Move Aside Bustling Cities – These New Markets Are Where Homeowners Want to Live

It’s been known that cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are the areas that prospective homeowners love to flock to. However, most homebuyers are jumping ship and moving inland.

A survey found the top five ZIP codes in up-and-coming neighborhoods – and they’re mostly in suburban areas.

These areas sell on an average of 17 days, and the residences in the area are viewed online three times more often than the homes in the rest of the country. The number of households in the list are expected to grow 4.3% this year, which is faster than the national rate of 1.1%.

These neighborhoods offer lower priced homes and booming job markets close to city centers. For millennials, this is gold – proximity to downtown and access to affordable homes are just some of the main features that this consumer base is wanting.

Here are the top five hottest ZIP codes:

  1. 49505 – Grand Rapids, Michigan
  2. 68144 – Omaha, Nebraska
  3. 83704 – Boise, Idaho
  4. 66203 – Shawnee, Kansas
  5. 14609 – Rochester, New York
Share this article:

Be a Smart Shopper: What to Look for When Purchasing a Home

Before you head out on a blind date, you’ve already created a list of “red flags” in your mind that you know to walk away from – why not do that for house shopping?

When you’re in the market to shop for a home, it’s important to have a list of features you need to keep an eye on. This way, you’ll be forced to take the love blinders off and focus on exactly what the home has to offer – and what needs to be fixed.

Purchasing a home is a big financial commitment – you’ll want to make sure to make the best decision for your investment – and avoiding major problems that need costly repairs will help.

Before making any decisions, talk with your agent about your financial situation and what repairs you’d be willing to make before signing on a home.

Here’s what to look for:


Search for signs of cracking near the foundation and pay attention to the grade of the floors for signs of unevenness. These could be signs of a sinking foundation – something you definitely don’t want to be stuck with.

Roof Condition

Before inspecting the inside of the home, make sure to look at what’s happening up top. The condition of the roof could end up costing you $8,000 or more if in need of a desperate repair. Ask about its age and when it was last repaired.  

Mold and Water Damage

When you’ve entered the kitchen and bathrooms, take a peek inside the cabinets for signs of mold around the pipes. This could indicate a leaky plumbing system or previous flooding and improper ventilation. Musty odors or peeling paint are other signs of water damage.

Energy Efficiency

How are the AC and Heater units doing? Have new windows been added to the home? Ask about the condition of the insulation of the home, and when the furnace or air conditioning was last serviced. All of these items can help lower your utility costs.

Complete a Home Inspection

Although you’ve looked at things first-hand and have your own checklist, it’s recommended that you have a home inspection performed. A professional can help you ensure the foundation is solid and everything is up to code. Home inspectors can also check for things that might be harder to spot – like whether there is lead paint or any foundational pests.

Share this article:

Get to Know Your Buyers and Sellers

The real estate industry is all about networking to acquire more leads and close on more homes – it’s essential to understand how your audience moves through the journey of purchasing or selling a home.

Reach out to your local Business Development Representative to connect with your community!

On average, buyers search on their own for a new home for three weeks before contacting a real estate agent

On real estate websites, the “About Us” page is the third most-viewed page

Around 92% of homes in the U.S. are sold using a real estate agent or broker

Share this article:

Real Estate Tip of the Week: There’s an App for That

The real estate industry is constantly transforming and changing in lieu of technological advancements – which means as an agent, you need to stay informed on all of the new updates.

Luckily, there are apps that can help separate you from the pack.

Here are some of the best apps you can use as a real estate agent:®’s Street Peek & Sign Snap Feature

Street Peek allows users to point their phone at homes to have instantaneous property details surface about the home’s you’re currently facing. This allows users to see the information they need to know about homes on any street.

The Sign Snap feature allows users to snap a photo of a For-Sale sign to immediately receive more listing details of a home.


If you have a buyer that is looking to purchase remotely, then LionDesk might be the app to use to showcase potential homes.

This app lets you seamlessly add videos to your emails and text messages – you can upload your own videos or record directly from the app.

LionDesk also offers power dialing and contact management, among other features!


If you don’t have the option (or simply don’t want to) to have a separate business phone, the Sideline app might be a good fit for you. This app allows you to connect one phone with multiple phone numbers that can even offer a different ringtone depending on the type of phone call you’ve categorized it as.


