Thursday
Nov062014

Holiday and Winter Home Fire Safety

While the holidays bring festivities and good cheer, family gatherings and yummy treats, it is also the season of increased risk and injury resulting from home fires. 

Seasonal decorations, Christmas trees, candle usage, holiday cooking methods, fireplaces, and space heaters significantly contribute to the increased risk of home fires.  Add to that the distracting nature of the holidays, and it’s easy to see why home fires increase dramatically around the holiday season.

Taking preventative steps is the first line of defense to keep your holiday experience a joyful one.  Paying closer attention when decorating, cooking, entertaining and heating your home can significantly reduce fire hazards.  Following these simple rules below will increase safety and ensure a happy holiday. 

Cooking:

Never leave cooking food unattended.  Keep combustible materials (dish towels, etc.) and loose clothing away from open flames.  Keep your cooking area clean and use caution when cooking with oils as they can ignite easily.  Always turn your pan handle sideways to prevent accidents and burns.  Make sure your kitchen is equipped with a fire extinguisher and easily accessible.

Turkey Fryers:

Only use these types of appliances outdoors and away from buildings and other combustible materials.  Never use on wooden decks or in your garage.  Make sure the appliance is on a level and stable surface and do not leave the appliance unattended.  Never place a frozen turkey in hot oil.  Thaw the turkey first.  Never allow children or pets near the fryer.  The oil can remain hot for several hours after the appliance is turned off.  Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Portable heaters, Fireplaces and woodstoves:

Keep heaters a minimum of 36” inches away from combustibles.  Plug directly into a wall outlet.  Never use an extension cord. Use only heaters with built-in high temperature and tip-over shut off features.

Have your fireplace or woodstove inspected annually for deficiencies and creosote buildup.  Make sure your chimney is cleaned before wood burning season use.  Only burn well-seasoned wood and never burn trash or paper in your fireplace.  Keep combustibles 36’ away and never leave the fire unattended.  Dispose of ash in a metal contain and place the container outside and away from combustibles to ensure hot coals won’t start a fire. 

Christmas Trees:

Do not use open flames or candles near a Christmas tree.  Do not place the tree near heat vents, fireplaces, or other heat sources. If needles fall off easily when a branch is shaken or the needles are brittle and break easily, the tree is too try and needs to be removed from the home.  Check the water level daily.  A 6’ tree will consume approximately one gallon of water every two days.  Check the wiring and lights for defects before they are hung on a tree.  Miniature lights are recommended as they use less power and produce less heat. 

Smoke alarms, CO2 sensors, and fire extinguishers

Now is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and CO2 sensors.  Test each device to ensure proper function.  Locate and make sure your fire extinguishers are charged and ready for action.  Be sure to instruct family members where each extinguisher is located and how to properly use in case of a fire.

With a little pre-planning and keeping safety in mind, your holidays are sure to joyous and filled with wonderful memories of this most wonderful time of the year!

Tuesday
Jul292014

Boomers Are Buying!

Cash is king and newly retired baby boomers are cashing in and driving the housing market to recovery.  The baby boom generation is often referred to as the “rebellious generation” and their idea of retirement is anything but typical.

Because of their active and healthier lifestyle, boomers will be buying and selling well into their 80’s.  And with a whopping 16.3 million Americans over the age of 60 owning their home free and clear in 2012, a clear trend is developing. 

A recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate asked boomers their plans for retirement.  The data collected is rather telling.

  • ·       39 percent of boomers want to retire to a rural community – either a farm or small town.
  • ·       27 percent plan to move to an adult community where activities geared towards this age group are prevalent.
  • ·       26 percent said they plan to retire near or in a city.

The baby-boom generation has more equity than their parents because they purchased and owned their homes during the biggest 30-year housing bull market in history.  The U.S. national average median price of an existing home purchased in 2013 was $201,700, triple the $67,000 median price in 1982 when many boomers were buying their first properties.

Just as they transformed societal norms and politics as college students in the 1960’s and 1970’s, this generation will now shape the housing market as they begin to retire and scale down their homes.  They possess an asset that has appreciated over the last 30 years and have enormous amounts of equity should they decide to sell their current home.  This allows the boomer generation to purchase a new home outright, with cash, and not have to worry about rising interest rates and mortgage payments should their income diminish.

Today, the oldest baby boomers are already in their 60s. By 2030, about one in five Americans will be older than 65.  As boomers go through the stages of life, they change everything they touch and it looks like this generation will have a huge impact on the housing market recovery and beyond.

Tuesday
Mar252014

2014 Predicted to Be Another Strong Year for Boise Housing Market

Early 2014 saw a sluggish housing market.  A tough winter took its toll nationally on our economy and that in turn saw consumer confidence wane in the first quarter.  Here locally, we definitely saw a “cooling” off period as well.

