West Real Estate Group Video Blog -Expert Tips for Navigating the Idaho Real Estate Market

Our mission at West Real Estate Group is to be your best resource for real estate advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, our team of professionals can answer any questions you might have about real estate. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home.


Dec. 2, 2016

New Home Sales Race to Keep Up with Demand

New Home Sales in Idaho Infographic

Some Highlights:

  • Many buyers who are searching for their dream homes are turning to new home construction after 10% of all new home buyers sighted a lack of inventory of existing homes as their reason for purchase.
  • The median home price decreased slightly from September’s high of $314,100 to $304,500 in October.
  • The West saw the largest month over month jump in sales at 28.7%.

    If you have questions about buying or selling a home, give our team a call at (208) 501-8200. We would love to discuss your real estate goals with you! 

Take Action: 

Curious about the value of current home? Get an Instant Value Check by clicking the link below:

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Curious about what homes are currently available on the market now? Go see new homes: 

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Nov. 30, 2016

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

At West Real Estate Group, we get asked this question all the time, "Is getting a home loan still difficult?"

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 will become delinquent on that mortgage for 90 or more days, which we refer to as the default risk. This measure indicates that the probability of default rose from 12 percent in 2001 to a peak of 16.5 percent at the end of 2005/beginning of 2006, before declining to the current level of 5 percent. Stated differently, lenders are currently taking less than half the credit risk they were taking in 2001, a period of reasonable credit standards.”

The cost to the economy if we’re writing fewer loans…

Goodman and McCargo put it best:

“…fewer households will become homeowners at exactly the point in the economic cycle when it is most advantageous to do so… [They] will continue to miss this wealth-building opportunity. The median family wealth for homeowners is $195,400, with their home the most valuable asset for most; the median family wealth for renters is $5,400… Fewer potential homebuyers means the housing market will continue to recover more slowly. At the same time, fewer buyers create a strain on other benefits to the economy which homebuying brings such as spending on home goods and an increase in construction jobs.”

Bottom Line

The housing market boom and bust caused many mortgage providers and lenders to tighten their lending standards in an effort not to repeat the recent past. This paired with many homebuyers disqualifying themselves before they even apply for a loan, due to the fear of rejection, has led to many households not yet becoming homeowners.

If you have been thinking of buying your first home or even buying a home that better fits your needs, give us a call. We would be happy to sit down with you and explain your many options. 

Call our team at 208-501-8200 today. 

You can also start browsing homes for sale now by clicking the link below:

Yes, I would like to start looking for homes now!

Nov. 29, 2016

Mortgage Interest Rates Just Went Up… Should I Wait to Buy?

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeks. Along with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors are all calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.

This has caused some Idaho home purchasers to lament the fact they may no longer be able to get a rate less than 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades.

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago; a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago. Our advice is don’t wait.

Click here to start looking for that new home.

Call us with any questions at 208-501-8200 you may have. 

Sept. 1, 2016

What is Happening in the Treasure Valley Real Estate Market?


In this video, Realtor John West, answers a common question we have been hearing a lot lately, "What is going on with the real estate market in the Treasure Valley?" 

Houses are selling fast, rents are at all time highs, and real estate is a hot topic again, but are we headed towards another housing bubble? 

At West Real Estate Group, we believe in offering Better Education and More Communication to our clients. Here is a short video to explain our current housing market here in the Treasure Valley: 

What Is My House Worth?

Find Your New Dream Home

In Boise, Idaho and surrounding areas, there are four main factors affecting our market: 

1. High Demand
No one will argue that the Treasure Valley is a great place to live. We are constantly ranked in the top spots for best places to move to and our secret is out. People are flooding into the Treasure Valley from all over the nation and this relocation activity is part of why we are seeing such high demand for housing. 

2. Low Inventory
After our market crashed in 2007, builders stopped building homes and apartments. This gap in building new construction caused us to be behind in meeting the growing housing needs for our area. Home builders are quickly trying to meet the demand of our current market, however they are still behind. 

3. High Rents
Because of the demand for housing, the large amount of growth in our area, and the lack of available homes for sale, landlords have been able to charge higher monthly rents. If you can't find the house to buy that fits your needs or have 6-10 months to wait for a new house to be built, you may have to rent and pay a premium to do so.  

4. Low Mortgage Rates 
As the market continues to see healthy improvement, lenders have been offering low mortgage rates to keep home buying affordable and attractive. We often find that many of our buyers are paying less for their mortgage payment on their home than they were paying in rent. This factor is also causing some of the high demand for housing. 

With all this demand for housing, some fear that we might be heading for another crash, however evidence that economists see in this market is much different than the factors that caused the crash nearly ten years ago. Some of the causes for that crash were high speculation, loose mortgage loan approval standards, and other factors that were not based on healthy and sustainable conditions.

Bottom Line
In summary, the current housing market in the Treasure Valley is alive and well. It is still a great time to take advantage of low housing innovatory and sell your home or buy a new home before prices raise further. Our team would love to help answer any questions you may have. 

Give us a call at (208) 501-8200 today!

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search

Selling a home? Click here for a INSTANT Home Price Evaluation 

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July 7, 2016

2 Tips For Getting The Most Money When Selling Your House in Idaho

2 tips for getting the most money when selling your house in Idaho

Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? We at West Real Estate Group help people get their home sold every day. Here are two keys we have learned to ensure you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

2 Tips For Getting The Most Money When Selling Your House | Simplifying The Market

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com, gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counter intuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”

2 Tips For Getting The Most Money When Selling Your House | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house. We can help you learn about the market, discuss a pricing strategy, and help you get it SOLD! 

