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 resource for your Real Estate needs in Idaho. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, our team of professionals can answer any questions you might have about Real Estate. Watch the videos and articles below to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home. Call us with any questions you may have at 208-501-8200

Feb. 17, 2017

How to Buy a New Home in Idaho & Sell Your Existing Home


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

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

Call us at (208) 501-8200 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation

If you’re thinking about buying a new house here in Idaho but you have an existing home to sell, how does that process work?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t the same for everyone. However, there are three steps you can take to determine what your specific process might look like.

Step one is to get a FREE estimation of your home’s value. This is something you can easily do by contacting our team. Once you get an estimation of your home’s value, you will understand what your budget might be, how much equity you may have in your current house, and it will help you get qualified for your new home.

Step two is to meet with a mortgage lender to determine your buying power on your new house. That lender might want to know what kind of equity you’re rolling over into the new house. They’ll also help you determine payments and set a new budget for the home you have your eye on.


Once you take these steps, you’ll be in a much better position to know what to do.



Step three is seeing if your wants, needs, and goals can be met with the price points you have from your lender with your budget and finding out whether you can afford the new home you want. You can shop online on our website and find out what homes are available in today’s market to get an idea whether the home you’re searching for is really out there, whether you can afford it, and whether the monthly payments are something you’d even want to afford.

Once you take these three steps, you’ll be in a much better position to sit down with your Realtor, discuss making this move, and understand what the process might look like for you. 

If you have any questions about this or any other real estate-related topic, feel free to give us a call. We’d love to help! 

Posted in Selling a Home
Feb. 8, 2017

Waiting Until Spring to Sell Your Home? Think Again!


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

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

Call us at (208) 501-8200 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation


If you’re thinking about selling your home here in Idaho, you may be wondering when is the best time to bring it to the market? We get asked this question often, so in this video, team leader John West will go over a few things to help you choose the best time to put your home on the market. 

Like many people, you might think springtime is the best time to list your home for sale, after all, our houses may look their best in the spring with freshly planted flowers and green grass.

However, the best time to sell has more to do with supply and demand than with what season our homes look the best. That’s why right now, during the winter months, when most people are waiting until spring, is the best time to put your home on the market. 


Demand for your home is greater in the winter months.


For example, think of housing demand in the winter as a really popular toy around Christmas. The more demand there is for that toy, the more valuable it becomes. The same is true for homes listed during the winter.  

In the springtime, we always see a huge influx of homes coming onto the market, which gives buyers a lot of options to choose from and more time to make a purchase. 

In the winter, buyers are more serious. They are looking to buy a home as soon as possible, which is another reason why less demand during the winter works so well in your favor. If you list during the winter months, you have less competition, and a competitive edge allows you to get your home sold quickly and for the most money. 

If you have any questions about selling this year, or any other real estate related questions, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email. Our team would love to help answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (208) 501-8200 today! 

Posted in Selling a Home
Jan. 25, 2017

Boise, Idaho & Treasure Valley Real Estate Market Update-2017


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

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

Call us at (208) 501-8200 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation


At the beginning of each year, everyone wants to know how the real estate market is doing here in Boise, Idaho and the surrounding areas. In this video, team leader John West, talks about what to expect in the Idaho real estate market as we continue into 2017. 


Here in Idaho and the Treasure Valley, inventory is low. There simply aren’t enough houses on the market to keep up with demand. If you own a home, that’s good news, because home values and prices have gone up due to the inventory shortage. 


Now is actually a great time to list your home; don’t wait for spring.


A lot of the time, people plan on putting their homes on the market in the spring. However, it’s actually ideal to put your home on the market when inventory is low, and demand is high, so now may be the best time to list your home for sale. 


If this market is so great for home sellers, do buyers benefit from this market? Yes, this is also a very good time to buy a home. Right now, interest rates are still incredibly low, which keeps houses very affordable. Secondly, rental rates are at an all-time high right now. A lot of the time, it’s less expensive to make a monthly mortgage payment than it is to pay rent, which makes buying a home a very smart decision. 


In summary, the current housing market in the Treasure Valley is alive and well. If you are thinking about selling this year, it is an ideal time to take advantage of low housing inventory and sell your home or buy a new home before prices rise further. Our team would love to help answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (208) 501-8200 today!

