Meridian Blog

We will keep you up to date with Meridian Real Estate news and information in our blog...

April 15, 2018

Outdoor Living Space Design Ideas

Idaho is now attracting attention. In fact, Vogue lists the Gem State as one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world, citing our outdoor lifestyle as the main draw. Those who already live here in Meridian love taking advantage of the hiking, biking, skiing, hunting, fishing, camping, whitewater rafting and more that is so accessible statewide. Additionally, outdoor space designs allow Idahoans to take optimal advantage of nature's beauty by turning outdoor spaces into living spaces.

Taking the Basic Outdoor Lifestyle Up a Notch

Patios and decks were the precursors for modern Meridian outdoor living. Patio furniture and barbecue grills turned the backyard into second living and dining rooms. While that's a good start, current outdoor space designs create comfortable and convenient areas outdoors that are livable, and they can increase the value of your home while also appealing to buyers, according to HGTV. You can start out basic with outdoor space designs and add on as you need or want to.

For example, building a roof over your deck or patio provides shade from the sun and protection from the rain, instantly making it more usable more frequently. A roof and one or two partial walls make the space seem more room-like, and adding indoor decor such as area rugs, chair side tables, and throw pillows enhances the indoors-outside-feel even more. Better Homes and Gardens advises that a fire source is a necessity for Meridian outdoor living especially to extend the usable season into the late fall. Whether it's a chiminea, fire pit or a full-sized fireplace, it will add a cozy element perfect for any size gathering. 

The Outdoor Lifestyle--One Step Further

Eating and entertaining outdoors is one of the best parts about Meridian outdoor living. No one wants to be stuck inside cooking and preparing drinks, so some of the latest outdoor space designs bring the kitchen out of the house. Your fire source can always double as a place to cook, but it's much more convenient to have a cooktop and an oven built into counter space right on the patio.

What's more, many decks and patios now have built-in bars. In addition to offering seating options and counter space, they also have mini freezers and fridges for keeping ice and cool drinks handy as well as including fully-functioning sinks for easy cleanup and supplying running water.

Any Usable Space

While decks and patios are what most people consider the best locations for implementing outdoor space designs, House Beautiful encourages creativity in finding unique spots on a specific property for Meridian outdoor living. Rooftops and areas over garages or additions can be repurposed to expand your outdoor lifestyle and a gazebo or similar structure can be constructed in an empty space in the yard to create or extend outdoor space designs. To make the experience most enjoyable it is always good to think about prevailing breeze patterns to keep your outdoor living area sheltered in the cooler months when designing your area.

As popular as Meridian outdoor living is, many homes on the market either have features that facilitate the outdoor lifestyle or at least have a good start that you can take as far as you want, implementing whatever outdoor space designs appeal to you. The professionals at Stewart Realty can help you find a home with the outdoor features you're looking for.

To find out more about homes that exemplify Meridian outdoor living or the outdoor lifestyle in the rest of Southwestern Idaho, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call for a tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style, budget and dreams!

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com.

Posted in Selling
March 20, 2018

Increasing the Selling Value of Your Home

When selling your Meridian, Idaho home, everyone wants to get the highest sales price that they can.  Any home you purchase is an investment, and no successful investor is happy to lose money or break even in the end. You want to be able to upgrade with your next home, and aiming for a higher home selling price than what you purchased it for will facilitate that. Increasing your home’s potential value in Meridian, Idaho can be done in a variety of ways and on a pricing scale that ranges from economical to expensive. The things you do to increase home value will depend on how much higher you want your home selling price to be, how much time you have to get the home sold, and how much money you want to or can invest in bringing up your home's value without spending too much.

Fast and Inexpensive

Cleaning up and decluttering is just two of the simplest ways to increase home value, and they are also the most affordable things you can do. Give every room a thorough cleaning, organize the kitchen, bathroom, and home office, and get rid of clutter.  Clean, simple and no distractions! You'll need to do that last one before moving, anyway, so carting off Goodwill donations first can help sell your home. According to Consumer Reports, this step alone has the potential of a 3 to 5% return. Also, do some maintenance in the bathroom, like re-grouting and caulking. That step alone can make a bathroom look like new again.

Quick and low-cost ways to boost your home value in Idaho include:

  • Power-washing your home’s exterior, walkways, driveways, patios, decks, fences, etc.
  • Cleaning up the yard--trimming trees and bushes and landscaping.  Re-barking flower beds.
  • Cleaning windows, light fixtures, replacing old light bulbs.
  • Painting the front door and touchup of exterior and interior paint, especially baseboards.
  • Fixing the doorbell or anything else that doesn’t work properly.

Low-Cost Improvements

A fresh coat of paint is go-to advice most Realtors will tell you really works. If you do the painting yourself, all it will cost is the price of the paint, brushes, and other small odds-and-ends you'll need to do the job which typically saves you half or more over hiring a professional. On the inside, you don't even have to re-paint every room. Give the walls in the living room and bedrooms a good cleaning, and just paint the kitchen and bathroom. Stick to neutral shades such as light yellows, tans, or grays. On the outside, the trim might be the only thing that needs paint but keep that low-key, too.

If your house is a bit outdated and you have a little to spend This Old House lists additional fixes that increase home value and aren't too expensive:

  • Updating and upgrading light fixtures
  • Replacing broken tiles on the floor and countertops
  • Replacing the toilet seat (if not the entire toilet)

Bigger Investments for a Higher Home Selling Price  

If you have the time and the funds, you can make a bigger investment in improvements to garner a significantly higher home selling price. Upgrade the HVAC system. Consider "green" elements that will look attractive to buyers such as solar panels to help with energy costs. Install new rain gutters and/or siding. Replace windows and storm doors. Open up the floor plan by knocking out walls that divide but are non-structural.

Other investments that will be worth your while to increase home value in Idaho, according to DIY Network include:

  • Instead of repairing flooring, replace it with new carpet, natural wood or engineered floors.
  • Remove wallpaper and paneling
  • Remodel the attic or basement to increase usable living space
  • Redo the kitchen to improve the flow of the workspace and upgrade appliances

Having the right Realtor to help you know what to spend your time and money on can make all the difference in getting a higher home selling price. Stewart Realty has lots of Real Estate Appraisal experience.  Let us help you know what to fix and what not to fix.

Ways we can help:

  • Free in-home consultation regarding what things you should spend money to repair and what you should leave alone.
  • Connect you with reputable, low cost contractors to get your work done correctly and quickly.
  • Provide you with an As-Is and an As Repaired market value estimate of your property.

If you're putting a home on the market, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call. He has the experience to help you decide on the best way to increase home value and get your house sold quickly. Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

Posted in Selling
Feb. 15, 2018

Why Buyers Need an Exclusive Agent to Represent Them!

Buyers need an exclusive agentLet's say you are in the market to buy a Meridian home. Before you have had a chance to think about retaining an exclusive agent to buy a home, you unexpectedly find a house for sale that looks like it could be your dream home. Conveniently enough, the listing agent is out in the yard setting up the "For Sale" sign as you're driving by, so you stop to ask if he can show you the house. So far, the scenario might seem uncomplicated, but it is right at that point that things can become problematic.  In most cases if you attempt to buy real estate directly through the Listing Agent, hence without an exclusive buyer representative you will be dealing directly with the agent who has obligations to bring the best possible terms to (you guessed it) the seller.

Divided Loyalties

When someone hires a Realtor to sell their home, that agent's job is to protect their client’s interests through the process of selling a house and that includes getting the best possible price for the seller. If someone comes along who doesn't have a buyer's exclusive agent, which party is the listing agent obligated to?  The seller!

Skilled, competent agents do try and give both sides equal representation and fair consideration, but Bankrate points out that the inherent conflict of interest makes it practically impossible for one agent to fulfill their duties to both parties. Inevitably, one side or the other will have to take a back seat, and without a real estate exclusive agent in Meridian to represent them, it usually ends up being the buyer.  As the saying goes, no one can serve two masters!

What a Real Estate Exclusive Agent in Meridian Brings to the Table

Realtors in Meridian who specialize in representing buyers play an important part because they have the buyers' best interests at heart through the whole process, from consulting the buyer on the area, negotiations, inspections, etc. When you hire an exclusive agent to buy a home, he will listen to you so he understands what you're looking for in a house and a location. With access to the most current listings and an expert knowledge of the Meridian real estate market, he'll be able to show you the homes that fit your wish list and your budget.

What's more, when you have an exclusive agent to buy a home, he will be more likely than a selling agent to point out concerns with any property you're considering. He can recommend financing options and help you get prequalified with a competent lender, so you know the homes you are looking at in truly in your price range. Your exclusive agent's job doesn't end there, either. He'll be there for you throughout the escrow process to help make sure no detail gets overlooked. The Realtor representing you will be on top of necessary disclosures and inspections and will double-check on repairs. He'll even be there at closing to explain closing documents are in order.

Finding an Exclusive Agent to Buy a Home

It's not hard to find a buyer's exclusive agent in Meridian, but you should do some homework before deciding on one. Research Realtors you're considering. The Wall Street Journal says that research should include checking with the Idaho Real Estate Commission to find out if any of the agents you're interested in have had past or current complaints filed against them. WSJ also recommends not only asking explicit questions about the services the agent will provide but to get it all in writing to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Plus, ask for references so you can talk to people about their buying experiences with the agents you're considering.  Online review sites are also great places to read up on a Realtor’s past client’s experiences.

You will get a dedicated exclusive Meridian Buyer’s Agent when you come to Stewart Realty. Jeff Stewart has over 15 years of experience in real estate in Southwest Idaho, including working in construction as well as a real estate appraiser. Those jobs provided an invaluable foundation and unique insight when he earned his real estate and broker's licenses and his experience has served his clients well.  You can read what they have been saying here:

If you're considering home buying in Meridian or the rest of Southwestern Idaho, make your first step to call Jeff at Stewart Realty. He'll be happy to give you a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget. Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

Posted in Buying
Feb. 4, 2018

Hiking in Meridian, Idaho

Hiking in Meridian, IdahoHiking in Idaho has so many options.  There is millions of acres BLM Land, National Forest Lands as well as many wilderness areas to choose from.  Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Idaho. The variety of trails and wilderness areas offer a hiking experience for people of all skills and interests. Even those who don't consider themselves outdoorsmen can find areas that aren't too much of a challenge, but there are certainly enough trails that can test even the best hikers.  Overnight and lengthy backpacking trips are great options also.

