Lifestyle: First thing you would want to consider, before ever looking at homes, is the lifestyle you lead. Think about the things you would need in an area that you couldn’t live without. Do you want to live in the city with a nightlife? Off the beaten path away from most people? Or somewhere in between? Making that decision first will help narrow down the area you look for homes in.
Crime: Researching the crime rates and statistics can help you narrow down an area to live. If you have already decided where you want to live, crime rates are always a good thing to check on. This is especially true if you have children or plan to have children. Call the local police department to get specifics about the area.
Culture: Some people need cultural stimulation regularly, so living in a larger city where that is accessible would be the best option.
Weather/Climate: The weather and climate have an affect on our mental health, daily activities, recreation, and sometimes our jobs. Picking a place that you like the weather year round is very important.
Job Market: The job market, salary, and opportunities will vary in every area. When thinking of finding a new area to live, look into your line of work to determine if it would be a good move. There may be more selection or higher salary in one area over another.
Housing Market: When buying a home it’s also good to get the most bang for your buck! Researching the housing market in an area will help to determine the property values and whether it’s a good place to invest. Things you would want to look into is how long homes are on the market, resale value, and current home prices, that will give you a good idea of the market.
Cost of Everyday Items: No matter how good your job is, or the value of your home, the prices of everyday items need to also be considered. The prices of groceries, gas, and utilities vary from place to place. It could mean the difference of living comfortably and within your means or living from paycheck to paycheck.
Taxes: There are 5 states out there with no sales tax, and 9 that don’t collect income tax. Not to mention that the property tax rate is different from city to city, even in the same state. Other states offer tax credits or exceptions. Taxes, although very necessary, could mean a big difference on the amount you spend each month on both your goods and your mortgage and is something that needs to be considered before moving.
Age: Is a neighborhoods historic or new developments? That’s something to consider, if that matters to you. Older neighborhoods bring character, but there may also be more to repair. New developments bring more of a modern feel but it typically suggests additional future growth, which could be viewed as positive or negative
Sounds & Smells: Listening to the area is important. Being close to a freeway/highway, train, etc could cause sleepless nights. Or, if there are any bad odors or poor air quality, that’s something that would affect your decision as well. Sounds and smells are not something you can detect on the internet. If you’re getting serious about a neighborhood, pay it a visit. Be sure to listen and smell, before ever making a purchase.
Schools: If you have or are planning to have children, be sure to check on the type of schools in the area. Look into the elementary, middle, and high schools. That can be a huge determining factor on the neighborhood to live.
Home Owners Association: HOA’s bring strict rules as well as typically an additional fee. Although they will keep the neighborhood looking clean, it may not be worth the extra cost.
Family & Friends: If being close to family and friends is important, that should always be considered when picking the place you live. Chose an area with a reasonable drive time or plane ride to them.
Commute: First thing to determine is how you’re going to commute. Will you be driving, are there public transportation options available, or are you close enough to walk? The next thing to consider is the time it takes to commute to and from both work and school. Be sure to look into the commute time during the peak travel times of the day. Will longer commute times affect your quality of life, taking away from time you could be spending with your family or friends.
Amenities & Conveniences: It’s good to identify how close you would be to things like hospitals, airports, parks, grocery stores, and gas stations. If the neighborhood you’re interested in is farther out, will you be willing to travel a greater distance to get your everyday needs or in an emergency? Another thing to consider is how far away you’d be to your hobbies. If you like to ski, being many hours away from the closest mountain wouldn’t be the best option.
Tourist Attractions: Being close to tourist attraction can seem great when you’re thinking about moving to an area. But consider what it would be like after years of living there. The busy season will bring more people in the area which could become difficult to deal with over time.
When buying a home for the first time you most likely want to save money any chance you get. It can seem like an overwhelming and never ending drain on your bank account. When you finally close on your new home you probably won’t want to even think about any more paperwork or transactions, but a quick trip to the County Assessor’s office to file a homeowner’s exemption will save you so much money each year in property tax.
What is it ?
An exemption that reduces the taxable value of your home up to a maximum of $100,000 in value.
Why do I need it?
By reducing the taxable value of your home, your taxes are much LESS and you SAVE! If you have a mortgage, this savings will likely reduce your total monthly mortgage payment.
If you live in your home at least 6 months out of the year as your primary residence, you qualify!
When do I need to file?
You must file by the 15th of April in 2018!
Where do I file?
The county assessors office for the county in which you reside.
Remember: Idaho is a non-disclosure state and this means that you do not have to share the value of your home with the county when you apply (what you paid for it)
If you are not sure about your home owner exemption status, give us a call and we would be happy to help you! We are here to help!
