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September
26

Curb Appeal Tips for Fall

Delta Media Group

First impressions are everything when it comes to selling your house.  When a potential home buyer drives by your home, what will they see?  The outside of your home should serve as a preview for the inside of your home.

"WOW" home buyers from the curb with these tips perfect for the fall. 

  1. Spruce up your lawn
    Brilliant fall foliage can automatically "sell" your home for showings, but that doesn't mean you should forget about raking the leaves and mowing.  Keep those leaves raked and give your lawn the TLC it needs to look great. Patch any brown spots, and water the lawn as long as possible to keep it green and vibrant.

  2. Plant fall flowers
    Once lawn maintenance is handled, add a splash of color to your landscape by planting fall flowers.  Some of the best fall flowers include vibrant mums, yellow marigolds, sedum, or goldenrod.  You can also place fall flowers in pots near your front door along with a few pumpkins as accents.

  3. Highlight the front door
    Calling attention to your front door is a good selling tactic no matter what season when you're selling your house.  Your front door is like an invitation to your home. Hang a fall wreath for added color and a festive touch.  A fresh coat of paint in a vivid color can make your entrance stand out.

  4. Tidy up the exterior
    During the fall, your home becomes more exposed making its exterior appearance even more important.  Before listing your home for sale, pressure wash your siding, sidewalks, and walkways.  Clean the windows.  Apply a fresh coat of paint as needed.

  5. Clear out the gutters
    Being diligent about home maintenance tells buyers you care about your home's upkeep.  Keeping your gutters and downspouts clear from leaves and debris protects your home from water damage and ups the ante for curb appeal.

  6. Invest in outdoor lighting
    Days get shorter during the fall.  Exterior light adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your landscape and improves safety. Illuminate your walkways, front door, and important landscaping elements so the home shines no matter when people drive by.

  7. Keep outdoor decorations simple
    A simple fall wreath on the door and seasonal flowers make your home look inviting to potential homebuyers.  However, scarecrows and spooky Halloween decorations may "scare off" homebuyers and distract them from the gorgeous exterior you've worked so hard to otherwise create.

September
12

Should You Get a Home Inspection BEFORE Selling?

Delta Media Group

Selling your home? A recent survey showed more than 85 percent of buyers who applied for financing asked for an inspection of the home they intended to buy. Today's savvy home buyers rarely leave things up to chance — they want to be assured they are getting great value.

Despite this growing trend, many sellers still wait for buyers to take the initiative on inspections. A seller might save a few hundred dollars by waiting until the buyer makes the first move, but this is rarely worthwhile. In fact, there are many benefits to taking the plunge and getting an inspection as soon as you decide you are serious about putting your property on the market.

Let's look at six benefits of pre-listing home inspections:

  1. Attract More Buyers
    Savvy buyers who have purchased a property before will know about the necessity of a home inspection and will appreciate this is one less step (and expense) they need to worry about. New buyers seeking their first home may not be as savvy at first, but they will soon figure it out. All in all, an inspection will reassure and attract more would-be buyers.

  2. Accelerate the Sales Process
    Sooner or later, an inspection will happen — and when it does, it's bound to turn up something. Relatively minor issues might throw a wrench into your hopes of selling your home. When you get proactive, you have the chance to resolve problems that might otherwise add months to the sales process. Plus, in many cases, you can turn those fixes into part of your sales pitch.

  3. Provide a Stronger Negotiating Position
    Most home sales involve some "give and take" over the final price. Buyers will look for anything they can find as a reason to maneuver excess costs onto the seller. With a recent inspection report in hand, you can counter these moves without any sour grapes — you've gone the extra mile to ensure that everything in the home is on the up and up, after all!

  4. Reduce Recurring Repair Bills
    It isn't always easy to determine the true source of a recurring problem in a home, even a newer one. For example, if your toilet drains slowly, you might simply need to snake it... or you may have a major issue with your septic system. Whatever the case, an inspection helps you get to the real root of the problem. It saves money if you don't sell and improves your price if you do.

  5. Take Control of the Process
    Unless you find out something truly appalling, you don't necessarily have to take time to repair whatever an inspection turns up. Instead, you have the option of lowering your price or going "as-is." All in all, an inspection gives you the opportunity to take the steps that are right for you instead of running to catch up to a buyer whose inspection uncovers unwelcome surprises.

  6. If You're Selling Your Home, Start with an Inspection
    In today's real estate market, a seller's pre-inspection of a home is a mark of quality that buyers increasingly expect. If you put your home on the market and don't find interested buyers in a relatively short time, an inspection is one precaution you'll end up taking.

With all that in mind, selling your home should almost always start with an inspection. It's an essential step, just like making basic repairs, listing your home in the right places, staging it for potential buyers, and partnering with a real estate agent you can trust.

August
25

Though some might think of Idaho Falls as "on the way" to the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park and not a destination unto itself, this little city has tons to see. Take some time to explore the sites!

  • Snake River Greenbelt and Riverwalk Start your day with an early morning stroll along the river. The paved trail covers five miles on both banks. It's easily accessible and has strategically placed park benches, restrooms, picnic tables, and drinking fountains along the way. Be sure to stop at the falls and take in the views. Originally river rapids, a retaining wall was built for a hydroelectric plant turning those rapids into falls. 
  • The Idaho Falls Zoo in Tautphaus Park (2740 Carnival Way, Idaho Falls) A centerpiece of this beautiful park, the Zoo features over 300 animals representing 130 species from across the world. Owned and operated by the City of Idaho Falls, the Zoo participates in over 40 species survival plans. 
  • Tautphaus Park (2800 S. Boulevard) While you're at the Zoo, be sure to schedule some time to explore the rest of the park. In it you'll find Funland Amusement Park, picnic shelters, a basketball court, skateboard park, an ice arena (winter only), baseball/softball fields, tennis courts, and more. 
  • The Japanese Pavilion and Friendship Garden (600 W. Broadway) Located on a small island in the Snake River, the garden sits on the site of the first bridge to span the Snake River in Eastern Idaho. Features such as a viewing platform, large Japanese lantern, and a "Dragon's Path" across a pond create a beautiful and peaceful place to stroll. 
  • The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho (300 S. Capital Ave.) TAM, as it's known, features innovative exhibits and focuses on educational art programs. The only art museum in eastern Idaho and convenient to the Riverwalk, this is a definite for your to-do list. Visit their website to check out some fun classes for artists of all ages!
August
18

Doers of Good: Eastern Idaho Dash for Down Syndrome

Coldwell Banker agents, staff, and managers are a special breed, working hard to assist our clients fulfill their real estate goals while keeping our focus on community and on making our cities and towns better places for all of us.

Because of our firm belief that we have an obligation to the people and places that keep our communities strong, we've set an ambitious goal for the next ten years: to give a minimum of $10 million to the organizations that work to help our neighbors in need. We call this our "Doers of Good."

It gives us great pleasure to introduce our August Doers of Good from Eastern Idaho:

For three years, the Realtors® and administrative staff at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Idaho Falls have had a great time serving up breakfast, smiles, and hugs at the annual Dash for Down Syndrome fun run event to raise awareness and operating capital for the East Idaho Down Syndrome Family Connect organization. 

Established in 2015 by Rochelle Larsen as she was embarking on the journey of raising her daughter with Down syndrome, the 501(c)(3) has grown to serve 136 local families. With a mission of "building a positive connection" inside the community, the nonprofit is 100% volunteer based and holds events throughout the year with every dollar raised used to support people with Down syndrome, their families, and the Eastern Idaho community. They spread their messages of kindness and inclusion by visiting schools, businesses, and sports teams and by creating events such as the Dash for Down Syndrome, the organization's largest fundraiser of the year.  

Postponed for a couple of years due to the pandemic, the Dash is a day to celebrate those with Down syndrome in Eastern Idaho. 2019's race/walk saw 940 participants and raised $33,100. Hopes for the 2022 event on August 27th at Snake River Landing in Idaho Falls are high.

Coldwell Banker Tomlinson agents and staff will be on hand to provide a great pancake breakfast along with smiles, laughs, and plenty of hugs. Says Lynette Neibaur, office manager of the Idaho Falls real estate office, "We love participating in this great event! This will be our fourth year, and we wouldn't miss it."

There's still time to sign up and, certainly, to donate. Visit https://dashfordownsyndrome.itsyourrace.com/ to sign up or find out how to help. And stay tuned for a wrap-up with photos after the 27th!

*****

Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better. 

August
22

MAINTENANCE HACKS FOR YOUR HOME

From our friends at Delta Media Group

Little fixes around the home can take time and money. Try one of our quick tips to save both! 

  1. Fasten a Tennis Ball to your Mop Handles
    Never get on your hands and knees again to scrub scuff marks off your floor. Simply attach a fuzzy tennis ball to the end of your mop handle, and whenever you find a difficult scuff, flip the mop over and use the tennis ball to buff the mark from the floor.

    Bonus Hack: Keeping a couple of tennis balls in your swimming pool helps remove the oils, lotions, and sunscreens from the water.

  2. Plunge the Clogs from the Drains
    The next time your bathtub or sink drain backs up, don't reach for a bottle of expensive chemical drain cleaner. Grab your toilet plunger instead. Fill the basin with a few inches of water, use a bit of cloth to cover the overfill hole, and use the plunger over the drain. More often than the clog loosens after just a few plunges.

  3. Easy Spackle
    If your drywall cracks, make your own spackling compound by mixing a small amount of baking soda with glue.