Meridian sits in a relatively flat agricultural valley just 10 miles west of Boise that used to be a farm and dairy community, but not anymore.  Now it's a thriving suburban city and the closest rural style hiking trails are 20-30 minutes to the north or east in the Boise foothills.  The more common hiking trails are just up out of Boise and Eagle.

If you do an Internet search for "things to do in Meridian," over 90 percent of the results will be outdoor-related, and most get top ratings. In fact, the Ridge to River Trail System in the Boise foothills about a half hour from Meridian gets high marks on TripAdvisor. Ridge to River offers over 200 miles of ground that are fairly easy to cover, whatever your hiking skill, including flat land and hills.

There are other places near Meridian for hiking in Idaho. Table Rock Trials are a short 25-minute drive away, and they provide stunning views of the Treasure Valley. Also nearby is Jump Creek Canyon featuring beautiful waterfalls and trails that lead both above the falls where you can enjoy the exquisite Idaho scenery, and to the base where you can take a swim. Additionally, hiking enthusiasts know about Mores Mountain Trails that meander through established forests, cross opulent meadows filled with stunning Idaho wildflowers, and ascend Mores Mountain.

Hiking in Idaho With the Whole Family

Hiking in Idaho isn't just for the adults--or the humans. There are plenty of trails that are kid and pet-friendly. Because it follows along the River, the Boise River Greenbelt doesn't run directly through Meridian, but it is close enough to enjoy. There are trails throughout various sections of the Greenbelt that make you forget you're anywhere near the city, such as the Bethine Church River Trail. Everyone in the family will love exploring this particular trail with its bridges, streams, and nesting spots for wildlife, and Only In Your State lists it as a perfect trail for winter hiking in Idaho.

Just a 1.5 hour drive to the southeast you will find another area near Gooding, Idaho. MagicValley.com says Gooding City of Rocks is another ideal place for hiking in Idaho with the kids. Formations made of volcanic rock line the trails, creating arches, columns and abstract shapes to ignite the imaginations of children of all ages.

If you love living close to nature and are ready for a move, take a look at homes in Meridian Idaho. You'll get a beautiful house that's close enough to foothills, mountains and wilderness areas to provide all the hiking experiences you crave. Hikers who have already made the move love how the area seems designed specifically for them. Whether or not hiking in Idaho is your passion, Meridian is an incredible place close to everything Idaho has to offer!

To find out more about Meridian or the rest of Southwestern Idaho, give Jeff Stewart, Owner/Broker at Stewart Realty a call for a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget.

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com.

 

Posted in Buying
Jan. 1, 2018

What Should Your Meridian Idaho Realtor Be Doing For You?

It doesn't matter whether you're buying or selling a home when you look to hire a Meridian Idaho Realtor, you want someone with local knowledge, experience, someone who is on top of their game and will serve your interests with integrity to you!

When you demand the best in a Meridian Idaho Real Estate Agent you will need to focus on who has enough experience to be a true professional and been in the business for a minimum of 5-7 years, consistently sells at least 25 properties a year and most importantly has great reviews on Google+, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, etc.  Beware though…… some folks just fall for the agent that is the most popular or sells the most homes in an area.  That approach generally will almost always get less that you are hoping for.  Every agent only has so much time.  Most agents that sell over 40-50 properties a year are spread so thin that they do not have the time to manage all the details of your transaction, keep everything straight even with the help of associate agents as it is impossible to share all the details with your whole team

There are certain additional character traits that your agent should have to take good care of you:

A Great Communicator

The best Meridian Idaho Realtors are great communicators. It's a skill that benefits both buyers and sellers. Your Meridian Idaho Realtor should really listen to you to understand what you're looking for in a new home if you're a buyer, or to learn everything they can about your house if you're a seller. Communication isn't only about listening, though. Your agent should be responsive, and not just when you call or email. A Realtor who is a great communicator will keep you in the loop on what they're doing to find you a house or get yours sold, whether it's networking with other agents, placing ads, checking new listings, or making or answering inquiry calls. Realtor.com advises setting a communication schedule with your agent from the start, so you both agree how often he'll be checking in with updates for you. At least once a week is a reasonable expectation with additional calls or meetings if a significant issue arises.

The Buying Side

When looking for an experienced Realtor, Meridian Idaho buyers want an agent to match them with the right property, but it takes more than simply having access to the most current listings. The best Meridian Idaho Realtors have a thorough knowledge of the market, and that includes neighborhoods, taxes, issues with zoning, and trends in pricing according to Moving.com. As the buyers' agent, your Realtor can answer any questions you have. He should be able to help you find financing to get you prequalified, if you haven't already, and he can help develop a shopping strategy that takes into consideration what you want in a home, what you need, and how much you can afford to spend. Once your Meridian Idaho Realtor has helped you find the ideal house, he'll negotiate on your behalf and will be there all the way through closing, making sure all of the details are taken care of from obtaining inspections and disclosures to following up on repairs and ensuring all the closing paperwork is in order. 

