Tag Archives: boise real estate

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..

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.

Tax sale Horror!

Tax sales…..Lots can go wrong….

During July 2010 I was contacted by an investor… His request was that I go by homes up for the Ada County tax sale and give him an approximate value.  I investigated 5 or 6 houses.  I also studied tax sales… They are not quite foreclosures.  In Ada county you register via an Internet site.  Then you start bidding… Ada county takes the highest bid and gives you a sheriffs deed.  This title is not insurable right away.  That makes it very hard to flip.  That is the first tax sale horror!  It seems that if the sale is done right and you do all your homework and paperwork you can get insurable title in about a year.   ‘

 My investor told me he did this a lot in New York and wanted to try Idaho.  Now 1.5 years later I have a lot of respect and admiration for this investor.  At first I wasn’t sure what to think.   I shouldn’t worry too much he knew what he was doing.  That was good.  I also felt very uncomfortable about the idea of a tax sale.  I got to thinking who would lose their homes for the want of property taxes and the answers were not pretty….  People who are really old  or sick…..People whose homes were paid off and who are functioning poorly.  You can add people with so many liens against the property that it not salable… I felt bad and did the work but I also warned the occupants that their house was about to be taken away from them.  

One of the families asked me to help… They told me they  only owed the taxes…. The lady inherited the home from her mom and never paid taxes or filed the homeowners exemption that would have lowered the taxes.  Her husband was ill and had been unable to work… Compelling story…. I had them meet with the tax assessor and tried for what political clout I had….I also called a nice hard money person since the taxes were a lot less then the house was worth.  The political stuff crashed and burned so we tried to do it with the hard money.  Turns out they had so many liens and deeds against them that the home was not savable.  Being a tax sale I could only see the outside.  We did not know the condition inside… Another tax sale horror. 

My investor purchased the home and treated the former owner very well.  He rented back to them for under the market price and worked on getting clear insurable title.  He sent me a gift card for my troubles and we kept in contact.  I supplied names of repairmen and such during the year.  The people hoped for a new stove but did get a new roof and water heater.   My workman (who put in the water heater) tried to get into the house to access the condition but only was allowed as far as the bathroom.  The way he treated the former owners, the workmen, myself and the breadth of knowledge this man had is why I am impressed and count him as a friend.  

In June he informed me that the former owners were going to move and he would come out afterwords and access his property.  The idea was to clean and fix it up and  put it on the market and hopefully he would realize his profit.  I did the market analysis and things looked OK not Great but OK.  The house had lost at least $20,000 in value…There still was a profit margin…. the house did back up to a somewhat busy rode without a fence….Not too busy but I did not discount this enough….A fence might have helped (and I told him so).  Losing value while you clear title….Another tax sale horror.

My investor arrived in the end of July.  My friend (and workman) met him…. He and the workman saw eye to eye. Together we decided what needed to be done…  There was a lot that needed doing.  There was a lot of deferred maintenance and a semi trashed home…The furnace had a cracked heat exchange and the sprinklers were creating problems. Every floor covering needed to be replace… All surfaces painted…Doors and closet doors were missing…This was about as bad as it could get.  At least the bones were good but the profit margin was diminishing. No inspection allowed Another tax sale horror.  My workman got the job and I had the listing.  The investor hired out the floor work.  I helped him find the sprinkler guy, the gardener, the HVAC company and others. 

It took over a month but the house was restored to its former glory.  We were all proud of our work… I still thought it lacked a fence but … I was sure when I listed it I would have an offer fast….

As I prepared to list it I looked at the public records… I noticed the home still had liens showing against it.  I approached the investor.  I called my title person and she said that their company would not insure the property and my investor needed something called a quiet title.  This cost at least $3000 and 3 or 4 months and was not fool proof.  My investor told me he was working with a title company and the title was free and clear.  I called his title company and spoke to the title officer who informed me that  his company would be able to give clear and insurable title…. I listed the home insisting we use his title company… Almost had an offer the first day and waited…. The offer didn’t come time past…. In November I got antsy about the title again and again made him check out the title… I was told that the liens I kept seeing were gone. 

With the house not selling we lowered the price…. To what would just get the investor his money back… Finally the offer came in….It was low…It was clean but very low…Being a good agent and a savvy investor we negotiated the offer.  My investor is still out at least $4000.  But now the fun began…..

