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Jennifer Louis
Residential Real Estate Expert
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What the NAR Settlement Means For Idaho

What the NAR Settlement Means For Idaho

The National Association of Realtors, NAR is making headlines with their unprecedented settlement that if approved by the courts could transform how broker commissions are managed. This move directly impacts over a million NAR members, including agents, brokerages, and MLS services, setting a new precedent for transparency and negotiation in commission structures.  This article will detail what the NAR Settlement means for Idaho and those buying and selling homes in the state.

Key Changes and Their Impact

Transparency in Commissions

The settlement mandates a shift in how broker commissions are disclosed. Specifically, the practice of advertising cooperative compensation on MLS is changing. Sellers traditionally agreed to a broker fee, shared with the buyer’s agent through MLS listings. Now, such compensation must be negotiated outside of MLS, requiring buyers to understand their agent’s fees upfront through a Buyer Representation Agreement.

Negotiation of Fees:

Sellers retain the flexibility to negotiate commission fees and may opt to offer a cooperative fee to the buyer’s agent. This isn’t a novel concept; however, clarity around fee negotiation has been lacking in certain states, leading to misconceptions about commission rates. The settlement aims to rectify this by ensuring all parties are informed and agreeable to the terms from the outset.  The NAR does not set commissions or require a set fee. Fees are negotiated via a seller representation agreement and buyer representation agreement before a transaction begins for the majority of real estate transactions in Idaho.

The Idaho Example

Idaho has been ahead of the curve, with clear stipulations regarding brokerage and cooperative fees. This practice ensures buyers and sellers are well-informed from the beginning, reducing surprises and fostering a fair, transparent real estate environment.

Market Misconceptions

Despite rumors that the settlement could lower home prices or eliminate buyer agent fees, it’s essential to understand that the value provided by real estate professionals remains unchanged. Agents play a crucial role in guiding clients through the complexities of buying or selling a home, and their services come at a cost. This settlement doesn’t abolish fees but emphasizes transparency and choice, ensuring clients know what they’re paying for and why.

Real Estate Professionals as Small Businesses

It’s vital to remember that agents, operating under brokerages, run their businesses. This means they have the autonomy to set their service fees, which are negotiable and subject to the client’s choice. This autonomy respects the professional judgment of real estate experts and the consumer’s right to choose.

In Conclusion and My Personal Opinion

In writing this article, I’ve delved into the legal documents and discussions with my team at Silvercreek Realty Group to clarify misunderstandings and share insights. The real estate sector is undoubtedly at a crossroads, needing evolution. While I have reservations about removing cooperative fee advertisements from MLS, my commitment to transparency has never wavered. That’s precisely why I chose to work with Silvercreek Realty Group and take pride in operating openly in Idaho’s real estate scene.

The structure of real estate organizations like NAR, local associations, and MLS does seem a bit dated. Their focus on increasing membership for revenue, making entry into the profession too easy, raises questions about maintaining high standards. With over 8,000 agents in the Treasure Valley alone as of 2023, the bar for entry is low, involving just a course, exams, and a background check, with no rigorous vetting process. This ease of entry might contribute to the lack of transparency that led to legal challenges against NAR.

Despite intense competition, which theoretically should lower fees, many agents are selected by sellers or buyers based on personal connections rather than expertise, creating disparities. Given that the average real estate agent in Idaho makes around $40,000 a year, not accounting for expenses, the competition paradoxically keeps fees high for agents to remain viable. Elevating the requirements to become a real estate agent, such as implementing a college degree prerequisite or mandating years of experience in relevant fields, could enhance professionalism and ensure that those entering the industry are truly qualified.

With an industry filled with qualified professionals, we would see a more positive light shining on real estate agents and what they do in a real estate transaction.  In the meantime, I encourage those looking to buy or sell a house in Idaho to take your time when choosing your real estate professional.  I wrote an article to help guide buyers and sellers in making this decision because it is important.  A good agent should have experience, qualifications, and a proven track record with real client reviews and sales,  not just be someone you know or are related to.

If you have more questions about what the NAR Settlement means for Idaho or how it could affect you if you are considering selling or buying a home please reach out.  I am passionate about this field and would love to chat.

