Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Things To Do Near Ogden: Bushwacking To A No Name Peak Summit

My good friend and college bandmate Jesse Meik came to visit recently.  To celebrate the occasion, we decided to pick a local area hike.  Our interests pointed us toward Gunsight Peak just north of the town of Plymouth in Box Elder County.

After doing some cursory research we believed the trailhead started on the South Divide Road east of Plymouth.

At the top of the divide there were a couple parking spots.

We then began our hike on the two track trail heading north.

The trail was easy at first but we could see the trail ascending steeply up the mountain nearby.

Sure enough, the trail got very steep very quickly.

The upside was being rewarded with some spectacular views of the Bear River Valley and Cache Valley.

Unfortunately, the trail faded and we began the arduous task of bushwacking our way up the hill.  The rocks were very uneven and the soil was unstable.  It was slow going.

We thought we knew where we were going based on some research we had done in advance.  As it turns out, we were off course.

The mountain we were on forms a parabolic incline toward the very end of the ascent.  Of course, there was no trail to follow as we scrambled over loose rock, tall weeds, and fought off the horse flies.  

When we reached the top of our climb we realized our mistake.  There was a giant canyon separating us from Gunsight Peak which is seen here in the background.  We grumbled for a few minutes deliberating on how we wanted to proceed.  But a check of our water supplies told us we needed to turn back.

The walk down was as tricky as the hike up.  The loose rock and soil made for a cautious descent.

Here is the no name peak we hiked.  Our course took us along the ridgeline to the right.

In all, our hike was 1.6 miles one-way.  We ascended 1830 feet.  If you want to relive our misguided adventure, you can follow our trail.  In the meantime, may we all enjoy the great outdoor recreation Northern Utah has to offer.  Happy hiking!

Monday, June 22, 2015

JUST SOLD! Canyon Condo Short Sale

I just sold this short sale listing near Ogden Canyon.

We listed this property in August 2014 for $55,000.  At that time, the owners owned more on the property than it was worth.  We pursued a short sale.

Immediately after we listed the property, we received several offers.  Work on the short sale began.  The negotiations with the lender were tedious, but we ultimately received an approval at $63,000.

The buyer paid cash at closing.

If you are upside down on your home, need to sell but want to avoid foreclosure, CONTACT ME, and lets walk through your options.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Car Invades Ogden Living Room

Another driver recently put their vehicle on a collision course with a home in Ogden.  The Standard Examiner tells the story.

Unlike the last car-meets-house incident in Ogden where the house was brick, this home doesn't seem to have fared as well.  Perhaps the the three little pigs were on to something.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

FOR SALE: Quaint Updated Cottage

I just listed this quaint updated cottage for sale in Ogden, Utah.

Located at 553 16th St. about a block from the Ogden River, this 1930's homestead is a perfect starter home.  It would also make an excellent vacation home or rental property.  The home has a large loft bedroom upstairs and a smallish bedroom space with closet on the main level.  There is plenty of storage. The home is 842 SQFT.

The home has an updated kitchen with butcher block countertops, dishwasher, fridge, gas range, and pantry.  Every window is new in the home and the main level has new laminate floors in the living spaces.  The back yard is fully fenced and makes a great blank canvass for the visionary landscaper.

Here is a video montage of the home:

If you are a tiny house aficionado, or your are looking for a great starter rental or vacation home near the Ogden River, CONTACT ME, and lets set up a private showing for you. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

JUST SOLD! Updated Mid-Century Tri-Level Gem

I just closed on this cute home for a seller located at 640 E 1300 N in Ogden.

We listed this 4 bed 2 bath home in early April for $172,900.  We immediately received an offer and placed the home under contract.  This particular home saw a significant renovation prior to being put on the market.  The buyer discovered a couple items that needed remedied and instead of waiting for the repairs, they had to excuse themselves from the transaction.

 The sellers went about fixing the issues the first buyer discovered.  We increased the list price to $174,900 and immediately received another offer.    Everything was running very smoothly until closing day.  On the day of closing the neighborhood was inundated with a major rain storm.  The month saw double the amount of rain we usually see in May.  It just so happened that on this day the water table rose above the footings of the basement foundation.  The basement was flooded.

The buyer was very shocked and wanted to excuse themselves from the transaction.  Fortunately, we were able to assuage their grief and keep them on board.  It took an additional 10 days to cure the problems but some exterior sump pumps, new carpet, and some new baseboards made everything better. Such is life.  We closed at a sale price of $170,900 and the seller contributed $5,127 in closing costs for the buyer using an FHA loan.

If you have a property that you want to sell and you need an agent that can professionally handle any situation, no matter how difficult or surprising, CONTACT ME, and lets make sure you real estate experience is a good one.   

Monday, June 8, 2015

FOR SALE: Downtown Cottage / Commericial Office Space

I just listed this cute vintage property in Ogden.

Located at 578 24th St., this quaint two bedroom building has been thoroughly updated with new electrical, roof, kitchen, tile floors, and other finishes.  The property has high visibility from its location on 24th Street and sits next to another business. There are 840 square feet on the main level with some storage and utility space in the basement .

