Do you have the feeling it’s time to move, but then you keep asking yourself, Am I ready to sell my house? Times are strange. Where will I go next? And then there are all those memories packed inside those four walls, not to mention, it’s the most valuable possession you own.
Reflecting on if you’re ready to sell is important since selling at the wrong time can cause trouble for years to come. So how do you know if it’s the right time to take the leap and sell? Here are 5 tell-tale signs you are ready to sell:
1. You Have Equity In Your Home
From a financial point of view, you are in a good position to sell your home when you have built equity. During the housing crisis back in 2008 millions of homeowners ended up with negative equity, meaning they owed more on their homes than they were worth.
Selling when you have negative equity is not the ideal situation. That’s called a short sale. Breaking even on your home sale is better, but it’s not the best scenario. If you’re in either situation, don’t sell unless you have to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure.
For the last several years, home values in Boise and the entire Treasure Valley have increased rapidly meaning most homeowners are building equity. Their homes are now worth more than they owe on them, and that trend will persist as they pay down their mortgages and home values continue to increase.
So how to figure out how much equity you have in your home? It’s less complicated than it seems to get a general idea. Here’s how you do the math:
On your latest mortgage statement locate your current mortgage balance. Next, you need to find out your home’s value on the current market. You can use online valuation sites, but since Idaho is a non-disclosure state those prices are not accurate but can give you a rough estimate. Ideally, if you’re considering selling you should ask an experienced real estate agent in Boise or the surrounding area to provide you a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA. Boise real estate agents will typically do this for you at no charge.
Now with those two numbers, simply subtract your mortgage balance from your home’s estimated market value. The number you come up with will provide you a good idea of how much equity you have.
$379,000 Current Home Value
– $225,295 Mortgage Balance
A good rule of thumb to know if you have enough equity is that you have enough to pay off your current mortgage with enough left over to provide a 20% down payment on your next home. But if your sale can also cover your closing costs, moving expenses, and even larger down payment—that’s even better. Another advantage to a 20% or more down payment on a home will eliminate having to pay private mortgage insurance or PMI which will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year.
2. You Can Afford a Home to Meet Your Current Needs
Probably the main reason you are considering selling is based on how well your home meets your everyday needs. Perhaps it could be that with the recent changes in 2020 you now will be working from home indefinitely and the kitchen counter isn’t the ideal work area. Maybe you could use another bedroom (or more) for your growing family. Or maybe the situation has changed and your kids have all moved out and you’re ready to downsize. It’s freeing to sell large home, pay cash for a smaller one, and invest the rest for your retirement.
Whatever the reason for the change, make sure your mortgage fits your budget. A good recommendation is to keep your monthly payment to 25% or less of your take-home pay on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
3. You Can Cover The Costs To Move Out of Pocket
It can be easy to get carried away by the excitement of your next home that you forget to account for the cost of moving out of your current one. Hiring professional movers? Save up cash to cover the cost of packing up and hauling your stuff away.
You should also invest a little to make sure your current home is in tip-top shape to bring in top dollar. Focus your home improvement on paint, curb appeal, plus kitchen and bath upgrades. If you have the cash and your roof or HVAC are nearing the end of their lives get them replaced as this will give confidence to the new buyers and bring in a higher price.
Remember whatever you put into your home you make back and usually double when you sell. That means if you invest $10K into getting your home in shape you can expect a minimum of $20K more in return when you sell. If you are on more of a budget, a little bit of fresh paint and elbow grease can go a long way into making a great impression—and getting your home sold fast!
4. You’re Emotionally Ready To Sell Your Home
The finances are one thing, but selling your home is an emotional issue too. Ask yourself the following questions before you put the “For Sale” sign out front:
Are you ready to put in the work, pack your house to get it ready for potential buyers?
Are you prepared to be able to leave your homes so it can be shown to buyers?
Are you ready for honest negotiations over what buyers are willing to pay for your home or may want to be fixed on your home before they agree to buy?
Are you ready to move out and leave the place where your family has made memories?
Finally, have you looked at what is out there on the market for your next home, and are you ready to start the home hunting process?