Don’t you just hate having to deal with all of the paperwork when it comes to open houses? With Spacio, you can create digital forms to accurately collect visitor information and even set up follow-up emails after the open house ends.


With DocuSign, you won’t have to worry about all being in the same room at the same time – because let’s face it: we’re all busy. This app allows users to sign electronic signatures on disclosures, forms, and closing paperwork without even having to be in the office.

Research which apps might benefit you as a real estate agent!

Share this article:

Inspect the Uninspected – Pre-Listing Inspection for Your Home Sale

Sometimes, the unexpected can be scary – especially if you haven’t kept up with home repairs.

Potential buyers and their agents will be inspecting every inch of your home with a magnifying glass. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, why not schedule your own home inspection first?

Yes, it’s true – most sellers just allow the buyers to place the order on a home inspection during escrow. While you’d have to pay for the inspection yourself, if you choose to have one before listing your home (usually anywhere from $350 to $600), it would ultimately pay off in the long run.

Here’s why:

  • After you repair and update the features of your home that the home inspector suggested, you can justify listing your home at a higher price
  • Some states allow your pre-sale home improvement repairs to be deductible from the profit you make after closing
  • Home inspections can help assuage any worries the buyer may have, and it might incentivize  them to put an offer down on your home sooner
  • A pre-listing inspection will allow you to update repairs more leisurely than if you had a seller on the table waiting for your updates to be completed 

However, if you decide to go with a pre-listing inspection, make sure you’re ready to go through with any updates and repairs that need fixing. Sellers are legally obligated to disclose any problems brought forth by inspection.

It’s always best to sit with your real estate agent and go over your plan to sell the home. Discuss a pre-listing inspection with your agent to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Share this article:

Bank of Mom and Dad No Longer Needed for Millennial Homeowners

Just because millennials aren’t using doorbells, doesn’t mean they aren’t buying homes.

It’s true – millennials have been slower to enter the housing market. With lifestyles and finances being vastly different from previous generations, millennials have put homeownership on the backburner.

But as a majority of this generation enters their early 30s, these first-time homebuyers have been the dominate force in real estate.

Last year, Redfin asked U.S. residents how they were going to afford their mortgage – after releasing the same survey again this year, there has been some key differences with how millennials are using their finances.

51% of millennial homebuyers indicated plans to use one or more of the following strategies below to cover their mortgage payments, down from 60% last year:

Do you plan to do any of the following to help you pay your new mortgage? Select any that apply:”

Work a second job31%29%
Get a roommate/roommates11%14%
My parents or another family member will help10%17%
Rent my home on Airbnb, VRBO10%12%
Co-ownership with someone who is not my spouse7%14%
None of the above49%40%

It looks like just 10% of millennials plan to get help from parents or another family member for their mortgage payment, down from 17% last year.

Redfin Chief Economist, Daryl Fairweather, explains, “Over the last couple of years, millennial household incomes have been rising […] millennials have postponed getting married, having children, and buying a home while they got their careers on track, but now that they are more established in their careers and earning more, I expect to see more millennials buying homes and checking off those major life milestones.”

Share this article:

Employee Spotlight – Tahni Cottrell

Our newest employee spotlight goes to our very outstanding Escrow Officer, Tahni Cottrell! Tahni has been working in our Rexburg, Idaho office for the past 6 months and has already done wonders for the branch.

Tahni enjoys getting to know not only her Alliance teammates but also Alliance’s customers and the real estate community! Of the Alliance Core Values, “Teamwork” is Tahni’s favorite pick. She explains, “Without your team you are limited. Look at all the knowledge your team has and how that benefits your customers!”

When she’s not working hard in the office, Tahni loves to spend time with her boys – whether that’s through playing sports, going camping, or going four wheeling! In her spare time, she also loves to teach the violin.

When asked whom she admires, Tahni thinks of her grandmother. Tahni illustrates, “My grandmother has always been the one who makes sure everyone is greeted. Sometimes it takes you out of your comfort zone, but at the end of the day, you just met some amazing people you wouldn’t have known.”

“You don’t have to practice every day, just only on the days that you eat,” by Dr. Suzuki, is her go-to mantra. She loves the quote because the reaction she gets from her violin students is priceless! “Honestly, you can apply this simple concept to anything in life – if you want to get something done, just do it!”

