Thursday, November 20, 2014

JUST SOLD! Arts & Crafts Duplex Restoration Project

I just closed on the sale of this property at 2539 Orchard Ave. in

This property was a wild ride for sure.  My client reclaimed the property from a previous owner after a default on a seller financed note.  The previous owner mailed the keys to us signed a deed giving the property back to my client.

That is when the fun really started.  We inherited a delinquent tenant who was notorious for mischief.  Prior to my client taking the building back, when the other unit in the building went vacant, she posed as the landlord and rented the unit out.  You can imagine the real landlords surprise when he discovered this sometime later.  However, for some reason, the previous owner never evicted this diabolically entrepreneurial tenant.

When we took possession of the building, this nefarious tenant asked that repairs be made to the property.  We instructed her that we could not make repairs but we were willing to let her break her lease and leave without consequence.  But, if she wished to stay, we would reduce the rents by $100 and she would be required to pay while she was there.  Unfortunately, she wanted repairs made and to live there rent free.  So, we proceeded with an eviction.

During this time we listed the property for $119,900.  We received an offer for $110,000 which requested seller financing on a 15-year note. But the buyer didn't want to move forward with the eviction being in process.  Later we received an offer of $100,000 from another buyer.  He didn't care about the ongoing eviction and moved forward.

All kinds of interesting things happened after that.  The furnace in the vacant unit was condemned; the tenant stayed until the sheriff showed up to lock her out; and, after leaving all of her belongings for us to store, her friends returned two weeks later to kick in the front door and steal a dresser drawer with some 'personal valuables' in it.  Despite all this, we were able to close the transaction for $97,000 on a 12-month seller financed note with the buyer placing $20,000 as a downpayment.

Despite the trauma, the home will doll up beautifully.  The buyer intends to restore the property as a home again.  Built around 1910, it was originally a 3,200 SQFT home for a well-to-do family in the area.  The original woodwork, fireplace, and lead glass are salvageable.  The hardwood floors can be brought back.  The community looks forward to seeing this gem of a home restored to its former luster.

If you are looking for a vintage home to restore in Ogden, CONTACT ME, and lets find one that will work for you.  I will handle all the sticky and unseemly transaction details so you don't have to worry.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ogden's Architectural Dynamo: Leslie Hodgeson

The Standard Examiner recently had a front page write up on one of Ogden's most prolific architects, Leslie Hodgeson.  Ogden's cityscape is littered with monuments designed by the man. Interestingly, the lot our house sits on was owned by Mr. Hodgeson when it was purchased by Henry H. Hudman who built our home.  I am curious to find out if Mr. Hodgeson was the architect as well.

You can read more about the amazing Ogden structures designed over Mr. Hodgeson's 40-year career in this great photo illustrated write up:


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

JUST SOLD! Art Deco Duplex

I just closed on the sale of this property with a buyer:

Located at 456 17th St. in Ogden, this property is an art deco masterpiece waiting for restoration.  The interior boasts original stain grade woodwork, light fixtures, fireplace, and even switch plates.  The property has been used as a rental property for years. 

The seller purchased the property in 2005 for $88,000.  Then in 2007, the seller attempted to flip the property for $143,000. That effort failed as the price was reduced to $135,900 in February of 2008.  In August of that year, the property was taken off the market.   

I year later in 2009 the property was relisted for $129,900.  After 12 months the listing expired in 2010.  The property was again relisted in March of 2013 for $105,000.  After 6 months of no interest, the listing expired.  

Finally, in July of 2014 the property was listed at $99,900.  My clients showed some interest in the property and in mid-August we submitted an offer $92,000.  The sellers sent us a counter offer of $95,000.  That was too high for us and so we let the offer lapse.  

After letting the sellers simmer in their juices for six weeks, we approached them again to see if they would reconsider.  We submitted a reinstatement addendum and changed the price to $93,000 with the seller paying $1000 in closing costs.  Because the property was teanant occupied, our inspections were delayed and we had to extend our contract deadlines.  However, once our inspections were complete we discovered some plumbing problems.  We requested a price reduction to $89,500.  The sellers countered and we settled on a purchase price of $91,000 and closed shortly thereafter. 

Congratulations to my buyers on the purchase of a fine period home.  If you are in the market for vintage house, CONTACT ME, and lets find a home that is right for you.  


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Photo of the Day: Subtraction by Additions

I was cruising through town a while ago and stumbled upon this home.

Architectural features like dormers and a front porch can be a desirable thing.  But it is also possible for there to be too much of a good thing.  I think this is a good example.  I am  having difficulty comprehending what happened to this home.  Underneath all that is a cute cottage with a clipped gable roof.  It would appear to be that a series of successive additions have fully metastasized into a full blown case of Appendagitis.  Sometimes, things are better off left in their original form. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

PHOTO GALLERY: Whimsical Wacky Wonders

It has been a while since I have put together a photo gallery of oddities from the housing market.  So, for your amusement, here are some images you will remember.

