Monday, October 28, 2013

Hostile Hostel: Slumming It In The Resort Town

When it comes to the economics and use of space in rentals, there are varying contractual agreements than can benefit a property owner.  In commercial and industrial property, we tend to see lease agreements that extend for years at a time.  It is not uncommon to find a tenant who signs a lease for a 5-year period.  This provides stability both for the business that occupies the space and the also for the landlord.

In the residential real estate world there are various options.  Many homes and apartment housing units are rented out for a year at a time.  Sometimes, depending on the market and the quality of the home, landlords choose to lease these spaces on a month-to-month basis.

On an even shorter term basis is the hotel.  These spaces are leased for a day or two at a time but come with full service cleaning.  So does the motel.

Also, many owners will rent their property on a daily basis as a vacation rental.  This is common for single family homes in resort type areas.

Next comes the hostel, which allows for a room rental while sharing common toilet and kitchen spaces. Bedrooms can be rented on a nightly basis.  It is this kind of housing which I have some recent experience.

My wife is an assistant leader in a local girl scout troop and invited me to attend their troop trip to Moab, UT.  When I inquired about housing she said they were renting a couple houses for a few nights.  My mind immediately went to a vacation rental.  The girls and I all thought that would be a really fun experience for the kids.  Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding.  We followed the troop leader in a caravan to this location when we got into town.  The hostel offices are conveniently tucked away in the back of a large self-storage facility on Hwy 191.  You can imagine what was running through our heads.  I wonder if they rent the storage bays nightly as well.

Across the street the hostel owners had a couple homes.

 Both of these homes were vintage 1971 on the interior.  Some hodge podge updates had been made. From the quality of the work, I would guess it was done by past tenants who traded for rent.  To make things even more interesting, the building the girls slept in was listing 2 inches to the starboard side of the house.

The first thing the adults in the group experienced was digital withdrawals.  There was a collective gasp of desperation on our floor as laptop and tablet batteries expired one after the other.  

 When the refrigerator from 1971 went out and the new one required a ground wire, some improvisations were made to accommodate it.  The "Extension Cord Punched Through The Wall" trick does it every time.

Our basement bathroom was updated...sort of.  I use the word loosely.

Attention had been made to panel the bathroom walls and ceiling in a cheap plastic fiberboard to discourage the growth of mold and mildew.  Fortunately, the big black screws they used to mount it didn't distract at all from the flower decor on the wall.

Overall we had a memorable experience.  It took the kids and I a couple hours to get past the underwhelmed feeling we experienced when we first arrived.  Once we disposed of the Playboy magazines left in the closet by the previous guests, and figured out we could sleep on top of the provided bedding and use our own blankets instead, we made ourselves as comfortable as possible.

The upside is it cost the troop just $10 per person per night.  The owner was making about $200 per home per night.  When you look at those kinds of numbers, and the low maintenance standards required to keep up the building, its pays to be a hostel owner.      

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FOR SALE: Vintage Tiny Shotgun House

I just listed this property for sale:

This property is located at 2053 Adams Ave in Ogden.  It is a shotgun style home built in 1898.  It is located just a block from urban redevelopmentrenewal, and recreation in Downtown Ogden.  This home was renovated in 2011 and has a new roof, siding, and more.

The home is 1 bed and 1 bath.  It has 630 SQFT on the main level and a 320 SQFT basement.  The home sits on a .09 acre lot with a fenced yard.

This would make a great rental property or an urban vacation home.

If you are interested in taking a look at this cute, easy to maintain property situated in a prime location, CONTACT ME, and we can schedule a private showing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FOR SALE: Fixer Upper Cottage

I just listed this property for sale:


Located at 3081 Jackson Ave, this home would make an excellent investment for the handyman looking for sweat equity or the rent-to-fix investor.  The home has good bones but needs some odds and ends fixed to make it shine.  New carpet is needed and several rooms require new paint.

Fortunately, the home does have new laminate pergo-style floors in a couple rooms.

The home has 2 bedrooms and one bath.

The home also has a metal roof over the main portion of the house which has a long life left.

The home has a fully fenced and private back yard as well.

If you are interested in viewing this property, CONTACT ME, and I can set up a private showing for you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

FOR SALE: Newer Townhome Short Sale

I just listed this property for sale in West Haven which was built in 2008.

