New Year’s Tips for the Home Aficionado

Now that 2012 has ended, it’s time to start thinking about some New Year resolutions. At Windermere, our resolutions change very little year after year. That’s because the highest expectation we can set for ourselves is to anticipate and respond to the needs of our clients, while supporting the communities in which we serve.

If you’re 2013 resolution is to buy or sell a home, here are some suggestions to help you along the way. For everyone else, we’ve added some tips about building equity and investing in updates to your home.




If you’re in the market to buy your first home or if you’re upsizing/downsizing, here are some ideas that can help you make this dream a reality:

  • Create a buying timeline and work towards your goal
  • Check your credit scores and work to improve your rating
  • Start or increase your savings for a down payment
  • Start the loan pre-approval process
  • Meet with your real estate agent
  • Start looking for homes


If you are planning to put your home on the market in 2013, here are some good places to start:

  • Create a selling timeline to work towards having your home ready for market
  • Make a list of home improvements and a plan on how to manage them
  • Get rid of the clutter
  • Contact a real estate agent

Building Equity:

You may not be moving this year, but you can create a plan to increase your equity in the home you have now. Here are some tips:

  • Take advantage of low interest rates by refinancing to a lower rate
  • Consider refinancing to a shorter term loan
  • Make extra lump-sum payments. Consider using your tax refund, cash gifts, work bonuses, garage sale money, or any other unexpected income toward paying down your principal.
  • Pay every two weeks instead of once a month. A biweekly payment plan can substantially reduce the amount of interest you pay because you are breaking the interest accrual down from 30 days to every 15.
  • Pay a little extra each month. Even if you’re only rounding up to the next $100 increment, putting a little extra money towards your principal every month can add up.

Investing In Your Home

You can add a lot of value and additional enjoyment to your home by investing in improvements and upgrades.

  • Choose a home improvement project that will yield a good return on investment when you do choose to sell
  • Create a home checklist to track maintenance projects over the year
  • Make eco-improvements to increase your home’s sustainability and reduce your utility payments over the long-term. These improvements are generally a good return on your investment when reselling.

o Upgrade furnace to an efficient model

o Upgrade windows for better insulation

o Add alternative energy resources, such as solar power

o Update toilets and showers to low-flow

o Install a programmable thermostat

o Update to energy-efficient appliances


What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm
Windermere Real Estate Boise Valley | Posted in Blog |

Happy Holidays!


We hope you are enjoying the holiday season! December is always a busy time of the year, with presents to shop for, gifts to wrap, decorations to hang, and friends and family to entertain.. With Hanukkah in full swing and Christmas and New Years right around the corner, we thought we would share with you some of our favorite holiday resources from our Windermere Real Estate Pinterest page. We have been ‘’pinning” everything from holiday decorations and traditions to crafts and safety tips, to our Holiday board. Below is just a sampling:

To-do Lists and Survival Tips:

Decorations and Gifts:

DIY Projects:

Holiday Safety:

Holiday Traditions:


We would love to hear from you – what are your favorite resources for holiday crafts, tips, and traditions?

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm
Windermere Real Estate Boise Valley | Posted in Blog |

Tips For Emergency Preparedness


Over the last few weeks, we have been sharing valuable information about preventative home maintenance and preparing your home for winter storms. The start of the New Year is a great time to take stock of your emergency kit. It’s a good idea to do this every year in order to replenish and adjust the contents to your families changing needs.

Emergency Kit Basics:

A good place to start when putting together your kit is emergency basics for your family. Keep all items together in a location that is easy to access. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you should consider including in your emergency kit:

· The general rule is to have at least one gallon of water per person, per day. This is useful for drinking, food preparation, and general hygiene. The Red Cross suggests keeping a two week’s supply of water at your home and three days worth in the case of evacuation.

