6 Factors to Consider when Relocating

toa-heftiba-274947-unsplashTwo of the most stressful things you may ever have to do are changing jobs and relocating. Now combining those two makes for an even more traumatic experience. Relocating means venturing into the unknown. You will want to consider these factors beforehand.

  • Relationships

Relocating is almost always easier when you’re single. The decision becomes much more complex when a family and close-knit group of friends are involved. You should think about all members of the family and how the change will affect your relationships. Also consider the job prospects for your partner. If you have children, you will need to research and investigate the local schools and childcare options.

  • Moving expenses

Calculate just how much the move will cost. Hiring movers, shipping belongings and renting a truck may add up to more than you expected. However, if you are moving due to job related reasons many organizations offer relocation packages. Some of these organizations even cover the cost of a house-hunting trip and will pay for your living expenses until you find a permanent home.

  • Cost of living

Even if you get a raise with your new job, it may not cover the cost of living expenses in a new location. You will need to consider all aspects of the expenses including housing costs, utility costs, insurance costs, tax liability (most states have income tax), transportation, child care, groceries and leisure activities. Also, you may want to consider whether or not you could afford to move back or relocate elsewhere if things don’t end up working out.

  • Location, Location, Location

The location of your move will decide many factors including the cost of living and job prospects. Safety is an extremely important criterion for people to consider when relocating. You will want to look into the crime rate and additional related statistics. Also consider the weather and climate. Does it suit your preferences for hot or cold temperatures? Entertainment and fun are other considerations. Are there a variety of restaurants, museums, and other entertainment options?

  • Job Prospects

Whether you are moving due to job related reasons or not you will want to consider the job prospects of the new location. If you do not already have a job, you will want to see how likely you are to find a job before or shortly after arriving. If you are relocating due to a job offer, you will still want to make sure you can find a different job in case the initial one doesn’t pan out.

  • Language and Cultural Differences

Those moving to a different country will need to consider language requirements and cultural differences. Not speaking the local language will affect your ability to communicate with colleagues and almost everyone else who lives there. Are you willing to put in the time and effort needed to learn a new language? If so, how quickly could you pick up the local language? Regarding cultural differences, you will spend time researching proper etiquette along with embarrassing faux pas and make sure you can adapt to this new way of living.

9 Tips to Keep Your House Clean for Showings

canstockphoto8010994When listing your house, try to make it as attractive as possible for potential buyers. This often means keeping everything clean and tidy. Harder said than done when living in your home with children and pets. We’ve compiled a few pointers to help you keep your home show-ready throughout the selling process.

  • Lock unused rooms

If you can go without, please do. One of the best ways to keep a room show-ready is simply not to use it all. Easy enough for adults, but the locking is for the kids who may not remember that using the spare bedroom or bathroom is off limits. Just remember to unlock the rooms before you leave for a showing.

  • Mind your sniffer

Nobody wants to buy a house that smells foul. As such, keeping your house smelling fresh and clean should be a high priority. But you don’t want to get carried away. Potential buyers might think you are trying to hide a bad smell. We suggest boiling a pot of water with lemon and vanilla right before a showing.

  • Avoid the laundry mountain

Almost nothing can be more detrimental to keeping your house show-ready as a mounting pile of laundry. Do your best to keep up on it. This includes washing, drying, folding and putting away consistently. Try washing one load per day until it becomes a habit.

  • Pack what you’re not using

Storing everything you can go without has two upsides. The first, is that it makes packing so much easier to do a little at a time. The second is that keeps your stuff from distracting potential buyers. A possible third is that with less stuff the easier it will be to keep your home free of clutter.

  • Leave the house often

It is always a good idea to leave the house when there is a showing but, leaving even when there isn’t is also beneficial. First of all, you get everyone especially the kids out for a while. This gives them less time to clutter and messy the show-ready home you’ve worked so hard for.

