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!

Sept. 11, 2021

Boise Housing Market Update | August 2021

As the weather has started to cool, so has the Boise real estate market.  Our median sales price was $530,500 last month—down about $10,000 from July but still up 32.2% from the same month last year. The main reason for high appreciation over the last year is primarily a matter of supply versus demand.  The Boise area simply hasn’t had enough housing inventory to keep up with the number of buyers looking to purchase.  Fortunately, though, housing supply is on the rise.   Last month was the fifth consecutive month of inventory growth, increasing 6.5% from July and a whopping 90.8% from August 2020!!  

As stated by Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR), these inventory gains are “very encouraging—and likely prompted by higher prices—although still low compared to what they might have been had they tracked with the historical trendline.”  (See the historical trendline for Ada County HERE). 

The number of pending and closed sales remain on track with their respective trendlines, although they decreased 22.9% and 28.3% respectively from last year (see graph HERE).  As BRR reports, “Some in the national news have speculated that declines in national sales activity indicates buyers are backing off. This may be the case in some situations, especially among more price sensitive buyers, but the declines likely have more to do with seasonality and limited inventory…The past two years haven’t had that same seasonal feel with the pandemic compressing the traditional market cycles, but any additional declines in activity from now through the end of the year are not completely atypical.” 

The increase in the number of homes available and the slight cooling of the market are good news for buyers, but they aren’t completely out of the woods yet.  Inventory remains near historic lows compared to demand, meaning the market is still very competitive.  Although the number of homes receiving multiple offers and selling for over asking price has declined, 42.3% of properties still sold for an average of $22,675 more than list price last month.    

If you’re considering buying or selling, we’d love to talk with you more about the typical and atypical factors of today’s market and how we can leverage those to help you meet your real estate objectives. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for a coffee date or phone call, anytime! 

Boise Housing Market August 2021

Posted in Housing Market
Sept. 8, 2021

Losing Linus

Losing Linus

When Hadley was almost three, we decided to get a family cat.  We went to the Humane Society, visited a room with several kittens bounding around, and watched for the one we wanted to adopt.  We let Hadley pick him out, but I know I did my fair share of “encouraging” toward a particular kitten.  His features were striking and beautiful to me--deep green eyes, short fur, grayish brown and black stripes, and one thick, black stripe straight down his back.  I remember thinking then and always when I would look at him how creative our God was and what an incredible artist to design such a beautiful creature.  

With no small amount of persuasion from us, Hadley named him Linus--or as she pronounced it at the time, "Whynus."  Linus was a good cat.  He often hid out during the day, but we called him our “praying cat” because he would always come to wherever we gathered to pray as a family at night. He would lay down comfortably in the middle of us and seemingly join in the prayer.  After that, he would pick one of our beds to lay on (usually Taylor’s) and nestle between our feet as we slept.  

He was an indoor cat, only venturing out into our backyard occasionally when we were home but never exploring past our property.  However, on June 16th, when we were away on vacation, he snuck out during someone’s visit to our house and ventured too far.  He was lost.  When we returned from our trip, we started looking for him, hanging up flyers, checking with neighbors, filing missing reports, and checking sites for missing animals.  We were so appreciative of the many people in the community who cared enough about our Linus and about us to continue to keep their eyes out for him and send us tips on the best ways to find him throughout the time he was gone. 

As we looked for him, we often wondered at what could have happened to him or where he could be--could he have been hit by a car, attacked by another animal, treated cruelly by humans, hidden scared, alone, and starving somewhere, or hanging out safely in someone else’s home?  Was he dead or alive?  Should we keep looking or assume he is gone forever?  In those moments of worry and unrest, we would often find peace in the truth that God’s eyes are on all creatures, and He knew exactly where Linus was.  He could sustain Him if He willed, He could bring Him back to us, or He could determine if the number of Linus’ days had come to a close.  We prayed for his return but trusted in whatever outcome we’d face.  

We had been holding onto all of Linus’ things as we waited, but as we neared the 2 month mark of his disappearance, we decided it was probably time to pass his things on.  Before donating the items, I decided to once more check the Humane Society website before calling an end to our search.  I opened the page of lost animals, which I had visited almost everyday since his disappearance. I scrolled down, and THERE HE WAS!  I couldn’t believe it!  I cried happy tears, shared the news with the kids, and we raced to the Humane Society to pick him up.  We were not able to get any information on where he was found or who brought him in.  So, we continued to wonder at where he had been all this time and to marvel that his life had been sustained.  We celebrated!