  4. Loosen Stubborn Nails
    Whenever you engage in a home improvement project, there always seems to be that one nail that refuses to come out. A homeowner's trick that frequently works involves using a hairdryer to warm the nail, causing it to expand, creating a larger hole so that after the nail cools and returns to normal size, you can easily remove it.

  5. Repair Windows
    If you have a small hole or crack in your windows, fill the space with clear nail polish. It prevents the hole/crack from spreading when the temps drop below freezing.

  6. Caulking Made Easy
    Caulking isn't always a favorite home maintenance chore. Many struggle to keep the tip of the caulk gun straight or they find that they get caulk everywhere but the spot they want it at. Rather than having a professional come into handle routine caulking for you, stock up on painter's tape. Simply place a strip of painter's tape above and below the area you need to be caulked. Caulk the area and peel the tape away while the caulk is still wet. All the mess goes on the tape.

  7. Fix Holes in Drywall
    Don't worry if you get a small hole in your drywall. Fixing it is easy. Home improvement experts will tell you that you'll need to invest in paper tape or mesh. However, those with strong home maintenance skills know that all they really need is a small makeup brush to spackle their walls. Use the brush to fill the hole with spackle and sandpaper to sand down the spackle.

  8. Take the Elbow Grease Out of Shower Cleaning
    Rather than scrub by hand, easily clean your shower by fastening a foam ball to your cordless drill attachment. It'll have your shower gleaming in no time.

August
12

Terrific BBQ Recipes

Fantastic recipes just in time for your late summer get-together!

Tequila Baby Back Ribs

2 Tbsp. chili powder 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. paprika 1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. garlic powder 1 chopped onion
1 Tbsp. salt 1 lg. handful chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp dried oregano 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
2 tsp. cumin 1 bottle (fifth) tequila
1 tsp. black pepper 1 lemon, halved
1 tsp. white pepper 2 limes

Combine all the above and season 2 full slabs of ribs, each cut in half. Refrigerate 2-4 hours.  Put half of 1 slab in 1-gallon ziploc bag, layer with onion, cilantro, and garlic. Place other half on top, repeat with onion, cilantro, and garlic. Pour in half bottle tequila. Add juice of half lemon and 1 lime. Seal. Repeat with other slab. Marinate at least 4 hours. Grill with onion, cilantro, and garlic at 350 degrees until done.

 

Honey Mango-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

1 c. honey 4 ripe mangos, cubed
2 full racks, baby back ribs 1 tsp. pepper
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 1 Tbsp. salt

Remove ribs from packaging, rinse and pat dry. Remove membrane from backside of ribs. Place ribs in shallow pan, sprinkle salt and pepper evenly and set aside. In a small saucepan, add chipotle/adobo, mango and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until cooked down and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Using the slow and low method of BBQ'ing, set temperature to 225-240 degrees. If using coals, let them burn off and move over to one side of the grill. Wrap the ribs and 2/3 of the sauce mixture in aluminum foil tightly and place on grill. Close lid. After 2 hours, flip the ribs and let cook for another 2 hours. Open the aluminum and remove ribs, place them on grill and brush on remaining sauce and let cook another 30 minutes.

July
15

Coldwell Banker Scores First in Agent Satisfaction. Again.

Confucius said, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." 

The real estate professionals across the Coldwell Banker brand are passionate about their industry – and about their brand. For the third time, Coldwell Banker Real Estate ranked #1 in agent satisfaction in the annual "Agent Priorities" report conducted by Quester.

Designed to keep what's important to agents top of mind, the report zeroes in on topics such as work/life balance, brand image, support, tools, and culture. Knowing what makes an agent more likely to stay with a company is a key component in what brokerages can do to foster positive work environments and grow their agents' businesses.

On a local level, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson combines the strength of the national tools with additional services designed to help our Realtors® list, sell, and learn.

Full-time managing brokers are in place to provide immediate assistance. Offices are staffed with Agent Services Experts (ASEs) to help with marketing, paperwork, and training. A company-wide marketing team is in place to create campaigns that support current market trends, listing types, and services.

With continuing education an important aspect of any business, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson offers in-house classes, regular lunch 'n' learn trainings, continuing education at no cost, and national certifications and classes.

To read the results of the report, visit the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog.

July
20

Home Repairs that Can't Wait

Delta Media Group

Home improvement can be costly and time-consuming, so it's no surprise that many homeowners put off making repairs as long as possible. Smaller repairs can usually be safely left until the timing is more advantageous, perhaps when you have more money in the bank or some vacation time. There are some repairs, however, that should be taken care of as soon as possible. These home repairs are so important that failing to make them could result in serious injury and increased costs.

  1. Electrical System
    Some home improvement projects include work on the electrical system, such as installing a ceiling fan or changing a light switch. These are examples of repairs that can be done whenever you can fit them into your schedule. Some electrical problems require immediate action, though. These include unexplained circuit breaker failures, flickering or inconstant lighting, and switch plates and outlet covers that feel warm or hot. If you notice any of these problems, it's a good idea to enlist the help of a qualified electrician as soon as possible.

  2. Roofing
    The roof is an important part of your home's defense against the elements. Leaks, missing or damaged shingles, and sagging areas need to be addressed as soon as you notice them. A sagging roof could collapse under the weight of snow or heavy wind and may indicate other problems like improper attic ventilation. In addition, small leaks and damaged areas can lead to big problems like rotted support beams, mold growth, and an overall weakened structure.

  3. Foundation
    Foundation cracks are a fairly common problem, but many people choose to ignore them when they're small. This leads to their spread and growth, eventually becoming so problematic that it can cost many thousands of dollars to repair. While smaller cracks don't typically contribute to structural instability, as they grow larger, they increasingly undermine the foundation's integrity. In extreme cases, this can lead to the collapse of the entire home. Have foundation problems been addressed as soon as they arise, both to save money and ensure safety?

  4. Gas Lines
    Gas leaks in your home can be extremely dangerous. Natural gas and propane are dense and have a tendency to "sink" below regular air. They pool in the low areas of your home, meaning that you're more likely to smell them (they smell like sulfur; "rotten eggs") on the first floor or in the basement if you have one. Anytime you smell gas, or even think you smell gas, get yourself and your family out of the home immediately and call the gas company from outside. Repairs to gas lines should be made before you return to your home, and only by experienced professionals.

  5. Plumbing
    Water leaks and damaged pipes give mold a perfect environment to take hold in your walls, and you may not notice a leak until long after it started. Should you notice any dark spots or weakened areas in walls, or water bills that seem abnormally high, it's important to find the cause and address it before it leads to larger problems.

Managing Home Improvement Tasks

It can be tempting to leave smaller home improvement tasks until "later," but keep in mind that doing so could cost you more in the long run. Not every repair constitutes an emergency, but that doesn't mean that non-emergency repairs should be ignored. Keep on top of home maintenance and repairs by keeping a checklist of necessary tasks; focus on completing one each weekend or each month. This will help you keep your home improvement projects from piling up and becoming major problems.

July
6

Ideas for Upgrading Your Patio

Delta Media Group

Maybe you've been pondering all those cool ideas seen on TV and the web about redoing your drab slab of a concrete patio so that it's a standout feature of your indoor/outdoor entertainment area. Here's the deal. We are all in love with the idea of extending our living and entertainment area into the outdoors. And why not? There are dozens of relatively inexpensive and yet innovative hacks that will make your outdoors as inviting as the indoors, so let's start working from the ground up by renovating that boring, cracked, or scuffed-up concrete patio and see how dazzling it can be.

  1. Paint it.
    For basic painting, you will need concrete binding primer; concrete paint; painter's tape, a roller tray with liners (for fast cleanup), a paint roller, nap roller covers, and paintbrushes.

    Pressure wash the patio and let it dry. Cover up with painter's tape everything you don't want to be painted. Apply concrete binding primer, allowing it to dry one to four hours prior to painting. Apply two coats of paint, allowing the first coat to dry overnight. Wait 72 hours before you move furniture back onto the patio.

  2. Stain it.
    Apply a stain over the patio, then seal it. 

  3. Paint a pattern.
    Using a circular saw, score a concrete slab with a diamond pattern, then paint it with two shades of gray concrete paint. You can also use a stencil to create interesting patterns like a carpet design.  

  4. Lay decking on top of the concrete.
    Not a fan of concrete? You can lay decking on top of the concrete and attach white fascia boards along the sides.

  5. Create a stamped concrete patio.
    Stamped concrete is wildly popular these days. A bit cheaper than pavers, it comes in a variety of patterns and colors. Installers will try to delay cracking (be advised, it will crack someday) by installing control joints. Obviously, you will have to pour concrete and stamp the new concrete before it hardens. So if you've already got a concrete slab there, you'll have to figure out how to get rid of it. 

  6. Fake a stone look.
    Another redo that involves pouring new concrete is to fake the look of brick or stone with a patterned rubber roller. You'll need a concrete roller to create indentations that look like brick or stone, and those rollers can be costly. Concrete stamping mats are a more affordable option. These flexible pieces of rubber have embossed patterns. Stamp them on wet concrete and apply pressure. Lift the mat and repeat the process. 

  7. Resurface with pavers.
    How about resurfacing your patio with clay pavers? These bricks are hard-fired in a kiln, so they are extra-strong and can stand up to the harsh sun and inclement weather. Less expensive than stone, clay pavers cost more than concrete pavers. 

Although all these projects are relatively inexpensive, you can obviously spend more on some than others. So if cost is a factor, then you may want to go with simple painting or staining.

Once you're done with your new floor, it's time to think about decorating. You might start with a weather-resistant outdoor rug, perhaps in the dining area. Decorate with flower boxes or containers of flowers that can change with the season and move indoors when it's cold. Hang up strands of lights. Add a water feature, which could be a fountain with plumbing or a self-contained model that runs on electricity and recirculates the water.