Whoops! In an effort the kill the weeds in grass, this guy inadvertently applied weed and grass killer.  Of course, the weeds died...and so did the grass.  After applying it to two acres of his lawn, you can see the result.  To add insult to injury, the uneven application resulted in dramatic zebra striping.

This window was moved one foot to the left from its original location.  The brick arch is a feature that provides structural support.  You can see the brick separating now since the arch is missing its supportive leg.

Introducing the latest craze:  The Ovenless Kitchen.

    When your Victorian two story home has a fire and a contemporary 1920's style roof is built on what is left, this roofline is the result.  Art Deco meets Victorian in what we might call Vart Decorian.

Interesting artistic liberties were taken to augment this old home with unusual diamond shaped windows.

What compliments the opulence and luxury of new cabinets and granite countertops in a kitchen more than a frumpy old 1960's oven hood?

This is the first time I have seen the use of mirrors on the exterior of a home.  Interesting.

If you have ever wondered what it looks like to carpet your basement before you hang your sheetrock, here is an example.

Wallpaper can create subtle accents in a home...or completely overwhelming ones.


Sometimes wallpaper can make you feel like you are in some kind of carnival funhouse.

Need a toilet?  There's one in the doorless closet.  Just make sure folks look the other way while you take care of business.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FOR SALE: Big Brick Ogden Triplex

I recently listed this triplex for sale located at 452 5th St. in Ogden, Utah.

The building was constructed the early 1940's and consists of three units.  One is upstairs, one is on the main level, and one is in the basement.  The main level unit has two bedrooms with the upper and basement units each have one bedroom. The units are approximately 900 SQFT each and have an accompanying garage bay in the rear of the property.

The home has three electrical meters but the entire building is heated via radiant heat.  The boiler is fairly new and located in the basement.  The owner pays for gas and water expenses while tenants pay for their electrical service.    

I put together a double-speed video walk-through of all the units and the property so you could get a feel for the floor plan, condition, and use of space:

Overall, this property would make a good investment for both new investors or seasoned investors looking to add to their portfolio.  The building generates $1850/mo. in rent and generates an annual return-on-investment of 9.62% after all expenses including property management.

If you are interested in this property CONTACT ME for current pricing and details on income and expenses.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

JUST SOLD! Renovated Historic Victorian

I just closed on the sale of this listing with a client:

We listed this property the last week in June for $144,900.  The property had been recently renovated from top to bottom and included granite counter tops, three new bathrooms and a more open floorplan.  Previously, the home sat vacant for many years while waiting for much needed improvements.  The improvements arrived, the home was marketed, and we began to get showings.  

After marketing the property for a couple weeks it became apparent that we were priced a bit too high.  We dropped the price to $139,900 to entice some more buyers.  A couple months passed as we received a moderate amount of showings.  Then, after Labor Day, we began to see increased activity.  We received an offer that my seller accepted but the buyers were unfamiliar with old historic homes and were uncomfortable owning a home with a rock foundation.  After the first buyers cancelled their contract, I was approached by some other buyers interested in the property.  A week after the cancellation, we had a new offer of $136,000 submitted to the seller with the request that the seller pay $4,800 in closing costs.  

The seller accepted this offer.  The buyers also used a $5,000 Own In Ogden grant to help facilitate the purchase.  The contract period was uneventful.  There were some minor nip and tuck repairs that needed to occur.  Once those were finished, my clients concluded the transaction very swiftly.

Congratulations to both my buyers and sellers!

If you are looking to sell your home, or perhaps you are looking to upgrade to a your next home, CONTACT ME, and lets make your next real estate experience a great one.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

VIDEO: Turning A Multi-Plexed House Into A Home Again

Ogden is the home to one of the largest inventories of historic quality houses in the western United States.  It was a railroad boom town up through the 1950's.  This boom, along with the economics of the depression, had an effect on many of the larger homes built at the turn of the century.  Due to the demand for housing, many of the larger homes in the community were divided into multi-unit dwellings.

While convenient at the that moment, altering the fundamental design of these properties had a negative effect on the neighborhoods that hosted them.  Also, since the structures were not originally intended for this purpose, the significant maintenance and upkeep required became a drag on owners and thus handicap the normal improvements you would typically see invested in properties over time.

Fortunately, Ogden is reversing this trend one house at a time.  One of my listings was formerly a "triplex" and is now for sale as a single family home.  However, when the home was remodeled prior to going on the market, the "units" were not eliminated.  Market feedback told us that this was a major impediment.  So, we took some measures to correct the problem.

Here is before and after video of the remodel work completed while eliminating the units:

These changes should make the home much more marketable.  If are thinking of selling your home and you need help figuring out how to prepare your property to sell, CONTACT ME, and lets make your home market-ready.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Just Sold! Excellent Roy Tri-Level Homestead

I just closed on this transaction with a client who was shopping for a home:

Located at 5540 S. 3200 W. in Roy, this home had everything my clients were looking for.

The home is a sizable 2725 SQFT with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

My clients and I had been shopping for a home for a few weeks when this one popped up on our radar.  The property was listed at $215,000.  After viewing the home we decided to offer $210,000 using a VA loan and asked the seller to contribute $4,900 in closing costs.  Rather than countering, this seller accepted our offer immediately.  My clients were very pleased with the response.

Our contract time was a little longer than normal based on my client's needs, but Hazel Webb, our professional loan officer, made sure the loan process went very smoothly.  Ultimately we closed and my clients moved in to their new home.

Congrats to my buyers!  If you are looking for the perfect home for your needs, CONTACT ME, and let's see what we can find that is just the right match.  You can start your search HERE.

DIVIDED HOUSE PRICES: Ogden's Trolley District and East Bench Neighborhoods Converge

Ogden's core historic neighborhoods have historically been divided by a great imaginary barrier.  Starting 60 years ago, Harrison Blvd. was seen as a partition that separated Ogden's upper middle class community from the supposed unseemly riff-raff that lurked on the opposite side.  As Ogden's neighborhoods matured over the decades, this perception became self-reinforcing and self-fulfilling.  Ultimately, by the time our family moved into Ogden in 2004, it was common knowledge among anyone living in Weber County that this boundary existed.

To illustrate how this impacts the real estate markets, lets take a look at a history of house prices in these two distinct neighborhoods. Here is a snapshot of the Trolley District which is bounded by 20th St. on the north, 30th St. on the south,  Harrison Blvd on the east, and Washington Blvd. on the west.

As you can see, homes are selling on average today at a super affordable $56/SQFT.  Prices have recovered nicely from the market trough experienced a couple of years ago.  There is a broad noisy range of data though due to the condition of the properties.  Nevertheless, our trendline gives us some idea of the direction of prices.  Now lets take a look at the East Bench as defined as homes east of Harrison Blvd, south of 20th St. and north of 36th St.

As you can see here, prices have also recovered nicely from the recession bottoms but they still are quite a ways below their pre-recession peak.  Today's East Bench homes are selling around $78/SQFT with a lot less variance in the recent figures.

On average, today's homes east of Harrison Blvd. are valued 39% more than homes west of Harrison Blvd..  This confirms the market stigma and its impact.  Yet, the most remarkable trend we find is when we study the difference in figures between the sales of the Ogden Trolley District and the East Bench over time.  Surprisingly, it would seem there are forces at work eroding the great divide that has bifurcated Ogden for so long.

As you can see, over the past seven years, the difference in average sales prices between the two neighborhoods has been declining.  Although the data is noisy, there is definitely a clear trend.  If the trend holds, in the next 15 years, the East Bench and the Trolley District will be at parity in value.  If this happens, it will be a day that many Ogdenites thought they would never live to see:  A day when it is perceived to be as respectable to live west of Harrison Blvd as it is to live east of Harrison Blvd.  I am optimistic we will see it sooner than we think.

Two forces, I believe, are at play which are pushing price trends in these two neighborhoods.  First, price increases in the East Bench are slowing due to the aging of the homes and their occupants.  Many homes on the East Bench are owner occupied and have not been updated in decades.  When the owners sell or their estates are liquidated, this means that the sale prices are hampered due to the condition of the property.  The inherent value in the neighborhoods prevents investors from swooping in to rehabilitate the homes for a profit.  Thus, the market is dependent on owner occupants and this keeps the market prices stable but limited from vaulting to new heights. Since many owner occupants lack the skill sets or capital to improve their homes in a significant manner, this means it may take a little longer for improvements to occur in some of East Bench homes.  It is a function of the where the neighborhood is in its life cycle.   Meanwhile, the Trolley District saw home prices collapse in the past and the condition of homes was so bad that a significant portion have been completely renovated from top to bottom.  These homes are being put in "like new" condition by investors which makes the homes more attractive to home buyers and thus helps their relative price points.

So, while the East Bench is definitely valued more, it is appreciating more slowly than the Trolley District, which has accelerated in its price increase.  Let's keep our eyes forward to see how the next decade reshapes the landscape of Ogden's neighborhoods. Ogden's two great central neighborhoods are headed toward a more vibrant and unified future.