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Luxury, Carefree Condominium Community Living in Beautiful Coeur d’Alene, ID

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 10:11 am
Category: Condos.
Tags: , , ,

Coeur d’Alene is a special community, blessed with natural beauty that most people can only dream about. A true four-season climate brings unique beauty and excitement no matter the season. Whether you enjoy lakes and mountains in the great outdoors or world class amenities in a friendly indoor environment, Coeur d’Alene has a wealth of luxuries and opportunities to offer you.  In this article, I highlight three “condominium communities” in Coeur d’Alene, which are located minutes from downtown, within walking distance to Lake Coeur d’Alene and/or the Spokane river.


Rising above beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene, nestled atop dramatic natural rock outcroppings, surrounded by trees and magnificent views, the residences at Ridgepointe offer a whole new perspective on exceptional living.

Ridgepointe is Coeur d’Alene’s newest exclusive gated community offering 74 luxury condominium residences with world-class amenities.  It is located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with views of the Coeur d’Alene Lake, Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course and the Downtown City area.

Ridgepointe is located on an 11-Acre parcel at the south end of Coeur d’Alene, convenient to downtown and the resort, with beautiful views, seclusion privacy.  This community was designed for people who want to live in a beautiful area with easy access to downtown and recreation, combined with a high level of security and convenience.  This is the ideal kind of home ownership; living is secure, convenient and fits a luxurious lifestyle perfectly.


Perfectly set in the heart of the city of Coeur d’Alene where the Spokane River and Lake Coeur d’Alene meet, It is located in one of the most sought after areas in the country, known for its natural splendor.

The centerpiece of Riverstone is Coeur d’Alene’s newest 10-acre park.  Sculpted, green landscape surrounds a lake with a breathtaking 60foot fountain.  The park is also a trailhead for the Inland Northwest’s renowned Centennial Trail and includes 2.5 miles of hiking and biking trails that weave throughout the community.  The region around Riverstone boasts a myriad of national parks, ski resorts, golf courses and lakes to satisfy any outdoor enthusiast.

On July 12, 36 units at the Village at Riverstone will be auctioned, with reserve prices up to 55 percent off former list price.  The auction will begin at 1 p.m. at The Coeur d’Alene Resort.

Mill River (click the link below and then click ‘Mill River Photos’)

The Condos At Mill River are at the heart of one of the hottest “undiscovered” opportunities in the country. This waterfront community is just blocks from the beautiful downtown, and features in-town and riverfront lifestyles that balance a vibrant blend of luxury living, business, entertainment, shopping and recreation.

The Condos At Mill River are just north of downtown and a short stroll from Riverstone Center making the area a true “live, work, and walk” community that includes shops and restaurants, office, retail, entertainment, and open space waterfront on the Spokane River.  Nowhere else will you find a combination of small town living nestled into a regional hub with world-class medical facilities, unsurpassed sporting & recreation activities, and a thriving social events calendar.

I urge you to consider living in Coeur d’Alene, a four-season resort area in one of the last unspoiled areas of the country, just minutes from the Spokane International Airport. Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of the country’s most beautiful alpine style lakes — at over 25 miles long, 1 to 3 miles wide, with more than 130 miles of shoreline, there’s also plenty of beauty and fun to be had by all.

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Opportunity Knocking in 2009! A Particularly Opportunistic Time to Obtain Financing for a Home in North Idaho.

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Friday, June 19th, 2009 at 12:57 pm
Category: Buy House, Mortgage.
Tags: , , , ,

The American dream of home ownership is now available to more citizens of North Idaho.  In addition to the programs I’ve talked about in previous articles, there are numerous avenues for residents of North Idaho and the Coeur d’Alene area to get financing to purchase their new home.  This is particularly relevant to first-time home owners and for the most active price bracket in the current market, i.e. homes priced below $200,000 in the Coeur d’Alene area of North Idaho.

Access to the best loan and down payment options available
Loan and down payment assistance programs are constantly changing. Outlined below is a brief overview of some of the options that may be available. I can help put you and a loan officer together to discuss all the possible loan and down payment options available to you and help you develop a plan to purchase your home in the Coeur d’Alene area.

