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!

March 27, 2020

Easy Landscaping DIY Projects

Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? I’m guessing we all are feeling the itch to do DIY projects a little more than normal with all this extra time at home. Our previous home was a landmine for projects, especially the yard. We didn’t even know where to start with it when we first moved in. I vividly remember my Dad and husband tying a rope around the giant sized fitter bushes in the front yard, tying the other end to a truck, and driving those roots right up out of the ground. Little did we know the amount of work we had ahead of us. There’s not a Spring season that goes by, as I watch everything start to grow, that I don’t think of all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into that yard.

I thought with spring right around the corner, it would be a fun time to talk about simple things anyone can do to spruce up their own yard. Whether it's as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!

  1. Create a pathway.  To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.

  2. Add a wall or border.  Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.

  3. Install a water feature. Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.

  4. Light your way.  An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants.

  5. Plant upwards.  Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting!

By Savannah Withers

 

For more blog posts by Savannah Withers, click HERE 

March 18, 2020

The Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center

Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center Boise

In 1912, Harry Morrison and Morris Knudsen founded the Morrison Knudsen Company (M-K), a construction and engineering company that was crucial in developing the Boise area.  In 1947, Harry Morrison's wife Ann established the Morrison Knudsen Foundation with generous donations from M-K employees.  The Foundation's mission was to assist those in need in the Treasure Valley, especially those in tragedy or crisis. 

In 1990, the Foundation presented its Centennial Gift to Idaho—the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center.  This 4.6-acre wildlife sanctuary located between Municipal Park and the Boise River Greenbelt is home to waterfowl, songbirds, herons, trout, muskrats, mink, beavers, and the occasional deer.  It offers a unique wildlife observation opportunity, including underwater viewing windows to observe fish in their natural habitat.

The M-K Nature Center is now managed and operated by Idaho Fish and Game.  The nature center has a stream walk, bird and butterfly gardens, waterfalls, wildlife exhibits and a Visitor's Center.  There is no cost to walk through and enjoy landscapes of Idaho and its abundant wildlife.

For more information about M-K Nature Center, please click HERE.  

 

Posted in Local History
March 18, 2020

Boise Housing Market Update | February 2020

In February, the Boise housing market experienced the lowest inventory of single-family homes since at least 2004, when the Intermountain MLS started tracking inventory.   A mere 1,039 homes were available for sale at the end of February—only 344 of which were existing homes.  Overall, inventory was down 23.4% from the same month last year.  Inventory of newly constructed homes was down 13.7% and existing homes was down 37.6%.   

Though these numbers can be discouraging for buyers, it’s important to remember “low inventory” doesn’t mean “no inventory.”  Buyers still have options, especially those considering new construction.  But, there’s no question the market is competitive.  Those looking to purchase a home need to be prepared to act quickly and present a clean and attractive offer in order to give them the best chances of being the winning bid on the house they want to pursue.  If you’re considering buying this year, we would love an opportunity to share more about what to expect in the process and to help you best prepare to have a necessary competitive edge.   

For those considering selling, current home values remain strong.  The Boise housing market median sales price in February was $361,350, which is lower than last month but still an 11.3% increase from last year.  With demand still far exceeding supply, your home is a desired commodity and, in most cases, can be expected to sell quickly at a good price.  If you’d like to know what your home is worth or to find out how to get the best price for your property, please reach out.  We are always happy to do a free home value analysis and to share strategies to prepare you to get the most out of your investment!  

Boise Housing Market February 2020

Posted in Housing Market
March 18, 2020

The Antidote for Discontentment

The Antidote for Discontentment

After several days of feeling melancholy, discontent, and in a generally “complainy” mood, I decided I needed something to help kick start me back into the joy and delight I know is daily available to me in Christ.  So, I decided to listen to the audiobook One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, which invites the reader to see God’s extraordinary blessings in our ordinary life and to experience the life-giving joy and contentment found only in Him.  It’s not a book I would recommend to everyone, as the language is poetic, exceedingly descriptive, and not something people with my “get to the point” style can sit through easily.  But, I found even her long way of describing simple blessings forced me to slow down from my hurry, see God’s beauty and goodness in the simple and the hard, and to find joy in thanksgiving. Ann’s story helped change my perspective, and I’m grateful for that.  

