Aug 31 2017

Before you put your home up for sale, use the right comparable sales to find the perfect price.

A house is comparable to yours in price if it's in the same neighborhood, on a similar street, and in the same school district.

How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?  

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision - and it closed escrow last week. If you can't find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don't just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.

Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it's finished), finishes, and yard size.

Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?

Sale sweeteners: Did the comparable sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.

Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights

Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors'. Evaluating those differences - like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office - is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.

More ways to pick a home listing price

If you're still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).

Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?

Are foreclosures a good comparable?

If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.

A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can't pay their mortgage can't afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

So you have to rely on your REALTOR's® knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.

Visit www.Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Aug 30 2017

This week we're celebrating 'Ride the Wind' day! Sounds liberating doesn't it? Boise has a huge love for hot air balloons and lately we've been seeing a lot of them floating along our skies. So book a flight - it's just one way to celebrate!

National 'Ride the Wind' day commemorates the anniversary of the first human-powered flight to win the Kremer prize. The Gossamer Condor 2 flew the first figure-eight course to win the prize by cruising by at a breakneck speed of 11mph. :) 
 
We all know that cooler air is right around the corner, so take advantage of these nice days and get outside as much as possible. Summer breezes allow us to fly human-powered aircrafts. In the event you lack a human-powered aircraft or a hot air balloon, flying a kite is always a good back up plan!

 

 

 

Aug 29 2017
There is often some confusion about real estate terms used to describe the different types of markets consumers will experience.

Below is an explanation of a buyers' market, sellers' market, and balanced market to help you understand what that really means.

Buyers' Market:
  • In a buyers' market the buyers have more control than the sellers.
  • This type of market occurs when there is an abundance of listing inventory available and there are more sellers than buyers.
  • Buyers often benefit from this with lower prices and seller concessions, such as more price flexibility, and seller-paid buyer closing costs.
  • A market with more than six month's supply* of listing inventory is considered a buyers' market.
Sellers' Market:
  • In a sellers' market, the sellers have more control than the buyers.
  • This type of market occurs when there is a low listing inventory, more buyers than sellers, homes are not on the market for very long, and often there are multiple offers on homes.
  • A sellers' market benefits sellers with higher prices, fewer days on markets, less seller-paid buyer closing costs, and oftentimes multiple-offer bidding wars. We experienced this market this spring.
  • A market with less than four month's listing inventory is considered a sellers' market.
Balanced Market:
  • In a balanced market, neither buyers nor sellers have the advantage.
  • A market with about four to six month's listing inventory is considered to be a balanced market.
*A six month's supply of inventory means that if no new homes were to be listed, our current supply would last six months.
 
Want to know what market your home is currently experiencing? Call us today and ask! (208) 327-2127
Aug 24 2017
Choosing home projects and updates that will enhance and transform the look of your house can be daunting.

Our next several newsletters will feature updates and easy cosmetic fixes that won't break the bank account and take months to finish. We'll focus on easy weekend projects that will help you transform every room in your house.

Illuminating Ideas

Adding new kitchen lighting or a new fixture over the dining table is a sure way to add an upgraded look and feel to any home.

It's easy to find great ideas online on any do-it-yourself website or by a Google keyword search. There are so many styles of lighting, it will be easy to match your existing decor. Or if you're looking to change the look of things, this is a great place to start!
  • Don't want to run to the store and spend a lot of money? Try one of these great ideas: 
  • Make a fabric-covered drum shade to match your decor. 
  • Install a dimmer switch to make your current lighting more versatile. 
  • Use a few cans of spray paint to give an old chandelier new life. 
  • Replace or paint the blades on a ceiling fan. 
These small changes will make a big difference!
 
Aug 16 2017
The solar eclipse is crossing Idaho Monday! So what's the big deal?

It won't occur again in Idaho for another 152 years! A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon completely blocks the solar disk. In a total solar eclipse, the narrowest part of the path, where the Sun is completely blocked and the Moon casts its darkest shadow - called the umbra - is called the "zone of totality".

Observers in this path see a darkened Sun with the glow of the solar corona extending out to space. A phenomenon called "Bailey's Beads" often appears as sunlight shines out through valleys on the lunar surface. If the Sun is active, observers can also see solar prominences, loops, and flares during totality.

 

 

Are you not sure where to go where you'll be in the path of totality? Click here to find a list of events happening across our state just for the eclipse!

 

Aug 15 2017
By Jim Vogel of ElderAction.org
 
 
For many Baby Boomers, home ownership is sacrosanct and a signal of security and success. However, when it comes time to downsize or head off to that retirement dream home, you may find yourself wondering if it makes more sense to rent, rather than buy. The answer to that question will be different for everyone, but there are some pros and cons to consider for either option.
 
Renting
The conveniences of renting a home can bring a sigh of relief to retirees who have spent decades mowing the lawn, calling the plumber, and paying for unexpected repairs. Suddenly, dealing with a leaky faucet is as simple as calling the landlord. Plus, modern apartment complexes come with a bevy of amenities from on-site gyms to club rooms, so you can keep an active lifestyle without going far.

However, living in a rental also means you won't be able to adapt your home to meet your needs. If you suffer a fall and need home modifications to get around safely, you're going to hit some roadblocks. If you have pets, your housing options will be limited and you may be faced with exorbitant pet fees.

Renting also leaves the possibility that your landlord will raise your rent, making your home suddenly unaffordable, or that the property will be sold and you'll have to find a new place to move to.
Buying
Most retirees favor buying over renting thanks to the security of knowing you'll have your home as long as you want or need it.  A home you own can be adapted to meet aging-in-place needs, and while you'll have to pay for any updates or repairs yourself, you know they'll be completed to your exact specifications.

