Who’s Buying & Selling in the Mountain Region

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has published a new study on buying and selling patterns in America and here is another infographic sharing in simple terms what it shows for our region….

Real estate moscow ID

On a personal note about how our area plays into these fast facts, I’d say our local median income is lower and buying demand is steady despite the lower than normal inventory.

If you’d like to know more about our local market activity and whether this is a good time to consider buying or selling, feel free to contact me to learn more.

Why Real Estate Investing Makes Sense


moscow idaho real estate


Turn on the television or scroll through Facebook and chances are, you’ll see at least one advertisement for a group or “guru” who promises to teach you how to “get rich quick” through real estate investing. The truth is, much of what they’re selling are high-risk tactics that aren’t a good fit for the average investor. However, there is a way to make steady, predictable, low-risk income through real estate investing. In this blog post, I’ll examine the tried-and-true tactics that can be used to increase your income, pay off debt … even fund your retirement!



One of the basic principles of real estate investment lies in this fact: everyone needs a place to live. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Expenditures Survey, housing is typically an American’s largest expense.1

But there are other reasons why real estate is a great investment choice, and I’ve outlined the top five below:


  1. Appreciation

Appreciation is the increase in your property’s value over time. History has proven that over an extended period of time, the value of real estate continues to rise. That doesn’t mean recessions won’t occur. The real estate market is cyclical, and market ups and downs are natural. In fact, the U.S. housing market took a sharp downturn in 2008, and many properties took several years to recover their value. However, in the vast majority of markets, the value of real estate does grow over the long term.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which tracks U.S. residential real estate prices, released its latest results on August 29 with the headline “National Home Price Index Rises Again to All Time High.”2

moscow idaho real estate

While no investment is without risk, real estate has proven again and again to be a solid choice to invest your money over the long term.


  1. Hedge Against Inflation

Inflation is the rate at which the general cost of goods and services rises. As inflation rises, prices go up. This means the money you have in your bank account is essentially worth less because your purchasing power has decreased.

Luckily, real estate prices also rise when inflation increases. That means any money you have invested in real estate will rise with (or often exceed) the rate of inflation. Therefore, real estate is a smart place to put your money to guard against inflation.


  1. Cash Flow

One of the big benefits of investing in real estate over the stock market is its ability to provide a fairly steady and predictable monthly cash flow. That is, if you choose to rent out your investment property to a tenant, you can expect to receive a rent payment each month.

If you’ve invested wisely, the rent payment should cover the debt obligation you may have on the property (i.e. mortgage), as well as any repairs and maintenance that are needed. Ideally, the monthly rental income would be great enough to leave you a little extra cash each month, as well. You could use that extra money to pay off the mortgage faster, cover your own household expenses, or save for another investment property.Vintage Register, compressedEven if you only take in enough rent to cover your expenses, a rental property purchase will pay for itself over time. As you pay down the mortgage every month with your rental income, your equity will continue to increase, until you own the property free and clear … leaving you with residual cash flow for years to come.

As the owner, you will also benefit from the property’s appreciation when it comes time to sell. This can be a great way to save for retirement or even fund a child’s college education. Purchase a property when the child is young, and with a little discipline, it can be paid off by the time they are ready to go to college. You can sell it for a lump sum, or use the monthly income to pay their tuition and expenses.


  1. Leverage

One of the unique features that sets real estate apart from other asset classes is the ability to leverage your investment. Leverage is the use of borrowed capital to increase the potential return of an investment.


For example, if you purchase an investment property for $100,000, you might put 10% down ($10,000) and borrow the remaining $90,000 in the form of a mortgage.House Investment moscow idaho real estate

Even though you’ve only invested $10,000 at this point, you have the ability to earn a profit on the entire $100,000 investment. So, if the property appreciates to $120,000 – a 20% increase over the purchase price – you still only have to pay the bank back the original $90,000 (plus interest) … and you get to keep the $20,000 profit.

That means you made $20,000 off of a $10,000 investment, essentially doubling your money, even though the market only went up by 20%! That’s the power of leverage.