  • Meal prep easy and ready-to-eat options

Showings often happen late into the evening sometimes until 7 p.m. This will push dinner back later than what everyone is used to. Having a meal already prepped and ready to go will ease the tension and should be fairly easy to clean up. Keep in mind that you could also get showing requests early in the afternoon at 3 or 4 p.m. So it’s best not to get too early a start on dinner either.

  • Make the beds

Beds obviously need to be made before a showing. Having everyone make their own beds first thing in the morning is a great habit to get into. You may have to go back and straighten the kids before a showing, but that’s much easier than doing them all yourself all the time.

  • Recognize the dirtiest areas

After you have discovered which areas of your hose get the dirtiest the fastest you can take steps to stop on top of those areas. Often times, the problem areas include the kitchen and floors. It will help to clean these spaces daily.

  • It takes a village

Get everyone involved. It takes a lot of teamwork to keep a house show-ready. Everyone owning their messes and pitching in to help clean up will ease the showing and selling process for all involved.

5 Signs Your Home is Priced Too High

aaron-huber-401200-unsplashOverpricing a home leads to damaging effects. In fact, the most common reason a home doesn’t sell is due to its price. Furthermore, the probability that you will end up with less money from pricing your home too high in the beginning is astonishing. Here’s a few signs that your home price may need some adjusting.

  • Priced higher than your neighbors

Often times, home values in most neighborhoods will be relatively consistent and similar. If your home is priced much higher than neighboring homes, it is probably overpriced. Real estate agents complete a comparative market analysis when determining your home’s value. Avoid this potential overpricing problem and contact us today for your free analysis.

  • Little to zero showings

Listing a home stirs excitement in all sellers. Seeing your home advertised all over the internet and social media brings proud and happy feelings. But when weeks pass and there have been a few or even worse, no showings, giddy sellers turn into very concerned and frustrated people.

  • No offers

Maybe you have had a few showings and things seem to be going well, but for some reason you just haven’t received an offer. Generally speaking, homeowners should receive at least one offer within the first two weeks on a correctly priced home.

  • Low internet traffic

In just the past 10 years, the internet and social media have revolutionized the real estate industry. Majority of homebuyers search online before even talking to an agent. Once they find a home or two that looks good online the homebuyers contact either their agent or the listing agent to schedule a showing. If your home is experiencing little to no internet traffic along with few property inquiries, you may want to consider adjusting the price.

  • Nearby homes are selling

Although comparable homes in the same neighborhood usually sell for around the same price, don’t get sucked into the, “well my neighbor’s house sold for $200,000 and my house is so much nicer.” Chances are that if neighborhood houses are selling but yours is not, the home is overpriced.v

Northern Utah Dog Parks

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Naturally, dog parks benefit our beloved four-legged friends, but did you know they have many benefits for humans and the community as a whole? Experienced dog park goers understand that these parks provide socialization opportunities including dog-to-dog, dog-to-people and people-to-people interactions. With spring around the corner, now is a great time to arrange a doggy play date at one of these more than friendly dog parks!

 

 

 

Weber County

  • South Ogden Dog Park

Located on Palmer Drive, the South Ogden Dog Park provides a wooded area and ample running space for canine friends and plenty of park benches for their owners. This park also boasts a two-acre fenced area for off-leash play.

  • Roy City Dog Park

This little dog park is nothing fancy, but canines and owners can enjoy the cleanliness and quietness that the Roy Dog Park offers. Currently, the city is striving to raise funds for improvements to the park. So bring your pets out for some off-leash fun and exercise.

  • Ogden City Dog Park

With more than 1.75 acres of land set aside, the Ogden Dog Park provides the opportunity for licensed dogs to run, play and socialize in designated, fenced-in areas. The park accommodates both small and large dogs.

Davis County

  • Legacy Dog Park

This off-leash dog park is free to all licensed dogs and owners. Legacy Dog Park is open from sun-up to sun-down and provides areas for small and large dogs to play. You also can reserve the park for private events.

  • Farmington Dog Park

Located just southwest of Station Park, the Farmington Dog park offers a separate small dog area along with plenty of drinking water, shade and benches. The park is open from dusk to dawn.

