Real Estate Information for the Treasure Valley

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July 24, 2017

Homeowners Associations: What You Need to Know

HOA

If you've never lived in a condominium complex or other housing situation that is typically set up as a Common Interest Community, you may not know what an HOA is or how it can affect you. HOAs exist in every state, and the homeowners associations in Idaho are essentially very similar. That's on a basic level, though, as each state's laws vary, and so do the way those laws affect communities and the homeowners associations in them. 

What Are Homeowners Associations?

 An HOA is a governing body with a board of directors that oversees a specific community, such as an apartment or condo complex or a particular neighborhood. Planned communities and gated neighborhoods usually have homeowners associations, but the houses don't all have to be alike and there doesn't have to be a wall around the neighborhood for the community to adopt HOA management. Just like all HOAs, after a developer has finished building out the development, the  homeowners associations in Idaho are funded and run by the residents, and they're set up to ensure the community maintains a certain level of cleanliness, repair, consistency and decorum. There are pros and cons to homeowners associations, so it's important to find out all you can before buying into a neighborhood or housing complex that has one.

What Will Homeowners Associations in Idaho Do For You?

 All homeowners associations have Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, hence the acronym CC&R’s.  HOA management--the board of directors--enforces these rules and are in charge of creating new ones as the need arises.  These rules must be adopted and voted on by a certain number of households, enough to form a quorum. These rules vary from one HOA to the next, partially based on the type of community. Regulations would obviously be different for an apartment building in New York City than it would be for homeowners associations in a single family residence in most Idaho neighborhoods. Some of the positive covenants and conditions homeowners associations in Idaho might enforce: 

keeping front yards green, maintained, and neat

require house exteriors to be painted if fading and can restrict your color choices

restrict noise levels 

limit number of vehicles that can be parked on the street  

 Conditions like those can benefit you because everyone in the neighborhood must comply, creating a peaceful, orderly, and attractive environment to live in. Additionally many homeowners associations provide amenities you might not otherwise be able to afford and maintain, such as a community park, swimming pool, tennis courts, rec room, health club, and even accommodations for business meetings.

 However, covenants and conditions might restrict what kind or how many pets you have, and even what size they can be. The rules could limit what kind of exterior improvements you can make on your home or what kind of landscaping you can do. That can include preventing you from installing solar panels and limiting how big your flower and/or vegetable gardens can be.

 It Comes at a Cost

Belonging to homeowners associations depending on the amenities and number of residents, comes at a cost.  HOA dues can be billed frequently as monthly in condominium developments  to yearly in single family developments.  HOA Dues go toward installation and maintenance of common areas which could encompass lawns, sidewalks, outdoor lighting, clubhouses, and swimming pools, depending on what your community includes. You will need to take those fees into consideration before buying a house in an HOA community, because your mortgage lender certainly will. Plus, according to Kiplinger, the HOA management board can vote to levy a special assessment and charge each member extra money if a large, unexpected repair needs to be done.  Costs are typically shared equally between property owners.  In Idaho we hear stories of associations in other states where HOA dues seem to increase uncontrollably, however, that is not typical in Idaho.  For instance, Baldwin Park HOA in Idaho where the Broker of Stewart Realty, LLC resides has only raised their dues once in the 14 years he and his family have resided there.  And that increase was only from $400 to $435/year.  So, when responsible homeowners manage HOA’s and the members stay involved, it can be a very good arrangement.

The covenants and conditions might restrict what kind or how many pets you have, and even what size they can be. The rules could limit what kind of exterior improvements you can make on your home or what kind of landscaping you can do. That can include preventing you from installing solar panels and limiting how big your flower and/or vegetable gardens can be. 

Find Out First

If you fall in love with a house that has an HOA, your agent should provide you a copy of the CC&R’s prior to making an offer to make sure they don't include anything you can't live with. Also, any MLS Listing sheet provided by a good Meridian Realtor should disclose what the HOA fees are and how often they are paid. You can also go the extra mile if you like and get a copy of the minutes from the most recent board meeting, or arrange to sit in on one to see what type of conflicts are typical and how the board responds to them. Plus, remember that any resident can serve on the board so if you want to help make changes or improve conditions, you could make a difference. 

Whether you want to avoid homeowners associations in Idaho or are looking to specifically buy in a community with CC&R’s to protect your investment, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call for a personal tour of the Meridian area and some great homes that fit your style and budget. Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

 

 

Posted in Buyers
May 21, 2017

What is it About Kuna Idaho that is so great for Families?

When people have had enough of the noise, crowds, and fighting the traffic in the city, they start looking to smaller towns and suburbs as alternatives. The slower pace and friendly communities are especially attractive for raising a family. When you're keeping an eye out for areas that are great for close in country family living, Kuna, Idaho is among the best places in Southern Idaho. Kuna ID Acreage Properties in particular appeal to families looking for a typical Idaho lifestyle. With low crime, short commute times to Boise and Meridian, a national conservation area close by, gorgeous views rolling farmland, close to the Snake River Canyon and an excellent school system, Kuna has everything families look for.

