Home Appraisals Coming in Right Down the Middle

Honesty never hurt anybody.

And when it comes to your home’s value – honesty is much appreciated.

According to Quicken Loans Home Price Perceptions Index, May saw an average home appraisal that was .79% lower than the homeowner’s estimate, which reflects a narrowing gap after six months of widening.

While home values rose 3.54% year over year, the index shows that on a month-over-month basis, the Midwest was the only region with home value growth with a .47% gain.

Appraisals, as most homebuyers and sellers know, can be an emotional roller coaster; either the appraisal comes in too low or too high – but as of now, it looks like it’s meeting in the middle of buyer and seller expectations.

Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans EVP of Capital Markets, explains, “[…]appraisals are not likely to cause much of a disruption in the mortgage process. This is, however, a reminder to homeowners that they should always keep an eye on the home sales around them to get a realistic gauge of their home value before estimating what it could be.”

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Hello from the Other Side

While Adele can get away with calling a thousand times…as a real estate agent, you probably can’t.

We all may panic a little when we see our phone ringing – especially if it’s your great aunt calling – but prospecting on the phone can still be a great way to garner clients.

Maybe just use a more modern script and have a clearer vision of what you have in mind.

What makes calling potential clients so scary is the idea of you interrupting their day; the goal of calling should be allowing clients to come to you at their convenience.

How do we set that up?

For starters, do NOT call cold. This is almost never received well. The only time you should “call cold” is when you’ve had some sort of introduction – calling a friend of your client after your client gave you their information, as an example.

Instead, think about setting up a sign-up sheet with the option to leave an email address at your next open house. After the event, email those who left their information! Thank them for attending your open house and let them know you’ll be calling them. Those that will want to talk to you will answer. Those that don’t, won’t.

When you are on the phone, don’t jump into the sale. Understand the aspirations they have in terms of goals for homeownership – then you can come in and talk about what you have to offer.

Calling to acquire clients and schedule appointments shouldn’t be intimidating – you just have to know how to approach the call.

And – maybe don’t call a thousand times.

That’s Life: The Path of Your Title and Escrow Transaction

Let’s face it – insurance talk isn’t really the most exciting of discussions. But that doesn’t make it any less important.

When you’re in the final stages of purchasing your home, you’ll get down to the nitty gritty aspects of your title and escrow process. But what does it look like, exactly?

Alliance Title’s Buyer-Seller Guide is available for your use, and breaks down all of the people and steps that will take place during your closing – but as a quick reference, the path that your title and escrow transaction will take is shown for you below!

While these steps might seem tedious, they’re incredibly important to help guarantee the ownership of your new home!

Relief for Real Estate in Rural Towns

Rural towns haven’t been so rural.

Prisons and military bases are usually located outside smaller towns – typically becoming the biggest employers and economic drivers in the area. While a growing job force is always welcome, it has induced a negative side effect towards real estate in these smaller farming towns.

Counting towards an area’s population, prisons and military bases put these communities over the threshold of eligibility for federal Rural Housing Service (RHS) programs. Essentially, towns with a population greater than 35,000 aren’t considered rural under these guidelines.

However, this regulation seems to be changing.

The U.S. Congress recently passed a big farm bill that only counts a portion of a prison or a military base population against the area’s populace total.

Why does this matter? Well, rural towns can now access RHS programs – programs which provide safe and affordable mortgages for these communities.

These programs are underwritten using specialized data that recognizes particular characteristics of rural towns and properties – such as the absence of various public services.

While this is a huge win for rural towns and the real estate market, this bill won’t be enacted until 2030.

The National Association of Realtors® is optimistic in supporting this bill and is eager to see a swift change in finance affordability in these areas.

Tip of the Week: It’s All in the Title

Being a real estate agent means you’re juggling many different talents – a few of them you might recognize: staying on top of emails and phone calls, being a great seller, and maybe the most intimating one, a convincing writer.

While those are only just a few of the many things a real estate agent does, writing real estate listing descriptions can – at times – be the most frustrating. How do you persuade potential homebuyers to click on your listing when it’s crowded among many others that look the same?

It’s important that your listings catch a home-shopper’s attention. Here are some fool-proof tips to help set your descriptions apart from the crowd:

Headline / Title

Future homebuyers are scrolling through endless amounts of listings and titles – you want your headline to pop out from the page and grab their attention.

Keep it short and sweet; five to seven words can be a good goal to keep in mind. Using descriptive and emotional words will resonate with the buyer, and hopefully, evoke some sort of response. Some of the better real estate keywords will fall under aesthetics – exposed brick, frameless shower, subway tile – are all good examples.

Topic Sentence

Don’t dance around what you’re trying to get at here – get straight to the point. A reader will ask, why am I reading this? Why should I continue reading this?

Tell them why they’ll love the house to draw them in. Something like: “This cozy bungalow nestled in the foothills will give you seclusion and peace after your long work day” can evoke both an emotional pull and get them to reading.

Highlight Features

This is where you’ll want to highlight the home’s primary features. Primary features include: number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, lot size, location, recent renovations, and unique characteristics.

Give these features captivating descriptions to have the buyer envision their home memories being built there. Don’t be afraid to use a thesaurus!

Call to Action

At the end of your listing, you’ll want to include an urgent call to action to get the homebuyer to make a move. Give them direction on whom to get in touch with!

