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.  A few of our agents also post personal blog posts from time to time  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 14, 2021

Why We All Need to Be Preapproved: Crucial to More than Home Purchases

This week, I reminded some eager buyers that the first crucial step in the process was getting pre-approved by their lender. We could look at homes and they could fall in love with one, but we would ultimately hit a wall without that pre-approval, and they would end up empty-handed and discouraged.

This first-thing's-first discussion got me thinking about a bigger and even more crucial pre-approval each of us needs, not just for real estate transactions but for all of life.

To pre-qualify someone for a loan, a lender takes a broad look at income, debt, assets, employment, savings, etc. to determine whether someone is able to handle a loan, and for how much. Once the lender gives the go-ahead, the buyer is equipped to enter into a transaction under the terms of the loan. 

We need spiritual pre-approval as well. Without it, we can feel like we're accomplishing things, but we are only headed for disappointment. Like that initial conversation with the lender from whom our ability to purchase a home will come, we need to approach God in the same way -- early and dependent. Without His approval and equipping of us, we are spinning our wheels in life aimlessly.

The problem for us arises, then, in our poor credit history and our insurmountable debts. Even the best of our merits brought before God cannot qualify us for His approval. In fact, it only confirms the chasm that we cannot hope to cross on our own. Thankfully, God has made a plan. He didn't merely co-sign for us, promising to step in only if we default on our own. He paid it in full from an account of endless wealth and from storehouses overflowing with assets that cannot be diminished. It is now Jesus's name on the purchase, not ours. By substituting Jesus in our place at the cross, God now sees His Son, made flesh and sinless -- the only one truly pre-qualified to fulfill the expectations of the Father. He declares us "Pre-Approved" for life and godliness. 

We move forward with the strongest backing available. He waives all contingencies for us, meaning nothing can fall through based on the value or condition of what we produce. We enter "escrow," where our pursuits are kept in the custody of a third party, Jesus, whose once-for-all sacrifice continues to pay for our ongoing debt even after the deal has been closed. The gratitude that brings about in us creates a pride of ownership that is evident to all. We want to care for our life that has been bought at such a price by obeying and loving God with all of our hearts, nurturing our souls with His Word.

I'm so thankful that God provided His Son as our covering so that we in our bankrupt state can be prequalified completely in His eyes, and equipped to navigate the rough waters of life and produce what is strong and acceptable to Him. Once He has seen fit to take us upon Himself, He will never default for the sake of His own glory and His amazing love for us.

By Anne Gould

For more articles by Anne Gould, click HERE

Posted in Anne Gould
May 14, 2021

Boise Housing Market Update | April 2021

It is no question that the Boise housing market continues to be hot, fast-paced, and competitive.  The average days on market for existing homes dropped to a record low of 10 days.  This means homes are selling more than two times faster than they have in the last three years.  We have noticed a developing trend, where most new inventory is listed on Thursday or Friday (the historically best days to list) and nearly all are pending by the conclusion of the weekend.  For the first time in my career, buyers are suspicious of homes that are on the market for over a week, often asking the question, “What’s wrong with this house?”

Competition over new listings is fierce, with many of the same people bidding against each other for the newest inventory each week.  I recently read somewhere that buyers nationwide are making an average of 4.8 offers before they get a home.  We’ve had some buyers be competitive enough to get the first home they’ve bid on, while others have had to make 8 or 9 offers before securing a property.  This can be incredibly discouraging as a buyer, as well as for us as agents. But, it is also incredibly rewarding and exciting when the Lord opens a door and patience and perseverance pay off in an accepted offer! 

As you can imagine, fierce competition over limited inventory, has continued to push prices up.  The median sales price for existing/resale homes in the Boise housing market rose 2.8% over the last month, reaching a new record of $489,000!  With prices continuing to increase so rapidly, many wonder if we are headed toward another bubble.  But, expert opinions, as well as my own personal opinion, say “no” (see THIS ARTICLE more information on why). 

Although this market is difficult to navigate and is stretching for all involved, we are dedicated to walking with you through its ups and downs.  And, we believe home ownership is a worthwhile pursuit.  No matter where you’re at, whether just curious about the market or contemplating jumping in, we can be a great resource in helping you determine the right next steps.  We are never too busy for your phone calls or questions, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

For a quick snapshot of the Boise housing market for April 2021, see Boise Regional REALTORS® housing market summary for Ada County below:

Boise Housing Market | April 2021

 

See more monthly Boise housing market updates HERE!

