Thursday, August 25, 2011

FOR SALE: Ogden Arts and Crafts Era Home

I recently listed this home for sale.

This home has been in the same family since its construction in 1909.  In fact, the original owner of this home built nearly every home on the block.  The home has many amazing original features that have been preserved through time.  Such things included the clawfoot tub, dual sink basin, push button switches, brass hardware, butler pantry and more.  Check out the video:

The home is 1820 SQFT with a 2 Bed configuration.  It is possible to convert the upstairs parlor to a bedroom by installing an armoire.  There is also plenty of room to convert the basement to livable space and install another bed and bath.  The lot boasts an apple and cherry tree. 

The sellers will entertain seller financing on this home under the right conditions and terms.  If you are interested in taking a look at this property, let me know.  Call for current pricing.

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wall Street Journal Praises Ogden, Utah

The Wall Street Journal recently spotlighted Ogden as an important business hub and as a success in transforming itself from a railroad town to a recreation industry magnet.  Here is an excerpt from the article on what they had to say:

Ogden, a small city some 40 miles north of the capital, packs a concentrated punch in the outdoor and recreation industry.  Ogden made headlines in 2002, when it hosted events for the Salt Lake City Olympic Games. Those Olympic facilities, along with acres of pristine mountains, canyons and rivers, are the main reason outdoor-apparel and equipment companies have been moving to town: The site offers a perfect spot for testing new products, and it's easily accessible from a nearby airport that supports direct flights to Europe. What's more, business owners say, the growing base of competing companies in the area push each other to design the best equipment.

Utah has a relatively modest share of the industry; the state estimates it's home to about 5% of the outdoor-products firms in the U.S. Still, companies that expanded in or relocated to Utah have created at least 2,550 jobs in the past six years, according to the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.
Industry goliaths get partial credit for the surge in Ogden. Amer Sports Corp., the company behind Wilson, Atomic and other brands, consolidated its U.S. operations in 2007 and moved them to the town. Quality Bicycle Products Inc., a distributor based in Bloomington, Minn., set up its second location in Ogden in 2010.
The creation of jobs has helped support our real estate market and economy during this tough period.  Let us continue to recruit businesses to our city and keep the momentum that has been created.  Go Ogden!

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

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Restoring Old Homes: The Venerable Clawfoot Tub and Douglas Fir Floor

We are nearly finished with the home we are restoring in Ogden, Utah.  Today's effort was a mind-over-matter exercise.  We had to retrieve the clawfoot tub from storage, paint it, and transport it to the home.  A special thanks to my father-in-law for rounding up the trailer and proving some elbow grease.

Many folks are weary of clawfoot tubs.  I am asked by folks: "Why don't you just put a new tub in?"  My response: "Have you ever taken a bath in a new tub?"  New tubs are like those plastic kiddie pools you buy at Walmart.  No serious person would consider today's dinky tub basins as a place they would want to soak.  Also, old tubs have a certain dignity to them that trumps today's throw-away consumable construction.  Here is a teaser photo of the tub ready for hardware and installation:


Hardware kits for old clawfoot tubs (like spigot, shower head, and halo shower curtain) can be purchased at Jerry's Plumbing in Ogden.  Don't buy them on Ebay like I have done.  Get them from Jerry's.  You can pick up a whole kit for about $175.

The other item that was worked on at the home today was sanding and staining the douglas fir floors in the dining room.  As with all lumber, the older it is, the better quality it is.  Today's douglas fir 2x4s are 1/5th the density of the same lumber 100 years ago.  Today's fir lumber is almost balsa wood by comparison to yesteryear.  Thus, we felt confident that we could sand and refinish the fir floors in the dining room.  Here is a sneak peak before we put polyurethane on:

Look for this home to be on the market in about 10 days...

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Super Bargain! The $10 Real Estate Transaction

Last week I got a call from a gentleman in Kansas.  He indicated he had a piece of property in Ogden that he no longer wanted.  Apparently, he purchased the property at a county tax sale several years ago without seeing the property.  It turned out to be a small parcel with a four car garage on it tucked away behind a dumpy fourplex.  Since he purchased it, the tenants in the fourplex have taken it over and used it without permission. 

Coincidentally, it appears though that the county did not assess the value of the garage until this year which increased his tax obligation by four-fold.  Thus, his desire to unload the property.  With no income from the property and an increasing tax burden, suddenly he became a motivated "seller".  I indicated I would be glad to relieve him of this responsibility and he quit claimed the property to me for the princely sum of $10.