Let your creativity and inner interior decorator run wild as you think up ways to jazz up that formerly dull space and make it shine.

Have you made some updates to your outdoor living space? Show us some pictures in the comments! 

June
22

Sweet-Tart: Refreshing & Lemony Recipes for Summer

Summer is here, and it's time to celebrate all things lemony! These refreshing treats are sure to please at your next get-together.

 

Frozen Raspberry Yogurt Lemonade Pops

  • 1 can (12 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt
  • 10 ice pop molds

In a saucepan, heat lemonade concentrate & water over medium heat just until the concentrate is thawed. Remove from heat & cool. In a blender, place 3/4 c. of the cooled mixture, 1/2 c. of the raspberries, & 1/4 c. of the yogurt. Blend on medium until smooth. If you don't like the seeds, press this mixture through a small strainer to remove them. Divide the mixture among ice pop molds & freeze slightly.

Distribute the remaining raspberries in molds. Combine the remaining lemonade mixture & yogurt and spoon evenly into molds. Return to freezer until firm, about 4 hours.

 

Perfect Lemonade

  • 1/3 c. sugar or 2/3 c. agave
  • 1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 c. water

Mix well. Serve over ice with a lemon wedge garnish.

 

Lemon-Lime Spritzer

  • 1 liter lemon-lime soda
  • 4 limes, cut into wedges
  • frozen cherries
  • fresh mint leaves

Mix ice, soda & sliced limes. Add cherries & garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

 

Adult Lemonade

  • 1 shot El Patron Tequila
  • 1/4 shot Grand Marnier
  • 4 oz. beer
  • 4 oz. lemonade
  • ice
  • strawberries for garnish

Mix together and serve immediately

 

Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Pie

  • 1 9" graham cracker pie crust
  • 2/3 c. frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. strawberries
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. water

 In a blender or food processor, blend strawberries, honey, & water until pureed. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix lemonade concentrate with sweetened condensed milk until combined. Set that aside, too.

With a mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar & whip until it stiffens. Gently fold into lemonade mixture. (The pureed mixture is still kept separate.)

Pour half the strawberry puree on the bottom of the crust. Top with lemonade filling, smoothing evenly. Spoon on the remaining puree in evenly spaced dollops and swirl with a toothpick or knife. Freeze at least 6 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the freezer.

What's your favorite summertime recipe? Tell us in the comments! 

May
9

How to Choose a Contractor for Your Remodel Projects

Delta Media Group

Homeownership is an exciting time — one filled with many new possibilities and experiences. One possibility that has the potential to elevate your home to the next level is a remodel. Remodeling can transform your space into something more functional by better reflecting your lifestyle and adding value to your home. However, your dreams of the perfect renovation project can turn into a nightmare if you don't do your homework. To have a successful remodel, you need the right contractor.

It's understandable to want the best person for the job but finding that person often involves a number of factors like availability, cost, and areas of expertise. The best way to choose a remodeling contractor is to do your homework and take steps to ensure that you find an ideal match for your project.

Ask around or research

If you have a friend or neighbor who has a remodel you like in a room/area you're looking to work on, too, it can be helpful to ask them who they used. You can also ask around your network of people — i.e., friends, family, business partners, or your real estate agent—to get recommendations for remodeling contractors. Once you have a list created, make your own as well by researching resources like Google, Angie, the local Better Business Bureau, and other online places that give you the names of local companies. Weed out any contractors with consistently poor reviews or contractors that don't specialize or have experience in the space you want to remodel.

Look deeper into credentials and projects

Most contractors have a website. Take the time to look at what credentials they may have and if they are current. See if they have pictures of their work as well. You can begin to get a feel for which contractors are more your taste or that have the knowledge necessary for your remodeling project.

Interview possible contractors

The next step once you have fine-tuned your list to a few favorites is to call and schedule a time to meet and talk about the project. Consider both the phone and in-person meetings an interview. It's your chance to ask about experience, find out about their knowledge and skills, and see if you mesh. Like any job interview, you'll be able to get an overall sense of who you're getting. There are also some things you'll want to ask them or have them do, including:

  • Itemize your bid
  • Ask how long they have been in business
  • Determine who their main suppliers are and who will be in charge of the site/project
  • Find out if the pricing is an estimate or a fixed price.

Check references

Even if you've done all your online research and read all the reviews, nothing is as effective as talking with someone who has worked with your prospective contractor. You may find out things you didn't think to ask, and it can give extra assurance that you're making the right choice.

Put it in writing

The last thing you'll want to do when you've made your choice is to put it in writing. This is a great way to keep all parties on the same page and safeguarded. 

Homeownership means making the decisions; it's your house, and you get to choose who remodels it. For the best remodeling experience, by taking your time and the correct steps, you're more likely to find the right person for your project. Not only will it save you time and money, but it will also get you the home of your dreams.

April
20

 

Spam 101

From Our Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

Technology scams are running rampant right now, whether they come by email, phone call, and now text messaging. We have had several customers reach out about texts that look to be from their bank asking to "verify information." Be vigilant when dealing with any communications via phone call, email, or text that regard any exchange of money or "verifying" any account information with a link or number to call.   

Our recommendations are as follows:

You can use your cell phone carriers' built-in number blocking on your phone to stop unwanted calls or texts from specific numbers; you can also block offending email addresses in your email account. But with any sort of fraud, scammers often use hundreds of thousands of phone numbers and emails and move very quickly onto the next.  This makes permanent blocking hard.  

To really have an impact, we recommend reporting the offending communication to the FTC.  This can be done online at: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

A few rules of thumb for spam calls, texts, and emails:

  1. Do not engage spammers.  When you answer or respond, you are showing the scammer, spammer, or robo-system that your phone number or email is "live". It is then put on a live numbers list that is sold over and over and the calls/texts/emails will continue infinitely.
  2. Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. This one is hard for agents, but if it is important or a legitimate call, they will leave a voicemail or text you. 
  3. Do not answer texts from numbers you do not recognize
  4. Get into the habit of regularly entering and labeling known clients, colleagues, friends, family, etc. as contacts in your phone and email.
  5. Do not answer unsolicited or out-of-the-ordinary texts from numbers you do recognize.  The number could be spoofed to fool you. Instead, call the number you have in your contacts (not from the text or email) for the person texting you and verify via phone call that they sent the text.
  6. Do not click on links in texts or emails that you are not expecting from anyone that you do or do not recognize unless you have verified with the actual sender via phone call or in person.
  7. Do not open emails, download any attachments, or click on links in emails from senders you do not recognize.
  8. Do not download any attachments or click on links in unsolicited or suspicious emails or texts from senders you do recognize. Their email may have been hacked or their number spoofed.
  9. TRUST YOUR INTUITION.  Slightest question of authenticity?  Feeling of distrust? Major red flag? Do not ignore these feelings.
  10. COMMUNICATION IS KEY. If a text or email seems weird, out of character, just a slight bit off? We recommend that you call the person/company/bank to verify the contents of an email or text, or ask a trusted professional.

If you have any questions about a suspicious email, call, or text, feel free to contact our office via phone 208.288.4345 or email info@integrityidaho.com.

April
13

#CBTDenimDay

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It's a difficult topic, no question.

 

Removing the stigma surrounding sexual assault and abuse, bringing the conversation to the forefront and out of the shadows, educating, speaking out, ending victim-blaming, and supporting survivors are the best defenses. So much has been done, with so much more to do.

It's worthy of our time. Of everyone's time. Here at CBT, we decided to act on one of our mottos – BE BOLD – and do what we can to help. For our April #DoersOfGood campaign, we're taking the message to all our offices and asking our Realtors®, staff, and managers to come together to support organizations in our areas who work hard to assist women in our local communities. We've asked them to purchase a #CBTDenimDay button, donate gently used professional clothing, and wear their jeans on April 27th, the 24th annual National Denim Day. 100% of the funds raised in each region, along with additional funds from CBT, will be donated to the corresponding organizations listed below. Clothing donations will stay local, as well. 

Denim Day grew out of an Italian Supreme Court decision overturning a rape conviction of an 18-year-old girl because she was wearing tight jeans. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day is a visible means of protest against victim-blaming and sexual violence.

The organizations we are coming together to support are:

Idaho Falls area:

The Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center, www.dvsacac.org

Boise area:

Women's and Children's Alliance, www.wcaboise.com

Spokane area:

YWCA – Our Sister's Closet, www.ywcaspokane.org

Tri-Cities area:

Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin Counties, www.dvsbf.org

Lewiston/Moscow/Pullman:

Lewiston YWCA, ywcaidaho.org
Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, www.atvp.org

To help, the ask is simple: wear your jeans on April 27th and speak out. To learn about more ways you can help – or if you need assistance, visit one of the sites above.

April
4

It's That Time of Year

Sometimes it seems there is no end to house cleaning, and while there is no clear-cut answer for how to keep your home perfectly clean at all times, it might be surprising just how much you can do with a little baking soda and white vinegar.

Spot Cleaner for Carpet

  • After cleaning up any excess spill, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda or cornstarch. Let stand for 10 minutes and then vacuum.
  • Mix one tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon white vinegar with two cups of warm water.
  • Using a white cloth, blot the stain with the vinegar solution.
  • Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Oven Cleaner

  • Make a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Coat the oven (or just the dirty parts) with the paste and let stand overnight. Be sure to avoid the heating elements and bare metal.
  • Use a plastic spatula to remove the paste. (Wear rubber gloves.)
  • Wipe away any residue with a clean, wet sponge.