  1. Tax Advantages

One of the top reasons to invest in real estate is the tax benefit. There are numerous ways a real estate investment can save you money each year on taxes:


When you record your income from a rental property on your annual tax return, you get to deduct any expenses associated with the investment. This includes interest paid on the mortgage, maintenance, repairs and improvements, but it also includes something called depreciation.

Depreciation is the theoretical loss your property suffers each year due to aging. While it’s true that as a home ages it will structurally need repairs and systems will eventually need to be replaced, I’ve also learned in this post that the value of real estate appreciates over time. So getting to claim a “loss” on your investment that is actually gaining in value makes real estate an appealing investment choice.


Serial Home Selling

Even if you’re not interested in owning a rental property, other types of real estate investments offer tax advantages, as well. Generally, when you own an investment property you pay a capital gains tax on any profits you make when you sell the property.

moscow idaho real estate

by 401kcalculator.org

However, when you sell your principal residence, you are exempt from paying taxes on capital gains (up to $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for couples). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) only requires that you live in the house for two of the previous five years. That means you can purchase an investment property, live in it while you remodel it, and then sell it for a tax-free profit two years later. This can be a great way to get started in real estate investing.


Section 1031 Exchanges

In addition to profiting off of your personal residence tax free, it is possible to sell an investment property tax free if you do it through a 1031 Exchange. If structured properly, the IRS Tax Code enables an investor to sell a property and reinvest the proceeds in a new property while deferring all capital gains taxes.


Tax-Deferred Retirement Account

It’s a common misconception that you can only purchase financial instruments (i.e. stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) through an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or 401(k). In actuality, the IRS allows individuals to invest retirement funds in real estate and other alternative types of investments, as well. By purchasing your investment property through an IRA, you can take advantage of all of the tax savings these accounts offer.

Be sure to consult a tax professional regarding all tax matters related to your real estate investments. If structured correctly, the profits you earn on your real estate investments can be largely shielded from tax liability. Just another reason to choose real estate as your preferred investment vehicle.



While there are numerous ways to invest in real estate, I’m going to focus on three primary ways average investors earn money through real estate. I touched on several of these already in the previous section.money-2724235_1280 moscow real estate


  1. Remodel and Resell

HGTV has countless “reality” shows featuring property flippers who make this investment strategy look easy. Commonly referred to as a “Fix and Flip,” investors purchase a property with the intention of remodeling it in a short period of time, with the hope of selling it quickly for a profit.

This is a higher-risk tactic, and one for which many of the real estate “gurus” I talked about earlier claim to have the magic formula. They promise huge profits in a short amount of time. But investors need to understand the risks involved, and be prepared financially to cover additional expenses that may arise.

Luckily, an experienced real estate agent can help you identify properties that may be good candidates for this type of investment strategy… and help you avoid some of the pitfalls that could derail your plans.


  1. Traditional Rental

One of the more conservative choices for investing in real estate is to purchase a rental property. The appeal of a rental property is that you can generate cash flow to cover the expenses, while taking advantage of the property’s long-term appreciation in value, and the tax benefits of investing in real estate. It’s a win-win, and a great way for first-time investors to get started.

And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rents for primary residences have increased 21.9 percent between 2007 and 2015 as demand for rental units continues to grow.1For rent moscow idaho real estate


  1. Short-term Rental

With the huge movement toward a “sharing economy,” platforms that facilitate short-term rentals, like Airbnb and HomeAway, are booming. Their popularity has spurred a growing trend toward dual-purpose vacation homes, which owners use themselves part of the year, and rent out the remainder of the time. There are also a growing number of investors purchasing single-family homes for the sole purpose of leasing them on these sites.

Short-term rentals offer several benefits over traditional rentals, which many investors find attractive, including flexibility and higher profit margins. However, the most profitable properties are strategically located near popular tourist destinations. You’ll need an experienced real estate professional to help you identify the right property if you want to be successful in this highly-competitive market.



