Enjoy helpful home buying and selling tips as well as market updates, community events and local love.

Sept. 21, 2023

Preparing Your Home for Fall: Essential Tips and Tricks

Preparing Your Home For Fall_Laurel Jonas blog

Preparing Your Home for Fall: Essential Tips and Tricks


As the leaves begin to change colors and the temperature starts to drop, it's time to prepare your home for the upcoming fall season. Whether you're a homeowner looking to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere or a real estate agent helping clients get their homes ready for potential buyers, this blog post will provide you with essential tips and tricks to prepare your home for fall.


Clean and Declutter:

Start by giving your home a thorough cleaning. Remove any summer clutter and organize your belongings. This not only helps create a fresh and orderly environment but also allows you to make space for fall decorations and seasonal items. Don't forget to clean your windows to let in as much natural light as possible during the shorter fall days.

Check Your Heating System:

Before the colder weather sets in, it's a good idea to have your heating system inspected and serviced by a professional. Clean or replace air filters, check for any leaks or issues, and ensure that your heating system is functioning properly. This will not only keep your home comfortable but also help save on energy costs.

Inspect and Clean Chimney and Fireplace:

If you have a fireplace, fall is the perfect time to get it ready for use. Hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney. This will help remove any built-up soot or debris and ensure that your fireplace is safe and ready to provide cozy warmth during the cooler months.

Seal Windows and Doors:

To keep your home warm and energy-efficient during fall, check for any drafts around windows and doors. Apply weatherstripping or caulking to seal any gaps and prevent cold air from entering and warm air from escaping. This simple step can significantly reduce heating costs and create a more comfortable living environment.

Prepare the Outdoor Space:

Fall is a great time to enjoy your outdoor space, so prepare it accordingly. Clean and store summer furniture, cushions, and accessories. Consider adding cozy elements such as blankets, throw pillows, and outdoor heaters to make your outdoor area inviting and usable even as the temperatures drop.

Decorate with Fall Accents:

Embrace the season by adding fall accents and decorations to your home. Incorporate warm and earthy colors, such as oranges, yellows, browns, and deep reds, into your decor. Display pumpkins, gourds, fall wreaths, and seasonal flowers to create a welcoming and festive atmosphere.

Bottom Line

Preparing your home for fall is all about creating a comfortable and welcoming environment while also ensuring that your home is ready for the changing weather. By cleaning and decluttering, checking your heating system, inspecting and cleaning your chimney, sealing windows and doors, preparing the outdoor space, and adding fall accents, you can make your home cozy, energy-efficient, and ready to embrace the beauty of the autumn season. So, grab a pumpkin spice latte, put on your favorite sweater, and get ready to enjoy the comforts of fall in your well-prepared home.



Laurel Jonas







Posted in Home Tips
Sept. 14, 2023

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent: A Guide for Homebuyers and Sellers

Choosing the right agent_Laurel Jonas blog

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent: A Guide for Homebuyers and Sellers


When buying or selling a home, one of the most important decisions you'll make is choosing the right real estate agent. An experienced and knowledgeable agent can make a world of difference in your real estate transaction. In this blog post, we will provide valuable tips and considerations to help you choose the perfect agent to meet your specific needs.



Research and Interview Multiple Agents:

Take the time to research and interview multiple real estate agents before making a decision. Look for agents who specialize in your local market and have a track record of success. Ask about their experience, qualifications, and the services they provide. This will help you gauge their expertise and compatibility with your goals.


Seek Recommendations:

Ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations of real estate agents they have worked with and had positive experiences. Personal recommendations can provide valuable insights and help you narrow down your options.


Consider Local Market Expertise:

Choose an agent who has a deep understanding of the local market. They should be knowledgeable about the neighborhoods, recent sales, market trends, and pricing strategies. A local expert can help you navigate the market and make informed decisions.


