Saturday, February 28, 2015

PHOTO GALLERY: Victorian Splendor

Ogden has many great historic homes.  I recently had the opportunity to view the Dee Home which was built in 1889.  The detailed craftsmanship inside was beautiful and amazing.

If you are looking for a Victorian Mansion to call your home, CONTACT ME, and let's see if we can find the perfect fit for you.

VIDEO: The Case of the Exploding House

It is important to be mindful of gas lines.  Here is a recent example of an exploding house in New Jersey.

The explosion injured 15 people.  Remarkably, no one died in this incident.  Here is a picture of the home now.  All that remains is the basement.  Interestingly, notice that the patio furniture is intact.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

FOR SALE: Updated Affordable Townhome

I just listed this townhome in Ogden, Utah.  The property is located at 804 12th St. across the street from Gramercy Elemenarty School.  Here is a video slideshow of the property.

The home is 1288 SQFT on two levels with 3 beds and 2 baths.  The upper level has vaulted ceilings and a contemporary kitchen.  The entire unit has new carpet and two tone paint.  

There is a deck off the dining area and a detached 2-car garage for parking or storage.  

If you are interested in viewing this property, CONTACT ME, and let's schedule a private showing.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

OGDEN RISING: The Proof Is In The Pudding

Ogden continues to make a name for itself in the media.  For your benefit, here are a collection of recent accolades for our community:

1.  Forbes - Best Places for Business 2014 - Ogden #11
2.  Forbes - Best 25 Places to Retire in 2014 - Ogden  #18
3.  Forbes - Best Places to Raise a Family - Ogden #3
4.  Deseret News - Provo, Ogden, Salt Lake City Rank Best in U.S. for Top Tech Jobs
5.  The New Yorker - How Utah Became the Best Silicon Valley
6.  INC. - Move Over Silicon Valley:  Utah Has Arrived

We still have a lot of work to do, but the efforts are bearing fruit.  As we keep up our efforts, the economic harvest will multiply.  Ogden's future is bright!

If you are wanting to move to the Ogden area, CONTACT ME, and let's find the right neighborhood for you.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


After showing dozens of homes to clients over the past months, its time to showcase some more incredible photos...

I always appreciate homes that are primed and ready to show.

These sellers must have known we were coming.

 Structural integrity is always a big selling point.  So, its always interesting to find framing jobs that take "artistic liberties".  For the record,  floor joists should always sit vertically, not horizontally.

Ever stuccoed the interior walls of your home?  These guys have.

You know its time to fire your plumber when the duct-tape-to-pipe ratio is way out of line.

Look at that beautiful crown molding as it meanders its way all over the corner of this room.  Beautiful nonsense.

Need a door kicked in?  I know some people.

Second guessing your skills as a stone mason?  Me too.

Introducing the rare, yet coveted, bedroom sink.

You made an addition to the building, you say?  I barely noticed.

And this was the nicest room in the house.  You should have seen the room we found with all the terrified teenage kids in it.  Their dad was wearing a hockey mask.  Strange family.  Oh well.    

A grand walkway, to a tree trunk.

Want to kid proof your electrical?  Put your switches 6 feet off the ground.  

Found this "sink" in the "kitchen" of a mother-in-law "apartment".  This dude must really hate his mother in law.  

The old roof-under-the-deck trick.  

 A/C piping and exposed sewer lines can make for an attractive addition to your finished bedroom space...or not.

Oooo...a fun guessing game. Where does the wire go?  

Have you ever installed your water furnace 90 degrees the wrong direction?  A sawsall and a white metal grill will make people think you really meant to do it that way.  

Pushing the frontiers of junction box technology.  

Thanks for viewing.  Look for more wacky photos in coming months!

Friday, January 16, 2015

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Vicious Vermin Vandals

Having worked in the real estate business for over 10 years, I have seen a lot of things.  But every once in a while, something comes along that shocks the senses.

During a recent storm, I got a call from a tenant saying that her ceiling was leaking.  We knew the roof was older but we hadn't had any problems with leaks.  The roof was in decent condition so we didn't expect any problems.  However, when we went to inspect the roof after the storm, here is the surprise that awaited us:

Whoa!  Somebody tore a giant hole in the roof.  As we scratched our head wondering who would do such a thing and why, a closer inspection revealed the culprit.   

Teeth marks were found in the wood shakes and it appears raccoons are responsible for unprovoked damage to the roof.  

Here you can see two other discolored areas where the raccoons began tearing into the roof before settling on a final area.  Fortunately, the roof lath stopped their progress.

If you see any raccoons in the Eccles Historic District with slivers in their gums,  we want to talk to them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

CHARTS: Real Estate Market Movements in 2014

As we start 2015, I thought it would be appropriate to review what happened to the market in 2014 and do some prognostications for the coming year.

Here is our perennial chart showing sales volume since 1995.  The white trend line shows us a 12 month moving average to help filter out the seasonal volatility.  As you can see here, we appear to have reached a relative plateau in 2014 relative to previous years.  After the market troughed in 2011, volume significantly increased until late 2013.  Since that time, the number of homes sold has only increased moderately.  Although sales aren't increasing, this level of sales volume is indicative of a healthy marketplace.

The year-over-year monthly comparisons show us the moderate pace of sales growth (with the odd exception of September).  Charts from 2012 and 2013 showed consistent double digit increases in sales.

This next chart shows how long it takes to sell a home priced at fair market value.  You can see the winter high of 120 days in January of 2012.  Although there is definitely a seasonal aspect to the time on market, the trend toward shorter market times has been very strong.  Very low interest rates and low prices combined to spark competetive buying in early 2013.  Hence, the very short market times.  We have now moderated to the mid 50's which is again a healthy place for the market to be.

For 2015, I expect more of the same.  Prices should slowly increase with inflation (look for another post on prices soon) and sales volume should plug along as usual.  Of course, any major political or economic events may change this prediction, but I don't foresee anything on the horizon that will affect the market significantly in this calendar year.

Conditions are good for buyers and sellers in this Goldilocks marketplace.  If you are looking for a home or want to sell yours, CONTACT ME, and lets make sure your needs are met.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Photo of the Day: Wind Event Wonders

I recently returned from a vacation to discover that Ogden has experienced a significant wind event in our absence.  When we left town, the snow was half a foot deep.  When we returned, the snow was missing from our front yard.  Another clue was that our front porch furniture had been rearranged or was missing (to be found in the back yard).

Realtor sign posts and hardware are made to withstand the elements and I have never really had problems with wind events such as these causing problems for my signs. But, in a first for me, one of my posts took a real beating this time.  It takes quite a bit of force to bend a sign like that.

For a trip down memory lane, you can see video from the giant wind storm we had in 2011.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Things To Do In Idaho: The Blue Heron Inn

Our family recently escaped to Idaho for a much needed vacation over the Christmas holiday.  While we were with family, my wife and I decided to leave the kids with the grandparents and escape for the evening to a bed and breakfast.  Our search ended when we found the Blue Heron Inn.

The Inn is located just north of Rigby, ID on the banks of the Snake River.  Room rates are reasonable between $130-$180 per night and they include a delicious home made breakfast cooked by the owners.    

We happened to choose a less busy time of the year and a room was readily available.  Despite that, it didn't mean the setting was any less stunning.

Our room had an uninterrupted view of the Snake River.

The following morning we were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise and an outdoor temperature of -10ºF.  The river waters were choked with ice but their relatively warmer temperature put off steam in the ultra-cool air.

If you are looking for a great getaway in southeast Idaho, I strongly recommend the Blue Heron Inn. Booking reservations online is simple and the location won't disappoint.

Friday, December 19, 2014

INCOME PROPERTY: When Cash Cows Become Vicious Alligators

In 2008, I began attending regular lunches with a group of real estate investors in Weber County.  It was a great place to meet people with similar interests and share opportunities and best practices among each other.  I met many of my best and most loyal clients at these gatherings.

One client in particular moved here from California and began to aggressively acquire properties as the market turned downward.  I arranged for many transactions, most of them seller financed, as this particular client built a growing portfolio of properties.  This client indicated their plan was to cash flow the properties and invest in capital improvements to build equity.  That seemed to make sense.

However, by 2010, I distanced myself from this client as I learned more about their business practices and how they were operating.  They were obtaining funding from private investors based on the promise of what I considered unrealistic returns.  One particularly interesting 'trick' they used to facilitate their operations was to offer no-deposit lease terms to tenants.  The idea was that by reducing the deposit, they could increase rents proportionally or even more.  Since income property value is based on rent rolls, theoretically, this trick should increase the value of the property they owned.  If the value of the property was worth more, they could show this as an increase in equity and thus present it as evidence of their wise use of their investor-partner's funds.

The problem, of course, is that deposits are a natural and necessary part of responsibly managing property.  Also, according to the Rule of Three, there are natural limits to the price a tenant can pay in rent.  So, this client attempted to defy gravity, so to speak, by raising rents, dumping deposits, and hoping that everything would go well.

As you can imagine, they didn't go well.  When I spoke to the client's property manager in 2012, he indicated they were experiencing a 20% vacancy rate.  That was remarkable when the ambient market vacancy rate is just 4% for tenable property.  Whatever gains they were making on higher rents were being lost through punishing vacancy rates.

The other problem was that tenants had no incentive whatsoever to keep up the condition of the property.  When these tenants left, the client spent much more than was necessary to repair the units because the tenants abused the places without restraint.  And of course, since the tenants were typically low income, collecting from them for the damage was nearly impossible.

Thus, over a period of time, the business model began to unravel as investor-partners began to question their return on investment. Major cracks in the edifice began to show themselves in 2013.  At that time, this former client mailed keys back to the seller of a property they had bought via seller financing in 2008. Since that time, the former client's name has appeared on the Notice of Default list frequently as they have stopped making payments on their mortgage obligations.

Yet, in all the chaos that has descended on the portfolio of this former client, we made an interesting discovery.  Some of these properties in foreclosure have ended up with 2nd and 3rd mortgages on them.  Even more shocking, the loans came from private retirement accounts.  Finally, to ad insult to injury, many of these loans were made within weeks of the borrower defaulting on their first mortgage obligations.  It appears that while the Titanic was sinking, someone was been running up the tab at the bar.  In such situations, the private IRAs have no hope of recovering their investment as their collateral is wiped out at the foreclosure auction.  It is a sad sight.

Investors like cash cows that that produce profit each month after all expenses are considered.  The opposite of a cash cow is an alligator which is a property that needs to be fed money each month to keep operating.  It appears that this former client purchased what he thought were cash cows and through unwise decisions mutated them into vicious alligators.  These alligators have eaten their owner alive and it appears it was a feeding frenzy.