You must be ready both financially and emotionally before you sell. It’s also good to note that in Boise’s hot real estate market buying a home can be a challenge and more expensive than what you are used to. Being realistic and not expecting to sell high and buy low is important, but rather understand you are selling to better accommodate the next chapter in your life.
Having a local real estate agent in Boise or the surrounding area guide you decipher if this is the right time financially and emotionally is a great step if you are still on the fence about selling.
5. You Know What’s Going On In Your Local Real Estate Market
You’ve been following the real estate facts and trends for the past couple of years and realize that real estate in Boise, Idaho continues to increase in value. Although we can’t predict 100% how the housing market will perform in 2021 we can estimate based on the past year that home prices will continue to rise as we move into the next year.
Supply and demand is the reason we can reasonably expect the market to stay hot as we venture into 2021. Boise is at just a two week supply of homes for sale and Ada and Canyon Counties, in general, are not too far from that number. With buyers moving here from all over the country to escape big-city life and get a taste of the great lifestyle and more affordable living in Southern Idaho it appears the demand will continue to grow.
In other words, if you are selling a house there is no better time financially as it is definitely in the seller’s favor to sell. Buying can be more challenging, but as prices continue to increase that means buying sooner than later could mean starting to build equity quickly.
So, are you ready to sell? Maybe you didn’t meet all the five signs and need to reevaluate later. Regardless, if you have questions and want more information about the local real estate market and if it makes sense to sell please contact top real estate agent for Boise, Idaho, and the surrounding area, Jennifer Louis at (208) 509-9122 or email@example.com for a free consultation, with no obligation.
Buying or selling a home is one of the most important events in many people’s lives yet, when choosing a real estate agent to represent them in this important process many people choose to go with a friend or relative, and in some cases, that’s not always the smartest move. Hiring an agent with a better knowledge of your area and a solid record of success selling homes similar to yours can save buyers and sellers a lot of headaches, money, and time. Here are a few tips on how to hire the best real agent for your needs:
Do Your Research. Note who has been selling a lot of homes in your neighborhood either via their yard signs, social media pages, or regular mailings to your home. Then find out if they have an open house and drop in and see how they interact with buyers. Are they knowledgeable about the home they are selling? Are they interacting with buyers? Ask them about the neighborhood and home and other recent sales in the area. If you find a name you like, find out if they work on a team or individually and who you would work with throughout the process.
Ask Questions. Both buyers and sellers should ask agents about the homes they’ve sold in the area recently and what they know about recent sales in the neighborhood.
Ask each agent how many transactions they’ve closed over the past 12 months. Their answer should be about one per month or more. And it’s best if most of those houses were in your price range and a good majority in your area. Sellers should have them compare the asking price and selling price and the time it took to sell the home. How did negotiations go during the inspection period, etc.? Buyers should find out how successful they’ve been helping buyers get their offer accepted in a multiple offer situation.
How will agents market your home when selling? How do they attract buyers outside of MLS (Multiple Listing Service)? Look at the quality of the photography or virtual tours used to illustrate their listings and how detailed the listing information is. Ask to see examples of photography, ads, virtual tours of homes they sold in your area. Will they do an open house and will they be present for it?
Will agents help you stage your home before listing it? Good ones will critique your home, pointing out where or what you need to clean, declutter, repair, and update. Then they or someone they hire will “window-dress” your home for maximum appeal to prospective buyers.
Understand the Contract.Buyer and Seller Representation Agreements in Idaho are rather self-explanatory, but make sure your agent explains certain key dates and facts about the agreement before you sign such as:
Exclusive Right To Sell and Broker Fees. Typically the seller pays the broker fees to both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. The common (and usually the best) listing arrangement is to give the agent “exclusive right to sell” your home. That means if another agent brings in a buyer, your agent will split the commission with the other agent. This arrangement gets your home the most attention from other agents.
Commit to a reasonable listing period. The date you sign the Agreement to the date your home officially sells and records is considering the listing period. In Idaho, most homes are selling in under 90 days and most agents will ask for no more than a six month listing period. You can always commit to a shorter period and renew your listing with your agent if more time is needed, but have your agent show you what is a realistic time to sell your home in your area.
