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Interview with a Mid-Century Realtor – Boise, Idaho Edition

December 15, 2017

If you're a mid-century enthusiast and you're not already familiar with T. J. Pierce of Mid-Century Homes by Moniker, then you're just not paying attention.  T.J. and his team are all over social media with so much amazing real estate that Boise is going to be getting pretty crowded pretty soon.

Let's dive right in!

Tell me a little bit about yourself. How long have you been a realtor?

TJ Pierce. Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate. I built my business two years ago come December which is when I became licensed.

 

How long have you been focusing on mid-century properties?

From the very beginning two years ago.

 

What made you decide to specialize in mid-century homes?

It’s a personal passion of mine. I love the architecture and knew that if I was ever to get into real estate, it had to be for the purpose of getting in all of these killer mid-century homes and servicing the people that love them. Our business model gives us permission to do just that. I love it!

 

Do you only specialize in this style of home, or do you also work with other clients?

Our area of expertise are homes built in the 50's and 60's. Over 85% of our business is operating in our niche market. We do some business outside of that but only if a mid-century home is on one side of that transaction. If a buyer is selling one or a seller is buying one we will help on the other end of that deal. We don’t go looking for that business and prefer to be fully operating in our area of expertise.

 

Do you work with commercial mid-century real estate or only residential?

We only focus on residential at this time.

 

What range of ages do you consider mid-century in your work?

We know that some mid-century architecture is pre-1950 and post-1960, but for the most part, we are scouring our market for homes built in the 50s & 60s.

 

What’s the mid-century home climate where you are?

That’s a pretty loaded question. If you're talking about inventory, it’s pretty solid. We have Art Troutner, Nat Adams, Joe LeMarche, Victor Hosford, Charles Hummell and even some national players like Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra & Cliff May who have all influenced our mid-century market with their direct work.

If you're talking about the appreciation for this era and style of home, I would say that it’s pretty good, but it’s also growing. We are excited about that and feel like we have a big part to play in that mission. Organizations like Preservation Idaho and Idaho Modern have also been influencing that scene for years, not to mention Boise Vintage and Beatnik our local vintage resale mid-century furniture shops.

Let’s put it this way; I feel honored to have and be a part of the community that loves, lives and lobbies for this amazing architecture and stylistic movement.

 

Do you see the desire for mid-century properties in your area growing or shrinking? What does the future hold as mid-century becomes even more “antique”?

We will mostly continue to grow because Boise has so much to offer people from other areas that are looking for a better quality of life. I think we had about 48,000 people move here in 2016 and that number will continue to grow. Only good people are allowed though, FYI.

Regarding the future of mid-century appreciation, I know it’s a trend. Just look around, and you will see stores like West Elm carrying a huge percentage of its inventory being influenced by a mid-century flair or style. That will go away, as all trends do. What will not go away is the small group of people that have been and will always be true “mid-century enthusiasts.” If you are truly someone who appreciates the architecture and style you cannot leave it. I truly believe once you live in a mid-century home and experience the way that it “lives” it’s hard to find your home in any other style of architecture.

 

Are there mid-century details of homes that are specific to your area of the country?

Oakley stone is a big one. It was quarried nearby and sent all over the world.

 

What is the typical price range for mid-century homes in your area?

Our average price point in Ada County is $294k. We have million dollar mid-century homes and $200k mid-century homes, but $250k - $400k can get most people a cool mid-century home.

 

What is the demographic of your typical mid-century buyer?

In two years I would say we are mostly attracting 25-45 year-old folks. That probably has more to do with the fact that we are so social media heavy in the way that we have built our business. We do operate outside of that demographic, but I would say that only represents 20% of our business. We would welcome much more than that, but due to the way that we regularly communicate what we do, I think collecting more than that may be a challenge for us.

 

What type of mid-century details are your clients looking for in a home?

Picture windows, floor to ceiling windows, lots of natural light, hardwood floors, exposed beams, tongue and groove ceilings, indoor/outdoor living, strong implementation of wood and stone/brick, changes in elevation, inviting living spaces, and many are looking for the original and authentic aspects to the home.

 

Would you sell to someone who is looking to tear down a mid-century home, or do you draw the line at working with that type of client?

If we sense that someone is not appreciative of the era and does not plan on lovingly caring for or restoring homes with good mid-century character we strongly try to influence them to other homes that meet their parameters. We don’t want to contribute to mid-century tragedies.

 

What do you do when you see a house that’s been “remuddled”?

Cry, as most of us do.   [Ed: We get it.]

 

Do you have a favorite story from working as a realtor specializing in mid-century properties?

My favorite story is the one that we are still writing. I can’t believe that I get to provide for my family while chasing my passion. We have other members of the team that feel the same way, and we are regularly adding people to that team who are excited to hop on that bus and continue to contribute to writing more of that story.

 

Anything more you’d like us to know about you and your “relationship” with mid-century?

You will see a lot more from us as our business continues to grow. We are excited to meet more of you.

 

Last question that I have to ask. Do you live in a mid-century home?

Yes, a 1954 ranch home that has grown on us a ton. We love how it lives, and our curb appeal is excellent. We love driving home and staring at our place when we pull up.

Many thanks to T. J. Pierce of Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate for answering our interview questions.  Interested in working with T.J.?  You can find him on his website here or his social media profiles on Facebook and Instagram (both are @boisemidcenturyhomes.)

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Curious where we've been?  Here's a map for our current and past interviews.  We'll update it with each new interview with the goal of hitting all 50 states!

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