In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb…we hope!
We’ve seen some pretty challenging weather this winter and we’re all ready for some spring sunshine! In weather folklore there is a saying, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb,” these sayings were often based upon careful observations that sometimes turned out to be accurate. With March being such a changeable month, in which we can see warm spring like temperatures or late season snowstorms you can understand how this saying might hold true in some instances. As March comes to a close we’ve already been reminded that spring is upon us and soon April will bring spring flowers…and spring cleaning and “honey do” lists. To help you get a head start on some of those projects I’ve compiled a short list of some important Spring Property Maintenance Tips for your home. Be sure you don’t neglect these important steps, especially after the winter we’ve had!
Happy Spring to you all!
Spring Property Maintenance Tips:
Inspect Roof, Gutters, and exterior: After our snowy Idaho winter, be sure to get out and take some time to inspect the exterior of your home for the condition of your siding, paint, roof, gutters, windows, etc…
Spring is a great time to get your landscaping in check: Some good places to start is removing any dead plants, dethatching the lawn, weeding, sprucing things up with some new bark…
Take a look at that irrigation system, make sure everything is in tip top shape and working properly before our hot Idaho summer kicks into full swing to find out you have problems...
Look into any drainage issues you may have notice this last winter, any place where there may have been standing water or flooding. Also be sure to check those gutters going into spring, and make sure they are good and clear…
Take a look at your mechanical systems that have been working hard all winter long. Call your favorite HVAC servicer, have a tune up done, and get those filters replaced, and don’t forget to re open your crawl space vents so your house can breath a little easier this summer…
WHY do I use a real estate professional, and HOW do I choose?
There are two sides to every sale; the Seller, typically represented by an agent who’s sign is in the yard, and the Buyer, who drives around looking for said signs, or cruises the internet, right? And your favorite home improvement TV and the internet “z” and “t” sites make it look sooooo easy!
Sellers, keep in mind that when you price your homes, you are comparing your costs to home sales and relative appraisals that typically include agent commissions. When you sell your home by yourself, you are likely going to have to dress it up for showings, attend all showings, defend and negotiate your sales price, figure out the NET in offers you may receive, proof your buyer’s financial ability to actually buy your home, navigate home inspections and achieve relative repairs, address title and contract issues, and coordinate title/escrow needs through signing, closing and funding your sale. And all this when you’re trying to move out, and find another home, right? WHEW!
So, it’s like you stitching up the detail of your favorite pair of boots with dental floss or something?, and hoping they don’t rip apart, OR, letting the cobbler restitch them, because they’ve worked on dozens, if not hundreds of other boots and shoes, and know that they all vary one to another, though because of that, they can maneuver the repair for most any.
And Buyers, you may need an agent other than the one selling the house, because they’re busy SELLING the house! They have the Seller’s interest in mind, so you’re going to benefit with an agent that has YOUR interest in mind. Level the playing field!
We, as realtors, are your allies, and bring a wealth of experience and perspective to benefit you in the sale and/or search of your home.
How, then, does one choose a real estate professional?
True, everyone knows a realtor, right? So many of us are either related to one, or have a friend who’s a realtor. Alternatively, if you really don’t actually know one, you tend to recognize the names from signs about town, and just like the major fast food chains that sell the most burgers, they must be the best ones, right?
This ‘familiarity’ is the very reason you should look further.
You will benefit to align yourself first and foremost with someone who actually knows the neighborhood you’re selling or looking in. Unfortunately, this isn’t always your daughter’s friend, or your uncle. Even better is to find a realtor who lives it—the schools, the area shopping and services, the character of the homes and of course their true market values. That realtor is your current and/or future neighbor, and they can help you smith out the challenges of selling and/or the benefits of buying there.
As a seller, look at MLS listing photos, remarks and descriptions, ask a realtor how they will market your property. Can they help you prepare your home for sale? How many hooks can they put out in the ocean for you, in order to gain you the very most, and the best exposure you can achieve for your home sale? Are they just going to post a sign in the yard and wait? Or are they going to schedule regular open houses, and advertise the home through various channels? Do they have experience with inspection related repairs and relative timelines involved?
As a buyer, ask how responsive your realtor can be, how and when they will notify you of listings you may be interested in. Inquire as to how they might maneuver challenging negotiations or multiple offer situations—Are they skilled at investigating the home and its surrounds and potential challenges?
So, no matter who you choose to assist you in selling and/or buying homes, even if it’s your Aunt Marvelous, you should know that you can expect a real estate professional to serve you in these ways and more.