Now that 2018 is finally here, resolutions and goals seem to be all anyone is talking about. If one of your resolutions is to be a first-time buyer then here are a few tips to help you make that a resolution that doesn’t fall by the wayside. Maybe your resolutions don’t involve buying, maybe it is to sell your home or to build equity with your existing home or investing in your home. In any case here is an abbreviated list of some routes to consider. (Full Article)
For the first time buyers
Buying a new home is scary, but taking the first steps toward an organized and planned out purchase is half the battle. Having a structured plan and timeline gives you a set of instructions that you can follow. Near the top of the list you create should be finding a reputable and thorough realtor to take the mystery of purchasing and turn it into an understanding of the process. Regardless of when your planned purchase date is, NOW is the best time to start working on your credit. If you’re one of the majority who has room for improvement, the sooner you start working on it, the better. And speaking of now, remember that you are going to need a down payment for your purchase.
For the First time Sellers
Maybe you don’t plan to be a first-time buyer, maybe selling is on the top of your 2018 goals, then you need to start planning too! When you prepare your home to be sold, you need to make sure that you take care of all those repairs you’ve been putting off. Along with fixing, you need to start getting rid of the extra and unused stuff that has been accumulating. Personally, I don’t want to pay to ship the contents of my junk drawer or those broken things that I keep meaning to fix. Throwing away (donating, selling) is hard but once you’ve cleared out the clutter, you’ll be happy you did and it’s one less thing you need to worry about.
Trying to Add Equity
One of the most effective ways to add equity to your home is to bring your principle down. You can do this in several ways. Refinancing your home might be a good choice. Either for a shorter loan term or for a lower rate. Another way to bring down your principle is to pay more. That simple. Maybe you pay more each month or you make an extra payment. Either way you’re going to have to pay more.
Investing in Your Home
Investing in your home can be one of the more gratifying options. Most of us like to see transformations. And making your home more beautiful is always exciting. Make sure when you chose a project that you select one that has a good return of investment. It would be a good idea to do some homework and find out the most sought after home features. One type of renovation that will almost always yeild a good return of investment is increasing your home’s energy rating.
No matter what topic made your 2018 Real Estate goal list, we hope you were able to find some of this advice helpful. If you did, or have any other ideas- Reply and tell us all about them. Please don’t forget to check out the full Windermere article for any extra info.
LET’S MAKE AWESOME HAPPEN!
Were back after a shot hiatus with some wonderful germ that my granddaughter brought home. This week we have for you some helpful tips for your appliance purchasing adventures. Read these before you decide to update those awesome brown-ish kitchen appliances. Together were going to tackle the ups and downs of showroom shopping from; love at first sight, sticker shock, betrayal and all of the other juicy emotions that come along with. So lets kick it off with what I consider to be the most important tip:
Don’t make impulse purchases!
It might sound pretty obvious, but when you spot that set from across the showroom floor and the sparks start flying and you cant see anyone else- it’s hard to listen to logic. The super adorable compact washer and dryer set might make your heart beat out of your chest, but then you get home to your family of 5 miniature clothing destroying angles and you realize that your washer and dryer set wont make it in this relationship.
The healthier way to approach this front loading love of your life is to actually, shop around. I know, it sounds like it was meant to be. But consider your other options. Maybe there is a discounted set that fits better and has the features you need. Are there other stores to shop around at? Is online purchasing an option?
Measure! Measure! Measure! (then buy)
pretty obvious when you are considering filling the void left by your old appliances. Have you considered other clearances? Door swing? Handles? Depth of the appliance itself? Like I said, it sounds obvious when you are reading this. But you’ll forget. We all forget. Another thing to consider. Will it fit through your door or up the stairs? If you live in an apartment complex, there’s a chance you might be in big trouble since navigating stairs, and hallways and corners and elevators and other tenants can be a huge pain.
Consider energy rating
This is an aspect of appliances that is pretty readily found and is typically a selling point since most people want to do good by the earth and also their wallets. A huge monthly utility bill can turn a rosy romance into a bitter feud. If your dream refrigerator takes hundreds of dollars to keep your perishables from perishing, is it really true love?
When you are shopping around the showroom, look for the bright yellow sticker that says ENERGY GUIDE in big bold, black letters! This hard to miss sticker is where you can find the approximate yearly operating cost and the approximate yearly energy use. This is required by federal law to be on all new appliances as the program Energy Star is a division of the Environmental Protection Agency. If your showroom doesn’t have these. RUN.
Touch Screen Fridge? Really?
Before you decide that the touch screen fridge door is what you need, evaluate your current situation. Would digital grocery lists make your life easier? Maybe. Personally, I need to have something tangible in my hands when it comes to lists. I forget about all the handy list and reminder functions on my phone constantly. If this doesn’t sound like you. Then by all means, get the super high-speed iFridge.
