Thursday, March 31, 2011

Historic 25th Street: Crowley's Gallery and Cafe

April 1st, 2010
115 Historic 25th Street
Ogden, UT

4:00pm - 9:00pm

For those of you who love art and antiques, I highly recommend you come down Friday for Ogden's Friday Art Stroll and check out the new cafe.  The gallery has amazing work on exhibit.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

REO HOMES: Asset Manager Malfunction

I recently closed a bank owned property in Ogden.  I am glad that the transaction finally came to a conclusion.  This one almost made me bald and gray.

The typical real estate transaction takes 30 to 40 days to complete in today's market.  Unfortunately, the transaction I am speaking of today took us 91 days.  Here is a break down of the chain of events (click to enlarge):

Our first sign of trouble is that the seller took nearly two weeks to return a contract to us with signatures on it.  This wouldn't be to big of a problem if the transaction was cash but in our instance it was a financed an owner-occupant no less.  We couldn't start working on the loan until we received the contract from the seller. 

Then came the puzzling delays in receiving our transaction-dependent Own In Ogden paperwork back from the seller.  The process normally takes a day or two to submit paperwork and get it back from the other party.  In our case, we were delayed a total of 33 days (yes, over one whole month) waiting for the seller to sign and return paperwork so we could move to the next step.

My clients had expected a traditional time frame and had notified their landlord of their intent to vacate.  With these delays they had to renegotiate their lease terms and live out of boxes for two months.

The lesson to take away from this is that bank owned properties are a fantastic bargain but be prepared to wade through a bureaucratic swamp to get where you want to be. Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware).

JUST SOLD! Ogden Craftsman Bungalow

I just sold this very cool craftsman bungalow at 856 Kershaw St. to a fine family relocating from Logan to Ogden.  Congrats to the Hardmans and welcome back to Ogden. 

This 2100 SQFT, 4 bed, 2 bath home was a bank owned property listed for $89,900 in November 2010. A month later they lowered the price to $82,900.  We looked at the property at that time and offered $76,000 while asking for $2,800 in closing costs plus any FHA repairs.  The seller balked and we ultimately came to an agreement at $83,000 with the seller paying the buyer's closing costs while also participating in the Own In Ogden Program and agreeing to make repairs as required. 

The house has some great bones and will restore beautifully.  It also has a vast unfinished basement that is prime for extra living space. It's going to be a great project and I look forward to seeing their refinished craftsman home.

Friday, March 25, 2011


An article in the Standard Examiner today announced the creation of new website about development and re-development going on in Ogden.

Be sure to check it out.  Lots of great things going on in Ogden.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Own In Ogden Grant Changes Coming...

One of my responsibilities is to serve as the Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee that assists the Community Development Department of Ogden City in reviewing its plans for HUD block grants and other resources.

One of the programs that is overseen by this committee is the Own In Ogden Program.  This is a very popular program for home buyers that provides up to $5,000 in grant funds to pay for closing costs or down payments for homes located in the historic neighborhoods just east of the Downtown commercial center of town (my neighborhood).

Today we voted to make a change to the program.  The way things operate currently, the $5,000 grant is placed as a zero-payment lien on the buyers home and forgiven $500 at a year with the last $3,000 being waived in the last year of the five year period. Any balance remaining when the home is sold before that five year period ends is to be paid back to the city.

Today we made the change that the grant will not be forgiven over a five year period but that it should remain in place and payable back to the city upon resale of the property.  The city is anticipating a reduction in federal grant money in the future this change will allow the city to recoup the funds to assist other homebuyers in the future.  I agree with this change because it is no longer free money from the taxpayers to be given away but now becomes a loan that is repayable and perpetuates the program indefinitely for future buyers.  An ecclesiastical organization I am familiar with sponsored a Perpetual Immigration Fund, a Perpetual Education Fund, and now we have a government sponsored "Perpetual Home Buyers Fund".  I think it makes sense.  Look for these new changes to take place July 1, 2011.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

War Zone: Buying A Home In Libya

With all the news about the Libyan civil war and our apparent choosing of sides in that conflict, I thought it might be time to take a look at what home prices are doing in that Mediterranean country.  As it turns out, there is an MLS of sorts for Libya called Al-Daleal.  But, you have to know your metric system to know what you are buying.

I took a shining to this home:

This is a 3 bed 3 bath home in Tripoli.  It is 260 square meters (2300 SQFT to us Americans) and sits on a lot that is about 490 square meters (or .09 acres in our reckoning).  You can purchase this sanctuary from the worries of the world for 325,000 Libyan dinar or $260,000 American.  Of course, right now you not only get the best of living in the Capitol of Libya but you are also treated now to a daily fireworks show courtesy of the United State Air Force.

If the war becomes too bloody, then house prices will likely go down, but, if a large number of homes are destroyed, then house prices (of those still standing) will likely go up. In the off chance that you need some guidance, my professional advise is to wait before speculating in the Libyan real estate market.  

Longevity: 1,340 Days-on-Market and counting...

