Mar 22 2017
If one of your plans for the springtime is to spruce up your yard with decks, outbuildings, fences, and other structural improvements, make sure you know what kind of work requires a building permit and what you can do without one.
In general, you need a building permit if you want to:
 
  • Build any kind of dwelling
  • Finish an attic, garage, or basement to add living space
  • Add a shed, garage, carport, or other structure if it is ATTACHED to the home
  • Add a shed, garage, carport, or other structure if it is greater than 200 square feet
  • Re-roof an existing building
  • Build a retaining wall that is measured 4 feet high or more from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall
  • Add any attached patio cover, carport, or porch
  • Build a deck more than 12 inches high or put in a fence more than 6 feet high
If you're not sure if you need a permit, err on the side of caution and give the City of Boise a call at (208) 608-7070 or check out pds.cityofboise.org/building.
Mar 17 2017

If you're waiting to sell during the spring selling season, it's time to make your house look its best. Getting top dollar for your home involves some preparation to showcase what you have for sale. 

When you sell your home with us, we'll help you along the way so your home stands out in a crowd. Remember, the longer you wait to sell your home, the more homes there will be for sale. More competition means lower price and more days on the market.

Below are a few items to consider for spring selling:

Take care of the yard: Make sure weeds are under control and plant seed in areas of the yard where grass is thin or non-existent. 

Trim overgrowth: Prune any branches that touch the house, cover a window, or block a path. A potential homebuyer doesn't want to inherit a bunch of overdue yard maintenance. 

Touch up mulch: New mulches retain color throughout the season. This is a relatively inexpensive way to make a great first impression with a potential buyer. 

Power wash everything: Cobwebs, dirt on deck, patios, fences, eaves, windows, etc. 

Create a conversation area: Potential buyers are imagining how they will live in the home. Utilize the nice weather on patios and decks to help them envision their life there with friends and family. 

These are just a few items you'll want to think about. Leave the impression that you loved and cared for your home while living in it. If you're selling during the 'selling season', don't sell yourself short by not putting the work in to get top dollar for your home!

Mar 14 2017

 

Ok, it's time to wrap up this saga! The last two weeks we discussed reasons why we love Boise. I'm not sure we'll have everything covered, even after Part III, but we covered a lot of the many great aspects about Boise!

 Weather

There can be a lot to love and hate about any city in relation to weather and, with the exception of the past month or so, I think we tend to have great weather! One of the perks of living in Boise is the four distinct seasons we get. Winters are TYPICALLY mild and any snow that falls in the valley melts within a day or two, while the mountains get their fair share of snow. In spring the city starts pulling out of the winter slumber, starting mid-March the temperatures start warming and everyone breaks out their shorts and sun dresses! Summers can get quite hot and there are plenty of places to cool down between the Boise River, various ponds, and reservoirs. Fall is a Boise favorite, the crisp days and cool nights begin in mid-September and we don't typically see our first hard frost until November!

Cycling city

Boise has good infrastructure in place for commuting by bike and is continuing to add more bike lanes every year. The community also has an avid mountain and road biking community. Boise boasts over 180 miles of trails for mountain bikers! Every year around 20,000 spectators line the street of downtown boise for the annual Twilight Criterium - it's quite the sight!

Location

Boise's location in the eastern part of the Pacific Northwest gives us great access to the west and keeps us within driving distance to many great destinations to the east. Salt Lake City, UT and Portland, OR are each about a 6-hour drive from Boise. A couple additional hours gets you to Seattle, WA. Our wonderful interstate access brings us great entertainment options including great live music acts.

Safety

Boise is part of the third-largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest and boasts the lowest crime rate by far. It's a wonderful city in which to raise a family and frequently sits on top of many "top 10" lists regarding safety, raising a family, outdoor living, and communities in which to retire. It's great peace of mind!

We're moving on from our reasons we love Boise and know we haven't covered them all. It's a great community for a wide variety of people to love. In Boise, there is no shortage of things to do, it is very affordable, and it's home!

Mar 10 2017

After starting on a list of things we love about Boise, we quickly realized there is a lot to love. We decided we'd need to split it into at least a couple parts so we don't have one article bigger than our entire newsletter. So, following up our last article, as promised, here we are back for Part II of why we love Boise.