I think the take-away from this section is to really evaluate if these awesome and eye-grabbing features will in fact make your life easier. Or. Will it be fun for a few minutes and then slowly forgotten about like many other trends in our lives. Think long and hard about how these bells
Know your needs
this one sort of plays into the above section. But really, its important. If you eat out most days and your current fridge is empty, then do you really need a new one? The same goes for washers and dryers. If you’re a single person with 10 shirts to your name, do you need to get a new set of appliances for your very light loads of laundry? I know, that with my two tiny granddaughters, my daughter is constantly doing laundry. The current set is probably going to lose this race.
I’m sure there are some other tips that should be considered. That’s why we have You! Please feel free to add any in the comments section. We’d really love to hear about what you wish you would have considered when you made your purchases and any advice to other buyers. Happy Shopping
If you’re like me, when you started the buying process you might have wondered why some houses are so outrageously priced and others are not. There are many factors that come in to play such as mortgage rates and availability, economic growth and personal demographics. But when prospective buyers are shopping their market, the one factor they may overlook is inventory shortage.
Real estate inventory is the quantity of houses that are available for purchase in any given market. When I’m out showing people properties, clients always amazed at how few mid-range homes there are. Clients also can’t believe how quickly they go.
The only time that inventory is a problem for home buyers is when the inventory is low. Basic economics. High demand and low supply yields high price tags for buyers. However, if you’re looking to sell, this is great news for you. The fewer homes available, the higher the price tag on your home.
In our current market in the Pacific Northwest, there has been an inventory shortage for several years. Due to the shortage, people are staying in their homes longer and moving less. Contractors are also in a bind because of the inventory shortages are causing prices to shoot through the room. Contractors don’t get paid for homes that sell for less than their cost for production, making them less inclined to build for fear of not making a profit.
In this quick video Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s chief Economist, breaks down the inventory shortage and it’s side effects. He also gives us a forecast for what might be to come.
Is this a good time to sell?
Here is your housing snapshot for January 2017 showing an increase of 10% in median home prices and time on market down 5% in Kootenai County. If you are a seller who is on the fence about putting your home on the market, this snapshot is a good indication that this might be a very good time for you to sell your home.
A market offering higher median home prices, shorter closing time frames and less inventory will give sellers who decide to list now have some real advantages especially this time of year.
Listing your home before the masses who wait for better weather in April and May can give you the edge for success. Low inventory combined with a large number of qualified buyers creates competition for your listing. Many buyers have already lost out on another home and these buyers are ready to pounce once your listing hits the MLS. Homes that are show ready and priced right are garnering multiple offers at full price and often offers over full price!
If you would like to be kept up to date on the market or know more about selling your home or the value of your home, contact us and we will be happy to provide you with a customized market analysis.
John and Tracey Your Professional Agents 208-818-2365 John email@example.com 208-818-2456 Tracey firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.johnandtracey.com
5 Mortgage Myths Many Buyers or 1st Time Buyers Have
Borrowers still have a lot of confusion when it comes to mortgages; from closing costs to minimum down payment requirements and questions over credit scores. Some mortgage myths are even preventing some would-be home buyers from entering the market too.
Read more: Buyers Overestimate Mortgage Requirements
The National Mortgage News recently highlighted some of the following mortgage myths that still seem to perplex borrowers, including:
1. Closing costs: New mortgage rules that took effect last fall, TILA-RESPA, are providing borrowers with a clearer picture of mortgage closing costs prior to settlement. However, those expenses can still come as a shock to your clients. They may be surprised to see the costs of closing on a home loan when they receive their Loan Estimate disclosure upfront.
2. Who can cover closing costs: Borrowers may believe that they are the only ones who can pay their closing costs. However, closing costs also can be offered as a seller concession.
3. The credit-less: Consumers who don’t have credit cards may think their lack of debt history will be a positive when applying for a mortgage. However, lenders are looking for how well consumers manage their debt and a lack of history could be problematic in qualifying a borrower.
4. Minimum requirements for qualifying: Home buyers may be under the impression that their credit needs to be a lot more stellar to qualify for a mortgage than it actually needs to be. To qualify for a Fannie Mae-backed loan, borrowers only need a 3 percent down payment and a minimum FICO score of 620.
5. Eligible tax breaks: Mortgage interest deductions are not limited to just primary residences. In some situations, second-home loans and home equity loans of credit may also be eligible.
Source: “7 Mortgage Myths That Still Befuddle Borrowers,” National Mortgage News (May 2016)
Source: Realtor Magazine