Join Dave and Thom today as they discuss a wide variety of topics, from the importance of using the most up to date systems in your home search, wildfire home safety and real estate scams: what to look out for and how to avoid them. In the middle of our show we have our regular guest, Michelle Guth of Diversified Mortgage discussing with Dave and Thom why buying and selling in the fall and winter is a good idea.
Dave Burnett: This is the Idaho Real Estate Buzz. I'm Dave Burnett, He is Thom Dallman, the co-owner, designated broker of Core Group Realty. Coregrouprealty.com, that's a website you can go to even when it's smoky, and icky outside.
Thom Dallman: Oh, my gosh. This week.
Dave Burnett: Yep. Sitting in your home, you can get online, and take a look at these homes, and look at the things going on, and what Core Group has to offer you.
Thom Dallman: From the safety of your home, check it out online.
Dave Burnett: Yeah. I mean, it has, because of the wildfires, the smoke. I'm sure a lot of people not wanting to get out. But, that is where the internet is so nice, because you can sit and look at not only Core Group's homes, but all of the homes featured at multiple listings.
Thom Dallman: Yeah. Yeah, well, we've talked about it before. There's various systems out there, and what not. Zillows, and the Trulias, and stuff like that. But, they only update every other day. The information that they have on there, it gets so outdated, that you really want to get into a system that is current, and active, and has all the information on there, in a timely manner. So, our system is updated every 15 minutes. So, whatever changes happen on the MLS, it directly feeds into our system every 15 minutes. So, you're getting the most current, accurate information on the homes that are available. It takes them out of there, if they're not available. So, you're seeing what's actually there, and what's actually new, and-
Dave Burnett: Which, if you think about it, I mean, a couple of years ago, that might not have been a big deal. I mean, because homes they sell, it takes two or three weeks. In this day and age, where people are in bidding wars going on, things change-
Thom Dallman: Yeah, things going so quick, yeah.
Dave Burnett: ... prices up, prices down. Help, sold, wait, pending. Nope. No, it's not pending.
Thom Dallman: Exactly.
Dave Burnett: You kind of got to keep on top of it.
Thom Dallman: Exactly, yeah. There was an article that just came out. I think it was realtor.com that just ... Or maybe it was the National Association of Realtors, I can't remember, which one. But, they just released the stats that where still inventory continues to just go down, in the U.S. And then, we're still at an all-time low. Even lower than where we were before. So, the inventory is so low, that it's just, yeah, things are selling so quick. So quick in certain price ranges. And you need to move quickly, if that's what you're looking for, to do, and stuff. So, it's very important to have your agent online, your pre-qualification online, for a loan, and be in touch with the most current listings that are happening, out there.
Dave Burnett: And it also points at the fact that we talk about all the time. You need an agent that is working for you. And working hard, not just kind of calling you from the golf course. You need the agent who is working hard, and working for you. And at Core Group, that's where, you know, Thom, that's where you come in to make sure your agents are doing the things they need to do. Being part of the team, so that if that agent is busy, or proceed by doing something else, enjoying their life, there's another agent there to help, and help cover-
Thom Dallman: Yeah, we have a team of currently, 10 buyers/agents that support each other, and help each other out. We get together all the time with our listing agents, to find out what's new that's coming on, so they can have kind of an advanced knowledge for their clients on what, at least, we're doing as a company, for new listings, and stuff like that. And they kind of share that information. We do meet three times a week, just to share that information. Best practices, and that is also where they can say, hey, I'm going out of town, but I have these clients that need this, and this, and that. Can someone help me with them this weekend. So, that's the advantage of working with Core Group agents, is that we're a team. We have a team here that really helps people out.
Dave Burnett: As a customer there's nothing more frustrating than listing your home, and not being able to get hold of an agent. You know, you call the office, and it's like, well, we'll have Bill call you as soon as he can. And it's like, no. This is a big deal to me. So, that it truly is with Core Group. And the team philosophy of knowing that no matter what happens, customer care agent's there. You call 208-933-7777, they're going to get you in touch with somebody. I mean, right down to the point where they'll call you, if they need to.
Thom Dallman: Exactly. Exactly. My biggest pet peeve, I don't know if I've ever told you this, is those agents that have on their recordings, I return phone calls Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 4 to 5 p.m., is when I return phone calls. That just drives me crazy. Like, how can you do that, as a real estate agent? Like, you need to be returning phone calls promptly, as soon as someone calls you.
Dave Burnett: Let that be a red flag.
Thom Dallman: Yeah, right.
Dave Burnett: I'm just saying. If you're an agent that does that, don't do that.
Thom Dallman: Exactly.
Dave Burnett: Yeah, get busy with that. Well, let's do this. Let's talk about some of the new listings that you can find at coregrouprealty.com on the website. What are some of the new listings you got?
Thom Dallman: Well, let's start with one that we've had on a week now. But, we didn't get a chance to talk about it last week. It's 5921 South Pearl Jensen Avenue. This is out by that five-mile, east Lake Hazel area, in South Boise. So, great three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, house, 1,632 square feet. This is actually a Hayden home that was built in 2010. So, Hayden does a really great job with their homes. This is the Helena floor plan, so, it does have ... It's got some great curb appeal. It's really beautiful front patio on it, with a sizable living room. It's got great ... It's got granite counter tops throughout, in the kitchen, and breakfast bar. So, definitely something worth checking out. This one's actually listed at $235,000. Great price point for South Boise. Homes out in South Boise are really becoming very desirable. People are living out there, so, definitely something worth checking out here in Boise. Once again that's 5921 South Pearl Jensen Avenue, South Boise.
