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Dori Wick
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Date Archives: July 2021

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Walk-Through Checklist for First-Time Homebuyers

Boise Homebuyers Checklist

You're about to move into your new home! It's important to do a walk-through to make sure everything is as promised. How do you go about it, though? You've never owned a home before, and you're afraid you'll do it wrong or miss something important.

Don't worry. Our real estate agents will be there to help you through it. In the meantime, here's a checklist of what you're looking for on your final walk-through.

What to Bring

  • The final contract outlining what each of you has agreed to.
  • Inspection report, detailing anything broken in the house and outlining promised repairs.
  • Pen and notebook.
  • Phone with a camera.
  • Phone charger.
  • This checklist.
  • Your real estate agent to guide you through it.

Your Checklist

  • Final Repairs. Go through the inspection report and check that each of the necessary repairs outlined has, in fact, been performed satisfactorily.

  • Bathroom and Kitchen. These are two of the most common sources of problems in a new home. Look for mold growth and leaks. The most likely places are underneath the sinks and by the dishwasher and refrigerator. Turn on the faucets, shower, etc., to make sure they work and have proper water pressure, and flush the toilets.

  • Included Items. What's included with the sale of this house? Is there shelving? Appliances? It should all be outlined in the final contract. Go through to make sure everything is there that's supposed to be.

  • Test Appliances. Turn on the oven and stove to make sure they get hot without smelling like gas. Turn on the furnace and A/C to make sure they blow hot and cold air, respectively. Run the dishwasher through a cycle and the washer and dryer as well. Make sure all appliances work the way they're supposed to.

  • Test Outlets. Take your phone charger, and plug your phone into each outlet in the house to ensure they work properly. Turn each light switch on and off to make sure all the lights are functioning, and ring the doorbell once to see if it can be heard.

  • Doors and Windows. Open and close each of the doors and windows. This will allow you to test whether they move easily if they close and latch securely and if the locks work properly. Make a note if any of them sticks or is otherwise broken.

  • Examine the Grounds. Go through the yard as well. Make sure all the landscaping looks as promised. That includes the lawn, the driveway, and any plants.

  • Check the Garage. Does the garage door open and close as it's supposed to? Are there any holes in the walls or other damage to the general woodwork? Any signs of bugs, rodents, or other pests?

Make notes and take pictures of everything you find. Discuss it all with your real estate agent. If there are any problems or discrepancies, you and your agent can bring them to the seller together and get them sorted out before you move in.

Whether it's your first home or your 50th, there are plenty of Boise homes for sale that can meet your needs. Contact us to help you find the right one for you, and ensure that it meets your standards, every step of the way.


Your Technology Mid-Year Checklist


It's Time to Conduct a Mid-Year Technology Review

From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

Unfortunately, accidents are all too common, we click on things we shouldn't, hardware fails… it happens to the best of us. This short, but important checklist outlines things you can do to help mitigate the damage in the case of a technology emergency:

  • When was the last time you changed passwords on email and financially sensitive accounts?
  • Do you have multi-factor authentication set up on your email accounts and/or accounts with credit card/ banking information stored in them?
  • When was the last time you backed up?
  • Have you password-protected your devices?

    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



    Homebuying in 2021

    At Idaho Central Credit Union, we know how overwhelming the task of purchasing a home can be, especially in this market! As exciting and life-changing as it is, the process of buying a home can also be very emotional. ICCU's home loan specialists are here to help you through the rollercoaster and make the transition to home ownership as smooth as possible.

    We have broken down several emotions you can expect to feel on the journey to becoming a home owner, and some unique benefits that ICCU offers to help along the way!


    The excitement is palpable! You've decided to make one of the largest purchases of your life! The options are endless and the housing market is your oyster. What will you choose?

    Getting a preapproved letter from an ICCU Mortgage Loan Officer can make this process go smoothly. Some realtors require house hunters to be pre-qualified to save buyers and sellers time. In order to get pre-qualified, our lenders will want to see employment status, income, debt-to-income ratio, and your credit report. We can then help you determine how much you can afford and what type of loan is best for your situation.

    We have several different tools to help you in these beginning stages of searching for your dream home. The Rent vs Buy Calculator takes into consideration taxes, insurance, and other fees when debating whether you should rent or take the plunge into home ownership. The Mortgage Qualifier Calculator will help you determine how much you can comfortably afford to borrow.


    The house hunting is the fun part! However, there may not be as many options as you thought, and the housing market in certain price ranges can sometimes be a bit slim. Once you're preapproved for a price, there are several things to consider such as square footage, school districts, property trends, and real estate taxes. While some of these factors may be negotiable, there are some that are deal-breakers, and it is easier to have these decisions made before looking at certain houses.

    Market conditions can change quickly and the high hopes that you had for your dream house may change along with it. After looking around and seeing what types of homes are in your area that fit your budget, ICCU is here to help you decide if buying, upgrading, or building is the best option for you.