· A two-week supply of non-perishable food that is easy-to-prepare. Flashlight and extra batteries

· Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

· The following first aid kit supplies (Based on the Red Cross Guidelines)

o 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)

o 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)

o 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)

o 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)

o 5 antiseptic wipe packets

o 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)

o 1 blanket (space blanket)

o 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)

o 1 instant cold compress

o 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)

o 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)

o Scissors

o 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)

o 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)

o 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)

o 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)

o Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)

o 2 triangular bandages

o Tweezers

o First aid instruction booklet

To Go Bag

· If you or family members have medications, make sure you have at least a seven day supply

· Multi-purpose tool

· Sanitation and personal hygiene items

o Hand sanitizer

o Toothbrushes and toothpaste

o Personal wipes

· Personal documents:

o Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

o Family and emergency contact information

o Extra cash

· Extra cell phone chargers

· Emergency blanket(s)


Car Kit:

In the case of an evacuation or car emergency you should have a supply kit that can last up to three days.

· The Red Cross recommends having a three=day supply of water in the case of an evacuation (one gallon per person per day).

· Three days’ worth of non-perishable food.

· First aid kit

· Flashlight with extra batteries

· Extra phone charger

· Emergency blanket

· Map of your area


If you have pets you will want to pack additional supplies to ensure their safety in the event of an emergency. It’s a good idea to have a week’s worth of food for each pet, a gallon of water per day, medication on hand, additional leash, crate, and sanitation materials (pet bags, litter, etc.).

Keeping Your Sanity:

If you have small children you may want to include activities for kids to stay occupied without the help of electricity. Small games, coloring books and supplies, and other items can be stashed in the emergency kit to keep the family occupied.

Have we missed anything? Let us know what you recommend for emergency preparedness.

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm
Windermere Real Estate Boise Valley | Posted in Blog |

Damage Control: Preparing for Winter Storms

Last month we shared tips for preventive home maintenance to help you and your home fare better through the winter months. This week we want to take this topic a bit further by focusing on disaster preparedness. No one wants to think about disasters, but being organized can help bring you and your family a peace of mind. Here are some tips for preparing for events, such as major winter storms, natural disasters, and evacuations. In the coming weeks, we will have more on how to stock an emergency kit and manage property damage.

Power Outages

Power outages are relatively common during large weather-related events; however, losing power for a few days can be highly inconvenient – and even dangerous. If you aren’t in immediate danger, you will want to make sure you are prepared with some basic necessities to survive the cold, darkness, and boredom that can accompany days without electronic stimulants.

· Keep a supply of flashlights and batteries on hand. These items easily find their way to the back of drawers, or misplaced in rooms. Make sure they are easy to find in absolute darkness. Keep flashlights in your bed side table and use a magnet to secure a flashlight to your fridge. Keep plenty of batteries on hand; in the case of an emergency, batteries can be very difficult to find.

· Don’t rely on candles. Candles are dangerous if you have pets or small children, and they can also cause a fire if not properly attended.

· Have a crank or battery powered AM/FM radio available so you can keep up on the news.

· Use your cell phone sparingly or use a charger with an alternative energy source to make sure your phone is fully changed during an emergency situation.

· When preparing for the winter season, make sure you stock up on food that is easy to eat without the help of a microwave or stove.

· Keep your refrigerator cold. The more often you open the fridge, the more quickly the temperature will rise and your food will spoil. Here is a useful guide for how long food will last after an outage.

· If you have small children, keep a stock of activities to entertain them without the aid of electricity.

· You may be able to use a BBQ if the weather is permitting or if you have a covered patio. It is very important to remember to never bring your BBQ inside for food consumption or heat. Using a BBQ or generator inside can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.


Natural Disasters

In the instance of a natural disaster, such as a tsunami or earth quake, turn off your water heater and gas tanks. Gas leaks can be very dangerous, so if you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, you will want to leave the premises immediately and call your gas provider. If you are concerned for your family’s safety in your home, follow an evacuation plan (see “Evacuations” below).

If you are preparing for a major wind storm or hurricane/tornado, you may actually have some forewarning. In that instance, here are some helpful tips:

· Secure furniture to walls. If you live in earthquake prone territories (or have small children), securing tall bookshelves to your wall is a must. This will reduce damage and decrease the odds that someone will get injured.

· Bring outdoor items inside, including your patio furniture, pots, barbeques, etc. These items could get lost or cause greater damage to your property.

· In high wind situations, use storm shutters or board up your windows to prevent trees or other objects from causing damage.

· Fill your bathtub with clean water. In the event that water is shut off, this will be valuable for flushing the toilet and personal hygiene.

