Coeur d’Alene Real Estate News

Reasons to Buy a House in the Winter


Reasons to Buy a House in the Winter

We’ve all heard that spring and summer is “the” time to buy. Spring and summer months generally have more active listings than in the winter. If you live in an area with real winters, you know- the types with snow on the ground for weeks or even months, then your real estate market probably feels it even more. I can tell you that here in the Northern Idaho/ Coeur d’Alene market that is true! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good time to buy. Here are five benefits to buying in the winter.

1. Fewer Buyers = Less Competition

A good amount of people hold off during the winter and aren’t willing to move when it’s literally freezing outside. If you can handle it, take advantage of it! Avoid the bidding wars. Less competition means less offers and that makes your offer more appealing.

There won’t be as much inventory available but don’t let that discourage you. You only need to find the one for you. With so many buyers waiting for spring, you’ll still find less competition even with the lower inventory of homes.

2.       Let’s Make a Deal!

Seller could be moving for a new job or …. well, the list of personal reasons to move is endless.  You never know what the seller is dealing with but it’s likely they aren’t loving the idea of a move in the winter either. THIS makes winter a good time to buy because a motivated sellers make deals! And a quick caveat: You’re offer should still be reasonable. You don’t want to offend the seller and start negotiations off on the wrong foot. Work with your real estate agent to build...

8 Steps to Buying Your First Home

8 Steps to Buying Your First Home

Let’s be real, buying a home for the first time can be scary! A house is the most expensive thing many of us will ever purchase. But it doesn’t have to be scary, just break it up and tackle each step one at time.

Step 1: You might have guessed… BUDGET

I admit, not the most fun step but EXTREMELY important! You need to know what you can handle. Time for shameless honesty, don’t leave anything out. Yes, a lender is going to approve you for a certain amount but that might assume that you aren’t a foodie that wants to try every restaurant in town at least once… at least. Eat out once a week, cut where you can and create a realistic budget. Now stick to it and remember that house when you feel weak.

Before you finalize that budget, make sure you don’t forget these home buying costs

  • Down Payment- The more the better, but you knew that. Often around 20% of the home’s sale price. Luckily there are options with lower down payments. If you meet the requirements, you could put down less than 5%
  • Closing Costs- Anywhere from 2-5%,

Your lender will help you better estimate both of these in Step 2.

Step 2: Pre-Approval

Pre-approval is not mandatory but there are two reasons why you should not skip this step.

The Right Price Range- Don’t waste your time looking in the wrong price range. Sure it’s fun to daydream about living in a house that is 20 times what you can afford, but it’s not helpful when you are serious about finding a home now.


How To Be A Good Neighbor


How to Be a Good Neighbor

In the real estate world, it doesn’t take long to acquire a long list of bad neighbor stories. Buyers and sellers both have wild experiences that may have ruined a home or even an entire neighborhood for them. Instead of harping on those bad encounters, we are going to discuss how not to be that neighbor, and maybe even how to make some new friends.


Start Strong

First impressions are extremely important in all contexts, including being neighborly. Whether you are the newbie, or the newbie moved in next door: small notes, baked goods, or even a friendly hello are all good gestures that can start things off on the right foot. They don’t have to be extravagant, just sincere. Doing one of these small things may seem insignificant, but it can go a long way in establishing a friendliness between neighbors.


Yard Etiquette  

Although what’s inside your house is your business, what lies in your front yard becomes the business of the entire neighborhood. No one has a spotless yard, but making an effort to keep trash, unwanted items, and weeds that spread like wildfire down to a minimum will ensure that you won’t be that house on the block that makes all the other houses lose their value.


Proper Notice

When summer barbeque season rolls around, and that one uncle drinks a little too much and gets a little too loud, a fair warning to the neighbors is more than appreciated, it’s basically required. Especially if you live in a neighborhood with lots of children or older people,...

Winter in Coeur d'Alene



                              Snowmobiling                  Winter Activities in Coeur d’Alene

The winter blues can get you down like nothing else can. Fortunately for us, we live in one of the most beautiful places with dozens of things to do to keep us busy and in high spirits. Whether inside or outside, in the snow or not in the snow, Coeur d’Alene has something for you.



CDA in the winter doesn’t have to be that different than CDA in the summer. Some of these activities are the same, you may just have to dress differently. For example, Tubbs Hill, one of Coeur d’Alene’s most popular hiking places is just as enjoyable in the cooler months that winter brings. Bundle up, wear boots instead of sandals and go for a hike! Winter views are stunning, especially on a sunny day.

Another staple to winter in north Idaho is sledding on Cherry Hill. The slopes provide fun for children and adults at every level of excitement. When it’s a little too snowy for Tubbs hill, grab your sleds and the kids and head to Cherry hill. The town of CDA is unique in that it actually keeps three streets in town 100% unplowed just for sledding: Boyd Ave, Dollar Street, and Lost Ave.

There are also four ski resorts that are within about 60 miles of town, two of which include night skiing, as well as tubing and one has an impressive indoor waterpark for those of us that like to stay warm. If downhill skiing is a bit to fast you can always give cross country (Nordic) skiing or snowshoeing a shot. 

Many of the locals keep parts of lakes clear for ice skating and hockey. ...

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Getting a Home Mortgage

There is no doubt that mortgage credit availability is expanding, meaning it is easier to finance a home today than it was last year. However, the mortgage market is still much tighter than it was prior to the housing boom and bust experienced between 2003 - 2006.

The Housing Financing Policy Center at the Urban Institute just released data revealing two reasons for the current exceptionally high credit standards:

  1. Additional restrictions lenders put on borrowing because of concerns that they will be forced to repurchase failed loans from the government-sponsored enterprises or Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  2. The concern about potential litigation for imperfect loans.

What has been the result of these concerns?

6.3 Million Less Mortgages

The Policy Center report went on to say:

“It was so hard to get a mortgage in 2015 that lenders failed to make about 1.1 million mortgages that they would have made if reasonable lending standards had been in place. From 2009 to 2014, lenders failed to make about 5.2 million mortgages thanks to overly tight credit. In total, lenders would have issued 6.3 million additional mortgages between 2009 and 2015 if lending standards had been more reasonable.”

In an interview with DSNews, Laurie Goodman and Alanna McCargo of the Policy Center further explained:

“Our Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI)* measures the probability that mortgage borrowers...

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that mean to you?...

Selling in the Winter Attracts Serious Buyers

Selling in the Winter Attracts Serious Buyers

A recent study of more than 7 million home sales over the past four years revealed that the season in which a home is listed may be able to shed some light on the likelihood that the home will sell for more than asking price, as well as how quickly the sale will close.

It’s no surprise that listing a home for sale during the spring saw the largest return, as the spring is traditionally the busiest month for real estate. What is surprising, though, is that listing during the winter came in second!

“Among spring listings, 18.7 percent of homes fetched above asking, with winter listings not far behind at 17.5 percent. While 48.0 percent of homes listed in spring sold within 30 days, 46.2 percent of homes in winter did the same.”

The study goes on to say that:

“Buyers [in the winter] often need to move, so they’re much less likely to make a lowball offer and they’ll often want to close quickly — two things that can make the sale much smoother.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating listing your home for sale within the next 6 months, keep in mind that the spring is when most other homeowners will decide to list their homes as well. Listing your home this winter will ensure that you have the best exposure to the serious buyers who are out looking now!

The study used the astronomical seasons to determine which season the listing date fell into (Winter: Dec. 21 – Mar. 20; Spring: Mar. 21 – June 20; Summer:...

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there any...