Cancellation Policy. If you decide while under the contract that it’s not the right time to buy or sell or maybe your agent is a nightmare to work with, you will want to know how to cancel your agreement before you sign it. Buyer’s Agreements allow for a very simple cancellation as long as some criteria are met, but in a Seller’s Agreement, this would need to be discussed, possibly negotiated, and written into the Agreement before listing your home.
Ask for references. Look to see reviews on Google, Zillow, and other social media platforms to see how past clients enjoyed working with the agent. You can also ask the agent for references of past clients and contact them to learn more about their experience with the agent throughout the process.
If you’d like to learn more about the real estate market in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley contact: Jennifer Louis, Boise Real Estate Expert at (208) 509-9122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homes are getting snapped up in Idaho and buyers are paying top dollar for homes so why bother taking the time to repair broken or damaged, outdated items in your home before going to market? The answer is simple, money and stress. Homes that have been properly prepared and repaired before going on the market tend to sell quicker, have fewer issues, and potentially save the seller thousands of dollars.
Here’s the reason why: In Idaho, when a seller accepts an offer from a buyer the buyer has the right to an inspection. During this inspection period, the buyer typically hires a professional inspector to find any problem areas with the home. Inspectors have a 2200 item checklist and they ALWAYS find items needing repair, replacement, or updating. At this point, the buyer has several options 1. Take the home as it is. 2. Ask for a credit from the sellers for repairs. 3. Ask for the seller to make repairs or 4. Walk away from the contract. Sellers not wanting to risk losing the buyer typically try to take care of reasonable repairs on the home or offer the credit and this is where it can get expensive and stressful.
With construction booming in the Boise area finding a licensed professional to repair the items in the allotted time before closing (typically 10-14 days) can be very challenging. Most licensed contractors/professionals are booked out 30 days and this means having to hire whoever you can get and pay more for a repair than if you had shopped around. The other option is to offer a credit to the buyer to take care of the repairs later, but the challenge is again finding licensed professionals with enough time to get quotes. In many cases, sellers often credit more than the actual cost of a repair due to time restraints or lack of knowledge of what repairs cost.
So now that you’re convinced preparing your home to sell and taking care of those home repairs are not only a time-saver but cost-effective, which repairs should you take care of and how should go about it? Here’s a checklist of items that often come up on inspection reports and some tips/suggestions of how to take care of them before selling your home:
HVAC System. If your system is old, or not heating/cooling as it should you can count on a buyer asking for it to be either repaired or replaced. You can save yourself and the buyer the trouble by having your HVAC unit serviced by a professional heating and cooling company. Make sure they mark the date on the unit of the servicing as the inspector will look for this. A buyer will feel more confident in your system if they know it’s been recently serviced and functioning properly. Change out the filter with a new one while you’re at it.
Plumbing. Water leaks are one of the biggest items that come up during an inspection. Buyers, especially first-time homeowners get very nervous when they see there’s a leak in the sink, toilet, etc. This can often lead to cold feet and walking away from the contract or asking for major repairs that may not be necessary just for their ease of mind. Instead, take the time to check under the kitchen and bathroom sinks for any leaks, look in the crawl space under the kitchen, toilet, bathtub, etc to see if there are any water spots or leaks in the area. If you see them get them fixed. You can use a licensed plumber or take care of them if they are minor.
The “M” word (MOLD). Nobody likes it and nobody likes to talk about it, but it exists and can cause a lot of stress in the middle of a home sale. Mold or microbial growth is common in older homes where there may have been a past leak. If you discover a water leak or prior leak it’s a good idea to bring out a mold professional to assess if there is any growth in the area. Most mold professionals will not charge to assess the area and this also gives you a chance to shop around for the best price. Once a buyer discovers the “M” word, they can get very nervous and either walk away or ask for higher-priced mold remediation, more than may be necessary.
Electrical Issues. It’s a good idea to bring out your favorite electrician to check the polarity and function of all your home’s outlets. Having an electrician you trust to take care of this before selling is a great idea. It will give the buyer peace of mind that everything is up to code and working as it should. It’s also a good idea to change out any broken, chipped, or missing outlet covers for aesthetics and it’s very affordable to do this yourself.
