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September
23

Helping Military Families

CBT Realtor® Kendra Gonzalez works hard guiding families in the Magic Valley to the homes of their dreams. Her time as a military spouse is never far from her mind, though, remembering the days when her husband and fellow Realtor®, Jesus Gonzalez, was deployed to Iraq, leaving the new mom alone and far from family. Fortunately for Kendra, she discovered the Service Member and Family Support Program through the Idaho National Guard.

The Family Readiness Group, or FRG, addresses physical, emotional, and financial support for spouses whose partners are deployed and for children who are missing their parent. They hold fun events for military families, assist with paperwork, conduct community outreach, work with mental health and crisis intervention professionals, and much, much more.

A volunteer for six years, Kendra attends monthly meetings, chaperones at military youth camps across Idaho, and helps plan and organize events for military families. She says, "Now that my husband is back from deployment, I want to be a beacon of hope and support for those wives that have a deployed husband."

She has enlisted the help of her husband, now a fellow volunteer, and recruited the rest of the Coldwell Banker Tomlinson team in the Twin Falls area to help at FRG's first Candy Corn Fall Carnival for service members and their families.

According to Sonya Nowland, Soldier and Family Readiness Specialist for the region, the carnival will be held on October first at the Twin Falls Amory and will feature chili, hotdogs, and lots of candy. Kids will be able to get their faces painted, play in a bounce house, and participate in fun games including a cake walk, a duck pond game, bean bag toss, and a photo booth. Costumes are welcomed but not required. The CBT team will be on hand to help with the games, serve food to the families, hand out candy, and assist wherever they can.

Of the organization, Sonya, who has been in her position for 19 years, explains that "all the services we provide are open to all branches of service. We also assist with veterans who are no longer wearing the uniform." 

For her part, Kendra sums it up this way: "Supporting FRG makes me feel happy. It fills my heart that I am giving back to the military."

To volunteer with FRG or to find out what you can do to help military families, reach out to Sonya at sonya.d.nowland.nfg@army.mil.

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Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we have spotlighted over the past several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better. 

September
19

Idaho State Museum

With more than 500 artifacts in its 80,000 square feet, the Idaho State Museum serves as a living testament to the state's legacy. Our real estate agents love exploring these incredible exhibits found at the museum.

Click Here to Read More...

September
16

 

 

ECB Raised Interest Rates to Highest Levels Since 2011

Although this week contained little new data, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised interest rates to their highest levels since 2011. While investors focused heavily on the ECB announcement, the move failed to cause commotion. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week with little change.

ECB Raised Interest Rates by 75 Basis Points

With inflation surging to decade highs, the ECB raised interest rates by a massive 75 basis points. Thus, interest rates achieved their highest levels since 2011. The latest readings showed inflation in the eurozone at an annual rate above 9%. Conclusively, Eurozone inflation far exceeded the target level of the ECB of 2%.

ECB chief Lagarde explained rate increase as a necessary move. Lagarde mentioned that inflation is likely to stay above the target for "an extended period." Furthermore, investors expect additional 50 basis point rate hikes at the next two meetings.

Fed Chair Powell Remains "Strongly Committed" to Inflation Fight

As the ECB raised interest rates, the Federal Reserve continues their inflation battle, too. On Thursday (9/8), Fed Chair Powell repeated that he is "strongly committed" to fighting inflation. He emphasized the importance of reducing inflation. Additionally, Powell intends to lower inflation before the public views higher levels as normal and makes future plans based on it.

According to Powell, Fed officials hope that higher rates bring the strong labor market back into "better balance". Overall, Powell plans reduce outsized wage increases and lessen inflationary pressures. Moving forward, investors anticipate a 75-basis point rate hike at the September 21st meeting.

ISM Reflects Consumer Shift from Goods to Services

Aside from the Federal Reserve messaging and the ECB raising interest rates, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) released the most significant economic report this week. In doing so, the ISM provided additional evidence that consumers shifted their spending from goods to services.

The national services sector index rose to 56.9. notably, this index came in stronger than expected. Levels above 50 indicate that the sector is expanding.

Looking Ahead After ECB Raised Interest Rates

After the ECB raised interest rates, investors seek specific Federal Reserve guidance on the pace of future rate hikes and bond portfolio reduction.

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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!

 

September
14

From our Friends at Boise Regional REALTORS®

Sellers Respond to Changes in Demand for Housing

The median sales price for homes in Ada County was $565,000 in August, down 4.2% from July but 6.6% higher than August 2021. Higher mortgage interest rates and higher home prices have impacted monthly mortgage payments, causing some potential buyers to make budget adjustments, and others to press pause on their home search for the time being.

Home prices in our market are driven by supply and demand. Sellers are responding to the changes in the demand for housing and adjusting their prices according. This has caused the median sales price to come down from its peak of $602,250 in May.

