Monthly Archives: March 2014

How to Chug Milk! The Horsey Way

How to Chug Milk!  The Horsey Way!

Today you’re going to meet one of my favorite 4-legged hay burner (horse) friends!  This is “Missy” or  rather “Rhinestones Miss America,” to the Tennessee Walking Horse World.  Like us, they have their real names and their nick names, but on a daily basis she is Missy to us.

Missy is going to be 3 years old pretty soon. A few years ago (2 and a half to be exact) I sold a home to some folks that were moving here from Nevada.  Like most people with livestock, it’s usually always more than one trip to move anywhere when you have critters.  They either come first (if someone will take care of them) or they come later (if someone back home will take care of them.)  And if you’re selling and then buying, sometimes timelines necessitate getting the animals moved some time before your current home sells, just so you can clean up and do what you need to do.

So, we ended up with a few boarders for a month or so.  A couple of those boarders were their milk goats.  As anyone who has milk supplying animals knows: usually when you have milk, you always have way too much milk. It usually gets fed to most anything that will drink it.  So, during that time, young Missy  had just been weaned from her mom.  Now years ago, as a kid growing up, my mare that I had at that time used to drink goat milk, since we had a bunch of goats (lots of lactose intolerant children, so nothing better then goats milk) .  So we decided to try and offer her some.

    Now you will find that once an animal has “sucked” milk from its mother, getting it to turn to drinking milk out of a bucket is a project.  And not always a successful project.   Don’t ask me how they can learn to drink water but can’t slurp milk out of a bucket, but young Missy said “Thank You” for the milk and swallowed it right up.

Well, those goats were here for about 6 weeks and then they went home.  As they left, so did her milk supply.  No more milk for baby Missy.

Well, about a month ago, we were lambing like crazy and ended up with several bummers (lost there mom).  I decided, then, we should add some goats back into the farm. Since I hate feeding lambs formula (as I just don’t like how they look on it). And, I have to be honest I am somewhat of a natural nut and I hate feeding any products with words in them that I can’t pronounce.  

 So, we added two beautiful Sable milk goats, Ella and Stella. Now, just so you know, goats are like potato chips and you can’t have just one. Actually, they get a little lonely as one and don’t milk as good as they can unless you have a couple.  Most livestock is like that, and that’s part of the reason that you always see a bunch of something in someones yard. It has to do with part collector and part needing a buddy.

As we are drowning in milk (because those 2 girls are very happy here and are both giving almost 2 gallons of milk each per day) I wondered the other day, as I had finished milking Stella, “where I am I going to put another gallon of milk? My fridge is overflowing, the lambs are ready to explode, and the baby pigs aren’t here yet.” Then ole Missy gave a nicker to say “Hi.” “I wonder if she remembers how to drink milk?”  

As you watch her video, I believe we can say adamantly that, “Yes” she remembers how to drink milk.

Now for you kids, just so you know, as the milk comes out of the goat and hits the bottom of the pan, it creates foam.  It turns back into milk as the foam collapses once it’s been out for a little while, but as its coming out, it does create about an inch or 2 of foam on the top of the milk in the pan. Since she actually has to dip her head down into the foam to get the milk, that is what she is wearing all over her face.

Missy has her milk every night now for dinner.  She waits patiently looking through the crack of her door as she watches me milk the goat and get her  evening snack for her.  I guess I should get her some horse cookies, then she could have milk and cookies before bed each night.

And that my friends is how you unload a gallon of milk in less than 2 minutes flat.  Happy chugging and I hope you all have “Got Milk!”

Horse Facility Sellers what constitutes Horse Facilites or horse property

What Constitutes Horse Facilities or property?

trigger needs shelter

Where is trigger going to live when he arrives

As I sort through the MlS today looking for “horse properties”  I’m always a little shocked and dismayed over what shows up.  Now don’t get me wrong I understand bare land can become anything you want it to be.    Always makes me think of the pretty woman movie.  What is your name?  What ever you want it to be!  But today it’s not horse facility.

I think that people who shop for “horse facilities” have a few basic expectations.

Someplace to put Trigger when he arrives at the property.  That would at least be some safe fencing , corral, paddock, pasture etc.  Most horse people do not consider barbed wire safe fencing just fyi.  Safe fencing should be standing no open holes where there’s just a little bit of the fence missing.  (Sorry I have to say this because I have seen it)  Nothing like walking fence lines with a buyer because once one hole is found you have to check for more.  And a gate!  Horses like to stick heads, legs etc. into any opening they find so if one of those body parts fits in the hole it’s probably not safe.

trigger sticks his leg

Horses will stick a leg, head anything they can into an opening

Shelter would be good.  That would definitely escalate the property to a higher standard.  3 sided and built solid enough that it’s not going to tip over when trigger bumps it with his 1100 lb butt would at least be a good start.  Tarp shelters don’t count.  I hate to tell you what it’s going to look like after Trigger runs through it on his first day at a new home while he is all excited.

