Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Mayor's Top 5 Reasons to Love Summer in Meridian

We love this blog written by Mayor Tammy de Weerd; what isn't there to love about summer in Meridian, ID?!



I love summertime in Meridian! There is something for everyone! In fact, just this past Saturday I shopped for produce at the Meridian Youth Farmers Market, cooled off at the Kleiner Park splash pad with my grandkids, and watched the sunset from my patio on a gorgeous summer evening. As I watched the sun go down, I thought of all of the amazing things we have to do, right here in our own backyard! So if you are looking for some summer fun in Meridian – here are five ideas to consider:

5. Youth Farmers Market


This year marks the second annual Meridian Youth Farmers Market! This event is a long-awaited addition as it’s something the community has wanted for years. In Meridian style, ours is unique because the majority of vendors are youth from across the valley. Bring the family downtown on Saturday mornings, support our local youth and shop the fresh produce, baked goods, crafts and more - everything must be local and personally made. (Now – Sept. 2, Saturdays from 9am-12pm, Meridian City Hall Plaza)

4. CableONE Movie Night


Can you believe this is the 11th year of CableONE Movie Night? I can remember when it first began and it has definitely grown to be a community favorite! Check out the schedule of movies at www.meridiancity.org/movienight and share your pictures on social media with the hashtag #MeridianMovieNight. (Now – Aug. 25, Fridays at dusk, Settlers Park)

3. Concerts on Broadway


This event grows in popularity each year. Who doesn’t want to listen to some great concerts under the summer night’s sky?! And it’s free – thanks to our generous sponsors. Join us for Concerts on Broadway here in the Meridian City Hall Plaza! There will be food trucks at each event this year too. You can find more information at www.meridiancity.org/artsevents. (July 15, July 29, August 12, August 26, 6:30pm, Meridian City Hall Plaza)

2. Meridian Parks


There is plenty of fun to be had in our parks this summer. The splash pads at Kleiner and Settlers Parks are a great way to cool off and there’s fishing right here in town at both of these parks! Our parks play host to numerous events throughout the summer such as the Independence Day Festival at Storey Park, concerts, races, vendor shows and more. And don’t forget to check out Storey Bark Park – your dogs will love the amenities!

1. Experience Downtown Meridian


And finally, I encourage you to experience Downtown Meridian this summer. Learn about our community’s history by following our Historical Walking Tour – you can even download the app on your smart phone! Or check out the changes in downtown. We’ve welcomed several new businesses and there’s always family fun available at the Meridian Library’s unBOUND. They have a lot of great summer programs – check it out at www.mymld.org.

Of course aside from my top five there’s fall fun ahead too, with Meridian Art Week (Sept. 11-16) that will now culminate with the rescheduled Gene Kleiner Meridian Symphony concert at Kleiner Park on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 6pm. Also, Kleiner Park LIVE an outdoor concert series kicks off in August and runs through October, and the Meridian Community Block Party, Sept. 9. Plus, our Parks and Recreation Department has put together a Summer Activity Guide that is full of fun ideas and activities for people of all ages!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Top 10 Reasons We Love Meridian, ID


1. The most amazing parks in town

[athletic fields, musical instruments, huge play structures, splash pads and always clean]


2. It's close to everything

[literally, it's in the middle of the valley...you can be anywhere in 30 minutes]


3. It's safe and clean

[the Fire, Police and City take such good care of us]


4. The Mayor

[Tammy DeWeerd is dedicated to making sure that Meridian is a wonderful place for      families to live. All of the programs are run with heart]


5. Old Town Meridian

[if you haven't been lately you're missing out...the restaurants, History Walk, UnBound, Children's Farmers Market, Concerts in the Park and so much more]


6. Dairy Days

[besides all of the festivities, it's the best old-fashioned parade you'll find - bring on the cheese!]