One thing she reminded me of is since the creation of man, we’ve struggled with a discontentment, a questioning, a lack of trust in God’s goodness. Is what God gives really best?  Adam and Eve had everything--every need met and every joy of a face-to-face friendship with God realized.  They walked with him, talked to him, and experienced no harm, hurt, or sorrow that might cause them to question His goodness.   Yet, a whisper of something more, something better, began to overshadow their gratitude for His great gifts.  It was that familiar whisper we all hear that breeds discontentment, tells us God is withholding his best, and makes us doubt His goodness.  The whisper grew loud, and Adam and Eve believed the lie and ate the apple to gain “something better.”  

Daily, I do the same. I question the goodness of my Father and fail to give gratitude for His abundant gifts. I believe the lie that I know a better way to write the story.   I take hold of the things He encourages me not to—distrusting when He says they will drain life from me and believing instead there might be greater life to be had than He has given.  But, what I find when I do this is exactly what God says I’ll find, death (Genesis 3:3).  Outside His good boundaries, boundaries placed to bring abundant life and full joy to His children, there is indeed something more but not something better.  There is toil, strife, discontentment, a dry and weary land where there is no water, and a life lived ever clamoring for something better but never feeling satisfied.

Lord, thank you for using this book to again remind me of Your goodness and to produce in me a spirit of joy and thankfulness as a sure antidote for discontentment.  Continue to help me see the great gift of the boundaries you have given.  Help me remember, “if You did not spare Your own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will You not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).  Even when the road seems hard and the journey long, help me to trust “you will guide me continually and satisfy my desire in scorched places and make my bones strong; and I shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:11).  In you alone is true contentment found!  Amen.  

By Katie Miller

 

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

Posted in Katie Miller
March 2, 2020

To Refinance or Not to Refinance

To Refinance or Not to Refinance

With interest rates lower than ever, my husband and I have recently debated whether to refinance or not to refinance our home. We have gone back and forth plenty of times, weighing the pros and cons of each scenario. There are a lot of factors to consider, so below are a few we found helpful.

Refinancing your mortgage is something most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones.

  • Scoring a lower interest rate. The number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner.

  • Using an improved credit score. Even if interest rates haven't dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate.

  • Shortening the loan’s term. If interest rates are decreasing, there's a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner.

  • Switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases.

  • Cashing out home equity. If there's a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost.

After analyzing our specific situation, our answer to the question of whether to refinance or not to refinance now was not to refinance.  Though we won't be going the refinance route today, it was nice to know more about this option for the future.  If you'd like to investigate further on whether it would be best for you and your situation to refinance or not to refinance now, I'd encourage you to contact one of our recommended lenders and share your situation!  They would love to help walk you through your options and costs.  

By Savannah Withers, REALTOR® 

 

March 2, 2020

The History of Kuna Idaho

The vast sagebrush desert along the Snake River Plain now known as Kuna was first home to the Bannock and Nez Perce Tribes, who utilized the land for hunting and gathering.  Around 1811, following Lewis and Clark's expedition, fur trappers also began to infiltrate the space.  But, Southern Idaho's dry, dusty climate discouraged many early pioneers from settling in the area.  It wasn’t until gold and silver were discovered in the Boise area in 1862 that more people were enticed to come. 

In the early 1900s, the US Reclamation Service began major developments to expand the New York Canal system to run south of Boise to the Kuna area and on to Deer Flat Reservoir near Nampa.  Though Kuna remained sparsely inhabited, irrigation water made it much more attractive to settlers.  To further promote the Kuna area, D. R. Hubbard placed advertisements in the local Boise newspaper, the Idaho Daily Statesman, offering 200 lots for sale at $100 a lot.  144 lots were sold, and Frank Fiss established the first general mercantile store in the area, Kuna Mercantile.  Within a short time, 50,000 acres were developed and under irrigation.  And, a permanent train depot was constructed.  As an interesting side note, the new building replaced the old box car once used for those awaiting the train.  By the time it was replaced, much of the box car had been torn apart by passengers using the materials from the car as firewood to keep warm while they waited.   

