Home > Blogs > Boise Real Estate Guy Realtor Views
13,181 views

Boise Real Estate Guy Realtor Views

Consulting you based on 20 years licensed Boise Real Estate Experience

By Jim Paulson, Owner/Broker | Broker in Boise, ID
  • First time home buyer - What is the first step to take?

    Posted Under: Home Buying, How To..., Rent vs Buy  |  October 9, 2011 1:54 PM  |  1,753 views  |  2 comments

    Buying a home is a very stressful and daunting task.  The best way to overcome the first time buyer jitters if by getting educated about the process.   There are tons of resources available for free from the National Association of Realtors, HUD, Fannie Mae, and your favorite lender or Realtor.

    Many people tell you incorrectly that the first step is getting approved from a lender.  Although this sounds like good advice, how do you know which lender?  Do they offer special programs for first time homebuyers, do they offer any grant programs, do they deal with alternative credit, etc.?

    The advice of just going to a bank to get pre-approved is well intentioned but as poor a choice as only walking onto a single car lot to buy a car.  Think about it, would the local Ford dealer tell you about the special going on down the street at the Chevy dealer?  Would they tell you they buy their used cars at the auto auction to mark up and sell to you?

    If you walk into XYZ Bank, you will be dealing with employees of that bank trained only to sell their products.  Some big banks are told specifically not to use other products if they have in house products.

    Therefore, I suggest dealing with a local housing agency that offers unbiased home ownership counseling.  For example, when I teach the real estate portion of these classes for the Finally Home Program for HUD, I am not even allowed to promote myself as Jim Paulson the Realtor nor can I promote the competitive benefits of using my company (Progressive Realty Corporation).  I am supposed to talk in general terms so that other Realtors still feel comfortable sending their clients to these classes.

    Specifically in Boise, Idaho; there are some great programs to consider like:

    • Boise City Affordable Housing Program;
    • Neighborhood Housing Services;
    • Idaho Housing  and Finance Association;
    • Rural Economic Community Development programs;
    • Many banks also have niche programs available for low to moderate income families!

    Ask your lender or Realtor if these types of programs exist in your city/state.  You might be very pleasantly surprised! You have lots of choices in Realtors, lenders, inspectors, and title companies that are there to help you.  Make sure that you team up with ones that are used to working with first time buyers!

    Good luck in your quest!

  • FHA to reduce loan limits $32,700 on Oct. 1, 2011 in Canyon County!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions, Home Buying, Financing  |  September 28, 2011 11:34 PM  |  1,817 views  |  No comments
    Congress did not extend FHA & GSE mortgage loan limits so Canyon County loan limits will drop on October 1st from $303,750 down to $271,050.

    If you are looking to buy or sell a property in Canyon County (Nampa, Caldwell, Middleton, etc.), this will impact the real estate market for all homes priced in this $32,700 range. Here are a few examples of who will be impacted by this:

    Buyers:  FHA usually alllows for more leanient credit and less down payment than conventional financing, so you may lose out on homes you might have qualified before October 1st!  Talk to your lender and your Realtor to make sure they understand how and if this impacts you.

    Sellers:  If your home is priced between $271,050 and $303,750, this will eliminate the ability to sell your home to buyers using FHA financing.  If your home is listed in this price range, make sure your Realtor changes the financing options so you don't misrepresent possible options.  Consider dropping the price if possible to stay in the new range.  Think of alternate ways to attract buyers if you keep your home listed above $271,050.

    Impact:  From January 1, 2011 till 9/28/2011, there have been 18 homes sold in Canyon County in this price range according to the Intermountain MLS.  Of those, 3 used FHA financing which would not have been possible after October 01, 2011.

    Keep in mind that each county has different loan limits. You can still buy owner occupied 2-4 famliy properties (duplex, triplex or fourplex).  Call to check on those loan limits.

    As an Idaho Realtor for over 20 years, I realize the only thing constant in this world is change.  It is important that your lender and Realtor is actively engaged in the industry so they know abou these types of changes in advance.
  • HUD loan limits to decrease in Boise area October 1, 2011!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boise City, Home Selling in Boise City, Financing in Boise City  |  September 28, 2011 11:19 PM  |  1,877 views  |  No comments
    Congress did not extend FHA & GSE mortgage loan limits so here in Ada County, our loan limits will drop on October 1st from $303,750 down to $271,050.

