Homeowners Gain in First Quarter – but How Much?

It pays to be a homeowner – especially now.

According to the Home Equity Report by CoreLogic, homeowners gained $6,400 in home equity between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of this year.

That’s an equity increase of 5.6%!

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, explains, “We expect home equity to continue increasing nationally in 2019, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years.”

The top ten states with the highest average gain:

  • Idaho – $21K
  • Nevada – $21K
  • Wyoming – $20K
  • Utah – $19K
  • New York – $17K
  • Hawaii – $16K
  • Colorado – $14K
  • Arizona – $14K
  • Massachusetts – $14K
  • South Dakota – $12K

And that’s not all.

Those who owe more on their mortgage than their home’s current value also dropped in the first quarter – these households dropped to 4.1% of all mortgaged properties.

Employee Spotlight – Melanie Morrison

Our newest employee spotlight goes to Title Officer, Melanie Morrison! Having been with the Idaho Falls, Idaho branch for the past 16 months, Melanie has enjoyed working with customers and has strived to provide them with great customer service by delivering an accurate, timely product.

Melanie examines, searches, and services orders, as well as assists with Recording and Policy Set-up.

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Integrity” is Melanie’s favorite pick. She explains, “I believe it is important to always do the right thing. It is important to be able to work and make choices independently that will have a positive influence and reflection on the company. This is important to our work ethic as well as in how we treat our customers and co-workers.”

Outside the office, Melanie and her family enjoy camping, boating, and having barbecues together. You might also spot Melanie baking, cake decorating, sewing, or traveling with her youngest daughter for dance competitions. 

Melanie loves to spend time with her five children, her son-in-law, and daughter-in-law. She’s also incredibly excited and looking forward to making memories with her first granddaughter to be born this August!

When asked about her favorite quote, Melanie recites, “It’s not about what happened to you, it’s about how you handle it.” Melanie believes that “we all have difficult things that are thrown at us at different times in our lives. I believe that it is important to try to remain positive and to focus on the blessings we have in our lives.”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Melanie a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Idaho Falls branch and write them in on your next transaction! Melanie looks forward to helping make your home closing a smooth and positive experience.

Melanie Morrison – Title Officer at Alliance’s Idaho Falls Branch
3240 S Woodruff Ave., 83404
208.524.5600
melanie.morrison@alliancetitle.com

Employee spotlight – Autumn Cannon

Our Title Officer III and North Region Production Manager, Autumn Cannon, is our newest Alliance Title Employee Spotlight! Our Coeur d’Alene branch has been lucky to have her these past 14 years.

Autumn searches, examines, and services files for Kootenai and Shoshone Counties. She also manages the day-to-day title production for the North Idaho and Montana branches – needless to say, she’s quite the busy bee. Autumn truly enjoys the people she works with and the sense of accomplishment that each day brings.

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Teamwork” is Autumn’s top choice. She explains, “It takes the entire team to facilitate a successful transaction from beginning to end. Alone we would fail, but together we can accomplish anything!”

Continuing the theme of teamwork, Autumn also explains how she appreciates her coworkers: “I admire the team that I work with, and my manager, Jack Wheir, for ‘putting up’ with every one of us!”

When she’s not working hard in the office, Autumn loves spending quality time with her family – whether that’s through summer barbecues, camping, fishing, or swimming.

Autumn’s favorite saying comes from Charles Swindoll: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Autumn strongly believes that the last sentence really explains it all.

Now that you’ve gotten to know Autumn a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Coeur d’Alene branch and write them in on your next transaction! Autumn looks forward to helping make your home closing a smooth and positive experience.

Autumn Cannon – Title Officer III and North Region Production Manager at Alliance’s Coeur d’Alene branch
2157 N Main St., 83814
208.667.3402
autumn_cannon@alliancetitle.com

Meet Our Eagle, ID Branch

Alliance Title’s Eagle, Idaho branch employees pride themselves on working together to answer every phone call and email in a timely manner.  They understand that communication during a real estate transaction is extremely important and most often, time sensitive.  The team aligns themselves with Alliance’s core belief, that our mission is to close real estate transactions timely and efficiently.  Responding quickly with accurate information is one of the many ways the team goes about helping customers close their home purchase or sale.

