Get a Little Greener for the New Year

windmillsSaving money on energy costs can be one of the easiest ways to save on bills, especially during winter months. If you get into the habit of making energy saving part of your every day routine you will be surprised at how the small things can add up to bigger savings.

Here are some quick little tips to help you do just that:

Use Power Strips
Simply having an electronic device plugged in causes power use. By plugging multiple devices into a single strip you can easily switch the whole strip off, or unplug it to keep the power drain from multiplying. Great for office spaces!

Turn Off Unused Electronics
Seems simple, but it’s easy to forget too. Leave a room? Turn off that light. Going to bed? Close that laptop. If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time you might even consider unplugging larger or lesser used appliances as well like the tv or stereo.

Unplug The Charger
Nowadays we have any number of pads, phones, or other devices that need charging, but when the device is fully charged unplug it – no need to let that power trickle away. Be sure to unplug the charging cord itself as well as they can pull small amounts of energy just being in the wall.

Use Programs
There are a number of energy use tracking programs available these days, and many appliances even have self-regulating options for power useage – so take advantage of them!

Bright Ideas
Be smart in choosing light bulbs. LED bulbs and compact fluorescents are much easier on power use; while their light may not be as complimentary they are perfect for closets and shops where the harsher light isn’t such a problem.

Cold Cold Water
Using cold water in your wash will generally keep clothes just as clean and uses less energy than hot water. Fact is, hot water can actually strip your clothes of color, so by using cold water you can solve two issues at once!

I have a passion for exceptional Idaho real estate; helping people find the homes of their dreams here throughout the Boise area. I hope you’ll enjoy reading my blog and all the great ideas shared here, as well as feel free to visit my Facebook Fan Page to stay up on the latest happenings online!

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Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday!

tips for bet ownersThe holidays are time of joy and sharing, but we need to be careful with what we share with our four legged and furry friends – some things we take for granted could actually be dangerous for them! Nothing can ruin a pleasant gathering like having to rush one of our little friends off to the pet emergency room — IF you can find one open!

Here are some great tips to help keep your pets safe during the holiday season:

No Bones About It!
Turkey bones – fish and other bird bones – can splinter and have jagged sharp edges. These types of bones can cut or puncture your pets insides. Besides that a lot of people don’t think about table scraps, but fact is human food can increase your pets chances of pancreatitis.

Sugar Free Baked Goods
While better for out waistline these foods can be dangerous for dogs! Many sugar free baked goods contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can cause dangerous drops in blood pressure and damage your pets liver. Be on the look out if your dog seems particular lethargic.

Chocolate
This delightful sweet is definitely a no go for dogs, especially dark chocolate. While it varies in every animal it’s best to simply avoid giving any to them at all – or make sure it’s beyond their reach. Chocolate overdose can lead to serious upset tummy at the very least, or even death if eaten in large quantity!

Oh oh the Mistletoe!
Despite popular belief poinsettias and Christmas cactus are fairly harmless to pets, however it ingested they can cause irritation in the mouth and stomach, especially in cats. Other traditional plants like mistletoe and holly however can be highly toxic if consumed. Most animals will naturally avoid holly, but in some cases having a new plant in the house can rouse their curiosity.

Tinsel Hung With Care
Shiny and flashy cats are the biggest ones to watch around tinsel. It’s ok to let them play with these things if you are watching them but be very careful about wrapping pets up in ribbons as it can present a choking hazard if the animal panics or play gets too rough. Make sure you’re pets aren’t let unsupervised with the shiny stuff as it can be a tempting treat to chew on; this can cause stomach obstruction.

Electrical Cords
For whatever reasons pets seem to love electrical cords – especially young cats and pups. Chewing on these cords is of course a dangerous shock hazard! Make sure you tuck away any extra cords you are using – or cover them with cloth or tape to help keep your fuzzy family members from thinking you’ve given them a great new snack!

I want your family to be safe and happy this holiday – including the littlest members of the family too! We’ve had a wonderful year and truly feel blessed to have gotten to share our joys with you; hope you will feel free to share your happy times with us as well! Hop on over to my Facebook Fan Page and tell me what you are doing to make this season special!