If you are thinking of selling your home, try our automated value check and get your home's estimated value INSTANTLY.  
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Posted in Selling a Home
July 7, 2016

4 Reasons to Buy This Summer in Idaho!

4 Reasons to Buy This Summer with West Real Estate Group

Summer is here in Idaho! The temperature isn't the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market in many areas of the country! Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 5.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.3% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.2% a year for the next 5 years.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4%. Most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. TheMortgage Bankers AssociationFreddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home. 

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings. We can help!

You can use our website to start browsing for home now by clicking this link. We update our website every minute with ALL homes for sale in Idaho so you can be sure you are seeing everything available. 

Yes, I want to start browsing for homes now!

If you have a home that you need to sell, you may be surprised how much it's worth. Use our INSTANT value check tool and learn what your home may sell for in today's market:

Yes, I want to get my INSTANT value check!

Still have questions, we would love to hear from you. Call us at 208-501-8200. 


June 28, 2016

What Can We Expect When We First Meet?

Selling your home with West Real Estate Group

What Can We Expect When We First Meet?

When you decide that it might be time to sell your home, you will no doubt have lots of questions.

Selling your home is a big deal and that is where we can help. It’s what we do here at West Real Estate Group every day and our past client’ say we are even pretty good at what we do!

If you are considering selling your home in Meridian, Idaho or a surrounding area such as Boise, Eagle, Kuna, Nampa, Star, Middleton, Emmett, Garden City, we would love to help you.  

Let's Meet

The first step we recommend is meeting to have a brief conversation where we can ask you questions about your goals, address any fears or concerns you may have about selling, and help learn more about what selling your house will help you achieve.

Since every situation is different, this first conversation will help you learn more about the selling process, the costs associated with selling, how our team markets and gets homes sold, and ultimately help you decide if selling is right for you.

Our team loves to help educate our clients about the process of selling and buying real estate. 

We don’t push or try to sell. 

We believe if we educate you about the options available to you, you can make the best informed decisions about what is best for you and your family. 

If you are thinking of selling your home, give us a call at 208-501-8200 or send us an email and we can set up a time to meet and have this initial discussion so that you can learn if selling your home is the right step. 

Take The Next Step

Call us today at 208-501-8200 to set up a time for us to meet and discuss your goals. 

 Curious about your home’s value? Use our value check tool to get your home’s estimated value INSTANTLY right now!

Posted in Selling a Home
June 28, 2016

Gap Between Homeowner’s & Appraiser’s Opinions Narrows Slightly

Gap Between Homeowner’s & Appraiser’s Opinions Narrows Slightly

In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month, Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). Here is a chart showing that difference for each of the last 12 months.

Gap Between Homeowner’s & Appraiser’s Opinions Narrows Slightly | Simplifying The Market

The gap between the homeowner vs. appraiser’s opinion has started to head in the right direction (closer to even), as June saw a slight decrease from May’s -1.95% to -1.89% nationally.

Homeowners in the western part of the country, however, have been pleasantly surprised as their homes have appraised higher than they expected. Denver received its highest HPPI last month as homes came in an average of 3.28% higher than the homeowner believed it would. Nine of the twelve metro areas that had a positive HPPI last month were located in the west.

Quicken Loans’ Chief Economist, Bob Walters explains:

“The hot housing markets along the West Coast are growing quicker than owners realize, giving way to higher than expected prices for buyers and more home equity for existing owners.  

On the other hand, the housing markets are more balanced in the East and Midwest, leading owners to be slightly over-enthusiastic about their home’s appreciation.”

Bottom Line 

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to talk about what’s happening in our area.

Prices and values are changing quickly around the nation and certainly here in the Treasure Valley. If you are thinking about selling your home you can use our quick value check to see what your home may be worth in today's market by clicking the link below:

Yes, I want to learn the value of my home INSTANTLY 

If you are thinking about buying a home, you can use our Advanced Search Tool to start browsing for homes now! 

Any questions, please call us at 208-501-8200.



June 27, 2016

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!

Almost every real estate conversation revolves around the continuous rise in house values over the last four years. Some have even mentioned a concern about another possible bubble forming. However, the recent increase in prices can be attributed to a very simple principle: supply and demand.


Demand for single-family housing has continued to increase as the economy slowly moves forward. Recent surveys have shown that over 80% of each generation still believes that homeownership is a part of the American Dream. And a recent Gallup survey showed that Americans believe that real estate is the best long-term investment.


Over the last several years, many homeowners were unable to put their homes on the market for an assortment of reasons (family finances, no or limited equity in the home). There has been a pent-up supply of sellers who have wanted to move but couldn’t. Below is a graph depicting the number of years families have historically stayed in a home. We can see there is pent-up seller demand.

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!! | Simplifying The Market

As the economy improves and more families reach the point of significant equity (20%), we will see these homes come to market. As supply then matches demand, the acceleration of home price increases will begin to slow.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the families that have been chained to your current home over the last 5-7 years, now may be the time to break free and find the home of your dreams.

June 27, 2016

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Summer

5 Reasons to sell your home this summer

As the temperature rises, buyers are coming out ready to purchase their dream homes. The summer is a great time to list your home for sale. Here are five reasons why:

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this summer.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae just announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace by late summer. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to increase by nearly a full percentage point in the next 12 months.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

If you are thinking of buying you can start searching for homes right now by using our Advanced Search tool

If you have a home to sell first or are curious about what it may be worth in today's market, you can use our INSTANT property value tool to learn what your home's worth. 

Yes, I want to get my home's INSTANT value now.