Sandpoint, ID Real Estate News

By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
Sandpoint Idaho was featured again last week in the New York Times magazine.  This is the third or fourth article on Sandpoint that has been in the NY Times in the past few years. The article profiles the new Sandpoint Transition Initiative that was recently launched with an opening event at the Panida which was sold out and overflowing.  Sandpoint is now the second American town after Boulder, CO to become a 'Transition Community'. The gist of this movement is to go beyond the idea of 'sustainability' and to bring each part of the community together towards the common goal of a thriving community that is independent of many of the world's growing energy, food, health, and environmental challenges.  Unlike many movements, the Initiative seeks to create positive energy around some of the...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
No long ago, I interviewed an adorable little girl, Grace Coughlin, on my radio show, North Idaho Arts & Adventure. See, during the art show I put on last winter, Betty Billups, a wonderful painter that lives in Sandpoint, related this story. (To learn more about the artist, visit BettyBillups.com) Seems while Betty was on duty at the Schweitzer Art Gallery, a young girl approached her asking to purchase two paintings on display. It just so happened that Betty was the artist that had produced the art, which was tagged for $800. Being touched that this adorable little girl would want to buy these paintings, Betty offered them to her for half price. That is when Grace began making her wonderful hand-made cards, selling them for just a dollar each. Within months, she had enough for the pai...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
My name is Gary Lirette and my partner and I specialize in waterfront in and around Sandpoint, Idaho. This includes Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River primarily, and Lake Cocolalla. To a lesser degree, we also have extensive knowledge of the Priest River, the Moyie and Kootenai Rivers, Pack River, Rapid Lightning Creek, the Clark Fork River, and the lesser lakes around Lake Pend Oreille. What to do on the Water N Idaho Lake Guide Idaho River Guide Boat Launches & Marinas Lake Pend Oreille Depth Map Jed Sigman 208-255-6739e-mail Gary Lirette 208-610-1384e-mail I live on the Pend Oreille River about a mile from Lake Pend Oreille. Many think this is the lake since the river is so wide here, but the lake really begins at the Long Bridge. Jed Sigman, my business partner, also lives...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
While Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort and winter sports and carnivals peppers snow season in Sandpoint, Lake Pend Oreille is the central figure of life in Sandpoint. Water sports and activities is the lifeblood of Sandpoint, but the events and festivals enhance the pastoral feel of North Idaho. The events are varied and wonderful: Lost in the 50's kicks off the season with it's tribute to rock n' roll featuring dances and big name acts, plus a grand vintage car parade and show. Follow that with the Wooden Boat Show, ArtWalk, Festival at Sandpoint, Dover Days, fairs, more art events, horse shows, Summer Sampler, community festivals, and every town patriotically puts on great fireworks displays for the 4th of July. You would expect to see county fairs and rodeos, and 2009 will see several ...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
What a great final weekend at Schweitzer Mountain Resort!  This was what spring skiing is all about... soft snow, sunshine, music and apres ski, seeing all your friends.  All the locals were up at the mountain to take advantage of the great weather and the final opportunity to ride the lifts for the year. The final weekend coincided with the annual Tropical Daze festival.  There was a downhill dummy derby, pond skimming, music in the village, and fun parties at night including the Hot Dog the Movie party at St Bernard. And for the second year in a row, we had powder skiing up until the final day.  March was a phenomenal month with over 100 inches of snow.  It was a bittersweet couple of days, knowing that the resort would once again shut down its lifts with so much snow still on the mou...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
We read and hear enough bad news. Here is a blog that reports the positive things happening locally and nationally about real estate and the economy. Thursday, April 09, 2009 Wells Fargo expected to report over $3 billion in profits this quarter, with signs that other banks will likewise be reporting positive figures. Jobless claims, while still elevated, are 20,000 lower than last week. Today is Thursday and the stock market is beginning strong. In fact, the stock market has been trending well for the last several weeks, ever since it began regaining ground the first week of March. Shoppers stay cautious, but sales declines ease Inventory levels for retailers and manufacturing are at the lowest mark in seventeen years. According to Business Week and MSNBC, there are Signs of life emerg...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
