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 boiseinteractive.com

http://www.boiseinteractive.com/events

Description:

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: rec@cityofnampa.us

Contact Phone: (208)468-5858

Location:

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

Ticketing Phone: (208)468-5858

Ticketing URL: http://nampaparksandrecreation.org

 

Description:

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: patti@murphymediaservices.com

Contact Phone: 208-336-3424

Location:

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

Ticket Price: Free

 

Description:

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 http://www.hillcrestmemorialgarden.com (Corner of Karcher Road and Indiana Ave)

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

Contact Email: wecare@hillcrestmemorialgarden.com

Contact Phone: 208-459-4949

Location:

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

Ticket Price: Free

Have Fun, Be Safe, and thank your military!

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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 Realtor.com 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:  http://www.inman.com/news/2012/04/26/top-10-markets-rising-list-prices

Realtor Magazine:  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/05/10/top-10-turnaround-housing-markets?om_rid=AAC$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 –http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx) :

  • 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:  http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx

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

Sales of homes in Ada County continue to climb as inventory levels dip.  Even though sales in March 2012 decreased 2.2% compared to March  2011; year to date sales are 1,353 which is 7.2% over the first three months on 2011 sales*.  Just because sales dipped a little in March doesn’t mean that contracts were not being written, pending sales in March increased 16% from February and 23% from March 2011*.

This is good news for the housing market and for sellers.  Spring is historically a busy time of year with home sales.  In fact, right now Ada County is seeing many homes get multiple offers because of the lower inventory available.  Inventory is down 3% from February and 29% from last year at this time*.

This may be the right time to look at putting your home on the market while inventory levels are low and prices are climbing.  You could potentially sell your home and still purchase your dream home at a very low mortgage interest rate before prices and interest rates climb higher.

As a buyer, now is a great time to talk to a lender and get pre-approved to purchase a home.  You can also be put on an auto-search program so you can look at homes online like a realtor.  When homes become available that you are interested in, look immediately so you don’t miss the opportunity to make an offer.

For more detailed reports on statistics in your neighborhood, talk to a reputable real estate professional.  Whether you are a buyer or a seller we can educate you on the local information that can help you make the right decision for your situation.

 

*Statistics taken from the March Market Report:  Ada County Association of Realtors 

Across the nation, many renters are finding that they can purchase a home at today’s low-interest rate and have a mortgage payment significantly less than what it would cost to rent a home or apartment.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that reported;

‘analysts at Zelman & Associates believe 2012 will be the first year since 2005 when the share of apartment renters that moves out to buy a house increases from the previous year. “The equation of renting versus owning is becoming much more favorable for owning,” said Ivy Zelman, the firm’s chief executive.’

Here is a link to the entire article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304750404577322011443831768.html

If you are currently renting or know of someone who is renting, now is a great time to talk to a knowledgable real estate agent that can analyze current rent payments vs. mortgage payments on ‘like’ properties.  You may be able to buy for less than you rent and have the tax benefits of homeownership.

Remember, there are MANY different financing products that are available to help people become home owners so don’t wait to see if buying a home can actually save you money!

 

Is now the right time to sell?  That sounds like a loaded question.  In this economy some homeowners are underwater on their mortgages so selling at this time does not make sense.  However, many home owners have equity in their home and may be able to sell and take advantage of then purchasing the home of their dreams at a low price with a historically low-interest rate.

For example:  Let’s say you purchased a home for $160,000 in 2004 in NW Meridian.  This is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a 3 car garage.  1700 sqft approximately.  Standard size lot.  5 years old.  No granite counters or wood floors.  Nice neighborhood.  No pool or clubhouse.  Very clean.

TRUE EXAMPLES of COMPARABLE NEIGHBORHOODS

2004 2012 (20 yr) 2012 (30yr)
Loan Amount $128,000 $135,000 $165,000
Interest Rate 6% 3.50% 3.87%
Monthly Payment $767/mo $782/mo $775/mo
Price of Home $160,000 $170,000 $207,000

What can you get in 2012 to keep your payment the same?

$170,000 Home:   4 bedroom, 3 bath home with a 3 car garage.  2500 sqft approximately.  Standard size lot.  9 years old.  Granite tile counters, hickory floors.  Nice neighborhood with pools and clubhouse.  Very clean.

$207,000 Home:  5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home with a 4 car garage.  2800 sqft approximately.  Standard size lot.  7 years old.  No granite counters, but wood floors.  Nice neighborhood.  No pool or clubhouse.  Bank owned so needs some cleaning but no repairs.

Wow.  That sounds great – BUT…what can I sell the home I purchased for in 2004?!  The home that was used as the example above was sold for $145,000 in 2011.  Not bank owned and not short sale.

So the question becomes…Is NOW the right time for you to look at selling and buying a larger home and keep your monthly payment the same?  Is now the time to purchase a home when prices are low AND interest rates are low?

The timing may be perfect for you.

What?  Is this a for real?  Yes.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has put together a program to help promote home ownership.  You must qualify by being a service member of the community; Law Enforcement Officers, Teachers (PreK-12), Firefighters, and Emergency Responders all qualify.

How does it work?   If you qualify, you can be put in a lottery on a HUD home.  If you win the lottery, you can purchase the home for 50% the “as is” appraised value (which is list price).  So if you made an offer on a home for $200,000 and you won the lottery, you could purchase this home for $100,000.

What are your chances of winning?  It depends on how many service industry people bid on a home.  If there are three people who qualify for the lottery bidding on a home you have a 33% chance of winning!  Sometimes, there will be only one person that is in the service industry bidding on a home.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to purchase a home at a discount and reward service members in our community for their hard work and dedication.

Here is a link for more information and available HUD homes:

http://www.goodneighbornextdoor.com/?gclid=CP-lpLqRxK4CFRIzhwodPjX86Q

This information was provided by Guild Mortgage:

Heidi Laursen, 208-489-2804 office, 208-631-6140 cell, hlaursen@guildmortgage.net