Grout Cleaners

  • Fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of white vinegar and water and generously spray the tile/grout. Let sit about five minutes.
  • Scrub area with a grout brush, or even a toothbrush.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • If stains are more stubborn, mix a paste of baking soda and water and using your grout brush, work it into the grout.
  • Immediately follow with the vinegar spray. This should cause the baking soda paste to bubble.
  • Use your brush to finish cleaning.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • For mold or mildewed grout, hydrogen peroxide is a gem. Spray it on the stain, let sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with your grout brush. You can even mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste for a stronger clean. Apply the paste to the grout lines, wait a few minutes, scrub and then rinse with water.
  • NOTE: Do not apply vinegar to grout that has not been properly sealed.

Showerhead Cleaner

  • Carefully mix 1/3 cup baking soda with 1 cup white vinegar in a plastic bag.
  • Place the bag over the showerhead, submerging the head in the mixture; secure bag with rubber band or twist-tie.
  • Let soak for at least 3 hours.
  • Wipe clean.

 Window Cleaner

  • Mix together in a spray bottle: ¼ cup vinegar, ½ tsp natural liquid soap, and 2 cups water. Shake to blend.
  • Spray on windows and use newspaper to rub dry & clean, avoiding the window frames (newspaper can leave dark marks on the frames).

March
16

The Real Estate Market: Looking Back and Ahead

Recently, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Realtors®, managers, and staff were honored with a visit from the President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, Ryan Gorman. Responsible for the operations that support our network of 94,000 real estate professionals in 3,000 offices in 43 countries across the globe, he made the trip from CB's New Jersey headquarters to speak with us about the wild ride that was 2021 and share his predictions about the state of our industry moving through 2022.

Though he foresees a continuation of a seller's market, he believes it won't be "the crazy, crazy" atmosphere we saw in 2021.  "Interest rates are ticking up which will slow things a bit," he said, but "inbound migration will continue to be strong, so it will be a long time before the market shifts."

When asked if he was surprised by the activity during the pandemic, he told us that though he did not predict the "nearly 10 years of appreciation in 18 months" in our area, Ryan said he wasn't surprised to see the market remain strong. Despite the economic downturn, "we had the most equity in homes that we had literally ever had (not on a percentage basis, but on an absolute basis), and we had tighter underwriting for almost 15 years by that point than we had almost ever had, so people had good opportunities."

Contributing to the history-making market, he noted, was that for the past five or so years our area has been named to list after list of best places to live, work, and raise a family, so as people were able to work, not only remotely, but more independently, they began to make good on the question if you could live anywhere, why not live somewhere great?  

In discussing the issue of low inventory, he is quick to point out that even buyers who have been in their homes two or three months may have equity that could propel them to look at selling to purchase something that better fits their dreams and goals and encouraged agents to inform their previous buyers what their homes are worth today. Buyers, he said, can leverage their equity to move more affordably to another neighborhood or city.

Recently named a "Real Estate Newsmaker" for 2021 and "Influencer" for 2022 by RisMedia, a highly respected real estate news and information service, Ryan says is most proud of Coldwell Banker's integrity. "Integrity is first. That's an easy answer. Coldwell Banker was founded on honesty and integrity, and that has lasted."

To learn more about Ryan's strategies for Coldwell Banker in 2022, check out his interview with Jordan Grice of RisMedia.

Search for your new home at cbidahofalls.com.

February
14

Test Your Valentine's Day Knowledge

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!  Today is the day for love and romance, heart-shaped chocolates and candlelit dinners.

What do you really know about Valentine's Day? Here are some fun trivia questions to test your knowledge.

  1. When was the oldest-known Valentine's Day message written, and from where? 
  2. When was February 14th first declared as Valentine's Day? 
  3. Who invented the first Valentine's Day candy box? 
  4. What is the average number of marriage proposals on Valentine's Day each year? 
  5. How much on average is spent on chocolate in America for Valentine's Day each year? 
  6. How many roses are sold on Valentine's Day each year? 
  7. How many Valentine's Day greeting cards are purchased in the U.S. each year? 
  8. How many people typically purchase Valentines for their pets? 
  9. If you send a snarky insult on Valentine's Day, what kind of "greeting" are you sending?
  10. What year were the popular "conversation Sweethearts" not available?

 

Ready for the answers?

  1. The oldest-known Valentine was in 1415, sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife from the Tower of London where he was imprisoned. 
  2. Valentine's Day was declared an official holiday in 1537 by King Henry VIII. 
  3. English entrepreneur and chocolate-maker Richard Cadbury created the first heart-shaped box of chocolates. 
  4. 220,000 
  5. It is estimated that over $1 billion is spent in the U.S. each year for Valentine's Day. 
  6. 189 million 
  7. Approximately 1 billion 
  8. 9 million 
  9. Insulting Valentine's messages are known as "Vinegar Valentines."
  10. The ever-popular "Conversation Hearts" were unavailable in 2019 after their manufacturer Necco declared bankruptcy in 2018. Thankfully, the Spangler Candy Company purchased the rights, and the candies returned in 2020.

    How'd you do? 

    Whether you are celebrating with your beau, your best friends, your pets, or your neighbors, we wish you a day full of love!

    February
    11

    Score Big with These Snack Recipes

    For the vast majority of Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is a national holiday. Big gatherings, team jerseys, and food. Lots and lots of food. In fact, according to Wikipedia, roughly 28 million pounds of chips are consumed just on this day. Add to that 1.25 billion chicken wings and 8 million pounds of guacamole! 

    Perhaps you're looking for some great ideas to add to the menu. Read on! 

    Artichoke Dip

    • 2 cans of non-marinated artichoke hearts
    • 1 c. mayonnaise
    • 1/2 c. sour cream
    • 1 can of diced green chilis
    • 1 c. shredded parmesan cheese

    Combine all ingredients in a small baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 400°. Serve with tortilla chips.

     

    Dill Pickle & Ham Pinwheels

    • ½ lb. thinly-sliced ham
    • 4 oz. cream cheese
    • 4 large whole dill pickles

    Pat pickles dry with a paper towel. Cover each pickle with 1 oz. of the cream cheese & wrap with ¼ of the ham. Repeat with the remaining pickles & refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Slice into 1" pieces & enjoy!

     

    Tequila-Spiked Salsa

    • 2 c. chopped, seeded tomato
    • 1 c. chopped onion
    • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1/3 c. peeled, chopped avocado
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
    • 2 tsp. tequila (optional!)
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced

    Combine all ingredients & toss gently. Serve with tortilla chips.

     

    Buffalo Chicken Dip

    • 10 oz. chicken breasts, boiled & shredded
    • 2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
    • 1 c. ranch dressing
    • 3/4 c. (or more based on taste/preferences)
    • pepper sauce (e.g. Frank's Red Hot®)
    • 1-1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

    Place shredded chicken & hot sauce in skillet & heat over medium heat until heated through. Stir in cream cheese & ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended & warm. Mix in shredded cheese & stir until melted. Transfer to the crockpot to keep warm & serve with tortilla chips.

     

    Oreo Popcorn

    • 20 Oreo cookies
    • 2 bags of microwave popcorn, popped
    • 2 c. white chocolate chips

    Place Oreos in a large Ziploc bag and smash. Heat white chocolate chips in microwave on high for 30-second intervals up to 2-3 minutes, stirring until melted. Mix popcorn & melted chocolate in a large bowl until well-combined. Slowly add the cookies & mix. Turn out on waxed paper until cool. Break into pieces & enjoy.

    After the big game, when you find yourself wishing for a media room or better entertaining space, give us a call. We will guide you to the perfect home!

     

    February
    10

     

    Windows 11

    From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

    (If you own a Mac, this doesn't apply, your OS is updated yearly.)

    Many of us have seen the update for Microsoft's newest operating system (OS), Windows 11 come through on our laptop or desktop PC. Some of you have likely had it automatically applied.

    If you have NOT seen the update, your computer may be too old to upgrade. This is not a cause for concern!

    Anyone can stay safely on Windows 10 until its End of Life (EOL) date of October 14, 2025.

    And even then, Microsoft may offer extended support as they have done for all other operating systems before it.

    If you have seen the update, have you ignored it? You might be able to upgrade to Windows 11.  Most notably, the Windows update icon down by your clock won't go away and now has a blue dot on it (instead of an orange/yellow or red one) like this: 

     

    So should you make the jump to upgrade your current PC to Windows 11?   What will it do? What will it change? What will it break? Will it affect you much?

     The answer is, it depends. Like people on the planet, our computer environments are all different, unique. With each individual and different environment, the answer varies. It is complicated because no 2 environments are the same. But this time, Microsoft has given us tools to check.

    We recommend you take the following steps if you are prompted for the upgrade:

    1. Read about the upgrade. Is it for you?
    2. Check if your PC components can get the upgrade. Will it work for your computer?
    3. Decide if you want the upgrade or to stay on Windows 10

    (please call or email our office if you have any questions or need assistance doing any of the steps above and pictured below) 

     

     

    Our findings? Most of the PCs that have upgraded from 10 to 11 are working fine without many significant issues; however, if you have older software (QuickBooks and Quicken apply) or older peripherals like printers, wireless mice, keyboards, and speakers, they may not work with Windows 11.   We are finding that we have had to reinstall some printer and copier drivers and remap network drives. 

    If your computer is 2 years or newer, you have current software, you don't mind the change, and/or have the time/patience to learn Windows 11… upgrade.

    If you have any hesitations or concerns, please contact us before making the jump. Advances in technology can be both great and frustrating. We are here to help.

    Call our office (208-288-4345), or email us (info@integrityidaho.com) if you have any questions or need immediate assistance!

    January
    17

    Home Improvement for the New Year

    January is a good time to reflect upon the year, your wins, losses, and any lessons learned. Every new year brings with it possibilities to improve. It offers you a chance to reinvent yourself, and if you're in the market for a new home, our real estate agents can help you start the new year on a high note by helping you find your dream home.

    Click Here to Read More...

    January
    12

     

    2022: New Tech Habits

    From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

    A few ideas and some new, some old - tried and true… start 2022 with some new tech practices! 

    1. Backup, backup, backup! Whether you rotate a flash drive or hard drive, or use an online/cloud backup service, backing up and checking that backup is critical.  Irreplaceable or important family photos/documents/files? Back up to the cloud.
    2. Set a reminder every week to perform general tech maintenance: check your backup, scan for malware, apply any waiting updates (Macs, PCs, and phones), organize files into folders, clean off your desktop, physically wipe down and clean your devices, etc.
    3. Turn on multi-factor (MFA) or two-factor authentication(2FA) everywhere you possibly can.
    4. Set a reminder every 90 days to change passwords on important accounts that do not have MFA/2FA and to remove unused apps from your phone.
    5. Stop saving passwords on important sites to your internet browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc.) and start writing them down.
    6. Groom email inboxes daily. Mark messages as junk or spam, delete unimportant items, organize the important ones, and check your spam filter for messages that are legitimate.
    7. Start a dummy email account for spammy stuff.
    8. Log out of sites, close internet tabs, and save and close documents before leaving work or going to bed. Updates, power outages, and hardware failures happen.
    9. Take time away from your screens. Do other office tasks, chores at home… give your eyes and body a break from the blue light, scrolling, and/or typing.
    10. Silence, distance, or power off your devices when not in use to not only give yourself a break from 24/7 availability, but to prolong device lifespan and pause analytics being gathered when on or in use.
    11. Be careful with "smart" devices - is having any essential home function like door locks, outlets, or thermostats connected to your Alexa or Google Assistant necessary?
    12. Stop paying for PC antivirus software and uninstall any free versions; Windows has built-in antivirus and any other programs usually end up causing performance and permissions issues.  (Anti-malware software is different and recommended, even for Macs; their free versions work well.)
    13. Protect your privacy on social media accounts. Review your privacy settings frequently as social media platforms are always making changes. Make friends lists private, remove your location information, tighten privacy on photos and albums, don't use Instagram or Facebook to log in to other accounts, and log out and log in correctly especially on shared devices.
    14. Protect your personal information on any platform, when in doubt, OPT OUT.  From signing up for grocery loyalty rewards to online newsletters (see #7), clicking on ANY link in an email or filling out an online form. Is the hassle of 10 emails a day from a retailer AND THEN all the spam from your email being sold over and over worth that 10% savings on your first order? Is saving 40¢ once a month on a gallon of gas worth all the dead phone line or car warranty renewal phone calls?
    15. Think twice about clicking things (buttons, links, pictures)!

    Things to never click:

    • Emails links that ask you to change any password
    • Email links that ask you to verify any account credential
    • Email links that ask you for money for any reason
    • Email attachments you were not expecting
    • Malicious pop-ups about a virus or sweepstakes winning that covers your screen

    And take a pause before clicking on things like sponsored articles or ads on Facebook, Instagram, or in news stories, or links in email for a story, cool new gadget, sale, discount, sweepstakes, etc. Is the chain reaction that click is going to cause worth it?

    Lastly, sometimes low tech is the best tech. Technology comes with a lot of learning, understanding, and maintenance. Sometimes, just doing things "the old-fashioned" way is the easiest and most secure.

    Please call our office (208-288-4345), or email us (info@integrityidaho.com) if you have any questions or need immediate assistance!

    November
    15

     

    More Email Best Practices: How should you handle junk email?

    From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

    A spoofed profile is where a scammer copies your profile and pretends to be you. The scammers use the information that the original profile makes public.  This includes

    We all are familiar with that random email from a weird sender that makes it into your inbox, that phishing attempt on your non-existent Dropbox account, a message to verify your Apple ID, or even emails you may have subscribed to that are just plain annoying… how do you get it to stop?  Unfortunately, email spam is almost more common than legitimate messages it seems. 

    How you handle email messages is super important.  Email servers like Gmail, Office 365, Yahoo!, etc. and mail programs on both computers and phones like Outlook, Thunderbird, Microsoft Mail app, etc. are heuristic and learn how you handle email.  The trick is staying on top of it and being consistent. Simply deleting messages does not help.

    Our best practices for messages that are spam and junk?

    1. Mark junk and spam messages as such, ALWAYS.
    2. Do not open junk messages if you don't have to.  If you do, do not click on any content within it once you determine it's spam/junk.
    3. You can always right-click on any message for more options, and find the option to move to junk or report as spam.  You can also check the box for a single message or multiple and use the menu at the top of your email provider or email program to handle it accordingly.
    4. If an email is junk (random advertising or content), move to your junk or spam folder or report it as spam.
    5. If an email is phishing (asking you for personal or account information) definitely report it as spam. Reporting emails tells a mail server important information.
    6. Block senders or domains if necessary.
    7. Unsubscribe from email lists you know you signed up for but don't want to receive emails from (usually an unsubscribe link can be found at the bottom of the email).  Do not use the unsubscribe function on emails you do not recognize.
    8. Covet your email address, especially if it is used for business or real personal use; don't use it to sign up for anything.
    9. Create and use a separate email address that you use specifically for spam content like newsletters, rewards programs, and the like. 
    10. If you are unsure of the validity of an email, send it to an IT professional you trust to check it out for you. We are happy to let you know if something is legitimate or not and how to handle it.  (However, if it is truly spam, it will sometimes get stuck in our spam filter; so if you do not receive a timely response, please call our office!)

    If you need help with anything listed above, this can be done remotely.  Please call our office (208-288-4345), or email us (info@integrityidaho.com) if you have any questions or need immediate assistance!

    November
    8

    The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:

    • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
    • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
    • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
    • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
    • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

    If you're a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

    1. A possible desire to relocate
    2. The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
    3. Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

    In either case, you'll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

    Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

    The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners' equity. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:

    "Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high."

    As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

    If you decide to renovate, you'll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you'll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.

    Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you'll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you're one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you're one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

    First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

    If you're ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you'll need two things:

    1. The current mortgage balance on your home
    2. The current value of your home

    You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report.

    Bottom Line

    If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home. Contact us today to help guide you through the process and help determine what makes the most sense for you!

    November
    4

    Entryway Tips

    Your entryway is the first space guests experience when they step into your home. And more importantly, it is the first space you experience when you get home! As such, you really want your entryway to feel warm and welcoming. Here are a few useful tips to help you make your entryway a sight to behold.

    Click Here to Read More...

    October
    4

    Fire Prevention TipsOctober 3-9 is National Fire Prevention Week, so what better time to focus on fire prevention in your home? Whether you're on your way to buying a new home among Idaho Falls-area homes for sale, or just improving security in your current home, instituting a regimen of fire prevention can help give your family a feeling of safety while preventing tragedies.

    Click Here to Read More...

    September
    27

    Selling your home while shopping for a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner––especially when the competition for housing is so high. That doesn't mean, though, that you should just throw up your hands and give up on moving altogether. In fact, as a current homeowner, you could be in a better position than most to capitalize on a seller's market and make a smooth transition from your old home to a new one.

    We can help you prepare for the road ahead. Here are some of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients who are trying to buy and sell at the same time.

    "What will I do if I sell my house before I can buy a new one?"

    While it may be an inconvenience, this is a common scenario that can usually be handled with a little creativity and compromise. Here are some options to consider:

    1: Flex your muscles as a seller.

    In some cases, a buyer may agree to a rent-back clause that allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a set period of time and negotiated fee. We can discuss the benefits and risks involved and whether it's a good option for you.

    2: Open your mind to short-term housing options.

    If you're lucky enough to have family or friends who offer to take you in, that may be ideal. If not, check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals and month-to-month leases. If space is an issue, consider putting some of your furniture and possessions in storage.

    3: Embrace the idea of selling now and buying later.

    With cash on hand from the sale of your current home, you'll be in a better position to budget for and buy your next home. And by focusing on one step at a time, you can alleviate some of the pressure and uncertainty involved.

    "What if I get stuck with two mortgages at the same time?"

    If you can't afford to carry both mortgages, then selling before you buy may be best. (See Tip #3.) But if you have flexibility in your budget for some overlap, it is possible to manage a home sale and purchase simultaneously. Here are some steps to help streamline the process:

    4: As you get ready to sell, simplify.

    You can condense your sales timeline if you only focus on the renovations and tasks that matter most. We can advise you on the repairs and upgrades that are worth your time and investment.

    5: Prep your paperwork.

    If you'll need a mortgage for your next home purchase, get pre-approved in advance. And start pulling together relevant records for your current home, such as appliance warranties and renovation permits. That way, you'll be ready to provide quick answers to buyers' questions should they arise.

    6: Ask about other contingencies that can be included in your contracts.

    For example, it's possible to add a clause to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven't sold your previous home. This tactic could backfire, though, if you're competing with other buyers. We can discuss the pros and cons of contingencies and what's realistic given current market dynamics.

    "What if I mess up my timing or burn out from all the stress?"

    To make sure you're in the right headspace, take the time to slow down, breathe and delegate as much as possible. In addition:

    7: Relax and accept that compromise is inevitable.