Deck Your Boise Home With LIGHT!

holidaysChristmas lights are a thing of beauty, brightening our holiday with their cheerful glow; raising our spirits high…unless you are the poor guy who has to deal with actually getting those lights up (and back down!) each year. Here are just a few tips to help make this ritual of the season a little less stressful!

Safety first.
Emergency rooms are filled with well meaning lightsmiths every year who lose the battle with their ladders, or who have other light hanging related injuries every year! Never hang lights alone, make sure your ladder is secure; it wouldn’t hurt to have someone down below to hold it!

Cordage.
If you’re going to splurge on fancy lights spend that extra couple of dollars for decent heavy duty extension cords! This can help avoid circuit overloading; be sure to only link FIVE strings of lights together before connecting them to the power.

LED Lights.
Everyone knows LED’s are a greener solution, but did you know they can use up to 90% less energy and last almost 10 times longer than regular lights? You can also safely string more strands of this type of light together, the only downside is they tend to not be quite as bright as traditional lights.

Don’t Procrastinate.
If it’s Easter; and you’re lights are still up it’s likely too late! Take lights down sooner than later to avoid excess damage from sun, rain, and snow. The longer you leave lights out in the elements the sooner you’ll need to replace them.

Get Attached.
Permanent light attachments save time and trouble each year. If you generally will be hanging your lights the same way from year to year these are a great investment as you won’t have to bother with a staple or tack system.

Have a Ball.
It may sound counterproductive but many believe the best way to store your Christmas lights to it ball them up. Wrap them five times in one direction, then turn the ball 90 degrees around and repeat. Also, store your lights in a cardboard box rather than a plastic bag – cardboard will help absorb any excess moisture rather than hold it in like plastic will.

Need a place to hang your lights?! You’re in luck – I can help you find just the right winter wonderland to call your own! You can find any home in Boise or in the Southwest Idaho region right on my website. Go there to start finding homes now!

Take the Stress Out of Home Buying

the best homes in boise

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions of your life, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the most stressful. One of the ways I excel is by putting my buyers at ease, from the initial home searching phase all the way through signing the last document – I understand how hectic it can be; so I go out of my way to help keep my clients at ease. Here are some tips as you begin the search for the home of your dreams. Keep these quick tips in mind to help zen out through the whole process:

Work with a qualified REALTOR®. It just so happens that if you’re reading this you’re well on your way to having already found a great one to work with! A real estate professional will be able to put your mind at ease if any problems do arise and will prove invaluable when it comes time to shuffle all
that paperwork.

Don’t obsess about time. There is no “right” time to buy. Everyone’s situation is different; while mortgages are really low and prices are still great that doesn’t mean it’s THE time for you. The market isn’t going to turn on it’s head tomorrow, rate changes take months not days, so don’t get stressed
thinking you’ve got to get it all done RIGHT now.

Don’t demand a deal. Your agent is really the best negotiator you can hope for, it’s their job to see to it your best interests are at the forefront of any negotiation – so let them do their job. Trying to “win” a negotiation by getting a super low price or refusing to budge at all on your offer can cost you the home you’re looking for — negotiation like all things is a little give and a little take.

Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found the home you want and made an offer to get approved for your mortgage. Research the best home insurance and warranties before you buy as well. Go ahead and make a list of utilities and other services you’ll need to transfer before the rush to move starts.

Love it. Unless you are strictly into flipping buy your next home first and foremost because you love it, then think about appreciation. While home appreciation has remained fairly high over the years it shouldn’t be your first focus when you buy your home.

I hope you will keep me in mind when starting to look for your next home. I love helping people find just the right home for them. You can begin looking for your home right away by visiting my real estate website to see what’s currently available or contact me to work hands-on!

