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Investment Newsletters
Real Estate in the Face of COVID-19

One might expect a pandemic to interfere with real estate transactions. So far, it has been an accelerant to a burning hot Treasure Valley market. There was a brief dip. It was the equivalent of pressing pause on the early spring listings that might otherwise have started to feed this persistent parade of hungry buyers.


No, Covid-19 did not hold back demand, or thwart out-of-state interest in Idaho. On the contrary, Covid conditions in populous Western cities, amplified by horrendous wildfires, seemed to send buyers fleeing to Idaho, either to move their families or their investment dollars, or often both.


Nor did Covid cause the vacancy or rent decreases among rentals that landlords initially feared. Local landlords responded quickly with payment arrangements instead of evictions. Now, they are proceeding with rent increases that are far more cautious than those they might otherwise have tried.


In their “wait and see” approach, Landlords are giving heightened priority to retention of good tenants. That’s often a good idea this time of year anyway, when vacancies and rents experience seasonal cooling.  


In the single-family home market, prices spiked quickly, amidst barely-existent inventory, and the lack of a spring ramp up led to issues with appraised values. Comparable sales were below what a buyer was willing to pay, making release of appraisal contingencies a bargaining chip for some capable (and well-sanitized) Buyers.


The multifamily market continues a similar response to the laws of supply and demand. Demand is coupled with an abundance of investor cash, some from the stock market. Multiple offers and bidding wars are common, among sparse inventory. In some instances, cap rates are falling below the 5% line.


It has been a good season for being an owner and a Seller, and challenging to be on the Buying side. If you’ve thought of selling, this is a favorable market for you. You’re invited to contact a Swope agent for a valuation or a conversation.


While the future is unknown, if local growth, inspirational interest rates, and in-migration persist, a sudden downturn would be unlikely. 


Existing Homes/Resale (Ada County)

     Median Price in Ada County is now roughly $405k compared to $330k last fall (September 2019)

     Inventory: 182 homes, compared to 764 last year


New Construction

      Median Price: Roughly $415k, compared to $392k last year

     Inventory: 288 homes compared to 884 last fall

     Inventory “crisis” and prices driving decisions


Stacy McBain

Associate Broker, Swope Investment Properties

From your Boise Investment Properties Team

Where Have All the Boise Homes Gone?

Unless you've been completly disconnected from the world, you've likely
heard from your friends, neighbors, the news (well everywhere), how low our
inventory is right now. This is not something localized to just Boise or the Treasure Valley, but
does seem to be even more of a challenge here than most other places across the

Looking at data that compares September of 2020 to that of a year ago, in Ada
county, our median sales price is just over $400,000 which is an increase of more
than 17% from September 2019. The number of homes sold has increased 27.5%
while days on market has decreased by 23.5% (homes are flying off the shelves).
The biggest difference we've seen is that our inventory is down by more than 73%
from a year ago. That's huge!

So, what's happening? Well for one, historically low interest rates play a big part in
buyer purchasing power. Even though our prices have increased, buyers are able to
qualify and afford more now. Another factor is the obvious - the news is out, Boise
is a great place to live. With more companies allowing their employees to continue
working remotely, people are looking to move to an area with a lower cost of living
and more space.

What do you do if you're a buyer in this market?

The first step is talking to a lender so you have your pre-approval in hand when the
right home is available. Make sure you're working with an experienced agent (like
those at Swope) who can guide you through submitting a strong offer! Factors
other than price may be important to a seller and there are many ways to get
creative with terms to make your offer stand out. Also, a personal letter with your
offer can make a big difference. If it's someone's personal residence, they often
want to feel like there's a connection with the new homeowners and the home will
continue to be loved.

Paige Brown, Associate Broker

Swope Investment Properties



New Demand for Single Family Rental Homes
Investors have been purchasing single family homes as rentals as far back as I can remember. Today, multi-family homes’ low inventory and high price points in the Boise area are driving more investors to the sing family rental market. Some investors are cashing in on these higher prices by selling their multi-family in exchange for single family rental home.

"Cash flow is just as good, if not better with 1/4 the headaches,” said one local investor, who sold his Boise 4 plex and purchased several new single family homes in Meridian as rentals.


The single famiy rental market in Boise is so strong, some institutional investors reportedly plan on building subdivisions for the sole purpose of bringing newer inventory to the rental market and creating entire subdivisions to be occupied primarily by renters.


It doesn’t matter if the single family rental market is just being built or if it’s older, the due diligence is much like any investment property. Buyers should be adhering to their investment team's expert advice and recommendations. It is important to include your professional property manager during the due diligence for input on location and fair market rents. The single family rental home market is much more seasonal than multi-family. Property management experts say that once into September, single family vacancy and rental rates take a hit and don't start peaking back up again until the end of May. Your investment team should also utilize a residential investment real estate agent to guide you through the due diligence.


Please contact any of our agents who can show you real life single family rental performance and explain how the due diligence differs from your standard residential home purchase.


Contributors:  Tony Drost, Associate Broker, Swope Investment Properties


                      Julie Tollifson, Least Team Leader, First Rate Property Management


                      Stacy McBain, Associate Broker, Swope Invesment Properties

COVID and Boise Rents
The past 5 months have presented some hard times for tenants across the nation to include here in the Boise area. Tenant's voices during this unprecedented time has created movement in the legislation world specific to the property management industry.

1. Boise City passed an ordinance early on that caps application fees at $30. This has caused some concern with property managers because they are not able to properly screen a tenant for that amount; meaning that the cost is likely passed onto the owner. Thorough screening is essential to placing a good quality tenant and the city legislation is slowly making that more difficult for landlords.


2. Idaho Legal Aid Services recently sued the state of Idaho stating that tenants have the right to request a jury trial during evictions per the statute. This came in the height of COVID as tenants were facing evictions because the properties did not all fall under the CARES Act eviction moratorium. The courts ruled that tenants do have a right to request a jury trial in a written pleading. However this will need to come from the tenants themselves or their legal counsel. This will dramatically increase the cost of evictions and delay the process by up to 3 months. In the landlords favor, the ruling specifically states there is no injunction or limitation on magistrates and district courts enforcing the statute, nor any change in notices required. The ruling also clearly indicates that jury trials are not ruled as necessary in all unlawful detainer cases. Although an appeal/request for jury trial may be filed, attorneys can make the case that there is no issue of fact(landlord accounting shows no payment made and no payment receipt is presented by tenant) to warrant a jury trial and that the constitution is not violated with the enforcement of the statute while using the expedited proceeding in cases of indisputable fact.


If you have any questions about how COVID has affected the rental market or some of these legislature changes, feel free to contact me anytime.


Melissa Sharone, President, First Rate Property Management


Tony A Drost, Associate Broker, Swope Investment Properties

Boise Residential Round-up -August 2020

One of the hottest topics on people's minds right now (besides school for those with kiddos) is the Boise area real estate market. We all know that real estate is a huge driving factor in our economy. We also know that basic economics is all about supply and demand.


Last month, Boise Regional Realtor's released their mid-year housing summit information and the big takeaway is that we have a heightened demand paired with a decrease in supply. Year over year, buyer activity saw a drop in March, when the first COVID-19 case was reported, in Idaho which lead to a decrease in pending transactions.


By the end of May, however, buyer activity was well over levels from May of 2019 and continues to rise. Seller activity had been tracking along with 2019's numbers until they took a dive when Idaho's stay at home order came into effect. Unlike buyer activity, sellers have remained at much lower activity levels year over year showing a drop of 50.8% from June 2019 to June 2020. This inequality in trends have resulted in a heavy seller's market.


As opposed to a year ago, our current market is driven by a decrease in the supply of lower-priced existing homes, more new homes selling at higher prices and increased buyer purchasing power due to low mortgage rates, not from speculation.