Here is what I will be dealing with.

Behind those tarps are lots of "things".  Plus, there is definitely some room for some TLC.  I notified the tenants of the fourplex today that they have 15 days to remove their items.  As you can probably imagine, that wasn't received very warmly by everyone who has been used to using the space for free for the past several years.   

The plan is to clean the building up and then lease it for parking and storage to the tenants in the building.  Without this space, there is really no parking available for the fourplex so there is some incentive to pay to use the space.  We shall see.  Stay tuned for an update when we return at the deadline to see what is left to tow or throw away.

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ogden Rising: Restoration of Historic Ogden High School

I was privileged to attend the First Look event held today for donors and dignitaries at Ogden High School to celebrate completion of the restoration of the auditorium.  The high school is a historic architectural masterpiece that is rife with Art Deco motifs and themes.

The last time I was in the auditorium was several years ago prior to the start of renovations.  What I found inside was remarkable.  Here are some photos.

This is a picture of the proscenium above the stage.  That glimmer is not glossy gold paint.  That is real gold leaf!  The auditorium was restored to it's original specifications.  $9 Million has been raised from local alumni, foundations, and enthusiasts to complete this work. 

The attention to detail is remarkable.

The inside is coming together nicely.  I am so impressed.  Yet, there is still more work to be done.  The north wing of the school is still being worked on.

The school has over 10,000 panes of glass that will all be replaced by the end of construction.  Here is an example of an area where the work is already done.

One of the challenges of construction was trying to retrofit the building to be seismically safe.  The challenge was being able to reinforce the structure without encroaching on the interior space.  To solve this problem the contractor drilled vertical holes in the walls from the roof down into the foundation.  Then, rebar and concrete were injected into the holes.  Amazing idea.  The result reinforces the structure without altering the interior space.

When the community approved the bond in 2006 for the renovation of the school, one of the issues at hand was modernizing the use so it could function as a modern high school.  That meant that some new construction was needed to augment the current structure.

A commons area and gymnasium were constructed.

 It was wonderful to see so many people who contributed their time and resources to make this restoration possible.  The school is an icon and a metaphor for the great resurgence Ogden is experiencing.  As we continue to reinvest in ourselves as a community, we can expect the future to ever be brighter. 

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sales Anemia: Market Update in Charts

I was updating some of my market charts this morning and thought I would share some findings:

The first chart here shows sales volume and the 12 month moving trend since the inception of the MLS.  It appears that we are at a new post-bubble low on the trend line with sales volume trending at the same level as in 1998.  Can you hear the crickets?

Just to show you how government interference distorts the marketplace, I have updated our year-over-year monthly sales volume chart showing the differences in sales over the same month the previous year.  The tax credit spiked sales volume which was followed by a dramatic collapse in volume for the rest of the year.  We have had mildly improved numbers this summer which in turn has translated into us springing back above zero in the last couple of months.  I expect this graph to smooth out over time as we move past the volatility created by the tax credit.

The next chart shows membership of the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors.

As you can see, despite sales volume tracking to 1998 levels, board membership, while slowly declining, still remains hearty. 

This translates into our Weber County "Starv-O-Meter" which shows the number of transactions being sold per year per agent on average.  Think of this chart as a "pain" index reflecting the ease or suffering the Realtor community experiences as a whole.  Clearly, now is the toughest time in MLS history to be in the business.  If we had stats going back to the early 1980's I bet we would find the meter in a similar place.  Interestingly, I am also told that Board membership in 1983 was just 200 agents.

For those Realtors who are surviving this hostile market environment, I salute you!

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Things To Do In Utah: Sailing (and Capsizing) on Deer Creek Reservoir

My father flew into town and invited us to go sailing as a family on Deer Creek Reservoir.  Our family owns a Hobicat catamaran which has proven to be a very fun diversion on light breezy weekends.

However, it has been quite a while since since I have manned the Hobicat...4 years to to be exact.  As it turns out, it's been quite a while since my father has been out on the boat too.  The first chore was for us to put the mast up and set up the rigging. 

It took us about an hour or so to set the mast and hoist the sails into place.

After getting everything set we took the Hobicat out for a trial run to make sure we remembered our sailing skills. 

It took us a few minutes to remember how to operate the craft.  After a run across the reservoir and back we figured it was time to load some of the family on board.

Wynnie and Sophie were eager to go for a ride.  They hopped on board and were having a good time. We ran across the reservoir and were headed back.  We were moving a quite a clip since the breeze had picked up and we had figured out how to optimize or sails for speed.  As we came to shore we realized we moving to quickly and coming in at the wrong angle to the beach.  I was steering and aborted our landing attempt and I turned our boat away from shore.  We already had centrifugal momentum with our weight on the outside of the turn.  Unfortunately, the quick turn meant that all our body weight was also suddenly on the downwind side of the boat.  The breeze picked up and the boom swung around and knocked the tiller (the thing that controls the rudders) out of my hands and locked the rudders into a hard turn.  I grabbed the tiller but the force of the boom was to great to overcome.  All these forces combined, capsized the boat, and dumped us all into the water.

The kids were my biggest concern.  We probably had 3 seconds between the boom locking the rudders and the boat being sideways with us in the water.  Life jackets saved the day for us.  Also, the kindness of other folks helping us get the kids to shore was priceless.

The kids panicked at first but we were able to calm them down once they realized they weren't sinking.  Thank you to Duane for helping us get the kids to shore.

Once the kids were safe on dry land the next chore was to get the boat righted.  Hobicats are actually designed to be "rightable" by the passengers.  There is a giant elastic band on the bottom of the boat that is supposed to allow the pilot to tip the boat upright using his body weight as leverage.  Unfortunately, the weight of the water on the sails and perhaps my lack of girth kept us from accomplishing that.  We even had help from some strangers and couldn't get the boat righted with our combined weight.  Fortunately, a jet ski provides just the right amount of pull to upright a Hobicat.

Here is a picture of the rigging that controls the boat.  As you can see, the boom rope runs along a track on the back of the boat.  Its path intersects with the tiller and that is where we got into trouble.  The change in wind direction caused the boom to swing on that track which put is in the drink.  Had we anticipated the change in wind direction we would have been fine.  Lesson learned.

Once we got the boat up we practiced landing and then headed back out with Hannah.

By about 4pm it was time to pack up and head home for dinner.

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Short Sale Flatline: Wells Fargo Foregoes Defribulator

I have been working on a short sale recently that experienced an untimely death.  In the beginning of July I listed a home in Layton that had a week left before the first scheduled foreclosure auction.  Upon submitting the file to Wells Fargo (the 1st mortgage) for review, they postponed the auction.

I listed the property at $169,900 after a CMA showed the AS-IS value at around $160K-$170K.  By my estimates, the home needed approximately $15K in repairs and was valued at $195K on post-fixup.  We quickly received two cash offers.  One at $155K and one at $158K. 

Upon submission of the offer we were assigned a negotiator and she ordered a BPO (broker price opinion) on the property.  It was handled in about three days.  About a week and a half later a I get an email from the negotiator saying:

Counter offering to $195000 or best and final offer ************************** * Counter offer acceptance is subject to senior management approval, mortgage insurance and /or investor approval * No sale transaction is accepted until lender signs written contracts *
She then attaches paperwork with the counteroffer price of $155,000...the original offer price!  Whoa?  I emailed her to clarify the discrepancy for me.  After several days, I received no response.  So, we kindly filled out the paperwork accepting their $155,000 and sent it back to see if anyone in their office was manning the store.

It took about ten days but the negotiator that sent me that email was suddenly no longer working on our file.  Instead I got an email from a new negotiator.  After several paperwork tasks, I get an email saying that they are countoffering again at $195K but this time they had the right paperwork to back it up.

The buyers didn't want to budge on their price so the negotiator sent me this note:

The BPO completed on the property suggests $20,000.00 in repairs needed to the property even with the value at $195,000.00. Unless the buyer is willing to provide a higher offer, we will not be able to move forward and the offer will have to be declined. On a different note, I want to inform you that I will be out of the office beginning this afternoon through Friday 8/12. I will be back in the office on Monday 8/15 and will continue with any tasks upon my return. If the file is not moving forward, this would be the reason why. Thank you.
I was shocked to get this note.  It seems to me that the BPO agent checked a box wrong on their form.  Here the bank believes the home is worth $195K AS IS.  That is simply not what the market says.  I ran follow up CMAs to confirm and sent them to this negotiator.  Unfortunately, I sent them about an hour after this guy had left for vacation.

The following Monday I recieved this email from a new 3rd negotiator:

Please be advised that the Short Sale for the property above has been declined by Wells Fargo. If you have any additional questions or would like additional details concerning the Short Sale process, please contact Wells Fargo...
Any my immediate response:

What?! We are in the midst of a BPO dispute. [The other negotiator] left for vacation Friday afternoon. He has the BPO dispute findings sitting in his email box which were sent to him about an hour after he left town. So are you saying that the investor would rather take his chances at a trustee sale and/or marketing the place as an REO? I seriously doubt the investor would fare better. Please advise.
No response was ever received.  The home was put on the docket for foreclosure auction again.

The lesson learned here is that garbage in equals garbage out.  When a wild BPO gets done that is 25% over market value, your short sale will almost certainly be in trouble.    

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

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ogden's Urban Infill: Historic Style New Construction

Ogden has come a long way in building urban infill homes that compliment the historic character of its old neighborhoods.  I have compiled a video of the historic style new construction along with some "bad" examples of new construction.  Be sure to read the quote at the end. 

If you are interested in building or purchasing a home like one of these, be sure to contact me.

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Restoring Old Homes: Picking Historic Paint Colors

One of the great challenges in restoring old homes is trying to pick the right colors.  When choosing exterior colors, consideration needs to be given to the age and style of the home, surrounding neighborhood, ect.  On the interior, the style of the home will typically demand a certain palette.

The home that I am restoring with my business partner finally has the paint finished both interior and exterior. Here is a sneak peak.

This is an awkward view of the back of the home.  Nevertheless, it looks dignified and refreshed.  We removed the old industrial looking shingles, scraped, primed and painted this with a "Cayenne" color from the Eddie Bauer Bungalow color palette at Lowe's.  The trim is "Vanilla Bean".

For the interior, I have found that my tried and trued colors are real winners in the market place.  These colors will look familiar to you if you have been watching our restoration videos.

  The trim is painted "Canoe" from the same collection at Lowe's.  We use a glossy or semi-gloss finish.  It gives the paint the look and feel of wood without all the tedious and expensive stripping.  The base is "Pecan" from the palette.

I joke that the objective is to make the home look edible.  If you start salivating when you walk in the room than you have done a good job.

You can check out more paint colors online here.

Happy rehabbing!

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ogden Temple Renovation: July 2011 Update

The Ogden Temple renovation is in high gear and crews continue to dissemble the facade of the temple structure.  The picture below was taken July 25, 2011.

The exterior paneling is being removed and exposing the inner steel frame.  The windows in the tabernacle have also been removed.

In this photo you can see that the two story parking structure that existed to the west of the tabernacle has been completely removed.  All that remains are piles of dirt. 

The LDS Church is typically very discreet and protective about its temples and their construction, hence the green privacy fence.  Based on what has been announced through the press, the construction process will continue another two and a half years.  Click here to see what the finished product will look like.

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

Monday, August 1, 2011

JUST SOLD! Estate Sale Rambler

I just closed recently with a buyer who purchased this well kept rambler.  This particular home was an estate sale where the original owner-builder recently passed away and left the home to her family to liquidate.

Our negotiations were tough to make this transaction work.  The home is 3,000 SQFT and had been listed at $155,000.  However it had not been updated (except for carpet) since the home was built.  Following our 90% of list price rule, we offered $145,000 and asked for the seller to pay $5,000 in closing costs.  The listing agent felt that our offer would be well received due to his client's eagerness to sell the home.

Unfortunately, things didn't pan out that way when our offer was presented.  We received a counteroffer at significantly higher terms.  Due too the large number of decision makers involved, it was tough to get a consensus among the children of the deceased owner.  Essentially, they were making decisions by committee which makes things really tough in a real estate transaction.

They countered us at $150,000 and paying no closing costs.  We responded back with $150,000 but asking for $4,500 in closing costs.  The sellers were still unhappy.  That is when we negotiated a verbal agreement to $150,000 with the seller paying just $2,500 in closing costs.  However, when writing up the addendum, one of the sellers vetoed the agreement and they sent us an addendum where the price was $152,500.  Obviously, this was not our verbal agreement and was provocation enough for my buyer to reject the terms and scuttle the transaction.

I felt that the change in terms was an act of bad faith on the sellers part and advised my client to withdraw.  However, I told the listing agent to call me if his sellers changed their minds and could honor our verbal agreement.  A couple days later I got a call with the agent respectfully asking us to reinstate the contract under our verbal terms.  We agreed.

After inspections, we adjusted our price to $149,650.  So what does this price point buy you?

It gets you a well kept and nearly original 1968 rambler with new carpet.   For a home of this size, type, and condition, this turned into one of the best values of its class in Weber County.   

Congrats to my buyer on his new purchase!

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