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Listing Your Boise Home? Top 6 Mistakes to Avoid!

by Randy Gridley

Listing Your Boise Home? Top 6 Mistakes to Avoid!

Disclosure Signatures

Disclosing material facts that might affect your Boise property’s value is a fair obligation that’s understood by everyone.  Idaho Association of Realtors sellers’ property condition report is not a warranty of any kind by the seller(s) or by any agent representing the seller in their transaction. Sellers’ condition report is not a substitute for any inspection.  Buyers are encouraged to acquire his or hers own professional inspections.

Earnest Money 

Ah — the thrill of getting the first offer! After readying the property and listing your home, when an offer comes quickly, you’ll be tempted to say, “Where do I sign?” But slow up: getting a great offer is just the first step. Part of being a prudent seller is scrutinizing the offer and buyer to gauge the likelihood that the deal will close. The amount of earnest money should demonstrate the prospect’s sincere intent to buy…not just their desire to tie up the house while they make up their mind!

Exclusions

Want to watch warm feelings ice up in a hurry? Try surprising your buyer with the last-minute news that you intend to take your coveted attached draperies (or heirloom chandelier, or custom closet system) with you because you forgot to exclude them. Its part of my job as your agent to go over the more obvious items when listing your home in Boise, but even so, it’s ultimately up to you to make sure your intent is known. Trust me - I’ve seen more than one sale go south in the eleventh hour over some unbelievably minor items.

Coming next, I’ll flesh out more of these most common pitfalls. Of course, listing your home with me means you won’t need to worry: I make it may job to keep an eye out for all of them. If you’re thinking of listing your home in Boise, Idaho or surrounding cities this spring, call me today

For Boise Property Owners Awaiting Those Refund Checks…

by Randy Gridley

For Boise Property Owners Awaiting Those Refund Checks…

Remember playing Monopoly? After another player had put up a hotel on a pricey property like Boardwalk or Park Place, remember that feeling of relief every time you got past without landing on them? Whew!

That’s the way many of us feel now that Tax Week is over. If you’re one of the millions who will soon be checking the mail for your refund check, you’re probably also pondering the best use to put it to.

Especially if you’re thinking of selling your Boise property any time this year, you might do something that’s less than obvious: put some of that check to good use by making one or more simple property improvements. After all, your Treasure Valley property is your biggest investment — and the payoff when you take good care of it won’t be in play money.

If yours is an average refund (most are somewhere north of $2,500), it can be pretty painless to direct a modest chunk of it to your property. I’ve come across some simple ideas that should also reserve most of the refund for other purposes.

One idea that few people act upon is to order a professional energy audit. This can cost between $400 and $600 for a full diagnostic inspection. By revealing gaps (even small ones) around doors, windows, and recessed lights, it can reveal energy-wasters that ultimately lower utility bills year-round.

An even less expensive utility bill-saver is available in the form of the latest sophisticated low-flow showerheads. They are simple to install, and can save up to 50% of the water used by even some of the newer showerheads. The best ones feel nearly as if you are showering with the same amount of water.

One of the last things likely to leap to mind once your refund check arrives is insurance. Basic homeowners insurance isn’t fully comprehensive, yet for a small additional amount — generally about $300 — you can buy a million dollars’ worth of added liability coverage with an ‘umbrella’ policy that also covers your cars.

It will feel like getting past Park Place and Boardwalk all year long!

The Emmett Cherry Festival - Emmett Idaho

by Randy Gridley

The Emmett Cherry Festival

June brings some great summer fun to the Boise, Idaho area and what better way to start the summer that with the family fun the Emmett Cherry Festival brings.

The Emmett Cherry Festival is one of the areas longest running festivals, celebrating the valley’s abundance of cherry’s since the 1930s. Traditionally running the second full week of June, The Emmett Cherry Festival is the Boise area’s kickoff to summer.

Locating just North of Boise, Idaho, Emmett is a treasure of Gem County.  Known as the “Valley of Plenty,” Emmett’s famous orchards are visited by locals and tourists alike. With many u-pick orchards as well as specialty food items featuring handpicked cherries, Emmett is a wonderful place to enjoy some fresh air, some great food, and a lovely picnic under a cherry tree. 

The Emmett Cherry Festival is no different. Inviting first-time tourists or long-time locals, the festival is an attraction worth seeing for everyone. Whether you come for some rides, to enjoy the parade, or have some of the delicious cherry desserts, you won’t be disappointed in this annual tradition. With concerts, carnivals, and kids’ activities, there is something for everyone at the Emmett Cherry Festival.

