Category Archives: Boise Real Estate

You know you are about to take a trip when the phone starts ringing


You know you are about to take a trip when the phone starts ringing and you have more to do than time to do it in…. Wish me luck… May the phone start ringing so I can pay for my trip to China!

I am going to Beijing to see my son and GF! This is going to be so much fun and so interesting… I now have to make lists because as we all know business picks up when you are about to go away… So far I don’t have to refer any business out but I think I will be busy. I have people who can cover for me while I am away. The trip is from MAY 14-28… Right after hubby grades his last final at Boise State University. Yes Professors and their spouses get excited when the term ends too!

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I am really mad at CBH homes


I am mentoring another agent.  Her client is trying to build a new home from CBH homes.  They walked into the office and worked out the contract with the CBH agent the terms of the contract.  The sellers agent wrote the contract up with $1500 in the design studio (for upgrades).  We never had a chance to set the terms of the offer since it was complete and our clients had agreed to those terms.  Our clients signed the offer and they countered taking away this money.   This seems to me to be bait and switch.  If we had asked for this it would have been fine for them to counter but they wrote the contract not us.  I am advising that we counter with that money in.  The kids are afraid of losing the contract but they really could use the money so they can have things a house SHOULD have standard… Like a non shallow sink…. A closet door…. A 6 lb carpet pad….

Selling a build job for the first time…


For the first time in my 6 .5 years as a real estate agent I helped a couple write an offer on a build job.  It was sort of interesting on many counts.

1) I am helping a brand new agent out (who I am partnering with) and so technically I just referred it to her…. Well actually she got the client but it is a way to pay me for my expertise…

2) I spent a lot of time researching CBH homes and reading a new type of contract….

3) The biggest problem that buyers seems to run into is that they make the contract and that seems to be a base price.  Then you go to the design studio and pick your colors and upgrades… This can add to the price of the final home.  The couple had already picked some upgrades…We encouraged the couple to go the design studio in the next day or so before they were well underway…

4) Being me I started to worry that they might get a very basic home because they wouldn’t be able to afford the upgrades that they wanted… I am a bit reassured but when we went house hunting they seemed to love vaulted ceilings and that is an upgrade… I think that it might even be one worth paying for…

5)  I never have actually partnered with another agent officially.  This will hopefully be the first of many deals we do together…

6) The couple like the idea of picking everything… This is the obvious good part of buying a new home…

Hopefully everything will go smoothly.  I made sure the couple knew that we were looking out for their best interest.. The other agent works for the builder and represents the builder. Going totally with the builders agent is like letting your husbands divorce attorney write your paperwork….

These are Debbie”s thoughts for the day..

Aside

I just closed a deal on 1430 Leadville in Boise, Idaho.  This deal was interesting for several reasons. The buyers daughter called me from an internet website.  She was looking for a home for her parents to buy as an … Continue reading

I’m back to blogging again….


Hi!  I am mostly posting this because I seem to have taken a break from blogging…. I was blogging about everything and I sort of stopped for a few weeks… Maybe I needed the break…. I have been doing a bunch of stuff.

Some real estate, some politics and some spreadsheet work. I have had a tough start of the year with many random events hurting my business…. I had the suitcase full of cash, a buyer with heart surgery, a bad inspection,dad’s small stroke, dad’s research project …. Those type of things… Normally I do great but I guess after a while I didn’t want to talk about it… Or maybe its just the tail end of winter….

Well I am still selling houses in Boise, Idaho…. I have a couple of buyer leads….I thought about running for office again…. I sold the house after repairs quickly and for more than the last contract… So I guess what I want to say is that I am back in the game and trying to work up enthusiasm.

 

Felt like I was in grad school or back on the campaign again.


