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!

Oct. 22, 2019

What You Need To Know About HOAs

 

When searching for a home, you may end up selecting a property in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA). Before you buy, it’s important to know how an HOA works and what they mean for you.

 

According to a recent article on realtor.com,

 

“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”

 

An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),

 

“Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you’ll have to follow if you live in that community. Unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how land can be used, restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property.”

 

It’s important for homeowners to understand that each HOA is a little different, and they usually have monthly or quarterly fees required for homeowners. These fees can vary based on property size, number of residents, amenities, and more. There may be additional fees charged to homeowners if the reserve fund for the HOA cannot cover a major or unexpected cost, like severe storm damage.

 

The fees, however, also help maintain common areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts, elevators (for high-rise buildings), and regular wear and tear. Although they are an added cost to the homeowner, an HOA can be a major benefit when it comes to maintaining the value of your neighborhood and your property.

 

The same article continues to say,

 

“After your offer to buy a home is accepted, you are legally entitled to receive and review the community’s CC&Rs over a certain number of days (typically between three and 10)…If you spot anything in the restrictive covenants you absolutely can’t live with, you can bring it up with the HOA board or just back out of your contract completely (and keep your deposit).”

 

Most lenders will factor your HOA fees into your loan package, ensuring the amount of the loan is appropriate for what you can truly afford.

 

There are some great benefits to having an HOA oversee your neighborhood, and it’s important to understand what fees, structures, and regulations will come into play if there is an HOA where you’d like to live.

 

Bottom Line

 

When you’re looking at a potential property to buy, be sure to work with a professional who can help you understand the neighborhood’s HOA structure and fees. This way, you’ll feel confident and fully informed when buying a home.

Content from Keeping Current Matters

Oct. 22, 2019

The Idaho Birding Trail

 

To aid in conservation efforts and to enhance appreciation for Idaho’s wildlife, the Nongame Division of Idaho Fish and Game created the Idaho Birding Trail.  The purpose of the trail is to help preserve threatened, endangered, and “at risk” species by promoting education, viewing, and photography of Idaho’s fish and wildlife habitats.  Idaho’s endangered and threatened species include the Whooping Crane, the Bald Eagle, and the Peregrine Falcon.  The Idaho Birding trail consists of viewing sites along a 2,000 mile stretch divided into four routes.  Twenty-two of these sites are designated as “blue ribbon” or “best of the best” bird watching locations.

 

 

 

The North route has 23 sites starting at the Canadian border (Pend Oreille) and goes along the Washington Border down to the Rapid River Fish Hatchery near the Payette National Forest.  The seven Blue Ribbon areas on the North route sites are around Coeur d’Alene, Creston (at the Canadian border), Bonners Ferry, and Sandpoint.

 

 

 

The Southwest Route has 40 sites, including our own Boise River Site, which runs 20 miles along the greenbelt from Discovery Park to Eagle Island Park.  Highlights of the Boise River Site include raptors, shorebirds, songbirds, upland birds, waterbirds, and waterfowl.  The Southwest Route starts at Brundage Ski Area and moves down the Oregon border to Blue Creek on the Nevada border.  The Blue Ribbon areas on the Southwest route are around Montpelier, Bruneau, Hagerman, McCall, and Kuna.

 

 

 

The Southeast Route has 12 sites starting at City of Rocks National Reserve on the Utah border and moving up to Henry’s Lake near Yellowstone National Park.  The Blue Ribbon areas on the Southeast trail are around Hamer, Harriman, Roberts, Rupert, Mud Lake, and Springfield.

 

 

 

The East Central Route has 30 sites starting at Galena Pass on the east side of Boise National Forest and follows the Montana border to Lost Trail Pass in the Bitterroot National Forest.  The Blue Ribbon areas on the East Central route are around Stanley, Salmon, and Challis.

 

 

 

For more details on the routes or for a list of bird species that can be found in Idaho, visit the Idaho Birding Trail website HERE.

 

 

Oct. 22, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update September 2019

 

Though fall is historically characterized by a decrease in housing inventory, this September boasted more homes for sale than were available in either July or August.  This phenomenon is in large part due to a 10.3% jump from August to September in newly constructed homes available for purchase.   New construction options have increased so much that nearly half of the total inventory for September (887 out of 1,776 homes) were new builds.   The inventory of existing homes for sale also had a surprising increase in comparison to historical statistics, rising 3.6% from August to September.  This change in market conditions has both blurred the seasonality trend and extended the home buying season. 