 This home is located at 1113 Lancelot Lane.  It has 3 Beds, 3 baths and a highly efficient floorplan with 1330 SQFT.  It also has a one car garage.


HOA dues are just $70/mo.  The home is being sold as a short sale and is priced well below surrounding homes.  If you are interested in taking a look at this property, CONTACT ME, and I can set up a private showing.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Things To Do In Utah: Arches National Park

My wife works with a local Girl Scout Troop as a leader.  One of the treats for the girls this year was to go on a trip to Arches National Park just outside of Moab, Utah.  I was invited to tag along as a token male chaperon.  We stayed at the Lazy Lizard Hostel which is a separate blog post in and of itself.  Nevertheless, the park was amazing.

Delicate Arch

About 10 miles into the park is the turn off to iconic Delicate Arch.  Given the various states of physical fitness within our large group of girls, our main objective for the trip was to tackle this trail.  

Parking was an issue when we arrived.  We waited about 10 minutes for a parking spot to become available.  The trail starts out at old Wolfe Ranch.

  Nearby are some ancient Ute petroglyphs.  

The trail was very busy.  If you look closely, you can see many people walking on the slick rock in the distant background.  

Here are my two oldest daughters and I at the top of the slick rock ascent.

Just before Delicate Arch is a window along the trail.  Be sure to take a few moments to scamper up the rock and take a peek.

Here is the view of Delicate Arch from the window.

Pictures don't do the scene any justice.  I recommend hiking this yourself.  

Of course, there was no shortage of fellow hikers who did.

One problem with little girls is that they have very limited bladder capacity.  It was fitting that as soon as we arrived at the arch, they screamed that they had to use the bathroom.  So, back we a hurry.  

When you go, be prepared for a moderately strenuous hike.  The trail ascends about 400 feet and is an out-and-back hike totaling 3 miles in length.  And, make sure you go potty before you start your hike. 

Park Avenue

On the way back to our lodging in Moab, we stopped and hiked the Park Avenue trail.  It is an easy 1 mile hike down a beautiful wash.  

The trail is surrounded on both sides by large fins and vaulting rock features.  

The trail is mostly shaded in the evening.  

Here is proof that I was there.

The rock surfaces have an interesting grain to them.  I thought that contrasted nicely with the grain of the weathered wood.

Here is a photo of the rock surface that makes up the trail.  

The girls had a fun time playing on strewn rock fall.

At the end of Park Avenue are vertical rock formations called The Three Gossips.  If you look closely, you can see two rock climbers who ascended these giant formations.  They rappelled down shortly after I took this photo.    

Sand Dune Arch

Sand Dune Arch is also a great hike for the kids.  It resides at a giant sandbox located in the heart of a monolithic fin formation.  

The trail is just over a quarter mile long.  

When you  get to the arch, there are a couple places to squeeze yourself between some narrow gaps in the fins.


Of course, no self-respecting parent would stop their kids from hurling themselves off large rocks.

The arch itself is not terribly large but we spent the most time here probably due to the kids desire to play in the sand.  

Broken Arch

Near Sand Dune arch is a trail to Broken Arch.  The loop is 2 miles around.  From the Sand Dune trail the path to Broken arch is nearly flat.  After that, the path becomes more difficult but also much more interesting.  

The arch itself was sizable.  This is a good place to stop and eat lunch.

Along the loop was tapestry arch.  We didn't hike up to it due to time constraints but it was still impressive from a distance.

The loop is interrupted by Devil's Garden campground.  If taking the loop counter-clockwise, go to Campsite 51 and the trail continues through more fins and hoodoos.

The Windows

Finally, our trip took us to the Windows area.  A ranger was kind enough to meet us on the trail and take us through the primitive trail around the back side of the Windows.

There are great views of the La Salle Mountains throughout the park.  This was one such occasion.

This helps give a sense of scale of the features.  

Finally, Turret Arch is seen here in the Windows complex.

I highly recommend Arches National Park to anyone with several days to roam around and explore.  If you are in a hurry, you won't be able to appreciate all that the park has to offer.  Most of the great features of the park require some hiking to reach.  So, be prepared and you will be well rewarded. Happy hiking!