Seller's Agents

The best Meridian Idaho Realtors for sellers do so much more than place a property on the multiple listing service. Main St. says that one of the first things a good listing agent will do is to take a tour of your home and provide a Comparative Market Analysis. To do that, the agent has to be an experienced Realtor in Meridian Idaho who understands home values and knows what's sold in the past few months so he can suggest a realistic price. A good Meridian Idaho Realtor will devise a marketing plan including advertising and scheduling open houses. He will help get your home ready to sell, including advising you on essential home repairs as well as cosmetic ones that will make your house more appealing to buyers. The best Meridian Idaho Realtors negotiate the best possible price for their sellers and don't disappear once an offer has been accepted. They stay until the last paper is signed at closing to ensure no details are overlooked.

Whether you're a buyer or a seller, you'll get the professional, personalized service you need at Stewart Realty. Broker Jeff Stewart and his team are experts in assisting clients in buying and selling real estate in the Boise/Meridian area. When you're looking for the best Meridian Idaho Realtors, call Jeff direct at 208-602-1993.

Posted in Buying, Selling
Dec. 22, 2017

What is Great About Living in Meridian, Idaho

There is a reason Meridian consistently shows up on "Best Places to Live" rankings, and even hit the number one spot on USA Today's list--it's because living in Meridian Idaho is a great experience! The former Boise suburb has grown to become a city in its own right, and successfully balances the elements that define the simple Idaho lifestyle with access to urban conveniences. If you are thinking about making the move and living in Meridian Idaho, consider the things you want in a hometown. Once you see that Meridian meets pretty much all of your prerequisites, you will want to start looking at the hundreds of homes for sale in Meridian Idaho.

Idyllic Location

Living in Meridian Idaho puts you in the perfect spot in the Boise Valley. It is not really a "big city" compared to metropolitan areas around the nation, so when you are shopping for homes for sale in Meridian Idaho, you will be pleased to find that most of them offer room to spread out, even those located in the more quaint neighborhoods in the city. With a population now of over 100,000, Meridian is not exactly rural any longer, but it is still conveniently close to the activities and attractions that Idaho is known for such as hiking trails, campgrounds, rivers and lakes for fishing, white water rafting and other water sports, and, of course, ski hills and cross-country trails for winter sports enthusiasts are just 45 minutes away. Yet, because Meridian is only about 11 miles from Boise, it is just a few minutes from everything the state capitol city offers, including all the sports, shopping, dining, and entertainment you could ever hope to find. Essentially, living in Meridian Idaho provides the best of both urban and suburban living.   

Affordable Cost of Living

It is usually the small towns that get credit for low living costs but, considering everything it has to offer, living in Meridian Idaho is quite affordable. It gets an "A" from Area Vibes since Meridian's cost of living is 2 percent lower than the national average. There are several factors that go into determining how affordable it is to live in any city, but the low state income tax and 6% sales tax plays a part. Other notable aspects are the cost of groceries, which are 11 percent lower than the national average, and low transportation costs including the price of gasoline that is about 13 percent lower than the national median price.

The housing numbers seem a bit high for the Meridian area, but a closer look at homes for sale in Meridian Idaho show a decent selection of houses that are priced at or below the national median price of $253,500 as of August, 2017. That is a result of the healthy housing market in the Boise/Meridian area and lots of new supply on the way. New construction is alive and well in both cities, which provides the opportunity for home-seekers to find their dream home in an existing house or to build one to fit their picture of the perfect home at an affordable price.

Amenities Galore

Although living in Meridian Idaho puts you close to the amenities of Boise, Meridian itself has plenty of everything to offer residents. Wherever you settle in Meridian, you will be close to grocery stores, parks, libraries, fitness facilities, and restaurants.  And, the city of Meridian is currently in talks with Costco to open a store in North Meridian near Ten Mile Rd and Chinden.  With those necessities nearby, you won't have to make the roughly 20-minute drive to the larger city, unless you want to. Meridian boasts more than grocery stores for shopping, though it is notable to mention that there is a selection of different types of grocers in Meridian including specialty markets like the Boise Co-Op and other health food stores in addition to traditional grocery stores. If you find yourself in need of other items such as clothing, housewares, antiques, and even party supplies, you will find them all without leaving the city. Also, DIY-ers won't have to go far to get the home makeover and remodeling supplies they need for those little projects around the house, as Meridian has several home improvement-type stores like Home Depot and Lowes and specialty stores including tile and granite supply, cabinetry crafters, paint and wallpaper stores, and flooring and interior specialists.

One of the Safest Cities in the State

For single folks and families alike, living in a safe city is high on the priority list, and you can't do much better than living in Meridian Idaho. Not only is it one of the safest cities in the Gem State, but it is safer than almost three-quarters of cities in the whole country. While crime rates are going up in many parts of the U.S., it is actually dropping in Meridian, with the year-over-year number having decreased by 14 percent. Of course, any crime at all is a cause for concern, but SpotCrime.com reveals that most of the crimes in Meridian aren't violent ones, the majority being burglary or theft.