Some of the factors affecting existing home supply include more individuals "aging in place" (possibly with COVID-19 concerns at a senior facility), homeowners delaying listing until they find their next home which is taking longer with limited inventory, and an overall increase in home prices. Other homeowners have decided to refinance to make payments more affordable or take out a home equity line of credit to remodel instead of moving. To compare times before the housing crisis to now, homeowners took out about $320 billion in equity in 2006 and in 2019 homeowners took out an estimated $80 billion.


The increase in demand is due to millennials entering the stage of wanting to own a home, growth in the economy, people moving here to retire, and in-migration from higher-priced metros due to our comparative affordability and their ability to work from home. Three years in a row, Idaho has been one of the fastest growing states and it's the expectation that we'll be among the top again in 2020. In a study that CoreLogic did, the average homeowner in the U.S. gained around $9,600 in equity during the past year through Q1 of 2020. Idaho had the highest year over year average with an increase of $24,400.


If you'd like more info about the market or have any questions about real estate in general, reach out to your trusted Swope Investment Properties agent! We're here to help!


(All info from this article is referenced from Boise Regional Realtors Ada County Housing Summit- July 24, 2020)


Paige Brown, Associate Broker, Swope Investment Properties

Evictions Halted Across the US
Breaking News From the National Association of Residential Property Managers
CDC Filed Order Halting Evictions

Late yesterday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) filed an order that halts evictions until the end of the year. The order is written to be effective when it is formally entered into the Federal Register on Friday, September 4.
The order applies to renters who swear under penalty of perjury that the following are true:

  1. The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  2. The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  3. The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  4. The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
  5. Eviction would likely render the individual homeless— or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting— because the individual has no other available housing options.

It does not apply to evictions for things other than non-payment of rent, and it does not prevent charging late fees.

Our team is working through the 37-page order and will be providing more analysis. Needless to say, we are disappointed in this action, especially since it is not coupled with any form of rental assistance to help keep landlords whole.

What's My Investment Property Worth?
July Ada County 4 Plex Values and Metrics


The multi-family investment property inventory continues to be very tight.  There were only 2 four plexes sold in Ada County in July.  Both were located on the Boise Bench and both appear to be presold.  This shortage of investment properties is pushing prices but also pushing investors to other opportunities, such as single family homes.


Duble click the image to enlarge the graph.


Average 4 Plex Price:  Year-to-date average sales price for four plexes within Ada County, which consists of Boise, Meridian, Kuna, and Star) is $610,000 or $152,500 per rental unit.  The highest sales price has been for a new 4 plex located in Meridian, which is within a mile of the Meridian Village.


Price Per Square Foot:  Investment properties are rarely valuated by a price per square foot.  We track the data solely for trending purposes.  Investment properties prices in Boise continue to increase, and its no surprise to see the price per square foot trending upward as well.


Gross Rent Multiplier:  Is the ratio of the price of the real estate investment to its annual rental income before accounting for expenses such as property taxes, prooperty insurance, and utilities.  For a prospective real estate investor, a lower GRM may represents a better opportunity.

The GRM is useful for comparing and selecting investment properties where depreciation effects, periodic costs (such as real estate taxes and prooperty insurance) and costs to the investor incurred by a potential renter (such as utilities and repairs) can be expected to be uniform across the properties (either as uniform values or uniform fractions of the gross rental income) or insignificant in comparison to gross rental income. As these costs are also often more difficult to predict than market rental return, the GRM serves as an alternative to a measure of net investment return where such a measure would be difficult to determine.


The current trailing 6-month average GRM is 155.  Example: $620,000 Sale Price / $4,000 Gross monthly rental income = 155.


Today, it is quite common for GRM to be quoted by real estate professionals using annual rents rather than monthly rents. A 155 GRM (monthly rents) = 12.91 GRM (annual rents).


The common measure of rental real estate value based on net return rather than gross rental income is the capitalization rate. In contrast to the Gross Rent Multiplier, the cap rate is not a multiplier but a rate of annual return.


Capitalization Rate:  The trailing 6-month average for cap rate is currently 4.9%.  The capitalization rate (also known as cap rate) is used in real estate to indicate the rate of return that is expected to be generated on a real estate investment property. This measure is computed based on the net income which the property is expected to generate and is calculated by dividing net operating income by property asset value and is expressed as a percentage. It is used to estimate the investor's potential return on their investment in the real estate market.

While the cap rate can be useful for quickly comparing the relative value of similar real estate investments in the market, it should not be used as the sole indicator of an investment’s strength because it does not take into account leverage, the time value of money and future cash flows from property improvements, among other factors. There are no clear ranges for a good or bad cap rate, and they largely depend on the context of the property and the market.


We will continue to follow and measure the Boise investment property market.  Feel free to contact us with any questions.

NARPM SW Idaho 2nd Quarter Vacancy Report

Julie Tolifson, RMP with First Rate Property Management

The National Association for Residential Property Management; SW Idaho Chapter to have a 4.14% Vacancy for Q2 of 2020. The industry has been stagnant since Q1. Similar to last quarter, landlords are wanting to be proactive and anticipate a potentially higher vacancy. In order to combat this challenge, many landlords are minimizing increases or, in some cases, not even increasing at all. For this reason we are not expecting drastic changes in the seasonality of our vacancy, however, we do expect to see a lesser increase in average rental rates.

Last quarter, we predicted the affects of COVID-19 on the rental market. We anticipated vacancies to trend upward as a result of social distancing and stay-at-home-orders. While the trend did not increase, it also did not decrease. 

First Rate Property Managements vacancy rate for the past 12 weeks has been at an average of 1.83%. In our last report we indicated that First Rate Property Management recommends being less aggressive on renewal rates. This has proven to be successful in Q2. While the market has not taken the dip that we all anticipated in March, we are also seeing more people renewing their lease than usual. This has resulted in a well-balanced turnover to renewal ratio. 

In Q3 we anticipate the market to slow down in accordance with the usual property management seasonal trends. While we continue to try and navigate this unprecedented circumstances, we will continue to find a balance in renewal rates until the treasure valley market starts to acclimate to a new normal.

Maintenance by Season

Lacey Hofman - Monday, July 20, 2020

When looking at routine maintenance, proper planning can save time and energy. There are different projects a property manager or Landlord can focus on, depending on the time of year.  Planning and setting the expectations with the vendors prior to the work starting will help ensure there are less last-minute issues and changes. Investors with properties in areas like Boise, who have four seasons, should be planning their routine maintenance and improvements a year in advance. There is a lot of maintenance that should avoid wet and cold weather, so you plan those in the summer.

Spring is when irrigation sprinklers are scheduled to be turned on.  Spring’s cool temperatures with a fair amount of rain makes it a great time for landscaping projects and planting trees and bushes. Spring is also the time to have your HVAC serviced before the heat hits.

Some of the best projects to plan for Summer are exterior projects, such as: exterior building painting, sealing and restriping parking lots and fire lanes, power washing sidewalks and buildings, or cleaning gutters and flat top roofs. Since most of these projects require warmer temperatures to complete, having everything ready for the vendors to start will be important. Most won’t have time to sit down to plan, execute, and follow-up on any routine maintenance once the busy summer time hits.

Fall is a good time to do work on exterior projects that were not able to be finished during the summer months. Sprinklers are blown out in the fall. Landscape planting and tree and shrub trimming are best to be performed in the Fall or Spring. In fall, consider inspecting your properties and making a list of improvements and repairs for next year. Fall is also the time to have the HVAC serviced to make sure the furnace works for the cold temperatures to come.

Winter is slow, so this is a good time to make interior improvements. It’s also a good time to sit down and create your plan for next year’s routine maintenance for each of the seasons.

By planning ahead seasonally, Landlords will be able to better balance and handle their workload, which in return will allow them to properly care for their properties. Plus you won’t have to defer maintenance needs, which as you know is often a pitfall in property management!


