Real Estate in Boise, Meridian, Nampa
& All of the Treasure Valley

Jennifer Louis
Residential Real Estate Expert
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Boise’s Home Improvement Struggle

Boise’s Home Improvement Struggle

*DUE TO A LINK ERROR ON THE NOVEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE ON PRONUNCIATION IN IDAHO

Recent growth coupled with the pandemic has spurred the home improvement craze in the Boise Area.  There’s just one problem, Boise has a current home improvement struggle to locate materials and the pros to get the job done. Here’s what is behind the lag in home improvement service providers and some ways to get around it.

New Construction

The past several years the Boise Metro Area has seen tremendous growth.  It’s no secret that Boise housing is struggling with a major supply/demand issue. The counties within the Treasure Valley have put great priority on encouraging builders to build to work towards meeting the growing needs and this has created a huge demand for construction labor and materials.  Unfortunately, Boise, like many other areas in the US has a shortage of laborers due to the last economic crisis when many left the industry and the majority didn’t return.  A recent article by KTVB7 talks in detail about the challenge builders are facing to find construction laborers.   Additionally, the pandemic created a material supply issue all across the construction trades from steel, lumber to paint and cement, creating even more delays in getting homes built.

So what does new construction have to do with a Boise homeowner’s home improvement struggle?  It’s simple.  Builders can provide subcontractors with volume work,  giving them multiple homes to work on.  This saves them time in having to go out and constantly quote out new jobs or order materials for individual projects.  With so many of the trades dedicated to the builders, individual homeowners are finding already scarce construction trade pros harder to secure.

Materials in Short Supply

As the previous subheading touched on, construction materials have become hard to secure especially in 2021.  A lot of this is due to demand, but then you add in a pandemic that caused supply chain issues, closed factories, loss of laborers to make the materials and the materials dwindled even more.  Take the freeze that happened in Texas earlier this year.  The unexpected weather caused huge factory shutdowns and affected the principal ingredients needed by most major paint manufacturers in the US. If you’ve gone to Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore lately you probably noticed they were out of a lot of paint and as of the first week in October most of the major paint companies in the Treasure Valley said they had no exterior paint to sell that week leaving paint contractors scrambling to find paint from competitors or other locations.

One local company, Lucas Painting said the following in regards to the recent paint shortages they’ve encountered:

“We’ve seen paint and material shortages across most brands which has caused delays in work being completed. On many occasions, we’ve had to go to several stores before finding the product we need or stores are only offering paint in larger 5gal buckets instead of 1gal which forces businesses to buy more quantity of 1 color than they actually need.”

Ways around the shortage of construction trades.

With the recent growth, one way to get help getting those repairs or updates done is to find the materials yourself.  Once you locate and secure the materials ask your neighbors, or check local social media websites to see if you can find an experienced tradesman.   Nextdoor.com is a great resource to find a handyman, or newly relocated tradesman looking for work while they get their own business established.

If you haven’t already noticed Idaho prides itself on word of mouth and local recommendations.  With that said, a great resource is to ask your trusted real estate professional for a recommendation and maybe even ask if they would put in a call for you to get it scheduled.  Real estate professionals refer out a lot of business to various construction trades and these companies are loyal to them.  If your realtor calls on your behalf or recommends a business you have a good shot of getting on the schedule.  Once you have a subcontractor scheduled and the work is done, and paid for asking them who they recommend for your next project, and ask if they will put in a good word for you.

If you don’t know a real estate agent feel free to reach out to me, an experienced and trusted real estate professional throughout the Treasure Valley and I’ll do my best to get you in contact with the trades you need for your home repairs/improvements.

Boise Real Estate ProfessionalJennifer Louis, Real Estate Professional for the Boise Metro Area for a free home value analysis. (208) 509-9122 or jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com

What Your Front Door Says About You

What Your Front Door Says About You

We’ve all heard about a home with “curb appeal” and one of the best way to boost your home’s appeal and ultimately value is through the front door.  That’s because the front door is the focal point of most homes and the color is a powerful statement.  There is a psychology behind door colors and even some historical meaning.  So, before you grab your brush and paint find out the meaning of popular front door colors.

Traditional and Bold

Red is one of the most popular door colors across the United States. Historically, in Scotland and Ireland painting your door red could mean your mortgage is paid off. In China, a red door often signified a home with good luck, but back on this side of the Atlantic it typically symbolizes hospitality and gives off a positive, neighborly vibe. Still feeling friendly, but red isn’t your color? Well, blue is a great alternative. According to color psychologists, blue can signify an inviting home that’s trustworthy. A blue door can range from a bright sky blue to a dark navy, to a softer turquoise color. Another inviting positive and bold front door color is yellow. Yellow is linked to optimism and extraversion. Guests will expect sunny rooms and cheerful decor inside. Yellow tends to look best as an accent color on a door, rather than the entire home color and looks great against darker siding or brick.

