The Price of Location

What’s it called when you live near amenities, walk or take public transportation to work, and spend less than 30% of your monthly income on housing costs?

It’s called an imaginary place, unfortunately.

Suburbs, city center, or country side? These areas are vastly different in lifestyle, but not so much in price. Surprising, right?

Zillow just released an article detailing new research focusing on the U.S. household income and what homeowners should expect to pay each month. While it might not be shocking to know that city centers are the costly areas to purchase a home, the suburbs don’t seem to be offering that much of a price break.

Experts advise on spending no more than 30% of your income on housing costs – but a renting household in the city can expect to pay more than that, about 36.8% of their income. The suburbs roughly come out to 31.8% of income; with rural areas dropping to 23.9% of income.

It’s a little less brutal for homebuyers – an urban area can expect to pay 26.5% of their income; rural and suburb areas 20.2%.

It seems as though if you’re wanting to make a dent on your savings, the rural areas are the place to be. However, your lifestyle, and what you’re looking for in terms of commute, living space, and finances, will play the final role in wherever your decision falls.

Your Client Lost on Their Offer – Now What?

It hurts to be the one to tell your clients that their offer fell through; you don’t want to be seen as the bad guy, and you don’t want them feeling as though it’s the end of the road for them. So how do you handle the situation?

There are many reasons why their offer may have fallen through – now your job is to help your clients understand the possible causes.

The Offer was Too High

Yes, you read that right. But this one has some surprising logic – sometimes sellers will reject offers that are too high, simply because the house might not be appraised for that amount. In this instance, they try and avoid a possible appraisal nightmare and accept the lower offer.

Gave Too Much Information

Sometimes your client might accidentally have said too much to the seller – genuinely not knowing that what they were saying may have actually been offending the owner. For instance, if there was mention of a remodel when the home has been with the owner’s family for the past 5 generations.

The Timing was Off

Your client needs to move in within 60 days, but the seller hasn’t found a new home yet and already doesn’t feel as though the 45 day closing process won’t be long enough. It’s important to discuss timing with a seller before any offers are made to avoid wasted time.


Honestly, there are a variety of reasons your client may have lost on their offer – the seller could have decided to keep the house, or there may have just been a better offer. While it is an uneasy feeling to be rejected on a home, it doesn’t mean your client’s search isn’t over. Just shake it off and keep moving forward.

It’s All in the Family – Helping the Next Generation Become Homeowners

It seems as though your kids will pick up more than just your good looks and personality as they grow up – they also seem to fall in step with the same homeownership goals as you.

The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, released new research that shows if Mom and / or Dad are homeowners – instead of renters – their children becoming a homeowner increases by 8.4%.

The family’s net worth was also studied; 14% of millennials are homeowners with their parent’s net worth of $10,000, while 36% of millennials own a home with their parent’s net worth of $300,000 or more.

While this is incredibly promising, most new homeowners need guidance in the world of real estate. If one or all of your children are wanting to buy a home, you might want to think about giving them some housing market life lessons – like how to build good credit and why it matters and the breakdown of all the costs it takes to own a home.

The American dream of owning a home hasn’t faded – it’s just taking longer to get there. Luckily, if you’re a parent that owns a home, your kid might already be trying to follow in your footsteps and have their own place to call home.

Closing the Hunger Gap 2018

We’ve officially kicked off the 7th annual Alliance Title & Escrow Corp. ‘Closing the Hunger Gap’ companywide food drive! The drive will run through October 31st, 2018.

Our branches throughout Idaho and sections of Montana and Washington have teamed up with their local food banks to collect non-perishable food items and funds to help end hunger in the communities we serve.

This year’s goal is to collect 27,000 pounds of food.

Each branch will be creating food art installations we call “Canstructures” – each office will come up with their own theme and design! Come into participating offices to vote on your favorite one, or vote for your favorite Canstructure starting on Monday, October 8th!

We’re eager to have you help us reach our 27,000 pound food collection goal and end hunger in our community!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag, #CHG2018 to share your donations!

Fraudulent Activity in Real Estate

Whatcha gonna do when the hackers come for you?

According to the FBI, the Internet Crime Complaint Center saw a 480% increase in the number of complaints submitted last year within the real estate industry. 2017 alone saw online scammers steal almost $1 billion from real estate purchase transactions.

Cybercrime against the real estate market is real – it’s always important to keep a wary eye out for those red flags.

So what is the primary threat? Essentially, a lot of it comes down to real estate agents’ email accounts being hacked and compromised. These scammers are intercepting important documents and wire transfers; these hackers are able to communicate directly with the client and reroute funds without the agent knowing what is taking place.

So what are some of the things that can be done to avoid cybercrime?

You should always be aware of what you’re opening and clicking on in your email. If something looks suspicious, work out the conversation over the phone instead – and of course, never click on those skeptical links.

So, don’t let the bad boys come for you while you complete those real estate transactions.

Real Estate Lingo – What is Title Insurance?

Purchasing a home is both exciting and terrifying – most of the terms you come across are alien to you, which might make you hesitate before signing on the deal.

Most first-time homebuyers believe that title insurance is “just another fee” they have to pay to buy a home. It may surprise some, but title insurance is far more than just a little fee – it protects both lender and buyer from many types of claims made against the title to a property, such as encumbrances and liens. Another surprising factor – one out of every four residential real estate transactions have an issue with the title.

Title insurance is based on loss prevention – which means a much larger percentage of the premium dollar is spent up front to prevent any title problems from occurring.

These costs cover: searching, identifying, and resolving title issues before closing to eliminate risks that could result in a future claim. The due diligence performed before the policy is issued aids in resolving any potential roadblocks.

It’s important to know the various terms in the real estate world so you feel confident and secure throughout your transaction!

There’s No Place like the City

Toto’s definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Rural areas are dwindling as more and more residents move into cities. According to a recent report from Trulia, metros have seen a commanding growth in jobs and home prices, while rural areas have been dwindling.

While this trend began well before the recession, the study shows that the move to metro areas have increased in recent years. The theory comes from people withdrawing from isolated areas and gathering in more of a weightier employment center.

As most homebuyers have seen, this has put an incredible amount of pressure on the housing demand in cities. Trulia’s report found that home values in the largest metro areas from mid-2012 to mid-2018 grew 53.1%, whereas rural counties saw a 27.9% increase in home value.

A population rise in cities = a mismatched market for homebuyers. Home values have been steadily increasing in these metro areas, with very little construction making headway. Luxury homes seem to still be available, but homebuyers looking for starter homes in the city are feeling the pinch.

There’s no place like home – and to many – finding a home in the city has been quite the challenge.

A Rise in Home Value and a Latte, Please

Coffee: it does more than just help you get out of bed in the morning – it also helps your home value.

A recent study released by Harvard Business School found that when a Starbucks pops up in your neighborhood, your home can increase by 0.5% within a year.

The conclusions from the study pinpoint how the expansion of restaurants, bars, cafés, grocery stores, and Starbucks chains can be a sign of gentrification. However, the study argues that these openings don’t necessarily attract affluent residents – but rather, how these openings mesh in with the neighborhood.

The study explains, “The most natural hypothesis to us is that restaurants respond to exogenous changes in neighborhood composition, not that restaurant availability is driving neighborhood change.”

If you’re a realtor, or in the process of thinking about selling your home, it might be worth seeing what new construction might be coming near the neighborhood. It’s important to know how to market your home to potential buyers, and if the neighborhood is changing, your approach might need to change.

And who knows? You might just see a spike in caffeine and home value.

2020 Brings Clear Vision – and a New Real Estate Market

It seems as though economists are quite convinced of their upcoming vision for the year 2020.

The housing market is still a seller’s paradise – with slow construction and aging-in-place homeowners, buyers are having to seriously compete for the house of their dreams.

According to real estate economists surveyed by Zillow and Pulsenomics LLC, the industry won’t switch to a buyer’s market until at least 2020. About 75% of 100 economists agree with the statement.

Some signs that the market is still favoring sellers: inventory dropping and home value appreciation rising. The data also shows that home values are expected to rise to an additional 5.9% at the end of 2018.

We’ll have to wait to see if their predictions are correct; but as for now, it looks like sellers will be holding the cards for a little while longer.

Millennials, Who? Gen Z, the New Crowd in Real Estate

Drum roll please….there’s a new generation entering the housing market: Generation Z. Those born between 1995 and 2010 already comprise 21% of the American population, according to Zillow – and many of them already have their eye on the housing market. 62% of Gen Zers believe owning a home is a key staple of the American Dream.

So what generational trends will the housing market see?

For both commercial and home real estate, we’ll see things like: bigger communal spaces, smart home technology, minimalistic design, and eco-friendly construction.

Gen Zers are wanting spaces that actually serve a purpose other than just being. They’re looking for retail stores to offer opportunities to build relationships – through social media and in-house events – rather than just being looked at as another number.

In terms of office space, those that find themselves in Generation Z want less visual clutter and more opportunity to destress – think “quiet areas” and meditation rooms.

While Generation Z still doesn’t surpass the buying power of Millennials in real estate, developers are looking ahead – and already tailoring changes.