Greg Johnston Real Estate Blog Pocatello Idaho Real Estate Information

20Nov/140

Newly built home for sale at 2085 Sunrise Pocatello

I have a new home for sale that was just built by Ed Quinn with Quinn Homes. This home is beautiful. The location is 2085 Sunrise, just off Satterfield Drive in Pocatello, Idaho. The list price is $319,900. It is a large 3,600 square foot home. The main floor has three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The finish work is excellent. The kitchen is a must see! Custom built cabinets, granite counter tops, lots of cabinet space, decorative back splash, hardwood flooring, large pantry, and lots of natural light. There is a large master suite. The walk-in closet is oversized. The master bathroom has a decorative shower with tile shower surround and glass wall. Plus, the master bathroom has a jetted tub. 3 car garage. Gas fireplace. Popular Highland area location. City view. Great curb appeal. Take a look at the interior pictures by clicking on this link for 2085 Sunrise.

If you have an interest, or know anyone looking to purchase a home in Pocatello, Idaho, please call Greg Johnston, Realtor, at 208-232-9041. I would love to show this home to you or talk to you about having a custom home built for you.

17Nov/140

Home Pricing vs Activity on Your Home

ACTIVITY vs. TIMING

Timing is extremely important in the real estate market. A property attracts the most attention, excitement and interest from the real estate community and potential buyers when it is first listed. A home has the highest chance of a sale when it is new on the market. This graph illustrates the importance of placing your property on the market at a realistic price and terms from the very beginning. The majority of home sellers will see the most activity on their home the first few weeks it is listed for sale. Why? Because there are buyers waiting for new homes to come on the market. After your home has been for sale for two weeks, you are now waiting for new buyers to enter the market.

Don’t set the price of your home too high, thinking you can reduce it later. As indicated by the chart above, interest peaks when your home is new on the market. Many home sellers say, "We can always come down in price later." That is true, but you may have cost yourself the sale of your home by having it overpriced to begin with. You just missed out on all those buyers! I believe it is human nature to try to get as much out of your home as possible. However, a home sellers goal are first to get it sold and second to get top dollar. Make sure you are accomplishing your main goal by not pricing yourself out of the market.

How can you avoid overpricing your home? The best thing to do is to have me complete a market analysis on your home. A market analysis will show the sold prices of homes that are comparable to yours. Knowing what others have sold for will tell you where to price your home. Be realistic with the price you list your home for. The most frustrating part of selling a home is having it sit on the market and not selling in the time frame you need to. At that time you will take an offer lower than had you priced the home right in the first place. If you are ready to sell your home in Pocatello, Idaho, call Greg Johnston, REALTOR with Keller Williams Realty East Idaho at 232-9041.

13Nov/140

Pocatello Home Buying 101

How do you buy a home? Buying a home is a fun process. It does not need to be a stressful decision. Although it is a big change, getting a new home is exciting. It will be your home. Now is the time to get what you want and need. Many people do not buy a home because they think it is too difficult or they do not know where to start. Well, that is where I can help you. As a full-time real estate professional, I can help guide you through the home buying process and help you purchase a home. There are a few steps that you should know before rushing out to buy a home.

The first step in the home buying process is to meet with a lender and get your financing lined up. Some people want to go look at homes first, but that is not the first step. Unless you are paying cash, you need to get your loan lined up before looking at homes. Why is this so important? It is important because we need to know what price of homes to be looking at. The worst thing to do is to go look at homes priced at $150,000, fall in love with one, and then find out from your lender that you only qualify for $100,000. You will be disappointed because now you can not find the home you fell in love with in your price range. Nothing for $100,000 looks good after looking at $150,000 homes. So, save yourself a broken heart and start by finding out what price of a home you can afford. If you need help finding a good mortgage loan officer I can help recommend someone to you.

The second step in buying a home is to come up with a list of what you need in a home and what you want in a home. I know, you want to rush out and look at homes, but that is not the second step, either. Before you rush out to look at a home you need to know what you are looking for. Some people say, "I'll know what I am looking for when I see it." That works for some people with lots of time to look at one hundred homes, but if you know what you are looking for you can narrow down your search and save you a lot of time. Trust me, you do not want to look at one hundred homes. After a while you not be able to tell them apart and think clearly. Having a list of what you need in a home gives your REALTOR guidance to help find your home for you. I mentioned to make a list of what you need and a list of what you want. The list of what you need is a non-negotiable list of features you must have in the home. We will not deviate from this list. We will have it in your new home. The list of what you want are features that we hope to get for you, but if the home does not have it then you would still buy it because it fit your needs list. My experience shows that there is rarely a 100% perfect home for anyone, even if you build it. So, we want to get what you need in the home, and as many things that you want in the home. See, it is important to make this list!