Bogus Basin
Located sixteen very twisting and winding miles from Boise, it's hard not to love and appreciate Bogus Basin - especially with the amount of snowfall we've had this year. Affordable ski passes, night skiing, close proximity, and tubing are a few of the many things to love about Bogus Basin. Bogus is also a great escape from the inversion to get a reliable source of vitamin D. In the summer months locals get a reprieve from the heat to enjoy miles of single track for hiking and biking, frisbee golf, picnics, and live music at the lodge.
 
Boise River & Greenbelt
These two lovely aspects about Boise could easily be lumped into their own categories, but since the greenbelt follows the river, we're putting them together. The Boise River Greenbelt is one of the most popular places for walkers, bikers, and runners. The 25-mile tree-lined path follows the Boise River through the heart of the city. Wonderful scenic views may be had as you pass through parks and along secluded areas of the river. In the winter, Boise Parks & Rec regularly clear the paved trail of snow, which allows walkers and runners to enjoy the beauty and wildlife the river provides, without sloshing through the slush and ice.
 
Access to Public Land
Boise's location along the edge of multiple national forests is an amazing opportunity for those who love outdoor recreation. Skiing, biking, snow shoeing, kayaking, camping, fishing, on and on and on. Within 2-1/2 hours of downtown Boise you can be in the Sawtooth National Forest, Payette National Forest, or the Boise National forest with world-class white water rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing, etc. As a matter of fact, 60% of the land in Idaho is public land. This is no secret to Idahoans, and it's something many of us treasure.
 
I think we've covered some great reasons, but we're going to do one final part to why we love Boise. Stay tuned next week for our final part III! Do you have a favorite reason you love Boise? Email us here and let us know!
Mar 08 2017

As a team we reflect weekly on aspects on business and our personal lives for which we are grateful, so we thought we'd highlight our lovely city we call home!

Boise falls under the category of a 'big town' more than it does a city. That may seem weird to many, but locals who live in the many distinct and unique neighborhoods will relate to this message.

There are so many things to love about Boise. This list is sure to be missing some, but here is a brief list of things we're grateful for about Boise.

Open space  

Boise residents love access to open space and area for recreation. Starting at various trailheads across north Boise you can access over 180 miles of trails. There aren't many excuses to not exercise around here! The city of Boise is also committed to acquiring more land for recreation and to protect the Boise river and wildlife habitats.

Local-centric  

Artists, restaurants, musicians, farmer's market, and the local Boise Bicycle Project. The list goes on and on. Boise has loads of local businesses, artists, musicians, etc and is keen on supporting local. It's easy to feel at home in your favorite establishments, and it's likely you'll bump into a lot of the same people on a regular basis. It's also quite easy to volunteer and get involved in this community, which is full of pride for the local movement.

Downtown Boise

A great place to see and be seen. Downtown Boise is a lively and fun place to dine, shop, and stroll. Check out Freak Alley for local artwork on buildings, eat at any number of local restaurants, and shop at boutique shops. There is so much fun to be had in downtown Boise. The city is not afraid to shut streets down either for our Farmer's Market, running events, and the popular Alive After Five in The Grove.

This list is barely the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned next week for Part II of why we love Boise!

Mar 03 2017

 


We hear it a lot, "I'm thinking of selling this spring." Our answer is always the same, "Spring starts in January!"

Here are 5 reasons why now is the time!


1. People who look at your home during the winter months are serious buyers. It's cold outside, they're trudging through snow and ice to get to your home and those who are out looking are typically ready to buy a home that matches their needs.


2. Serious buyers have fewer homes to choose from over the winter months. With the rumor on the street that waiting until spring is the best option, you can list your house with less competition.


3. The supply of homes will dramatically increase starting in spring. More homes on the market means more competition and potentially less money for you.


4. Interest rates are on the rise and some buyers may lose buying power. It's important to think of the true cost to a buyer when you sell your home.


5. By selling now, you have the opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer before spring. This will be a great benefit to you, as inventory increases you'll have more to choose from and be ready to go.


