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
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
4. Houzz, Houzz & Home-U.S., June 2016

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. ( 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

Why for sale by owner isn’t a good plan, Part 2

workstation-148084_1280 Pixabay Moscow ID real estateFor Sale By Owners are commonly unfamiliar with the contract and related processes required to close the deal

The job of selling a home goes well beyond finding a buyer offering the right purchase price. Real estate contracts are riddled with deadlines and clauses full of contingencies related to mortgages, inspections, appraisals, not to mention the ones added by buyers and sellers. Finding competent professionals to handle loans, surveys (when needed), inspections, appraisals, repairs to a broken title, and home repairs-all without missing any deadlines can make reaching the closing date challenging at the least and near impossible for owners who work full time and aren’t ready to manage a contract of this size and nature.

For Sale by Owners usually lack the marketing know-how moscow idaho real estate marketing plan

While it is a Realtor’s® job to craft a professional and digitally comprehensive marketing plan that is tested and proven effective over many applications, a homeowner has not likely sold a home before, and as a result would be unable to advertise their home for sale to the degree and exposure a Realtor® can. Home owners commonly have a yard sign and a listing or two a couple websites at best, but an agent worth their professional metal will go far beyond that using: listing on the official MLS site (where the home owner cannot list) which populates listings on many other real estate-based sites, their broker’s website, the agent’s own website, and utilize paid advertising on many social media sites. More exposure equals best sale price.

For Sale by Owners do not have real estate network that a Realtor has

moscow idaho real estate realtors network agentsBeing in the real estate industry has its perks such as developing a network of professionals who we can communicate with regarding a new listing. Realtors® keep on hand contact information for all the Realtors® they have ever worked with and can call on them when they are about to advertise a new listing which can be handy for both buyers and sellers to get wind of a new listing as soon as it happens. Tapping their network of agents who have clients watching the market ensures the greatest possible exposure for the home.

Homeowners are emotionally vested in the process which inhibits their objectivity

goats-2189621_1920 moscow idaho real estateHomeowners are emotionally attached to their home, making it difficult to see beyond their fond memories of living there to what the reality is-what is the home really worth to buyers (not them) and what should be done to improve the curb appeal. Also, they run the risk of responding in anger when a buyer unintentionally offends them which can kill a potential sale. On the other hand, a Realtor® is a neutral party with much experience of knowing what sells a home and what does not. They can advise not only the best price possible, but how to stage the home to capture aspects popular with buyers in the current market. The Realtor® serves as the objective party who can bring the sellers down off the ceiling and back to the negotiating table when potential buyers offend them in some fashion. Without a Realtor® to help guide homeowners through the process, reminding them why negotiating a good counter offer is better than walking away, potential deals die before they ever came to life.


So, if you were considering the merits of listing your home yourself, I hope I’ve made a reasonable case for why you would be better served to use an agent. If I have, feel free to explore my About Me as a Real Estate Agent page and give me a call.

Shannon May realtor Moscow Idaho

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

Why For Sale By Owner isn’t a good plan, Part 1

Moscow, Idaho Sell HomeA new job. Down-sizing for retirement. Found that Forever Home you’ve always dreamed of. Whatever the reason- you know you are going to move and you need to sell your home. You start thinking about what you may get for your home and the costs involved in selling. Those of you who are perfect models of how to find discounts would look into what Realtors® are paid and make that face. You know the one- just like the face you make when you just found out the movie theater has raised the price of tickets yet again face. But in this case, it’s much more than $1. Naturally, you begin calculating what you could save if you sold your own home. You wonder: Is taking on the Realtor’s® job all that difficult and time consuming? Would it be worth it?

As a Realtor®, I’ve heard stories of how a For Sale By Owner transaction went wrong and read court cases of the mishaps surrounding For Sale By Owner transactions. This is information though, that people not in my industry would not come by readily. Below are reasons why you should use a good real estate agent who sells homes for a living rather than dive into the largest financial transaction you’ll ever complete on your own. In the interest of brevity I will give you four reasons not to go the For Sale By Owner route today and post another four next week.