    Many things can go wrong during the initial stages of the house-hunting process. It can be easy to fall head over heels in love with a house, but you may get outbid or the seller could reject your offer. In a seller's market, there may be several offers on a desirable home very quickly. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and disappointed if a bidding war ensues or if you feel the need to continue increasing your offers. Keep your head up and your mind open though! The house of your dreams may be just around the corner.


    Making an offer on a house and getting it accepted is the end of the road, right? Not quite so fast! While the first step to owning your dream house is making an official offer and getting it accepted, there is still a lot to do, and determination will be needed to get you to closing!

    A home inspection is usually necessary to find out what problems the house has before you move in. A home appraisal is also needed to give current value to your potential property before your mortgage loan can be processed. Expensive problems with the property found during inspection or discrepancies in the appraisal can both bring more demanding decisions. Our Mortgage Loan Officers have seen every type of complication when it comes to purchasing a home, and we are ready to guide you through these financial decisions!


    Once you've closed on your home, you can breathe a sigh of relief, and start packing. Congratulations, all of those emotions will pay off once you have those keys in hand and the welcome mat set. You are officially a homeowner!

    We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!



    Ada County Housing Inventory Rose in June

    Ada County Inventory Rises as Home Sellers Capitalize on Higher Prices 

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

    The median sales price for homes in Ada County reached $525,000 in June, nearly even with May 2021.  

    While our region has faced insufficient supply for years — the main driver of home prices — June marked three consecutive months of inventory growth. While still low compared to previous years, there were 729 homes available for sale at the end of the month, up 27.9% from May.  

    After home prices rose above the $500,000-mark last month, homeowners may have been encouraged to list in June, as existing/resale inventory was higher than the previous month and year for the first time since March of 2020, just before the pandemic put the brakes on the Spring market. At the end of June, there were 485 existing homes available for purchase, up 27.0% from May 2021 and up 10.7% from June 2020.  

    Analyzing weekly listing activity, we saw a jump in the number of existing properties coming onto the market starting the week of June 6th. Listing activity has been much higher than 2020 (expected due to the COVID-related restrictions in place at that time) and mostly ahead of 2019. 

    Despite more inventory, the speed of the market reached a new low, as the average number of days between when a home was listed for sale and an offer was accepted dropped to 10 — two days faster than in May 2021 and 22 days faster than June 2020. 

    That said, low inventory does not mean no inventory.  

    While buyers have access to listings from a variety of real estate websites, we often hear from people who find a home they like online, but by the time they reach out to a REALTOR® for information, the home has already gone under contract. While the recent uptick in listing activity is very positive, you still have to act quickly. Your REALTOR® can help you secure a showing, submit an offer, and alert you to existing properties that may be available soon, or, if you have time to build, they can identify new construction options that haven't yet broken ground. 

    Connecting with a lender and getting pre-approved before searching for a home is also imperative for buyers using a mortgage. In June, nearly 70% of existing homes sold for more than the original list price — another factor behind rising home prices. On average, buyers paid 6.8% more than the original list price on existing homes. Knowing how much you're able to borrow allows your REALTOR® to search within a price range to help stay on budget if you're shopping for homes that tend to go over list price, or possibly a bit higher if there's room to negotiate. For the 30% of existing homes that sold for less, buyers and their REALTORS® were able to negotiate 3-5% off the original list price, on average, depending on price point.  

    Current home prices and competitive market conditions can be challenging for those looking to get into the market, particularly at the lower price points. Some may decide to wait a while before starting their home search or continue to save for a down payment to improve their purchase options, while others may consider expanding their search area for homes farther from the Boise metro. But for those who are ready to buy, we want to stress that while it may take more work right now, it's not impossible. There are hundreds of home sales each month and REALTORS® are there to help guide buyers and sellers through the fast and complex process.

    Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

    In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market.

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



    How to Bridge the Appraisal Gap in Today's Real Estate Market

    If you're searching for drama, don't limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs, the appraisal process is receiving more attention than ever. That's because, in a rapidly appreciating market, a property is more likely to appraise below the sales price—which can lead to major repercussions for both buyers and sellers.

    It's never been more important to understand the appraisal process and the risks involved. It's also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you're a buyer) or overcompensating (if you're a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don't work—in today's unique real estate environment.


    An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property's market value performed by an independent authorized appraiser. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer defaults on their loan.

    In most cases, a licensed appraiser will analyze the property's condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Appraisal requirements can vary by lender and loan type, and in today's market, in-person appraisal waivers have become much more common. If you're applying for a mortgage, be sure to ask your lender about their specific terms.


    An appraisal contingency is a standard inclusion in a home offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on a satisfactory appraisal wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price. This helps to reassure the buyer (and their lender) that they are paying fair market value for the home and allows them to cancel the contract if the appraisal is lower than expected.