Foreclosures, Fall, and Home Design Trends

Signs of improvement! Mortgages in foreclosure for the Boise-Nampa metro area have decreased in July from July 2011, according to a national real estate research company. CoreLogic said the Treasure Valley’s foreclosure rate was 2.42 percent in July, 0.2 percentage points lower than July 2011. It also was below the national rate of 3.25 percent but above Idaho’s statewide rate of 2.33 percent.

That’s good news! And a positive turn for the housing industry overall! Bank owned real estate in the meantime still provides some of the best deals for home buyers in Idaho also. You can view all of the available bank owned homes on my website; here are a few of the top picks.

Big Dreams, Small Houses
The trend towards smaller more tech powered living spaces continues, especially in the urban centers of the country. While some may think it gives new meaning to living in a shoebox many find these pint sized palaces perfect for their needs. Some schools of thought say as our national concept of family continues to change that there will be even more need for one, two, and three person home designs. Read More Here…

Featured Deliciousness
Fall is in the air and with the cooler temperatures soup is once again the go-to meal that keeps the frost at bay. Tested this recipe on my friends and family – it was a big success! Delicious and healthy to boot, give this one a try, you won’t be disappointed!
Read the Recipe

I’m always sharing great recipes, as well as local Boise events and info on my Facebook page! Hop over there, give the page a LIKE! Follow along, or share your favorite recipes and ideas as well – I’d love to hear from you!
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Boise Says So Long Summer!

Summer in Idaho is slowly winding down. The days are starting to get just a little shorter and there is that hint of crisp Fall air in the mornings. That doesn’t mean things aren’t still hopping here in the Treasure Valley – quite the opposite! As this season draws to a close the next is already getting started; there are tons of festivals, events, and great times ahead to look forward to!

 

 

Home Prices Climb
One thing that specifically impacts my industry is the recent increase in home prices in the greater Boise area. Studies show that the cost of a home from July 2011 to July of this year as increased as much as 10%! Comparatively home prices nationwide have also seen an increase of about 3.4% – this is a definite sign that not only is the real estate sector recovering but also that the time to get in on historically low home prices may be slipping away! Read More…

Things Happening in Boise
There’s always something happening in the City of Tree’s! In addition to great events that just happened like the 1st Anniversary Boise Food Truck Rally there are also some upcoming activities you won’t want to miss!

For members of the Crane Creek Country Club the annual hot air balloon night glow event is coming up fast – don’t miss your chance to see these magical balloons shining through the night!

Here too is a current list of great things to do in Boise this weekend! See the top 5 things to do in Boise this weekend – click here.

Great Tips for Homeowners and Buyers!
I always strive to keep my clients and friends up to date on the latest happenings in the real estate world, as well as great tips for remodeling or improving their homes. Here are a couple of my latest finds that you might enjoy:

3 Home Buying Musts That Get Overlooked

3 HOT Home Design Trends

One way you can stay up on what’s going on is to LIKE my fan page on Facebook! Frequently updated with not only real estate news but also great local info and inspirational ideas. If you are wanting to learn about the area, or find a home in Boise please visit my website search area to get started – you
can always contact me directly for help as well!

New Home in Nampa Just Listed

Nampa Idaho Homes
I am EXCITED to share this one with all of you! This elegant home in Nampa Idaho comes with all of the modern amenities you demand plus rich warm interior styles you love!

Check Out These Details:
809 Augusta Drive Nampa, Idaho
4 Bedroom | 2.5 Baths | 3,041 Sq Ft

Fantastic custom built home on 1/2 acre with in ground pool and hot tub. Fully fenced yard with auto sprinklers, covered patio, storage area, and pool room. Nice flowing plan with formal living, dining, family room and office on the main level. The spacious kitchen features stainless steel appliances, large center island, hardwood floors and granite counter tops. 2 gas fireplaces and 1 pellet, 2 furnaces for temperature control. The master suite has a fireplace, coved ceiling, fan, dual vanities, jetted tub – a posh sanctuary from your busy day.

I am proud to serve the Treasure Valley with some of the best home finding services available today! Big or small I can help you find the most exceptional homes on the market in Idaho today. Visit my website to begin your Idaho home search now or contact me to get hands on help!