Yesterday was a strange day of playing with antibiotics and formularies…. Then I got to play with spreadsheets as my father, myself and my housemate worked hard during the sabbath…. Our programmer is very religious and we had until past sundown to get the work done…. It gave us a long patch of time and we accomplished the tasks that was set for us.  During this time I fielded a couple of real estate calls and even looked at a property for a client.  I never thought I would find real estate a welcome break…

All this work was done around my dining table.  We could spread our work out and use all the computers…. This seemed like a big research meeting or some of the campaign discussions we had during  my run for Congress… I made dad buy pizza since everyone who was likely to cook was busy in spreadsheets.. Finally the sun came down and eventually our programmer called us…  He was fresh from his day of rest while we were tired and testy…. At around 10:30 PM  I could not concentrate anymore…. The words went in one ear and out the other as if I had a hollow tube….  Finally I told him (remember Dad had a stroke 9 days ago) that we were all very tired and had been working since the morning…  Now it is time to test the program….  I want to make sure the results are consistent with standard medical practice.  I am hoping my dad the doctor will be with me so I do not have to look everything up in a drug guide…I have such guides but I am tired… ‘

It is very important that this program is ready for the start of the study.  It would be very embarrassing to my father to arrive in Israel and not have the program ready.  I have very little control of the actual timetable.  I can just push here to see that our tasks are complete.  My housemate will make a tutorial for the doctors in Israel.  Somehow it never occurred to anyone to this… Maybe she should be a project manager if we can ever get funding or sell this.   Meanwhile my husband played on his computer all day ignoring us…. He did go get the pizza though.

While I do this work I do not prospect and it will hurt business.  Someday I will prospect again…

Found a great investment but cant interest anyone….


Sometimes as an agent we find a cash cow….. A property that has significant extra value in price or a great rental value…. I found one such property…. It is 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bath 1152 sq ft.  in Boise at a negotiated shortsale of $73000 plus closing costs.  It is even possible that the owner would like to stay at the home and rent it.  Whether you are looking for a home or an investment this is it.  The value is $100,000 today if you turned around and sold it.  I have been in it and wrote an offer on it in October.  It is a nice home for the money.  If you want to see it give me a call.  This home is near the Boise Town Square.  It’s not my listing but it is a good one… I am even thinking of making an offer.  I called my buyers but none of them are ready to move on it.  To bad because it is a very nice home for the money.

Snow Day!!!!


Well it finally happened!  We have a snow day!!! As a matter of fact I think the winter storm warning was for the entire state of Idaho!  I did a good job to warn my dad and wife to drive through last night and not stop in Salt Lake City….

Snow day

We had 6 inches but it is already melting…. It was very peaceful…. It used to be that I had to run around in the snow driving children to school.  Once in a while other cars would hit mine.  I am a pretty good snow driver (coming from upstate New York) but my counterparts from the great state of California are not…    Instead I just stayed home and enjoyed natures beauty…. The dogs seemed happy…. The orange one is the backside of Jolly the Collie…. She is still with us…..

Bogus Basin (see let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!) has already announced that it is opening at 10 AM tomorrow.  In some parts of the mountains they are predicting over 2 feet of snow!  Perhaps the crops will have water…. Tomorrow I expect things to be back to normal…  My street will be bad but the main ones should be OK…. They don’t believe in snow plows here… Or salt… They will just put dirt at the intersections… Mostly we are civilized about snow… We get it in the mountains and not the valleys…. Just as it should be….But today is a snow day…..

I tried to talk hubby into doing a snowman…. But he wasn’t interested… The kids are grown   and gone….And by the time the driveway was clear I had lost interest…. There was a time that a snow day would have meant snow men and sleds…. Snow balls and hot cocoa…. Now it is just peaceful… A neighbor shoveled the old couples driveway…. Things are friendly in Boise…Boise is a great place to live and play… Today is a snow day… Tomorrow I am back to work selling homes in Great Boise Homes… Give me a call!

Not all bank owned properties are created equal….


During 2010 and 2011  most of my work was as a buyers agent for REO’s or bank owned properties…..  One would think they are all the same but they are not…..I know HUD does not like to be considered REO or bank owned by for the purposes of this comparison I will include them in the description.   Bank owned property is property that the bank foreclosed on or took in leiu of foreclosure.   The bank  owns the property and wants it off the books… They often sell at a discount.  More importantly not all bank owned properties are created equal…..