    If you are looking to buy or sell a property in Ada County (Boise, Eagle, Star, Meridian or Kuna), this will impact the real estate market for all homes priced in this $32,700 range. Here are a few examples of who will be impacted by this:

    Buyers:  FHA usually allows for more lenient credit and less down payment than conventional financing, so you may lose out on homes you might have qualified before October 1st!  Talk to your lender and your Realtor to make sure they understand how and if this impacts you.

    Sellers:  If your home is priced between $271,050 and $303,750, this will eliminate the ability to sell your home to buyers using FHA financing.  If your home is listed in this price range, make sure your Realtor changes the financing options so you don't misrepresent possible options.  Consider dropping the price if possible to stay in the new range.  Think of alternate ways to attract buyers if you keep your home listed above $271,050.

    Impact:  From January 1, 2011 till 9/28/2011, there have been 202 homes sold in Ada County in this price range according to the Intermountain MLS.  Of those, 29 used FHA financing which would not have been possible after October 01, 2011.

    Keep in mind that each county has different loan limits. You can still buy owner occupied 2-4 family properties (duplex, triplex or fourplex).  Call to check on those loan limits.

    As a Boise Realtor for over 20 years, I realize the only thing constant in this world is change.  It is important that your lender and Realtor is actively engaged in the industry so they know about these types of changes in advance.
  • How to negotiate your closing costs to minimize costs to buy a home!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boise, Financing in Boise, How To... in Boise  |  June 20, 2011 10:46 AM  |  2,786 views  |  No comments

    Too many buyers are concerned about "price" and not enough buyers think of the whole picture including terms, interest rate and closing costs!

    I have been a Realtor in Boise, Idaho for over 20 years and I learned many years ago that if I can't help get a buyer through the loan process then I won't be able to get paid.  I have had to learn how to package a buyer into the best possible loan options, not just find them a home they want to buy!

    There are many potential barriers to getting into a home so over the past 20 years, I have learned to work through and arround most of them!  Here are some common barriers and solutions:

    • Lack of down payment: consider different grants or loan programs or second tier loans;
    • Lack of closing costs:  negotiate with the seller to pay them instead of discounting the price;
    • Need more time on credit:  Lease purchase or have a home built so that when your time period is up the home is completed per your needs and budget.
    • Debt ratios too high:  consider doing a 3/2/1 buy down or 7 year ARM so that you can "afford" more debt by reducing your front end ratios;
    • Debt ratios too high:  consider prepaying some of your debt so that you have less than six months to pay it off so it won't have to count against you (you don't have to pay it off in full);
     For example, on a VA loan, I have negotiated for the buyer to have the seller pay all the closing costs so the buyer had $0 down and $0 closing costs!  I have even had sellers pay off a veteran's debts in order to have them qualify to buy a home!

    I have also used grant money and second loans to pay for closing costs and even down payments!  Sometimes, it makes more sense to figure out the "terms" for a loan before you make an offer based on price!  For example, on a $100k home, 3% closing costs noted by some of the lenders would mean the buyer would have $3,000k to come up with at closing plus their down payment.  If you offered $97k for the house, you would still have 3% of that number or $2,910 in closing costs plus your down payment.  Therefore, if you are trying to conserve cash, why not offer full price at $100k and have them pay all your closing costs instead?  At today's interest rates, that only makes your payment about $18 more a month so it would take you about 13.8 years of paying the extra $18 a month to finally catch up to the difference!

    It pays to think outside the box!  If you want a Realtor that is willing to be more than just a chauffeur unlocking the doors of homes for you to look at, I would be honored if you would call me to discuss your needs/wants in Boise, Idaho.  I have been a Realtor in Boise for over 20 years and have probably dealt with about any issue  that may come up in the purchase or sale of a home.  I am ready to put that experience to work for you!

