Tag Archives: idaho


Yesterday I found a political ally has changed his views and is now working on legislation I strongly oppose.   As Democrats in Idaho we have very little influence in how our state is run.  When the Idaho’s education secretary proposed then succeeded in passing three laws that hurt Idaho’s children and teachers there was a bi-partisan outcry among the populace.   The outcry was so great that the laws are up for a vote in December.  Most of my ally’s and some of my usual political adversaries were working to change the laws.  Yesterday I found that my friend is now going to be working for the other side.  I am very sad.  I was hoping that my friend would have helped us get rid of the bad legislation.

So this leads us to how we handle disappointment.  In our field of real estate there is a lot of it… We have it in our personal life… We have it in our political life… So far I will admit to a pretty dismal start of my new year…

I had my suitcase full of money client where I could taste that commission check.  I had a client decide it isn’t time to buy a home.  I had a listing fail inspection and the buyer walked.  I had to pull the listing and wait for repairs.  My father had a stroke and needed help on a project.  The old dog is peeing on the carpet again and her cough is coming back.  I have no obvious clients in the pipeline…  I was handling everything but my dad pretty well.  But today I am disappointed.  Perhaps I am sad because my friend seems to be what others have said in the past… But I thought better of him.   What can I do?  I need to think.

How do we handle disappointment in our lives and our business?   Usually I just shrug it off and move to the next project…  I go to the next client but as February begins I enter is with a heavy heart.  Sometimes it is the move of one person.  Maybe it is the accumulation.  Maybe later today I will have figured out and have a new client.  Maybe I will work harder to help with the voter referendum. Maybe I will drop everything and help dad in Israel in a month or so (or just visit him and his wife).  I wish I could get paid for political or social work but alas I am a democrat in Idaho and the jobs are few and poorly paid.  There is so much that could be improved if we had more money.   I guess that is true in my real personal life.  If  I sold more houses I would have a more solid future.  So how do I handle my disappointment and get on with my life and business?

I will get through it… I usually just suck it up and get on with it.  I imagine that is what I will do today… I will go to the office and try to prospect for a bit.  Does it hurt to make public disappointment?

So if you want someone who would serve you well give me a call.  I can help with their real estate needs and I will be too busy to be disappointed and my outlook will change.

Alcohol Sales Initiaitve — The Poll

Last night, while my husband and I were relaxing, I had call from a pollster… I always take political polls because I have strong views and I want them known. .. This poll started out like most polls…. Then they started asking me what stores I shopped at… that seemed weird… Why would a political party care whether I hate Walmart or like Costco…. My reasons for where I shop has a great deal on how I perceive that the workers are treated.

Then the pollster asked what I thought of the privatization of the state liquor stores… At first I really had no opinion… I worry about things like the economy, employment, education, the environment, health care…. I really could care less where people get their liquor… Personally I drink very little and maybe buy a bottle every year or so for cooking…. As we proceeded with the poll the questions became more leading… The poll was definitely designed to get us to say that liquor sales should be privatized… It would get the state out of the liquor business… Wouldn’t that be great…. Wait a second each of these little liquor stores is a small business… Putting hard liquor in the grocery stores wouldn’t offset the jobs lost  in closing the liquor stores….The leading questions also made it clear that the grocery stores were behind this….Why would I support this alcohol sales initiative?

The initiative is clearly designed to make the big grocers more profitable, kill state run liquor stores (small businesses), make the already strapped state government more strapped….  Another way to spin this is we have an initiative that will give more money to big box stores, kill jobs, wipe out a class of small businesses and reduce a revenue stream for the state of Idaho…  I cannot and will not support the alcohol sales initiative…

Where I was indifferent and ignorant I am now informed…. Thank you whoever payed for this leading poll….  I followed the money and I have the answers… They are not pretty… So now I am willing to fight the alcohol sale initiative just as I am willing to fight for health care reform…..

Why does this belong in a real estate blog?  Because we are small businesses and we need to support other small businesses.  I will not fight the alcohol sales initiative because it hurts small businesses and hurts the great state of Idaho.

