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!

Aug. 18, 2019

No Plan B

I am a planner.  I almost always have a Plan A, and I set my mind toward achieving it.  Often, I will also think up a Plan B or even a Plan C, although disappointment, frustration, and occasional child-like tantrums sometimes ensue if I am forced to move from my seemingly superior Plan A to any plan further down the line.  I like when Plan As work out and prefer when Plan Bs are not needed.  So, perhaps that’s why when I heard someone say, “There are no Plan Bs in God’s kingdom, only Plan A, and God’s good and perfect Plan A cannot be thwarted,” it caused me to pause and flooded me with peace.  I hadn’t really considered this truth much before, but I knew God’s word confirmed it.  Job 42:2 says “I know [Lord] that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Additionally, Psalm 33:10-11 says, “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the people.  But, the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” If His plans cannot be thwarted then there is no need for Him to make Plan Bs.  His Plan A will stand firm forever.  

This truth hit me afresh over the summer as we had the joy of going back to Georgia to spend time with Brooks’ biological mom—a woman who we love and now consider family.  Although there is a tendency in those times to think of myself as Brooks’ “Plan B mom”, God’s words in the verses above reminded me again that it’s not so.  From the beginning of time, long before I was even around to make plans, the Lord chose to write me in as Brooks’ “Plan A mom”. Through my human eyes, it can seem like there were many unplanned events and seemingly thwarted plans that led him to become our son.  But, then I read God’s words and marvel that all the twists and turns and ups and downs are part of the humanly confusing but gloriously perfect road God paved for us.   It was His Plan A from the start for Brooks to have the genetic makeup of his birth mom and his biological father.  It was His Plan A to have Brooks’ first mom carry him, give him life, care for him, and make the loving choice to place him for adoption. And, it was His Plan A to knit Brooks into our family and make me his “Plan A mom” and he my “Plan A son.”        

If today you find yourself feeling confused by the path you are on, frustrated by thwarted plans, or troubled by the thought of being part of an inferior Plan B, I pray you can find peace in the knowledge that there is a Great Planner who knows all, sees all, and has written a beautiful and perfect Plan A, which you are a part of and which will most certainly come to pass.  Though it may feel, as you walk through twists and turns and navigate ups and downs, that your life is chaotic and aimless, I hope you will remember there is a loving God who created you just as He wanted you, who wrote the story of time, and who placed you in it for a specific purpose.  He is working out His loving and perfect Plan A for your life, and His plan cannot be thwarted.  If you want proof of that, just look to the cross.  There, Jesus died to save you and to secure the success of His marvelous Plan A.  Some say, Jesus’ coming was God’s Plan B—His backup plan since we messed up the original plan and forced Him to send Jesus to fix things.   But, this is not so. “This [the cross] is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).  The story of God’s love for us, told through the sacrificial action of Him becoming a man and paying the penalty of death we deserved on our behalf, reveals his true love and character to us in a way that no other story line could. This was part of His perfect Plan A—His “Plan A salvation story” for His “Plan A YOU”!

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE

Posted in Katie Miller
July 29, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update June 2019

 

The median home price for Ada County reached a new record high this month coming in at $354,405.  This is a 10% increase from the median price in June of last year and a 7.5% increase from last month!  Although we don’t expect the current pace of price increases to continue at such large percentages, we do expect the trajectory will remain upward.  Included in this e-newsletter is an article with information gathered from reliable sources confirming upward national housing price projections. Reasons for these predictions vary slightly depending on area, but here are a few reasons why we project continued price increases in the Treasure Valley:  

 

  •           There are too few houses to keep up with the number of people looking to buy, especially in the lower price points. With everything our area has to offer, the Treasure Valley continues to attract people from all over the country.  Low interest rates, which equate to lower monthly mortgage payments, continue to attract more people to buy as well.  Both these factors are increasing demand and putting strain on a market with already limited inventory.  This gap between buyer demand and housing supply appears as though it may continue for quite some time, meaning the competition for housing and the price increases such competition fosters will be sticking around for quite some time as well. 