And then we step up into the what I consider “true” horse properties.  Ones with an arena be it outside or inside, stalls, separate paddocks, nice safe fencing, wash rack, covered hay storage, tack room and the list goes on.  Those are all amazing selling points to your property when your marketing to horse people it is very important that those are listed in your comment section for your home.    Most horse people care more about that then the house.  Not to say that your great floors aren’t important but if I have 13 horses my first question is going to be where do my horses live.  You can probably get those great floors into a picture instead.

And then most important.  Lets see some pictures of them.  I’m not doubting the house that is important also  but for horse people it’s all about where trigger is going to live.  What do the stalls look like?  Are they safe?  What does the fencing look like.  

The grounds are they safe, and where can I ride. Am I going to have to cross 3 busy roads and get hit by a bus to get to the trail or is it safely out the back gate.   Those are all huge questions to the equine facility buyer.  And major selling points if you have great answers to those questions!

If you have a great horse facility to sell leave it to a true horseman.  I have lived and breathed the horse industry for 40+ years.  I not only talk the talk but I can walk it also.  Great internet presence and the proper lingo gets your horse property in front of people who are most interested in it.  Call today for your free no Obligation CMA and see how nice it is to work with someone who understands and respects what you have to offer for sale.  

North Idaho Horse Property

North Idaho Horse Property that is currently Available!

North Idaho offers tremendous fun for the active equestrian.  Many trails, mountains and forests to explore.  Local horse shows, organized trail rides, back country horsemen, you name it we have it.  This is a great place to go ride your horse.   Horse properties here come in a multitude of choices in size, structure etc.  If you have specific needs for horse property contact me and I would be honored to help you find a suitable home for you and your beloved equine friend.

Idaho Horse property

Idaho horse property comes in all sizes

One thing I have learned about “us” horse people.  We all have different ideas of what is a necessity for horse.  I have to be honest as I was sorting through these properties this morning, I booted a lot of them out that were listed as “horse facility” that didn’t have a stitch of fence or shelter.  So if your good with building and you just want some land contact me for some choices because I didn’t include them in this search.   Because in my “horse mind” I don’t consider anything horse property if the only thing I can do with my horse when I get there is tie it to a tree.  Of course when I look at what some call fencing I might want to tie it to the tree anyway.  It will be safer:)

Have some fun looking through these properties.  There are some amazing ones and some very suitable ones to having a country lifestyle.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for contact me and we will see what we can find.  Quite a few of these have remarkable facilities so if you have questions don’t hesitate to ask.

And if you’re in the market to sell your horse property.  Drop me an email and get a Free CMA on your property.  Let a farm and ranch specialist handle your equine property.  I know the proper terminology and”speak the language” per sea to help market your horse property quickly and efficiently.

As you will note in some of the listings above quite a few of the homes comments don’t even mention the horse facility.  I think most horse people who are reading this would agree–  the most important part of buying “horse facility” is where will my horse be living.  Most horse people ask that question before they ask about themselves.  


Why is that First Offer always your best offer

Why is that First Offer Always your best offer?

selling houses

Why do we get less money in the long run?

I have been selling “things” since I was 5 years old.  And that is truly the phenomenon question of life.  Why—  is that first offer always the best?  Why is it the most money or the best terms or the best you name it.

I’ve watched it time and time again over the years.  Be it selling a car, horse, livestock, piece of furniture, or something as big as a house.  Why do we all get spanked when we turn that first offer down?

life spanking

why does life spank us when we turn down that first offer?

And I have been guilty of it myself so don’t think I am so high and mighty I’m not!  I had a horse years ago that everyone wanted.  I would go to the horse shows and pass up an offer on her practically every show.

Well shortly thereafter I got pregnant had a kid life changed, and don’t get me wrong I still sold that horse for decent money but thousands of dollars less than what I had originally been offered.  Yes I had my fun and that was certainly “worth” something and I had my ego of having something special.  Can’t forget that!  But it was still less money on sale day.

I watch people do it all the time with  houses.  I have to shake my head at one.  Man was he holding out!  He was not going to take 10k less for that house. Was it worth it you could have argued that one either way.  Questionable home and questionable market.   And this is not a question of right or wrong today this is just a question of  life.  This man  was a lucky one.  He did get his money eventually.  After making 2 years worth of $1000 per month payments he did get that extra 10k for a price.  So for $24,000 he got his 10k.  Wow was it worth it ?  And did he win or lose?

You know we all have to question when those offers come in.  Is it what its worth?  Can I get more?  Am i being hosed by these people? Can I create more value?  Will the market come up next week?  Will it fall next week?  And I guess those are the questions that can drive us crazy forever.  Do your homework and know what range you’re going to fall into (it’s always a range) and its usually separated by a percentage point or so.

And then some where in your heart you have to find some comfort with those questions and come to a self compromise.  Bottom line its a gamble.  Maybe you can do better but your probably going to do worse statistics have proven that.   I guess if you go to the casino and you keep sticking quarters in you will eventually win.  So maybe that’s a good way to rationalize it.  And I guess at some point you have to look at the cost of holding out and balance that with what the difference is with getting on with your life.

