Energy Saving Alternatives Can Save You Some Greenbacks

These hot summer days make me cringe at the thought of my next power bill.  When the air conditioning unit come on I can see the greenbacks floating out of my checkbook.

I don’t currently have any alternative energy sources but I am considering it for my next home building project.  Nice to know that there are a few federal tax credits for those that choose to make some energy efficient home improvements.Image

Not all energy efficient improvements qualify. You can get credit for the following:

  • geothermal heat pumps that meet the Energy Star program requirements.
  • small residential wind turbines
  • solar water heaters ~ not applicable for hot tubs or swimming pools.
  • solar panels ~ must meet current building codes.
  • fuel cells

The residential energy tax credit helps individual taxpayers pay for residential alternative energy equipment. It is only good thru 2016 so move fast if you plan to install some of these energy efficient improvements.

This credit is not available on rental properties, only on your primary residence or second home.

If you’re eligible, you can claim this credit on Form 5695,  Residential Energy Credits when you file your federal income tax return.

For all the details, see IRS Notice 2009-41, which you can download from www.irs.gov. Click here for the direct link to form 5695.

Stay cool my friends and thanks for stopping by my blog.  If you are ever in need of a friendly Realtor with lots of experience, please give me a call at 208.890.8390 or send me an e-mail @ iGroupRE@gmail.com

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Should You Trust Zestimate?

A few days ago I was showing property to an out of state buyer when I noticed his spreadsheet on the homes we were previewing had a Zestimate Value column.

What is a Zestimate: (Definition from Zillow)

The Zestimate® (pronounced ZEST-ti-met, rhymes with estimate) home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. 

The Zestimate on my buyers spreadsheet was substantially lower than the listing prices of the homes we were previewing which peaked my curiosity.  It’s critical to have accurate data in order to make an informed decision about buying a home.  No one wants to pay more than necessary to obtain their dream home nor do most want to insult the seller of a home with an unrealistic offer.  Knowing what’s happening in the the current market is crucial! 

How is it that Zillow could obtain sold data on Idaho homes when Idaho is a non disclosure state? Non disclosure states do not publish sold prices for public record. I decided to do a little research.

Using information from our local data base, Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, I found recent sold homes and compared them with the Zestimate value on Zillow. In every sample the numbers were far apart.

Here is one example of a home that I recently listed and within a couple of days secured a full price offer. This particular home was listed just a little under average square foot price for the neighborhood.

Image

Listing & Offer Price: $499,000
Zestimate Value:       $414,894

That’s a pretty substantial gap!

If you want to know what a home actually sold for, you need to call a Realtor. As a Realtor, I can look up that information for you in our MLS system. When we input a home into the MLS and that house sells, we are required to report accurate sold information.

I was able to provide my buyer using the Zestimate Value accurate data about our current home market. Happily, we secured a new home for him and he is excited to move his family to Idaho.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home and want accurate data to help you make an informed decision, your best bet is to call a Realtor.

Hot Home Trends for 2013

Boise-035As the way we live in our homes is changing there are many home trends in 2013 that will be directly shaped by a bit of that change. Trends in culture are showing people are changing jobs more often rather than being committed “company men” as has been the way of things for the last century; because of this homeowner’s needs and style preferences are directly influencing the types of things they are putting importance on in the home.

Here are just a few of the hot home trends for 2013:

Outdoor Living Spaces
This one is on FIRE! And hey, why not have a fire? Patio spaces with well designed decks, fire pits, and bar-be-que spaces with all the latest gadgets are all the rage. Courtyards are being customized with audio and video, turning what was just a space for holiday hangouts into places you will be spending more of your time in all year round.

Neutrals and Color Pops
Neutral main color themes seemed to have caught on, some say for affordability, but also because they make pops of color all the more vibrant. If you’ve not seen this style do a little googling or pop around pinterest to find out what it’s all about. Neutral doesn’t have to be drab or plain if you know how to work it!

Energy Efficiency
Especially in the area of new home construction, there’s been a real influx of “green energy” builders – even here in our little valley! Not only is this trend great for the environment but it’s also great for the homeowner as these new technologies not only provide a savings on the month to month costs of owning your home but in many cases they can also lend to the longevity of your home as well.

These are just a few samples of what’s hot in homes right now! I love working with home buyers, especially one’s who have great ideas about what they want in their next home. Part of providing the best East Boise real estate services possible is knowing what’s going on in the market; that is one place in which I excel! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and please feel free to contact me about any of your home needs!

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!

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!