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Date Archives: September 2020

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World Tourism Day: Be a Tourist for a Day in Boise

Boise Tourism

Sunday, September 27th, was World Tourism Day, and although we may not be able to travel the globe right now, we can still discover new and interesting places in our own backyards. Don't despair if you missed the actual Tourism Day! You can still spend some quality time being a tourist in Boise. Idaho's capital city has so much history and culture to explore that you may be surprised what you can stumble upon without venturing far from home.

  1. Idaho Botanical Garden – 2355 Old Penitentiary Rd., Boise, ID 83712
    Grab a breath of fresh air at the Idaho Botanical Garden. As one of the oldest and original botanical gardens in the state, the Idaho Botanical Garden continues to welcome residents and visitors alike to stroll its fifteen lush acres. Located in the Boise Foothills and the Old Penitentiary Historic District, this self-guided and small group tours are available where you can learn about local conservation efforts and admire the wonderful pieces of art around the garden.

  2. Oregon Trail Reserve – 4500 E. Lake Forest Dr., Boise, ID 83716
    The Oregon Trail is an iconic America route that crossed through part of Idaho. A visit to the Oregon Trail Reserve will let you retrace the steps of Western settlers that spanned 2,170-miles from the Missouri River to Oregon. Along the trail are actual pieces of wagons left behind by these pioneers. The Oregon Trail Reserve is a fascinating place to learn about our nation's history while enjoying our state's natural beauty.

  3. Zoo Boise – 355 Julia Davis Dr., Boise, ID 83702
    Visit your wild neighbors at Zoo Boise. Home to over 300 animals representing more than 100 species, Zoo Boise gives you an up-close and personal look at these stunning creatures. Their engaging special attractions include encounters with sloth bears and giraffes, a petting zoo, a butterfly area, animal presentations, and a conservation cruise. Grab your tickets in advance and meet the newest member of Boise's community, a female nyala calf.

  4. Boise Art Museum – 670 Julia David Dr., Boise, ID 83702
    The Boise Art Museum invites you to wander their exceptional exhibits, stunningly curated collections, and learn about in nearly every form. Current exhibitions include Io Palmer's 'Desired Interruptions,' a collection of ceramics and textiles from the Southwest, and three impressionist masterworks from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Tours of the gallery are available, but if you'd like to unleash your creative juices, BAM has classes and workshops for artists of every skill level.

  5. Old Idaho Penitentiary – 2445 Old Penitentiary Rd., Boise, ID 83712
    We encourage you to go to jail during your tour of Boise! The Old Idaho Penitentiary is one of the most interesting sites in the city. Opened in 1872, some of the cruelest criminals in the West were contained inside. Today, guests can take an exciting tour throughout the site's 30 buildings. There are educational events, exhibits, and tours throughout the year, which will teach you everything you've ever wanted to know about the daring escapes, scandals, and executions the Old Idaho Penitentiary has witnessed.

Fraud Alert! News From Our Technology Partners


Online Merchant "Brushing"

From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

In this day and age where many people are resorting to buying online rather than going in-store for purchases, this is becoming a rampant trend. 

What is brushing?

Simply put, it's receiving an unsolicited package from an online retailer.  You may have heard about the mysterious seed packages being sent from China (which the US and Idaho Dept. of Agriculture are requesting you do not plant and report the receipt of such packages to them), but it isn't just seeds.  Clothing, technology, beauty products, and sundries are often being sent to unsuspecting consumers.

So, what is the problem with receiving these free "gifts"? It means that your personal information (such as name, address, and phone number, at the very least) is out there on the internet and being bought and sold illicitly. Online retailers are using this information to create fake reviews to boost product and seller ratings.

What can you do?

Notify the marketplace of the seller.  You can either keep or discard the items; that part does not matter.  However, use this as an alert to start monitoring and adjusting how you buy things and what information you are providing to anyone requesting it, both in-person and online.

A few recommendations to safeguard your information:

  1. Be cautious about entering in personal details on any website or platform (even loyalty rewards programs). Any customer database has the constant threat of being hacked where customer database information is stolen and sold.
  2. Do not buy things from web platforms that are not retailers, such as Facebook or TikTok.
  3. Be very cautious about purchasing items from Wish or overseas retailers that have less than strict data management and information retention policies or those that cannot be enforced here in the US.  You can usually tell an overseas retailer by a very long shipping delay.
  4. If you buy from online marketplaces such as Walmart, Amazon, Newegg, or any others, check the seller reviews.
  5. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Is saving $20 on a new TV, monitor, computer, or any other purchase worth selling your personal information and having it possibly land in unsavory hands? 
  6. Be careful what you click on! This year we have the one-two punch of Coronavirus and an election.  Overzealous advertising with clickbait is extremely rampant.