    Rather than worry about getting every detail right with your housing search and home sale, trust that things will work out eventually––even if it doesn't look like your Plan A or even your Plan B or Plan C. Luckily, if you've got a good team of professionals, you can relax knowing that others have your back and are monitoring the details behind the scenes.

    8: Don't worry too much if your path is straying from convention.

    Remember that rules-of-thumb and home-buying trends are just that: they are estimates, not facts. So if your home search or sale isn't going exactly like your neighbor's, it doesn't mean that you are doomed to fail.

    9: Enlist help early.

    Which leads us to our final tip: If possible, call us early in the process. We'll not only provide you with key guidance on what you should do to prep your current property for sale, we'll also help you narrow down the parameters for your next one. That way, you'll be prepared to act quickly and confidently when it comes time to list your home and make an offer on a new one.

    Call today for tailored advice that works for you

    Buying and selling a home at the same time is challenging. But it doesn't have to be a nightmare, and it can even be fun. Click here for a free consultation so that we can help you review your options and decide the best way forward - or visit our site for a listing of homes for sale.

    September
    23

     

    What is a "spoofed" profile?

    From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

    A spoofed profile is where a scammer copies your profile and pretends to be you. The scammers use the information that the original profile makes public.  This includes profile pictures, location(s), and biography information, so they are very convincing. Oftentimes, these spoofed profiles send out another friend request to people on copied profile's friends list.  While more and more people are becoming aware that this is an issue when they get a second friend request from someone they are already friends with, many people still don't know what is happening (no, their friend has not been "hacked" i.e someone has gained unauthorized access to the account) or what to do about the profile, and there are many people who still will add the fake profile and further perpetuate this activity. 

     

    Besides it being annoying, what damage does this cause?

    Once a spoofed profile is created, the creator will add friends listed on the original profile, send messages that ask for money… or worse, send videos and/or clickable content via messenger or page posts that contain phishing sites, adware, malware, or viruses when clicked.

     

    How do you prevent this from happening?

    Make your friends list viewable to "Friends only" or better yet, "Only me".  These settings can be accessed both on the computer and in the Facebook app on phones.  Simply view your profile, then go to Settings and Privacy, then under Audience and Visibility, "How People Find and Contact You".  Select "Who can see your friends list", and select Friends or Only me.  Setting it to "Only me" is the only sure-fire way to make it so people cannot use your friends list to create fake profiles and spam your friends, colleagues, and clients who may be friends on your page.

     

    It's already happened to you. Now what?

    Have your friends report the spoofed profile as soon as possible.  All you or they have to do is go to the scammer's duplicate Facebook page and click on the three dots.  Select "Find Support or Report Profile" and then "Pretending to Be Someone."  You will then be asked who they are pretending to be.  If it's a friend, you'll report which friend it is and then confirm your submission.  Facebook will then review your report and notify you of the outcome.  The process is pretty quick and painless.

    Next, take steps to secure your public information. And it wouldn't hurt to complete Facebook's privacy checkup, and lock down your privacy settings which includes not allowing people to post anything on your page without your review.

    Any of these things can be done remotely.  Please call or email our office if you have any questions or need immediate assistance!

    September
    20

    Fence Tips

    Is your fencing old and worn out, or do you need a fence where there isn't any? The process of installing a fence isn't a quick one, our real estate agents caution. There are a number of things you need to do to ensure you don't get in trouble with the city, the HOA, your neighbor, or your home's future buyer. Here are 7 steps to ensure you're doing your due diligence when you install a new fence.

    1. Ask Why
      Your purpose for the new fence will impact the type of fencing you choose. For instance, if you want to increase privacy or block noise, you'll want a tall, solid, heavy-duty fence. If you're trying to keep animals in, on the other hand, you'll want to make sure there aren't any gaps where your pet could get out.

    2. Plan Your Budget
      Building a fence can be expensive, particularly certain materials or designs. The height of your fence and whether it needs to be solid will also determine the cost. Figure out what money you have to spend on your fence, and then compare your options to make sure that the fence you're planning agrees with your budget.

    3. Consider the Material
      Once you have your budget figured out, start shopping around to see what materials are in your price range. Consider not only cost but also other factors such as maintenance and durability. Mixing materials may also allow you to get the fence you want on your budget.

    4. Communicate
      Don't forget to be a good neighbor! If your fence will go along a property line that you share with your neighbor, be sure to let them know your plans. Most likely, if you're replacing a fence that has been deteriorating, they won't mind. In fact, they might even thank you for it! And if it's a shared property line, they might surprise you and offer to go in on the fence together.

    5. Research Your Options
      Before you start building your fence, there are a bunch of things you'll need to do. You'll need to check in with your HOA or municipality guidelines to make sure that your fence plans follow all requirements for materials, style, height, and setbacks. You may need to have your property surveyed to ensure you're building the fence on your own property, and for safety's sake, you'll also need to call 811 to have the power company mark all the buried lines on your property. You'll likely also have to file for a work permit.

    6. Hire a Professional
      Is this all starting to seem a little overwhelming? If so, consider hiring a professional to handle the entire job for you. They'll do everything from calling 811 and getting the building permit to going over your options with you and making sure everything is to code. Plus, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing the work is done professionally. 

    7. Maximize Curb Appeal
      Once the fence plans are in place, plant shrubbery and flowers around the fencing to soften the look, especially if you'll be selling your home soon. Browse Idaho Falls homes for sale, and you'll see that the most attractive homes incorporate the fences into their landscaping for maximum curb appeal.

    For more tips on getting your home ready to sell, contact us today.

    September
    15

    Spokane Home Improvement

    When looking at Idaho Falls homes for sale, buyers often plan how they might fix up a home or make it their own. The right home improvements can go a long way towards making a home more livable and increasing its value. But as your list of home improvement projects grows, how do you decide which ones to tackle first? Here are some tips to help you prioritize your to-do list.

    Click Here to Read More...

    August
    30

    Boise Downtown

    It's the old supply-and-demand predicament: U.S. home sales continue at a rapid pace, but the number of listings remains limited. Amid historically low mortgage rates, buyers keep shopping, reducing inventory and sparking a rise in home prices.

    Meanwhile, homebuilders are coping with an increase in material costs and a shortage of labor. These issues come during an ongoing housing shortage. A National Association of Realtors study shows the U.S. has a deficit of about 2 million single-family homes and 3.5 million other housing units.

    Follow along to learn the five factors that illustrate where the U.S. housing market is today and is heading tomorrow.

    ROCK-BOTTOM MORTGAGE RATES TO GRADUALLY RISE

    Low interest rates continue to fuel demand from homebuyers. Some experts believe mortgage rates will creep up later this year, but they expect rates to remain near historic lows. In June, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that 2020 closed with the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 2.8%. But the association anticipates the average rate climbing to 3.5% at the end of 2021 and 4.2% by the end of 2022.

    What does it mean for you?

    When mortgage rates are at or near historic lows (as they are today), you should seriously consider taking advantage of those rates to borrow money for a home purchase or to refinance your existing mortgage.

    HOME PRICES EXPECTED TO KEEP CLIMBING

    In June, the national median list price for a home reached an all-time high of $385,000, up 12.7% on a year-over-year basis. And according to the Home Buying Institute, various reports and forecasts indicate home prices will keep climbing throughout 2021 and into 2022. While this may be welcome news for homeowners, high prices are pushing homeownership out of reach for a growing number of first-time buyers.

    What does it mean for you?

    If you're a buyer waiting on the sidelines for prices to drop, you may want to reconsider. While the pace of appreciation should taper off, home prices are expected to continue climbing. And rising mortgage rates will make a home purchase even more costly.

    SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES REMAIN ROBUST

    Single-family home sales are down from their peak in October 2020 yet are still above the overall level last year. In May 2021, 5.8 million existing single-family homes were sold in the U.S. That's a 45% increase over the 4 million homes sold in May 2020.

    However, home sales saw a 0.9% dip in May 2021 compared with the previous month, the National Association of Realtors says. That was the fourth straight month for a decline in home sales. The number of home sales has slid recently because of rising prices and a lack of inventory, but Fannie Mae expects total home sales to tick up slightly in the fourth quarter and finish the year up 3.8% over last year.

    What does it mean for you?

    The market for single-family home sales remains quite active. As a result, if you're a homeowner, you may want to ponder whether to sell now, even if you hadn't necessarily been thinking about it. With demand high and inventory low, your home could fetch an eye-popping price.

    LACK OF INVENTORY STILL CONSTRAINS THE HOME MARKET

    According to the National Association of Realtors, in May there were 1.23 million previously owned homes on the market, down 20.6% from the same time last year. This translates to a 2.5-month supply of homes, which is well below the 6 months of inventory typical in a balanced market. According to the Realtors group, the lack of inventory translates into tougher searches for buyers and contributes to a rise in prices.

    What does it mean for you?

    If you're thinking of selling your home, now may be the right time to do it. Across the country, it's a seller's market, meaning demand is outpacing supply. That supply-and-demand imbalance puts sellers in a great position to sell their homes at a premium price. The May 2021 Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors found the average home that was sold attracted five offers, and the association says nearly half of homes are selling above list price.

    CONSTRUCTION OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES SEES SLIGHT UPTICK

    Frustrated buyers may soon find some relief from an increase in new construction. Economists forecast that 1.1 million new houses will be started in 2021, compared with a predicted 940,000 units just six months ago, with 1.2 million new starts predicted for 2022 and 2023, according to the Urban Land Institute.

    What does it mean for you?