Posted in Housing Market
May 13, 2021

I Don't Wanna Go If You Don't Go

Ever since I started doing a blog for real estate several years ago, I've included posts called "Contemplations from Katie," where I've written about different things I'm learning, growing in, or desiring to share with others.  I was recently encouraged by someone to try doing this section in video format instead of writing, so I thought I'd give it a try.  For those of you who have enjoyed those blog posts over the years, I'd love to hear what you think.  If you prefer it written, I could stick with that.  I could also switch to the video option or bounce back and forth between the two.  I would greatly appreciate your feedback.  You can email me at katie@triplecordrealestate.com.  

In this vlog, I share how the message in Exodus 33: 1-3, 15-17 has been meaningful to me in this season.  I love how Moses says "no" to the Promised Land if God won't go with him.  He chooses the Giver (God) over the gift (the land flowing with milk and honey).   Moses knows the truth that God is our source of joy and fulfillment and nothing is better than being with Him.  I want to trust that truth and respond the same!

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

 

Posted in Katie Miller
April 16, 2021

Home Staging and Buyer Expectations

A decade ago, home staging was still largely an excess found mostly in hard-to-sell luxury listings or high rise penthouses that needed the unique flair only a low-backed, modern, leather sectional could bring. Typical single-family residential listings were rarely decked out with borrowed furnishings. 

Time has changed things, though, and with the fast-moving, competitive nature of the market these days, the ante has been upped when it comes to prepping a listing. Buyers' expectations of how homes will look and feel have been largely based on a facade.

According to a 2021 report by the National Association of REALTORS®, 68% of buyers polled expressed dissatisfaction that properties they had viewed did not meet the expectations they'd held after watching home design shows. Many buyers, without realizing it, have developed a false sense that there is an ever-ready slew of trendy, bright homes to choose from. If not, they've believed that a total remodel will be both quick and relatively affordable. 

While real life in a home may not look quite as glamorous and decluttered as all of this, it remains the case that a clean, stylish, bright, and inviting home will appeal to buyers much more than one that isn't. It's not just that it has to look HGTV-worthy, but that it conveys livability and comfort -- creating pride of ownership before a home is even purchased. As a seller (or a seller's agent) this is the response you want: a buyer's sense that they can imagine living in your listing and their excitement over the prospect of doing just that.

The vast majority of home owners didn't purchase all of their furniture for one specific house, aiming to fit the style, color, and size just so. We often choose comfort and function over style when filling our homes. Our closets are overpacked, our pantries all amok, there are odds and ends on the countertops, stains on the mismatched throw pillows, toys strewn throughout. This is life.

As endearing and understandable as it may be, a prospective buyer wants to see themselves in your home and they want to see it in its full decorated potential. A select few can envision optimal conditions through the current state of things, but most cannot. Most won't even try. Most decide against a home within the first few seconds of entering it. 

Both due to accessibility and necessity, more buyers have been viewing properties online. Now more than ever, it is  important to have a visually stimulating listing. One representative for a growing staging company in Boise said they have experienced 60% growth in the past year and are busily working to keep up with demand. Also a factor in our area is the amount of newly-built homes hitting the market and being advertised in all their uninhabited glory. Buyers are seeing more and more prepped and staged homes and their standard is rising all the time.

Not to worry, though. The solution is quite simple. Stagers are well equipped with inventory that allows them to furnish the important rooms of your home with the appropriate items. They can choose fitting styles, sizes, colors, textures, and lighting to accentuate your home's top features. Twenty-three percent of agents say staging helped raise the dollar amount of the offers they received by 1-5%, and another 18% of agents reported a difference of 6-10%. Not only this, but staging can help reduce the time your home spends on the market and drive up activity and excitement. All of this translates to money in your pocket. Likely substantially more than it costs to have the home staged.

Talk to your agent about staging. There are many levels available, from using your existing household items and decluttering to having the entire house professionally furnished and decorated. Discuss what makes the most sense for your home and what will be most likely to give you an exciting return on your investment.

By Anne Gould

For more articles by Anne Gould, click HERE

April 14, 2021

The Great Chasm

The Great Chasm

Over Spring Break, our family took a trip to Arizona to spend time with my parents and to visit the Grand Canyon. It was the first time Luke, I, or the kids had experienced it.  What a sight! Standing at its edge, you can’t help but be in awe at its grandeur, amazed at its beauty, in wonder at the power behind its formation, and (at least for me) in fear of the dangerously steep canyon walls that jet downward for over a mile to the base.  

As we looked out over the expanse, the lyrics from the song Living Hope by Phil Wickham (a great song) kept coming to my mind.  “How great the chasm that lay between us. How high the mountain I could not climb.”  This was likely because of a powerful visual someone shared with me a while back using the Grand Canyon to help explain the separation that exists between me and God because of my sin and why only Jesus can bridge that gap.  I was going to write more about that here, but I found this video which visually shares in 2 minutes what would probably take me paragraphs to explain =-)  Please watch:

As a visual learner, the analogy pictured here combined with the experience of standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and feeling the vast separation between me and the other side, put the reality of my state without Jesus in better perspective and reminded me again of my great need for Him.  Moreover, it caused me to rejoice in the kindness of God—a kindness I do not deserve.  “But, God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Because of the richness of His mercy and breadth of His great love, He sent Jesus to bridge the divide and made it possible for me to cross over the vast expanse from death to life!  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).  

Just as words and pictures cannot capture the breadth of the beauty of the Canyon, so too, words and visuals can never capture the breadth of the beauty of this wonderful truth!  I am thankful beyond what my soul could ever express!  

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

Posted in Katie Miller
March 16, 2021

Could Idaho Soon See More Favorable Buying Conditions?

As most of us are well aware, the Idaho housing market became a madhouse of activity and competition over the last nine months. Driven by the powers of supply and demand and record-low interest rates, the local housing economy was able to defy broader economic uncertainty during one of the weirdest years our country has ever experienced. With several small changes occurring currently or on the horizon, what can we expect for buyers and sellers? Have we arrived at the peak?

Over the past year, sellers have had the luxury of leveraging an inventory crisis in their favor. This has resulted more often than not in bidding wars and dropped contingencies, all to the seller's benefit. Nobody would argue it hasn't been a fantastic time to list, but that only matters to those who want or need to move. Few homeowners have opted to sell and repurchase in the Treasure Valley, as they see the lack of options on the market and the intensity of the competition for listings. Casual upgrading has been less common as selling prices soar. Less Idahoans have needed to leave the area for work-related relocation during Covid-19. Those fortunate to already own in our beautiful state aren't overly anxious to give up that position, as tempting as cashing out might sound.

Buyers in turn have had to reconcile a growing urgency to own a home in Idaho with the difficulty of the market. Competing with out-of-state, cash-equipped buyers and the heavy presence of investors, many first-time home buyers or those needing financed have felt at a substantial disadvantage. Even regardless of budget or access to cash, the pickings have been slim for those needing to purchase. This has resulted in many wanting to postpone or relocate their home search in hopes of a better set of circumstances in another time or place.

As we enter spring, we are seeing a few factors coming together to create what we hope will be a more advantageous market for buyers, while undoubtedly remaining a seller's market. It could end up creating a window of opportunity for those on both ends of a transaction, where everyone can come away ahead.

Spring typically is when most people choose to list their homes. There are more buyers looking in the spring than the winter, so sellers often hold off on listing until this time. While this winter has been exceptional for activity and we have not seen the usual slow-down during the cold months, we can still expect there will be an increase in inventory in the spring and early summer. This could naturally result in less of a frenzy for each individual listing. Less immediate offers can keep prices from being bid up so high above asking price. While all indicators point to a continuation of the hot market, we hope for buyers' sake that the level of competition due to lack of inventory is alleviated at least somewhat this spring.

We are also seeing the expected, gradual rising of mortgage interest rates. This in no way means they are high, as a slight increase from the lowest in history still ends up a favorably low rate. But, the mad rush to purchase during the record-setting lows may be quieting some. Buyers who could only barely afford the payments at sub-3% rates may have to postpone their purchase. While this might seem like bad news, it could cause a calming in the housing market over time, making purchasing more feasible in other ways.

Idaho's hidden gem status has changed, whether long-time Idahoans like it or not. The attractive cost of living and purchasing a home here has definitely seen a shift with the population growth. Not many are thrilled to see that, but it can also result in a normalization of the market from what we've seen this past year. If Idaho is no longer a bargain, many buyers (particularly investors) will look elsewhere. We might see a steadier level of growth as a result, which most of us can agree would be welcomed.

Overall, these small changes over time can serve to help buyers have a more satisfying experience while looking in Idaho. There could be more to choose from and potential for an easier process to acquire it. Gradually, there could be shorter time frames again for new builds. Thankfully, none of these factors are inherently harmful to sellers. Although there are many indicators suggesting we will continue to see a hot housing market for at least the next two years, we may be inching toward a time when both sides are in a favorable position in Idaho. We are still expected to have interest rates in the 3-4% range for the foreseeable future, which is considered excellent for any time historically. Idaho remains a steady place for real estate long-term investment, and an excellent place to live, work, and play. Development continues at a staggering pace, which continues to strive to meet the demand. Continued growth is expected from out of state, leaving sellers with strong standing. In other words, this isn't likely to be the peak but the incline might become more manageable.

We are thinking positively for our beloved buyers, and joining everyone in wanting the best for our state long term. Time alone can tell for sure.

By Anne Gould

For more articles by Anne Gould, click HERE

 

March 16, 2021

Boise Housing Market Update | February 2021

As reported by Boise Regional REALTORS®, builders and prospective home sellers in the Boise housing market continue to prove unable to keep up with homebuyer demand.  BRR suggests the following factors as major contributors to the rapid influx of buyers:  

  • General population growth
  • Millennials “aging into” the traditional homeowner years
  • In-migration due to our comparative affordability (which unfortunately seems to be decreasing rapidly)
  • The ability for many to work from anywhere (and the fact that the Boise area is an attractive option=-) 

Housing supply remains tight considering the number of buyers, which of course contributes to the fast-paced and competitive market we find ourselves in today.  The average number of days on market for existing/resale homes was just 10 days last month, compared to 32 days last year.  And, it is rare to see an existing home go up for sale and not receive multiple offers with a final price well over asking.    

However, there may be signs of the market at least beginning to move toward an improved supply/demand balance.  The number of homes for sale increased by 63.1% from January to February.  And though inventory levels were a lot lower than 2019 or 2020 in the beginning weeks of 2021, last week’s inventory bumped up to nearly even with 2020 and just below 2019. 

Although no one can say for sure where the market is headed, we tend to think prices in our area will continue to rise.  But, as supply begins to catch up to demand, the rate of that increase will begin to slow.  Though, as a homeowner, I am grateful for the equity we’ve gained in our property over the past few years (Note: Per a report by CoreLogic, Idaho ranked 2nd in the nation for homeowners gaining the most equity between 2019 and 2020), I can also say I’m eager or the rate of this increase to slow down.  Rising prices continue to push people out of the market for purchasing a home.  And, I don’t want our area to experience the housing affordability crises experienced by many of the larger cities in our nation who had similar growth patterns to what we are seeing here now.  This is something I hope we can all keep our eyes on and do our part to protect, because safe, decent, affordable housing is an essential component to the well-being of all people in our community.  

For more information and specifics on the current market, please check out Boise Regional REALTORS® Market Report HERE

Posted in Housing Market
March 12, 2021

Receiving Correction

My husband, Luke, recently gave a sermon on the topic of receiving correction (which I highly recommend listening to HERE if you want to learn more).  The conversations we had as he prepared to share with our church body along with some recent personal experiences have served to illuminate more fully for me both the difficulty and the value of correction.    

I don’t think anyone gets very excited about being corrected.  And, I know I personally bristle a bit when correction first comes my way.  But, I don’t want to.  Hebrews 12: 11 says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  Though it can be difficult to hear, correction is ultimately for my good.  It helps reveal my bad fruit—my sin, selfishness, pride, and poor motives.  It brings those things into the light so they can be pruned and thrown away, allowing me instead to bear the peaceful and good fruit I desire.

When Luke was preparing his sermon, one of his favorite verses on the topic was Proverbs 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”  Unfortunately, I am “stupid” in this way a lot, but I desire to be a lover of correction and to grow in the knowledge and joy it produces.  So, I am asking for the Lord to help me in this area—to help me not bristle and balk at reproof but rather to embrace it as His loving kindness meant to help me grow in His likeness.  The Lord is clear in His Word that He disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 3:11-12).  Thus, I don’t want to become weary of the reproof I receive from Him through others but rather rejoice in it—knowing that my loving Father is using it to equip me for every good work and to move me toward completeness in Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  I pray we could walk alongside each other in this challenge, sharpening one another as we learn to gently correct out of love and care and to receive correction with thankfulness and joy. “And, I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).  

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

Posted in Katie Miller
Feb. 16, 2021

How COVID-19 Changed What People Want in a Home

It's pretty amazing to think how much priorities and perceptions have changed over the last year. Most people have seen significant shifts in all the main areas of life. It's to be expected that home ownership has now been reframed, with new items topping wish lists, whether for remodeling and repurposing a home or selecting a new home altogether.

Of course, the most drastic of all of these changes has been the heightened urgency and sudden ability to move out of the city and into outlying areas for a slower-paced lifestyle. Working remotely has become much more than a temporary solution, and as companies and employees have figured out ways to make it work, many have determined it will become the new default. Without the necessity of a daily commute, many are packing up and relocating to areas they couldn't before consider. Sometimes this means the outskirts of their current city, and sometimes it means the entire country opens up as a possibility. Certainly we have seen the migration to Idaho for these reasons, and not just in Boise and Meridian, but the suburbs as well. 

