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.

I am still hearing a lot of sad stories about people wanting to stay in their homes, but unable to get the help that they want from their service provider.  It appears that there are more success stories lately about loan modifications, but there is still an incredible number of frustrated homeowners that are not getting good information from their loan service company and they either give up or they follow the information from a customer service representative that may not fully understand the program.  What I have found is persistence is key. 

  1. Continue to call your service company until you get clear and concise instructions on what you can do to be considered for one of their programs.  You can start by visiting  If you don’t qualify for one of the government programs, many servicers have their OWN programs).
  2. If you get someone on the phone that does not sound like they know what they are talking about.  Politely hang up and call back.
  3. Once you get an answer or instructions, call AT LEAST one more time to make sure you were given the right instructions
  4. Fill out paperwork requested thoroughly and on time.
  5. Gather and submit all documents requested.
  6. If you receive a letter that is declining you from a modification or other program, call and ask more questions.  Ask for the supervisor.  Make sure you understand why they are saying that you do not qualify.  What would it take to qualify?  Can you change a couple of things in your finances to make this happen?  GET DETAILS! 
  7. Don’t give up.  It’s hard to consistently call these servicers but if you want to stay in your home, don’t bury your head in the sand.

You can research several of the options for foreclosure alternatives on  If you decide a loan modification isn’t the direction you want to go, there are other options instead of foreclosure.

2011 year to date sales have increased over 2010 year to date sales in Ada County. This is great news. According to the MLS, 2010 sales through September were 4163 compared to this year sales of 4385. July, August and September were especially good months for sales.

What is driving sales? Low interest rates on loans have helped a lot. First time home buyers can often purchase a larger home than they are renting and have a lower monthly payment. Many people are purchasing investment property because they are cash flowing. We also are seeing a lot of regular (not short sale or bank owned) who want to purchase a move up home and have similar payments that they currently have on a smaller home.

Have sales increased because of an increase of distressed properties on the market? There are still a lot of distressed sales on the market. We are currently seeing distressed property in Ada County accounting for approximately half of all sales. That number has not changed much from 2010. It’s important to note though, that half of the sales in Ada County are regular listings. In analyzing the regular listings, they almost always get a higher dollar per square foot than distressed listings. Furthermore, in certain neighborhoods and price points distressed sales account for a much lower percentage of sales.

If you are curious about the market in a specific area and/or a specific price point, it’s important to have someone help you analyze the sales data for that area. Make sure you work with a real estate professional that can help educate you on the true numbers.

In the Treasure Valley area we have many distressed properties available for sale. Bank owned properties represent an opportunity to purchase a home at a great price, but what are the risks? What are the pros and cons of purchasing a bank owned property?

I think the biggest pros are:
1. Getting a home at a great price.
2. The bank can usually close in 30 to 60 days (or sooner in some cases).

The biggest cons are:
1. You often have homes that have not been maintained so you have to repair things (cost $$).
2. The bank has never lived there so there is no disclosure on the history of the home (are there big items that need repair?).
3. You have to follow the bank’s rules on contracts, verbiage, and addendum’s.

How do you combat the cons? DUE DILIGENCE! If you are considering purchasing a bank owned home, you will need to be very thorough in conducting inspections and due diligence on the home, the area, and the neighborhood:
1. Get an inspection. Hire a reputable inspector to do a complete inspection. If that person doesn’t inspect certain items like roofs, well, septic – hire another inspector to complete those. If questions arise with the inspection, hire professionals to give you bids on what repairs need to be made and the cost of the repairs. This must all take place within your inspection time period on the contract.
2. View public documents on the neighborhood. Is the neighborhood healthy? Talk to the homeowner association. If there is an addition you want to make sure is legal, investigate the city’s building permit process.
3. Knock on neighbor’s doors or visit with them if they are outside. If you have submitted a contract and you want to know about the neighborhood, HOA and things the previous owner may have complained about; neighbors are a great source.
4. Know what the fair market value is on the home and know what kind of money you will be putting back into the property to bring it up to your standards. Does it still make sense to purchase the home?

If you conduct your due diligence, following the bank rules on contracts and addendums is not as painful and you can feel good about your transaction.

Thank you for visiting my Boise Idaho Real Estate blog! I specialize in the best Boise homes online including great deals in Boise Short Sales and Bank Owned Property in Boise.

Through this blog and my connected website you will find all kinds of educational information about short sales, foreclosure alternatives, the government stabilization programs as well as information for homebuyers and sellers.

With home prices still low and mortgage rates an exceptional levels there has never been a better time to buy a home in Idaho than right now! Contact me, Judy Trimble to start finding the properties in the Boise area that you’ve been searching for!