Sandpoint, ID Real Estate News

By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
This last two weeks Sandpoint, Idaho had lots going on. The Follies wowed audiences, like usual. I had the good fortune to perform a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis with Lars Larson. (See the video here, and understand, it is not for the easily offended.) The event raises close to $25,000 for local charities. Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters had an event at the roastery last Saturday. My friend Ray Allen performed at the Pend d'Oreille Winery, Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort had fresh powder, and town was kickin'. My company, Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty, had its annual meeting, and by all accounts things are picking up, both for local business and in real estate. Gary Peitz, former owner of the Coit House and Dish is opening the Dover Bay Cafe ...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
In a quick search for St. Patrick's Day parades on the www.st-patricks-day.com website, I noted that there were none in North Idaho. What! I may not be remembering my history well, but don't the Irish have this thing for potatoes? Where are the best potatoes from? It just seems a natural that with both places beginning with the letter "I" and having this potato connection, seems we in Idaho should have something going on for St. Paddy's Day. So, okay, there are some things going on down south in Boise and Treasure Valley, and the Idaho potato commission has some recipes (www.idahopotato.com/st_patrick). About the closest we get is Twin Falls which has a parade and run. Last weekend there was a parade in Coeur d'Alene, but c'mon, nothing this weekend? I don't get it. Anecdotally we have...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
A great website for Idaho is the Visit North Idaho website. While there are plenty of resources, such as events, interactive maps, and loads of ideas for things to do in North Idaho, I particularly enjoy this new feature of videos about different areas of interest. I will post all of them, but in our neck of the woods, two are most relevant: Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Here are the two videos: North Idaho TravelCast - Sandpoint, Idaho Click here to go to the Sandpoint video North Idaho TravelCast - Sandpoint, Idaho Click here to go to the Bonners Ferry video Gary Lirette, featured in Where To Retire magazine and host of the Tuesday noon local radio shows: North Idaho Business as well as North Idaho Arts. E-mail Gary or call 208-610-1384Read Gary's Blogs   Tomlinson Sandpoint Sot...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
In the Five to Watch segment of the March 2011 issue of REALTOR magazine, the report showed how banks are getting ready for lower credit score buyers to buy this new, lower-priced inventory. In the story Wells Fargo Says Credit Score of 500 OK, WF announced that with a downpayment of 10%, borrowers with scores as low as 500 will be able to get FHA loans. A score of 600 can get away with as little as 3.5% down. According to Lending Tree, FHA mortgages are not as critical about credit scores, though they still are a factor: It's important to understand what an FHA mortgage is. Contrary to some people's belief, the Federal Housing Administration is not a lender. It is a federal government agency that guarantees loans by private lenders, making mortgages available to people who may have a d...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Over the last few weeks we have been deliberating about many things that could affect the real estate market over the coming year(s). One is the shadow inventory. Weakonomics explains: What is Shadow Inventory?Before we talk about shadow inventory, we have to first figure out what inventory is. Inventory in this case in the number of homes currently for sale in the US. Inventory can be measured in a couple of ways. The National Association of Realtors likes to express it in months of inventory, so there is an 8.4 month supply of inventory of existing home (it excludes new ones). Generally speaking, an ideal supply is closer to 6 months; this means that if no new homes went on sale, the existing supply would run out in 6 months. The shadow inventory is the inventory of homes that are pro...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
If you want a better night's sleep, remember American Mattress Center in Sandpoint, Idaho On Tuesday's North Idaho Business radio show, I interviewed Rick Bishop of American Mattress Center. It is encouraging to hear, in this sluggish economy, that a business is growing. AMC just opened their new location in Post Falls on the corner of Seltice Way and Corbin, and their 4800 square foot showroom in Sandpoint is humming along nicely. Small wonder business is good. In addition to carrying premium brands like Serta and Paul Dean's superior offerings, they have the expertise to help in that all-important facet of our lives: sleep. We talked about many things related to sleep, and not just about mattresses. For instance, Rick pointed out that not only is it not so good for your sleep acumen t...
