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New Home for the Holidays: 5 Ways to Make it Extra Memorable

Boise Holidays in New Home

Moving close to the holidays can be emotionally challenging. You may have found your dream home, but it's hard to get moved in, settled, and still make things feel like a typical, festive holiday season all at the same time. It's not impossible, though, once you accept that things are just going to be a little different this year! Here are a few suggestions our real estate agents have for people moving into a new home just before the holidays.

  1. Decorate as You Unpack
    It's tempting to say you'll forget about decorating this year, but don't give in! Decorating is the first and best way to make it feel more like the holidays, even if two-thirds of the house is still packed away. If you don't know where your decorations are or can't get to them, go to the store and buy new ones. If you invest in indoor-outdoor lights and some other things that you can add to your stash of holiday decorations and use in future years, it won't seem like a waste, and you'll be able to get yourself in the holiday spirit even with the house in disarray.

  2. Start a New Tradition
    Test drive a few new holiday activities and see what might take as a new family holiday tradition. For example, driving around your new neighborhood to look at holiday lights can help you get excited for the holidays and also get to know your new community, much more than you did while searching for Boise homes for sale. You can celebrate by doing something that you couldn't do in the old house, too, like putting a big Christmas tree on display in a front window or starting a fire in the fireplace.

  3. Put Your Boxes to Good Use
    There's one thing about moving into a new home that is inevitable: boxes. Lots and lots of empty boxes. Instead of lamenting them, have fun with them! Wrap a few emptied moving boxes and decorate with them, especially under the tree, to make your holidays look more festive.

  4. Don't Forget About Local Events
    Every community has its holiday traditions. Whether it's shopping at holiday craft fairs, attending a parade of lights, visiting a zoo lights display, or some other local holiday attraction, find what your new community has to offer and get out there to enjoy it! Don't let yourself feel too busy to enjoy the holiday season. After all, once the necessities are accessible, the rest can be unpacked and organized at leisure.

  5. Skip Cooking
    With all of the unpacking and your kitchen probably not fully set up yet, you may not be feeling up to cooking a big holiday meal. Don't stress out about it! If ever there was a year where you should order a prepared meal, this is it. Whether you order a traditional holiday meal or opt for something completely different, take that item off of your to-do list so that you can relax and enjoy the holidays a little better.

Celebrating holidays in a new place is part of making your new house feel like home. Starting your home search in the near future? For more information about our local community or to get started looking for your dream home in Boise, contact us today.


Should You Renovate or Move?

The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

If you're a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

  1. A possible desire to relocate
  2. The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
  3. Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

In either case, you'll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners' equity. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:

"Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high."

As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

If you decide to renovate, you'll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you'll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.

Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you'll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you're one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you're one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

If you're ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you'll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report.

Bottom Line

If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home. Contact us today to help guide you through the process and help determine what makes the most sense for you!


Moving Tips: How to Help Your Kids Adjust

Moving Tips

Moving is one of the most exciting yet stressful events in a person's life, but for kids, adjusting to a new environment can be especially difficult. The ages of your children also may play a role in how they cope with the change. Regardless, moving is an emotional experience, and taking the time to learn how to minimize the impact on your family is definitely important. Our real estate agents have helped many families move, and with our experience, we've pulled together a list of tips to help your kids adjust to a change in scenery. 

  1. Talk To Your Kids Upfront
    Kids often become upset when faced with the unknown, so it's best to talk with them upfront about your plans. If you're frequently discussing the move with your partner, your kids will be quick to pick up on the idea that something is up or about to change. Once you've figured out your plan, it's a good idea to have a sit-down family discussion and keep them in the loop.

  2. Provide Stability
    Most kids become anxious when they feel that life is changing. Reassure them and remind them that some things will still be the same. If you're moving a short distance, remind them that they can still visit with friends. If the entire family is moving, reinforce the idea that everyone will be together. If the move is a result of a divorce, plan and discuss visitation routines ahead of time. Whatever your situation is, make sure to build, prioritize, and communicate a sense of stability.

  3. Take Your Kids To The New House
    In the weeks leading up to the move, take your kids to visit the new home. Allow them to see their new bedroom and point out where your belongings and furniture will go. Be sure to drive by any nearby amenities such as parks, pools, and libraries, and take your kids to visit their new school well before the first day. The more kids can ease into the moving process, the smoother it will be.

  4. Allow Them To React
    During the moving process, your kids are likely to experience a wide range of emotions, including sadness, anxiety, frustration, and perhaps even anger. Don't dismiss or minimize their feelings. Talking and venting are important parts of the adjustment process. Allow them to express their emotions so they can adequately adjust to the changing environment. 

  5. Help Them Say Goodbye
    If your kids will be leaving parts of their life behind, helping them say goodbye can provide them with the closure they need to adjust to new surroundings. If changing schools, allow them to say goodbye to teachers and friends. Doing a final walkthrough of the old house is also a good way to reminisce and enjoy the good memories you had.

While changing homes can be challenging for families, it's a lot easier when you're moving to a place you love. If you're planning to relocate, check out some of these beautiful Boise homes for sale. We'd be happy to guide you through the process, so contact us today.


5 Tips for Buying a Home in a Different State

Buying a Home in a New State

When exploring Boise homes for sale, your to-do list will look a little different if you're moving from a different state. Interstate home purchases require careful planning and preparation to minimize the expense and hassle associated with purchasing a home while you're living in another state. Check out these helpful tips to follow to help the process go as seamlessly as possible. 