Rental Property Maintenance

Maintenance by Season

Lacey Hofman with First Rate Property Management - Monday, July 20, 2020

When looking at routine maintenance, proper planning can save time and energy. There are different projects a property manager or Landlord can focus on, depending on the time of year.  Planning and setting the expectations with the vendors prior to the work starting will help ensure there are less last-minute issues and changes. Investors with properties in areas like Boise, who have four seasons, should be planning their routine maintenance and improvements a year in advance. There is a lot of maintenance that should avoid wet and cold weather, so you plan those in the summer.

Spring is when irrigation sprinklers are scheduled to be turned on.  Spring’s cool temperatures with a fair amount of rain makes it a great time for landscaping projects and planting trees and bushes. Spring is also the time to have your HVAC serviced before the heat hits.

Some of the best projects to plan for Summer are exterior projects, such as: exterior building painting, sealing and restriping parking lots and fire lanes, power washing sidewalks and buildings, or cleaning gutters and flat top roofs. Since most of these projects require warmer temperatures to complete, having everything ready for the vendors to start will be important. Most won’t have time to sit down to plan, execute, and follow-up on any routine maintenance once the busy summer time hits.

Fall is a good time to do work on exterior projects that were not able to be finished during the summer months. Sprinklers are blown out in the fall. Landscape planting and tree and shrub trimming are best to be performed in the Fall or Spring. In fall, consider inspecting your properties and making a list of improvements and repairs for next year. Fall is also the time to have the HVAC serviced to make sure the furnace works for the cold temperatures to come.

Winter is slow, so this is a good time to make interior improvements. It’s also a good time to sit down and create your plan for next year’s routine maintenance for each of the seasons.

By planning ahead seasonally, Landlords will be able to better balance and handle their workload, which in return will allow them to properly care for their properties. Plus you won’t have to defer maintenance needs, which as you know is often a pitfall in property management!

Real Estate Investors Flock to Boise...but why?
Low Property Tax:
Property Taxes in Boise range from 1.1% to 1.8% of assessed home value, depending on location. Meridian is about 1.3% and Eagle is 1.1%.  Investors looking at Canyon County can expect to pay about 2% of the assessed property value.
Low Cost Housing:
Boise housing is still considered affordable, especially when considering where the cities migration is coming from. However, with the double digit appreciation year over year, it's creating a bit of a housing crisis for locals. Demand is high, supply has been an issue, and locals are often beat out by cash buyers from coastal states. 
Employment Growth:
Boise continues to be a national leader in both population and employment growth, which trips the national average. In the last couple of years, the population has increased, meaning jobs have been created to sustain the growing city. Boise is no longer being overlooked and has a lot to offer in regards to work and recreation. People looking to work in either education or health services might find great opportunities in the Boise area.
Boise's Strong Rental Market:
The employment and population growth as described above has created a shortage of rental housing. Also mentioned above, Boise median home prices are increasing. In fact, they are increasing far greater than wages. All these factors have caused rents to continually increase with record low vacancy. According the the SW Idaho Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, Ada County vacancy for the 2020 Q1 was 2.7%.
Even with the steep increases in rents, Boise doesn't boast the nations highest cap rates. It simply has the growth and overall desirability that many investors crave. 
Idaho's capital city is also the home of the largest student market in the state of Idaho. Boise State University is the largest, with satellite campus contributions from the University of Idaho and Idaho State University.
Idaho Lifestyle:
The quality of life in Boise is said to be one of the best, but there are other contributors to Boise’s growth. When California suffered a wave of wildfires that burned homes to the ground, the slow response and regulatory red tape caused many folks to cash in their insurance check and move to other locations, like Boise. Many new Boise residents moved to escape the high regulatory metros. When cities like Portland, Seattle, and the Bay Area create new rent control laws and more regulation, the investors seem to flock to Boise which has reasonable landlord/tenant laws. Even COVID has created a demand to move to more rural Idaho.
Boise is considered a great place to retire. With the low cost of housing, those moving from the big metro areas can buy the home of their dreams. Boise’s access to the outdoors is one of the best, while the true four seasons offer a host of recreation. The winter brings snow sports and the summer is great for water sports and golfing  Which leaves plenty of time to bike, hike, rock climb, and hunt.
For now, Boise seems to be hitting all the marks for real estate investors:
Low taxes, strong employment growth, continued population growth, double digit appreciation, relativity low housing, and a strong rental market with low rental regulation.

What To Expect in Your 2020 Tax Assessments - May 2020

What To Expect in Your 2020 Tax Assessments.

Assessment notices are scheduled to be mailed out Memorial Day weekend (what a great way to celebrate!) and to be clear, they are the assessed value of your property as of January 1, 2020. The big takeaway here is the assessments will not reflect our current pandemic in your assessment. This will most likely will be recognized in next year’s assessment as it has occurred in just the previous few months.

The multifamily market is still going strong. Overall we expect assessments to increase 8-15% on 5 units and up. Market rents increased on average in the range of 8-10% in 2019 and vacancy was around 4-5% depending on location. As for the residential income properties (duplex, triplex and fourplex units), value changes could range anywhere from roughly 5-35%. The vast majority will fall in the 10-25% range, again depending on location and property type. Single family homes assessments were still being worked on at the time this was written but, I am guessing you should expect assessment increases in the 5-20% range.

If you feel your assessment is too high, you have until June 12th to file an informal appeal and until June 22nd to file a formal appeal. The difference between the formal and informal appeal is, an informal appeal can be handled through the assessors without the approval of the County Commissioners. If you wait until it requires a formal appeal those have to be submitted to the County Commissioners and require more work and are potentially riskier. As always, it is best to get your appeal in as soon as possible for best results. Also, for income properties be prepared to submit the previous 3 years of income and expense statements.

There are a lot of unknowns in so many areas right now. We will do our best to help you navigate any potential issues and try to keep you as updated as we can. Please contact your local friendly Swope agent with any questions or if you would like help submitting an appeal. Take care!

Residential Round-Up - May 2020

A very common question right now is, "What's the real estate market like?" Well, the short answer is "Good!" We went into this with a very strong market and it has held steady through the stay at home order. In a recent podcast the Chief Economist for National Association of Realtors put out at the beginning of the shut- down, his prediction was that the real estate market wouldn't be hugely impacted by this pandemic. He also made note that during every previous recession (excluding our most recent one which happened because of the housing market), home prices historically have actually increased during the recession. Of course a lot of this depends upon how long all of this lasts. An updated podcast with him reflects an estimated dip in overall sales for 2020 to be down by 10-15% but will increase back up by about 15% in 2021 with an increase of 3-5% in prices.

I recently pulled numbers to see where things were at in Ada county. From March 27th to April 27th, in Ada county, we had 736 active listings, 695 pending transactions and 774 sold. When compared to a year ago (March 27th to April 27th 2019), we are down by about 200 sales. Our average days on market now is 34 days compared to last year which was 38 days. These numbers show that we still only have about a month's inventory which is a strong seller's market. Homes are moving fairly quickly but we don't have as many available compared to last year so it appears some sellers are waiting to ride this out a bit. What we also know is that there are potential buyers who will no longer be able to purchase because they've been financially impacted (18% of the work force has filed for unemployment). If you're currently a buyer or thinking about buying, this may lessen the amount of competition you have as well as being able to take advantage of the low interest rates right now.

If you're in that situation, I highly recommend chatting with your lender as lending regulations are drastically tightened to ensure as much economic stability as possible in the long-run.

Here are a few great resources not only for real estate but also just for your overall well being during this time:

The Brian Buffini Show Podcast - Tuesday episodes relate to real estate while Thursday's relate to personal health/development.

PBS kids - They are creating a daily newsletter that gives parents ideas for learning activities to do at home. OnePeloton App - Free for 30 days. Mediation, Yoga, Strength Training and more (bike not required for many

of the classes).
Pottery Barn website - Schedule an appointment for virtual help with interior design. You can also chat with an

interior designer to get advice. Taste Buds Kitchen - Free cooking with kids website.

Don't forget that we're here for you as a resource! Whether you have questions about the market, are needing a vendor recommendation or you'd just like a friendly voice to chat with, don't hesitate to reach out!

