Dec 13 2016

 

 
There are many improvements you can make to your house to 
add instant curb appeal. Adding curb appeal not only adds nice character to the neighborhood, it will also make it easier to sell. When considering how to add curb appeal, make sure and consider how much time you have to put into it and what your budget is, and consult us to determine the best direction to go!
 
Replace Exterior Light Fixtures

Adding exterior light fixtures to your home is a great way to add curb appeal and functionality all in one! This is the perfect time of the year to replace your exterior fixtures as we approach the shortest day of the year.

When buying exterior light fixtures, be sure to consider both the style of the light fixtures and the function of them. You want the fixtures to adequately light up your entryway to your house for safety. If you can find a light fixture that has the same mounting system as your current lights you can avoid drilling new holes into the exterior of your home and save yourself time. You can find new fixtures at a variety of stores from $20 and up.
 

 

Dec 06 2016
 

Here are a few simple ways to be green around the house:
 
Waterworks for Teeth
Brush, Brush, Brush. Instead of allowing the faucet to run while brushing your teeth, turn it off. This simple act makes a huge impact. By leaving the water running while brushing for the dentist-recommended time of two minutes twice a day, you use 12 gallons of water daily, and that is 4,380 gallons per year literally going down the drain! So, conserve water and do what your mom always told you to do as a child... don't waste water and turn it off when you are brushing!
 
Flush and Conserve
Face it, we all use the bathroom and we all have to flush. Toilets can account for more than 40 percent of a household's water usage. Reduce water usage without even buying a new toilet. Place a 1-liter plastic bottle full of water (smaller sizes can float) inside your toilet's water tank. Every time you flush, instead of using 6 liters of water, you will use 5 liters.
 
Switch to LED LightbulbsS
You got it. Remove your basic incandescent light bulb for an energy saving light-emitting diodes or LED. What sets LEDs apart from incandescent bulbs and CFL's is just how long they can last. According to Consumer Reports, LED light bulbs can last anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 hours, or up to five times longer than any comparable bulb on the market! LED light bulbs work by bringing together currents with a positive and negative charge to create energy released in the form of light. The result is a fast source of light that is reliable, instantaneous, and able to be dimmed. 
 
What's even better? Idaho Power is giving away free Energy Efficiency Kits that includes nine LED light bulbs and other energy and water saving items! Click here to order your FREE kit!
 
Just Turn it Off!
Save Electricity. Reduce your electric bill. Turn off the lights, computer, hairdryer, etc. Every year the average American household is responsible for producing more than eight tons of carbon dioxide from electricity usage -- the amount your car would emit if you drove from New York to Los Angeles ... seven times. If you don't want to unplug every single plug, invest in a power strip for those areas where a great deal of items are used daily. Unplug one thing instead of five.
 
Remove the Lint!
Very simply, removing lint from the dryer reduces its energy use. Clean out your dryer's lint filter before each use, and you can cut down on your energy bill, dry your clothes more quickly (and cleanly), and reduce your home's fire hazards. To even further increase your energy savings, clean out the dryer vent at least once a year.
 
Keep it Cold!
Use cold water for the washing machine. Almost all the cost of washing clothes is to heat the water. Afraid your jeans won't get clean in cold water? No worries. Newer enzyme detergents perform best in cold water and they are available at every store in the country. No excuses!
 
Plastic Bags are so Old School
Get reusable bags for the grocery store and the dry cleaner. More than 100 billion plastic bags are thrown away each year. A plastic bag, cap, or lid takes decades to biodegrade.
 
Cut Down on Paper!
Stop junk mail. Every year 100 million trees are chopped down and 28 million gallons of water is used to produce junk mail for just one year according to www.greendimes.com. You can stop 75% of all junk mail by registering for the Mail Preference Service on the Direct Marketing Association website. For the small fee of $1, the organization will remove your name and address from prospective mailing lists. Be patient, it may take up to 90 days for most mail to stop ... but it will be worth it!
 
Get It Clean.
Use natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda or seek out natural brands in stores -there are more available now than ever. Seventh Generation has great products as does Method.
 