$8,000 Tax Credit Second Mortgage from Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA)

Because of North Idaho Housing Coalition’s special program and requirements, IHFA will waive the minimum credit score of 640 for the Tax Credit Second Mortgage. Qualified first time homebuyers may use this second mortgage for down payment and closing costs.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided a federal income tax credit for first-time homebuyers of 10% of the sales price, up to a maximum of $8,000. This tax credit is available to qualified home buyers who purchase a home by December 1, 2009. In order to help buyers monetize this tax credit for down payment and closing costs when they purchase a home, Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA), is offering a special short-term Tax Credit 2nd Loan to qualified buyers.

In conjunction with such a  loan, a subordinate loan will be offered to qualified first time homebuyers in 5% of the sales price up to $7,000. A fee will be charged of $250 with $150 refunded upon repayment of the loan on or before the loan due date. The loan will accrue interest at 3.0% with a due date of July 1, 2010. The Tax Credit 2nd Loan is expected to be paid off from the borrower’s tax refund obtained through the application of the federal tax credit. Borrower must be a first-time homebuyer and qualify for such a loan.

Access to USDA Rural Development 100% Direct Loans
NIHC provides loan pre-packaging service to assist low-income buyers purchase, build, improve, repair or rehabilitate rural homes. This pre-packaging service reduces the wait time normally involved.

Foreclosed homes
NIHC has programs with the opportunity to purchase a qualified foreclosed home at a reduced price with no down payment. A “soft” second mortgage (no interest or payments) is placed on the home to reduce the amount of the first mortgage needed from the buyer. The buyer bears no risk for repaying the second mortgage if the home value declines, and therefore, insufficient sale proceeds are available. When they sell the home, or refinance for any reason other than improving the interest rate on the first mortgage, the second mortgage is repaid, along with a proportionate share of the appreciation.

Equity Partnership down payment assistance program

Also, NIHC maintains an Equity Partnership Fund within the Home Partnership Foundation, Inc., an instrumentality of IHFA (sponsor of the fund). The amount of down payment received from the Equity Partnership Fund is secured with a “soft” second mortgage on the home (no interest or payments). The buyer bears no risk for repaying the equity investment if the home value declines, and therefore, insufficient sale proceeds are available. Homebuyers select their house, seller, realtor, lender and title company.

I encourage you to look into these programs and determine if you’re in a position to purchase your home that you didn’t realize was possible in the current economy.  Difficult times also unique present opportunities and this is one of those times, but these are limited-time opportunities and interest rates will likely rise before the New Year and many of special programs are not expected to be available after the end of the current year.  Contact me if you would like to realize your dream of home ownership in 2009, the year of special opportunity!

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Opportunity is Here, But it Won’t Last Forever!

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 1:11 pm
Category: Mortgage Rates.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein

This week, I had a young couple find a nice home that met their needs and was in their price range. It was “priced to sell” but the couple had been told to ‘never offer full price’ and their submitted offer was 10% below the asking price (that had already been reduced 20% below comparable market value, and I counseled them this was the case). They were disappointed at not getting the home, which sold for the asking price.

When shopping for a home, the natural tendency of any buyer is to want to pay the lowest price possible. But it is important to look at all aspects of the situation. Price is an important consideration, but it’s not the only consideration. The sales price is only one factor that determines your monthly payment. The impact of higher interest rates can easily nullify any benefit of waiting for a lower price.

While you’ve heard discussions in the media about the decline of property values in many markets, the rate of decline appears to be stabilizing on the Coeur d’Alene area of North Idaho. Hoping to capture the best possible price, could easily mean missing real opportunity. Waiting longer for a still lower price could be a mistake. As in the case above, low prices are starting to result in multiple offers on properties that are priced to the current market.

Interest Rate Complacency
One problem is that many home buyers have been lulled into a sense of complacency because of extremely low interest rates. Since the Federal Reserve initiated its program of buying mortgage-backed securities, which control the rates people pay for their home loans, rates had been range bound, bouncing between 4.5% and 5% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

But do not be confused by this. These rates are artificially low! Historically, interest rates have been above 6%. And any rate obtained below this number is a real deal, especially on homes with price tags already reflecting the decrease in the market.

Markets are Unforgiving
The last two weeks of May showed just how unforgiving the markets can be for people who choose to procrastinate. In just five days, interest rates from many lenders increased anywhere from 0.5% to 1% and fixed-income investors demanded more for their money. Such an increase in interest rate results in a higher monthly P&I payment on the home, even if the price of that same home had fallen an additional 10% in value.

If you’re waiting for home prices to fall even lower, be aware you could lose the war in terms of monthly payments and overall affordability. With the Federal Reserve scheduled to end its buying of mortgage-backed securities this year, rates only stand to go higher for those that wait. Couple this with the inflationary affect of government ‘stimulus’ spending, and all predictions are interest rates could only go higher from here.

Clock is Ticking on Free Money
If you, or someone you know, are planning on purchasing a home this year, be aware that you must take possession before 12/01/2009 to be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000. In a survey conducted in March by Move.com, nearly 50% of home buyers are currently unaware that this free money exists in the marketplace. And since over 50% of all buyers are first-timers in today’s market, this could impact a lot of people who aren’t in the know.

Act Now!
Opportunity exists in the current market, but we must act with an informed mind and clear analysis in order to benefit from the current opportunity!

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Are You Oriented Toward Thriving or Surviving?

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 12:46 pm
Category: Buy House.
Tags: , , ,

The Coeur d’Alene Press recently published an insert in the newspaper entitled “101 Things to See and Do in North Idaho.” The article talked about strolling the boardwalk, visiting theme parks, the wooden boat show, hiking, fishing, boating hunting, camping, area & state parks, community celebrations, art walk, summer festivals, watching eagles, golfing, flying kites, fairs, rodeos, sight-seeing from the air, farmer’s markets, bike trails, celebrations, canoeing, scuba, parasailing, horseback riding, beaches, wine sampling, lake cruises, galleries, libraries, museums, skiing & snowboarding, holiday festivals, etc.

It reminded me that there is great joy in living and especially living in North Idaho. In these economic times, it is easy to get bogged down into an attitude of “surviving” when we are much better off establishing an attitude of “thriving.” An attitude of ‘surviving’ is an attitude of despair and hopelessness. The alternative is an attitude of thankfulness, thriving, and opportunity.

The traditional American philosophy is the latter, not to succumb to fear and doubt, but to seize the opportunity and move forward. Clearly there are companies that are having difficulty but even more companies that are displaying ingenuity and pumping life back into our economy. Optimistic people are rolling up their sleeves and getting things done.

In the real estate business we’re told prices are down, but so are interest rates and what a wonderful opportunity to purchase a new home! Home inventory is higher than in recent years – what a marvelous choice. First-time Homebuyers currently can get up to an $8,000 credit to purchase a home (this has never happened until now and may never happen again).

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” Similarly, attitude is a choice; when we’re focused on ‘surviving’ we can end up in a FEMA trailer in Louisiana for the past four years and for the foreseeable future. Or, if we have a mental attitude of thriving, we look for the opportunities that always accompany unforeseen or difficult times, and it is out of opportunity, our hard work, imagination and expectations that we meet our dreams.

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Why Buying a Home in the Coeur d’Alene Area can Change Your Life!

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 1:08 pm
Category: Buy Home In.
Tags: , ,

Home ownership in the Coeur d’Alene area is an investment in your future and the future of your family. It will not only provide shelter and security, it will foster involvement in community life, and will provide important social and economic benefits. We’ve seen how much home ownership improves neighborhoods. Owners are 28% more likely to improve their home and 10% ore likely to participate in solving local problems. Home ownership provides stability. Homeowners typically stay in their home twelve years whereas renters stay no more than three years.

Most Americans place a high value on home ownership. Surveys show that 86% of all respondents reported that people are better off owning a home rather than renting. Homeowners in the beautiful Coeur d’Alene area are more likely to vote in local, state and federal elections, and they volunteer time for political and charitable causes.

In additional to these social and quality of life benefits, there are significant financial advantages that come with homeownership. For example, the Home Buyer Tax Credit – recent legislation provides for as much as an $8,000 tax credit that is available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. The credit does not require repayment. Most of the mechanics of the credit will be the same as under the 2008 rules: the credit will be claimed on a tax return to reduce the purchaser’s income tax liability. If any credit amount remains unused, then the unused amount will be refunded as a check to the purchaser.

Capital gains exclusion on the sale of your home, as long as you have lived in your home for two of the past five years. You can exclude from federal income tax up to $250,000 ($500,000 if you’re married and file a joint return) of any capital gain that results from the sale of your principal residence, regardless of your age. In addition homeowners may deduct mortgage interest ad property taxes as an expense against income, which lowers taxes every year.

As a full-time, full-service Realtor, I can add true value to your real estate transaction(s). I subscribe to a strict code of ethics and maintain a high level of knowledge about the process of buying and selling real estate in the Coeur d’Alene area. Visit my website to see some of the homes and land in the Coeur d’Alene area that may meet your needs at a price compatible with your budget. With the financial incentives available and the beautiful area around Lake Coeur d’Alene, you can truly change your life.

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Are There Short Sale and Foreclosure Opportunities in the Coeur d’Alene Area of North Idaho?

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Thursday, May 14th, 2009 at 11:03 am
Category: Foreclosures, Short Sale.
Tags: , ,

In these difficult economic times there is a lot of publicity about foreclosures and “short sales”. These are situations where there may be opportunities to find a potential bargain. But it isn’t for everyone.

At last review, our foreclosure listings in the Coeur d’Alene MLS were numbered at 68 single family homes or 0.0179 percent of listings that are in foreclosure. Short sales or homes threatened with foreclosure numbered 162 or 0.042 percent of our active listings. So the Coeur d’Alene area is not a ‘hot-bed’ of distressed property, but if you’re in a position to take advantage of a foreclosure or short sale and you can deal with this type of situation, I can help you find a home that meets your needs and support you through the process.

There are opportunities in any market, but a key element to consider with respect to homes is that you will live somewhere and you will either rent or own. Tax advantages are a key to making owning a home a particularly good investment. (Also click Coeur d’Alene Market Review) Because the situation in the Coeur d’Alene area is not comparable to economically hard-hit areas in other parts of the country, we present a different type of opportunity. It is more along the line of “I have more time than money” and if this is your situation, I have the expertise to help you find a home that meets your needs.

Short sales happen when troubled homeowners try to avoid foreclosure, and they often take months to complete. I am a full service Realtor familiar with the area, and with the properties in short sale or foreclosure proceedings, it is essential to protect your interests and guide you through the process. The key is to find a good house, at a good price, in a good neighborhood and a lending institution that is willing to work with a qualified buyer, and this is expertise that I bring in the Coeur d’Alene area.

Lenders, as a normal course of business see mortgage delinquency situations. When a borrower faces this type of situation, the lender has to decide what to do. Is a negotiated solution the best answer? Or should the lender commence foreclosure proceedings? The answer is never an easy one for the lender. There are numerous practical, economic, and legal factors to consider, and they my not all point to the same solution. Because Idaho is a Deed of Trust State (vs. a Mortgage state) the situation here goes through different processes than may be the case elsewhere. I work with lenders and Title companies familiar with making this process work for both sellers and buyers.

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Your Dream Home is Available in North Idaho

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 10:01 am
Category: Houses, Houses for Sale.
Tags: , ,

If you could have the most ideal environment to raise your children, to truly enjoy life, or to retire when your time was your own, what would you like in terms of a home? I’m not talking about a house; I’m talking about a  home on acreage, a home on a substantial piece of ground, something like 4, 5, 10, or 20 acres. A place to have a real garden, a legitimate shop for your vehicles, equipment or a place to work on the things you want to work on, or maybe you would like to own pets or a horse (or multiple horses). Maybe you just want space, privacy, and quiet but at the same time you want to be close to town and all the flexibility that this would give you.

If any of this is your desire or dream, consider the Coeur d’Alene area in North Idaho. I specialize on homes with acreage, here in Kootenai County. You have a choice here of  homes on acreage with prairie, mountain, or timber that are close to lakes and rivers for water recreation, close to or in areas with great outdoors activities, and just minutes from town for shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.

As I write this article, there are homes currently available in the following price ranges, all on five or more acres:

  • 8 homes priced = $100,000 — 199,900
  • 46 homes priced = $200,000 – 299,900
  • 53 homes priced = $300,000 – 399,900
  • 41 homes priced = $400,000 – 499,900
  • 42 homes priced = $500,000 – 749,900
  • 16 homes priced = $750,000 – 999,900
  • 20 homes priced at $1 million or more.

With this wide choice of available homes on acreage, there is one to meet your requirements in terms of location, amenities, price and acreage. If you want to design and/or have your custom home built on acreage, we have hundreds of choice pieces of acreage available on which to build your custom home at a reasonable price.

Why not live your dream?

