Welcome to our Salt Lake Real Estate Blog. This blog contains the latest information on real estate market conditions for Salt Lake County, home buyer and seller tips, information on new construction homes / developments and anything else related to the Salt Lake Real Estate Market. So if you are thinking of buying a house / condo or selling your current home then feel free to explore this sites content provided by Trela Bird Realtor.
Mark on December 18th, 2014

Home with SnowMost people sell their home during the warmer seasons, when the months start to warm up, so does the real estate market. But is this the best time to sell, well it may be the busiest, but there are some advantages to selling during winter that you may want to consider.

While the summer months are the busiest for the real estate market, it also means that there is lots of competition out there, with buyers able to choose from a large selection of homes. While the number of buyers diminishes during the winter months, those that are out there are serious buyers.

There are of course some things you need to watch out for and some things you can do to make the most of season. Here are just a few considerations when you stage your home for a wintertime sale.

Of course it’s going to be cold outside, so you need to make your home warm and inviting. Before showings crank up the heating (but not too high) and make your home look and feel nice and cozy. When buyers walk in from the cold the first thing they should say is, “it’s nice and warm in here”.

Bring in a little bit of summertime by introducing some indoor greenery, with some well-kept plants (no sad looking or dying plants) and maybe some flowers.

Make sure your home is well lit. Put on all the lights, and if you have a dark corner consider purchasing a lamp. The days are short and dark so you should ensure is not. If at all possible show your home during daylight hours, especially if you home features lots of natural sunlight. Keep those blinds and curtains wide open to let in as much light as possible.

If it’s the holiday season then don’t be afraid of holidays decorations, just don’t go over the top. Limit those flashing lights and go for a more refined classic look.

Keep the outside walkways clear of snow and ice. Not only is it dangerous and a liability, but it does not create a very good impression when buyers have to trudge through several inches of snow in order to get to your door. And remember showings can happen at any time so keep on top of the snow and don’t leave it until the Realtor calls to schedule a showing.

Of course a messy outside can mean a messy inside, make sure you keep your floors clean, invest in some inside/outside entry mats if you don’t have them, and ask your family members to take off their shoes when coming inside. If you want to stop buyers from creating a mess then invest in some disposable shoe covers and a polite sign asking visitors to use them. Rather than putting buyers off, this actually shows you care about the interior.

By following some of the tips above, there are plenty of ways that you, as a seller, can use the season to your advantage, rather than a disadvantage.

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Salt Lake County Home PricesThe median home price for a Salt Lake County single family home hit a new record high in the third quarter 2014. The new median home sales price stood at $257,900, beating the old record of $256,000 last seen in the 3rd quarter 2007.

Even on the back of this record high we are starting to see a change in the market. Home prices rose just 1.34% compare to the same time last year, and we are starting to see a fall in the number of homes sold. The number of homes sold in the quarter stood at 3137, which was a decline of just over 5%.
Here are a list of the best performing areas and worst performing areas in the quarter.

Best Performing Areas
Holladay 84121 – Up 26.27%
Salt Lake City 84111 – Up 19.07%
Riverton 84065 – Up 14.75%
Salt Lake City 84116 – Up 13.02%

Worst Performing Areas
Murray 84107 – down 18.61%
Holladay 84117 – down 18.50%
Taylorsville/Murray 84123 – down 10.21%
Salt Lake City 94102 – down 5.96%

So what does this mean? Well it means we are entering more of a balanced market rather than the seller’s market we have seen over the last couple of years.

So what about the condo market? The median sales price for condos is also nearing record highs, with the 3rd quarter sales price of $161,000 (up 11.03%) just below the record of $162,113 seen on the 2nd quarter 2009. Just like the single family home market condo sales are slowing, with 411 units sold, a decline of 12.55%.

Best Performing Areas
Holladay 84117 – up 44.71%
Salt Lake City 84108 – up 33.94%
Salt Lake City 84111 – up 26.34%
West Valley City 84119 – up 20.26%

Worst Performing Areas
Salt Lake City 84106 – down 17.12%
South Jordan 84095 – down 10.84%

So what for the future? We are now heading into the slowest period of the year for real estate, and we really will not know what the market outlook is until we see the results for the first 2 quarters in 2015. At the moment we are a balanced market, this could be a pause or it could be more of a longer term trend.

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Mark on October 6th, 2014

Selling your home can be a stressful time, so just image the prospect of selling an entire estate. While it can be a relatively fast and simple process, if the deceased was not organized, it can be a very slow and painful process.

Estates come in all shapes and sizes; it could be anything from a mobile home, to a multimillion dollar mansion. No matter what form the estate comes in, the goal is the same, the property is to be disposed of according to the deceased’s will and Utah law.

