East Idaho Real Estate Blog

We try to write articles and blog posts relevant to home buyers and home sellers in East Idaho. If you have a question you need answered, we would love to answer it here. Use the contact us form in the header to ask your question.

Dec. 5, 2019

Homeowners Should Be Prepared

Family in a disaster that is a prepared homeowner

Homeowners Should Be Prepared

Whether you are buying a new home or have lived in your home for years, as a homeowner, you should be prepared when disaster strikes. Nobody knows when the next emergency will happen, but knowing the resources in your neighborhood, your home, and community can help you safely navigate whatever comes your way.

What you prepare for is often tied to where your home is located and what kind of weather and natural disasters tend to happen near it. If you own real estate in Rexburg Idaho, many of the basic preparedness items will apply. You'll need food, water, medical supplies, and lights. These home preparedness items are needed no matter where you live. But unlike somewhere like Los Angeles, Rexburg requires some planning for the weather. When the power goes out at 2 AM in the middle of February and the temperature outside is -23 degrees with a wind chill, you will need alternative heat sources, lots of blankets, a generator to keep your furnace running, and plenty of warm clothing. You will also need to find out where shelters are located nearby. For Rexburg, the best shelter will probably be Brigham Young University Idaho.

Residential Emergency Resources in the Community

Most cities like Rexburg or Idaho Falls have prepared for many types of disasters. It is important to know what resources are available and how to use them. For example, does your city have a warming center or cooling center? Does your community have a plan that includes food rations and water to get them through the first 72 hours? If there is an earthquake, what parks can you go to and what facilities will be available? These are just a few of the many needs your community may be able to fulfill for you. But don't just count on the city, you also have a neighborhood.

Neighborhood Preparedness

One of the best things you can do is talk to your neighbors about preparedness, especially if you have just purchased a new home. The benefits include getting to know your neighbors better, learning about the skills and resources they have that may be used in the event of an emergency, and the confidence that comes from knowing you are part of a community that has each other's back. For example, after an emergency, you may lose power. Your neighbor may have planned ahead and has a generator to power a well. In return for use of water from your neighbor's well, you may be able to supply people with extra food, toilet paper, or another commodity. You may have a gravity-fed water filter such as a Berkey water filter. Or you may have stored Life-straws for drinking questionable water. The resources of each neighbor will be varied, and together you can make it through whatever comes your way. However, neighborhood preparedness is only as good as the most important preparedness. That is family preparedness.

Home and Family Preparedness

No form of preparedness is more important that family preparedness. When you move into your new home, you buy insurance to protect it from unexpected events. Consider insuring your family against disasters as well. Early after purchasing your home, sit down and make a list of the items you would need in an emergency. Some of the best items to start with are water storage, water filters, first aid supplies, two or three months of regular food stored in your pantry, and a year or so of long term food storage. You'll also need to take care of sanitation, which is a major factor in illness after a disaster. Make sure you have a buck, plastic trash bags, a snap-on toilet seat, toilet paper, and a way to wash your hands and sanitize around the toilet. You'll also need light. The best light is something that can be recharged using solar panels. The list could be endless, so don't get overwhelmed. Start with the basics and then pick up a few extra things every month. You'll be well prepared in a very short time if you do these things.

Financial Preparedness

Financial preparedness is really important for a homeowner. Each month, set aside a few dollars into a rainy day fund. The goal is to build up a reserve that will allow you to make your mortgage payment for 3 to 4 months, cover your utilities for a year, and have some cash on hand if the bank teller machines stop working for a while. You don't have to start big and you don't have to do it all at once, but preparing for financial uncertainty can increase confidence and put your mind at ease.

Homeowners should be prepared so their families are safe and confident when unforeseen problems arise.

Posted in Rexburg Living
June 3, 2019

Snake House In Rexburg

Rexburg Snake House Imagine buying a house and finding out that it is a snake house... literally. That is exactly what happened to the Ards and the Sessions when they unknowingly purchased the Rexburg snake house! That's right, two families in less than ten years purchased a home with thousands of snakes in the walls, in the crawl space, and just about anywhere a snake could slither into. 

The nightmare for these two families happened at 675 W 5000 N, Rexburg, ID 83440 between 2006 and 2011 when the home was eventually taken off the market. On the Snake River Multiple Listing service the home looked like a great starter home with just over 2500 square feet of living space, five bedrooms and 1 bath. The house sits on plenty of land for kids to roam about and play. But once the snakes started appearing, the kids had no desire to stay in the house or play outside of the house. In one news story, the Sessions family was interviewed about their experience. Mrs. Sessions reported that her children were having nightmares about snakes and drawing pictures of snakes attacking them in the kitchen and in their bed. She said the snakes got so bad in the house that they couldn't walk around without shoes on in fear they would step on a snake and it would bite them.