Snowfall in Boise hits an all time high! Get out and enjoy it!
According to the National Weather Service Boise has recorded 35.5” of snow this season (Nov 1st – January 23rd). This means more snow has fallen than most Idahoans have seen in a long time and for you personally this could be so exciting if you love the outdoors as much as I do.
Try visiting The Springs, Idaho City’s hot springs or Roystone, the hot springs in Sweet, Idaho. Both of these hot springs are a great way to warm up this winter, you can drive to either one of them and be home the same day.
Try tubing at Idaho X-Sports Adventure Park in Garden Valley, Idaho. In addition to tubing they offer cross country skiing and fat tire snow biking, now I myself have not tried Fat Tire Snow Biking but I bet it’s fun.
Bogus Basin’s Ski Resort has reported that this season’s Epic Snow Storms have created great snow conditions! This is another great place to spend the day and be home warm and cozy by evening unless of course you stay for night skiing.
It might be a long time before we see this type of snow again so put on your mittens, get out and enjoy!
Tax Benefits of Homeownership, it’s not too late.
You still have time to get in on a tax benefit before the end of the year. Did you know you can write off your mortgage interest of your house payment? And if you have refinanced or taken out a home equity loan some of that mortgage interest may also be deductible. You will receive a 1098 Form from your lender for the previous year’s mortgage interest paid.
Did you know if you have a vacation or income home, you may be able to write off that interest also. You just need to spend at least 14 days residing in it, but you can also rent it out for a certain time period.
While mortgage interest can be deducted on your taxes, you will need to be able to itemize your deductions, instead of just taking the standard deduction. Your taxes will not be as simple to do, but the benefits of lowering your taxes can be worth the extra effort. Depending on the amount of interest you have paid you may or may not have enough to itemize.
Please be sure to always check with your tax advisor for specifics on what you can and can't do. Happy house hunting!!!
Winter is upon us - Winterizing the Home
Getting ready for the winter months requires preparation and planning. Here are a few tips to add to your “To-Do” list so your home and family will be safe and ready when the cold weather comes our way:
Extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. Feel around electrical outlets and switch-plates for cold air, add insulation where necessary. Close any vents in your home that may have been opened for the warm weather.
Outdoor structures, such as the barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment may also need winterizing. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
Clean and inspect chimneys and other heating equipment every year. Don’t forget to replace the filter in your furnace.
Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing. Blowing out Irrigation pipes is a necessity when living in a state like Idaho.
All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways.
Sand to improve traction.
Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle and have winter related items included.
Make a family-based emergency plan.
Have a short term emergency supply and ensure that you have an ample supply water and shelf stable foods.
Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm in an off grid environment.
Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
Have a battery powered radio on hand to listen to changing weather conditions.
Know how to stay warm in an off grid situation.
Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Whether buying or selling is in your future, please contact me. The home of your dreams is waiting for you here in the Treasure Valley and I am ready to help you find it.
Staging tells the story while the client invisions ownership
Less Is More
While too many fall decorations will take focus off of your home and its best features, a few tasteful accents can create an inviting setting and make your home feel fresh. Try displaying vases of fall foliage or bowls of seasonal fruit throughout your home.
Boost curb appeal. This is something you always hear, and with very good reason. Many people thinking of touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding on the spot if it is even worth a look inside. Make a strong first impression by sprucing up your front yard and entryway. Replace the house numbers and exterior light fixtures if necessary. Keep the lawn mowed, the yard free of clutter and toys, and the plants well maintained.
Make sure your home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:
*Power wash siding and walkway
*Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery
*Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
*Wash front windows
*Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed
Clear away all clutter. If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story. It's not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative's garage) temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble. Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets equal more space in the eyes of potential buyers, so purge anything unnecessary or unsightly.
Remove Personal Items -- Family pictures, children's artwork and other personal items should be removed or pared down to avoid distraction. Personal belongings can also make it hard for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.
Take a good look at your floors. At the bare minimum, give all floors a thorough cleaning (and steam clean carpets), but consider having wood floors refinished if they are in poor shape. If you don't want to invest in refinishing floors, the strategic placement of area rugs can go a long way.
*Inspect and insulate pipes to protect them from freezing.
*Trim trees and shrubs away from the home's exterior.
*Touch up exterior paint and check for wood rot or water damage.
*Check grouting in kitchen and bathroom and repair if necessary.
These are just a few important tips that will help maximize the price and minimize the time on market.