Listing descriptions are important – don’t let yours get bogged down with other boring ones.

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Employee Spotlight – Kellie Noesen

Kellie Noesen has been in the title and escrow industry since 1996 and is currently an Escrow Officer for Alliance’s Pocatello branch! Kellie has become an invaluable member to the team and company.

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Service” and “Teamwork” are Kellie’s top picks. She explains, “It’s a personal goal of mine to provide great service. I love the feeling of helping people, whether it’s internal or external service. We also have a great team in Pocatello, and I could not be as customer service oriented without each and every one of them. I feel that they are my friends instead of co-workers. We all have a common goal of working together and figuring out obstacles to make our customers feel confident that they are important to us.”

Kellie enjoys learning something new every day, even after 22 years of service. Making sure that her customers have a smooth experience while closing is Kellie’s top priority – but she’s not afraid to have a little fun either; Kellie not only coordinates transactions for her clients, but she finds it fun to say that she’s a party coordinator, too!

When asked whom she admires, Kellie looks to her sister, Mandy. Kellie explains, “Mandy is a military wife who is raising three boys while her husband serves in the Airforce for the past 30 years. She has been so strong in her trials and has always managed to come out on top.”

Outside of work, Kellie loves to spend time with her “4 year old sassy-frassy daughter, Olivia,” and her husband, Jim. She also finds time to travel with her best friend, golf, and play softball.

Kellie’s favorite quote, “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone,” is something she tries to live by. Kellie further illustrates, “you have to have dreams, stand up for yourself, and not take things too seriously.”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Kellie a little more, write her on your next transaction! She looks forward to helping make your next transaction a wonderful and positive success.


Kellie Noesen – Escrow Officer at Alliance’s Pocatello Branch
2350 Via Caporatti
Pocatello, ID, 83201

95% of our Customers Rated Alliance Title’s Customer Service as Good or Excellent!

Did you know…

95% of our customers rated Alliance Title’s customer service as good or excellent!

When asked what factor is most important when recommending a title and escrow company, 85% of customers believe “timeliness and accuracy of title reports” rank above the rest when deciding which company to close with.

Here’s what our customers are saying…

“I had questions weeks before closing. Brandy helped me out before, during, and I even had something I thought of after. Truly exceptional service in terms of professionalism, courtesy, and extremely quick reply times” – Dan & Amber M.

“Very professional and prompt” – Wayne & Sharon D.

“Paperwork was prepared and others were edited if not correct! It was comforting to feel we could relax and trust all would be okay! Awesome service, thank you!” – Verna N.

“Everything went smoothly. No hassles, and we would recommend to anyone” – Mark & Monique C.


*Based on customer satisfaction survey responses

To Avoid or Not Avoid Escrow Impound Accounts?

Let’s get one thing straight: those extra shipping fees that are accumulated after adding up your shopping cart can make any grown adult question their decision to purchase.

But should homebuyers debate avoiding escrow impound accounts to potentially save money on monthly and upfront fees?

United Wholesale Mortgage is releasing a new program that will allow loan applicants to decline escrow accounts when finalizing their home mortgages. This move seems to be raising a lot of eyebrows and prompting many questions.

While it does seem attractive to not add on further costs upfront or on a monthly basis, it does open the door for possible financial issues – specifically for borrowers who are just looking for cost savings on their mortgage and not the actual big picture. Escrow impounds allow you to feel secure and confident with your financial responsibilities in paying your taxes and insurance – yes, those extra shipping fees aren’t the most fun, but it might just allow you to have peace of mind in enjoying your new home.

Smart Home Harassment

Smart home harassment or abuse is something you might not hear of often. Alarmingly, those devices you install in your home to make your life easier can be turned against you. Have a look at this article from Engadget for the pros and cons of having a smart home and what to do to prevent smart home harassment:




Homeownership – Single Women Take the Key(s)

This past February, Taylor Swift spent $50 million on a single NYC block. She saw the potential in owning her own home (or street) and took the plunge. Granted, she doesn’t represent the average female homeowner, but she does embody a new trend in the real estate market.

Taylor Swift isn’t the first unmarried woman to purchase a home; let’s face it – marriage in America has drastically transformed from the time of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. According to demographic researcher, Ben Gurrentz from the U.S. Census Bureau, “The average age for a first marriage is getting later and later. For women, it’s around 27, and for men it’s around 29.”

Changes in the Housing Market

Recently, it seems as though women are on the rise in homeownership. According to the National Association of Realtors, married homeowners are on a steady three year decline while single female homeowners have been increasing each year. 18% of the homeowners in 2017 were single females – the single men? 7% of homeowners.

So What?

Well, for starters this means that single women are probably going to be some of the top real estate clients – and these independent gals have preferences for purchasing their first home.

What Single Ladies Look For

One of the top components women homeowners search for when purchasing is the location. They are desiring security and comfort in terms of proximity to family and friends – not to mention the quick access to local amenities.

These independent ladies are willing to bend their wish list when it comes to the neighborhood. If a good location means compromising the size and price of the home, they’re more likely to go for it.

Running the Real Estate World

Numerous factors play a role in the rise of single women households, but one thing is certain: they don’t seem to be slowing down.

While we all can’t be Taylor Swifts of the housing market, it’s inspiring to see women taking the lead in the real estate world.