4 Hidden Costs To Consider When Moving Into Your First Home

Home buying comes with its own twists and turns. Through deciding which areas you’d like to live in, researching the nearby schools, getting pre-approved, learning how much of a mortgage you can afford, and everything else that goes into the home buying process, it’s easy to overlook some things.money-548948_640

To help you navigate the home ownership process, here are 4 costs to keep in mind:

  1.  Private mortgage insurance. To save you some extra money, you want to aim at putting 20% of the price of the home down. If you can’t afford the 20% down payment, you’ll be required to take a private mortgage insurance policy. You’re lender or mortgage officer can help you decide which option is the best and answer your questions.
  1. Closing costs. In many cases people forget about the closing costs which include processing, underwriting, recording, survey, and title insurance fees—adding up to thousand of dollars. When you apply for a home loan, make sure these costs are included in the amount borrowed.
  1. Property taxes. Set by the local government, these taxes are used for public expenses such as community resources (parks, schools, and sidewalks). The seller or seller’s agent can provide you with a list of annual costs of these taxes.
  1. Utilities. Another cost that gets overlooked when buying a home are the utilities. To gain a better idea of what your monthly utilities will be, ask the seller for a year’s worth of utility bills. This will give you a sense of what you can expect to pay. Remember, to also keep in mind the family size. A family of four will be paying more in utilities than a family of two or a single person.

Your real estate agent can help you move through the home buying process. Have questions? Give us a call today and let us assist you into finding your dream home.

5 Things To Do In Salt Lake In March

March is here—can you believe a new month is already here? Now that the weather is warming up, now is the time to enjoy the outdoors and events taking place (before the cold comes back). This month, grab your friends and family and check out these 5 fun events taking place in Salt Lake City.girls-438152_640

  • Irish Rising! St Patrick’s Day Parade: March 12, 2016
    • Come join the festivities and enjoy a fun day of Irish culture and arts in this fun St. Patrick’s day parade. The parade starts at 10 AM so grab the kiddies and come on out. 
  • Peery’s Egyptian Theater Presents Celtic Celebration: March 12, 2016
    • Enjoy a night of Celtic dance inspired from Irish and Scottish culture.
    • Tickets are $12 and doors open at 6:30 PM.
  • Kissin’ the Blarney Stone: March 16, 2016
    • Celebrate your Irish heritage (or lack thereof) with real Irish slang, treats and fun along with author Jordan McCollum. rapid! 
  • Ogden’s Dinosaur Park Egg Hunt: March 26, 2016
    • We’ll have treats, crafts, paleontology presentations, train rides, and more! 
  •  Colorfest Afterparty: March 26, 2016

What fun events are you planning on attending this month? Tell us about them below in the comments below.

3 Important Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

picture-763262_640This is an exciting time! You’ve bought your dream home and are ready to move into your new home. However, in the excitement of the moment, it’s easy to get wrap up in the decor, binge watch your favorite home improvement show, go crazy on Pinterest, and fill every corner of your new home with your personal items.

Before you get too eager about furnishing your home, here are 3 mistakes many new homeowners make.

  1. Buying everything at once. In the excitement of the moment and your eagerness to get your home decorated, it can be easy to go out and buy all sorts of furniture for your home. This can lead you to wasting a lot of money and leave you with little space.

Instead, grab a pen and paper and map out the room. Decide which items you’d like in what rooms, take measurements to know which pieces will fit in the room, and explore the possibilities of what you can do in each room to make them comfortable and unique to your style.

  1. Cramming rooms with so much stuff. When you go into decorating your home with no plan, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and cram too much stuff into the space. Use this time to strategize and place the pieces in a way that creates an openness which is both inviting and cozy.

This is also the perfect moment for throwing out pieces that you longer love or fit within your home. Choose fun pieces of furniture that fit into the room and match your style.

  1. Trusting your eye over a tape measure. Measuring your space in important to ensure each item fits perfectly in your home. Too many times people run into the mistake of not properly measuring their space and end up with items that are either too big or too small for the space.

While taking some time to measure the space and furniture, remember to also measure the doorways. When bringing furniture in and out of your home, many times the doorways are forgotten and people run into problems getting their furniture to fit through.

Do you have some tips for staging a room? Have something to share about your last move into your home? Share your insights with us in the comments or on Facebook.

5 Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

stilllifeAre you getting ready to sell your home? When it comes to selling your home quickly, you want to make sure it
stands out to potential buyers. Not only do you want the curb appeal to stand out, but you want to create a space that is inviting and something they can picture themselves living in.