In addition to picking location from a broader list, people have learned that features of a property that may have been optional before have become more essential. 

One obvious priority is to have a designated office space with the ability to be closed off from the rest of the home. Perhaps builders will start considering putting this off the primary bedroom, or with its own separate entrance from the exterior, so that business from home can be conducted in a quiet and productive setting. Similarly, having had virtual schooling for nearly a year, many families want the option of a home-learning space with built-in desks and bookshelves. This will likely be located off of the main living areas so that parents or caretakers in the home can oversee schooling and other tasks simultaneously.

Having experienced closed gyms and recreational facilities, in-home gyms have gained popularity. Even moving forward, the convenience and sanitation of working out at home has a new level of appeal. Less-used garage space may be converted into home gyms, and builders are likely to appoint entire spaces in homes to exercise in order to meet this demand. 

After the difficulty of visitor restrictions to assisted living facilities and nursing homes, homeowners are looking for options that will allow them to conduct multi-generational living if and when that need arises. Main-level home suites that include additional kitchen areas and ADA-compliant features like wider doorways and hallways, lower light switches, and accessible showers, etc. will become higher priority for buyers moving forward. 

All of us can understand why outdoor living has become front-of-mind for homeowners. People are wanting more private, spaced-out lots that allow for recreation outside, but still around the home. Covered porches, balconies, terraces, and the furnishings that equip them for comfort are high wish-list items. Built-in barbecues, retractable sun screens, fire pits, and outdoor sound systems are likely to become more common after COVID-19. It's likely that buyers, where they have the luxury to choose, will opt for neighborhoods with access to walking paths, common areas, etc. 

Smart home features and green living has been growing in demand for some time, and COVID-19 will only add to that in the future. More people are looking for interior fixtures that allow for touch-free functionality,  indoor air-quality monitoring systems, full-home filtration, UV-air treatment, and so on. 

In 2020, HOME took on a new meaning. It was the place where all areas of life needed to be conducted. Even in the worst of times, home needs to be a place of comfort and refuge, and now increased functionality as well. 

By Anne Gould

For more articles by Anne Gould, click HERE

Feb. 16, 2021

Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: The Shih Poo

Shih Poo

Most of you know by now that I'm not really an "animal person."  I mean, some animals are cute and all... but from afar.  I'd rather they not sit on me, rub up against me, or beg me to rub their bellies.  I have learned, however, to PRETEND really well when necessary to care about the animals I encounter in my work as a real estate agent.  There are a lot!

Earlier last year, I had the immense pleasure of listing a home for a friend of mine.  This dear friend has a beloved small dog (perhaps a Shih Poo, for heaven's sake!).  We will call this dog Sally for the purpose of anonymity (and because, for the life of me, I cannot remember the dog's name).  Sally was cooped up in the laundry room while the photographer and I were working to get pictures done.  She howled and cried and barked the ENTIRE time.  Even I, who tend to show no empathy toward animals, started to feel pretty bad for her.  Once the photographer was done and gone, I let Sally out of the laundry room and she bounded out full of energy and excitement.  My work was done, so I turned out all the lights, locked up, and headed home--leaving Sally in the house where I was supposed to leave her. 

I got about a block away when I realized I had forgotten something in the house.  I turned around and headed back.  Without even thinking, I opened up the door to run inside.  Well, Sally was very anxiously waiting at the door for someone to set her free and BOLTED out the door as soon as it was opened.  "Oh my word," I thought, "I'm going to have to chase this dog, aren't I?"  So I dropped my stuff and took off after her.  Two things that are important to know.  1) I am not a runner!  I forged a letter from my parents in the 6th grade excusing me from running the mile for the physical fitness test.  2) You already know, I am not a dog whisperer.  I don't know the tricks in talking to dogs or luring them back home.  

So I started chasing after this small Shih Poo in my professional attire and shoes.  She would pause, and I would get close and say the things to her I thought a person should say to a small dog they are wanting to come to them.  Then she would take one look at me and take off again.  I ran after her, calling her name, all over the neighborhood.  People stared, some laughed, some even slowed down in their cars to consider helping me (but none actually helped).  I thought I would die before catching this dog.  Somehow, though, by the grace of God, after about 20-30 minutes, Sally got distracted by something in someone's yard and stopped long enough for me to grab her.  I couldn't believe I finally had her.  So, I carried her all the way back home, at arm's length so as not to get any dog hair on me, and placed her back inside the house.  I've never been more out of breath in my life.  Oh, Sally!  You little rascal!

Written by Becka Marston

See more posts by Becka Marston HERE!

Posted in Becka Marston