August 2022 Ada County Inventory vs MSP

One factor contributing to lower sold prices is the fact that buyers are typically paying less than list price. The average original list price received for existing homes in August was 94.0%, so on average, buyers paid less than asking through a lower accepted offer, price reductions, or seller concessions. In August 2021, the average original list price received was 99.8%, or just under asking.

While interest rates still pose a challenge, other market conditions have continued to move the right way for buyers — slower price growth, more options, and more time to decide before submitting an offer. Speaking of time, homes that sold in August spent an average of 29 days on the market before having an accepted offer, a much more normal market time compared to the 14 days average in August 2021.

Options abound with 2,374 homes available for purchase at the end of August, allowing buyers who were sidelined when the market was ultra-competitive to resume shopping for their next home. However, the current supply of homes is more nuanced than it appears at first glance.

We're not out of the woods yet when it comes to inventory. Months Supply of Inventory, or MSI, is our best gauge on how well supply is keeping up with demand. MSI jumped up as demand cooled in recent months, but it held steady at 2.8 months in July and August. A balanced market, or one that doesn't favor buyers or sellers, is typically 4-6 months of supply.

So, what does this mean for buyers and sellers?

According to the economists at Realtor.com, fall may be the best time to purchase a home, and this year is looking especially attractive since there are more options available, more time to make decisions, and home prices have trended down.

Homeowners are enjoying record high equity, and despite the recent decrease in home prices, sellers are still receiving great values for their homes. The market has normalized and isn't nearly as competitive as it was in 2020 and 2021, so if you list your home for sale, don't expect bidding wars, offers waiving all contingencies, and the home to go under contract within a few days. However, there are still things you can do to stand out. Ask your real estate agent how they'll market your listing, their expertise on pricing strategy, and what incentives you can offer to attract as many buyers as possible.

Whether you're ready to buy today or would like to purchase within the next two, five, or even ten years, work with trusted advisors to make a plan to reach your goals. Taking important steps today, such as improving your credit, researching down payment programs, and saving for your down payment in a tax-sheltered savings account can really make a difference when you're ready to make a move.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

September
12

Should You Get a Home Inspection BEFORE Selling?

Delta Media Group

Selling your home? A recent survey showed more than 85 percent of buyers who applied for financing asked for an inspection of the home they intended to buy. Today's savvy home buyers rarely leave things up to chance — they want to be assured they are getting great value.

Despite this growing trend, many sellers still wait for buyers to take the initiative on inspections. A seller might save a few hundred dollars by waiting until the buyer makes the first move, but this is rarely worthwhile. In fact, there are many benefits to taking the plunge and getting an inspection as soon as you decide you are serious about putting your property on the market.

Let's look at six benefits of pre-listing home inspections:

  1. Attract More Buyers
    Savvy buyers who have purchased a property before will know about the necessity of a home inspection and will appreciate this is one less step (and expense) they need to worry about. New buyers seeking their first home may not be as savvy at first, but they will soon figure it out. All in all, an inspection will reassure and attract more would-be buyers.

  2. Accelerate the Sales Process
    Sooner or later, an inspection will happen — and when it does, it's bound to turn up something. Relatively minor issues might throw a wrench into your hopes of selling your home. When you get proactive, you have the chance to resolve problems that might otherwise add months to the sales process. Plus, in many cases, you can turn those fixes into part of your sales pitch.

  3. Provide a Stronger Negotiating Position
    Most home sales involve some "give and take" over the final price. Buyers will look for anything they can find as a reason to maneuver excess costs onto the seller. With a recent inspection report in hand, you can counter these moves without any sour grapes — you've gone the extra mile to ensure that everything in the home is on the up and up, after all!

  4. Reduce Recurring Repair Bills
    It isn't always easy to determine the true source of a recurring problem in a home, even a newer one. For example, if your toilet drains slowly, you might simply need to snake it... or you may have a major issue with your septic system. Whatever the case, an inspection helps you get to the real root of the problem. It saves money if you don't sell and improves your price if you do.

  5. Take Control of the Process
    Unless you find out something truly appalling, you don't necessarily have to take time to repair whatever an inspection turns up. Instead, you have the option of lowering your price or going "as-is." All in all, an inspection gives you the opportunity to take the steps that are right for you instead of running to catch up to a buyer whose inspection uncovers unwelcome surprises.

  6. If You're Selling Your Home, Start with an Inspection
    In today's real estate market, a seller's pre-inspection of a home is a mark of quality that buyers increasingly expect. If you put your home on the market and don't find interested buyers in a relatively short time, an inspection is one precaution you'll end up taking.