In the 1920s, the population of Kuna was 366.  Kuna High School was built and the agricultural community continued to grow slowly through the end of WWII.  By the 1970s, several of the major roads in Kuna were still dirt roads. However, the construction of Interstate 84 and the widening of Highway 69 gave people quicker access to the area.  Also, with its low real estate costs in comparison to the rest of Ada County, Kuna began to attract more people.  Since that time, Kuna has experienced rapid growth.  As an example, the population went from 1,955 people in 1990 to 15,210 in 2010—an 88% increase in just 20 years.    

Today, Kuna boasts the lowest average housing prices in Ada County and remains the only city in the county still eligible for low cost Rural Development Loans.  This makes Kuna an attractive market for many buyers.  To many, its location is also a positive factor, as it affords residents a quieter, more country feeling community while still allowing for quick access along Highway 55 to shopping, restaurants, and entertainment available in Boise and Meridian.  

We hope you enjoyed this brief history of Kuna, Idaho.  If you’re interested in seeing the latest homes for sale in Kuna, click HERE. Or give us a call and we’d be happy to share more about the real estate market in this growing community!

History of Kuna Idaho | Homes for Sale in Kuna

Posted in Kuna, Local History
March 2, 2020

Boise Housing Market Update | January 2020

With January’s median home price coming in at $363,000, the first month of 2020 marked yet another record breaking high for the Boise housing market.  This is due in large part to the increasing market share taken up by newly constructed homes, which are generally made more expensive by rising costs of land, labor, and materials.

Last month, new construction made up 40.2% of all sales.  This is an 8.2% increase from the same month last year.  Persistent housing demand in comparison to record low existing inventory also remains a major factor in price appreciation.  There were only 361 existing homes in Ada County available for sale last month.  This is

28.1% lower than the number of existing homes available in January 2019.  With the pressure of continued demand consistently running up against low inventory, the upward drive on prices is to be expected.  Rising prices on single-family homes can be discouraging to buyers, especially first-time home buyers or those moving from cities with lower price appreciation.

While condos, townhomes, and mobile/manufactured homes are a smaller part of our overall housing supply, these types of homes can offer buyers additional options at lower price points.  Last month, 39 townhomes sold in Ada County for a median price of $264,500.  This left 45 townhomes still available for purchase at the end of the month.

If you’ve considered buying or selling but are unsure if you can accomplish your goals in the current Boise housing market, we hope you’ll give us a call!  We’d love the opportunity to hear more of your story and to share how we can help navigate toward accomplishing your goals!

For a quick snapshot of the Boise housing market for January 2020, see Boise Regional REALTORS® housing market summary for Ada County below:

Boise Housing Market January 2020

Posted in Housing Market
March 2, 2020

Boise Housing Market Update | December 2019

After the median sales price for homes in Ada County hit a record high of $359,900 in November 2019, the Boise housing market prices experienced an expected dip in December to $350,000.  If we account for all the months of 2019, the median sales price for the year was $345,000, which is an overall yearly increase for 2019 of 9.9%.

These statistics are in line with the nearly five year market trend of home price increases, fueled by low supply of lower-priced homes in comparison with demand, more newly constructed homes selling at higher prices, and increased purchase power from low mortgage interest rates   The rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage currently sits at 3.6% and is anticipated by economists to stay below 4.0% throughout 2020!

With no signs of slowdown in the number of people moving to our area, we can expect our “low supply-high demand” situation will continue to push prices up.  In fact, REALTOR.com predicted Boise will be the top market in the country for projected home price increases in 2020 due to job and population growth.  This news can be exciting for many who already own homes or investments here and are experiencing a strong growth in equity.  But, for those who don’t currently own and many who are making Idaho wages that aren’t keeping up with the cost of living, this can be a scary prospect.

As stated by Boise Regional Realtors, “to bring our market back into balance, the Treasure Valley needs more inventory, particularly priced at or below $300,000, both in new construction and existing homes being listed for sale.  That doesn’t mean more rooftops anywhere and everywhere, but comprehensive, regional planned growth, that offers adequate purchase and rental options in all price points — not only to stabilize the market but to preserve and improve the quality of life for all residents.”

If you are considering buying or selling in 2020 and have questions about what that might look like in the current market, please reach out to us!  We always welcome the opportunity to sit with you and talk more about specific housing needs and how we can walk alongside you to help meet them!  