One of the complications with selling property which has been left by the deceased is that it needs to go through the probate process. This process ensures that there is an orderly and legal transfer of the property and that any outstanding bills and taxes are paid. This process can be a simple process, or it can get very complicated depending upon the complexity of estate and what planning was done by the deceased.

There can be many parties involved in the estate sales process. There are the heirs, attorneys, Realtors, estate sales companies, auction houses. All these parties must work together during the process.

One thing is for sure, you need an experienced Realtor who is used to working with estate sales, and can coordinate with all the necessary parties to ensure that the process runs as quickly and smoothly as possible.

If you need to sell a property as part of an estate sale, then you can find out more information by visiting our Salt Lake Estate Sales website.

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Mark on October 2nd, 2014

By: Clint Womack, Owner of Vintage Lending

I received a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine from Northern Arizona University. I originally planned to become a surgeon and then had second thoughts. Instead of medicine, I decided to follow the path of my father and grandfather and started my own business. I am a third-generation business owner and have no regrets. In 2007 I started C&E Financial Group Inc in Orange County, California. We operate under the trade name of Vintage Lending. We originate residential mortgage loans in seven western states (CA, CO, ID, OR, TX, UT, WA). We have a team of over 20 professionals who are well trained and with years of experience.

No two loans are the same because no two people are the same. Each loan is slightly different and must be custom fit to each individual client. It is critical that you meet with a mortgage professional that is well versed in the nuances and variations of the hundreds of different loan programs available. We will review your individual scenario and present you with your best loan options.

Mortgages are complicated financial instruments so there are lots of different questions that come up regularly. A common misconception is that the APR is the same as the actual interest rate. The APR is only used for comparison purposes, it is not the actual interest rate. The actual interest rate is what appears on the promissory note and is used to calculate the monthly principal and interest payment. As the APR gets closer to the actual interest rate, the closing costs get lower.

The Internet is a good place to begin your research. However, nothing can replace a conversation with a mortgage professional that is well versed in the various mortgage programs and works with them on a daily basis. Start your research on the Internet, then give us a call for a free evaluation.

What are two or three of the most common types of loans that people apply for and the main benefit of each one?

30-year fixed rate mortgage. The benefits are that the rate is fixed for 30 years and that the principal and interest portion of the monthly payment can never change. This is one of the most popular loan programs and allows people to budget around a fixed mortgage payment.

10/1 ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). This loan usually has a lower interest rate than the 30-year fixed mortgage and the initial rate is fixed for 10 years. This is a great loan program for someone who doesn’t plan to be in the home for more than 10 years. With a lower rate than the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the 10/1 ARM allows you to save extra cash with a lower monthly payment for the first 10 years.

15-year fixed rate mortgage. This will have a lower interest rate than the 30-year fixed rate mortgage and the mortgage will be paid off in half the time. The interest paid over the life of a 15-year fixed mortgage is dramatically lower than that of a 30-year fixed mortgage. This is a great loan program for people who can afford a higher monthly payment. We also offer a few $0 down loan programs and another program that only requires 0.5% down.

What advice would you give to prospective home buyers who want a lot of flexibility with their mortgage?

I would recommend a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with 0 points. This allows you to keep your monthly payment manageable but also allows you to pay extra at any time. By doing a 0 points loan, you can refinance or sell the home at anytime and don’t have to worry about losing the money that you paid for points on the previous loan.

Our toll-free phone number is (877) 933-7627. Email me at clint@VintageLending.com and visit our website: www.VintageLending.com. We also host a talk radio show about real estate and finance: Womack Radio.

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Mark on August 31st, 2014

Mistakes People Make

When you going through the buying process there are lots of mistakes you can make, but some of them are more common than others. Here are 6 of the most common mistakes made by home buyers.

1. Selecting the wrong neighborhood

Selecting the right neighborhoods should be one of the first things you do during the home buying process. It doesn’t matter how ideal your home is, if it’s in the wrong neighborhood then the chances are you will not be happy with your purchase. Another advantage of choosing the neighborhood first is it focuses your home search, after all there is no point in looking at homes in an area your don’t want to live.

2. Not knowing exactly what your home requirements are.

Is there any point at looking at homes with just 2 bedrooms when you want at least 3 bedrooms? Well you will be surprised how many buyers really don’t have a clear understanding of the key requirements they want in their next home. To make this easier make a list of all the mandatory and optional requirements you have. That way it will focus your home search and make the home buying process much easier in the long run.

3. Not knowing your budget.

One of the first questions I ask a home buyer is, have you been pre-approved for a mortgage and how much do you want to spend. It is no good to anyone if you start looking at homes in the $500,000 range, when you can only get pre-qualified for $300,000. Once you know your budget then you can decide on neighborhoods and home features, until then it’s just pie in the sky.

