Real Estate Information for the Treasure Valley

Stewart Realty is dedicated to bringing you the real estate information you need to purchase real estate in the Treasure Valley.

March 1, 2018

The Interesting History of Wilder, Idaho

Wilder, IdahoWilder, Idaho is one of the classic small rural towns the Gem State is known for. The area is agricultural, though the farmers in Wilder grow more than Famous Potatoes. Alfalfa seed, beans, hops, onions, sugar beets and seed corn all contribute to helping keep it a thriving farming community. In the history of Wilder, Idaho, homes began popping up over 100 years ago as people migrated west in search of hope and a fresh start. The City of Wilder website reveals that, initially, the area was all sagebrush and bleak landscape, but the Boise Project was under development and, as soon as irrigation water was provided to the area, it blossomed into one of the most productive and abundant farming regions in the entire country.

Because no existing Wilder, Idaho homes for sale existed, building boomed as homesteaders settled in Wilder in the early 1900s. There was talk of the railroad coming through the town, which fueled more interest in the city, and stores, schools, and churches began springing up. The growth continued over the decades, though it hasn't yet skyrocketed like in other nearby cities toward the east like Boise and Caldwell. Yet, Wilder is located close enough to the state capitol that it has drawn interest as a nice little city for families to settle in while commuting to Boise for work or to the university. Keeping in mind the history of Wilder, Idaho, homes and housing developments have been popping up to accommodate current growth as well as expected expansion in the near future.

With a population of just over 1700, Wilder is still a small town, but there are plenty of Wilder, Idaho homes for sale in price ranges to fit every budget. Additionally, with its proximity to agricultural and technology resources, Wilder is an ideal location for industrial or commercial businesses. Even manufacturers and transportation businesses would benefit from everything Wilder has to offer, including Highway 95, which happens to be the major highway that runs from California to Canada, taking in Western and Northern Idaho along the way. There is even an 18 Hole Golf Course along the Snake River called Riverbend Golf Course and another close by called Timberstone Golf Course.  

Whether you're an entrepreneur with a vision of taking advantage of the benefits of living and doing business in Wilder, or you work in one of the larger surrounding cities but would like to live in the peaceful quiet of a small town, Wilder is waiting for you. There are many different factors that affect the best time to sell in Wilder, Idaho, but, with the amount of growth the area has seen, there is usually a good number of Wilder, Idaho homes for sale throughout the year.  There are also some awesome small and large acreage properties as well as riverfront properties with boat docks on the Snake River in Wilder Idaho as well depending on your needs.

If you're in the market for an upgrade and want to know the best time to buy or sell in Wilder, Idaho, or if the history of Wilder, Idaho has you interested in purchasing a home in the area, it's wise to get help from a Realtor who knows Wilder and the local market. Jeff Stewart and the team at Stewart Realty have just the experience you need. Having worked in multiple areas of real estate in the area, including construction and real estate appraisal as well as residential, investment, and commercial real estate, Jeff has the background and expertise to help you buy or sell your house or find exactly what you're looking for.

To learn more about the history of Wilder, Idaho, homes or even if you're interested in Boise, Meridian, 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 needs and budget. Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner, 208-602-1993 or

Posted in Buyers, Sellers
Jan. 15, 2018

The City in the Country: Emmett

It might not be Mayberry, USA, but the City of Emmett is one of those idyllic towns that lives life from a simpler time. Located just under 30 miles northwest of Boise in a picturesque valley below Squaw Butte, Emmett is the little city in the country that is close enough to all of the conveniences of the larger, more urban areas to be able to take advantage of them while still enjoying country living in the pristine Emmett Valley. There is also lake recreation to be found on Black Canyon Reservoir along the Payette River just to the east. In the wake of the recession and subsequent recovery, many other towns located in the southwest corner of Idaho have gotten a lot of press for being up-and-coming places to live. Though you may have heard of Boise, Meridian, and Eagle, don't overlook the Emmett area which is just a hop over the hill when you're looking for a new place to settle down and slow up the pace a bit.

Small-Town Charm

With a population of just over 6,500, the City of Emmett is really a small town, just the type many people look for when they want to slow down the pace a bit. That doesn't mean that country living in the City of Emmett doesn't have loads of benefits to offer. Emmett and the rest of Gem County are home to considerable cultural and economic activity including a vibrant tourist industry--and much of that can be chalked up to Emmett's small-town charm.