Windows and Screens. This is one that comes up often on inspections and is typically an item buyers will ask to be repaired or credited. It’s worth the time to take care of any broken or chipped windows, make sure they are opening and locking correctly and get all those screens back on the windows. I’ll give an example. I was representing buyers on a home and during the inspection, we discovered all the seals on the windows were broken beyond repair. The closing was scheduled in three weeks and so the buyers preferred to ask for a credit to get the windows repaired once they moved in. We called every window manufacturer in the Treasure Valley and could only get one company to take the time to come out and provide a quote. This company was the most expensive window manufacturer /installer in town. The sellers only had this quote as a reference and gave credit for the windows close to the quoted price. If the sellers had shopped around beforehand they could have replaced the windows themselves at nearly half the price they credited to the buyers.
Crawl Space and Vapor Barrier. This is something that often comes up during the inspection, a messy crawl space full of debris and a missing or damaged vapor barrier. Take a weekend and clear out all the old debris and put down a vapor barrier yourself and save yourself hundreds of dollars compared to paying a professional cleaning company. The same goes for an attic.
Roofs and Siding. These can be big-ticket items and if the inspection shows damage you can usually expect the buyers to ask for a credit or repair. Make sure the shingles are in good shape and dig up your receipt for the warranty you have on the roof to show to the buyers if needed. Make sure your gutters are cleaned out and in good condition. Replace or repair any damaged siding around the home. If your roof or siding requires total replacement and you don’t want to take care of it yourself get quotes from a few different companies so you know what the potential cost is and then you won’t be blindsided when the buyer asks you to credit the cost of a new roof or siding or price the home with this repair in mind.
Many other items can come up during an inspection and if you’d like to know all of them it can in some cases be a good idea to hire an inspector to inspect your home pre-market. This gives you the good, bad, and ugly and an idea of what may come upon the buyer’s inspection report. Also, if you make any repairs per the inspection you had done you can show this to a buyer upfront and give them peace of mind before they even submit an offer on the home. Inspections typically cost $200-$400 depending on the square footage of your home. You should keep in mind however that once you have an inspection done, you must disclose anything that was discovered that could be a safety issue or serious problem such as a leaky roof, microbial growth, leaky toilet, faulty electrical, etc. to the potential buyer on the Seller’s Property Disclosure so the buyer knows what to expect.
Idaho is home to some of the most scenic landscapes in the Northwest and after a vacation to one of its idyllic lakes or mountain towns the fantasies of owning a second home in the Gem State begin. Here’s a look at some of the most popular vacation areas in Idaho and what to expect should you decide to purchase a home away from home.
McCall, Idaho. McCall, Idaho is a popular, bustling resort town located just a little over 100 miles or two hours North of Boise and is known for it’s pristine Payette Lake and Brundage Mountain resort making it a great destination all year long. Condos, cabins and beautiful estates line Payette Lake’s shores and the surrounding forest.
McCall was established as a resort town back in the early 1900’s and has remained that way until today, however, it’s only in the past several years with the tremendous growth in Idaho that McCall has really been put on the map. The real estate market in McCall is one of the most competitive markets for primary and secondary home buyers. The median price for a single-family home is $510,000. For a town home or condo the median price is $320,000. Homes in this area go quickly and it’s common for a home for sale to have multiple offers and disappear in a week once hitting the market.
Stanley, Idaho. Just 3 hours northeast of Boise, Stanley has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the area for primary and second homes. Located in central Idaho and surrounded by the Sawtooth, White Cloud, and Lost River ranges, Stanley is known for some of the best hiking, rock climbing, fishing and whitewater rafting in the US and is home to the breathtaking Redfish Lake.
Demand for homes under $500K are particularly high and often sell within days if not hours from hitting the market and it’s not unusual for homes to receive offers sight unseen. The area offers large adventure, but is relatively small in size with very limited housing inventory. From 2019 until present only 12 homes were reported sold on the Intermountain MLS. One of the challenges of buying a home in Stanley is that many are sold direct from seller to buyer. In For Sale By Owner cases in this area being in the right place at the right time or knowing someone who has a home for sale is key to finding a home. Land sales have also increased in the area with 9 parcels sold on the MLS in the past 18 months. Yet, due to it’s size and the surrounding public lands Stanley will most likely never develop like McCall or Sun Valley, Idaho.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is located northwest Idaho near the Washington State border. It’s known for water sports on Lake Coeur d’Alene, trails in the Canfield Mountains, and the surrounding 50 lakes. It boasts activities for all year round including snow mountain resorts.