Dave Burnett: And I think everyone can attest to this. You know, I live up in the Eagle area. We recently went ... My wife and I had a reason to drive down through Kuna, down that direction, and I was stunned by all of the growth that's taken place in that direction.
Thom Dallman: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. South Boise, South Meridian, and to Kuna. And Kuna continues to grow, and become quite the sister township to us.
Dave Burnett: Yeah, so, if you haven't had a chance to go down that direction, you might want to head down there. Just kind of poke around, and see all of the different things-
Thom Dallman: Oh, all the stuff, yeah.
Dave Burnett: ... that that part of the city offers.
Thom Dallman: Exactly. Yeah, there's some great opportunity out there, for sure.
Dave Burnett: Yeah. What else you got on the list?
Thom Dallman: Well, this next one is over in Columbia Village. This one is 5815 South Orchid Way. Here's a great price point also, for Boise, $210,000. We're not running into a lot right now, in that $200,000 price point, and above, and below. So, this one's actually that split bedroom floor plan that we talked about. Everybody's loving, because the master's sort of separate from the other two rooms, so you have that nice separation. It's a three-bed, two-bath, two-car garage. Single level, so no stairs to worry about. It's 1,056 square feet, with a two-car garage, and has garden space, and as we know, Columbia Village has that community pool out there. So, it has some great features, as far as being near the downtown, so you can access everything. You know, especially the river, to float it, even though it's closed. Technically, the river's not closed, but renting the rafts, and stuff.
Dave Burnett: Float season, yeah.
Thom Dallman: The float season. The shortest float season, ever.
Dave Burnett: You're quick to get up Highway 21, if you want to go up toward Idaho City. You've got Simplot Fields there, so, if you have kids involved in soccer, or baseball, it's all right there for you, as well.
Thom Dallman: Exactly. Yep. Yep. And not too far from the freeway, so that you can jump on the freeway, and get to wherever you need to go.
Dave Burnett: Yep. I guess that's one thing. I think back, it makes me feel old, but I remember being out there when J.R. Simplot opened that first part of the subdivision at Columbia Village a million years ago. And at that point, it was like, how big could this possibly get? And you look out there, and again, that part of the city, it's just exploding.
Thom Dallman: Yeah. There's so much out there to do. And so many different things convenient to there.
Dave Burnett: Great lifestyle.
Thom Dallman: Yeah, for sure.
Dave Burnett: I would have to say it that way. With the parks, with everything there-
Thom Dallman: For sure.
Dave Burnett: ... it's a great lifestyle in that area.
Thom Dallman: For sure. Yeah. So, check it out. 5815 South Orchard Way, Orchid Way, sorry, and price point $210,000. So, check it out.
Dave Burnett: Very nice. All right.
Thom Dallman: And the final one I have is over in Nampa. This one's 7353 Newbrook Drive. Three-bedroom, two bath, single level, as well, with a two-car garage, 1,341 square feet. So, it's on .16 of an acre. It's got a breakfast bar, fully fenced with garden space, RV parking. This one actually comes with a refrigerator inside, so, that's always nice.
Dave Burnett: It is.
Thom Dallman: It does have an attached shop that has electricity in it, for that person that likes to tinker, or maybe you want to use it for your gardening, and stuff like that. So, nice price point, $180,000.
Dave Burnett: Wow.
Thom Dallman: So, really good price point for that first-time home buyer, for those people who are kind of wanting to downsize, pretty much anybody. This 180, even investors, who are looking for rental properties. That's a really good price point to be able to get in there. And once again, 180, at 7353 Newbrook Drive, in Nampa.
Dave Burnett: Very good.
Thom Dallman: Something worth checking out.
Dave Burnett: You know, it is interesting. I was just thinking about the whole thing with Columbia Village. How much of Treasure Valley has changed?
Thom Dallman: Oh, yeah.
Dave Burnett: Now, I moved here in 1988. And how much it has changed since then, and how many areas? I mean, at that point, the real growth was over in the Gekeler Lane area, over in East Boise.
Thom Dallman: Oh, sure.
Dave Burnett: That was what was happening. And now, how much it has just changed.
Thom Dallman: Oh, yeah.
Dave Burnett: Headed up Highway 21, and even if you get into Robie Creek, and some of those areas, and all of the homes going in. This area has changed a lot.
Thom Dallman: So much. Yeah, and if you ... They've been quoted to say that we've doubled in size since ... in the last 10 years, and will continue the next 10 years. So, to double again. So, just think about all the change that we have coming up. Even looking at the 10-mile interchange. It talks about all the change that's going-
Dave Burnett: Exactly.
Thom Dallman: ... and the big development that's going in there, that's the multi-use, residential, [inaudible 00:10:25] office buildings below, and all that fun stuff.
Dave Burnett: Well, think about it this way. If you're thinking, man, I wish I would have gotten into real estate, you know, owning some properties 10 years ago, you're sitting at that point again, right now.
Thom Dallman: Right.
Dave Burnett: You can sit-
Thom Dallman: Never a bad time to own real estate.
