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 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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Mark on February 10th, 2014

ActiveRain recently conducted a poll among Realtors to find out what they thought were the three biggest mistakes made by home sellers. The results of this poll are shown in the below graphic.

* Please note that Realtors were asked to choose their top three choices from a total of 11 options. This means that the total percentages add up to 300% rather than 100%.

Mistakes home sellers make

1. The number one option chosen by Realtors was that the property was overpriced. Now we all what to get the most for our home, but if a property is overpriced it doesn’t matter how nice the home is, the chances are it’s not going to sell. A properly performed comparative market analysis carried out by a Realtor will be able to tell you if your home is overpriced when compared to current listings and recent sales.

2. The second biggest mistake was ‘Showing Availability’. When selling a home Realtor’s must have access to show the property whenever required. If a property is not available for showing when requested, they may not choose to show at a different time, particularly when there are lots of homes to choose from. Of course it may not be the property owners who make showing availability difficult; it is particularly common when the home is occupied by renters who have a vested interest in making sure the property does not sell.

3. Cluttered Space. There are lots of reasons why a home should be de-cluttered before putting in on the market. The fact is that a lot of buyers cannot visualize a space, and this becomes even more difficult when the space is cluttered. Less clutter makes a space look bigger, and it also shows that the sellers care about the homes appearance and are therefore more likely to take good care of the property.

4. Unpleasant Odors. The most common odor complaints are pet and smoke smells, but it can also include food smells, trash (make sure those trash cans are empty), and damp smells. It can also include too much air freshener.

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Mark on February 4th, 2014

2013 continued to see improvement in the Wasatch Front real estate market, at least until the 4th quarter when the market took a breather.
Salt Lake County returned the best figures, with single family homes increasing 15.57% and condos 11.73%. This is especially pleasing for the condo market, which had been lagging that of single family homes. Condo sales were exceptionally strong with sales increasing over 26%.

Salt Lake County Single Family Homes
Median Sales Price: $245,000 up 15.57%
Total Sales: 11,710 up 5.86%

Salt Lake County Condos
Median Sales Price: $145,250 up 11.73%
Total Sales: 1,598 up 26.12%

Utah County Single Family Homes
Median Sales Price: $229,000 up 13.37%
Total Sales: 5,172 up 9.32%

Utah County Condos
Median Sales Price: $128,000 up 11.30%
Total Sales: 531 up 6.41%

Davis County Single Family Homes
Median Sales Price: $219,000 up 9.5%
Total Sales: 3,850 up 15.89%

Davis County Condos
Median Sales Price: $130,000 up 13.04%
Total Sales: 129 up 14.16%

For a more detailed breakdown of the local real estate market performance, including details of performance per zip code please visit our Salt Lake County, Utah County and Davis County home prices pages.

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Salt Lake County home prices were a sea of green in the 3rd quarter 2013, with the median price for a single family home rising from $217,900 a year ago to $254,500. The 16.80% median sales price rise was on the back of strong home sales that were up 5.91%. Those homes that sold, were selling really fast, taking just 19 days to sell, that’s nearly 30% faster than the same time last year.

While the vast majority of areas saw their median home price rise, the best performing were Salt Lake City 84102, Holladay 84117 and Murray 84107.

Best Performing Areas
Salt Lake City 84102 up 37.92%
Holladay 84117 up 30.36%
Murray 84107 up 26.25%

Just two zip codes saw a declining median sales price, Sandy 84093 and Draper 84020.

Worst Performing Areas
Sandy 84093 down 3.85%
Draper 84020 down 0.38%

Even with these very impressive increases we did see a slow down towards the end of the quarter, when interest rates spiked and the government shutdown took place. Since then interest rates have come off their highs and government employees have returned to work. We will have to wait and see what impact this will have on the market.

You can visit our website to see a full breakdown by zip code of the Salt Lake County Housing Data.