You know I think some-days those doors are left half-open for us just to see if were willing to be “giving” enough to take the chance and move forward.  And while you’re sitting in the doorway of one door, the next door can never open.  Funny how that works.

Maybe that’s why were spanked when we don’t take the chances when the doors are opened for us.  And maybe that is why that first offer is always our best offer.


I sell homes in the North Idaho and Eastern Washington Market.  To find out what your home is worth click here for your free Market Analysis.  

Spirit Lake East Subdivision, Spirit Lake Idaho quiet country living

Spirit Lake East Subdivision

Idaho Real Home

Beautiful Farm and Ranch homes in Idaho! Tons of Recreation and gorgeous Views!

To Request a Current Market Analysis on your Home please Contact Me.


Spirit Lake East Subdivision is nestled in the forest between both Spirit Lake and Athol off of the Main Hwy of Hwy 54.  This is a subdivision of nice homes to upscale homes all on 10-12 acre lots.  It’s a quiet private community with no shooting, lots of forest  and not a ton of agriculture.  You are allowed to have livestock and horses in their but it is limited.  You will not see this subdivision getting ran down.  This area is full of wildlife, deer, moose and the gamete of smaller creatures. Most of the homes boast cathedral ceilings, great views and some nice upgrades like granite counters etc.  Shops are the norm for most of the homes and some even boast a  mother in law cabin or guest house.

Water is provided by a community system that everyone pays into.  It keeps the water cost down and reasonable.  Most people in there say there water bill runs about $25 per month up to about $50 per month in the summer.   Houses are all on their own septic system.

 The road system is maintained by the subdivision.  It is part of what your $217 per year home owners association pays for.  For more information on the subdivision visit Spirit Lake Subdivision. The road is gravel but is usually in good condition does have a few pot holes and will be muddy in the spring but I have always been able to get my little car in and out of there even in the winter.

They do a good job of keeping it plowed.  I think most folks in there do drive some form of an suv or something a little bigger then my car but that is also common to the area as there is a lot of wildlife and if you have to hit something big like a moose you really want to survive it.

The houses in their range from about 1800 sq ft up to 4000+ sq ft.  Prices range from about the $250k range all the way up into the 600-700k range.  Depending on the Estate.  Most of the home owners are either professional people or are retired.  Spirit Lake East is about 5-10 minutes from the town of Spirit Lake.  Spirit Lake is a small town with just a couple of gas stations a full-scale (on the smaller side) grocery store, a hardware store and the post office.  There are a couple of bars and a couple of small eating establishments also.  Great food up at Annie’s.  Recreation is close as the town borders the lake.

Your also about 10-15 minutes away from Bayview and Lake Pend Orielle right down Hwy 54.  One of the largest inland lakes in the United States.  Drop your boat into the water and you are off for the day to many destinations including Sandpoint and the gorgeous wonders of that lake.

Depending on where you work.  Spirit Lake East is also about 25-30 minutes from the Town of Coeur d Alene, Hayden and the Interstate.  Depending on which side of Spirit Lake East you live on most either cut across and down on Ramsey or Diagonal road and catch Hwy 95 over off Brunner by Silverwood Theme Park.  It is now a 65 mph 2 lane hwy and has really cut the commute time down dramatically.  If you go the back way and go down Hwy 41 you will run into Rathdrum in about 15 minutes or less and then you are about 20 minutes to Spokane Valley and all the shopping at the Valley Mall.  Cutting across on Mission you can get to the downtown area fairly easily or take the back way up Bigelow Gulch and you can be to the North Side of Spokane quite quickly also.  If you need specifics of how to do that contact me and i am more than happy to share some of the short cuts.

Current list of homes for sale in Spirit Lake East.

Please contact me for a current market analysis if you have a home that you want to sell.

There has been a couple of foreclosures in this subdivision in the last year and the lower priced homes reflect that. Sold Prices have ranged from  $185k to $355k. The Average running around $265k.  I think the prices are stabilizing in Spirit Lake East right now and am happy to see that most of the homes are selling for closer to their expected value. There is still quite a bit of inventory almost 2 years worth so for sellers in that subdivision it is very important that your home is priced right and marketed correctly for a sale this year. This subdivision is still definitely a buyers market right now.  But it is looking up.

To schedule a viewing of a beautiful home in Spirit Lake East please feel free to contact me.

First Time Home Buyers how to pick the home

 First Time Home Buyer How To pick out that new home!

So you have done your homework.  Your Pre-qualified for your new home you know the price range that you need to be in and you and your family have decided roughly what it is that you want in a home to buy.  And I say roughly because you don’t always end up with what you think your going to end up with.  Once you start walking through some houses your going to change your mind a little.  Your going to find things you like and your going to see somethings that you thought you would have liked that you really don’t.  And that’s okay!  That is part of the process.  Especially if you’re a first time home buyer.

Dream home is found

Once you find the dream home its time to make an offer on it

You have picked your Realtor and are receiving properties from that Realtor on a regular basis.  So what do you do with those.  I’m going to suggest that you take a little time and do a few drive-bys and check out the neighborhoods (make sure your comfortable with them) and look for the schools, shopping  etc what ever is important to you.  As you do your drive-bys you are going to see some of them that you look around and say “No way am I living here”  and that’s fine.  That is how we start sorting them out.

I’m going to suggest that you don’t always sort them out by the pictures.  Unfortunately in this industry pictures can sometimes be deceiving.  Now if its horrible that’s fine but I would suggest starting  first with the neighborhoods.  Remember in Real Estate it’s all about Location, Location, Location!  And unfortunately we all do sometimes see some fabulous houses in areas that a prudent wanting to be safe person would never be.  

Once you have them sorted its time to start scheduling some time to go view them.  This is when it starts to get fun.  You want to block a few hours out at a time.  I am going to suggest that you keep your numbers down to about 5 or 6 to view in a day.  You get to many and they start to run together in your mind.  And bring a notebook.  Plan on taking some notes.  A flashlight and a tape measure are also good tools to have with you.

Depending on your Realtor, the area and how far you are traveling you may ride with your Realtor or you may follow in your own vehicle.  I see a lot of families with babies take their own vehicle so they can have all the babies stuff with them.  it all depends on the situation and the logistics.  Either way your off to start the home buying process.  

I am going to suggest at this time also that if you have a baby sitter for the baby or the other kids to utilize that person at this time.  It’s actually important that you are not distracted as you are walking through homes while you are preparing to make one of the biggest  investments of your life.  

There is a certain etiquette that you want to follow as you come to viewing homes.  For one thing the home owners personal stuff is theirs.  You never go through their home and open dresser drawers, medicine bottles or any other personal items.  And you don’t let your kids do it either.  They don’t get to play with the families kids toys  either.  Frankly sanitation wise that freaks me out.

A well prepped seller won’t have those things out anyway but you will find as you walk through homes not all sellers are well prepped.  If they have booties out for shoe covers you wear them.  Quite a few sellers don’t want extra tracks across their floors.  Especially in an environment where you are probably coming in with wet feet.  You always want to respect their personal property.

Another big one if they have pets Leave them Alone!  I can’t tell you how many times I have to suggest to people to leave their animals alone.  If the dog is in the kennel because the owner thinks it might bite Respect that!  Nobody cares that you’re the next dog whisperer.  If you’re looking at Rural property if you open a gate shut the gate.  And once again leave their animals alone.  You never know how they will react to strangers and frankly there is no reason to find out.  Nothing is going to ruin your house hunting day more than getting a good dog bite or letting someones horse kick you.

Now what can you open.  You can always open kitchen cupboards, closets, pantry’s, garage doors etc.  Anything that is part of the home that will be staying.  Just don’t go through the things in the closet.  They will be leaving.  Another thing that you shouldn’t do is don’t get hung up on any of the pictures the seller has hanging on the walls or sitting around.  Once again a well prepped seller will have put those away but we do see them when we are out and about.

You can take measurements.  if you like a home but know that you have a special couch that is x number of feet long.  Of course you can measure to make sure it will fit.  Anything else that is a specialty of your own personal life by all means make sure it will fit.  That is what we are here for.

Another thing you want to pay attention to is what is included in the house.  Most homes are required to leave the range, the oven hood, dishwasher, attached window treatments, light fixtures,  Anything that is basically attached to the house.

Now on some listings they will have the excluded items list and you want to pay attention to that.  It may include things like the refrigerator, washer and dryer, the storage shed out back.  Sometimes its the beautiful antique chandelier that is hanging in the entry.  It could be anything.

Now once again the well prepped seller would have made sure that the chandelier was already pulled down and what they were leaving was already up.  They can’t take it and leave you a hole in the ceiling.  But we all know not all sellers are well prepped.  And sometimes they just don’t follow good advice because they just don’t want to.  Grandmas chandelier just makes the entry way pop.

So what if your looking at this house and you love grandmas chandelier.  Well you can ask for it.  Make it part of the deal.  Doesn’t mean your going to get it but you never know.  Same thing for the refrigerator or the washer and dryer.  Remember everything is negotiable.  You may want to read How to make an offer so you can put some of the pieces together.

Once you have it narrowed down to just a couple of favorites its usually a good idea to go back through those favorites again prior to making the choice.  Its time to really look at it and make sure that its really going to fit your family.  Another check on the neighborhood, crime rate or whatever is important to you.

Make sure your eyes are wide open and you look at it for its faults also.  This isn’t a nitpick it a piece party but this is the time to look at what is obvious of changes you would want to make or touches you want to add and make sure it looks feasible.  This is also the time to note the condition of the home again.  If it looks like the roof is about to blow off then you need to be aware that you may be buying a new roof in the next year.  Does that fit your budget?

Your probably going to do a home inspection also so you will have an expert come in behind you and really look it over but you do want to be aware.

If it all checks out then the time has arrived to make that offer.  You are well on your way of being a First Time Home Buyer!

I hope this helped give you an idea of how the selection process works for that great home that you want to buy.  Questions and comments don’t be shy.  I am here to help just contact me.  Please feel free to use the free home search on the website and when you are ready to start your shopping process please consider hiring me to help you through the home buying process.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read and have a Fabulous day!

How to Negotiate Your Home Inspection

Negotiating the Home Inspection!

As your offer is wrote you have an option in the contract to have not only a home inspection but an inspection of most anything you want.  For instance if the roof looks questionable to you maybe you want a roofer to inspect it.  If your buying Rural Property and there is a well you might want a well person to inspect that.  Other common individual inspections could be the heating supply, pests inspection, big in my area Radon and Mold.  Anything that doesn’t look right to you and you want a professional in that field to check it out this is the time to request that.

Home Inspector will find water damage

Home Inspector will find water damage

So who pays for that home inspection?  You do!  

It’s your information to protect you.  You own the inspection.  Your agent should be able to recommend you a few inspectors and you can check for fees but ultimately every inspection you request is your responsibility.  Time is usually of the essence in this situation also.  Depending on how fast your closing this contract will sometimes dictate how much time you have to get this done.  Even on a best case scenario though you usually don’t get much more than 10 days.  You want to pay attention to that number in your contract and get these scheduled as quickly as possible so you have time to consider the results and do more research if necessary.

Before you made this offer hopefully you have already looked the house over for any major flaws or abnormalities that you could have noticed.  Your not the expert but you should be able to see if there is obvious water damage or a hole in the roof or something else that is big and obvious.  You will probably have a few surprises in the home inspection but they should be small if you look the house over fairly well.  Your Realtor can help you with this also, they are not a qualified home inspector but if it appears that you never noticed that part of the roof is missing, I do believe it is our responsibility to say hey Mr. or Mrs. buyer are you going to be okay with that big sky light?  Or for instance I had one the other day a Repo that I noticed all the wires were cut to the breaker box.  You know that’s a simple observation that you might want to get the electrical checked out on this home.  I don’t know what needs to be done but looks like a potential problem.

home inspection repairs

somethings you can fix

Now one thing I am going to tell you straight up there is no such thing as a perfect house.  They all have something wrong with them.  Its like anything in life no such thing as perfection it’s just a question can you manage the flaws and can you live with them.  With that said prior to making the offer you should have looked the house over for major flaws.  Water damage, Cracks in the wall or foundation, Obvious Electrical issues and anything else that seems strange.

So the home inspector looks the house over and it has some issues so what can you ask to have repaired and what should you accept.  A lot of times its going to depend on how the home was listed if it’s a foreclosure or a short sale and its listed “as is.” Then that is probably what you’re going to get.  “As Is!”

That home iinspection is to protect you and give you a heads up of what is wrong in that situation.  If the home was listed as is, and you thought you could handle its issues, but after the inspection you find that there is something major, then here is a good opportunity for you to be able to walk away from the home.  

The type of loan you’re getting is also going to dictate what you’re going to have to ask the seller to fix and what you can let slide.  So the first thing you and your agent are going to do is go through that home inspection and make a list of everything that you want fixed, everything you need fixed and everything you must have fixed.  Do some prioritizing.

Then your going to have to look at the market and take that into consideration.  In a fast market with lots of buyers you’re not going to get as much fixed as you will in a slower market.  How marketable is that house.  If your loan requires certain repairs prior to funding the loan than those are must ask for and those become non-negotiable.  Your seller either fixes or your forced to walk.

Then come the wants.  Some days that boils down to how handy are you.  If you can do some of the little things might be better to ask that seller to do the big must do fixes and you take on the little things.  This new home is going to be a life time of little things to fix just fyi.  If the seller is quite handy and you’re not then maybe yes its time to ask for those.

You really more than anything want to find a balance.

Its all about balance

Teamwork can make anything happen

I usually tell my buyers if its major and can become a deal breaker then we ask for it.  If there is a bunch of little piddly things then maybe we pick what is most important to us and that is what we ask for.  Split it per sea and let them know that we are splitting it.  Sometimes a seller is a little happier to accommodate if they know that you have only selected a few things off the list rather than a huge laundry list.

I have found that usually not asking for more than about 3 or 4 things seems to work fairly well also.  You hand them to big of a list and it makes them mad they feel nitpicked.  I’ve had sellers say well if there is this much wrong with my house why are they buying it.  They obviously don’t like it.  Hand them something with just  a few things on it and they will look at it and go okay I can do that.   So don’t overwhelm them.  

And just a little insight on a seller.  That home inspector shows up and there scared.  They know this person can rip their home a new one.  So take that into consideration as this process is going down.  Doesn’t mean get stuck with something that you can’t handle it just means to be a little prudent and kind.

So what if the seller won’t fix anything.  Well you still have some choices.  You can walk of course.  Or you can say hey Mr. or Mrs.  Seller there is a lot more repairs here then I was expecting will you come down on the price a little and help me out?  That is always an option unless the necessary repair has to be done to qualify the home for your loan.

If you really like the home though maybe you talk to the lender and see if some of the repairs can be done out of escrow or change your type of loan.  It is all still very negotiable at this moment. I’ve seen buyers change their loan to accommodate the repairs and the sellers drop the price a little and everyone is happy.  Sometimes you have sellers that are moving because of a variety of reasons and if they can’t afford to do the repairs sometimes you have to work around that.   And this is one of those spots that if you didn’t make your seller mad with your offer to purchase.  How to Make an Offer!  that you can still have a conversation and come to some form of an agreement.

Bottom line on a home purchase.  Everything is negotiable.  And sometimes the majority of the negotiations actually happen after you have made your offer.  Lots of variables out there.  I hope this has given you a little bit of an idea of what to expect with a home inspection and somewhat of how your going to have to navigate it.  Every home deal is different so there is never any set in stone this is how its done.  I always marvel over the creativity of people when they put there heads together and figure out how to make something happen. 

The path to the keys of your new home

The path to the keys of your new home

Please feel free to Contact me with any questions that you may have.  You are always welcome to use my free home search for the North Idaho and Eastern Washington area.  And please consider my services for your next home buying or selling needs.  I hope your day is amazing.

First Time Home Buyers through the eyes of a Realtor

The First Time Home Buyer Calls:

There Giddy with excitement as they have finally decided to take the home buying plunge.  There impatient the time has come to buy that home and since the decision was made yesterday it has already been a long time.  Hurry up and show me something.  If the Realtor should ask to many questions then skip onto the next one that just runs out and shows them a home.   Better yet lets call 3 or 4 realtors surly we will get better service that way.

The first dream home

The first dream home

They come across the drag of a Realtor.  The one that goes “Haaave you been pre-qualified”?  Pre-qualified whats that?  Of course we have good credit! We will worry about that later. Lets go see a house!

Money is only a portion of the negotiation

Money is only a portion of the negotiation

Hurry!  Lets go!   I really want to see it today.  And off to the houses they go.  She falls in love with the first house, he hates it.  Then the arguments begin.  Before you know it we are discussing how many children were going to have,  who gets which rooms and who’s mother gets to live with us.  And I don’t even like his mother she says.  But we get that hashed out and finally ” find the one.”

Remember that “drag” of a Realtor we mentioned earlier?   The one that wanted our first time home buyer to pre-qualify?  Well now we are going to learn why we “should” have listened to that Realtor.  That offer needs a Pre-qual letter.  So now that the dream house is found we need to get that done yesterday because were going to lose that house if we don’t get an offer on it right away!!  And that’s the day we find the blemish on the credit.  And we also learn that $200k house we just fell in love with well we only qualify for $175k.  We can’t afford it.  That makes for a great relationship moment!  One of you  paid a bill late and someone  doesn’t make enough money!   Lets sleep on that one tonight!

There are so many hoops to jump through to make that first time home buying experience as smooth as possible.  From having a well thought out plan to even an idea of what you want for a home.  What features, a dream list per-sea.

A good talk with a financial adviser or a mortgage person is a great place to start.  There are so many different loans and loan programs out there that you should know what you qualify for before you even start “looking” at a house.  Some loans that you will qualify for  are for certain locations, some for certain income brackets, neighbor hood rehab loans that are available to people of certain occupations ie. teachers, police officers etc.  You want to have your financial ducks in a row!

It is to your advantage to decide on the price range and the size of your house payment long before you get swept away with the excitement of a new home.  It’s a budget saver and a relationship saver all in one.

So your well laid out plan on buying your first home is starting to come together.  You have your savings, your down payment, your pre-qualified letter in hand and you know the price range your going to be shopping in.

So let’s go look at some houses!  So before you start calling every Realtor you find on-line.  Now is the time to do a little home work.  Do you have some that can be referred to you?  So interview a couple of them.  They should have some experience in helping a first time home buyer.  Hopefully they know the neighborhoods that you are interested in and can give you a little advice maybe know a few inside tidbits of info on them that you wouldn’t know otherwise.

Are they a good fit for you?  Can you communicate with them?  Home buying can be a little frustrating.  Will they answer your calls and your questions?  Can you text them how do you get a hold of them when you have a question.  When do they work?  Make sure that it’s all a good fit.  Your going to work pretty close with this person for the next 2-3 months.

Once you have selected your Realtor don’t be surprised if they ask you to sign a buyers Representation agreement.  Yes they expect your loyalty.  There going to be doing a lot of ground work for you and yes at some point they are going to expect a reward for there hard work.  Aka a pay check.

So off to the houses you go.  You find your favorite and in goes the offer.  This is a good time to listen to the advise of your agent.  Do let them help you!  I can’t tell you how many first time home-buyers have to lose on a home because someone told them to low ball the house or some other crazy idea.  Your Realtor should be able to help you make a good reasonable offer. For more info on that read How to make an offer.   The secret to negotiations is that everyone wins.  You should feel you’re getting good value for your dollar and you should be able to prove that with com parables of the other homes that have sold in the area.  Your Realtor should be able to provide that.

And you don’t want to leave your seller with a feeling of getting insulted.  The purchase price is just one of the tiny little pieces of the puzzle that make for good negotiations.  You have closing dates, inspections, you have the unknowns with your own loan.  Nothing like finding  your having problems with your loan or the bank is behind and to have to come and ask your already angry seller to work with you.  And don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you overpay for anything but I am suggesting being reasonable.  That old adage of put your self in the other persons boot for a few minutes will help you a lot here.

It takes a team to have a smooth purchase and sale.  A good attitude and a feeling of teamwork will go a long way.  Emotions are always the highest during this time for you and the sellers of your new home.  Lots of changes coming everyone’s direction right now.

This is where lots of prep with you lender should make the loan process smooth.  You get through your inspection process hopefully you had no surprises on the condition of your new home.  And you move on down the purchase pipe line.  The day comes to sign your loan documents.  This is always a big day for folks and a frustrating day also.

You sign your loan should the house be yours right now?  Chances are probably not.  Once you sign your loan documents they usually are then sent back to the lender and audited.

After they pass that little phase they then cut a check and send it to the title company or the closer to disperse.  Once the funds have been dispersed and the transfer of the home has been “recorded” through the county court-house at that time the home becomes yours.

You get the keys with a good offer

You get the keys with a good offer

On a best case scenario that can happen in one day on a worse case it might take a couple of days.  That is always something to discuss with your lender prior to your closing date so you can make a plan.  Hate to see that moving truck full and nowhere to go.

A good Realtor should be happy and willing to walk you through the whole home buying process and keep you apprised along the way of what to expect at every avenue.  With knowledge your armed! And with a well armed client it helps those realtors keep the fun and the charm in their job.  One  of the biggest joys of this job is helping a first time homeowner achieve the fulfillment of owning their first home.  There is nothing more satisfying in my opinion then seeing the glee on the face of a family walking into their first home.

Please contact me with your questions and your home buying desires in North Idaho and Eastern Washington.  Feel free to check out the free home search on this site.  It is always available to you.  Thank You so much for giving my site some of your time.  I appreciate it!  Have an amazing day!


How to make that Home Buying Offer

“How to make that Home Buying Offer” is the never ending question.

How to buy a home

Dream Home awaits

What makes for a good offer?  How do I get the best deal?  And the worse part of all is that I have a dozen different people stuffing ideas into my head and I just watched this magic show on TV that tells me I can low ball a seller and make an amazing deal on a home.

I have to tell you I represent a lot of buyers out there.  I’m an ABR (Acredited Buyers Representative).

Which means, I take this job seriously and I  specialize in helping you buy a home.  So I’m going to poop on a couple of myths that you might have: that show on TV, it’s fiction (not real). Yes, there are moments that you’re going to get something amazing for nothing but in reality, it’s not going to happen very often.  Even the great deals usually need work or something special to make them “the great deal.”  It’s there to entertain and give you something to dream about.  And yes, hopefully inspire you to go buy a house!


With that said, let’s talk about the offer.

I know you have mom and dad whispering in your ear, and Uncle Joe just told you that all realtors are out to screw you.  After all they want you to pay more money for a property so that they will make more money.  So lets discuss that for a moment:

brass  screw
Honestly I never think about a commission check until it’s in my hand.  Money is a long way out from when I put you in my car until I actually see a check.  So isn’t in the fore front of the mind.  House deals I’m working on now, I may not see the money for 60-90 days or more, depending on what we’re doing.

And then let’s think about the big picture :

1.  If you don’t buy a house the Realtor doesn’t get paid.  It’s plain and simple. And I don’t think forced sales are going to work here.  Most folks don’t purchase at all when they’re pressured.

2. Most of us that are Realtor s plan on being in the business for a long time.  I don’t want to have to run and hide behind the apples, when I see you in the grocery store, because I stole a hundred bucks from you.

3.  Realistically most of our business comes from referrals. And honestly your thousands of dollars of referrals are worth a whole lot more to me then you overpaying by $5000 for a property which will probably net me a $150 bucks.  I would rather take care of you for life.

So, make sure you pick an agent that is in it for the long haul.  You can usually spot them by the extra designations behind their names.  They’re looking at it as a career. They work full-time.

Now I have to ask you a question: You have your price range picked out and you have walked through 10 houses that are all basically the same size, price etc.  Any of these homes could have been “the one“.  You find the one that is the “best” of the bunch, it’s a beauty, the best cared for the most features etc.  So why do you want to low ball the offer on that home?  Why would you want to insult the seller of that home?  And don’t get me wrong here, I’m not suggesting that you don’t negotiate and get a good deal on the home.  I’m talking to the folks that have to come in $25-30k below asking price on a mid-range home (In my area that is under $200k usually closer to $175k).  I have to tell you from experience the people who do that, even if they get the home finally negotiated and purchase it, they always end up paying more for the house in some way.  Always!