Read more here:

If you have any questions about any of the above you can always check in with us!  If you have an urgent need, please call or email our office.


Reminder: Coronavirus – technology cleaning best practices:  

  1. Wash your hands before and after using your own or any community computer.
  2. Regularly sanitize your own phones and computers, especially if used by multiple people.
  3. Once a week (or once a day), turn your computer off and using an alcohol swab (preferred) or Lysol wipe, thoroughly wipe down your keyboard and mouse, and really any common surface that is touched.  Make sure to get in between the keys and the scroll wheel on the mouse.  If you have a touchscreen, make sure to wipe the screen.  If you have a laptop, wipe the entire case, open and closed.  Be careful of using Lysol wipes around speakers and ports to avoid excessive moisture buildup.
  4. For phones, do the same, but be careful of using Lysol wipes around speakers and input jacks/ports to avoid excessive moisture buildup.
  5. If using Lysol or Clorox wipes, make sure to read the label and keep the surface wet for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer.

*We are seeing an increased amount of port damage due to Lysol wipes; please be very cautious using these around the ports in your phone and computers.*

We recommend using rubbing alcohol rather than wipes. You can find the rubbing alcohol wipes in the first aid section of most stores.

If you have any questions about updates, pop-ups, emails, or need a clean-up, this can be done remotely.  Please contact our office via phone at 208.288.4345 or email if you need immediate assistance.



From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union



The Fed Remains Accommodative; Retail is Bouncing Back


Neither the Federal Reserve meeting nor the economic data had much impact on mortgage markets over the past week. Rates again ended little changed, close to record-low levels.

At Wednesday's meeting, Fed officials confirmed what most investors had anticipated for quite a while. In short, to help support the economy, the Fed has no plans to raise the federal funds rate for the next few years. According to the statement, the Fed will maintain short-term rates near zero until the labor market reaches "maximum employment" and inflation has risen above 2%. Officials also revised their 2020 gross domestic product (GDP) projections from June, which forecasted a decline of 6.5%, to a smaller drop of 3.7%.

Since consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of all economic activity in the U.S., the retail sales data is a key indicator of growth. Following large declines in March and April due to the pandemic, retail sales have bounced back rapidly, and the trend continued in August with a solid increase of 0.6% from July. Purchases of clothing and furniture were particularly strong.

The reduced economic activity from previous months has caused a significant decline in inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a widely followed monthly inflation report that looks at the price change for goods and services. In August, core CPI was 1.7% higher than a year ago. While this was up from recent levels of just 1.2%, it still was far below the readings of around 2.3% seen during the first few months of the year, prior to the pandemic.




Outdoor Adventure in Boise


Get into Outdoor Learning

The City of Trees, the valley's many parks, and the surrounding foothills are rich with learning opportunities for all ages. With most of the valley's schools in some combination of online school and after a summer of social distancing and activities that were likely far from normal, parents might feel exhausted at the possibility of coming up with something new to get their kids away from the screen.

Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor places to explore. From area parks and the Greenbelt to foothills trails, now is one of the best times to make your own adventure.

Identify birds common in SW Idaho – visit and challenge the kids to make a list of the birds they see. If they have cameras or smartphones, encourage some picture-taking. Keep track and set out each time to add to your list.

Take part in some autumn science – as the summer turns to fall, what changes are you seeing around your yard, a nearby park, or on your street? Keep track of where the sun is on the horizon at the same time each day for a week. How much has it changed? Ask the kids to draw pictures that include the differences the observe.

Check out for some fun ideas you can all do with the leaves that will start falling soon. Make it a family affair with everyone participating. Even mom, dad, and the older kids will have fun making art, tossing maple seed pods in the air and watching the helicopters spin to the ground, and enjoying cooler evenings.

Pack a picnic and visit Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve – Nestled between Maple Grove and McMillan and just south of Chinden, this lesser-visited park is a wonderful treasure waiting to be explored. This 44-acre park provides a haven for birds and wildlife. Well-maintained trails and educational signage provide a learning experience for the whole family. Because this is a reserve, pets are not allowed. Make note that restrooms are closed for the time being due to COVID-19.

Take in the MK Nature Center in SE Boise – This 4.6-acre site runs along the Greenbelt offers visitors a unique view of nature tucked in the city. The StreamWalk offers underwater viewing windows so visitors can see fish in their natural habitat. Bird and wildlife viewing is plentiful, as well. There are four online lessons available that you can watch before your visit, and a mobile-friendly brochure lists 30 fun things to discover while you are there.