  1. Research All the Costs Associated with Living in a Neighborhood
    If you're buying a home in another state, see that you research all the costs associated with living in a specific area. It's easy to focus only on the amount of your potential mortgage payment, but this is just one portion of your housing expenses. You should also consider:
    • Property taxes
    • Housing insurance (more expensive for some neighborhoods)
    • Homeowner's association dues
    • The city's cost of living
  1. Look for Neighborhoods That Fit Your Lifestyle
    To ensure you'll be happy in your new home, you want a neighborhood that's compatible with your lifestyle. For example, if you prefer a home with lots of shops and eateries within walking distance, you're unlikely to be happy in a house that's nestled out in the country where it's a necessity to own a car. Getting a feel for a neighborhood can be tricky when you're doing the majority of your home shopping out of state. When you contact our real estate agents, tell us what you're looking for in a neighborhood. This will help us match you with properties that meet your priorities. Social media groups and online neighborhood groups are two other useful resources to help you get a better feel for the environment in a neighborhood. 
  1. Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
    An experienced real estate agent is always a valuable resource, but their expertise is even more invaluable when you're buying a property out of state. Look for a real estate agent who has extensive experience selling homes in the area you're interested in.
  1. Utilize Technology To Learn More About Potential Homes
    While a virtual tour can't completely replace an in-person examination of a potential house, it's the next best thing. Look for an agent who is willing to conduct video walkthroughs of properties that you're interested in. Don't be afraid to ask the agent to zoom in on any areas that you want to reexamine or that warrant a closer look. Virtual tours can cut down on the amount of travel associated with purchasing your new home, as they can help you decide which homes have characteristics that are deal-breakers.
  1. Prioritize Attending the Home Inspection Over Other Home Buying Milestones
    Some out-of-state buyers can't see their homes in person at all until after closing; if you can only see the home once, try to make it to the home inspection. This will give you a chance to learn about any prospective problems the home has and receive an explanation as to how the major systems work (like the HVAC system or fireplace). Your home inspector is also a fantastic resource for what items in the home will require ongoing maintenance.

Ready to get started on your out-of-state home purchase? Contact us today!


Tips for Moving During COVID-19


Planning on moving soon? Here are some of our top safety tips for moving during COVID-19 to protect your family and your belongings.

By Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company

Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Over the past few months, we have all been learning how to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of our social events or travel plans have been put on hold, moving does not have to be. Moving and Storage are actually considered essential businesses, which means they remain open. With a little extra planning and by following the CDC and WHO safety measures, you can safely move during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some of our top safety tips for moving during COVID-19 to protect your family and belongings.

What to do before your move:

1. Plan a Contactless Move during COVID-19

As you begin researching moving companies online, remember to also ask questions on how they are mitigating the health risks of COVID-19. A few movers can provide virtual estimates, rather than in-home visits. The video estimate feature allows you to get the cost of your move without having an onsite estimator in your home. You can also use this handy moving box calculator to figure out how many moving boxes you will need.

2. Get packing supplies delivered to you

Since studies have shown that the coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, it's best to purchase new moving boxes and tape from your mover. Eco-friendly moving companies, like NorthStar Moving, use moving boxes made of 100% recyclable materials and also give you a discount when you recycle them back. Even during a pandemic, we can do our part to care for our environment.

3. Let others know ahead of time

If you are moving out or into an apartment building or condominium complex, notify your management company of the time and date of your move. Remember to make these arrangements ahead of time on both ends of the move. Ask your management team about using a service elevator for the day of your move and special arrangements needed for parking the moving truck. You should also notify your neighbors by phone or email so that they can be aware to keep a safe distance in halls and elevators on your moving day.

4. Donate unwanted items during this time of need

As you prepare for your move, mark boxes of unwanted clothing and non-perishable food items that can be donated to Goodwill or local food banks. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused food insecurity for many families; donating your shelf-stable foods is a great way to lighten your load and give back to your community.

What to do during your Move:

5. Extra Sanitary Precautions while moving during COVID-19

Movers should come prepared with their face masks. Keep your distance from movers and avoid handshakes. Keep soap, running water, and paper towels available for movers and your family to wash your hands throughout the day. As much as possible, keep windows opened to allow plenty of fresh air to circulate.

6. Label rooms and boxes to make the move seamless

Take the time to label your boxes and the rooms in your new home before your movers arrive. Clear signs will help movers know where to place each moving box and large furniture without you having to come into close contact with them. Creating a simple floor plan ahead of time will save you time and money.

What to do after your Move:

7. Clean your new home before unpacking

After the movers leave, take some time to disinfect any areas that are high touch zones. Wipe down door handles, light switches, and bathrooms before you finish unpacking. Get rid of any germs that could have been brought in on foot traffic by sweeping and mopping your floors. 

8. Pack your patience and an overnight bag

Finish unpacking by disinfecting boxes or simply wait 24 hours. Pack a fresh set of sheets, pajamas, and toiletries in your overnight bag. This will come in handy after a long day of moving.

Stay informed while moving during COVID-19

Keep in mind, as we all continue to adapt to the changing times, it's important to stay informed and follow any local or state restrictions. At NorthStar Moving, we want to alleviate the anxiety and stress of moving during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please consider all of the extra safety precautions our team is taking during moves and in our offices. If you are not ready to make the move yet, learn how to transform your home for stay-at-home needs.


Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award-winning, "A+" rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.

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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