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Buying a House in Idaho: An In-Depth Guide

If you’re looking to buy a home in Idaho, you probably have a lot on your mind. How is the Idaho market doing? When should you look? How much are closing costs? What will your property taxes look like? We can help you answer all of these questions and more.
If you’re looking to buy a home in Idaho, you probably have a lot on your mind. How is the Idaho market doing? When should you look? How much are closing costs? What will your property taxes look like? We can help you answer all of these questions and more.

There are countless decisions to make and even more things to think about when you’re looking to buy a new house. We understand that the home buying process can be daunting. That’s why we’re here to help.

From finding the right agent, to the right time to buy, to property taxes and closing costs, Clever is here with your guide to buying a house in the Gem State.

How to Find a Idaho Buyer’s Agent

Every prospective buyer’s first step should be partnering with a great, local real estate agent. A good buyer’s agent will provide you support and guidance throughout every step of the home buying process.

There are a few things you should look for when evaluating real estate agents. Every buyer needs a realtor who puts them at ease, is proactive, has local experience, and is a good communicator and expert negotiator.

If you’re looking to buy property in Idaho, Clever can instantly connect you with a top-rated agent in your local market. Get in touch with a Clever Partner Agent today for a no-obligation consultation.

Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?

Idaho Housing Market Forecast for 2019 — and Beyond

The median home value in Idaho is $263,700 — 17.4% higher than it was just one year ago. Zillow predicts that Idaho home values will continue to increase, and could rise nearly another 9% in the next year.

Throughout the last several years demand has far outweighed supply, making Idaho a premium seller’s market. Experts expect Idaho home prices to continue to rise, though not at the same breakneck pace as we saw in 2018.

With homes in high demand and prices soaring, Idaho can be a difficult market to break into, especially for first-time and low income home buyers. Make sure you talk to your real estate agent about your specific needs and goals.

Learn More: Idaho Real Estate Market Trends in 2019

Best Time of Year to Buy a Home in Idaho

Idaho follows the trend that holds for most of the U.S. — spring is for buyers who want the most options, winter is for buyers who want the lowest prices, and summer is somewhere in between.

Biggest Selection: Spring

If your most important priority is to find your dream home and you have some flexibility with regard to price, spring is the time for you. Spring sees more houses put on the market than any other season.

Although home supply is high from April to June, demand is even higher. Spring is by far the most popular time for buyers to look. Families with children like to move over the summer, to not disrupt the school schedule. And everyone wants to be settled into their new homes before fall and winter hit, especially in a place like Idaho.

Homes listed in the spring are more likely to see multiple bids, a quick sale, and a higher sale price than homes listed the rest of the year.

Best Price: Late Fall & Winter

If you can wait until winter to buy in Idaho, that’s when you’re likely to see the best deals. Many sellers who list their home over the winter, before the hot spring selling season begins, need to sell their house as fast as possible. This is especially true in a state like Idaho, which experiences incredibly harsh winters.

A need to sell plus a lack of competition can lead to some of the lowest selling prices of the year.

Middle Ground: Late Summer

For a middle ground between cold winter and ultra-hot spring, consider looking in the late summer and early fall. This is when many homeowners whose properties didn’t sell during spring or summer start to lower their prices and are more willing to give you concessions during negotiations.

Learn More: The Best Time to Buy a House in Idaho

Calculate Your Property Taxes in Idaho

Property taxes are an important part of homeownership and you should understand what your annual tax liability will be before you get too far along in the home buying process. Property tax is a major source of revenue for state and local governments.

Real estate is often taxed at the state, county, and city levels. Property taxes pay for things like public schools, fire departments, parks, and libraries.

The amount of property tax you pay is based on the value of your property and any structures on it. The assessed value of your property is multiplied by the property tax rates of your state and local governments.

Idaho assesses your property’s current market value each year in January. The amount of taxes you’ll pay is based on your property’s assessed value and your county’s tax rate.

Relatively speaking, Idaho real estate taxes are fairly low. The average tax rate in Idaho is 0.771%, as opposed to the national average of 1.211%.

Like counties in many states, counties in Iowa charge varying property tax rates. A median Iowa home of $263,700 would be taxed at $2,041 in Twin Falls County (0.774%), $2,112 in Ada County (.801%) and $2,690 in Canyon County (1.020%).

It’s important to make sure you can afford the property taxes in your target location.Your real estate agent should be able to walk you through your likely tax liability and recommend you to local CPAs or property tax lawyers, if necessary.

Learn More: The Ultimate Guide to Idaho Real Estate Taxes

How Much Are Closing Costs for Home Buyers in Idaho?

The money you put down when buying a house is more than just the down payment. Closing costs can add up quickly, because they cover a wide variety of things, including:

  • Recording fees;
  • Title policies;
  • Notary fees;
  • Wire fees;
  • Attorney fees;
  • Transfer taxes;
  • Inspections;
  • Endorsements;
  • Loan origination fees;
  • Couriers or delivery costs;
  • Home protection plans;
  • Homeowners insurance;
  • Prepaid interest;
  • Property taxes;
  • Natural hazard disclosures; and
  • Escrow or closing costs.

Closing costs in Idaho generally cost buyers between 2% and 5% of the purchase price. Closing costs are a bit cheaper in Idaho than in many other states, because Iowa is one of only a few states that don’t charge a transfer tax when real estate changes hands. On a $263,700 home, buyers should expect to pay somewhere between $5,274 and $13,185.

First-time buyers and low income buyers may qualify for assistance with closing costs and/or down payment through federal, state, and local homeownership programs. HUD, state and local governments, and nonprofits all offer assistance for first-time and low income buyers.

Learn More: Who Pays Closing Costs on a House?

Clever Will Help Pay Your Closing Costs!

Clever can help you find a top local agent and get a rebate on your closing costs. Clever Partner Agents are all top-rated in their areas and offer on-demand showings to fit your schedule. Additionally, Clever buyers in Idaho who buy homes worth $150,000 or more can get a $1,000 rebate to help their cover closing costs.

Fill out our online form today to talk to an experienced Idaho realtor for a no-obligation consultation.

Learn More: How to Get a Home Buyer Rebate


Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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