Wide, Open Spaces

What's so great for families in Kuna, Idaho? For starters, even though it's about 15 minutes from the Gem State's capital Boise, living in Kuna is like being in an entirely different world. As an agricultural community of just over 15,000, the town is small. However, there is plenty of beautiful Kuna Idaho Real Estate offering breathtaking views of this part of picturesque Idaho. You may be familiar with "A River Runs Through It," but, in Kuna, a creek runs through it. That's right, Indian Creek actually flows through the city, offering a spot to swim and it's large and long enough to float, too. Additionally, families who like to participate in outdoor activities together have plenty of options from camping to hiking to fishing, hunting and more. Those who enjoy a good run will appreciate the five running courses in Kuna, as well.

Quality Schools

Schools are one of the top things that make Kuna, Idaho very desirable for families. There are seven public schools in town, in addition to one private school.  Area Vibes reports that Kuna's average school test scores beat the national average by 15 percent. What's more, the student-to-teacher ratio averages about 20:1. Additionally, though parents naturally tend to get involved in their kids' education, the entire Kuna community is known for getting involved and supporting the schools. No wonder the graduation rate is 87 percent--even higher than the state average.

Abundant Wildlife

When it comes to Kuna Idaho real estate, families who opt for Kuna acreage properties are not disappointed. The wilderness surrounding the town is home to animals such as deer, elk, geese, ducks, coyotes and even beavers. Birds of prey are the ones making most appearances near Kuna ID wildlife properties. The Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area is located just outside Kuna and over 700 raptor pairs including eagles and prairie falcons make their nests in the area each spring especially along the lava cliffs of the Snake River Canyon. The Morley Nelson area offers loads of family-friendly wildlife activities such as chick feeding and eagle flights.

More Than a Small-Town Feel

Kuna has made it onto many "Best Places to Live" listings for all of the reasons listed above plus, more than just having a small-town feel, it actually offers the benefits of living in a small town, such as friendly neighbors, laid-back atmosphere, and Kuna happens to have the third lowest crime rate in Idaho. What's more, with the fifth highest income in the state, families that settle in Kuna are able to live comfortably and keep their community clean and.

If you're interested in Kuna Idaho real estate, especially Kuna Idaho Acreage properties, see the real estate experts at Stewart Realty. Broker/Owner Jeff Stewart has over 14 years experience in real estate in the area and knows that when clients are looking for homes that are great for families, Kuna, Idaho is a top choice in the area. Give Jeff a call at 208-602-1993 or email at jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

Posted in Buyers
April 16, 2017

Secrets to Scoring a Deal on a Foreclosed Home in Meridian, Idaho

With the Huffington Post projecting an increase in home sales, house prices, and housing demand in general, the housing market's continuing recovery is likely going to mean a dwindling supply of foreclosed homes in Meridian, Idaho as well as most areas. That doesn't mean Meridian foreclosure listings can't be found at all, especially if you have help from a Highly Rated Local Meridian Realtor. When shopping for real estate in Meridian, Idaho there are actually several foreclosure listings you could choose from, but when dealing with foreclosed homes, you need to know more than the steps involved in buying that type of property. You should also consider the pros and cons of purchasing a foreclosed home in Meridian, Idaho.

Benefits of Buying Foreclosed Homes in Meridian, Idaho

Usually, people who shop Meridian foreclosure listings are looking to get a lot of home for a reduced price. Whether you're in the market for your own home to live in or an investment property, foreclosures definitely have the potential to be good buys, especially if they're in areas where the homes tend to resell at higher values.  Of course, typically there are at least cosmetic repairs that have to be made, sometimes substantial repairs so you must always factor the cost of those things into your total price so you don’t get caught overpaying. You also may have more leverage when it comes to bargaining on real estate in Meridian, Idaho that is in the foreclosure process because avoiding the negative effects of a foreclosure on the seller’s credit report can be highly motivating to them.

Potential Issues with Foreclosed Homes in Meridian, Idaho

Buying foreclosed homes in Meridian, Idaho isn't all silver linings. There are common problems that accompany most foreclosed properties. Many foreclosures sit vacant for extended periods of time and consequently had dead trees and landscaping and many other issues. Additionally, if the previous owners moved out under negative circumstances, they may have intentionally left it in a mess or, at the very least, not have cleaned it. The "cons" don't stop with the state of cleanliness. Many foreclosures need significant maintenance such as roof replacement, plumbing repair, pest damage, and furnace repair. There may be frozen pipes, broken windows, and sometimes previous owners take appliances and fixtures that would typically be left in the home under normal circumstances. Additionally, you might have a difficult time finding a lender who will mortgage homes that are in a state of disrepair or that don't appraise for at least the purchase price.

How to Buy Meridian, ID Foreclosure Listings

No matter what type of real estate of buying, foreclosed or not, it's always wise to know how much you can afford. Some people may have cash on hand through savings, inheritance, or the sale of another home. Most, however, need to finance at least part of the purchase price and, if you're going to get a loan to buy a foreclosure, you should get prequalified by a reputable Meridian, Idaho lender  before you get too serious about purchasing a Meridian, ID foreclosure listing so you know how much you can offer and how much the loan will cost you.