Here are some listings to view also in Emmett Idaho provided by IDX/IMLS that are active and current early each morning Monday - Friday.  Just click on any listing below to view the details.

 

How to Be a Savvy Buyer in Today’s Real Estate Market

Today’s real estate market a is one that we haven’t seen in many years.  There is a demand for homes, there are many homes available, and there are buyers competing for these houses.  What does this mean to the home seller? It means that they are likely to have several offers for your house.  What does this mean to the homebuyer? It means that they may have to be savvy in order to get the house they want.

Know the Area Market – One of the first things you need to do is learn the market in which you are shopping.  This means that if you are from the area, drive around and look at the homes that are for sale, ask questions about the market to your real estate agent, and understand what homes are selling for in the area.  Your realtor can show you homes that have sold recently in the area, preferably no older than 6 months, and explain what comparable properties have been seller for in the area. If you are moving to a new area, employee the assistance of a good realtor that can explain the area’s market and help you navigate the area to find what you are looking for.  It is also important to ask about how long properties are staying on the market.  A shorter time on the market means that either it was a great deal or there is a lot of competition for the price range.

Be Ready for Competition – Knowing that, with mortgage rates at an all-time low, and prospective buyers on the prowl to home buy after several years of a stale market, there will likely be competition for any homes you are trying to buy, makes you a savvy buyer.  Knowing this means that you can prepare for the competition. How do you prepare for competition? By knowing the market, making a reasonable offer, and having an idea of concessions and seller assistance that might make the seller more interested in your offer.

Be Pre-Approved to Buy – Being pre-approved to buy a home within a certain price range means that you will be able to make an offer and proceed more quickly with a sale if your offer is accepted than someone that has not been pre-approved.  This can make your offer more appealing to a seller that has gotten more than one offer.  They know that you can afford the house, can get a mortgage for your offer amount, and are serious about moving forward with the purchase.

Don’t Low-Ball the Offer – Over the past 5 years or so, low-balling offers became common practice. This is because the market was stale and sellers were happy to get any offer for their property in many cases.  However, if you seriously want a home, you will need to kiss those low-ball offer days goodbye and only make a sincere, market appropriate offer if you want your offer to be considered.

Today’s market is changing. The days of low-balling offers and homes sitting on the market for years just begging for an offer are over.  Today, prospective homebuyers need to be prepared, informed, and ready to go to be considered a serious home buyer with which today’s sellers will want to work.

Have some time on your hands view these listings in Canyon County under $150,000 no more than 10 years old.  These are active updated daily listings provided by IDX/IMLS.

Saving for Your Down Payment - Idaho Real Estate

by Randy Gridley

Saving for Your Down Payment

You have decided that you want to buy a home.  Whether it is your first home or you are looking to upsize to accommodate your growing family, buying a new home means saving for a new down payment. 

Down payments today are typically between 10% and 30% of the total sales price of the home.  This means that, in order to plan for your down payment, you need to know the approximate price range you plan to purchase in and then make plans to save for the largest down payment that you can afford.

There are many ways to begin a down payment savings.  Here are some tips to help you start saving for that new home.

Budget – The first thing you will want to do is ensure you are on a budget and then find room for cost-cutting.  Having a budget allows you to see where all your money goes and where you can save money.  For instance, if you have a large amount of your budget going to discretionary areas like entertainment and eating out, you may be able to find some extra room each month to move some money to savings for that down payment

Savings Account – A good way to save and not worry about spending the money you are saving for the house on something else is to open a separate saving account for the down payment.  This will help you keep it separate and not think its ok to spend it if something comes up.  Putting just a little each month in the account will help you track it and build the savings up quickly and safely.

Extra Income – If you are serious about saving for your new home, a good way is to increase your income.  Even the slightest increase in income can mean a lot toward a down payment.  Consider odd jobs or part time jobs that can give you a little extra each week that can be put directly into your down payment savings account.

There are many ways to cut expenses and save money as you take on the heavy task of saving for a new down payment.  Be creative and be determined and you may find your down payment savings growing more quickly than you expected.

Here are a few active homes to view in Ada County under $150K that are 10 years old or newer furnished by IDX/IMLS.  These listings below are updated daily early each morning.

 

The 1862 Homestead Act – 150 Years of Settlement

This year commemorates the 150th year since President Abraham Lincoln signed the 1862 Homestead Act.  The 1862 Homestead Act enabled heads of the household, regardless of gender, race, or citizenship status, to claim up to 160 acres of land for the price of the filing fee.  During the years of the Homestead Act, almost 10 million acres of land was homesteaded totaling 18% of Idaho being homesteaded as a direct result of the 1862 Homestead Act.