Clean and Crisp

Boise Black and White Doors
Boise Black and White Doors
Black is becoming more popular and can make a home pop. Some may consider it a more traditional, or formal color, but it can give a home a modern look, and set against a colorful exterior can even give it a playful feel. Color psychologists say a black door gives the feeling of security and protection to those who come to visit or stay.  To play it safe and still give the front of your house a facelift consider the least neutral of the neutrals, white. This common door color can give the feeling of a fresh, organized, and clean home and looks great against brick or colored siding.

Fun and Playful

Feeling fun, adventurous and young? Orange, pink, or violet may be the right shade for you? Any of these colors can make a positive statement and make your home stand out on the street, but it’s important to make sure the rest of the home won’t clash or throw off these bold color choices.  A great place in The Treasure Valley to check out fun door colors is in many of the older neighborhoods. Take a stroll in Boise’s historic Northend or Nampa’s downtown historic area to see a range of colorful front doors or drive through Boise’s Bench with mid-century homes full of fun, colorful, and unique doors for every taste.  Here are a few of my favorites around town:
Considering selling your home and want to add curb appeal? Call Jennifer Louis for a free home value consultation to discover how to increase your home’s value in today’s market (208) 509-9122.
Genius Small Home Office Ideas

Genius Small Home Office Ideas

Many in the Boise area have joined the ranks of those working from home. Without a traditional home office, it can be challenging to tune out the distractions of others at home, daily chores, and household needs. Establishing a go-to work zone will help you regain that focus. Here are some fantastic ideas to convert unused space into a perfect workplace:

The Closet

If you happen to have an extra closet this can be fantastic, tucked away space for an office. Consider clearing out space and installing shelving and a small desk. Remove the doors for more space while you work, or keep them on and close the “office” when you’re finished for the day. These small home office ideas can also work with an armoire or TV Cabinet.

Under the Stairs

Many Boise homes from the turn of the century and mid-century era have stairs leading to a second level or a basement. Unless the space under the stairs is necessary for the structure of the home this space can often be opened up and provide a great cozy spot for an office. Make sure to install an electrical outlet and consider light fixtures. Maximize productivity by installing shelving and storage bins in the vertical space.

The Entryway

If you happen to have a large entryway into your home this can be a great workspace that is rarely used other than for the occasional visitor or Amazon deliveries. Hang a large mirror to make space feel less narrow and find a desk that blends with the rest of the decor or that can be folded up after work.

The Garage

If you are fortunate to have a large garage or one that you mostly use for storage why not set up space in it for an office? Remove old shelving or rearrange the space to give you a flexible workspace. Make sure to have it insulated and get electricity run to your work area to keep you working all year round. Ask me if converting a garage to sqft adds value to your home.

The Storage Shed

If you don’t have one already consider installing a garden shed in your yard if you have space. Make sure to get a window installed for natural light, electrical and get it insulated to keep you warm or cool depending on the time of year. This out of the house space can give you the privacy and quiet desired and keep the commute to a minimum. This is a great alternative for a small home office space when multiple family members need a home office. Here’s a fantastic, affordable local Idaho custom garden shed company.

The Laundry Room

Both small and large laundry rooms can be a great area to create a workspace. Transform a folding table into a desk during work hours and install shelving and storage bins to maximize the space. Consider changing out older, bulky machines for stackables to create more space. Dedicate a time for laundry to be done that is not during work hours to ensure a quiet, calm work area.

There are many other spaces around a home, large or small that can serve as a functional, comfortable workspace. The key is to find a spot that flows with the layout of the home but provides a dedicated spot to keep your work in one area.

One of my favorite things in taking buyers to visit homes is offering suggestions of ways to use the space to meet their needs. Whether it be an art room, home office, pantry, playroom, etc. there are so many ways to create new space even in an older home.

Stay up to date on the Boise area real estate trends and sign up to find great homes as they hit the market and those that will be arriving shortly.

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.

The Truth About Buying a Home in Boise.

The Truth About Buying a Home in Boise.

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

We’ve all heard about the low inventory of homes for sale and the sad stories of home buyers being outbid on a home by a cash buyer or an over asking price offer. Then there’s the story of finding the perfect house online, but it’s gone before anyone has the chance to see it. While those stories are true it’s not the whole picture. Let’s compare the myths with actual facts of buying a home in Boise in this market.

Myth: Only Cash Offers Are Being Accepted.

We have indeed seen an increase in all-cash offers over the past year mostly due to the influx of out of state buyers cashing out on their homes in higher priced markets, however, it may be surprising to note however that the majority of homes being sold are being sold to those who are financing through a lender.

There were 1094 existing, single-family home sales from October-December 2020 in Boise, and out of those only 238 were cash sales. This means that nearly 80% of homes that were purchased last quarter came from home buyers that needed financing. This is good news for the majority of buyers out there requiring traditional financing to purchase their next home.