The third step is to go look at homes! Yea! Finally! We get to look at homes! As your REALTOR, I should have a good idea of what you are looking for. As a full time real estate professional I preview many homes almost daily. I know the inventory. I can tell you what is available. I try to narrow down the list of available homes so that I am showing you the best homes available that meet your needs. You do not need to see dozens of homes. You only need one home. If you have accurately described what you are looking for you should be able to find it quickly.

Once you have found the home you want to buy, the next step is to make an offer to the seller. As your REALTOR, I will help you with the paperwork and negotiations. All serious offers should be in writing. It takes about 40 minutes to make a written offer. I will help you with everything. At that time I can give you advice on what a normal offer would be, and explain things that could be negotiated. Don't worry about the paperwork. That is my job. I will take care of all of it for you.

When you have found the offer and negotiated the terms, you have a home under contract. There are only a few other steps to complete prior to closing. You will need to continue to work with your lender to finalize the loan. You have the option to complete any home inspections that you want to. Your lender will require an appraisal to be complete. We also perform a title search to ensure there is nothing recorded against the home that will prevent you from being able to buy it. All of this can be completed within 3-4 weeks from the time your offer is accepted. If it takes just a day or two to find the home, that means you can find a home and move into it in about one month. See, it is simple and does not take very long.

When you are ready to buy a home in the Pocatello, Idaho area, call Greg Johnston, REALTOR, with Keller Williams Realty East Idaho at 208-232-9041.

29Oct/140

Old Town Pocatello Trick-or-Treat on Halloween!

This Friday evening, Old Town Pocatello businesses are hosting a business trick-or-treat. Please plan to attend this Friday, October 31st 2014, from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. Participating businesses will have an orange poster in their window or on their door to let you know they are a participating business. Dozens of businesses do participate. Last year well over 1,000 children in costumes participated. The weather should be nice. Plan to attend. Most of the participating businesses are on Main and Arthur Streets, and some are on the side streets in between Main and Arthur. When you are trick-or-treating please stop by my real estate office. Please visit Keller Williams Realty East Idaho at 150 N. Main Street. Come visit on Friday for some candy, and come back next time to let me help you with buying or selling real estate. Greg Johnston, REALTOR

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10Oct/140

Pocatello real estate market statistics – 2014 third quarter

We are flying through this year! I can't believe it is October already. I have compiled the 3rd quarter 2014 Pocatello, Idaho real estate market statistics. As always, I have compared them to the previous quarter, and most importantly, the same quarter one year earlier. The statistics are always very interesting and give us a picture of what is happening with our local real estate market in Bannock County, Idaho.

At the end of September 2014 we have 509 single family homes for sale on the Greater Pocatello Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service (MLS). We had 514 at the same time in 2013. The numbers are almost identical. We have a large drop off of homes listed for sale from the previous quarter when we had 597 homes. That is normal, seasonal inventory levels. There are always more homes for sale in the summer than in the fall.

There are a few bright spots in the Pocatello real estate market. One bright spot is that we have 67 homes under contract compared to 54 at the same time last year. Also, home values have come up a little in the past 12 months. An average sales price is $154,715 compared to $150,940. It is only about a 2% annual appreciation, but I like that values are headed in the right direction. Year to date we have sold 709 homes. This is up compared to 679 homes at this time in 2013.

New construction is still selling. In the past 12 months we sold 48 homes. That is identical in the number of sales for that time frame last year. I am a little concerned that we will have fewer new home sales in the future. Not because of lack of demand, but because we are running out of building lots. Only 38 building lots have sold in the last 12 months. Only 64 building lots are on MLS. Not all of them are great building lots, either. Without a place to build, we will see fewer new homes selling unless Pocatello can get a new subdivision developed soon.

I think good things are happening in Pocatello and Chubbuck, Idaho. Although they are not huge gains, we are seeing gains in home values and home sales. I feel that we are in a "normal" market. We are stable. We are in a market that is consistent and not experiencing big swings up or down. If you have any questions about the Pocatello real estate market, contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR, Keller Williams Realty East Idaho at 208-232-9010. For a complete list of the market statistics click on this link: 2014 3rd Quarter Stats.

24Jul/140

2014 Pocatello Parade of Homes Information

It’s that awesome time of year again! The Pocatello, Idaho Parade of Homes is coming up soon. The parade is put on by the Building Contractors Association of Southeast Idaho. New construction is popular right now. The local home builders have been busy. This year has twelve entries to view. There are some very neat properties on display this year. Mark your calendar to attend. The 2014 Pocatello Parade of Homes will be August 7th – 9th, 2014.

