Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Photo Gallery: Decorating Disasters

Interior decorating is a very subjective art.  What is appealing in one region of the country may not be in fashion in another.  Individual tastes are also widely varied and difficult to predict.  However, the rule in selling real estate is to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.  Here are some photos of homes that came up short on mass appeal:

You can imagine my shock when I walked into the dining room and found this.  I kept waiting for one of the plants to come alive and eat me.  

This home was very interesting.  Although it was a 1920's bungalow, it had been decorated in a nouveau industrial motif.  The walls were a silver glaze with plumbing pipe acting as curtain hardware.  Hmmmm....

I couldn't find my photo in the archives so I found a substitute to make the point.  Mirrors on the bedroom ceiling may be fun; but, nobody wants to know what kind of Lothario you are on the weekends.  I visited a home once in Ogden where the ceiling above the bed was made into one giant mirror.  I recommend removing those before putting your home on the market...especially if you live in Provo or Bountiful.  

If you are thinking of selling your home and want some advice on how to prepare it for the market, CONTACT ME, and I would be glad to do a courtesy walk-through of your property.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Utah New Home Sales Beat National Trend

The real estate boom of 2005-2008 was unprecedented.  With the the excesses of the national market, prices and sales volume surged to record highs.  Inversely, with the market correction, new home sales literally cliff-dived to historic lows.

Since we have muddled our way out of the housing depression of 2008-2011, its time to take a look at where national new home sales are now from their lows.  Queue chart please (courtesy of CalculatedRisk):

As you can see, sales have increase over 25% from their lows in 2011.  However, current sales are still 71% below their historic peaks.  Even more interesting is that today's national sales are at parity with lows during six of the past seven economic recessions.

Yet, it may no longer feel like a recession to many home builders who survived the slaughter of the market downturn.  With most of their competition now gone, those left are able to meet the much lower demand levels of the market and still do so at a profit.

Nevertheless,  Utah's demand for new housing appears to be fairing better than the national market.  Queue the next chart please (Courtesy St. Louis Federal Reserve Economic Data):

While we are still lower than the peak, we have stabilized and appear to be averaging around the same period as 1992 and trending upward.  While we are still about 55% below the historic market peak our sales have kept pace with growth in the national market.  Utah's decline was severe, but not nearly as much as was seen nationwide.

It appears at this point that most of the excesses of previous years have been purged from the system and new construction is growing organically again based on solid fundamentals like population increase.  The Utah market isn't immune to a recession, but any downturn in housing should not be nearly as traumatic as we have experienced in years past.

Friday, February 21, 2014

FORECLOSURE: Utah Changes the Rules

In my role serving as a state lawmaker, I have the opportunity to hear many bills on a broad array of subjects.  One of the bills that recently came to our Business and Labor Standing Committee deals with some meaningful changes to the foreclosure process.

Under current law, a foreclosure is initiated by notice from a mortgage company's or a lien holder's attorney stating that a Notice of Default (NOD) has been filed at the County Recorders office.  The law gives the homeowner 90-days after that filing to pay the past due amount plus all legal fees associated with the NOD filing.  After the 90-day period, the place and time of the foreclosure sale is published in a local newspaper for three weeks prior to the sale date.  The sale is in compliance with law when the 90 day and 3-week requirements are met.

In SB 130 - Trust Deed Foreclosure Amendments, Utah's foreclosure process would be changed.  Rather than a strict 90-day period beginning with the filing of an NOD, the bill creates a 30-day buffer starting on the date an attorney gives a homeowner notice of the intent to file an NOD.  Then, 30 days after the notice is issued, the attorney can record an NOD.

This change effectively gives the the homeowner 120 days plus 3 weeks to cure their delinquency before a foreclosure auction on the courthouse steps.  This gives homeowners a greater opportunity to cure the default or to workout other options like a short sale of their property.

This bill will be heard on the Floor of the House of Representatives shortly where it will then head to the Governor's office for his signature.

If you or someone you know owe more than your home is worth or are experiencing a hardship making mortgage payments and want to review the choices available, CONTACT ME, and we can set up a private meeting to explore the various options.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blood in the Water: A Tenant Feeding Frenzy

I recently had an opportunity to assist a client in leasing his property.  He lived out of state and needed someone to help screen his tenants for him.  Previously, he has had a couple catastrophic situations with past tenants and didn't want to repeat the experience with a freshly rehabilitated rental property.

I began screening several tenants.  However, my client was very anxious to put a tenant in as soon as possible.  He had placed an ad.  Suddenly, I was deluged with perspective tenants who were extremely anxious to move in as soon as possible.  As I ran the applications, I began to see red flags everywhere for this group of prospective tenants.  Unpaid obligations to past landlords, collections accounts, shaky rent payment history, and other tell tale signs of high risk abounded.

When I discussed this with my client he revealed he had told the perspective tenants that he was desperate for someone to rent his unit.  That is when I realized the law of attraction was at work in this situation.  Desperate landlords attract desperate tenants.  Landlords who cannot afford a vacancy often find tenants who cannot afford the rent.  Unwary landlords will find themselves eaten alive by tenants who know how to play this situation to their fullest advantage.

Fortunately, with some rigorous screening and a large volume of applicants, we were finally able to find a suitable tenant with risk factors that warranted signing a lease agreement.  Nevertheless, the process would have been a lot less hectic with some simple changes to messaging.  Sounding the desperation alarm is a sure way to find the least tenable applicants.

If you are having issues with your tenants, or think it's time to hire a property manager, CONTACT ME, and lets discuss how we can make owning rental property a profitable and enjoyable experience.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Demolition Day: Zombies vs. Backhoes

Across the street from our home, we have lived with a bedsore property for many years.  Originally, the edifice was a glorious 1888 Victorian Twinhome.

After a fire that burned off the top story in 2001, the building was stitched back together and became this hideous creation.  Finally, the property became bank owned and I helped Ogden City acquire it

Finally, demolition day arrived and the building was put to rest.  

Great things are happening in our neighborhood.  This lot may eventually come up for sale again.  If you are thinking of building a new home in a historic neighborhood, CONTACT ME, and let's look at some options.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Photo of the Day: The Funky Mystery Outlet

I was out shopping with some clients this week and stumbled upon this oddity:

A quick search of Wikipedia seems to indicate it may be a derivative of a Soviet style electrical outlet.  What are your thoughts?