The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on April 11, 2013 that they have extended the Home Affordable Refinance Program through December 31, 2015.

This program allows homeowners that have a loan guaranteed or owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac the opportunity to refinance their home even if they owe more than their home is worth.  The HARP program has helped over two million homeowners since it went into effect.

For more details on the program follow this link to the fhfa press release:

Your home mortgage may be serviced by a bank or lender but owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  To find out whether your home is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac please visit these sites:

I have lenders that can help if you are interested in refinance!  Let me know and I will send you some information.





Every once in a while I veer away from a real estate post and publish a post that is near and dear to my heart.  Last week, was the birthday of one of my close friends, Charline Cvecich.  Although she fought a hard fight, she lost her battle with leukemia in August.   What occurred to me during that time of diagnosis and treatment is how many people who fight and still lose their battle with blood cancers.  AND how much more needs to be done to fight this battle.

Did you know:

  • Every four minutes, someone new is diagnosed with blood cancer.
  • Every 10 minutes, someone dies
  • Nearly a million people in the US are living with or are in remission from, leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma or myeloma.

ENTER – Stage Left….My beautiful friend Patty Johnson. Patty ran in the Team in Training race events last year in support of her friends and family afflicted with this disease. Who would know that she would be diagnosed with Lymphoma in August shortly before Charline passed away. Patty is a fighter and has completed treatment. That, however, is not good enough for her.  She is again supporting and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by participating in the Team in Training triathlon in Sun River, OR on June 30, 2013.


Go Patty!

Patty’s goal is to raise $10,000 for this cause.  Please see the link to her page, to:

  • Learn more about Blood Cancers
  • Learn more about Team in Training
  • Donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society


We all have noticed that the housing market is improving.  We are finally receiving good news in the media.  Homes sales are up and Treasure Valley real estate agents are looking for more sellers to put their homes on the market to increase inventory for buyers that are ready to buy.  In addition to that, builders are seeing increased activity and building lots in certain areas are being absorbed quickly. has recently posted that Boise, ID is an “Unheralded Outperformer” in housing recovery.  To read more about Boise and the other markets that are leading the way in home sales, go to:

If you are thinking about selling your home, now might be the time to have a Realtor analyze the market for you!

In the final hours of voting to avoid the “fiscal cliff” in Washington, lawmakers chose to approve the extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation that was originally approved in 2007. 

This is great news for sellers that are still struggling to negotiate with mortgage lenders on modifications or get their short sale approved on their home.  This act protects many sellers from being taxed on the difference of what they owe on the home and the current market value sales price that the home sells for.  Prior to the extension some short sale  homeowners could have faced a scenario where the bank forgives a $50,000 deficiency on their home, but the IRS taxes them on that deficiency.  This could have resulted in homeowners moving into a different tax bracket. 

The IRS web page has not been updated to show the date through 2013, but I imagine it will be soon.  For the details on the act please visit the IRS Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation page at:



As a seller statistically fall is the second best time to list your home.  As we move into the winter months and the holidays, things usually slow down a little and sales decrease.  However, with the low inventory of homes on the market in our area, NOW may be the perfect time to list your home.

In Ada County in 2011 from January to October, 5492 homes sold compared to 6370 for the same period of time in 2012.  We have increased sales more than 14% year to date.  In addition to that our average home sales price has increased from $176,750 to $190,120 which is an increase of over 7%.  In 2012 every month of the year has shown an increase of number of homes sold versus the same month in 2011.

This is great news for the housing market.  It’s also great news for sellers AND with the current interest rates, the buyers are still getting more of a house for the same monthly payment as they were able to two years ago.

For many people, the question remains, “How quickly will my home be absorbed into the market if I list it right now?”  In general, Ada County is selling 400 homes a month under $200,000 with only 2 months of inventory; 150 houses a month from $200,000 to $300,000 with 2.7 months of inventory; and 87 homes a month from $300,000 to $500,000 with 4 months of inventory.