7. The Village at Meridian

[shop, dine and entertain...all in one spot]


8. Roaring Springs

[had to include this one for the kiddos...it's like a carnival, every single day of summer]


9. The Schools

[from public schools, to charter schools, private schools and more...there is something for everyone]


10. It's a great place to call home

[Meridian is one of the fastest growing cities in Idaho and the United States. Why? Because it's just a flat, great place to live...see #'s 1-9]

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Time to Tomato Boom!


Tomatoes are King...


When it comes to the home garden. People that don’t “Garden” still like to grow a tomato or two. Over the years, we have compiled some great advice to help everyone be successful.

1. Putting a plant in the ground may seem like a really simple thing. Tomatoes have a special feature that allows them to be planted just a little differently. If you prune off the leaves about two-thirds up and bury it so only the top third of the plant is left, your plant will be able to push out more roots and bring in more water and nutrients. I know it starts out a little smaller, but trust us it will quickly catch up and soon outgrow other tomatoes not planted this way.

2. Tomatoes are heavy feeders. They eat a lot, and getting this started off right will make a world of difference in your plant’s performance throughout the year. The best thing to start them off right is Zamzows Tomato Boom. Tomato Boom has everything your plants need to promote root growth and reduce transplant shock. Tomato Boom is loaded with essential nutrients that prevent against blossom end rot and give you the most flavorful and nutritious fruit you’ve ever tasted.

3. Pruning often will help control the size and shape of your tomato, it also removes the unnecessary growth that steals energy from the rest of the plant. Suckers are a large drain of energy from your plants. Identifying suckers is difficult to explain, so I am going to let Jim Zamzow show you how. The video covers some other tips so if you want to jump to the Tomato pruning, skip to the 1:42 mark.





4. Controlling your tomatoes is essential for healthy growth and accessibility as they mature. You really need to cage these guys. But here is the actual tip. Put your cage on them at planting time! Seriously don’t wait. If you buy a tomato buy a cage. Unless you already have some you should get a cage at the time you buy. Because you will probably forget and the next thing you know it is the end of July and your tomato is so big you will risk serious damage trying to wrangle a cage around it. So get that cage on at planting time; you’ll be glad you did.

5. All plants need water and tomatoes are no exception. Many problems that manifest in our tomatoes can be directly correlated to a watering issue. Here are a few things to keep in mind. Make a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. A good place to start is about every three days. To do this properly you will want to water deeply. So let the water run for a good twenty minutes or so. Soak don’t spray, it is better to soak the soil around your tomato and keep the water off the foliage when possible.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Fling Home Maintenance Tip: Fire up those Sprinklers!


We had a record winter of snowfall and moisture accumulation in the Treasure Valley, so now what do we do?


TURN ON THE SPRINKLERS.


Some recent “sprinkler experiences” reminded me of how important this outdoor chore is in the springtime. First case in point, we had a client ready to sell a 5-year-old home. The buyer had an inspection and next thing we knew, bad siding appeared on the repair list. The cause of this extremely expensive ordeal was the consistent spraying from the sprinklers on the side of the home behind some bushes. The siding was a wood/fiber product, and it absorbed and rotted in place.

The first way to prevent water in unwanted places is to ensure any flower beds surrounding the home have a wide enough space between them and the home to allow you to walk behind any plants. You may also seriously consider using a drip line to water your plants, rather than individual sprinklers. This will send water down into the soil rather than into the air and onto your home. Sprinklers set too close to the home can also be a primary source of water getting into your crawlspace.

The next thing to do is ensure you have the correct spray heads on your sprinklers and that the coverage is set according to the space it should be watering. This is certainly not a one-sprinkler-fits-all situation. You will want to walk your yard each season with the sprinklers on to check these, and adjust or replace any that aren’t doing their job correctly. The amount of water used when watering your yard is essential to landscape growing success, whether you’re using metered water or pressurized irrigation.

Article by Gary Salisbury, Equity Northwest Real Estate.

Build Your Own Wealth: Own a Home

It's all in the numbers. See how you can grow your wealth by owning a home instead of throwing your money away on rent each month.


Just say NO to Zestimates!


