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!

Jan. 15, 2021

Top 5 Tips for Landlords

I work with a lot of investors, seasoned as well as newbies, and I learn a great deal from both. But, I find that regardless of how long you've been in real estate, there's always more to learn and ways to get better. As I have been helping investors, I’ve noticed there are some helpful tools for owners of rental property that many aren’t utilizing. So, using my own experience as an investor as well as information I’ve gathered as an agent (plus my husband’s knowledge as a former property manager), I came up with a list of my Top 5 Tips for Landlords!

  1. Great Photos! You can get professional quality photos for less than $200 and they are worth every penny! They will help you get higher rents, and your rental listings will stand out and lease faster.

  2. Maximum 12 Month Lease! Trust me on this one. It may be tempting to have a longer-term lease. But life changes and other opportunities can arise, and you want the flexibility to sell without having to pay a tenant to move out. Also, if you happen to get bad tenants, you want the option to get new ones after the year is over.

  3. Separate Bank Accounts! Tracking the financials for a property can be a headache, especially if you aren't using a property manager. To keep all expenses and income separate from other properties and easily track it all (very handy at tax time!), I recommend having a separate account for each of your properties.

  4. Reserves! Speaking of bank accounts... Before you even get your first tenant in the door, you should have reserves in the account for the property. This helps to safeguard you from having vacancies or major repairs impact your lifestyle. I recommend at least 3 months (preferably 6) worth of mortgage payments in the account to start. This will help take a lot of the stress out of owning a rental.

  5. Vendor List! There will inevitably be something that goes wrong with your property, and you need to know who to call. Have a list of vendors (with several options for each type of service provider) so, when the time comes, you will know who to call. HERE is a list of vendors for the Treasure Valley recommended by me and other agents in our office who have used them.

By Anna Strausbaugh

For more blog posts by Anna Strausbaugh, click HERE  

Jan. 14, 2021

Boise Housing Market Update | December 2020

Each January, Boise Regional REALTORS® puts out a comprehensive year-end report on the Boise housing market.  2020’s report includes information on how COVID-19 affected the market, as well as yearly real estate statistics and explanations of the factors that played into those statistics and why. If you’re interested, we’d encourage you to read the full market report HERE.  We hope you’ll find it helpful in increasing your understanding of where things are, how things got there, and where we’re projected to head in the future.  

Given the competitive and often complicated nature of our current real estate market for both buyers and sellers, we hope you’ll reach out to us if you’re considering making a move in 2021. We’d love the opportunity to use our skills, experience, and knowledge to set you up for success in your real estate endeavors and help you discern the best steps forward.  

Posted in Housing Market
Jan. 13, 2021

The Word That Brings Fullness of Joy

Last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided I wanted to read the Bible chronologically in a year.  I’ve started this a few times in my life but never made it all the way through.  However, by God’s grace and with the help of an app and podcast called The Bible Recap, I am on Day 317 in my reading plan.  And, because hearing the Word has become one of the most precious times of my day, I have every confidence I’ll make it to Day 365 and then joyfully return to Day 1 and do it all over again.  

The other day, in my reading, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).  I realized this is exactly what God’s word has been doing for me this past year--giving me fullness of joy.  Amidst a taxing pandemic, polarized political turbulence, struggles of schooling from home, and a whole slew of other hard things this past year, I recognize God gave me the gift of His word to ground me in His steadfast love, truth, peace, faithfulness, and joy. He has been “my refuge and strength, my very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).  And for that, I am incredibly grateful.    

Because this practice of reading through the Bible daily throughout the year has grown and grounded me in the joy of God and my relationship with Him, I wanted to share with you in hopes you might give it a try and experience this same joy.  Though I imagine this practice would bring the most joy for those who believe the word of God is true and want to grow in relationship with their Savior, I also believe there is joy to be had for those who don’t put themselves in this camp.  The Bible is the number one selling book in the world.  Could it be worth a read to see why? If so many people find joy in reading it, is it possible you could find joy in reading it as well?  Perhaps, you’ll be surprised by what you read. I know I’ve been.   Perhaps, you’ll correct misconceptions you’ve had. I know I have. Perhaps, you’ll encounter a God who is very different than the one you built up in your mind or the one you’ve seen portrayed by others.  I know I did.  And, perhaps, you will experience the fullness of joy Jesus promises.  I know I am!  