Fast forward

I asked the title officer to give me a heads if there were problems.  I reminded him about the fact the home was acquired via a tax sale and the owner cleared the title.  The call came at 4:30 PM on Wed. December 21…It has a $50,000 medical judgment that showed up on the home and the former owners…..I asked how could this be…. The title officer told me he had a call into the Ada county tax assessor.  This date was important because it is the day all property taxes in ADA county are due….The office was swamped….I informed the owner but I figure I could wait until morning when I would have  more information to talk to the listing agent.  I gave myself a 10 AM deadline and informed both the title officer and my client of the deadline.  This certainly is another tax sale horror.  I was amazingly calm…. I had done everything I could….I even slept on Wed. night…Usually when a deal seems to be in trouble I lose a nights sleep… This one was in the worse trouble I had ever had.  My client was in danger of losing huge amounts of money…

I emailed and initiated phone calls at 9 AM. By 9:20 AM.  At 9:45 I emailed and phoned the buyer’s agent to stop the inspection.  Needless to say he wasn’t happy but at least he didn’t yell at me and was a professional about the situation.  I have worked with people who have abused me over this.   I gave him what information I had and told him I would keep him posted.  I now knew how the judgment was missed… It was  mistake by ADA county’s title company…. It seems that in September they sent out a litigation report to all the creditors of record…. The judgment came in November with the owners name misspelled…A medical judgment…. The title was dated down and endorsed on December 22, 2009….2 years from the day….. Strange coincidence…. That meant the lien was real….. The title company was certainly liable for $13000 to ADA county but would that help my client.  Title called the other title … I called too…. I also had extensive talks with my client, the former owners, and my broker….I started gathering names of Idaho real estate lawyers….Part of the tax sale horror. 

Late in the afternoon Ada Counties title company admits the mistake…. They give us a couple of options….One is that they will overwrite the problem and insure the property so the sale can proceed.  The second was that they would give my client the $13000 so he could deal with it himself…We are taking the first option and changing the inspection dates and the title company.  Our title company was very nice about it and felt it was our best option too.  I sort of felt they had given my client some bad advice.  So we are in the deal but I will shudder at tax sales. And I am very leery of another tax sale horror.

Now for the inspection and hoping they can find a property pin for extended coverage….



  Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate     Company logo

(208)761-2551 Email: d5holmes@msn.com

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Yesterday ended up as one of those hectic days leading up to the holiday…Part 1 fixing my dishwasher!

Yesterday I had one of those really hectic days leading up to the holiday….  I thought it was going to be a light day but in our industry

When I woke up I started putting my dishes away and realized that they were gross… That meant the filter in my 2007 Whirlpool dishwasher had clogged yet again….It is a slow gradual decline… Then one day the glasses have a white layer of scum on them.  I had paid 3 times for the repairman and paid him more then the dishwasher was worth to come and spend 10 minutes with it.  On the third time I told him he had to teach me or I would throw out the dishwasher next time….  He really likes my dishwasher and didn’t want me to get rid of it (besides a lady who runs 11 rentals is a good customer).  The first time I did it I couldn’t remember everything.  I found a cool video that explained how to do it then my son was frustrated with my moaning and helped me…That was 8 months ago…. The same son was home…But he was asleep…I had already tried to just get him to do the job…. My kitchen was so backed up with dishes it wasn’t funny… So I started….I got my computer and started….This time when I got stuck I was a bit threatening…Something about not needing to buy him anything but coal for Chanukah….  Finally my husband got nervous…Here was dishwasher parts spread out over the kitchen floor….He was afraid I would break something…. He told my sleeping beauty that he had to wake up and help his mom….Have I ever told you that fixing things and being a true mathematical genius do not go together…The skills it take to prove and come up with mathematical theorems is not the same skills required for household maintenance.. I am not great but my physical science know how helps a bit….And I watch my repairmen… My youngest son however seems to be a natural engineer… He can fix things… Somebody in the family needs these skills… I have sometimes hired him to work with my handyman so that he could learn more about mechanical things…. He even figured out how to fix my kitchen drawer when it broke.

Well halfway into the repair (once kid was up) I get a call that I have an fully signed offer on my last pending.  I need to work and here starts my hectic day of December 20,2011.  With my dishwasher in pieces around us…

Josh figures out how to deal with the dishwasher using the video I downloaded and adding a turkey baster   to pull up the water from the bottom…. We now have clean glasses and the dishwasher is together….I seem to be writing a book so I will write this blog in parts….We still have real estate, shopping and Chanukah to go….Stay tuned…

Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate

(208)761-2551 Email: d5holmes@msn.com

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Question about price reductions for my fellow Realtors?

