Meridian Blog

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

June 3, 2019

Building Your Next Home in Meridian Idaho

When it's time to move, there are many reasons to consider home construction over purchasing an existing house. One is getting everything that you want! At the time of writing this article, Housing Inventory in Meridian Idaho is very low and there are not a lot of good options to choose from. By building your home, you'll get all-new everything, so you won't be buying into someone else's problem plumbing, heating, or deteriorating roof. You will have input into the design to create your dream house instead of having to compromise with a floor plan that is almost what you want. Plus, everything will be done, so there won't be any remodeling or upgrading to do once you move in. While real estate construction can be the best solution for many people, it's not a walk in the park. There will be concerns throughout the project, from breaking ground through the final walk-through before you move in.  If you build a custom home and are allowed to make all the interior finish decisions you and your spouse will have hundreds of decisions to make.  Sometimes that is stressful and sometimes can be contentious if you don’t agree well on things.  Find out all you can about the home construction in the area, especially locations and developments and their different amenities before you even start looking at floor plans, so you know what to expect.

Buying Land for Real Estate Construction

If you're seeking the perfect house on acreage outside the city limits, home construction is a good choice for you. It frees you up to look for the right piece of land and build the house to your specifications. You'll need to look into the local regulations on home construction, however, to ensure you won't be restricted on land use or the size of home you want to build. Find out if power and natural gas are available on the property. According to Building Advisor, you may have to pay by the foot to have utilities brought to the site if existing lines are a long distance away. You'll also want to know about water rights and whether the land already has a well and septic system or if you'll need to install them before building your home. On the other hand, if you're buying a lot in a development, the developer typically takes care of those issues and will be able to fill you in on what's done and what isn't. Be a smart buyer, though, and don't assume anything. Always ask the developer what things are included in the cost of your lot and get it all in writing, so there are no surprises later.  Of course having your own Realtor that is experienced in Meridian to represent you and help you review your contracts with the builder as you go down this road is the optimum situation!

Finding a Contractor

When building your home, it's important to work with a contractor who is reputable and that you're comfortable with, so it's equally as important to shop around instead of selecting one randomly. Find out which real estate construction contractors build the new homes you really love. A Realtor who specializes in build jobs and has worked with a number of builders in the past can be a great resource for recommendations. They can also help get you more reasonable pricing in some cases. Also, if friends or family have recent experience with home construction, ask them who built their houses and whether they would work with them again. Make a short list of contractors you're considering and contact the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses to find out if complaints or grievances have been filed against them.

Choose a Floor Plan, Estimate the Costs

House Designers advises that you keep things simple when choosing a floor plan and deciding on upgrades if the house you're building won't be the last home you own. Designing and building your home with features that would appeal to a widespread buyer’s base will help with resale down the road.

Your contractor may have a selection of house plans you can choose from but, if you have a very specific and unique floor plan in mind, you'll probably want to work with an architect to draft the blueprints to your specifications. An architect will know about the trends in home construction and design and can offer advice on technical issues, although FreshHome points out that you know your family and your needs best, and advises against letting anyone including an architect or the builder tell you what you do or don't need.  Alternatively, you may find home design software more affordable, even if you only use it once, and the program won't exert its taste and preferences on your floor plan.

Once you have the plans, then you can begin estimating the costs. The Nest recommends working closely with your contractor to get a realistic idea of what your new house will cost. If you've included all the "wants" from your wish list along with all the "needs," you might have to make some compromises to make the total cost fit your budget. According to Good Financial Cents doing some of the work yourself is one way to afford a few more of those "wants," but only if you truly have the skills to do a quality job. Otherwise, you'll spend more money in the end to have a professional fix your mistakes. If you have the skills, though, saving money on the labor to paint the walls, tile the bathroom, or install kitchen cabinets can free up funds to pay for some of the high-end amenities you have your heart set on.

One more thing: real estate construction rarely goes off without a hitch. It's a good idea to pad the estimated costs by 25 percent to cover unforeseen issues like increased material costs or the extra expenses that can arise if the weather doesn't cooperate with your construction project.

Get a Home Construction Loan

If you have cash on hand, a mortgage won't be an issue. However, if you'll need a loan for building your home, you should pre-qualify for a home construction loan early on. This step can be taken care of any time, but once you have the land, builder, and floor plans, and have estimated the costs for building your home, nothing can go forward until you have the financing lined up.  Bankrate says that lenders view home construction loans as a little risky, so you could have a hard time getting a loan for more than 80 percent of the value of the home. If you own the land you'll be building on, though, it can be considered as equity and can count toward the 20 percent you would otherwise have to come up with.

A construction loan has two phases: home construction, when you're building your home, and completion, after the house is built. During the building phase of real estate construction, the loan will be considered short-term, giving you about a year to complete your house. The interest rate will likely be variable and higher than a permanent home loan, and the interest is all that is typically paid during the building phase. The loan proceeds are usually put into an account, and a schedule is determined so that the contractor can receive payments at regular stages of the home construction. The lender keeps tabs on the progress to ensure the house is coming along as scheduled and the funds are being spent as agreed.

After the home is completed, if you've made arrangements with your lender for a construction-to-permanent loan, the financing will get converted to a standard mortgage with a locked interest rate. The nice thing about a real estate construction-to-permanent loan is that you'll only pay closing costs once, instead of for the construction loan and again for the permanent mortgage.

Plan Ahead

As previously mentioned, even the best-planned home construction typically has its share of problems. The weather can interfere with the progress--it's not a good idea to pour concrete in the rain or if temperatures will drop below freezing in the next couple of days--which can cause delays, as can an issue with material availability. There are ways to deal with predicaments like those, such as using chemicals to stabilize the concrete in adverse weather, or buying alternate, more expensive materials. Both solutions cost money, and that's why it's wise to account for extra in your cost estimates, but you should also add in additional time to the timeline to ensure you stay on schedule and meet the milestones the lender will want to see. You won't be caught off guard or short on funds if you plan ahead for worst-case scenarios. You'll be that much ahead of the game if your home construction finishes under budget and ahead of schedule.
Another thing to plan ahead for when building your home is that there still may be work to do once you reach the final phase. A punch list will be created to itemize the things that still need to be done, such as replacing any glass window panes that are cracked, touching up the paint over thin spots, installing closet rods, or hooking up the microwave exhaust in the kitchen. This is one of those issues where it's useful to have a real estate agent on your side because he can go through the house with an unbiased eye to spot and make note of flaws. Sometimes, the flaws are minor and won't affect the quality of your home, but there are usually some items on the punch list that will affect the quality. Even if the home is completed enough to obtain a certificate of occupancy, money from the construction loan should be put into an escrow earmarked for completing the items on the punch list.  

Give Stewart Realty a call if you're considering home construction in Idaho. Jeff Stewart and his team can help you with every step along the way when building your home, from buying the land to finding a contractor to negotiating a construction loan. Jeff is not only a Realtor and Broker, but he has also worked in real estate construction and as an appraiser. His extensive experience gives Stewart Realty clients an advantage other Realtors can't offer when it comes time to do walk-throughs and complete punch lists. To find out more about home construction 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 advice on building your home to fit your style and budget.

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner, Stewart Realty, LLC,
Direct: 208-602-1993, Office: 208-887-5445

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Posted in Buying
May 22, 2019

How to Get the Best Deal on Meridian Real Estate

It might be nice if money were no object, but even if you had unlimited funds, you'd still want to get the best deal on Meridian real estate. There's nothing like the feeling of having equity in a home the day you move in or getting a lot of house without spending a lot of money. "Flippers" are legendary for paying pennies on the dollar for houses and turning them around and selling for nice profit.  But even if you are looking for a house to make your home with no intention of selling in the near future, I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t want a good deal on their new home.

Consider Foreclosures and Auction Properties

There's always a slight chance that you'll stumble onto that beautiful home in pristine condition that, for whatever reason, is selling below market value. It's OK to keep an eye out for those, but you're more likely to find a good deal on Meridian Idaho Real Estate if you look at foreclosures and auction properties. FortuneBuilders puts them at the top of the list when bargain shopping for real estate, along with bank-owned houses (REOs). Rather than paying market-value, you'll likely be able to purchase property for at or below the amount of existing mortgage balances. Plus, in the case of REOs, repairs and tax liens are often taken care of already, and some mortgagors offer good deals on terms, too, when they're trying to sell an REO. If you want to see a current list of Bank Owned or Short Sale properties in Meridian Idaho, submit your information on our home page and Jeff or Sheri will reach out to you soon.

Meridian Real Estate That's Been on the Market Awhile

When you're shopping the MLS for Meridian Idaho homes for sale, pay extra attention to the houses that have been on the market for awhile. According to Entrepreneur, the longer a homeowner has to hold onto a house, the more willing they might be to bargain. That's logical reasoning; if someone has been paying two mortgages for any amount of time, they're likely to entertain any reasonable offer, even if they've already dropped their original listing price once or twice. This is more likely to happen when real estate is seasonally slow, typically during the winter in northern climates like Idaho.

Money Talks

If you have the resources, making a cash offer will make sellers give you serious consideration, even if your offer is substantially less than their listing price. Most buyers will make an offer and then begin the arduous process of getting a mortgage to pay for the house, but everyone gets to pass "Go" and skip directly to closing by cutting out the mortgagor middleman. If cash isn't an option, at least get pre-qualified with a mortgage lender. Sellers like to hear that a buyer has been prequalified because that will reduce the amount of time between making an offer and closing and they know that there will be no surprises on the loan side, because there isn’t one.

Get Help from a Professional

Even those who have experience with real estate benefit from working with a real estate agent who knows the current market and can help you negotiate the best deals on real estate in Meridian, Idaho.

The Washington Post points out that local Realtors can help you analyze the numbers to ensure that something that looks like a great deal really is one. Whether you're looking at a home or Meridian land for sale, a real estate agent's experience is invaluable for performing the market analysis, negotiating a price, and helping with the paperwork from contract to closing, plus they know when new homes are listed and know which areas in Meridian Idaho you may want to stay away from and also homes for sale have been on the market the longest.

For help getting the best deal on Meridian Idaho real estate or anywhere else in Southwestern Idaho, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call for an assessment of your goals, a personal tour of the area and some great home options that fit your needs and budget.

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or

Posted in Buying
Dec. 24, 2018

Meridian Winter Home Preparation – Important Things To Do

Meridian Winter Home PreparationAs far as home repair tips go, staying on top of home maintenance is valuable advice. You can’t indefinitely put off every maintenance issue you view as non-essential. At some point, those pesky little items will demand attention, and it will likely be in the form of winter home repair—during the time of year home improvement pros note when making those repairs is practically impossible. Investing some time for Meridian winter home preparation will pay off peace-of-mind dividends you’ll appreciate when the icy wind blows, and the snow is falling outside.

Keeping Ahead of Repairs With Winter Home Maintenance  

In Meridian, winter home maintenance should start in the later summer or early fall with the exterior of your home. Pick a sunny weekend afternoon so you won’t be fighting miserable weather while you try to prepare your house for just those conditions. Allstate Insurance recommends starting at the top, with the roof and gutters. Though summer weather is nicer, extreme heat and summer storms can do as much damage as winter weather. Clean off any leaves, twigs, or other debris that may have collected on the roof, then inspect the shingles. Secure loose ones and replace missing ones. Also, make note of any potential leaks and schedule winter home repair with a professional roofer to avoid a major issue after the bad weather hits.

Restoration Master classifies gutter care as part of winter home maintenance of the roof. As long as you’re up on the ladder, it’s a good time to clean leaves out of gutters to keep them draining optimally. Seal seams and downspouts, too, to prevent leaks from seeping water near windows and doors.

And speaking of windows and doors—they’re the next items on the winter home maintenance list. Warm air stays in your home better, and the cold is kept at bay when these areas of the home are well-sealed. Repair or replace caulking and weather-stripping on all your doors and windows every few years as needed.

Winter Prep Home Repair Tips Inside the House

Fixing broken pipes can be a winter home repair issue in Meridian if it gets unusually cold as it does some years, but it’s one that can be avoided with some preventative winter home maintenance. Place pipe insulation around exposed plumbing in the attic, crawlspace or basement. You don’t need to fully heat your crawlspace or basement, but it’s a good idea to keep the temperature at or above 40 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent pipes from freezing.  A good way to help out your crawlspace is to close the foundation vents at the same time you are cleaning out your gutters.  Doing so will help maintain an above freezing temperature.

Change the furnace filter, and have it serviced to ensure there aren’t any issues that will keep it from working through the winter. Every few years be sure to ask the HVAC specialist to check the air ducts for leaks and seal any that he finds.  A programmable thermostat is a wonderful way to save a few dollars in heating costs each winter and helps avoid coming home to a cold home after work.

Most newer Meridian homes have gas fireplaces which typically don’t need much maintenance but some older Meridian homes have wood fireplaces. They’re charming, cozy spots to gather during chilly Idaho winter evenings. Winter home maintenance should always include cleaning the fireplace and getting the chimneys cleaned, too. Removing ash and vacuuming out the interior of the fireplace minimizes dust and soot around your home and, since buildup inside the chimney is a hazard, getting it cleaned is a safety issue, too.

One final item on your winter home maintenance list is checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them to ensure they’re working properly and change out the batteries once a year so you can trust they’ll still work if and when you need them to.

If you’re in the market for a home this winter, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call to find out more about Meridian or the rest of Southwestern Idaho and for a personal tour of the area along with some great homes that fit your style and budget.

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or

Posted in Buying, Selling
Dec. 7, 2018

Meridian Idaho Home Inspections—Are They Necessary?

Meridian Idaho Home InspectionsFirst-time homebuyers are often surprised at the number of fees associated with buying a house. If a mortgage lender is involved, there will be a few extras such as application fees, origination fees, mortgage insurance fees, credit report fee, etc. Of course, even if the buyer isn’t paying for the house with a mortgage, there are still items like title insurance, appraisals, and inspections that will need to be paid for. Whether you’re prepared for those costs or not, they’re all ones that typically can’t be avoided, though the actual dollar amounts as well as who pays for them can sometimes be negotiable. In the end, many of those items protect the buyer along with the lender. For example, getting an appraisal ensures that the home is worth at least what you are paying.  You might wonder, though, why both Idaho home inspections and appraisals are needed.

We Got An Appraisal—Why Are Idaho Home Inspections Necessary?

Unless you know the difference between a home inspection and an appraisal, you probably wonder why it is necessary to have both of them done. explains that the appraisal mostly focuses on the home’s value. Appraisers consider factors such as the size of the lot the house is sitting on, the size of the structure itself, the quality of the finishes and the condition it’s in. Other aspects that affect the value the appraiser assigns to the home include the location, how close it is to stores, businesses, schools, and other public amenities.

While the appraiser takes the condition of the home into consideration when valuing it, Meridian Idaho home inspections are all about how well the home was built or how well the house has been maintained. It’s likely the appraisal may make a note of things such as broken windows, missing roof tiles, or damaged flooring. The inspector will mention those issues but has his own home inspection checklist that goes much deeper to areas not obvious and will cover other features that might not be problems at the moment but could be potential trouble down the road. Examples of concerns Meridian Idaho home inspections could turn up include problems that may be present in the attic, crawlspace, with the electrical wiring, plumbing grade that slopes toward the house rather than away from it, the presence of mold, and foundation issues.

Meridian Idaho home inspections indicate whether the issues are a matter of safety or are minor defects, as well as whether they need immediate attention or should simply have an eye kept on them over time. Many of the items an inspector may find may not be deal breakers, but they could be cause for renegotiating the sales price or having part of the proceeds set aside in escrow to pay for resolving them after closing if the lender will allow that.  Most issues are resolved prior to escrow closing to protect you and the lender. 

Idaho Home Inspections Benefit Buyers

The typical price of a Meridian Idaho home inspection is from around $300 to about $500 depending on the size or age of the house among other things. Considering the buyer is looking at spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house, it’s well worth it to spend a few hundred more to ensure he knows as much as possible about the home. As Forbes puts it, Idaho home inspections give buyers the big picture of a property, and can often be a much-needed dose of reality.  Jeff Stewart of Stewart Realty explains that it is like buying an insurance policy for your bank account so that after you close escrow you don’t find that you have a $20,000 problem lurking in your attic or crawlspace.

Let’s say you find your dream house. It’s in the perfect neighborhood, close to the best schools, and with a short commute to work. It’s the right color, has the amenities you’re looking for, and a few extras you didn’t know you wanted until you saw them. When a house checks all the boxes on your wish list, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to potential problems such as a faulty foundation or extreme concerns about the plumbing. However, Idaho home inspections shine a light on those issues that could turn your dream home into a house of horrors. There are times when the results of an inspection can change the buyer’s mind about a house, but mostly they’re a valuable tool for negotiating. They provide justification for requesting a price reduction or asking the seller to pay for repairs.

What’s more, the issues the inspector recommends monitoring help the buyer estimate when future repairs will probably need to be done or when specific things might need replacing. One of the items on the examiner’s home inspection checklist is to note the approximate age of the water heater and other elements such as the plumbing and HVAC system. Since water heaters, for example, have a life expectancy of around 10 to 15 years, the new homeowner will have an idea of when he’ll need to replace it in the coming years.

Home Inspection Advantages for Sellers

Real estate and remodeling pros advise that sellers can use Meridian Idaho home inspections to their advantage. Having your own inspection before you list your home will give you a realistic view of your house and allow you to address problems before the property goes on the market. Jeff Stewart of Stewart Realty calls this a “Preemptive Strike” which allows you to resolve items so that a buyer’s inspector will never even bring them up and will help you keep your deal together. At the very least, you’ll be aware of issues that the buyer’s inspector will come across and can disclose any you choose not to resolve before the sale. That’s not to say that all Idaho home inspections are identical line by line, but each examiner’s home inspection checklist is similar, and it’s rare for there to be significant differences between two inspections of the same property.

If you invest in an inspection before putting your house on the market, home inspection tips for sellers start with doing an amateur inspection on your own. Take stock of things you think the examiner will notice, such as peeling paint, loose steps, dripping faucets, or non-working electrical outlets—then fix them. Those will be items that the inspector and appraiser will call out anyway, so why not take care of them early? It will mean having less to worry about when your home is inspected and having your house in excellent repair will look impressive to potential buyers. 

Home Inspection Tips

When listing home inspection tips, remodel and construction experts say buyers should be part of the process. Show up for the inspection and don’t be afraid to ask about things you don’t understand or are concerned with. That will be easier to do if you’ve gone through the house prior to the inspection and made notes about possible issues so you can ask the inspector about them or at least ask him to pay extra attention to them.

You aren’t along for the ride to look over the inspector’s shoulder, but do pay attention to his process and make sure he examines the house thoroughly. Idaho home inspections should cover the entire house, top to bottom.  The inspector should literally go up on the roof to assess its condition and check for missing flashing around the chimney. He’ll likely survey the exterior of the entire house looking at trim, siding, stucco, and masonry as well as checking the foundation and noting whether the grade encourages water to flow away from the house.

Inside, Idaho home inspections include checking out the attic for sufficient insulation, proper ventilation, and air leaks. In the basement, the examiner will look for signs of water problems, cracks in the foundation, and whether there have been any noticeable repairs. He’ll also take pictures and mark down notes on cosmetic issues, electrical problems including malfunctioning GFCI outlets, potential trouble with moisture, and plumbing, heating, and cooling issues. 

Do You Need a Home Inspection Checklist?

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, if you would like to do your own inspection before the professional looks at the house, it will be helpful to have a home inspection checklist to follow. Experienced inspectors follow similar procedures that you can follow, as well. Of course, the pros have been trained and are more skilled and knowledgeable than most homeowners and homebuyers. However, having a basic home inspection checklist will give you an idea of knowing what Idaho home inspections experts look at to help you understand the process better.

Home inspectors take a comprehensive look at the homes they’re examining starting with the structure itself to ensure that everything looks good from the outside such as whether it appears to be straight and not sagging or bowed, as well as whether doorframes and windows are square. Some people may be surprised to learn that Idaho home inspections also include an examination of the grounds. That means the inspector will note any standing water, apparent septic tank leaks, problems with sidewalks, driveways, patios, and exterior structures.

Other elements on the home inspection checklist cover ensuring ceilings, walls, and floors are level, doors are operating properly, that insulation is adequate, and if there are issues with fireplaces and wood burning and gas stoves, appliances, electrical, and plumbing systems. The inspector will even test handrails near stairs, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and automatic garage doors to ensure there are no safety issues with even the smallest element in the home. In the end, Idaho home inspections are a vital part of the home buying and home selling process.

If you have questions about home inspections regarding Meridian Idaho Homes or to find out 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

Posted in Buying, Selling
Nov. 19, 2018

Meridian Idaho Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Meridian Idaho Fall Home Maintenance TipsBecause of its location in an area that is subject to freezing temperatures in the winter, Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance should always include winterizing outdoor irrigation systems. According to residential and commercial irrigation pros, both rigid and flexible pipes in irrigation systems can experience damage from freezing water. When it comes to Meridian Idaho home repairs, fixing a burst pipe in an irrigation system can be spendy. Improvenet lists the cost of the job to be almost $670 but in reality you should be able to get a local sprinkler guy out to fix a leak for a few hundred dollars, assuming there is only one or two pipes that have cracked. What you actually end up paying will depend on how deep the pipes are buried and how extensive the damage is. Plus, remember that a burst pipe can cause other damage in your yard including digging up the grass or flowerbeds, so the price of replacing it is just one small part of the total amount it could end up costing you. However, if a little Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance can reduce the chances of a pipe breaking, winterizing your irrigation system is one of the best home maintenance tips you could follow.  It is simple, cheap  and easy to do as sprinkler blow out services for most yards should run under $50.  Definitely a good investment!

Best Home Maintenance Tips for Winterization

There are three different methods for winterizing irrigation systems. Which one you use depends on the type of system you have. The company that did the installation should be able to tell you whether the manual, automatic, or blowout draining method applies to your irrigation system. However, professional landscapers say the blowout method is the most effective of the three, and it can be used on pretty much any type of system to help ensure Meridian Idaho home repairs don’t have to include fixing broken irrigation pipes. Keep in mind that the blowout method is also the most dangerous means of performing this particular Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance. It utilizes a powerful air compressor which can cause serious injury if not used properly, so it is recommended that you hire a professional to do the job if you haven’t had experience working with a compressor that has a rating of 80 to 100.

Regardless of which process you use, the first step for all the methods is to turn off the water supply to the system at the main shutoff valve. Sprinkler and irrigation pros recommend installing a main valve to the system if you don’t have one already. It’s a valuable investment because it allows you to turn off the water supply directly for the entire system in an emergency.

The automatic drain method is the easiest of the three, so Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance goes quicker. Once the water is turned off to the system, just activate the automatic drain. This will reduce the water pressure in the pipes and, once it drops below 10 PSI, drain valves situated at the low points and end of the pipes will automatically open. When the mainline is empty, you’ll need to open the end-of-line valves (the boiler drain and the waste drains) to drain any water that remains between the backflow mechanism and the shutoff valve. Even with automatic systems, you still need to manually pull up the sprinklers, if they have check valves, and open the test cocks on the backflow device to ensure the entire system is optimally drained.

If you have a manual drain system, you’ll be spending a little more time on Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance. The process is similar to the automatic system, but you will have to open all of the drain valves throughout the system by hand before proceeding with the end-of-line valves, the backflow mechanism, and the sprinkler heads. Go through your entire system, manually opening the drain valves and leave each one open as you move to the next one. This will give them time to drain as completely as possible while you attend to the other valves and mechanisms. Then, work backward through the system, closing up all the manual valves as a last step.

Completing the Steps for Meridian Idaho Fall Home Maintenance

Draining your irrigation system is among the best home maintenance tips for home winterization, but there’s more to it than just getting the water out. Failing to complete the additional steps necessary for preparing your system can result in additional damage and the need for more Meridian Idaho home repairs.

After you’ve gone through the steps of draining water from the system, the air compressor should be disconnected, and air pressure must be released. Backflow devices that have ball valves should be opened and closed several times. If any water seeped down into that area of the system from the upper parts, this step will allow it to drain out. You’ll also want to leave the isolation valves about half-open, as well as open test cocks.

All the steps for Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance are essential, but the best home maintenance tips that involve winterizing your irrigation system include insulation. Draining water from the system and relieving air pressure is only half of the job. Those steps certainly help protect the pipes, valves, and various mechanisms from damage, but insulating the system offers an extra element of insurance against additional Meridian Idaho home repairs.

Finally, take care of the irrigation system controllers. If your controllers are mounted outside, you shouldn’t need to insulate them, as the transformer will emanate enough heat to prevent freezing, and it should also be enough to keep condensation from building up inside the enclosure. Naturally, freezing and condensation issues don’t affect controllers mounted indoors. What is necessary for Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance where controllers are concerned is to keep power running to them, but turn the switch or dial to “off.” That way, valve run times, start times, and other programmed information won’t be lost, and the system will stay on schedule throughout the winter. It just won’t activate and come on while the switch is in the off position. Your irrigation system will be right on time and ready to go in the spring when you turn it back on and reopen the main valve to fill the pipes back up.

Busy schedules can keep homeowners from tackling Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance themselves, and it’s understandable to want to hire a professional to do the job. On the other hand, unless your system is configured to require the blowout method, draining an irrigation system isn’t difficult and not excessively time-consuming. A couple of hours on a fall afternoon is all you need to methodically go through the steps to get your system ready for the winter. What you save on hiring out for professional service along with the money saved on Meridian Idaho home repairs is worth the time and effort.

To find out more about Meridian Idaho fall home maintenance, as well as the best home maintenance tips for all of Southwestern Idaho, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call. Jeff grew up in the area and has over a decade’s experience in home building and maintenance as well as buying, selling, and renting real estate.

Jeff Stewart

For a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget, call Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or drop him an email at

Posted in Buying, Selling
Nov. 5, 2018

What Makes a Great Meridian Idaho Neighborhood?

What Makes a Great Meridian Idaho Neighborhood?Shopping for your new home doesn't start with the house itself. You begin by looking at what areas of a city you'd like to live in, then focus on what existing homes or new construction opportunities are available. Sure, great Meridian Idaho neighborhood homes are important, but when you already live in a terrific area, you might not give much thought to what makes a great neighborhood. Here are a few neighborhood tips that will get you thinking about what elements are essential in the surrounding area if you've been thinking about buying a home.

It Fits Your Life

There are many factors to consider when looking for a great neighborhood, but Forbes kicks off their list of neighborhood tips with matching your lifestyle. Take a look at the demographics. People whose lives are similar to yours are living in the neighborhoods you'll likely love. For example, families tend to gravitate toward areas that have single-family dwellings with yards rather than townhouses or condos. Before looking for great neighborhood homes, take a tour of a few different neighborhoods in the area and shop for houses in the ones that feel like home.

Terrific Common Areas and Lots to Do

The best cities put a lot of thought into planning, and great neighborhoods are built around places for people to meet and also offer a variety of things to do, according to the Project for Public Spaces. Parks, youth sports programs, greenways, amphitheaters, and activity centers are hallmarks of a great neighborhood, and they get extra marks if they're as appealing and comfortable as they are conveniently located. Those types of areas in a neighborhood offer things to do, but a really great neighborhood also has access to amenities such as shopping, entertainment, libraries, and restaurants, too.  Meridian Idaho is that kind of place! AreaVibes is an excellent resource for seeing what extras a city offers and which neighborhoods are closest to the things you like to do the most.

High Curb Appeal, Low Crime

You probably won't find great neighborhood homes in areas where residents have no pride of ownership or crime rate is high. There's a reason you're drawn to places where the other houses in the area are well-kept and the yards cared for. That's what you want for your home, and the surrounding houses should reflect that. The local chamber of commerce or the Idaho State Police website is a good place to get crime rate information on individual neighborhoods, but so are neighborhood watch groups and local police precincts.

Neighborhood Groups

And speaking about neighborhood watch groups, having one is an additional feature of the best neighborhoods. It's part of that pride of ownership issue combined with controlling crime. The National Crime Prevention Council says that neighborhood watch groups are among the most effective crime prevention tools available. Group meetings are a place to socialize and get to know your neighbors, as well as to actively make your neighborhood a great place to live.

Other types of neighborhood groups exist, too, for getting together with those nearby who have similar interests. Some cities have groups that serve specific blocks as well as ones that cover larger sections of the city. You may find special interest neighborhood groups formed for a variety of reasons from special issues regarding parks or schools to neighborhood book clubs, knitting circles, and yard and gardening organizations.

Super Schools

Families with children of any age will want to find great neighborhood homes in areas that have access to great schools and all the auxiliary programs for kids associated with them. In addition to being a benefit and a convenience, however, reveals that proximity to good schools also increases home values and the same is true in Meridian, Idaho.  In fact Meridian has a number of school options such as Charter and Magnet Schools that give parents great choices for their kids.

For local tips and advice on the best neighborhoods in Meridian Idaho or the rest of Southwestern Idaho give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call at 208-602-1993. He'll be happy to give you a personal tour of terrific neighborhoods that match your lifestyle and great neighborhood homes that fit your style and budget.

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or  

Posted in Buying, Selling
Oct. 25, 2018

Tips for a Successful Home Sale in Meridian, Idaho

According to the National Association of Realtors, ( homes right now typically spend an average of about 4 weeks on the market, and typically sellers end up getting very close if not over their asking price.  The average is running around 98 percent of the original list price in Meridian, Idaho. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as simply listing your home then sitting back to wait for a bidding war to ensue. Selling your home requires some work on your part, and successful Realtors have an arsenal of home sale tips to help you understand what to do and what not to worry about.

Basic Advice

Basic home sale tips are common sense. Clean the house thoroughly and clear out clutter to minimize distraction and make the home have a comfortable feel, but not too sterile. Take care of minor repairs such as broken doorknobs, locks, and windows. Touch up scuffs on the walls and baseboards, or invest some time and effort in repainting some of the rooms. Replace old faucets and light fixtures, as well as broken tiles on floors or countertops. Staging is typically effective to add to the success of selling your home in Meridian. It's a technique for showcasing your house in an inviting light, and it requires more than cleaning up. You need to be able to look at your house through the eyes of a potential buyer, and you might want to enlist the help of a professional designer or home stager. Fox News offers some home sale tips for staging such as rearranging furniture to make rooms more inviting, presenting spare rooms in unique ways, such as creating an office or cozy guest room, and partially clearing out closets to make them look spacious. Also, staging can extend outside of the house, so clean up the exterior of your home. Landscape the yard, and arrange patio furniture or a bistro table and chairs to create an attractive outdoor setting.

Sweeten the Deal

Sometimes, the seller's success in staging a home is what makes the sale. The buyer falls in love with everything about the house, including the furnishings. So kicking in bits of personal property can help close the deal for Meridian home sales. What you're willing to leave behind is up to you, but some suggestions include patio furniture, the gas barbecue grill, at least one flat screen TV, and the surround-sound system if you have one.

Take Some Advice

Whether or not this is the first time selling your home, it's always good to have access to an experienced real estate agent. Reader's Digest recommends finding an agent you can rely on and following their advice. They're professionals with tons of home sale tips that can help you successfully sell your home. An agent can tell you what similar homes in the area are selling for and can get you in to tour of some of them so you can ensure your house is in better than comparable condition to sell quickly and command a good price. They'll have ideas for staging your house that you didn't even think of and a Realtor has the skills to negotiate for you when the time comes.

To learn more about selling your home, call Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty. His extensive background in construction, property appraisal, and the local Meridian Idaho Housing Market will give you the edge you need for successfully selling your home quickly and for the highest value.

The team at Stewart Realty knows homes and they know Southwest Idaho real estate. To find out more about real estate in the Boise Region give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call to set up your personal real estate search, a personal tour of the area and find some great homes that fit your needs and budget.

Compose Your Personal MLS Search With Us: or

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or

Posted in Selling
Oct. 10, 2018

Protecting the Investment in Your Meridian Idaho Home

For many people, buying a house is the most important investment they will ever make, so protecting your home is a very logical move that helps ensure you are safeguarded against unexpected circumstances which could result in damage to this all-important investment.

Home Protection in Meridian, Idaho as well as in other parts of the country can mean more than one thing. First, having adequate homeowners insurance is a very real way of protecting your property from disasters that can damage or destroy it as well as protecting your financial equity in the property. Most insurance companies typically allow customers to customize home protection coverage for catastrophes that are more likely to happen in certain areas of the country like earthquakes along the west coast, hurricanes on the east coast and tornados in the mid-west.

Modern technology has also made protecting your home with a home security and fire alert system more affordable and commonplace. In the past, home protection plans to optimize the safety of your family and security of your house were costly and complicated. These days, however, security systems for home protection are easy to install and, in some cases, having one will make insuring your home with an insurance policy less expensive.

In order to protect your home properly, the old rule of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds very true.

Taking active measures to keep your home protected is important. There are numerous areas that you can take extra measures in to protect your home. Definitely have emergency contact(s) available in the event something unfortunate occurs. It is helpful to list them as I.C.E. (in case of emergency) contacts in your cell phone. They can be family, neighbors or friends.

Prevention of Home Fires

A few simple steps to protect your Meridian Idaho home could also include the prevention of house fires.

According to federal statistics, 85% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in homes; it is important that you have a home fire defense plan and that you discuss it with all that are living in the house. Often times, fires are caused by cooking, neglect or just not taking responsibility seriously.

Below are some common-sense prevention tips that can help your home in Meridian Idaho or anywhere for that matter:

1. If you don’t already have them, install smoke detectors in numerous locations throughout your home and replace the batteries annually. If possible, consider hard-wiring your detectors and linking them together so if one is triggered by smoke, they all sound the alarm in every room in the house.  This is code for new construction homes but you always want to make sure your home has them. And if they are older than 10-15 years they should be replaced.  Also, make sure you have a Carbon Monoxide Detector as well!

2. Replace any wiring or electrical cords that you have noticed are worn, frayed or have wire ends exposed.  Wire ends should always terminate in an electrical box.

3. Avoid overloading circuits, extension cords and outlets which will also protect circuit breakers as well.

4. Keep a fire extinguisher in or very near to the kitchen and also one in the garage as most fires originate in those two places.

5. Clean and inspect your fireplace annually to ensure that it works correctly and is properly vented. If it is a wood burning unit, have the chimney inspected regularly and cleaned often. 

6. Never leave candles burning unattended. Do not burn anything next to flammable items.

7. Don’t use combustion type space heaters at all but if you absolutely must, keep them away from walls, drapes or anything that could catch fire. Turn off heaters when you go out of the house or to sleep at night.


Prepare for Severe Weather

A very important home protection measure you can take is to prepare for bad weather.  Here in Meridian Idaho, that means that we need to prepare for high winds, occasional heavy rains, or sometimes harsh snowstorms in the winter. You are able to protect your home and loved ones with some simple precautions:

1. Take an inventory of the valuables and contents in your home, including art and jewelry.

2. Take pictures or a video and keep these securely in a fire proof box or safe-deposit box or send a copy to a family member or friend for safekeeping.

3. Be sure you keep all important documents such as your mortgage papers and all insurance policies, in a safe-deposit or fireproof box.

4. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage, including the correct replacement value for your home and be sure to carefully read so that you understand your homeowner and car insurance policies, especially their deductibles and disclosures. 

5. If you live in a flood zone, you will be required to carry flood insurance. Your agent will help you determine if you are at risk and help you obtain adequate coverage.

6. Keep an emergency kit easily accessible at all times. Be sure to include a battery-operated radio, a few days’ supply of food and water, blankets, flashlights, a first-aid kit and a generator if possible.

Preventing Water Damage

1. Make sure your roof is in good condition and that no shingles are missing as well as checking that the roof flashing, siding and exterior doors are all weathertight.

2. Make sure you know where your water main shutoff is in case you have a pipe leak or burst and need to turn it off quickly.  Make sure this valve is quickly accessible and not behind a stack of boxes.

3. If your refrigerator has an icemaker make sure you inspect the water line and fittings at least once a year to make sure they are not starting to drip.  This is the number one water damage insurance claim cause.  It is especially important if you have hardwood floors!

4. If you live in a freezing climate like Meridian, Idaho then you will want to disconnect your hose from your hose bib in the fall so that it can drain.  Keeping the hose attached in freezing conditions will freeze it back into the wall or in the crawlspace and potentially crack the pipe and then when it warms up you have a huge mess.

Protecting Your Home with Insurance

If you take out a mortgage on your house, the lender will require that you also have an insurance policy in place protecting your home so the lender is protected if the house burns down or some other disaster befalls it. Even though there are no laws that require home protection in Meridian through insurance if you own your house free and clear, it is still wise to buy a policy for the same reason a mortgager insists on one.  Protecting this large of an investment is not an option!

When it comes to insurance policies, not all home protection plans are the same, and most are adeptly written to only pay out if damage is incurred under specific circumstances. Investopedia explains that the verbiage in insurance policies usually restricts coverage to damage that happens accidentally and suddenly. That means a basic policy will typically cover damage from fire, hail, high winds and theft, but won’t necessarily cover a roof that collapses because of its age, or damage that happens from a slow and unknown roof leak rather that from storm damage. Also, if you have any outbuildings that aren’t attached to the house such as a shop or garage, you should make sure your policy addressed those structures, too.  If it doesn’t, damage to those buildings may not be covered.

While insurance policies don’t normally cover destruction from earthquakes, floods, mold infestation, neglected repairs, or acts of terrorism or war, you can typically buy home protection plans with additional coverage called “Riders” that addresses any or all of those specific instances. Mortgage lenders even require protecting your home with extra coverage in some cases, for instance such as stipulating that you must buy flood insurance if your house in a flood zone.

Insurance for home protection in Idaho goes above and beyond insuring just the replacement cost of your house and its contents. In today’s litigious society, liability coverage is more important than ever.  If someone trips on your porch and breaks an arm, you are liable but homeowners insurance with liability will cover the cost of medical care.  If a neighbor’s house is damaged because of your neglegence, such as from an unattended charcoal fire resulting in fire, the liability coverage kicks in. Even if your pet causes injury or damage, liability insurance should cover the cost.  You can also take out what is called and umbrella liability policy that covers very high amounts of liability.  These policies are typically very inexpensive for the coverage that you receive.

Angie’s List points out that almost all Homeowner’s insurance policies can be purchased to cover more than just home protection. If a disaster occurs that causes you to have to live elsewhere because of damage to your house, the right policy will ensure you don’t have to worry about alternative housing costs. Insurance for additional living expenses will pay for restaurant and hotel bills among other expenditures you might have while your home is being prepared.  If the home is an investment property then it can even cover your loss in rents during the time that your renters can’t live there due to repairs and/or reconstruction. 

One more optional type of insurance that some may want to consider adding to home protection plans would cover a home business.  According to the NEA website, your homeowner’s policy may offer some coverage but, especially if customers and clients will be coming to your home, you should ask your insurance agent about adding on an endorsement to cover a home-based business. It is an expense you can pay for and write off through the business, and you will be happy for the extra coverage if someone is injured on your property while there on a business-related matter.

Ensuring the insurance policy you have is sufficient for protecting your home requires more time than clicking a few boxes on a website and entering your banking information for electronic payment.  It is better to make and appointment with an insurance agent at the property being insured and spend some time talking about your specific needs and which home protection plans fit those needs.  An agent can help make sure you get the best coverage that fits your budget and will walk you through the factors that affect what you will pay for home protection in Meridian Idaho. For example, your premium will depend on where you live, how much your home and its contents are insured for, what additional endorsements you purchase and even what your credit score is. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Do talk with more than one agent and get multiple quotes for comparable coverage, but don’t jump at the lowest rates. Dig a little deeper and find out about the reputation of the company and how well they pay on claims in addition to what kind of coverage and rates they offer.

Home Security for Home Protection in Meridian

Overall, Idaho is considered a very safe place to live, and Meridian even ranks among the safest cities in the nation with a crime rate 56 percent lower that the national average, according to AreaVibes. However, no place is entirely free from crime making home security a vital part of protecting  your home.  How far you go for home protection is a personal choice, and can be as simple as securing all entrances with new locks and adopting a pet that can double as an alarm system and bodyguard for the family.

On the other hand, even with a dog on the premises, you may fee safer protecting your home with a security system. Considering that the U.S. Department of Justice reports that , on the average, 3.7 million households are burglarized each year, beefing up home protection with cameras, monitors, and alarms understandably provides homeowners with extra peace of mind.

Let’s face it, burglaries happen. By limiting access, maintaining your property , and making sure you eliminate hiding places, you are not only protecting yourself and your family but your belongings and home too.

You should open yourself to all aspects of knowledge on how you can enhance the security of your home and property.

Visibility, sound, and time, are three factors that are to be considered when trying to prevent theft from a home. Some items to think about are:

1. Are all doors locked?

2. Are windows shut and locked?

3. Is my property lit well at night?

4. Are any valuables visible from the street?

5. Is my routine easy for a potential burglar to recognize the least likely time to get caught if attempting to enter?

Fortunately, home security systems are getting better than ever and getting easier to install with some do it yourself installations. Cutting-edge technology puts advanced equipment at your disposal, and it is all surprisingly reasonably priced. What makes security home protection plans even more affordable and attractive is that having one installed can get you a break on the price of homeowners insurance as well as increase the value of your home if and when you want to sell it. In fact, according to Home Advisor, installing a home security system ranks up there with finishing a basement or redoing the kitchen when you want to increase the sales price of a home, but it’s far less expensive than those construction projects. 

There are a variety of types of systems for home protection in Meridian Idaho. Some companies sell packages and base the pricing on what each one includes. Examples of some features are alarms on each entrance including the windows, security cameras, different types of keyless entry options such as numerical keypads or fingerprint recognition, and monitoring services.  Most homes only require a basic system, but each homeowner chooses the options that appeal to them for convenience as well as home protection in Meridian.

Door and window sensors: In addition to a locking system, door and window sensors are an essential part of any basic home security system package.

Security Cameras:  Wireless security cameras thanks to internet, smaller camera sensors, and cheaper WIFI chips have become much more affordable.  The latest technology is an internet-connected video doorbell.  These doorbells offer all the features of a wireless security camera while also alerting you if someone rings the doorbell. A really nice feature is that you can talk to them via an app on your phone.

Keyless entry systems: Digital locks can be set apart from standard locks by how easy they are to use.  There are some digital locks that work with your smartphone and some have digital keypads, some have both.  There are a number of ways to activate them. You can set them to unlock when you come within a certain distance to the lock or you can give a command from your cell phone. This means that even if you forget to arm the house before you left, you can still do so. A convenience of digital locks is that you can grant temporary access to family, friends or neighbors or save yourself some time with the touch of a button. Smart locks also use a Bluetooth to automatically lock doors once they sense that you have left the home. Home sensors can be good for detecting motion. When armed, motion triggers can be sent to you mobile device. Then, you can be notified instantly if someone is trying to break into your house.  The types of technology are endless!

The Chicago tribune points out that monitoring isn’t required for the alarm system to work, but it’s a valuable addition to any system. Remember that the more coverage you have, the more you can expect to pay.

Many systems are now incorporating fire, flood, and carbon monoxide detectors along with intrusion alarms for protecting your home against dangers not related to break-ins.  Additionally, you can have cameras installed in areas other that entrances to help you keep an eye on your children or pets. On top of it all, many systems are wireless, meaning no major construction or drilling holes in walls is required to install the system you want. Smart security systems are highly customizable and available as do-it-yourself kits or as full-blown setups that include professional installation and monitoring.

When you have a home security system professionally monitored, advertise this by displaying window stickers and yard signs.  This lets thieves know that chances are high that they will be notice and their attempt will most likely fail.

Your home can be one of your largest assets. It is helpful to protect it from unexpected events by keeping detailed records.

Keep your insurance information such as the insurance company’s phone number and your policy number in a fire/waterproof safe in your home that is easy to get to in a hurry.  You will also want a way to take photos of everything as soon as possible either with a cell phone or a digital camera. Another important step is to remember to keep all your receipts for water, food and clothes that you buy after a disaster. Those are all costs that can be recovered.

You also want to make a complete and up-to-date inventory of all your possessions. Video everything in every room and make a written list too. Store this information away from your home, either in a safe deposit box or digitally. Once you have something happen, it’s very hard to remember what you had. Good records will make the process much easier and you are likely to get reimbursed properly.

Making small improvements can make a big difference in protecting your home, saving money on insurance premiums and bettering your emergency preparation. Where high winds can be an issue, roof wind clips designed for high-winds can help.  It would also be wise to consider wind-resistant shingles when roofing as well as requesting impact-resistant glass when replacing sliding glass doors or windows.  If you live in a hurricane prone area, you may want to consider precautions such as hurricane resistant shutters and garage doors. If you live in wildfire prone areas, flame-retardant shingles are a very smart addition as well as routinely keeping brush cut back by the fire code required distance from the house. Removing dead limbs and any combustibles from the yard will also help. 

There are a lot of ways to provide home security. Most are common sense, everyday habits that we already practice, while other approaches need more planning. Planning for home security may feel like a lot of work and it may cost you up front, but is well worth it to ensure safety and to prevent unnecessary stress later down the line. Just remember that a safe home is a happy home!

If you are getting ready to buy a new home in Meridian Idaho, you’ll want to keep issues for your new home protection in mind as you view homes and make your all important decision. Be on the lookout for structural concerns or locations far from fire protection that might affect insurance rates, and take note of homes that already have security systems installed.

The professionals at Stewart Realty have the experience to help you with all matters vital for protecting your home. Their home inspectors are also the finest in the industry! To find out more about Meridian Homes for Sale 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.

The team at Stewart Realty knows homes and they know Southwest Idaho real estate. To find out more about real estate in the Boise Region give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call to set up your personal real estate search, a personal tour of the area and find some great homes that fit your needs and budget.

Compose Your Personal MLS Search With Us: or

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or


Posted in Buying, Selling
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!

The team at Stewart Realty knows homes and they know Southwest Idaho real estate. To find out more about real estate in the Boise Region give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call to set up your personal real estate search, a personal tour of the area and find some great homes that fit your needs and budget.

Compose Your Personal MLS Search With Us: or

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or

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 still wonder what value a good Meridian, Idaho Realtor can bring to you here is a good refresher course with all the reasons why our clients love us!

Our Premium Marketing Plan

Selling your home for the highest possible price and having a great real estate experience just really depends on hiring the Right Team. Here is how we are different?

Ø  Experience:  Jeff has appraised or sold more than 900 properties in the last 16 years. Experienced representation translates into a higher net sales price and overall, a better client experience.

Ø  Education:  Most Realtors are “Agents” and there are lots of frilly designations.  Jeff is a “Designated Broker”, the most difficult of all real estate licenses to obtain in the State of Idaho.

Ø  Exposure: Our highly optimized, “City Specific” webpages give your property exceptional exposure.  Many of our specific “City Pages” are found on Google’s top pages of real estate search results for search phrases for Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star, Nampa and other cities throughout Treasure Valley.

Ø  Service: Jeff Stewart and Office Manager Sheri Partyka are here to serve you every day.  We return your calls promptly, provide showing feedback weekly and take care of all the details to make your sale progress smoothly all the way to closing.  Fire us anytime if you are not completely satisfied.*

Ø  Honesty & Trust:  Stewart Realty is a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ Rating.  There has never been even one complaint filed against Stewart Realty with the Idaho Real Estate Commission, the BBB or anyone.

Ø  Reviews: We encourage you to read what our clients are saying about us so you will have detailed examples of the level of service you can expect and will receive.  Read our 5 STAR Ratings on our Google Business Page, Yelp, our BBB Profile and on our website at .

*Unless we already have your property under contract with a buyer.

Premium Marketing Plan - What You Can Expect When You List Your Home with Stewart Realty

Our Premium Marketing Plan substantially increases the odds of selling your home for the maximum price. You can expect exceptional, personal, one-on-one service in every stage of your transaction. You will be a "Client" under Idaho Agency Law. We will be your advocate.  We offer you all this and more:


1.     Professional home staging consultation to prepare your property to show at it's very best.

2.     Expert market analysis using comparison of current actively listed competing properties, the latest pending sales and the most recent sold comparables for outstanding pricing accuracy.

3.     Professional MLS listing with full digital photos, detailed specific property features and facts.

4.     Online Virtual Tour on every property we list and Craigslist advertising that we renew each week.

5.     Exposure on,, Trulia, Zillow, & all IMLS fed websites.

6.     Professional signage, flyer box and lockbox.  Custom made color flyers and we keep flyers stocked!

7.     Show your property to all interested clients.  Agent Staffed Open Houses Saturdays when productive.

8.     Monthly market review of sold and competing properties to maintain market competitiveness.

9.     Represent only your interests and advise you in contract negotiations with buyers and buyer's agents.

10. Verify that the prospective buyer is qualified and capable of closing the transaction.

11. Provide all legal contracts for transaction and Brokerage Trust Account to hold buyer earnest money.

12. Schedule and provide access to all property inspectors, appraisers, etc.

13. Verify all title and escrow documents and fees for accuracy and attend escrow closing with you.

The team at Stewart Realty knows homes and they know Southwest Idaho real estate. To find out more about real estate in the Boise Region give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call to set up your personal real estate search, a personal tour of the area and find some great homes that fit your needs and budget.

Compose Your Personal MLS Search With Us: or

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or

Posted in Selling