It's an appeal that is historic in nature. Walking down Main Street in the City of Emmett inspires the feeling that nothing has changed for decades, and that kind of stable continuity is comforting. The City of Emmett's Main Street even made a top 10 list of best main streets in Idaho on the Only in Your State website. It's quiet and rural, and the surrounding mountains can easily be seen from almost any angle, one of the best aspects of country living in the City of Emmett.

Main Street is just one place in the City of Emmett you'll find quaint local shops that are good for more than touristy-souvenir purchases. Along with delightful gift shops, there are drug stores, grocery stores, hardware and paint supplies, clothing shops, and so much more. You'll have a selection of restaurants to choose from throughout the City of Emmett when you want to dine out, and there is a museum, a theater, and galleries when you're looking for some entertainment.  If all of that is too urban for you, there's a greenbelt, farmers' markets, and the Gem County Fair for more of a taste of country living in the City of Emmett.

Don't Forget the Emmett Cherry Festival

Emmett, Idaho is known for its cherries. Since the 1930s, the area's thriving orchards have been a source of income and commerce for the City of Emmett and its residents. To celebrate the abundance and harvest, the entire county comes together the second full week of June for the Emmett Cherry Festival to enjoy a carnival, concerts, and loads of free events. The Emmett Cherry Festival is essentially a free celebration. There's no charge to enter any of the contests--including the famous cherry pie-eating contest-- plus there's no admission fees, the nightly concerts and daily entertainment are on the house, and the two parades are free of charge.

If you'd like to experience country living in the City of Emmett, Jeff Stewart and the team at Stewart Realty would love to show you around and provide you with a list of homes for sale in Emmett, Idaho. Jeff has extensive experience in real estate in the Emmett Idaho area, including working as an appraiser. To find out more about Emmett Area Properties for sale, or for more information Southwestern Idaho Real Estate, 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

Posted in Buyers
Dec. 1, 2017

Enjoying Life Living in Parma, Idaho

If you've been longing for a true small-town experience, you might want to start looking at Parma, ID property listings. The population hovers around 2,000 and is extremely livable because of its low cost of living and low crime rates, high graduation rates and the loads of local Parma Idaho events to enjoy. As more and more people discover the beauty of the Gem State, more are making the move to enjoy life living in Parma, Idaho.

Beautiful Parma, Idaho

Parma is located in a gorgeous green valley, ideal for the agricultural industry that is prevalent in Idaho. The Great Snake River flows through the area, adding to the elements that make Parma Idaho real estate perfect for farming, raising livestock and living along the river if you want. You don't have to be interested in those endeavors to enjoy living in Parma, however. Though it is a small town, commerce is thriving with ample existing businesses including healthcare, education, construction, and technology, as well as abundant opportunities for new businesses to set up shop. Parma Idaho real estate is very affordable with substantially lower prices than the national average so it's likely that you'll find a beautiful home and even small acreages you can afford when you set up your search for Parma, Idaho property listings here on the Stewart Realty Website.

Parma Idaho Events to Enjoy

Parma may be a small town, but the city enjoys big fun. Summers are filled with outdoor events such as Fruit Field Day, an exhibition for home gardeners and master gardeners as well as commercial growers and alternative fruit farmers. If you love classic cars as much as Parma residents do, then you'll appreciate the opportunities to show off your own restored vehicle or just check out the pride and joy of others at the Classics on the Grass Annual Car Show or the Garage Cafe Annual Show and Shine. Parma also happens to be the home of one of the first drive-in theaters in the valley and the Parma Motor-Vu Drive-In is still open and operating today, showing newly released movies in a nostalgic, outdoor setting. What's more, you'll find delightful eateries, picturesque parks, and a modest number of shops in Parma.

The Outdoor Life

Many out-of-staters who are interested in Parma Idaho real estate come to the Gem State for the outdoor life. One of the best things about living in Parma is that the immediate surroundings are quintessential Idaho wilderness, yet it's still driving distance from larger cities, giving you the best of living in a small town along with the amenities of big city life. As for the outdoors, you'll enjoy immediate access to rock climbing, hiking, canyoneering, swimming, horseback riding, boating, and fishing--and that's just in the summer. The fall and winter months usher in great pheasant and upland bird hunting, snowshoeing, all types of skiing from alpine to back country to downhill, snowmobiling and more.

For expert representation and someone who knows the Parma area call Jeff Stewart.  He and the team at Stewart Realty can help you find a Parma property that fits your style and your budget. Contact Jeff at 208-602-1993 or

Posted in Boise
July 24, 2017

Homeowners Associations: What You Need to Know


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



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

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 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 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  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 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

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

Posted in Buyers