4 Steps That Can Help Seniors and Homebuyers with Disabilities Save Time and Stress

Today I am posting another writer’s article who reached out to me to share useful tips to helping Buyers navigate the real estate market and some of these tips are handy for anyone in the market for a property.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Watching people hunt for the perfect home on TV can be entertaining. When it comes to hunting for your perfect home, however, things can feel more stressful than exciting. This can be especially true if you’re a homebuyer who is also living with disabilities, as you will likely need to find a home that has accessibility features. That can be overwhelming for many shoppers. So, if you’re worried about the process of finding and buying that accessible home, keeping these tips handy can give you some serious peace of mind.

Finances Should Come First

When it comes to being smart about buying an accessible new home, you really need to start with some financial steps. Gather any pertinent documents related to your finances — including tax returns, bank statements, and credit reports — and go over them very carefully. That way, you can put together a realistic price point for your new home.

Wondering what that price will get you in your desired location? You can use online tools to research local home prices and features included in local listings. Couple that information with the right financial steps and you should be in good shape to start searching for a new home with the accessibility elements you need and the features you want.

Something to consider here as well is that it’s always best to have a knowledgeable lender by your side before you start your official house hunt. Look for a lender associated with the Idaho Housing and Financial Association. Tim Kinkeade with First Home Bank is an excellent example of a loan originator with decades of experience. Your loan officer can even help you find state-funded programs that can help with down payment money if you’re struggling to come up with the cash you need to make the leap into homeownership.

Using All the Tools at Your Disposal

If you are serious about buying an accessible home, you should work with a realtor right after you have your financial plan sorted out. Local real estate agents will likely have access to more listings that are available online; plus, you won’t have to comb through multiple sites. You may even be able to find an agent with special certifications that can make the process even smoother, especially if you are a senior with disabilities looking for a new home with more accessibility. Either way, be sure to let your realtor know which features are crucial for you.

Of course, these are difficult times for house hunting since most of the country is on COVID-19 lockdown. The good news is that you can use online tools to get a clearer picture of the local market and specific homes you’re interested in. For example, some agents offer live virtual tours of homes which will give you an in-person perspective. While it’s not the same as being there in person, you’ll still be able to explore the house without having to leave home. 

Accessibility Can Be Stylish

If this is your first time looking for a home with accessibility features, you should know that accessibility does not have to be boring when it comes to home design. Just check out this home that was created for a buyer who became disabled after a motorcycle accident. After a complete renovation, an older ranch-style home was transformed into a completely wheelchair-accessible living space, with small touches that make getting around and getting comfortable easier. Safe bathrooms can be beautiful as well, especially with the growing popularity of walk-in showers. The newest showers are just as stylish as they are safe, and they can be added to your home for around $1,000 to $2,300, depending on the size you need.

Modifications May Be Needed

As you can see from the accessible home example above, renovations may be necessary in order to turn your dream home into an accessible safe haven. That shouldn’t put you off from your home search, but you will need to budget for modifications as you determine how much home you can afford to buy. You can also look into additional financing options that can help cover any needed home modifications, including special FHA home loans. These loans do come with additional stipulations but you can use them to make just about any type of improvement to your new home. For accessibility modifications, you may also be able to use other funding sources to help out with costs, including grants from non-profits or VA benefits. Your lender might be able to offer suggestions here as well.

Buying a home that includes accessibility features shouldn’t be any more stressful than finding a home that doesn’t. Still, homebuyers who are living with a disability can face additional challenges when searching for their dream home, including having to budget for future home modifications and finding a home where they can age in place safely during their golden years. If you are a home shopper who is living with disabilities or looking to age in place in your next home, be sure to keep this guide handy so you can save yourself some hassle.

Patrick Young is an educator and activist. He believes people with disabilities must live within a unique set of circumstances–the outside world often either underestimates them or ignores their needs altogether.

City of Moscow Recycling Guidelines 2.0

The rules of the road have been changed, or by some understandings, uncovered, as to how recycling must be done. If the guidelines are not followed, tons of recyclables mixed iwth non-reclycable items get dumped in landfills which has led to our city revamping our own rules to help us avoid this problem.

Good as these intentions may be, we humans tend to not like change and need a little aid ourselves in keeping straight what can and cannot go into those recycle bins. Below is a picture I took of the single stream (read curbside green bin pick up) of what is acceptable and what is not.

Below is what I took regarding those pesty plastic bags and any other plastic packaging film. Our recycle center has a contract with the Trex Deck company to recycle all those plastics and you can learn when and where to depot those bags below….

What does the Cares Act do for you?

Congress passed the CARES Act recently and many wonder if there is anything in the program that may help them in this time of need. Some may think no but may be wrong as the Act was designed to provide aid to as many as possible, covering more people in a variety of ways. Below is a brief overview of what the program offers Americans so you can see how it may help you or your family and friends….

The above green “CLICK HERE” buttons I could not remove so I provided the same links below….

CARES Act SBA Website U.S. Senate Committee

What’s inside the $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package

Summary of CARES Act

Visitors pleasantly surprised to learn what outdoor fun Moscow Idaho has to offer

Visiting Mountain Biker enjoying Moscow Mountain trails

I thought this blog was worth a repost as the visitors seem to know their trails and shared a fun adventure on ours along with some wonderful pics. The link below is on blog SingleTracks, article titled: “Singletracks and Moose Tracks in Moscow Idaho” is written by Julie Singh …. Enjoy! 🙂

Save Our Summer Blood drive!

Given Vitalant says they face roughly a 30% drop in donations every summer, I thought it appropriate to help spread the word. So…..

Looking for a way to give back to our community? Join us in supporting Vitalant, our community’s only blood provider, at their Moscow Bloodmobile on MONDAY , JULY 8TH!

Patients at more than 35 hospitals across the Inland Northwest rely on volunteer blood donors from Vitalant for the life-transforming donations they need! Plus! Presenting donors will receive a free SOS 2019 T-Shirt! Schedule now: bit.ly/VitalantWAID

WHERE: Eastside Marketplace 1420 S. Blaine St. Moscow, ID 83843

Please SHARE. SHARE, SHARE this event regardless of whether you can attend in person as well!

PALOUSE RIVER BASIN ADJUDICATION Notice & links to resources

Hello friends. Recently, I received in the mail a noticed, which is included at the bottom of this blog, that notifies those of us who have a well that we must follow some procedures to ensure we continue to have our water rights included with our property. There is a deadline of April 30 and since I have learned that friends of mine in the Palouse have yet to receive this notice while those of us who live in Moscow and are far less likely to have a well and be affected, I thought it wise to pass this along ASAP so those that it does impact can act quickly.

If a property owner has a well, there is a good chance that the water source the well taps into pulls from the Palouse River Basin and if so, then the property must file a “notice of claim”. If said owner believes the well driller registered your well and it can be identified on the Idaho Dept of Water Resources website, please verify that it IS in fact registered because mistakes can be made/have happened.

Without this claim, your water rights may not exist. According to Idaho law, if we face a water shortage, then who is permitted water is decided based on the appropriation doctrine, meaning “first in time is first in right”. In other words, who had a claim first gets the rights to the water.

Given I am not an expert on this matter, I am including the notice along with links to further information on this matter and in them, who to contact for further clarity.

Top 8 Home Design & Remodeling Trends for 2019

top design trends, color samples


White and grey aren’t going anywhere, but expect to see warmer tones and more earthy neutrals popping up in 2019. Cold whites are being replaced by warmer, softer whites. And warmer tones of grey have become a popular alternative to the cooler grays we were seeing earlier in the decade. Dove grey—with a lilac undertone—is a particular favorite with designers this year.

moscow id real estate

Sherwin Williams chose Cavern Clay, a warm terracotta, as its 2019 color of the year, while Behr selected Blueprint, a mid-tone blue. Benjamin Moore’s selection is Metropolitan, a sophisticated grey.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, consider a light, neutral paint color. Neutral colors provide a blank canvas upon which a buyer can envision placing their belongings, and lighter colors make a room appear larger and brighter.


Don’t feel limited to using one metallic finish throughout your home—or even throughout a single room. Designers are mixing metals in 2019, and their favorites include copper, brass, pewter, gunmetal, and matte black.

Experts suggest picking one metal hue to dominate your color palette and a contrasting tone to complement it. If your room has a warm color palette, choose a warm-hued primary metal, such as brass or copper. For cool palettes, choose a cool-toned metal, like pewter or stainless steel. You can also experiment with mixing finishes, such as polished and hammered copper.

From faucets to cabinet pulls to accent pieces, swapping out your old or dated fixtures is an easy—and relatively inexpensive—way to modernize your decor. Mixing metals adds depth and gives your room a more curated look.


Bringing outdoor elements into the home can help warm up a sterile space. And natural materials can soften a modern design esthetic.

Homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to incorporate these materials throughout their home. Especially popular right now: stone, copper, concrete, and wood. From concrete showers to agate stone tiles, designers are finding unexpected ways to bring the outside in.

One notable exception: granite countertops. Engineered quartz—a combination of ground quartz and resin—overtook natural granite stone as the most popular countertop material in 2018. This durable, low-maintenance, highly-customizable product has won over homeowners and designers alike.


Stainless steel has been the industry standard for years, but the market is trending toward variety and fresh alternatives. Homeowners have more options available than ever to personalize their kitchens with vibrant colors, black stainless, or modern white appliances. Another favorite? Integrated appliances that blend seamlessly into cabinetry. Built-in column refrigerators, which allow you to customize the design and size of your freezer and refrigerator, are becoming a “must-have” in high-end homes.

Advancements in technology have also brought a new wave of appliances to the market. Induction cooktops are replacing commercial gas ranges as a gourmet favorite. And french door ovens and steam ovens are also gaining in popularity—especially ones with smart features you can control from an app on your smartphone.


White will always be a classic choice, but color is finally coming back to kitchens. More homeowners are choosing cabinets in alternative neutrals like black, cream, and grey, along with colorful options like green and blue. Also popular? Wood cabinets in stains like warm chestnut and fruitwood.

Two-tone kitchen cabinets remain a homeowner favorite, as well. To incorporate this trend, try pairing darker lower cabinets with lighter upper cabinets or a colorful kitchen island with neutral-colored perimeter cabinets.


Swapping upper kitchen cabinets for open shelves continues to be a popular choice in 2019. It’s a cost-effective update that can make a kitchen feel larger and brighter. However, it’s not a practical option for everyone. Before you commit, test it out by removing your cabinet doors for a few weeks. See how it feels to have your glasses and dishware on display.

Not ready to give up all your upper cabinet storage space? Replace just one or two upper cabinets with open shelves for a lower-commitment but still-updated look.


The ubiquitous white subway tile is finally fading in popularity. In 2019, homeowners are gravitating toward more colorful choices, creative textures and finishes, and alternative shapes. Especially hot right now: hexagons, arabesques, diamonds, and Moroccan fish scales.

Natural stone remains a favorite, including marble, quartzite and river rock. But advancements in porcelain tile that mimics stone, and even concrete, has made it an attractive, affordable, and low-maintenance alternative.


Once an afterthought, ceilings are taking center stage. While 2018 was all about statement walls, statement ceilings are shaping up to be the darling of 2019. Designers are using bold paint colors, wallpaper, intricate moldings, fabric, and other materials to transform a ceiling into something truly special.

Want to incorporate this trend without going too bold? Choose a classic design, like coffered or wooden beams. Or stick with wood paneling or tin tiles for a more timeless look. Even something as simple as painting a ceiling the same color as the walls can make your space feel more modern.


Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Give us a call for a free consultation!

Buyer preferences can vary greatly by neighborhood and price range. We can share the insights we’ve gathered from working with buyers in this market … and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your remodeling investment. And if you’re in the market to sell, we can run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area.


  1. Decor Mag –
  2. Gates Interior Design –
  3. House Beautiful –
  4. Houzz –
  5. Invaluable –
  6. Real Simple –

Thanks to Moscow Charter School, Recycling options 2.0

scrap metal trash litter scrapyard

Photo by Emmet on Pexels.com

For those of you who have not read up on what’s going on with Recycling Centers, recycling centers, like our Latah Sanitation Inc (LSI), are struggling to sell or recycle back to recycling programs as the batches hold too high a percentage of contaminates, meaning un-recyclables like lightweight plastics that get flattened and missed in the paper. Then there are the wide array of plastics that clog up the machines or get mixed into the wrong bathes that contaminate an otherwise sellable batch. The end result– the bad batches go the Boardman Oregon Landfill and LSI loses money. What Moscowvites have not known for a long time is that our options have been either throw our plastics in the trash to go to a landfill or throw it in the recycle bin to contaminate a large batch of recyclables to then send all of it to… a landfill. Sound like a lose, lose?Pixabay school-295210_1280

Well, Moscow Charter School has come up with solution. They are taking advantage of the last resort we have in town and are supporting the collection of plastics that LSI can no longer take for collection at Safeway and WinCo. The school is accepting the following plastics: grocery bags, produce bags, bread bags, cereal liners, food storage bags, case overwrap, pellet bags, ice bags, slat bags, and packaging air pillow bags. They take all the plastics to either Safeway or WinCo who then send the plastics to Trex, a wood-alternative decking manufacturer who uses the plastics to make decks, benches, and other products. commons wikimedia 512px-Plastic_bags

So, when you feel irritated at throwing away your plastic bags or packaging, hang on to them. You can either bring them during school hours to Moscow Charter School or bring them directly to Safeway or WinCo. And who knows, you may be enjoying BBQ on your friends’ new deck and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be standing on that transformed old Amazon package you received some time past, enjoying of a view that makes those extra trips beyond Moscow’s blue recycle bin worth it.PXhere table-deck-wood-villa-home-porch-899380-pxhere.com.jpg

Rate hikes plus record low unemployment begs the question: How’s the Real Estate Market?

moscow id real estate market

While no one can predict the future with certainty, most experts expect to see modest growth in the U.S. housing market for the remainder of this year and next. Inventory will remain tight, mortgage rates will continue to creep up, and affordability will remain a major issue in many parts of the country.

So what does that mean for home buyers and sellers? To answer that question, we take a closer look at some of the top indicators.


There’s good news for homebuyers! In many markets across the country, prices have begun to stabilize after a period of rapid appreciation. Nationwide, home sales experienced a slight decline of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, primarily due to higher mortgage rates and housing prices combined with limited inventory.

However, buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines in anticipation of a big price drop may be disappointed. Demand remains strong across the sector and prices continue to rise. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index reported a 6.2 percent annual gain in June, a healthy but sustainable rate of appreciation.1

In its latest Outlook Report, Freddie Mac forecasts continued growth in the housing market due to a strong economy and low unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.9 percent in July.

 “The housing market hit some speed bumps this summer, with many prospective homebuyers slowed by not enough moderately-priced homes for sale and higher home prices and mortgage rates,” according to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “The good news is, the economy and labor market are very healthy right now, and mortgage rates, after surging earlier this year, have stabilized in recent months. These factors should continue to create solid buyer demand, and ultimately an uptick in sales, in most parts of the country in the months ahead.”3


Experts predict that demand for housing will continue to outpace available supply, especially in the entry-level price range.moscow id real estate

“Today, even as mortgage rates begin to increase and home sales decline in some markets, the most significant challenges facing the housing market stem from insufficient inventory accompanying unsustainable home-price increase,” said National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent release.

