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.

Staying Safe on the Job

September is right around the corner – and since 2003, the National Association of REALTORS® has devoted the month as REALTOR® Safety Month.

NAR’s 2017 Member Safety Report shows that 44% of females and 25% of males have experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information.

It’s easy to fall into a routine and let your guard down – we’ve all been guilty of becoming a little lazy in some shape or form. But it’s always important to refresh your thinking and list out positive and simple methods to make sure you’re feeling safe and secure while on the job.

Meet in a public space. Have a “second meeting only” policy – the first time you meet your clients should either by in your office or another public location before agreeing to a private showing. This allows you an opportunity to evaluate them and for your intuition to do some work. Always require that your clients bring some form of identification that you can file (but be sure to discard properly when no longer needed).

Tell others where you’ll be. Before attending your open house or your showing, be sure to let your colleagues, friends, or family members know of your location. Give them the name of your client and the address you are planning to meet at. NAR’s Safety Report also demonstrated that 28% of Realtors use the “Find my iPhone feature” when out for the job.

Allow your clients to lead. When walking through the property, it’s safer to let them guide you through the house, rather than yourself. By having them lead, you are able to always have them in view.

Be mindful of exits. Always know where you can quickly exit and avoid showing basements or attics. This goes hand-in-hand with being mindful of where the property keys are!

Listen to your gut. If you feel as though something is off, or you feel uncomfortable, follow your intuition. You know the saying, “better to be safe than sorry.”

Frankly, my dear, Buying a Home is Stressful

The typical anxieties include: finances, relationship issues, not getting your multiple Americanos on time before going to the office…you know, the usual.

Homes.com released a bombshell of a statistic regarding the biggest stressor currently for Americans: buying a home.

Here’s their breakdown:

  • 33% of homebuyers had at least one moment of shedding tears during the home-buying process.
  • 38% of homebuyers were surprised at the length of the process
  • 13% of homebuyers believed they overpaid for their new home
  • 28% felt devastated after losing property that they put a contract in for
  • Only 1 in 5 homebuyers felt confident with their decision making

Apparently buyer’s remorse is a legitimate thing.

Avoid the Anxiety

Do your research.

Don’t be afraid to speak up and be as honest as you can with your real estate agent.

Understand that buying a home takes time and requires patience and obviously, money. Acquire a nice little nest egg before making the big leap.

By being prepared, you will be able to jump aboard with confidence when making an offer on a home that feels right for you. Because when you purchase a home, frankly, you should be thrilled – not distressed.

Best Cities for Housing Markets

Being a first-time homebuyer can be a scary feat; especially if you’re petrified of becoming a carbon-copy of Walter Fielding Jr. in The Money Pit. But don’t fret – luckily, WalletHub recently released their findings on the best and worst cities for first-time home buyers in 2018.

An unsuspecting city landed in the top five best cities: Boise, Idaho! In actuality, it shouldn’t be too startling of news after Forbes announced Boise as the fastest-growing area in the U.S. back in February.  Boiseans, rejoice!

WalletHub compared 300 cities of various sizes and used 27 assorted metrics to rank the cities by groups of affordability, real estate market, and quality of life.

According to the study, the top five cities with the best housing markets for first-time home buyers are:

  1. Broken Arrow, OK
  2. Tampa, FL
  3. Centennial, CO
  4. Boise, ID
  5. Grand Rapids, MI

Of course, who wouldn’t want to live in the Treasure Valley? If you’re a first-time homebuyer in the market, why not venture to Boise and see all that it has to offer?


Alliance Nampa hosts 2nd Annual Sporting Clay Shoot Fundraiser

The Alliance Title Nampa team had a blast hosting the 2nd Annual Sporting Clay Shoot Fundraiser benefiting the Snake River Stampede for the Cure Foundation — raising $2737.79!

The foundation partners with the Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s health systems to raise money for women in the Treasure Valley who are uninsured and underinsured by providing mammograms. All of the funds raised stay in the Treasure Valley.


We’re excited for next year and thank you to everyone that participated and helped contribute to a great organization!

#alliancetitle #sportingclayshoot #fundraiser #community #givingback #snakeriverstampede #title #escrow

Affiliates of the Year 2018

Congratulations, Ashley Houweling & Kelsey Wartman!

We’re thrilled to announce that two of Alliance Title’s own have been named Affiliate of the Year — Ashley Howeling (Nampa, Idaho office) for the Nampa Association of Realtors and Kelsey Wartman (Boise, Idaho office) for the Boise Regional Realtors!

“I am truly honored to receive Affiliate of the Year from Nampa Association of Realtors. So many great people volunteer their time and effort all year long towards events and functions within the association and community and just being considered one among those individuals is a great honor in itself. I consider myself privileged to be part of this community and association.” — Ashley Houweling

Ashley Howeling

Shannon Loux, Ashley Howeling and Star Nieves

Alliance Title Nampa Team – Stacy Woods, Tara Lehman, Ashley Houweling, Shannon Loux, Star Nieves and Isabel Villalobos

“I am truly honored to have been recognized as the Boise Regional Realtors Affiliate of the Year. To receive this award from a group of individuals that I admire so much is truly humbling. I am grateful for all of the amazing members and staff of the association who make it so easy to be involved and give back in our industry.” — Kelsey Wartman

Kelsey Wartman accepting her award from Phil Mount

Award Winners – Jill Giese, Elizabeth Cushman Hume, Kelsey Wartman, Bob Van Allen, Becky Enrico-Crum and Mike Turner

Gary Salisbury, Kelsey Wartman and Phil Mount


Ashley and Kelsey are ready to help you grow your business in the Treasure Valley!

Ashley Houweling – Alliance Title Nampa
1005 W Sanetta St.
Nampa, ID 83651

Kelsey Wartman – Alliance Title Boise
250 S 5th St., Ste. 100
Boise, ID 83702

#alliancetitle #affiliateoftheyear #award #congratulations #realestate #title #escrow

(Kelsey’s photos courtesy of Boise Regional REALTORS®)

Closing The Hunger Gap 2017

We’ve officially kicked off the 6th annual Alliance Title & Escrow Corp. ‘Closing The Hunger Gap’ companywide food drive! It runs from October 1 through October 31, 2017.

Our branches throughout Idaho and parts 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 25,000 pounds of food. Last year, we collected 23,900 pounds of food in addition to $12,169 in employee and customers donations. Added to a portion of each branch’s revenue, totaling $27,425, the total companywide combined monetary donation was $39,594 and turned out to be the largest fund donation the company has made to date.

Come into participating offices to see Canstructures built by that office and vote on your favorite one! What is a Canstructure, you ask? It’s a themed art installation made of non-perishable food items that will be donated to that office’s food bank partner. Vote for your favorite Canstructure on our Facebook page!

We’re excited for you to help us reach our 25,000 pound food collection goal and end hunger in our community!

For more information on this year’s and past ‘Closing The Hunger Gap’ campaigns, visit our page: https://www.alliancetitle.com/closing-the-hunger-gap

To vote for your favorite Canstructure, visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/myalliancetitle

Guest Blogger: Eclipse Day

Amazing. Beautiful. Crazy. Words can’t really describe what I experienced when viewing the 2017 eclipse in totality in Stanley, Idaho. It was just something you’d have to experience for yourself.

My friends and I started our day waking up at 3:30AM, packing our cars and getting the dog ready to head out. We decided on Stanley, Idaho, a super small town of about 63 people northeast of Boise, as our eclipse destination because it was in the path of totality and has great views of the Sawtooth mountain range landscape.

One of my good friends from high school drove with her coworker all the way from Florida on assignment from her news station back in Orlando, interviewing people and stopping places all in the eclipse’s path of totality. After three straight days of driving from Florida to Idaho, they were exhausted, but ready to see what they came all that way for.

Despite all of the warnings that traffic would be bad heading out of Boise into the path of totality, we took our chances and didn’t experience much traffic at all. Once we got to the outskirts of Stanley, we checked out the campground and trailhead around Stanley Lake. Both were pretty full, but still manageable.

Stanley Lake – August 21, 2017

Deciding to go into town for cell and data reception, we were expecting Stanley to be completely packed, but were pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. There were more people than normal for a summer morning. Food trucks and random vendors were selling things alongside the local establishments, all capitalizing on the much welcomed business. Cell and data reception were better than I remembered it ever being, too.

We found a spot to park both vehicles and hang out. Eventually we put on our eclipse glasses and started to see a small sliver taken out of the sun that eventually grew more into a crescent shape. The air gradually grew cooler and the surroundings started to dim into a greyish, gunmetal color. The Sawtooth mountains behind us started to glow as the eclipse reached totality and near darkness overcame everything.

After snapping some photos and starting recording a video on my phone, I was able to stare at the magic taking place in the sky. Other eclipse watchers were cheering and some were literally howling at the moon. I didn’t really see what my dog was doing during the eclipse, but it’s likely he had a look of confusion on his face with all of the howling surrounding us.

Two minutes and some change was not long enough. It didn’t look real and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Total Solar Eclipse in Stanley, Idaho

Before we knew it, the sun came blasting around the other side of the moon and it was difficult, not to mention dangerous, to view the last part of the eclipse without eclipse glasses. Not believing it was over, the howlers around us could be heard yelling “Go back! Come back!”

We hung out just a little while longer before packing back up. My friend and her coworker planned to stay a little longer because they had a few live hits they needed to be ready for during the live broadcast on the east coast.

Seeing that side of nature had me hooked and debating whether or not I should become an eclipse chaser.

—Rich Clum is the Marketing Copywriter in the Boise, Idaho corporate office.

Tips for Purchasing a Home as a Senior

As a senior, making the decision to purchase a home can be a frightening thing. Your family may believe taking out a mortgage at such a late stage in life is too risky. If you have a history of renting, you may be torn about being tied down to a mortgage as opposed to moving freely. However, something about owning your own home is appealing, and there are plenty of options to assist you in making this transition. Here are a few tips to consider when looking to purchase a new home.

Know Your Options

According to the National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report young baby boomers age 52 to 61 made up 16 percent of home purchases in 2016. Older boomers age 62-70 consisted of 14 percent of recent buyers. As you can see, purchasing a home at this phase in life is completely doable, and there are plenty of options available for you. The ideal way to purchase a new home is to sell your previous place of residence, and use the cash to buy a new house. If you do not own your current residence, then you will have to examine your financing options. A common misconception is that lenders do not loan money to seniors because of the risk factors associated with their age. In 2016, 68 percent of young baby boomers financed their home and 58 percent of older boomers did the same so do not be discouraged. When applying for a mortgage loan, lenders look at the last two years of your credit history and your projected income for the next three years. Consult with a trusted advisor to determine what type of mortgage will work best for you.

Be Cautious

Unfortunately in today’s fast-paced society, there are many real estate predators looking to take advantage of seniors. To avoid being caught in their traps, make sure your knowledge of the market is up to par. Hire a trusted attorney or financial advisor and always consult with them before making any decisions. Also make sure you acknowledge and properly understand any fine print. Be leery of real estate agents who try to rush you into making decisions and signing documents because they may be trying pull a fast one. If you feel like you are being told something that is too good to be true, you are probably right. Just to be sure, get a second opinion. To familiarize yourself with the value of the home you are looking to purchase or sell, get a market analysis. You may also find it beneficial to ask neighbors about the houses that have sold in the area.

Enlist Help

Moving into a home is a stressful and physically taxing chore. As a senior you may find that you don’t have the energy to pack up your entire living quarters, relocate, and unpack. Fortunately there are several moving services that specialize in helping seniors pack up their belongings and move safely and efficiently into their new home. Even a housekeeper can potentially help with the sorting and packing. After sorting and organizing your items, your home will be move-in ready, hassle-free! A quick online search will point you in the direction of which moving services are available in your area.

Some people assume that with age, comes the desire to simplify. While there are seniors who are comfortable with living in assisted living facilities, there are others who are not. Fortunately in these times, people are leading healthier lifestyles and are living longer. Investing in a home provides a great financial asset and can be very empowering for you. The quest to homeownership can be overwhelming, but try to enjoy the process as you find the home that is right for you!

Guest blogger submission courtesy of Jim Vogel of ElderAction.org

Owner’s Title Insurance Protects You and Your Future Generations

One of the smartest and easiest decisions you will make as a homebuyer is to get an owner’s title insurance policy. For a low, one-time fee, your property rights are protected for as long as you or your heirs own your home. How does owner’s title insurance protect you and your heirs?

When you close with Alliance Title, our title professionals examine the public records to help with the transition of the home from the seller to you during the closing process. If a problem is discovered, Alliance Title works to resolve it before you purchase the home. Some examples of problems with title include liens against the property, easements, building or use restrictions, and claims. Should an unforeseen issue arises that threatens your ownership rights after you have purchased your home, an owner’s title insurance policy will typically defend you and your heirs legally and financially.

For more information, contact a local Alliance Title professional or visit www.alliancetitle.com.

All publications of the American Land Title Association are copyrighted and are reference herein by specific permission from the American Land Title Association (ALTA). http://www.alta.org/