Dave Burnett: ... and save for the next 10 years, and go, boy, I should have gotten into it. Nope, now's the time to do it. And the nice thing with Core Group Realty, you can make an appointment, come in and talk to an agent, and they'll talk to you about possibilities. What do you want? Where do you want to live? Do you want to live on that Gekeler Lane area? Do you want to live out in Columbia Village? Do you want to go to Eagle, or? To just sit, and just express, here's what I'd like to do. And then that agent here at Core Group, can help clarify some of those dreams.
Thom Dallman: Yep. That's what we're here for. We can make that happen.
Dave Burnett: Got to like it. This is the Idaho Real Estate Buzz, where we get together each and every Saturday, to talk about all things real estate. Again, not just trying to sell homes, but trying to inform you, and give you the power to go forward, and make what could be the biggest decision, financially, of your life. Speaking of finances, we'll talk to Michelle Guth, coming up. But first, we're going to find out more about what is happening in the world of finance, and about loans that are available out there. We'll do that as we continue here, on the Idaho Real Estate Buzz, being brought to you by Diversified Mortgage, and of course, Core Group Realty, 933 ... 208-933-7777. Put that 208 in there, and give them a call. In fact, you can do it right now. Find out why they say, you get more, with Core.
Dave Burnett: This is the Idaho Real Estate Buzz. I'm Dave Burnett. And Michelle Guth with Diversified Mortgage, equal opportunity lender, is joining us in the studio again today. Well, we've reached that time of the year, Michelle, we're coming into fall and into the winter months where things begin to slow down a little bit. While that may sound bad, it may be a positive?
Michelle Guth: I think it's an absolute positive. Going into the fall, there's a tendency for people to want to put the brakes on their home shopping, just because kids are going back to school, busy time of year. So, for mortgages, it's a great time to get in as far as doing research with your realtor, possibly additional availability on the market of homes, and we're starting to even see a few price reductions, not a lot, but a little bit of price reductions. Have you experienced that, Thom?
Thom: A little bit of an ease-up on the pricing increases that we've experienced over the last year is definitely happening, actually. For the first time in a while, the median average sales price actually went down in the last couple of months. So it definitely an indication of, that's fall, people getting ready, taking their kids to school, less leaves, less people kind of in their searching and stuff like that. So the competition has dwindled a little bit, just a little bit. So people definitely-
Dave Burnett: Which is interesting-
Thom: ... have a little bit more opportunity.
Dave Burnett: ... with supply and demand. The supply is still low, which should keep the demand up. So just going down, primarily based on a time-of-the-year factor?
Michelle Guth: Oh. Absolutely. I think, getting into winter, a lot of people don't want to move during the winter months. So I think now is probably a great time to buy. Rates are still incredibly low, and there is a little bit less competition. And with some of the reduction in prices, it should help a little bit, because we are still experiencing some appraised value issues on our properties. So, hopefully, that will help level that out a little bit.
Thom: Yeah. I was telling you before the commercial break, or during the commercial break, that there's two houses on my street. And I know what it is, it's that one guy decided he was going to sell it, which I thought, I don't know that much, but I thought, "Hey, it's 20, 25,000 dollars over." The house right next door to him, I think they were probably talking and thought, "Well, if he can get that, I can get that." And both have had pending offers sitting on them and both those pending signs went down, went back for sale. My guess would be is that they just didn't appraise for enough.
Michelle Guth: That's certainly a possibility. We're seeing, also, a lot of contingent offers where people are either moving up or moving down in their home size. And they make an offer on a property contingent upon the sale of their other home. So if their sale falls through, for whatever reason, it could cause the second transaction to fall through as well. So we're seeing a little bit more of that, too, with multiple contingencies. And you get that domino effect where you could have three buyers, all buying another property contingent, contingent, contingent. You have one of them fall down, it's a domino effect.
Thom: It's a domino effect and all of them fall down.
Dave Burnett: That's not a simple process.
Thom: No, it's not.
Dave Burnett: All right. Well, let's look at it this way. Let's say somebody's been kind of sitting around, they've been waiting and thinking about it, and they want to go ahead and apply and get that application going. Michelle, what's the first thing they need to do?
Michelle Guth: Well, give us a call. I definitely encourage you to come in and meet with us in person, although we have the ability of doing everything online. We have a very robust electronic system that we can do everything through the Internet on a secure basis, but I love that face-to-face interaction. So, if that's something that's conducive to your schedule, we're pretty flexible with our hours. Come in, we'll run over, basically, requirements of what you're hoping to achieve with regard to maximum payment, price point, and so forth. So, we want to definitely have that game plan in place. And sitting down for about an hour, will allow us to do that.
Thom: I think that's a testament to just our philosophy here at Corp Group, as well as Diversified Mortgage. That we're not just about selling homes and getting people in ... you know, whatever, getting them closed and moving on to the next person. We're about building those relationships. So that's why it's important for that face-to-face time, getting to know each other, getting to really kind of feel comfortable with each other. This is one of the biggest purchases in your life. You want to make sure that you have someone that you trust and know well before you move forward with it. So, I think that's why we mix and have such a great partnership, is because we have that same philosophy in our client base.
Michelle Guth: Yeah. Definitely not transactional-based relationship base. So, we love having our clients come back for years to come.
Dave Burnett: I know, Michelle, you talked about getting something that fits in your budget. And we've also talked about in the past how there's a lot of online ... you see them in the TV ads, you hear radio ads ... for the online mortgages. But they don't really get a chance to sit down and look at somebody's budget, because what my budget may look like I could afford, I really can't.