Out of state buyers are fueling the real estate market in Coeur d’Alene. Many escaping the home price tags in their own states and desiring a piece of the outdoors are heading to this beautiful area. Once again the area has high demand for housing driving up prices. The average home price sale according to Redfin.com was $415K in August 2020 a nearly 20% increase from the previous year. However, there are new developments in the works and if you are willing to wait for a year buying a new home may be the answer. One of the biggest challenges to the area is that second home buyers are competing against primary home buyers. The demand for homes is increasing tremendously since the Spring and the inventory can’t keep up which will continue to drive up prices and create a seller’s market.
If you’re still on the fence of whether buying a second home is right for you take a look at some of the pros and cons.
Pros. Buying a second home can be a great investment as these areas are popular destinations and are more likely to hold and even continue to increase in value. There is also the incentive for tax deductions. If you keep your second home unoccupied other than for your own personal enjoyment and only rent it out for no more than two weeks per year then the interest on the mortgage and the property taxes are fully deductible from your gross income. Another option is to rent out your second home for income while you aren’t occupying it. Rental fees vary according to seasons and the popularity of the area. Typically, peak season weekly rental fees are usually equal to or greater than the property’s monthly mortgage payment, allowing you to break even with an annual occupancy around 30% from a cash flow viewpoint.
Let’s face it owning a second home if you can afford it can be a great long-term investment and an opportunity to enjoy regular vacations in a familiar space without the stress of finding lodging while away. The advantages can go on and on depending on your personal situation, but as with any decision it’s important to weigh the disadvantages before deciding to buy.
Cons. A second home mortgage typically requires a larger down payment of 20-30% and a higher interest rate and as with any home you own you are responsible for the maintenance. This means if you don’t live in the area hiring a property management, or maintenance company to take care of any leaky faucets, burst pipes or any number of things that may need repair on your second home while you are not in town. Another important item to consider is that once you decide on a vacation home it can often lead to feeling married to that one vacation spot all year long, year after year. It can create a feeling of inflexibility and make you less likely to visit other beautiful areas during your vacation periods.
The quick answer is YES!!! Homes in Boise, Idaho are selling at record prices, but even in a hot market staging the home can generate anywhere from 5-8% more!!! That means a $400,000 home, that is properly staged, could generate an extra $20,000 to $30,000 just for some basic staging techniques. And who couldn’t use an extra $20-30K? Right?! Here’s how to do it:
Face the Facts
There’s a misconception out there among home owners in hot markets that they simply need to put a “For Sale” sign outside and buyers will come flooding in and the bidding wars begin. Unfortunately, when you analyze the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) you can quickly see that even in a seller’s market, homes in great Boise neighborhoods are sitting for long periods with few showings and zero offers, while another home just down the street sells in record times with multiple offers. What is the difference? Well, price obviously plays into it, but more often that not if there are two comparable homes for sale in the same neighborhood at the same time, the home that was staged, had professional photos taken and was marketed correctly will be the home that gets the higher price and quicker. The reason is simple, staging and marketing a home helps a potential buyer imagine themselves in the space. Once a buyer imagines themselves in the home they are more willing to overlook flaws, pay more and go to great lengths to get the home.
Use a Professional Photographer
It’s also important to keep in mind that most buyers are falling in love with a home before they’ve actually seen it in person. According to NAR (National Association of Realtors) 95% of buyers are viewing homes online before they start going out to visit homes. So, how do you make buyers fall in love with your home when they are viewing potentially hundreds of homes online at the same time? Beautiful, eye-popping photos that bring out the homes best features to start. Buyers need to be able to look at a home for sale and imagine themselves living there before they will take the time to visit it in person. Hence the reason appealing furniture, proper layout and a few decorative pieces that pull the eye to some of the home’s best features can make one home stand out from another.
