Saturday, July 30, 2011

Demolition Day: Deferred Maintenance Disaster

I was cruising through Ogden the other day and was shocked to see a home being torn down at 2015 Monroe Blvd.  Here are the before and after photos:

The home had been vacant for several years and needed some TLC.  However, I didn't think the condition was as bad as it really turned out to be.  Here is the city order to abate the problem (click to enlarge):

I did some research to find out the story behind the home.  I discovered that the property was controlled by a local real estate "guru" who is very widely known in the Weber County real estate investment community.  It appears that someone may have just experienced a serious (i.e. total) loss on their investment.  Whoops!

Moral of the Story:  Fix up your homes before they become garden plots.  

Posted by Jeremy Peterson
Ogden, Utah Real Estate Broker
Mountain Real Estate Companies

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ogden Rising: New Hilton Hotel Ground Breaking

Ground was recently broken for a new Hilton Hotel which is being built at 23rd Street and Washington Blvd in The Junction.  Here is a picture of the lot where the structure is being constructed.


The Standard Examiner gives us a brief summary of the project:

Dan Vanzeben, the architect of the hotel, said the structure's design is influenced by art deco and prairie-style architecture that's prevalent in Ogden. In addition to brick, it will be constructed with a variety of high-quality building materials including granite and limestone plaster, he said.

The second and third floors of the hotel will have three king-size suites and three one-bedroom suites. The exterior walls of the suites will be glass, providing panoramic views of the mountains to east and the valley to the west.

There will also be an indoor pool, spa and exercise room along with a kitchen to provide breakfast, room service and catering in three large meeting rooms.

A two-level parking garage with retail space surrounding the structure will be built north of the hotel, Vanzeben said.

This is just one more project that is rejuvinating downtown Ogden.  Onward and upward!

Posted by Jeremy Peterson
Ogden, Utah Real Estate Broker
Mountain Real Estate Companies

Monday, July 25, 2011

Deferred Maintenance Timebomb: Slumlord Stairways

One of the properties I purchased in 2007 suffers from "repairs" made by a notorious slumlord in Ogden who flipped the property to the person I purchased it from.  You might remember this post from last year: Photo of the Day: Math for Dummies.

That ill-resolved math problem was enscribed on the stairs I had the priveledge or rebuilding this week.  There are two sets that need to be rebuilt.  Here are photos of the stairs I have not demolished yet.  They are representative of the condition of the stairs I removed with my bare hands:

Look at the top landing area and how they placed the 2X4's horizontally when framing it.  Then notice how they screwed it into the 1/2 inch OSB board.  They didn't screw into studs...just the OSB.  Nice!

My kids could do better work than this.  These stairs were in "good" condition when we purchased the property several years ago.  The passage of time, poor craftsmanship, and lousy materials bring us this travesty just a few short years later.  Clearly, the slumlord who did this work intended to do it cheaply with an eye toward bamboozling the person he sold it too. 

To begin to remedy this problem, I took a couple days off during the last two weeks to construct new stairs.  Here are the results:

I will be siding the OSB with cedar shakes to give it a cool old time look.  I will post photos when I am finished. 

I used treated pine and framing nails as my buidling materials.  The hardest part of this whole project was drilling holes in the concrete for the anchor screws.  My hammer drill and carbide bit took about an hour per hole just to drill 2 inches into the 102 year old concrete.  I might as well have been drilling granite. Anway, I am encouraged that these stairs should last at least another 40 years.  .

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wild West: Farr West City Tamed By The Law

Last month I reported about a project that an associate of mine was working on in Farr West to build an assisted living center for the elderly.  You can read the story in Wild West: Farr West City Denies Developer and Dooms Taxpayers.

Well, it appears that the reality of the situation has finally caught up to the city council.  The Standard Examiner reports the following:

After a scolding from its own attorney, the city council this week granted Anthony Marler permission to build an assisted living facility.

The action reversed the council's ruling earlier this year that the center could not be built because it was on land the council designated as wetlands.
Had the city not reversed course, the penalty the city would pay would likely not me a small sum.  The city attorney cites other examples:

And such a ruling would have severe consequences for the city, he said. He pointed out a case in Boise, Idaho, in which a county lost a similar suit and is now filing for bankruptcy because of the $4 million awarded.
The taxpayers of Farr West can breath a little easier tonight. 

Historic Restoration: Chimney Brick and Mortar Rework

We continue to do the nip-and-tuck necessary before we reroof our home.  One of those chores was to fix the brick on our chimneys.  We had a longtime pro named Brent Weston come and do the work for us. 

The first thing he did was start work on the center chinmey.  To do so, he built a platform that was held in place with a rope.

For the fireplace chimney a cherry picker was required.  Although the center chimney is lacking the top decorative band, I am satisfied with the work.  According to Brent, the last time the chimneys were worked on was about 40 years ago when the owners improvised and used silicone to hold the bricks in place.  (These must have been the same folks that didn't tape off the brick when painting the front porch of our home and thus leaving it to us to strip off.)  Fortunately, all the silicone bugars were scraped off and everything put back in its proper place. 

Here are the before and after pictures:



If you need a hard working and experienced brick mason, give me a call and I will put you in touch with him. 

Happy Restoring!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rules from MARS: NAR Blasts FTC With Ray Gun

It was announced today that the Federal Trade Commission will exclude Realtors from the MARS disclosure rules that it adopted earlier this year.

Basically the MARS disclosure documents were a series of four papers that were cumbersome, confusing, and in my opinion totally unnecessary. 

Today's ruling is a common sensed step back.

Monday, July 11, 2011

FOR SALE: 5 Bed 1 Bath 1580 SQFT Home

Lots of rooms in this pleasant post World War II home.  Located in a quite cul-de-sac which overlooks the Ogden River from the bench.  Secondary water will feed your garden.  It has a large .17 acre lot. Located just moments from trails and other recreation.  Seller will pay buyer's closing costs.  MUST SEE! 

Contact me to see this charming and affordable home!

Illusion vs. Reality: NWAOR 80/20 Rule Proven in Charts

The Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors released their 2011 survey.  They had a total of 476 respondents.  Here are some interesting findings:

It appears that 28% of Realtors in Northern Utah work two jobs.  The question I wanted answered is how many people truly make a living doing real estate vs. supplementing their income in real estate.  I also would be interested to hear how many Realtors live with a spouse or significant other that work and contribute to the household income.  An appropriate question would have been "Does Real Estate sales provide the majority of income in your household?" Unfortunately, this survey does not completely answer that question.  However, it does give us a clue:

The Real Estate industry is highly pretentious and ego-centric to a large degree.  What you are told is not always how things actually are.  That is why I love the MLS and these kinds of surveys.  They get to the crux of what is really going on out there.   

This pie chart here shows that a whopping 61% of agents sell less than 10 homes a year!  I would say that 10 transactions is the threshold necessary to stay proficient in the industry.  Certainly, selling less that 4 homes a year does not meet this standard and with well over a third of the folks in our ranks falling into this category, it is no wonder that the industry is often given a bad name.  It's my opinion that many of these folks know just enough to be dangerous.

Meanwhile, only 20% of the agents are selling more than 20 transactions per year.  I would qualify this number of transactions (unless you are selling super expensive houses) as the number needed to be truly full-time and a serious wage earner in the business.  Perhaps I feel this way because I fall in the category of the 20-30 range each year.  I am also the sole breadwinner in my home which I know is an anomaly in the industry as well.  This chart basically proves the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule of life.

Regardless, the next time you interview a Realtor, ask them: "Are you a full-time professional Realtor?"  See what they say.  As the top chart shows, way more than 20% will likely answer you in the affirmative.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Suburban Development Doomed - Where To Now?

I was on Youtube and found this video from 2008:

It's been three years. Do you think things have gotten any better since then?  Here is the chart on new construction nationally (courtesy of CalculatedRisk):

Well, I will euphemistically say that new construction sales are "under performing".  Locally, Utah has better demographics and there is new construction occurring due to population growth. But, local builders have not altogether avoided the trend you see in the above chart.  If you ask them how things are going they take a deep breath and say "ok".  The deep breath says more than their words.

The market right now is rewarding the resale and reuse of existing homes over the creation of new ones.  Here is another chart that shows that dynamic:

The money in real estate right now is in rehabbing existing homes.  The new construction supply hangover we experienced in 2008 is mostly mopped up but new construction is anemic and will be for the foreseeable future.  Investors can capitalize on this market dynamic by fixing existing homes and reselling them for a profit.  The speculative game of betting on new construction won't be back for a decade.