Michelle Guth: Oh, I completely agree. You see a lot of these advertisements where you can basically go in and pre-approve yourself. Do you really want to be doing that? I personally wouldn't want to. I mean, I would want to be sitting down by a trusted advisor, who's been in the industry for years, has that knowledge base. One, to make sure you're even in the correct program, and just to make sure that they're talking in-depth about what are your long-term financial goals. It's not necessarily what is the right payment for you right now. Where do you want to be in five years? Is this a long-term investment? Is this a short-term property? There's so many variables that we should consider when we're looking at programs, down payment, and everything in regard to the mortgage.
Dave Burnett: Because once you buy a house, if you've never owned a house before, there are things that come with it, as far as being a home owner and what you're going to have to pay for, and probably pay for monthly, that may not account in a mortgage if you go with the online. So, we make the call. We come into Diversified Mortgage. We sit down. We kind of counsel over what's going to happen. What's the next step from there? Is it the credit report? Is it the ... What happens from there?
Michelle Guth: Well, we're going to do a full review of all of the income, assets, and credits. So, we will pull credit. We'll go through that with the client in detail to make sure that there's no inaccuracies. Again, go over their budget, their payment, their program. And then, once we determine what's the best route for them, we'll go through a full credit approval process so that they're literally, ideally, in a position to go out and start shopping within 24 hours. So, we'll be in contact with the real estate agent to give them the terms of their approval, so the agent knows exactly what the parameters are. And hopefully we can get them out shopping right away.
Dave Burnett: Do most people now, Thom, do they get pre-approved before they start shopping? At one time - I remember our first couple of houses we bought - we went and found a house, and then we went and talked to the lender. That's now backwards? It's not done that way?
Thom: Yeah. Home are selling really quickly now. So, for the most part, most sellers want that pre-qualification letter when you first submit your offer to them. So, it's pretty imperative that you have that to go with your offer to be competitive in today's market. So, yes, it's switched quite a bit to where you want that pre-qualification to be competitive and sellers don't want to wait. They don't want to spend that time waiting to find out if you get qualified or not.
Michelle Guth: I think that's a good point, too, is where I think we're different from a lot of the larger institutions. Quite often when you go online and so forth, they're just going to send you a generic credit approval letter saying, "Hey, Thom Jones, you're approved for $200,000 on a conventional loan with 5% down." Well, as an agent, if you're competing against multiple offers, or you're even wanting to try to negotiate, you don't necessarily want to go in saying, "Here's their maximum approval," I mean, at 200, if you're offering 180 on a property. So, what we will do is we work in concert with our agents to issue a letter to match that of the offer. And then we're even running numbers to determine what they need for closing costs, whether it be closing cost assistance or if they're trying to budget, "How much am I going to need out of pocket for this house?" We're running a detailed numbers sheet, fee sheet basically, specific to that property. So they know what to expect before they even go in and make an offer. So, we'll customize our letter to each specific property that they're offering on.
Dave Burnett: Let me ask you an opinion question here, if you're ready for this? Are most people, when they come in, are they pretty credit- and loans-savvy, or are they pretending? Are they pretending to be? What is your feeling on that? Are most people pretty savvy in what they need?
Michelle Guth: I think most people come in with an idea of where they feel comfortable with for a payment. Outside of that, I think the bulk of most consumers don't understand mortgages really well, unless you've bought a few homes. And mortgages change, I mean, continually. Even as a mortgage lender, we're constantly having to update our knowledge base in programs and parameters. So I wouldn't say they're savvy, per se, but I mean, for the most part, most people come in with a good idea of what they feel they can comfortably budget. And then we're going to work around that.
Dave Burnett: And I'm saying this ... I'm basing it off my experience with you. And I'll admit it right up front, I was pretty dumb when it came to really knowing what was taking place. But your staff, [Bolly 00:08:39], and all of your staff did such a good job of walking us through it, what we needed to do. So most people kind of have a working idea, but they just don't understand the industry.
Michelle Guth: And I think just the logistics around doing a mortgage, where we get the most pushback, is people don't have an understanding of just how in-depth the paperwork process is, and how much we have to actually gather, and how many verification steps we have to go through. And it's not just in the beginning. It's all the way up to the tail end where we repeat those steps. So I think that's probably what the number one misconception is. A lot of times people think this can be like going in and getting a car loan. You state what you make and, you know, here's a pay stub, and I'm good to go. It's obviously much more in-depth than that.
Dave Burnett: Yeah, because you're going to need pay stubs for what, two years’ worth of ... oh, not pay stubs, but ...
Michelle Guth: Typically, a couple of years tax returns, 30-days pay stubs, couple months of bank statements. And then, if you're self-employed, there's going to be a lot of additional paperwork on top of that.
Dave Burnett: Which in this day and age, there's a lot of self-employed people now out there, between contractors and people in their businesses. So, if you're self-employed, there's a few more steps to go through?
Michelle Guth: Not necessarily steps, but additional paperwork. Your homework list will be a little bit longer.
Dave Burnett: A paperless society we live in. I think there's more paper involved in everything involved now today than there has been before. Michelle Guth, Diversified Mortgage, with us. So, if somebody wants to come in, and sit down, and set up that counseling session ... When I say counseling, it makes it sound very serious. But just a session.