On Thursday the 7th the homes are open from 1:00 until 9:00 p.m. On Friday the 8th and Saturday the 9th, the homes are open from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Citizens Community Bank Pocatello locations, Pocatello branches of Idaho Central Credit Union, and at Franklin Building Supply.

If you want a sneak peak at the homes, click on this link for a copy of the Parade of Homes magazine: Pictures of Homes

I am a REALTOR. If you have a desire to build a home, please call me. I can help you find a lot to build on, a floor plan to build, and line you up with a home builder I have done business with in the past and know will do a great job for you. I can also help sell your existing home so you can move into your new home. Give me a call at 232-9041 or email PocatelloRealtor@Gmail.com to begin the process of having a new home built. I have a few new homes for sale that have recently been built, and that are under construction. Contact me so I can tell you about them.

9Jul/140

2014 second quarter Pocatello, Idaho real estate statistics

We are in the busy summer selling season for Pocatello, Idaho real estate. The statistics have been compiled for the second quarter of the year. The real estate market statistics give us a good indication of what is happening right now, and what we can expect to see in the future.

As I look at the numbers and compare them to one year ago, I am surprised how close the sales numbers are to being identical. In June 2014 we sold 91 homes. June 2013 we sold 90 homes. In the second quarter of 2013 we sold 256 homes. In the same time during 2014 we sold 255. Year to date, we have sold 420 homes in 2014 compared to 411 in 2013. The new construction sales figures are nearly identical, too. In 2013 we sold 27 new homes in the first six months. In 2014 we have sold 25. The same holds true for twin homes and townhouses as we see 79 sales in 2013 compared to 76 sales in 2014. Other things that are comparable are the average days on market, the average list price, and the average sales price. I am amazed at how close the numbers are. I had expected our numbers to be higher than last year. The market is active and the local agents are busy.

There are a few numbers that are not identical. We have far more homes for sale right now than we did one year ago. We have 597 homes listed on the MLS now compared to 518 in 2013. Due to the laws of supply and demand, this will prevent us from seeing much appreciation in 2014. We have sold more multi-family homes so far this year, 32 compared to 22 at this time last year. That is a good sign that the investment market is picking up again.

Here is a link to view the full page of statistical data.

I expect the market to remain strong through the third quarter of this year before slowing down seasonally in the fall and winter months. Although home values are not increasing, they are stable, and stable is acceptable.

If you have any questions about the Pocatello, Idaho real estate market, call Greg Johnston, REALTOR® at 208-232-9010.

29Apr/140

Great buy on custom home for sale!

I have just listed an incredible home that really is a rare find. This custom built home is located in Inkom, Idaho just below the Pebble Creek Ski area. The home is gorgeous. It was built was quality materials. It is located on 2.9 acres. The view of the valley below is incredible from many of the windows and especially from the covered deck. The price is $375,000. The combination of the desirable location, small acreage, excellent condition, great price, and incredible view is what makes this a rare find.

This is a two-story home. There are four bedrooms and two bathrooms on the upper level. The main floor has a large, gourmet kitchen. There is a dining area and family room off the kitchen. It is a large, open floor plan. There is also a formal living room and formal dining room. The home has a four car garage split in two sections. Two bays are on the main level, and two bays are accessible in the lower level of the home.

Click on this link to view the inside pictures of the home on Pebble.

If you are interested, or know anyone who may be interested in purchasing this home, call Greg Johnston, Realtor, at 208-232-9041. Thank you.

23Apr/140

Pocatello real estate market statistics – 1st Quarter 2014

The first quarter real estate market statistics for Pocatello, Idaho have been compiled. The statistics are a very helpful gauge of the strength of the local real estate market. I think the first quarter of 2014 has given us some good insight. Here are some of the highlights:

A March 2013 vs. March 2014 comparison shows a slight increase in year over year sales. We sold 57 homes in March 2014, up from 53 in March 2013. The real increase is the figure for the past 12 months, meaning April 1st through March 31st, the end of this last quarter. The figure for the previous year (4/1/12-3/31/13) showed 734 home sales in that one year period. The figure for this current year (4/1/13-3/31/14) showed 869 home sales. That is a one year increase of 135 more home sales – 18%. That is a large increase! That is a good sign to see a large increase in home sales.

New construction continues to be increasing in sales as well. 5 new homes sold in March – that is about 8% of the market. New homes are popular.

