Good News for The 2017 Housing Market

Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, for Windermere Real Estate Professionals.  Is predicting some good new for the housing market in Idaho this year.  Check it out here.

Some of his predictions include that fact that, while the market may remain a “Sellers” market, prices should stabilize.  In fact, overall, he sees a stable market here in our area for 2017 and THAT is good news for all of us!

Give me a call today to get started finding your home – Connie 208.880.0828


Thinking About Buying a Home this Year? What Will The Challenges Be?

Inventory Levels – according to the National Association of Realtors, 2017 started out with the lowest level of inventory since the recession. Of course, here in the Treasure Valley, inventory is always low this time of year but our level of inventory for existing homes in 2016 was normal. Inventory for new construction changes but local builders have been on a building spree and the inventory for new homes should be good. Once the snow melts – there will be plenty of homes for sale so get out there and start looking!

Rising Home Prices – A house is worth what the Appraiser says it is worth – not what a buyer may be willing to pay for it unless the buyer has cash. A cash buyer can pay as much as they want to for a home because it will not be appraised. But, since most buyers are obtaining loans, this means that the price cannot go higher than the value the Appraiser places on the home. So, even if there are multiple offers on the home you have made an offer on, don’t be intimidated. Make an offer that fits your budget and one that reflects the actual value of the home.  Your Realtor can help you with that process.

Yes, prices have gone up as the economy has improved. That reflects a normal, healthy housing market. Prices that remain the same or that are dropping reflect a housing market that is headed for problems. A healthy market will have home prices that are gradually rising and will mean that the value of your new home should continue to rise after you purchase it.

Changing Mortgage Rates – it is true that mortgage rates have risen slightly. At the end of 2016 rates were up to 4.2% after being as low as 3.5%. The rates have been historically low levels for several years now and everyone knew that once the economy stabilized, rates would rise. To keep things in perspective, remind yourself that a rate of 8% was once considered low! Of course, you want the lowest rate you can get but don’t let a slight rise in rates keep you from owning a home. Rent is usually higher than a house payment so make the investment now before rates go higher!

What does all this mean? It just means that you need a good realtor who can guide you through the process of finding your dream home and making a good offer on it! There are always challenges when purchasing a home but a hard-working Realtor can guide you through the process and make it a great experience .

With that in mine – give me a call – I’m a really good Realtor!
Connie ~ 208.880.0828

Selling Your House in the Winter

Yes – it’s cold and snowy outside and here you are trying to sell your home. There’s only so much you can do when everything outside is white! However, a few tips will help make your home stand out.

  1. Keep your driveway and walkways snow free. No one wants to have to slog through 6 inches of snow to get to the front door. Remember, you probably come in through your garage everyday but people who are coming to look at your home are coming through the front door so do all you can to make it inviting.
  2. Keep a rug by the front door so people can wipe their feet off and provide booties for their shoes. Any store like Home Depot or Lowes has boxes of footies and they are inexpensive.
  3. Keep your pets in a safe place. Since you may not b able to keep your pets outside when it is cold and snowy, you need to find an alternative so that buyers are not distracted or turned away by your pets.
  4. How does your house smell? This time of year, your windows are closed and the house may not smell fresh and clean like it will come spring. Sometimes, we don’t notice our house smells – we are used to it. Just before a showing, heat some cookies in the oven and then put them out for your prospective buyers. If you can’t do that, then put some sort of mild smelling air freshener in a couple of rooms. Go outside, come back in and see what you think. Your home may be beautiful but a sour or bad smell in your home can turn people away.
  5. Leave the lights on and open the blinds. Winter days can tend to be dark and dreary so do all you can to make your home the bright spot in they buyer’s day.
  6. Keep it neat! This applies year round so don’t forget it in the winter.

Just a few tips to help you sell your home and draw those winter buyers. Yes, there is less inventory this time of year, so make your home stand out!

Give me a call ~ Connie 208.880.0880


Merry Christmas To All!


I hope this finds you excited about the Christmas season. It can be a trying time but it can also be wonderful as we share the gift we were given so long ago with our family and friends. After all, that’s really what Christmas is about and it’s easy to forget that in the frenzy of gift buying and the pressure that brings. Instead, let’s find the joy in what we are privileged to have and be part of.

My goal this year is to relax, have fun, continue to be thankful for all that I have and to share love and laughter with all those in my life who are most important to me. I hope that you can do the same.

I also want to thank all of you I have been able to work with this year and look forward to seeing you in the New Year. Be blessed and enjoy this special time of year.

Connie ~~~

Decorating For Christmas?