Evaluate Communication and Responsiveness:

Effective communication is crucial in any real estate transaction. Look for an agent who is responsive, accessible, and communicates in a way that works for you. They should listen to your needs, address your concerns, and keep you informed throughout the process.


Assess Negotiation Skills:

A skilled negotiator can make a significant impact on your buying or selling experience. Inquire about an agent's negotiation strategies and how they have successfully represented their clients in the past. A strong negotiator can help you secure the best deal and navigate through any challenges that may arise.


Check Client Testimonials and Reviews:

Read client testimonials and online reviews to get a sense of an agent's reputation and the experiences of past clients. Look for positive feedback regarding their professionalism, knowledge, and results. Keep in mind that a single negative review should not necessarily disqualify an agent but consider patterns and overall satisfaction.


Trust Your Gut:

Ultimately, trust your instincts when choosing an agent. It's important to feel comfortable and confident in your agent's abilities. Look for someone who values your interests, listens to your needs, and is committed to providing exceptional service.


Bottom Line

Choosing the right real estate agent is a critical step in achieving a successful and smooth real estate transaction. By taking the time to research, interview, and assess different agents, you can find the perfect professional who aligns with your goals and has the expertise to guide you through the process. Remember, a great agent can make all the difference in your real estate journey.




Laurel Jonas







Sept. 7, 2023

The Importance of Roof Maintenance: Tips for Homeowners

The Importance of Roof Maintenance_Laurel Jonas Blog

The roof is one of the most critical components of a home, providing protection from the elements and maintaining structural integrity. Regular roof maintenance is essential to prolong its lifespan and prevent costly repairs. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of roof maintenance and provide helpful tips for homeowners to keep their roofs in optimal condition.

Regular Inspections:

Performing regular roof inspections is crucial to identify any signs of damage or wear. Inspect for missing or damaged shingles, cracked flashing, sagging areas, or signs of water leakage. Schedule professional inspections at least once a year, especially after severe weather events, to catch potential issues early.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts:

Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water buildup on the roof, causing damage to the shingles and potential leaks. Regularly clean out debris from gutters and ensure downspouts are properly directing water away from the foundation. Consider installing gutter guards to prevent debris buildup.

Trim Overhanging Trees:

Overhanging tree branches can scrape against the roof, causing damage to shingles and creating entry points for pests. Trim back any branches that are in close proximity to the roof to prevent potential damage and maintain proper airflow.

Address Roof Leaks Promptly:

If you notice any signs of water leakage, such as water stains on the ceiling or damp spots in the attic, address the issue promptly. Roof leaks can lead to significant damage, including mold growth and compromised structural integrity. Contact a professional roofer to assess and repair the source of the leak.

Maintain Proper Attic Ventilation:

Proper attic ventilation is crucial for preventing excess heat and moisture buildup, which can damage the roof structure and shingles. Ensure that attic vents are clear of obstructions and consider installing additional vents if needed. Consult with a professional to assess your attic ventilation needs.

Prevent Ice Dams:

In colder climates, ice dams can form on the roof edges, leading to water penetration and damage. Proper insulation and ventilation in the attic can help prevent ice dams. Additionally, safely remove accumulated snow from the roof to minimize the risk of ice dam formation.

Hire Professional Roofers:

For major repairs or roof replacements, it's essential to hire professional roofers with expertise in the specific type of roofing material. They can ensure proper installation and provide guidance on maintenance practices to prolong the roof's lifespan.

Bottom Line

Regular roof maintenance is crucial for protecting your home and preserving its value. By following these tips and investing in regular inspections and repairs, homeowners can extend the lifespan of their roofs and minimize the risk of costly damage. Remember, when in doubt, consult with a professional roofer to ensure proper care and maintenance of your roof.


