Archive for October, 2011

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Tasty, full of anti-oxidants, high in fiber and protein, gourmet shops and health food stores stock them.  Here’s an EASY recipe to make them yourself!

Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat with soy sauce.  Spread pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.  A single layer will cook quickly, but you can fill up a rimmed baking sheet—you will just have to roast them longer and stir frequently.  After about 10 minutes, check and stir your seeds, then every 5 minutes or so after that until they are toasty brown and making a pleasant sizzling noise.  The difference between toasty and burnt is a matter of only a few minutes inattention, so set a timer.

Let seeds cool at least slightly before transferring to a big bowl.  Taste, and add additional salt if needed before devouring.  Cooled completely and tightly sealed, the seeds will stay crunchy for several days.

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3 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home in Meridian, Idaho


2,243 Square Feet

3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom


Call Mike at (208) 283-0989 to schedule a walk through!



House Built by Tradewinds


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How to Buy a House

1.  Figure out how much you can afford and get pre approved for a loan.

Carrie Caron is a great person to help you through this step.   Visit her website at or give her a call at (208) 898-3855.

2.  Shop for a home.

We can help you find the right house.  When you invite Fitch & Company Real Estate Services to help you shop for a home we do everything we can to make sure we find you the right house for the right price.

3.  Make an Offer.

If your first offer isn’t accepted, don’t get discouraged!

4.  Get a Home Inspection.

Jim Holl at 5 Star Home Inspections is reliable, affordable, and trustworthy Home Inspector.  He does a thorough job and has performed well over 2,000 home inspections.  You can reach him at (208) 407-7704 or visit him online at

5.  Get Homeowners Insurance.

We recommend Nate Lowry with Northwest Insurance Brokers.  You can reach him at (208) 861-5281 or email him,

6.  Sign Papers and Move In.

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5 Tips for Buying a Foreclosed Home

Buying a foreclosed home is a little different from buying a typical resale.

In many cases, only one real estate agent is involved. The seller wants a preapproval letter from a lender before accepting an offer. There often is little, if any, room for negotiation. The home comes as is, and it’s up to the buyer to pay for repairs.

On the upside, most bank-owned homes are vacant, which can speed up the process of moving in.

“Buying a foreclosure is definitely a bit of a grind. It’s not easy,” says Robert Jenson, owner and founder of the Jenson Group at RE/MAX Central in Las Vegas. “You’re getting fantastic pricing, but sometimes it takes going through a lot of houses and writing a lot of offers to get the home you want.”

In Jenson’s stomping grounds of Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County, the housing bust hit hard, and upward of 80 percent of homes sold are “distressed properties” — foreclosures and short sales. (A short sale happens when the lender agrees to let the owner sell the house for less than the amount owed because the owner can’t afford the monthly payments.)

Nationwide, about one-third of sales in May were of distressed properties. A big chunk of those sales went to first-time buyers, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. “First-time buyers are concentrated in the lower price ranges, which include most of the distressed sales,” Yun says.

Before you begin the house hunt

The first two steps in buying a foreclosure should happen almost simultaneously: Find a real estate broker who works directly with banks that own foreclosed homes and get a preapproval from a lender.

Elaine Zimmerman, a Memphis real estate investor and author, recommends that shoppers first visit the Web site she owns,, or any site with a database of foreclosed homes. You also could look at a local real estate Web site that lets you filter the results to see only foreclosures. You might find the acronym REO, which means “real estate owned” (owned by a bank, that is). This signifies that a home has been through foreclosure and the lender is selling it.

The goal of combing through foreclosure listings is not to find a house; it’s to find an agent. Banks usually hire one or a few real estate brokers to handle their REO properties in a market. In a lot of cases, the buyer works directly with the bank’s broker instead of using a buyer’s agent. That way, the commission doesn’t have to be split between two brokers.

“A lot of these Realtors have a long-term relationship with these banks, and they know of listings that haven’t even come on the list yet,” Zimmerman says. “Call them about the listings that you’re interested in, but also ask them about listings that may be coming up because sometimes it may take a day or two or even a week before a listing actually comes onto the database.”

Such a request might not always pan out. In places such as Las Vegas, where thousands of foreclosed properties are for sale, you might not get much one-on-one attention from overloaded agents. To prove that you’re serious about buying, says Jenson, “right before or after you meet with the agent, meet with the lender.”

Unless you plan to pay cash, you’ll need a recent preapproval letter from a lender. The letter will describe how much money you can borrow, based upon the lender’s assessment of your credit score and income.

“The problem is buyers want to find the house first, and then they think they’ll work out the financing,” Jenson says. “But the problem is the really good deals on these bank-owned, they go quick — and the buyer doesn’t necessarily have time to try to work out the financing afterward. They need to work that out first.”

Zimmerman says some first-time buyers make the mistake of assuming that the bank selling the home will also finance the mortgage as part of the deal. “Don’t expect to get financing from the bank that foreclosed on it,” she says. “That’s a totally separate transaction, and they view it that way. The people in the (bank’s) REO department are not loan officers. They are getting rid of bad assets.”

Pricing is not a slam-dunk

There’s no rule of thumb on what the bank’s bottom line is on price. Just as with any other real-estate purchase, you have to look at the recent sales prices of comparable properties, or “comps.”

Jenson says: “You really have to look at the comps in today’s current market conditions and write a competitive offer based on that. Sometimes the bank prices the homes really low, and the home will have multiple offers over list price within hours. Sometimes it’s priced too high, and you can come in lower. A lot of times, buyers will come to me and say, ‘We want to write offers for half price.’ It just doesn’t work that way.”

Keep in mind that foreclosed houses generally are sold as is. That means that you shouldn’t expect to get a discount to compensate for repairs. Jenson says: “Let’s say the house is listed for $200,000, all the comps are $200,000, and so the client comes in and says, ‘Hey, look, I want to buy this house but I’ve got to do paint, carpet and fix some mold damage, so I want to take $15,000 off the price.’ You know what? All the other ones were in the same condition, and they sold for $200,000.”

Jenson further counsels to look at the “absorption rate for your product class.” After apologizing for getting “too fancy,” he explains that he means you should find out how quickly comparable houses are selling. In foreclosure, a 3,500-square-foot house with a pool in a gated community might sell within days or hours, whereas more modest homes might sit on the market for weeks. Or vice versa, depending on market conditions.

If homes in your product class are selling swiftly, “the best advice on a bank-owned property is to come in at your highest and best, unless the property has been sitting on the market forever with no activity,” Jenson says. “If you’re going to be upset because you would have gone $5,000 more, but you lost the property, just bid the higher price in the first place.”

Because repairs are almost inevitable with foreclosed houses, Jenson and Zimmerman recommend getting to know trades people who can assess and repair damage from pests, mold and leaks. Zimmerman says you should assume that the air conditioning needs to be fixed, and possibly the heating system, too.

It all sounds daunting. But at least you don’t have to wait for the owner to move out of the house.

– Article copied from

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Seasons Holiday Boutique

Seasons is an annual holiday boutique featuring hand crafted local products November 10 – 12 at 11602 Freedom Drive in Nampa, Idaho.

They will be holding their annual holiday boutique in a model home designed by Cotner Building Company.  Please take the opportunity to support our local economy and view this fantastic home.

Learn more about Cotner Building company by visiting

You can find more information on the boutique at

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