Sandpoint, ID Real Estate News

Yesterday was another epic day of skiing at Schweitzer Mtn. Ski Resort in Sandpoint, Idaho. As I was riding the chair  I was thinking about how lucky I am to live in such a great place and what a great opportunity to own a home at Schweitzer right now. We have all heard the mantra, prices and interest rates are at record lows, but for a second home it is even more true. We currently have ski in ski out homes in the Crystal Springs neighborhood starting at $260,000, that's right I said ski in ski out, try finding that at any other resort for that price, and that is with two bedrooms! The new Mountainside development has begun, Schweitzer Mtn's first fractional opportunity, and there you can get 3 bedroom slopeside homes within walking distance to the village for $195,000 for a 1/8 share....
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
Why I love Bonner General Hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho I have had many requests over the past several months to reveal exactly what my ActiveRain profile picture is all about.  I have decided that now is the time to answer those requests.  Especially since I just was emailed this great new photo of the baby in question from my daughter in New Zealand.  (I assume the baby is the only component of the picture my AR friends are curious about). In late April of 2009, my wife & I were graced with a brand new grand daughter...Baby Pepper.  She was born at Bonner General Hospital, here in Sandpoint, Idaho. That is my wife and me holding Pepper in my profile shot.   The birth at Bonner General is a story in itself.  My daughter and her husband currently live outside of Auckland, New Zealand and...
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Today in a training class put on by Sotheby's, we reinforced several tools that Sotheby's has that other agencies just can't compare to. Among those are Presentation Studio, our print materials, our web presence, and information that does something other companies are finding difficult in this down market. That something is the art of bringing buyers. With only 19% of the REALTORS® in our market, we make up almost 30% of the sales. We talked about many things over our Wednesday meeting and our Thursday morning training, including a video by the guru of real estate, David Knox. Today's topic by David was pricing. Simply put, if the realty is overpriced, it won't sell. He preaches honest communication, the realities of the market, and fulfilling your clients' goals. Mr. Knox is one of the...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
As recently as last summer, fall, and winter the news pundits touted the apparent recovery of our national housing market. With the various government programs feeding the market, such as first time home buyer credits and loan amelioration programs, mainstream media found no end to positive spins of news stories. While these special tax credits and various programs have been extended and helped the lower end of the market, the improved numbers were not so improved at at, and these programs are losing their effect. Now, we are seeing the numbers in the housing market turn down once again. For the third month in a row the NAR (National Association of Realtors) reported existing home sales failing 0.6% in February to a seasonally adjusted 5.02 million units. While 'seasonal adjustments' ca...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Word on the street is that USDA is out of money...  This is not true... yet.  USDA had a memo put out last week that states that around April 30, 2010 there will be no more funds available for the Guarantee or Direct Programs.  Though it is common for USDA to be out of funds every quarter with a delay in guarantees being issued, the memo created a few concerns.  What has happened in the past is that if USDA ran out of money for their funding period, they would issue a "Reserve Guarantee" for Guaranteed RD loans.  This would reserve funds to be disbursed once it was available.  Some banks, like MetLife Home Loans, would fund the loans regardless of whether or not the USDA had run out of funding or not based on the "Reserve Guarantee".  Without a guarantee from the USDA there is no USDA l...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Carolyn at 2nd Avenue Pizza has her hands full just running her business, but for 25 years, she has also undertaken the considerable task of putting on one of Sandpoint's premier events: Lost in the 50's. For four great days, Sandpoint is transported to a time-gone-by, with dances and music, vintage car parades and more. Carolyn has a dedicated cadre of helpers, all of whom work for free, volunteering to put on this great week of fun. Carolyn herself has never made a dime on the event, and without her, it is unlikely we would still be celebrating. Now, those of you who know me know I can pat myself so hard on the back I ofter break a clavicle. Still, I have done my part. For the last five years we have promoted Lost in the 50's each year on my radio shows, and three years ago, I noted L...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