QuestionFinally my sellers are ready to lower their prices….Maybe I will be able to make their properties move…. 

Question — Should I reduce the price all at once for the maximum drama? Or should I split up the price reduction for a lengthier presentation?  If so how would you split up the reductions?  One  reduction will be $10,000 with the new price at $169,900.  The other reduction will be $5000 with the new price of $144,900.  Thanks for the imput!

New price

In my market the price change shows as a new status change for 3 days.  These listings are getting elderly and I am getting concerned about whether I will sell them. 

105 BridgewaterClick for info     722 S. Pearl, Boise ID 83705 Click for info

Boise Winter Garden Aglow

Boise’s Winter garden aglow (edit/delete)

I have been in Boise for 20 years….I have raised my children here….Last year for the first time I  went to the Botanical garden’s …This sparkling event runs from December 2 to January 8.  It fun for the whole family and takes an hour or so.  For more details click on the Idaho Botanical Garden website.

It was a delightful display of lights in the darkest times….We especially liked the Monday night carload special…For a virtual tour click “Winter Garden Aglow”.

The Idaho Botanical Garden is one of the many things I like about living in Boise, Idaho….

I can sell people on Idaho because I love living here! Click for more information about Idaho

  Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate     Company logo

(208)761-2551 Email: d5holmes@msn.com

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Consumerism…. I think we lost the battle….war…Black Friday in the wee hours….

I am sort of a politician….I take my stands….My last stand has been published in a local paper…  My stand wasn’t political….Or at least I don’t think so….I think for the most part stores should be closed on major holidays….We really don’t need to shop on Thanksgiving or Christmas….We don’t need to shop in the middle of the night….Here is a copy of my letter….

I also happen to have a housemate who is in her 40’s and a graduate student….She needs money….She has a temp job at Macy’s….  After I wrote the letter I learned that she had to be at work at 4 AM on black Friday…  Apparently Macy’s decided to open at midnight…She doesn’t drive so guess who had to wake up early to take her…

As a approached the Boise town Square Mall I was hoping it would be empty….I wanted this to fail big time….Alas…The traffic picked up as I approached the Mall…..  I couldn’t park my car if I wanted to…It was 4 AM and Boise was obviously shopping….I am very disappointed….Not only was I disappointed I spent the day tired because of my early rising…..I am proud to say I didn’t shop until 6 PM and only because my kid needed snow boots before he went back to college.

I really don’t have anything against Black Friday (as long as it starts at 6 AM)….I just was going to stick to my guns today….

If we want to control our own destiny we need to control our lives and our spending habits….Yes there were some very good deals that ended at 1 PM….  Some people had been camping out all through the Thanksgiving holiday….I like eating my Turkey around the dining table with my family….Or nut-loaf if you are a Vegetarian…

It was greed on the banks, wall street and the consumer that led to the recession (depression?) that we are in…. I know they say we need to spend our way out of it….But maybe we should get JOBS in our COUNTRY….BUY things made in the USA (that also might help create jobs)…And not SPEND more then we can AFFORD… Let us all take control of our Destiny.

Tomorrow I will start showing houses again in the Boise…. I will write offers and counter-offers….I will work my listings…Today I will take off until my middle SON gets on his plane and leaves us again…. Tomorrow perhaps I will write about how buying a house helps your LOCAL ECONOMY….





  Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate     Company logo

(208)761-2551 Email: d5holmes@msn.com

To search Boise Homes visit my website

This is a funny career….

lady chemistI started my life as a  chemist…. Well that is not true I started my life as a baby (just like everyone else).   I took a BS and MA in Chemistry.  In all my working career (short because I took care of my kids) people rarely what I was doing and if it had any implications in the world.   The conversation started like this.  “Debbie what do you do? ”  “I am a physical chemistry graduate student.”   They would take a step back then trying to regroup they would ask what my husband did.   I would tell them he is a math graduate student.  At that point they would usually find someone else to talk to….. Fast forward 3 kids and 25 years later.  I am a real estate agent and I ran for Congress. I have2 kids who are college graduates, one starting grad school and the other starting college.   People do not ask me what I think of the political situation (I have to force that on them).  They ask me the market conditions.  What is their home worth and whether I think the market is rising or falling?  What do I think will happen in next few months…. Can people really get loans?


It was very interesting to have people want to hear my opinion.  I think I had less than that as the nominee for my party and certainly less then as a Scientist.


We are ambassadors of our profession and we owe it to our client to be abreast of the situation.  This is just a thought for the day before my office meeting?

  Debbie Holmes