Schweitzer Mountain really is a unique and special place.  It still feels like a local mountain.  We have had continuous snow since the beginning of March, and you can still pull into the main parking lot during the week and be five rows from the village.  Its pretty special to have such an incredible mountain between you and your buddies, and thats exactly how it feels up at Schweitzer during times like these. Yesterday was the annual April Fools party that is thrown by a bunch of my buddies.  It's kind of a word of mouth, 'unofficial' party, which takes place in an out of bounds area of Schweitzer, just over the ridge from the South Bowl.  Everyone shows up on their skis, snowboards, or snowmobiles to hang out, barbeque, throw the football around, have snow ball fights, and just a cel...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
I woke up this morning and the weatherman graced Sandpoint, Idaho with 6 fresh inches of snow.  I was in my office at Schweitzer Mountain Resort and on AR by 7:30 a.m.  By 8:45, I had my mocha at Mojo Coyote Coffee and was in the lift line (a total of 6 people) waiting fresh tracks on top of chair 1. My excited anticipation was well founded.  The very first run down the headwall below the chair greeted me with stashes of untracked powder at least 14" deep.  The powder was smashing against my knees...and untracked top to bottom!   If you are a skier, hopefully you know the feeling.  Skiing all alone with an ear to ear grin and not fighting the urge to scream my lungs out all the way down.  There really is nothing like it! By 9:30 my group met me at the Outback Inn on the back side of the...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
The good news?  I finally closed on a condo up here at Schweitzer Mountain!  It's a GREAT condo, spectacular views and priced perfectly.  My buyer put some equity in his pocket and he and his wife are absolutely thrilled!  Below is the view from their front door. Getting a condo closed in this market in no small chore.  If the complex is not over 50% occupied (which was the case in this purchase since it is new construction) and/or, if there has been ANY rental history in the complex, major banks will not consider traditional financing of any kind.  It is a long story how we finally put together financing, but that is for another post.  This post is about the "closing gift" that I was so anxious to give... The closing finally ended in the afternoon.  I GLADLY offered my services to help...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
Yesterday was a special experience for me on the slopes at Schweitzer.  For the first time in 12 years, and after his successful bout with cancer, I had the privilege of skiing with my Dad again.  Skiing is one of those rare sports that spans generations and that can truly be a lifetime activity.  We had three generations of skiers out yesterday.  My Dad, his first time in years, my wife and I and my brother, and finally his daughter and my niece Maile.  Of course my boy Trace was also out there in the village watching the skiers.  We've decided to wait until he can walk to try to teach him to ski.  :) Conditions got kind of tough with poor visibility, etc and my Dad was struggling with his prescription glasses fogging up.  However once we got on the right trail and got the equipment wo...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
March 18, 2009 By Gary Lirette, host of North Idaho Business radio show on KSPT and KBFI, and REALTOR® for Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty The stock market was up all week. MSNBC reported on March 18, 2009 that "Stocks had their fifth advance in six days Tuesday after a surprisingly strong report on home construction and building permit applications. Since the rally began last week, the Dow is up 849 points, or 13 percent." Housing starts were up 22 Percent according CNBC (http://www.cnbc.com/id/29734541). Add to that on March 11, 2009 CNN reported applications for new mortgages are up 11%. (http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/11/real_estate/mortgage_applications.reut/index.htm) Bonner County is the only county in the whole state of Idaho that is not a declining market for h...
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By Janna Scharf, Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert
(Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene)
I pay to have these Total Market Overview Reports compiled weekly, although I don't post them to my blog each week.  If you would like the most current, up-to-date report, just give me a call.  I am also happy to help you interperet the data and how it can help you.  As a buyer, this information will help insure that you don't overpay for a home.  As a seller, the information will help you determine a selling strategy for success.
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By Gary Lirette, host of the North Idaho Business radio show on KSPT and KBFI, economic researcher, and REALTOR® for Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty Recently, I attended a lecture by Anthony Grasst, a very astute MBA who runs a mortgage division of MetLife. It was gratifying to hear words of wisdom that offered another view of our economy besides the doom and gloom one hears on the radio waves or sees on the tube. Graast explained that the job losses after the dot.com boom/bust and 9/11 was, if not worse than we are having now, at least comparable. According to E-commerce News, 2001 went into the record books as the most devastating year in terms of Internet jobs lost. In an article released in 2002, "For the year (2001), 100,925 positions were cut -- about 250 percen...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Living in the paradise of Sandpoint, Idaho, where I have found more and better friends than any place I have ever been before, though these troubled times have weighed heavy on my soul, these thoughts have prevailed upon me: This I commit: I commit to be positive every day, to help others to find that which can help us all to discard depression and see that which is best in the world. I commit to buying locally, helping my fellow business people survive in this down economy. I commit to look back on the last thirty days and if I haven't done something to help another in my community, to do something beneficial over the next seven days. I commit to speak well of my neighbors, whether they are deserving or not. I especially commit not to be detrimental to those in my community. Not to gos...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
I recently spent an afternoon with Clay Hutchison, owner of The Spires PUD at Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint, Idaho.  We skied a handful of runs off Schweitzer's West Bowl, which is accessed from the triple chair of the South Bowl. This was really a cool experience, as we were marking the ski trail that will provide direct ski-in and ski-out access for residents of The Spires community.  Of course there is already incredible skiing accessed from the out of bounds off the end of Schweitzer's South Bowl.  This is typically very untracked powder that lasts for a week after a snow storm.  However the true definition of ski-in/ski-out property is that it be accessible by an intermediate skier.  Clay has already cleared most of the ski trail to his community, and plans to start grooming thi...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
What a fantastic week and weekend it was at Schweitzer Mountain!  First of all, the snow all of last week was absolutely epic.  From Monday on it got better every day.  This was really a great week to be a local.  My brother and I managed to get up the hill for at least a couple hours each morning, as I stayed up late every night working to avoid feeling guilty.  Thursday was one of those all-time powder days that I will carry with me forever.  There was one particular run that was so pure that it literally left me with chills of excitement.  This was the second or third run of the day, dropping in somewhere between Big Timber and Puccis chutes, off Schweitzer's North Bowl.  This is probably the longest of the steep runs at Schweitzer, with a fall line that stays consistent and just goe...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
There really are some great values right now at Schweitzer.  We didn't see this as much at the beginning of the ski season, but as the season starts winding down it appears that some sellers are getting very aggressive in their pricing.  And as we have seen so far this Winter, the really well-priced property has sold rather quickly. My client just closed last week on a Glades unit at $675,000!  This was not far below the final listing price of $699,000, and he was ready to jump immediately when this new price was listed.  The most recent sales in the Glades from 2008 and before were in the $800s price range! On the lower end of the market, there is now a 1bdr Black Bear condo reduced to just $129,000!  I guarantee this will be under contract within a matter of weeks.  The initial price ...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
Saturday night we experienced yet another fantastic evening at the Panida Theater in downtown Sandpoint.  This 100+ year old theatre brings everything from big name jazz and blues, to off Broadway shows, to adventure films and Warren Miller flicks. The Follies at Sandpoint was the name of this past weekends performance.  This was the 7th annual show that can best be described as an adult, comedic variety show.  All the performers were locals, and it was impressive to see how many are actually very talented.  There were comedy sketches that had me literally crying they were so funny.  There were several really good singers; there were a couple of dance numbers.  This was all in the spirit of Mardi Gras, with many people getting fully into character with beads, etc. This was definitely no...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
We had a great little family snow shoe outing today, and it was just a stunningly beautiful afternoon!  My wife Mandy, myself, our son Trace, and our dog Bentley took the trails that start at The Spires.    This is located at the top of Mogul Hill Road, where it turns into Tall Timber Road and ends at the Hemlock Hamlet.  Their is a gravel road that already winds quite a bit further to access future homesites, but it isn't yet plowed.  So you can park your car and snow shoe or cross country ski from the snow-covered gravel road.  There are numerous snow shoe trails that intersect this road, where you can hike up the back of Schweitzer's South Bowl or across to The Ridge, another planned community at Schweitzer Mountain.                   This trail system is located at around 5400 feet,...
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By Rick Evans - Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Waterfront, Ski, and Resort Property
(Sandpoint Sothebys Intl Realty)
Yes, its true.  The luxury real estate market at Schweitzer has had solid activity since the first of the year.  Prices at Schweitzer Ski Resort have always been exceptionally low when compared with other comparable ski resorts, and I would define the luxury market at Schweitzer as above $500,000. There has NOT been a wholesale price reduction across the board at Schweitzer, or in Sandpoint for that matter.  As I typically explain to my clients, it is difficult to put a percentage on how much market prices have dropped.  This is because you have too many sellers with independent motivations and pressures, some much more than others.  The key as a Buyer in this market is to find the place that really fits and to be ready to pounce when the price is right.  As you can tell by the followin...
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