  Debbie Holmes

Safer Short Sales

Short sales are notoriously hard to settle…. Nothing is certain until we have third party approval (the bank)….  Real estate ethics sometimes fly out the window as offer after offer is presented to the banks by some agents…  Reasonable time lines are a joke…. It makes an agent nervous to show a owner occupant…. Especially a first timer or someone who needs to be in the home quickly…..

So when do I show a short sale to an owner occupied buyer?  First I do not send them short sale listings unless they request it.  I look at the available short sales for the clues in the public or agent remarks.  The clues are:

1) Bank approved price

2) Bank approval buyer walked

3) IFHA short short sale (they are quick in Idaho)

4) Small local bank

5) Only need to negotiate the 2nd

6) Process started buyer walked

Even with these words I call the listing agent to get a feel.  If I feel very comfortable with the situation I will send the listing to my client. I always ask the listing agent what is their policy on offers that come in later. If I don’t like the answer I try not to show the home.  Thes represent safer short sales.

Regular sales and REO (bank owned property) sales usually settle more quickly than short sales.  I do not find much difference in the asking price of a short sale and a REO.

Often my buyer will do their own research and I get to investigate all sorts of short sales and contingent short sales…. I do like a buyer who like to do research… In the end I usually find the home first that they actually settle on.  Call me if you want to find your home in the Treasure Valley!  Good hunting!

  Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate     Company logo

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

To search Boise Homes visit my website

I really do not like the party caucus

Warning this is political.  I am not planning to talk about issues but against caucus’.

inside the 2008 Ada county caucusLine to get into the 2008 Ada county caucus

Here in Idaho the Democratic Party has had a Caucus every four years.  I have participated in the caucus every four years… This year the Idaho Republican party decided to emulate us and have a caucus too…. I think they are afraid that we Democrats go to our caucus then go vote in the Republican primary….. Today I have been thinking about the caucus… I really do not like the party caucus…

First I will describe it for all you primary goers….

The caucus at best is going to take 2 to 3 hours of your life…. Our caucus is always in the evening.  Every county in Idaho has its own separate caucus.  Because my county is divided into two Congressional districts we sit with our own district…  We all listen to representatives of the presidential candidates… They are always representatives because presidential candidates don’t often come to Idaho and certainly not to our caucus.  To the Presidents credit he did come a few days before our caucus and energized the voters.   Historically our caucus our  is poorly attended… Usually around 1000 people….That means most of us Democrats stay home because it is inconvenient, boring, etc….  So the speeches are done…. We cast our first vote…. Any candidate in Idaho who gets less then 15% of the vote in the room gets no delegates to our state convention and is eliminated for the second round.  We next go to the second round…. Many people jump ship to a more popular candidate… This is especially important if you are backing a losing candidate and want to go to the state convention as a delegate….While we are waiting party officials and candidates for lower offices give speeches.  Doesn’t this sound like fun?  I do not like the party caucus…

OK…That is over….Many people leave but the most important work is yet to happen…  The most important part of this political animal is selecting delegates to represent the candidates at the Democratic State Convention….  Those politicos who are still in the room (less then 10% of the caucus attendees) break up into candidate groups…Including the people for the great candidate uncommitted (which can also be eliminated if the uncommitted get 15% in the first round).  People who want to be delegate put their name up for nomination… Then the group decides if there will be speeches or not.  I have seen 5 minutes speeches and I have seen people introduce themselves. The vote happens the delegates are elected….Everyone goes home… So the caucus is attended by maybe 5 % of the people who identify themselves as Democrats…. The delegate were elected by 10% of those….One of the reasons I do not like the party caucus….