With all that in mind, selling your home should almost always start with an inspection. It's an essential step, just like making basic repairs, listing your home in the right places, staging it for potential buyers, and partnering with a real estate agent you can trust.

September
6

Boise Fine Dining

If you're about to celebrate an anniversary, milestone birthday, or another special occasion, enjoying some delicious cuisine is a lovely option. Fine dining is as much about the ambiance as it is about the food. Dressing up and pampering yourself really makes the occasion special and memorable. Luckily, Boise has some incredible fine dining restaurants to choose from. Take a break from looking at Boise homes for sale, and enjoy a meal at one of these top spots.

Click Here to Read More...

August
29

MAINTENANCE HACKS FOR YOUR HOME

From our friends at Delta Media Group

Little fixes around the home can take time and money. Try one of our quick tips to save both! 

  1. Fasten a Tennis Ball to your Mop Handles
    Never get on your hands and knees again to scrub scuff marks off your floor. Simply attach a fuzzy tennis ball to the end of your mop handle, and whenever you find a difficult scuff, flip the mop over and use the tennis ball to buff the mark from the floor.

    Bonus Hack: Keeping a couple of tennis balls in your swimming pool helps remove the oils, lotions, and sunscreens from the water.

  2. Plunge the Clogs from the Drains
    The next time your bathtub or sink drain backs up, don't reach for a bottle of expensive chemical drain cleaner. Grab your toilet plunger instead. Fill the basin with a few inches of water, use a bit of cloth to cover the overfill hole, and use the plunger over the drain. More often than the clog loosens after just a few plunges.

  3. Easy Spackle
    If your drywall cracks, make your own spackling compound by mixing a small amount of baking soda with glue.

  4. Loosen Stubborn Nails
    Whenever you engage in a home improvement project, there always seems to be that one nail that refuses to come out. A homeowner's trick that frequently works involves using a hairdryer to warm the nail, causing it to expand, creating a larger hole so that after the nail cools and returns to normal size, you can easily remove it.

  5. Repair Windows
    If you have a small hole or crack in your windows, fill the space with clear nail polish. It prevents the hole/crack from spreading when the temps drop below freezing.

  6. Caulking Made Easy
    Caulking isn't always a favorite home maintenance chore. Many struggle to keep the tip of the caulk gun straight or they find that they get caulk everywhere but the spot they want it at. Rather than having a professional come into handle routine caulking for you, stock up on painter's tape. Simply place a strip of painter's tape above and below the area you need to be caulked. Caulk the area and peel the tape away while the caulk is still wet. All the mess goes on the tape.

  7. Fix Holes in Drywall
    Don't worry if you get a small hole in your drywall. Fixing it is easy. Home improvement experts will tell you that you'll need to invest in paper tape or mesh. However, those with strong home maintenance skills know that all they really need is a small makeup brush to spackle their walls. Use the brush to fill the hole with spackle and sandpaper to sand down the spackle.

  8. Take the Elbow Grease Out of Shower Cleaning
    Rather than scrub by hand, easily clean your shower by fastening a foam ball to your cordless drill attachment. It'll have your shower gleaming in no time.

August
22

Terrific BBQ Recipes

Fantastic recipes just in time for your late summer get-together!

Tequila Baby Back Ribs

2 Tbsp. chili powder 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. paprika 1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. garlic powder 1 chopped onion
1 Tbsp. salt 1 lg. handful chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp dried oregano 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
2 tsp. cumin 1 bottle (fifth) tequila
1 tsp. black pepper 1 lemon, halved
1 tsp. white pepper 2 limes

Combine all the above and season 2 full slabs of ribs, each cut in half. Refrigerate 2-4 hours.  Put half of 1 slab in 1-gallon ziploc bag, layer with onion, cilantro, and garlic. Place other half on top, repeat with onion, cilantro, and garlic. Pour in half bottle tequila. Add juice of half lemon and 1 lime. Seal. Repeat with other slab. Marinate at least 4 hours. Grill with onion, cilantro, and garlic at 350 degrees until done.

 

Honey Mango-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

1 c. honey 4 ripe mangos, cubed
2 full racks, baby back ribs 1 tsp. pepper
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 1 Tbsp. salt

Remove ribs from packaging, rinse and pat dry. Remove membrane from backside of ribs. Place ribs in shallow pan, sprinkle salt and pepper evenly and set aside. In a small saucepan, add chipotle/adobo, mango and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until cooked down and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Using the slow and low method of BBQ'ing, set temperature to 225-240 degrees. If using coals, let them burn off and move over to one side of the grill. Wrap the ribs and 2/3 of the sauce mixture in aluminum foil tightly and place on grill. Close lid. After 2 hours, flip the ribs and let cook for another 2 hours. Open the aluminum and remove ribs, place them on grill and brush on remaining sauce and let cook another 30 minutes.

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