The snake house was limited to garter snakes which are not venomous. They are basically just creepy and would bite when provoked. It was impossible to walk around the house at night without stepping on them. 

The Rexburg Snake House on Animal Planet, AP News, Local News

Bucket of snakes caught in RexburgThe snake house became so well known that it was actually featured on several news stations and featured on Animal Planet. As knowledge of the problem spread, it became apparent that the home would not sell again. In fact, it is now completely removed from Zillow with the exception of the following notice.

"Sits atop a hibernation home (hibernacular) for Garter Snakes. See coverage by Animal Planet on youtube, or google more information.

The associated press did several stories on the home :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhlYDuMdBFA

The family finally filed for bankruptcy and the home is now bank-owned as of 2019.

Posted in Rexburg Living
Jan. 17, 2019

4 Things You Should Know About Home Inspection

What you don't know about home inspection can cost you big money. Many buyers take home inspection lightly. Here are four things we think you should know about home inspection reports and why we recommend them.

Home inspection image showing mold caused by leaking roof

Hidden mold caused by leaking roof found during an Idaho Home Inspection

One: What Is A Home Inspection?

Home inspection is a service provided by an expert home inspector. The inspector has knowledge about the sytems of a house. Drawing on past experience, the home inspector looks for problems that may be a concern to you. They can find problems with a home that may be very costly to repair. The information they provide will help you decide if you want the property. If there are too many problems, you can withdraw your offer. Your East Idaho Real Estate agent will always include an inspection contingency. It's a vital part of the contract that protects you. It allows you to withdraw your offer and not lose your earnest money.

Two: Why Do I Need A Home Inspection?

You can use home inspection to negotiate the price of the house. 

During your inspection contingency period, you can pull out of an offer. The seller knows this. If there are issues with the house that you want fixed, you can give the seller notice. You can ask the seller to do repairs or ask for a reduced price. This is a delicate process. If you ask for too much, the seller may say no and pull out. If you ask for too little, you may wind up paying for costly repairs after closing. We have many home inspections under our belt and know many of the common mistakes people make. We'll look out for your best interest.

You also need a home inspection for peace of mind. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will make. The home inspection will help you know what you are buying. It documents the current state of plumbing, electrical, foundation, HVAC, and structure. It also documents the state of finish work, drywall, and paint. The inspection report will provide detailed text and photos describing the house. The report comes in PDF format and can be a great resource in the future when you do work on your home.

Three: Is A Home Inspection An Appraisal?

A home inspection report and an appraisal are two very different documents. Each has a purpose. 

A home inspection report protects you, the buyer, form unforeseen repair costs. It helps you make an informed purchase. An FHA backed loan does not need a home inspection. 

An appraisal is a determination of value that protects a lender from over lending on a property. Most lenders, including FHA backed loans, must have an appraisal as part of the approval. Lenders do not want to lend more money than a home is worth because the home is usually used as the collateral of a loan.

Note: Although FHA backed loans do not need a home inspection, they get a basic one anyway. When an FHA appraiser evaluates a home to determine market value, they also do a basic inspection. They look for things like bare wood on the outside of the house, safety issues, and more. This inspection protects the FHA, and doesn't concern itself with the buyers protection. You still need your own home inspection.

Four: Who Pays For A Home Inspection

You, the buyer, pays for the home inspection report in most cases. The main reason is that the report is optional and for your protection. The report is usually ordered by you, or in some cases, by the agent when needed. Once the inspection is complete, the home inspector will send an invoice to you. Once paid, the report is available online to view and print. Our favorite inspectors provide you with a login to view text, photos, and video. Some even provide a way to submit repair requests for the contingency notice. 

This article explains four things you should know about home inspection. Home inspections are important in our area. Idaho Falls, Rexburg, and Island Park all experience harsh weather. Weather often contributes to unseen problems with a house. This area also has structures with a variety of construction practices. Having a home inspection done before purchasing a home can help identify the quality of work. 

Posted in Rexburg Living
Sept. 11, 2018

What direction should ceiling fans go

What direction should a ceiling fan go in the winter and summer

What direction should ceiling fans go?

East Idaho has some pretty dramatic temperature changes. Winter can be very cold and summer temperatures can easily get into the upper nineties. Adjusting your ceiling fan for the season can make your home feel better, reduce drafts, and help you moderate your heating and cooling bills. Here is what you need to remember.

Ceiling Fan Direction For Summer

Stand under the outside edge of one of the ceiling fan blades. Look at the center of the ceiling fan and then find the 12 o'clock position. In the summer, your fan should be spinning to the left and the air flow should be pushed down. By pushing the air down, you are mixing the warm air with the cool air and creating a downdraft. When this downdraft hits your skin it has a cooling effect. Running your ceiling fan counterclockwise in the summer can reduce your cooling bills by as much as 40% for the area influenced by the fan.

Ceiling fan Direction for Winter

To adjust your ceiling fan for winter use, you want to make sure that the fan is pulling cool air from the ground forcing it through the warmer air on the ceiling and then over to the walls and down. As the cool air hits the very warm air on the top of the ceiling, it is warmed. Once warmed, the airflow pushes the warmed air to the outer walls of the room where it is forced down. Creating this type of circulation, where the warm air hits the walls, has the opposite effect of the summer fan settings. In this case you do not want to feel the draft of the fan because that will make your skin cool. Stand under the outside edge of one of the ceiling fan blades. Look at the center of the ceiling fan and then find the 12 o'clock position. In the winter, your fan should be spinning to the right and the airflow should be pulled up and then over to the walls at the ceiling.

Fan Speed In Winter and Summer

In the summer the fan speed should be medium to high so that you create a cooling breeze on your skin. In the winter you should place your fan speed on slow so that air is moving but does NOT create a breeze. 

Posted in Rexburg Living
Sept. 11, 2018

Lenders in Rexburg Idaho

Sign a mortgage with a local Rexburg Lender

Lenders In Rexburg Idaho

Unless you have a spare million laying around, purchasing a home in Rexburg is going to require one of many types of home loans with a mortgage. The most common way to get a mortgage is through a lender. A mortgage is a legal agreement between you and a lender. The lender agrees to allow you to purchase the home with their money, and in return, you agree that the lender will hold the title in their name until you finish paying them back. This is done using a predetermined payment schedule, with interest. Once you pay them back, they agree to convey or transfer the title into your name and you become a true land owner!

When a local lender gives you money to buy your next home, it is a business decision for them. They will evaluate your credit history, how much you want to borrow, what condition the property is in, and your ability to pay them back. They also want collateral to insure that if you disappear, they have something of value so they don't lose money. Home mortgages most often use the home as collateral. That means if you stop paying the lender back, they have the right to take the house back and sell it so they can recover their money. The process is called foreclosure.

Local Mortgage Lenders vs National Lenders

There are many lenders to choose from. Some lenders are local. These can include local banks, credit unions, investment groups and more. There are also national lenders. These are large national banks, savings and loans, investment funds, and others. There are benefits to each. We prefer local lenders, but there are good national and local lenders. The key is to clearly understand what product they are selling you, what the terms are during the life of your mortgage, and so on. Be informed.

Benefits of Local Lenders

There are some real benefits to using a local Rexburg lender. First, and probably most important, local lenders depend on return business. Because of this single factor, a local mortgage officer is much more likely to add a personal touch to every part of the transaction. No matter how hard they try, big banks just can't beat a good local lender. They are too big, have too many required processes, and find it very difficult to give personal attention because they have too many clients to focus on. That is huge when you are under the gun to get a loan processed and approved quickly or under special circumstances. 

Local lenders also have a broad range of products to offer. Some people think if they go with a large lender they will have more options. It's just not true. In fact, local lenders have access to many loan products, including FHA loans and USDA loans.

Local lenders are also more likely to take the time to help you with your credit. Let's face it, not everyone has perfect credit. Sometimes there are issues with your credit history that a large bank will not advise you on. Local loan agents often spend the time with you to clear these things up and help you through basic credit repair tasks that an agent at a larger company won't because they don't have the time.

Recommended Rexburg Lenders

Our preferred lender in Rexburg is Eli Pena. Eli works with Idaho First Mortgage. He is an expert helping first time home buyers get the money they need to buy their first home. He has helped hundreds of clients find the right mortgage to purchase their home, regardless of the size, style, or location. 

Other great companies we have worked with:

  • Idaho Central Credit Union. They have many options for mortgages to find your needs.
  • Beehive Credit Union - One of the largest mortgage lenders in the area.  

You can contact us at 208-717-1748 and we would be happy to provide you with contact information for some great agents. You can also use the email us icon at the top of the page to request more information. We're happy to send you our list of other great local lenders. 

Posted in Rexburg Living
Dec. 15, 2017

BYUI Rexburg #3 College Town

Rexburg BYUI Number 3 College Town

Rexburg Number Three College Town 2018

Well, the word is out about Rexburg Idaho and BYUI. WalletHub has just published their list of 2018's Best College Towns and Cities in America, and BYUI rated number three in the nation. It even beat out BYU Provo who took 4th position. The popular financial website discusses the all important campus visit for incoming students, city tours, and academic success, and personal development.

To come up with the best college towns, they examined 415 cities and ranked them on friendliness, social environment, and academic and economic opportunities. Some of the metrics they used include:

  • Wallet Friendliness - Factors like rent, cost of living, fitness club fees and others.
  • Social Environment - Students to Locals ratio, single people, city accessibility and more.
  • Academic and Economic - Quality of Education, part-time work opportunities, entrepreneurial activity.

This is a great little article and puts Rexburg in a very positive light. See the full article here.

Posted in Rexburg Living