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10-Step Guide to Buying A Home in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho

For the most part, buying and selling a home is one of the biggest money exchanges that you will ever go through in your life, so it’s important to understand the process. Follow this 10-Step Guide to Buying a Home in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to help you buy your dream home at a fair price.

Prepare Yourself for Buying

Regardless if this is your first home purchase or you are a veteran, it can be an emotional and challenging experience. That is why it is crucial to have the right professionals to help along the way! People you trust!


Between all the forms, deadlines, other service providers involved and counter offers it is important to have someone on your team that will fight for your best interests. Work with someone who knows the market and the area well and who will take you step by step through the whole process.

We pride ourselves on being reliable professionals that put our client’s needs first. Please give us a call if you’re considering buying a home.

Get Pre-Approved

Before you begin the process of looking at homes it’s important to meet with a loan officer to determine what price range you are going to be searching in. And besides, an offer accompanied with a pre-approval letter is must stronger!


Be sure to pick homes that are in whatever school district you want to be in, and have the right neighborhood type you are looking for. There’s no sense in going inside homes that aren’t in the areas you see yourself going home to each night. Narrow down your priorities before choosing your list to go see.

Choose a Winner

Sounds easy enough but it’s important to pick the home that meets your needs and that will hold it’s value for years to come. No home is perfect, but it’s important to pick the home that can suit the needs of your family, and has as many of your wants as possible.

Ask Questions

Regardless of how many homes you have bought or sold, each experience brings new and exciting challenges and situations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, make suggestions and become comfortable with all aspects of the process. There are no dumb questions, and we are more than happy to give explanations.


This 10-Step Guide to Buying a Home in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho applies to buying in any market around the country, but especially in Coeur d’ Alene. Here we have every different kind of living from suburban, ranch, acreage, city, condo, waterfront, secondary lake views, community, commercial, investment properties and much more!

It’s important to know which you are interested in! Depending on your life situation and your future goals for the home you are buying could help determine what type of property you need. Do you have kids, are you planning to have kids, are you empty nesters looking to downsize, needing farm land, a vacation home, searching for a secondary income opportunity or just a house that feels like a home! All of these things are good to let your real estate professional know up front so they can better serve you!

Make a budget

Your loan officer will be able to give you a reasonable budget to use, and it’s very important to stay within that! In today’s market Coeur d’ Alene homes are selling for approximately 96% of their list price. That means there isn’t a significant amount of wiggle room or negotiating in our market. Keep that in mind when looking for your dream home!

Make an offer

There are seven pages to the Idaho Purchase and Sale Agreement, not to mention the plethora of other forms that go along with buying a home. That is why hiring a professional who is familiar with the forms, knows how to get the best out of a deal for you and can walk you through each step of the process is very important!


After the negotiating process is over and both parties have come to a mutual agreement there are still a lot of things left to get done! Among those are depositing the earnest money, turning in proof of funds and a lender approval letter, meeting the inspection deadline, applying for home owner’s insurance, reviewing and approving the CC&R’s, reviewing the preliminary title commitment, the final walk through and then closing day. There are so many deadlines which is why Realtor Mike DeLong of Coeur d’ Alene would be helpful to get things done on time and correctly the first time!

Although there are some complicated situations involved, selling homes is what we do for a living! Please don’t hesitate to call us, we promise to give you an unforgettable buying experience!


Properly pricing your home is the most crucial factor in making a sale.

how-to-price-your-home-for-sale-in-coeur-daleneAlthough you set the asking price, buyers ultimately determine the value. They’ll compare your home and your asking price to similar homes on the market. If your price doesn’t stack up, they may discard it and move on to the next listing, it can happen that fast!

The longer your property sits on the market, the less marketable it becomes because buyers start to speculate if something is wrong with it. Pricing your home too high may increase the time your home sits on the market. And inevitably studies show, the longer it sits, the lower the sold price.

The “right” price is a balance between three things:

  1. The maximum amount the current housing market will allow
  2. Your “competition”
  3. Your own time limits in selling

How do you determine the right price?

Start by simply asking an experienced real estate professional to prepare a written Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for your home. In order to help out a fellow neighbor, Mike and Jenna are more than willing to sit down and present a CMA to you for free anytime, simply call or email or to set up a no-obligation consultation.
This report provides details on recent sales of homes similar to yours, as well as the asking price of homes currently on the market. You can then balance that information with other factors such as location, special features, condition of your home, age of the home, and your time frame to assist determining a fair and competitive asking price. This is a great start when wondering how to price your home for sale in Coeur d’ Alene.


Best-remodeling-options-coeur-d'aleneNot ready to move yet but looking to do some home improving? Here are the top return on investment remodels brought to you by the National Association of Realtors.

Projects that will get you the most bang for your buck are going to occur in the areas of your home that are most frequented.

On average nationwide, kitchen and bathroom remodels have the best yield. The key here is newness and spaciousness, the psychology of “fresh” and more spacious quarters translates into direct valuation.