A For Sale By Owners sell for less money than those with a Realtor.Moscow Idaho real estate money saved

The National Association of Realtors®’s 2016 statistics on the mean home sale price for agent-assisted homes was $245,000 while for Sale By Owner mean home sale price was $185,000. Bear with me a moment here while I do some basic math. The national average Realtors® commission sits between 5%-7%. So, for example’s sake, let’s say the commission is 6% (split 4 ways between the selling and listing agents’ offices). A sale price of $245,000 would mean a deduction of $14,700 for commission which would leave a seller with $230,300, well above the $185,000 price tag the For Sale By Owners could achieve. Don’t forget the For Sale By Owner still doing months of unfamiliar real estate work to sell their home at that lower price tag.

Realtor® listed homes generally sell higher than For Sale By Owner homes for many decades now and is a testament to the difference it makes to hire a Realtor® who makes a career out of learning and knowing the real estate market and how to attain the best price possible.

Some home owners miss the “golden time” and with it, the best possible price for their home

moscow idaho real estate

Gee, I wonder why all my windows of opportunity are never open?! Attribution: By GTIkitty (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

This point delves deeper into the sale price difference listed above. The “golden time” is the window starting the date of listing the home on the market to two weeks later. During this window is the time when your home is new and fresh to agents and buyers alike who are looking for a home and haven’t found one yet. If the home is priced right, offers will come inside that window, and those offers represent what is the best and highest possible price that can be achieved for that home at that time on the market. Overpriced homes field little to no action from buyers during that window, and after a home has sat idle on the market for months, buyers and their agents, begin to wonder what’s wrong with it and will bring low ball offers to the table, sometimes well below what the home is really worth.



Who’s saving money, the sellers or the buyersBased on No Attrib req images my image

So, an often overlooked factor in going the For Sale By Owner road is who will save money avoiding the Realtors’® commission-the sellers or the buyers. While For Sale By Owners choose selling on their own to save money, they sometimes don’t take into account the buyers’ perspective. Buyers can have a Realtor® do all the work for them and after all is said and done, their Realtor® is paid by the sellers. So why would they choose to do the work themselves in lieu of a professional? They expect to pay less for the home. Let’s revisit that math I did earlier. $14,700 would be a number of importance not to just the sellers but to the buyers too. If they are going to attempt completing one of the largest transactions of their lifetime solo, they would desire incentive to do it, like paying $14,700 less. Buyers may not feel $7,350 is enticing enough to bravely go where few will and navigate the lengthy contract’s clauses and contingencies, especially when their other option is for someone else, a professional who knows the contract well, will do it for them and at no cost to them.

Of all homes sold, very few are by For Sale by Owners

from Pixabay man bathroom toilet, modified moscow idahoOf all home sales, in 2016 only 8% are For Sale By Owner. This number consistently remains low and has shrunk over the decades from the highest at 19% in the 80’s. Couple this with another stat-90% of home owners that started as For Sale By Owners end up handing it over to a Realtor®. I think these two numbers speak for themselves and are reason to skip this plan, hang onto that golden timeframe, and let a professional market your home for you. But, just in case this was not enough to push convince you that For Sale By Owner isn’t a good plan, I will post four more good reasons why not to next Sunday.

Shannon May realtor Moscow Idaho

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

Is replacing that old front door worth its price tag? A recent study on home remodel/replacement jobs says yes.

Hendrix Rd Moscow, Idaho

local property that has wonderful curb appeal and has features mentioned below

Like others, I’ve been known to get sucked into watching a marathon of one of those HGTV shows that at the end totes some pretty profit numbers, showcasing how a couple made more money after investing in some remodeling in their home before listing it. While I love seeing the morphing of a neglected home into a bright, efficient and fun new abode, I’ve doubted the reality behind those green numbers (this is worthy of another blog, another day). The question I aim to answer today is where reality about profits after renos sits, specifically for our area. We can look at national numbers on the actual return on such investments, which is fun, but that won’t really tell us what is likely for us here in Moscow given our supply and demand of homes and our cost of remodeling or replacements is not typical of small town America.

Lucky us, a magazine named Remodeling has posted a recent study based on the 29 most common remodels/replacements that shows us both the national numbers and what we can expect for our region. Unfortunately, I do not have permission to post the actual numbers but I can give you the basic rundown.

If you’d like to see those numbers in detail, though, go to this link. The study is a free downloadable and will give you numbers nationally as well as regionally. When/If you read the study, you will likely notice our region is associated with Boise. A natural question to come to mind is how does Moscow’s market relate to Boise. As a local agent, I have noticed how Moscow’s real estate market acts more like a coastal market with higher demand and lower supply. This will mean our return on investment will likely be equal to higher than what you see posted in the study for Boise. The one variable that can count against us is cost of materials. Being somewhat out of the way, materials can run higher for us than in more populated areas where interstate highways intersect.