Home values in the first quarter of 2014 are up from the first quarter of 2013. This year the average sales price is $145,063. The previous year was $139,529. That is a $4,500 increase, or about 3% increase in values. That is a good sign also.

The only concern I see is that the number of homes for sale right now has increased a lot. Last year at this time there were 463 single family homes listed for sale on the Pocatello, Idaho MLS. This year we report 523 homes for sale. Why such a big increase? In my opinion, the market has improved and many home owners are trying to sell their home in an improved market. Keep in mind that many of the homes listed for sale the last few years have not sold. With things improving, many home owners are saying, “Let’s try again now and see if we can sell our home.” The improving market is bring out more home sellers. This is providing a great selection for home buyers, but preventing the local area from an increase in home values. Do not be surprised to see flat, or low appreciation numbers this year.

Here is a link for the first quarter Market Statistics.

If you have any questions about the Pocatello, Idaho real estate market, or would like to buy or sell real estate, contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR, at 208-232-9041.

1Apr/140

Benefits of home ownership

The age-old debate continues. Is it better to rent a home or to own a home? There are pros and cons for both arguments. While you can say home values go up, you can also point out that they can also go down. The financial benefits of homeownership are evident year round, but particularly around tax time.

1. Homeownership Builds Wealth Over Time

We were always taught growing up that owning a home is a financially savvy move. Our parents knew it, and their parents knew it. But this past decade of real estate turbulence has shaken everyone’s confidence in homeownership. That is why it’s so important that we discuss this again now that we are in a ‘new market.’ Homeownership can be a very savvy financial move – but only if people buy homes they can actually afford. In 2014, this idea of sticking to a home you can afford to gradually build wealth is a “rule” that just happens to be new and old at the same time. Historically, homes appreciate in Idaho at about 3% per year based on a 30-year average. If you live in your home for five years it may go up in value about 15%.

2. You Build Equity Every Month

Your equity in your home is the amount of money you can sell it for minus what you still owe on it. Every month you make a mortgage payment, and every month a portion of what you pay reduces the amount you owe. That reduction of your mortgage every month increases your equity. The way mortgages work is that the principal portion of your payment increases slightly every month year after year. It’s lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. Thus, as the months and years go by, your equity grows! On a 30-year loan it may seem you will never pay off your home, but take a look as the balance goes down every month you make your payment. It takes time, but the balance is going down. You will be amazed at how fast you can pay off the home by just adding a little more to the principle every month.

3. You Reap Mortgage Tax Deduction Benefits

• Mortgage deduction: The tax code allows homeowners to deduct the mortgage interest from their tax obligations. For many people this is a huge deduction, since interest payments can be the largest component of your mortgage payment in the early years of owning a home. For example, if you paid $6,500 in mortgage interest on your home in one year, that full amount is tax deductable. This also applies to home equity loans against the house. Many people will pay off high rate non-deductable loans (cars, credit cards) with money they use borrowed against their home. Now it is deductable, and often at a lower interest rate.
• Some closing cost deductions: The first year you buy your home, you are able to claim the points (also called origination fees) on your loan, no matter whether they are paid by you or the seller. And because origination fees of 1 percent or more are common, the savings are considerable.
• Property tax is deductible: Real estate property taxes paid on your primary residence and a vacation home are fully deductible for income tax purposes.

4. You Get a Capital Gains Exclusion

If you buy a home to live in as your primary residence for more than two years then you will qualify for a capital gains tax exemption. When you sell, you can keep profits up to $250,000 if you are single, or $500,000 if you are married, and not owe any capital gains taxes. There are not many ways that you can earn income and not have to pay taxes on the gain. Your personal home is one way to earn money and not have to pay taxes on it.

5. Long Term, Buying Is Cheaper than Renting

In the first few years, it may be cheaper to rent a home than it is to have purchased a home due to the costs associated with getting a loan to buy a home. But over time, as the interest portion of your mortgage payment decreases, the interest that you pay will eventually be lower than the rent you would have been paying. But more importantly, you are not throwing away all that money on rent. You need to live someplace, so instead of paying off your landlord’s home or building, pay off your own!

Are there disadvantages as well? Maybe. You can argue that it costs money to fix up a home you own where it would not be your responsibility to pay for that as a renter. You can argue that it takes time to sell a home where you can just quickly leave when renting. Overall, in my opinion, it is just nice to have a place to call home and live how you want to rather than living under someone else’s rules, even if you have to make a little effort to own a home. If you have any questions about buying a home in Pocatello, Idaho, contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR at 208-232-9041 or by email at Greg@JohnstonTeam.com.