Boise Real Estate ProfessionalFor expert guidance on moving to Boise, or selling a home in the area contact Jennifer Louis, a Boise real estate and relocation expert. Set up a time for a consultation here.  In the meantime, make sure to follow me,  Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Real Estate Expert, and local relocation guide on Instagram, Facebook, or my blog for fun facts about Boise and of course a few things real estate.  (208) 509-9122 or

Best Spring Activities in Boise

Best Spring Activities in Boise

Welcome to Boise and Beyond’s blog series focusing on living like a local in Idaho.  If you are one of the many who have recently relocated to Boise and the Treasure Valley here are some of the best ways to fit in and acclimate to your new home.

Discovering Boise’s Spring Scene

Spring is the season that Boise comes alive!  After months of colder weather and shorter days, locals are eager to get out and enjoy the outdoors.  With so many great activities and warmer, longer days there are endless things to do in Spring.   Here are my top 5 recommendations for the best Spring activities in Boise:

1. Edwards Greenhouse

organic nursery in BoiseSpring is a great time to experience Edwards Greenhouse.  Not only do the historic, geothermal water-heated greenhouses keep you warm on those cooler Spring days, but they are a feast for the eyes.  Not to mention a great way to find inspiration for all your gardening and landscaping.  You can find incredible, one-of-a-kind roses this time of year to order and find some Spring flowers for those flowerpots around your yard.  They are known for their classes, such as their upcoming orchid class or bulb class and of course there is yoga classes in the gazebo.  It’s a great place to enjoy an afternoon, soak in the warmth, and get inspired.

2. Bird Watching

Birds of Prey in Kuna, IdahoBird Watching at the World Center for Birds of Prey – Spring is a fantastic season for bird enthusiasts to visit the World Center for Birds of Prey. This unique experience offers a closer look at conservation efforts and the chance to see majestic birds in action. It’s an educational and engaging outing for all ages.  Another great area is to head over the the Boise Greenbelt and take a stroll down the Idaho Birding Path  It’s a serene strip of trail open to foot traffic only and is dotted with plaques of birds typically found in the area.  It’s a great place to catch a glimpse into some of Boise’s tallest trees and the feathered friends that seek refuge in them.

3. Soak in Idaho’s Hot Springs

Idaho is covered with hot springs waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. You can pick up a guidebook or visit a website to find many springs you can hike to during the day or twilight hours. Some are privately maintained and family-friendly just outside Boise. Here are two of my personal favorites:

  1. The Springs in Idaho City, are located just 45 minutes northeast of Boise near the historic mining town of Idaho City. Here, you can enjoy a spa-like experience with a soak in their natural hot spring pool while listening to local musicians or indulging in local cuisine. You can also rent a private pool or get a massage. Kids are welcome on Saturdays and Sundays, but reservations are required.
  2. Gold Fork Hot Springs, north of Boise on the route heading towards McCall, is situated in the town of Donnelly in the foothills of the North Fork Range. They offer multiple pools at different depths and temperatures, making it an excellent soak for the whole family, from young to old. Please note they are closed on holidays and Tuesdays, and cash is the only accepted payment method. It’s advisable to call ahead to ensure they are open and have ample space.

4. Bike the Boise Greenbelt

Biking Along the Boise River Greenbelt – The Greenbelt offers a scenic escape with its 25-mile path following the Boise River. Ideal for a leisurely bike ride or a refreshing walk, this trail is a prime spot for nature lovers to spot wildlife and enjoy the great outdoors.  Check out Pedego electric bikes if you want a great rental experience or join the Boise bike tours for a guided tour around Boise and the Greenbelt.

5. Downtown Boise/First Thursday

If you haven’t yet, this Spring come check out First Thursday, an iconic event that captures the heart and soul of our vibrant community in Downtown Boise.. As the city awakens with the freshness of spring, First Thursday in March, April, and May presents an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the best of Boise’s arts, culture, and culinary delights.

This monthly celebration takes place in Boise’s bustling downtown area, where locals and newcomers alike gather to explore an eclectic mix of galleries, shops, restaurants, and live music venues. Each First Thursday event is a unique experience, offering something new and exciting to discover.