COVID and Rents - May 2020

COVID and Rents:

As of the time you read this, I hope we are transitioning out of quarantine and back to normal life. I suspect that many investors are still working through rental issues. Below is a simple outline to process those tenants affected by COVID-19.

1. Be pro-active and remind tenants that rent is due.
2. Create a way to communicate with your tenants who are struggling to pay rent and needing some

3. Create a written rental payment plan that is signed by landlord and tenant. 4. Follow through the plan and make accommodations as necessary.

The most common accommodation will be to work on a rental payment plan. Most tenants are able to make the rent, they just need more time to make installments throughout the month. In some cases, where the tenant isn’t eligible for assistance or the assistance just isn’t enough, they have requested the Landlord to let them out of the lease without penalty.

What about eviction? Regardless of the reason and depending on certain circumstances, the Landlord may actually be prohibited by law from evicting a tenant. If you are considering eviction, I recommend consulting with an attorney that specializes in tenant evictions. In regards to responding to COVID-19 and working with tenants, I think at the moment, we drop the big stick and continue to speak softly.

If your loan is government backed, such as Fannie Mae, there may be some deferred loan payments available. If you have any questions, I am happy to discuss your situation as we navigate through this.

The Assessments Are Coming! - May 2019

Your 2019 property tax assessment is on its way soon and as we have seen big increases in home prices, we will see big increases in tax assessments. For investment properties we expect to see increases in the 12-18% range. 18% on the bigger investment properties and closer to 12% on the smaller apartments. As for the 2-4 unit properties they will average 15-18%. Single family homes will also average 15-18%. Of course there are always going to be outliers in there, so yours may be a little higher or lower than these numbers. If you feel yours is too high, please feel free to call your friendly Swope agent and we can help you take a look and decide if you should appeal or not.

As we mention every year, if you are going to appeal your assessment it is best to get it in sooner than later. Your assessors name and phone number is going to be on the bottom of the statement and you can contact them directly, or ask us and we will gladly help you. You can do an informal appeal prior to the 24th of June, but again getting it in early gives you a better chance of an informal appeal. Otherwise you must do a formal appeal and go before the board to present your information.

As always you can contact an agent here at Swope and we would be happy to assist you in any way we can!

New HUD Guidelines For Emotional Support Animals - Feb 2020


HUD’s new notice explains housing providers obligations under the Fair Housing Act, including the requirement to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities who require assistance animals. Pet restrictions cannot be used to deny or limit housing to people with disabilities who require the use of an assistance animal because of their disability. Housing providers must grant reasonable accommodations in such instances, in accordance with the law.

According to the notice, two threshold questions must be addressed when a tenant asks for a companion animal:

1. Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability ” i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities?

2. Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal?

In other words, does the animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person’s existing disability?

If the answer to either question is “no,” then the law does not require a modification of an existing “no pets” policy, and the reasonable accommodation request may be denied.

However, if the answer to these questions is “yes”, the landlord must modify or provide an exception to a “no pets” policy to permit a person with a disability to live with and use an assistance animal in all areas of the premises where persons are normally allowed to go, unless doing so would impose an undue financial and administrative burden or would fundamentally alter the nature of the housing provider’s services.

A request for companion animal also may be denied if: (1) the specific assistance animal in question poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation, or (2) the specific assistance animal in question would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated
by another reasonable accommodation. Breed, size, and weight limitations may not be applied to an assistance animal.

If you have any other questions you can read the full press release at

Spring Rental Checklist - Feb 2020

As winter winds down and we prepare for spring, it is time to prepare for spring. A quick visual inspection and preventative maintenance can save you time and money in the long term.

Exterior: Maintain the curb appeal

Siding, Fascia, Soffits and Trim. Visually inspect for damage. Consider a gentle wash and assess the need for painting. -
Roof. Visually inspect from the ground for any missing or curling shingles.
Fencing, Decks, Balconies: Inspect, clean, and consider re-finishing with paint/stain.
Gutters: Clean and inspect that there are no leaks or have become detached.
Hose Bibs: Inspect that they have not froze and/or leaking.
Driveways & Sidewalks. Inspect for cracks or gaps that could pose a trip hazard.
Landscaping. Trees are cut away from the building. Shrubs are pruned away from the building and shrubs in front of windows are pruned below the window sill.
Perimeter Foundation Vent Wells. Open for ventilation and clear any debris. Ensure proper grading so they aren’t drawing water into the crawl space.
Interior: A good preventative maintenance inspection can identify unknown or unreported issues that, if ignored, can cause significant damage and a be a large expense.
HVAC. Have the HVAC service and inspected.
Water Heater. Consider having your water heater serviced and inspected which will include flushing.
Flooring. Inspect for wear and tear and also trip hazards like failing seams and transitions.
Detectors. Test operation, replace batteries, and replace expired smoke and CO detectors. Yes, they have an expiration date.
Windows. Inspect for any cracks or fogging due to failed seals. All windows should open, close and lock. Repair or replace damaged or missing screens.
Caulking. Remove and replace old caulking as needed, especially in the bathrooms.
Doorstops. They are cheap and save damage to walls.
Unauthorized Pets/Occupants. As you are looking at general condition and needed repairs, you may just discover an unauthorized pet or even occupants.
Pests. Look for any signs of pests and the need for pest control.
Cleanliness. Is the rental being genuinely cared for. If not, consider not renewing the lease.

Managing Your Manager - Aug 19

Next year, I celebrate my 30th anniversary as a real estate investor and manager. When the AVID Investors Club asked me, "How to manage your property manager", I think most were expecting "Select the right property manager" as my response. That the top of my list, but I agree that there needs to be some check and balances. I keep my eye on the big picture and play the role as the asset manager, while letting my property manager perform their job. You may contact the AVID Investors' founder and leader, Stacy McBain, or Tony Drost for a copy of the entire presentation. Below are some brief bullet points.

1. Select the right property manager. Do your due diligence and do not make your selection purely on price.
2. Analyze Ancillary services and fees such as, filter replacement programs, renter's legal liability, eviction protection, and property inspection reports.

3. Review financial statements. Check beginning and ending balances. Compare rent roll to actual rents posted and if there is a difference, why? Compare each posted expense to corresponding invoice.
4. Maintenance. Cost of labor and materials are increasing. Other than large capital expenses, I tend to use the PM's preferred vendors as they have a working relationship and know the quality of their workmanship.

5. Inspections. The PM should do move-in and move-out inspections, preventative maintenance, and drive by inspection. I recommend doing your own periodic inspections as well.
6. Communications. Both parties should be professional. Hold discussion without blaming. Don't inadvertently train your PM to reduce communications by denying every recommendation they make otherwise the PM may stop making recommendations.

7. Build your team with a good lender, CPA, real estate attorney, real estate agent, property inspector, title/escrow officer, and property manager.

Mid-Year Housing Summit Review - Aug 2019

In July, Boise Regional Realtors hosted a Mid Year Housing Summit. Some of the speakers spoke on topics such as, revitalizing community neighborhoods, affordable housing, and community involvement. With all of the growth and change in the Treasure Valley, it's been an exciting and interesting time to be right in the mix of it all.

So, what is happening in the market? Today’s low rates has increased purchase power compared to the previous market peak in 2007, as lower rates are allowing people to pay higher prices. The low rates since 2011 may play a part in our low existing inventory levels. More new homes are selling at higher prices and shrinking the supply of entry level homes. This is not from speculation which was common more than a decade ago.

As new construction sales made up an increasingly larger share of total home sales, the overall sales price grew year-over-year. This is due to new home prices being, on average 32.2% more than existing homes, because of higher land, labor, and materials costs. So as more new, higher-priced homes sold, it brought up the overall median sales price for the county.

Where is the demand coming from? Although the growth feels sudden, the area has seen continued growth over the past 40 years. Boise metro did have the largest growth in the nation last year at 2.8% but compared to the rate between 1990-2007, which was on average 3.6% per year, it's actually relatively low. In 2016, we saw about 37% in-migration from California and Washington (34% in 2006) but we also had 38% out-migration from Idaho to Washington and Oregon (35% in 2006).

Factors driving demand include our strong economy, more seniors are choosing to age in place instead of selling their primary residences, investors are keeping single-family properties as rentals longer. Also, despite having equity in their homes some homeowners are holding on to their home due to low mortgages, especially compared to current home prices. People are moving here to retire and a large portion of those are moving from higher-priced metro areas and comparatively our market is very affordable. The largest percentage of growth by age group in Ada county is the Baby Boomers (55-74 years old) and the second largest is the Greatest Generation (75 years old +), those were 44.4% and 23.5% respectively.

For more info, visit Boise Regional Realtors website or call your Swope agent!

Short Term Rentals...Are They Worth It? - May 2019

Short-term rentals and Air BnBs are a hot topic, and they have been for quite some time now. Long enough that Boise has more than tripled its number of short-term rentals since 2016, according to an Idaho Statesman article. Also long enough that we’ve seen some units convert back to long-term rentals.

This should prompt a few key questions, when contemplating placing your rental in the short-term arena

Why do it?

Having a motivation beyond the bottom line is a good idea, for example if you want access the space for yourself or your guests.

If it’s ONLY to boost your ROI, the numbers
may or may not work out in your favor. The
difference in rents is a misleading metric,
unless expenses also are considered. Any
boost in return also may not justify the
significant startup costs, energy and time. It’s
not something you want to just “try out” for a year. Finally, the long-term rental market is strong, non-controversial, and your vacancy should be low, given the current demand for housing. Vacancy is typically among the higher income reducers.

What’s the bottom line?

The net income at my North Boise studio was 10% higher last year as a short-term rental, than it would have been long-term. However, to achieve that, I placed a three- month tenant during the slowest winter months, and I didn’t pay management on that quarter (my manager doesn’t like it when I do it that way). That translates into a . 06% higher cap rate. The higher gross rents on short-term rentals are offset by additional expenses. Think, all yard care, maintenance, all utilities, internet, maybe cable TV, and of course furnishing it in the first place. Management also is significantly more expensive, although it comes with many more inclusions than long-term rental management.

Vacasa, who recently presented on short-term rentals at AVID Investor’s Club, specializes in managing short-term rentals, and charges 35%. For that fee, they restock shampoos, soaps and some supplies, manage the pricing and bookings, orchestrate the cleanings/laundry/turnovers, and handle local sales taxes. They allow owners to place holds on the calendar when they need to use the space. They do not handle the initial furnishing.

If you plan to DIY your management, it’s a LOT to orchestrate. Finding good cleaners who were sporadically available when my AirBnB needed them was the hardest part of DIY management for me.

Vacasa is not the only property manager who handles short-term rental management and AirBnBs. They manage 515 short-term rentals in Boise. There are nearly 1,200, according to the April 12, 2019 Statesman article that attributed stats to AirDNA.

Boise Market Update - May 2019

The Boise rental market is strong and continues to support increased sales prices. According to the SW Idaho Chapter of NARPM, rents increased in Ada County by 5% from 1st quarter 2018, while Canyon County rents increased by nearly 9%. Q1 vacancy rates for both counties are slightly improved from this same time last year. Based on the data collected from the Intermountain MLS for Ada County 4 plexes, Cap rates continue to hover the 5.25% range with the Gross Rent Multiplier also staying near the 150 range.



County Ada


Type Vacancy Cap Rate Rate


1 Bdrm 2 Bdrm 3 Bdrm 4 Bdrm 5 Bdrm

Multi-family 3.38% 5.34% 149 Single-family 2.73%

Multi-family 4.88% Single-family 3.53%

$749 $996 $1,343
$1,171 $1,465 $1,770 $2,065

$650 $896 $1,062
$850 $1,190 $1,422 $1,400



It’s New, Why Inspect? - Feb 2019

We always recommend an independent home inspection regardless if its a home or multi-unit development that is being purchased. What if it’s new construction? What if it’s a premier builder? It’s not only my opinion, but its been my experience that you absolutely should. With the shortage of multi-family housing, some are rushing construction to completion and there is a lot being missed. The punch lists can be significant.

A home inspection gives the Buyer detailed information about the overall condition of the property prior to purchase. A property inspection should provide an in-depth and unbiased evaluation of the physical condition, structure, construction, and mechanical systems, as well as identify items that need to be repaired or replaced. Additionally, the inspector should be able to estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems and equipment. Inspectors will also check the attic and crawlspace to ensure there aren’t problems that are not always apparent.

Make an independent home inspection part of your due diligence, regardless of the property type or age. Our agents have worked with a handful of professional home inspectors and are happy to assist you.

In Case of Emergency, Are you Covered? - Feb 2019

Homeowner’s insurance provides a benefit to investing in real estate that uninsurable assets don’t share. I truly valued the information provided by Renae Goodwin of Payne West Insurance as a reminder how to get the most from an insurance policy.

Goodwin addressed common mistakes made by real estate investors, and shared these insights and others at a meeting of AVID Investor’s Club:

  • IfyourpropertyisinanLLC,addingyourLLCasanadditionally named insured is a commonly missed detail.

  • Have your insurance agent run your property through the replacement cost estimator every few years. If you haven’t updated your coverage amounts or rent amounts, you may be underinsured.

  • Include personal property in a landlord policy – that covers the range, fridge, window treatments and faucets. The dishwasher is “built in” and already would be covered.

  • Get a personal umbrella policy if you don’t already have one.

  • RenaeGoodwinofPayneWestrecommendsusingziptiestoadd

    red water shut off tags to the water shut off valves under sinks, near toilets and for the main line of the house, so tenants may help themselves in case of a late-night water leak.

  • Understand what would fall under a separate endorsement a separate policy. An extra catastrophe policy may be required to cover floods, earthquakes or landslides.

  • Ensure your lease or your property manager requires that tenants carry renter’s insurance.

    More information like this can by gained by taking advantage of your invitation to an upcoming meeting of AVID Investor’s Club on February 20th or March 20th.

    AVID meets on the third Wednesday of every month except August and December.

Avid Investors Share Key Strategies - Nov 2018

Every seat was occupied in a room chalked full of experience. Many members had a decade (or several decades) of investing behind them, and a couple were brand new. At “A meeting of the minds” members of Avid Investors Club strategically networked, through introductions accompanied by their “best advice.” It was a variation in format that generated positive feedback, as well as this list of insights and some lessons learned along the way. . .

  • “Pull the trigger,” encouraged Shane.

  • “Choose your team wisely,” Ron advised. “You end up practically

    married to them.”

  • “Trust yourself! Be diligent. . . but don’t doubt yourself,” said Dave.

  • “Focus on your property manager’s reporting,” warned Sam, who was

    the best manager he could find for a long time.

  • “Don’t let the pictures fool you.” Janice told members about a

    profitable purchase on a very ugly house. She also had success with


  • “I’m starting to advise myself to sell.” Leon was “cheap labor as a

    kid...and still is,” he shared.

  • “Get the right people. Get the right team,” encouraged Alan.

  • 30 years ago John and Jeanette decided social security wasn’t going to

    cut it. Now they “pay our contractors the moment they leave they job.

    They don’t ever have to ask twice.”

  • “Manage your property manager, and drive by your asset,” advised


  • “Never doubt your own knowledge,” shared Ang.

  • “Screen tenants; know who you’re renting to; take care of them and

    treat them right; and don’t get greedy.” Tom keeps his rents just under market enough that his tenants know they’re under market and they stay.

  • Chad also spoke about property managers, saying, “Be ready to leave them.”

  • “Broaden your search,” suggested Holly.

    It’s not too late to reach out for your invitation to AVID Investors, an Idaho real estate investor’s club. Learn more about Avid here AvidInvestorsClub (case sensitive), or through an RSVP to the next meeting.


Recently a number of Ada and Canyon County investors filed suit against a local property manager for alleged mismanagement and conversion of funds into personal accounts. Some investors saw the writing on the wall and terminated the manager long before while others say they knew the company was struggling, but had hoped that they would pull through. Below is a list of telltale signs provided by these investors.?

1. Poor to no communications
2. Untrue Communications
3. Constant employee turnover
4. Employee disparagement of the company

5. Irregular to no posting of owner statements

6. Irregular or delayed owner distributions

7. Undisclosed fees or kickbacks
8. Undisclosed mark ups of invoices 9. Delayed or unpaid invoices

10. Client receives notice from unpaid entities 11. Tenants complaints direct to clients
12. Delays in transfer of funds after closing 13. Rapid company growth

14. Followed by a shrinking business

Below are some thoughts on what investors can consider when hiring or changing property managers.

1. Don't hire solely based on lowest fee
2. Hire a company with experience/longevity
3. PM affiliated & involved with a professional association
4. Look at how funds are held and reconciled. Three Way Reconciliation

5. Read the company reviews and responses.
6. Proof of insurances
7. Call on references
8. PM and company hold professional designations
9. Does the company have 3rd party audits of funds held in trust?

Mid-Year Housing Summit Review - Aug 2018

Mid-Year Housing Summit Review

In July, Boise Regional Realtors hosted a Mid Year Housing Summit. In attendance were agents, builders, congressmen, and other key players who play an important role in our community. With all of the growth and change in the Treasure Valley, it's been an exciting and interesting time to be right in the mix of it all.

So, what is happening in the market? We felt the heat of the spring buying frenzy and have continued to see construction going on everywhere. While inventory has been declining over the past 45 months, since March there's been a decrease of over 40% while prices have increased close to 17% (stats for Ada county).

What's causing the decrease? Investors are holding single family properties. There are currently less than 1% distressed properties whereas in 2011 there were 50%.

Investors who purchased homes at that time are holding onto them because of the equity whereas homeowners may be more likely to sell. We're also seeing more seniors staying in their homes. Homeowners who purchased around 2006 are just now seeing equity in their homes. For those who bought around 2011 and have the equity but were just barely able to qualify for their home, most likely their income hasn’t increased equally so they're unable to get into the market now. New homes aren't able to keep up with demand as the builders are playing catch up with limited financing and tradespeople. They're also dealing with restrictions coming from zoning rules and neighborhood pushback especially with higher density project. In order to meet their margins, the new homes that are being built tend to be higher- end with 31% priced between $300k-$399k and 23% are between $400k-$499k.

Where is the demand coming from? Although the growth feels sudden, the area has seen continued growth over the past 40 years. Boise metro did have the largest growth in the nation last year at 2.8% but compared to the rate between 1990-2007, which was on average 3.6% per year, it's actually relatively low. In 2016, we saw about 37% in-migration from California and Washington (34% in 2006) but we also had 38% out-migration from Idaho to Washington and Oregon (35% in 2006).

Factors driving demand include our strong economy, rising rents making home- buying more attractive, desirable place to retire, millennials being able to purchase homes, and in-migration from higher priced metro areas.

Through open discussion, the hot topics that seemed important to everyone in the community as we're seeing the growth and development are public transportation and finding a way to preserve open spaces. Both of these correlate to maintaining quality of life while also making room for others to come and enjoy this beautiful place. The benefit of higher density projects came up as it would be able to keep people closer to work and allow an option for more affordable housing. This would help keep traffic down which is a concern of many as we've seen other metro areas grow faster than they were prepared for, causing huge traffic problems. One of the things that people enjoy the most about where we live is being able to experience the outdoors. As more development goes in, not all builders are conscious about including green space and preserving some of the natural habitats.

For more info, visit Boise Regional Realtors website or call your Swope agent!


Property owners in both Ada and Canyon County are in store for another double digit increase in assessed values, due to the rising market, said assessors at the April AVID Investor’s Club meeting.

Assessed values are hitting a lot closer to home, and actual market values than they once were. They’re meant to be within plus or minus 10 percent of actual value. Multiply that value times the levy rate and you’ll find your property taxes.

In Ada County, single family homes will see an increase in assessed values from 5%-30% with 12% being average. The range goes higher for 2-4 -unit properties at 5%-35%, with 15%-18% being the median. Commercial properties (5 units or more) will be calculated on a 5.75% - 6.5% cap rate that excludes taxes from the calculation. Canyon County numbers look similar. “I wouldn’t be surprised by a 15% increase this year,” said Canyon County Assessor Brian Stender.

Canyon County Assessor Brian Stender explained how many of the improvements taking hold in Nampa are helping boost the city’s appeal, but those same new amenities are also costing tax dollars.

Valuation is only one side of the tax equation. “The only real way to save on taxes is to keep from spending money,” reminded Ada County Deputy Assessor Dan Curtis, who explained how the levy rate is calculated to fill the budgets for Idaho’s infrastructure and services to run the municipality, pave roads and fund schools.

Why are taxes higher in Canyon County? Taxes are higher in Canyon County largely because of the larger proportion of entry- level homes (and price points), which often include larger families who consume more resources. Also, Nampa doesn’t have a Micron, which offsets the tax burden by paying more taxes than consumers.

Filing an Appeal

If your assessed value seems too high, the first step in filing an appeal is justification. Finding comparable sales as close to 12/31/17 as possible is the number one goal, although comps in 2018, or earlier in 2017 can be adjusted at the rate of 1% per month. Getting your appeal in early is key, unless you want to do a formal appeal. Your agent at Swope Investment Properties is prepared to help you with that.

Before Appealing

  • Values are based on values as of 12/31/17.

  • In Ada, comparable sales data is adjusted 1% per month (A 6/31/17 sale would be adjusted 6%).

  • A well-prepared email or call to the assessor named on your assessment notice is an informal appeal with equal, if not

    better, potential for an adjustment. You have to do this at least 10 day prior to the deadline to be informal.

  • Contact your agent at Swope if you think your assessed value is incorrect.

    StacyA McBain

The Levy Rate
Property Taxes = Levy Rate x Assessed Value
(That’s the taxes before a homeowner’s exemption, if applicable. The homeowner’s exemption is the lesser of 50% or $100,000 off the assessed value.)
Boise 1.8%
Rural Ada 1.1%
Meridian 1.3%
Eagle 1.1%
Nampa 1.88-2.01 %
Caldwell 1.95-2.02%

May Maintenance Tips - May 2018


  1. Inspect hardscape patios and walkways - Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on loose brick and stone walkways. Check to see if frost heave have caused pavers to rise or shrink.

  2. Feed your lawn - Lawns are starting to grow and now is a good time to add a high nitrogen fertilizer to help suppress weeds and keep your lawn looking great all summer long.

  3. Mulch flower beds -Prevent evaporation and help keep weeks in check by insulating beds with 2-4 inches of mulch.

  4. Wash windows - As everything is greening up and starting to bloom, it’s time to wash away winters grime from your windows so you can see those blooms.

  5. Get your grill in gear - Nobody wants a burger with last years grill gunk on it. Before you fire up that grill give it a good scrub and ensure gas hoses are secure.

Is Now a Good Time To Buy? - May 2018

This seems to be a hot question lately that we as agents receive from potential buyers. They see homes selling for over list and going pending after only being on the market a few days. The major factors that play into this are the fact that nationally, the economy is up and the housing market in general is doing well, but also that Boise is the fastest growing city in the nation, according to Forbes, and it's as simple as the demand outweighing the supply.

With that being said, the economy is only expected to continue to strengthen along with the continued growth. Another factor to keep in mind is that interest rates with likely continue to rise, having a greater, quicker affect on your payments than a slight increase in purchase price.

From a residential standpoint, you're also weighing in the fact that this is where you've decided to put down roots and the Treasure Valley is a great place to live. As a buyer, is there going to be competition, especially in the desirableareasoftown? Yes!Thisiswhereyouwanttomakesureyouhave an experienced agent like those at Swope on your side who know what it takes to get their client’s offer accepted in today’s market.

Market Update - May 2018

Ada County apartments boast an overall reported vacancy rate of only 2.8% and almost a 12% increase in rents from January of 2017. According to the SW Idaho Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, small multi-family (mostly 4 plexes) vacancy increased in the first quarter of 2018 to 3.5% for Ada County, and 5.1% in Canyon County. On average, Ada County renters saw an increase of $55 per month from the 4th quarter of 2017. It is believed that the vacancy rate of 4 plexes is a bit higher due to the initial rent up period for new construction. Ada County single family home vacancy is 2.6% with rents improving on average of $300 per month.

Population and employment growth continue to call for more housing. Valbridge Property Advisors report that there are over 2,000 multi-family developments under construction in Ada County with another 3,000 in the planning process. According to the Huffington Post, "America's Housing Crisis Is Spreading to Smaller Cities", Boise is the fastest growing city in America. Boise added 3% to its population last year and is projected to grow by a third of its current population by 2025. Increased rents and property values were considered as a certainty, with infrastructure, income levels, and the lack of affordable housing being Boise's biggest challenges.

Finding Value Despite Shrinking Margins - Feb 2018

In Shane’s article in the Nov 17 newsletter, he described the buyer challenges in the current market. Not much has changed since then, but we are seeing a bit more inventory in the residential income space. Yes, margins and cap rates continue to decline, and we’ve seen some rising interest rates too, which isn’t helping our Buyers! So, is this another bubble or what?

Back in 2007, when evaluating income properties in the Treasure Valley, using a sensible downpayment, finding a property with a positive cashflow was like searching for unicorns. Rents didn’t support the values and yet many
buyers willingly accepted negative cashflow in hopes of feasting upon rising prices in the future. However, in today’s market, we’re still seeing discerning buyers insist on cash-on-cash returns. And of course financing with nothing down is not a thing the way it was back in 2007, so fundamentally, this market is way different (thankfully!).

So, where’s the value for a buyer? Well, several things haven’t changed. Financing a residential income property (4 units or less) can still be done on a 30-year fixed loan (thumbs up!) and the tax laws governing depreciation and other tax benefits are all still in place and may have gotten better depending on individual circumstances (two thumbs up!).

No question, the sale prices have come up, but so too have the rents. Consider also that overall vacancy rates are historically low and with rising interest rates this is likely to keep that vacancy low. All these changing conditions should force change in our analysis... and in this market, we should always take a solid look at the achievable rents when doing your evaluation as many sellers are not keeping up with the market.

Continuing to look at “cash-on-cash” returns and/or “cap rate” is still okay (and important!). However, in this market, add in the principle pay-down and the tax benefits, and compare these combined returns against the risks associated with a very high stock market and rising inflation. This is both smart and necessary.

My crystal ball is far from clear when looking out beyond what I’m having for lunch. Real estate investing should be for the long term and when time permits, allow the Swope Team to help analyze and advise a strategy... cuz there's value out there!

Boise’s Real Estate Landscape - Feb 2018

According to Forbes, shifts in populations are reshaping the housing landscape across the country. Much of this reshaping certainly includes Boise and neighboring Meridian. These cities are growing due to strong employment, affordable housing, and quality of life. Even at record highs, Boise area rents and home values are considered affordable. Our region’s largest growing share are adults between the age of 55-74 years old, who come to the Boise area for quality of life and affordable housing. With the prediction for continued growth in population, Boise continues to be considered a city of opportunity for real estate investors.

State of the Market - Nov 2017

People want to buy homes and investment properties but the real trick seems to be finding exactly what you want without overpaying. I have received numerous calls asking if there was anything out there that wasn’t on the market or if I knew of something coming to the market soon. The short answer is, “I wish!”

We have more buyers than sellers right now, at every price level. From starter homes to apartments, there is just not any inventory. Mike Swope sent out his Market Trends Update on the 2nd of November and at that time there were 0 fourplexes on the market. ZERO, none, nada, zilch. Can you imagine being a seller right now?

That being said, if you or someone you know have a property you are thinking of selling in the near future it would be a great time to talk to someone here at Swope about it sooner than later. We have interested buyers looking and very little to actually show them.

The downside to selling right now though is if you want to purchase another property or do a 1031 exchange, finding a replacement property could be a challenge. We have recently had many buyers looking for a good replacement property who have had a tough time finding them. So you have to be ok taking the gain if you are unable to meet your 1031 deadline.

As always, we here at Swope are available to help in any way possible. If you have questions or need any advice please give us a call or drop an email. You can find us on Facebook too, just search for “Swope Investment Properties”. Hope you have a Happy Turkey Day and enjoy that time with your families!

By The Numbers: Rental Market and Investment Properties Still on a Roll? - Nov 2017

Some trending numbers support why rentals and investment property values continue to improve, while a few may raise flags. Higher rents, lower vacancy rates, employment growth, and a substantial increase in median home prices all validate the strong rental market.


Inventory levels are low and the demand continues to be high as shown below for Ada County 4 plexes days- on-market and absorption rate.?

There has been very little change in GRM (ratio of value to monthly income) from 2016 and cap rates (ratio of net operating income to value) continue to drop. Income property values are increasing faster than rents. Buyers are banking on continued rent growth and/or settling for lower performance, which is something we haven't seen since before the housing crash a decade ago.

Buyers Beware: You May Be Under Surveillance - Aug 2017

While you are discussing how terrible the wall paper is or that bay window is everything you always wanted, you may think that is a private conversation. What many people may not realize is you might be being watched. That camera in the hallway or that teddy bear that is smiling at you in the corner, those may surveillance cameras and they may be on.

I have recently heard a story of a seller that recorded every potential buyer that came through the house. The seller’s thinking was they were protecting their home and belongings, but they were also privy to everything that was said while in the home. The cameras were legal, but the laws of recording vary by state.

For sellers that inside information could be very valuable. Whether the buyers stated they would pay up to a certain amount for the home or they would buy the home if the seller did this one repair, the sellers now have insider information that give them an unfair advantage in negotiations. We as agents have to caution everyone that in todays day and age, it is possible you are being recorded so watch what you say when you are in someone else’s home.

If the home has some priceless art work or gun collection, people would understand putting a camera in the home. The biggest issue that people have is knowing whether they are being recorded or not. If there are cameras in a home either inform the agent showing the home of that or simply post a sign and then there is no misunderstanding.

Optimizing Performance - Aug 2017

For the most efficient rental performance, it’s important to remember and re-apply the real estate goals you set upon purchase. At AVID Investors Club, Tony Drost divulged several tips that leveraged his experience as founder of First Rate Property Management and an associate broke at Swope.

Optimizing rents

If it's a short-term hold, or soon will be sold, it’s truly time to push those rents to the max. Rents will support and determine the value of investment properties. If it's a long-term hold, and tenant relations and retention is your goal, pricing your properties reasonably could help reduce turnover and vacancy, while building good will.


You get the biggest bang for your buck out of paint and flooring! Ensuring you don't defer maintenance goes farthest in preventing loss. Paying a little extra attention to curb appeal helps draw more appealing tenants. If you’re done improving you’re rentals, it’s time to sell (before the value falls).

Safety First

It's smart, easy and safe to ensure bushes don't grow above window height or doors have peepholes. Include safety items on a checklist that you implement every time you walk into your rental. It helps your tenants and reduces your risk. I check furnace filters, detector batteries and water leak zones every time my handyman or I enter my rentals.


RUBS is a utility bill back system that allows owners to bill tenants for utilities even when meters aren't split. Charging tenants for utilities when the market allows can boost performance by cutting costs. Tenants often comparison shop by rent alone.


Timing your lease start and end dates strategically makes a difference. I’ve survived some poorly-timed vacancies simply by being the only one answering my phone..

If you’ve enjoyed reading, but haven’t made it out to AVID, the Idaho Real Estate Investor’s Club could be a worthwhile venture. We share helpful tips, networking and free educational opportunities over snacks and beverages once a month.