    Low appraisals are not common, but they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we're experiencing now. That's because appraisers must use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property's value. This could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly, today's comps may be lagging behind the market's current reality. Thus, the appraiser could be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.


    When a property appraises for less than the contract price, you end up with an appraisal gap. In a more balanced market, that could be cause for a renegotiation. In today's market, however, sellers often hold the upper hand.

    That's why some buyers are using the potential for an appraisal gap as a way to strengthen their bids. They're proposing to take on some or all of the risk of a low appraisal by adding gap coverage or a contingency waiver to their offer.

    Appraisal Gap Coverage

    Buyers with some extra cash on hand may opt to add an appraisal gap coverage clause to their offer. It provides an added level of reassurance to the sellers that, in the event of a low appraisal, the buyer is willing and able to cover the gap up to a certain amount.

    For example, let's say a home is listed for $200,000 and the buyers offer $220,000 with $10,000 in appraisal gap coverage. Now, let's say the property appraises for $205,000. The new purchase price would be $215,000. The buyers would be responsible for paying $10,000 of that in cash directly to the seller because, in most cases, mortgage companies won't include appraisal gap coverage in a home loan.

    Waiving The Appraisal Contingency

    Some buyers with a higher risk tolerance—and the financial means—may be willing to waive the appraisal contingency altogether. However, this strategy isn't for everyone and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    It's important to remember that waiving an appraisal contingency can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back much lower than the contract price. Without an appraisal contingency, a buyer will be obligated to cover the difference or be forced to walk away from the transaction and relinquish their earnest money deposit to the sellers.

    It's vital that both buyers and sellers understand the benefits and risks involved with these and other competitive tactics that are becoming more commonplace in today's market. We can help you chart the best course of action given your individual circumstances.


    You need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you're a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you're a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.


    Trivia Night: Where to Play in Boise

    Boise Trivia Night

    Playing trivia with your friends is such a great way to connect and spend time together. You're sure to learn new, fun facts and be surprised by some of the things your friends know. There are plenty of bars and restaurants that host trivia nights in and around Boise. Here are some of the top places our real estate agents recommend.

    • Jumpin' Janets: 572 SouthVista Avenue, Boise, ID 83705
      Jumpin' Janet's hosts a trivia night every Wednesday at 8:00 pm. They usually draw a pretty big crowd, so you'll have plenty of competition. Wednesday is also the night they serve their weekly prime rib dinners, so you're in for quite a treat.

      Jumpin' Janets makes all of their food in-house from fresh ingredients. Their oyster shooters and hot wings are the perfect snacks to order and share with your crew on trivia night. Behind the bar, there's always a great selection of locally brewed beers on tap.

    • Burger Theory: 16245 N. Merchant Way, Boise, ID 83687
      If you're in the mood for a juicy burger, stop by Burger Theory for trivia night and Wednesday at 7 pm. The relaxed atmosphere makes this a fun place to compete with friends.

      Burger Theory is known for their Create-Your-Own burger menu. You get to choose everything, from the meat to the bun, to the cheese. Their sweet jars, like the apple crumb or key lime jar, are also really nice to snack on while you answer trivia questions.

    • Lost Grove Brewing: 1026 S. La Pointe St., Boise, ID 83706
      If you're looking at Boise homes for sale on a Thursday, stop by Lost Grove Brewing for some beer and trivia afterward. They host trivia every Thursday at 7:00 pm.

      Lost Grove is known for its unique brews. Favorites include Teddy Bear Picnic, a golden session ale, and Acid Raindrops, a sour. While they do not serve food, they do have food trucks regularly visit during trivia. Friendly dogs are welcome, too.

    • Eastside Tavern: 610 E. Boise Ave., Boise, ID 83706
      Eastside Tavern may be best-known as a local music venue, but they host many other fun events, too. Trivia is scheduled for Thursdays at 8:00 pm. 

      This is a bit of a smaller, more mellow venue and a good place to settle in and make new friends. They're always offering different shot and draft specials. If you arrive early for trivia, you can always play some shuffleboard or darts. They even have tournament games on other nights.

    • Eight Thirty Common: 830 Main Street, Suite 120, Meridian, ID 83642
      If you happen to be in the Meridian area looking at Meridian homes for sale, Eight Thirty Common is a great place to play trivia. They host games every Tuesday at 7:00. The restaurant even has a Happy Hour menu that they serve during this time.

      The Social Plates served at Eight Thirty common are perfect for sharing during trivia. If the game lasts longer than planned, you can enjoy some dessert, like a mason jar mud pie or cast iron apple pie.

    Whether you play every week or just once in a while, trivia nights are such a great opportunity to connect with friends and make new ones. What could be better than answering obscure questions during Happy Hour? Check out some of these Boise venues, and contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent in the area.

    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 6:13:32 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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