Homeowner sues Zillow, says ‘Zestimate’ is nonsense


It was bound to happen: A homeowner has filed suit against online realty giant Zillow, claiming the company’s controversial “Zestimate” tool repeatedly undervalued her home, creating a “tremendous road block” to its sale.

The suit, which may be the first of its kind, was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by a Glenview, Illinois, real estate lawyer, Barbara Andersen. The suit alleges that despite Zillow’s denial that Zestimates constitute “appraisals,” the fact that they offer market value estimates and “are promoted as a tool for potential buyers to use in assessing [the] market value of a given property,” meets the definition of an appraisal under state law. Not only should Zillow be licensed to perform appraisals before offering such estimates, the suit argues, but it should obtain “the consent of the homeowner” before posting them online for everyone to see.

In an interview, Andersen told me she is considering bringing the issue to the Illinois state attorney general because it affects all owners in the state. She has also been approached about turning the matter into a class action, which could touch millions of owners across the country.

In the suit, Andersen said that she has been trying to sell her townhouse, which overlooks a golf course and is in a prime location, for $626,000 — roughly what she paid for it in 2009. Homes directly across the street, but with greater square footage, sell for $100,000 more, according to her court filing. But Zillow’s automated valuation system has apparently used sales of newly constructed houses from a different and less costly part of town as comparables in valuing her townhouse, she says. The most recent Zestimate is for $562,000. Andersen is seeking an injunction against Zillow and wants the company to either remove her Zestimate or amend it. For the time being she is not seeking monetary damages, she told me.

Emily Heffter, a spokeswoman for Zillow, dismissed Andersen’s litigation as “without merit.” A publicly traded real estate marketing company based in Seattle, Zillow has been offering Zestimates since 2006. Currently it provides them for upward of 110 million houses — whether for sale or not. Type in almost any home’s street address and you’ll likely get a property description and a Zestimate. The value estimates are based on public records and other data using “a proprietary formula,” according to Zillow.

The Zestimate feature is the cornerstone of Zillow’s business model since it pulls in millions of home shoppers, allowing the company to sell advertising space to realty agents. Zillow makes big money with the help of its Zestimates: In the first quarter of this year, it reported $245.8 million in revenues — a 32 percent jump over the year before — including $175 million in payments from “premier” agents, who pay for advertising.

But there’s a flip side to Zestimates. Home owners, realty agents and appraisers have been critical for years about the valuation tool, citing estimates that too often are far off the mark — sometimes 20 percent or 30 percent too low or too high — and misleading to consumers. Zillow itself acknowledges errors. Nationwide, according to Heffter, it has a median error rate of 5 percent. Zestimates are within 5 percent of the sale price 53.9 percent of the time, within 10 percent 75.6 percent of the time and within 20 percent 89.7 percent of the time, Zillow claims.

A Zestimate “is not an appraisal,” the company says on its website, but instead is “Zillow’s estimated market value” using its proprietary formula. Another way of looking at the Zestimate error rate: Roughly one quarter of the time, the value estimate is off by 10 percent or more of the selling price, and wrong by 20 percent or more 10 percent of the time. Though the 5 percent median error rate sounds modest, when computed against median sales prices, the errors can translate into tens of thousands of dollars — hundreds of thousands in high cost areas. Also in some counties, error rates zoom beyond the 5 percent median — 33.9 percent, for example, in Ogle County, Illinois, and 10 percent to 20 percent in a handful of counties in Ohio, Maryland, Florida, Oklahoma and Illinois.

Some appraisers are cheering Andersen’s suit and welcomed the idea of state-by-state legal challenges. “They’ve been playing appraiser without being licensed for years and doing a bad job,” said Pat Turner, a Richmond, Virginia, appraiser. “It’s about time they got called on it.”

Article from Miami Herald.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Who Benefits from your Rent Payments?

Renting can be a frustrating thing, but when you learn on top of it how much money it's costing you in the long run, I'd say that makes things a bit more frustrating. See how renting vs. owning compares in these situations and see if you have the same outlook on renting afterward.