The Hillcrest Spring Fling

The Hillcrest Spring Fling

It’s finally here, The first annual, Hillcrest Spring Fling.  This year the neighborhood event will be held in Owyhee Park, on May 14, 2022, from 12-4 PM.  All Hillcrest neighbors are invited and are welcome to bring their friends and family who would also enjoy the event.

Activities and Events

For the first annual event, we went all out to make it memorable, after all, Hillcrest is a one-of-a-kind community and deserves the best.

Food

There will be two food trucks at the event, The Rusty Dog, serving gourmet hot dogs, fries, and drinks and for the more mature, outdoor-loving pallet we have Smoked & Baked BBQ.  If you RSVPd you will get two free vouchers to sample the trucks per household and a free drink at the Registration booth (BBQ or Rusty Dog voucher for adults and Rusty dog for kids).  Still hungry? The trucks have lots of other goodies if you want to try more or get an extra plate for reasonable prices.  Click on the links above for more on their menus and prices.  Have a sweet tooth?  Don’t worry, we have you covered!  There will be a cotton candy spinner spinning non-stop during the event and everyone is welcome to try one.

Photos

We are so fortunate to have a talented family photographer at the event. Not to mention her family is part of the Hillcrest Community. Jolyn Laney with Laney Photography will be there to capture this special day, but also to take family, couple, and friend photos over at her booth.  She’ll have all the info so you can download and purchase a photo or two of you and your loved ones after the event.  So bring your matchy matchy shirts and best park clothes and don’t forget to smile.

Music

Lauren and the Nostalgics will be playing from 12:30 – 3:30 their blend of pop/rock/blues/r&b covers to get you movin’ and groovin’!!!  Bring your chair or blankets, and possibly an umbrella (it is Idaho after all), and sprawl out and enjoy the music.

Games

Grab your potato sack and hop over to the finish line for a chance to show off your skills to your neighbors and win some fun prizes from local companies.  We will have races at 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM an adult version (over 10 years old) and a kid version (under 10 years old).  There will also be a table with hula hoops and other fun and games.  

Prizes

We have some amazing sponsors at our event from the neighborhood and they will be raffling off prizes that you won’t want to miss.  Make sure to stop by each of their tables to sign up for the raffle.  Raffle winners will be announced just before each Potatoe Sack Race.

Fun

You won’t be able to miss the 50′ inflatable obstacle course, smack in the middle of the park.  There will be event staff there to help you or your kiddos through the course, and only two at a time, so there could be a line.  Also, don’t miss the talented Andrea who will be offering face painting for the young and less young as well as a balloon twister, twisting up your favorite animals, and well, whatever strikes your fancy.  Need to relax, but still have a good time?  Check out the reading corner set up at The Library! at Hillcrest’s tent.

Program

12 PM – Opening – Hillcrest Spring Fling – Get your green event band and register at the Welcome to Boise and Beyond tent.

12:30-3:30 PM – Lauren and the Nostalgics Band

1:30 – Raffle Winners Announced First Round

1:30 PM – Potato Sack Race kids

1:40 PM Potato Sack Race Adults

3:30 – Raffle Winners Announced Second Round

3:30 PM – Potato Sack Race Kids

3:40 PM Potato Sack Race Adults

4 PM – That’s it, see you next year.

Still need to RSVP?  Call/text 208-509-9122 or email jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com

Sponsors

Check out our sponsor’s tables for great info that is useful for this neighborhood. Sherwin Williams on Orchard, OneTrust Home Loans, Eco Tree & Shrub, the Library at Hillcrest, Welcome to Boise and Beyond, Idaho Websites, and The Hillcrest Neighborhood Association.

Home Touring Etiquette in Boise’s Hot Market

Home Touring Etiquette in Boise’s Hot Market

One thing home buyers may overlook when buying a home in a hot market like Boise is home touring etiquette.  When multiple buyers are looking at, and offering for the same home, sellers can be picky about whom they choose.  Making sure to have good behavior while touring homes is one way to impress upon the seller that you are a serious buyer.   Here are a few dos and donts of home touring etiquette to keep in mind during your home tour.

Using the Bathroom

The general consensus among real estate professionals is to “hold it” if possible and not use the bathroom when touring a home.  If the home is owner-occupied or tenant-occupied they may be uncomfortable with strangers using their bathroom.  If the home is vacant and clean, the seller will want it to stay that way until it’s sold.

