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:

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.


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.

Idaho Finance and Housing Association has some great options available for Idahoans who would like to see their dream of homeownership a reality.  Through IdaMortgage, some buyers can qualify for 100% financing with no Mortgage Insurance and a low interest rate.  See below (taken directly off of

Preferred Risk Sharing Loan – No MI
No first-time homebuyer requirement
Cannot currently own other real estate
Check the income limits chart for qualifications
No sales price limits
No private mortgage insurance required
No minimum borrower contribution
Finally Home!® Homebuyer Education is required
May qualify for up to $2,000 tax credit every year

This is just one of the programs through IHFA that is helping Idaho buyers realize their dream of owning a home.  There are additional programs for first time homebuyers, rehabilitation loans and closing cost and down payment assistance programs.

A good place to start is to talk to a lender about these programs.  Here are three lenders that can help:

For more information about programs through Idaho Housing and Finance Association visit:



With interest rates below 4% is now the right time to purchase a home?  For renters or move up buyers you should look at the numbers and see if the fit is good for you.

For example, what can you get for $100,000?  And what would your payment be?  In Meridian, Kuna and Star you could purchase a 3 to 4 bedroom, 1500 sqft (approx) home.  In Boise, it varies greatly by the area you want to be in, but you can also purchase a home of this size for $100,000.

Payment Scenario for $100,000 home:

Interest rate of 3.875% Principle and Interest payment

15 year payment                              30 year payment

7.33/$1000 = $733/mo (P&I)        4.70/$1000 = $470/mo(P&I)

Adding taxes and Insurance of approx. $150/mo

$883/mo total payment                $620/mo total payment

Most people would agree that a payment of $620/mo for a 1500 sqft home is less than what you can rent for.  Plus you get the advantage of never having your rent raised and tax advantages of being a home owner.

What if you don’t have enough money for closing costs or down payment?  You should talk to a lender about various financing options.  In Kuna and Star, you can still get a Rural Developement loan that is zero down.  You may qualify for other local neighborhood housing loans or possibly VA.  A lender can look at your situation and advise you on the best options for you.  In Meridian and Boise, FHA only requires 3.5% down.

I’ve attached a link to another article titled:  ‘Why Buy a Home’  that was written by REALTYTIMES:

For many potential homeowners NOW really could be the right time to purchase a home and lock in a fantastic interest rate for the life of your loan.

Please contact me for names of lenders that can give you the financing options for your situation.

Many people look at homes that are short sale or bank owned and are worried about having the money to make some of the repairs to the home after purchase.  There may be a solution for you with the 203K streamlined rehab loan.

The 203K Streamlined loan follows FHA guidelines and gives potential homeowners an affordable solution to purchasing a home that requires from $1000 to $35,000 in repairs by financing the cost of the repairs.  Here is an idea of items that can be repaired with the 203k streamline loan:

  • Repair gutters, and downspouts.
  • Replace Roof (if it’s a tear off)
  • Weatherize (insulation, windows, doors, weather-stripping)
  • Interior and Exterior Painting
  • Repair or Replace existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Minor remodeling (no structural repairs)
  • Repair or replace flooring
  • Repair or replace plumbing and electrical systems

So if you are looking at homes that need repair, don’t rule a home out just because it needs some repairs that may be out of your budget after close.  Talk to your lender about the 203K Streamline loan.  It could be a great option for you.

If you don’t have a lender, email me!  I can give you a name.

FHA loan limits in Fall of 2011 and bounced around a bit.  FHA announced in September the FHA loan limit would be $271,050 through December 31, 2012.  Shortly after that (early December) they decided that they would revert to the maximum loan limits previously in effect to October 1, 2011, which is $303,750 in Ada and Canyon County.  So for FHA loans with Case Numbers Assigned on or after November 18, 2011, FHA has reverted to the maximum loan limits previously in effect to October 1, 2011 ($303,750).  If you had a case number assigned between October 1, 2011 and November 18, 2011 they must use the lower limit of $271,050.

FHA loans are utilized by many buyers because they allow a lower credit score plus a lower percent down payment compared with a conventional loan.  If you qualify for a FHA loan, you can pay as little as 3.5% down on a home.

FHA allows a score as low as 580 but because FHA doesn’t actually give out the loan themselves (they are given through approved FHA lenders), most lenders require a minimum score of 620.  Sometimes there are exceptions too.  You should talk to your lender for more information.

FHA Website:

Please let me know if you need the name of a knowledgeable lender.  I have several names I could give to you.

Buying vs. Renting.  That is a big question right now with the housing market.  Many people are so pessimistic about the outcome of the market, they are hesitant to get into home ownership.  Some analysts believe this could create a different crisis in the housing market.  One where qualified buyers are choosing to rent instead of buy because of worry about the market.  How do we address that and change their perspective on buying a home.  We have to analyze the market and area that they are looking in and calculate numbers for them.  Interest rates are historically low.  Many people in the Treasure Valley can actually purchase a home for less than what they are currently paying for rent.  Plus, homeownership offers many other benefits.  Here is an excerpt from an article written by Liz Davidson, CEO of  Financial Finesse on Forbes online:

Consider this:  A homeowner with a $1,500 monthly payment would still be writing the same check fifteen years later while prices everywhere increase around them.  In August 2011, the Consumer Price Index included a .4% increase in rents, the biggest increase since 2008, which represents an annualized increase of 4.8%.  If rents didn’t even increase that much but simply kept up with inflation at a 3.2% annual increase, a $1,500 rent payment would cost that renter nearly $900,000 over the next 30 years.  The same $1,500 payment made to their mortgage would be only $540,000 (because the payments don’t increase with inflation) and of course would end with a final payment. There might even be some real equity in the property, even with a dismal 1% growth rate over 30 years, a $300,000 property would appreciate well over $100,000 giving the homeowner an additional nest egg for retirement.

The renter, by contrast has no equity in their home, so in addition to almost $900,000 in rent in the above example, the renter would also be giving up $400,000 in retirement assets (and that’s at a growth rate of just 1%– far lower than even the lowest growth rate over a 30 year time period).   At a time when retirement is becoming much more challenging, an extra $400,000 (or likely more) can make a major difference, not to mention the impact of NOT having to pay a mortgage.  How much less would you have to save for retirement if you didn’t pay the mortgage?”

Link to full article:

This does not take into account the tax savings and other savings of home ownership. 

Every situation is different and should be analyzed to see if home ownership is right for you.  There are some situations where it is better to rent than buy.  However, in many instances, now is the right time to jump off the fence into homeownership OR into purchasing an investment property that cash flows.