That describes the normal year…..In 2008 one Presidential candidate did work the caucus system in Republican states like Idaho.  He is now President and it was this strategy that led to President Obama’s nomination over Senator Hillary Clinton.  He energized our party and our caucus by coming to our great State three days before the caucus.  The Ada county caucus in Boise Idaho was packed!  It was a very cold day and the line to get in stretched blocks… There was no allowances for the elderly, the infirm, the handicapped, those with small children….. We were all in line….I had never seen such a thing…. My family arrived around 1/2 hour before  starting time… We did not make it in…. The fire Marshall closed the doors…If you do not make it in you could only vote in the first pass… You couldn’t participate further….  My oldest son and I waited for over an hour to get in (once they closed the doors) we wanted to stand as delegates…. My son was interviewed on the TV.  I might have been too.  I knew party officials and tried to send word that we were locked outside.  Eventually the 20 or so of us still standing were let in.   I really do not like the party caucus….

The caucus is skewed in favor of political activists not the average likely voter… There are no absentee ballots…It is skewed against the old, rural, military, the sick, people with young children …One could even argue that the 2008 caucus was skewed against party regulars who figured it would be business as usual…My son Jesse will not be a participant in the Democratic caucus because he is residing in China. There is no absentee voting…. One could argue it is also skewed against the poor because the buses don’t run past 7 PM in Boise…..I really do not like the party caucus…

Finally a personal story about my father a noted Republican did in fact attend our caucus in 2004 because my mother was very ill and we are divided into Congressional districts. That meant I could not sit with my dying mother and participate. She insisted on going even though she was so ill and just out of the hospital.. My father to his credit went with her…. It would have been much easier for my mother to cast an absentee ballot in a primary….  I am proud of my mother for standing up for what she believed in and I am proud my father stood by her to take care of her.  Another reason I really do not like the party caucus..

So I stand in awe as the Republicans of Idaho finally emulate the Democrats…. They chose to run a caucus too… Oh what fun….

58 minutes ago · Like

  Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate     Company logo

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

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Happy New Year! and my fondue recepe!

Happy New Year

I want to wish you a Happy New Year from Boise Idaho! I celebrated as I usually do with family members (who are in town) and a few friends… This year seemed a little sadder since 2 of our 3 sons were in other countries. My eldest skyped us at 11:50 PM Boise time with a video call from Beijing and we shared the New Year with him. My other son was fast asleep in Cambridge by the time we had our New Year. I always make a cheese fondue and a few other appetizers…My middle son brought cheese fondue to the party in London… Tradition!!!!! Sometimes we play games. Sometimes we visit…

Here is my Cheese Fondue Recipe:

1/2 pound Swiss

1/2 Gruyere

500 mL of white wine (I like Chardonnay)

a couple of tablespoons of Kirsch

1 loaf of french bread (stale is best)

Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes.

In a saucepan heat the other ingredients… Boil at least 10 minutes while stirring (to remove the alcohol).. Put on a hot place or under a flame…. Dip the bread in the fondue with a fork…. Enjoy!

Not real estate but a Holmes family New Year (my mom started the tradition over 35 years ago for our family)

Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate Company logo

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

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Should I take my home off the market for Christmas?

Wondering about the wisdom of taking a home off for the market for Christmas

As Christmas approaches there are less homes on the market…. Who wants people going into your home while you are getting ready for the holiday?  Your family is coming…. You have presents to wrap…. Parties to go to and make….  The holiday is a lot of work!  The holiday is also a lot of fun!  Who wants to show or buy houses now?


I have sold homes….One on Christmas eve…. I have a listing at 105 E. Bridgewater Ct., Boise, ID 83706 …. Since I have exactly one listing left and I cannot put up directional signs in the neighborhood, I have been opening it up for 3 weeks running….In preparation of the open house I prepared a list of homes in the area for sale… On Dec. 4 there were 12 homes in the subdivision for sale… On Dec. 11 there were 10 homes for sale in the subdivision… On Dec. 18 there were 7 homes for sale in the subdivision…. Some went pending other listings were cancelled…. So what does it mean to the seller?

There are less houses to choose from!  You might just get the best Christmas present of all… A good offer on your home…. I just had an offer on Saturday on Bridgewater!  We are now $1500 apart… I think we will settle…. If I had pulled the listing because we were getting close to Christmas I wouldn’t have the offer… My seller would still be wondering…  

 Remember the movie “ Miracle on 34th ST”?  What is a better present to give your family than a home to celebrate the holidays in… Some people are still looking…. If you can bear the intrusion on your holiday keep your home on the market!





  Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate    

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

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Working together to get the job done!

Working together to get the job done!

105 E. Bridgewater Ct., Boise, ID 83706  is a beautiful home where I helped the investor on the renovations….

I listed it in September ….  Nothing happened….. After Thanksgiving we reduce the price….  Nothing happened….. I was becoming nervous…. When my other listing at 722 Pearl St., Boise, Idaho 83705 went pending I took more action…. My buyer was settled and I started spending my Sunday afternoons at the home….  I had good traffic….  But still no offers…..  Worse yet my fellow agents didn’t seem to notice my price change…. Gulp….$10,000 off and no change in showings….

My seller and I had a long discussion….I told him even though the comps are there we need to lower the price…  I didn’t want to lower the price a lot before the New Year….So this is what we did….

On Friday we reduced the price by $1000… At the same time I had him sign for a $25 price reduction every 3 days until the New Year…In our MLS 3 days is critical because that seems to be how long the change appears on the status change button….  I had 4 showings in 24 hours…. I also had a low ball offer… Something that we can work with but not accept…..I am delighted for the offer….On Sunday morning I find out my seller didn’t receive my email….Something went wrong with his email and he felt it was too late to call….We already had a 7 AM  telephone appointment.  I emailed it to another address….This was a busy but good day for my seller….He had another early appointment and his Mom’s 94 th birthday party….  This sounded like it could get tight for our 2 PM deadline to respond to the offer… I emailed the other agent to give him a heads up…  He emailed back, thanks…

By 10 AM I decided to go to my office… I hadn’t heard from the client after the early morning phone call… He is real estate savvy and knows that time is of the essence…. The party starts at 11 AM my time and I am sitting in the open house from 1-4 PM…. We spend time preparing the counter offer… Idaho does their counter offers differently then New York so I had to teach a bit…. We don’t rush but it is already past time for Mom’s birthday party…. He does not email scan so I am sitting by the fax machine at the office… After 10 minutes it spits out 3 of 8 pages…. At least the counter offer is on top!…. He tries again… No dice…I don’t know whether it is his machine or mine…. I really have stopped faxing…. I love email scan….  He is in the car 1 hour late to the party….

I email the other other agent what I have and explain about the fax problems….I tell him that my client has signed all the documents…. I have the counter but not the completely signed contract because of the fax problems…I let him know that I gave the client his fax number (in case it was my machine)…  He emails back that he needs a phone call from my client so that he can turn on his fax…He has also forwarded the contract to his buyer…. I call my seller and leave a message…  I get a call that I can’t take from my seller….At 4 PM I get a copy of the signed contract from the other agent….  Not how we usually do things…. 2 hours past the deadline…. But done….

Now my seller and I wait on the buyer… We hope they take the counter offer…. Of course they may counter….or worse let the contract go… We are $7000 apart… We will see…  Another day in the life of Debbie Holmes, Real Estate agent Extraordinaire!

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

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Grr….Why do some agents try to bully other agents?

Just like in real life there are real estate bullies…. Most of the agents I work with are hard working professionals who are trying to look out for their client and get the job done…. I respect that…..There are a few that are threatening when things aren’t going perfect….. For example….

I am the buyers agent for a couple in Meridian Idaho…We went pending on 11/28 and had the inspection on 11/30…. Not bad timing….The loan officer supposibly ordered the appraisal on 12/7… It is a big bank (Wells Fargo) and we all know they usually take a little longer….On Monday I called up and asked about the appraisal….I then called the listing agent on some other matter and he started accusing me of not doing my job….I informed him that  I just spoke to the loan officer and it was ordered….On Tuesday he calls me and starts trying me to bully me….Like its my fault that the appraisal hasn’t been done….  I call the loan officer again and get a little gibberish about an unreadable document so she had it  resubmitted.  She thinks it will be done this week….Thursday I email the other agent and ask if any appraisor has contacted him or been in the listing?  He gets back to me and starts threatening my client with $100/day penality fee if we are late on closing…. I point out that we aren’t that close to the deadline and that seems excessive and I am not sure people would pay it… He tells me that it happens all the times in REO’s…I tell him to date none of my clients have paid that fee (which is $50 day)….  I have both emailed and spoke to the loan officer about the appraisal (now about 2 times a day) she doesn’t have answers either.. I told her the listing agent is breathing fire and I wanted to give him some good news….She still hasn’t come back with anything definiative….. I wish the buyers had let me pick their loan officers…..  I know good ones who would have had the deal closed  by now….  I have until 12/29 to get the deal closed….