Get Rid of the Paper Towels.
Yep. Next time your kitchen counter's wet, reach for a cloth instead of a paper towel. You'll save a lot of paper -- including the small, green kind that fits in your wallet. How much green? If you use one roll of paper towels per week, you could save $100 per year by switching to dishcloths and tea towels. And cotton tea towels are thicker and can hold more water than paper towels. Or if you just can't bear to get rid of paper towels all together, go with recycled and non-chlorine bleached paper towels from companies like Seventh Generation.
 
Thermostat Control
Two is the magic number, or even three. In the summer, set the air conditioning thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Raise the setting 2 or 3 degrees higher when away in the day. A lower air conditioning temperature makes your costs much higher. Setting your air conditioner at 73 degrees instead of 78 can increase the operating cost by over 50%! Save green and be green. Lower is the key for winter. Setting your thermostat too high in the winter sends green out the window. Set it at 68 degrees and lower the temperature to 65 degrees at night if you have a heat pump, or 55-60 degrees overnight if you have gas, oil, or electric strip heat. Lastly, thermostats can be sensitive, keep lamps or TVs away from your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause your air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
 
Get the Star
Use ENERGY STAR labeled products. A new refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR label can save you up to $90 a year compared to models designed 15 years ago.
 
Recycle that Aluminum
We know you know about recycling aluminum. Easy to do. One more thing to add to this is crushing. Yep. Make the process more efficient and crush your cans before collection. This takes up less space in the recycle bin as well as the number of trips to take them to the recycling plant. And by the way, recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV set for three hours!
Oct 12 2016
The belief is that spring is typically when the market heats up, summer is when the bulk of the activity happens, and fall is usually when the market slows down. So why do we think it's still a great time to sell? Because when the inventory dips there's less competition and buyers who haven't found a home yet are more eager to get into contract before the holidays.
 
By listing in the fall, your home will be fresh and new compared to the listings that have been on the market since summer. Most buyers at this point have seen everything on the market several times over and are getting frustrated with the lack of inventory.
 
So what can you do to prepare for a fall listing?
  • Price it right from the get-go - The shortened season means you may not have time to make effective price adjustments before the season is over and the holidays begin.
  • Clean up the landscaping - Fall can be messy, between the leaves falling and perennials going dormant. Make sure your landscaping is neat and tidy and your home will stand out among the rest.  
  • Service your HVAC system - Hire a professional to inspect and service your furnace so when the heat comes on the home seems warm and cozy rather than have that dusty smell permeating your home when turning it on for the first time.
Oct 12 2016
When we take buyers out to find a home, there are several pieces to the puzzle we make sure are lined up before stepping foot in any homes.
 
1. They have a lender they are working with
 
We want to know who is behind your home loan and want to make sure they are going to be able to do as they say. We've tried, tested, and discovered that like Realtors, not all lenders are equal! Working with an online lender might seem like a good idea because the rate is low or they have less fees. The truth is there are a lot of ways to save money on a home loan. Sit down with a couple lenders and ask them about their fees, etc and form a relationship with someone you trust. This person is a critical piece to you getting house moneyyour new home!
 
2. They are pre-approved 
 
Beyond having a lender, we want to know buyers are pre-approved and have the means to buy any home we take them to view. This is not a pre-qualification letter, but a pre-approval. What's the difference? For pre-qualification, lenders run basic figures and estimate the buyer's ability to qualify for a loan. A pre-approval includes a formal application, credit review, employment verification, and reviewing debt-to-income ratios, pay stubs, and tax returns. After this, the lender can write a pre-approval or loan commitment lender showing your ability to purchase the home. 
 
In our current market having your ducks in a row and a pre-approval letter submitted with your offer can be the difference between getting the home of your dreams or not.
 
If you have any questions about buying in today's market call us at 208-327-2127. We pride ourselves on having systems in place to ensure our clients are ready and know what to expect when they step foot in the first home with us!
Aug 29 2016
 



There's something to be said about getting things done on your own.
 
This simply does not apply to selling your home!
 
Take a chance on new cereal, try a new shampoo, or start a new hobby - don't take a chance on selling your most valuable asset!
 
Homes sold by Realtors sell for more! Put your fears aside and call us TODAY at 208-327-2127to get your home sold for the most amount of money in the least amount of time! 
Aug 16 2016
It's time to address the seller strategy of listing homes above market value to "leave room to negotiate." We'd rather you have someone to negotiate with vs. room to negotiate. 
 
Sellers get the most exposure when they first put their home on the market. Currently, there is a pool of buyers who have seen everything available that meets their criteria, and are waiting for the right thing to come on the market. They are likely working with an agent, are educated on what's happening, and have seen pricing on homes. Don't gamble with the sale of your home! Hire an agent who will help you price it right, market it well, draw a buzz, and get your home SOLD!
 
Listings are like fruit ~ they don't get better with time!  :-)
Aug 12 2016
The recent announcement from the The Associated General Contractors of America naming the Boise metro area the second fastest construction market will come as no surprise to locals from Boise - especially those who live near or frequent the downtown area. Our beloved City of Trees has been looking more like the City of Cranes.
 
Although it can be a bit noisy and interrupt the flow of traffic, the recent growth has added 3,600 new construction jobs between June 2015 and June 2016. A massive 19% year-over-year increase!
 
This rapid growth has seen many companies short on workers. There is much more work than there are workers to do the job! 
 
We look forward to seeing the transformations come to life as downtown Boise alone will see the completion of several hotels and other projects in the next 6-12 months and beyond.
Mar 16 2016

There's a turning point in every buyer transaction where the buyer's emotions go from nervous and scared to overjoyed with excitement. We love hearing the excitement and future plans the buyers have for their new home. It's actually one of the most satisfying conversations for us to have, knowing we're assisting them with a major life transition and helping shape their future. house on money

In the midst of your excitement there are a few things you need to know. Below is a list of things you definitely should NOT do when buying a home.

1. Do not change jobs, become self-employed, decrease your income, or quit your job
2. Do not buy a car, truck, van, or trailer unless you plan to live in it
3. Do not excessively charge items to your credit card or fall behind on any debt payments
4. Do not spend your money set aside for closing
5. Do not leave out debts or liabilities from your loan application
6. Do not have your credit pulled for future purchases 
7. Do not make large deposits into your bank account without checking with your loan office first
8. Do not change bank accounts
9. Do not co-sign on a loan with anyone
10. Do not delay in giving information to your lender (even if you think you've already given them the information)

We've seen clients experience heartache by mistakenly doing one of these things. We're very fortunate to work with great lenders who are happy to answer any questions about what you should and should not do when purchasing a home. 

Mar 09 2016

We see a lot of inspection reports every year. Sometimes we'll see some unique issues, but a lot of times it's the same issues that come up time and time again.

Whether you're selling now, or just want to take great care of your home to prevent future problems, here is a great list to cover every year when checking your home's condition.

Water or mold in the crawlspace 

Moisture in the crawlspace is a problem we come across throughout the Treasure Valley. We see it more in some areas than others, but any crawlspace can be susceptible to moisture. Common causes include downspouts not installed properly causing water runoff to go into the crawlspace, missing vapor barrier, over-watering lawns, and grading toward the foundation instead of away. If you notice moisture in your crawlspace, it's important to take action right away to avoid having to remediate mold in the future.

HVAC system needs servicing

Most homeowners don't keep records of servicing their furnace and AC system. Even worse, some owners go years and years without servicing their furnace at all. If you've been neglecting to get your furnace serviced, start now, and keep records. This is probably one of the most common requests from buyers on a new home purchase. A new HVAC system is a big expense, and if you don't have any records of servicing it, they'll want to know it's working properly. 

Remove debris from roof and gutters

It's easy to let leaves and debris stay in the gutters. It's not easy for many people to get on their roof or crawl up a ladder to clean the gutters. Leaves and debris clogging gutters can cause water to run off where it isn't supposed to and lead to a variety of other problems. If you don't want to clean this yourself, it won't be too costly to hire it out. To avoid water damage make this a priority!

Stay tuned for next week's issue with more common inspection issues we see, so you can stay on top of your home maintenance! 

Feb 25 2016
Did you know that 2 out of 5 homes in Idaho test high for radon? You can protect your family today by ordering and testing for high radon levels in your home.
 
Facts about radon:
  • You cannot smell, see, or taste radon
  • Radon exists in every county in Idaho
  • Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers
  • Winter is the best time to test for radon
Visit www.radonidaho.org for more information about radon and radon testing. You can purchase a testing kit for as little as $9.95 to make sure your home is safe!