Real estate news for home buyers



12705 9th Ave Boise, ID  83714

Wonderful short sale opportunity located in the pleasing Hidden Springs Community!  This Boise short sale, containing 4 bedrooms, 3 ½ bathrooms and 3167 square feet is located directly across the street from the community pool and sits on an oversized corner lot.  This short sale opportunity contains superb finishing touches throughout which include:  tile, granite, hardwood, and vaulted ceilings.  This Boise short sale also encompasses a plush theater room with stadium seating, a separate guest quarter and a private office. Priced at only $329,000 yet the bank may take less for this Boise short sale home for sale. Call me today to view the interior!

The lien holder which must approve the Boise short sale should allow a closing cost credit of 3% to be included with the purchase of this home.

Please visit to view detailed information on this Boise short sale.

Interested in obtaining information on all Boise short sale homes for sale?  Just send me a quick not via email and I will forward a list of available Boise short sales within 24 hours.  Please sent your request to:


Call me today for additional information or to view the interior of this Boise short sale!  208-869-3469 . .

Purpose of a Buyers Agent

What specifically does an agent for the buyer actually do to earn their share of commission?  Obviously, a buyer agent supports the buyer (you) and represents your interests; they maintain confidences, and provide loyalty and care. How hard could that be?  Is this really more meaningful than making arrangements to open a door of a vacant home?  The answer is Yes!!!

Understanding your true needs:  First, any good buyer agent will need to find out exactly what you want, not just at a high level, such as your need for a 3 bedroom/2 bath condo for $500K.  But a buyer agent will want to know, when you close your eyes and picture yourself in your new home, what is the vision in your head?

  • Do you want a sunny spot for a garden?
  • Do you want a back yard, and should it be fenced?
  • Do you need space for visiting in-laws, and do you want that space right near your room, or far away in the basement?
  • Are you a chef who requires a world-class kitchen or would a small efficiency kitchen work fine?
  • Are you in a rush to purchase because you want to be in your home before the kids start school in September, or are you willing to take your time to find the “perfect” house?
  • How much are you pre-qualified for?  If you’re not pre-qualified, do you have an expert that can help, or do you need one?
  • Regardless of your pre-qualification status, how much are you really comfortable spending, since that may be a different amount.
  • Do you want a fireplace?  A pool?
  • Do you have a limit to what you wish to pay in taxes, utilities, and other charges?

The list goes on.  It’s our job to figure out exactly what would make you happy.

Finding and viewing potential matches:  Sure, you could do a, or lookup by yourself.  But local agents have access to a lot of information that the web does not; such as history of the home – has it been for sale before?  Has the price recently been reduced or increased?  What are the actual taxes?  Are there any developments or building issues going on in the location you wish to move to? For example, a real estate agent located in Perth will know the city intimately, he/she will know the traffic zones and times, what the city counsil is planing to build in the next few years and which school districts are the best. A local agent will work to select only those properties that are worth your time to view, and then we’ll call and schedule and cancel and reschedule the appointments as necessary.  We’ll also preview the properties ourselves to make sure they’re going to meet your needs.  And then of course we’ll take you to see them.  We’ll explain the particular benefits, and the potential downfalls for each home.  We’ll listen to your likes and dislikes so we can better target future showings.  And then we’ll repeat the process as often as possible until we find the right home for you.

Validating the information:  If you’re looking at a co-op or condo, we’ll verify the fees with the management company.  What is the fee for maintenance?  Does that include taxes?  What % of that fee is tax deductible?  Is there a parking fee?  Are there assessments?  If yes, when do they start and end, and how much are they?  When was the last one?   If you’re looking at a single family home, we’ll validate all information.  What are the town/state and village taxes?   We’ll verify the square feet with the town records.  Any data points that we have will be validated and clarified if necessary.

Putting in an offer:   We’ll make sure you have all the data you need to come up with a great offering price.  We’ll gather comparables so you’ll know what similar homes recently sold for.  We’ll fill out the necessary paperwork, contact the seller’s agent to make sure there haven’t been any last minute changes, and we’ll submit the offer.  And then we’ll negotiate on your behalf.  We’ll let you know what contigencies you should consider, and will ensure your offer includes them.

Completing the purchasing process:  Once we have an accepted offer, we’ll do all the work required to make the rest of your buying process simple.  If you don’t have your own, we’ll provide you with names of expert real estate lawyers, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, and anyone else you need to finalize your transaction.   We’ll obtain all documentation from the management company if you’re buying a co-op, and we’ll walk you through all the documentation requirements.  We’ll ensure appraisers have access to the home, we’ll do whatever we can to ensure contracts are completed expeditiously and we’ll hold your hand until you’re at the closing table and have signed your documents.