According to Bank of America, your next step after obtaining your mortgage pre-approval is finding good foreclosed home options. Typically right now the inventory of Short Sales, Bank Owned (already foreclosed) Homes or Homes in Foreclosure is getting tougher due to market conditions.  So, it would be to your advantage to first find a Realtor who has experience with and knows the different ways to uncover possible foreclosure opportunities in the Meridian, Idaho, area.  Jeff Stewart of Stewart Realty, who has served the Meridian, Idaho real estate market as an appraiser and broker for over a decade has a thorough understanding and knowledge of the Meridian market and can connect you with Meridian, ID foreclosure listings that fit your needs and your budget.  Once you've found a foreclosed property that interests you and it looks like there aren't too many repairs and it still makes financial sense, then your agent can help you structure an offer most likely to be accepted that will net you the lowest possible purchase price. You'll then have a contingency period to your inspection, research the property, have it appraised, and have a title search done. Doing all the necessary due diligence reveals any issues the property might have such as other liens, back taxes, and cosmetic or structural issues, and gives you the opportunity to decide for sure that you want to move forward with the purchase.  It is critical that this process is followed to keep you from buying a property that could financially devastate you if there was something huge like mold or liens that you knew nothing about.

The Right Realtor Can Help Navigate Issues with Foreclosure Listings

Broker/Realtor Jeff Stewart can offer the essential help you need when buying foreclosed homes in Meridian, Idaho. His 14+ years of experience in real estate in Meridian, Idaho include building homes, appraising homes that give him an understanding of home values and construction quality that other agents don't have.  In addition to the Meridian, Idaho foreclosure listings you'll find with an advanced search on the Stewart Realty website, Jeff's is also one of only a small number of brokerages that have approval to bid on HUD Repo properties. Give Jeff a call at 208-602-1993 or shoot him an email at jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com if you're looking to score a deal on a foreclosed home in Meridian, Idaho.

Posted in Buyers
Feb. 28, 2017

7 Reasons Why Meridian is the Absolute Best Family City in Idaho

Best family city in IdahoIt's said that people come to Idaho for the wilderness and stay for the lifestyle, but there are so many terrific cities in the Gem State, you might find it difficult to decide which one will become your new hometown. If you are looking for a place to raise a family, the decision is simple. Meridian is the best family city in Idaho, and there are plenty of reasons why that is a fact. Though each family has a list of priorities that are important to them, there are six main concerns that all parents share when raising a family: access to good educational, prospects for income and employment, an affordable cost of living, low crime rates, and short commutes. When comparing places to move, USA Today gave Meridian Idaho best city status, putting it at number one because it meets all those criteria and more. 

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Posted in Buyers
Feb. 2, 2017

Finding the Best Caldwell, Idaho Neighborhoods

Native Idahoans and transplants alike are drawn to Caldwell because, on top of everything else the town has to offer, it is the epitome of small-town Idaho. Many people cite its simple lifestyle and family atmosphere as aspects that drew them in or keep them living in Caldwell. In addition to the friendly community and uncomplicated way of life, Caldwell is only a short drive from Boise for periodic doses of big-city excitement, when needed and for a relatively short commute.

Though it's one of the smaller communities near the state capital, Caldwell has seen its share of growth. Finding the best Caldwell, Idaho neighborhoods starts with knowing what elements are important to you, such as proximity to schools, access to activities, safety, and whether you prefer an existing home, want to go new construction or maybe even Search Caldwell Idaho Acreage Properties. Whatever you're looking for, there are Caldwell, ID homes for sale that fit your idea of ideal.

Caldwell, ID Real Estate With Schools Nearby

Many families feel it is essential to find Caldwell, Idaho real estate near good schools. There are 16 public schools in Caldwell, and NeighborhoodScout.com highlights the Underkoflers Corner and the South 10th Avenue/East Logan Street neighborhoods as being the best areas in Caldwell for the best schools. With several schools in each neighborhood, families with kids from pre-kindergarten through high school are well-accommodated.  The Vallivue School District tends to be more in demand than the Caldwell School District.

Additionally, Caldwell is home to the College of Idaho, one of the highest ranking colleges in the state and among the highest ranking private colleges in the nation. C of I hit the number two spot on StartClass's list of top Idaho colleges, and the administration was extremely pleased when its school broke into the Forbes list of the top 200 colleges in the nation. Since the median Caldwell home price is over 40 percent lower than the national average, families and college students alike can find affordable Caldwell, Idaho Homes for Sale near the College of Idaho as well as other rental options throughout the area.

The Safety Factor

No town can entirely escape crime, but Caldwell has done an excellent job of cutting their crime rate over the last few years, bringing it to the lowest level ever. In fact, the Caldwell Police Department reports that the rate has dropped 29 percent since 2007. Naturally, as in any town, some neighborhoods have better track records for safety. According to NeighborhoodScout.com  Caldwell, Idaho real estate located in the Underkoflers Corner neighborhood is the safest in the city, which is terrific news for families considering it's also one of the best for education and schools. Further north, the Aviation Way/East Linden Street neighborhood comes in as the second safest neighborhood in town. 