But as the temperatures began to thaw, so did the housing market.  New listings were added in March and sales began to climb.   If you are a homeowner, your annual tax assessment notice held a surprise for most in the Treasure Valley.  Home values have increased exponentially over the last year. As a result, many found saw this reflected in their annual tax assessment this spring.

Ada County median existing home prices ended 2013 up 15%.  Strong home sales last spring, high demand and low supply were contributing factors to this double digit appreciation.  Prices are beginning to return to the normal range and distressed properties are few and far between.

Canyon County hit it out of the park with a whopping 25% increase in home value!  While homes in Canyon County offer more affordability, the low supply of existing homes on the market continue to drive prices higher with homeowners realizing a steady increase in value on their property.

Pent up demand for housing in our area will continue to drive home values higher.  Boise continues to make “Top 10” list for best places to work, live, retire and affordability.  Experts predict that our population will continue to grow because of these attributes of our great state and with that, demand for housing will continue as well.  It’s the basic fundamentals of Real Estate, where supply and demand drive home values higher.

To add to the equation, the Idaho Department of Labor just announced that our state’s unemployment rate dropped below 5% falling to 4.9 percent in May after total employment in the state set a record high for total jobs for the ninth-straight month. The drop from April's 5 percent unemployment rate set a new post-recession low.

The long and the short of it is that Idaho’s economy is doing quite well and population growth is increasing.  All of the key factors are present to encourage development and prosperity locally.  Most experts would agree and that it is safe to say…2014 will be another strong year for Idaho’s housing market.

Thursday
Mar062014

Multi-Generational Living

Today, there are almost four million American multigenerational households (three or more generations living together) according to new census data.  Since 1990, the number of multigenerational families grew by approximately 60 percent.

This household structure allows families to come together to address the many challenges of life, such as raising a child, caring for elders, single parenthood, and high cost of living and housing. The multigenerational family creates a safety network among its generations to create a stable environment to address the common needs of the family as a whole.

Hibbard Construction is pleased to announce that we are building our first multigenerational custom home for a wonderful family in Wilder.  

This 5100 + sq. ft. home will boast two kitchens, two seperate living areas and a spacious 3 car garage. Three generations will call this beautiful house their home.  

We are really excited about this project and hope this home will be everything the homeowners have anticipated and more!  

Click here to view more photos of the build process and check back as we update with more photos.

Thursday
Mar062014

Then and Now

Do you remember what it was like in Idaho back in 2006?  It was a much gentler time, but Idaho was making headlines even back then.  Our distinct four seasons that accommodate year round recreational opportunities, low crime rate, low cost of living, good tech jobs and robust agriculture offered a great place to raise a family.  The secret was out and there was a housing boom that was sweeping the nation.  We saw an influx of families moving to the Treasure Valley and overnight throwing Idaho’s housing market into overdrive!

We thought it would be interesting to share a comparison of then and now to give you an idea of how Idaho’s current housing market is really doing.  Comparing 11 key categories from July 2006 and July 2013, gives a clear picture of just how far we’ve come since the market bottomed in 2008. 

Take a look at the following stats from Ada County:

 

July 2006

Ada County Stats

July 2013

Difference

4,087

Total Active Residential Listings

2,369

1718

917

Total Single Family Homes Sold

883

34

$279,391

Average Price

$239,194

$40,197

25

Days on Market

44

19

$256,201,859

Total Dollar Volume Sold

$211,208,286

$44,993,573

2,346

Existing Residential Listings

1,796

550

593

Existing Homes Sold

718

125

$261,896

Average Price of Existing Homes Sold

$229,680

32,216

1,741

Newly Constructed Residential Listings

573

1,168

324

Newly Constructed Homes Sold

165

159

$312,045

Average Price of New Homes Sold

$280,596

$31,449

 

It is evident from the table above that the total active listings are 43 % less than what they were in 2006.  This is what is termed as our “inventory”, what is listed for sale.  But, look at the total number of single family homes that sold.  We are only off by 34 units.  It’s economics 101, the law of supply and demand. 

Our low inventory levels, coupled with the high demand for single family homes are what are driving housing prices higher.  Add to that the following:

All of these factors will continue to drive housing prices up.  Experts do not expect to see the same housing prices we saw in 2006, but it sure looks like we are not too far off.  Right now we have a mixed market (buyer and seller’s) in Idaho.  If this trend of low inventory continues, we could very well see the market moving towards a seller’s market.

One thing is for certain.  2014 will be a very interesting year for Idaho’s housing market.  If interest rates remain low, and word on the street is they will, you can expect new home construction to really take off.  If you’ve had a hard time finding your perfect home, it just might be the most opportune time to start the building process and find yourself a reputable builder!