Despite this unexpected jump in inventory, buyer demand is still well above supply.  This tension, which may be further progressed by our incredibly low mortgage rates, will continue to put upward pressure on prices.   The median sales price for September was $349,994, up 9.7% from September 2018.  To summarize:

-          If you are looking to sell, low supply and high demand levels are still providing a prime environment for receiving a premium price on your property this year.

-          If you are looking to buy, you may want to consider taking advantage of the currently low interest rates and the higher number of homes available to choose from. 

Whether you’re on the fence about buying or selling, just curious about the market for future planning, or ready and rearing to jump in with both feet, we’d love the opportunity to meet with you!  Please call or email so we can schedule a time to talk.  We look forward to embarking on your next real estate journey together!    

Posted in Housing Market
Oct. 22, 2019

Potatoes

 

Have you ever wondered how Idaho became known for potatoes? The first-time potatoes were introduced to this state was when a Presbyterian missionary named Henry Spalding and his wife Eliza traveled here on the Oregon Trail in 1836.  The Spaldings came to the area to educate the Nez Perce Indians about Christianity, irrigation, and how to cultivate our state’s notable vegetable to provide a sustainable food source rather than hunting and gathering. The village of Spalding, Idaho, in Nez Perce County is named after these missionaries.

The famous Idaho baking potato known as the Russet Burbank (aka Netted Gem) came a little later in 1872 and was developed by Luther Burbank. It was initially created to help with the devastating potato famine in Ireland. Burbank noted, "These potatoes have a modified coat in a way that does not add to their attractiveness. It is said, however, that this particular variant is particularly resistant to blight, which gives it exceptional value." They also make excellent French fries!

The first potato fields were planted by Mormon colonists three years before the Idaho Territory was created. Between the river valley water and the volcanic ash soil, their potato crops thrived. This was the humble beginning of our Idaho farmers’ domination of the United States potato market.

 

Posted in Local History
Oct. 22, 2019

Owning Vs. Renting

 

When people talk about homeownership and the American Dream, much of the conversation revolves around the financial benefits of owning a home. However, two recent studies show that the non-financial benefits might be even more valuable.

 

In a recent survey, Bank of America asked homeowners: “Does owning a home make you happier than renting?” 93% of the respondents answered yes, while only 7% said no. The survey also revealed:

 

·          More than 80% said they wouldn’t go back to renting

 

·          88% agreed that buying a home is the “best decision they have ever made

 

·          79% believed owning a home has changed them for the better

 

Those surveyed talked about the “emotional equity” that is built through homeownership. The study says more than half of current homeowners define a home as a place to make memories, compared to 42% who view a home as a financial investment. Besides building wealth, the survey also showed that homeownership enhances quality of life:

 

·          67% of current homeowners believed their relationships with family and loved ones have changed for the better since they bought a home

 

·          78% are satisfied with the quality of their social life

 

·          82% of homeowners said they were satisfied with the amount of time they spend on their hobbies and passions since purchasing a home

 

·          75% of homeowners pursued new hobbies after buying a home

 

Homeowners seem to be very happy.

 

Renters Tell a Different Story…

 

According to the latest Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, 45% of renters regret renting rather than buying — more than five times the share of homeowners (8%) who regret buying instead of renting. Here are the four major reasons people regret renting, according to the report:

 

·          52% regret not being able to build equity

 

·          52% regret not being able to customize or improve their rentals

 

·          50% regret that the rent is so high

 

·          49% regret that they lack private outdoor space

 

These two studies prove that renting is just not the same as owning.

 

Bottom Line

 

There are both financial and non-financial benefits to homeownership. As good as the “financial equity” is, it doesn’t compare to the “emotional equity” gained through owning your own home.

Content from Keeping Current Matters

Oct. 22, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update August 2019

 

Since it typically takes 20-45 days after an offer is accepted for a home to officially “close,” the closed sales figures for August really represent offers that were made and accepted 20-45 days prior--in June and July.  Because June and July are often the months of greatest listing and buying activity and highest list prices, August closed sales figures tend to hit record highs.  This year was no exception, with the median sales price hitting $355,000—a new overall record high for our market and a continuation of record setting August sale price figures going back to 2016.

 

 With many people adjusting to new back to school schedules, we tend to see fewer offers being made and homes being listed in late August and early September. This will likely mean we’ll see a big dip in the number of closed sale figures in next month’s report.  However, with activity already starting to pick back up again, we can expect a typical spike in closed sales to show up 20-45 days from now, in October and November’s statistic reports. 