 

  •           The cost of new construction has risen drastically.  With too few existing homes available, there is a high demand for builders to build more.  This creates heavy demand for vacant land, skilled labor, and construction materials.  Since these things are in low supply, prices on such items are rising quickly.  The gap between the demand of builders and the supply of land, labor, and materials is expected to keep construction costs rising well into the foreseeable future. 

 

Increasing housing prices can be both frightening and encouraging at the same time.  If you’d like to talk more about the current market and how it may affect your decisions to buy or sell in the Treasure Valley, please don’t hesitate to call us!  We are familiar with local real estate trends and would love the opportunity to help guide you in your future real estate decisions.  

 

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

Existing/Resale...

 

  • Closed sales – 1,091 (down 9.4%) 
  • Median Sales Price - $354,405 (up 10%)
  • Days on the Market - 31 (up 19.2%) 
  • Pending: 1,745 (down 7.7%)
  • Inventory: 1,725 (up 22.2%)
  • Months of Supply: 1.5 (up 25%)

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
  • $160,000 - 199,999: 0.6 month
  • $200,000 - $249,499: 0.3 month
  • $250,000 - $299,999: 0.7 month
  • $300,000 - 399,999: 1.6 months
  • $400,000 - 499,999: 1.9 months
  • $500,000 - $699,999: 1.9 months
  • $700,000 - $999,999: 3.9 months
  • $1,000,000 or more: 8.5 months
Posted in Housing Market
July 29, 2019

Sacagawea

 

In May 1788, a Native American baby girl was born into the Lemhi Shoshone tribe near Salmon, Idaho.  This child, named Sacagawea, would grow up to be an integral member of the Lewis and Clark expedition and would help to ensure the success of their mission.

When she was about 12, she was among a group of young girls that were kidnapped from their village by a rival tribe.  She was taken to Washburn, North Dakota and held there until she turned 13.  Then she was sold to a Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau and was forced into a non-consensual marriage.  At 16, she became pregnant with their first child.

 

In the winter of 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark built Fort Mandan in North Dakota with the intention of wintering there before moving on to Missouri.   Knowing they would be interacting with the Shoshone Indians, they sought an interpreter to take with them on their journey.  They hired Charbonneau as a guide because his wife spoke Shoshone.  Sacagawea and her husband moved into the fort and her son was born there.  Clark nicknamed her “Janey” and her son, Jean-Baptiste, was nicknamed “Little Pomp.”

 

In the spring of 1805, they continued up the Missouri River.  Sacagawea was a significant helper.  She was responsible for saving items that had fallen out of a capsized boat including the journals of Lewis & Clark.  When they encountered the Shoshone tribe and wanted some of their horses, it was discovered that the chief, Cameahwait, was Sacagawea’s brother and they greeted her with great joy.

 

The trip was very challenging.  At one point, they were reduced to eating tallow candles to survive.  Sacagawea found and prepared camas roots to help the group recover.   She also surrendered her blue beaded belt in exchange for a fur robe that Lewis and Clark wanted to present to President Thomas Jefferson.  She advised the captains on the best route through the Rocky Mountains (now known as Bozeman Pass) which was later selected as the best route for the Northern Pacific Railway.  But Sacagawea’s most valuable contribution was being an Indian woman traveling with a group of white men, signifying to the native people they encountered that they were approaching with peaceful intentions.

 

At the expedition’s conclusion, William Clark invited Sacagawea and her family to live with him in St Louis, Missouri.  They entrusted their son to Clark’s guardianship and he tended to the boy’s education.  Sacagawea had a daughter, Lizette, some time after 1810 but the girl did not survive to adulthood. 

 

In 1812, Sacagawea contracted an unknown virus and died at the age of 24.  She is commemorated in Boise by a statue of her and her son in front of the Idaho Historical Museum in Julia Davis Park.

 

Posted in Local History
July 29, 2019

Home Price Appreciation Forecast

 

Questions continue to come up about where home prices will head throughout the rest of this year, as well as where they may be going over the few years beyond.

 

We’ve gathered current data from the industry’s most reliable sources to help answer these questions:

 

The Home Price Expectation Survey – A survey of over 100 market analysts, real estate experts, and economists conducted by Pulsenomics each quarter.