Though there are many reading plans to assist in getting you through the Bible in a year, I’ve shared a resource below that’s been of great help to me.  If you’re interested in reading along with me or want to dive in on your own, I’d love to know and would greatly desire to connect to hear what you’re processing and learning as you read. For God promises that His word shall not return to Him empty, but shall accomplish that which He purposed, and shall succeed in the thing for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11).  And, for this reason, whether one reads it for the first time or the 122nd, I’m confident it will never fail to provide food for a hungry soul!   

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE  

 

The Bible Recap's daily chronological reading plan and podcast has been a wonderful resource for me this past year.  It has not only helped me read the Bible, but it has also helped me understand what I'm reading and fall more in love with the God it teaches me about.  If you'd like to give it a try, HERE is a link to get started. 

Although I sometimes read the assigned chapters, my typical routine is to listen while I get ready in the morning.  I first listen to the day's Bible readings, then I tune in to the corresponding podcast. The short podcasts (~8 minutes) are hosted by Tara Leigh Cobble.  They summarize the daily readings in an easy to understand way and also highlight take-aways I can apply to my own life.   I'd love to know if you decide to give it a try or would be happy to help if you have any trouble accessing the application.  I pray it would be as much of a blessing in your life as it's been to mine!

Posted in Katie Miller
Dec. 12, 2020

Boise Housing Market Update | November 2020

Though the Boise housing market typically slows down this time of year, 2020 has proved drastically different.  This may come as no surprise to you, since almost everything has proved “different” in 2020.  The competitive, fast-paced nature of our market—fueled by low supply and high demand—led to a new record median sales price of $425,000, up 18.1% from last year.  To give some perspective on the supply shortage, there were more people looking to buy this month than the same month last year, but the number of available homes for sale was down 75%!  With so few properties available, each new listing brings buyers clamoring to compete for the winning bid.  Thus, homes sell quickly—lowering the amount of days a home is on the market before selling by 55% compared to the same time last year!  

The process of helping our buyers secure a home in this competitive market can sometimes be discouraging—especially for our qualified first-time home buyers.  While homeowners can secure down payment funds for their next purchase through the growing equity they receive in the sale of their current home, those new to the market don’t have that luxury.  In fact, securing funds for a down payment was named by first-time home buyers as the most difficult part of the home buying process.  If you are in this category, please note there are a variety of down payment and closing cost assistance programs available through the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, the City of Boise, the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities, and other organizations.   We’d love the opportunity to talk with you about your particular situation and connect you with programs and people who can help on your journey to homeownership!   

We are always eager and available to talk to anyone about their home buying dreams and to be given the opportunity to help guide them in that process.  Whether you are considering buying or selling, please give us a call!  We’d love to come alongside you!

Boise Housing Market November 2020

Posted in Housing Market
Nov. 12, 2020

It's Gonna Be Okay

It's Gonna Be Okay

Sometimes I have struggled with telling my kids, “It’s gonna be okay.”  Because, sometimes, I really don’t know if it’s gonna be okay.  I can’t say, “It’s okay, we won’t ever have to worry about war here.”  Or, “It’s okay, you’re healthy.  If you get sick it won’t be a big deal.” Or even, “It’s okay, I’ll be back soon.”  Because, war may come, sickness may come, I may die on my trip out of the house today, or a myriad of other things could happen that could make me a liar and cause my kids to say, “You said everything was gonna be okay, and it’s NOT okay.”  This may sound morbid, but it is undeniably true. “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

This concept has been especially fresh on my mind during this past election, as I watched candidates on both sides promise to “make everything okay” and as I watched people on both sides putting their hope in these promises.  Those who make such promises are like clouds and wind without rain who boast in gifts they do not give (Proverbs 25:14).  But, I know the Giver, and the keeper of all promises. And He has said, “I know the plans I have for you—plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).  And every word of God proves true (Proverbs 30:5).  So, although I can’t say for certain to my kids, myself, or to you, that everything is gonna be okay today or tomorrow, or a year from now, or a century in the future…I can say with confidence that one day, everything IS gonna be okay!  God promises it will be, and He has never failed to carry through on His promises—“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). "For those who love me all things work together for good, for those who are called according to my purpose” (Romans 8:28).   "So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10). 