In addition to effective teamwork, the Eagle team shares approximately 86 years of combined title and escrow knowledge, which affords clients an accurate and efficient customer service experience.

The Eagle team loves their community and enjoys giving back by participating in various local events.  Every year they continue to grow their contribution to the companywide food drive ‘Closing the Hunger Gap’.  For this initiative, during the month of October, the Eagle team and branches throughout Idaho, Washington, and Montana team up with their local food banks to collect non-perishable food items and funds to help end hunger.  They are passionate about participating and are honored to collaborate with the Idaho Food Bank.

In addition to serving the local community, the Eagle team is proud to have two members who have served our country in the US military: Escrow Officer, Tonya Reeves, US Navy and Branch Administrative Assistant, and Sharla Dudding, US Air Force. Team member, Kelsey Hathaway, has a law degree.

When asked what the Eagle team loves most about their customers, Kimberlie Blasius, Vice President and Escrow Manager, shared “Our customers are loyal, dedicated professionals that we feel privileged to work alongside.   With the partnership between our customers and the outstanding Eagle team, we are confident that we’ll get the closing to the finish line in an efficient and professional manner.”

Outside of the office, you will find the Eagle office staff enjoying the great outdoors.  They enjoy participating in all things ‘Idaho’ including theater, art, mountain biking, camping, four wheeling, and hunting.  Ask them about their latest adventure next time you stop in to the office.

From left to right: Kimberlie Blasius, Kevin Brocke, Tonya Reeves, Kelsey Hathaway, Sharla Dudding, and Chelsea Karling

Alliance Title – Eagle
462 E Shore Dr., Ste. 160, 83616
208.287.5154

Employee spotlight – Bonnie Orr

Bonnie Orr is our newest Alliance Title Employee Spotlight! Having worked within the industry for the past 18 years, Bonnie is the officer you want working on your transactions.

Bonnie is located in our Clarkston, WA branch, and is our Title Officer III. She undergoes title examinations and works with customer service in the office. Bonnie loves the differences between each file – titles turn into puzzles, which make it fun!

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Service” is Bonnie’s top pick. She explains, “Service is the most important thing to all of our customers. In this world of digital service, direct contact with a person that will help you is so essential to customer service satisfaction; we offer that.”

When asked whom she admires, Bonnie has a hard time picking just one: “I admire many people. I admire my boss, Tami Randall. She is a hard-working woman, and she sets the standard high for all of us with her work ethic.”

Outside of work, Bonnie loves to spend time with family. Her three grandchildren, four sons, and husband, all enjoy taking walks with the dogs, painting, or following LCSC Women’s basketball. As Bonnie puts it, “a wonderful, pretty simple life.”

Bonnie’s favorite quote, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” by Reinhold Niebuhr, is used as her daily reminder. Bonnie illustrates, “This world has gotten pretty crazy, and I think we all need to remember this for peace of mind.”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Bonnie a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Clarkston branch and write them in on your next transaction! Bonnie looks forward to helping make your home closing a wonderful and positive experience.

Bonnie Orr – Title Officer III at Alliance’s Clarkston Branch
735 5th St., 99403
509.758.2549
bonnie_orr@alliancetitle.com

Employee Spotlight – Jennifer Kunz

Jennifer Kunz is our newest Alliance Title Employee Spotlight! Working in real estate for 13 years prior to joining our team, Jennifer is currently an Escrow Assistant for our Driggs, ID branch. Jennifer assists with greeting customers, completing lenders’ requests, and accomplishing general escrow assistant tasks!

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Integrity” is Jennifer’s top choice. She explains, “I believe in being honest; that is the most important thing for our customers. They need to know they can count on us.”

Aside from helping clients achieve their real estate goals, Jennifer truly loves how her job allows her to keep growing: “I love that I seem to learn something new every day and that every transaction is different from the last.”

When she needs inspiration and guidance, she looks to her grandmother. Jennifer illustrates, “she is hard working and never says an unkind word about anyone.”

Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys winding down in her garden, or relaxing by jumping into a good book.

Jennifer’s favorite quote, “if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need,” by Roman philosopher, Cicero, is what she tries to live by.

