The Flip Flops Are Back: Real Estate Sees a Boom in House Flipping

This isn’t the year 2000, but with all the house flipping happening lately, you might find yourself a little confused as to what year it is.

CoreLogic released a new report that found consumers are back to the flipping business, but with a different tactic than they did during the housing boom.

Instead, short-term investors are adding more value to the property before reselling. CoreLogic explains, “We’ve seen growing signs that flippers are getting increasingly good at buying properties at a discount while the premium they’re selling for has remained mostly constant.”

The flipping rate in the U.S. was 10.9% of all home sales in the fourth quarter of 2018. The areas with the highest median returns on a flip rate were:

  • Detroit: 95.9%
  • Philadelphia: 92.8%
  • Pittsburg 75%
  • Cleveland: 70%
  • Akron, Ohio: 65.7%

CoreLogic will be focusing on what specific improvements were made on these properties, the costs of the work, and the net economic profits earned by flippers.

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

Having a fun Starbucks coffee break!

Dot the I’s and Cross the T’s: What are New Homeowners Not Doing?

Being a homeowner pros and cons list:

  • Pros: no more rent, build equity, paint and decorate how you want, and no neighbors above you!
  • Cons: it’s broken, you fix it.

A new survey from HomeServe USA found that 20% of homeowners do not have money put aside for an emergency home repair – and half of the respondents say they’ve had to complete an emergency project at some point in the past 12 months.

Financial experts agree that homeowners should save 1% of the home’s purchase price each year to cover ongoing home maintenance coasts. They also suggest having savings equal to at least 3-6 months of overall living expenses in an emergency fund.

While saving for a down payment is one battle, the next is making sure you’re able to fix any “uh-ohs” your dream home might experience.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Working with Buyers on New-Home Construction

New-home construction has been the hot topic recently – and as a real estate agent, it’s crucial that you know the differences between selling a previously-owned home and one that is still being built.

Because builders will be represented by their own agent, buyers will need you to speak for them and look after their best interest.

Here are some quick tips when it comes to selling new construction:

Builder Contract

Real estate agents have the responsibility to fully understand the buyer’s rights and have them outlined in the contract. It might be a good idea to ask the builder’s sales contact to receive an extra copy of the legal documents. Look closely at deadlines that the buyer should be aware of.

Agents also need to talk with the builder to see exactly what will be included in the home. Let’s explain that further:

When your client toured the home, it was probably a model home. It was the high-end, tippy-top version of the “standard” home that will be offered. Touring the home with the builder, you should ask which options come with the home, which options are available, and which options are an additional cost.


Speaking on the builder – it would be beneficial to actually know the builder. Each builder is different from the next; speak with past buyers and look for online reviews to get a better understanding of what they can offer.


This is a large part of your job, so it should come as no surprise that negotiating would be a major step in the new-home process. However, builders actually set a lot of the prices – some that you can’t necessarily debate. It’s important for you to explain this to your buyer. Builders are more likely to pay for closing costs or possibly offer design incentives before they drop prices.


Mortgage lenders are a bit more critical than normal when a buyer is purchasing an unfinished home. Because construction can take months before it’s completed, it poses as a risk; lenders usually can’t “lock in” an interest rate for more than 90 days in advance.

It’s important to know where the buyer is financially – so as to not waste time if the buyer cannot afford a mortgage if rates increase once the home is completed.

Helping sell new-home construction is exciting – but it should also be paired with patience and due diligence.

Millennials, Real Estate, and Outdoor Space – Oh My!

Wifi, Netflix, wine, and environmentally-friendly products.

If you advertise any of these, millennials will come.

While we do know a short list of products millennials go goo-goo-gaga over, one thing surprised us: having a lawn as the most important feature when renting or buying a home.

A recent poll done by the National Association of Landscape Professionals found that 82% of millennials cited lawns as their top pick when purchasing a home. Which might seem a bit shocking, considering the other stereotype millennials fall into is not wanting to engage in yard work.

But, the numbers prove us all wrong – millennials want the outdoor space. Here’s why:

  • 77% use their lawn space to relax at least once a week
  • 32% garden multiple times a week
  • 47% entertain in their yards at least once a month
  • 57% use their yards for recreation at least monthly

So millennials… like being outside??

While kitchen renovations can always be done at a later date, it looks like having a yard takes precedence when moving into a new home.

Balancing Inventory and Surging Prices in Real Estate

What goes up – is still going up.®’s monthly housing trends report had a big headliner: the U.S. median home list price in March peaked at $300,000 for the first time ever. This also marks a price increase of 7% year over year.

Why is this happening, you might ask?

Many believe it’s due to the rise in inventory in the high-end market. Homes priced above $750,000 have continued to increase – up 11% year over year. This doesn’t help first-time homebuyers who are looking to enter the market.