Sales market soars, despite higher vacancy - Aug 2017

Swope Investment Properties - Aug 2017

According to the SW Idaho chapter of NARPM, the average vacancy in Ada and Canyon county multi-family

dwellings is 3.65%. This is nearly a 33% increase over the 2016 average a year ago. As a result, rents increased by only 3.72% from the 2nd quarter of 2016. Regardless, rents continue to climb and fuel the multi-family sales market to record high values, making for a very strong Seller's market. Bottom line, a 3.65% vacancy rate is still good and with moderate rent increases, Investors continue to buy with great confidence.

Assessed Property Values on the Rise - May 2017

Assessed Property Values on the Rise

Property assessment notices are coming soon, riding the waves of a hot real estate market, and bringing increasing values across all property types.

This year, Ada County assessed values will tend to increase 6%-15% overall, with duplexes and fourplexes falling in the 8-10% range, according to Dan Curtis and Craig Church, two hard-working appraisers at the Assessor’s office.

Physical characteristics weigh heavily in property values, which vary based on neighborhood. Values are broadly analyzed by appraisers carrying a 10,000-property workload. If the Assessor Office’s “one size fits all” approach pushes your assessed value above true market value, there’s cause for action. Call an agent at Swope -we’ll help you prove it and help you appeal.

Strategies for Appealing Assessed Values

  • Values are based on characteristics and preliminary sketches on the Ada County Assessor’s site. Check that site to ensure you’re not getting taxed on square footage you don’t really have.

  • Call the number on your assessment notice early and armed with data.

  • Focus appeals on market value, not percentage change. Use total value without

    separating land value.

    • The Assessor is presumed correct. The burden of proof is on the owner (or their agent).

    One of the myths appraisers work to dispel involves the relation between assessed values and taxes. The tax levy is set in October and serves as the true indicator of property taxes. “An increase in assessed value doesn’t necessarily mean taxes will increase,” said Church.

    A significant change in assessed value is not a disputable event.

    Assessed values are meant to be within 10% of market value (plus or minus). If yours jumps up, but remains within 10% of market value, it will be considered legitimate unless evidence suggesting otherwise is presented.

    It’s better to start (and end) with an informal appeal.

    The official deadline to appeal is June 26, 2017 but you can and should reach out to your assessor long before that deadline for an informal appeal, backed by data. Your Swope agent (or prospective agent) can help with that.

    Deferring maintenance doesn’t pay off.

    Choosing to defer maintenance doesn’t reduce your value. In the long run, deferring

    maintenance may cost owners far more than it saves.

Emphasis on “Market” rents, could be the way to go - May 2017

Emphasis on “Market” rents, could be the way to go...

As described in this newsletter and proforma analysis, the Swope team utilizes many metrics to evaluate a property. Of course all of this is done in an effort to maximize client investment returns for the various investment choices be it multi- or single- family home. It can all be quite daunting... calculating cap rates, cash- on-cash, return with loan paydown, gross rent multiplier, debt service ratio... lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Through all the analysis, the one thing I’ve always tried to keep in mind is that there are very few wrong answers. Many choices like whether to add a high vacancy factor, or to use more leverage or not, or inserting a high appreciation rate or not... With all the variables, I might argue that there are so many right answers, it's tough to count them all.

One of the newer right answers is to put more emphasis on “market” rents when evaluating a property (both in listing or buying). I’ve always looked at market rents, but today, I’ve been choosing to emphasize this element because we’re seeing a larger and larger disparity between “actual” and “projected” rents.

Today’s real estate market is certainly in tight supply with higher asking prices, but the rental market is equally in tight supply with rising rents. Given these conditions, good value can still be found without compromising performance thresholds and one of the key elements can be found in taking a more serious look at the near-term future rather than the now (e.g. when do those leases expire? how realistic are those projected rents?).

Economists have been suggesting that the rental market could continue to grow and be strong for up to 10 years based on growth rates in certain the demographic population segments. So, when evaluating income property, don’t get too dug in on the “in-place” performance metrics and be sure to give a solid look at the near term rent upside. As always, let the Swope team help you in navigating this yellow brick road.

Spike In Value - May 2017

Monthly Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM) is a metric commonly used to validate the income approach to multi- family valuations and something we track. GRM = value / monthly gross rents. As values have increased, so has the GRM. This recent spike in 2017 is great news for Sellers, as it indicates the market is willing to pay a higher price for less rents. For more information please contact any of our agents specializing in residential investment properties.

Providing Personal Service - May 2017

At Swope Investment Properties, we pride ourselves in the relationships we build with our clients. Each agent works side-by-side with their clients from the initial meeting to signing the closing docs and beyond.

A real estate trend right now for agents who want to increase their volume is to have a sales “team” to assist buyers and sellers during their real estate transactions. While there can be benefits to having a team working for you, one downfall is that you as a client can lose the personal involvement of an agent.

All of our agents work directly with their clients through the entire process of selling and buying property. As a small brokerage, the agents in our office provide backup, expertise and support to each other. When an agent at Swope Investment Properties “teams up” it is with another agent in our office. There are years of experience as licensed Realtors and brokers behind every transaction.

Our goal is to develop long-term relationships with our clients. Our reward is repeat customers and referrals received from our clients.

Building Wealth - Feb 2017

We believe real estate is a great way to build wealth, it’s why we do what we do. There are different strategies in investing but when you invest in real estate here are 4 different wealth generators:

1. Cash Flow: This is the extra income you get to keep each month (or quarter/year) that you own the property. Cash flow can be deceptive because you may have months where unexpected repairs pop up or an unexpected vacancy, so it can fluctuate. It is important to factor these types of costs as well as your regular monthly costs into the investment.

  1. Appreciation: When the value of the property increases, your investment appreciates. We don’t always bank on a property appreciating (ask those who bought in 2005-2006) but the national average has been about 3% per year over the past century. By all estimates I have read the Treasure Valley is going to continue to grow and the demand for housing will grow with it.

  2. Loan Pay Down: When you purchase a property and take out a mortgage on it, each month you make a payment that loan balance goes down. As long as your tenants are making their monthly payment, they are essentially paying the loan down for you.

  3. Tax Benefits: You can deduct property management expenses, repairs and even some travel expenses to check on your property. There is also the 1031 exchange tool to defer taxes when you sell, as long as you put it into another property.

We are happy to help you understand these generators and ensure you are getting the most out of your investment. If you are buying or selling we will evaluate these generators with you from start to finish.

Do the Due! - Feb 2017

Do the Due!

Due diligence is more than a drive by and property inspection. It includes, but is not limited to:

ο FinancialInformation-Startadraftproformaofyourown to update as you verify current rent, market rent, increase potential and timeframe, utility expenses, HOA, capital replacements conducted and needed, expenses, etc.

ο Historicalinformation–Occupancyhistory,renthistory, insurance claim history, legal issues, lease agreements match rent roll, title history etc.

ο Physicalinformation–Thepropertyinspection,deferred maintenance, and estimated costs to remedy items deemed important (this may require visits from specific vendors and can be timed with a general inspection or after). Specialized inspections may include radon, electric, plumbing and drain scoping, roof and HVAC. Include neighborhood trends, easements and crime rates here.

Depending on the size and characteristics of the building, the due diligence checklist used by Swope Investment Properties may be more than 50 items long. We became agents specializing in investment property in the first place because we observed this wasn’t an industry standard practice (although it is at Swope Investment Properties).

Happy Investing!

Investment Property Rental and Sales Update - Feb 2017

The rental market continues to be strong due to population and employment growth, as well as increased wages even though Ada County saw a slight blip in rents and vacancy in the 4th quarter. Canyon County rents continued to improve.

Investment property values continue to ascend and support a strong Seller's market. The small increase in interest rates have not had any effect the income property market. We will continue to watch the market closely as several thousand newly constructed multi-family units roll out this year. It is a very good time to sell. Buyer's continue to purchase for the returns and the projections based on the area's growth and quality of life, which is being recognized across the nation.

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