In a nutshell, buying a home can be incredibly complicated.  The buyer’s agent job is to make a potentially very difficult process extremely simple and to make sure your dream home doesn’t escape from your grasp.

I have been helping home buyers for over a decade and look forward to the opportunity to help YOU when it’s your time to purchase a home! Selling my house was rather easy too, as I know all the requirements home buyers usually have.


As you probably know, there is a plethora of bank owned homes for sale in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna and Star.   Banks are motivated to sell and will typically price these distressed homes 10-30 percent under current market values.  Granted, most do need cosmetic work done prior to move-in such as new carpet, paint, lawn maintenanceand other misc items.  However, there are some bank owned property which the previous homeowner has taken it upon themselves to leave the residence in nasty shape by taking a sledge hammer to walls and doors along with pulling all appliances like the range, dishwasher, disposal and microwave (sometimes water heaters and furnaces, too).  Unless you would like to take on the costs, I suggest bypassing some of the bank owned homes on the market. 

It is also important to not look for only bank owned homes.  There are numerous non-distressed homes on the market (fair market sellers) that must sell.  These homes are priced competitively and do not need the improvements that a foreclosed upon home typically does.  With that, it is important to consider the costs of repairs when deciding whether to purchase a home which needs some love (yet is priced lower than the home down the street) or one that is turn key and ready to be moved into.

Bank owned homes will be prevelant in our market through 2010 and part of 2011.  Would you like a list of bank owned homes forwarded to you?  If so, read this article or send me an email with your contact info and I will provide a list of bank owned property currently on the market.

Buying a foreclosed home 101

Don’t bother browsing through the legal filings in your local paper or showing up to courthouse auctions—there is too much risk and most banks will not sell at auction for less than the amount currently owed against it. Instead, contact myself or Hua Hin Real Estate Agents that can provide you a list of homes for sale. Also, you can go directly to to search specifically for bank owned property being offered at rock bottom prices.

It’s makes more sense to purchase homes that are being sold directly through the bank since a buyer purchasing homes at foreclosure auctions must have cash on hand at the time of the sale and typically hasn’t had an opportunity to inspect the home appropriately. Also, many homes sold at auction may have additional liens such as a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage that may have fallen under the cracks. If that is the case then the buyer of the auctioned home is responsible for clearing the lien(s).

When a bank takes final possession after foreclosure and lack of a winning bidder at the auction, the entity will clear the home of all liens and encumbrances. When buying a bank owned home, the purchaser has an opportunity to inspect the home and the offer and earnest money put down is contingent upon buyer approval of the inspection. A home purchased directly from the bank can also be financed.

Bank owned homes currently for sale on the public market typically have been sitting vacant for no less than six months and have often been vandalized or stripped of items such as water heaters, oven/ranges, microwaves and even cabinetry. “One mistake a lot of people make is underestimating how much work the home needs and the cost associated with fixing it,” say Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac. To avoid getting stuck with any surprise bills, it is essential to have a certified home inspector provide the true condition of the home. Secondly, it is important to properly estimate the amount of time and money needed to bring the home back to a livable condition.

Be aware, not all banks are selling their inventory (foreclosures) at fire sale prices; some are listed at or around market value. However, most firms offer property at or around 10% under current market value with the hope that a buyer will purchase within a 30-day timeframe. The larger the inventory of foreclosed homes the bank is holding along with the length of time the home has been on the market will determine your chances of nabbing a home drastically under market value.

Determine your offering price by finding out how many days the home has been on the market along with the activity associated with it (it is important for your representation to inquire with the banks representation to find out if there are alternate interested parties). I suggest offering 10% under the banks asking price unless it is found that the bank is highly motivated. You must also consider alternate buyers that may be willing to pay more than you at that time.

Be prepared to wait for a response to your offer when attempting to purchase a bank owned home. While some banks respond w/in 36 hours, others dealing with an enormous backlog can hold up response for as long as three month. While you wait, another party can unfortunately trump your offer with a higher one. With that, it is important to have multiple properties in mind and to get pre-approved for financing prior to making an offer (unless you plan on purchasing with cash). Even if the home of your dreams has gone into pending status prior to you writing an offer for it, be sure to have your representation continually check the status since real estate transactions do fall.

Remember, it is essential to have representation when purchasing bank owned, short sales or fair market homes. Contact me today to discuss the possibilities!

Short Sales 101

Brushing up on your short sale knowledge is essential in this market since nearly 50% if all homes currently for sale are distressed (either short sale or bank owned).  Bank owned homes can typically be purchased within 30 days since the home has been foreclosed upon and title has been transferred to the bank.  Purchasing a bank owned property is very similar to purchasing from a normal seller yet there are much more disclosures involved.  A short sale means that the current owner is requesting the bank to take less than what is owed in order to avoid foreclosure—short the bank on what is owed is a way to look at it.  This requires approval from the lending institution. 