Posted in Market News
Jan. 20, 2017

Home Loan Guidelines Improve Making Buying a Home in Idaho Easier

If you are considering selling your home and or buying a new home in Idaho, recent 2017 mortgage guideline changes may affect you.

In this video John West, Broker with West Real Estate group sits down with John Spiker of First Mortgage Company of Idaho to discuss how recent mortgage guidelines changes can help Idaho homebuyers purchase a new home in 2017. 

Looking Back - Mortgage Guidelines Before the Crash 

Just before the market started to crash in 2007, mortgage guidelines had become so loose that just about anyone could qualify for a mortgage loan. The guidelines that once allowed for safe lending practices were abandoned by lenders and by 2007, that house of cards began to fall. 

After the crash, banks over tightened their guidelines making it difficult for those trying to buy or refinance a home. 

Since that time, banks have since begun to return to safe lending practices and guidelines making it easier for homeowners to qualify for a mortgage. 

 Getting a Mortgage in Today's Market

John Spiker shares that he sees that we are in a healthy position right now as far as responsible lending is concerned and that it is much easier to get approved for a home loan now that it was in recent years. 

For example, many people still think they need 20% to qualify for a mortgage loan, and that is not the cause for many buyers.  Spiker said many loans require little to no down payments available. 

Average Down Payment | Simplifying The Market

 What If I Had a past Foreclosure or Had to Short Sale My Home? 

Many people were affected by the market crash and had their homes foreclosed on or had to short-sale their property which damages credit. Lenders like Spiker have programs to help people get loan approvals so they can purchase another home again and continue rebuilding their credit. 

If you are thinking of buying a new home this year, Spiker's advice is to talk with a lender to see what options are available to you. You may be surprised at what you find. 

Average FICO Scores | Simplifying The Market

Key Talking Points: 

  • Mortgage Guidelines have changed making it easier to qualify for a new home loan or refinance. 
  • There are many loans available to homebuyers that require little to no down payment available. 
  • People who had short sales or past foreclosures can also qualify in many cases for a new home loan. 
  • Home values have been on the rise and lenders have programs to help homebuyers qualify and buy homes in today's market. 

If you are thinking of buying a new home and have questions for John Spiker, you can reach him at (208) 854-8400 or you can email him JSpiker@FirstMortgageCo.com. 

To learn more or to start a loan application, you can visit his website:www.firstmortgageco.com/johnspiker/

If you are considering buying a new home and want to see what homes are available in today's market, visit our website

Jan. 17, 2017

The Most Important Step When Buying a New Home in Idaho

Buying a Home in Idaho with West Real Estate Group

If you are thinking about buying a new home in Idaho but don't have a home loan pre-approval letter in hand yet, you might want to consider taking this step first. 

In the Treasure Valley, the number of buyers searching for homes has significantly outnumbered the amount of available homes for sale. Because of this demand, it has led to a competitive marketplace where home buyers often need to stand out to get their offer noticed and ultimately accepted by a home seller.

One way to show you are serious about buying a new home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a home loan before starting your home search. 

Another benefit to having a pre-approval from a mortgage lender is simply knowing your housing budget. This will help you and your Realtor to know what price range to stay within so that your dream home doesn't become a nightmare. 

Freddie Mac states the advantages of getting a pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:


“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”


Another advantage of working with a local Realtor is the knowledge we have about the local lenders in the area. We know and work with the area's best home mortgage lenders who will be able to help you with this process. 

Once you have selected a mortgage lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with the information regarding your credit reporting, debt, income, work history, down payment and housing history.

A simple way to remember what a lender is looking for is called the; 4 Cs which help determine the loan amount you will be qualified to borrow:


1. CapacityWhich looks at your current and future ability to make your payments
2. Capital or cash reserves: This is the money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash if needed.
3. Collateral: The property that you would like to purchase is most often be the collateral the bank will use which considering your loan approval. 
4. Credit: What is your history of paying bills and other debts on time? 


Getting pre-approved for a home loan is one of the most important steps in the home buying process. It will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it in Idaho's current highly competitive market, will ensure you have the best chance and getting your offer accepted. 

In our experience, we find that many potential home buyers start looking for their dream home first, only to be left scrabbling to get a mortgage loan once they find the perfect home. In many cases, by the time they receive their approval letter, their dream home has been snatched up by another home buyer.

If you considering buying a home in Idaho, we highly recommend you start by getting your home loan pre-approval so that you will be ready to make your offer when your dream home pops up on the market. 

If you are ready to start browsing for homes for sale, click the link below to start your home search now: 

Click here to start your Idaho home search!


Dec. 15, 2016

10 Interview Questions to Ask a Realtor Before Hiring Them:

10 Questions to Ask a Realtor Before Hiring Them

10 Interview Questions to Ask a Realtor Before Hiring Them:

My mom's friend's sister is a Realtor. Should I just use her?

Maybe... maybe not.

Unfortunately, not all agents are created the same. Our advice is to ask questions, and don't just settle with someone you might know who may just have a real estate license.

Since your home purchase will be one of the largest investments you will ever make, no one should judge you or guilt you for being careful about who you choose to represent you. Asking the right questions when interviewing an agent should help you gain insight into the Realtor's competence, experience, and personality. 

The agent you choose should offer reviews from past clients who they have helped. They should also be an expert in the neighborhoods and communities you are looking to purchase in and be someone who you actually like as you will be working closely with them through the home buying process.

1. "Can I see reviews from your past clients?"  
Every agent has clients they've served well. But the best agents consistently deliver excellent service. There's a difference between reading a few hand-picked endorsements and getting the full good, bad, and ugly on your agent. We think a good agent should have nothing to hide, which is why West Real Estate Group encourages public reviews from every client we serve. While you won't find that for every real estate agency, you can use sites like Google.com to see what customer opinions pull up for an agent you're considering. If you can't find any public reviews, this may be a sign you aren't working with a professional agent.

2. "Is this your full-time job or are you a part-time agent?"  
Many agents are part time. A full-time agent is more likely to be up-to-date with the market, the laws, and have the time you'll need when searching for the right home. You will want a high protein, high energy, Realtor working for you.

3. "When am I committed to using you?"
Selecting the agent that you are going to hire is an important decision, and it's not something you can do accidentally in Idaho. Make sure you get the facts about this important step. Our agents review and discuss this with you, so you won't be misled or confused.

4. "Do you work as a solo agent or part of a team?"
These days, real estate groups are becoming more popular. Whether it's a pair of agents who share the work, a single agent with a support staff behind them, or a group of several agents all under one business name, you'll want to know with whom you'll be working with. Do they specialize in one particular area or are they jack of all trades? The more you understand who you are hiring, the better.

5. "What sets you apart from other agents?"
What you're asking them is, "why should I hire you?" This is a fair question. Don't shy away from it. You're looking for experience, not just enthusiasm. You want to see a track record, knowledge of the market, and suggestions on the best neighborhoods in the Treasure Valley. You want to see reviews from past clients, reliability, and an in-depth knowledge of any special requirements you may need to know about.

6. "What's your fee?"
The seller of the home you buy pays your agent's fees usually around 2-3% of the sales price. Since the home seller sets the commission amount and this can vary from property to property, you'll want to insist that your agent is upfront about their share. You don't want to have an agent who is pressuring you into buying a home based on a larger commission. Click here to read more about what it costs to have a Realtor help me buy a home. 

7. "What experience do you have?"
An agent's experience should be more than simply how long they've been in the business. Longevity doesn't automatically equate to expertise. You need more. Finding an agent who is an expert in a neighborhood or city you wan tot buying will be a big asset for you. A buyer's agent in Idaho who knows their stuff will take your present and future needs into account. They'll use your needs to find you the right home in the right location (e.g. if you have kids you might want a neighborhood with great schools or parks that are close by).

8. "How will you keep me informed?"
This is the area where an agent has to shine. Buyers and sellers who have an agent who doesn't communicate typically find another agent. You want to make sure you discuss expectations and preferences up front- do they text, email, call, video message, or all of the above? For the relationship to be successful, this has to be discussed at the beginning.

