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Jul 14 2008

Government Grants

For first-time buyers, often the first thought that comes to mind is, “I need a down payment.” This is often followed by the question, “Now, where do I get that down payment?”

Depending upon the loan type, a home mortgage typically requires 3 to 5 percent down. If you have the money, then you’re set. But what if you don’t?  What if you’re renting? You can afford a mortgage within your means, but coming up with the down payment money needed to begin the transaction can be challenging. So, where can you turn?



One of the most overlooked sources of down payment funds is likely right under your nose—in the form of government bonds and local grant programs. These programs either provide outright monetary grants for down payment or money to buyers in the form of a forgivable loan. In essence, the government will help you buy your home and you typically only have to pay back the money if and when you sell that same property.


In the past it was challenging to find these special programs, but now all you need is your agent, a computer, an Internet connection, and a search portal such as Google or Yahoo.  Enter the search terms “down payment assistance (followed by your city, state or province)” and see what pops up! It might just be the answer to helping you buy your first home.


Written by David Reed, author of Mortgage 101 and Mortgage Confidential.

Jun 07 2008




Jun 04 2008
Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine picked Boise as one of it's 'Best Places to Live, Work, and Play' for 2008.

No. 4: Boise, Idaho


Population: 568,086
Population Growth Since 2000: 18.2%
Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 33.2%
Cost-of-Living Index: 95.5 (100 being national average)
Median Household Income: $49,833
Income Growth Since 2000: 16.6%

How do folks get any work done around here? The skiing, snowboarding, fishing, biking and kayaking in and around Boise are an almost irresistible temptation to desert your desk. Glance northward from the city's orderly downtown business and shopping district, and the majestic slopes of the Boise foothills beckon.

Take Our Walking Tour Through Boise

Those in search of classy entertainment may be surprised. Says Susan Thayer, who relocated four years ago from Albany, Ore., to run sales for Episciences, which makes Epionce skin products: "The city has evolved into a magnet for the arts." She and her spouse, Terry, frequent the theater, as well as Boise's own symphony, opera and dance companies.

When they're not casting a line or taking in a show, a growing number of Boisians work for local high-tech businesses, the fruits of which make up the state's biggest exports. Micron Technology and Hewlett-Packard are the Boise Valley's two largest employers. But the area also cradles smaller technology and e-commerce firms, which come to make the most of low business costs -- about a third less than in California or Washington.

Employers know they'll find a high proportion of college graduates here (37%, compared with the national average of 27%) and that new hires will find plenty of affordable housing. Explore Boise's eclectic mix of old and new neighborhoods and you'll find homes with a median price of $235,000. The average work commute is 18 minutes.

For those in search of a small-but-happening feel, the burgeoning suburb of Eagle is the place to go. Lloyd Mahaffey, previously an executive at Honeywell, Apple Computer and Verifone, moved to the former farming town in 2004, hoping to find a laid-back place where his kids could hunt and play tennis while he dabbled in winemaking and developed real estate.

Eagle's soil tests perfectly for the cultivation of red-wine grapes. Now Mahaffey is developing ten homes reminiscent of Italian villas, each with its own 4-acre vineyard. After visiting him in Eagle, several friends are planning to relocate to the area. Be advised: "When you first arrive, you have to downshift and adjust to a more relaxed pace," says Mahaffey.

Jun 02 2008

This is probably the question I get asked the most right now. The question I ask in response is, "Do you mean the national or the local market?" If they say the local market, I then ask, "Which city?" When they tell me, I ask, "Which neighborhood?" When they answer, I next ask, "Is it new construction or an existing home and what is the price range?" As you can tell by my questions, a lot depends on where the property is located, the type of property, and its price range.  


One of the physical characteristics of real estate is immobility. Because property cannot be moved around to satisfy demand in different areas, the real estate market is very local in character. Markets may differ among different parts of the country, different cities, or even different sections or neighborhoods within the same city. Because of this, each local market must be considered separately. In addition to being localized, the real estate market may be segmented. Market segmentation may occur in several different ways and some of these factors may include the type of property you’re selling and its price range.


Ada County is different from Canyon County, Boise is different from Star, the North End is different from West Boise, and even parts of the North End are different from each other. And, if you have house that’s priced at the very low end, you’re going to have better luck selling it than a property at the very high end. Because of market localization and market segmentation, the above question is not exactly easy to answer (which is why the media often doesn’t do that great of a job of it!) 


This is why it is important - if you are thinking about selling your home - to talk to an agent who will do her homework to help you determine the best price for your home in order to get it sold successfully! For more information about how we price homes, read the article below.

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