Salt Lake County

  • Tanner Park

This park includes a little-league field, tennis courts, paved walkways, a playground and an off-leash dog park. The enclosed area offers the space to let your pups run free and a pool for them to cool off afterward. This park is meant to be walked, giving both owners and pets plenty of fresh air and exercise.

  • Parley’s Nature Reserve

This little gem not only offers 68 acres of walking and jogging paths, but an off-leash dog walking area as well. Natural water spots and streams can quench even the most active dogs thirst. With plenty of dogs running at all times, this park provides a haven for dog lovers and enthusiasts.

  • Memory Grove Park

This serene park includes fountains, monuments, creek-side paths, picnic tables and an off-leash area for your four-legged friends. With its beautiful walking trails, this park is ideal for dogs and owners. Get out for a stroll today and gush over all of the pups.

  • Lindsey Gardens

Another great park with complete with many options for attendees including ball diamonds, playgrounds, pavilions, restrooms, picnic tables, drinking fountains and an off-leash area for the dogs of course. This 15.25-acre park can be reserved for special events here.

5 Staging Tips for a Quick Sell

canstockphoto377036It’s no secret that staged homes sell faster and usually for a higher priced tag. In fact, a survey of realtors showed that staged homes sell for one to 10 percent more. Additionally, the average cost of staging a home is only $675. Follow these tips to get the highest return on your investment.

  1. Fresh paint

Updated paint breathes new life into your home. Apply a sparkling white to doors and trim to make your whole house look cleaner and more contemporary. New paint also helps in creating serene, luxurious spaces. Furthermore, pairing your wall and drapery colors will create the illusion of extra space. Remember this is not the time to go bold and experiment with funky colors. You will want to keep everything neutral and appealing.

2. Awkward spaces

You can make the most of your awkward spaces by giving them a function. That spot under the stairs may have been the perfect catchall to hold all of your junk, but that won’t impress buyers. Take advantage of this little space and transform it into a reading nook or small office. Even a simple fix such as installing built-in shelving will put your home on potential buyers’ want list.

3. Goodbye clutter

The most important aspect of getting your home ready to sell fast is clearing the clutter. Too much of anything will turn buyers off as they assume the home is lacking storage and are unable to envision living in the space. Make a new rule that for every new item coming into the home, an old must go. Another major contributor to a cluttered home is too big or too much furniture. Whisking away half of your furnishings will make your house look much bigger.

4. Three’s company

Accessories coupled with the right mixing combinations make a space more inviting. Studies have shown that odd numbers are preferable when it comes to eye-pleasing accessorizing especially sets of three. This doesn’t always mean you can line three items in a row and have a win. You have to consider shape and scale. In some instances, it pays to picture a triangle and place an object at each point. Keep in mind that your groups of three also should vary in height and width.

5. First impression

In order to sell your home as quickly as possible, you will need to build a lasting first impression. When successful, this memorable impression keeps your home top of mind and short lists for potential buyers. Use your open stairways and foyers to draw visitors up and into the home. Ditch the shabby apartment-grade window blinds. New window treatments provide an easy and inexpensive upgrade that drastically changes spaces.

7 Cleaning Hacks for Sparkling Winter Showings

canstockphoto8337079Selling a home is always stressful, but keeping your house show-ready during a Utah winter can ratchet that stress up to the point that you may consider throwing in the towel. Before you resign yourself (and your home) to hibernating until spring, use these quick, cleaning hacks to keep your home sparkling during the darkest days of winter.

  1. Clear the Way

The last thing you want is a prospective buyer slipping on an icy walkway. Take meticulous care of pathways and stairs—shoveling regularly, scraping ice, and adding ice melt, salt, or sand to prevent icing overnight. Include all paths a potential buyer may take, such as walkways to sheds, garages, or other outside points of interest. Be sure to keep the driveway clear, along with any on-street parking spaces where buyers may need to park.

  1. Provide an Open Welcome

Don’t crowd your entryway with piles of mucked-up boots and discarded gloves, scarves, hats, and coats. Whether it’s the front entry or the mudroom, make sure it’s organized. Add attractive bins for winter-worthy protective gear and hooks for coats and hats. Get everyone into the habit of taking off wet boots outside, and add a locker for wet boots outside the door to keep them from cluttering the doorway. If your hooks become crowded, leave the most attractive items for display, and find another closet to store everything else.

  1. Hide Helpers Nearby

When you only have an hour’s notice before a showing, you need to make the most of every second. Keep cleaning tools like Swiffer sweepers and dusters in hallway closets and console drawers. You’ll avoid a frazzled dash for cleaning supplies and get last-minute tidying-up finished in record time. If you have little ones at home, designate decorative chests for leftover toys, blankets, and the odd bottle or sippy cup,

  1. Make the Kitchen Sparkle

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms for potential buyers, so you want to make a good first impression. Clear the counters of extra appliances (like toasters) that aren’t used everyday. Unload the dishwasher after every cycle so you can immediately start reloading. Wipe down the counters, and use fingerprint-resistant polish on the fridge, oven, and dishwasher. Add a bright bowl of fresh fruit or a vase of winter blooms to brighten the space.

  1. Brighten the Bathroom

If you have multiple bathrooms, try to limit regular use to just one while your home is on the market. This gives you less last-minute cleaning to attend to. Put toiletries and other items in baskets under the sink to keep counters clear. Stash some polishing wipes for quick wipe-downs of faucets and other fixtures. Create a spa-like atmosphere with rolled up towels arranged in a basket and neatly-folded white towels draped over the rack.

  1. Get Rid of Garbage

We all know that life comes with garbage, but no one wants to be reminded of that while looking for their dream house. Make sure any exposed waste containers have a lid. If you can’t give up the adorable wastebasket in the guest bathroom, use a grocery bag to catch any hairballs or used tissues, and simply remove it when you get the call that buyers are on their way. Regularly wipe down all trash cans to keep any tell-tale signs of life’s messes out of sight.

  1. Set Up an Emergency Escape Hatch

Because it’s nearly impossible to live in a house without it looking “lived-in,” give yourself an escape plan. Designate a suitcase or bin where you can stow clutter at a minute’s notice. Clear out the trunk of your car, so that when your emergency plan goes into action, you have an easy place to hide the evidence.

There’s no ideal time to sell your home, but winter weather doesn’t need to get in the way of your plans. With a little planning, you can make your home picture-perfect all winter long—no matter what curveballs Mother Nature throws your way.

Beginner’s Guide to Winterizing Your Home

canstockphoto5310529As winter rapidly approaches, make the best of Fall’s still sunny and warm afternoons to prepare your home for the bitter cold season.

Step one: Clean your gutters

Clean gutters look nice and prevent the build-up of ice on your roof. Making sure they are clear of debris ensures that water drains easily preventing icicles and ice dams from forming. Keeping your gutters clean also prevents infestation and mold.

Step two: Flush water heater

Over time, particles and sediment collect and sink to the bottom of your water heater. These particles slow the unit’s efficiency. You will want to flush the water through to clear out any and all material. This flushing keeps your heater running at its best.

Step three: Replace Filters

Before you kick on your furnace for the season, you will want to inspect the filter. If the furnace filter looks dirty, replace it. A clean filter aids efficiency and longevity. Both save you time and money. Throughout the winter season, we recommend changing the filter every four to six weeks.

Step four: Insulate Pipes

Insulating your water pipes can raise the temperature two to four degrees. Keeping your water heater at a lower setting, but still getting steamy hot water saves you energy and money. You also can trim an extra four to nine percent of your water heating costs by insulating your water heater.

Step five: Utilize Draft Guards

Keep heat from escaping under your doors by using draft guards. They typically cost $10 to $15 per guard. However, if you want a cheaper option you can roll up a towels and use those instead.

Step six: Add Insulation

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), adding insulation to your attack saves energy and money year-round. During winter, the added insulation helps your home feel warmer. You can use the DOE’s insulation fact sheet to see if your home is properly insulated. Recommendations are based off your zip code, but most homes need 12 to 15 inches of insulation in their attic.

Step seven: Hunt for Leaks

Locating drafts in your home will be easy now that cooler weather here. Start by walking around your home on a chillier night. Use your bare hands and feet to feel for cold air around doors, windows, lights and switch plates. Once you detect a leak or draft, you can add insulation or seal them up with caulk, weather-stripping or spray foam.

FAQ: Escrow Edition

canstockphoto40608516What is Escrow?

An escrow is a financial instrument held by an unbiased third party to protect the other two parties in a financial transaction. The funds are held by the escrow service until it receives written or oral instructions that both parties’ obligations have been fulfilled.

What are Escrow Services?

In a nutshell, escrow is a security service. Escrow services provide security in the handling and transaction of important property, funds and documents. Escrow personnel work closely with the buyers, sellers, lenders and borrowers involved in a transaction to ensure all funds and documents change hands at the appropriate time when certain preset conditions are met.

How Does an Escrow Account Work?

An escrow account is set up to collect payments over a 12-month period to be paid on your behalf. These payments go toward your property taxes, home owner’s insurance and possibly other items. You may be wondering why you can’t just pay these bills on your own, and you can as long as your lender is on board.

However, the lender makes the final decision. As investors, most lenders usually want to protect their investments and make absolutely sure that the property taxes and insurance are paid-to-date requiring an escrow service. This makes sense when you consider that unpaid property taxes result in a lien against the property and that lien supersedes the lender’s. No insurance also leaves the property (and their investment) uncovered and unprotected to damage such as a fire.

Why Escrow Taxes and Insurance Fees?

Aside from lenders protecting their investments, using escrow services to collect and pay your taxes and insurance can make life more simple for you. Let’s be honest, it takes some discipline and dedication to remember to set aside money every money on your own to ensure that there is enough to pay the bills at the end of the year when they are due. Often times, it is too easy to dip into those funds for other or unexpected bills. Think of an escrow account as an assurance that your taxes and insurance will be paid on time avoiding those pesky penalty and late fees.

How is the Amount in Escrow Determined?

Rest assured that if your lender requires an escrow account, the law limits the amount that you (the borrower) must pay. Usually, the lender divides the cost of your anticipated property tax, home owner’s insurance and any additional required items like owner’s association dues or flood insurance by 12. Then they collect that amount plus your payment (principal and interest).

As an example, let’s assume that you your estimated annual property tax bill is $1,500 and your annual insurance is $600. The lender will add $1,500 and $600 to get $2,100. Then they will divide the $2,100 by 12 to get your monthly escrow payment of $175.

What Happens When You Have a Shortage or Surplus?

Don’t fret about having a shortage. Your lender will likely offer you different options to make up the difference. Usually, you can choose to pay the shortage in full or space it out in 12 equal payments over the next year. You can even opt for a combination of paying some upfront and the rest over the next 12 months.

When the lender happens to collect too much over the previous year your escrow will have a surplus resulting in one of two options. For the first option, the lender could write you a check for the difference. For the second option, the lender could apply the surplus to the following year’s escrow payments.  Most opt for option two as next year’s escrow could result in a shortage due to higher insurance premiums or tax increases.

When Does the Escrow Close?

After the buyer and seller have signed all the necessary paperwork and required funds have come in, the closing agent (escrow officer) then disperses the funds. They also oversee the recording of the documents with the county.

When the deed is filed, the title to the property is officially transferred to the new owner and the transaction is complete. The escrow is now closed.

Both parties will receive a final closing statement and all other documents outlining all aspects of the financial transaction. Make sure to look over these documents carefully and notify the closing agent of any errors. Keeping the documents will help with filing your taxes.

Home renovations ideas for your house

Planning to renovate your house? There are a lot of ideas that can be utilized to give your house a new look. Moreover, these home renovations can also increase the ease in selling your home. Apart from the increase in the market value, the renovation will allow you to have a new feel while living in the same house. You can include your magical touch that will provide a unique look to your house. Here are the ideas that can be utilized for the home renovations:brush-1034901_640

1.    Redo the exterior:

The external part of your house plays a great role in creating the impression of your house. It depends on the exterior whether a person will feel comfortable at the place or not. The trends change with every passing day which is why you need to periodically update the exterior setting of your house. Add up a small lawn or beautiful plants and you will be surprised to see the changes. It will also benefit you when it comes to selling home.

2.    Changing your front and garage door:

Although replacing or changing the front door of your house may be included in the exterior renovation but still, it can be treated as something that has a separate identity. The front door of your house needs to be renovated in order to give a striking new look at once. Same is the case with the garage door of your house, change it after some time to create a pleasant outside look.

3.    The addition of a deck:

For some cases, an addition of a deck in home renovations can be quite costly but with the use of some important techniques, you will be able to do it effectively. The major purpose of creating a deck is to increase the appeal of your house or to create some extra place where the residents can sit and relax for some time. Add your favorite plants and set up sofas of your favorite color scheme to complete the look.

4.    Replacing windows:

The next major thing included in the list of home renovations is the replacement of windows as a whole or the replacement of slides. The big city replacement of window definitely pays off. Moreover, you will be able to add more light to your house with small effort. Look for the window type that suits the structure of your house. The replacement of slides are also important as with the passage of time, they may start working improperly.

5.    Redoing your living room:

The living room is a place that is the commonly used by every family member every day. This much usage of a room can result in boredom. Redoing your living room can have a great and a positive impact. You can lower the living room so that you can create a conversation pit.

These are the home renovations ideas that can be used to have a new look of your house.

 

Reference links:

  1. http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/articles/2017-01-24/5-home-renovations-that-pay-off-and-2-that-dont
  2. https://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/insanely-clever-remodeling-ideas-for-your-new-home?utm_term=.dfdJDJo6d#.ahZNXNakQ
  3. http://www.moneycrashers.com/7-home-improvements-to-increase-its-value/

Presidents Day in Utah

The United States celebrates Washington’s Birthday as a federal holiday known as Presidents Day every third Monday of February. We celebrate to not only honor the first president but all of the presidents.

canstockphoto21929967Traditionally, this February holiday is known for being a day in which many stores and car dealerships hold sales. Today, many corporate businesses and state entities close on Presidents Day. However, many businesses are choosing to remain open on the holiday every year since the 1980s advertising push.

Many schools still observe the holiday and close for the day. This means that you might have a longer weekend with the children. Here are a few ways to spend that time. First, admission to all national parks and forests is free on Presidents Day. Utah just happens to house several of these parks including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches and Capitol Reef to name a few. You can even check out the Grand Circle Tour that guides visitors through five of Utah’s mighty national parks.

After getting out and enjoying the warmer weather, you must hit up the sales. Generally, department stores discount their home departments for Presidents Day including hot bargains on appliances and so much more.

Your guide to narrowing down that shopping list:

  • Ashley HomeStore/Furniture: Get 25 percent off online purchases of $3,000 or more now through Feb. 20.
  • Best Buy: Save $300 on select gaming PCs and $200 on select MacBook Air models.
  • Cabela’s: Shop discounts on sofas, recliners, TV stands, furniture and more.
  • Macy’s: Now through Feb. 20 take an extra 20 percent off online and storewide plus free shipping when you spend $49 or more.
  • Mattress Firm: Now through Feb. 26 save up to $500 storewide. Selection may vary.
  • Overstock: Now through Feb. 23 take an extra 20 percent off area rugs and mattresses while saving an additional 10 percent off bed and bath.
  • Sears: Now through Feb. 267 save up to 40 percent on appliances and 30 percent on vacuums.