Education Gets High Marks

With about 20 public schools in the city plus a few private, charter, and magnet schools, many of the homes for sale in Meridian Idaho are close to quality education parents want for their children. Student to teacher ratios are fairly low, so whatever school your children attend, they will have access to individualized attention if they need it. Additionally, specialized tutoring programs such as the Tutoring Club, LearningRx Center, and the Mathnasium of Meridian can provide additional help or offer a challenge for kids who excel academically. All of these elements have worked together to skyrocket the average school test scores in Meridian to 13 percent above the national average.

A bonus for parents and teens living in Meridian Idaho is its proximity to the Capitol, the home of Boise State University. Overall, BSU is ranked high for schools in the West, but U.S. News and World Report puts the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University on its list of the best business schools. Additionally, with the great run the Broncos have had over the years, BSU is the place football players want to go for higher education.  Idaho State University has also opened and is currently expanding its Meridian campus which specializes in medical arts.

Four Gorgeous Seasons

People who have always lived in climates that see the same type of weather year-round don't appreciate the variety of seasons in the Northwest. Most Idahoans would likely agree that they would miss spring changing to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, and winter to spring. The nice thing about living in Meridian Idaho is that it is in the Boise Valley, at a low elevation of about 2600 ft. above sea level and consequently an area where the weather tends to be a bit milder than the rest of the state. That means people looking for homes for sale in Meridian Idaho will be able to enjoy all four seasons without extreme weather for the most part. You'll still get beautiful blooms in spring, warm, lazy days in summer, stunning autumn colors in the fall, and enough snow in the winter to ski on just 16 miles outside of Boise at Bogus Basin Ski Resort, without having to endure major earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, or massive wide-spread flooding the rest of the country experiences on a regular basis.

Plenty of Things to do in Meridian Idaho

It's true that Meridian is close enough to Boise that residents can enjoy all the sports and entertainment the state capitol has to offer, but there are loads of things to do in Meridian Idaho. There are lots of parks, game and entertainment centers, bowling alleys, movie theaters, a water park, and brewery tours. The Village at Meridian offers a shopping experience to rival any big city, with retailers, restaurants, and fun events throughout the year including wintertime ice skating and concerts during the summer. There is a pumpkin patch and corn maze at Linder Farms, and Meridian has its own speedway, adding to the warm-weather things to do in Meridian Idaho. Naturally, because Idaho is one of the wilderness states, you don't have to go very far from Meridian to enjoy the outdoors. There are outfitters right in Meridian who can hook you up with the perfect camping/fishing/hunting trip, and some specialize in private tours for those who prefer a personalized experience. With so many things to do in Meridian Idaho, one thing is for sure: you'll never be bored.

If you like the idea of living in Meridian Idaho and getting the best of both worlds, you'll be looking for homes for sale in Meridian, Idaho, and Stewart Realty can help. Jeff Stewart has been in the real estate business for nearly 15 years, having worked in construction and as an appraiser before becoming a Realtor and a Broker. Jeff's extensive experience gives his clients an edge that other agents can't offer. When you are looking for the perfect home in the Meridian area, Jeff and the team at Stewart Realty will help you find it. To learn more about Meridian or the rest of Southwestern Idaho give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call for a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget.

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

Posted in Buying
Nov. 15, 2017

What is the Best Time of Year to Sell Your Home in Boise, Idaho?

Conventional wisdom says that spring is the best time to list a house for sale. The winter is over, spring-cleaning has taken place, and the weather allows for you to complete those improvements you've been meaning to get to such as painting the trim and freshening the landscaping. When looking at housing trends, however, you have to keep in mind that the numbers that show spring as the best time to sell a house are averaged nationwide, meaning that spring isn't necessarily the best time for selling your home in Boise. You need to consider a few issues that hit close to home here in the Gem State to determine the best time to sell in Boise Idaho.

The Logic Behind Spring Sales

Winter is notoriously the worst time to sell a home almost anywhere in the country, but it's an especially undesirable time to be buying or selling in Boise. Idaho winter weather is cold and wet. Buyers don't enjoy trudging from one house to another through snow, ice and slush when looking at Boise Idaho homes for sale and, as a seller, you won't enjoy cleaning up everything potential buyers track into the house and then moving yourself in the same season. Busy with winter holidays, most buyers don't have the time to look at houses until after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are over unless circumstances force them to. Also, money tends to be tighter at the end of the year.  January tends to be the toughest time to sell a home as it is the coldest time of the year and many are recovering financially from the holidays.

Parents with kids in school typically like to get everyone moved in and settled before the school year starts in the fall, so a lot of potential buyers do start looking in the spring. It's true that late spring/early summer months are a good time to display your home in the best light. HGTV points out that freshly blooming gardens and landscaping that's just been revitalized after a long winter's nap give a house vital curb appeal that hook buyers at first sight. Additionally, home buyers receive tax refunds during the time between March to early June. With that additional money in their pockets, they're better equipped to put a down payment on a house. However, March and April are when loads of houses get put on the market, so there is more for buyers to choose from. Purposely waiting for a later listing date when there aren't as many Boise homes for sale could make selling your home in Boise easier with higher seller to buyer ratios. If you absolutely must sell in the spring, ABC News recommends holding off listing for a couple of weeks after the first big flood of spring listings hits the market.