· If you have a fireplace or a wood burning stove, stock up on firewood to ensure your home stays warm.



During a weather-related emergency, your first priority is usually to stay in the safety of your own home. But sometimes this is not possible. With the help of your family, it’s a good idea to make an evacuation plan. Here are some possible issues to consider:

· Come up with a plan. If something should happen, it is best that everyone knows what the drill is ahead of time. Have a plan about where the family meets, a backup place to stay, and if you have family pets, how they will be evacuated, as well.

· A designated place to meet if your family cannot evacuate together.

· Designate a spot in your house and store all important documentation together, so someone can grab copies of birth certificates, home inventory, insurance documents, etc.

· Create a list of other important items you would like to take in case of an emergency, such as family heirlooms, a toy, a laptop, etc. Each person should know what those special items are, and be able to grab them quickly.

· And don’t forget to practice your plan together as a family.


In the coming weeks, watch for our blog on how to properly stock and store an emergency kit, as well as manage property damage.

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 6:36 pm
Windermere Real Estate Boise Valley | Posted in Blog |

Thanksgiving: a Year in Reflection


The past year has been an exciting one for all of us at Windermere. We have so much to be thankful for, not the least of which is the opportunity to help our clients with all of their buying and selling needs. We would love to hear about your greatest accomplishments in 2012 and how you express your gratitude. In the meantime, here are some Windermere events from the past year for which we are very proud – and thankful.

Celebrating 40 Years

This year, Windermere celebrated our 40th anniversary – forty years of working together with top-notch franchise owners, agents, and clients. In celebration of this milestone, we kicked off 2012 with an anniversary party and educational Symposium for our team. These events provided us with the opportunity to catch up with old friends, roll out some new initiatives, and have a little fun kicking off what was to become a great year!

The 2012 Real Estate Market

The real estate market finally started showing signs of life this year. The most recent Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index reports that markets throughout the U.S. have shown sustained gains which are evidence of steady housing recovery. We’ve been cautiously optimistic at Windermere, but our best gauge on the market is our agents, and they are reporting a significant increase in activity. So much so, that many markets are experiencing stiff competition for homes and double digit increases in home prices. Despite the fluctuations in the real estate market, buying a home always has been – and always will be – about much more than stats and percentages. It’s about finding a house you can call “home”, and we are thankful to our clients for entrusting us with this dream.

Building Better Communities

Many Windermere offices went above and beyond in 2012 to support their local communities by hosting clothing drives, food drives, fundraisers, charity dinners, and so much more. You can see a list of the projects our offices worked on over the past year at We’re incredibly thankful for the generosity of our agents, owners, staff, and other friends of the Windermere Foundation – because of your contributions and support this year, we will donate more than one million dollars back to the communities in which we live and work.

Community Service Day

Every year, Windermere closes its offices for one day to help make a positive difference in our local communities. Projects include cleaning, landscaping, and painting senior citizens centers, facilities for physically and mentally challenged children and adults, public parks and schools, low income housing and emergency shelters, and more. We are so grateful for the opportunity to spend a day alongside our colleagues, community partners, and neighbors helping those who need it most.

Expanding the Windermere Family

This year, Windermere welcomed 10 new franchises to our network of offices. This included our first offices ever in Alaska and Los Cabos, Mexico. The recovering real estate economy also enabled some of our existing franchise owners to expand their businesses by opening additional offices. It brings us great pride to see this type of growth within the Windermere family and we hope to see more of it in the coming year.

We are so thankful to be a part of a team that is incredibly passionate about the work they do and the communities they support. We would love to hear from you. What are you most thankful for this year?


Posted on November 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm
Windermere Real Estate Boise Valley | Posted in Blog |

Ada County Real Estate Market Report for October 2012 By Cam Johnson

So much for a slowdown! Last month I noted that while the overall positive trends we had seen so far in 2012 continued there was a definite slowdown in certain indicators either due to normal seasonal variables, decreasing demand due to continued economic uncertainty and weakness, or possibly even pre-election jitters. Well in October none of those factors were able to keep the market from making a strong showing virtually across the board.