So what types of properties are there?  The are HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, OCWEN, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, IFHA,  Chase…… You get the picture….. Every different bank or entity has a different procedure…Perhaps different areas are different.  I work in the Treasure Valley of Idaho and I serve Ada, Canyon and Boise counties….

It used to be that bank owned properties were typically trashed.  No one would bother to go clean them up.  There would be trash, dog pee, weeds, etc.  This is rarer (except for HUD listings).  Many bank are willing to put money into the listing to sell them quickly and at a higher price.  This is nice for us because we have better homes to show are clients….

First we will start with the government and quasi- government foreclosures…. These include HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and some OCWEN (VA)…. It probably also included rural development but I haven’t worked with those so I wont discuss them.  The really cool thing about HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is they have a owner occupied period for bids.  That means that if you are looking for someone planning to live in the home they have the opportunity to bid and be considered before anyone else.   This is very important because investors often have cash and look better on paper.  It allows people to own the American dream for less… In my area most of these homes that are nice sell before the owner occupied period is up.  Not all bank owned properties are created equal

HUD is part of the federal government…. They make the rules for everyone else but they do not play by those rules… What you see is what you get.  HUD homes are never fixed (at least in my area)…. They wont even fix the property enough to test the systems… Not only that you are not allowed to fix anything either.   This can be very inconvenient.  The homes are listed on the multiple listing service and www.hudhomestore.com.  Your HUD qualified  agent (ME) enters bid.  You have no idea what the others have bid are.  There is no contract (until your bid is accepted).  That is the easy part.  If you are successful with your bid the fun starts.  Your agent writes the contract and has to get their broker and the lender to sign it.   Then the agent has to express mail it and beat the time deadlines.  Any mistakes and HUD threatens and sometimes do cancel the deal.   Most of these homes can have FHA loans because the government did the inspection and appraisal.  If you bid for more then the appraisal you have to pay the difference in cash.  It is usually possible to get 203K loans on these too. They are often a good value but do not  show very well since the government is not willing to make them nice.  It doesn’t matter what the lender requires.  The inspection is either a go or no go….You the buyer have to turn on all the utilities at your expense and then re-winterize the home… Not very fair..We real estate agent used to get an extra 2 % in the Treasure Valley but no more….  It sort of made it worth the hassle.  These homes sales are ulcer producing…. That said I have closed every HUD home that I put under contract.  If anything ever makes me into a Republican it will be dealing with HUD foreclosures… I have gone to my Republican Congressman twice on HUD problems….  This is the same Congressman I ran against in 2008. By the way I am not allowed to use the words distressed, bank owned, REO, foreclosed when describing a HUD property…. HUD thinks these words have a negative connotation.  Not all bank owned properties are created equal

Now we will take a detour and talk about the bidding process on most of the rest of the bank owned properties.  The real estate agent writes the offer on the normal real estate form… I find I can almost always get 3% closing costs but I cant always get price reductions on REO property.   You must have either proof of funds or pre-approval.  The earnest money often has to be a cashiers check (usually for at least $1000).  I often bid with a personal check that will get converted into a cashiers check when I know the title company.  The seller always chooses the title company and often the earnest money is held by the title company or the listing broker.  That is not typical in the Treasure Valley.  If there are multiple offers you asked to submit your highest and best… Your buyer also has to sign a form acknowledging that they are in a multiple offer situation.   If your bid is accepted the bank will send a huge addendum which basically negates the original purchase and sale agreement.  It is a form written in favor of the bank but if you don’t sign it you don’t get the home.  The bank will tell you they wont fix things but they will often do so if the lender requires the fix.   I have even gotten the banks to concede on price for cash deals if the inspection is bad.  You must have an agent that is very confident when dealing with the banks.  These deals require around 2 extra weeks because the the time it takes to get the seller signatures and a the time at the end for the REO bank to approve the HUD-1.  The other thing about these deals is that the buyer signs everything before the seller signs anything.  This means that you can’t have the home inspection until you have seller signatures on the addendum and the sales contract.  If there is a hang up and there are lender required repairs that will also slow down the sale since it has to go to a higher level of management for approval.  Mostly these sales will progress like a normal non-distressed sale.  Not all bank owned properties are created equal

