Wow! I've been in the real estate business for 40 years now and licensed in 5 states and a broker in three for almost 40 years (as a broker).
I have seen the booms and the busts: the dot.com and the dot.gone.
The recessions. The no listings, the flooded market with listings.
But I have never seen this.
I believe this is a result of the world we are living in today. The people who love the freedom of the second amendment rights honesty, integrity, hard work, God, and telling the truth seek the same like-minded people.
The other America of once knowing your neighbors and going to high school football games...with friends.
It all seems gone. But does it have to be?
Not so much in North Idaho, and perhaps that IS what's happening here.
People want to get back to a simple life like it used to be in the 60-70s.
The problem is perhaps no one is was prepared for this.
So yes, there is very little inventory.
But never fear!
Here's some (hopefully) encouraging helpful advice (just my opinion) I can share that may help!
If you are looking for a rental, it's tough, tough, tough. My advice is to watch craigslist, Sandpointonline, and various Facebook pages almost hourly. Ask around and ask around.
Are you in the market to buy a home/land?
Here is my advice (again, only my opinion) in order of importance.
1) Decide what you want.
Many people do not know if they wish to buy land, a house, or a condo.
One really needs to discern that first.
I understand what people are thinking; if I cant find a house; I'll buy land and build. I'll live in my trailer until then.
How many years do you want to wait?
Contractors (good, the bad, and the ugly in this type of market) are reportedly taking non-refundable deposits on contracts 2-3 years out. Even if you think you will be an owner-builder, price the materials first. They have gone up 3-4 times in the past year as well. Engineers, wells drillers, and other professionals of this nature are taking reservations for a year + out. Equipment rentals, materials, and labor are all scarce right now.
Living on your fifth wheel all winter is not going to turn out very pretty either.
So my strong advice would be to figure out if it's land or home first.
2) Are you qualified, or do you have the cash?
If you need a loan, you have to be pre-qualified. If you found a home you loved but are not pre-qualified in this market, you will not even get in the door with your offer. Aside from that, how can you shop a price range and not be sure where that is?
If you need advice for a suitable lender, let us know. DO NOT try quicken loans ar loansareus.com! Sellers and agents will not accept those. A local lender will bode much better than an out-of-state lender as well. There are issues here that out-of-state lenders may not understand, and that just can turn into a potential problem for everyone down the road. If you have a strong CU that's well known, that may be acceptable.
3) Find a realtor that is seasoned.
Many agents just left their jobs a Home Depot in this kind of market and are selling real estate now.
They don't know or understand the red flags despite the fact they have their Brokers looking over their shoulder. The best agent is one who will say, "I don't know, but I'll find out." I have to say that all the time. If you are not learning in this business, you need to get out of this business, I always say.
If you are a buyer, your agent represents your interests (unless duel agency~another blog), and they get paid by the seller. You may be required to sign a buyer representation agreement, which basically says they invest in you, and you invest in them for a prescribed period.
I encourage you to spend the time to find the right agent first. It may not be the first click you hit on the computer or agent on the real estate office floor.
Don't flip flop from agent to agent. It's called loyalty, and it works both ways (or should). The right agent will be watching the market for you, keeping their ears open, and sending you daily updates. The agent that just grabs at anything is busy grabbing a lot and perhaps not serving their clients as they possibly could be. If you happen on an agent and aren't working for you, yes, move on by all means, but if you do your homework first, you may avoid that pitfall in advance.
Find out if the agent has credentials; this shows a long-term investment in their business. Many agents in this market don't even know what many of the credentials stand for yet alone have earned them.
You would not hire a part-time dentist or doctor or someone who worked at Home Depot last week. That person is representing one of the largest purchases you will ever make. Choose your agent wisely.
If you really trust your agent has your needs before their own, trust them when they advise you.
4) Don't wait if you're ready.
If you are serious about purchasing here (you well may not be, and that's ok, but tell your agent that up-front, if you're honest, they will stick with you during the process even if it's not for a year or two), don't wait for the "perfect" home.
There is so little inventory, and the prices just keep going up.
If you want three barns and can only find 2, build a barn later!
If you want to be on the lake and everything is well over a million, maybe buy something with a lake view.
You can always sell and move up later.
There ARE things you should not compromise on! Know your road, how steep it is, who takes care of it, who manages plowing, grading, and upkeep, is it dirt or paved? Is it miles long or short? A road may look very different in the summer than when the snow hits.
A bad road could severely impact your resale value. Know what the well produces. Read the survey and the septic report. Know what the soil type is in your area. Some areas in Sandpoint have standing water in the crawl spaces in the winter (it's on built on sand or loam). Maybe do a radon test, mold test. Make sure chimneys are not broken or cracked and have been served and cleaned. Make sure there are no encroachments. These types of things are NOT covered by title insurance.
If you have done your homework in advance, and now you are in IDAHO! Now, hopefully, you can gain the market share (that no one knows when will subside), and you have choices now.
I've had so many clients that have been looking for years for the "perfect house" (there is never a perfect house, even when you build it yourself) that the market has literally doubled on them over the past 3-+ years. Would a' could a' should a'.
They could have bought and sold and moved up by now and still possibly be less than buying right now.
5) Don't panic.
Don't make crazy-over asking bids. Appraisers now day's don't even have a perfect idea of value in these days. The definition of an appraisal is:
"The act or process of developing an opinion of value; an idea of value. An appraisal must be numerically expressed as a specific amount, as a range of numbers, or as a relationship to a specified amount (SVP)
(noun) the act or process of developing an opinion of value, of or pertaining to appraising and related functions such as appraisal practice or appraisal services. Comment: An appraisal must be numerically expressed as a specific amount, as a range of numbers, or as a relationship to a previous value opinion or numerical benchmark.
In other words, it's "one person's opinion of value on one given day."
Don't let your agent talk you into overbidding unless there are substantial comps to justify that number as crazy as the market is. If you want to do that, go for it, but in my opinion, that is your decision, not an agent's to make.
Again find an agent that puts YOU first, not the commission.
Read part two coming next!