Your Realtor can help determine how quickly your home will be absorbed based on where the home is located in Ada County, what is happening in YOUR neighborhood, and pricing your home at the correct MARKET VALUE price.

So should you list your home now or in the spring?  This becomes a personal decision that you can add market statistics to so you are able make the best decision for you and your family.   We know that buyers are out looking for homes for both their primary residence and as investment property.  They want to take advantage of the low interest rates to get as much house as they can for as little interest as possible.  We know that in Ada County, inventory is low and demand is high.

Will the interest rates remain low?  Will the housing prices continue to increase?  Will you have more competition in the spring?  Will you be able to get into the house you would like if the market rises and the interest rate rises?  We would all love to have a crystal ball, but searching to understand your own motivation to sell as well as looking at current market data could lead you to the answer sooner rather than later.

KTVB wrote a great article yesterday about home values rising in Idaho.  They took information from CoreLogic who did a study nationwide comparing July 2011 home prices to July 2012 home prices.  Nationwide CoreLogic says that home values have increased 3.8%.

“Idaho home prices crept even higher than that, ending up with a 10%
increase in home prices from July of 2011 to July of 2012. CoreLogic
says Idaho is second best state for rising home values”.

This is great news!  Homeowners are happy to see the value of their homes rise.  And buyers can still get into a home at a great interest rate as we do a STEADY (hopefully) climb in the housing market.

To read the full article and look at the report by CoreLogic go to:

Idaho ranks second best in rising
home values | KTVB.COM Boise

Idaho homeowners receive a partial tax exemption on their primary dwelling and up to one acre of land.  The law exempts 50% of the assessed value from taxes.  The exemption cannot be more than the maximum home exemption value each year.

It’s important as a tax payer and a home owner to know what your homeowner exemption is.  The Idaho Tax Commission has set the new 2012 exemption amount to $83,974 reducing it from the previous exemption of $92,040 in 2011.  This is based on changes in the Idaho House Price Index calculated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and is tied by law.  It is because of falling home prices in 2010 and part of 2011.

Basically if your market value of your home is under $167,948 there is no change in the amount of homeowner exemption for you.  If your market value is more than that, it may be worth it to make sure the property is assessed at the true market value.  If you think the assessed value is more than the market value of your property on January 1, 2012, you can file an appeal with the county commissioners (contact the county clerk) by June 25, 2012 (fourth Monday in June).

Ada County:

200 West Front Street Boise, ID 83702 Phone: (208) 287-6840 Fax: (208) 287-6849

Canyon County:

County Courthouse Caldwell, ID 83605-3542 Phone: (208) 454-7557 Fax: (208) 454-6689

Additional links:

In between looking for homes and being thankful for the upswing of the housing market and economy in general, it’s important to remember how lucky we are in the United States for having the choices we do and to remember the people who helped make that happen.

With the three-day week-end upon us, I searched and searched for activities to do.  What I found was that there are festivals, fun runs, concerts, and all kinds of FUN activities all over the internet for this week-end..  Most of these activities do not pay tribute to the men and women that have given their lives for our country (the very reason why we have Memorial Day and the three-day week-end).  With a little research, I did find some ceremonies honoring our military.  If you would like to take part in these ceremonies, here is the information:

  Memorial Day Activities in the Treasure Valley taken off of


The City of Nampa in conjunction with the American Legion, Joseph H Murray, Post 18 will hold a Memorial Day Ceremony to honor the men and women who have been in the service for our country and many who have made the supreme sacrifice of giving their lives so that we might live in freedom. What: Memorial Day Ceremony When: Monday, May 28, 2012 Time: 10 AM Where: Kohlerlawn Cemetery Veteran’s Loop 76 6th Street North, Nampa

Occurs once: May 28, 2012 (10:00 AM to 12:00 PM)

Contact Name: Nampa Rec Center

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: (208)468-5858


Kohlerlawn Cemetery Veteran’s Loop
76 6th Street North, Nampa, ID 83686

Ticketing Phone: (208)468-5858

Ticketing URL:



WHAT: The public is invited to the annual Memorial Day celebration at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. The ceremony will feature a wreath laying ceremony, the Idaho National Guard 25th Army Band, bagpipes, and a rifle and cannon salute. At the conclusion of the ceremonies there will be an A-10 fly over by the 124th Fighter Wing Idaho Air National Guard.