The data below should give you a general idea of what return you could be getting on your improvements:

  • A minor kitchen remodel costing $17,928 will return about 85.2% of the cost equal to $15,278, while a major kitchen remodel costing $54,241 yields 80.4% return on investment bringing in $43,603.
  • A bathroom remodel costing $12,160 will yield 84.9% return on investment bringing the sold price up $10,970.
  • Other remodels that have an 80%, or more, return on investment were window replacements and a two-story addition. Source: Remodeling Online/Hanley-Wood

For a more extensive list of remodeling tips as well as return on investment opportunities please contact Mike or Jenna anytime!

Dress-Your-Home-For-Sale-in-coeur-d'aleneHome staging is the process of preparing your home for sale.

This guide will help you highlight your home’s best features in ways that appeal to your prospective buyer’s senses and emotions. From interior design to home improvement, it’s all in the details.


Tip #1: “Curb” Appeal!

The way your home looks from the street can make or break a sale. A large percentage of homebuyers decide whether or not to look inside a house based on its curb appeal. The good news is that you can help the situation by spending some time freshening up its exterior appearance for a great first impression. Make sure the sidewalk and front walkway are free of debris. Remove weeds, grease or oil spots and fill cracks in your driveway.

Keep the grass mowed and the weeds pulled, trim the trees and bushes, and (weather permitting) plant flowers to add a touch of color. During winter, remove snow from entryway and driveway to appear more inviting. Repair loose roof shingles and clean the windows (inside and out). Repair torn screens and clean outdoor light fixtures. A new paint job or power wash can really give a home a face-lift!

Tip #2: Appealing to all 5 senses!

Set your home’s fragrance with a welcoming aroma; avoid strong odors from pets, cooking or tobacco. Give your home an open, airy feel by opening the curtains and pulling up the blinds. Turn on as many lights as possible! Remove clutter; the idea is to leave a blank canvas for buyers to fill in with their own ideas and imagination!

Tip #3: Let your sales associate show the house!

He or she knows the business and will present your property to its best advantage. Plus, potential buyers usually feel more comfortable when the seller is not present. Remember, staged homes are perceived as comfortable, attractive and well cared for, and have been proven to sell faster and for more money! For many more Tips & Tricks contact Mike or Jenna anytime!


common-mistakes-when-selling-your-houseSelling your home is an emotional investment, but one that does not have to come with doubts or life distractions. Follow these three simple steps to boost your confidence in selling and to avoid unwanted second-guessing.

Perfect Price

In order to sell in a timely manner your home needs to be priced competitively. This means it stacks up to the other comparable homes in your area. Similar features such as square footage, neighborhood, number of bedrooms, and condition of home are all impactful comparative characteristics.

The price needs to reflect what a buyer will be willing to pay. If overpriced, your home could be left lingering on the market, and ultimately draw out the sale and reduce your net gain. Call us anytime and we will provide you with an analysis of today’s actual market value of your home.

Showing Off Your Home

In order to get your home in front of thousands of other realtors, who are working diligently to find their buyer the perfect home, you need to list your home with a real estate agent. Allowing a realtor to market your property, directly contact potential buyers, and professionally showcase your home gives you the upper hand when selling. Interview several agents before selecting one. Pick the one that is most reliable and makes you feel confident that he/she is striving to reach YOUR goals.

Put Yourself In A Buyer’s Shoes

Not everyone that enters your home is going to love it, but there are a couple things you can do to increase the chances of someone making an offer. Be sure to keep in mind that showing your home is like an audition or an interview, you want the buyers to pick your home over others just like it, so make it presentable and welcoming. Contact Mike DeLong or Jenna Fore for the best way to show off your home!

Home-Features-that-sell-coeur-d'alene“A fresh coat of paint and new floor coverings create the largest positive impact at the least overall investment.”

Location is the most important factor in a homebuyer’s laundry list of desirable items. Dalton is a great location so let’s focus on other features that are important to today’s buyers.
In the past, large carpeted areas were the standard, however today’s buyers consider a significant amount of hard surface floor coverings (wood, tile, etc…) to be far preferable.

A kitchen with ample informal gathering space, stainless steel appliances, an island and granite counter tops are highly desirable amenities.
Master bedrooms with a dual vanity bathroom and walk- in closets generally command a premium price.

Buyers will also be attracted to fresh paint, a well organized and non-cluttered home alongside properly maintained landscaping and grounds.
But, some things just never change, and the location of the home will always be a huge factor to buyers everywhere. Proximity to school districts, size of lot and convenience are important to almost all buyers, which of course, all start with location, location, location!

Cutting-Costs-When-Selling-Your-Home-Coeur-d'aleneWe all know that in order to make money, we have to spend money. The same is true when selling your home. However, with some savvy tricks and creativity, homeowners can reduce those costs and boost their bottom line. gives some great insight into how to achieve your selling cost goals. First of all, prepare your home for the market without breaking the bank.

Instead of remodeling, splash a fresh coat of paint on the walls and add inviting scents especially to the entryway of your home. Remove all clutter and attempt to make your home a ‘blank slate’ for others to view their family in your living spaces.
Next, limit spending while your home is up for sale. Being able to vacate the premises whenever a real estate agent wants to show your home can become a tiring and spendy process, unless you are prepared! Have a backup plan in case an unexpected showing comes up, and attempt to limit your activities to cheap entertainment to reduce unnecessary spending. Pack a lunch, or a dinner for that matter if you have to leave during a meal or think the showing may last longer than expected.
Last, but certainly most importantly, limit your closing costs! If you are working with a seasoned real estate agent like Mike DeLong, he will be able to get the best possible closing costs from his preferred title company. With that being said, negotiating these costs is something he has been doing for over a decade, and has great relationships with quality title companies as well as mortgage lenders in the area.
For many more Tips & Tricks contact Mike anytime!

home-appraisers-coeur-d'aleneWhen buying or selling a home there are several other important people involved in the transaction that play a significant role in the process. Two of these professionals are Home Appraisers and Home Inspectors.
A Home Appraiser’s duty is to find the value of the property. Off-site they do a similar search to the one that a real estate agent will do to determine the list price of a home. By evaluating what has sold in the last six to twelve months in proximately to the home with similar features and amenities, the appraiser can get a general idea of the home’s value.

Then, they come on site to perform a very thorough room-by-room walk-through to determine interior state. They also examine the exterior condition of the home, it’s features and amenities, note any safety or health violations and record the layout of the property. All of these steps help them determine the true value of the property. An over priced home will not appraise for contacted value and either stall or stop the sale process.
A Home Inspector’s duty is to meticulously examine the home for any and all non-functioning systems, damages, or repairs that need to be made. They examine structural components, exterior faults, roofing, plumbing, electrical, insulation, ventilation, interior appliances, and more. They then turn in a report, which states all suggested repairs or additions/subtractions that should be made.

It then becomes a negotiating process with the buyer and seller as to who will make the repairs before the close date.
Typically the buyer’s lender requires an appraisal and the buyer’s realtor will encourage you to have an inspection. The buyer pays for both services unless the contract states otherwise.

tax-breaks-coeur-d'alene-selling-your-houseTis the season for taxes and with April 15th is just around the corner you should be looking for more ways to save money on your taxes in 2015. Here’s how you can enjoy three significant tax benefits if purchasing a home this year!

 Use points for lower interest rates

With interest rates at an all-time low some experts predict there is only one way for them to go, and that’s up! Deductible points are a standard tax break but with interest rates potentially rising, buying an extra point or two can knock them down even further. One point typically costs about 1% of your loan amount and can lower your rate by about 0.25%.

These points are considered a form of interest and therefore tax-deductible in the same year as long as a few standard requirements are met. You can get a sizable tax break by buying points even if it doesn’t affect your monthly payments.

Residential Energy Tax Credit

If you buy in 2015 you should consider also purchasing some of these eligible energy saving systems which up to 30% of the cost can be written off! Examples are: Geothermal heat pumps, Solar panels, solar water heaters, fuel cell property, and wind turbines. Additionally there are no maximum credit limits for qualifying items except in the case of the fuel cell property, which is limited to $500 per kilowatt.

Rent No More

If you or someone you know is renting, encourage them to buy in 2015. Rents have been on the rise for the past five years, and there is no sign of that changing. Simultaneously, interest rates are at an all-time low and buying is becoming more optimal for everyone including first-timers. Additionally, renters get very few tax breaks unlike home owners. It’s the time to buy for more reasons than one!


Fpricing-your-house-to-sell-coeur-d'aleneor the most part, buying and selling a home is one of the biggest money exchanges that you will ever go through in your life, so it’s important to understand the process.

Follow these five steps to help sell your home at the highest and best price possible.

Prepare Your Home for the Market

The goal is to show a home that looks good, maximizes the space it has and attracts as many buyers as possible. Cosmetic improvements such as paint, landscaping and de-cluttering help the home show better and mechanical repairs that ensure all appliances and systems are in good working condition are essential in order to get top dollar.

Find a Real Estate Professional that You Can Trust

Put you best foot forward by hiring someone that has your best interests and goals in mind, and has knowledge of all the forms, financing, inspections, pricing, communities, and current market conditions. We pride ourselves on being reliable professionals that put our client’s needs first. Please give us a call if you’re considering selling your home.

Set the List Price of Your Home

Several factors determine what you can get for your home, and this is what we do best! We have the training, skills and experience to help you set the perfect selling price for your home. This is a crucial part to selling!

Market Your Home

It’s essential to use an experienced professional who has the power to reach thousands of actively seeking buyers to market your home, just another reason to hire Mike DeLong or Jenna Fore!

One of the more crucial parts of negotiating is knowing all the details of the offer. Don’t get caught making a deal and then have to pay for overlooking a complex form during the negotiating process. Instead, hire a professional to negotiate for you.

Although there are some complicated situations involved, selling homes is something that we do for a living! Please don’t hesitate to call us, we promise to give you an unforgettable selling experience!