Idaho Mortgage Rates

Living in Idaho

There’s no shortage of natural treats in Idaho. The Gem State produces 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones and is also home to scenic mountains, 3,500 miles of rivers and a massive, moon-like lava field that’s now a national monument.

Lately, Idaho been a magnet for new residents, too. Last year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Idaho and Nevada were the two fastest-growing states by population between July 2017 and July 2018.

As in other states, housing inventory — while on the uptick nationally — is still low in some parts of Idaho. Last December, for example, marked 50 consecutive months of declines in the number of existing homes for sale in Ada County, one of the most populated counties in the Boise metro area.

Not surprisingly, the drop in inventory has helped propel home prices upward. According to Boise Regional Realtors, that trend is due mostly to two factors: persistently low inventory of existing homes and new homes selling at higher prices because of rising construction costs. In Boise, the state capital, the median sale price of a single-family home between April 2018 and April 2019 was $315,875, up 12.2% from the year before.

The rules and costs of buying a home in Idaho

Several rules and laws regulate the residential real estate market in Idaho. Here is what buyers need to know:

Home seller and buyer laws

Idaho requires sellers to fill out a seller’s property disclosure form when they put their home on the market. By law, it must be presented to the buyer within 10 days of accepting the offer. The form asks sellers to specify whether various parts of the home are in working condition. This includes the home’s appliances, electrical, heating and cooling systems, water and sewer systems, roof and siding.

Unlike some states, Idaho allows for both judicial and non-judicial foreclosures. This means, depending on the circumstances, the lender may or may not go through the court system in the event of having to foreclose on a home.

Idaho also allows for a so-called deficiency judgment after a non-judicial foreclosure. Buyers need to know this as it means a lender might be able to sue you to recoup any losses if proceeds from the sale of your foreclosed home aren’t enough to cover the amount owed.

Unlike most states, Idaho is what is commonly described as a community property state. This means all assets and debts acquired during a marriage — including any real estate property — must be split 50/50 in the event of a divorce or annulment, regardless of whose name is on the title. However, any assets or debts acquired before or after the marriage remain separate.

Idaho is also an escrow state. This means it does not require buyers to hire an attorney to close on a home. Instead, buyers are allowed to use a representative from an escrow or title company.

Taxes

Unlike many other states, Idaho does not charge a real estate transfer tax, which means buyers do not have to pay to have the home’s title transferred into their name.

Once you own a home in Idaho, your property taxes will likely amount to about 1.24% of the home’s value, according to a 2018 calculation by the Idaho State Tax Commission.

For certain homeowners — such as disabled veterans, people over 65 and those with low incomes — Idaho offers a property tax reduction program. The program offers qualified individuals a chance to reduce their annual property tax bill by up to $1,320.

Conforming loan limits

In Idaho, the current conforming loan limit for a single-family home for most of the state is $484,350, with the exception of Blaine, Camas and Lincoln counties, which have a loan limit of $625,500, and Tenton County, which has a loan limit of $726,525.

Conforming loans are those that meet guidelines and rules set by two government-sponsored agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. By not exceeding the limits of a conforming loan, borrowers generally get the best interest rates if they have good credit. Conforming loan limits vary according to state and county, but any loan that goes over the limits is considered a jumbo loan. These loans generally command higher interest rates.

Programs for homebuyers in Idaho

In Idaho, prospective homeowners may be able to get financial help through one of the homebuying programs offered by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, a corporation that works with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Read on for more information:

Idaho Housing home loans

Idaho Housing offers low-interest-rate, conventional loans, FHA, VA and USDA loans. The loans can be used for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and manufactured housing.

To qualify, buyers must make less than $110,000 per year and have a credit score of at least 620. The loans also offer a mortgage credit certificate that eligible buyers can use to get a federal tax credit of up to $2,000 or 35% of the mortgage interest they pay.

Learn more

Second Mortgage

This program offers help for down payment and closing costs by providing a loan that acts like a second mortgage. The loan is good for up to 3.5% of a home’s sale price. Buyers receive the loan amount upfront and pay it back at a 5% interest rate over 10 years.

Who qualifies:

  • Buyers must have incomes less than $110,000 per year
  • When combined with the First Loan Program, buyers need a minimum credit score of at least 640
  • If both borrowers are first-time buyers, at least one must take a HOME!® Homebuyer Education course
  • Borrower must use personal funds to contribute at least 0.5% of the sale price

Learn more

Forgivable Grant

This program provides grants for up to 3.5% of a home’s sale price to help pay down payment and closing costs. At first, a lien is placed on your property, but that debt is forgiven if you stay in your home at least seven years.

Who qualifies:

  • Borrower does not need to be a first-time buyer
  • If both borrowers are first-time buyers, at least one must take a HOME!® Homebuyer Education course
  • Borrower must contribute at least 0.5% of the sales price of their own funds

Learn more

Rate shopping tips

When you’re ready to buy, shopping around for a mortgage rate is one of the smartest money moves you can make. We’ve brought you a few simple tips below:

Contact at least three lenders on the same day.

Since interest rates change daily, talking to multiple lenders on the same day is the best way to make sure you are making an an apples-to-apples comparison.

Give each lender the same information.

To make the fairest comparison, give each lender the same information. Lenders will likely ask for your employment information, proof of income, bank and credit card statements, as well any other pieces of paperwork that spell out both your assets and debts.

Add up all lender fees to determine the total cost of your loan.

Besides paying interest on your mortgage, you’ll probably need to pay additional lender fees or the costs associated with handling and closing your mortgage. Lender fees vary widely, but expect to see an application fee, underwriting fees, a fee to record your mortgage and a fee for any discount points you take on in exchange for a lower interest rate.

Know when to lock in the rate.

Once you have loan terms that meet your needs, ask a lender to “lock in” the interest rate in writing, so you’re protected if interest rates rise before you close on your home.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.