Money is only a portion of the negotiation

Money is only a portion of the negotiation

Why is that you ask?  They made  the seller very angry!  Those are my polite big girl words for it.  They created an unworkable atmosphere.  They insulted them and they lost the work together attitude.  The seller no longer feels good about selling you their home.  Because sellers like to feel good.  They like to know that someone appreciates the little touches they did and that this new buyer is going to love and respect this home as much as they did.  You see they’re attached to it.  It’s part of they’re family.  And usually they’re sad to leave it.  Kinda like giving your dog away, If it’s getting a good home its a little easier to swallow.  

A recent example:  Some folks looked at a house for $165k they wanted to lowball the house.  I suggested for a low ball $150k is pretty low but maybe you can compromise somewhere in-between.  Now our market supports the $165k price and we had looked at several homes in the same price and this one was the gem of the bunch.  Come to find out that the sellers had already had a deal fall through for $159k.  So they had already shown a willingness to compromise to that price. The buyers decided that the best they would do on the house is $142k now that’s  86% of asking price offer.  You’re asking them to come down 14% .  Now that’s a pretty big hit on a house of that price range.  And were not talking a home that needs a bunch of work.  We looked at those also in this price range.  

So can you guess what the sellers did?  They came back with a $162k rather than what they had previously decided they would accept.  Of course it looks like those Realtors are just trying to get more money out of these poor buyers but the fact of the matter is that low offer made those sellers mad.  They would rather keep their home then sell it to them  for that.  They felt violated and unappreciated and they turned it personal.  As my grandpa would have said “it got their dander up.” It Made them fighting mad.

Now you can say well whats wrong with trying that.  Lets not forget that it takes about 10% of what ever they sell the home for just in fees and expenses that they have to pay out-of-pocket.  And that’s provided that you’re not asking for concessions like your closing costs paid by them.  You can add at least another 3% to that if your asking them to pay those also.   That deal would have cost those sellers approximately 24% of asking price before they pay off their loan.

They have Realtor Fees (yes they pay for your representation too), they have taxes in a lot of states.  Washington is almost 2% of the sales price now.  They have closing costs, septic pumping and any other misc costs that come up.  If you got some repairs out of them they had that also.

And sometimes you want to consider that when you make an offer.  If your going to ask for a bunch of repairs don’t ding them a ton on the price.  You usually don’t get both.

And I’m going to tell you if you really do not think that the home is worth close to the asking price then just don’t make an offer on it.  Wait for the price to come down.  Using the home above There’s nothing wrong with walking through that home and saying that home isn’t worth more than $142k to me.  That’s fine.  So my advice would be if the price of that home ever comes down to say 150k or less than make an offer on it.  Until then wait for it.  As they say you never have a 2nd chance to make a first impression.

So, what makes a good Home buying offer?

Well there is always wiggle room in a home purchase there is no doubt to that.  And I think most Realtor s would agree with me that a well priced home has a couple of % points worth of wiggle room depending on the price range.  A mid priced house like the one mentioned above yes probably 5k but that would be stretching it.  Because you see if your walking through a bunch of homes and there all the same price your going to come across that home that is over priced.  There’s going to be one in the bunch that you’re going to say its nowhere near as nice as these other homes.  Doesn’t compare!  Well that’s the home then that is over priced.

Your Realtor is also going to do some checking for you and tell you how long everything has been on the market and give you some com parables of what has sold.  When you see that homes of this size and style are selling for x amount of dollars well if this home compares to those then that is what its worth.  you may pay a couple of thousand more or less but you will be in that ball park.

The next question: is your market going up or down?  If you’re in a falling market area yes maybe coming down a bunch might  work.  Homes do sometimes have to do what we call beat the market down.  Now if you’re in a situation where most of us are today we are in a rising market and that means that what the houses sold for yesterday may not be what they sell for today there prices are going up steadily.

You really want to consider all the details when you’re putting together an offer.  And I understand wanting the best deal.  We all want the best deal.  But I as your buyers rep. I want you to also have the best experience.  I want you to have a seller that is willing to work with you.  Which means you want to take the whole picture into consideration.  For instance if you need concessions closing costs paid, a quicker close then what is normal (usually somewhere between 30-60 days is normal with about 45 days being the average) then you need to consider that.  Buying a house from an elderly couple with 50 years of stuff in the home may not be the best situation for asking them to close the deal in 2 weeks.  They probably can’t move that fast.

You get the keys with a good offer

You get the keys with a good offer

Quite often buyers and sellers with a good working relationship can get so many extras out of each other that it makes everyone’s life easier.  its nice to know that there leaving the house clean and that maybe there  Willing to fix the leak under the sink that the home inspector found because they think your going to be a good home for there beloved memories.  Sometimes you will find sellers asking you if you want that couch that they don’t want to move or the shed in the back yard.  They do those things when they like you. Not killing  your house purchase because your lender messed up and you need an extra 3 days to pay for the home.  There are so many things to dodge once the offer is made that I just can’ t begin to tell you how important it is to make a fair workable home buying offer.   It sets the tone for the whole transaction!

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.  I’m here to help.