WINTER WONDER LAND Is it a good time to list and sell?

Winter TreeJust when we got used to Autumn here in Southwest Idaho there is a chill in the air, some leafless trees are seen and white flakes are occasionally dotting our deck.  This is a lovely time of year here.  A quiet peace settles over the hills, the ski slopes start measuring the depth of the snow looking forward to opening day which is usually right around Thanksgiving.  Snowmobile tuneup is underway, skate boards are being replaced by snowboards.  Hardy  hunters and fisherman are still filling their freezers and Bambi and friends are bounding higher into the mountains surrounding our fertile valleys.

Some folks begin to worry if they have a home or property with a For Sale sign that it ought to come down for the winter or not go up for sale at all.  That might have been true when getting around in the winter was too difficult for buyers to search for a new home. The winter seller need not stow that sign behind the lawnmower.  Serious and qualified buyers have those long evenings to use the internet to view homes and land.

The numbers I pulled from the Intermountain MLS for the region I work, showed that over the last three winters from November, December, January, February and March, 90 properties sold in my region of Idaho. Nearly 20 million dollars changed hands!






First Time Home Buyer Tips

Are you a first time home buyer in Idaho looking to get into this historically beneficial buyers market?

Before you jump in there are a few steps you can take to help you decide whether you are ready to take the plunge.

Price Check!
Check the selling prices of comparable homes in your area. Realtor Websites such as AA Realtors can give you a general idea of what you should expect to pay. You can also do a quick search of actual MLS listings in your area.

Can You Afford It?
See what you can afford. Use the mortgage calculator on my website to see what your payment would be. Find out what your total monthly housing cost would be, including taxes and homeowners insurance. To get a feel for the maximum amount you should spend, including taxes and insurance. In some areas, what you’ll pay for your taxes and insurance escrow can almost double your mortgage payment.

Insurance is Good
To get an idea of what you’ll pay in insurance, pick a property in the area where you want to live and make a call to a local insurance agent for an estimate. You won’t be obligated to get the insurance, but you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll pay if you buy. For an idea of what you’ll pay in taxes, most properties on my website have property-tax information in the property features.

Closing Costs
Find out how much you’ll likely pay in closing costs. The upfront cost of settling on your home shouldn’t be ignored. Closing costs include origination fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowners insurance or homeowners association fees.

Look at your budget and determine how a house fits into it. Fannie Mae recommends that buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing costs. Go much past 30% and you risk becoming “house poor”.

The Big Picture
Remember to look at the big picture. While buying a house is a great way to build wealth, maintaining your investment can be labor-intensive and expensive. When unexpected costs for new appliances, roof repairs and plumbing problems crop up, there’s no landlord to turn to, and these costs can drain your bank account.

The best thing to do of course is talk to a reputable real estate agent like me about the real estate climate. Do they believe prices will continue falling or do they think your area has hit bottom or will rise soon? This insight into how the market is behaving could save you big money. Contact me for more info today!

Get Over The Fear of Moving!

moving-boxes2One thing most people will agree on: moving will make you CRAZY!

And while it’s true that moving can be one of the most physically and emotionally challenging tasks you can take on next to running the ironman marathon there are some ways to keep it clever and add some calm to the chaos. Check out these great ideas!

Think Outside the Box
Boxes are the go to way to pack your stuff, but they might not be the best way to go. For clothes, bulky items, things that squish, or even shoes a good ole plastic trash bag does great! They are durable and best of all they are great for packing in those tight in between empty spaces in the truck.

*bonus tip: if you have luggage use it to pack too! There’s no sense in moving an empty suitcase!

Don’t Pack Clutter
You’re moving to a new place; this is the perfect time for a fresh start! Use this time to de-clutter and get rid of junk you’ve just been holding on to, and whatever you do don’t pack it up and move it with you – it just makes more stuff to move and less usable space when you get where you’re going.

Skip the Bubblewrap
Yes, it’s great fun, and you’ll likely need the stress relief but bubble wrap can be expensive! Get creative and use tshirts and socks to wrap and pack some of your less breakable fragile items – this not only saves on cost and throwing away wrap, it acts as double purpose packing for clothes that you have to move anyway.

Label Doors
Everybody knows to label their boxes but one way to help movers or friends who might be helping is to label the doors of your new home when you get there. Just slap a piece of paper on the door for “Bobbi’s Room” and it will save you a ton of “where does this go?!” questions throughout the day.

Clear Plastic Bins
You can find these fairly affordable, so grab one for each member of the family. Use these clear plastic bins to pack up the more essential day to day items for each person – phone charger, favorite teddy bear, or important medicines. This will make it easier to find those must have items during the whirlwind of activity when the move happens.

Moving is a huge chore – especially if you take it on yourself – but using these simple tips will help make it hopefully just a little less crazy. Not sure if you’re ready to move? Is the market good? The best way to find out is to talk with a qualified real estate professional! Contact me today to find out how I can help!