    Specifically in Boise, Idaho; there are some great programs to consider like:

    • Boise City Affordable Housing Program;
    • Neighborhood Housing Services;
    • Idaho Housing and Finance Association;
    • Rural Economic Community Development programs;
    • Many banks also have niche programs available for low to moderate income families!
    Feel free to call Jim Paulson for a complimentary - no obligation consultation at 208-573-0471.
  • How to search for Nampa School District Boundaries for a specific home

    Posted Under: Schools in Nampa, Home Buying in Nampa, How To... in Nampa  |  March 26, 2011 12:27 AM  |  2,747 views  |  No comments

    If you are a curious about the attendance boundaries for a school in the Nampa Idaho School District, your search is about to get a lot easier!

    I used to have to pull up separate boundary maps for elementary schools, Junior High Schools and then the High School to determine which schools applied to a given house for Nampa Idaho Schools.  Or, I could have called  to ask the transportation department for school boundaries for Nampa.

    However, thanks to the Nampa School District website, you can now log on and just enter the address for the home in question and it will pull up a map showing you each of the three schools that might apply.  Here is a link for your convenience:

    http://www.nsd131.org/SAZ/?SD=Nampa

    Just plug in your address (or the address in question) in the upper right and it will do the research for you.

    Keep in mind that there are other schools that are "specialty" schools you might want to inquire about too (i.e. Charter schools, vo tech schools, magnet schools, private schools, etc.).

    I have also figured out how to search our MLS for homes located in any specific school district boundary.  If you are interested in getting a free list of such homes emailed to you, feel free to contact me!  I can even set it up as a live link so that it will keep you updated as the inventory changes.

  • How to search for Boise School District Boundaries for a specific home

    Posted Under: Schools in Boise, Home Buying in Boise, How To... in Boise  |  March 26, 2011 12:20 AM  |  4,124 views  |  1 comment

    If you are a curious about the attendance boundaries for a school in the Boise School District, your search is about to get a lot easier!

    I used to have to pull up separate boundary maps for elementary schools, Junior High Schools and then the High School to determine which schools applied to a given house.  Our, I could have called 208-854-4167 to ask the transportation department for school boundaries.

    Thanks to the Boise School District website, you can now log on and just enter the address for the home in question and it will pull up a map showing you each of the three schools that might apply.  Here is a link for your convenience:

    http://boundaries.boiseschools.org/maps/index.html

    Just plug in your address (or the address in question) in the upper right and it will do the research for you.

    Keep in mind that there are other schools that are "specialty" schools you might want to inquire about too (i.e. Charter schools, vo tech schools, magnet schools, private schools, etc.).

    I have also figured out how to search our MLS for homes located in any specific school district boundary.  If you are interested in getting a free list of such homes emailed to you, feel free to contact me!  I can even set it up as a live link so that it will keep you updated as the inventory changes.

  • How to choose the right Realtor for YOUR needs

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, How To...  |  March 13, 2011 9:51 AM  |  1,779 views  |  No comments
    I just answered a question here on Trulia and thought I should share it here since the advice works throughout the United States, not just here in Boise, Idaho.  How to find and rate a Realtor is a common question on consumer portals like Trulia.

    Finding a Realtor is the easiest part because in Ada County (Idaho), there are nearly 3,000 licensed Realtors to choose from.  In the United States, I think there are over 1.2 million licensed Realtors (but you need to find one licensed in your state).  

    The National Association of Realtor recognizes certain designations and certifications that will let you focus on a Realtor that has gone the extra mile to learn more than the minimum standards to truly become a Professional.  For example:
    • the GRI certification stands for "Graduate of the Realtor Institute".  
    • The CRS Designation stands for "Certified Residential Specialist" and is the highest recognized designation in residential real estate.  
    • If you are looking to buy a short sale or a bank owned foreclosure property, you should look for a Realtor with the SFR certification which stands for Short sale and Foreclosure Resource.
    • Since you are obviously internet savvy and reading this post online,  I suggest you select an agent that has received their EPRO Certification since that one targets the use of the ever changing technology used in real estate.

    Rating the agents is a lot more difficult since that is subjective.  You can't just ask a question like "what is the best school or the best car or the best musician" and expect an accurate usable response unless you quantified the question to begin with.  For example, here is my response to a person here on Trulia regarding her looking for a Realtor to help her find investment property here in Boise, Idaho.

