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!

July 19, 2019

Those Darn Mosquitoes

Those Darn Mosquitoes

I have often made the comment, especially while itching around little pink bumps, “What good purpose could God have for mosquitoes?”  Colossians 1:16 reminds me He has indeed created all things for his good purposes, but mosquitoes?  Are you sure?

Corrie Ten Boom asked this same question about lice and fleas.  Corrie was a Christian in Holland during World War II.  She and her family were able to hide many Jewish people and help them to safety before she was caught and sent to a Nazi death camp.  You can read her story in the amazing autobiography, The Hiding Place. There were several stories from her life that impacted me, but one in particular was a story about Corrie’s encounter with God’s good purposes for lice and fleas. 

Upon arriving to the death camp, Corrie’s sister Betsy looked to God to find joy in their new dark surroundings by thanking Him for any blessings they could see around them.  She thanked Him for allowing her and Corrie to be together, for miraculously letting them smuggle their Bible into the camp, for all the people they could share the love of Jesus with, for food and beds, etc. Corrie also gave thanks for many things Betsy mentioned, but when Betsy thanked God for the lice and fleas that infested the beds in the bunk house, Corrie insisted it was silly to thank God for such awful things and thought Betsy a bit crazy for doing so.  I agreed.  

Although guards were everywhere in the camp, always keeping a close watch, the one place they never set foot was in the bunk houses.  This gave Corrie and Betsy the opportunity to host Bible studies, sing hymns, and share the love and hope of Jesus with their fellow prisoners in their barracks without ever being interrupted or interrogated by a guard.  This freedom was curious to Corrie and Betsy until one day, several days after being in the camp, Betsy discovered why.  “Corrie,” she said with excitement, “do you know why the guards don’t come in our bunk house?  It’s because they’re afraid of getting lice and fleas!”  Then Corrie realized the lice and fleas infesting their beds did indeed serve a good purpose and were a gift for which they could be thankful.

I still struggle to come up with a good purpose for mosquitoes. And, I still find it difficult to thank God for them or for lice or fleas. But, I love the reminder this story brings, that though I cannot come up with any good purpose for mosquitoes myself, God--who sees all and who has infinite wisdom--has seen a purpose for them and has created them for such.  

As I write this today, my question of “Why mosquitoes?” seems trivial in comparison to my questions of, “Why did my friend’s husband betray her?” “Why did a local mother and her two children have to encounter a seemingly senseless death in a house fire?”  “Why is cancer ravaging the bodies of so many of our church family?”  And the list goes on.  But, God’s answer to the trivial question of “Why mosquitoes?” and to the much more heavy question of “Why this pain and suffering?” is the same answer.  I believe, based on several passages in the Bible, His answer to me would be something like this, “Beloved, Katie, don’t you know that I see all things and know all things. I see how these seemingly ugly pieces of the puzzle fit into the bigger and beautiful picture I have designed. You see a puzzle scrambled, and I see it perfectly complete.”  I can trust that my all-knowing Heavenly Father indeed does know best.  More importantly, I can trust, as Corrie Ten Boom did, that all the pieces of life’s puzzle, even those seemingly ugly pieces with mosquitoes, lice, Nazi death camps, betrayal, suffering, and loss, were designed and fashioned into place out of His great love for us.  For we know “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  And God demonstrated this great act of love for us in that “while we were still sinners (not even friends of God, but estranged, unworthy, and rebellious), Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) and rose again, promising us a restored future with Him.  

If His love for us is indeed this great, how can we question His good purposes in all things?  How wonderful that I have the freedom to ask the question “why” but at the same time trust He has the perfect answer--an answer that I too, if able to see the whole picture, would deem perfect and necessary--even those darn mosquitoes.  

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE

Posted in Katie Miller
June 20, 2019

A Grace Paced Life

I recently finished listening to the audiobook, "Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture."  Although I feel the Lord has been helping me let go of some of my tendencies to overwork, overschedule, and overcommit, I was convicted that I still need more help in this area.  In the book, the author, David Murray, discussed the importance of getting our bodies and minds the proper rest, recharge, and refreshment God designed them to have.  He gave several examples of changes we could make to do this, but the one I struggle the most to incorporate in my life is giving my body proper sleep. 

Research shows 7-9 hours of sleep a night is important for the body to function at it's best.  Yet, over the past several years, I have rarely slept for as many as 7 hours. I consider nighttime to be prime working time.  The kids are asleep, the house is quite, and I seem to think I have unlimited hours to cram in all the work or tasks on my to-do list that I wasn't able to get done earlier in the day.  I often push through my list until my eyes can’t stay open anymore and then drop off to sleep.  Since the kids are not yet at an age where sleeping in is attractive, this means the morning comes at the same time no matter how late I stayed awake the night before, often leading to less sleep than needed and resulting in a short temper and fuzzy brain throughout the day. Ultimately, this causes greater conflict in my family relationships and less productivity in my work.  

Although I know I need more sleep, I tell myself there just isn’t any other way.  There is so much to do, not enough time, and only me to do it.  What the author reminded me of, however, is that when I tell myself these things, I am essentially saying that I don’t trust God. I don’t trust He has given me enough time in the day to complete the work He has for me and still get proper rest.  I don’t trust He is in control and is fully capable of taking care of all the things that really need to get done.  And, I don’t trust or respect how He has created my body to need proper sleep and rest.  This was convicting to me.  I want to trust God, and I want to rest in His capable hands.  I want to believe the truth of the words in Psalms 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep” (vs 1-2).  So, I am asking for the Lord’s help in this and trying to make a change.  And if you struggle in this area, I pray He will help you too.  May we not labor long, stay up late, or get up early in vain.  May we not anxiously toil.  But rather, may we find the rest the Lord is so eager to provide his children and trust that today’s works is enough for today.  

NOTE:  I found out while listening to this audiobook that “Reset” was written primarily for men.  If you are a woman and are interested in reading this book, I would recommend the women’s version, “Refresh:  Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World off Endless Demands, “ which is tailored more to the common struggles of women.  Many people don’t realize they’re running at an unsustainable pace until they burnout physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  These books give great information on helping you slow down to a more grace-paced life--enabling you to avoid the pitfall of burnout, cultivate sustainable habits for the future, and experience the rest of body and soul that God intends for you. 

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE

Posted in Katie Miller
June 6, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update April 2019

 

As we have been stating for several months now, an increase in housing inventory is needed to help bring us back to a more balanced market.  In April, we experienced the first signs of movement in this direction as inventory jumped 12.8% above the previous month, and the overall median sales price took a slight 1.0% dip.  Although downward movement in median sales price can be scary to some, this drop was very minor and is actually a welcome indication of a healthy market moderation.  Year over year appreciation in the housing market remains high, with the median overall sales price up 12.2% from the same month last year.  We are still in a strong seller’s market—far from being balanced—but, as indicated by this month’s statistics, continued increases in inventory will certainly help stabilize the market. 

 

If you are interested in knowing more about current market trends and future predications of real estate analysts, we would love the opportunity to meet with you to share that information.  In doing so, we hope to better equip you for making educated decisions about any real estate move you may be considering.  Please don’t hesitate to call!

 

Posted in Housing Market
June 6, 2019

The Benefits of a 20% Down Payment

 

If you are in the market to buy a home this year, you may be confused about how much money you need to come up with for your down payment. Many people you talk to will tell you that you need to save 20% or you won’t be able to secure a mortgage.

 

The truth is that there are many programs available that let you put down as little as 3%. Those who have served our country could qualify for a Veterans Affairs Home Loan (VA) without needing a down payment.

 

These programs have cut the savings time that many families would need to compile a large down payment from five or more years down to a year or two. This allows them to start building family wealth sooner.

 

So then, why do so many people believe that they need a 20% down payment to buy a home? There has to be a reason! Today, we want to talk about four reasons why putting 20% down is a good plan, if you can afford it.

 

1. Your interest rate will be lower.

 

Putting down a 20% down payment vs. a 3-5% down payment shows your lender/bank that you are more financially stable, thus a good credit risk. The more confident your bank is in your credit score and your ability to pay your loan, the lower the rate they will be willing to give you.

 

2. You’ll end up paying less for your home.

 

The bigger your down payment, the lower your loan amount will be for your mortgage. If you are able to pay 20% of the cost of your new home at the start of the transaction, you will only pay interest on the remaining 80%. If you put down a 5% down payment, the extra 15% on your loan will accrue interest and end up costing you more in the long run!

 

3. Your offer will stand out in a competitive market!

 

In a market where many buyers are competing for the same home, sellers like to see offers come in with 20% or larger down payments. The seller gains the same confidence that the bank did above. You are seen as a stronger buyer whose financing is more likely to be approved. Therefore, the deal will be more likely to go through!

 

4. You won’t have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

 

Simply put, PMI is “an insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.”

 

As we mentioned earlier, when you put down less than 20% to buy a home, your lender/bank will see your loan as having more risk. PMI helps them recover their investment in you if you are unable to pay your loan. This insurance is not required if you are able to put down 20% or more.