 

 Remember, although statistics may show there is an “ideal” time of year to buy or sell, the truth is that there are always people buying and selling, no matter the season or economic situation.  The important thing is not whether it is the “ideal” time per market statistics but whether or not it is the “ideal” time for you.  If you are considering buying or selling in the near future, please give us a call!  We’d love to share more about what you can expect in the current market and help you decide on the best next steps! 

 

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for August 2019 compared to August 2018:

Existing/Resale... 

Closed sales – 1,035 (down 9.7%) 

Median Sales Price - $355,000 (up 6.6%)

Days on the Market - 32 (up 23.1%) 

Pending: 1,630 (up 5.7%)

Inventory: 1,662 (down 1.1%)

Months of Supply: 1.7 (up 13.3%)

 

Here is months of inventory at each price point:
$159,999 or less: 0.9
$160,000 to $199,999: 0.3
$200,000 to $249,999: 0.3
$250,000 to $299,999: 0.9
$300,000 to $399,999: 1.9
$400,000 to $499,999: 2.3
$500,000 to $699,999: 2.8
$700,000 to $999,999: 4.1
$1,000,000 or more: 9.7

 

Posted in Housing Market
Oct. 22, 2019

The Benefits of Growing Equity in Your Home

 

Over the last couple of years, we’ve heard quite a bit about rising home prices. Today, expert projections still forecast continued growth, just at a slower pace. One of the often-overlooked benefits of rising home prices is the positive impact they have on home equity. Let’s break down three ways this is a win for homeowners.

 

1. Move-Up Opportunity

 

With the rise in prices, homeowners naturally experience an increase in home equity. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic,

 

“In the first quarter of 2019, the average homeowner gained approximately $6,400 in equity during the past year.”

 

This increase in profit means if homeowners decide to sell, they’ll be able to put their equity to work for them as they make plans to move up into their next home.

 

2. Gain in Seller’s Profit

 

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q2 2019 Home Sales Report, indicating the seller’s profit jumped at one of the fastest rates since 2015. They said:

 

“A look at the national numbers showed that U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since the original purchase of $67,500…the average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of the original purchase price.”

 

Looking at the amount paid when they bought their homes, and then the amount they received after selling, we can see that some homeowners were able to walk away with a significant gain.

 

3. Out of a Negative Equity Situation

 

Negative equity occurs when there is a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt, or both. Many families experienced these challenges over the last decade. According to the same report from CoreLogic,

 

“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $485.7 billion since the first quarter 2018, an increase of 5.6%, year over year.

 

In the first quarter of 2019, the total number of mortgaged residential properties with negative equity decreased…to 2.2 million homes, or 4.1% of all mortgaged properties.”

 

The good news is, many families have moved beyond a negative equity situation, and no longer owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home.

 

Bottom Line

 

If you’re a current homeowner, you may have more equity than you realize. Your equity can open the door to future opportunities, such as moving up to your dream home. Contact a real estate professional in your area to discuss your options and start to put your equity to work for you.

Content from Keeping Current Matters

Oct. 22, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update July 2019

 

This month’s market change was characterized by a slight dip in the median sales price, dropping 1.3% from the previous month but still up 9.7% from the same month last year.  The small month to month drop in the median price was likely affected by a change in the “mix” of home sales by price range from June to July. 

 

What we mean by “mix” of existing home sales is the number of homes available in given price ranges in a given time period.  The mix of homes sold this month consisted of more lower priced houses and fewer higher priced houses than in previous months, which impacted the median price.  As stated by Boise Regional Realtors writer Breanna Vanstrom, “From June to July of 2019, the number of homes for sale in the $160,000 to $199,999 range increased slightly from 2.1% to 2.5%, and the share of existing home sales in the $500,000-$699,999 price range decreased from 11.4% to 10%. Also, during this time period, the share of existing home sales in the $1,000,000 or more price range dropped from 1.3% to 0.5%.  While the number of higher-dollar home sales is usually lower compared to the total number of homes sold, the impact these higher prices sales have on the overall median sales price can be significant.”   

 

Although the impact of this month’s mix of homes drove the median price down slightly, our year over year price appreciation of 9.7% remains strong due in large part to our overall low inventory levels compared to increasing buyer demand.  The months supply of inventory (MSI) for July 2019 was 1.9 months, up 13.9% from July 2018.  But, we are still a long way off from a balanced market, which is characterized by MSI levels in the 4-6 month range.  If we continue with less than 4 months supply of inventory, which is expected, we will remain in a seller’s market.  Under these conditions, price appreciation, though possibly experiencing slight month to month dips due to variations in the mix of homes, should continue on a strong upward trajectory.