A few years ago, a young woman touched the hearts of many of us in Sandpoint and on Schweitzer Mountain. Schweitzer named an event for her: A Day for Heather. The event is named in memory of Heather Gibson, a member of the Sandpoint community who did much to change the face of cancer in North Idaho before she died from the disease in August 2006. The initial campaign drew much praise, but also raised enough in funds to start Sandpoint's own Community Cancer Service. Now, just five short years later, CCS has its own digs, and works closely with many groups such as the American Cancer Society and Bonner Community Hospice, providing assistance, aid, groups, and guidance for those that are stricken with this live-altering, and often life-ending disease. I interviewed them on my North Idaho ...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Last Tuesday, on my North Idaho Arts & Adventure radio show, I interviewed Erica and Breitta, two of the instructors for our local Nia Dance Studio at the Cedar Street Bridge. Nia is an innovative way of getting in shape and centered. According to Wikipedia, Nia (previously Non-Impact Aerobics, Neuromuscular Integrative Action) is a physical conditioning program based on a premise that movement is a pathway for self-discovery and personal transformation. Nia is intended to deliver cardiovascular aerobic exercise and whole-body conditioning. Nia was created in California 1983 by Debbie Rosas (now Debbie Rosas Stewart) and Carlos Rosas (now Carlos AyaRosas). Nia is considered a body-mind-spirit exercise like yoga by Inner IDEA http://www.inneridea.com/about-us. Inner IDEA is part of IDEA ...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Okay, so I know that it is totally a method to get people to look at their product, but still... pretty cool. Featured in http://kodakprinterink.com/blog_awards/index.php?id=14787  
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By Janna Scharf, Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert
(Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene)
Janna Rankin Scharf, GRI, CSP, CLHMS - Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Last weekend was gloriously sunny and warm in beautiful North Idaho.  It was perfect for a day trip north to Bonners Ferry, through Sandpoint and across Lake Pend Oreille.  We headed out to meet up with my husband's sister and brother-in-law, who were headed our way, taking their own day trip south from Cranbrook, BC.  The scenery was magnificent, the promise of spring in the air, and not a cloud in the bright blue sky.  My youngest son had spent the night at his friend's cabin at Schweitzer Mountain.  They had done some night skiing and were spending this glorious day on the slopes.  He had already texted me that it was the most incredible skiing conditions he had ever experienced! As we crossed the bridge into Sand...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
Will wonders never cease?  We woke up to 25 degree temps and 4" of new snow on Schweitzer Mountain this morning.  Even though the Sandpoint valley warmed up to, a less than balmy, 40 after lunch, the slopes remained under 32 degrees and the snow was fabulous!  This was an unexpected gift after experiencing the mildest winter in the past few decades here in Sandpoint.  This has been the "perfect winter".    
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
  Attention Baby-Boomers – Now is the time to buy your ski escape!  …but for a different reason than you might think. Everyone knows the drill… 1) Prices are great (even if they do continue to self-adjust downward, the deals are still incredible today); 2)  interest rates are still at historic lows and, 3) lenders are looking for clients…believe it or not! But, You know what?  These are not THE most compelling reasons for you “baby-boomers” out there to take the plunge and invest in your skiing dream. I had an epiphany on the slopes today (while skiing some more great - albeit heavy - “Schweitzer Mountain powder”) ...BABY BOOMERS, YOUR WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY IS SHRINKING and it would be wise to make your move NOW! I do not rely on baby-boomers to fund my income stream, however, they are ...
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By Judith Ehlert
(Tomlinson Sothebys International Realty)
The season was late summer, beginning of fall 2009 and I was supposed to head into the wilds of North Idaho, where you have no idea what you might run into (human or critter) and find a 3 ac parcel.  I kept putting it off until the client's irritation finally shoved me out the door.  I told Jim, a realtor friend, where I was going in case I wasn't seen again and off I went.  Eventually, I'm deep into forest service land, past the sign explaining what a grizzly looks like, and something runs across the road.  My brain tells me it's an animal, but my eyes tell me another story.  I'm in disbelief as it registers that I'm looking at a very young child in a diaper, t-shirt and barefoot. I sat there momentarily as surely there would be an older brother chasing after him.   He appeared to have...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
While watching Tom Brockaw's tribute to Canada for the Winter Olympics I felt a kinship and the pang of family pride with my Canadian cousins to the north. In the 1640s, my first ancestor was among the explorers of Canada, and for generations, my French forebears were among the first to visit this continent. To learn more about my family's origins in America, please visit http://www.angelfire.com/tx/cajunmae/ We were not rich, and unlike many of the boastful in New Enland, my family has been serving the wealthy and prominent for centuries. The word 'Chauvinism' comes from one of my ancestors, who followed Napoleon so ardently, the name came to be synonymous with extreme patriotism. In the United States, the term used to be quoted as 'Male chauvinist' which meant that one was blindly pat...
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For years, I was one of the few REALTORS that did REO in my area. There is only one REO specializing company, and I started locally with them. Short sales, bank repos, it all took a bit more skill than the rest of the agents in our market, and I finally decided to stop doing them. Still, every year about 25% of my sales were REO. Then the world fell apart. My friends Cindy Bond and Merry Brown Hayes have both related this is the hardest they have ever worked in real estate. I am not complaining. I had sales, was ranked 12th with my company, and was in the top 20% of my market. I would have done even better, but had a junior partner and I let him take a percentage of my closings. There are new guidelines put out by the banks concerning REOs every week. Getting loans to go through has bec...
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Cancer is still the scourge of our planet, with most forms having no known cure. Our own Sandpoint Mardi Gras culminates with the kickoff on Fat Tuesday of the Relay for Life Mardi Gras Kickoff Party, sponsored and hosted by our own local volunteers. Come and learn how you can get involved with this year's American Cancer Society's event which will be held in June..."It's a celebration"... Put it on your calendar for Fat Tuesday, February 16th at the Masonic Lodge in Sandpoint. Festivities start at 5:30 pm and appetizers, wine, and beer tastings will be provided by Pend d'Oreille Winery and Laughing Dog Brewing and get your Mardi Gras beads! See you there!
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People think of Sandpoint as a tourist town, and that is true. However, tourism ranks way below the other main employers. In order, our biggest employment sectors are manufacturing, government, education, and then tourism. So, while tourism provides a healthy boost to our economy, without producers such as Coldwater Creek, Quest Aircraft, Airtow, Lignetics, Thorne Research, Unicep Packaging, and Litehouse Foods, we would have far fewer high-paying jobs. Our most recent addition is Smart Plugs: a green technology company that manufactures high-tech, cleaner burning spark plugs, and a combination catalytic converter/smart spark plug. This new technology helps not only our cars burn fuel more efficiently and cleaner, but provides much better gas mileage for our autos. The company is a rese...
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By Kent Anderson, from Schweitzer to the Lake
(Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho)
I just can't get enough of this stuff.  We have had a magically mild winter here in North Idaho but, as if that wasn't enough, we have also been blessed with an endless stream of magnificent sunsets.  Today was no exception. As I started my evening walk with my wife today, we were intercepted by my neighbor, Jason.  Noticing we were walking in an easterly direction (away from the explosion occurring in the western sky), Jason commented, "What's up you guys?  Trying to get as far away from that sunset as possible?"  (I think the whole neighborhood was out watching the sun go down). No, Jason, we caught the sunset.  ...and now the world of ActiveRain can enjoy it also.  (I can't believe I live here).    
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
Last Tuesday, on my North Idaho Business talk radio show, I had the pleasure of interviewing two upcoming events. The first is the Moyie Springs Sno Cross. This event has Trophy Class snowbike racing and snowmobile races. Up there, past Bonners Ferry and north of Sandpoint is the Moyie Springs Sports Park. The races have the qualifiers Saturday and the Finals Sunday. Looks to be a pretty cool event. Here are the vitals: MOYIE SPRINGS SNO CROSS February 13th & 14thSaturday 10am - 4pmSunday 10am - 2pm For more info, contact Arron Dabbs (208) 277-5413 or inyourfacemotorsports@gmail.com Also coming up is the Outdoor Sports Expo. Held at the Bonner County Fairgrounds, we had these guys on the show last year for their first shindig, and it was very successful, so we are looking for a great ti...
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By Gary Lirette, Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
The first year I came to Sandpoint I was invited to putt-putt at the Downtown Golf Scramble. We had a blast. You golf on tiny courses set up at various businesses, several of which serve you cocktails, then end up at a restaurant where prizes for best round and such are handed out. It was a cold February day, and we finished at Ivano's. My team won 'Worst Dressed.' Another year my restaurant, Wigleys, was one of the vendors for the Mardi Gras Ball. I love the event. After all, I am from New Orleans. There are events that take place all over town, and it is more fun than should be allowed by law. While I helped just the tiniest little bit, the great volunteers that put this together and the businesses that participate should be lauded. So, as we say in New Orleans, "Laissez le bon temps ...
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