As the table and graphs below illustrate October was a very strong month for residential real estate in Boise. Distressed properties continue to wither away, new construction continues to grow rapidly and prices are up almost across the board, in some cases substantially. Low supply continues to be a problem for some buyers in some parts of the market however. Overall the average price per square foot was up 13.6% while the average sales price jumped a whopping 18.9%. There is still some disparity between this number and actual appreciation due to the “Apples vs Oranges” shift in product mix that I have alluded to in previous months. But in some segments of the market, including recently built production style homes, that were especially hard hit during the downturn, there has been real appreciation I believe. For some other types of property…not so much. See the “Snapshot” tables below for a few examples using data for the 3rd Qtr (not October).

ADA County 2012 vs 2011



# Sold

% +/-

% of Total Sold

# For Sale

% +/-

% of Total For Sale


% +/-

Average Sold Price

% +/-

Days on Market

% +/-

Months Inventory















Non Distress




























Short Sale














New Construction















A few highlights from the table above:

REO (Bank Owned) properties were only 6.1% of the total solds and represent only 1.7% of available inventory.


Combined with Short Sales those numbers are 21.1% and 22.8% respectively. Still a factor, yes, but far less menacing than when they were hovering around 50%+ of all closed sales (and 70%+ in neighboring Canyon County) as recently as a year ago.


Conversely, new construction is up to 25.2% of the sold market. Put another way, 1 in 4 houses sold in October was new construction compared to almost zero a couple years ago.


Interestingly enough though the average price per sq ft of new construction was virtually unchanged from a year ago but builders are getting 100% of their asking price on average. Are they building less expensive models? Building materials costs continue to be pretty high for things like concrete and dry wall so how are their margins doing? Some of the bigger builders control land that they were able to ride through the downturn with or picked up on the cheap during the crisis so they may be better positioned. Anecdotally, I am hearing from smaller to big size builders that they are having trouble finding lots to build and that land prices are starting to rise partly because the biggest builders control most of the suitable land.


Treasure Valley Snapshots 3rd quarter 2012

SW Boise/Meridian ,3bed ,2bath, 1200-1700sf, built 2004-2008



# Sold

Average Price

Median Price

Average DOM











% Change






Ada County New Construction Regardless of Size



# Sold

Average Price

Median Price

Average DOM











% Change






Boise North End Regardless of Size



# Sold

Average Price

Median Price

Average DOM











% Change






Eagle, 3+ bed, 2+ bath, 2500-4000sf, Built 2004-2008



# Sold

Average Price

Median Price

Average DOM











% Change






Report Prepared by Cam Johnson-Windermere Access Realty

So while all this news is encouraging for both sellers and property owners, buyers don’t despair. Although some buyers are definitely having a hard time finding suitable property due to low inventories, and are watching prices spiral up in the neighborhoods they find desirable, overall it is still a great time to buy. Prices, while rising are still far far below their previous peak and interest rates continue to be at near record lows, and are at least 2 points lower than they were for most of the 2005-2006 peak. If you are interested in what the market is doing in particular areas or particular types of property please feel free to contact me. As always your questions, comments, and above all, referrals are greatly appreciated.


See below for detailed graphs if you are interested.



Facts and Trends


Published November 2012*



Price Range:

$0 – No Limit

SQFT Range:

0 – No Limit

Property Types:

Single Family, Single Family w/ Acr, Condo, Townhouse – All Properties – All Properties – All Properties


0 – No Limit


0 – No Limit

Year Built:

0 – No Limit


Prepared for you by: Cam Johnson


Number of Homes For Sale vs. Sold vs. Pended (Aug. 2011 – Oct. 2012)



Curnt vs. Prev Month

Curnt vs. Same Month 1 Yr Ago

Curnt vs. Same Qtr 1 Yr Ago


Oct. 12

Sep. 12

% Change

Oct. 12

Oct. 11

% Change

Aug. 12 to Oct. 12

Aug. 11 to Oct. 11

% Change

For Sale































Average Price per SQFT (Aug. 2011 – Oct. 2012)



Curnt vs. Prev Month

Curnt vs. Same Month 1 Yr Ago

Curnt vs. Same Qtr 1 Yr Ago


Oct. 12

Sep. 12

% Change

Oct. 12

Oct. 11

% Change

Aug. 12 to Oct. 12

Aug. 11 to Oct. 11

% Change

Avg. Sq. Ft. Price











Avg CDOM & SP/Orig LP % (Aug. 2011 – Oct. 2012)