WHEN: 10 a.m., Monday, May 28

WHERE: Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, 10100 N. Horseshoe Bend Road, Boise (There will be no parking available within the cemetery grounds. Attendees are asked to arrive early and park their vehicles at the Optimist Youth Sports Complex at 9889 Hill Rd and take a free shuttle to and from the cemetery. The shuttle is handicap accessible.) WHO: Keynote speaker will be Brigadier General Alan Gayhart, US Army (Ret). Colonel David Brasuell, USMC (Ret) Division Administrator, Idaho Division of Veterans Services will provide opening remarks. WHY: This annual ceremony is a Memorial Day celebration in remembrance of those who devoted their lives to keeping America free.

INFORMATION: For more information call the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery at 208-577-2330.

Occurs once: May 28, 2012 (10:00 AM to 11:00 AM)

Contact Name: Patti Murphy

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 208-336-3424


Idaho State Veterans Cemetery
10100 N. Horseshoe Bend Road, Boise, ID 83703

Ticket Price: Free



Memorial Day Remembrance Program Caldwell, Idaho (May 28,2012) Hillcrest Memorial Gardens will host a Memorial Day Remembrance Program, Monday, May 28, 2012. Please join us for a day of remembering and celebrating. We will begin serving free refreshments at 11:30am and the program will begin at 1:00pm. This service is designed to help families and friends remember and honor those that have served and are serving on our Armed Forces, through music and reflection. Chaplain Bob Cruthirds Lt. Col, USAF (Retired) will give a keynote speech that will include a message of hope and comfort for those grieving and remembering. Mark Maselli and the Boise SQ. Civil Air Patrol will perform a symbolic flag fold and talk on the flag folding honor. The Musettes will perform patriotic as well as inspirational musical selections. Antique military equipment, brought by the SW Idaho Military Preservation Society, will be on display all morning. It will be a wonderful day of remembering, celebrating and honoring our loved ones. The event is FREE and open to everyone in the community. Hillcrest Memorial Gardens 15862 S Indiana Ave Caldwell, ID 83607 208-459-4949 (Corner of Karcher Road and Indiana Ave)

Occurs once: May 28, 2012 (11:30 AM to 2:00 PM)

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 208-459-4949


Hillcrest Memorial Gardens
15862 S Indiana Ave, Caldwell, ID 83607

Ticket Price: Free

Have Fun, Be Safe, and thank your military!

With all the doom and gloom we have been exposed to about the housing market, it is time for some good news.  Boise recently was cited by market statistics that they are one of the top ten turnaround housing markets.  Finally something positive to report to homeowners!  Boise ranked number three in the research done by analyzing 146 metro areas in the United States.  The median home price in the Boise area increased 19.73% compared to the first quarter of last year.

Attached are links to the articles:

Inman News:

Realtor Magazine:$w1&om_mid=_BPrAyvB8i7CyqZ

This is great news for Treasure Valley homeowners!


Have you heard about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)?

If you have been unable to refinance and take advantage of the currently low-interest rates and you are not behind on your mortgage payments, you may be eligible to refinance through the Making Home Affordable Refinance Program.  This program is designed to get homeowners into a new, more affordable  mortgage.  You do not need to have equity in your home to participate in this program.

You must meet certain eligibility to qualify (taken off Making Home Affordable website – :

  • The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  • The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
  • The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
  • The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
  • The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with a good payment history in the past 12 months.

When I initially heard about this program, I was worried that it really wouldn’t help a lot of homeowners.  However, several of the mortgage professionals that I work with say they are having success in getting many of these refinance loans approved.  Yea!  That’s good news.

If you are interested in finding out more information visit the Making Home Affordable website at:

You can also contact your mortgage lender or call one of the lenders below.  They will be happy to answer questions for you: