Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Sales Robust

The summer is nearly over and it's time to take a look at how sales shaped up. 

This year is shaping up to be the best selling season since 2009.  The sales figures have been consistent which is refreshing.  The past several years have been marred by awkard policy gimmicks and economic trauma.  Based on the trendline, it appears the worst of the sales volume doldrums is behind us.  

Here is the chart stacking monthly sales against each other.  This chart helps us see through the seasonal cycle and compare sales for the same months in different years. 

As you can see, we are still below 2008 sales volume (which was deflating from 2007's stratospheric sales), but our trend is in the opposite direction now. 

The bottom line is that the fundamentals are better than they have been in a long time.  In light of the good news, it will be interesting to see how clouds on the horizon impact sales the first several months of 2013.  We shall see.  In the meantime, the trends and numbers look very encouraging.     

FOR SALE: Quiet Canyon Area Condo

I just listed this condo for sale:

It is located at 1305 Monroe Blvd just south of 12th Street.  This condo is about 30 minutes drive from Snowbasin Ski Resort and near the mouth of Ogden Canyon.  The unit is 960 SQFT and has a one-car garage and also a carport for parking.

The unit was constructed in 1998.  HOA fees are $120/mo. 

The unit is 2 bedroom 1 bath.

The unit recently had new carpet installed as well as fresh paint.  If you are interested in this unit, CONTACT ME for current pricing and details. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FOR SALE: Historic Victorian 5-Plex on Jefferson Ave.

I recently listed this property for sale:

If you buy this property, you gain the unique privilege of becoming my next door neighbor.  I have been managing the property for the current owners for about a year.  I can give you all the information you need to know.

The property has super cashflow potential.  Current gross scheduled rents are around $2,650 per month.  However, it also has potential as a victorian home.  Ogden City will give an owner occupant $40,000 to restore it to a single family premises like it was when it was built in the 1890's.  It has gorgeous fluted casings and 12" ceilings.  It could be made into an awesome home again.  The entire property is about 3,000 SQFT.

If you are interested in learning more about this property or want to see rent rolls and expenses, CONTACT ME, and I can answer all your questions.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Things To Do In Ogden: Pickleball

My brother came into town recently.  During one of our conversations he says "Hey, have you checked out the pickball courts in Ogden?"  At first I thought he was joking. Why would he know more about my town than I do?   But, he persisted in seriousness and began to describe what seemed like a cartoonish lampoon of several other sports combined into one. 

The so-called sport of Pickleball, he said, is played on a special court similar to tennis but smaller in scale.  Instead of a tennis ball, the players use a regulation wiffle ball.   And, instead of tennis rackets, the players use paddles that appear as oversized ping pong paddles.  His description just seemed silly to me.  

As it turns out, the game is really fun!  The rules are similar to tennis and the effort exerted is similar to tennis.  The main difference is that you are much closer to your opponents and the energy that you would normally exert sending a ball speeding scores of feet to the other side of the net is instead compressed into a couple dozen feet.  The wiffle ball doesn't behave like a tennis ball at all and it takes some getting used to.  We spent a couple hours playing and it wore me out.  The game is very fast paced.

The courts are located next to the Pro Shop at the Mt. Ogden Golf Course.  Mornings and evenings are a popular time to play.  I recommend that everyone take a swing at it if they havn't already.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ogden Rising: River Project Construction Moves Forward

Construction has finally begun to take shape on the long awaited River Project scene south of the Ogden River. 

Here is a view of the start of the much anticipated new housing in the area.  These townhomes are three stories tall and boast excellent views of the city skyline to the south.  They are also located just a few dozen yards from the Ogden River Parkway Trail.  If you are interested in learning more about these townhomes, contact me.     

Also, Kneaders Bakery is open for business.  It is located just south of Bingham Cyclery on the 19th block of Washington Blvd.  The building was just completed recently.   

It is exciting to see the project move forward.  More to come...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Real Estate Market Forecast: Winter Storm Advisory

Over the past several years, I have been watching real estate market sentiment ebb and flow.  Some seasons, my phone rings off the hook, and others, it sits there idle and I wonder why I bother paying such a large cell phone bill.  It is interesting to see how an over arching cosmic vibe affects market activity from day to day.  For instance, on days that the DOW plunges 1% or more, my phone does not ring with client calls.

One of the big events that affected call volume and market activity was the S&P debt ratings down grade of U.S. issued debt.  For two months, the market was nearly vacant of buyers.  I could hear crickets. 

Since that time, I found an index that correlates with my experience of high and low market activity.  The chart is the Gallup Economic Confidence poll.  Here is the chart (click to enlarge) going back to last summer:

 I have circled the period that occurred around the debt downgrade and the national debt ceiling debate.  As you can see, the sentiment drop was quite precipitous.  It took the market almost 6 months just to return to pre-downgrade levels of confidence.  In recent months, confidence has ebbed slightly but nothing incredibly noteworthy.

The reason I bring this up is that we may be in for some choppy consumer confidence conditions starting toward the end of this year.  There are several things that may make for an extra cold market this winter:

Debt Ceiling Debate Redux

According to the Wall Street Journal,  we should be at our maximum debt limit as a nation again by around December 20th.  What a wonderful Christmas present.  Congress will likely be contentiously debating the issue in January to pass another extension.  We can likely anticipate yet another downgrade as a result.  Consumer confidence is likely to suffer as it did last time.

Arrival at The FIscal Cliff

Due to the inability of Congress and the Executive Branch to come up with a solid budget reduction proposal last year, we have The Fiscal Cliff which we are scheduled to cascade over automatically unless Congress and the Executive branch take action to avoid it.  What is it?  It is an automatic income tax increase (cancellation of G.W. Bush's tax reductions from yesterdecade) and the simultaneous cut in Federal spending.  I am all for the spending cuts.  The tax increase will be painful.  Therefore, expect a big hit to consumer confidence in the wake of an over arching tax increase on the population.  Interestingly, economists expect the issue to be dealt with before the year is out.  Yet, the public is not likely to react well as the debate can only produce anxiety while a solution is forged. 

Geopolitical Stress

This may seem way off the radar of for local real estate issues but geopolitical stress can affect consumer confidence as well.  This is especially true when it affect prices at the gas pump.  Currently, the Middle East is a tinderbox and becoming more unstable by the month.  There may be war drums beating and military action in the Middle East after our November election that, if it occurs, will certainly affect oil and gas prices here at home.  Expect consumer confidence to react accordingly.

We live in a turbulent world.  Markets react accordingly.  I anticipate that after experiencing a pleasant chapter of moderation over the last 6 months and for still several more, we may enter a rather choppy period just as we enter the Holiday season.  It is my hope though we will be through the worst of it just in time for the Spring selling season.   

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FOR SALE: 7-PLEX Income Property

For those of you looking for an investment property, I present to you 560 21st Street.

The property is located across the street from a Historic Chapel and just east of downtown Ogden in an area of rejuvenation and urban renewal.  The property consists of a large single family home that is 4 beds and 2 baths.  Adjacent is a 6 unit building that hosts quaint 1 bed 1 bath units.  There is a two bay carport and plenty of paved parking on a .60 acre lot.  

The property has an assumable loan and is currently fully rented.  Total gross income is $3,135 monthly.  CONTACT ME for rent rolls, expenses, and loan information. 

Title Insurance: Solving the Quit Claim Quandary


I had two transactions that I was working on recently that ran into major roadblocks just prior to closing.  Both issues had to deal with clouds that existed on the titles of the property.

In the first transactions I was dealing with a family who had owned the property for 40 years and wanted to sell. Ms. E called me to help them sell the home and told me that her son, Mr. D, would be signing for the transaction.  However, when I looked at the county records, I discovered that a Mr. F and Mr. L were on title.  She explained that Mr. F and Mr. L were deceased and that she had the right to the property via court order through probate.  Another interesting caveat is she did not want the proceeds of the property to go to her because it would affect her SSI payments.  So, she wanted Mr. D, her son, to be the seller.

As it happens, we had to get proof from the court (i.e. Letters of Administration or Letters of Representation) that indicated that Ms. E had the right to act on the property.  Our plan was to have Ms. E Quit Claim Deed the property to Mr. D and then have Mr. D sell the property in the normal way via a Warranty Deed.  He would have the proceeds of the sale go to him. 

In this case, having a title company put the pieces of this puzzle together is essential.  As we will see in this next example, things don't work out so well when they are not used.

Our second example involves a family who has owned a property for 30 years.  In this situation, a Mrs. S sold a property to Mr. and Mrs. P and a third person who we will call Gretel.  Several years later Mr. and Mrs. P transferred their 2/3rds interest in the property to a trust they had created.  Meanwhile, Gretel still retained her 1/3rd interest in the home.  About 10 years later Gretel deeded her interest to Mr. and Mrs. P.  Now this would seem fine and dandy except that a recent title company review of the file revealed that there was a flaw in the Quit Claim Deed used to tranfer Gretel's interest.  The first problem was that the Quit Claim Deed didn't convey the interest to the Trust but to Mr. and Mrs. P specifically.  The second was that it did not distinguish what kind of ownership Mr. and Mrs. P would hold the property.  Typically the deed will explain whether it is sole ownership, tenants in common, joint tenancy, etc.   

None of this would be a problem if Mr. P had not passed away.  However, since he did, that meant that half of the 1/3rd interest in the property needed to go to probate in the courts.  This one little detail has delayed the transaction at least a month while the courts sort out the issue.

The bottom line is that title companies and title insurance are important for a transaction.  Had these folks in our second example used a title company to convey ownership rather than writing it up themselves, this problem could have been avoided entirely.  A word to the wise.

If you have questions about title and how it affects your property, contact me.

Friday, August 10, 2012

FOR SALE: Updated Turn of the Century Bungalow

I just listed this property for sale located at 1020 21st Street in Ogden, Utah.

The home was constructed in 1907 and sits on a quarter-acre lot with mature fruit trees and 2 storage buildings.  The neighborhood is very quite and the home resides less than two blocks east of Harrison Blvd. 

The home has 3 bedroom and two nicely updated bathrooms. The roof is metal and will last another generation or two.  Washer and dryer are included as well as the built in double oven and range.  The home is approximately 1600 SQFT and also boasts newer electrical, plumbing, light fixtures, laminate flooring, two tone paint, and more. 

Contact me to schedule a showing and for current pricing. 

JUST SOLD! Cute Brick Cottage Rehab and Resell

I just sold this listing at 711 Darling St. in Ogden. 

We listed this property in June for $106,900 and received an about a week afterwards.  The buyer offered  $100,000 and asked for $3,500 in closing costs with an FHA loan.  We quickly sent a counteroffer to the buyer for $105,900 with the seller agreeing to pay the requested closing costs.  The buyer accepted.

Our appraisal went as planned.  The inspection revealed some repairs that the buyer asked to be completed.  After negotiating those repairs, the seller completed them and we closed on time.

What makes this transaction so interesting is that this was an investment "flip" property for my seller.  You might recall that I wrote about this home being purchased in December from HUD.

My client did very well on this transaction.  His secret?  Attention to detail.  Unlike many "flip" properties where problems are just painted over, my client took the time and effort to worry about details like landscaping and finish work as well as the basics like kitchen and baths.  That attention to detail put us at the top of the pack and the home sold quickly.

Congrats to my seller on a job well done!

If you are considering purchasing a property to fix and resell for a profit, contact me, and lets put a plan together for you.    

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

JUST SOLD! Historic Arts and Crafts Style Duplex

I just sold this listing at 2370 Madison Ave.

We listed this property at the end of April for $109,900.  There was immediate interest in the market but it took about four weeks to receive an offer.  In June, we received an offer for $105,000 with the buyer asking for 2% of the purchase price in closing cost concessions. 

We counter offered the buyer at a price point of $107,000 and they quickly accepted.  We placed the property under contract.  Then began our long odyssey to closing.  The appraisal went well, and the inspections went well.  However, the underwriting for the buyer was severe.  Apparently, the lenders were doing blood typing, genealogical research, and cavity searches on the buyer.

Our contract extended an additional 24 days in order to close.  That was quite surprising but we were ultimately satisfied in the end when the transaction concluded.  The best part was that were able to keep the tenants satisfied during the process so my client did not experience any vacancy or loss of rent due to the sale.  

If you are considering selling your rental property, contact me, and lets discuss some options that will help you liquidate your investment with the least disruption to your tenants and cashflow.