  This may include a rent back agreement, flexible closing timeline, a personal letter, a quick inspection contingency timeline, a price escalation clause, or a myriad of other options.  (Shameless plug—we do this well!)

2)      Know the Market: Watch the market so you can see what homes are coming available and the prices for which they are selling.  This way, when the right place is listed and there are multiple offers, you’ll have a better grasp on how much above the price you would want to go.  (If you use a TripleCord agent, we help with this and will provide you with actual sold data so you can better determine the market value and price you are willing to pay for the home).  

3)      Have Your Financing in Order: Even if you aren’t quite ready to buy, meet with a local lender or your financial advisor and know your financing options.  In this market, it’s very rare for a seller to accept an offer contingent on financing or contingent on a home sale.  Know what you’re options might be for removing those contingencies before you try to buy. (We would love to share more about how to do this and also put you in touch with a trusted local lender!)

 

Although this market can be discouraging and frustrating for buyers and their agents alike, we want you to know it is an honor for us to walk with you through the process and to help you get into the right home.  We would love the opportunity to talk with you more about current market conditions, your current buying/selling scenario, and how we can come alongside you to help!

 Below are the current Ada County market statistics for February 2017 compared to February 2018:

  • Closed sales – 638 (up 25.8%) 
  • Median Sales Price (including new construction) - $297,500 (up 16.7%) 
  • Days on the Market - 53 (down 8.6%) 
  • Pending Transactions - 1,513 ?(up 16.1%) 
  • Inventory: 1,205 ?(down 18.8%) 
  • Months of Supply – 1.8 ?(down 30.8%)

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: 0.6 months.
  • $160,000 - 199,999: 0.3 months 
  • $200,000 - $249,499: 0.6 months
  • $250,000 - $299,999: 1.5 months
  • $300,000 - 399,999: 2.3 months
  • $400,000 - 499,999: 3.1 months
  • $500,000 - $699,999: 2.6 months
  • $700,000 - $999,999: 3.9 months

If you’re interested in knowing more about the current state of the market, check out these informative? February 2018 Boise Regional Realtors Market Reports for both Ada and Canyon ?counties.

 

Posted in Housing Market
April 23, 2018

The Way of The World vs The Way of Jesus

As most of you who read my posts know, I am a big fan of Jesus.  Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about how the things Jesus taught and did while on earth were so different from what I observe in our world today.  Actually, the things he did were markedly different from what was observed in his day too.  His way of life was unexpected and counter-cultural.  People either fell in love with the strangeness of it or were threatened or angered by it.

As I learn more about the way Jesus did things, I am increasingly enamored with it.  I want to do things just like him, even if it looks completely strange to the rest of the world.  His way brings a continuous peace, an unshakable joy, and an everlasting hope that the world’s way has never provided me.  To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are a few examples of what I’ve observed about the world’s way versus Jesus’.   

 

The Way of The World vs The Way of Jesus 
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  If what he said is true, then it makes sense that his way would be the best way to do things—the way that brings life and abundant joy.  Although I and other Christ followers fail incredibly at doing as he taught, it is life-giving and refreshing whenever he helps me follow him or whenever I see him helping others walking in his ways.  May he continue to work in me to make me more like him!

 

Posted in Katie Miller
March 17, 2018

Strength for the Faint

As I imagine it is with any job, the work load of a Realtor often feels like a gigantic roller coaster.  There are slower seasons, for sure, but when it rains it pours—I get drenched by an overwhelming “to do list” and weighed down by my inadequacies in meeting my expectations to accomplish it.

These past few weeks, I have been at the top of that roller coaster—completely maxed out on what I can get done in a day, but so far short of what I had hoped to accomplish.  At any point, I am just a phone call or word or additional “to do” away from falling in a heap on the floor and crying, “I give up…I can’t do it!”  I’m weary, overwhelmed, and exhausted (Benjamin Franklin, your Daylight Savings idea has been no help to me in that ;-)   

But God, in His typical, perfectly timed fashion, met me in this place this week and provided a sweet reminder, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the end of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31). 

It remains a busy season, with a long “to do” list, stress over this crazy real estate market, desires for more time to connect with friends, and emotions of fear and excitement over some major upcoming life changes for our family.  But, in spite of that, I can confidently say that the Lord’s strength is holding me.  Though I don’t always feel like I’m “mounting up with wings like eagles,” I rest in the promise that He is strong in my weakness.  My God does not faint or grow weary, and in Him, I will renew my strength!  

If you have also found yourself in a busy season, with weariness and exhaustion close at hand, I pray you too will remember to come to Him to find your strength.  He’s the BEST source to deliver on His promises =-)  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:25-30).    

 By Katie M. Miller

Posted in Katie Miller
March 2, 2018

To Be Known And Loved

In honor of Valentine’s Day, it seems fitting to discuss the topic of love.  Among our many desires as humans, one of the greatest is to be truly loved—fully known by another and fully loved by them as we are.  I know this is a desire of mine.  But, sometimes I wonder, if someone really knew all my thoughts, sins, and struggles, would they still really love me?   Or, if someone does love me at the present time, is it only because they don’t yet fully know me?  Will their love fade the more I am known by them?  The answer, if it is true love we are talking about, is NO!  True love not only remains the more you are known, but grows stronger because of it.  

Several Sundays ago, I visited Rock Harbor Church.  Near the end of the service, this video (below) was played, and I couldn’t keep the tears from coming!  The story paints a beautiful picture of a father’s love for his son and a welcoming of him home, despite all the things the dad knows are wrong with the son and all the hurtful things the son has done to him. 

What brings me to tears is how great the father’s love is for his son in light of all the wrong and hurtful things the son has done.  The brokenness of the son is fully known by the father, but the son is completely and fully loved.  The father visually expresses this love for his son in his response to the son’s request.  The son asked his dad to put ONE single sheet out on the fence if his dad wanted to see him.  But the father didn’t just want to see him, he REALLY wanted to see him—he wanted to show his forgiveness and welcome him home with open arms.  He wanted to express his overwhelming desire to be with his son despite his son’s brokenness and the way his son had hurt him.  So, he littered the route home with sheets, essentially saying, “You are not just loved, my wayward son, you are known, you are COMPLETELY loved, and you are welcomed back home with joy!”  

This picture is one the Bible also gives in regard to the love our Heavenly Father has for us.  We are created and fully known by him--“His eyes saw my unformed substance; in his book were written, every one of the, the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139: 16).  Not only did he form us, but the Bible says, “You have searched me and known me!  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar…You are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139: 1-4).  

And while I am more fully known by Him than I am by any other—even down to the darkest most unattractive corners of my heart—I  am also more fully loved by Him than any other.  “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).  How great the Father’s love for us!  What better confirmation than for Him to give himself up so that we could be joyously welcomed home!  He is indeed the best Valentine!  

~By Katie Miller

 

Posted in Katie Miller