Boise Real Estate Professional


Enjoy your Spring in beatiful Boise, Idaho.  And there are so many other great places to explore in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley.  Looking to discover more about Boise Metro Area?  Follow this blog or set up your personal consultation with Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Real Estate Expert, and local relocation guide.  (208) 509-9122 or


Top-Rated Public and Private Schools in Boise, Idaho

Top-Rated Public and Private Schools in Boise, Idaho

Whether you’re exploring public or private schooling options in Boise, Idaho, you’ll discover a supportive community and a dedication to academic excellence that fosters children’s growth and development. Among the top-rated public and private schools in Boise, Idaho, and the surrounding Treasure Valley, parents can find several outstanding options. Before relocating with school-aged children, scheduling a relocation consultation is essential for narrowing down school choices and gaining insight into what to expect in the area. This article will highlight some of these schools and offer resources to explore additional educational opportunities both within and outside of Boise.

Boise Public Schools

Boise’s public schools generally fare well compared to those in other major cities across the United States. While rankings can vary based on different criteria and methodologies used, Boise consistently ranks above average in terms of academic performance, teacher quality, and overall student satisfaction. One factor contributing to Boise’s strong public school system is its relatively low student-to-teacher ratios, which allow for more personalized attention and support for students. Additionally, the city’s commitment to education funding and resources helps ensure that schools have the tools and programs needed to succeed.

Overall, while Boise may not always top national rankings due to its smaller size compared to major metropolitan areas, its public schools consistently provide a high-quality education and supportive environment for students to thrive.  Boise’s public school system boasts a reputation for academic excellence and a commitment to student success. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top-rated public schools in the area:

Boise High School: Renowned for its rigorous academic programs and diverse extracurricular offerings, Boise High consistently ranks among the top public high schools in the state.

Timberline High School: With a focus on college preparedness and a supportive learning environment, Timberline High School earns high marks for its dedicated faculty and comprehensive curriculum.

North Junior High School: Recognized for its strong community involvement and commitment to student engagement, North Junior High provides a nurturing environment for middle school students to thrive.

Riverside Elementary School: Known for its innovative teaching methods and emphasis on individualized instruction, Riverside Elementary excels in fostering a love of learning among its students.

Owyhee Elementary School:  I bring up this school as my son attends and after a private pre-school, I was a bit apprehensive about putting him in public school.  However, I have found it to be a very pleasant experience.  There is a relatively low student-to-teacher ratio and the teachers, staff, and direction are very open to communicating with the parents.  They have various programs for children with special needs and go above and beyond to look after children in need of more support materially or emotionally.

There are over 30 school districts in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley and even a bit outside of that.  You can find which district belongs to each area by clicking on this link to the various districts.

Boise Private Schools:

In addition to its public school system, Boise offers a variety of private schools that provide unique educational experiences.If you are considering relocating to the Boise area I recommend contacting several schools in the private sector you are considering and setting up an in-person interview and tour.  This will allow you to look for housing closer to the school and also to get on an enrollment waiting list as soon as possible before moving to Boise.  Here are some of the top-rated private schools in the area:

Riverstone International School: As Idaho’s only International Baccalaureate World School, Riverstone International offers a globally focused education that emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and cultural awareness.

The Ambrose School: Rooted in classical Christian education principles, The Ambrose School is renowned for its rigorous academic curriculum, character development initiatives, and strong sense of community.

Bishop Kelly High School: With a commitment to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to others, Bishop Kelly High School provides a holistic education that prepares students for success in college and beyond.

Sage International School: As a public charter school with a focus on international studies and language immersion, Sage International School offers a unique educational model that prepares students to become global citizens and future leaders.

Here are some resources to research schools by area: This website offers a comprehensive directory of schools, including both public and private institutions, along with detailed profiles, ratings, and reviews from parents and students.

Another useful resource is the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) School Locator tool, which allows you to search for schools by location and type. While NCES primarily focuses on public schools, it also provides information about private schools that participate in federal education programs.

Transportation to Schools in Boise

  1. School Buses: The Boise School District operates a comprehensive school bus transportation system, providing bus service to students across the district. School buses are available for eligible students who live a certain distance from their designated school or in areas with hazardous walking conditions.
  2. Walking and Biking: Due to the number of public schools and a low ratio of students to teachers, many students may live within walking or biking distance of their school choose & choose to walk or bike to school. The Boise area prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle safety, with designated bike lanes, crosswalks, and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in many neighborhoods.
  3. Parent/Guardian Transportation: Some parents or guardians may choose to transport their children to and from school using their vehicles. This option provides flexibility and convenience for families, especially those who live close to their child’s school or have multiple children attending different schools.
  4. Public Transit: Public transit options, such as buses operated by Valley Regional Transit, are available for students who may need alternative transportation to and from school. Students can use public transit routes to access schools located along bus routes throughout the Boise area.