May you rest in this truth, friends—I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but I do know God’s got it, and He’s gonna make everything okay! And since you may be like me—quick to forget this truth and prone to anxiety—I wanted to share a song I’ve had on repeat at my house a great deal in this season.  Hopefully, it encourages you as it has encouraged me and helps remind you of God’s promises!

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE  

 

Posted in Katie Miller
Nov. 12, 2020

Boise Housing Market Update | October 2020

Even though we are entering the commonly slower fall and winter real estate seasons, the Boise housing market is now and is expected to continue to be extremely fast paced.  Buying or selling in this market can sometimes feel like jumping into tumultuous waters, but we are here to help you navigate the process.  Though we usually write our own "market update," we felt Cassie Zimmerman of Boise Regional REALTORS® gave an excellent summary of what's been happening.  So, we decided to share her article with you below.  We hope you find the information provided helpful.  And, please, if you are considering buying or selling, give us a call!  We'd love the opportunity to meet with you to share more about the current market, which is changing daily, as well as to help you decide whether now is a good time to jump in. 

Ada County Home Sales Remain Strong Despite Low Supply

Written by Cassie Zimmerman of Boise Regional REALTORS®

For years now, Boise Regional REALTORS® has reported on how the demand for homes has outpaced supply and the impact that has had on home prices. October 2020 was no exception as the median sales price for homes sold in Ada County was $406,684 in October, up 14.7% year-over-year, but down slightly from September 2020. This was based on 1,112 home sales, an increase of 11.9% compared to October 2019. But looking at the supply of homes for sale, according to data from the Intermountain MLS (IMLS), there were 443 of single-family homes available for purchase at the end of October, down 73.7% compared to the same month last year. 

This begs the question, “How can home sales be up while inventory continues to drop?”   It’s important to note that the inventory metric fluctuates daily and is based on the number of homes listed as “active” in IMLS on any particular day. For consistency purposes, our reports use the number of single–family homes available for sale on the last day of each month, so it does not represent the total number of homes that may have been available for sale throughout the month; however, the closed sales metric reflects all homes sold during the month. 

That one day “snapshot” of inventory compared to a monthly total of sales is one reason we can see more closings than available inventory in our monthly reports.  Adding to that, once a seller accepts an offer, the home is no longer considered available inventory. With homes spending an average of only 20 days on the market before going under contract, some may not make it into the reported inventory numbers.  

Looking specifically at inventory trends for existing/resale properties, there are a variety of reasons the supply has been so constricted: homeowners delaying listing until they find their next home, which takes longer due to already limited inventory; some homeowners may not feel they can “trade up” from their current home due to current prices, despite equity and low mortgage rates; the surge in mortgage refinancing may have reduced some homeowners’ monthly payments, making it more affordable compared to what they may spend on another home; and in response to COVID-19, some have delayed listing to limit the number of people in their home, or, they may be unable to manage a sale while working from home or if they have children at home for school.  

These kinds of situations are when a REALTOR® can be incredibly valuable to a homeowner in helping them understand their options. Discussing new construction opportunities for those worried they won’t be able to find their next home, or explaining how virtual open houses and showings can limit in-person visits while still exposing the home to the widest pool of potential buyers can help homeowners find a path forward.

New construction inventory was also down significantly, year-over-year, while sales were up by 16.7%. With new homes selling almost twice as fast this year than last year, similar to existing homes, it reduces the numbers captured in our monthly inventory snapshot. But as many builders have had to alter their construction timelines, with fewer tradespeople or difficulty obtaining materials (including home appliances) causing delays, some have also delayed when or how they list a home as available in IMLS. Some builders are able to pre-sell units through model homes, which then later show up in our reports as a closed sale but never as active inventory. 

The low inventory conditions have put tremendous demand on builders, and they have been responding. Between January and September of this year, 3,374 permits were approved for new single-family homes throughout Ada County, according to Construction Monitor, and another 380 permits were approved in October. While a few of the newly approved permits were for existing owners, most were for homes that will be available for purchase in the coming months. 

Again, this is where working with a REALTOR® is so important for home buyers. They can help guide you through the complex process of a new build, and often, can identify new construction options before the ground has even been broken, or, for existing homes, they may have insights on those that may be getting ready to sell. So, while inventory remains low compared to demand, higher year-over-year sales show that there are properties available to be purchased. 

NOTE: While this month’s report provided an explanation on our inventory metrics, even with the variables that affect the monthly counts, the information from IMLS remains the most complete and reliable database for tracking our local housing market, helping home buyers, home sellers, and their REALTORS® make the best decisions for their unique situations.  

Boise Housing Market October 2020

 

 

 

Posted in Housing Market
Oct. 15, 2020

Healthy Competition

Healthy Competition

Humans are competitive. We all know this, and probably feel it within our own nature to some degree. We strive higher, perform better, and want more because of a tendency we have to measure up to one another. Most of us are raised to believe this is a quality -- a common trait amongst the most successful in sports, the classroom, and business. Without a doubt, there is a place for healthy competition in all of these areas and more. Competition can push us to work hard and set goals for ourselves that we might not if we were living on an island.

The key distinction between healthy competition and harmful comparison is at the heart level. Ecclesiastes 4:4-6 says, "Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind" (ESV). So, where do we base our motivation: in envy or in admiration for others?

As our family has been forced to spend more time working and learning from home, a tangible shift has happened in our collective motivation. It's easy to see how the teamwork and positive competition that results from working closely with others can be invigorating and enjoyable. We want to please, we want to stand out within a crowd of many, we enjoy recognition, and oftentimes our personal goals are formed through observing people we admire. These are natural -- even healthy -- human behaviors. I'd never hold it against my kids that they flourish best in a classroom with peers, where they're driven toward success by group challenges/assignments and awareness of others. This is the case for most of us. 

But, the element of envy within competition can easily become dominant if we aren't working to fight it. As it says in Proverbs 14:30, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." The contrasting word to envy here is peace, and having a sense of peace within human competitiveness is clearly a work of the Holy Spirit. If we do not have peace when we observe others doing well (perhaps much better than we are), it's very likely we have envy rotting us from inside. When our response to another's success is resentment, or if we feel threatened, nobody benefits -- least of all us.

When a team loses a game, they can mope around all week or they can pick themselves up, learn from their competitor and strive to do better through emulating their hard work. When someone is flourishing in the career we desire for ourselves, we can make excuses why they made it and we couldn't, or we can follow their example. This can mean asking questions, giving compliments, and being a student of others, giving a perfect opportunity to mutually encourage. The awareness of those around us can ignite in us a selfish ambition or it can lead to our personal growth, building up another in the process. This ultimately brings glory to God, for whom and through whom any of us are anything at all. 

By Anne Gould, wife of Mark Gould

For more articles by Anne Gould, click HERE

Posted in Anne Gould
Oct. 14, 2020

Boise Housing Market Update | September 2020

The seasonal slowdown, usually common this time of year, seems non-existent as the Boise housing market continues to boom.  The median home price reached yet another new record at $409,945, up 17.2% from the same month last year.  As reported by Boise Regional Realtors, this is “a result of a competitive housing market which is being fueled by low mortgage rates and limited supply compared to demand…According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was at 2.9% in September, down 19.7% year-over-year when compared to the September 2019 mortgage rate of 3.61%. While the actual interest rate a borrower receives is based on a variety of factors, the very low rates, as well as increasing rents (as reported by BoiseDev) may be encouraging more people to consider a home purchase.”

The months supply of inventory remained at its current record low of 0.4 months.  As we described in September’s market update, this means if demand remained the same and everyone stopped listing homes today, it would take less than 2 weeks for all the available properties to be sold out!  Moreover, homes are remaining on the market fewer days.  The average days on market for existing homes (not including new construction) was only 17 days, which is a 34.6% drop from the same month last year.  Thus, buyers are continuing to have to act very quickly when it comes to deciding whether or not to put an offer on a home and how much they are willing to offer over the asking price or what contingencies they are willing to waive in order to be the winning bid.  Quick decisions like these can often lead to “cold feet” on behalf of the winning buyer, so backup offers are HIGHLY encouraged. We have had a few buyers this past month get homes as a result of being in backup position as well as a few sellers who have benefited from having good backup offers in place when their first buyer bailed due to buyers remorse.  

The fast pace of today’s market can be very stressful for both buyers and sellers, but it can definitely be made less so with an experienced and caring agent to walk you through the process.  If you are considering buying or selling in the coming months, we would love the opportunity to help prepare you and faithfully come alongside you in the journey!   Please give us a call and let’s find a time to meet!  