The lowdown on what rehabs pay good dividends…

There is more money to be made back in exterior upgrades than in interior. For instance, both on the national level and even more so for our region, replacing the front door with a nice, updated version will bring you more than 100% of return for your money. Another outdoor update with great return is adding a stone veneer to the house. These veneers have come a long way, imitating the real thing for less and can fetch a nice return on your money, more so regionally than nationally. Another outdoor feature you may consider replacing is the garage door. This one can bring a nice return on high-end homes.

Now the interior is not to be left behind as there were numbers to note here. One was choosing a good, current paint color (this year specifically being the new color of gray dubbed greige, a gray/beige color). You’ve read my thoughts on what paint can do for a home, so I will not drone on about it here. Another is overhead–the attic insulation. Upgrade it and you may see more than 100% return on your money. One more is upgrading the windows to double pane, energy efficient windows will bring your dollars back to you at a nice rate.

Some more general rules of thumb the study pointed out:

  • Big projects with big price tags generally don’t pay off. (Sorry HGTV. Our suspicions are proven true here.)
  • Conversely, smaller projects that cost less tend to be more likely to pay off.
  • A big remodel that speaks to specific a style you may have taken to cannot be guaranteed to appeal to all buyers. And, as mentioned in the above point, this would automatically be a big project which will shrink the odds of you seeing that money come back.
  • You may have already noticed, but in case you didn’t-replacements win over remodels when it comes to return on your dollar.

Of course, when you are not planning on moving anytime soon, then what likely matters more than the rate of return on your remodeling expenses is how the update makes you smile. . . and doesn’t drain your wallet of all ya got, naturally. But if you think you may move in the next five years, looking into some of these replacements and updates can help you fetch a better price for your home when you list it. Who wouldn’t smile at getting more for their home thanks to some replaced 80’s features?

Shannon May realtor Moscow Idaho

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

Idaho Realtors® February News

I have another blog planned for early next week that I will post geared for those who have a home they don’t intend to leave but thought this newsletter was also something worth reading for those who are in the market to buy or sell this year. Enjoy!

real estate articles moscow, idaho

Article about why buying now is better than staying on the sidelines

Winter Checklist

landscape-nature-forest-snow-winter-architecture-545042-pxhere.comNow that the holidays have passed us by and I am sitting, snug in bundles of fleece and thermals, in front of a large window, watching snow drift down and settle over roughly two feet of snow and musing the long icicles hanging from the gutter out another window, I realized I should have blogged about good winterizing moves that can help you better care for your home and your energy bills.

A few simple moves can protect your home from winter damage and also improve your energy bills that are prone to rocketing into orbit every December, January and February and on occasional winters, for a few more months. Below are some ideas on how to winterize your home, some of which you can still readily do. I will list them in order of what to do ahead of weather for future reference next year come

  • Clean your gutters to avoid clogged gutters. Those gutters will suffer enough with snow and ice build up so don’t test fate by challenging that snow and ice’s ability to pass through the gutter down to the ground below.)
  • Disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off the water to avoid burst pipes come spring. Along a similar note here I was once misinformed that there is a city ordinance that requires Moscowvites to back flush our sprinkler system professionally. This is not true; however, it is also not costly.
  • Buy a good snow shovel and meet that chore as another way to get activity during those winter months. Let it slide and either you or family/friends might take a costly spill.
  • Close vents to areas of the house not commonly used.
  • replace the filter in your furnace.
  • This one can qualify more as a safety precaution guarding against fire, but also works for improving energy bills: if moving your dryer does not feel similar to someone suggesting a trip up Mt. Everest, then move it out to vacuum built-up lint.
  • Caulk or purchase weather stripping to apply to drafty, problem areas. The one place a home loses the most heat is through windows, and given Moscow’s many historic homes, it is worth noting the difference some fresh caulk can make. Come spring, if you live in one of those older homes, it may be really worth the price tag to replace those windows with double paned, energy efficient windows which leads me to the last suggestion…
  • Contact Avista to schedule an energy audit. For free, they will assess your home and offer suggestions to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Some improves, replacing older items with energy efficient ones will fetch you not only a lower heating bill but an energy rebate with Avista. The link provided will also provide more ideas from Avista on ways to improve your energy bill.

Anyhow, hope this helps. I will aim to post a spring checklist in a couple months.