Michelle Guth: Just come a hang out with me for an hour.
Dave Burnett: Exactly. They've got great beverages. It's a good time. If somebody want to do it, how do they get hold of you?
Michelle Guth: Call us at 853-7878 or visit our website, DMGloans.com.
Dave Burnett: And as Michelle said, as we move into this time of year, things slowing down a little bit, so it might be the time to strike while the iron's hot.
Michelle Guth: Absolutely. Give yourself that extra time as you're trying to compete against other offers. There's no better time than now to get into the market.
Dave Burnett: Perfect. And you can work with Thom with Corp Group Realty, kind of hand-in-hand to get that worked. And again, one other thing I want to clarify. Even if somebody's not working with Corp, can you choose your lending group you want to go through or do you have to go with whatever your real estate agent says?
Michelle Guth: Use whomever you're comfortable with. I mean, most agents out there will make a recommendation based off of people that they have a comfort level with, but I certainly encourage people to get second opinions. Absolutely.
Dave Burnett: All right. Very good. Michelle Guth with Diversified Mortgage, equal opportunity lender. We'll continue on the other side. This is the Idaho Real Estate Buzz, being brought to you by the folks at Diversified Mortgage and Corp Group Realty. Give Corp a call today, 933-7777. Nope, let me back up, (208) 933-7777. Find out why you get more, with Corp.
Dave Burnett: This is the Idaho Real Estate Buzz. I'm Dave Burnett. He is Thom Dallman. The co-owner, designated broker of Core Group Realty. Coregrouprealty.com is the website. Call (208)933-7777. In fact, you can do it right now. A customer care agent standing by to take your call. If you have questions about the show, about the website, about properties, they will direct you and get you the information you need.
Thom Dallman: If they don't have the information, they'll get you to someone who does.
Dave Burnett: Exactly. Now, the person who answers is not going to be a real estate agent, so if you're going, "Well, I don't want to talk to an agent." Well, you're not going to. You're going to talk to somebody who's educated in everything about Core Group and about the website to really get you zeroed in on the answers you need, which is a nice little feature.
Thom Dallman: Exactly, where it's no pressure, just gives the people an opportunity to ask their questions without feeling like they're ... For some reason people feel like, you know, with an agent, you’re kind of pressured to work with that agent. But we're really good with sharing information whether you work with us or not. We still want to make sure that everybody's getting the education that they need and the information that they need to make educated decision when it comes to real estate.
Dave Burnett: One question they can't answer, nor could we, when's the smoke gonna go away?
Thom Dallman: Ugh, I wish we could. (laughter)
Dave Burnett: Some days are better; some days are worse. But I guess, you know, Thom, we are in the height of the fire season right now.
Thom Dallman: Yes, yes. Everything is so super dry, especially in the foothills, as we experienced this last week.
Dave Burnett: Montana, devastating fires in Montana. Oregon, we've seen that, we know that's where a lot of our smoke. But even right here, there was that fire here about a week and a half ago up in Pierce Park.
Thom Dallman: Yeah, Pierce Park had, what was it, I can't even remember what the last outcome was for how many acres got burnt. But that was a mile and a half from my house. It was a scary situation, looking out the back door and seeing the hillside on fire and smoke billowing up into the air. But it made us aware of our house and the surrounding area in the foothill and everything. You know we should probably clear away some of this debris.
Dave Burnett: You know, it's funny. Some people think, "Oh, you know, we're in a subdivision. We'll be safe." Not necessarily. Look at California, some of these subdivisions, one of the houses right next to the wild and the wind ... See, it doesn't have to have wind, that fire will generate its own wind and just whip it through a subdivision as well.
Thom Dallman: Oh yeah, for sure, for sure. Especially if you have kind of an older house that maybe your roof is not top-notch. They talk about making sure that your roof is ... that you go through and do new roofing and get tiles that are fire-resistant and stuff like that. You know, they have some great products out there. Yeah, it'll rip through your neighborhood in a heartbeat especially in the fall when everything is kind of dry anyways from dry leaves that are flying around accumulating in your yards if you're not removing it and clearing it up and stuff.
Dave Burnett: Let's run through some of the Do's when it comes to things you need to do for your home to make it fire resistant.
Thom Dallman: Sure, remember to clear that debris like we just mentioned. Walk around your house, go through and see what debris has kind of collected. If you have any firewood, if you have a wood-burning stove and your firewood stacked up, make sure that's clear away from your house so, you know, if it does catch on fire, it's not going to catch on fire next to your house.
Dave Burnett: See, I feel a little guilty right now because I'm thinking, I trimmed a bunch of my trees back and I just stacked the branches on the side of my house thinking, "Ah, I'll get those to the dump sooner or later." They're just stacked up.
Thom Dallman: We have a stack like that, too.
Dave Burnett: That's not good. That is not good.
Thom Dallman: That's not good at all. Yeah, we did the exact same thing where we just kind of planned on taking it eventually or trying to put it into our new compost garbage can that we just got. And eventually kind of getting it all hauled away. But when that fire went up on Pierce Park, we realized, you know, that's all try tinder now that can catch on fire so quickly and burn. It was within five feet of our house on the edge of our lawn, so that was something that is definitely something you wanna take care of. And raking leaves up. I have our wrought-iron fence, we have grading on there to keep our smaller dog in and the leaves just pile up against that. It's that fence-line. I just, I don't ever think about it when I go out and mow the lawn. I just kind of, "Oh, I'll get to that, I'll rake those leaves up eventually." But that's a whole line of fire going on right around our wrought-iron fence that can happen.
