Ready, Set, Sanitize – & Donate!

Alliance Title’s 25 locations in Idaho, Montana, and Washington strive to make your closing process smooth and easy. Each branch is staffed with friendly and experienced professionals who pride themselves on providing you with a safe, socially-distanced and personalized transaction while also doing their part to support the local community.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to help our communities. This October, Alliance Title is hosting the 9th annual ‘Closing the Hunger Gap’ food drive campaign and partnering with local food banks to collect nonperishable food and monetary donations to help end hunger in the communities we serve.

With our convenient locations, you’re never too far from safe, exceptional service or a socially-distanced donation site!

Check out our Closing the Hunger Gap History page to see what we’ve been able to accomplish since 2012!

Zoom Towns on the Rise

Yes, you read the title of the article right – Zoom Towns.

But, what are they?

These “towns” are locations that have been booming due to remote work becoming more of a reality with the many changes COVID has brought.

While this surge might be temporary (as more businesses decide to bring back their employees again), the Zoom Town Boom could potentially reshape the idea of small towns. Millennials, being the biggest home purchasing generational group of 2020, has been the one to primarily fuel this new geographical change.

Many homebuyers and owners who once felt stifled by their work location, now feel as though they can live where they’ve always wanted – tourist destinations, like beach and mountain towns.

Moving away from large cities to Zoom Towns might help lower housing costs in what would be pricier areas.

Bloomberg has reported that, “these trends probably will become clearer in the next year or two […] it now seems likely that there will be a new group of winners such as Truckee, California and Missoula, Montana amid the shift to virtual work, transforming their housing markets, and local economies forever.”

Interested in moving to a Zoom Town? Comment below!

For more real estate news and trends, check out Alliance’s Blog here.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Agent Safety Tips

September is real estate agent safety month!

The National Association of Realtor’s have created list of safety tips to help agents better prepare for unknown situations, while also raising their confidence when out in the field.

Safety is of the upmost importance at all times – these tips can help you, as an agent, throughout the year! Check out their first five tips explained below:

Show Properties During the Day

Try your very best to show homes to your clients during the day. If that is not possible, be sure to tell your coworkers and supervisor and give them your contact information. While you’re at the home, do not close any blinds or turn off the lights.

Prep New Clients

A new client should meet you in the office with their Prospect Identification Form completed. Have them also bring a photocopy of their driver’s license as well – discard their personal information after you no longer need it.

Be Weary of Sharing Information

When you advertise your services, be careful not to give out more information than you have to. Do not include your home address, and do not use your full name. If you must use an address, use your company’s address.

Let Clients Guide

Let your client lead the way around the home you’re showing – never don’t lead them, but direct them from a position behind. You can gesture and let them know about the next room they will be entering.

Check Your Surroundings

When you’ve arrived at your destination, make sure you’re checking your surroundings. Make sure you’re parked in a well-lit and visible location, and that you can exit easily.

For more of NAR’s tips on safety, check out their article.

Real Estate Agent Safety

September is Realtor Safety Month, and the National Association of Realtors have released their 2020 Member Safety Report!

In most cases, real estate agents are having to show homes by themselves and to strangers – the report finds that 31% of agents feel unsafe during open homes or showings, and 27% said they feel unsafe when meeting a new client for the first time at a scheduled location or property.

Female real estate agents are more likely than men to take NAR’s course on safety in the field, at 33%, while only 21% of men have taken it. Of those who have taken the course, 79% reported feeling better prepared in unknown situations.

It also looks like female agents are more readily prepared to protect themselves than last year – in 2020, 50% of women are carrying a self-defense item, while 46% of male agents are doing the same. In 2019, 49% of female agents and 45% of male agents had some sort of self-defense weapon or tool.

For more on real estate agent safety, check out the NAR’s page here. Be sure to stop by Alliance’s blog to keep in the loop with all news!

Meet our Pocatello, ID Branch

Located in southeast Idaho, along the Rocky Mountains and centered near the Oregon Trail, you’ll find Idaho’s 5th largest city: Pocatello.

With numerous outdoor activities available due to Pocatello’s four-season climate, you’re bound to secure the happiness in a hobby or activity within their 32 parks, museums, aquatic centers, hiking trails, and skate parks!

Pocatello is also home to Idaho State University where over 12,000 students from around the world come to gain an exceptional education through the many programs offered.

Only a five-minute drive from Holt Arena, you’ll find our Alliance Title Pocatello crew. Our Pocatello team has a combined experience in the title and escrow industry of 96 years! This branch stands out from the competition – with their many years of experience, they have the ability to think outside the box with any possible challenging transactions to ensure great customer service.

The Pocatello Crew!

One of the things our Pocatello branch is famous for, is their annual “Business After Hours” on the 2nd Thursday of December. Our Business Development Representative, Lisa Armijo, explains, “Our staff shows off their culinary skills with appetizers and a dessert contest – the competition is fierce and delicious! Our customers and Chamber members anticipate the event as a Holiday tradition and love joining us in their most festive holiday attire.”

The Pocatello branch cares deeply for their community. Through volunteering, the branch supports the Rotary Clubs of Pocatello, Junior Achievement of Idaho, The Idaho Food Bank, Pocatello/Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce events and projects, United Way, and the Greenway Foundation.

Outside of work, our Pocatello team loves to be active in the outdoors! The team loves to golf, hike, trail ride, garden, and play softball! Lisa Armijo, says, “Some of us are crafty, and some are more adventurous – Monday mornings usually include a finger and toe count for one of our team members!”

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

Alliance Title Pocatello Branch
2350 Via Caporatti Dr., 83201
208.232.6163

Employee Spotlight – Danna Weekes

Let’s give a big cheer for our newest employee spotlight – Danna Weekes!

Danna is Alliance’s Escrow Assistant for our Rexburg, Idaho branch. Danna helps our escrow officers prepare for their closings and loves working with and getting to know customers. Difficult files motivate Danna to help clients get to closing that much faster – and she enjoys the sense of accomplishment!

Of the Alliance Core Values, Danna’s favorite is “Trust and Respect.” She explains, “A trustworthy and respectful person and business are like a magnet for people. When you can trust someone completely, you keep coming back.”

When Danna isn’t in the office, she loves to spend time with her grandson and granddaughter, scrapbook, or go camping and four wheeling!

Who does she look up to, you ask? Danna thinks of no one other than her husband. Danna continues, “He is so willing to give his time to help – not only help our family, but everyone he comes in contact with.”

Danna’s favorite quote, “Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart,” is her gentle reminder that, we are more and can do more and be more than we currently are right now.

Now that you’ve gotten to know Danna a little more, give a shout out to Alliance Title’s Rexburg, Idaho branch on Facebook and write them in on your next transaction! Danna looks forward to helping make your home closing a simple and smooth experience.

Danna Weekes – Escrow Assistant for Alliance Title’s Rexburg Branch
130 E Main St. 83440
208.356.9323
danna.weekes@alliancetitle.com

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Win the Bidding War

The housing market is filled with competition!

If you’ve been out searching for a home, then you’ve probably been told (either by your agent or from other buyers) that you’ll probably be fighting for the home that you want.

So what do you do to make sure you win the bidding war?

Pre-Approved

One of the best things you can do to win a bidding war, is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This should be done regardless, before you enter the home-searching phase (however, some potential homebuyers might not take this first step). This pre-approval will show the seller that you’re ready to purchase.

All-Cash Offer

Cash offers erase the need for an appraisal and bank approval for a loan. This sort of offer signals to the seller that you are ready to purchase the home today.

Raise the Price

If you can make sure you keep your counteroffer within means for your budget, it might benefit you in the long run to offer more and beat out other potential buyers that way.

Moveable Closing Date

If you can, allow for a flexible closing date. Giving the seller more time to fix any repairs, etc. might sound really appealing.

Remove Contingences

If wiggle room allows, removing contingences can help elevate your offer. However, be weary with this – the more you remove, the more risk is taken off of the seller and put on to you.

Write a Personal Letter

Seeing pictures of your family, and/or why you love their house, can really motivate the seller to choose you over other buyers. It becomes more personal – especially if the seller has been in the home for some time.

Bidding wars aren’t necessarily fun – but they don’t have to be the end game for you as a buyer. Work with your real estate agent to make sure you receive the best deal.

For more real estate tips and tricks, stop by Alliance’s Blog!

Build and They Will Come – to Outlying Suburbs

Pre-pandemic, homeowners and future homebuyers were looking to purchase as close to the city as possible – but now, it seems as though the more space, the better.

Home construction in small-metro suburbs increased 10.6% in the second quarter on an annual average basis. Before the pandemic, 55% of purchases were centered on large metro areas, which made it difficult for builders to expand. Now that buyers are looking to spread out, building is predicted to boom.

What exactly are small-metro suburbs, you might ask? These areas are defined as “outlining counties” outside from urban areas that have less than 1 million population.

According to a Harris Poll, a third of Americans have considered moving to smaller populated areas, following the initial outbreak in mid-April.

With a mixture of home affordability, workers either part- or full-time, and the need for larger home space, single-family construction will be growing faster in these low-density markets.

Looking for more real estate news? Stop by Alliance’s Blog.

Millennials & the Housing Boom

Millennials are making strides in homeownership.

According to the Pew Research Center, millennials have now surpassed baby boomers as the largest living adult generation in the U.S.

And with being the largest living adult generation, comes homeownership. These younger home buyers in their 20s and 30s have become a major contribution towards assisting the real estate market’s rebound.

July saw a huge surge of existing-home sales by nearly 25% – which is the highest seasonally adjusted annual rate since December 2006. With historically low interest rates, the dream of homeownership has become reachable.

So, just how many homes are millennials predicted to purchase? First American Financial believes the generational group could purchase at least 15 million homes over the next decade.

Looking for more real estate news? Stop by Alliance’s Blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Credit Pulls

Credit – don’t let it be a scary term for you while you’re trying to buy a home! Credit is important; it helps you (or hurts you) when it comes time to fill out applications for loans. So before you jump on the homeownership train, it’s critical that you understand your credit.

When you fill out applications for a home loan, the bank will do a credit pull. What’s a credit pull, you ask?

There are two kinds of credit pulls: a hard and a soft pull.

A hard pull (also known as a hard inquiry) takes place when a lender or a financial institution checks your credit score once you apply for a loan, mortgage, or any other additional line of credit.

They use the credit report as information on deciding whether to accept the borrower’s request. This pull will stay on your credit report for two years (but it will only affect your credit score for one year) and can only happen if you authorize the lender to pull your credit.

One thing to keep in mind: applying for multiple applications at once might not look so good for your credit score. Lenders see multiple hard inquires as red flags when it’s done in a short amount of time. They view it as more opportunity for you to miss or make late payments – if you have too many credit lines.

What about if you’re shipping for the best mortgage rate?

If you’re comparing rates (something you should definitely do when shopping for a mortgage – and hey! We have an article about mortgage shopping), most credit scoring models do take this into consideration. If similar lenders look at your credit report to offer you rates within a 45-day window, it’ll more than likely count as a single inquiry, rather than multiple. This way, your score won’t drop each time you get a quote.

Don’t fret – hard pulls won’t usually make a big change to your credit score. This all depends on how long your credit history is, and how disciplined you are when you make payments (among other things).

Hard pulls happen when you apply for a:

  • Mortgage
  • Car loan
  • New credit card
  • Student loan
  • Personal loan
  • Apartment for rent

A soft pull doesn’t affect your credit and usually happens without you even knowing it. While that sounds concerning, it isn’t something for you to necessarily worry over.

These pulls are cursory reviews of your credit report. Soft pulls happen when:

  • Your new employer checks your credit
  • You check your own credit
  • Lenders send you mail saying you’ve been “pre-approved”

While your credit score is an important part of applying for loans, your payment history is of the upmost importance.

Be sure to check out Alliance’s Blog for more tips and news on all things real estate.