Challenge yourself with the Great Boise Scavenger Hunt – Put on your walking shoes, head downtown, and learn about the history of Boise while solving puzzles and discovering treasures. The approximate two-mile course generally takes between two and three hours to complete, depending on stops in between. Using smartphones, teams (who must register/purchase tickets) will be given clues to solve about monuments, parks, statues, and more. Points of interest include the Basque Block, Freak Alley, and the Anne Frank Memorial.

Boise and the surrounding cities have much to offer, so take a break from sitting in front of a computer screen, and go outside to play!


Lack of Inventory Continues to Drive Home Prices


Valley Home Prices Continue to Rise Amid Low Inventory

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®


The median sales price for all homes sold in Ada County in August reached $400,000, up 12.7% year-over-year, surpassing the previous high in July 2020 of $390,000.

Our home prices continue to be driven by a shrinking supply of existing homes available for sale compared to demand, more new homes selling at ever-higher prices, increased purchase power due to low mortgage rates, and now, buyer activity being compressed into a shorter time period as a result of COVID-19.

First, the number of existing homes for sale has trended down for years now, and there were only 239 existing homes available for purchase at the end of August. This is a dramatic decrease of 72.1% compared to the same month last year, and a record low since BRR began tracking the metric in May 2006.

To further illustrate this imbalance, the months supply of inventory for existing homes in Ada County was also at a record low of 0.3 months as of August. For reference, a balanced market would be between 4.0-6.0 months. This lack of inventory is putting tremendous pressure on existing home prices, which reached a median sales price of $385,500 in August.

Another factor impacting prices is the mix of sales. With fewer choices among existing inventory, many homebuyers are purchasing new construction, increasing the demand in that segment. In August, new homes made up 32.9% of all closed sales, at a median sales price of $444,900. In addition to greater buyer demand, new construction prices are being driven by rising lumber prices. According to the National Association of Home Builders, "The price of lumber has staged a staggering increase in recent months, rising roughly 80% since mid-April… [which is adding] thousands of dollars to the cost of a typical newly-built home."

Third, the historically low mortgage interest rates are allowing buyers to purchase at higher price points. For comparison purposes, the rate in August 2006 (the market's previous peak) was at 6.5% versus 2.9% in August 2020. This has kept monthly payments at roughly the same as what they were during the previous peak in 2006, despite the increase in home prices.

Finally, after a brief COVID-related slowdown earlier this spring, home sales rebounded in August with 1,251 homes closing during the month, up 18.9% compared to August 2019. Interestingly, closed sales year-to-date versus the same period last year were nearly even, with 7,737 and 7,547 sales, respectively.

Off-market new inventory is allowing us to have consistent sales numbers despite low inventory. With so many buyers looking at new construction, builders can sell homes that are not yet built, and therefore, not yet reflected in the IMLS as inventory.

In August, nearly 25% of newly built homes sold were not previously listed on the MLS showed up as a closed sale. This should give hope to homebuyers that while inventory is low, there are options available. Identifying new construction opportunities, in addition to options in the existing market, is just one more way a REALTOR® can bring value to your home search.

To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for August, CLICK HERE.



Is a Fixer-Upper Right for You?


Are you in the market for a new home and considering one that needs work?

Buying a house that requires renovations can be a great way to find a deal, but before you decide to move forward with an offer to purchase, ask yourself some important questions.


Can Your Budget Accommodate Renovations and Unexpected Costs?

While you are compiling costs, don't forget to add any permitting expenses. Check your local city, county, and state regulations so you can acquire the appropriate permits and order any inspections that might be required.

When you've finished estimating your budget, add 15% for unexpected expenditures and repairs required by any inspections, such as lead paint removal, mold remediation, etc. The "Murphy's Rule" of thumb is that everything takes longer and costs more than first anticipated!

Further, you'll need to check with your lender to find out whether you will qualify for a conventional mortgage or will need a renovation loan. Be sure to ask your lender about the financing that might be available to you and what type of home to include in (or remove from) your search.

How Much of the Work Can You Handle Yourself?

One way to keep renovation costs down when buying a fixer is to tackle as much of the work as possible yourself, but it's important to be realistic about what projects truly qualify as DIY. If you have experience in the contracting trades or have renovated a home in the past, you may be able to do much of the work yourself. Most people, though, will need to leave the bigger, more expensive projects to the pros. Determine how much of the work is truly cosmetic and what will require more than some new paint or carpet. Check the ego at the door to avoid getting in over your head and, ultimately, spending more money than you have in the budget – or worse, putting yourself in an unsafe situation.