 The process:

 1)     To be a short sale, the homeowner usually is in default or in a position to be in default (divorce, loss of job, injury, etc) The seller most likely has tried to get their loan modified yet to no avail.  Next step is to place the home on the market as a short sale.

2)     The agent marketing the property will advertise to the public as a short sale.  Short sales are typically priced very aggressively yet it is important to remember that the bank determines the final price. 

3)     An offer is submitted to the seller and the seller accepts it in writing (unless the seller feels that the offer would not be accepted by the bank) 

4)     The seller will compile a short sale package for submittal to the lender (or lenders) that includes the executed offer, seller financial statements, bank authorization letters, previous 2 years taxes, a hardship letter and listing agreement. 

5)     Once the package is submitted to the lender the buyer and seller must wait for approval.  The lender will typically request an appraisal to be completed firstly in order to determine value.  Second, they will compare proceeds of the short sale to the proceeds received if the home is foreclosed upon in order to determine whether or not the sale can be approved. Banks such as B of A and Chase can take as long as 4 months for a response.  Patience is a virtue!

6)     The bank approves, rejects or counters the offer.  If there is acceptances of your offer then expect to close w/in 30 days after the approval is obtained. 

 It is important for a buyer who is pursuing a short sale to keep all options open.  Most offers submitted on a short sale can be cancelled at any time prior to bank approval by both the buyer or the seller.  With that, I suggest continuing to look for homes while the offer is working its way through the approval process.  More often than not, an alternate home will come onto the market that fits the buyer’s needs and IS NOT a short sale. 

 The lending institutions are working in association with the US Government to streamline short sales during the year of 2010 and beyond in order to decrease approval timeframes that in turn helps fewer homes go into foreclosure.  Personally, I have noticed that banks are already responding to short sale offers more rapidly and hope that the trend continues.


Buying a home has many components associated with the process. Although every transaction is different, below you will find steps linked with most real estate purchases.

  1. Hire a buyers agent. A crucial step since it is essential to have an experienced Broker protected your interests.  Using the services of a buyer’s agent in the State of Idaho is free to the buyer in 99% of all real estate transaction.  Choose wisely!
  2. Get pre-qualified.  A pre-qualification will provide you and your agent essential knowledge prior to step 3.  Visit your local bank or mortgage broker.  Or, ask me for a list of home loan specialists that have provided top-notch service along with lower fees. 
  3. Start browsing for homes online—if you haven’t already. Go to to view property descriptions, interior photos, virtual tours, community information, school ratings and much more.
  4. View property.  By now you and your agent have probably have a list of homes to view.  Rely on your agent to schedule appointments and accompany you to all viewings.
  5. Write a purchase and sale agreement. Now that you’ve found the home you would like, it is time to write an offer.  Consult with your agent for strategies.  Things to take into consideration are the following:  how many days on the market?  Short Sale or bank owned?  How much interest is there currently on the property? (your agent will find this out for you)   
  6. Negotiate.  An essential element of the Broker’s duties.  Hiring an experienced real estate broker that has been involved with hundreds of transactions will have the negotiation skills that will save you time and money.  
  7. Earnest money deposited.  Usually after the offer is accepted your earnest money will be deposited in a non-interest bearing trust account.  Your earnest money is credited to you at closing and can be returned if you are unable to obtain necessary financing or have an unsatisfactory inspection or appraisal. 
  8. Open escrow or submit your offer to the title company agreed to on the purchase and sale agreement. Your buyers agent will coordinate this step for you and will review the title policy ensuring that you have clean title at time of closing.
  9. Order an appraisal. Your lender will typically coordinate the ordering of the appraisal.  The purpose of the appraisal is to ensure value and safety for you and the firm providing financing. 
  10. Review and execute all necessary disclosures.  Types of disclosure may include a Seller’s Property Disclosure Form, A Lead Based Paint Disclosure, FHA Disclosures, Lender Disclosures—so on and so forth.  Your agent will help make sense of it all.
  11. Get a home inspection—even if the home is brand new. One of the most important aspects when purchasing a home.  Your inspector’s job is to go over your future investment with a fine-toothed comb.  He or she will typically provide a report of the findings.  Ask your agent for a list of quality inspectors if you don’t already have one.   If there are problems, you have the right to request that the seller make necessary repairs.   
  12. Removal of all other contingencies. These contingencies could sewer and well inspections along with other miscellaneous contingencies—depending upon the type of property being purchased. 
  13. Get Homeowners insurance. Provide to your lender proof of insurance so that it can be reviewed and approved prior to closing.  It is essential to have proper insurance yet remember to insure the structure, not the land.  I suggest shopping for the best insurance rate.
  14. Conduct a final walk-through. Done to ensure that any repairs requested were completed along with making certain there was no damage to the property after the inspection was completed.
  15. Sign closing documentation. Typically done at a title company.  Your lender and agent will most likely be present to walk you through the documentation.  
  16. Deposit funds with the title company. Depending upon the type of financing you choose to use, a check for your down payment and closing costs may be required unless you are taking advantage of the first time homebuyer tax credit.  The title company will verify funds and also request funds from your lender.  
  17. Get keys. Within 24 hours necessary monies will be transferred and the property will be recorded in your name.  At this time the home is officially yours. 

Make sure to keep in touch with your agent.  You may have questions after the fact or others that could use the services of a knowledgable real estate broker. Our  job doesn’t end at closing.

Sweat Equity on the Rise!!

Jim and Kristina have taken advantage of the real estate market.

At the start of 2009 this couple sold their home in Meridian with the intention of moving to California to be near family. After months and months of looking at several homes in the Golden State, the couple became discouraged and began to sense that Boise Idaho’s pricing, along with quality of living, was too good to pass up. With that, Jim, Kristina and I began a search for their new home.

New construction, short sales, bank-owned property and occupied homes alike all had positives and negatives. When the dust settled, however, the couple found that a well-built bank-owned property within a cozy community fit the bill very nicely. Although the paint was distasteful and the curb lacking any appeal, the parquet flooring of the house made up for that. The kitchen was open and bright with plenty of cabinet space, the floor plan flowed with ease and the quality of construction was first rate. In 2006 this home would have sold for the mid 180’s but by working together, the Beans were able to make the purchase for only $130,000.

Jim and Kristina have always been “handy” people. In fact, while in California the couple spent many weeks helping their son and daughter construct their personal home. During this time, Jim and Kristina learned trades that included installing tile, hardwood flooring, siding-you name it!! The knowledge was definitely put to good use.

The work began. Kristina began stripping the countertops and laying tile. Jim started pulling the dirty carpet and ripped vinyl planning to lay a hickory floor. Even the roofs had to be reapired with the broken ones to be replaced with new pieces to prevent leaks. Commercial roof repair St. Louis helped them with that while they were busy working on the kitchen renovation. All the while, doing prep work for the full interior paint job. After nearly 30 days of sleeping on cots and eating cold dinners, the Beans completed their project and invited me over to see the results of their “sweat equity”.

I could hardly believe that it was the same home! The smell of fresh paint and lacquer was prevalent while Kristina excitedly directly me toward the kitchen. Granite and tile graced the middle island, countertops and backsplashes; the cabinetry was antiqued while the stainless steel appliances topped it off. “Wow!” I exclaimed. Next, Jim spoke about the hickory flooring that was laid throughout the first floor. It was gorgeous and only cost $1,000 for the material! Jim and Kristina were proud of their work and had every right to be. Click for more information if you want to achieve such an impressive result, too.

Before leaving, Jim and I discussed the market and what the home might sell for right now. At least $150,000, I mentioned, if not more. Jim stated that he and Kristina had put $2,000 (plus or minus) into material and couldn’t be more thrilled that they had realistically made $16,000 for their time. “In a year or so, Matt, we’ll be doing this again. And also, my kids down South are itching take advantage of the pricing around here”.

Jim, Kristina and I

Jim, Kristina and I

Before Remodel--Kitchen

Before Remodel–Kitchen

After Remodel--Kitchen

After Remodel–Kitchen

Before Remodel--Living Room

Before Remodel–Living Room

After Remodel--Living room/mantle

After Remodel–Living room/mantle

HomeBuyer Big Mistakes

The best way to avoid making a mistake it to learn from the mistakes others have made. Buying a home in a desirable location is your best defense. Remember: location, location, location.

* First-Time Home Buyer Tips.
Start your search online, and don’t rely on print because most homes are not advertised in the newspaper.

* Preview Homes for Sale.
Ask your agent to look at homes before showing them to you, and tour only those that fit your parameters.

* Avoid the Top 3 Home Buying Blunders.
Protect your earnest money deposit by writing contingencies into your contract.

Don’t go at it alone.  One of the most important steps if finding the right buyer’s agent to help you along the way.

Make sure you know the difference between the signing time and the actual closing date.   This can help you avoid a ton of frustration.

How To Pick An Agent

With so much information available online, you might wonder why you need an agent at all. But all local markets vary from one another, and a good agent can guide you by giving you information based on experience and market knowledge.

* Why Hire an Agent?.
An agent with experience can help you to avoid making mistakes such as choosing the wrong home or offering too much.

* Find a Real Estate Agent.
Start by asking your friends and family member for referrals. Make sure you are comfortable with your agent before committing to work with that person.

* Follow Protocol for Working with Agents.
Here are 10 tips to prevent you from messing up or saying the wrong thing to an agent.