Life at the Lake

Some of the most desirable Caldwell, Idaho Real Estate can be found near Lake Lowell. As part of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, the Lake Lowell area offers everything you'd expect from the unrivaled Idaho wilderness. In addition to the wildlife and beautiful scenery, Caldwell, Idaho homes for Sale near the lake provide access to hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, and swimming. Plus, there are a variety of MLS listings in Caldwell, Idaho in the Lake Lowell neighborhood, so you'll have your choice of stately and delightful older homes as well as attractive and modern newer homes and some with territorial views of the Owyhee Mountains.

Finding Caldwell, ID Homes for Sale  

The Multiple Listing Service is a great resource for finding Caldwell, Idaho Homes for Sale. It's a more comprehensive list of Caldwell, Idaho homes for sale than individual realtors might have on their own. While MLS listings in Caldwell, Idaho, are only available for licensed real estate agents, not all licensed agents have access. Stewart Realty is, however, one of the real estate companies in Southwest Idaho that can offer you information on MLS listings of Caldwell, Idaho homes for sale. Use the MLS number to search the listings with Stewart Realty's advanced search option on the website, or simply peruse the company's inventory of Caldwell, Idaho real estate. If you have something very specific in mind, broker/realtor Jeff Stewart would be happy to talk to you about MLS listings of Caldwell, Idaho homes to help you find just what you're looking for. Give him a call at 208-602-1993 or email him at jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com for help finding Caldwell, Idaho homes for sale in your ideal neighborhood.   

Posted in Buyers
Jan. 10, 2017

McCall Winter Carnival

By January 1st, everyone is usually ready for a break from the holiday festivities that kick off in November. For those who want the celebration to continue on just a little longer, however, the McCall Winter Carnival is just the event to keep the party going. The City of McCall that the area has the highest snowfall average of any major city in the state, so what better place to host a festival that celebrates the winter season? Every year, for 10 days in late January, the city welcomes visitors from near and far to join them in a multitude of activities designed to entertain and make the most of the frosty wonderland that is McCall, Idaho.

An Idyllic Setting 

The McCall Winter Carnival has been a tradition in the scenic mountain town for over 50 years, although the city's fun-loving reputation dates back to the 1920s. Over the decades, McCall has become known as an outdoorsman's dream-destination all year round. If you are in town for the McCall Winter Carnival, though, it's the wintertime activities that will keep you busy. The area typically gets over 300 inches of snowfall on the average, according to the McCall Chamber of Commerce, creating ideal conditions for nearby Brundage Mountain Resort as well as the 500 miles of snowmobile trails (all groomed, of course), the 60 km of Nordic ski trails, and plentiful wide-open spaces for snowshoeing, sledding, and other winter sports.

McCall Winter Carnival Events

The McCall Winter Carnival usually opens on the last Friday in January and continues through the following weekend. The central event of the festival is the snow sculpture contest. With the main material in abundant supply, craftsmen have turned sculpting snow into an art form and they come from near and far to show off their skills and imagination. Though professionals and amateurs alike enter the contest, the snow sculpture display during the carnival takes snowman and snow castle-building to an entirely new level. You'll see everything from a basic Frosty the Snowman to elaborate figures and carvings of castles, teepees, and almost lifelike snowpeople. The sculptures are scattered throughout the town, so taking a tour to view the Arctic artwork also takes you on a tour of McCall, but you have the duration of the carnival to see it all.

Snow sculpting might be the focal point of the McCall Winter Carnival, but there are tons of other activities scheduled throughout the 10 days of the festival. There is a craft fair on the first Friday, as well as a court with vendors selling everything from apparel to souvenirs and, of course, food. There are all types of live performances including stand-up comedy and music,  and a lobster feed, too. In addition to all of that, there are a number of other events and activities that carnival veterans will tell you should not be missed.

An enduring part of the festival is the Children's Torchlight Parade that takes place after sundown on the first night of the McCall Winter Carnival. Any child 11 years or older can participate, marching in a shining procession from the Congregational Church on 1st Street to Depot Park, where a bonfire signals the official beginning of the festival and sparks the opening ceremonies. Yet, all that radiant, glowing goings-on aren't enough. Immediately following the carnival kick-off, a brilliant fireworks display is presented over beautiful Payette Lake. 

A beer garden is open on the weekends during the carnival, but a new tradition has been started in the last few years that is kind of a festival-within-a-festival, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. The Barley Brothers Winter Ale Festival takes place on the second Friday and Saturday of the McCall Winter Carnival and features a selection of around 100 different varieties of beers. The Winter Ale Festival also includes food, live bands, games, and contests such as the charity snowball fight that signals the start of the Winter Ale Festival.

The Manchester Ice Center stays busy during carnival days, providing a place for visitors and residents to skate but also hosting a few of the carnival events. Everyone looks forward to the Black and Blue Rivalry Hockey Game, where the University of Idaho Hockey Team battles the Boise State Hockey Club, usually on opening night of the McCall Winter Carnival. Then, later during the 10-day festival, the Ice Center hosts McCall Starz on Ice Extravaganza, featuring competitive ice skaters performing in a holiday-themed show.