How Soon Do You Need to Move In, and Do You Have a Place to Stay in the Meantime?

If you have a place to stay and don't need to move into the home right away, then time may not be a major issue. If you need to move in ASAP, a fixer-upper might not be the right choice when buying a house. Depending on the level of work that needs to be done, living in the middle of a renovation with nowhere to get away from the mess can create a great deal of stress. Don't let the "romance" of creating your dream keep you from being realistic about the work it involves. The programs on television may make things look easier than they really are.

Do You Have Trusted Service Providers?

No matter how much or how little of the work you can handle DIY, you'll likely still need contractors, an architect, and other service providers to tackle key tasks. It helps to have people you know and trust – or referrals from trusted sources – when coordinating work on a fixer-upper. Having quality service providers helps keep added costs down and makes it easier to keep the project on schedule.

Do You Have a Vision for the Home You'd Like to Create?

Success with a fixer-upper depends in large part on having a plan and being able to see it through to completion. Before you begin looking at homes, do your best to have a vision of the home that you want to create. Then, as you are house-hunting, keep that vision in mind so you can avoid trying to push a round peg through a square hole. If you are set on a 2-story, looking at a single-story with plans to add on might be one bite more than you are ready to take. Again, be realistic in your expectations and plans.

A fixer-upper can be a terrific way to get a great home. Take the steps needed to protect yourself and your investment by doing your research first!



Best Places to Go Paddling Near Boise

Boise Kayaking Spots

Healthcare professionals have long promoted spending time around water as an effective method of relieving stress. Nearly 23 million people each year participate in paddlesports as an eco-friendly way to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of water-based activities. 

Fortunately, Boiseans have convenient access to some of the best lakes and rivers in the western United States. Whether you're a newcomer or experienced paddler, check out these scenic locations and great shops for an exciting experience on the water.

  1. Boise Whitewater Park - 3400 W. Pleasanton Ave., Boise, ID 83702
    Who says the words "urban" and "paddlesports" are incompatible? Boise Whitewater Park, one of the largest urban boating and boarding centers in the country, is an elite facility that's been years in the making. Esther's Pond and Quinn's Pond comprise an "outdoor gym" for canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding, including SUP yoga and fitness classes. Adjustable wave features make BWP an ideal spot for beginners to train. Check out current conditions on the site's webcams. Park hours are sunrise to sunset daily.

  2. Idaho River Sports - 601 N. Whitewater Park Blvd., Boise, ID 83702
    Do you need advice picking the right kayak to buy? Maybe your damaged paddleboard needs a little TLC. Since 1987, Jo and Stan of Idaho River Sports have been helping paddle sports enthusiasts make the most of their outdoor activities. Top brands of kayaks, rafts, and paddleboards are available for rental or purchase, along with a comprehensive selection of clothing, gear, and accessories. IRS also offers fun and educational classes in SUP yoga and introduction to kayaking and paddleboarding. Located on the Greenbelt across from Boise Whitewater Park, IRS is open seven days a week year-round.

  3. Centennial Waterfront Park - Canyon Springs Rd, Twin Falls, ID 83301
    Idaho's Magic Valley earned its name thanks to the way the system of dams and canals "magically" transformed land that was thought to be uninhabitable. But the term could apply equally to the stunning scenery, especially majestic Shoshone Falls, known as the "Niagara of the West." Enjoy the leisurely two-hour drive from Boise to Centennial Waterfront Park for a paddling trip that takes you past the I.B. Perrine Bridge and BASE jumpers before reaching Shoshone Falls. Not yet ready for the full trip? Make halfway-point Pillar Falls your destination. AWOL Sports has a convenient kayak, and paddleboard rental stand onsite. 

  4. Blue Heart Springs - 1128 Banbury Rd., Buhl, ID 83316
    If you've ever daydreamed about a trip to the tranquil blue waters of the Caribbean, your wish may be closer than you think. Blue Heart Springs, a secluded cove off the Snake River near Hagerman in the Magic Valley, will make you feel worlds away from civilization. Surrounded by canyon walls and brush, the crystal-clear water is a mesmerizing shade of blue that must be seen to be believed. Blue Heart Springs is accessible only by water, and motorboats are required to kill their engines, so the cove is truly a private oasis. Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented at Banbury Hot Springs

Boise has a wide range of outdoor and cultural attractions to accommodate any lifestyle. Let Coldwell Banker Tomlinson handle your real estate needs, so you have more time for fun. Contact us today for more information.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 02/07/2023. The listing information on this page last changed on 02/07/2023. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of INTERMOUNTAIN MLS (last updated Tue 02/07/2023 7:59:01 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Tomlinson may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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