WOW Them With Your First Impression!

Let’s be honest, having your home on the market can be downright exhausting, especially with showings that can occur at any time of day or night with little notice. The sooner you can secure a buyer the better for everyone involved.

Paying attention to the interior of a home to keep it show-ready is a time-consuming endeavor, but as you are doing so, don’t neglect to take care of your home’s exterior spaces, as well. Pay attention to small details.

The very first impression buyers will have of a home is the front exterior spaces, and a lawn that is neglected, shrubs that need  pruning, and other eyesores will potentially turn buyers off before they ever set foot in your home.  

ImageOne of the services we offer at Integrity Group Real Estate is a free consultation for staging not only the interior of your home but also specific recommendations on prepping the exterior of your home as well.

For a complimentary market analysis, you can contact us at 208.890.8390 or send us an      e-mail at iGroupRE@gmail.com

 

Thanks for visiting!

You can also find us at: iGroupRE.com

 

Integrity, it’s not just our name, it’s how we do business…

 

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2631 W Sky Wood Drive Eagle Idaho ~ $524,900.

Take a moment to check out our newest listing in Timberland Estates, Eagle Idaho.  Custom built, one owner home situated on .85 acres.  This single story home with upstairs bonus room features 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, formal dining and vaulted living area.  The kitchen has all the goodies any chef would desire including two pantries, double ovens, granite counters and is open to the eating  and living area.  An 18×13 workshop, separate from the garage,  is a plus for any hobbyist. Bedroom 2 has a full bath attached and would be a terrific second mini master. Property includes apple, peach, and plum trees with permanent garden shed and garden area. Lots of quality in this house with hardwood floors, tile and custom woodwork. If you love lots of storage and a bit of elbow room, this might just be your new home.

2631 W Sky Wood Drive

For more photos and details of this fine home click here.

To visit this home, please call today at 208.890.8390

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

Love To Cook? You Might Just Like This Kitchen!

ImageHomes are moving quickly in this sought after Meridian neighborhood.

Don’t wait too long before taking a peek at my newest listing in Settlers Bridge.

Click here for a video tour

Click here for more property details

Thanks for stopping by my blog…..

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.

This can save you thousands of dollars but don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret…

Have you ever dared to look at the total amount of interest you’d pay if your mortgage went to a typical 30 year term?  Yikes!  Want a few simple ways to cut that interest down to size? Found this great article written by Barbara Bayer that I thought some of you might enjoy.

Send in extra money to pay down principal 

In the mid-1970s, Marc Eisenson coined the term “banker’s secret,” which promoted a cost-saving idea: Pay more than required on your monthly mortgage, and you’ll save a pile of money. Eisenson says, “It was a secret that bankers knew, but didn’t share with their customers.”

Here’s how it works. If you take out a $200,000 30-year mortgage at an interest rate of 6%, and hold it to term, you’ll pay a total of $382,537.97 for your home, including interest of $182,537.97. However, if you send in just $100 each month in additional principal, you’ll save more than $49,000 in interest over the term of the loan.

There’s another huge perk: You’ll pay off the loan five years and five months ahead of schedule. This strategy puts you in total control of the restructuring process, and there are no fees involved.

Another way to pay off your loan early is to use a bi-weekly payment plan. Banks and third-party companies can implement this plan for you, but they’ll charge hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees. We don’t recommend you pay for the service unless you lack the self-discipline to make the payments yourself.

With this strategy, you make half your monthly mortgage payment every two weeks, which equals 13 payments a year instead of 12. With bi-weekly payments on a 30-year $200,000 loan, you’ll save more than $49,000 in interest over the course of the loan, and pay it off approximately five years earlier.

Other ways to easily do it yourself:

  • Make one additional mortgage payment per year at any time.
  • Divide your monthly payment by 12, and add that extra amount each month when you pay your mortgage.

Recast mortgage for lower payments

If you want to lower your monthly payment and have at least $5,000 to contribute, you can request a mortgage recast. In this scenario, you don’t change the interest rate or term of your mortgage, you change the principal balance, and the term begins anew.

Here’s how it works: After 10 years of paying your 30-year mortgage with a 6% interest rate and a monthly payment of $1,432.86, your balance is $200,000. With a mortgage recast, you contribute an additional $20,000, and have a new principal amount of $180,000, with the same remaining 20 years to pay it off at 6%. However, your new monthly payment is $1,289.58, for a savings of $143.28 per month.

There’s a small fee for this service — approximately $250. The bank gets nothing out of this except retaining your loyalty, so they don’t promote it. It’s up to the lender whether it’ll do it, so all you can do is ask. It’s also likely to be a lengthy process. You have nothing to lose, however, except a higher monthly payment.

Refinance your loan

The most common way to restructure your loan is with a mortgage refinance, where you replace your current mortgage with a new one at a lower interest rate. If you took that same $200,000 balance on your 6% mortgage and refinanced into one with a 5% interest rate, you’d reduce your monthly payment from $1,199 to $1,074, saving $125 monthly.

Refinancing may be challenging to get approved for in a tight lending environment, where you need stellar credit scores and a steady job history. You’ll also need to pay closing costs, which can run 3% to 6% of the loan amount.

These tips are appropriate if you’re current on your mortgage and have extra money. Struggling home owners should consider the government-sponsored Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) for mortgage restructuring.

 

 

Monopoly in real life…

With vacancy rates, mortgage interest rates, and property prices still low many people are considering starting their rental portfolio.  In order to start your rental property business, how do you finance your first home and get started?

If you can buy as an owner occupy and live in the property for 12 months you can get the best financing. Currently you can get a loan with as little as 3.5 percent with FHA financing and often times the seller may help with closing costs. After a year you can purchase your next property, live in it, and rent out the original. If you are thinking about your financial future and have time on your side this is an excellent way to get started.

If you want to buy a rental property without occupying, you will need 20 to 25 percent as a down payment for most loans and decent credit.  If you have cash or CD’s this may be a good time to convert your liquid assets into an investment property and increase your rate of return.

Now is a very good time to buy investment property. With some thoughtful planning and a little hard work you can increase your income stream and plan your future retirement.

For more information about purchasing and financing investment properties in the Boise, Eagle, Meridian, or surrounding Treasure Valley area contact me at this link or call me at 208.890.8390.  I’m always happy to assist with your real estate needs.