9. "Do you represent buyers and sellers?"
When one agent represents both the buyer and seller, this is known as "dual agency," and it's not always a good thing for home buyers. If the seller's agent is trying to get the most money for his client's home, how can he also be trying to get you the best deal? Our team has Buyer Specialists that represent you and only you as a buyer.

10. "What if I'm unhappy with your service?"
If you are in a signed sales contract, most often, the agent will get paid when you purchase a home whether you are happy with the service or not. Ask your agent if they are willing to guarantee your satisfaction, and what recourse you may have if you have a bad experience. 

At West Real Estate Group, our agents are professionals. We're experienced, knowledgeable, and we have the heart of teachers. We know the Treasure Valley, the best neighborhoods to buy in, and where you can get the best cup of coffee.

But don't just take our word for it.

We're here to listen to your wants and needs. When you connect with our team of real estate professionals in Idaho, they'll walk you through the process at your pace- not theirs. Once you have decided to hire your agent, you can move forward to the next step in your home buying process!

Dec. 15, 2016

What Does It Cost to Hire a Realtor to Help Me Buy a House in Idaho?

The cost of using a Realtor to help you buy a home

If you are considering purchasing a new home in Idaho, you may be wondering how much it may cost to hire a Realtor to help you. 

This is a common question and yet many people don't ask what an agent's services cost.

Maybe homebuyers don't inquire about this because they don't know what to ask or are too embarrassed to pop this question when interviewing an agent. 

At West Real Estate Group, we love to inform our buyers and help educate our clients about all the ins and outs of buying and selling a home in Idaho.  How a Realtor is compensated when working with a home buyer is a question that we find many people have. So how does it all work and how do we get paid for our services? 

In most cases, our services are paid for by the seller of the home you purchase making our services free to a homebuyer. 

While your agent's fees most likely will not be paid by you, we still recommend you interview agents and choose the best Realtor you can find. One that has the heart of a teacher and knows what they are doing. 

We have put together a resource to help you know what questions to ask when you interview a Realtor: 

Click here to read: 10 Questions to Ask Your Realtor Before Hiring Them

Hiring a Realtor to help you is a critical part of the home buying process and can make the difference between the process being a very exciting time in your life or one you will never want to repeat. 

Your Realtor will handle seven key roles for you:

If you are thinking about buying a home in Idaho, we would love to hear more about your goals and discuss in more detail the process of the purchase of a home so that you will be a more informed home buyer. 

Call our team at today 208-501-8200 to talk with one of our team members. 

You can also watch our home buyer video series called: 7 Steps To Home to learn more:

Click here to Watch 7 Seven Steps to Home Video Series 

Dec. 12, 2016

Idaho Home Prices: Where Will They Be in 5 Years?

Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number. 

If you own a home in Idaho or are thinking of purchasing a house, this information should be very interesting to you.

The results of their latest survey:

Home values will appreciate by 4.0% over the course of 2017, 3.2% in 2018 and 3.0% the next three years (as shown below). That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.24% over the next 5 years.

The prediction for cumulative appreciation ticked up from 18.7% to 21.4% by 2021. The experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 10.2%.

Bottom Line

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe this survey is a fairer depiction of future values here in Idaho. 

Curious what your house might be worth in today's market? Get your home's value instantly: 

Yes, I would like to get my home's value now

 Have more questions? Call our team today 208-501-8200!

Dec. 5, 2016

Starting to Look For a Home? Know What You Want Vs. What You Need

Buying a home with west real estate group

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is critical to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the many homes listed for sale with rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the man cave of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make or break now?

The first step in your home buying process should be to get pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a house that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like & to qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)

  • ‘Should Haves’ – if the property hits all of the musts haves and some of the should haves, it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.

  • ‘Absolute Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must haves,’ most of the ‘should haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

We created a printable checklist for you to download and print so that you can take a moment to make this list. It will greatly help you and help your Realtor find the home that fits you best.

Click this link to download the What You Want Vs. What You Need Checklist

Bottom Line

Having this list flushed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.

Call our team today to take the next step, or you can start browsing for homes right now by clicking the link below:

Yes, I would like to start looking at homes for sale now

Contact us with your questions: 208-501-8200. We would love to hear from you! 




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:

Yes, I would like to get my home’s value now 

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

 Yes, I would like to start browsing homes for sale in Idaho now!