Choosing Your Agent: Friends & Family

When it comes to choosing your agent, it’s easy to feel obligated to use the services of an agent who’s a friend or family member.

Loyalty is important, but it’s usually not a good idea to let loyalty override choosing an experienced, competent, skilled agent to buy or sell a home.

That’s especially true if the friend or family member is new in real estate or a part-time agent with minimal experience.

There are multiple conflicts of interest that can arise when you entrust the success of the largest financial transaction of your life to a friend or family member.

When you work with a friend or family member, it’s very difficult for the agent to provide guidance for personal, confidential, financial decisions.

Conversely, it’s also challenging for the client to hold a friend or family member accountable for the level of service expected.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home and using the services of a friend or family member, your best response may be “I don’t think we should mix friendship (or family) with business because I want us to remain friends”.


When Your Home Floods

Home Flooding

Home Flooding

This has been an eventful week for me.

Over the past few days, I’ve learned more about what happens when a home floods than I ever wanted to know.  :-(

Monday morning, while eating breakfast, Jan started a load of laundry, then went out to do some yard work.

A few minutes later, she (fortunately) came back into the house from the garage and yelled “we have a problem!”

When I walked into the laundry room, I was standing in an inch of water in my stocking feet with water pouring out of our washing machine that wouldn’t shut off.

Then, I almost did something very stupid as I reached for the electrical plug to stop the overflowing washer that wouldn’t shut off.

Fortunately, for some unknown reason, I shut off the water flow valve instead.

That may be why I’m still around to write this.

I probably should’ve gone into the garage and shut off the main breaker for the entire house, but the thought didn’t occur to me at the moment.

My first call was to my State Farm agent, who then called CleanPro, his recommended emergency services contractor.

We quickly moved everything off the floors in the adjoining rooms and placed towels in a futile attempt to stop the water from flowing into adjoining areas.

CleanPro showed up within two hours, pumped the water out, removed the washer and dryer, removed water-soaked flooring, pulled back carpets, and installed high-capacity fans to begin the drying process.

It has taken five days, but the house is now dry and the carpets were reinstalled this morning.

The insurance adjustor was here for three hours yesterday and we’re now awaiting State Farm’s settlement offer.

It’s possible that we will differ on the approach to the needed repairs, which has created considerable anxiety.

The damages are likely to exceed $10,000 despite reacting to the problem within a matter of minutes.

Next comes selecting the contractor(s) to do the repair work, selecting new flooring materials, and enduring more disruption in our lives as those repairs are completed.

This will be very challenging with my busy real estate practice that’s mostly conducted from my home office.

The damaged hardwood floors will have to be replaced because I can’t move out of the house for several days during refinishing; not to mention the dust and inability to mix new replacement hardwood with existing aged hardwood.

We’ve already cancelled a planned first outing with our RV next week so we can focus on getting our home put back together.

While it wasn’t a factor in our flooding incident, we will never again start our washer or dishwasher and leave either of them unattended as we’ve done in the past.


Should You Replace Your Smoke Detectors?

Kidde Smoke Detector

I’ve seen a lot of confusing information about replacing smoke detectors over the past year or so.

Specifically, I’ve seen many articles stating that smoke detectors more than 10 years old could become unreliable and should be replaced.

Color me skeptical, but I wondered if this information was nothing more than clever marketing by the companies that sell smoke detectors.

So, I asked one of my home inspectors about it and he sent me an article with details about replacing smoke detectors.

That article said there was no conclusive proof that smoke detectors fail after 10 years, but it also stated that no one really knows how long the typical smoke detector will last.

To my amazement, the article also mentioned that the #1 reason for home fire deaths was disabled smoke detectors.

It seems that people apparently disable them to avoid listening to the dead battery warnings!  8-O

Then, I went shopping at The Home Depot and Lowe’s and discovered that most newer smoke detectors have sealed lithium batteries that are guaranteed to last for 10 years.

That means (if they really do last for 10 years) that I should never again have to deal with a smoke detector screeching at 2:30 a.m. because the 9V battery has failed.

That did it for me.

I bought new smoke detectors and will have them installed this week.

I bought Kidde® hard-wired detectors with battery backup for $27.97 each.

You can also buy combination smoke detector/carbon monoxide detectors that cost a little more, but I already have a carbon monoxide detector and didn’t need that feature.

I’m looking forward to not having to change any more of those 9V batteries; especially the one that’s 16’ high at the top of my vaulted Great Room ceiling!


Canyon County Homes: What’s Selling

Here’s a breakdown of the 763 total year-to-date closed Canyon County Homes, broken out by price range.

  • Under $100,000: 152
    19.9% of all closed sales
  • $100,000 to $149,999: 340
    44.6% of all closed sales
  • $150,000 to $199,999: 137
    18.0% of all closed sales.
  • $200,000 to $249,999: 62
    8.1% of all closed sales
  • $250,000 to $299,999: 34
    4.5% of all closed sales
  • $400,000 to $499,999: 6
    .79% of all closed sales
  • $500,000 and above: 3
    .39% of all closed sales


  • 82.4% of all sales were under $200,000
  • Only 5.0% of all sales were above $300,000.
  • Only 1.2% of all sales were above $400,000.

Data pertains to Canyon County single-family homes on lot or acreage.

Data does not include condo or townhome properties.

Date range is 1/1/15 thru 3/31/15.    


Boise Homes: 2015 Pending Sales Trends

Pending sales of Boise homes are an indicator of future closed sales.

Here’s a breakdown of 2015 year-to-date pending sales.

  • January: 703
    % Change: (baseline number)
  • February: 878
    % Change: +24.9%
  • March: 1,025
    % Change: +16.7%
  • April: 1,246
    % Change: +21.6%


  • 1,246 pending sales is a very robust number at the end of Q1 2015.

Data pertains to Ada County single-family homes on lot or acreage.  

Data does not include condo or townhome properties.

Data pulled from Intermountain MLS at the beginning of each month.