Ice skating isn't the only winter sport you'll enjoy during the carnival. The Flash Point Snowbike Race is an exciting event in which professional snowbike racers compete using modified motorcycles on a specialized track covered in snow. If you'd rather participate than watch, you can sign up for the Nordic and Alpine events that make up the Hometown Races. And even the furry members of your family can get in on the wintertime sports fun when you sign them up for the MCPAWS Regional Animal Shelter's Monster Dog Pull. Dogs of any size can enter to show-off their sledding skills, pulling a weighted sled along a short track. Naturally, proceeds from this event benefit the shelter.

On top of all of those exciting events are others that take place throughout the 10 days of the carnival, such as live music on the stage at the Depot. There are at least two bingo nights at different venues and a Monte Carlo Casino Night at the Northfork Lodge. Plus, the McCall Winter Carnival winds things up the same way it starts: with another glorious fireworks display over Payette Lake. If there is one thing you can count on, it's that by the end of the McCall Winter Carnival, you are certain to have your fill of winter and holiday fun.

Making the Move to McCall

There's just one problem with attending the McCall Winter Carnival and that is that the hotels tend to fill up months in advance. As the years pass, more and more people from around the country have put the festival on their annual calendars so, if you don't book your accommodations far enough in advance, you may have to find a place to stay in one of the surrounding towns such as Cascade, Donnelly, New Meadows, or Riggins. On the other hand, people have been known to start seriously perusing the MLS listings for McCall Real Estate after attending the Winter Carnival. The surroundings are beautiful and, although the town is considered small by population standards, it has ample amenities including shopping, restaurants, schools, entertainment and more, earning McCall, Idaho an A+ from AreaVibes. Plus, having a home or cabin in McCall means not having to worry about finding a place to stay during the festival or any time of the year as summer activities are just as abundant.

You might want to make the move permanent, or consider buying a cabin for vacation stays. Imagine spending time at your McCall cabin during Christmas and New Years, then extending your stay so you can be there for the carnival. Buying a cabin would mean you wouldn't have to find a place to stay if you wanted to take a ski vacation to Brundage, Little Ski Hill, or Tamarack, and you would also have a place to call home during the summer if you wanted to come to McCall for the boating, fishing, hiking, biking, or any of the numerous other warm-weather activities McCall is known for.

Some people aren't the vacation home types, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you want to have just one home and have it in McCall, buying a cabin is still a terrific idea. Cabin living is cozy, no matter what the square footage is. Plus, the National Association of Home Builders Log and Timber Homes Council numerous other reasons why you should opt for a log home, such as their natural energy efficiency, longevity, and the fact that log and timber homes weather well and are great at standing up to anything Idaho weather dishes out.

Buying a cabin isn't a prerequisite for living in McCall, however. The MLS listings in McCall have just as many other architectural styles alternative to cabins and lodges. Plus, with Payette Lake as a significant feature in McCall, you could buy a home on the lake if you've always dreamed of lakeside living. What's more, if you prefer building a home from the ground-up rather than buying a cabin or any style of existing home, McCall MLS listings also have a selection of lots and acreage available so you can build to suit.

If you can't get to the McCall Winter Carnival this year, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year. It's truly an event that shouldn't be missed. In the meantime, if you want to start looking for a home to buy, Jeff Stewart and the team at Stewart Realty can help. They're the real estate specialists when it comes the Cascade, Donnelly and McCall areas. To find out more about the MLS listings in McCall or the rest of Southwestern Idaho, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call for a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget. Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

Posted in Buyers, Sellers
Jan. 4, 2017

Why Winter is the Best Time to Buy

You may have heard that winter is the best time to buy a house, and it turns out that's no old-wives'-tale. It might be more convenient to shop for houses and move in when temperatures are warmer, but home buying in winter has financial benefits. It's not always possible to pick the time of year you'll go house-hunting but, if you can control that issue, you'll be glad you waited for winter to buy a house. 

Prices Decrease in Winter

Experts recommend home buying in winter because they've seen seasonal trends year after year. Forbes notes that although housing prices increased in the five-year period between 2010 and 2015, each winter house prices predictably and consistently took a dip. Every year, prices peak in the summer then start on a gradual decline and bottom out in January of the following year. Around March and April is the time when they start going up again. MarketWatch points out that home prices don't plummet in the fall but instead decrease gradually about half a percent at a time, eventually descending to the lowest prices you'll see for the season. It's a demand versus supply issue. More people would rather buy and move during warmer weather, so fewer buyers mean less demand and prices drop. If you hold off for home buying in winter, the savings would be almost 8.5 percent on the average.

Why Not Buy in Meridian?

If you're considering home buying a new home, have you thought about Meridian, Idaho?  Located in the southwestern part of the state, winter weather is pretty mild partially due to the low elevation of around 2700 ft. That's not to say it doesn't get cold, it does.  It's Idaho, after all, and area winter precipitation is typically an inch to just a few inches of snow at a time and it generally melts off after a day or two.  But sometimes it can stay for a few weeks too! But typically it means that piles of drifting snow aren’t likely to hinder a winter move too much.