Most of us are. For some, decorating comes easily. I know a young lady whose family has affectionately nicknamed – Martha Stewart!  She can make something out of nothing and decorates beautifully. That’s not me. I know what I like but I need a little help with the execution. There are, however, some great websites that have simple decorating ideas. So, for those of us who are “idea challenged,” try out these sites.   – if you don’t already have one, create an account and then start a search for inexpensive Christmas decorations! – they have a craft section and show you how to do all kinds of stuff.

Or Google DIY Christmas Decorations ideas. You will see all kinds of sites including the two above. Not only are some of the ideas inexpensive, you don’t need to be a professional carpenter to create them! Sometimes all you need is old decorations and some paint! – another great site to give you some new ideas. – Reader’s Digest has lots of great ideas on their site!  Who knew? Just do a search for Christmas decorations.

Have fun and save some money – Connie Downs



Selling a home is a big decision and it’s made for as many reasons as there are people. It can be a very stressful time in your life and it can be the greatest moment. Once you’ve made the decision, you need to find a Realtor. If you have a Realtor you worked with in the past and they did a good job – call them. If not, do a little research and have a couple of them come to your home to discuss listing it.

When a Realtor comes to your home, they’re gathering a great deal of information. For instance, they need to know:

  • Why are you selling your home – you want something bigger, you’re being transferred, you’re in danger of losing your home, you want something smaller, etc. This information gives them a better idea of how quickly you may or may not need to sell and what your goals are.
  • How much money do you expect/need to make from the sale?
  • What is the amount you think your home should be listed for?

They’re also looking at the home with more objective eyes and a greater knowledge of the price the market will support. If the market is a Buyer’s market, you may not sell your home for what you believe it’s worth. The market simply will not support the price you hoped for. The Realtor knows what stage the market in your area is at and can advise you. Maybe it’s a Seller’s market and that works in your favor. In addition, the Realtor has a good idea of the selling price of other homes similar to yours in condition, size, location, etc. All of these things determine the selling price. Notice, I’m saying “selling” price.  This is the critical number – not the “listing” price you may have seen on a neighbor’s house.

Ask for a Current Market Analysis (CMA). The agent will write down information about your home, go to their office and create the CMA and email or deliver it to you. The CMA compares your home to others that have sold in the last 6 months and those currently on the market, providing you with a reasonable Listing Price. Ask both Realtors to do this for you and compare the two. Ask questions if there are significant differences.

Sometimes, home owners believe their house is worth more than the market will actually support or, their situation requires them to go higher to get what they need in the end. The CMA is important because it helps you determine whether to try to sell or to wait. It gives you a realistic picture of your competition. Why does the price of Sold homes matter? Because, your home will be appraised by a professional Appraiser. The Lender for the Buyer will not loan $145,000 on a home that appraises for $135,000 and the Buyer may not have $10K laying around to make up the difference. Your home is worth what it appraises for and an appraiser compares your home to similar homes near your home which sold in the last 6 months. They take into account features your home may have that others do not – 3 car garage, granite counters, new furnace, etc. The Realtor will do much the same thing in the CMA.

Once you’ve decided on a Realtor, they will come back to your home and help you with things like:

  • Small repairs that need to be made
  • Staging your home
  • How to get ready for an open house
  • Decorating suggestions – planting some flowers, re-painting that purple room your daughter loves, etc.

The Realtor will also explain the selling process to you since there are many steps to selling a home. Because all REALTORS® belong to a local Multiple Listing Service, this means that your home will be seen by every REALTOR® in the area and will be sent out to Zillow, Trulia, and probably 100 other similar places. Make sure that they will also be putting your home in places like Craig’s List. They probably also have a website with a search engine on it so that people who are surfing the internet can find your home as well.

Make sure that the pictures they use to advertise your home are high quality and large enough for a person to actually see! That may sound silly but sometimes agents use pictures that are so small that they’re of little value. Go check out your own listing online and make sure it emphasizes the best features of your home.

Be patient. Your REALTOR® cannot wave their magic wand and bring in a Buyer in the first week. What makes your house sell is this – location, correct pricing, and the condition/features of your home as compared to others in the same price range. Your REALTOR®has no control over any of those things since the you are the one who sets the Listing Price for the home. The REALTOR® can suggest, but it’s your decision.

Remember that the suggestions a REALTOR® makes regarding staging, decorating, repairs, etc. are just suggestions. However, they have a good reason for making those suggestions. To the extent you can, seriously consider following their advice.

REALTORS® want you to succeed and get the most you can for your home. They will work hard to make sure that this happens. Selling your home is a process of teamwork between you and your REALTOR®, and, hopefully, one that is enjoyable and profitable for both of you!