Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bumbling with Boilers

Some tenants recently vacated a rental unit of mine and so I got to work getting it cleaned up.  One of the issues we need to address is tiling the bathroom floor and walls.  There was a very awkward looking radiator in the bathroom which was no longer functioning so I decided to grab my trusty saws-all and cut it out.

As I started cutting, water started spraying out of the pipe.  The boiler system has been non-functioning for four years or more so I had no idea why water was coming out.  When I finished the cut water started pouring out onto the bathroom floor.  As it turns out, the system had never been drained so the entire system was now draining itself out of my freshly cut pipe! Whoops!  Sticking my thumb in the hole quickly stopped the flow but I needed something else to block the pipe.  Fortunately, I was able to find a piece of wallpaper from the bathroom that was loose and wad it up into a ball and cram it into the hole.  Presto!  Leak fixed. 

I then went to the basement and drained the system.  As the water drained I finished the cut.  What I didn't notice while I was hauling this 100lb scrap of metal across my carpet was that black rusty goo was oozing out the bottom.  Whoops again!

I will update you on how the carpet cleaning goes and if rusty goo really will come out of carpet.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FOR SALE: Mission Bungalow - 2 Bed 1 Bath

I just listed this 2 bed 1 bath home in Bramwell's Addition in the Trolley District area.  List price as of today is $109,900.  Very cute woodwork with room to grow in the basement.  If you are interested, give me a call and we will take a look inside.   

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FOR SALE: Restored Art Deco Cottage - 1700 SQFT

I just listed this very cute cottage.  With 3 beds, 1 bath, and a full sized unfinished basement, there is plenty of room to grow.  Take a look and give me a call if you are interested.  Original list price is $109,900.

Monday, July 26, 2010

JUST SOLD! Super-Bargain Fourplex

I just closed with a client on this bank owned fourplex in Ogden at 2364 Jefferson Ave.  It suffered from a fire about 8 years ago and has been totally rebuilt inside.  The structure is 4100 SQFT with 3 three-bedroom units and 1 two-bedroom unit.  Rent rolls should be close to $2,500.  Our purchase price: $166,515.  It's an excellent cash flow property with immediate equity upon purchase.

This one took us a while to nail down.  It was listed at $158.000 back in May.  Given that the price was significantly below market value (even in our illiquid marketplace) I recommended that my client offer full price.  The listing agent then notified us that we were in a multiple offer situation...which wasn't a surprise.  I advised my client to offer $175,000.  Our offer was accepted.

Then began the long slow haul to get it closed.  The seller had paperwork to handle and it took them almost two weeks to get a signed contract back to us due to confusion over where and to whom we were to make the earnest money out to.  Our inspections were completed by the time the signed paperwork arrived in mid June.  Our inspector discovered a significant amount of mold in the basement.  We received a written bid for the remediation and a verbal bid for the replacement and repair to put the unit in operating condition.  We asked for a concession in price based on both for about $9,000.  It took the seller a few days to respond and they asked for a full bid including both remediation and repair.  It took us a couple more days and we submitted it to the seller.  The seller took several more days and then came back asking us why the two bids were different.  To add to the confusion, the listing agent's assistant was on vacation and handling business through her phone. 

The day before our settlement deadline on the 15th of July, the asset manager at the bank recommended we scrap our original contract and start over because the seller's paperwork process for handling our concession was too time consuming.  We agreed.  It took the seller three days to get a new signed contract to us and two days later we closed.  Whew!

Monday, July 19, 2010

FOR SALE: Clean North Ogden Condo

For those of you looking for a great starter home, here is your opportunity.  Listed at $89,900.  HOA is $130 and includes water, sewer, garbage, and cable.  FHA approvable!

Call me to view. 801-390-1480

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Resort Land Giveaway: Ogden Valley Lots

I was asked to do some research for a client today and I thought I would share some of my findings. The client inquired about residential land prices and where they have trended over the last few years. It looks like this question can be best answered with a chart....queue chart please:

To get a good bearing on comparisons I divided the sale price by the acreage and plotted them in a scatter chart.  Keep in mind that lots vary quite a bit in quality, and given such, the $/acre comparison is probably the best way to measure the trend in values.  View lots will still be at the top end of the spectrum while awkward lots will always be at the bottom.

The chart shows a couple interesting things.  First, you can see the "froth" in prices during the peak bubble time of 2006/2007.  Then as the market crashes there is virtually no sales of land.  Finally, in the last year we see sales increase in a cluster that is approximately 75% below the market peaks several years ago. 

Why such a slaughter in land prices?  Unlike homes, residential land is not a utility asset.  There has to be a home sitting on it in order for it to be useful and generate rental income or be used for occupancy.  Therefore, when the bubble burst and the market was deluged with excess homes, lots for building became totally unnecessary as homes could be purchased for less than construction costs. 

Today we see that land is selling again at rock bottom prices. Despite the fact that demand for new housing is very weak, construction costs have come down significantly and that entices some to build.  Prices have waned to such a degree now that buyers can even afford to hold lots and build later.

Look for land prices to increase substantially as demand for housing increases in the coming years. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

FOR SALE: Bank Owned North Ogden Rambler - 3000 SQFT

This property is now listed and for sale in North Ogden.  3000 SQFT 5 Beds and 3 Bath.  Comparable homes in the neighborhood are around $225,000.   

If you are interested in this home give me a call. 801-390-1480

Monday, July 12, 2010

Things to Do In Utah: The Crimson (China Wall) Trail

One of the things that I do when I am not working is volunteer as an assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts.  I am assigned to work with the 11 and 12 year old boys.  As an Eagle Scout myself, it's great to see these young men learn outdoor skills and achieve their goals as they advance in rank.

We had an awesome camping experience this weekend and I thought I would share our trip in case you wanted to experience some of Utah's great outdoors. 

Our trip took us an hour north of Ogden to Logan Canyon.  To get there, take I-15 north to Brigham City.  Exit and follow the highway to Logan.  At 400 North in Logan, make a right turn.  You will soon enter Logan Canyon.

There are scores of places to camp in Logan Canyon itself.  Unfortunately, this weekend every camp site we visited was full and there was no available space.  I was quite surprised.  During my years at Utah State University, I would spend a lot of time in the canyon and I have never seen it quite this busy.  I directed our group to a camp area off the beaten path.  Right Hand Fork leads to Crowley's Canyon which has some good out-of-the-way camping spots.

We set up our tents and made a fire for dinner.  A deer wandered into camp and grazed about 20 yards from us while we ate.  It was dark and yet it didn't seem to mind us or the fire.  It hung around for an hour or so.


We wanted to go hiking so we broke camp and decided to hike The Crimson trail.  This is often called the China Wall trail as well.  The trail follows along a cliff face on the south side of Logan Canyon.  To get to the trailhead you need to go to the Spring Hollow camp ground which is just east of the third dam in Logan Canyon.  The best place to park is across the bridge in the main parking area at the entrance to the camp.  From there walk south up the road to Camp Area B.

The road will dead end at the trailhead.

The trail is full of interesting geologic features.  One of the most striking features is the abundance of fossil material in the rocks.  A few minutes of turning over rocks can yield some surprises.  I found a trilobite impression in one rock.  I also found a clam shell embedded in stone.  The entire area used to be the bottom of an ancient sea.

I tossed this rock back so perhaps you can search for it the next time you are on the trail.  Further up the trail we ran into this green blow snake.

He didn't seem to be to bothered by his discovery. 

The first part of the trail is a series of arduous switchbacks that takes you up 1800 feet above the canyon floor.  As we made our way up, I took this photo looking west towards Logan. 

Another interesting geologic feature across the canyon from us is the Wind Cave.  I have hiked the trail to Wind Cave numerous times.  It's a very popular day hike. 

As the trail levels off, you are rewarded with striking views of the cliff faces that the path traverses.

The scenery is worth the sweat required.  Here I am on a rock outcrop.

Finally, we began our quick return down the mountain.  As you can see in the photo below, the trail at this point is a series of quick switchbacks full of loose rock and gravel so make sure you wear good shoes.  Some of our scouts wore flat bottomed street shoes for this hike.  Not recommended.

Also, do keep in mind that Utah is rattlesnake country.  Two of our scouts nearly missed being bitten by a rattler that was sunning itself on the trail.  I was walking right behind them when I saw both of them jump and run.  The rattler shook his tail, let us know he was there, and slithered off the trail into the brush.  This is also a reminder not to veer off of established trails.  Here is a photo of the rattler as he was leaving.  Notice how he blends in with the rocks quite nicely.  Stepping on him while romping off-trail would be a huge mistake.  

Ultimately, our journey takes us down to the river for a nice jaunt back to the parking lot where we started.

The entire trail is a loop and is just under 5 miles.  It took our group about three hours to hike it while enjoying a lengthy lunch break.  Happy hiking!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Phssssssssst: June Sales Drop 16%

As predicted, Weber County sales have retreated following the end of the tax credit surge.  June 2010 numbers have come in about 16% below June 2009.

Looking ahead we may normalize around August or September.  However, due to last years distorted sales in October and November, the statistics will not be meaningful for those months.  We would do better to compare them to 2008 figures.  Lets hope we can build a foundation for sales volume to stand on from this point forward.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Photo of the Day: Third World America

I was looking at a bank owned property last week for a client. When looking at the home online I couldn't figure out why it hadn't sold. The interior was in great condition and the home had a good floorplan.

When I did my walk around of the exterior I finally figured it out. The home shares a common driveway with this monstrosity in the backyard:

Apparently, the creators of this "home" are not quite familiar with our building codes. Check out the downspout and the electrical service. Yikes! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July holiday. May we celebrate another 234 Years of Freedom!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tremors: The End of the 30-Year Mortgage?

The very fact that this conversation is being discussed is significant.

It appears to me that there is an unreasonable emphasis placed on home ownership rates. If we look at Spain, which is of the poorest of Western European countries, it has a home ownership rate of 85% compared to our 67%. Clearly, we can't use it as an absolute benchmark of prosperity.

However, I do think that shorter mortgage terms would be more advantageous. Although, due to the higher payments associated with the shorter term, it would force buyers to save more for down payments prior to making a purchase. Very interesting discussion. I do think government needs to get out of the housing business.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

When Housing and Autos Merge

Some drives exercising poor judgment hurt some folks this morning in West Point.

Homes and campers don't tend to do well fighting against trucks.