Now that you’ve gotten to know Jennifer a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Driggs branch and write them in on your next transaction! Jennifer looks forward to helping make your home closing an exciting and positive experience.

Jennifer Kunz – Escrow Assistant at Alliance’s Driggs Branch
78 N Main St., 83422
208.354.2285
jennifer.kunz@alliancetitle.com


Meet our Sandpoint, ID Branch

What city has a little bit of everything?

Sandpoint, Idaho.

The largest city in Bonner County, Sandpoint offers something for both the adventurer and the relaxation seeker. It’s nestled on the shores of Idaho’s largest lake, Lake Pend Oreille, is surrounded by three major mountain ranges – the Selkirk, Cabinet, and Bitterrot ranges – and is the home of Idaho’s largest ski resort, the Schweitzer Mountain.

With its outrageous beauty, Sandpoint is Idaho’s hidden treasure.

Located just a skip away from Sandpoint City Beach Park, you’ll find Idaho’s other secret treasure: Alliance Title’s Sandpoint branch. Bringing in 106 total years of experience between our six full-time team members, Alliance’s Sandpoint is ready and eager to join you during the home buying process.

This office doesn’t shy away from community events and contributions, either – they’re heavily involved in Alliance Title’s companywide campaign, Closing the Hunger Gap, and they also contribute to the 7B Boobs & Beer Run to raise funds for local cancer organizations, The Festival at Sandpoint for arts education, and the Distinguished Young Women program and the Performing Choirs at Sandpoint High School.

Left to right: Karla Derton, Hannah Gardner, Lori Gedrose, Harlan Ray, Gina Hall, and Janie Ray

Each employee has their own interesting hobbies and passions. Administrative Assistant, Lori Gedrose, loves antiquing and refurbishing – her seasonal arrangements always brighten up the office entry way; Title Officer, Harlan Ray, enjoys photography; Escrow Officer, Karla Derton, plays the trumpet and has the super power of speaking in movie quotes; Escrow Officer, Janie Ray, is an avid reader and piano player; and Escrow Assistant, Hannah Gardner, is not only a poetry writer, but also a Dungeons and Dragons player!

The Sandpoint branch is warm and friendly – they truly care about their clients, and they strive to excel for each transaction. They explain, “We love being part of our customers’ team. Our area is diverse; everything from off the grid acreage tucked away from population, to lavish waterfront homes. Every customer has a different need and we enjoy finding ways to help make the transaction happen.”

Whether you’re buying or selling commercial or residential property in Bonner County, the professionals at Alliance Title’s Sandpoint location are delighted to help make your next transaction a success!

Alliance Title – Sandpoint
105 Pine St., 83864
208.263.2125

Having a fun Starbucks coffee break!

Employee Spotlight – Jared Janke

Jared Janke is our Assistant Vice President and Sales Manager in Alliance Title’s Coeur d’Alene, Idaho office. He has brought 12 incredible years to the branch and we couldn’t be more thankful! Jared’s responsibilities include business development, increasing market share, bringing in new business, and managing business development representatives in other surrounding branches.

Jared truly enjoys being involved in the local community and getting to meet so many people. Assisting lenders, realtors, and builders to help them succeed is something he aims for everyday!

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Integrity” is Jared’s top pick. He explains, “I strive to be successful in our market; however, I constantly challenge myself to do it the right way. Work hard, provide service for our customers, and be true to who I am at the same time. I will do what I say I am going to do.”

When it comes to choosing someone he appreciate and respects, Jared looks to whom he’s surrounded by: “I admire good parents, good teachers, good coaches – I admire these folks because they mold our children and have a huge impact on our communities.”

When Jared’s not working hard in the office, you’ll probably spot him enjoying time in the great outdoors! He enjoys hunting, fishing, and camping – anything that involves being outside. He also loves watching his daughter play volleyball and softball with her travel teams!

Jared’s favorite quote, “It’s not how hard you hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,” is something he believes represents true life: “Life can be tough and there will be times when we all feel like giving up or quitting or stopping. The winners in life will pick themselves up and get right back after it!”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Jared a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Coeur d’Alene branch and write them in on your next transaction! Jared looks forward to helping make your home closing an exciting and positive experience.

Jared Janke – Assistant Vice President-Sales Manager at Alliance’s Coeur d’Alene Branch
2157 N Main St., 83814
208.667.3402
jared.janke@alliancetitle.com

Employee Spotlight – Hannah Gardner

Hannah Gardner is an Escrow Assistant for Alliance Title’s Sandpoint, Idaho branch. Although she is relatively new to the industry, Hannah is a quick learner and has become a wonderful addition to the team!

Hannah helps the escrow officers in gathering information needed to complete their closings and assisting with funding their files after recording. Her favorite part about working in the industry is being the one to bring such positive news to a future homeowner. Hannah explains, “I love when I get to break the news to a first-time homebuyer that their purchase has recorded. They always sound excited and grateful; it’s good to feel like I’m a part of one of the most important moments of their lives.”

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Integrity” is Hannah’s favorite. She further illustrates, “Our clients need to know their transactions are in safe, impartial, honest hands. If you and your office have a reputation for honesty, then the rest takes care of itself. I love that many of our Alliance offices are based in smaller communities, but just remember how quickly word travels in small towns!”

When it comes to admiration, Hannah immediately thinks of her brave and wonderful grandmother. Her grandmother had escaped the bombing in England during World War II by fleeing to the United States with her family. Although she had to completely start over in a new and strange country, she still managed to graduate from college with a degree in bacteriology and managed her own jewelry shop for many years. Hannah believes “she has always been a resourceful, intelligent, and independent woman. I can only hope to be like her!”

Outside the office, you can find Hannah practicing her writing skills or falling deeper into a new book. In the summers, she likes to hike and camp in the Selkirk Range and continue her tradition of running the Bloomsday race in Spokane, Washington with her best friend.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote, “well behaved women rarely make history,” helps with Hanna’s vision board: “This quote always reminds me that if you have a dream, you should chase it no matter what people tell you. Did Amelia Earhart smother her dreams of flight because she thought people would disapprove? Not at all! Of course she wound up disappearing in a flying accident, but that’s another story.”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Hannah a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Sandpoint branch to write them in on your next transaction! Hannah looks forward to helping make your home closing a wonderful and positive experience.

Hannah Gardner – Escrow Assistant at Alliance’s Sandpoint Branch
105 Pine St., 83864
208.263.2125
Hanna.gardner@alliancetitle.com

Meet our Rigby, ID Branch

Nestled between Idaho Falls and Rexburg sits the charming little town of Rigby, Idaho. Sitting in the northeast portion of the Snake River Plain, the town is just a stone’s throw away from Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons.

Alliance Title’s Rigby branch feels “at home” in this friendly community. With the combined work experience of our employees at this office – Vice President and Branch Manager, Jennifer Landon, with 24 years, Title officer, Kathlean Brown, with 18 years, and Escrow Officers, Miriam Mendoza, and Brandi Whitmill, with seven and four years of experience –  comes a combined total of 53 years! 

Jennifer explains, “Alliance Rigby is known for providing accurate, timely service with a friendly smile. We always receive comments about the fun vibe and feel in our office when customers come in. We have a beautiful building and location that welcomes everyone doing business with us ‘home.’”

The Rigby team is committed to serving the needs of the community. They have donated large amounts of food and funds during Alliance’s companywide campaign, Closing the Hunger Gap, as well as having collected for their “Food for Fido” campaign that aids in local vet clinics. Jennifer is also involved in the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce.

When they aren’t working hard or volunteering around the town, the Rigby branch knows how to have fun! They all enjoy being active in the great outdoors with their families, or taking time to relax in the hobbies they love; Jennifer rides motorcycles, Miriam likes kickboxing, Brandi enjoys gardening, and Kathlean plays bass in a band.

To the team in Rigby, providing title and escrow service isn’t just a job – they help families and friends establish memories in their new homes. Jennifer further illustrates, “What we all love about our customers is that they are our neighbors and friends. We enjoy seeing the dream of homeownership come true and take pride in creating that outstanding customer service in our community.”

Whether you’re buying or selling commercial or residential property in Jefferson County, the professionals at Alliance Title’s Rigby location are delighted to help make your next transaction a success!

Alliance Title – Rigby
581 Rigby Lake Dr., 83442
208.745.9495