Why does he have to take out his frustration on me?  Threatening me is not going get the appraisal in faster…  I am and have been on the loan officers case…. I am asking the appropriate questions and am demanding the appropriate answers….I don’t feel the need to threaten the loan officer.  If I feel this is going past Monday I will take more action.  Does it do any good for him to be rude and threaten my clients….I am shielding them so far but on Monday I will need to talk to them if the appraisal isn’t done. 

Agents should treat other agents with respect…..There is no reason to be rude when the work is done….I still have 11 days to close the deal.  The golden rule applies….Do onto others and you would have them do onto you.

  Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate     Company logo

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

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Lets make some lemonade!

Well on Sunday I made a mistake….I don’t know why I made a mistake…Maybe I was in a hurry…Maybe the other phone was ringing….Maybe I was to busy trying to get ready for the open house….

I received the first call from an ad on 12/5/2011…  The lady was about to get married and she and her husband wanted to be in their new home by the wedding….I asked when was the wedding?  12/17/2011 less then two weeks away….Talk about planning….I suggested if they could pay cash it could happen but otherwise it would take a little more time then they had….  I set up a search and waited for her to call…. I tried once or twice but I had no answer….On Sunday while I was looking at my database (trying to figure out who was an actual contact) I ran across this lady’s name… I picked up the phone and reached her.  Surprisingly she wanted to look at homes on Monday but had a granddaughter in tow….It was awfully close to the wedding but I set a time but not a place….MISTAKE …  I realized I had a problem but figured I would fix it after I pulled the homes for her to see….  I tried to call her in the morning….NO ANSWER…I had an email and a home phone number but not her cell phone….I emailed her and called her throughout the day…..  Yesterday around 3:30 PM I called in the hopes that she would pick up….Her fiance did….We had a really nice chat….I now know what both of them think is important!   He felt that house hunting would have to wait until after THE HOLIDAYS….  That is fine….I told him my child didn’t get home until 12/24 so if there was something they wanted to see I could be there.  I wanted them to know that I  UNDERSTOOD their time constraints but I was AVAILABLE to THEM….

So maybe I have my first 2012 clients….I will call him after the wedding and see if the search needs to be tweaked…  So I thought I lost a client but perhaps I made the contact Stronger!  We will be looking for nice homes with RV parking under $150K in Boise, Meridian and Eagle Idaho….With a preference to Southeast Boise…


  Debbie Holmes

Gold Key Real Estate     Company logo

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

To search Boise Homes visit my website

Always set up an exact time and meeting place…

Well today started well….. But I made a big error when I set up my buyers appointment….I didn’t set a place to meet….I didn’t have  her cell phone number….We were supposed to meet between 1 and 2 pm today…  She was supposed to bring her granddaughter….At 9 AM I started trying to reach her….I have tried every hour since then.  I left 2 messages and an Email…. I hope she doesn’t have a system that tracks the number of calls…. I don’t know what happened….Perhaps she didn’t have my cell phone number….Perhaps she stood me up….I got to watch netflix and listen to my old dog Jolly breath….Yes she is still with us but she still has lots of problems….

Lessons learned from today…Always set a meeting place….The office or their home works fine…. I felt like a fool….I made some phone calls for the December blogging challange…I found really nice places in Boise Idaho for the buyer to look at….I did my paperwork…  And then I waited….And waited….. Then I finally went home and watched a movie…Now to get psyched to tackle page 5 of my data base…. I guess I am sort of down….