4. Not staying on top of new listings.

When you are looking for a home in a hot housing market, or if you are looking in a highly desirable neighborhood, it is important to stay on top of new listings coming on the market. The easiest way to do this is to have your Realtor setup something called an auto hot-sheet. Then when new homes that meet your requirements are listed (or homes have a price reduction), you will receive an email notification. After all you don’t want to miss out on your ideal home because another buyer beat you to the draw.

5. Not having a home inspection.

While you might think you are saving yourself a few hundred dollars, it may actually be the most expensive mistake you make. We always recommend that you take the option of having a formal home inspection performed by a qualified home inspector. It’s the best way of spotting any potential problems before you buy a home, rather than moving in and finding out you have some expensive problems that you have to fix.

6. Rushing the purchase.

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your life, so why rush into it. It should be well planned, with great care and attention taken on deciding the neighborhood you want to live in and the requirements you need in a home.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is with people who are renting a property, and wait until their lease is almost up before embarking on the home buying process. Remember even if you have to move out of a property, it might well be worth moving into temporary accommodation and ensuring you are buy the property you want and is right for you, rather than just something that is available.

Having said all this when you do find the right home, you may have to move fast. This is especially true in hot housing markets or for high demand areas. In these circumstances homes can often have offers within hours of being listed on the market, so you must be prepared to move fast and make an offer. The secret is to move fast on the right home for you.

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Mark on July 17th, 2014

Property ValuationThe second quarter 2014 saw the median home price for a Salt Lake County single family home get to within $1,000 of the record high of $256,000, which was last seen in 2007. The actual price appreciation for the quarter was pretty modest, increasing just 2%. This was on the back of declining home sales data where the number of single family home sales fell 9.53% to 3245 homes sold. The median time taken to put a home under contract was 26 days, which is a strong number and the sign of a good housing market.

A total of 21 zip codes saw its single family home median sales price increase, and 8 zip codes saw a decrease. The best performing area was the Salt Lake Avenues area 84103 which increased an impressive 22.19%. Other areas that saw good increases were 84104 up 13.75% and the South Salt Lake area 84115 up 14.15%. The worst performing areas were Draper 84020 down 11.22% and Holladay 84117 down 21.58%.

The sale of condominium units also experienced a small increase in median sales price, going from $149,500 to $154,000. The number of condominium units sold was slightly down falling from 452 to 440 units and the median days on market climbed from 28 to 39 days.

A total of 9 zip codes saw its condo median home sales price increase and 5 zip codes saw a decrease. The best performing areas for the condo market were West Valley City 84119 up 23.44% and Cottonwood 84121 up 20.91%. The worst performing areas were the downtown area 84101 which was down 25.13% and the Avenues area 84103 down 17.10%.

Even with declining home sales and the increase in time on market, it was still a pretty good quarter for the housing market. There does seem to be a slowdown in first time home buyer activity which could impact market conditions if it continues. Interest rates remain low and attractive for buyers, but a sudden increase again could also impact the market.

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Mark on June 25th, 2014

Welcome to Utah SignUtah was named the 3rd best state for doing business, a two place improvement over last year’s 5th place. The CNBC yearly study takes into several categories to come up an overall score depicting the best states in which to do business. Here is how Utah did in each category.

Cost of Doing Business 16th
Workforce 12th
Quality of Life 15th
Infrastructure & Transportation 28th
Economy 6th
Education 46th
Technology & Innovation 18th
Business Friendliness 4th
Cost of Living 20th
Access to Capital 1st
Overall 3rd

Utah did pretty well in all categories with the exception of education and transportation. The large class sizes and small budget severally impacted the education score, dropping 7 places from 39 to 46. The same drop was seen in transportation which fell from 21st to 28th. Looking on the positive side the economy ranking went from 10th to 6th, which is not really surprising given Utah’s 3.8% unemployment rate. There were also improvements for Quality of Life (+6), Cost of Doing Business (+5), Workforce (+7), Innovation (+5), and Access to Capital (+6).

For more information on how they came up with these rankings and to see how other states performed you can visit CNBC Top States For Business.

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Mark on June 11th, 2014

When you are considering starting a remodeling project one of the things that you may want to consider is which ones will pay off, and which ones are really not worth the money. A recent Remodeling 2014 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) provided a great interactive map detailing the Cost vs Value analysis for some of the most common projects by geographic area.
Home Kitchen Remodel
The analysis comprises of 35 different projects, ranging from adding an addition story to replacing a garage door. The projects are also split into mid-range to upscale projects. For example, a mid-range siding replacement refers to a vinyl replacement material while the upscale siding replacement refers to a fiber cement material.