We're currently experiencing EXTREMELY low inventory in Boise, now is definitely the time to list and we'd love to talk with you about what your home might be worth.

 

 

 

Mar 02 2017

 

Tax season is here once again! We've created this handy checklist to get you started and to keep you organized while you get ready to file. It includes some common documents you'll need but there are many factors that go in to taxes, so make sure you consult with your tax professional to make sure you have everything you need. We hope you find this list helpful!



time_for_taxes.jpg

 

Personal Data


  • Social security number - For you, your spouse & your children

  • Childcare provider - Name, address & tax ID number

  • Alimony paid - Social security number of your former spouse



Employment & Income Data

  • W-2 forms for 2016

  • Unemployment compensation

  • Miscellaneous income, including rents

  • Partnership, S Corporation & trust income

  • Pensions & annuities

  • Alimony received

  • Social Security benefits

  • Jury Duty pay

  • Prizes & awards

  • Gambling & lottery winnings

  • Scholarships & fellowships


Homeowner & Renter Data

  • Residential address(es) for 2016

  • Mortgage interest paid

  • Real estate closing disclosures & sales information

  • Second mortgage interest paid

  • Property taxes paid

  • Moving expenses

  • Energy credits

  • Private mortgage insurance documentation




 

Financial Assets

  • Interest income statements

  • Dividend income statements

  • Proceeds from broker transactions


Self-Employment Data

  • Business income

  • Partnership self employment income

  • Business-related expenses - Receipts and other pertinent documents

  • Employment taxes and other business taxes paid for the current year



Expenses

  • Gifts to charity

  • Unreimbursed expenses related to volunteer work

  • Unreimbursed expenses related to your job such as travel expenses, uniforms, subscriptions

  • Investment expenses

  • Job-hunting expenses

  • Job-related education expenses

  • Childcare expenses

  • Medical savings accounts

  • Alimony paid

  • Tax return preparation fees and expenses


Miscellaneous

  • Federal, state and local estimated income tax paid for 2016

  • IRA or other tax retirement plan contributions

  • Records of medical expenses

  • Records of casualty or theft losses

  • Records for any other expenditures that may be deductible

  • Records for any other revenue or sale of property that you may need to report


Did you buy or sell a property from us in 2016? Email us here and we'll send you a copy of your closing statements for your taxes.



Jan 20 2017

 

 

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam and can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house damaging your walls and ceilings.

 

So what do you do to get rid of them?

 

First, remove as much of the snow from the roof as you can using a long handled roof rake. You can find a roof rake at most home improvement stores, but a long handled garden rake works just fine if the roof rakes are sold out!

 

Fill a panty hose stocking (yes, panty hose!) with sodium chloride. Lay the hose on the roof perpendicular to the gutter so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. The calcium chloride will melt the ice and will create a channel for water to flow down the gutter.

 

Keep in mind, your downspouts might be clogged as well! To clear ice from your downspouts, fill a pitcher with hot water from the tap. Pour the water in the top of the gutter until it's full. Pour more hot water on the exterior of one side of the downspout to create a small channel inside the pipe for the water from the top to start running down. Usually, this will only take 1-2 gallons of hot water dribbled down the exterior to thaw enough for the interior channel to start flow. Finally, add more hot water from the top of the gutter to melt the rest. Always make sure downspouts are extended away from the foundation for proper drainage.

 

After all that snow removal, make sure the storm drain is clear so the water will flow freely. Click here to locate the closest storm drain to your home!

Dec 27 2016

Market Definitions

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 understand what that really means.

house money question

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.

*A six month's supply of inventory means that if no new homes were to be listed, our current supply would last six months.

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 often times 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. 

 

Dec 22 2016

Winter's temperatures can be harsh on your home's plumbing! Be sure you're ready, and know what to do should your pipes freeze.


frozen pipes

 

Before the cold weather hits:

  • Close outside vents, crawl spaces, and doors.
  • Keep your garage door closed to prevent cold air from reaching pipes and water heaters. (See above image)
  • If you're going to be away from your home keep an eye on expected temperatures and set heat accordingly.
  • If you plan on turning the heat off, drain all the water from the pipes, toilets, and water heater, and turn off the power source to the water heater.