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I like to cover some of the best news stories on my two radio shows. Here is what we went over this week. A Concern About Wetlands in North Idaho: Sandpoint Real Estate Blog I received an inquiry from some folks looking for property and they had a concern about wetlands in our area. The link above is how I responed. So, posted on Sunday, March 6, 2011 10:00 am in the Bonner County Daily Bee, this article tells the next tile in the story: Priest Lake couple takes EPA challenge to high court By Keith Kinnaird News editor Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT - A determined Bonner County couple who contends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is unfairly interfering with their right to develop a homesite at Priest Lake is taking their fight to the nation's high court... Chamber Welcomes A...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Joe Auto Body Posted in the Bonner County Daily Bee: Friday, February 11, 2011 11:00 am  Co-owners Joe Muldoon and Stan Kraly stand outside the Joe's Auto Body building, located at 1621 Baldy Mountain Road and reachable at 208-255-2777. (Photo CAMERON RASMUSSON) Today I learned an interesting fact on my radio show: North Idaho Business on KSPT/KBFI. Paints used on cars are solvent-based. This is bad, very bad, for the environment. We'll get back to this in a moment. I was interviewing Joe Muldoon of Joe's Auto Body, and with St. Patrick's Day coming up, I need all the Irish in my life I can muster. I asked Joe why we need another auto body shop in Sandpoint? First, Joe pointed to his very nicely done brochure to the line that read: Our Commitment - providing professional repairs everyti...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
I received an inquiry from some folks looking for property and they had a concern about wetlands in our area. Here is part of what I sent them in response: In response to this article that you forwarded to me - http://www.cdfe.org/cdfe-action-fund/epas-new-form-of-land-seizure/ - here is a bit of information. The EPA and other governmental agencies that deal with arbitrary, subjective decisions can be incredibly capricious and, at times unreasonable. In the case up at Priest Lake, because the area is surrounded by federal lands, this can be especially true. Officials and environmental groups, while very active in all of North Idaho are even more so around Priest Lake. Here is the link to the page for the long-awaited update to the Bonner County Comprehensive Plan: http://www.co.bonner.i...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
I hear comparisons of Sandpoint with Alaska over & over.  In fact, there are many former Alaskans living here in North Idaho as they try to come close to duplicating their experience in the 49th state without the inconvenience of living so far away from the rest of us down here in the "48 contiguous".  The constant invasion of moose in our local neighborhoods help make our Alaskan friends feel right at home. We never get tired of our gangly moose buddies!  Trivia...Alaska became our 49th state on January 3, 1959.  (Don't say you don't learn anything on my blog) Thank you to Steve Kirby for his photos this morning!      
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
In like a lion, out like a lamb, March can be a crazy month. Spring is in the air, and in North Idaho, we look forward to the snow melting and a bit of warmth. In 2007 and 2008, two of the biggest snow years on record, March was frosty and the snow stuck around like Thanksgiving leftovers. Winter 2009/2010 had snow mainly on the mountains, and the valleys were gentle and warm, if at times brisk. Right now as I write this, big flakes of snow are falling and we have had about 10 inches in the valleys over the last day or so. Big, fluffy snow. On Schweitzer Mountain in the village the snow was up to the knees, and mid-thigh in some places. Anyway, trying to remember what March was like last year, I looked at these pics of March 2010:  View of Sandpoint, Idaho and the Longbridge Close up of...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
This last week we had our rehearsal at the event center for the Follies. See pictures of our antics below. The Follies is one of several events put on by Angels Over Sandpoint. The Angels Over Sandpoint is a non-profit (501c3) organization that helps needy Bonner County individuals. The Angels provide backpacks and school supplies to over 800 children annually. Other events include The Follies (a racy live variety show), Spring Mud Fling Dance, and the New Year's Eve Dance and Auction (because raising money should be fun!). According to their website this event is loads of fun and a little bit naughty. "It's time for your favorite Angels' event guaranteed to chase away the Winter blahs. Get in line for THE FOLLIES, a locally produced comedy review held for the 9th year at the Panida The...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
I went to a concert at Di Luna's last night featuring one of the most amazing guitarists I have ever seen. What I mean by purposely saying 'seen' instead of 'listened to' was pointed out by the artist during his show. He asked, "How many of you in the audience are guitarists?" Many raised their hands including myself and my friend Steve. He made the point that guitarists come to his shows and watch his chord structures and hand movements. Chris Proctor is the U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion and his abilities are jaw-dropping. Critics call his guitar playing "breathtaking," "haunting," and "rich." Guitar magazines describe his compositions as "spectacular," "elegant," and "exquisite," and praise his twelve-string work as "revelatory." Media reviewers trace the roots of his styl...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Sandpoint Upcoming Events - This Week in Sandpoint from the Sandpoint Chamber Coeur d'Alene Upcoming Events - from the CdA Chamber Check out all daily Sandpoint Events in the Bonner Daily Bee Bonner Mall Cinema Movie Schedule - click here! March 1: Sandpoint - Tuesdays with Mike www.trinityatcitybeach.com Bartender extraordinaire Yuri Simon introduces Tuesdays with Mike. Every Tuesday from 5-8 pm Mike Strain plays live acoustic music and is joined my local special musical guests. 208-255-7558 Check out Yuri's video intro here on Facebook March 1: Sandpoint - Mickduff's host Trivia Tuesday 312  N. 1st  7 - 9pm. Teams of up to eight or by yourself. Come early to make sure your team gets a table, it fills up fast! Prizes and bragging rights to the winning team. Test your useless knowledge ...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
With fresh powder from the last snow and a sunny day beckoning, I took a leisurely drive up to Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort and snapped these shots along the way: Road up to Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort Entering Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort View of Lake Pend Oreille from Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort Gary Lirette, featured in Where To Retire magazine and host of the Tuesday noon local radio shows: North Idaho Business as well as North Idaho Arts. E-mail Gary or call 208-610-1384Read Gary's Blogs   Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty 200 Main StreetSandpoint, Idaho 208-255-3474 www.SandpointID.net - To learn all about Sandpoint and North Idaho www.RealtySandpoint.com - For Sandpoint Realty www.SkiSchweitzer.net - To visit Schweitzer Mo...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Existing-Home Sales Resume Uptrend with Stable Prices - This article was published by the National Association of REALTORS® ON December 22, 2010 Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million in November from 4.43 million in October, but are 27.9 percent below the cyclical peak of 6.49 million in November 2009, which was the initial deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, is hopeful for 2011. "Continuing gains in home sales are encouraging, and the positive impact of steady job creation will more than trump some negative impact from a modest rise in mortgage interest rates, which remain historically favorab...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
So, with a 148 square mile lake, even during wintertime we normally see significant sales. For the winter of 2010-2011 to date we have had just five sales of residential real estate on Lake Pend Oreille. Three were condos, one of those was a bank repo, and all were under $500,000 with one exception. In fact, we haven't seen prices like this in years. Does this mean that we are now an area that people will find affordable in terms of waterfront? Probably not as much as you would think. Waterfront is still a finite commodity in virtually all waterfront communities, including ours. Add to that the fact that sellers are simply not listing their lake and river front homes if they can't get the price they perceive their properties are worth. So, the ones that come on the market that are screa...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
I interviewed Russell and Jeanne Spriggs, both certified master inspectors from the Home Inspection Team. While they do all kinds of inspections, I had them on the North Idaho Business radio show to talk specifically about mold since I am not an expert, but like many of you I have questions. Many people think that a mold inspection is part of the menu of things home inspectors do when inspecting a home, but usually only surface mold is looked for. While conversing with Chris Munro of Peak Inspections in Sandpoint he pointed out that without true testing, results in our area can be skewed. According to Chris, in our area a cursory test might show significant mold spores in the home's interior air, but that could come from the many trees in our area or from natural sources from outside of...
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Last year I interviewed Lisa Richards who started a cool group called Chix in the Kitchen. Laughing Dog Brewing was just about to have their grand opening at the new digs at 1109 Fontaine Drive and the Chix were having a Beer Chili Cook-off there. The day before the new tasting room had been packed with well-wishers and beer tasters. The hope was to have a repeat success. We talked about the event, and how Chix had evolved over the last year. Below you can read a little of that interview. The Chix invited well-known chef Gabe Cruz and myself to be judges for the contest. The pictures tell the rest of the story. http://www.chixinthekitchen.com/ The following is the interview: What is Chix in the Kitchen? Chix in the Kitchen is a club for women of all ages who love to cook and entertain. ...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
I interviewed the cast of "Puppy Love" on my radio show last week. First let me tell you these are the funniest troup to ever be on my show. There, I said it. Add to that the foible that I called the award-winning author Penny several times, even though her name is Teresa Pesce. Bottom line is, if they are that funny just ad libbing and talking off-the-cuff on a radio show, the play must be hilarious. Below is the info taken from the Panida Theater's website: "Puppy Love" by Teresa Pesce, a romantic comedy about love and the furry friends who help you find it. THE PLOT Marie, a socially awkward divorcee, gets a little help from her lovingly protective "fur family" (Tank the dog, Miss Puddy the cat and Cheep the parrot) as her loneliness first leads her into the arms of a con man, then a...
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