Mike Brown Group's Real Estate Blog

PMI is known as private mortgage insurance. When you’re buying a home, most lenders require a down payment equal to 20% of the home’s purchase price. If a borrower can’t afford that amount, the lender will most likely view the loan as a riskier investment and require the homebuyer to take out PMI as part of getting a mortgage.

During underwriting, lenders will look at the loan’s LTV (loan-to-value) ratio. LTV is calculated by dividing the amount of the loan by the value of the home. If the LTV ratio is greater than 80%, then the lender will most likely require PMI as the borrower is more likely to default on the loan.

The purpose of PMI is to protect the lender in the event the borrower defaults on the mortgage, and the home goes into

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Several months ago, we took a look at the Realtor.com Cross-Market Demand report, which looks at where people who are looking to buy homes in a particular area reside as they’re conducting their house hunt.

Using the most recent data available, which is from April 2020, eight out of the top ten counties were in California, with Los Angeles Country topping the list in terms of property views. Second on the list was Salt Lake County in Utah, followed by Orange County, California, and King County in Washington.

Property views from California accounted for more than 25% of homes viewed. And this is for Ada County specifically. People in Canyon County looking at homes in Ada County accounted for just under 52% of the demand. Nearly 64% of the views

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With the unofficial start of summer happening on Memorial Day, the grilling season has officially begun. Whether you use charcoal, gas, or a smoker, there are a variety of ways to create delicious meals using a barbecue. As a homeowner, one of the most exciting times of year is being able to fire up the grill (unless you’re a diehard who grills year-round, even in the snow).

In recent years, there’s been a growing trend to expand the living space outdoors, and since the kitchen is considered the “heart of the home,” it’s safe to say the grill is the heart of the outdoor experience. Homeowners are building elaborate outdoor kitchens with their grills as the centerpiece of an outdoor entertaining space. In the

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The Coronavirus pandemic may derail a lot of people’s vacation plans this summer. Still, a recent study by the consumer website WalletHub shows the best and worst cities in the nation for a staycation.

The study examined 182 U.S. cities, including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state across two key dimensions: 1. Recreation, and 2. Rest and Relaxation. WalletHub analyzed the dimensions using 15 relevant metrics. Some of these metrics included Parks Per Capita, Walking Trails per Capita, the Average Price of Pizza and Burger, and the Average Home Square Footage, among others.

In what shouldn’t come as a surprise, Boise was second on the overall list trailing only Plano, TX. Boise ranked

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In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, many mortgage and student loan lenders have been promoting their forbearance programs, allowing people to take advantage of no payments on their loans for a defined period of time.

While forbearance allows people to delay making payments, doing so may have consequences when applying for a loan to refinance or purchase a new house. Also, depending on your lender, full payment with interest, for the missed payments may be due when you exit forbearance.

Todd Shreeve, Senior Loan Officer with Movement Mortgage, recently shared a story about a couple who was looking to sell their home and buy a new one.

The couple was busy getting their home ready to sell and hadn’t done

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Memorial Day provides us an opportunity to remember those who have served our nation honorably, and to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great country.

Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day, originating in the years following the Civil War. It didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971.

Many people may consider the holiday an opportunity to have a day off of work, or perhaps to spend some time by the pool or having a barbecue, and in regular times, holding family gatherings, participating in parades, or visiting cemeteries or memorials. Memorial Day is also the unofficial beginning of summer.

After the Civil War, various towns and cities had begun holding

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If mortgage demand is an indicator, the housing market is starting to rebound a lot quicker than expected amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home purchase mortgage applications rose 6% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Purchase volume was just 1.5% lower than a year ago, a remarkable recovery from only six weeks ago when purchase volume was down 35% year-over-year.

“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizeable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. He continues, “Government purchase applications, which include

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Go Green and Save Energy
Photo Credit: iStock.com/Blue Planet Studio

We recently completed our “Green Week” series where we explored ways to make our homes more energy-efficient. The tips included 53 Ways to Go Green, Going Green with Larger Home Improvements, and Six Simple Things You Can Do Around the House to Save Money and Help the Environment. Following-up on those earlier conversations, Idaho Power is offering its customers a free kit full of items to help make your home more energy-efficient.

The Energy-Savings Kit Includes:

  •       Nine LED Light Bulbs (6-Watt LED and 9-Watt LED)
  •       One LED Night Light
  •       One high-efficiency showerhead*
  •       Two Faucet Aerators*
  •       One Digital Thermometer
  •       One Shower Timer
  •       One Water
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Boise City is one of the best positioned in the nation to recover from Coronavirus
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Following up on a study conducted by SmartAsset in March 2020 that evaluated recession-proof cities, Moody’s Analytics has released its own report detailing which U.S. cities are positioned to rebound quickly from the effects of Coronavirus. The analysis grouped the top ten best and the worst ten and listed them “alphabetically in order to avoid assigning false precision to our calculations,” writes Adam Kamins, senior regional economist at Moody’s Analytics and the author of the report.

Boise was among the top ten best cities, according to the report.

In analyzing the cities, Moody’s Analytics looked at the population density of a given locale and plotted it against measures of workforce quality, using educational

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Ask a REALTOR®

Real estate agents are providing a service to their clients, but generally don’t get paid in advance for the work that they do until a property sells. There are two commissions, the buyer’s agent commission, and the seller’s agent (also called the Listing Agent) commission. Generally, both agents share a total commission of the purchase price of the home of around six percent, so three percent per agent. While this figure is considered the norm, there are situations and circumstances where the percentage may be adjusted higher or lower.

Who Pays the Commissions?

Generally, the seller is the one who disburses both commissions. However, since the commissions paid are based on the sale price, it can be argued that the buyer is paying the

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