And owning a home doesn't have to mean extensive maintenance needs. Many seniors choose condo living to minimize yard work, and paying for a landscaper or cleaning help is affordable when you opt to downsize.

However, many seniors are disappointed to discover how far the money from the sale of their previous home will go in today's market. If you've lived in your home for years without making updates, it's not going to sell for as much as your neighbor's remodeled house. So even if you're downsizing, it could be a challenge to find a home that meets your needs within your budget.

But buying a home late in life doesn't have to mean paying for it outright. While the thought of a  mortgage in retirement makes many people uneasy, it can actually be a smart financial decision. Since mortgage rates are low and you can deduct mortgage interest (along with property taxes) from your taxes, making a substantial down payment and investing the rest can leave you coming out ahead.
 
How to Decide?
The right choice between renting and buying will be different for everyone. To figure out what's best for you, weigh your priorities, finances (including cost for storage if you need to rent a unit as you downsize), and how long you plan to stay in the home.

If you hope to leave a home to your children, that's a big checkmark in the pro column. However, if you don't have the cash for a down payment and would need to tap into your retirement funds, buying may not be a wise financial decision. Moreover, if you don't expect to stay in your new home for at least seven years, or you're moving to a new state in retirement, it may be wise to rent until you're ready to settle.

No matter which way you're leaning, consider hiring a professional to help assess your finances and housing needs so you can make the decision that lets you make the most of your retirement.
Aug 10 2017

If you are like most homeowners, you haven't read your homeowners insurance policy cover to cover. Obviously because it's very boring and you have better things to do ... like cleaning out your junk drawer, reorganizing your closet so your clothes are in order by color, or creating a spreadsheet of all things you would rather be doing than reading your homeowners policy cover to cover. Am I right? Well lucky for you, we've compiled a list of 5 items that typically aren't covered!

 

Flooding

On almost every homeowners policy, flood damage or other loss caused by flooding are not covered. Only if you are located in a flood zone is flood insurance required by your lender and if you don't have a mortgage, it's likely even if you are in a flood zone that you don't carry flood insurance!

Expensive Jewelry & Personal Property

Many policies will cover your personal belongings up to $1,000. Anything that is valued above that you will need to procure a separate rider to cover the rest of your items.

Mold

A standard policy typically will either limit coverage for damage caused by mold or completely exclude it! You may be able to add an endorsement to expand coverage but it comes at a cost.

Sewer backups

As our sewer lines grow older, sewage backups have become more frequent. Older pipes aren't able to handle the amount of storm water we've seen recently. Additionally, pipes can become blocked with tree roots that work their way into small cracks or joints in the piping. Consider an extra rider for sewer backups if you're at all worried about the risk.

Trampolines

Many policies don't cover trampolines, and many companies will cancel or issue a non-renewal if they find out you have one! If a homeowner is sued as a result of injury involving the trampoline, the insurance company would not cover these costs.

Aug 09 2017
Have you seen this kid? Joshua Emara is a 13 year-old local celebrity who is a dancing violin player. He plays (and dances) each week at the Saturday Market downtown. 
 
IdahoEdNews.org
Influenced by Lindsey Stirling and Madonna, Joshua entertains Boise's downtown crowd with his energetic and uplifting performances. 

"It's never been for the money ... I perform to bring joy, happiness, and excitement to people."
 
He's got a lot of passion packed into a little body and he's not afraid to leave it all out on the street during his performances. It's exhilarating to watch someone with so much passion do something they love, especially one so young!
Aug 08 2017
I make my living herding Jill and sometimes it's like managing a squirrel at a rave and her tail is on fire! All kidding aside, I am the Executive Assistant and I am basically the nut that holds us all together. 
 
Before joining the JGA team, I was the Director of Property Management and Maintenance at a small brokerage in Meridian for almost 8 years. I was born and raised in Idaho, and my whole family is still here and we're all very close. I am happily married and we have a two-and-a-half year old daughter named Quinn. She's extremely strong-willed and loves kissing snakes in our backyard, much to my dismay ... snakes are not my favorite!  
  • What is your favorite life motto or quote? "It turns out that being an adult is mostly just googling how to do stuff." - Confucius
  • What is your favorite thing to do in Boise and why? Idaho Shakespeare Festival for sure, I just love it out there! The landscaping is amazing and I've loved every show I've gone to. My favorite was The Complete Works of Shakespeare, so funny!
  • What is your favorite place in the WORLD and why? Paradise Point camp in McCall, Idaho. I went there as a camper in the 3rd grade all the way into my early 20's as a camp counselor ... and then I got married up there! It's a stunning lake-front camp on Payette Lake with little cabins with no electricity. Campers write their names in the cabins and I can find mine in all of them starting from 3rd grade!
  • If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it? "Reason My Kid is Crying #978: A Cautionary Tale of a Broken Graham Cracker." 
  • You've been given an elephant. You can't give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant? Sounds like I'd be moving to the jungle with my new elephant! 
Aug 31 2017
 
Before you put your home up for sale, use the right comparable sales to find the perfect price.
 
A house is comparable to yours in price if it's in the same neighborhood, on a similar street, and in the same school district.
 
How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.
 
Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?
Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision - and it closed escrow last week. If you can't find that, here are other factors that count:
 
Location: The closer to your house the better, but don't just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.
 
Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it's finished), finishes, and yard size.
 
Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?
 
Sale sweeteners: Did the comparable sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.
 
Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights
Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors'. Evaluating those differences - like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office - is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

 

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.
 
More ways to pick a home listing price
If you're still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).
 
Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?
 
Are foreclosures a good comparable?

If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.
A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can't pay their mortgage can't afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

 

So you have to rely on your REALTOR's® knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.


Visit www.Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.