Overall, if you are considering a move to the Boise area and have school-aged children schools is an important part of the decision process.  If a specific school is important to you and your family it is key to research and set up appointments with these schools prior to relocating.  Often private schools here have waiting lists or specific criteria to enroll, as do some charter schools such as Sage International mentioned above.  Once a school has been chosen it will help to narrow down which part of Boise or the surrounding Treasure Valley you will want to make home.

Boise Real Estate ProfessionalFor expert guidance on moving to Boise, contact Jennifer Louis, a Boise real estate and relocation expert. Set up a time for a consultation here.  In the meantime, make sure to follow me,  Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Real Estate Expert, and local relocation guide on Instagram, Facebook, or my blog for fun facts about Boise and of course a few things real estate.  (208) 509-9122 or

The Costs of Living in Boise, Idaho

The Costs of Living in Boise, Idaho

Boise, a top relocation destination, attracting people with its outdoor living, relaxed lifestyle, and affordable cost of living compared to nearby states, Boise is a prime choice for relocating families and professionals. If you’re moving to Boise, understanding the city’s living expenses is essential. Here’s a breakdown of the main costs of living in Boise:

Housing in Boise

When considering relocation to Boise, housing is a top priority. The Boise real estate market offers diverse options, from downtown charm to suburban spaciousness. In Ada County, Ada County’s median home prices as of December were $518,000. In Canyon County, encompassing Nampa and Caldwell, prices were $394,000. Ada County homes range from $350,000 to over $2 million. The Boise housing market trends show days on the market for Ada County 40 days and Nampa 56. Boise’s growth makes homeownership a smart choice for those moving to Idaho, especially in areas like West Boise, Southeast Boise, and West Meridian where there is a lot of growth. Click here to look at active homes on the market in these areas.

Renting in Boise

Historically Boise and the surrounding area have a limited supply of rental housing due to high demand, particularly due to the influx of new residents relocating to the area.  There’s an increase in new residential developments, including apartment complexes, aiming to meet the rising demand for multifamily units, however rental rates will likely continue to increase due to supply and demand over the next several years.  As of January 2024, the average rent in Boise was $1,977/month, but here is a breakdown of other resources and rental costs for the Boise area.  Zillow reports a median rent of $1,750 for houses. Apartment List shows Boise’s median rent at $1,229, while Redfin lists the average rent at $1,582.

Utilities in Boise

Boise’s utility and grocery costs align with national averages, balancing the higher housing expenses. Recent averages (as of January 2024):

  • Electricity: 11.36 cents per kWh, average monthly bill $108.73.
  • Natural Gas: The average monthly bill is $53.
  • Water: The average monthly bill is $49. Veolia North America operates Boise’s water services. Southern Idaho’s irrigation districts provide water savings for landscape irrigation in certain neighborhoods.
  • Internet: The average monthly bill is $53 (8 Mbps). Providers include Century Link, Sparklight, Anthem Broadband, CTC Telecom, AT&T Wireless, and Ting, among others. T
  • Total average monthly utility costs are approximately $297, including electricity, gas, cable, internet, and water. In areas like Middleton, Caldwell, Star, private/community wells, septic systems, and irrigation canals are more common.

Depending on which area you make home in the Boise area you could expect the total Average Monthly Utility Costs to be about $297/month, including electricity, gas, cable & internet, and water.  The costs of living in Boise when it comes to utilities are on average lower than neighboring states.

Child Care in Boise

For those relocating to Boise with children, child care is a significant expense. Child care and private schooling costs in Boise vary by care type, child’s age, and institution. Average costs are:

  • Daycare: Approximately $6,905/year in centers, $6,284/year in family/in-home settings.
  • Pre-school: Around $6,429/year in centers, $5,834/year in family/in-home settings.
  • Private Schools: The average cost for high schools in Idaho is about $8,272. Specific fees for Boise schools may vary.

Boise Fuel Costs

For new Boise residents, understanding local fuel costs is vital. As of the beginning of 2024, Boise experienced a notable decrease in gas prices, with an average drop of about 7 cents per gallon. The cheapest gas in Boise was reported to be priced at $2.99 per gallon, while the most expensive was around $3.39 per gallon. This decline in prices represents a positive trend for residents, especially considering the escalating fuel costs over the past year

Lifestyle and Leisure in Boise

Boise’s lifestyle is a draw for those considering relocation to Idaho. Boise is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and culture lovers alike. From the stunning Boise River Greenbelt to the vibrant arts scene, there’s always something to do – without breaking the bank. Many activities, like hiking and visiting local parks, are free or low-cost, making it easy to enjoy the area.