The Best Time to Sell in Boise, Idaho

When SmartZip analyzed monthly selling trends and other home sales data state by state, they also found that January is the worst time to sell a home in Idaho. That news isn't so surprising, but what is surprising is that the numbers showed that October is actually the best time to sell in Boise Idaho. Because there are fewer homes on the market in the fall, you'll be more likely to get your full asking price, or at least not have to discount the price by much because buyers will be competing over the smaller inventory of Boise Idaho homes for sale--especially if they've been looking since spring. What's more, you will have had all summer to get your house ready to showcase, and the gorgeous fall foliage will make your house just as appealing, if not more, than springtime blooms.

The bottom line, however, when determining the best time for selling your home in Boise is that there are a lot of different factors to consider, and market trends fluctuate. Your best bet when trying to decide the best time to sell in Boise Idaho is to team up with a real estate agent who knows the local market and can advise you with good data on the current trends. Jeff Stewart is just the Realtor you're looking for. With over a decade of experience in the Boise/Meridian area, Jeff analyzes the different aspects that can affect the sale of your house and can advise you on when to list your Boise Idaho homes for sale. When selling a home in Boise, get the expert help you need from Stewart Realty. Call or email Jeff today: 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

Posted in Selling
Nov. 1, 2017

Meridian Home Prices: What is the Trend?

Meridian Home Price trendsIf you have been watching the real estate market in Ada County Idaho and looking at homes for sale in Meridian Idaho for very long, you might be wondering if home prices in Meridian Idaho will continue to rise like they have for years now. Housing trend predictions for the country are helpful indicators, but Idaho has proven to be a unique market that tends to march to the beat of its own drum, even if it does drift along the same path as the national market in general. Current signs suggest that the trend in home prices in Meridian Idaho is close to leveling off so, though Meridian Idaho real estate prices have been on an upward swing since 2012, experts expect them to level out sometime in 2017 or 2018. Due to significant demand Home prices in Meridian Idaho may continue to rise, but economists estimate they will likely flatten out or increase at a more sustainable rate for the foreseeable future.

Still in an Expansion Phase

When trying to predict a trend for home prices in Meridian Idaho, the Harvard Division of Continuing Education points out that real estate typically cycles through four phases over and over again. After a recession, Phase I is the recovery, where housing prices begin to rise. The increase in pricing continues through Phase II as the market expands, and it peaks at the beginning of Phase III, where increasing vacancies and excessive supply usher in a period of declining prices. Phase IV is when the market goes into a recession and prices drop to new lows, and everything starts all over again.  To give you an idea where we are, the Meridian Idaho Housing Market has not yet entered Phase III as of October, 2017.

The Idaho market hit the statistical bottom in January of 2011 and along with the rest of the country came out of the recession beginning in 2012 and is well into the expansion phase now. At the end of 2015, Bill Conerly of Forbes advised that home prices would be on the rise for the next year and a half to two years. If home prices in Meridian Idaho follow national trends and predictions, around 2017-2018, as possibly as late as the end of that year, prices in the area are expected to peak, then remain static for up to a couple of years.

Although no one can predict home prices with 100 percent accuracy, it is possible to make an educated guess about where Meridian Idaho real estate prices will go based on a variety of factors. The national projections discussed above play a part, but so does the economic and employment climate in the area. Housing says that Meridian is Idaho's fastest growing city, and that means the area is still in an expansion phase above and beyond the market as a whole. That is good news for the local Meridian Idaho real estate market because it translates to more new construction as well as listings of existing housing as families upgrade to new homes as people from out of town and out of state move into the area.

Important Boise Connection

Meridian's proximity to the state capitol is one thing that affects home prices in Meridian Idaho. The larger metropolitan area of Boise appeals to a diverse demographic. There are plenty of jobs, according to Business Insider. Boise landed at number 11 on its list of the 20 best cities for finding a job, but the magazine made sure to point out that the area is number one in the category of socioeconomic environment. That projects a bright future for area growth in general, and it specifically means continued growth for Meridian.  Especially with all Meridian has to offer families over Boise.

How does that work? Well, people may come to the Boise area for jobs or other urban benefits such as sports, entertainment, shopping, and the like, but many also envision living in a more suburban area, and Meridian is the place a lot of people make their homes. Just 10 miles from Boise, everything the capitol has to offer is just minutes away, but you get to go home to a house with a yard, a backyard garden if you want it, plenty of space between you and the neighbors and most of all the family community and the schools. Because living in Meridian is an attractive proposition, supply for homes will likely stay just behind demand, as reported by Boise Regional Realtors. The bottom line is a continued strong Meridian Idaho Real Estate market as it progresses through the expansion phase for awhile longer. 

New Construction and Home Ownership

Housing starts were up nationwide in 2016, and many homes for sale in Meridian Idaho were among those new construction houses. In fact, the Idaho Statesman reports that new construction in Meridian has been extremely good business for contractors.  There is an extreme shortage of new homes in Meridian at the time this article was posted with the lowest inventory in nearly 10 years.  