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are quasi-government agencies.  They are backed by the federal government.  Lately Fannie and Freddie are willing to fix a house up in order to sell them.  They sometimes paint, carpet and fix things so the buyer will bid.  There is usually a 15 day first look program for the owner occupied buyers.  They are usually well priced and show better then their HUD counterparts.  Because of the owner occupied first look program they are ideal candidates for owner occupied buyers…. Fannie Mae has a Homepath financing avenue.  This is a 3% owner occupied and 10% investor down rate.  There are fees that are high but there is no private mortgage insurance.  There is also no need for appraisal… Make sure your agent does a market analysis and listen carefully to your inspector.   Freddie Mac’s gimmick is that they give a free 2 year home warranty for owner occupied dwellings.  These will proceed like a normal sale once it is started. My favorite REO’s might be Fannie and Freddie’s.   Not all bank owned properties are created equal.

Wells Fargo and Bank of America both have the annoying feature that you must prequalify with their bank to submit a bid unless you are a cash buyer.  It adds a day to the process and they will offer some incentives for going with their bank but be forewarned these are big banks and they tend to delay closings….  The asset managers do not seem to talk to the mortgage department so being with the same bank doesn’t get the loan closed any quicker.  I also wonder about a conflict of interest.  I had a case where closing was delayed by more than a week because B of A mortgage department wouldn’t put out the closing docs with less then 3 days before closing and the assest manager didn’t want to extend the contract…. My buyer almost pulled out.  These banks are good to take your investor too.  There is no owner occupied period.   Not all bank owned properties are created equal

The other banks will have different quirks.  Small banks work faster at getting the deal done.  IFHA in Idaho is particularly good to work with.  These homes sell and they sell fairly easily.  The buyer usually gets a good price for their new property.

So I hope this helps with understanding some of the differences with different bank owned properties.   If you happen to be in the Treasure Valley of Idaho and want to buy a bank owned property contact Debbie Holmes.  I will get you the best possible deal and I have a lot of experience dealing with different banks.  Because you now know just like me …. Not all bank owned properties are created equal!

Open House….My colleague wants to sit at my listing….


open house sign

 

At our last meeting one of my colleagues asked if anyone had a listing he could open…. At first I looked at him funny….Why would one want to sit in someone Else’s listing?  I got over that when our agency had the new development…. After a while I sort of realized it would be dumb luck if I ever got any money…  It ruined my weekends…Well I did have a beautiful brand new home in a great setting to spend my afternoon in.  But no buyers….If they had an agent no pay…If they came back and didn’t explain that they met that really nice agent at the open house, no pay…..I sat anyway because I said I would…I hoped maybe to pick a buyer…I didn’t…..We lost the listing (they were overpriced and far from town on little lots)….

I realize that my colleague (friend) had no listings and no solid buyers…. I also realized I had two listings I wanted open and didn’t want to sit open houses on both weekend days…..  I thought about it through the rest of the meeting….  After the meeting I told him he could pick which of my listings he wants to open and I would handle the other one….

Wait you say….Don’t you want to represent both sides?  Don’t I want to pick up the buyer?  Well yes of course but I wasn’t going to open both houses…It is very wearing and I have things to do….buyers to service…I want my listing sold.  History tells me somebody else will bring my buyer…It might as well be my colleague and friend.  He picked 105 Bridgewater and I have 722 Pearl.

He called me yesterday.  He went to see the home….He is very excited….This is not a new agent…He is an older man with 20 plus years in the business…  I hope he is successful….It would help both of us if he brings me an offer….I hope he also picks up a buyer…

105 Bridgewater  Open Saturday 1-4 PM

 

For me I will sit Pearl…. A very nice home about 1/4  of mile from mine….It is on the Boise Bench…A wonderful older neighborhood close to everything with a lot of spirit and class.

  Open Sunday 1-4 PM

 

Sometimes helping another person is a win-win situation.  My friend has something to do today and I have both homes open…Maybe we will both be successful to help us end 2011.  Wish us well….