    Given the issues affecting the new-home market, it may make sense to widen your home search to include both new and existing homes. Your brand-new dream home may not be available, but you might be able to find an existing home that lives up to your vision. Keep in mind that we can help you find either a new or existing home and can advocate for you to ensure you get the best deal possible.

    ARE YOU THINKING OF BUYING OR SELLING?

    If you're in the market for a home, you're ready to sell your house or you've simply been wondering whether you should sell, you could benefit from an expert to help you navigate the hot real estate market. Let's set up a free consultation to discuss your situation. We can review your options and come up with a plan to capitalize on the value of your current property or to find your ideal next home. Contact us today. We are here to #guideyouhome.

    August
    23

    When you buy a new home, you want it to be a reflection of you and your style. As you consider various trends, you may come across a popular new one called cottagecore. But what is it, exactly, and will it work for your interior design needs? Essentially, cottagecore home decor is a nostalgic journey to a simpler time and place. If sipping tea in a garden, breathing in the delicate scent of roses and honeysuckle strikes your fancy, this could very well be the interior design style you are seeking. If the homes you are asking to be shown are reminiscent of country living, you may want to consider these key elements:

    • Nostalgia
      From the garden to the living room, the house should speak of bygone days. This may look different to each person. If your cherished memories include crocheted Afghans and ruffled curtains, by all means, include them. If they lean more toward the brown leather overstuffed couch and the roll-top desk you might find in an 1890's ranch house, then go that direction. It's even possible to blend styles a bit in this very unscripted decor. If you have antiques or just books and knick-knacks that have been in the family for a long time, cottagecore provides a perfect setting to display them.
    • Simplicity
      Although many of us work in the world of technology, we don't all want to live there. When incorporating cottagecore interior design trends, necessary technology will often be hidden inside wooden cabinetry or disguised in other clever ways. The lifestyle celebrates minimalism, including handcrafting, home cooking, and creativity over video games. Rather than the cold, sleek surfaces you will find in industrial decor, you will find the warmth of wood, the natural textures of organic materials, and the cozy atmosphere they bring. Shining wooden floors with simple rugs and a wooden coffee table that reflect the same color as the floor. You might find the same wood theme repeated in bathrooms and bedrooms. 
    • Nature
      Embracing nature is critical to the cottagecore style. This doesn't mean that you must raise your own chickens and livestock in order to enjoy the designs. But the interior of the home should blend with the environment surrounding the exterior. This can be accomplished with muted colors, natural materials, house plants, and fresh or dried flowers. Imagine a little girl collecting wildflowers and displaying them in a milk bottle. The romantic ideal of rural living can be reflected in prints and paintings without the less pleasant realities of farm life. An indoor herb garden is just the right touch to a cozy kitchen, while the fresh herbs bring your recipes to life. 
    • Vintage
      Antiques are certainly great additions to cottagecore home decor, but you can obtain the vintage feel without an extensive collection. Simple lines, wooden frames, and natural textures will help balance the design. Wooden chairs next to pristine white wainscotting in the dining room are reminiscent of homes of a hundred years ago, even if they were just purchased recently. The elegance of a colorful quilt can carry the sleeper back to Grandma's house. Overstuffed chairs reupholstered with soft, nubby fabrics or floral designs are both frugal and practical, echoing the lifestyle of the past as much as the appearance. 
    • Do-it-yourself
      To truly embrace the cottagecore lifestyle, you should bring in your own creations. Have you learned to embroider? Frame an original piece and hang it on the wall. Did you grow your own fruits and vegetables? Proudly store them in wire baskets on the kitchen counter. Craftspeople know that you can't create anything worthwhile without making a little mess. You can embrace the clutter a bit without letting it take over. A basket of colorful yarn complete with knitting needles will actually enhance the decor of the den. A loom in the corner will make a fascinating conversation piece. You may even discover common interests with friends you didn't know existed. 

    If you've been waiting for some of the vintage things you love to come back in style, the time has come. Our real estate professionals will be happy to help you find your new home. Contact us when you're ready to make the change. 

    August
    9

    Boise Homebuyers Checklist

    You're about to move into your new home! It's important to do a walk-through to make sure everything is as promised. How do you go about it, though? You've never owned a home before, and you're afraid you'll do it wrong or miss something important.

    Don't worry. Our real estate agents will be there to help you through it. In the meantime, here's a checklist of what you're looking for on your final walk-through.

    Click Here to Read More...

    August
    3

    Spokane Lighting

    Plentiful natural light is one of the top factors that can help sell a home. Experts are quick to tout the benefits of natural light in spurring home sales: not only does natural light help you cut back on energy usage, but it also seems to provide certain health benefits. What's more, potential homebuyers appear to respond better to well-lit homes than to dark ones. If you're thinking of listing your home among Idaho Falls homes for sale, you may want to assess your home's natural light and determine if there are ways to boost the light quotient.

    Click Here to Read More...

    July
    9

    If you're searching for drama, don't limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs, the appraisal process is receiving more attention than ever. That's because, in a rapidly appreciating market, a property is more likely to appraise below the sales price—which can lead to major repercussions for both buyers and sellers.

    It's never been more important to understand the appraisal process and the risks involved. It's also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you're a buyer) or overcompensating (if you're a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don't work—in today's unique real estate environment.

    APPRAISAL REQUIREMENTS

    An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property's market value performed by an independent authorized appraiser. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer defaults on their loan.

    In most cases, a licensed appraiser will analyze the property's condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Appraisal requirements can vary by lender and loan type, and in today's market, in-person appraisal waivers have become much more common. If you're applying for a mortgage, be sure to ask your lender about their specific terms.

    APPRAISALS IN A RAPIDLY SHIFTING MARKET

    An appraisal contingency is a standard inclusion in a home offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on a satisfactory appraisal wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price. This helps to reassure the buyer (and their lender) that they are paying fair market value for the home and allows them to cancel the contract if the appraisal is lower than expected.

    Low appraisals are not common, but they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we're experiencing now. That's because appraisers must use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property's value. This could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly, today's comps may be lagging behind the market's current reality. Thus, the appraiser could be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.

    HOW ARE BUYERS AND SELLERS IMPACTED BY A LOW APPRAISAL?

    When a property appraises for less than the contract price, you end up with an appraisal gap. In a more balanced market, that could be cause for a renegotiation. In today's market, however, sellers often hold the upper hand.

    That's why some buyers are using the potential for an appraisal gap as a way to strengthen their bids. They're proposing to take on some or all of the risk of a low appraisal by adding gap coverage or a contingency waiver to their offer.

    Appraisal Gap Coverage

    Buyers with some extra cash on hand may opt to add an appraisal gap coverage clause to their offer. It provides an added level of reassurance to the sellers that, in the event of a low appraisal, the buyer is willing and able to cover the gap up to a certain amount.

    For example, let's say a home is listed for $200,000 and the buyers offer $220,000 with $10,000 in appraisal gap coverage. Now, let's say the property appraises for $205,000. The new purchase price would be $215,000. The buyers would be responsible for paying $10,000 of that in cash directly to the seller because, in most cases, mortgage companies won't include appraisal gap coverage in a home loan.

    Waiving The Appraisal Contingency

    Some buyers with a higher risk tolerance—and the financial means—may be willing to waive the appraisal contingency altogether. However, this strategy isn't for everyone and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    It's important to remember that waiving an appraisal contingency can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back much lower than the contract price. Without an appraisal contingency, a buyer will be obligated to cover the difference or be forced to walk away from the transaction and relinquish their earnest money deposit to the sellers.

    It's vital that both buyers and sellers understand the benefits and risks involved with these and other competitive tactics that are becoming more commonplace in today's market. We can help you chart the best course of action given your individual circumstances.

    DON'T WAIVE YOUR RIGHT TO THE BEST REPRESENTATION

    You need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal done...no matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you're a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you're a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

    June
    23

    Homeownership offers many advantages over renting, including a stable living environment, predictable monthly payments, and the freedom to make modifications. But one of the biggest benefits it offers is the opportunity to build wealth over time. Researchers at the Urban Institute found that homeownership is financially beneficial for most families, and studies have shown that the median net worth of homeowners can be up to 80 times greater than that of renters in some areas.

    So how does purchasing a home help you build wealth? And what steps should you take to maximize the potential of your investment? Find out how to harness the power of home equity for a secure financial future.

    WHAT IS HOME EQUITY?

    Home equity is the difference between what your home is worth and the amount you owe on your mortgage. So, for example, if your home would currently sell for $250,000 and the remaining balance on your mortgage is $200,000, then you have $50,000 in home equity.

    The equity in your home is considered a non-liquid asset. It's your money; but rather than sitting in a bank account, it's providing you with a place to live. And when you factor in the potential of appreciation, an investment in real estate will likely offer a better return than any savings account available today.

    HOW DOES HOME EQUITY BUILD WEALTH?

    A mortgage payment is a type of "forced savings" for home buyers. When you make a mortgage payment each month, a portion of it goes towards interest on your loan, and the remaining part goes towards paying off your principal, or loan balance. As your loan balance goes down, your home equity goes up.

    Additionally, the value of your home generally increases, or appreciates, over time. And when you sell it, even if you've only paid off a small portion of your mortgage, you get to keep 100% of your property's appreciated value. That's the wealth-building power of real estate.

    WHAT CAN I DO TO GROW MY HOME'S EQUITY FASTER?