“The answer is to encourage builders to increase supply, and there is a good probability for solid home sales growth once the supply issue is addressed,” said Yun. Additional inventory will also help contain rapid home price growth and open up the market to prospective homebuyers who are consequently—and increasingly—being priced out. In the end, slower price growth is healthier price growth.”4

 With so much demand, why aren’t more builders bringing inventory to the market? According to the National Association of Home Builders, a crackdown on immigration and tariffs on imported lumber have made home construction more difficult and expensive. Those factors—combined with the rising cost of land and increased zoning requirements—have put a damper on the industry overall.5

Still, there’s evidence that a modest rise in the rate of new building projects may be on the way. Freddie Mac predicts new housing construction will increase slightly after a stall last quarter.2 And a recent report by Freedonia Focus Reports forecasts an annual increase in housing starts of 2.4 percent through 2022, led by an uptick in single-family homes.6 The boost in inventory should help drive sales growth and relieve some of the pent-up demand in tight markets.

While the current lack of inventory is generally preferred by sellers because it means less competition, a combination of high prices and rising interest rates has narrowed the pool of potential buyers who can afford to enter the market. Sellers should seek out real estate agents who utilize technologically-advanced marketing tactics to reach qualified buyers in their area.


According to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, Americans are paying the most in monthly mortgage payments relative to their incomes since 2008.7 And prices aren’t expected to come down any time soon.PublicDomainPictures broken-piggy-bank-1472485404YoO

“We believe that the current supply and demand environment will continue to push home prices higher, just at a decelerating pace,” said John Egan, Morgan Stanley’s Co-Head of U.S. Housing Strategy.

Fortunately, economists aren’t concerned about affordability levels triggering another housing crisis, as lending standards are much higher today than they were during the run-up before the recession. According to credit reporting agency TransUnion, the share of homeowners who made mortgage payments more than 60-days past due fell in the second quarter to 1.7 percent, the lowest level since the market crash.7

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun agreed with this assessment in a recent statement. “Over the past 10 years, prudent policy reforms and consumer protections have strengthened lending standards and eliminated loose credit, as evidenced by the higher than normal credit scores of those who are able to obtain a mortgage and near record-low defaults and foreclosures, which contributed to the last recession.”4


The Federal Reserve has taken measures to help keep the housing market—and the overall economy—from overheating. It has raised interest rates twice this year so far, causing mortgage rates to surge in the first half of the year.

Economists predict that the rise in mortgage rates will continue at a more gradual rate through this year and next. The U.S. weekly average mortgage rate rose from 3.99 percent in the first week of January to as high as 4.66 percent in May. Freddy Mac forecasts an average rate of 4.6 percent for 2018 and 5.1 percent in 2019.2

Moscow Idaho real estate Financial Graph, upThe good news is, mortgage rates still remain near historic lows and a whopping 14 points below the recorded high of 18.63 percent in the early 1980s.8 Buyers who have been on the fence may want to act soon to lock in an affordable interest rate … before rates climb higher.

 “Some consumers may be thinking that because mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, maybe I should just wait until rates fall down again,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent speech. “Well, they will be waiting forever.”9


If you’ve been waiting to buy a home, you may want to act now. A shortage of available homes on the market means prices are likely to keep going up. And a lack of affordable rental inventory means rents are expected to rise, as well.

If you buy now, you will benefit from appreciating property values while locking in an historically-low interest rate on your mortgage. Waiting to buy could mean paying more for your home as prices increase and paying higher interest on your mortgage as rates continue to rise.

And if you’re in the market to sell your home, there’s no need to wait any longer. Prices have begun to stabilize, and rising interest rates could decrease the number of available buyers for your home. Act now to take advantage of this strong seller’s market.


While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, I can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you have specific questions or would like more information about where I see real estate headed in our area, let me know! I’m here to help you navigate this changing real estate landscape.



  1. S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release –
  2. Freddie Mac Outlook Report –
  3. DSNews –
  4. PR Newswire –
  5. CNN Money –
  6. PR Newswire –
  7. Business Insider –
  8. Value Penguin –
  9. Times Free Press –

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