In all cases ask your agent that brought you, or if it’s an open house check with the agent on site to know if using the bathroom is ok or not.  Nothing worse than using the bathroom, going to flush, and finding out the water isn’t turned on, or even more common, no toilet paper. That could make for a very uncomfortable experience, and could taint the seller’s opinion of you as a buyer, should you decide to make an offer.

Of course, if you gotta go, you gotta go.  If it’s an emergency, let the agent know and make sure to leave the bathroom as you found it. The best way to avoid those unexpected urges when home touring is to plan ahead. Schedule into the home tour bathroom breaks in between home showings, or before going to an open house.

Opening Cupboards and Closets

It’s fine to open closets, cabinets, and cupboards during a home tour, but make sure to do so in plain view of your agent.  Your real estate agent or the open house/listing agent is responsible to the seller that the home will be in safe hands during home showings and open houses.  However, with that said, seeing how the drawers open, what shelving and space are like in closets, etc. is important to know when looking at a home to know if it will work for you.  Just remember you are shopping for a closet and storage space, not a new wardrobe or dishes.

Testing the Furniture

Remember, you are looking at the house to potentially buy, not the furniture.  The general rule of thumb is to stay off the furniture.  Additionally, many homes are staged, and often that may be a cardboard box or air mattress hidden under that designer comforter or pillows.   If you are home touring with kids, make sure they understand the rules of home visits and not jump on beds, or play with other kids’ toys.

If it’s been a long day, and you really need to sit ask your agent if there is a place you can kick your feet up for a few minutes to rest.  Often open house agents will have brought a couple of chairs and are always happy to accommodate buyers in a need of a break.

Smile, You’re on Camera

It’s common these days for homes to have security cameras set up outside the home, and often inside the home.  You may be tempted to give your two cents on how the house is decorated, the choice of paint color, or maybe even the list price, but you never know who is listening or may listen to a recorded video later.  Keep any thoughts, or opinions to yourself that could affect how you negotiate during the offer period or could affect getting your offer considered.

Once outside, back at the cars is usually a safe distance to talk with your real estate agent to let them know your thoughts on the home.

 

Boise Real Estate Professional Ready to schedule your home buyer tour in the Boise Metro Area?  Give me a call, I’d love to show you around! Jennifer Louis, Real Estate Professional for the Boise Metro Area. (208) 509-9122 or jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com

The Pros & Cons of Online Real Estate

The Pros & Cons of Online Real Estate

Only a few decades ago, many would have struggled to imagine a world where real estate and the internet are so intertwined. Back in the pre-internet age, buyers and sellers alike were limited to adverts in local newspapers or advertorial posters in real estate offices.  Today, the internet has created a much more efficient process to not only find a property but to sell one as well. However, as the online presence has grown so have the various options to buy and sell real estate.  Here is a look at the pros and cons of using online real estate services available in Boise compared to traditional services.

iBuyers

This is a real estate company that uses technology to buy and resell the property.  iBuyers have gained popularity as they can eliminate some of the hassles of selling a home on the market, and offer a guaranteed sale since no mortgage is involved.  However, what a seller may make up for in convenience often comes with a higher price tag.  An example of iBuyers would be Zillow, Opendoor, and Offerpad, however not all iBuyers are present in Idaho.  In 2021 Opendoor arrived in the Boise market.  The fees are similar to that of a real estate agent, and often higher, however, the process is handled completely online, without a physical agent.  iBuyers claim to buy at “market value” but since the homes are not listed on the MLS they don’t bring multiple offers, and typically sell substantially lower than homes sold on the MLS.

It makes sense to use this service if the timing is more important than the sale price.  For example, a homeowner may have bought another home in another area and needs to quickly sell their present home to use those funds for the new purchase.  A quick sale, with no chance of the sale falling through, is essential and outweighs selling on the market to try and get the best price.  An iBuyer can offer this to most homeowners, as they inspect the home upfront and offer the price, paid in cash, with no contingencies giving the seller peace of mind.  In Idaho’s hot real estate market, the majority of Real Estate Agents can also offer this service, especially if they already work with investors or cash buyers.

Flat Fee Real Estate Services

These companies charge sellers a set fee, and will typically offer some real estate services. For sellers that want to handle the sale themselves, this allows them to sell on their own and list their homes on the MLS.  However, a newer model that arrived in Idaho in 2021, Homie, claims to offer “full service” real estate services for a flat fee.  They charge $2500 fee, plus 2-3% of the sales price.  The services include a listing on MLS but with no in-person support.  Homie agents typically have less than one year of experience & work in a call center-type environment handling 10+ listings at a time.  It’s not the “full service” that most traditional real estate agents provide.

Homie posts billboards around town such as, “Save thousands”, however, is that truly the case?  In 2021, according to the IMLS in Ada County, 61% of the homes listed by Homie sold under the list price & took an avg 19 days to sell, 8 days longer than homes sold w/a traditional real estate agents.  Homie’s listings sold an avg of 6% less than comparable homes.  So, the “thousands saved” in real estate fees instead went to the buyers, not the sellers.  Take an example:  Homie listed a Boise home in June for $650K. With their model, the savings to the seller in fees were around $20K, however, the home ended up selling for $600K or $50K less than the list price while other comparable homes in the subdivision sold for substantially more. Any savings in fees was lost in the sales price & the seller in this case lost $30K+ compared to their neighbors’ homes sold utilizing traditional real estate services.  Incorrectly pricing the home, or not knowing the home’s true value is costing sellers “thousands”.

The most common Homie complaint is that the company overpromises and underdelivers. Homie advertises that sellers receive the same service as a traditional real estate agent, but Homie agents handle so many listings at once that they don’t have the time needed to dedicate to each transaction like a traditional agent would.

Reviews are quite mixed when it comes to Homie’s Services.  One of the common complaints is that Homie offers poor communication and the Seller ends up doing the work on their own, while still paying Homie’s flat fee.

“Working with Homie was a nightmare! We had to do everything…we had to keep up on our own deadlines and ask her to do things an agent would be doing anyways.” – Nicole R., Google Review

“We used Homie to sell our Condo.  The Agent/Team didn’t like phone calls.  Email was the only way to get things done…he never followed through on anything he was asked to do or even checking in with us…We would’ve been better off FSBO, since essentielly that’s how it worked out for us…” – B. Peterson, Google Review

The bottom line is that homeowners using these types of services need/want to sell their homes, but are looking to save on real estate fees.  Using Homie or flat fee services is really not much different from a For Sale By Owner approach, but in most cases doesn’t save the homeowner as much as they anticipated.  A homeowner is better off finding an experienced real estate professional in their area and pricing the home competitively to maximize the home’s value.  Additionally, most real estate agents will negotiate their fee if they are assisting the homeowner purchase a home as well.

Cash Buyer Flyers – As Is

Most likely you have received one of these flyers in the mail.  These buyers look online for homes that typically sell quickly.  They send out a mass mailing to all neighbors offering to buy the home for cash, as-is & close quickly.  The buyer typically buys sight unseen, and already has a price in mind, below market value to account for repairs & updating before reselling the home.  Most of these types of buyers offer anywhere from 10-20% under market value, but they do not charge a commission.  It is important to beware of scammers and make and be sure to know the true market value of your home before engaging with this type of buyer on your own.

In a Seller’s Market, like the one we currently have in the Treasure Valley, these offers are not as advantageous to the seller as it would be to list the home on the MLS or real estate market.  In slower markets or buyer’s markets, these offers may make more sense and should be kept for consideration when ready to sell.

Boise Real Estate Professional If you have questions about your home’s value and how much you could net with the sale of your home please contact me for a free home value evaluation. Jennifer Louis, Real Estate Professional for the Boise Metro Area. (208) 509-9122 or jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com

A Night Out in Downtown Boise

A Night Out in Downtown Boise

Warm Up and Relax in Downtown Boise

Brrrrrr, it’s getting cold out there.  Here’s a great spot to warm up on a cold Boise evening, The Flicks, located in Downtown Boise.  Enjoy a night out in Downtown Boise, in this eclectic cinema featuring independent, foreign, and art films.  But it’s much more than that.   Arrive early and grab a snack, beer, or wine in their cozy café, and make sure to grab a table by their stone fireplace.  If you can, check it out during the warmer months and enjoy their beautiful terrace.

Most locals have known about the Flicks for years, it’s a Boise icon as it’s been here for over 35 years.  It started as a film club and eventually evolved into one of Boise’s most treasured theatres.  They have four screens, knowledgeable staff that are happy to share their favorite films and offer recommendations.  Don’t forget to check out their video store to rent those hard-to-find classics or independent films if you want to enjoy a film at home.

So, if you’re looking for a fun night out in Boise, complete with dining and entertainment, look no further than the Flicks.  Discover other fantastic neighborhoods, local businesses and activities around Boise on our blog, Blog and Beyond, oh and of course get a few tips on the local real estate market.  Contact Realtor and Boise Relocation Expert, Jennifer Louis for more information.

Boise Realtor, Jennifer Louis talks to CBSN about Affordability

Boise Realtor, Jennifer Louis talks to CBSN about Affordability

For several years Boise has made headlines when it came to its laid-back lifestyle, affordability, and housing market, however, recently the headlines have a different tone. Several market studies and news sources, including CBS News, named Boise The least affordable housing market. Boise Realtor, Jennifer Louis, and her clients were interviewed about affordability and Boise’s housing market for this story in December 2021.  Watch the full CBSN Report here or click below.

Does it make sense to buy or sell in 2022?

If Boise is considered unaffordable, what does this mean if you are buying or selling? Since September 2021 we’ve started to see the impact of fast-rising home prices on the overall market.  As Fall approached many Buyers have hesitated to enter the market, in hopes home prices will go down in the Spring.  Potential sellers have also put the brakes on selling, after watching homes for sale sit longer than expected on the market, and often accepting offers lower than the asking price.  In Fall and Winter real estate traditionally slows down in Boise, but not for the past few years.  Home prices continued to increase even though the coldest months.  So, is the recent holding pattern seasonal or something else?

A little of both.  We have definitely seen the market slow down compared to last year, most likely due to the drastic increase in home prices we saw in 2021.  Ada County saw a 30% increase and Canyon had a 31% increase.  This has led to an affordability wall.  Meaning, for many first-time homebuyers or buyers unable to afford or qualify for loans at the median price, the chance to own a home has become challenging, if not impossible.

Yet, compared to many neighboring markets homes in the Boise area are still considered “affordable”.  The entire Treasure Valley continues to face record low inventory when it comes to homes for sale, and there is no end in sight.  Even if there are fewer buyers in the buying pool, prices here are expected to continue to increase.  Click here to access your own portal to the MLS and find out in real time what homes are selling for in the Boise area. 

Estimates are showing a 7-12% increase in home prices in 2022 in Ada County.

For buyers, this is a great time to get in while interest rates are still low.  With lower rates, and an increase in home prices, buyers can get in now and start building instant equity on their home.  Find out if you qualify to purchase a home is the first place to start. For Sellers, this is also a fantastic time.  Sellers can either cash out on their equity in this hot market and move up into a larger home, or one that better suits their family, keeping their monthly payment about the same.

A realist approach is key.

The key for both buyers and sellers is to be realistic about the market before buying a home or selling the one they are in.  For buyers, there are some fantastic home loan options out there for first-time home buyers and coupled with a low rate, buyers may be able to afford more home than they thought.  Buyers also may want to broaden their search criteria, consider other cities in the Treasure Valley that may be more affordable, and have all their ducks in a row before starting the home buying process.  This means being pre-approved by a reputable local lender, and truly understanding how much house you can afford.  Having a downpayment set aside, and mentally preparing to react quickly when the right home comes about.

Sellers also need to take this time for a reality check.  Although it is a Sellers Market, the signs are there that 2022 won’t be as dramatic as previous years.  With a median price of $534,000 in Ada County buyers are wary of throwing in an offer, so homes may sit longer than before.  We may start seeing fewer bidding wars, and fewer cash offers.  The first step is finding out how much your home is worth.  Set up a free consultation to find out.

Regardless, Boise is still a great city and place to live so real estate will continue to be bought and sold here, but perhaps at a slower pace than the past several years.

It’s key to hire the right real estate professional that knows, and understands the market you’re buying or selling in.  Contact Treasure Valley Real Estate Expert, Jennifer Louis for a free consultation.