    There are two basic ways to increase the equity in your home:

    1. Pay down your mortgage. Some homeowners do this by adding a little extra to their monthly payment, making one additional payment per year, or making a lump-sum payment when extra money becomes available. Another option is to decrease your amortization period. For example, if you can afford the higher monthly payment, consider refinancing from a 30-year or 25-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage

    2. Raise your home's market value. Many homeowners enjoy do-it-yourself projects that add value at a relatively low cost. Others choose to invest in larger, strategic renovations. Keep in mind, you won't necessarily get back every dollar you spend on upgrades, so consult a professional before making any major investments.

    A word of caution: neglecting routine maintenance could decrease your home's value (and equity), so be sure to stay on top of recommended upkeep and repairs.

    HOW DO I ACCESS MY HOME EQUITY IF I NEED IT?

    What if you want to tap into your home's equity while you're still living in it? There are several ways to borrow against your home equity, depending on your needs and qualifications:

    1. A Second Mortgage (or Home Equity Loan) enables you to borrow a lump sum, which you are responsible for paying back—with interest—over a set period of time. Most second mortgages have a fixed interest rate and provide the borrower with a predictable monthly payment.

    2. With a Cash-Out Refinance, you refinance your mortgage for a higher amount than you currently owe. Then you pay off your original mortgage and keep the difference as cash. This option may be preferable if you have a high-interest rate on your current mortgage or prefer to make just one payment per month.

    3. A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC ) is a revolving line of credit, similar to a credit card. It allows you to draw out money as you need it. The interest rate on a HELOC is variable, so your payment each month could change depending on how much you borrow and how interest rates fluctuate.

    4. A Reverse Mortgage enables qualifying seniors to borrow against the equity in their home to supplement their retirement income. In most cases, the loan (plus interest) doesn't need to be repaid until the homeowners sell, move, or are deceased.

    It's important to note that borrowing against your home's equity isn't always the best option, and it carries the risk of foreclosure if you default. Please ask for a referral to a lender or financial adviser to find out if a home equity loan is right for you.

    ALWAYS HERE TO HELP

    If you're ready to begin building equity with a new home purchase, grow the value of your current home, or access your equity through a home sale or loan—help is here.  Schedule a complimentary consultation!

    The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

    May
    18

    Composting Tips

    Compost is so often the key to a beautiful, healthy garden; however, many people shy away from composting because they believe it's too complicated or messy. With the right combination of ingredients, composting can be easy and odorless and can make a huge difference in your garden.

    If you've been thinking about composting, below are some tips to help you get started.

    Click Here to Read More...

    March
    15

    Property Value BoiseEven if you're not planning to sell your home right away, it's a good idea to know how your actions affect your home's value long term. The updates you choose to do or not to do, or whether you do a repair now or put it off a while longer, can all impact how much you can sell your home for later on down the road. Here are 7 things that our real estate agents warn can decrease your property value.

    Click Here to Read More...

    March
    12

     

    Millions of Dollars are Lost Each Year to Tax Scams

    From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

    The IRS provides a comprehensive list of things to look out for here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts

    However, we are noticing a new trend on the rise; fake tax websites that mimic or look similar to TurboTax, or other popular online tax filing services.   We are also seeing a rise in phishing emails and malicious pop-ups claiming to be from these well-known tax filing sites.

    What can you do to protect yourself and your tax information?

    1. Make sure your computer is updated before starting and logging into any online tax service.
    2. Make sure your computer is clean before starting and logging into any online tax service. We recommend that you run malware removal software each time you login to any online tax program. (MalwareBytes is a free malware removal program that can be downloaded here: https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/ Select your operating system under the home section and install.)
    3. Do not visit a tax site from an email or advertisement on Google. Check the web address and make sure you are going to the correct site.  All tax sites have an SSL which means there is security on the site for logging in.  The address should always start with https:// Be cautious of any numbers, letters, or weird domain extensions in the web address.
    4. Do not click on any or call any numbers from popups that say they are from customer support.
    5. Be careful when calling for support, call the number from the tax filing website, not the ones from Google search results.
    6. When saving a copy of your tax return, password protect it. This can be done with Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Reader) or by putting it into a zip file. Or print and save a paper copy in a secure location.

     

    Please call our office at 208-288-4345 or email us at info@integrityidaho.com if you have any questions or would like an appointment to help with any of the above.

    January
    27

    Design Trends

    Women's Choice Award® recipients have earned the 2021 award for being recommended by 9 out of 10 customers.

    by Athena Snow, Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

    MADISON, N.J. (January 25, 2021)  In a national survey conducted by the Women's Choice Award, over 85% of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC's female customers who have had experience with the brand say they would recommend Coldwell Banker Real Estate to their friends and family. For the fourth year in a row, The Women's Choice Award has recognized Coldwell Banker for its exceptional customer recommendation rating, earning the brand the coveted 2021 Women's Choice Award®

    The exclusive set of products and services that earn the award have the honor of touting the Women's Choice Award designation, honoring their achievement as having 9 out of 10 of their female customers highly recommend them. As recommendation ratings are the pinnacle for determining true brand loyalty and love, the Women's Choice Award is a powerful indicator of a brand's commitment to their customers. The Women's Choice Award seal also represents Coldwell Banker's commitment to empowering women to make the best consumer choices for themselves and their families.

    The Women's Choice Award is a significant and meaningful accomplishment in real estate because women are at the heart of most transactions. Women make or influence 91% of home-buying decisions and make up two-thirds of all real estate agents. Coldwell Banker has incorporated many diversity and inclusion programs committed to the advancement of women leadership efforts, including the CB Women initiative and What Moves Her campaign, that are dedicated to making sure women are provided with opportunities for career growth.

    QUOTES

    "At Coldwell Banker, we value women in real estate. I am beyond proud to work for a brand that empowers women to take on leadership roles and strives to make the industry better. Through our work with our Inclusive Ownership program and What Moves Her initiative, we are continuously exploring new ways to support leadership development, promote shared values, and provide resources for enhancing leadership tools and capabilities for women in the industry."

     Liz Gehringer, chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate

     "Today's marketplace is more cluttered than ever, yet women have less time than ever to sift through the saturated online options and store shelves. And with women on a constant hunt to identify the best brands for herself and her family, the Women's Choice Award serves as a trusted endorsement and visual beacon of empowerment, simplifying her choices. When consumers see that other women recommend a brand, through the Women's Choice Award seal, it provides an unparalleled level of trust and validation, putting her mind at ease- and that's priceless."

     Delia Passi, founder and CEO of the Women's Choice Award

    January
    26

    Design Trends

    With 2020 behind us, our real estate agents are excited about the new possibilities 2021 represents. A new calendar is a blank slate, and maybe not just for you, but for your home too. So as we look to the future, keep these up-and-coming design trends in mind for your next home project. 

    Click Here to Read More...

    January
    6

    Pet Owners Boise

    Man's best friend does make for a good housemate, but unfortunately, not so much of a great real estate agent. Pets are an interesting element of the real estate process. Many of the buyers attending a showing may love animals and even have pets themselves. However, that doesn't mean that they're crazy about moving into a new home that has lingering traces of cats, dogs, or other animals. There are also those who do not like animals and aren't particularly interested in purchasing a home that once housed pets. If you're a pet owner, our real estate agents suggest these tips on how to prepare for a successful showing:

    Click Here to Read More...

    December
    15

     

    Storage Solutions to Make Your Dining Room Office Sparkle

    By Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company

    Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

    Remember life pre-pandemic lockdown before your dining room morphed into your zoom room, office, workstation, and study hall? Thanks to your new work-at-home lifestyle, files and papers found a permanent home on your dining room table. You probably haven't had a meal on that table, besides a quick sandwich and many lattes, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Now the holidays are here, and while we won't be hosting big gatherings this year, it would be nice to have a holiday meal with a few close family and friends in your safe bubble. It's time to reclaim and tame the dining room table! A little organizational magic, and presto! You can alleviate the room identity crisis and turn it into a beautiful two-in-one space. An office by day and a dining room by night!

    Here are simple ways to keep your dining room/office space organized and easy to clear for holiday meals:

    • Place trays on the dining room table so your work stuff has a home. At the end of the workday, simply remove the trays and…voila! There's actually a clear table when it's time for dinner.
    • Use magazine organizers for filing. Place magazine organizers on a tray. They not only keep your files tidy; they can easily be transported from the dining room. Way more efficient than stacks of papers or files, and your paperwork takes up less room.
    • Tuck a folding computer desk in the corner of your dining room. Use it as the home base for all your office trays and supplies. And when you want to completely clean-up the dining room, move your office trays into a closet or bedroom, and simply fold up the desk and remove it.
    • Use a rolling utility storage cart for office supplies and items. They easily roll away into a closet. You might call it a "miracle vehicle" as it whisks away the office items, clearing the way for holiday meals and pie.
    • Reuse a toy chest, or purchase a trunk, simply store all your office items inside. A trunk can hold and hide everything from files to your laptop. You can even choose a trunk that complements your dining room decor.

    Have fun shopping online for pretty organizers. After all, you spend a huge part of your time working, so make it enjoyable!

    With these budget-friendly storage solutions, your dining room can easily do double-duty: a functional space to both entertain and work. Your transformed two-in-one space has the added bonus of giving you peace of mind. Mindfully designing your space so it actually functions will make you feel more relaxed, organized, and in control. Here's to a unique and joyful holiday season!

     

    Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award-winning, "A+" rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.  www.northstarmoving.com

    December
    8

    Holiday Wreath Tips

    Any time our real estate agents consult with homeowners about listing their homes for sale, they always recommend dressing up the porch to improve the curb appeal. Some potted plants, a welcome mat, and a simple wreath can make a major difference. 

    Even if you're not thinking about selling your home, decorating your porch for the holidays is a great idea! If you want to make your decor even more special, consider making your own holiday wreath this year. 

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