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Special Mortgage Programs Available in North Idaho

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Friday, May 1st, 2009 at 9:38 am
Category: Mortgage.
Tags: , , ,

There have always been benefits to owning a home, not the least of which I talked about in my article, “Why I Enjoy Living in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho“. But also from an investment standpoint, the reasons to buy have never been more compelling. Current home prices have created a strong buyer’s market and are providing real value for first-time home buyers looking to own their dream home in the Coeur d’Alene area. Plus, interest rates are lower than ever, and we have a number of attractive mortgage programs available from local banks for home buyers interested in owning a home in North Idaho.

Through the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, if you can verify that you have not owned a home in the last 3 years, you can receive up to $8,000 to finance your Coeur d’Alene home. Unlike previous rebate programs, this one never has to be paid back to the government!

One of our local banks, Mountain West Bank is making more home loans than ever, many of them to first-time buyers. They’re a community bank and know the housing market in our Coeur d’Alene area and they’re committed to supporting our community. Through their parent company, Glacier Bancorp, they’ve been named the No. 1 performing bank group in the United States for 2008.

In addition, there are mortgage programs available through Rural Development financing for qualified buyers. This program lets you get into a new home with no money down. In our area in Kootenai County, the only areas that don’t qualify are the cities of Coeur d’Alene, Dalton Gardens and Hayden. But there are many tranquil, beautiful places to live in the county less than five minutes from each of these small cities.

A related program available through Mountain West Bank include the Ida Mortgage Tax Credit 2nd Mortgage. This program allows you to borrow the down payment of up to $7,000 prior to receiving your $8,000 tax credit. After you purchase the home, you can have your 2008 tax return revised and get the $8,000 back this year! (Borrowers must have $1,000 of their own money for a down payment, a minimum credit score of 640, and pay a processing fee of $250 of which $150 will be refunded if the tax credit 2nd is paid off before 7/1/2010. Income limits apply).

I have excellent relationships with residential loan specialists at local Coeur d’Alene banks, including Mountain West Bank, and can help you contact the right people to find the best mortgage loan program for your situation.

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Why I Enjoy Living in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho!

Posted by Patsy Barten | on Friday, April 24th, 2009 at 3:07 pm
Category: Community.
Tags: ,

One of the most beautiful areas in North Idaho is Coeur d’Alene. A city of about 43,000 people located 32 miles east of Spokane, Washington and 100 miles south of the Canadian border. But where isn’t really the point, what its like in the Coeur d’Alene area is what’s important if you’re considering a new place to live. What we have here is natural beauty and a laid-back spirit, enticing lakes, woods, farmland, mountains, and homes on the prairie; something to fit the needs or desires of virtually anyone. I specialize in finding you the property matched to your interests, from Homes on Acreage, to Homes on the Lake, to Condos in the City or on the River; I can find the specific property to match your lifestyle and interests.

Coeur d’Alene is a small, prosperous city snuggled against one of the Northwest’s largest lakes, with mountain views in almost any direction. But Lake Coeur d’Alene is only one of a half dozen lakes within 30 minutes of downtown. Best of all, lakeside property and homes on acreage are still affordable in North Idaho, and are considered a superb long-term investment, that you enjoy everyday. Coeur d’Alene is not a classic retirement destination, but it is attractive to people that have or may retire in the near future, nonetheless.

Clearly recreational facilities are a big lure, but we also have medical facilities considered superior to those of cities of comparable size, good shopping, a wonderful small-town atmosphere, and a four-season climate that is pleasant in each season of the year, not overly cold in winter or oppressively hot in the summer and Spring and Fall are true delights! It is an ideal location for couples or families eager to find a slower-paced, less-expensive lifestyle. North Idaho’s natural beauty and independent attitude are attractive to people who grew in this type of area but spent their working lives elsewhere; it’s like returning to their roots.

Whether you’re still working or retired it’s nice to have a real and varied choice of things to do in your free time, and in North Idaho and the Coeur d’Alene area there is something different available every day, for every preference, in every season; for example, golf, bicycling, camping, hiking, skiing and snowmobiling, swimming & water skiing, plus other sports and outdoor activities year around. But it’s not only all about out-of-doors; there are abundant cultural activities, too, from the Symphony to Concerts, to the Performing Arts, and so much more!

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Market Recap

  • Avg. Sales Price: $165,000

  • Avg. Days on Market: 129

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