Get a Staging Evaluation Before Selling
Professional staging companies are a great option for homes that will be unoccupied while the house is for sale and only cost a fraction of what the return will be. However, for sellers planning on selling while occupying the home, there are still great techniques to put into place working with existing furniture to stage the home and generate a higher sales price. It can be as simple as boxing up personal items, changing around the furniture layout, and adding a few decorative pieces to make the house really pop and add more value in future buyers’ eyes.
Hire a Realtor That Offers Staging, Photography and Quality Marketing
Welcome to Boise and Beyond offers a free home staging consultation for every listing with proven results. We use professional real estate photographers and have a virtual tour as part of every listing, attracting thousands of views from in state and out of state buyers. Jennifer Louis, Boise Area Real Estate Expert worked in marketing for many years and knows how to get your home in front of potential buyers outside of MLS. If you would like a free home consultation and staging evaluation please contact Jennifer Louis at (208) 509-9122 or email@example.com
The market in Boise is still going strong and definitely in the Seller’s favor. With historically low existing home inventory and remaining one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, home buyers are finding themselves frustrated in the Boise home buying experience.
Bidding wars, rent backs, cash offers, and short closings have become the norm in the Valley. Many buyers can become quickly disappointed after making an offer, and a good one, only to find out they were outbid or didn’t get their offer in on time.
This short tutorial outlines some of the best practices when buying a home that can make one offer stand out from another when multiple offers are at play. After watching the video above come back to the article for some helpful home buying in Boise tips:
1. Get your financing in order before you start home shopping. This is essential and can save you a lot of time and frustration. True, it’s not as fun as looking online at Zillow or your realtor’s MLS portal, but its a must. Once you know how much you can afford then the shopping begins, but make sure to go with a local Idaho lender when possible. Seller’s and their Real Estate Agents often feel more confident accepting an offer of a buyer that is using a reputable local lender for their financing. You may have a great offer, but with an out of state lender or large corporate financial institution as your lender you risk having your offer passed over.
2. Narrow down your search. With all the technology today and due to the COVID-19 situation touring a home online has never been easier. Study the home features and what you must-have in your future home and what you can live without.
Visiting homes can be fun, but it can be overwhelming and soon one home begins to look like another. With your realtor sit down and pick your favorite 5 or 10 homes and discuss what you love and what you are not sure about for each home. This will save you time and help keep you focused when you finally get out to visit the homes.
3. Prepare to make an offer quickly if you like a home. Homes in this market at the average price are selling within a few days, some go in the first 24 hours. Plan on visiting the home as soon as it hits the market and being prepared to write an offer the same day/evening.
You will need to have discussed earnest money, or a deposit you feel comfortable putting down and have it readily available. Typically earnest money is 1%, but to be competitive putting a little more skin in the game can make your offer stand out.
Have a personal letter template prepared to tell the sellers why you are looking for a home in the area (make sure your letter is within the Fair Housing Act guidelines). Explain your employment or some details demonstrating why you are a solid financial buyer. Due to COVID-19 and the financial situation, many are concerned about buyers losing their job while trying to purchase, so a letter can go a long way. Once you pick the house add a few features about the home that you love and tell the seller why you love them. Pulling those heartstrings can make a big difference to a seller when reviewing multiple offers. Personally, I’ve had multiple clients get their offer accepted over a higher-priced offer because of a personal letter.
4. Hire a real estate professional with experience helping Buyers be successful. You may have everything in order, but if your agent doesn’t find out the right information about what the sellers are looking for you may end up not making the right offer. As a realtor working often with buyers I dig as much as possible, before writing an offer, to try to really understand what the seller is looking for in an offer. Is timing the key factor? Price? Do the sellers need to rent back the house while they shop for their own house? There are a lot of little things that you can include in an offer to make your offer the best choice for the seller.
Would you like to know how to start your own home buying process in Boise and the surrounding area? I’ve been successfully helping individuals and families buy in the area for several years and have a fantastic success rate of getting buyers offers accepted on their first or second attempt. Give me a call and let’s start your search. (208) 509-9122.
Jennifer Louis, Boise Area Real Estate Expert is a relocation specialist for Boise and the Treasure Valley. Helping hundreds succeed in finding their perfect home while simultaneously assisting homeowners to prepare and sell their homes.