Rentals in Boise
Boise is a great place to invest in rental property! Right now vacancy rates are extremely low~less than 3%~ almost unheard of! Rent rates are up as well. The average rent for a 3 bedroom house in Ada county is $1200/month. $400 per bedroom is a good ballpark figure. This varies of course by the amenities the house offers and it's location. Close to downtown in the coveted North-end demands the highest rates. Eagle and Southeast Boise are also considered very desirable and bring above average rents. Rentals in all areas are popular as residents want proximity to their jobs, families or schools. Many people choose to live in Canyon county for it's affordability and often more “country” atmosphere. Rental rates run about $100 less per place in Nampa. Today's savvy renters often expect NICE ~granite counters, SS appliances, hardwood floors, big bathrooms and closets~ places that have it all rent quickly for premium rates.
There are MANY factors to consider when purchasing an investment property so consulting with a knowledgeable Realtor is paramount! Todays' incredibly low interest rates make buying real estate a serious contender for your portfolio.
As an experienced professional property manager AND Real estate agent in Boise I would love to help you explore options! Call or email anytime! Thank you~
It has been an amazing market. Last year the number of active homes on 6/23/2015 where 6282 & pending( homes that are under contract) where 2870. This year for the same time we have 5214 active homes & 3570 homes pending. That is a 1068 less homes on the market & 700 more under contract. (These Numbers are for all of multiple listing area).
We will most likely see higher Number of homes in both categories of active & pending in July which is normally the month with the highest activities.
The in- migration from other states due to the quality of life & lower price homes compared to where they are coming from has helped us with a strong market.
Another area that fuels home sales is the rent rates, as they keep going up the renters will decide to purchase a home & the payment will be less than the rent they are paying.
We have a great market, as long as the interest rates, prices of homes & the global economy stay in check it should stay healthy.
Why invest in real estate?
Real estate investing is a great way to make varying amounts of money with relatively low risk compared to other types of investing. The current demand is huge and the increase in rental pricin have created investment potential that hasn't been there in recent years. Knowing a few pitfalls to watch out for before you start your search will save you time, money, and frustration. Trust me..I know as I have represented many investors!
1. Boise Income Property Expectations.
Boise is a fantastic place to invest, but don’t expect returns of 7% or more right away... while it is possible, it isn't likely, and you should be happy to just pay the mortgage with the rent you receive and make a few percent on appreciation. It is a long term investment.
2. Cost Calculation
You will have a variety of costs when you buy an investment property. These include closing costs, homeowners insurance, vacancy insurance, maintenance, and more. It is entirely possible to have a negative cash flow rental when a variety of factors contribute to that.
3. Understanding the Boise Market
Yes, you can make money in investment in Boise, but since factors are favorable, many others are trying to do the same thing. Competition for the popular rental house--under 250,000 in an area close to downtown or the University with three bedrooms--is fierce, with multiple offers. This drives the prices up. Consider where your property will appreciate most and vacancy rates per area before you buy any income property. You will want an experienced Realtor by your side!
4. Boise Investing Realities
You should expect to put 20% down as financing can be a bit of a challenge. You shouldn’t expect that appreciation will go back to how it was pre-2008. Housing values have grown but unstable markets don’t guarantee anything.
My fiance and I have converted our Northend property into short term corporate rental (think VRBO/Airbnb) and have been very happy with the outcome!
Please let me know if I can be of any help looking for that income property you have always wanted to buy.
It’s all about “curb appeal”
If you don’t like the outside, why would you come inside and be further disappointed!
Time is money. We don’t have time to waste looking at a home that’s poorly kept on the outside = the same on the inside 99% of the time. Drive on by.
Some sellers just don’t get it. They’ll throw $100 into 12 new plants in the front yard and call it good. Keep on looking, you’ll come across a nice home where the seller has been keeping the outside of the home well maintained for years!
Walaah! How sweet it is to see this lovely home, no matter the size or neighborhood with seller pride of ownership plastered all over the front yard.
The grass is green and mowed at the right height. The hedge is trimmed nicely. The trees are beautiful and not too close to the house, driveway or sidewalk. The landscaping compliments the home, not too much or too little. The color of the flowers, grasses, hardscape all compliment the exterior colors of the home. The accent features are noticed but not over the top.
Makes yah want to go inside, right! You want to see if the inside is as nice as the outside. Let’s go for a drive and find some nice homes with curb appeal!
Mary Jane Marlow
Realtor, Certified Arborist & Landscape Designer