Sandpoint, ID Real Estate News

By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Just wondering how much a tunnel would have cost in lieu of the Sand Creek Byway. By no means is this scientific. Using the New Zealand Manapouri Second Tailrace Tunnel bid published by the Colorado School of Mines figure of $132,000,000 in 1998 dollars for the 10 km tunnel, I came up with the math. That would be $174,000,000 in 2009 dollars. The rock was old, about 13 million years. Our mountains are also old and have a similar geologic nature. Our byway is 2.1 miles. Let's see, one mile is about 1.6 kilometers. So, 3.38 x $17,400,000 per mile cost = $58,000,000. The bid price at the start of the byway construction was $98,000,000. The Manapouri Tunnel took 18 months to complete. Our byway won't be finished until 2012 and began in 2008. Certainly there would be additional costs for the...
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So, what's up in my life? Lack of time. Who knew when I moved to North Idaho that I would wear so many hats. Let's see, here's my life: Host of two radio shows - North Idaho Business and North Idaho Arts & Adventure. REALTOR® for Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty. Had two closings in the last two weeks. Just finishing organizing the Sandpoint Winter Carnival. Among the different tasks for the Carnival has been organizing the Winter ArtTrek: over 80 artists at 17 locations, including map, website, and advertising. See this year's schedule at www.SandpointWinterCarnival.com and check out last year's successful event plus pics and videos at www.SandpointWinterCarnival.org We are also creating two new events as part of the Sandpoint Winter Carnival and Sandpoint Mardi Gras:...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Okay, so I don't have any hard data, but I am working with dozens of local businesses right now, so I believe i have the skinny. For the last several weeks I have been organizing the Sandpoint Winter Carnival. Part of that is putting together the Winter ArtTrek: 80 North Idaho artists displaying art at 17 locations in Sandpoint, Idaho as part of the Winter Carnival. Also, we have been putting together the new event called Shop Around Sandpoint. Add to that working closely with 15 restaurants for Dine Around Sandpoint (www.DineAroundSandpoint.com). I manage one of those restaurants every weekend - Dish Home Cooking - and I can say pretty clearly that while we in North Idaho may not have had a banner Christmas, it wasn't bad. Cedar Street Bridge, which was virtually empty, now has almost ...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
Gear up for the 36th annual Winter Carnival provided by the Downtown Sandpoint Business Association.  This year's event is Thursday-Monday, January 14-18, 2010. The long-standing tradition promotes area businesses by drawing visitors from across the region to enjoy the snowy playground in the Greater Sandpoint area...while also providing fun activities for the entire family. The Big Sky Journal has this to say about the event... "Whether it was the dogs, the skiing or the fireworks, I’m convinced: Sandpoint is no longer for the beach bum in me, it’s a winter haven I won’t soon forget." Kicking off Winter Carnival is the Chamber’s Taste of Sandpoint presented by Dine Around Sandpoint on Thursday, January 14th from 5 to 8 pm. Local favorites showcase their delectable culinary dishes, win...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
My blog ("KENT'S SANDPOINT, IDAHO / SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN BLOG") centers around the uncompromised attributes of Sandpoint and the rest of North Idaho.  There is a part of me that feels a little guilt about exposing what we have here to anyone who is willing or able to read about it.  I have to say, I'm over it.  In a weird way, it seems that what is wrong with North Idaho is the very thing that makes it such a great place to live. Our weather is definitely questionable.  If you are looking for bright sun, low humidity, moderate temperatures and calm winds...this is not for you.  We have four distinct seasons.  Winter can be miserable, especially if you are used to Southern California, for example.  We get sleet, clouds, rain, heavy snow and even some below 0 temps.  The roads get rutted w...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
I drive by Schweitzer Switchback #7 twice a day every day.  This is the highest and last switchback on the trek up to Schweitzer Mountain Resort and, fittingly, has a viewing turnout.  It is a rare occurrence when I don't stop just to look out over our beloved Sandpoint Valley.  This is truly an inspiring view in virtually any weather condition.  Today I couldn't pass up a photo of the colorful morning sky!  Enjoy!
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Today is Decmeber 28, 2009, and we had four guests on the North Idaho Business radio show on KSPT and KBFI. Today's guests were Ryan Bliss from the new store at Bonner Mall: The Vapor Depot, Kyle Mercer from the Garden Company, Chief Robert Tyler of the Sandpoint Fire Department, and my old friend Pat Fecik of Captured Image Video Productions. The Vapor Depot is a smoking alternative product that uses electronic cigarettes. No smoke, a great way to quit or at least get rid of the cancerous parts of cigarettes and cigars, and is very cool. They started as an internet start up, and now have a brick and mortar inside the mall. You can learn more at www.theVaporDepot.com or call 877-867-0965. Chief Robert Tyler of Sandpoint and Chief Rob Goodyear of Sagle were asking for volunteers for our ...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Unbelievable!!  That is how to describe 2009.  You can add the positive or negative inference as you feel it deserves, but the word seems to be spot on for the year.  As we move in to 2010, we are seeing the economy begin to move in a positive direction, ever so slowly, and we are seeing the Government begin to slowly withdraw itself from the Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) Market.  Earlier this week the Treasury department stated that they will no longer be a buyer of the Mortgage Backed Securities as of the new year, but the Federal Reserve will continue to spend it's 1.25 Trillion available in that market.  They did promise however to give an unlimited line of credit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make sure that they would never "fail".  (Did your eyes just pop out too?) The bond ...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN! 2009 has been quite a ride!  I want to thank all of the ActiveRain members for helping make this year the best it could be!  The knowledge, humor, friendships, education and, yes, even new clients are much appreciated.  Here is to 2010 and all of the good things to come!    
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
The Story of Sandpoint, North Idaho Sandpoint, North Idaho, Schweitzer Ski Resort, and Lake Pend Oreille gets a lot of attention, with a new article about to come out in Country Living magazine, and me, Gary Lirette, and Sandpoint recently featured in Where to Retire magazine. Now you want to know the inside story. In the last few years we have had literally dozens of articles, television shows, news reports, etc., that have touted our area as the paradise of the West. Sure, we have some of the same issues that most communities our size have to tackle, but the good far outpaces the bad. Tourism and traffic has grown, but that has grown our business base, and it still only takes minutes to get anywhere. Crime is so low that many never lock their doors. Charity and neighborly help abound ...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
In a study just published by the UK's University of Warwick and Hamilton College Idaho was ranked the 14th happiest state in the US. The researchers used the happiness levels of a million individual US citizens to discover which are the best and worst states in which to live in the United States. The study found a quantifiable correlation between objective quality of life factors such as air quality and congestion and the subjective opinions of those that live in the subject states. This correlation was made possible by a study by Stuart Gabriel and colleagues from UCLA published in 2003 which considered objective indicators for each individual State of the USA such as: precipitation; temperature; wind speed; sunshine; coastal land; inland water; public land; National Parks; hazardous w...
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Sandpoint Winter Carnival is a great way to celebrate the winter, with bonfires, rail jam, fireworks, great food, and so much more. Schweitzer Mountain puts on quite the show, and 2010 looks to be a fantastic repeat of the great fun and success Winter Carnival had in 2009. To see everything that happened last year, check out Sandpoint Winter Carnival-A look back on 2009. This year there are some new additions. One is Dine Around Sandpoint, offering discounts and other fun events like wine tastings and beer tastings, at some of Sandpoints finest dining establishments. There are prizes and special events offered, The events start at Taste of Sandpoint, all culminating at Sandpoint's Follies. See this YouTube video from 2009, titled A Leader Named Barack. Here is the schedule of events Th...
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Dine Around Sandpoint is a great way to sample some of North Idaho's favorite eateries during Sandpoint Winter Carnival and Sandpoint Mardi Gras. From January 14th through February 17th, fifteen of Sandpoint's best restaurants are offering special at generously low prices. The deals range from $15, 20, 25, 30, and 35. Many are prix fix menus with multiple courses. There will wine tasting and beer tasting events, other special offerings, and prizes. Each time you dine at a restaurant and choose one of their specials, you will receive a ticket that you will drop in their DAS box at the door as you leave the restaurant. This puts you in the drawing. Prizes range from gift certificates to bottles of wine to a grand prize of 12 meals at the various restaurants; one meal a month for an entire...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
North Idaho Arts & Adventure December 17, 2009 Yesterday, Tuesday December 17, 2009, my interviews were as diverse as the colors of the rainbow. I host two radio shows: North Idaho Business and North Idaho Arts & Adventure. Both shows are broadcast, right after Rush, on KSPT 1400 AM in Sandpoint and KBFI 1450 AM in Bonners Ferry on Tuesdays. This is the fifth year I have been doing the shows and I have interviewed almost two hundred local leaders, artists, politicians, characters, and every walk of life in North Idaho. My first interview on the arts show was with Francesca and Brian from Land of Peace. They were promoting their idea for a new international peace symbol. While to many they may have seemed a bit out there, the symbol was cool. It was several circles, reminiscent of the on...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
We were graced with an early opening this year but the famous Schweitzer Mountain Powder never materialized.  Well, I woke up to 10" of the white stuff in my driveway this morning and booked up to the Mountain as quickly as possible!  (I was slightly delayed by a "snow-blowing" obligation).  I'm heading out now for a few turns...here's a scene from my office door - I LOVE IT! Update:  We are now in a full-blown blizzard!    
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Sandpoint, Idaho has had so many great articles and accolades that it is hard to believe that right above is one of the world's best ski resorts: Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort. The North Idaho Panhandle is truly a winter wonderland, with several mountain ranges, including the Bitterroot Mountains, Cabinet Mountains, Clearwater Mountains, Coeur d'Alene Mountains, Purcell Mountains, Saint Joe Mountains, and Selkirk Mountains. There are many outdoors things to do for the winter months in Sandpoint and the surrounding winter sports areas, but there is also Shopping, many Events, Art, and great Drives, Tours, & Scenery. Sandpoint and North Idaho also have great Attractions, plus there are scores of Cool Things to Do within 100 miles of Sandpoint. For a great guide, see this 2009 Visitor's G...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Sandpoint Waterfront - End of year 2009 Having sold waterfront homes on Talon Drive, Bryce, and Derr Island, plus secondary and waterview lots this year, in this market, few other REALTORS® have had as much success as I have had. The market is slow, and while statistics are indicating we will see an 18-23% decline in prices this year, waterfront continues to be the one segment that maintains value. This doesn't mean that prices haven't slipped for a home with a boat dock. What has declined similarly are homes in less desirable waterfront communities. Those are typically riverfront homes, homes in communities that are more crowded, and areas farther away from Sandpoint or Coeur d'Alene. During boom times, these homes competed with the better locations in price. Now, those are typically 1...
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By Rain Silverhawk, 208-610-0011 Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Realtor
(Sandpoint Realty rain@lakeandhomes.com)
Sandpoint Center of Arts is hosting the weekend event for the Art Alliance's Holiday Art Soiree.  Event is December 11-12the, 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm  at 518 Oak Street, Sandpoint Idaho.  Featuring hors d' oeuvres, music and wine.  Call 208 265-ARTS for more information
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By Rain Silverhawk, 208-610-0011 Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Realtor
(Sandpoint Realty rain@lakeandhomes.com)
December 12, 3:00-5:00 pm.  The Sandpoint High School Steel Drum Band will play Christmas music in the village.  Cookies and hot chocolate will be served in the Selkirk Lodge.  Christmas stories presented by the Selkirk Lodge.  Come out and spread the holiday cheer.
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Fannie Mae's shares are still falling, and they in turn tightening their lending requirements all together. One change is to get rid of all loans <80%LTV and no FICO's below 620.  This will mean a continued increase in volume for FHA loans that require a 620 FICO but only 3.5% down.  If you are selling a house that is in good condition, a good option is USDA Guaranteed.  No money down, and the income limit for a family of four is $73,600.   Condo approvals are available for Fannie and Freddie directly through MetLife.  We will have direct approvals for FHA as well by January 1.  There is no cost for my assistance in getting your project approved, and once all of the paperwork is in and accurate, we can have that approval to you for your borrowers within 72 hours.    If you have question...
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