If you're interested in knowing more about the current state of the market, check out the full Boise Regional Realtors’ Market Report HERE. Or for a quick snapshot of the Boise housing market for September 2020, see Boise Regional REALTORS® housing market summary for Ada County below:

 

 

Posted in Housing Market
Oct. 14, 2020

There's A Better Way to Engage in Political Conversation

As I’m preparing to thoughtfully exercise my right to vote on November 3rd, I’ve found myself discouraged with the dehumanization and divisiveness of our current political climate and weary of the uncivilized discourse bred by our highly polarized system.  Since I don’t love conflict, my initial reaction is to avoid the topic.  But, the person I want to emulate most set a different example for me, and I want to follow Him.  Jesus wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty—to enter into the mess.  Afterall, He left His perfect Kingdom to come live in a broken world and be in relationship with messy, broken people.  Yet, He did it in a far different manner than we so often see today.  He knew truth, justice, mercy, and righteousness.  Moreover, He is truth, justice, mercy, and righteousness. But, He didn’t come shouting it at people, forcing their hands, or slinging mud and degrading those who opposed Him.  Rather, He waded in with people with gentleness, truth, reasonableness, humility, patience, and purity.  The God of the universe, the one who holds all power and control and could lord it over anyone to force them to do His will, chose another way. I want to follow His way, and I want to encourage those around me to do the same.       

In this season where people are prone to stand their ground, link arms only with those who agree with them, and battle with harsh words, let’s commit to doing it differently!How refreshing would it be, if we all approached political conversation with “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, graciousness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other—as the Lord has forgiven us—and with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-14).

I know this isn’t easy or natural for us. And it hasn’t been modeled well for us by our leaders either. When we are offended or challenged, our first reaction is often pride over humility, judgement over mercy, anger over gentleness, and tribalism over unity.  Knowing how hard this would be for us, it is no wonder God includes so many reminders in His Word to be patient, kind, forgiving, compassionate, gentle and humble.  (Titus 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, James 3:17, Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Peter 3:13-18, Galatians 6:1, Ephesians 4:1-3, James 1:19-20, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Micah 6:8, 1 Peter 3:4, 1 Peter 2:23).   Even if you don’t share my faith in the Bible, I believe the wisdom of this approach is evident, and I’m confident that practicing gentleness, humility, and compassion in your discourse will bring greater unity, peace, and understanding with those of differing viewpoints.  For those of us who do place our trust in the Lord and His Word, I pray we take this not just as a suggestion, but as an act of obedience and as an opportunity to be salt and light in the world!  May we encourage one another to follow Jesus’ example—holding true to biblical convictions while also exercising Christ-like compassion, humility, and care.  This is our Father’s way—let’s walk in it!

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE  

 

Posted in Katie Miller
Sept. 16, 2020

Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: Oops!


Oops
It seems there are always funny stories to tell from my time out on the job.  This one is one of my favorites.  It involves a dear dear client who I've been working with for the greater part of the year.  He is just the best and the very most respectful, kind, and honoring person.  This probably helps make the story even funnier.  Let's call this client George for the sake of anonymity. 
I was checking out a house for different clients one day.  I walked through the house to get a good feel for it and then hopped on Marco Polo to do a video tour for my clients.  This is a very normal occurrence these days with so many out of state buyers wanting to buy here.  So I was recording myself giving a tour of the house.  Talking about all the goods and bads about the house.  Walking in and out of every room and focusing on details I thought were important for my clients to see and know about.  
I probably get a hundred texts a day and they don't stop when I am recording videos for clients.  So, it's not unusual to get lots of texts while I'm recording. But, I can usually just ignore them and continue on with the tour.  
I was live on video talking to my clients about this house when up pops a text from George: "Hey baby, I miss you and can't wait to be with you!"  Knowing immediately that this text was meant for his fiancee who was still back in California, I BURST out laughing and could not contain my composure on my video.  I had to explain to my clients why I completely lost it and try to carry on with my video tour.  Then, a few seconds later, pops up the follow up text from George: "Oh my gosh, Becka.  That text was meant for my fiancee.  I AM SO SO SORRY!"   
I cannot tell you how many times I have sent a text to the wrong person.  LOTS OF TIMES!  Thankfully, those texts are usually pretty innocent.  Poor George.  I can only imagine how he felt as soon as he realized that he sent that text to me!

Written by Becka Marston

See more posts by Becka Marston HERE!

Posted in Becka Marston