Compared with other neighboring states a move to Boise may make more sense when it comes to costs of living. Home prices and utilities compared to Washington, California, Oregon, and Colorado are typically significantly less. Not to mention the amount of time and energy saved due to the shorter commute times and less congestion in traffic.


Boise Real Estate ProfessionalFor expert guidance on moving to Boise, contact Jennifer Louis, a Boise real estate and relocation expert. Set up a time for a consultation here.  In the meantime, make sure to follow me,  Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Real Estate Expert, and local relocation guide on Instagram, Facebook, or my blog for fun facts about Boise and of course a few things real estate.  (208) 509-9122 or

Your Property’s Assessed Value versus Fair Market Value

Your Property’s Assessed Value versus Fair Market Value

Property owners in Ada County have recently received their 2023 Assessed Value notices, and to the delight of many, there’s a surprising dip compared to the 2022 assessment. This unexpected turn of events is fantastic news for homeowners, as a lower assessed value translates to reduced property taxes. However, if you’re contemplating selling your home, you might be wondering: does the drop in assessed value parallel a decline in your home’s market value? Let’s delve into the differences between a property’s assessed value versus fair market value.

What is Assessed Value?

The assessed value is the dollar value assigned to a home or other property for tax purposes. It takes into consideration comparable home sales, location, and other factors. In Ada and Canyon Counties properties are assessed annually on January 1st.  They are sent to homeowners around the middle of the same year and are due for payment during the following year. Assessed values in Idaho over the past ten years tend to be lower than the Fair Market Value.

What is Fair Market Value in Real Estate?

Fair market value (FMV) in real estate is the price that a property will sell for in an open market, in other words, what a buyer is willing to pay for a home and a seller is willing to accept.  Market value reflects what a property could sell for, irrespective of its assessed values. Relying exclusively on assessed or appraised values may lead sellers to misjudge and potentially misprice their property. Determining a home’s market value involves a nuanced analysis, considering various factors:

  • External Characteristics: Elements like curb appeal, roof and garage, lot size, home style, and the availability of public utilities.
  • Internal Characteristics: Sqft, Bed/Baths, updates, appliances, special features such as RV parking, views, shops, etc.
  • Mechanicals: The age and condition of the HVAC, water heater, plumbing, electrical, etc.
  • Comparables (Comps): Understanding recent selling prices of similar homes in the same area is crucial for a realistic market valuation.
  • Supply and Demand: The dynamic between the number of buyers and sellers in your area influences the perceived value of your property.
  • Location: The neighborhood’s desirability, the quality of schools, and the local crime rate all play a role in determining market value.

According to the Ada County Assessors website, assessors estimate what a typical buyer would reasonably pay for a property on January 1st of the year. Assessors do not consider updates inside the home, such as remodels, new electrical work, plumbing, or new flooring. Given that the Assessment Notice is mailed six months after the assessment, it quickly becomes outdated compared to actual market trends and we see bigger gaps or differences between assessed value and fair market value.  We saw this firsthand in 2022.  According to the Property Value Flyer that accompanied the 2023 Assessment the assessor wrote, “Due to the timing of assessments, last year’s value did not capture 2022’s peak market conditions.”  The real estate market peaked in May 2022 and then prices declined, but the assessment had been decided in Jan 2022 when home prices were still increasing.

So, if your assessed value doesn’t align with your expectations, there’s no need to panic. Assessments primarily serve tax purposes. Home buyers and sellers, however, focus more on market value, recognizing that the true value of a home is subjective. It ultimately boils down to the agreement between the buyer and seller. Your neighborhood real estate professional will be able to provide you with accurate market trends and comparable homes to accurately price your home and get it sold.

Boise Real Estate ProfessionalCurious about the market value of your home in today’s market?  I offer free, in-person consultations to get your home’s current market value and what you can expect during the process. Set up a time for a consultation here.  In the meantime, make sure to follow me,  Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Real Estate Expert, and local relocation guide on Instagram, Facebook, or my blog for fun facts about Boise and of course a few things real estate.  (208) 509-9122 or