    If are not local, one thing you need to focus on is an agents online communication skills.  How effectively do they use online tools and resources.  How clear and concise are their emails?  Do they use online contracts and digital signatures or will you be having to find a fax machine or scanner every time there is a new document to sign.

    You need to choose an agent that is familiar with investment property and hopefully owns some so they have first hand knowledge of the process benefits and risks.  They need to be able to help you locate property managers and CPA's and know good real estate attorney's to help with contract law.
    You need a Realtor that will listen and consult with you about YOUR definition of "investment".  For example, are you looking for positive cash flow long term or are you buying for appreciation?  Are you going to buy a property in the path of growth and hope for a zone change?  Are you planning on buying a home and converting to a higher and better use to create new value?  Are you hoping to just buy a home, fix it up and flip it? I have done each of these personally for my own account and there is a time and place for each.  They are very different strategies and each come with their own tax benefits/consequences!
    You should choose a Realtor that understands 1031 exchanges so your profits don't get absorbed by taxes quicker.
    I also suggest using a Realtor that has been in the business over 5 years.  If they have survived in this economy, they may still be there when it time for you to sell so you don't have to go through your search a second time.

    Experience is also critical.  How many homes have they closed in the area you are hoping to invest in?  I look back at the first few homes that I sold or the first home I had built for one of my clients and I realize how much I didn't know back then.  Now that I have closed hundreds of transactions and closed brand new homes with over 50 separate builders, I don't run across hardly any "surprises".  As a matter of fact, it was due to some "surprises" that I ran into buying investment property myself, that I decided to take real estate classes.  I originally didn't intend to become a Realtor, I was just planning on being a more educated investor.  That was 20 years ago and now I use this experience as the owner and broker of my own real estate company.
    Ratings are coming into the real estate world, however there are problems with the current systems.  The problem with online ratings is there is no central place to do this.  Some allow the agent to rate themselves and put in their own testimonials while others require the Realtor to email their client to rate them only to find out that site now spams and resells the Realtor's client with solicitations and junk mail.  Therefore, I suggest an unbiased professional service to rate them like the Better Business Bureau.  For example, my company, Progressive Realty Corporation is rated as an A+ Accredited Business.

    I also suggest teaming up with a Realtor that is active in their Chamber of Commerce.  Having the "pulse" of the economy helps determine a shift in the market before it is picked up in the media.  Since house values rise and fall with unemployment rates and job growth/decline, the Chamber of Commerce is a really good barometer of change.  If there is a new employer coming to one end of town, that might drive up property values more in that area.  If a large employer is looking at closing, you might want to sell before that news hits the streets!
    Another critical element these days to be an effective Realtor is getting along well in our industry with our peers.  We need to work collectively with our lenders, our title companies, our home inspectors as a team working toward the same end goals and objectives.  It really helps me when I am dealing with a Realtor that I have closed transactions with before so I know what to expect from their side of the transaction. I have had other agents tell me that their client was torn between two homes and they went with my listing because they didn't know the other Realtor and they knew what to expect from me.
    I also suggest working with a Realtor that gives back to their industry and their community.  If a Realtor is willing to donate their time in volunteer positions within their industry to help raise the bar, they may be willing to donate more time to help you.  A Realtor that gives in their community via civic organizations is looking at making their community a better place which is always going to help future property values too.  This tells me they aren't just in it for themselves!

    I hope this helps.  I use this process personally when I have someone relocating and I help them choose an agent in their new area instead of having them just call an office and getting stuck with the person that happens to be sitting there or stumbling across an agent at an open house.  One of the great benefits of delegating this agent search to me is that they never had to give up their phone number or email address until they decided which agents they wanted to interview!  It doesn't even cost them anything for this service since I get paid a referral fee out of the standard commission the other agent would get (kind of a finders fee).  That helps offset my time of helping them search and you know I am motived to find a good agent on the other end since I don't get paid my referral fee until they produce results by closing on a home!
« Read older posts
 
Copyright © 2014 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer