Friday, November 30, 2012

Victorian Houses: Front Porches and Vintage Decor

One of Ogden's most endearing qualities is the sheer quantity of old Victorian houses that adorn its streets.  Ogden benefited from the economic boom of the late 1800's that was mostly spurred by the railroad industry.  With that boom came lots of construction.

However, despite the abundance of stately designed Victorian edifices from that era, those same buildings are missing much of their original charm and grandeur. 

What's missing?  Decorative and ornamental woodwork...especially on front porches. 

For those of you contemplating restoring an Ogden Victorian home, I thought I would present a few examples of what a Victorian front porch is supposed to look like.  Join me for a brief tour in front porch design and restoration.

Our first stop takes us to 28th Street and Adams avenue to an old 1880's farmhouse.  It's now in the city but hasn't always been that way.  Notice the turned columns and brackets decorating either side.  A very simple design.

Next is an excellent example of how a nicely done front porch can make even the most simple home look prominent.  This home is located at 322 31st Street.  Most folks don't notice it because it is on a busy one way road headed into town.  Take a look next time you drive by.  Notice the turned colums, brackets, and top railing that decorate the home.  Original top railings are hard to find intact these days but add a ton of charm to a home.  

The next two homes are Italianate Victorians.  The are characterized by tall vertical lines and low hipped roofs.   

Each of these homes has original front porch woodwork.  Very nice.

The Jefferson Ave. Historic District has many examples of finely restored front porch decoration.

Finally, here are some other examples of fine front porch and ornamental work.

I have a great book that references old Victorian design elements and floorplans.  If you are looking to restore a Victorian home, CONTACT ME, and I can point you to the right resources. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flophouse Fire

A subdivided Victorian era home burned yesterday in Ogden.  The Standard Examiner reports:

The wood-frame house contained four apartments, Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Eric Bauman said at the scene.
Seven people in two families resided in the apartments. Three people were treated for minor smoke inhalation at the scene but did not require hospitalization, Bauman said.

Fortunately, everyone made it out safe.  I cruised by today to take a picture and the owner was preparing to place his tenants in other buildings around town.

 The home is a completely loss. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

What About Condos?

I have a few clients who are trying to sell condominiums or townhomes.  In light of that, I thought I would do some research into the market and see how inventories are shaping up.

Queue chart please...

This chart contrasts the inventory levels of 2 bedroom condos and 3 bedroom condos for various zip codes in Weber County.

As you can see, with the exception of 84405 (S. Ogden/Riverdale/Washington Terrace) the differences are quite remarkable.  This indicates that overall demand for 2 bedroom condos is still quite low.

Also 84403 (S. Ogden/WSU Area) and 84404 (Ogden north of 12th Street) both have elevated inventory levels for each category of condo.  Anything above 6 months is normally considered a buyer's market. 

The three areas that can no longer be considered buyer's markets are 3 bedroom condos in 84405, 84414 (North Ogden), and 84401 (Downtown Ogden/West Haven).

Condos have some unique qualities that can cause problems getting them sold.  The first is the HOA.  If it isn't FHA approved, that can cause the whole complex to be unmarketable to FHA buyers.  The second consideration is HOA dues which are an added expense not associated with single family homes.  Sometimes the numbers work for a purchase price but don't work for buyers after HOA dues are factored in.

Despite this, I have closed a number of condo transactions this past year using seller financing.  It is a very fast way to sell condo and has tax benefits as well.

If you are looking to sell a condo, CONTACT ME, and let's see if the market is right to sell your property.   

Friday, November 23, 2012

Eminent Domain - Chinese Style

I was reading the news this morning and came across this story about eminent domain in China.  The photo above is of home of a man who refused to accept the government's offer when it came time to make room for a new highway.  The government simply tore down everything around it and paved the highway up to his doorstep.

For those of you who feel eminent domain is heavy handed here in the States, take a look at how they do business in China:

Luo had just completed his house at a cost of about 600,000 yuan ($95,000) when the government first approached him with their standard offer of 220,000 ($35,000) to move out — which he refused, Chen said. The offer has since gone up to 260,000 yuan ($41,000).
Nice!  So much for just compensation.  Our Constitution and laws do a much better job of protecting homeowners from this kind of injustice.  The article continues:
What is unusual in Luo's case is that his house has been allowed to stand for so long. It is common for local authorities in China to take extreme measures, such as cutting off utilities or moving in to demolish when residents are out for the day.
 Luo told local reporters his electricity and water are still flowing, and that he and his wife sleep in separate parts of the home to deter any partial demolition.
So it appears that the Chinese government typically follows a policy of constructive eviction for unruly homeowners who feel like they have been stiffed. 

The United States is a great place to buy, sell, and own real estate. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Things To Do In Ogden: The Birdsong Trail

Our family badly needed an outdoor diversion.  Fortunately, the mild fall weather and the kids being out of school for Thanksgiving provided us the perfect opportunity to explore.  Today we chose to hike the Birdsong Trail.

The Birdsong Trail is a one way path that intersects near the end with the Bonneville Shoreline trail and on to the scenic Ogden River Parkway.  There is also a loop within the trail called the Rainbow Trail loop.  Our journey today started at the upper trailhead located at the end of Fillmore Ave. just north of 20th Street at the edge of the bench.    

The trail slowly descends and makes a great mountain bike trail.  We ran across many bikers.  

The trail is thickly wooded in parts.  There are also some natural springs that pop up in a couple places.  

Despite being in the city, the trail seems very secluded and quiet.  It is a quick escape.

The trail is about 1 mile long and gains/loses a couple hundred feet in elevation depending on which direction you go.  The trail ends at the Rainbow Gardens parking lot.  While you are there, you can eat at the Greenery Restaurant and order a Mormon Muffin.

Notice the warning signs on the entry gate.  Rattlesnakes are a natural predator in this area.  Keep your eyes peeled during warmer weather.  We saw quite a few burrows near the trail that would make a great place for snakes to live. 

So the next time you are looking for something to do, check out the Birdsong Trail and enjoy all the great outdoor spaces Ogden has to offer.

Happy Hiking!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

House Prices Surge!

In a previous post discussing sales volume and market trends, I alluded that we are seeing signs of house price appreciation after years of languishing values.  Here is the chart proving the trend:

As you can see, in mid 2008, prices completed their crescendo and began a steady decline that ended in March 2012.  Prices have consistently trended upwards ever since.

Let's take a look at the numbers on a year over year basis to see what our trend looks like:

The area to focus on here is the 0% line.  Any time the trend is below that, house prices decreased from the same month a year prior.  We have spent most of the past 3 years in negative territory which coincides with the top chart showing a consistent trend downward...until recently.  We have been in positive territory since the first quarter of this year.

 House prices may not be what they were in 2007; but, the shift in appreciation will help the market heal as improved values and mortgage amortization combine to return equity to homeowners.

If you want to know what your home is worth, CONTACT ME and let's do a market analysis to determine your home's value in today's market. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weber County Market Recovery In Charts: November 2012

With the passage of time, the evidence of a housing market recovery becomes more and more convincing.  Inventories are down, sales times are down, sales volume is up, and it appears that we are finally seeing some evidence of long elusive price appreciation.

Today's charts deal strictly with sales volume.  Our first chart is the long running total since the inception of the electronic MLS back in 1996.  Our trendline has just surpassed the peak last seen during the dead-cat bounce that occurred due to tax credit gimmickry in 2009.  FACTOID:  August's sales of 324 homes eclipsed the previous highs of the summer of 2008 and was the highest sales month since JUNE 2007.   

Below you can see the months from previous years stacked next to one another.  This helps us see through the seasonal cycle.  Things look good!

To understand how good, here is the percentage difference on Year-Over-Year sales for each month.  We have seen positive growth on a monthly basis since July 2011.

Going back a little further in time, here is the annotated history of what we have experienced.  Anything below ZERO means sales were contracting Year-Over-Year. 

If you are considering selling your home, CONTACT ME, and lets see how quickly your home would sell in today's market.

Friday, November 16, 2012

CNN Money: Ogden is THE Most Affordable Place in America

If you are looking for affordable living, Ogden is your place.  At least according to a CNN Money report.

Here is an excerpt:

About 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, Ogden is the most affordable metro area to buy a home in the U.S. This is the first time Ogden tops the Housing Opportunity Index. The city offers an enviable combo: Incomes are 10% higher than the national median, while home prices are about 14% lower.
There are many beautiful and historic homes available.  If you are looking to purchase a home in Ogden, CONTACT ME, and lets find a home that is right for you.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Whoops! Water Woes

I have a listing that we were making plumbing repairs on.  Due to a chain of unfortunate coincidences, we had a major issue occur when a valve on the tub was on and the city activated water service to the property.  That alone wouldn't have been a problem except the stopper on the tub was closed.  This all occurred in the upstairs bathroom.  D'oh!

Latex paint acts like a balloon sometimes.  The water pooled behind it until it burst through the hole in the ceiling below.

Of course, it ruins sheetrock tapelines and makes a mess of wallpaper too.

Interestingly, water vapor in the home condensed and caused grime on the walls to become visible as it dripped down.  

This makes me wonder how dirty my walls really are.  Maybe I should leave standing water in my house to find out. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rental Repair: Concrete Stair Makeover

One of the rental properties that I manage for a client needed some new concrete stairs.  The stairs were probably poured sometime in the 1940's by our estimate.  You can see that the lower stair was actually rotting out from the bottom.

I called our concrete contractor and he installed some new stairs for us.  The job cost about $500.

If we estimate a 72 year lifespan like the previous steps, these new stairs cost about $0.02 per day...highly affordable and an attractive addition to the home. 

Making meaningful improvements to your rental property increases your tenant quality, reduces vacancy rates, and improves your bottom line.  Don't be afraid to invest in your property.  If done within reason, it makes good things happen for you, your tenants, and your community.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

JUST SOLD! Frankenstein Five-Plex

I just sold this investment property for a client:

This was an 1890's Victorian era home that was subdivided back in the 1940's into multiple units.  Perhaps the idea was to provide housing for boys returning home from the war.  Whatever the original intent was, the legacy of decision to subdivide has been very interesting.

I have managed the property for the past year after my seller's decided that they were not interested earning the PhD in property management that was required for this building.  To understand why, you can read this first-hand ghoulish tale of the macabre that I experienced on Christmas.  I now have the PhD. 

Despite the challenges associated with this building, my clients fared well.  They purchased it for $70,000 a year ago back when the market was troughing and nobody wanted to touch real estate.  We sold the property this week for $92,000.  Congratulations to my sellers on making a wise investment. 

If you are thinking of selling your income property, contact me and let's see what your property is worth in today's market.