 I’ve all heard stories, or maybe even know someone, who struck it rich with a well-timed real estate purchase. However, just like any investment strategy, a high potential for earnings often goes hand-in-hand with an increase in risk. Still, there’s substantial evidence that a well-executed real estate investment can be one of the best choices for your money.

Purchasing a home to remodel and resell can be highly profitable, as long as you have a trusted team in place to complete the remodel quickly and within budget … and the financial means to carry the property for a few extra months if delays occur.

Or, if you buy a house for appreciation and cash flow, you can ride through the market ups and downs without stress because you know your property value is bound to increase over time, and your expenses are covered by your rental income.

In either scenario, make sure you’re working with a real estate agent who has knowledge of the investment market and can guide you through the process. While no investment is without risk, a conservative and well-planned investment in real estate can supplement your income and set you up for future financial security.


If you are considering an investment in real estate, please contact me to set up a free consultation. I have experience working with all types of investors and can help you determine the best strategy to meet your investment goals.

moscow id real estate agent


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey Annual Report – https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/consumer-expenditures/2015/home.htm
  2. S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release –
  3. Durden, T. (2016 November 29). US Home Prices Rise Above July 2006 Levels, Hit New Record High [blog post] ZeroHedge –


Why there is more to Idaho than potatoes…

Before I called Idaho home, mention of this Northwestern state would dredge up images of flat plains and potatoes. Those of you who live, natives or people who moved here, know there is so much more to Idaho than potatoes and the below info-graphic from my Idaho Real Estate Association rather succinctly captures why Idaho is a great place to live. I think they missed three other key attractions…. Can you guess what’s missing??

Moscow Idaho Real estate 2017_06_Inforgraphic_IAR


… in my humble opinion, they should have had pinpoints for skiing, national parks, and lakes. Is there another you think was missed? Which one(s)? Feel free to add it under comments.

moscow id real estate agent

Can Your Real Estate Agent Answer These Important Questions?

I wanted to share this blog I read on Keeping Current Matters as the questions below are a good way to assess the competency of an agent or broker. As we all know, years in a business does not always translate to best in business.

Also, I’d suggest two more questions specific to if you are planning on listing your home that would quickly separate the wheat from the shaft, questions, I’ll happily answer in person and encourage you to ask of my competition. Just give me a call and we can set up a consultation about what you can get in this market for your home and how I can help you do that using marketing strategies better than other agents.

consulting-for-real-estate-3031678_1280 moscow idaho

Whether you are selling or buying a home, the real estate agent you hire is critical to guaranteeing your family makes the right decision. Most agents can walk you through the process and explain the industry ‘lingo,’ but you should expect so much more than that.

The housing crisis made everyone aware that truly understanding the real estate market is more complicated than it seems. Today, there are many questions your real estate agent must be able to answer to ensure your family is making the right decision. Here are just a few:

  • What impact does the movement in mortgage interest rates have on buyer demand?
  • With home prices increasing rapidly, are we headed toward another housing bubble?
  • Do you need a 20% down payment to purchase a home?
  • Why can’t we list at a higher price and drop it later if necessary?

When you are interviewing an agent to represent your family in your next real estate transaction, make sure they can intelligently answer all your questions, while simply and effectively explaining what is happening in the current housing market.

Keeping Current Matters 5018 Express Drive South Suite 204 Ronkonkoma, New York 11779 United States

moscow id real estate agent

Top 5 Home Design Trends

Moscow Idaho real estate May 2017 Home Design Trends
The current trends are all about utilizing rich color, maximizing texture and creating comfortable interiors you can’t wait to relax in. Use these trends to get inspired to  makeover your home’s interiors and create spaces you love that also appeal to your personal style. Remember though, if you plan to sell in the next few years, you may want to avoid doing anything dramatic and instead incorporate small changes that would appeal to buyers.

The underlying theme of these trends is creating a home environment you love, one that appeals to your emotions and feels like a retreat from the stresses of the world. Although the home is a place where you can relax and spend time with loved ones, work expectations are beginning to blur the line between work and home. Even if people
don’t work from home specifically, many are stretching their work hours into their evenings and weekends to complete projects.

It’s no wonder the Nordic concept of hygge (most often pronounced “hoo-gah”) has become a hot trend. A centuries-old concept, incorporating hygge in the home means creating simple and comfortable spaces that make you feel cozy and safe and appeal
to your senses.1 The emphasis is on simplicity and fostering positive experiences, whether you’re spending time with family, reading a good book or catching up on work emails.

Whether you want to play with a bold color or stick with neutrals, one thing is clear—paint is the foundation of a great design. Painting your interiors has a return on investment of about 75 percent and is a relatively inexpensive project to complete, costing between $25 to $100 to paint an entire room.2 If you’re thinking of refreshing your home’s interiors with a coat of paint, popular colors include warm taupe, fresh green and dark tones. These colors are popular choices because they evoke feelings of warmth and coziness when you walk into a room.
Moscow Idaho real estate Home Trends Color Palette
If you’re interested in adding more drama to a room, include bold, dark
colors. Dark shades add color and sophistication to any space. Plum
and dark gray pair well with pale blues, warm whites, and light gray.

Lux materials create a space in which you can’t wait to kick off your shoes and relax at the end of the day. The Danes use a mixture of materials and pattern as a way of adding character and interest, however the overall look still needs to adhere to a color palette to
prevent it from looking distracting.
Moscow Idaho real estate May 2017 Design Image
Natural materials and textures allow you to maximize the comfort of the bedroom, living room or family room. Wood accents give rooms an earthy feel. Incorporate rustic wood sculptures, trays and furniture into your space.

If natural elements aren’t your style, but you want to add more visual interest to your room, try mixing patterns. If you’re worried about going overboard and making your room look “busy,” focus your mix in one area of the room. For example, add throw pillows in a variety of patterns to your sofa.

According to a recent study from the American Psychological Association, people are more stressed than ever, with 24 percent of adults reporting they’re experiencing “extreme stress”.3 Top sources of stress include work and money. By incorporating small changes, like making your house more energy efficient, you can start to lower your bills and get back to relaxing and enjoying life like the Danish do (who consistently top the polls as the happiest people).

Save money on your energy bills by sealing the “envelope” of your home, which includes the windows and doors, walls, floor and roof. The better insulated your home is, the less heat will escape and the lower your energy bill (and stress level) will be. The most heat loss occurs through the walls of the home: up to 35 percent of heat loss, to be exact.4 Ceramic insulating paint is a space-inspired coating of paint mixed with ceramic compounds and applied to interior or exterior surfaces. It seals your walls and
prevents heat from escaping, which means reduced energy bills all year long.

Since more people are working remotely than ever, home offices are becoming more popular. Even if you don’t plan on working from home, a home office gives you a place to pay bills, work on personal projects, plan your family’s schedule and more. Home offices tend to be multi-functional, serving as a guest room when family and friends visit, and have the potential to meet other needs that arise.

The key idea behind hygge is to enjoy the environment around you and for each room to be a sanctuary to sink into at any given moment. Your home office is no exception! Maximize your productivity, efficiency and focus by painting the walls shades of green or blue.5 If space is an issue, create a nook by installing docking and tech cabinets that are big enough to store a printer and other small office equipment and files without taking over the room.
Moscow Idaho real estate May 2017 Stat
The kitchen is often the busiest, most hectic room in the house and one of the top renovation projects with a high return on investment.7 We do more than cook meals there; it’s where homework is done, bills are paid, weeks are planned and more.

Kitchen remodels consistently show a respectable return on investment. According to the 2017 Cost vs Value Report from Remodeling magazine, a minor kitchen remodel touts an 80.2 percent return on investment.8

What does a “minor kitchen renovation” entail? In addition to replacing the fronts of your cabinets and drawers, it also includes replacing out-of-date appliances and fixtures. You may also consider replacing countertops. Quartz and quartzite are becoming more
common as are other green laminate options, including ones that mimic stone, wood and concrete. Other hot kitchen trends include incorporating sustainable materials like bamboo into your countertops and floors and water filtration systems.

Want to improve the look and feel of your home’s interior? Are you thinking of upgrading to a home that better fits your changing needs?

Call me. I’d love to help you achieve all of your home-related dreams.


1. Time, Hygge, the Nordic Trend That Could Help You Survive 2016
2. Quality Smith
3. Department of Energy
4. American Psychological Association, 2015 Stress in America
5. Entrepreneur, How the Color of Your Office Impacts Productivity
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics
7. Realtor.com
8. Remodeling Magazine, 2017

Shannon May realtor Moscow Idaho

217 S. Main St., Moscow
O: 208.882.0800
C: 208.892.9256

Improve your Home Value by 28%

Moscow Idaho real estate Increase Home ValueGreat curb appeal not only makes your home the star of the neighborhood, it can also improve its value and help you sell it for more. Whether you’re thinking of listing your home or just want to make your home the envy of your neighbors, here are several ways to increase your home’s curb appeal.

For many potential buyers, the condition of the exterior of a home can offer clues to the condition of the interior. The first place to start when boosting curb appeal is the exterior of your house.

Paint is the best way to make your home appear newer. While you can paint your home yourself, if it’s large or more than one story, consider hiring a professional. Painting is a fairly inexpensive improvement with between 60 to 100 percent
return on investment.

Maintain your siding. Over time, weather and the elements can make your home’s siding appear dull and dirty. Use a pressure washer to clean stains, spider webs and accumulated dirt, or use a soft cloth and a household cleaner to get into the smaller spaces. Although the average life expectancy of siding ranges from 60 to 100 years, depending on the material, extreme weather may reduce this number. If you need to replace the siding, you’ll enjoy a 77 percent return on investment.

Paint or replace garage doors. If your garage doors are in good condition, give them a new coat of paint. If they’re beginning to show their age, consider replacing them. Not
only are new garage doors more energy efficient and better insulated than older models, they also have a 91.5 percent return on investment.

The small details tie your home’s exterior together and help it stand out from others in the neighborhood.

Paint front door, trim and shutters. This inexpensive improvement adds brightness to a home, whether you choose a bold color, a neutral tone or classic white.

Install new door fixtures and be sure they match in style and finish and complement the style of your home.

Update your house numbers. Make sure potential buyers and guests can find your home. If the numbers have faded or need an update, replace them. If choosing a metallic finish, make sure it matches the finish of your exterior light fixtures.

Well-landscaped homes may sell for between 5.5% and 12.7% more than other similar homes and studies show it may also add up to 28 percent to your home’s overall value.

Place a border along your driveway or walkway made of brick, stone, pavers or another hardscape element to add visual interest to a plain driveway.

Maintain your green space. If you have grass, a well-maintained, green lawn makes your home look inviting and picturesque. However, in many parts of the country,
water conservation is becoming more important. Xeriscaped landscapes incorporate drought-tolerant vegetation that thrives in warm, dry climates, such as lavender, sage, kinnikinnick and dwarf junipers, with water-saving drip irrigation and mulch. Xeriscaping has a cost savings of 36 cents per square foot annually through reduced irrigation and maintenance costs. Additionally, these landscapes are virtually maintenance free, which makes it an attractive option for busy buyers.

Include trees and shrubs to create texture and add interest to your landscape. Planting a few types of trees and shrubs of varying heights, widths and flowering times boosts your home’s curb appeal year-round.
Average Return on Curb Appeal
It’s no secret that emotions play a role in a person’s decision to purchase a home. Stage the outside of your home to evoke warm feelings.

Stage your porch. If you have a front porch, make it feel more inviting by including seating, such as a chair or loveseat, an outdoor rug and a small table. If space is an
issue, incorporate small decorative touches, such as a festive wreath or potted plant.
Choose flowers and plants that bloom at different times of the year for year-round appeal. For example, bulbs not only bloom all spring, they also multiply and come up
every year. Perennials often flower for most of the year and will prevent you from having to replant them every year. If you don’t have a green thumb, choose low
maintenance plants and flowers. Flowers such as lavender, rosemary, and Montanas (your can cut the blooms as soon as they die and they’ll bloom a second time!) are a few low-maintenance and drought-tolerant options.

For those interested in selling, it’s important to know the effect online curb appeal has on a home. The better impression your home gives online, the more likely buyers will want to see it in person. Here’s how to get your home ready for its listing debut. Stage your home. Staging shows your home in its best light and helps potential buyers picture themselves living there.

Hire a professional to take photos. A photographer has the skills and equipment to shoot your home in the best light and make it look its best.

Include a short video tour of the home. Videos are becoming a popular way to give buyers a glimpse of the home before they step foot in it.
1. Remodeling, 2016 Cost vs Value Report
2. Realtor Mag, September 22, 2016
3. REALTOR.com
4. Houzz, Houzz & Home-U.S., June 2016
5. Houselogic.com

Do you want help making your home more appealing to potential buyers online and in-person? Give me a call and I’ll help you present your home in its best light.

moscow id real estate agent

Moscow’s Sellers Market is showing signs of cooling

Moscow Idaho real estate house marketFor those of you Buyers who’ve been in the market a long time for a home, who are annoyed at the low inventory and the lofty price tags attached to homes, may find it hard to believe that this sellers market could be nudging in any direction, particularly to your advantage, but what I am seeing shows some cracks in this sellers market.

Moscow idaho real estate fed funds4-1So you don’t have to put all your trust in this one agent who has seen homes sitting a little longer on the market and noted less homes selling for asking price, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee raised rates a .25% last March and have planned to raise them two more times in 2017. This will put mortgage rates at a whole 1% higher than it was a year ago by November which has an impact on what borrower’s can afford to pay. Often people do not take into account who really sets the prices on the market. It is not the sellers agent or broker. It is not the sellers either. It is those who are bring the money to the table to buy that home–the buyers. If the buyers cannot qualify for a loan to purchase a house, then that house will not sell at “that” price. The higher rates will eventually have an impact on what homes may sell for.

Another aspect to consider is renting v. buying. The Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, is an index that analyzes whether the current housing market is one that is better to rent in or buy in. The BH&J looks at the US housing market as a whole while also focusing on 23 major cities to compare markets across the nation, and the numbers have continued to move closer to a buyers territory. The index shows in some markets estimates where renting will top home ownership in 7 out of 10 markets.

These two factors are the first cracks to show in this solid sellers market. One more is more my personal opinion so take from it what you wish. I have also noticed that mortgage requirements are easing. For instance, the Mortgage Bankers Association tracks the availability of mortgage credit through the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), and this index has been trending upwards. Last September it was hovering around 167 and last month around 183. Personally, I believe in identifying patterns to know what is coming next and one pattern I’ve noticed with banks is they loosen credit requirements when the market is trending towards its top, right before it tips the scales in the other direction.

All this said, I wouldn’t go kicking your heels up just yet if you’re a buyer or feeling down in the dumps if you’re a seller. The housing market is notoriously slow in responding to the economic indicators that surround it. I would though consider it cause for getting off the fence if you are considering selling or buying now to avoid paying higher rent and to get ahead of those rate hikes that will leave you perpetually paying a higher interest rate on your mortgage.

Shannon May realtor Moscow Idaho

217 S. Main St., Moscow
O: 208.882.0800
C: 208.892.9256

With rates going up, how to land the best loan

Moscow Idaho real estate Financial Graph, up

While a few fed rate hikes in recent months has pulled home loan rates up a bit, rates sitting around 4.25 is still fairly low in the larger picture, but that does not mean stay on the sidelines in this sellers market.

Below are a few pointers on ways to capture the best loan– lowest rate possible, lowest down payment, help with down payment or closing costs– to help you figure out what will be the best move for you. In this sellers market when buyers make an offer, it is ever important that they present themselves as most able to attain the funding for the loan so that “just right” home won’t slip through your fingers.checklist-1919292_1920

Get pre-qualified by a lender

Some already know why getting a pre-qualified letter from a lender gives buyers an advantage over other buyers. (Those who don’t: A pre-qualified letter shows that the buyers are financially able to obtain a loan for the needed funds to close on the house. Any other buyers who make offers without one have no evidence of being able to pay for the house which is quit an advantage. Naturally, sellers air towards those offers with the pre-qualified letters.) What many don’t know is borrowers who get a pre-qualified letter from a lender are significantly more likely to be satisfied with their lenders. Researching your lender options and what they offer while you’re not “under the gun” to obtain a loan allows borrowers time to make sure they find the lender that is right for them, offering the best programs and products available. Don’t wait until you are writing an offer on a home to find a lender. Do it first, before you find “that” home.


Lock in a low rate

chests-34153_1280 moscow idaho real estateCommonly, I would not push this, but the cost of locking in a rate could be paid off in the first year of your mortgage payments given how much the rate goes up. For instance, on a $200,000 home loan, at 5% (for ease of numbers) is about $30 dollars a month. Paying for a lock to dodge another .25% rate hike would be paid off in the first year.

Apply Online

Online MOrtgage Lenders Copyright free Pixabay Moscow Idaho REal estateNow like many Realtors®, I do have some personal favorite lenders who I know to do excellent work for my clients, but I’d be remiss to mention how the market for lenders has become more competitive now that lenders have shed the brick and mortar and gone solely online, passing those savings to their clients. Online lenders such as Quicken Loans and Guaranteed Rate, make up about half of the mortgage market. Thanks to their digital foundation, their process tends to be more streamlined and their rates can be competitive, so if you can forgo the individual attention you will have in a brick and mortar institution, this may be a good way to go. (JDPower.com published a survey that shares which online lenders were liked most/least.) If not, then you could use what they offer as ammo for negotiating a better rate or loan offer from your preferred mortgage broker or lender.

Want a fixer upper but don’t think you can get a loan to cover the rehab job?

203K. That is the name of the type of loan that will allow you to roll into your home loan additional funding meant solely for rehab. Buyers can get a maximum of $35,000 with a 203K. At closing, you will get half of the 203K loan to give to contractors as down payment and the last half comes in 4 months. (Note, all work must be done inside of 4 months.) If there is any money left over, it is put towards your principal.

Moscow Idaho real estate empty pockets

Need help with down payment and closing costs?

If you area first time home buyer (or not), your credit is not the best, and you have at least .5% of the home price to put down, you may qualify for Idaho Housing’s 10-year down payment and closing costs assistance 2nd mortgage program. Whew. That is possibly the longest title of a loan program I’ve ever typed but worth the effort if you want a home and down payment or closing costs is the only thing that stands between you and owning a home. To know if you might be eligible, contact your lender and ask about it.

How to avoid paying Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Many apply for a Federal Housing Authority  (FHA) loan because they lack the funding for down payment (FHA loans require only 3.5% down payment) and those with credit scores of 580 or higher can qualify. While FHA’s help people get into homes, FHA’s are considered riskier loans and therefore come with mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) that buyers have to pay up front and for the life of the loan each month which comes at a cost of .85% premium. If buyers have good credit and can qualify, the better option might be to go with a low-down payment conventional loan. In the long run, buyers will save more money not paying MIP.


More than one in five buyers regret the mortgage lender they chose when buying their home. Many go with the first lender they talk to or the lender of the bank where they have a checking account. I encourage to expand your search and do it sooner than they days around when you make an offer on a home. Doing so can make the process go more smoothly and guarantee that you are getting the best loan possible for you and your family. As a former educator, I can’t help but say–doing your homework will be worth the results. ;o)


Shannon May realtor Moscow Idaho

217 S. Main St., Moscow
O: 208.882.0800
C: 208.892.9256