Curnt vs. Prev Month

Curnt vs. Same Month 1 Yr Ago

Curnt vs. Same Qtr 1 Yr Ago


Oct. 12

Sep. 12

% Change

Oct. 12

Oct. 11

% Change

Aug. 12 to Oct. 12

Aug. 11 to Oct. 11

% Change











Sold/Orig LP Diff. %











Average Price of For Sale and Sold (Aug. 2011 – Oct. 2012)



Curnt vs. Prev Month

Curnt vs. Same Month 1 Yr Ago

Curnt vs. Same Qtr 1 Yr Ago


Oct. 12

Sep. 12

% Change

Oct. 12

Oct. 11

% Change

Aug. 12 to Oct. 12

Aug. 11 to Oct. 11

% Change

Avg. Active Price










Avg. Sold Price











Months of Inventory Based on Closed Sales (Aug. 2011 – Oct. 2012)



Curnt vs. Prev Month

Curnt vs. Same Month 1 Yr Ago

Curnt vs. Same Qtr 1 Yr Ago


Oct. 12

Sep. 12

% Change

Oct. 12

Oct. 11

% Change

Aug. 12 to Oct. 12

Aug. 11 to Oct. 11

% Change

Months of Inventory (Closed Sales)











-Cam Johnson

Posted on November 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm
Windermere Real Estate Boise Valley | Posted in Blog |

Preventive home maintenance

It is storm season, and between British Columbia earthquakes, Hawaiian Island tsunamis and East Coast “Frankenstorms”, it is time to take a few minutes to think about storm preparedness and making sure you and your home are as ready as possible for whatever nature throws your way this fall and winter.

Over the next few weeks we will share some valuable tips on preventive home maintenance, disaster preparedness and post-winter storm cleanup.

Preventive home maintenance:

Control where the water goes. Water in the wrong place can do a whole lot of damage. Start by ensuring your gutters and downspouts are doing their job. Don’t attempt this task yourself if you have a multi-story house with a deep roof; hire a professional instead. Your gutter maintenance will depend on your property. If you have tall trees nearby that can drop needles or leaves, you will want to check your gutters quarterly.

First, make sure your gutters are secured, flush to the roof. Repair or replace sagging and broken portions of the gutters. Then clean out your gutters and downspouts, checking that outlet strainers are in good shape and firmly in place. Finally, ensure that your downspouts direct water away from the house, not straight into the foundation. You may want to consider gutter/downspout extensions to redirect water away from your foundation.

If you have a sump pump under your home, test it. Run a hose to be sure draining water travels directly to the pump (dig small trenches if needed), and that the pump removes the water efficiently and expels it well away from the house.


Check your roof, doors and windows. Now that the rain has started again, check your roof for any leaks. Check the underside, looking for moisture on joints or insulation. You can mark any damp spots and have a professional come out and repair any leaks. Don’t wait for wet spots to appear on the ceiling; the damage will be much more expensive if the insulation and dry wall is soaked. Waiting can also lead to larger problems such as mold, a health hazard.

Also check your windows and doors to ensure they are properly sealed. If you feel any drafts, isolate the location using the match trick. You may want to use silicon to repair any gaps between the frame and wall, or if the window itself is drafty you can use weather stripping. With doors, you may want to use weather stripping, or if you have a large gap at the bottom of your door, a draft dodger may be a simple solution.


Maintaining your heating and cooling systems. Fall is a smart time to have your home’s heating and air-conditioning systems checked and tuned up if necessary. Don’t wait for extreme temperatures to arrive, when service companies are slammed with emergency calls. Between maintenance calls, keep your system performing optimally by cleaning and/or replacing air filters.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, a professional inspection and cleaning will help prevent potentially lethal chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, always keep a supply of dry firewood or sawdust composite logs so you have a backup source of heat in case of an emergency.


Next week we will have more information about preparing your family and your home for winter storms, from power outages to natural disasters.

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm
Windermere Real Estate Boise Valley | Posted in Blog |