Boise Real Estate: Home Inspections

A few years ago, it was somewhat unusual to have a home inspection for new homes in the Boise real estate market.

The prevailing logic at the time was “Hey, the home just passed final inspection with the building department, so it must be okay!”

At that time, I was the listing agent on a new $475,000 custom home that had sold subject to a home inspection.

Following the inspection, I got a call from the buyer’s agent informing me that there had been a “little problem” with the home inspection.

The problem was that the inspector had been cornered by an angry mama raccoon that had taken up residence in the crawlspace with her two babies.

She had gotten into the crawlspace through a foundation vent that had been knocked loose during final grading of the lot and my builder/seller hadn’t replaced the foundation vent yet.

I never did hear the details of the eviction proceedings, but the raccoon and her two babies were “relocated” to new housing and we closed escrow.

You never know what an inspector will find.

Which is why you should get a home inspection, regardless of the age of the home.

 

6 Common Boise Real Estate Myths

There are many common myths about the Boise real estate market.

Here are 6 common Boise real estate myths I hear frequently.

1) Buyers Need 20% Down

That’s simply not true in the Boise real estate market.

There are loan programs with zero down payment, 3.5% down payment, 5% down payment, 10% down payment (and others) available to qualified borrowers.

2) Interest Rates Are High

While interest rates are higher than they were during “the bottom”, they are not historically-high.

In fact, they are dead cheap when compared to what I’ve experienced throughout most of my 42 years in real estate!

Current rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are around 4.25% in the Boise real estate market.

One of my first-time buyers locked his loan at 3.75% last week with a 30-year IHFA-FHA loan.

15-year rates are even lower.

3) Buyers Need Perfect Credit

It’s true that borrowers need decent credit to get a mortgage these days.

But, you don’t have to have a 800 FICO score to get a loan.

Don’t assume that your credit is inadequate (unless it’s really, really bad!) and talk with a lender to see if you can qualify for a loan.

If you need a good lender, call me at (208)938-5533 for my recommended local lender who can pre-approve you on the phone.

4) Renting Is Cheaper Than Buying

This is a very dubious statement, given today’s low interest rates and strong rental market.

Most home payments are less than renting an equivalent home.

When you rent, your monthly rent is paying your landlord’s mortgage payment.

If you rent for 30 years, you bought a home for your landlord(s).

5) Buying A FSBO Is Better

There are many reasons some sellers avoid using a Realtor® to sell their home.

The most obvious one is that they don’t want to pay a commission.

Another reason is that they think their home is worth more than the value recommended by a Realtor®.

Yet another one is that they don’t think they need the professional guidance of a Realtor® for their complex real estate transaction.

Combine those three reasons and you have a recipe for a very interesting transaction if you’re the buyer.

Other issues include both buyer and seller thinking they’re saving the commission, and neither buyer nor seller knowing how to get through the transaction while complying with legal requirements.

6) You Don’t Need A Home Inspection

This is yet another real estate myth.

Trust me, you do need a home inspection!

I have seen brand-new homes with issues revealed by a home inspection.

And, I have seen common issues discovered in home after home throughout the Boise real estate market.

A home inspection, completed by a competent home inspector, is one of the biggest bargains in real estate.

 

Eagle Idaho Homes: LED Lighting

I’ve recently noticed a number of Eagle Idaho homes with LED lighting that aroused my curiosity.

After one of my clients spoke of converting to LED lighting last week, I decided to look into it.

My client mentioned that Costco had specially-priced LED bulbs, thanks to their partnership with Idaho Power.

So, with another excuse to go to Costco, I made the trip and bought a few to get started.

I should have known that this was just the beginning, given that I don’t like to do much of anything halfway.

By the end of last week, I had returned to Costco several times and converted to LED lighting throughout my home.

My new LED bulbs are interesting because they provide very “true” lighting and they’re definitely brighter than regular bulbs.

For example, my new 40W equivalent bulbs are easily as bright (maybe even brighter) than the 60W bulbs they replaced.

And, they’re dimmable, which is a nice feature.

I’ll be very interested to see how these bulbs affect my electric bill because I have five exterior 65-watt floods and three regular bulbs that remain on all night every night of the year.

I also have five 65-watt can light floods in my kitchen that are often on.

The cost to convert my home to LED lighting was around $200.

Time will tell, but I suspect my new LED lighting may pay for itself within a year, thanks to its miserly power consumption.

The new LED bulbs also claim to have a far greater life.

After nearly dropping two of those 65W floods in my kitchen while swapping bulbs last week, it would be just fine with me if I never have to replace those bulbs again using my suction-cup pole.

Stay tuned for future updates on this!

 

Eagle Idaho: This Summer vs. Last Summer

Here’s an interesting comparison of Eagle, Idaho home sales for Summer 2013 vs. Summer 2014.

Eagle Idaho Homes: Available Listings

  • August 31, 2013: 286
  • August 31, 2014: 414
  • % Change: +44.8%

Eagle Idaho Homes: Pending Sales

  • August 31, 2013: 103
  • August 31, 2014: 108
  • % Change: +4.9%

Eagle Idaho Homes: Closed Sales

  • June – August, 2013: 74
  • June – August, 2014: 81
  • % Change: +9.5%

Eagle Idaho Homes: Average Sales Price

  • August 31, 2013: $399,062
  • August 31, 2014: $375,960
  • % Change: -5.8%

Eagle Idaho Homes: Median Sales Price

  • August 31, 2013: $363,650
  • August 31, 2014: $349,500
  • % Change: -3.9%

Takeaways

  • Eagle’s listing increased by a stunning 44.8% year-over-year., resulting in substantially more competition for sellers and many more choices for buyers.
  • Eagle’s pending sales increased by a modest 4.9% during our normally-busy summer selling season.
  • Eagle’s average and median sales prices both declined modestly.
  • Some of the numbers above are being influenced by strong activity in The Preserve, a new home subdivision in Eagle with lower price points.

 

Meridian Idaho: This Summer vs. Last Summer

Here’s an interesting comparison of Meridian, Idaho home sales for Summer 2013 vs. Summer 2014.

Meridian Idaho Homes: Available Listings

  • August 31, 2013: 621
  • August 31, 2014: 744
  • % Change: +19.8%

Meridian Idaho Homes: Pending Sales

  • August 31, 2013: 301
  • August 31, 2014: 224
  • % Change: -25.6%

Meridian Idaho Homes: Closed Sales

  • June – August, 2013: 234
  • June – August, 2014: 243
  • % Change: +3.9%

Meridian Idaho Homes: Average Sales Price

  • August 31, 2013: $241,273
  • August 31, 2014: $244,885
  • % Change: +1.5%

Meridian Idaho Homes: Median Sales Price

  • August 31, 2013: $217,950
  • August 31, 2014: $228,000
  • % Change: +4.6%

Takeaways

  • Meridian’s listing inventory increased 19.8%, resulting in substantially more competition for sellers and many more choices for buyers.
  • Meridian’s pending sales declined 25.6% during one of our busiest selling seasons, which is not a positive indicator.
  • Lower pending sales will lead to fewer closed sales in the next 30-60 days.
  • Average and median sales prices increased very modestly.
  • Prices cannot continue to rise with increased listing inventory and fewer pending/closed sales.
  • Our market is leveling off after a major recovery from “the bottom” in Spring 2011.

Data pertains to Meridian, Idaho single-family homes on lot or acreage. Data does not include condo or townhome properties.