I was noodling around on the MLS today and I was seeing some homes for sale that had been listed for quite a long time.  I then wondered: What property for sale now has the longest listing time in Weber County?

Here is your answer:

This property was listed in July of 2007!  Talk about a patient seller.  The listing has been with the same agent the entire time...all 1,340 days. 

However, the all time longest days-on-market time for the state of Utah goes to an owner of a mobile home in Manila, Utah.

This home has been on the market 2,035 days.  Listed in June 2005! 

Hats off to these patient sellers and their long-suffering agents. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ogden Rising: Historic Style Residential Infill

Many of you are aware that Ogden City has been intensely focused on rejuvenating its urban core.  One of those areas of focus has been to build new homes where old obsolescent ones once existed.  Back in the 1990's when this effort first started, the mistake was make of building homes that looked like ones in the suburbs- vinyl wrapped boxes with a big garage out in front.   Although the homes were new, they looked totally out of place for the historic nature of Ogden.  Since that time, better minds have changed the arrangement so that historically minded infill has occurred and is occurring.

One of these new projects is just down the street from my home.  Last year I brokered the sale of some blighted Victorian era homes for demolition.  It would have been nice to restore them but they were too far gone and with the exception of maybe one, could not be salvaged.  Now that they are gone, construction has begun and I have to say I am highly impressed with the style of the homes being built.

There are five Victorian style homes being built next door to the Historic LDS 4th Ward Chapel.  They are about 2500 SQFT each and for sale in the $150's with lots of financing incentives.  EMAIL ME for more details on these very cool homes.  Come be a part of the new Ogden experience!  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Market Update: Charts and More Charts

It's been some time since we have taken a look at sales figures for Weber County.  The numbers are in for February.  Click on any of these graphs to enlarge. Lets take a look:

The above chart shows sales for each month compared year to year.  This year's 2011 sales are dark blue.  It appears that we are off to a mild start to the year thus far. 

The above chart I created to show the percentage change year over year reflected in the first chart.  It is my hopes that the market will be equalizing soon and will at least stabilize around the zero-line.  Obviously growth would be a great thing too but we will take what we can get.  This chart will be well below the zero line in the next couple of months due to the caffeinated high induced by the tax credits last year at this time.  We will have to discount that data due to the unnatural distortions created by those incentives. 

Finally, we have the running tally on sales since 1996.  It looks like our glide slope down is leveling out after a dead cat bounce induced by the tax credits.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Zoning Enforcement: Relief from the Hill

A couple of years ago a friend of mine was in a dispute about basement window egress in one of his rental properties in Ogden.  Current code requires that basement window openings be 5.7 square feet and that there be a window well.  The code also stipulates that if the basement was refinished anytime after the original build date, the windows must be brought into conformance with this provision.  EMAIL ME FOR A COPY OF OGDEN'S WINDOW EGRESS POLICY.  Fortunately, through some vigorous discussions, we were able to get my friend a variance due to the fact that the home was 90 years old and installing window wells would prove to be a problem for his driveway.

However, it so happens that other cities in Utah have not been as cooperative in negotiating some of the problems associated with old houses and how they relate to new building codes.  Hence, a representative from Utah County created a bill which was passed in the Legislature and will become law soon.  That new law is SB178.

Here is an excerpt:

79(6) A municipal ordinance adopted under Section 10-1-203 may not:
80 (a) require physical changes in a structure with a legal nonconforming rental housing
81 use[; or] unless the change is for:
82 (i) the reasonable installation of:
83 (A) a smoke detector that is plugged in or battery operated;
84 (B) a ground fault circuit interrupter protected outlet on existing wiring;
85 (C) street addressing;
86 (D) except as provided in Subsection (7), an egress bedroom window if the existing
87 bedroom window is smaller than ۼ [5.7 square feet] that required by current state building
87a code »€ ;
88 (E) an electrical system or a plumbing system, if the existing system is not functioning
89 or is unsafe as determined by an independent electrical or plumbing professional who is
90 licensed in accordance with Title 58, Occupations and Professions;
91 (F) hand or guard rails; or
92 (G) €º [fire suppression] occupancy separation »€ doors as required by the International
92a Residential Code; or
93 (ii) the abatement of a structure; or
94 (b) be enforced to terminate a legal nonconforming rental housing use.
95 (7) A municipality may not require a change described in Subsection (6)(a)(i)(D) if the
96 change:

97 (a) would compromise the structural integrity of a building; or
98 (b) could not be completed in accordance with current building codes, including
99 set-back and window well requirements.

Section 7 gives some relief to owners in light of many of the old structures in the State.  My own home will benefit from this provision if it ever becomes a rental property.  My foundation is made of quarried granite blocks.  If I were to meet current code I would have to cut through those to make my windows bigger. In turn, that would create structural instability.  The windows are large enough for a person to climb out but they do not meet today's rigorous codes.  I believe that this new law will add some common sense to the discussion for city zoning inspectors trying to create a safe housing environment.