 

Many times, home sellers looking to move up to a larger or more expensive home are able to take the equity they earn from the sale of their house to put down 20% on their next home.

 

If you are looking to buy your first home, you will have to weigh the benefits of saving a 20% down payment vs. the time and cost of continuing to rent while you save that amount.

 

Bottom Line

 

If your plan for your future includes buying a home and you’re already saving for your down payment, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you decide the down payment size that best fits with your long-term plan!

Content from Keeping Current Matters

 

 

 

June 6, 2019

The Children's Home

 

In the 1900s, Boise was a bustling city, increasing in population from 5,957 in 1900 to 17,358 in 1910.  But with urban growth came an increase in urban issues, one of which was the plight of poor orphaned children wandering the city streets begging for money and stealing food.  O.P. Christian was greatly concerned about the welfare of these children.  In 1908, Christian combined forces with like-minded city leaders C.W. Moore (founder of the Boise Artesian Hot & Cold Water Company) and Governor Frank R. Gooding to form The Children’s Home Society of Idaho.  In 1910, they built The Children’s Home at 740 Warm Springs Avenue on land donated by school teacher and philanthropist Cynthia A. Mann.  The cost of the project was $42,700.  The first floor of the building was comprised of offices, living apartments, a kitchen, and dining room.  Dorm rooms for girls and boys, a nursery, hospital room, and operating rooms filled the second floor, including one room that could only be accessed from outside which was used for isolating children with infectious diseases.  The attic held a row of beds along each wall, and the basement housed the laundry facilities.  Capacity was 100 orphans, and the home was often full throughout its operating years.    

 

In the 1950s and 60s, orphanages started becoming obsolete due to the lack of individual attention the children endured and the establishment of the foster care system.  In 1968, the last child was adopted out of The Children’s Home and it ceased operation as an orphanage.  In 1970, much to the chagrin of the neighbors, the building was used to house delinquent teenage boys.  Then, in 1975, the Children’s Home Society worked with Boise State University to determine the most outstanding needs in the community.  Their discussions resulted in the decision to use the home as a children’s counseling center that would serve the public whether they could pay for such services or not.  Today, the counseling center helps over 3,000 children annually to work through family conflict, bullying, trauma, abuse, grief, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, and foster care placement. 

 

The building was completely remodeled in 1997 to include counseling offices, a conference room, an observation room, a library, and administrative offices.  The attic and the exterior were left in their original condition as a tribute to its early history.   The Children’s Home is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Posted in Local History
May 17, 2019

Abundant Life

Abundant Life

Spring has sprung and the world around me is teeming with new life, new growth, flowers, sunshine, and sounds of laughter from kids and grownups alike.  As I bask in it,  Jesus’ words from John 10:10 cross my mind, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.”  I, like so many others, tend to feel like life is abundant when I’m in a happy place--I’m warm, comfortable, cared for, surrounded by people I love and who love me, have a clean and orderly house, have my financial needs met, have a nice savings buffer in case of emergencies, and have my health.  But, if these things are really the source of abundant life what happens when we never experience them or they are threatened or disappear all together, as they so easily do? Does Jesus’ promise of abundant life disappear along with them?  My answer: No, because the abundant life Jesus is talking about is not found in the things he gives or doesn’t give but rather in knowing him. 

Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).  In this verse, He reminds us that it is only in Him that we will find joy, life, and abundance.  He is our happy place, our greatest gift.  He wants us to know him and to receive his gift of abundant life.  That’s why He came and died for us—to break the separation sin created between us and God and to make a way for us to know him and to be in relationship with him.  Moreover, when we are connected to him, he promises to produce in us “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control” (Galatians 5:22-23).  It is these gifts of himself that allow us to have abundant life that is not defined by our circumstances, but rather steadfast amidst our circumstances.    

Paul, his disciple, understood this. He suffered much, giving up his wealth and status to tell others about the abundant life found in Jesus.  His letters to the churches of the time are filled with joy, peace, contentment, and an overflowing of abundant life. Yet, many of them were penned within the confines of his cold, damp jail cell, where he suffered for sharing his faith.  Paul’s happy place was found in God and no circumstance, no matter how difficult, or person, no matter how brutal, could steal away the abundant life that He found at the feet of his Savior.  A recent comment from my son, Hutch, also makes me think that he understands this.  When talking about heaven and our happy places, Hutch said his happy place will be walking with Jesus and eating cotton candy together.  How beautiful that his picture of abundant life, his happy place, involves cotton candy (of course =-) but more importantly involves walking and talking with His Savior—experiencing  life with Jesus by his side, filling him with an abundance of peace, joy, love, and contentment that will last long after the cotton candy is gone—that will last for eternity!  May each of you also receive the gift of this abundant life, purchased for you by Jesus at a great price and stored up for you in heaven, “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).  

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE

Posted in Katie Miller
May 8, 2019

Have you heard of a CLUE report?

Have you ever heard of a CLUE report? It's a insurance record that is kept on every property for claims that have been filed in the past, and it helps insurance companies know what their rates should be on a specific house. You're probably wondering, "Why does this matter to me?" 

As a savvy buyer, you might be able to get a hold of the CLUE report for a house that you're interested in buying to see any claims that have been filed. The trick is that the SELLER has to request the report, so you might be able to ask that the seller shares the report with you. Whether or not they will should tell you something... 

As a seller, you might want to pull the CLUE report for your home as a "nice-to-have" to provide to potential buyers. In Idaho, we have the sellers property disclosure form that is required to be filled out by all sellers, but providing the CLUE report along with that disclosure form might give some buyers that extra reassurance that the disclosure was filled out honestly. 

Check out THIS article for more information on CLUE reports and how they can help you in your home buying process!  

May 8, 2019

The Boise Weekly

The Boise Weekly has been highlighting the people, happenings, and culture of Boise, Idaho, and the Mountain West for 27 years and counting.  It was created in 1992 by Andy Hedden-Nicely, a Boise advertising agency owner, his wife Debi, and Larry Ragan.   

 

The Boise Weekly was and still is the only alternative newspaper in the Boise area and has a weekly circulation of 35,000 at more than 1,000 locations.  It is locally focused and deliberately avoids general comprehensive news coverage—choosing, instead, to spotlight stylized reporting, unique opinion columns, investigations into edgy topics, and magazine-style feature stories.  In doing this, the publication hopes to represent an authentic voice of the community.  

 

In spring of 2000, the paper was sold to the City of Roses Newspaper Company in Portland.  A year and half later, it was sold to its current publisher, Sally Freeman. 

 

Boise Weekly also has an on-line readership in the hundreds of thousands.  You can check it out HERE. 

 

 

Posted in Local History
May 8, 2019

3 Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying a Home

 

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.  Ask yourself the following three questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.


1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home?  For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.  For example, a study by realtor.com found that “73% said buying in a good school district was “important” in their search.”  This report supports a
study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. The actual reasons are:
·         A good place to raise children and provide them with a good education
·         A place where you and your family feel safe
·         More space for you and your family
·         Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.


2. Where are home values headed?
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in February (the latest data available) was $249,500. This is up 3.6% from last year. The increase also marks the 84th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.  Looking at home prices year over year, CoreLogic is forecasting an increase of 4.6%. In other words, a home that costs you $250,000 today will cost you an additional $11,500 if you wait until next year to buy it.  What does that mean to you?  Simply put, with prices increasing, it may cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy.


3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?
A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.  Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and NAR have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line
Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

Content from Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Buying a Home
May 8, 2019

Winco

 

In 1967, two local businessmen, Ralph Ward and Bud Williams, had an idea to create a discount warehouse-style grocery store in Boise.  Thus, they founded Waremart—a no frills operation complete with flat carts, grease pencils for writing the price on each item, and a consistent focus on low prices.  In the 1970s, Ralph Ward bought out Bud Williams’ stake in the company.  He grew Waremart into a small chain of supermarkets stretching to other cities in the Pacific Northwest and becoming well-known for their low prices.  Things were going well, but when Ralph Ward passed away in 1985, the employees of Waremart were left feeling uncertain about their futures.  Because they didn’t want to lose their stores, they decided to band together and purchase controlling interest from the Ward family.  Under the direction of Bill Long, the company’s president, an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) was created, and the 17 stores in the chain became employee owned. 

 

In 1998, the company built a distribution center in Woodburn, Oregon, to service their stores and help with cost management.  Then, in 1999, a company-wide contest was held to decide on a new name.  The name that won was based on a combination of Winning and Company – WinCo.  In the 2000s, WinCo expanded into California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and Oklahoma.  Today, it is the largest ESOP company in the country and the founder of the organization “Certified Employee Owned”--a group of companies that support the values and benefits of employee ownership.  With its invested employees, good customer service, and a continued low-price focus, WinCo is certainly one of the favorite grocery stores of many of Boise shoppers, including me!

 

 

 

Posted in Local History