 

If you’d like to discuss more about current market trends and how that could affect your buying or selling decisions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We would love the opportunity to meet with you!

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for July 2019 compared to July 2018:
Existing/Resale...
Closed sales – 1,136 (up 1.1%)
Median Sales Price - $349,900 (up 9.7%)
Days on the Market - 30 (up 11.1%)
Pending: 1,741 (up 2.5%)
Inventory: 1,755 (up 9.2%)
Months of Supply: 1.9 (up 11.8%)

 

 

 

 

Posted in Housing Market
Oct. 22, 2019

The Boise Police Department

 

One of the many attractive characteristics of Boise is our relatively low crime rates and the general sense of safety that exists among our community.  The Boise Police Department has played an effective role in helping to create and maintain this aspect of our city. Thus, we thought it might be fun to share a bit about its history.  In 1864, when Boise was the hub of the Idaho Territory, President Abraham Lincoln appointed John Ward as the first law enforcement marshal.  For almost 40 years, the law continued to be enforced by federal marshals, until the Boise Police Department (BPD) was officially established in 1903.  At its conception, the department consisted of a police chief, a police sergeant, and seven police officers.  In 1916, Doc Roach became the first motorcycle officer in Boise, sporting a motorcycle and side car to get through the unpaved streets of the city.

 

In its 116 year history, the BPD has only lost one officer in the line of duty, Officer Mark Stall.  Officer Stall was shot and killed during a traffic stop which turned violent on September 20, 1997.  In his honor, the Boise City Council named the West Boise street where the Boise Police Department is now located after him, N. Mark Stall Place.  Additionally, since Officer Stall’s badge number was 512, the The 512 Fund was established to assist injured officers outside the Boise area who may need to be transported here for emergency medical treatment. 

 

In 2015, the BPD adopted a puppy from the Canyon County Animal Shelter for the purpose of training a mascot.  He was named “Scout” and is handled by Officer Lance Nickerson, who uses him for community events and as a therapy dog for victims and witnesses.

 

Today, the Boise Police Department is made up of about 300 sworn officers and 100 support staff, all dedicated to supporting and working with the Boise community to make it a better place for each and every resident.

 

Posted in Local History
Oct. 22, 2019

Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: Behind Closed Doors

Welcome back for this month’s Untold Story of a Boise Realtor!  This story is one that I’ve told so many times and remains my most shocking experience yet as a Realtor.  It happened about 6 years ago with clients of mine that are so so so dear.  I ADORE them!  These clients had 5 kids at the time (6 now :) and these sweet kiddos usually joined us when we looked at houses.  Grandma and Grandpa also joined us most of the time.  This particular day we had several houses lined up to see.  I want to say it was at least 5.  When I’m showing houses, I have to line up a tour and make appointments with sellers to show their houses.  So for this day of showings, I had arranged appointments at each of the houses on our list.  We saw a couple and were running behind the schedule that I had arranged, so I was keeping in close touch with the other sellers to let them know we were running late, etc.  The house in question was no different.  I had been in contact with the seller numerous times.  He told me, “No problem! We can be flexible! The house will be ready when you get here. FYI - there is a dog in the back yard.”  Great!  Nothing unusual about any of that. 

We finally arrive at this house - my clients, their 5 kids, and Grandma and Grandpa (I actually don’t remember if G&G were with us on this trip but they usually were).  I access the key from the lockbox and open the door to let us in.  We all pile in and the first door to the left of the entry is closed.  Many houses here in Boise have an office in that location, so Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: Behind Closed DoorsI was pretty sure that was what that door led to.  So I said, “let’s start here in the office” and swung the door open to reveal the office.  At least that’s all I thought I would be revealing.  Instead, we found a very large man, scantily clad laying in a hospital bed!  WAS HE DEAD?  SLEEPING?  Would he wake up and wonder why all 10 of us were in the office with him staring at him with mouths agape?  WHY DID THE SELLER NOT FEEL IT IMPORTANT TO TELL ME THIS MAN WOULD BE IN THE OFFICE?  He seemed to think it was important to tell me there was a dog in the backyard!  The best part, though, is my awesome clients just backed out of the office, shrugged, and went on to see the rest of the house.  It may go without saying, but it wasn’t the house for them :).  Lesson of this story is, as a seller, if you’re harboring a large, partially naked man in your office, PLEASE LET REALTORS KNOW!  I continue to be affected by this showing as I still have a hard time opening closed doors while I am showing houses.  

 

Written by Becka Marston

See more posts by Becka Marston HERE!

 

Posted in Becka Marston