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

Tahni Cottrell – Escrow Officer at Alliance’s Rexburg Branch
130 E Main St., 83440

Share this article:

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Pricing a Home

You’ve got the client – success!

Now, you’ve got to list the home.

If you’re a new real estate agent, this can seem incredibly intimidating. You don’t want to price too high, and you don’t want to price too low – so, how can you list your client’s home right, the first time?

It’s important that you understand your client’s needs before diving into the listing. You should know why they want to move and what their timeline is for moving. Once you understand your client’s motives and wishes, you’ll be able to better serve them.

Before you sit down with your client to go over your listing price, you’ll need to do some research.


You’ll want to do a search of comparable homes in terms of square footage, bedrooms, views, upgrades, amenities, condition of the house, and any other special features. When researching, look at homes currently for sale or that have sold within the last six months in your client’s neighborhood.


Take a glance at some of the other homes listed in the area. How many homes are going up for sale, what are their price points, and what features do they have to offer?

List-Price Ratio

This ratio portrays the difference between the original listing price and the closing sale price of the home. Again, research the comparable homes in the seller’s neighborhood.

New Construction or Developments

It’s important that you stay current with house trends. You should learn about any new construction financing and/or incentives that might take potential buyers away from your listing.

Ideally, researching should take no longer than three to five days. Be thorough and precise – and make sure you clearly explain to your client your reasons for the listing price.

Share this article:

To Home Improve or Home Maintain?

Throughout our lives, we’ve been taught the difference between wanting versus needing.

Do I need this $4 cup of coffee?

If you do, we’re not telling on you – we promise.

But it looks like a new survey shows that most homeowners are interested in home improvement/remodeling projects more than they are in tackling not so flashy home maintenance projects.

HomeAdvisor found that homeowners spent $3.70 less for every year since a home was built – meaning that an owner of a 50-year-old home would spend an average of $185 less on emergency home maintenance projects per year than an owner of a newer home.

Homeowners are more likely to spend more on home improvement projects rather than home maintenance projects – for every $1 spend on home maintenance, homeowners spent an average of $5 on home improvement projects.

It looks like millennials were the biggest generation to complete home projects in order to increase their home’s value. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers were more inclined to “modernize” their homes.

While room remodels seem to be the more popular home improvement project, owners spent an average of $9,081 on home improvement, maintenance, and emergencies for 2018. Spending on home services has increased 17% in 2018 from 2017.

Many experts strongly recommend saving 1% of your home’s value every year for emergency repairs. A homeowner with a $360,000 home would save $3,600 per year, or $300 per month.

Share this article:

Meet Our Twin Falls, ID Branch

Where does magic and adventure collide, you ask?

Look no further than Twin Falls, Idaho.

Located in the Magic Valley region, Twin Falls is the largest city in a 100 mile radius. The Snake River Canyon forms part of the boundary between Twin Falls County and Jerome County – it is here where Daredevil, Evel Knievel, attempted to jump the canyon in 1974 on a steam-powered rocket.

Also named “Niagara of the West”, Twin Falls has over 1,650 acres of parks and open spaces that include parks, urban wilderness space, trails, playgrounds, ball-fields, swimming pools, and splash pads. At 212 feet tall, Shoshone Falls is higher than Niagara Falls and a wonderful place to enjoy paddle boarding or picnicking.

Only a mere 13 minute drive from Shoshone Falls Park, you’ll find our quaint Twin Falls Branch. Our 9-person team has a combined work experience of 146 years! Our Twin Falls office has expert knowledge of the Magic Valley Region and creates long-lasting relationships built within the community of Twin Falls.

The Twin Falls team volunteers for Relay for Life, Make-A-Wish, and Alliance Title’s annual ‘Closing the Hunger Gap’ food drive campaign.

Having recently received the Silver 2019 Readers’ Choice Award presented by the Times-News for Best Title Company, the Twin Falls office is ecstatic to work on your transactions.

When asked what they love about their customers, Vice President and General Manager, Carlos Perez, states, “The Twin Falls branch has a true passion for delivering the best customer service to our clients. My team takes pride in always creating positive dialogue with customers – to help establish loyalty and great reputation. Our staff loves putting our clients first.”

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

Alliance Title Twin Falls Branch
1411 Falls Ave. E, Ste.1315, 83301

Share this article: