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!

May 15, 2020

Boise Housing Market Update | April 2020

As expected amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and Idaho’s associated stay-home order, Boise housing market activity has been down in comparison to the typical spring hype.  There were 761 homes sold in April, which is 19.5% fewer than the same month last year.  However, slowed activity did not negatively impact prices.  In fact, last month’s overall median price reached a new record high of $374,900.  This is up 13.6% from April of last year and up 2.2% from March 2020.  

Though this has been an abnormal season, in more ways than one, we anticipate our usual spring real estate boom will simply be delayed to mid-summer.  This prediction is based largely on the fact that though we are a small brokerage, we know of several buyers and sellers who are ready to make a move but have put the brakes on their plans until we get further down the road in Idaho’s phased re-opening.  We imagine other larger brokerages are seeing the same pattern, which means there may be lots of buyers and sellers flooding the market mid-summer.  

At the beginning of the year, Realtor.com’s economist, Javier Vivas, predicted Boise Idaho to be the #1 top housing market positioned for growth in 2020.   The pandemic has had little negative impact on the factors affecting demand in our area, and has quite possibly even served to enhance it, as some big city dwellers consider seeking out cities like ours with more elbow room. Since inventory levels have been and are expected to remain well below those of a balanced market, we anticipate high demand and low supply will continued to put upward pressure on prices in the Boise housing market. 

We understand the timing of a person’s decision on whether to buy or sell a home depends greatly on their personal circumstances, needs, and desires.  If you would like to talk more with a real estate professional about your situation and timing considerations, please give us a call!  We would love the opportunity to help inform, encourage, and guide you in making the best decision for YOU! 

Posted in Housing Market
April 19, 2020

Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: Skunked

Last year I listed a beautiful house on a perfectly landscaped acre in Eagle.  My clients, dear friends of mine, worked so hard to prepare their house and get it just perfect for listing.  It was pristine! Every single thing in it’s perfect place.  Each perfectly coordinated throw pillow was fluffed just right.  When it came time for the listing to go live, they were ready! 

Living in your house and selling it can be difficult, as many of you know.  Having to live your life in a show-ready and staged home has many challenges.  But these sellers had it down!  Until they didn’t.  The night before we had some showings, their precious and precocious LARGE husky was out in the back yard when she got sprayed by a skunk.  In her panic, she came running inside, rolled around a bit, then darted upstairs to the daughter’s room.  Since it was after midnight, their daughter was unaware at first of what was going on.  The husky was panicked and started thrashing and rubbing herself all over the carpet.  When the little girl woke up and called to the dog, the dog JUMPED IN BED WITH SkunkedHER.  The little girl started yelling at the horrible smell.  Dad, having been woken from dead sleep, came running up the stairs wondering what the heck was going on, when he smelled the most horrible smell.  They dragged the dog outside, stripped the bed, and with showings the next day, started doing what they could to alleviate the horrible skunk smell from the house.  When they called me in the morning to tell me what happened, we laughed--A LOT. 

I love this story because we can work so hard to make things just perfect.  We can check all the boxes, fluff all the pillows, put the right light bulbs in, and touch up all the paint.  But you just never know when the dog is going to rub all her skunk goodness all over the house the night before a showing!  

Written by Becka Marston

See more posts by Becka Marston HERE!

Posted in Becka Marston
April 15, 2020

Certainty in Uncertain Times

Certainty in Uncertain Times COVID-19

I have heard the phrase “uncertain times” more than I can count lately and have probably used the phrase myself a time or two.  But, in truth, aren’t all our days uncertain? At least uncertain to us? How are these times any more uncertain than the months or days before this crazy virus or the months or days that will follow?  Life on earth always has and always will be full of unexpected changes, losses, ups, downs, life-altering surprises, and bottom-dropping tragedies. Perhaps this virus has just helped make us more collectively aware of life’s uncertainties and human fragility.  But, oh how I rejoice and find peace in knowing that every day and every moment, though uncertain to me, is CERTAIN to my God!  

He reminds us of this in Isaiah 46, “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 all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.”   God is in control of this virus.  Whatever He has spoken about it will pass. However long He has purposed it, it will prevail. Though we may never understand it and may question His reasons, He is working it all out for the good of those who love Him.  

An acquaintance of mine living in the Republic of Georgia echoed this sentiment in a recent email, “With the world on hold and shaken from its normal rhythms, it is comforting to remember that God knows the future. He knows how long this season will last. He knows the final death count. He knows the impact on each and every one of us.  He knows if everything will just get back to normal in a month or if we will never be the same again.  He knows.  But beyond merely knowing, He sovereignly controls every outcome--every last hair, every last sparrow known and under His perfect, wise, just, and loving control. May you seek and find new contours in God’s glorious character as the ground beneath you shakes and shifts. May you never be the same again.”

I loved how he ended this email, “May you never be the same again.”  I believe God has a good purpose in this--a purpose to form each of us more into the likeness of who He created us to be.  In our uncertainty, may we surrender to His certainty and let Him shape us into people who love Him, trust Him, and use the gifts He has given us to love those around us well! I pray He would provide for each one of your unique needs in this time!  If you have specific prayer requests, I would love to hear them and would be honored to come alongside you in prayer for those things that are on your heart.  

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE 

Posted in Katie Miller
April 15, 2020

Idaho Women's Suffrage

Idaho Women's SuffrageIt’s commonly known that women were finally given the right to vote in August of 1920, with the ratification of the 19th amendment.   But, it may be a little less known that, in an effort to attract both men and women westward, territories in the West were some of the first to support women’s suffrage.     Idaho has allowed women to vote since 1896, almost a quarter of a century before it was allowed on the federal level.

There were eight women who proved most instrumental in bringing women’s voting rights to Idaho.  

  • Elizabeth Badley of Caldwell:  Elizabeth was the wife of a blacksmith who ran for the Idaho Assembly in 1888.  Both she and her husband were involved in politics and were active in the temperance movement.  When the Idaho State Legislature agreed to the resolution to vote on women's suffrage, she became the Vice President of the suffrage convention.

  • Emma Drake of New Plymouth: Emma was a medical doctor and a minister's wife.  Her medical training and religious beliefs drew her to the temperance movement.  She was also a medical school professor and author.  She held office in the Women's Christian Temperance Union and was supportive of suffrage and women's rights.

  • Kate E. Feltham of Boise:  Kate was married to the City Attorney for Caldwell and taught English at the College of Idaho.  She became very active in getting women the right to vote and became the Vice President of the state suffrage association.

  • Helen "Nellie" Young of Osburn: Helen was the first female allowed to practice law in the State of Idaho and was an avid supporter of women's rights.  Her family came to Idaho during a mining boom, and she married a miner.  She applied to the Idaho Supreme Court to practice law in the state.  Her application was accepted by Chief Justice John Morgan, Justice Isaac Sullivan, and Justice Joseph Huston.  These were the same three members who would pass women's suffrage the next year.  She also acted as Vice President of the state suffrage association.  

  • Margaret Oakes:  Margaret was a member of the National Woman's Party.  She traveled to Washington DC in 1918 to participate in a demonstration in Lafayette Square.  She stepped forward to speak out and was immediately arrested.  While in jail, she and twenty-five other women went on a hunger strike.  After ten days in jail, she was bailed out by her son.

  • Frances Houston, Christine Sullivan & Maria Morgan of Boise:  These women were active members of the state suffrage association and worked diligently to advance the opportunities for women in the State of Idaho.  

From the time women first organized to collectively fight for suffrage at the national level in 1848 to the actual ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, many women and men worked tirelessly to organize, petition, and picket for women’s right to vote.  We are grateful for their dedication to the cause and for the way their efforts have helped shape our state and our country for the better!    

Posted in Local History
April 15, 2020

Boise Housing Market Update | March 2020

There have been a lot of questions on how COVID-19 and Idaho’s stay-home order have affected the Boise housing market.  Under the order, which went into effect on March 25th, real estate is considered an essential service.  This means buyers and sellers who were in contract on a home prior to the order have been able to proceed to closing, and those who have needed to list or buy a home during the order have been free to do so.  Within our brokerage, we have seen very little impact on the market since the order came into place.  However, depending on how long the stay-home order needs to remain in place, we may see more long-term effects in the future.  

Last month, home sales were up 7.9% compared to March 2019, with new construction continuing to make up a large portion of total sales.  The median sales price reached a new high of $367,000, representing a 9.6% increase from the same month last year.  Since these market statistics represent March real estate transactions, they mostly include properties that were under contract prior to the statewide stay-home order going into effect.  This means these statistics are likely not indicative of where the market stands under the impact of current COVID-19 regulations.

We are thankful the Boise housing market continues to move forward amidst this pandemic.  But, regulations, situations, statistics, and personal impacts continue to change daily.  This can make it difficult for people to decide if now is the right time to list or buy a home.  If you have questions about this, please give us a call.  We can’t predict the future, but we would love the opportunity to help you seek better understanding of your financial and housing options based on your own personal and unique circumstances.

If you’re interested, Boise Regional REALTORS® has also provided more information under the Resources for Property Owners and Resources for Renters sections of Boise Regional REALTORS® Coronavirus Response website.  Also, look for next month’s Boise housing market report, which will better answer questions of how the statewide stay-home order has impacted real estate activity in the Treasure Valley.  

Boise Housing Market March 2020

Posted in Housing Market
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®