Most first-time homebuyers are looking for homes priced at $200,000 or below (these are called entry-level homes) but this niche in the market has had a 9% decrease year over year, obviously making them harder to find and harder for people trying to purchase their first home.

Danielle Hale,®’s chief economist, explains: “Heading into the spring, U.S. prices are expected to continue to rise and inventory is expected to continue to increase, but at a slower pace than we’ve seen in the last few months as fewer sellers want to contend with this year’s more challenging conditions.”

With 86% of first-time homebuyers being 28 years or younger, millennials are having to work hard at finding ways to purchase.

While it does seem promising that inventory is increasing – however slowly that might be – experts will have to keep an eye on the real estate market and hope entry-level homes begin increasing year over year.

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

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Communications Plan

Communication is key in any relationship – and when the relationship is between a real estate agent and a client, communication becomes even more vital.

To get the relationship off on the right foot, it’s important that you establish communication rules so your client understands your work, and you know what your clients wants.

How do you create one of these plans?


Ask your client how they’d like to be reached – is it through phone, email, text, and/or social media? Communicating through whichever system they choose will help them become more receptive.


Now that you’ve planned how they’d like to be reached, establish how often they’d like to hear from you. Should it be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or only when you have an important and urgent piece of information? Once you have this decided, both parties will have an understanding of how frequently they’ll be reached, so there isn’t any confusion left on the table.


It’s important for your client to know what your work days look like. Let them know what days and hours you work – and if you have any “after work hours” – set a policy for what that looks like as well.


Once you know their preferences, write out a specific time on the calendar when you’ll reach out to them and let them know. For example, if they said they would like to be reached weekly by phone, mark your calendar for every Thursday between 3pm and 5pm (or whichever day and time works for both of your schedules) and let them know that’s when they’ll be hearing from you.

Being a real estate agent means going above and beyond for your clients – and setting expectations for how you both will work wonders for your relationship.

These are Pawsitively the Best Cities for Dog Owners

Dogs are more than just pets – they’re family.

If you’re a dog parent, then you whole-heartedly agree with this phrase – and you try and provide the best possible care for your furry family member.

When it comes to where you live, your dog has become the number one priority. With three quarters of homebuyers passing up on the perfect home if it doesn’t meet their pets’ needs, location is definitely the top concern when choosing a home.

Luckily, Redfin and Rover joined forces to find exactly which cities were the best for dog owners.

They surveyed over 14,000 cities across the country to compile a list of the highest counts of walks, dog walkers and sitters, how often the keyword ‘dog’ appeared in online listing descriptions for sale, on whether properties were described as dog-friendly, and close to dog parks, etc.

Want to avoid a ruff life with your best furry friends? Check out Rover and Redfin’s findings for the top 20 cities for your furry doggies!

CityRover Rank% of ‘Dog’ Searches on ListingWalk ScoreTop Dog Breed
Seattle, WA12%73Labrador Retriever
Chicago, IL24%78Mixed Breed
Denver, CO24%61Labrador Retriever
Manhattan, NY44%89French Bulldog
Washington, DC51%77Mixed Breed
Portland, OR62%65Mixed Breed
Los Angeles, CA72%67Chihuahua
Brooklyn, NY84%89Pit Bill Mix
San Francisco, CA94%86Mixed Breed
San Diego, CA102%51Mixed Breed
Philadelphia, PA112%79Pit Bull Mix
Houston, TX 122%49Mixed Breed
Austin, TX133%40Mixed Breed
Arlington, VA143%37Mixed Breed
Minneapolis, MN151%69Labrador Retriever
Alexandria, VA163%60Mixed Breed
Dallas, TX172%46Labrador Retriever
Atlanta, GA185%49Mixed Breed
San Jose, CA192%51Labrador Retriever
Nashville, TN201%28Mixed Breed

We Might Be Afraid of the Dark, but Not of a Recession

“If you’re afraid to fail, then you’ll never succeed” – this might just be what many home shoppers are thinking when it comes to owning a home.

Although 70% of people believe America will enter a recession within the next three years, buyers remain optimistic that the real estate market won’t tumble as hard as it did back in 2008.

Home prices have increased by 49% since 2010, while the U.S. economy has grown by $3 trillion. America has seen steady economic growth and low unemployment rates for the past seven years, and according to® Chief Economist Danielle Hale, “Historically, this type of growth hasn’t continued indefinitely, and U.S. home shoppers think it will come to an end sooner rather than later.”

In an ironic turn of events, Hale points to the nation’s low inventory levels as a way of protecting home prices in the next recession – whenever that happens.

The years leading towards the previous recession showed many consumers believing real estate was a luxury – this is a major disparity to the current feeling towards owning a home merely as a priority.

Heading into the spring market, experts will be watching to see how home values and appreciations fair.