Dave Burnett: Take it right around the fence-line right up back to the house.
Thom Dallman: Exactly, exactly. And trimming back dry bushes that you might have or trim them down and get rid of them. Just really creating that, as they say, the defensible space around your house to make sure that if a fire does come towards your house you can protect it a little bit and limit the amount of fuel it has to burn. They do say that you can create with your landscape you can create a defensible space as far as doing a five-foot border around your house of landscaping rocks, something decorative that looks nice and will protect from fires as well.
Dave Burnett: I guess there's kind of two things to look at. If you're in the subdivision, if you're where ... it just seems to me that houses are very close together, making sure you have those fire-resistant shingles so that if the neighbor's house catches on fire, you have a better chance there. But there's also, if you happen to be in the foothills, or if you're in an area where you do have wild lands around you, they talk about making a defensible area around the house. Let's talk a little bit about that.
Thom Dallman: Well yeah, that's exactly what I was kind of talking about, is creating a five-foot rock barrier, rock border around your house, even digging up dirt. If there's a fire coming towards your house, just build that five-foot dirt and just dig up the dirt and dig up all the dry stuff that's within that border of your house, surrounding your house and stuff.
Dave Burnett: Which, this time of year, that's pretty much ... unless you're watering the weeds, it's just cheap grass.
Thom Dallman: If you're next to any kind of open space like that that has the dry brush, get rid of it. Clear it up, you know, up to five feet away from your line for your border of your house and everything. It can really protect your home and give you that defensible space.
Dave Burnett: And I guess the hard thing is, because we all like to think, "That's something I probably should do in the next couple weeks." Well the next couple weeks, not to sound like an alarmist, but it might be too late. It can happen just anytime.
Thom Dallman: Like the Pierce Park fire just happened all of a sudden. It was like, "Oh hey, there's a fire." We started getting texts from our friends who happened to be at the Hawks game and they're like, "Uh, we see a fire up in the hills, is that near you?" We're like, "What?" So yeah, it can happen very quickly and those fires can spread so quickly. One of the things I wanted to talk about, which I hadn't really thought about before, is drapes, window coverings. Because even though you make a defensible space, that can create such heat on the outside of your house that if you have drapes that are super flammable, they can catch on fire just from the heat. They can start melting and catch on fire from the heat. They say that you should really make sure that your window coverings and drapes are of a type that can resist those high heats as well as having your windows tempered so that that heat doesn't crack them and break them and shatter them and stuff. I didn't really ever think about just your window coverings and how important it is to make sure that those are somewhat heat-resistant and stuff. So that's also something that maybe you want to look at if you have older drapes that may need to be replaced and get some new ones in. Definitely something worth checking out.
Dave Burnett: I guess one of the things, and I don't know that you can really buy it, but it's essential to have, and that is a plan if something were to happen.
Thom Dallman: Oh, for sure.
Dave Burnett: So, let me, I'll put you on the spot. You had a house fire not far from your house, do you have a plan?
Thom Dallman: We did not. (laughter)
Dave Burnett: Because honestly-
Thom Dallman: We were just gonna ... we actually, that night contemplated but didn't do it, throwing a bunch of stuff into our big suitcase on the off chance that it would get back to us. A grab and go bag.
Dave Burnett: Because I know you have a couple of dogs, you have to take care of them. And you don't really have time to think about a lot of the values, but ...
Thom Dallman: You've got to pre-plan a little bit and find out what is valuable, what do you need to make sure that is protected. Buy yourself a safe. Buy yourself a fire-proof safe and put those passports, those documents that are important-
Dave Burnett: Flash drives.
Thom Dallman: Yeah, flash drives. Even computers, they say you should throw your computer into a safe if there's something going on like that in case it catches on fire, and your house catches on fire, and those fire-poof safes can sometimes protect those things. Kind of looking at those things, those valuables, and having a spot in your house that you can put them in that's fire-resistant as far as safes and stuff like that. That's really super important.
Dave Burnett: And also, making sure that the entire family knows what the fire plan is. If you have kids and maybe you've got teenagers at home, you're at work or you're out of town and suddenly there's a fire ... Do they know what to do?
Thom Dallman: Do they know what to do? Exactly. That's a very important part of it all is making sure that everyone is aware if the house catches on fire in the middle of the night, what's your plan? What's your exit strategy? Where are you at? I have a three-story house, so we kind of created a game plan for getting out the house if it should ever catch on fire. So you should definitely make sure that you have something like that.
Dave Burnett: I guess this is one of those, it's like talking about life insurance. You don't want to talk about it because, like, it's not good. But it really is something that you should be planned for to make sure that your house is prepared, got that fire block, you've got the dead branches cleared away, the trees are trimmed back and you have that done, maintained the lawn, don't let it get dry so that it's just a fire waiting to happen. But then making sure that you have a plan in place in cases of fire, if someone's away, how do you get hold of somebody.
Thom Dallman: Where to meet in case you guys get separated. All that kinds of stuff is so super important.
Dave Burnett: Yeah, I guess in a day and age where we're talking about hurricanes and massive fires and everything, I think that plan is really important.