As the state of Idaho celebrates the 1862 Homestead Act, and its grand effects on the great State of Idaho 150 years ago, there will be many activities going on throughout the state during the month of May. If you are looking for some fun, historic activities for the whole family, you are in for treat this month.

Beginning May 2, 2012, there are many presentations, workshops, and events taking place in Boise.  Whether you are interested in a tour of the Historic Bown House on May 5, 2012 or want to listen along with your children to an oral presentation of the history of Idaho taking place at the Idaho State Historical Museum on May 5, 2012, you are sure to find something new to learn about the wonderful state of Idaho.

Archeology Days takes place May 17-20, 2012 at the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuage House, which is sure to be a treat. There are many events and presentations taking place throughout the state, including a presentation on the history of Meridian, Idaho on May 10, 2012 at the Meridian City Hall, and a brown bag luncheon presentation regarding Notable Discoveries in Idaho Archeology sponsored by Boise State University, which will take place at Lake Lowell Park in Nampa, Idaho.

No matter what your interests, you are sure to find some wonderful activities and learning experiences throughout the state this May in celebration of this historic time in Idaho’s history. You can see everything planned in commemoration of the 1862 Homestead Act on the Idaho government website. Be sure to look for yourself and plan some great fun for the whole family.

Should I De-Winterize A Property for the Home Inspection?

With so many people buying vacant, bank-owned or foreclosed-upon properties, it is important to keep in mind that many times these homes are winterized.  When purchasing a winterized home it is essential to understand what this means and be an informed buyer before deciding to make your final purchase.

When having the property inspected, you will want to consider some of these reasons to have the house de-winterized before your inspection.

Pipes – Just because a property has been winterized, it does not mean that it did not have damage before it was winterized.  Damaged, leaky pipes cannot usually be detected without running water. If the property has been winterized it is a good idea to have it de-winterized and then to have the water company turn on the water to the property. It is best to have someone at the house when the water is turned on if it has been off in case faucets were left on or pipes are broken.  Don’t forget about outdoor faucets.

Plumbing – To ensure you have an operating plumbing system in the house, you will want to have the house de-winterized to have the plumbing inspected.  This includes water pressure, under sink pipes, and toilet operation. Be sure to allow time for the water to be turned on and have toilets cleaned to be able to see the water and the water flow after the water is turned back on. Check inside the tank to ensure there is do no debris or damage before you start flushing toilets.

Crawl Space – Home inspectors check the crawl space for damage, including evidence of flooding. However, if the home has been winterized, it is possible that any flooding has evaporated or returned into the ground. Be sure to have the water turned on after de-winterization so that the pipes running through the crawl space can be inspected thoroughly. Remember, sometimes, in the case of vacant property, pipes may also have been removed.

Loan Requirements - Be careful to ask your lender if there are requirements regarding winterized properties. Some lenders require that a property that has been winterized to be de-winterized before inspection. You want to be sure to follow the guidelines of your lender to ensure there are no issues with your loan.

If you are seriously considering purchasing the home, it is a good idea to have it de-winterized before the home inspection. Though a winterized home can have an inspection done to it, several things that a home inspector would typically inspect cannot be inspected properly if the house is winterized.  If you are truly hoping to purchase the home, you may want to consider having it inspected after being de-winterized. This expense can be a small expense up front compared to the expense of repairing damages that you did not know about.

The Importance of the Home Inspection

by Randy Gridley

The Importance of the Home Inspection

Due diligence: it’s a phrase you hear a lot in real estate. Most agents toss it around, assuming their clients understand the concept. Many don’t.

In a nutshell, due diligence describes the expectation that homebuyers will take the steps necessary to inspect and investigate the property before binding themselves to its purchase.

While there are a number of ways to perform due diligence – reviewing the survey, checking that building permits were issued for any improvements – the most important step of all is that of obtaining a professional home inspection. 

The Idaho Code requires sellers to complete a property condition disclosure form. This form outlines all defects known to the seller. It is up to the buyer, however, to discover if the property has latent defects and that process requires the assistance of a home inspector.

Many homebuyers confuse the appraisal with the home inspection. The appraisal is performed, at the behest of the lender, to determine the home’s current market value. While the appraiser may take measurements and check certain aspects of the home, the process does not replace the home inspection and none of the information gathered is shared with the buyer.

Another common misconception is that the home inspector will find every possible defect in the home. Home inspectors, first of all, aren’t there to look for problems. The inspection is to let you know the condition of the home at the time of the inspection.

Furthermore, inspectors perform a limited examination of only the visible and accessible areas of the home. While the inspector will remove access panels to major systems and perform a visual inspection, he or she will not dismantle anything to find out if there are problems. There is no way he or she can tell you what lies within the walls or under the foundation of the home.

That said, the home inspection will provide you with a great deal of the information you need to make an informed decision about purchasing the home.

There are no state-mandated licensing requirements for home inspectors in Idaho. This makes finding a qualified, experienced inspector quite challenging. Ask those that you interview about their membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and check with ASHI to ensure the inspector is certified with them. To become certified, an inspector must pass rigorous exams, have a certain number of inspections under their belts and then maintain their certification by attending continuing education classes.

ASHI maintains a database with contact information for their certified Boise area home inspectors.

Feel free to email or call me with any questions about the home inspection process or how to find a local inspector.

4 Ways to Ruin Your Closing

by Randy Gridley

4 Ways to Ruin Your Closing

When buying a home, it is important to realize that home buying is a process and you have to be on top of your game from the start of the process until the end. If you are hoping to purchase a home, keep in mind these common ways that people can ruin their closing and stop the closing altogether.

  1. Buying a Car – If you plan to buy a new car, wait until after you have closed on your house.  A large purchase like a car on credit (if you are paying cash, well, that is another thing), you could stop the deal. A lender could decide not to lend you the mortgage if they decide you now have overextended your finances. Or, at the very least, the lender may increase your interest rate due to the change in your credit score.
  2. Job Changing – During the buying process is not the time to change employment. A change in employment is a red flag to many lenders and can ruin the deal before you know it.  Conventional loans typically look at employment longevity so job changing is not recommended when trying to purchase a home.
  3. Closing Costs – Many buyers forget to plan for closing costs. Having money set aside for any potential closing costs is very important. Make certain you discuss with your realtor and/or your lender the expected closing costs you may be responsible for. Ensure you have this amount in your checking account and ready to go as this can be checked by your lender before closing.
  4. New Credit – It is also important not to open any new credit accounts during the home buying process.  Your credit score is based on your income and your open and available credit. Increasing your available credit can lower your credit score and affect your mortgage terms or possibly cause your loan to not close.

Buying a home is an exciting time to many. Be sure that you are ready for the closing so that you are not blind-sided by any surprises that could prevent you from closing on your dream home.

Secrets to Selling Your House Fast

by Randy Gridley

Secrets to Selling Your House Fast

When you are ready to sell your house, you typically hope to sell it easily and quickly. No one wants to see their house on the market for months on end without any prospects or offers. So how do you get your house to sell fast? Here are some secrets to getting it on the market and sold as quickly as possible.

Price it right – Really, this is the most important aspect of ensuring your house sells quickly – pricing it right. Many of us believe that we have a great house that is special, especially with all those amenities we have added over the years. However, unless you find the right buyer, which can take time, not everyone puts emphasis on the same amenities that you do. Therefore, pricing your house to sell is the most important aspect of selling your house fast. “Pricing it to sell” means that you need to consider what the average price of homes in your neighborhood is, for homes that are similar in size and room count to yours, that have sold.  Then put an asking price on your house that is comparable or below what these homes sold for. When pricing your house you need to decide your priorities – is it to get the most money out of your house or sell it fast? This can help you determine the best asking price for your home.

Maximize your space – No one is attracted to a cluttered home. Make sure that you unclutter and maximize space. This means that you may want to consider getting rid of unwanted and “decorative” furniture. You may even consider renting a storage unit and start removing furniture and extras.  Another consideration is to hire a professional stager or affiliate with a realtor trained in staging your home for sale. This can be a great way to make you rooms look bigger than they are and give your house a clean and organized appeal to potential buyers.

Be willing to negotiate – In the end, you need to be willing to negotiate with a potential buyer. They may want a different move-in date, part of their closing costs paid, or certain repair taken care of before they purchase the home. If you are willing to be flexible and negotiate with a buyer, you will find that your house will sell much more quickly.

Selling your home is an exciting time.  To ensure that it sells fast, you will want to make sure you follow some of these tips to give your house the best chance of a quick sale.

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Randy & Doyelene Gridley
Silvercreek Realty Group
1099 S Wells St. Suite 200
Meridian ID 83642
Randy's Direct Office: 208-859-7060
Fax: 208-323-8081

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