However, even with a strong financing offer, it’s important to understand why a cash offer could be appealing to the home seller and how to make your offer stand out if competing against one.

CASH: A cash sale reduces risk. With a cash offer, there is no chance of the loan not going through.

FINANCING:Offer a personal letter with your offer reassuring the seller of your employmentand the certainty of your loan. Also, put down a strong earnest money deposit (over 1% of the price) showing you are willing to put some skin in the game.

CASH: A lender-required appraisal is not needed. In this market, an appraiser may not have enough sold homes to use to compare and may appraise the home value under the agreed upon price. This can risk the loan and possibly force the seller to have to reduce the price to get the home sold.

FINANCING: Waive the difference in price should the appraisal come in lower than the sales price. The lender will only loan up to what the appraisal came in at, so the buyer should have funds set aside for any difference or have other options worked out with the lender to ensure financing if this happens. This will put the seller’s minds at ease that the home will sell at the agreed-upon price and on time even with a low appraisal.

CASH: Quick closing time. The other reason cash is so appealing is that with no loan approval process a home can close very quickly, even under a week.

FINANCING:Choose a local Idaho lender that can close quickly if needed. Make sure to get as much paperwork into your lender as possible to get your loan process started before you put an offer on a home. One of the biggest hangups for lenders is waiting for the buyers to submit needed paperwork required by loan underwriters.

Myth: All Homes Sell Over Price.

Although home prices have continued to rise in Boise over the past several years, you may be surprised that the majority of homes for sale are not selling for over the asking price. If we look at the 1,094 existing, single-family home sales in Q4 of 2020 we see that over 600 of those homes sold at full or under asking price. Although price is important it isn’t the only factor. Here’s how to make your offer stand out if you are only able to offer full-price:

Know what the seller wants. Are there any other terms, other than price, that could make your offer stand out? This is why hiring the right real estate agent is so important when buying a home in this market. A good agent will have done their homework and know what the seller is looking for in an offer. Sellers may appreciate renting back the home, a quick close, or maybe a longer closing period. There are many different terms, besides price that can make one offer more appealing over another.

Myth: Buyers Are Waiving Inspections.

The inspection contingency allows the buyer to conduct a more in-depth inspection of the house, typically by hiring a licensed home inspector to discover if there are any costly repairs or areas for concern on the home. The fact is in the past six months we are seeing an increase in buyers waiving their inspection, but it’s not the majority. Should a buyer waive the inspection to make their offer stand out?

Although this can be a way to get an offer accepted, it can open a buyer up to a lot of risks should there be major repairs or damaged items on the home that were not disclosed or known about by the seller. Most real estate agents will not recommend their clients waive this important protection, but there are some exceptions. For example, if the buyer is or has a friend/family member with the knowledge to inspect the home before putting an offer in. If the buyer feels comfortable with the assessment then waiving the inspection, if there are multiple offers, could be a good bargaining tool. Another option is to hire an inspector to quickly inspect the home for any major items before writing an offer. This can be more of a challenge as inspectors are typically booked out by several days and the cost can range from $150-$300+ for an inspector.

Either way, it’s important to decide how you will handle the inspection contingency before putting an offer on a home. This is something you and your real estate agent should discuss in-depth before starting the home buying process.

Myth: Homes Sell In One Day.

While some homes sell the first day on the market, the majority of homes stick around long enough for most serious buyers to get a look. The median days on market for existing, single-family homes in Boise during Q4 of 2020 was four days. Four days is still not a lot of time, but it gives most home buyers a chance to take a good look at the home.

In this market, it’s essential for buyers to be proactive in their search and have time set aside to look at homes as they come on the market. The majority of homes go for sale Wednesday through Friday in this area. To ensure an in-person visit make sure to talk with your employer about having the flexibility to go see a home last-minute when it hits the market. Try to visit the home during the day, rather than waiting till the end of the day when it’s harder to see the home due to light or risking not having enough time to get an offer in should there be other offers on the table. If you are coming from out of state plan on taking 4-5 days up to two weeks to visit homes as they come available and make sure your agent has alerts set up to be notified as homes hit the market that meets your criteria.

It’s important to remember that every seller and buyer are unique and there are many methods of getting an offer accepted when there are multiple offers. Buying a home in the Boise area can be a challenge, but geared with the facts, preparation and a real estate agent that has proven experience in this market can make all the difference.

Set up a free buyers consultation to learn how you can successfully navigate the challenges of buying a home in Boise and the surrounding area.

Jennifer Louis, Boise Real Estate Expert
Phone: (208) 509-9122 jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com

5 Signs You’re Ready to Sell Your Home

5 Signs You’re Ready to Sell Your Home

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.

Example:

$379,000 Current Home Value

– $225,295 Mortgage Balance

=$153,705 Equity

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 jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com for a free consultation, with no obligation.