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

May 19, 2020

Q: Is It a Good Time to Buy a Home Right Now in Idaho?

These 5 factors will help determine whether you should buy a home.  


Buying a home? Click here to start your new home search
Selling a home? Click here for an INSTANT Home Value Check 
Call us at (208) 501-8200 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation


Is It a Good Time to Buy a Home Right Now in Idaho?


As real estate agents, we often say that “every day is a good day to buy.” However, here at West Real Estate Group, we try to address the question of “Is now a good time to buy?” by first asking you some questions about what is going on in your personal world. Sometimes, while it might be good for many people to buy a home, it might not be the right time for you. 


To help you decide if this might be a good time for you to buy a new home, let’s first discuss why it might not be the right time for you. 


Here are five reasons why it might not be the right time to buy a house:


1. If you do not have job security. This is a real factor for many people right now and might give you cause to hold off on a purchase until you have more stability.


2. If you have little to no down payment. While there are options for 100% financing or low down payments, we advise our clients to have both a down payment and emergency fund so their dream home purchase doesn’t turn into a nightmare.


3. If you tend to move every year. If you don’t like to live in the same place for very long, buying might not make the most sense for you. 


4. If you are in an unstable relationship. Relationships can be messy and unfortunately, sometimes they end. We’ve been able to help a lot of divorced and separated homeowners but it is always a much more complicated process. If this might be the case for you, we recommend that you make sure you can afford the monthly payments on your own just in case. 


5. If you are in a declining market. Luckily for us here in the Treasure Valley, we have seen some of the highest home appreciation rates in the nation, and with the strong demand we have from people relocating to our area, this trend seems to be something we will continue to see for quite some time.  


Now let’s talk about the five reasons why it might be a great idea for you to buy a new home now:


1. You have job security.


2. You have a down payment saved up and some reserves in place.


3. You like the area you live in and do not plan to move out of state anytime soon.


4. You are in a stable relationship and/or can afford the monthly home payments on your own.


5. You want to take advantage of the incredibly low-interest rates.



TIP: Visit our website to start your search today


These are just a few of the reasons that buying a home might be a great idea for you at this time, however, the answer to this question really comes down to what is going on in your personal life. We recommend that you discuss your goals and situation with a professional and experienced Realtor. One who has the heart of a teacher and not a salesman. Someone who will ask you the right questions and have the integrity to tell you the truth. 


If you’d like us to take a look at your situation and help determine whether buying a home right now makes sense for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 


We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Buying a Home
May 6, 2020

The 3 Steps to Buying & Selling at the Same Time

There are three steps you need to complete if you need to sell your current home in order to buy your next one.  


Buying a home? Click here to start your new home search
Selling a home? Click here for an INSTANT Home Value Check 
Call us at (208) 501-8200 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation

How Do You Buy and Sell a House at the Same Time?


The house you currently own may have fit your needs and wants at the time you first purchased it, but there comes a time when your needs and wants change and when you decide that it’s time to find your next home. 


But, how do you go about purchasing your next home if you have to sell your current home first? 


The answer to this question is not the same for everyone. Your situation is unique to you. Your finances, housing budget, timeline, goals, and desires are uniquely yours and require a strategic plan on how to tackle the process of selling your home, finding a new home and closing on that new home, all without leaving you homeless in the process. 


This can naturally be a very stressful process for people and choosing to hire an experienced Realtor can make all the difference. Our agents have over 50 years of combined experience and have helped hundreds of people navigate the path of selling their home in order to buy their next home. 


There are three main steps you will want to take to set yourself up for success. 


3 Steps to Successfully Selling Your House to Buy a New One:


Step # 1: Learn what your current home is worth in today’s market
Getting a good idea of what your home is worth in today’s market and how fast homes like yours are currently selling for will be the basis for moving forward on the process of selling your current home in order to buy a new one. Once you know how much your home might sell for, and how quickly homes in your price range are selling for, you will have a good idea of the amount of equity you have accrued as well as a timeline in which your move might happen. One of our experienced agents can help you to get an accurate estimate by completing a thorough CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), looking at recently sold properties that are similar to your own home. Also, talking with a professional listing agent will help you know what you can do around the house to boost its value before putting it on the market.


TIP: Click here to try our Instant Valuation Tool to check your home’s value now


Step # 2: Meet with a Mortgage Loan Officer to Get Pre-Approved  

Homebuyers can get so excited about shopping for homes that they sometimes delay this second step however, having a conversation with a mortgage loan officer in the beginning can really set you up for success. A loan officer can help you with the tasks outlined in the first step, set up a pre-approval, and establish a budget so you know your potential interest rate and monthly mortgage payment. They’ll also address any other lending concerns you may have. With this step complete, you’ll be in the driver’s seat in terms of putting your home on the market and being ready to purchase your next one. 


Step # 3: It’s time to look for new homes

Looking at new homes is definitely one of the most enjoyable parts of the home buying process! It’s also the third step—not the first. Oftentimes, people tend to do these three steps in reverse, which can lead to frustrations and heartbreak. Ideally, you should only start looking for homes after you’ve completed the first two steps; learning what your home is worth and speaking to a mortgage loan officer. With the professional support of your lender and your Realtor, you will have a good idea of what your potential equity amount might be from your current home’s sale - giving you a solid budget for the new home. 


Our website is a great resource to search for homes as it updates constantly with up-to-date and accurate data coming straight from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Some people like to also physically drive through neighborhoods and areas to look at homes for sale and get a feel for communities and neighborhoods. We now have a helpful property search app you can download to your phone that allows you access to all the listing details you will want to know as you are driving around. 


Visit our website to start your search today


These three steps are the foundation of selling your home to buy a new one. How you transition between homes can be done in many different ways. Everyone’s situation is different which is why we here at West Real Estate Group custom tailor a free buying and selling plan that is aligned with your goals, timeline, and needs. Don’t find yourself frustrated and heartbroken. We love answering questions and can easily outline your options. It’s an amazing market out there, and it’s time for you to take advantage of it. 

If you have any other real estate questions, feel free to reach out to us as well. We’d love to hear from you!

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April 8, 2020

What Real Estate Costs Are Tax-Deductible?

With the Federal tax filing deadline being extended this year from April 15th to July 15th and the State filing deadline for Idaho being extended to June 15th, many of our clients have a lot of real-estate related tax questions. To get answers to your questions, we met with Jack Trent of Jack Trent & Co. 


Buying a home? Click here to start your new home search
Selling a home? Click here for an INSTANT Home Value Check 
Call us at (208) 501-8200 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation

Here are some of the most commonly asked real estate related tax questions we receive and Jack’s answers: 

Q: When someone is thinking of selling their home, can they write-off the expenses such as advertising, Realtor fees, title fees, and legal fees? (0:51)

A: Yes, you can write off every dollar associated with selling your home; such as real estate commissions, advertising (staging), escrow fees, and legal fees. However, it is important to note that in order to write off the fees related to selling your home, it must be your principal residence and you will have to have lived in the home for two of the last five years. It is also important to keep in mind that these tax write-offs do not get deducted from your taxes like mortgage interest would, instead they are viewed as exclusions. All the money you spend, that is directly associated with the sale of your home gets added to your capital gains, which is essentially profit that you make on the sale of your home that you don’t have to pay taxes on. In other words, capital gains are like income that is free of taxation. 

TIP: Be sure you are keeping receipts of everything you are doing to sell or stage your home because, in certain hot markets, where homes have appreciated a lot, you have the potential for some pretty large capital gains and every dollar counts. 

Q: What about home improvements and repairs? Do they follow that same line of thinking? (3:12)

A: Yes, when you are getting ready to sell your home and want to make some significant repairs, you will want to keep track of all receipts so you can write off those expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses like painting, installing a new roof, and sprucing up your landscaping will not be included in your closing statement but are deducted just like your selling costs. 

Q: Is there a tax rule about making those repairs or improvements and selling within a 90-day window? (4:10)

A: Yes, home improvements and repairs that you make to your home in order to get it ready to sell should be made within 90 days. However, if you have listed your home within the past 90 days and it’s taking you a bit longer to sell, you would still be able to capture those expenses. 

Q: For those thinking about selling their home, would it be best to speak with a real estate agent as well as a CPA for a strategy on how to best attack the sale from a tax write-off standpoint? (4:40)

A: Yes absolutely, it is extremely important to consult with your CPA before you sell your home so that you can come up with the best strategy for tax savings. 

Q: What are the write-off rules for capital gains and what does that mean for someone who is thinking of selling this year? (5:12)

A: The capital gains rules are relatively simple. You are required to live in the home for two of the last five years as your primary residence. You can then make up to $250,000 worth of capital gains free of taxation if you are single, and $500,000 if you are married. You will not be liable to pay taxes on your capital gains up to that amount. 

For example, if the sales price on your home was $510,000 and you bought your home for $200,000 then your potential capital gains would be $310,000 if you are married. 

Oftentimes, most people do not realize that owning real estate enables you to have a tax shelter where you can make a profit as the market improves over time and make income off of it. What other kinds of investment works like that? I have seen many people sell their homes in areas such as Seattle or California, make a huge profit on the sale, and then take that tax-free money and move it into their retirement. With the current capital gains laws, you can move every few years and take advantage of these amazing tax benefits. 

If you have any additional tax-related questions, please feel free to reach out to Jack Trent and Co. at 208-947-2400. 

If you have any other Real Estate questions for us, we’re always here to answer them via phone or email. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 


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April 2, 2020

How Is COVID-19 Affecting Our Real Estate Market?

 We are answering questions related to real estate and the coronavirus. Here’s what you need to know.

Buying a home? Click here to start your new home search
Selling a home? Click here for an INSTANT Home Value Check 
Call us at (208) 501-8200 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation

We want to address some of the many questions we’re receiving about real estate in relation to the current health crisis. In this video, John West addresses how the coronavirus has affected our local market here in the Boise, Idaho area and in Treasure Valley, and how it may impact you and your real estate plans this year.

While no one knows exactly how this pandemic will all play out or how long it may last, we are tracking the market, reading, researching, and gathering the needed information so that we can offer the best advice and guidance to our clients who still have housing needs and goals. We have also adapted and updated our processes to help you buy and sell a home safely.

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Jan. 17, 2020

Learn how to use our powerful Real Estate website to find your next home in Idaho

Start Your Home Search

Search for homes wherever you are

Welcome to our local Idaho Real Estate website! The fastest and easiest way to find your next home here in Idaho.

Our incredible home search tool pulls the local listings directly from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). It's the same search that is used by licensed Real Estate agents and gives you up to the minute data unlike some of the other third-party real estate websites on the web which tend to have outdated information. 

Once you have signed up for an account on our website, you will receive:

  • New property email alerts
  • Price change alerts
  • Access to all detailed property information 
  • Virtual photos
  • Be able to track your favorite properties 
  • Save searches to view later

We have built our website to give you the largest, fastest, and most accurate database of homes available. 

Get Listing Alerts

BE The first to know when a property hits the market

When you save a search on our site, any new homes matching your wish list criteria will be delivered straight to your inbox the moment they go up for sale.

Save and See Listings


Click the heart icon when you find a house you love to save it in your favorites section and let us know you like it. Hit "See This Listing" or reach out to us directly to schedule an in-person showing. We're happy to walk you through the home and answer any questions, so you can make an informed decision.

We understand buying or selling a home is a big step. Whether you're buying your first home, your dream home, or your tenth investment property, we know how important this is to you.

Finding that perfect property is just one of the ways we can help you through this process. Enjoy your home search on our website. We look forward to being of service to you!

Find A Home

Search for a Home by City

Find the Perfect Home

Want to find a home in multiple cities and be able to narrow down your search by price, bedrooms, square footage, exact location and more?

Advanced Search Tool


Sell My House

Sell Your Home in Idaho

Learn what your home may be worth in today's market instantly.

If you are thinking of buying a new home but have to sell your home first, we can help. Use our Home Evaluation Tool to get an instant value check on your house and know what it may be worth in today's market.

Aug. 29, 2019

Thank You for Attending Our Event!

Thank you to those that were able to attend our 5th Annual Client and Friends Appreciation Party at Zoo Boise! This year we had over 500 RSVP's for this event. Thank you so much for those that came out to make the evening a special one. For all of those that weren't able to come this year, be on the lookout for the invite next year to make sure you don't miss out on this special evening event. We love to put on this event each year as a small way to say thank you for your continued trust in us and for the referrals you continue to send our way. 

Now a huge congratulations to Cody Rayl, for winning the photo contest! What an incredible shot of what we like to call "Beauty and the Beast!"

Fun Fact: Raven, Zoo Boise's new male lion was flown via FedEx from the Maryland Zoo. Thankfully he was trained so the flight wen well. :)

Photos of the Event!

Did our photographer spot you at the zoo? You can find all of the photos below on our Facebook page and tag yourself! We can also email you a larger copy upon request. Send us an email at: info@westrealestategroup.com

July 22, 2019

5th Annual Client and Friends Appreciation Party at Zoo Boise (August 2019)

Join Us for an Evening at Zoo Boise as Our Guest!

Event Details:
When: Friday, August 23rd, 5:30pm to 9:00pm
Where: Zoo Boise, located at 355 Julia Davis Dr. Boise, ID 83702

Face Painting • Giraffe Encounter • Zoo Farm Feeding • Butterflies in Bloom
Food and Drinks Provided • Photo Contest

Event Description:

You are invited to join us as our guest, at our 5th Annual Client and Friends Appreciation Party at Zoo Boise! Each year, we love to host an event to connect with our clients and friends and to say thank you for allowing us to serve your Real Estate needs. 

Renting out the zoo was a huge hit last year so we've done it again, only this time we decided to schedule it for you to enjoy the recently opened Gorongosa National Park Exhibit and Expansion!

Please grab your friends and family and join us for an evening of fun! We look forward to seeing you there!

P.S. If you, or anyone you know, have questions about buying or selling a home, please do call us. We would be honored to be of help. 

Registration for this event is now closed. Please contact our team with any questions at 208-501-8200

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May 1, 2019

Selling Your Home - What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Home Inspection

Home inspection with West Real Estate Group

Selling Your Home - What to Expect When You Are Expecting a Home Inspection

After you have accepted an offer on your home for sale, the next step is often the buyer’s home inspection. The most common inspection is a physical inspection conducted by a home inspector. Here’s what you can expect so that you can be best prepared.

What Are They Going to Do?

  • A home inspector will look at everything they can without risk to themselves or damage to the house.
  • The buyers may want to meet the inspector towards the end of the inspection to review the findings.

No Home is Perfect

No one’s home is perfect, and every inspection report will list at least a few items. Even brand new homes commonly have issues too. Remember that it’s the inspector’s job to be picky and find every little thing he can. What most sellers do with the report is to look for big, red flag items and not the little nickel and dime stuff. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss the buyer’s requests with your agent and determine an appropriate response.

Getting Prepared

It’s in your best interest as a seller to provide quick and easy access to your entire home. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Clear areas around your attic and crawlspace access points as well as your electrical panel and water heater.
  • Make sure all pilot lights are on for fireplaces and furnaces (even in summer).
  • If the home is vacant and the utilities have been shut off, have them reconnected before the inspection.
  • Leave instructions (if needed) for the inspector that might be helpful to help them operate systems around the home.

Who Pays for a Home Inspection?

While well and septic inspections are often paid for by sellers, the general home inspection is almost universally a buyer expense. Who pays for what will always be spelled out in the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

The duration of a home inspection varies widely, mostly depending on four factors:

  • Home size
  • Number of defects
  • The quality and thoroughness of the home inspector
  • The helpfulness of the owner when preparing for the inspection

Most commonly, expect somewhere between two and four hours unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Is It Best for Sellers to Attend an Inspection?

We recommend that sellers leave and let the inspector do their work without interference. However, it’s still your home and you have the right to be there if you need to be. The inspector just has to be able to have free access to all areas of the home.

We strongly recommend that you do not discuss the condition of the house with the inspector of the buyers if they come. The inspector has to make his own findings, and we don’t want anything we say to be seen as influencing him.

Questions or Concerns?

If you have questions or concerns about your upcoming home inspection, please give us a call at 208-501-8200. We want to be sure your questions are answered and that you feel prepared. Thank you for your trust in us and for choosing our team to be a part of this process.

April 25, 2019

3 Graphs That Show What You Need to Know About Today’s Real Estate Market in Boise, Idaho and the Treasure Valley

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | MyKCM

The local housing market here in the Boise, Idaho area and the Treasure Valley has certainly been a hot topic in the news lately. Depending on which media outlet you watch, it can start to be a bit confusing to understand what’s really going on with interest rates and home prices here in the Valley.

The best way to show what’s really going on in today’s real estate market is to go straight to the data and it's what we love to do here at West Real Estate Group. We strive to keep our clients in the loop so they can make the most informed decisions. To help better understand the market, we put together the following three graphs along with a quote from Chief Economists that have their finger on the pulse of what each graph illustrates.

Interest Rates:

“The real estate market is thawing in response to the sustained decline in mortgage rates and rebound in consumer confidence – two of the most important drivers of home sales. Rising sales demand coupled with more inventory than previous spring seasons suggests that the housing market is in the early stages of regaining momentum.” - Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac


"A powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income and higher consumer confidence is driving the sales rebound." - Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current MattersHome Prices:

“Price growth has been too strong for several years, fueled in part by abnormally low interest rates. A mild deceleration in home sales and Home Price Index growth is actually healthy, because it will calm excessive price growth — which has pushed many markets, particularly in the West, into overvalued territory.” – Ralph DeFranco, Global Chief Economist at Arch Capital Services Inc.

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

These three graphs indicate good news for the spring housing market! Interest rates are low, income is rising, and home prices have experienced mild deceleration over the last 9 months. If you are considering buying a home or selling your house, let’s get together to chat about our market!

You can call us today at 208-501-8200 or click here to start your new home search.

If you are curious about what your home is worth in today's market you can click here

Let's talk about your real estate goals today! 

March 13, 2019

What’s Going On with Bidding Wars In Boise, Idaho?

What’s Going On with Bidding Wars? | MyKCM

In a strong seller’s market, like the one we have experienced over the past few years here in the Boise, Idaho areas, bidding wars are common and expected. This makes sense! A seller’s market is defined as a market in which the inventory of homes for sale cannot satisfy the number of buyers who want to purchase a home.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionarybidding wars occur when two or more parties repeatedly outbid each other as they compete to purchase something- in this case, a home.

In some areas of the country, first-time buyers have been met with fierce competition throughout their experience. Some have been out-bid multiple times before finally winning a bid on a home to call their own.

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there is currently a 3.7-month supply of homes for sale. Here in Idaho, we are trending less than a month worth of inventory in many price points. 

With the current number of houses listed for sale and the level of demand from buyers, this means it would take 3.7 months for all the homes listed to sell if no additional listings came to market. Any supply number under a 6-month supply is considered a seller’s market. According to NAR, the housing market hasn’t had a 6-month supply of homes for sale since August 2012.

Good News for Buyers

A recent report shows that the percentage of houses sold including a bidding war before settling on a final price decreased from 53% in January of 2018 to 13% this year.

One reason for the decline is an influx of homes being listed for sale. Even though the month’s supply number is not increasing, the number of homes for sale is. The chart below shows the year-over-year change in inventory over the last 12 months.

What’s Going On with Bidding Wars? | MyKCM


As you can see, the number of homes for sale has started to build over the last eight months. Before this reversal, inventory levels had fallen for 36 consecutive months when compared to the year before.

Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s Chief Economist, gave some insight into why bidding wars are less common on a local level this year,

"[Last year] you might have been the only listing in your neighborhood, and you could put your home up at a certain list price and you would likely see multiple offers at or above that list price. That tide is turning this year.

It's going to depend on what neighborhood you're in, but we expect it to be more common this year that you won't be the only listing."

Inventory in the luxury and premium markets (the top 25% of listings in an area by price), is increasing at a higher rate than the starter home market. As the choices buyers have continued to increase, the likelihood of a bidding war will decrease.

Bottom Line

If you are debating listing your house for sale this year, you may not want to wait for additional competition as inventory continues to rise.

Find out what your home might be worth in today's market by clicking here.