Thom Dallman: Yeah, it is. It is. Just to keep yourself safe, keep your family safe, keep your pets safe. And just keep your valuables safe, that's another key part of this. You can just lose a lot and go through a lot if you don't have your valuables in a safe place. Super key.
Dave Burnett: We've talked about it a number of times, that the home that you own is probably the biggest investment you'll ever have and of course making sure your insurance policies are up to date as well.
Thom Dallman: Oh yeah, for sure.
Dave Burnett: But the thing to remember is, your house, your things, they can all be replaced. The people in your life, the pets in your life, they can't be replaced.
Thom Dallman: Yeah, get yourself, get your family, get your pets to safety first before worrying about some of that stuff.
Dave Burnett: Stuff, exactly.
Thom Dallman: Some of that stuff, because, like you said that can be replaced.
Dave Burnett: This is the Idaho Real Estate Buzz. He is Thom Dallman. I am Dave Burnett. Idaho Real Estate Buzz being brought to you by the folks at Diversified Mortgage. You can give them a call for all of your lending needs and of course by Core Group Realty. You can always call Core at (208)-933-7777. Find out why you get more with Core.
Dave Burnett: This is the Idaho Real Estate Buzz. I'm Dave Burnett. He is Thom Dallman, the co-owner, designated broker of CORE Group Realty. Coregrouprealty.com that's the website. And when I say CORE, it's spelled C-O-R-E, coregrouprealty.com. Call 208-933-7777, and there's the customer care agents standing by even as we speak.
Thom Dallman: I'll help you with whatever you need.
Dave Burnett: Something we need to talk about and again, it's kind of a negative thing, but you got to prepare yourself. You got to be ready for this. You got to be alert and aware at all times.
Thom Dallman: Exactly.
Dave Burnett: That are scams that are out there that do involve real estate.
Thom Dallman: There's so many scammers right now. Yeah. There's so many scammers out right now, whether it involves real estate or not, there are so many people trying to figure out a way to get into your accounts, get into your money, get into whatever you have. That's very important to be aware of a lot of those things out there.
Dave Burnett: I always think to myself, how could somebody fall for that?
Thom Dallman: Oh, yeah.
Dave Burnett: But the truth is if people weren't falling for it, they wouldn't do it.
Thom Dallman: They wouldn't be doing it, yeah.
Dave Burnett: But they continue to do it. There's a number of things out there ...
Thom Dallman: Yeah. Unfortunately, we have one of those clients right now that we're working with that has fallen for it. One of those business loans from overseas. Someone wanted to invest in US businesses, all online and stuff like that. This client has been told, "Hey, open up this special account that we can deposit this money into," and make sure that these accounts have to have certain amount of money in them to open them, and so the client has opened this account and put this money in and stuff. And they can already get this loan that they can use for whatever purposes they want and stuff, and so very clearly is a scam. We're helping her through that, but something to be watching out for. There's these people who claim to want to invest in US businesses and stuff like that. But, yeah, unless it's really ... Make sure you do your research. Make sure you go online and check these people out, because 9 out of 10 times, if it's too good to be true, it's not true.
Dave Burnett: It sounds too good, yeah. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Thom Dallman: Exactly.
Dave Burnett: Let me ask you this question, if you're like me, if you're a common nobody. If you're just a common person that goes day to day, typically, there's nobody contacting me to make a big deal, to make a big financial deal.
Thom Dallman: Exactly.
Dave Burnett: I'm just your average guy. But often times, people get that offer and they think this is a deal of a lifetime.
Thom Dallman: Exactly. You see a lot of those emails that come through that say, "Oh, I'm a wealthy ... whatever it is, a czar or a prince, whatever and I need to get this money over to America and stuff like that. Please contact me with your information and personal information and stuff like that." Once again, like you said, they wouldn't be doing this unless they have people falling for it and stuff. Just be aware that when those things come through to do your research and make sure that you're following up and not giving out personal information.
Dave Burnett: I guess another thing too, is to be careful. If you have parents or elderly, they love to prey on elderly, people ...
Thom Dallman: Oh yeah. That's one of the biggest scams right now. It's called the grandparent scam where people are calling up and saying, "Oh my gosh! I'm a lawyer. Your grandson has been put into jail. We need $5,000 to get them out of jail." Grandparents, they love their grandkids. They all love our families and will do anything for them. That's a huge one that's happening too, for elderly. They need to make sure that ... and especially social media right now. That's how they get that information. They look at social media. They see this elderly person has this grandkid that runs around wherever and stuff like that. They're taking that information and using that to pull that information ...
Dave Burnett: Yeah. I did a radio show here a little while back, a couple of years ago with the members of [inaudible 00:04:28] Police Department and they were involved in online fraud and scamming. They told me to give them the name of somebody and that they would find out information on that person within 15 minutes.
Thom Dallman: Oh my gosh!
Dave Burnett: While we were on the air, I gave one a name, and he went to work. It was actually a student high school. Within 15 minutes, had the name of that person, had their social security number, had their phone number, their school schedule, had all this information about this person within 15 minutes.
Thom Dallman: Yeah. There's systems out there that collects that, that you can pay for to collect all that information to really stalk people and get that information, so you have to be really super, super careful on what you're doing out there and stuff, and what is being sent to you and what's being said to you.
Dave Burnett: On Facebook, don't fall for those where it's like, hey, he wants to give away his money. No, he doesn't.
Thom Dallman: No, he doesn't.