If you don't know anything about Meridian, you might be surprised to learn that it is one of those Idaho towns that people from larger cities flock to because of the terrific job it does balancing a friendly small-town feel with bigger city amenities, has excellent schools, low crime rates and a very family friendly atmosphere. Meridian was established in 1893 and has always been an active hub for agricultural-based business such as farming and dairies but now has become a thriving suburb with all kinds of Medical and Tech jobs available in Meridian itself and in Boise, just 10 miles to the east.

You won't lack for things to do in Meridian, starting with Dairy Days. The dairy business is such an integral part of the community that 4 days are set aside every year to celebrate the industry that has made Meridian prosperous. Each June, the carnival sets up, dairy farmers bring their cattle into town for judging, and the residents enjoy several days of parades, rodeos, sprint car races, a pancake breakfast, theater performances, and much, much more.

There are other things to do in Meridian year-round, however. There are galleries, breweries, a family Fun Zone, races at the Meridian Speedway, and a water park. Plus, the Village at Meridian is a premier shopping complex offering stores, restaurants, a movie theater, concerts, and wintertime ice-skating, among other things. 

If you're thinking about home buying in winter and want to know more about Meridian, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call or Search for Homes for Sale in Meridian, Idaho here! He'll be happy to give you a personal tour of the Meridian area or anywhere else in Southwestern Idaho, including some great homes that fit your style and budget.  Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

Posted in Buyers
Dec. 15, 2016

Why are Meridian Home Prices Skyrocketing?

Meridian, Idaho Homes for SaleMeridian Idaho, with its friendly community and small-town feel along with close proximity to Boise, has been a favorite alternative to the big city for decades now. Homebuyers looking to settle here, however, have recently noticed that home values in Meridian have increased more than the national average. The median home price in Meridian is 7.0 percent higher than the national average, and it's over 3.5 percent higher than the average Boise home price. There are several reasons for this, primarily because the majority of homes in Meridian are large, family homes and are middle to upper-middle class homes that are under 10 years old. There are also an increasing number of Luxury homes in Meridian, Idaho

Quick Growth

One of the issues that contribute to increases in home prices is a good job market. With Forbes proclaiming Boise as the hottest job market in the nation, fewer people are leaving, and many are moving into Southwest Idaho. Home buyers are flocking in from California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada and many other states and settling in Meridian because of its low cost of living, low taxes, excellent schools, low crime rate and overall excellent family environment. One glaring statistic to show how Meridian Idaho is being affected by growth is that roughly 1 in 3 homes sold in Meridian in 2016 was a new home. 

Limited Existing Home Inventory

Another influence contributing to rising home prices in Meridian is low inventory. The demand for homes has been incredible and hard for local builders to keep up with.  And everyone knows what happens when there is high demand and low supply, prices go up.  Though new construction is going on full-tilt, it's still difficult to keep up with the housing demand. With a need for more construction, comes competition for quality tradespeople. Just as with housing in general, when there is a limited supply of reputable, qualified contractors, the price for construction labor goes up, one of the factors affecting building costs in Meridian, Idaho.  

Even though many new companies are coming to Meridian, it is still somewhat a bedroom community to Boise.  That means building new homes in Meridian, Idaho will be going on for decades to come.  Most of all though, people buy a home for its location and Meridian is the top choice for many so the local housing industry appears to be on solid footing for now.

Building Costs in Meridian, Idaho

Building costs in Meridian, Idaho, as well as nationally have been on the increase.  The Wall Street Journal charted the rise of construction costs over the last 7 years, showing a steady and constant increase that has been caused by more than the number of available contractors. Everything from the availability of materials to developing them and transporting them influences how much they cost and consequently affects the overall final building cost in Meridian, Idaho.

The Emergence of New Premier Meridian, ID Communities

When an area like Meridian starts growing, much of the building focuses on upscale homes. Many of the new homes in Meridian, Idaho are in new premier Meridian, ID communities. These neighborhoods include the newest of the new homes in Meridian, Idaho, freshly constructed residences that have trending floor plans and loads of luxury amenities such as granite countertops, hardwood floors, master suites separate from the rest of the house, and much more. The median home price for a newly constructed home in Ada County is $297,450 so, even though Meridian home prices have gone up, houses in these new premier Meridian, ID communities are surprisingly affordable, especially considering the features they offer.

 

Whatever price range you're shopping in, finding new homes in Meridian, Idaho is easier with professional help. With experience in building and appraising homes, Jeff Stewart knows quality construction and is a pro at home valuation. Whether you have your eye on new premier Meridian, ID communities or are looking for property suitable for building new homes in Meridian, Idaho, Jeff and the team at Stewart Realty can help you find it.

 

Posted in Buyers
Dec. 8, 2016

Christmas in Boise

Many people might think that Christmas is pretty much the same wherever you go, but Christmas in Boise Idaho is an especially magical time of year. The festivities start in mid-November in anticipation of the holiday and run through ringing in the New Year. If you live in the City of Trees, you're probably aware of all the festive things to do during Christmas in Boise. It's well worth the trip, though, for those from other cities or even out of state to come experience the festivals, shopping, and ceremonious displays that demonstrate why Idaho holiday cheer makes Christmas in Boise Idaho the most wonderful time of the year.       

Christmastime in Downtown Boise 

Elegant and classic, downtown is the ideal setting for Christmas in Boise. The season is ushered in with the annual tree lighting ceremony in November. The mayor traditionally sets the holiday tree aglow in Grove Plaza the day after Thanksgiving, and it remains decorated and radiant for all to see until after the New Year. The ceremony itself includes candle lighting and caroling, and the entire community is always on the guest list. 

The Boise Downtown merchants love spreading Idaho holiday cheer and have made window decoration their own tradition. Christmas in Boise Idaho isn't complete unless you take a stroll through Downtown Boise in December to take in the creative, whimsical, and charming window art. Make it Downtown within the first two weeks of December, and you'll be able to cast a vote for your favorite.  

The Reason for the Season--Live for Christmas in Boise Idaho!

Anyone can set up a Nativity scene in their living room or front yard, but Christmas in Boise includes live Nativities in honor of the true meaning of Christmas. There's something extra special when the créche is brought to life, giving everyone a genuine vision to reflect upon. Mix 106 notes that two churches in the Treasure Valley present live Nativity scenes during the holiday season. This year the Meridian Seventh-Day Adventist Church offers nightly showings December 13 through 15, and the Five Mile Church of the Nazarene's live Nativity can be viewed December 20 through 22.  

Winter Garden A Glow

The Idaho Botanical Garden is impressive in full bloom during the summer, but the Winter Garden A Glow is truly a holiday sight to behold. Anyone who has experienced Christmas in Boise knows that the Garden puts on an extraordinary display that is as beautiful as it is full of Idaho holiday cheer. Over 300,000 colorful, twinkling lights are artistically arranged, adorning the bushes, trees, and other displays, but that's only part of the many elements that create a festive atmosphere in the Garden. A model train dubbed the Holiday Express rolls through the glowing winter garden, and Santa is on hand with his trusty reindeer Prancer to greet and delight all visitors of any age. 

Visits With Santa

And speaking of visiting with Santa...Christmas in Boise Idaho wouldn't be Christmas at all without access to St. Nick. Fortunately, he thoroughly enjoys Idaho holiday cheer and makes frequent appearances throughout the Treasure Valley during the entire month leading up to Christmas. He's on-hand for photo-ops and to receive wish lists at the Boise Town Square Mall as well as the Village at Meridian. Santa knows that kids young and old aren't the only ones who want to see him during the holiday season, so he also schedules some time for his Paws and Clause event to give special attention to his furry fans.

Holiday Lights

Most communities have a collection of neighborhoods that go all-out when decorating for the holidays, and Boise is no exception. Naturally, some of the most beautiful homes in the city deck their halls and exterior walls with colorful lights and lawn ornaments. That's why Christmas in Boise is always a delightful time to take an evening drive because it's the best time to view the light displays that range from attractive to outrageous. Some homeowners, like one in particular on Tiger Lily Drive, have gone to the trouble of synchronizing their blinking lights with music. If you're in the mood to drive a bit further, rumor has it that nearly all the homes in the Hidden Springs community are decorated and lit for your holiday pleasure.

Pickin' a Tree  

No matter how technology improves and how realistic tree manufacturing companies can make an artificial tree look, nothing beats the real thing. Because Idaho is a wilderness state full of several types of conifers, picking out your own live tree, cutting it down, and bringing it home is a traditional part of Christmas in Boise Idaho. PickYourOwnChristmasTree.org says that the Boise National Forest allows tree harvesting just for that purpose, and permits go on sale in late November. Up to three permits per family can be obtained and, at just $10 a pop, that's some authentic Idaho holiday cheer that's very affordable. 

Christmas Traditions

Traditional holiday entertainment is big around Christmas in Boise, and there is plenty to be had all through the month of December. Early in the month, the Boise Philharmonic performs Handel's Messiah at St. John's Cathedral, and a few weeks later the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale performs a Holiday Pops Concert. BSU's music department puts on an annual holiday concert, usually held in the Morrison Center Main Hall. Watching a performance of the Nutcracker is what rounds out Christmas in Boise and Ballet Idaho performs the classic Christmas ballet beautifully, making it an annual practice of opening up the casting to include children from all corners of the Treasure Valley to participate as extras. 

Dash With the Deer

The YMCA's Annual Reindeer Dash isn't really like running with the bulls in Pamplona, but it's still a terrific way to exercise off all those holiday treats you can't say no to. Plus, it's all for a good cause because all proceeds benefit the YMCA. The actual Reindeer Dash is a 1-mile walk or run, and the entire event also includes a 2-mile and 6-mile run. Runners and walkers (of the Elven rather than zombie kind) can participate as individuals or in teams, so it's an event full of Idaho holiday cheer that entire families can get in on. The Annual Christmas Run has become known for the holiday costume contest that is part of the festivities, so pick up your packet and arrive at the starting line with bells on--literally!

Nostalgic Carriage Rides

Few things inspire the mood for Christmas in Boise Idaho like a holiday carriage ride through historic Downtown Boise. It's a holly jolly way to see the sights and enjoy the Christmas window artwork along a route that takes you from the Washington Trust Bank on the corner of 9th and Bannock to Capitol and back again.  

