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Staying in the Know with a Good Agent

Q&A with Marshall Johnston from One Oak Real Estate at Silvercreek Realty Group

Published in the March 2023 Issue Published online: Mar 05, 2023 Business IFM Staff
Viewed 3181 time(s)

Navigating the rapidly changing real estate market can be confusing and overwhelming, especially with the booming growth Idaho has experienced in recent years. But there are ways to keep informed and avoid burnout. We sat down with Marshall Johnston from One Oak Real Estate to get the scoop on buying and selling a home in the current housing market.

IFM: What advice would you give to those looking to buy a home in Idaho right now?

MJ: I say it's hardly ever a bad time to buy. If you're in the market and able to qualify to buy a home, why wait to start building that equity, even in a normal fluctuating market? A lot of people tell me they are waiting for another 2008 crash, but that's just not going to happen; 2008 was a lending dilemma, and those practices are so regulated now.

IFM: What would you say to people who are concerned about interest rates?

MJ: If you buy now and interest rates go down, then refinance. Even though interest rates are expected to come back down a bit, values will continue to appreciate over time. So, it more or less balances out one way or the other, and it’s better to get in now and stop paying 100% interest on overpriced rentals. I don’t see interest rates coming down to 2-3% again and, if they do, prices will rise again.

 It's unfortunate for many that the prices have appreciated so quickly, along with a big jump in rates, but they're not going to come back down to where they were a year or two ago; and definitely not where they were 20 years ago. Most lending experts are saying that we should expect that 5-7% range to be the new normal, and are predicting a slight fall as we move into summer.

IFM: Do you anticipate a change in the demand for homes?

: Demand in our area is already high. People are moving in and they're going to keep moving in. Being able to work from home, travel and live a quieter lifestyle in Idaho Falls has so much appeal to so many people from less rural areas. I don’t anticipate that going away, especially as we move into the warmer months. Higher demand equals more competition in the market which equals higher prices, making it a bit more challenging to get the home you want on the first try. We make sure you’re more than ready to make a very attractive offer that stands out to sellers.

IFM: Why else do you see people moving here beyond the appeal of a quieter lifestyle?

The biggest thing is the cost of living. Even though the locals are feeling a bit of sticker shock, we still have a really great cost of living compared to many of the places we are seeing people move from. 

We also have a good handful of companies in the area that offer great relocation incentives and benefits. If you're relocating and your company offers an incentive, I would definitely take advantage of it. They may help you with closing costs, moving expenses, things like that. It makes buying a home a bit more affordable. I’ve even seen remote jobs offer great incentives. Relocating can be complex, having an agent that is on your side and willing to take a lot of the stress off your shoulders is a must!

IFM: Do you know of new homes and developments in the area?

MJ: I do. There are subdivisions popping up all over the area and more in the works. I’m seeing a lot of new townhome developments as well, which offer minimal maintenance lifestyle, at a lower price point, which appeals to many. I have also heard word of some new condo developments in the works that are said to be more entry-level, affordable housing units, which is huge for the younger generation or those struggling to keep up with home prices. In my opinion, we need more entry-level, affordable housing options to give everyone a fair shot at homeownership and the benefits that come with it!

IFM: What can people do to stay in the know about projects like these so they don’t miss out?

MJ: Having a good agent is absolutely essential. A good agent will not only be aware of new developments before they happen, but help their clients be prepared to make a move when the time is right. It’s important to be connected with somebody that's staying on top of market changes and new listings so you don't miss out on an opportunity.

There are programs out there to help people who are struggling to afford all of the up-front costs to buying a home. There are also ten times the amount of agents, so, I can’t stress enough how important it is to connect with the right agent who has the right team that knows who to talk to, what to ask, what to look for and who is going to put the work in to get you the best. 

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