For a quick snapshot of the Boise housing market for December 2019, see Boise Regional REALTORS® market summary graphic for Ada County below:

Boise Housing Market December 2019

Posted in Housing Market
Feb. 19, 2020

Freed to Bring Freedom

Harriet Praying from the movie Harriet

On our flight to Minnesota for a pastor’s conference last week, Luke and I had the joy of watching Harriet--a new movie based on the life of Harriet Tubman.  By the Lord’s power and protection, Harriet not only escaped from slavery but quickly networked with the Underground Railroad and made several dangerous journeys back to the South to rescue approximately 70 more enslaved people!

I was moved to tears by many aspects of this story and found myself crying and praying for quite some time after the film ended.   One thing that moved me so deeply was Harriet’s passion to use the freedom she received not as an opportunity to get comfortable and make life better for herself, but rather to serve others and bring many more people to freedom!  Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But, do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”  Harriet wholly modeled this verse!  There are many examples from her life, but one of the most impactful to me was the way she responded when new laws made it even more dangerous and difficult to get slaves to freedom.  With news of the new laws, some abolitionists discussed abandoning the movement until the legal situation improved.  But, Harriet stood up and preached the truth of the Galatians verse. She motivated the people to act by exposing their indulgence in their own comfort and reminded them of the plight of those still in bondage.  Harriet emphasized the call to use their privilege of freedom to bring freedom to others.    

This caused me to think on the freedoms and privileges the Lord has given me and the ways in which I’ve been indulging in those for my own comfort rather than to serve others as He has called me.  I was reminded again that many of the freedoms and privileges I experience are not because of my own merit and work but God’s.  I had no control over the family, community, race, country, economic status, or mental and physical health I was born into. The Lord is the one who controls those things.  It is He who has given me the privileges and freedoms I enjoy—not so I can sit comfortably and indulge myself, but rather to allow me to better serve and love others.  Harriet was a beautiful example of this, but her story is but a glimpse of the greater story of the Lord’s compassion, sacrifice, and service to His people. The God of the universe, who holds ultimate power, privilege, and freedom “emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).  He then demonstrated his love for us in laying down his life to secure our freedom from sin and death.  Oh, if we could all live by His example. 

Lord, thank you for the freedom you purchased and gave me! Help me to live a life like you have modeled, a life like you helped Harriet to live, a life of freedom joyfully laid down in order to guide others to the true freedom that can only be found in You!

By Katie Miller

 

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

Posted in Katie Miller
Feb. 13, 2020

Henry C Riggs

 

Born in Kentucky in 1826, Henry Chiles Riggs was a destined pioneer who became instrumental in shaping Idaho history.  He was known as an adventurous and pragmatic individual who was also serious about his civic duty.

When he was 20, Henry joined the First Missouri Mounted Volunteers and fought during the Mexican War.  Four years later, he made a five-month trek by wagon train across the plains to California where he operated a hotel.  In 1852, he came back to Missouri to wed Mary Ann Lipscomb, and together, they returned to California where they purchased land and began farming.  Henry served two terms as county commissioner there. 

 

When Mary Ann began having health problems, they made the decision to move to Corvallis, Oregon, where Henry later became mayor.  But, at the age of 42, he learned of the gold discoveries happening in Idaho, and the territory beckoned.   The Riggs family arrived in Boise on July 6, 1863, and Henry quickly became involved in civic planning, serving as one of the key players in laying out the city.  He once again stood out as a citizen concerned with the successful growth of the territory and was appointed county judge.  Later, he was elected to the House of Representatives for Boise County and brought forth two famous bills during his term.  The first was to move the capital from Lewiston to Boise.  And, the second was to create a county in the vicinity of Boise to operate as the seat of Idaho government.  Several names were suggested for the new county—Grant, Lincoln, Douglas—but the name that was finally chosen was that of Henry's daughter—Ada.  During his second term in the General Assembly, he introduced the bill that made Boise an incorporated village.  He remained active in civic planning and leadership until his death in 1909 at the age of 83.  Henry was buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Emmett.  During their life together, Henry and Mary had 8 children, one of which passed away as an infant.  Henry is remembered as a devoted founder of Boise City by all and as a revered friend by those who knew him.  

Posted in Local History