Get in the Spirit

White Christmas, Its' a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Elf... they're all classics, and every one is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit. The Egyptian Theatre goes 100 percent holiday, running all those movies and more starting after Thanksgiving and into December as their way of celebrating Christmas in Boise Idaho. Join them for your favorites or block out your calendar to see them all. It's one of the most enjoyable ways to make the holiday merry.  

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

For proud Idahoans and football fans alike, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is always part of Christmas in Boise Idaho. The Potato Bowl is the bowl game for the Big West Conference Championship. Although it's an event that sports enthusiasts in the Treasure Valley and beyond look forward to every year, it's not just about the game. The festivities last for 5 days starting with team arrivals in Boise. There are dinners, breakfasts, winter sports and go\-kart racing, press conferences, practices and more.  

Spreading the Cheer

There's so much Idaho holiday cheer in Boise that it has spilled out to the surrounding cities. Places like Meridian, Nampa, and Caldwell have plenty of festive things to do, and they're just a short drive when you're spending Christmas in Boise. For example, the St. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell hosts cork ornament and crafting. You can ice skate at the Village in Meridian. There are Christmas bake sales and bazaars aplenty, and enough Christmas concerts to ensure you can fit at least one into your schedule this holiday season. 

If an enchanting Christmas in Boise Idaho has you thinking of a move to the Treasure Valley, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call. Since 2002, Jeff has worked in a variety of areas of real estate in southwestern Idaho including as an appraiser, real estate agent and broker. Jeff and his professional team would be happy to give you a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget. Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com 

Posted in Boise
Sept. 8, 2016

Finding a Great Horse Property in Marsing, Idaho

Horse property in Marsing, IdahoWhether you already have a horse or two or have been dreaming of owning a few horses you know the importance of having the right real estate.  And, if you are ready to make it a reality, you already know how crucial it is to do your research to make sure you have find the right Marsing Idaho horse property up front. There are many locations in Idaho that have most of the ingredients to make a good equestrian life, but one part of the state is just tailor-made to perfection. That area is Marsing, which amazingly is less than 30 miles southwest of Boise and within commuting distance of the primary job markets in the area.  So if you're ready to get looking for the ideal Equestrian life, you have definitely come to the right place to find them here Marsing Idaho Horse Properties.

Marsing, Idaho sits in a large picturesque, irrigated valley with the Great Snake River running right through the middle of it. It's not just the beauty of the valley that makes Marsing Idaho acreage properties perfect for keeping horses. It’s all the other amenities the Marsing area has to offer make it picture perfect!

house with horse propertyLocation is everything when it comes to real estate, and Marsing Idaho is no exception when searching for horse properties. Marsing is located conveniently close to abundant BLM land for riding freedom, and there are breathtaking views of the Owyhee Mountains to the southwest. In fact, the beautiful Owyhee mountain range is not only a delightful and scenic area to enjoy horseback riding on the many trails, but it's a great place for horsemen (and women!) to hunt big game. With all that going for it, one visit to the valley is typically all it takes to be convinced that Marsing is the perfect place for living the equestrian life. Horse properties are available throughout the Marsing-Homedale valley, and you can find riverfront acreage, near the foothills, or as far away or close to town as you want to be.  You will also find that land for sale in Marsing is a bit less expensive than the rest of the state and even a bit less than in Canyon County and it’s just a few minutes further from the Boise Metropolitan area.

lots of land availableOf course, in addition to location, you'll want to find that Marsing Idaho horse property that accommodates your equine herd, no matter how many horses you have or plan on having. The experts at Equine Therapy advise that you have at least 1.5 acres of grazing for your first horse and add one acre for each additional horse, depending on the quality of the pasture of course. And, considering that pasture typically needs to rest a couple of times each year, you might want to look at properties that are large enough for at least 2 acres for each animal. 

And, with the price of good hay these days, the fertile ground and really inexpensive irrigation water there are lots of large acreages in Marsing that are great for hay production and offer the convenience and economic benefits of growing the majority of your horses' feed yourself. Most acreage in Marsing, Idaho comes with water rights but don't take that for granted. Search here for larger, bare ground parcels.

cowboyHorse Journals strongly recommends getting help from a local real estate expert to find the right horse property to meet your specific needs.  You'll get the expert help you need with buying Marsing, Idaho properties from Stewart Realty. Take the first step by searching Marsing property listings on our website, and using the Advanced Search tab to refine the search to your specific parameters.

You know what you want and need in a horse property, and Stewart Realty is the right team to help you find the right Marsing Idaho horse properties you're looking for.  Just give us a call and we will get working for you!  Click here to view our Marsing Home Page.

Jeff and his team have extensive experience in Owyhee County.  Having worked as an appraiser, Jeff can offer his expertise in property quality and valuation to buyers looking at Marsing property listings as well as knowing things areas where well water can be marginal or where you can tap into geothermal resources. Plus, he can help guide you on properties that will be good for hay production and can assist you in determining if the acreage properties that you're interested in have good soil and irrigation rights as well as proximity to BLM areas.  Give the owner Jeff Stewart a call at 208-602-1993 or email at jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com.

Posted in Buyers