Don't jump to the conclusion that so much new building will usher the Meridian area into an early Phase III decline. Most of those new homes were presold, and contractors and developers are having a hard time keeping enough inventory to meet the still-large consumer demands. Even when a builder gets the chance to start a home before it is sold, many times it ends up selling before it's complete. Still, that should not discourage home seekers who want to settle in Meridian. You can buy a lot or keep an eye out for both existing and new construction homes for sale in Meridian Idaho, as both types of real estate are being listed all the time. With help from the right Realtor, you should be able to find Meridian Idaho real estate to fit your needs as well as your wish list.

Another factor that puts a twist on the trend for Meridian Idaho real estate is the fact that the age at which many people traditionally start looking at buying a home for the first time has increased. While it used to be that people would be ready to buy a home in their mid-20s to early 30s, the generation that is in its 30s now are only beginning to think about settling down. Their key home-buying years will continue for more than a decade, adding fuel to a strong trend in Meridian Idaho real estate well into 2020 and possibly up to 2030.    

Interest Rate Influence

Interest rates factor into the demand for homes, and that means they help influence home prices in Meridian Idaho. Rates are still low and low interest rates make homes more affordable, so more people are in the market to buy. Some homeowners may remember a time when mortgage rates were above 10 percent, but that was long ago, in the mid-1980s. They have dropped significantly since then and, even before the recession hit in 2007, mortgage rates were below 7 percent.

With 30 year fixed interest mortgage rates at just around half of what they were at the beginning of the recession, potential home buyers are more confident than ever about the possibility of buying a house, whether it is a starter home or they are finally moving up to their dream home. What's more, the Economy Forecast Agency says that mortgage rates will stay below 4 percent well into 2018. Though they are expected to fluctuate a little, possibly going as low as 3.22 percent at some points but not shooting above 3.8 percent before September of 2018, the interest rate projection supports experts' predictions that prices for Meridian Idaho real estate will hold steady at least into 2017 and possibly into 2018.

Mini Trends in Prices for Homes for Sale in Meridian Idaho

Within larger, lengthier trends, there are always mini trends. Although the market may be expected to go up in the long run, it still may take small dips and dives before it hits an expected high point. That means no matter what the national experts say, home prices in Meridian Idaho could fall slightly in the fall and winter months, and then go back up when the real estate business gets busy again in the spring.  Although fall and winter have fewer buyers, there are also fewer sellers.

Overall, though, the Meridian Idaho real estate market is very healthy. According to Zillow it is stronger in Meridian than the majority of the surrounding areas. Though supply hasn't caught up with demand just yet, there are still quite a few homes for sale in Meridian Idaho. Plus, if you are not having any luck finding a home that fits exactly what you want and need, you can always consider building it. There are almost as many lots and development properties available as there are homes for sale in Meridian Idaho.

When you want the inside scoop on the trends in home prices and Meridian Idaho Real Estate or just a good builder recommendation Jeff Stewart and the professional team at Stewart Realty can help. They have valuable long-term experience with the local market that is useful for identifying trends and staying ahead of them, and Jeff's experience in construction and appraising homes and property gives his clients an edge other agents can't offer.  Whether you are new to the area or want to move up, downsize, or build, Stewart Realty will help you find just what you are looking for. To find out more about home prices in Meridian Idaho, or in other cities nearby, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call for a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget. Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner, 208-602-1993 or jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com.

Posted in Buying, Selling
Oct. 18, 2017

Tips for Creating the Perfect Guest Room

Nice guest roomIf you love to entertain, there are lots of Homes for Sale in Meridian Idaho that include bonus rooms and the like perfect for housing guests when they come to visit. As a gracious host, creating a comfortable, inviting space for your guests should be top priority. A place for guests that makes them feel at home is more than a room with a bed and some extra closet space. You need to include thoughtful extras that will make their stay as relaxing, restful and private as possible. Start by considering what amenities you appreciate when you stay at a hotel, then use them to add a charming guest room to your Meridian home.

Creature Comforts

Get the basic bases covered first when you're putting together the perfect guest room. Furnishing it with a double bed is sufficient, but if your home has the space for a queen-size bed that will be more comfortable when couples stay with you. There should be at least one bedside table with a lamp for late-night reading, and one on either side of the bed if there's enough room for two. Purchase bedding and towels specifically for guests' use, and make sure they're high-quality. If you've ever stayed in a budget hotel, you know the difference low-thread-count sheets can make, so opt for the higher count. Linen or cotton are good choices for bedding and be sure to deck the bed out with an assortment of firm and soft pillows--two of each--for guests' comfort. Also, ample drawer and closet space should be provided, and remember to furnish the closet with plenty of hangers. 

And, of course a private bath is an amenity much appreciated.  Even a ½ bath will be much appreciated. Of course not every home in Meridian Idaho includes the perfect set up for a guest room with their own bathroom, but if you're shopping for homes for sale in Meridian, you can certainly put that item on the list of features you're looking for. A private bath isn't a necessity, but not having to traipse through the house or wait on others to take a shower or freshen up is a nice feature if you can offer it.