According to the report the mid-range Salt Lake City UT project that returns the most is replacing the garage door (this is also the cheapest). The average job cost for this project is $1,426, and the cost recouped is 93%. The project that provides the poorest return is a home office remodel which while costing $26,107, only returns 31.1% of the investment. *

When we look at upscale Salt Lake City UT remodeling projects replacing the siding with fiber cement costs $12,047 and typically returns 91.3% of the investment. But if you remodel a bathroom ($48,678) you can typically only expect to get 51.9% of your money back when you sell. *

As you can see from the above examples from an investment point of view none of the remodeling projects return more than the cost, so does this mean that all remodeling projects waste of time? Of course not, in some cases remodeling makes perfect sense.
For example, if your kitchen is really dated and run down it may make perfect sense to replace/update it before you sell. This is for a number of reasons:

1. In order to make your home more attractive to buyers you may have to list your home below other comparable listings (those with updated kitchens) in your area.

2. Most buyers want to move into a home where they don’t have to do any work. So even with a lower listing price, buyers may well be put off by the thought of having to renovate the kitchen.

3. You may receive lower offers based on the fact that the buyer needs to budget for a new kitchen. So even though you are listing for less than other homes, because the kitchen needs to be remodeled, buyers may still think that they can low ball an offer.

There are some things you need to avoid when you are considering a remodel. One of these is over renovating/under renovating for the size/price of the home. For example, if your home is worth $150,000, it makes no financial sense at all to spend $70,000 on a top of the line kitchen remodel. On the other hand if you home is worth $700,000 you don’t want a $5,000 kitchen.

So the thing to take away from this analysis is that when you are considering a remodeling project, don’t expect to make a financial gain on your investment when it comes time to sell your home.

* ©2014 Hanley Wood LLC. Complete data from the Remodeling 2014 Cost vs Value Report can be downloaded free from www.costvsvalue.com

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I just wanted to write a post highlighting a couple of tricks of the trade used by Realtors to gain your listing.

Buying Your Listing

OK, so you interview a couple of Realtors and they both seem professional and know their stuff. The only real difference is that one of them says they can get $30,000 more for your home. Well that’s simple enough; you are going to go with the one that tells you they can get more money for your home. But wait how are they going to do this? The chances are they are probably not? This is a well know tactic called buying a listing. Basically the Realtor gives you a number greater than the market value knowing full well that they can never get this price. The idea is that once they capture your listing they can get you to lower the listing price at a later date.

So how can you avoid this? The only real way to avoid this is to get the Realtor to back up their claim with a list of recently sold comparable homes. These comparable homes should be a similar size to your home and be the same type of home in the same general area.

So beware if 2 Realtors give you substantially different listing prices, the chances are the lower one is being honest and the other is trying to buy your listing.

If We Don’t Sell Your Home We Will Buy It from You

Sounds great doesn’t it, list with me and if it doesn’t sell within a set amount of time we will buy it. Wow they must be a good Realtor if they are so confident that they can sell your home.

Well what they are not saying is that in order for them to agree to buy your home, you must list your home at a deeply discounted price. This discounted price can be as much as 15% to 20% below market value. Now if they can’t sell your home at this price the chances are your home won’t sell at all.

This is a common tactic when the housing market is strong and homes are selling well. They are not so keen to offer this when things are slow and the market is heading downwards.

So these are two of the common tactics employed by some Realtors to get your listing. Just remember if it sounds too good to be true, the chances are it is.

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Mark on February 17th, 2014

The last couple of years have seen a strong Salt Lake Real Estate market with prices seeing double digit increases and strong demand for all types of property, particularly in the lower end of the market.

One of the reasons for such a strong demand was the reemergence of the investor. This was particularly evident in the $100,000 to $200,000 price range, where it was often difficult for people trying to get on the property ladder. The competition was fierce with homes selling within days of coming on the market, often resulting in multiple offer situations.

Now Salt Lake did not have the glut of foreign buyers seen in places like Los Angeles and New York (I have seen some stats that say the Chinese were responsible for $8.2 billion worth of U.S. property purchases in 2012), but we did have an influx of investors from other parts of the U.S.

In the last quarter of 2013 things started to change. The market slowed; there were fewer home sales and some areas even saw their median sales price dip. Some people put this change in the market down to the rise in interest rates, but one of the reasons was that investor sales seemed to have slowed.

So why have investor sales dropped? Well investors are bottom feeders, and rely on plentiful short sales and bank foreclosures. When the market improved these types of sales became fewer and fewer, taking away their opportunity for investment properties.

Of course this change is not bad news for everyone. The slowing of the market means that it’s now easier for first time home buyers to purchase. Because they don’t have to compete with investors there is less change of multiple offer situations and more change they can purchase the home they are looking for.

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