Laurel Jonas




Posted in Home Tips
Sept. 5, 2023

August 2023 Coeur d'Alene Area Real Estate Market Update and Local Activities

August 2023 Coeur d'Alene Area Real Estate Market Update and Local Activities

New Listings: 332 Down 7.8%
Pending sales: 201 Down 12.2%
Closed Sales: 197 Down 23.2%
Days on Market Until Sold: 67 Up 15.5%
Percent to List Price Received: 97.9 Up .5%
Months of Inventory: 4.1 Up 17.1%
Average Sales Price: $740,141 Up 2.1%

 These statistics are based on Kootenai County Previously Owned Homes the month of August 2023.

 If you are interested in buying or selling a home in North Idaho, please reach out. I would love to be of assistance.


Laurel Jonas




Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 31, 2023

Questions for First-Time Homebuyers

Questions for first time homebuyers_Laurel Jonas Blog

You might be considering taking the leap from renting to buying your first home!  This is a very exciting step to take, but it also comes with a lot of questions.  Before you decide on whether or not you want to purchase a home, take a look at these frequently asked questions by first-time buyers!


Why should I buy instead of rent? 

A home is an investment. When you rent, you write your monthly check and that money is gone forever. But when you own your home, you can deduct the cost of your mortgage loan interest from your federal income taxes, and usually from your state taxes. This will save you a lot each year because the interest you pay will make up most of your monthly payments for most of the years of your mortgage. You can also deduct the property taxes you pay as a homeowner.

How much of my income should go towards a mortgage?

When you own a home, the ideal percentage of your gross monthly income that should go toward your mortgage is 20 percent. That means if you make $1,000 per month, no more than $200 should go toward your monthly mortgage payment and related expenses, such as taxes and homeowners’ insurance. 


How much money should I save before purchasing a house?

Saving for a down payment is a big part of purchasing your first home. Although it is common to put 20% down on a house, if you are a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify to put down as little as 3%. But putting down less than 20% may mean higher costs and paying for mortgage insurance (PMI), and even a small down payment can still be hefty.


For example, a 5% down payment on a $200,000 home is $10,000.  The good news is once you hit your 20% down payment, you no longer have to pay the PMI. There are programs and first-time homeowner loans you can look into that will allow you to put a smaller down payment and have the same monthly payments.   


You will also want to make sure that you account for any closing costs and moving expenses when you are budgeting for your next move! 


While it might be tempting to put all of your savings into a down payment, don't forget that you may want to keep some to purchase items you’ll need to help maintain your new home.


What other costs will I need to account for when buying a home? 

In addition to your mortgage, you will have your monthly utilities. If your utilities have been covered in your rent, this may be new for you. Your real estate agent will be able to help you get information from the seller on how much utilities normally cost. In addition, you might have homeowner association dues. You'll definitely have property taxes, and you also may have city or county taxes. Taxes normally are rolled into your mortgage payment. 


Another cost to consider is if you might need to be paying Homeowners Association fees. Your real estate agent can help you determine what these costs will be and help you determine your home’s price range accordingly.  


While buying your first home can seem like a stressful and complicated process, we are here to make sure that every step.


Laurel Jonas

Northwest Realty Group



Posted in Buying A Home Tips
Aug. 24, 2023

What to Know as a Home Seller

What To Know As A Homeseller_Laurel Jonas Blog

The first thing you should know as a prospective home seller is, it’s still a great market! That’s right, for over 2 years now, sellers have been uniquely positioned to get the best possible value for the sale of their homes. We even saw sellers receive offers well above asking price on occasion. It’s Economics 101: when you have more buyers than product, the price will often rise.


There are a number of reasons why sellers are still enjoying a great market. First, let’s talk a little more about that concept of inventory. During the pandemic, people everywhere began reassessing their priorities. Many decided to downsize, move out of town or even across the country for a variety of reasons. In essence, everyone was in the market for a home at the same time. Mid-priced homes, particularly, entered and left the market in record time. Current inventory is actually up from last year but it’s still less inventory than the industry was accustomed to pre-2020.


Next, there’s this business with interest rates. Interest rates are certainly up by contemporary standards. However, let’s put things in perspective. At the turn of the century, the average interest rate was over 8%. Twenty years before that, it was closer to 18%. So, while rates are higher than say 5 years ago, they’re still pretty low from a historical standpoint.


Right now, as a seller you’re holding the key to the most important tangible asset out there. No, not your vintage Beanie Baby collection, your home! For the time being, multiple offer situations look to be the norm. Lots of buyers want what you have and they’re willing to offer a fair price to get it. If only that were the case with Beanie Babies. What am I supposed to do with all these things?


Don’t think it’s all a done deal though. As a seller, focus on maximizing the curb appeal of your home to increase interest and value, especially considering a more “normal” looking housing market could be on the way sooner than later. Or, if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few years, a new version of normal. So, make those repairs, add that new coat of paint, and keep standing out from the competition!


Laurel Jonas

Northwest Realty Group



Posted in Selling Tips
Aug. 10, 2023

How Changing Mortgage Rates Can Affect You

How changing mortgage rates can affect you_Laurel Jonas blog

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has been bouncing between 6% and 7% this year. If you’ve been on the fence about whether to buy a home or not, it’s helpful to know exactly how a 1%, or even a 0.5%, mortgage rate shift affects your purchasing power.


The chart below helps show the general relationship between mortgage rates and a typical monthly mortgage payment:

Buyers Purchasing Power


Even a 0.5% change can have a big impact on your monthly payment. And since rates have been moving between 6% and 7% for a while now, you can see how it impacts your purchasing power as rates go down.


What This Means for You

You may be tempted to put your home buying plans on hold in hopes that rates will fall. But that can be risky. No one knows for sure where rates will go from here, and trying to time them for your benefit is tough. A good explanation is: It is typically a fool’s errand for a homebuyer to try to time rates in this market . . . But volatility in mortgage rates right now can have a real impact on buyers’ monthly payments.


That’s why it’s critical to lean on your expert real estate advisors to explore your mortgage options, understand what impacts mortgage rates, and plan your home buying budget around today’s volatility. They’ll also be able to offer advice tailored to your specific situation and goals, so you have what you need to make an informed decision.


Bottom Line

Your ability to buy a home could be impacted by changing mortgage rates. If you’re thinking about making a move, let’s connect so you have a strong plan in place.


Laurel Jonas

Northwest Realty Group



Posted in Buying A Home Tips
Aug. 3, 2023

July 2023 Coeur d'Alene Area Real Estate Market Update

July 2023 Coeur d'Alene Area Real Estate Market Update

New Listings: 308 Down 32.3%
Pending sales: 244 Down 3.2%
Closed Sales: 225 Up 17.8%
Days on Market Until Sold: 66 Up 24.5%
Percent to List Price Received: 98 Up 0.5%
Months of Inventory: 3.7  Up 8.8%
Average Sales Price: $718,922 Down 5.8%


These statistics are based on Kootenai County Previously Owned Homes.


If you are interested in buying or selling a home in North Idaho, please reach out. I would love to be of assistance.


Laurel Jonas


Northwest Realty Group


Stats are compared to July 2022 previously owned properties only in Kootenai County.️

Posted in Market Updates
July 27, 2023

What's a Seller’s Market. What Does That Mean?

What's a sellers market? What does that mean_Laurel Jonas Blog

Even though activity in the housing market has slowed from the frenzy we saw over a year ago, today’s low supply of homes for sale is still a seller’s market. But what does that really mean? And why are conditions today so good if you want to list your house?


It starts with the number of homes available for sale. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows housing supply is still astonishingly low. Today, we have a 2.6-month supply of homes at the current sales pace. Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ market in which there are enough homes available for active buyers.


What Does This Mean for You?