  1. Clear off countertops. Remove all the clutter from your countertops (kitchen and bathrooms) to make the home more inviting to potential buyers. People want to picture themselves living in the home and the kitchen is a key location where people hangout. Make this space as organized, clean, and spacious as possible for buyers to get a good idea of the area.
  1. Minimize art and decorations. As you stage your home to sell, incorporate more abstract art or landscapes in your home. Something that gives each room a little color yet doesn’t overwhelm and isn’t too specific.
  1. Declutter and depersonalize. Like the art and decorations, this is the time you want potential buyers to visualize themselves in the home. Remove any objects or items that are uniquely you, clearing any books and family pictures that can pull buyers out of seeing themselves living in the home.
  1. Turn on the lights. If your home doesn’t have enough light it can look drab and turn potential buyers away. Add a lamp or other lighting piece in the corners of the room to make it more cozy. Your real estate agent can help you decide which areas of your home would benefit from some extra light.
  1. Keep furniture proportional to the room. Don’t overcrowd your rooms with large furniture which can distract from the overall design of the room. Instead arrange furniture in a way that complements and fits the room.

Selling your home can be stressful, so do what you can to make the home stand out to potential home buyers. Your real estate agent can help, answer all your questions, and offer suggestions to help your home sell quicker.

The Richest and Best Cities to Live In Utah

When it comes to buying a home, location can be a huge factor. You not only want to find an area near your job, great schools, and the right price. You also want to consider which area best fits your lifestyle, the culture of the area, and other things. While you weigh the various factors, here are some fun and informative facts about Utah. house-753270_640

The 5 Richest Cities in Utah

  1. Granite
  2. Summit Park
  3. South Snyderville Basin
  4. Olympus Cove
  5. Alta

The 5 Best Cities in Utah

  1. Holladay
  2. Washington City
  3. Centerville (tie)
  4. Syracuse (tie)
  5. Bountiful
  6. North Salt Lake

As you explore the various areas in Utah you’d like to live. remember to choose a place that will make you happy. There are so many excellent places in Utah—some that aren’t even on the list—that make a great place to live.

Whether you want to live in one of the richest cities in Utah or are curious about which cities are the best, we will help you find your dream home.

How To Drive In The Snow

Driving in the snow can be a challenge, even for the experienced driver. However, if you’re new to Utah, or driving in snow, the idea can be a little intimidating. This winter season, help make your commute and other driving times less stressful with these tips. driving-38346_640

In snow, drive slowly. The fact of the matter is snow slows everything down and takes a little longer. Accelerating, stopping, and turning all happen as quickly as on dry pavement. By giving yourself extra time you not only reduce your stress level and give yourself time to get where you’re going.

Before the snow starts flying, take a moment to have your brakes checked and make sure you understand your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop while driving in snow is threshold braking. To do this, keep your heel on the floor and, using the ball of your foot, apply firm pressure to the brake pedal. If you hit ice or a slick spot, pump your brakes.

When driving, accelerate and decelerate slowly. If you accelerate slowly, you give your tires a chance to gain traction and avoid skidding. Take time to slow down too. Since you never know what you’re going hit (ice is nearly impossible to see).

Don’t power up hills. If you apply extra gas while going up a snow-covered hill, all you’ll do is get your wheels spinning. Instead, try to get a little inertia going before going up a hill and let it carry you to the top. When you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and allow your car to proceed down the hill as slowly as possible.

This year, stay safe by being aware your surrounding and knowing these little tips for driving in the snow. Did we miss something? Share your snow driving tips and tricks with us below or on Facebook.

5 Reasons To Hire A Property Manager

Are you interested in renting out your home? Many people enter the home rental business thinking it will make them a lot of money. While most renters will take care of your property, some aren’t as considerate and may leave you with a lot of stress and headache associated with being a landlord.

One way to help keep the stress is by hiring a property manager. If you’re fed up with the stress of being a landlord or are interested in owning rental property, here are 5 reasons to hire a property manager.

  1. No more wake-up calls. One thing about being a landlord is that if problems or emergencies arise, you’ll be the first person called. However, by hiring a property manager, they’ll be the ones dealing with any issues that may arise in the night.
  1. Tenant sourcing and screening. Property managers have access to a lot of great resources to help them find new tenants fast, keeping those vacancy rates down. In addition, because of the resources they have, property managers are able to thoroughly screen tenants.tie-690084_640
  1. Regular upkeep and repair. Not a fan of all the maintenance that come from rental property? Well, that is another great part of hiring a property manager. When repairs are needed, property managers are the one’s who’ll be there the moment trouble arises. Plus, they have access to all sorts of vendors and contractors who can do the repairs at reasonable prices.
  1. Avoid legal problems. Another part of being a landlord is keeping up with the landlord-tenant law, which can be time consuming and expensive (if you’re not up to regulations). New regulations and other requirements are always changing and staying current is important to avoid any legal trouble that may come up. With a property management company, a professional property manager can make sure everything is on the up-and-up.
  1. Keep an eye on your property without having to watch it. Regardless if you’re a long-distance landlord or are renting from down the block, a property manager will check the property often and make sure everything is in order and the home looks lived in. This can be extremely important when the home goes through vacancies to ensure the empty property isn’t prone to vandalism or break-ins.

Have some other questions about hiring a property manager? Check out the full article here at Realtor Magazine. Have you rented out your property before? Tell us about your experience.


4 Things Your Homeowners Insurance Won’t Cover

house-409451_1920Homeowners insurance is important (and required), but there are a few things it won’t cover. Here are 4 things to be aware of when looking over your insurance policy.

  1. Flooding. You never know what Mother Nature has in store for the future and making sure your home is protected against floods can save you a headache in the long-run. Regardless if you live in a flood zone or not, you should seriously consider looking into flood insurance. According to Flood Smart, flood claims over the past 5 years averaged $39,000; whereas the annual average cost for flood insurance was $700.
  1. Mold. Most species of mold are harmless, but certain types of mold can be harmful to your health. Nasal stuffiness, throat, eye, and skin irritation, and wheezing are some side effects, which can be worse for children and older adults. If you suspect your home has mold, any repairs you’ll need will come out of your pocket (unless your insurance policy covers it).
  1. Earthquakes. California is the only state who has earthquakes and insurance to cover damage from an earthquake is not covered under a standard homeowners’ policy. If you live near a fault line, your rates may be a little costly (compared to those who don’t). However, the out of pocket costs associated with earthquakes can get pretty expensive.
  1. Pools. Nowadays, everyone seems to have a pool. Before you let the neighbor kids take a dip or jump in the pool for a quick lap, talk with your insurance company about pool-related injuries. You will also want to take precautions such as installing locks around the pool and a fence around the pool area.

Read more about what your homeowners insurance won’t cover and make sure you are fully protected.

3 Areas To Check Before Making An Offer On Your Next Home

Spring or Fall, either season is good for home buying. However, some might say the autumn is the best time for house hunting because there is less competition and more inventory to choose from. As you move forward with your search, here are 3 things to pay attention to: slide6

  1. Air conditioner. Most A/Cs aren’t in use during this time of year so it is something you probably aren’t thinking about. However, once the summer months hit again, you are going to be wanting this…and working. First of all, check to make sure the house has an air conditioner. Next, have an inspector check out the unit to ensure it is working properly and if it needs a new filter or has any blockages. Also, check the ductwork for rust and see if the machine is making any strange sounds.
  1. Inspect the drainage. Besides checking the gutters, be sure to also check the drainage of the home. Take a walk around the property and look for areas where water has accumulated into small puddles which could indicate a leak in the pipes or other problems that may need to be addressed.
  1. Window conditions. Make sure to check all the windows in the home to ensure they have the proper installation. There is nothing worse then sitting down in your new home to find you didn’t check the window installation.

Learn more about other areas you should check in this article by Realtor.com. If you are ready to make a move into a new home, give me a call today and let me help you find your dream home.

How To Winterize Your Bushes

Winter is not too far away and, with the cooler months, you will want to take some time to wrap your plants with burlap to protect them against frost, snow, and ice. By wrapping your plants you will also protect them from winter burn.this-winter-1354390818m7j

Burlaps are the perfect, and most effective, way to protect your plants because the material allows the plant to breathe. Air circulates around the plant, not allowing heat to get trapped inside. If you don’t have any burlap bags, a burlap sheet can be purchased at most fabric stores.

When you first go about covering your plants, place three to four stakes around the plant; allowing for a few inches between each stake. Drape the double layer of burlap over the stakes, taking care not to allow the burlap to touch the foliage which can damage the plant if it gets wet and freezes.

Not all plants need to be wrapped during the winter, but if you live in a mild climate or has an occasional light frost, you plants may not need more than just a layer of mulch. However, newly planted shrubs and trees need the protection, especially during those first 3 winters.

Find out more about protecting your plants here.