But Linus was very, very thin, very dehydrated, and not well.  We took him into the vet, had blood work done, gave him fluids, and prayed he would turn a corner.  Yet, after a few days of working to nurse him back to health, he only continued to go downhill.  On August 16th, exactly 2 months after he had been lost, we made the difficult decision to put him down.    We all went to the vet to be with him in his last moments.  We prayed with him (since he always seemed to like that), cuddled him, pet him, and talked softly to him.  And, then we wept together as we watched him leave this world.  

We wonder at God’s purposes in all of it.  Why did Linus sneak out while we were gone and wander so far from the yard? Why weren’t we able to find him sooner?  Why would God reunite us to him, only to take him again a few days later?  We don’t know the answers to these questions, but we choose to trust that God’s purposes are good.  We choose to marvel at the miracle that Linus’ life was sustained for nearly two months out on his own and to remember God held his life and holds our lives in His capable hands.  We choose to be amazed at the kindness and compassion of neighbors and friends and strangers who rallied around us as we searched, celebrated with us when we found him, and mourned with us when we lost him.  We choose to be thankful for the handful of days we were able to have him back home with us in order to hold him, show him our love, and say goodbye.  We choose to rest in the truth that although we don’t know the answers to “Why,” we know a good God who does know and who is working it all out for good.   “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose’” (Isaiah 46: 9-10).  

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

 

Posted in Katie Miller
Sept. 2, 2021

Why Buyer Love Letters Are Shunned

Nearly all my clients at some point ask me whether I recommend writing a buyer “love letter” (a letter written by buyers to explain why the sellers should choose their offer; usually these letters highlight what they like about the house, and often include some personal information about the buyers as well). 

If truth be told, this is a good idea--in theory at least. People are relational, and they often make decisions based on relationships, character, and other factors relating to individuals.

But this is exactly why these letters can be problematic. The fair housing act of 1968 rightly prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. In other words, sellers can’t choose to sell––or not to sell––their house to an individual because of something related to those seven protected classes.

Buyers, however, are not always keenly aware of how their love letters relate to housing laws. They often mention information that is protected under the Fair Housing Act. For example, it’s not uncommon for buyers to write something like this:

“This is a perfect house for my family. The upstairs is just right for our children, and the it’s close to the school they want to attend!”

Or this:

“The church I will be going to is just around the corner!”

If a seller were to choose a buyer’s offer because of the information above, he/she would be discriminating against other potential buyers based on familial status and religion. The seller, therefore, would be liable for breaking the law. Additionally, since the buyer provided that information, he/she could also be held accountable as an accomplice.

Because of the many problems encountered in the past, the National Association of REALTORS® has recently advised agents to tell their clients not to write love letters anymore. Many sellers' agents in Boise even explicitly say not to submit buyer letters.

Personally, I usually tell my clients to forget about writing love letters, and focus rather on making their offer as competitive as possible. And the best way to do that is to accommodate as much as possible to the seller's needs. Can you offer a rent back? Can you make up some of the difference in cash if the appraisal comes in low? Are you flexible on the closing date? Etc. These are some of the most important seller considerations anyway, so the more of those boxes you can check off, the more love letters will become a moot issue in their decision. 

By Benj Foreman

For more blog posts by Benj Foreman, click HERE  

 

Aug. 13, 2021

Boise Housing Market Update | July 2021

It’s no secret that insufficient supply of available homes for sale has been the primary driver for rapid home price increases in the Boise real estate market.  July was no exception to this with the median price for Ada County homes reaching $540,000, up 2.9% from June!

If you’re like me, you may understand some of the factors contributing to our inventory shortage, but there may be others you are unaware of or confused by.  At the Ada County Housing Summit last month, Boise Regional REALTORS® shared the following list of factors affecting existing housing supply and demand.  I thought it was helpful, so I wanted to share it with you as well: 

Although it will take quite some time for inventory to catch up with the housing needs in our area, last month boasted encouraging statistics to show we’re headed in that direction.  At the end of July, inventory in Ada County was listed at 729 available homes.  This is up 50.3% from June and up 116.3% from July of last year.

If you’d like to talk more about the current market and how it may affect your personal real estate decisions, please call us!  We’d love the opportunity to meet with you, to provide helpful information, and to process your future plans.

Boise Housing Market July 2021

See more monthly Boise housing market updates HERE!