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Mark on October 7th, 2013

Home prices are on the rise, and inventories are very low. That makes now a great time to get your house in great condition to command a good price.

Get more money to put toward your next home purchase. Implement these tips to get your home ready to sell quickly at a great price and be ready to find your next place.

1.Make sure you have great curb appeal. Mow your lawn, weed your garden, and clean it up. Do any minor repairs that you can that affect the
approach to your home. Do the same out back. A poor first impression will make buyers more critical on the inside, looking for flaws.Selling Your Home

2.De-clutter the inside of your home. Less clutter and neatness signal good care and give the impression of more space. Consider renting a storage unit to store some furnishings and seldom used items to free up space.

3.Make a list of things that bother you about the house, and look for creative ways to fix them inexpensively.

4.Start doing your homework on home values, and consult an experienced realtor for advice. In a low-inventory market, the right home at the right price can sell quickly at a good price. While the realtor is not an interior designer, a good one will know the basics and which glaring problems will cost you in getting the selling price you want.

5.Work out a budget you can invest in repairs and maintenance. Things like painting in a neutral color are relatively inexpensive, especially when you do-it-yourself, and make the space look brighter, cleaner, and more appealing to a wider range of buyers.

6.Have an interior designer do a staging consultation. Depending on your budget, there are designers that will do a walk around consultation and provide a list of suggestions for inside and out. Many will be low cost/no cost, such as rearranging furniture, painting, adding pillows, and re-purposing accessories and wall décor into different places. Look for one that will help you prioritize your list and get the most return from your money.

7.Don’t take any of the staging or cleaning ideas personally. Your home has taken on your taste and is a reflection of you. However, to sell well, it needs to have broad appeal. Not every buyer will have your imagination or design aesthetic.

8.Get pre-qualified for a new mortgage. Most people’s credit and income improves over time, so you are likely to be able to afford more now. Plus, you’ll learn how much you need to make for your down payment to move into the type of home you prefer.

Selling your home is tiring and emotional. It’s also hard work, keeping your home spotless each day for prospective buyers. Dealing with the ups and downs of your mixed feelings can be much easier if you sell quickly at the right price for your needs. Do your homework, make the right improvements that deliver return, and get ready to move to your next home.

Do you need to know the money that you’ll net from your current home to know your buying power for your next home? Call The Libin Group at Veritas Funding and we’ll help you get a clear picture of what to expect at 801.639.9000. Visit utahloanplan.com to learn more!

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Mark on October 2nd, 2013

The true impact of the government shutdown seems not to be that great at the moment (although try telling that to the people who have been sent home), but is really an unknown entity, and the true effect be only start to be seen after a more lengthy period of time. One of the areas impacted that most people will not realize is mortgage applications. Some might say what have mortgage applications got to do with the government. Well it appears that the key area impacted is to do with the IRS and the issuing of tax transcripts. This is required by the secondary mortgage market for all loan applications, and at the moment the IRS has stated that they will process any forms, thus holding up mortgage applications until the service is available again. Here is a summary of implications for the mortgage market:

1. The IRS has indicated that it will not process any forms, including the issuance of tax transcripts, while the government is shut down. Mortgage Companies are required by the secondary market to supply a verified tax transcript on every loan transaction. If a borrower’s tax transcripts have not already been received, there is the likelihood that this would delay loans in process until this government service is available.

2. In some cases, the mortgage lender will not be able to verify social security numbers which could delay the mortgage process should there be any reason to verify a social security number. This won’t impact most transactions, but there may be a need to verify social security numbers when discrepancies surface in the documentation we collect.

3. There is likely to be limited FHA staff available to respond to questions, emails or other correspondence. However, we do expect that FHA’s automated systems should be functioning and available which will allow us to perform many of the critical mortgage functions like insuring loans, paying mortgage insurance premiums, and issuing FHA case numbers on new FHA loan applications.

Please note that each mortgage application situation is different and you should contact your mortgage broker to find out what if any impact the government shutdown will have on your individual situation.

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