When the supply of homes for sale is as low as it is right now, it’s much harder for buyers to find one to purchase. That creates increased competition among purchasers and keeps upward pressure on prices. And if a buyer knows they’re not the only one interested in a home, they’re going to do their best to submit a very attractive offer. As this happens, sellers are positioned to negotiate deals that meet their ideal terms. 


Economists at NAR say:

“Inventory levels are still at historic lows. Consequently, multiple offers are returning on a good number of properties.”


Right now, there are still buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home. If you list your house right now in good condition and at the right price, it could get a lot of attention from competitive buyers.


Bottom Line

Today’s seller’s market holds great opportunities for homeowners ready to make a move. Listing your house now will maximize your exposure to serious, competitive buyers. Let’s connect to discuss how to jumpstart the selling process.


Laurel Jonas

Northwest Realty Group




July 21, 2023

Upgrade Your Dining Room Decor with Simple Elegance

Upgrade Your Dining Room With Simple Elegance_Laurel Jonas Blog

For many of us, the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life means our houses see more chaos and traffic than a rush-hour train station. The idea of an oft-used space like the dining room looking buttoned-up with sophisticated decor is almost laughable.


But lately we’ve noticed a return to formality: More homebuyers are seeking out properties with a formal dining room, and current homeowners are warming to the idea of bringing more refined furnishings into their dining area. Some experts chalk it up to a stark reaction to the years we spent being casual and cozy indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.


So with the spring season right around the corner, now is a great time to focus on adding a bit of elegance to your dining room decor. To inspire your aesthetic overhaul, here are five trending looks:


1. Mauve velvet chairs

Jewel-tone velvet dining chairs have had a hold on the design world for a while now. The trend toward using velvet dining chairs in shades like mauve is driven by a desire for warmth, coziness, and a touch of glamor. These chairs pair well with a variety of dining tables, from traditional to modern, and work particularly well with brass or gold accents. They also bring sophistication, elegance, and depth to the overall design of the room.

Get the look: Smarten up your dining room with a few mauve side chairs.


2. Chinoiserie wall art

Create an elegant focal point in your dining room by adding some Chinoiserie-style wall art. The trend toward using Chinoiserie wall art is driven by a desire to bring a touch of Eastern-inspired beauty and elegance to the home. These pieces pair well with a variety of decor styles, from classic to contemporary, and work particularly well with light-colored walls. The intricate and colorful designs are inspired by traditional Chinese motifs and provide a timeless and classic style.

Get the look: Create a classic vibe in your space with framed prints.

3. Grass-cloth wallpaper

The dining room is a popular place for homeowners to experiment with wallpaper. And the grass-cloth wallpaper adds visual interest and sophistication to an otherwise dull space. Made from plants dried in the sun, grass-cloth wallpaper surrounds your room in warmth and texture. Its popularity is easy to trace since the biophilic design trend has been going strong for a few years with homeowners seeking out additional ways to bring the outside in. You can achieve the same look for less with a printed wallpaper in a grass-cloth pattern.

Get the look: Embrace the great outdoors this spring with faux grass-cloth wallpaper.


4. Large stone vase

If your dining room is lacking a central statement piece, seek out a stone vase. An oversized textured stone vase works well to create balance with another textured object in the room like a light fixture, furniture, or big spring flowers. It’s a natural look that feels right in a room with other earthy materials like linen, rattan, or even a beige area rug.

Get the look: Balance out your springtime bouquet with a handcrafted terra-cotta vase.


5. Blown-glass pendants

An elegant dining room doesn’t have to be stuffy! Get creative and add an artistic oomph above your dining table with blown-glass pendants. Blown-glass pendant lights are a functional way to bring an artistic element into your home. A homeowner with an eclectic style will be drawn to the opportunity to hang vivid colors and shapes over their dining room table.

Get the look: Find the perfect expression of your artistic vision by shopping collections of blown-glass pendants on Etsy.


Laurel Jonas

Northwest Realty Group



Posted in Home Tips