Some Nice Touches

Refreshment is one amenity you can provide, and stocking your guest room with a single-serve coffee maker is a thoughtful way to do it, according to InStyle. Be sure to include mugs and a basket of assorted teas, coffee, hot chocolate, and cider mix so your guests can make themselves a hot beverage anytime they want one.

Anyone who travels at all, whether occasionally or frequently, knows that there's always something you forget to bring. HGTV suggests stocking your guest room with a collection of the things you routinely forget when you travel, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, and deodorant. All of those items can be purchased in travel sizes at any grocery or drug store. Also, consider keeping a couple of unisex robes on hand, another necessity that often gets left at home. 

Reading Materials

Trips always include downtime, and you can thoughtfully fill any empty hours your guests have by providing interesting things to read. Martha Stewart recommends placing a few magazines and the most recent issues of the local newspaper in the guest room. If you've recently read a good book worth recommending, set a copy on the nightstand. Another terrific idea for a good read is information on Meridian location and history.

Of course, if there is not a way for you to move up to a New Meridian Idaho Home with the optimum guest room set up you can always use your imagination and ingenuity to make the best of the space you have.  Ideas may include a Murphy Bed, a Futon or a Hide-A-Bed couch to make a room able to serve your many needs. That’s what we like to do for our clients, get them the best property for their needs.  It is all about you, not us!

So, when you're looking at homes for sale in Meridian, it's useful to keep an eye out for ones that have space to accommodate guests.  These can even include set ups for more permanent stays like a Mother in Law apartment with its own kitchen and laundry facility and garage.  For help with finding these hard to find properties, call Stewart Realty.

Broker Jeff Stewart and his team are experts at matching homebuyers with the real estate they want and need. To find out more about homes for sale in Meridian or the rest of Southwestern Idaho, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call for a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget. Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or email him at jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com

Posted in Buying, Selling
Oct. 1, 2017

Why is Everyone Moving to Middleton Idaho?

Middleton is among the oldest towns in Idaho, and it is the oldest in Canyon County but, so far, it remains a superb hidden gem in the Gem State. With a population of just over 5,500 Middleton doesn't just have a small town feel, it is a true Idaho small town. It may not remain in that category for long, however. According to the Idaho Statesman the town's population experienced an over 50 percent growth spurt in the 5 year period between 2001 and 2006, and it has since grown another 21 percent.  At the time of writing this article the population within the city limits is estimated at about 8000.

The wide open spaces, rolling hills on the north bench, the beautiful Boise River valley, low crime and rural environment are just the beginning of what's attracting people to move to Middleton.  It is also just a 30-40 minute commute to downtown Boise. However, there's one more important factor. Considering the median price for homes in Middleton less than Ada County to the east and is very close to the national average, affordable homes in Middleton factor in when families decide to make the move. Plus, there are great schools in Middleton, too, another feature that's convincing everyone to move to Middleton, Idaho.

The Cost of Homes in Middleton, Idaho

You can get a whole lotta home for your money in Middleton, and buying a home there is a good investment. Though home appreciation is up over 14 percent, the median home price is very close to the national average and is around $230,000. With people moving in from other areas in Idaho as well as from out of state at an increasing rate, construction is booming so it's common to find low inventories of homes in Middleton right now.  A good example of affordability is that most that come from neighboring states are able to buy newer homes in Middleton and even with some acreage for less that their previous, old home sold for.   
Another Reason for the Move: Great Schools in Middleton
Out of necessity, the Middleton school district has grown along with the town, but it remains a small, close-knit educational community.  Many of the students come from the rural areas outside of the Middleton City limits and therefore the number of students for such a small town is quite high.  Though there are no private or charter schools in Middleton yet, kids still get a very high-quality education from the five great schools in the Middleton District. Because the student to teacher ratio is only 17:1, according to Area Vibes, kids get the kind of individualized one-on-one attention parents pay handsomely for in private schools in bigger cities. Middleton recently built a new state of the art High School (see photo below) that shows the communities commitment to their children.  As you can see there is also a high emphasis on sports. Education is very hands-on in Middleton, and the support and involvement from parents and the community in general are high--just another reason to make the move to Middleton.

Middleton High School Complex

One of the Few Remaining Vestiges of the West

Nestled amid the gentle rise and fall of rolling hills and with a good share of flat agricultural land, Middleton is a Rancher’s or Gentleman Farmers dream. Whether you want to make your living in agriculture or just want a few acres and some livestock, acreage properties in Middleton Idaho are the ideal place to convert your dream into a reality. Many of the existing older homes in Middleton listed for sale include barns, corrals and other outbuildings. Alternatively, because the cost of land in Middleton is still about half of what it is in larger neighboring cities, buying acreage and building to suit is affordable.

If you're convinced that you want to start looking at homes in Middleton, contact Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty at 208-602-1993 or email at jeff@stewartrealtyllc.com . With over 14 years experience in real estate in the Middleton/Boise/Meridian areas, broker/owner Jeff Stewart has the information on land, home prices, best locations and available homes in Middleton to help you find just what you're looking for.  Call today!

Posted in Buying, Selling