Dave Burnett: No, he doesn't. He's got somebody to that.
Thom Dallman: Nobody wants to give away money.
Dave Burnett: They're not calling ... [crosstalk 00:05:34]
Thom Dallman: There's that clearing house ... there's a scam where people call and say they're from the Publishers Clearing House and you won, "We're coming by in 15, 20 minutes, but in the meantime, I need a credit card to do a deposit or whatever it is."
Dave Burnett: Secure that thing.
Thom Dallman: Secure the things for when they get there and stuff like that. People, unfortunately, fall for it. They get so excited, thinking that they won the Publishers Clearing House and stuff like that. IRS. There's an IRS scam out there.
Dave Burnett: Oh yeah. I've gotten that call. I was going to jail.
Thom Dallman: "I'm from IRS. We're going to come and take you to jail unless you pay us or give us your credit card to pay these things." Remember that the IRS will not be calling you technically. They can't call you I guess to ask for money. They're going to have clarification. They're not going to ask for money over the phone. They're not going to have you give them credit card numbers over the phone. [crosstalk 00:06:27]
Dave Burnett: They don't get a hold of you out of the blue to get that money. Let me ask you this one and this involves real estate. I know it's a Craigslist scam.
Thom Dallman: The Craigslist, yeah.
Dave Burnett: That is rentals sometimes are used and people looking to rent sometimes fall right into this one.
Thom Dallman: Yeah, we've had clients that we've had their homes listed that have come or giving us a call and said, "I don't know what's going on but these people just knocked on the door asking for the keys because they rented the house." Someone scammed them and went on to Craigslist, put all of our listing information on to Craigslist, pretended like it was a rental and said, "You need to send us your deposit and security first thing first, and then we'll meet you out there with the keys." So, if anybody ever ask you for on a rental to send deposits and stuff without doing applications, without meeting, without going and walking to the house and stuff, it's probably going to be a scam. Most companies that will rent or most people who rent houses will meet you at the house so you can walk through, so you guys can do things in person. They won't technically try to do them online, so never give that information.
Dave Burnett: Yeah. That should be red flag. If they just want money, and you go to the house and get the keys from the people who are in there, man, I guess be cynical. Treat it all with the grain of salt and double check and verify to protect yourself.
Thom Dallman: Exactly. Yeah. And the same with moving companies. There's a scam out right now with certain people who they pretend to be moving companies. They'll come and they'll gather your stuff. They'll move it and then hold it hostage, and ask for a couple hundred more dollars, and say, "Oh you know what, this is taking more time and energy, we need a couple more hundred dollars before we'll deliver this." Once again, if you're looking at moving companies, make sure you do your research onto moving companies that are reputable, and sometimes it doesn't pay to save a buck.
Dave Burnett: And we haven't even touched on, and this time of year you get a lot of it, driveway repair, roof repair; making sure that these are licensed people.
Thom Dallman: Yup, yup. There's a lot of those little scams out there where they, "Oh, we're going to come by. We just need your deposit and everything," and then find out that they're not a real company.
Dave Burnett: Yeah, they either don't show up or they just put some goo on [crosstalk 00:08:43] the driveway.
Thom Dallman: They just come through town and make all these deals and get this money, and then leave out of town again. One of the big ones that we've talked about in the past too is right now, there's hackers figuring out ways to hack into title companies and into real estate companies, into banks, finding out all these people who are going to close on transactions for homes, and then they send email saying, "Hey, I'm with the title company that you're closing with. We need your routing information for your bank account so like transfer funds and stuff for your fund," and they go in and they clear out the bank accounts. We very rarely ever will ask for information over an email with information like that. Most of that stuff comes from the title companies with real estate agent's permission and okays and everything, so if you ever get it out of the blue, you're in a middle of a transaction, get ready to close, you get that email saying, "We need your routing information." Call your real estate agent. Call the title company. Verify for sure that that's who actually sent that email. People are really clever when it comes to making those emails look like it's really coming from someone.
Dave Burnett: Yup. They can do it. They have the ability to do it. I guess that's the blessing and the curse of the Internet is that with that comes the opportunity to separate you from your money and your property.
Thom Dallman: Yup. And boy, those emails that say your computer has been compromised, contact us immediately with your credit cards to clear up your ... or click on this button to do an anti-virus or whatever that give them access to your computer.
Dave Burnett: It would be nice to go off the web and go off the grid, so to speak, and just move away from it, but it's almost, almost impossible to do.
Thom Dallman: Yeah. There's so much out there, so just be aware, be weary. Never open up any attachments from anybody you don't know. If it's something that looks like it's coming from your bank saying that your account's been compromised, call the bank. Don't just respond to it, even phone calls. Call the bank directly and say, "I'll give you a call back," and call the bank directly and stuff. Just be weary.
Dave Burnett: Very good. Thom Dallman, CORE Group Realty. And of course, we do this each and every Saturday. You got to protect yourself, your property, and you just have to be aware and alert. As I mentioned before, make sure if you have elderly parents that you're helping take care of that for them, because they'll try to prey on them as well.
Thom Dallman: Yes, for sure.
Dave Burnett: It's despicable, but it happens. This is the Idaho Real Estate Buzz. We'll do it again next Saturday at 2:00; brought to you by Diversified Mortgage, and of course, by CORE Group Realty. Give them a call today, 208-933-7777. Find out why you get more with CORE.
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