 

Posted in Housing Market
Aug. 13, 2021

A Backpacking Trip to Remember

 

With five children, it can often be very difficult to get individual one-on-one time with the kids.  We have sporadically tried “stay-up-nights,” where one child gets to stay up a bit later than everyone else to have dessert, play something, and talk a bit with both of us.  But, a day or even multiple days of undivided attention from Mom or Dad hasn’t been something our kids have experienced.  

A few years ago, Luke had the idea to make time for this by planning a one-on-one father/child backpacking trip with each kid when they turned 13.  This week, he finally got to see this come to fruition as he ventured out with our oldest daughter, Hadley, on a 3-day backpacking trip in the Sawtooth Mountains.    He had a few people who have been influential in Hadley’s life write her letters; he planned a few Bible studies on being grounded in her identity as a beloved child of God; he helped make sure she had everything packed, and they headed out.

Yesterday, when they returned, it was such a joy to see their pictures and hear stories from their memorable adventure.  Some of Hadley’s highlights were viewing the beautiful scenery, swimming in the lake, rocking out with Dad to music on the drive home, and reading the letters people had written for her.  A common theme throughout each of the letters was the truth that Hadley is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) by a God who saved her and calls her His own.  I am so thankful for the opportunity she was given to be grounded in these truths about who she is, especially during years of her life when one’s identity can be influenced by such shaky foundations.  I was also thankful for the opportunity she had to experience more of the awesome glory of God’s creation.  What a beautiful world He has formed for us, and what a precious gift!  

When Luke got home, one of the first things he said to me is, “You have to make time to do something like this with the kids!”  And I agreed!  I’m already getting excited about whatever adventure we decide to do together when they turn 16.  I can tell you right now, it won’t be backpacking (I love nature and spending time in it, but I also greatly value a warm shower and a comfy bed =-).  But, I have no doubt, whatever we do, it will be special time—growing in the sweet relationship our relational and loving God has kindly established.  

I hope you enjoy some of their pictures from this fun trip!

 

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

 

Posted in Katie Miller
July 13, 2021

Boise Housing Market Update | June 2021

Some agents have commented that they are seeing small signs of “cool down” in the Boise real estate market.  But, overall, conditions remain primarily “hot” and continue to lean heavily in favor of sellers. This reality combined with uncertainty about the future, seems to have finally enticed some people to take the leap and list their homes.  This was evidenced by an increase in inventory from 570 available homes in May to 729 homes in June.  In comparison to last year, June’s inventory was still down 25%.  But, 25% down was a welcome improvement from the 54% it was down at the month prior.  The number of sold properties was also up last month, clocking in at 970 homes sold verses only 790 in May. 

Though increased inventory and more home sales will help balance the market and alleviate upward pressure on prices over time, buyer competition on most properties remains fierce in the present.  The median number of days on market dropped to a new record of only 10 days! And the majority of sellers continue to receive multiple offers above asking price within the first few days of listing their properties.  Given these competitive conditions, both our buyers and sellers have expressed the importance and value of having a reliable and knowledgeable agent by their side. 

It’s no lie that buying a home in this market is difficult, but we also want you to hear that it’s not impossible either!  We would love to talk more with you about the current market, answer questions you may have about how it may affect you, and pray with you about how best to move forward.  We don’t know exactly what the future will hold, but we DO know the One who does, and we are grateful for any opportunity to come alongside you in asking for His help, wisdom, and peace as you navigate your next steps.  

Boise Housing Market June 2021

See more monthly Boise housing market updates HERE!

Posted in Housing Market
July 13, 2021

Looking on Others with Love and Mercy

 

When someone frustrates, disappoints, or hurts me, it is often difficult for me to look on them with love. Instead, I can feel bitterness or anger taking root. I loved the verses in Mark 10:21 and Lamentations 3:22-23 which reminded me of the unending and undeserved love, compassion, and mercy God showers on me daily and how He calls me to extend that same love, compassion, and mercy to others.  I pray the things I am learning that I share in this video would encourage you, as they did me, to remember how Jesus looks on us and loves us and how He desires us to look on others in the same way.  May we become more like Him every day!

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

Posted in Katie Miller
June 23, 2021

Boise Housing Market Update | May 2021

This month's Boise real estate market update is brought to you by Boise Regional REALTORS®.  If you have question about what you read here or want to discuss how our current market conditions could affect your personal real estate decisions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me!  I'd love to connect and help you process the best next steps:

The median sales price for homes in Ada County reached a new record of $523,250 in May, up 8.7% compared to April 2021. Crossing this threshold may have been anticipated by some, considering the recent report from realtor.com shared by the Idaho Statesman noting that the Boise metro’s price growth was the highest in the country over the past four years.

The Boise region has faced insufficient supply for years, which has been the main driver of home prices, but several factors have accelerated the growth in recent months. Buyer demand remains high due to historically low mortgage rates, and the added ability for more people to work remotely has likely increased in-migration due to our relative comparative affordability in comparison to more expensive metro areas.

Further, the supply of homes for sale continues to be restricted by longer homeownership tenure, baby boomers aging in place, and a hesitancy from potential sellers who may be concerned about finding another home in these competitive market conditions.

New construction has often been an option for those looking to sell their existing home; however, due to rapid increases in material costs — especially lumber — coupled with supply chain disruptions, not only are new construction homes more expensive, some builders have held back available inventory until they are closer to delivery so they can price the property based on final materials costs. As a result, new construction home prices reached a median sales price record of $544,986 in May 2021 — an increase of 16.0% from the previous record of $469,900 in April 2021.

With delays in new home delivery, demand for existing homes that are ready to move-into, further increased. Prices followed suit with nearly 70% of buyers willing to pay over list price for existing homes in May 2021...CONTINUE READING

Boise Housing Market May 2021

Posted in Housing Market
June 21, 2021

Open the Door

I recently went back and read a sermon I’ve long remembered by a friend and mentor, Ben Tyson. I always remember the sermon because Ben helped to answer a question I often wondered about, “Why was King David—a man whose life was marked by moments of great faithfulness and wisdom but was also tainted by such sins as adultery and murder—referred to in the Bible as ‘a man after God’s own heart.’”  I know, like David, I am tainted by my own sins, but I want more than anything to be a “woman after God’s own heart.”  So, I like learning more about what that means and how, amidst my sin struggles, that’s still possible for me.  One of the keys Ben noted to moving toward this is valuing close relationship with God.

Unlike any other religion or god, the God of the Bible desires relationship with His people.  If you read the Bible, you’ll see this truth is evident throughout its pages.  It’s how God created things to be in the beginning when He dwelled in the garden with Adam and Eve.  It’s what He sought with the Israelites throughout the Old Testament.  It’s what we continually mess up and what Jesus came and died to restore.  And, it’s what He promises those who love Him will experience perfectly and eternally in heaven (Revelation 21:3).  God cares a lot about our relationship with Him, and David definitely did too.  We know this about David, because just as you’d expect to see in any healthy human relationship, he invested time in his relationship with God—learning about Him, talking to Him through prayer, and sharing with Him his deepest thoughts, hurts, and fears.  He asked for God’s direction and listened to His response. He delighted in God’s Law, not just to understand it but also to better know God’s heart.  When he sinned, He came with a broken and contrite spirit to repent and to seek forgiveness and relational restoration.  He praised and gave thanks to God regularly.  And, he was eager to share God’s love with others.

Additionally, as you’d expect in healthy human relationships, David’s relationship with God was not coerced or forced.  Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.” The Lord isn’t just barging in and taking over, He’s knocking and beckoning us to answer—to let him in and to be in relationship with Him.  And, as Ben says in his sermon, “notice what happens if we do let him in…it says that we share meals together.  This is another way of saying that we enter into close relationship.  We talk about real things, we laugh, we cry, we share life together.”   

Jesus stands at the door of my life daily and knocks.  He wants me to invite Him in—into the BIG things, into the little things, into the hard things, into the joyful things.  Many times, I am eager to open the door and seek His advice and wisdom and share my joys and worries.  But there remain times in my life when I’m not so eager to open it—especially when I have a plan of how I want things to go, and I may not really want Him to come in and change it—or times in my life when I’m just too busy or too self- absorbed to hear or to pay attention to His knocking. 

But, what I see in King David is a heart that is eager to let the Lord in and to spend time in relationship with his Savior.  And, since God’s heart is to have relationship with us, it would make sense that the Bible describes David as “a man after God’s own heart.”  This month, I am praying the Lord would help me be a woman after His own heart by tuning my ears to more readily hear his knocking, by increasing my eagerness and openness to letting Him in, and by adding to my joy as He grows me in my relationship with Him.  As the lyrics of an old hymn say, “What a friend we have in Jesus!”  Indeed, He is the greatest friend we’ll ever know.  So, let’s open the door and let him in! 

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

Posted in Katie Miller
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