 

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments.

 

Zelman & Associates – The firm leverages unparalleled housing market expertise, extensive surveys of industry executives, and rigorous financial analysis to deliver proprietary research and advice to leading global institutional investors and senior-level company executives.

 

Freddie Mac – An organization whose mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast.

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world.

 

Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets.

 

Here’s the home price appreciation these experts are projecting over the next few years:

 

 

 

Bottom Line

Every source sees home prices continuing to appreciate, which is great news for the strength of the market. The increase is steepest throughout the rest of 2019, and prices should continue to rise as we move through 2020 and beyond.

 

 

July 29, 2019

Library!

If you’ve ever passed a library in Boise, you may have noticed an “!” at the end of its name.  The story of how it got there is an interesting one and is attributed to, Howard Olivier, the founder of Flying Pie Pizzeria.  Flying Pie is an iconic pizza joint in the area and has a reputation for adding a bit of quirky fun to the pizza business.  To give you some examples, they once went to great lengths to deliver pizza in 17 hours to a remote location in Alaska where pizza delivery usually takes no less than 3 days.  They also showed up with a marching band to deliver their millionth pizza and awarded the homeowner Pizza For Life.  Although odd that a pizza place and a library would be linked together, perhaps these stories of Howard’s whimsical ideas may make it a little less surprising that his company would be linked to the unique “!”on the library. 
    
So, what’s the story?  Well, Howard Olivier was a huge fan of the Boise Public Library.  One day, he looked up at the 5’ tall letters on the building that spelled out “LIBRARY” and thought the sign underrated how incredible the library actually was.  His solution--add an exclamation point!  He made an offer to the marketing director of the library that if they would allow him to add this punctuation mark to the library signage Flying Pie would pay for it.

The library agreed, and on January 21, 1995, the new sign was unveiled for the local TV stations and bystanders to see.  Although the new LIBRARY! sign drew widespread popularity, not everyone was a fan, including Dave Bieter.  He felt that a great library did not need punctuation.  When he was elected Mayor of Boise, getting rid of the exclamation point was on his agenda.  But, as he recalled later, “I learned in about an hour and a half of being the mayor that the exclamation point is beloved in the city of Boise.”  There was no touching it—the “!” was there to stay.  LIBRARY! is now trademarked.  It is part of the Boise Public Library brand and appears on all local branches.

 

Posted in Local History
July 29, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update May 2019

 

 

 

Boise Regional Realtors’ Breanna Vanstrom summarized this month’s market update with the following points:

• The existing home median sales price reached a new high at $329,000, up 14.7% from May 2018. Local home prices are being driven by the persistently low inventory of existing homes compared to demand.
• Due to the lack of inventory of homes for sale at the lower price points, the share of higher-priced home sales continued to rise, further driving up the median price for the segment, as well as the market overall.
• The median sales price for Ada County reached a new record of $342,990 in May 2019, for existing and new homes combined. This was up 12.5% over the same month last year.

If you’d like to discuss more about the ins and outs of today’s market and how it may inform your summer buying or selling decisions, please let us know!  It gives us great joy to be afforded the opportunity to meet with people, hear where they’re at, provide helpful resources and information, and hopefully guide them well in determining how best to proceed in their real estate endeavors.

Here are the statistics comparing May 2018 to May 2019:

Existing/Resale...
Closed sales – 1,161 (down 1.1%) 
Median Sales Price - $342,990 (up 12.5%)
Days on the Market - 32 (down 3%) 
Pending: 1,866 (down 4.5%)
Inventory: 1,533 (up 13.9%)
Months of Supply: 1.5 (up 15.4%)

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
$160,000 - 199,999: 0.4 month
$200,000 - $249,499: 0.2 month
$250,000 - $299,999: 0.7 month
$300,000 - 399,999: 1.5 months
$400,000 - 499,999: 1.7 months
$500,000 - $699,999: 2.5 months
$700,000 - $999,999: 4.8 months
$1,000,000 or more: 9.9 months

Posted in Housing Market
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