The property is walking distance to Washington Blvd. and much of downtown Ogden.  The property is zoned as Central Business District.  

Here is a video walk through of the unit:

If you are interested in a private showing of this property, CONTACT ME, and we will set a time that is convenient for you.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Signs of a Stagnant Listing

Agents are encouraged to leave a card after showing a listing.  Not all agents do this but some do.  So, when I entered a vacant listing this week, I was surprised to see this many cards on the kitchen counter.

And these were just the agents that bothered to leave a card.  In a market that is moving as quickly as our current one, this sight is a classic sign of a listing that is overpriced.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

JUST SOLD! Fixer-Upper Mega Duplex Short Sale

I just closed on the sale of this property in Ogden.

For the lengthy backstory on this property, I will refer you to FOR SALE:  Fixer-Upper Mega Duplex Short Sale which I posted back in April 2014.

A lot has happened since we listed the property.  Our original list price was $145,000.  We received several offers and moved forward with a full price cash offer.  Then the short sale negotiations began.  It took 6 months for Wells Fargo to agree to the contract but they finally accepted.  Then, the buyer decided on short notice that they weren't interested in the property anymore.  But, rather than letting us switch to a backup offer, Wells Fargo decided that the short sale process must start over from scratch.  We dropped the price to $125,000 to motivate the market.  A new crop of offers arrived.  We received a full price cash offer in November 2014 and the seller moved forward with that offer.

It took an additional 6 months to receive approval but the buyer was still interested in the property when the approval came.  Three days later we closed.

We need to offer kudos to both the buyers and sellers for their patience through this longwinded process.  The recent run up in market values has given banks pause when processing short sales.  They are giving files extra scrutiny and that takes extra time.

In this property's case, the building needs about $30k - $40k in capital improvements.  Yet, it will be worth about $190K when repaired.  So, it is still a good value for the buyer and the seller was able to escape a crushing $250k loan they procured at the height of the market in 2007.    

This property was a problem for the owner.  If you have a problem property that you want out of your life, CONTACT ME, and we will show you how we can make your life a lot easier.

2015 European Odyssey

Many of you are aware that I recently traveled to Europe on a State Department sponsored exchange program for young political leaders.  I learned more in 10 days than I will ever have time express in written words and most of it isn't appropriate for a real estate blog.  But, I did take plenty of pictures of the amazing architecture we experienced.


We had a 7 hour layover in Amsterdam, Netherlands on our way east.  So, we decided to take a train into town and look around.

The old city center is very old.  Many shops and buildings have the year they were constructed etched in the ornamentation.  Many of these were constructed in the 1500's or 1600's.

The attention to detail is staggering.

As time has progressed, some buildings have been taken down and new ones constructed.  Here is a good example of buildings from various eras of construction.

Many of the buildings along the Amstel river are sagging.  The above example illustrates the problem.  That isn't lens distortion you are seeing there.  The buildings are simply out of plumb.

These three buildings are "fanning out".  Moisture in the soil has caused the buildings to move over the past 500 years.

The city square has some amazing edifices dedicated to Royalty and government.

This building is The Dam - the Royal Palace.

After a brief stop at an outdoor cafe for breakfast along the Amstel river, we finally made our way back to the amazing central train station for a 20 minute ride back to the airport.


Our next stop was in Zagreb, Croatia.

The airport was a lot smaller than I imagined for a city supporting a million people. 

Croatia was a province of Yugoslavia after WWII and was governed by communists.  The architecture of this period reflects the communist vision.  Here are concrete block houses.  The apartments are about $250/mo (1675 Kuna at todays exchange rate) if you are looking for a cheap place to rent. 

Zagreb has a long Medieval history as a province of Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Many of the buildings we saw were dilapidated and in significant disrepair.  Yet, many buildings were receiving a facelift as Croatia works its way out of a recent economic depression.

St. Martin's Church is the centerpiece of the government section of the city where parliament and other government buildings reside.

Just east of the parliament is St. Stephens Cathederal.  It was constructed in the 1500's.  The dual steeple configuration was constructed in the late 1800's after an earthquake destroyed the old steeple.  Like so many buildings in the city.  It is currently under renovation.

The Croatian and Zagreb coat-of-arms were laid in tile on the roof of St. Martin's church in the 1880's.

Here is the entrance to Hrvatska Sabor (Croatian Parliament).

St. Stephens Cathedral is remarkable.

The sheer size and ornamentation were remarkable and distinctly symbolic of Croatia's history. The west wall has galgolithic inscriptions using Croatia's old alphabet.  

During Turkish raids in the 1500's a defensive wall was constructed around the cathedral.

A short walk from our hotel was the Swiss embassy.

A small chapel in the midst of downtown Zagreb's busiest night life area.

An scene from Croatia's Foreign Affairs building.

There are many museums in the city center.

We visited the city's university.  The city skyline is dotted with many more modern high rise buildings.

Arched and domed brick ceilings were a prominent architectural feature of many places we visited.  In this case, it was a restaurant.

 The train station is at the south end of the city center and an easy walk to all of Zagreb's great places.   We boarded a train to Budapest.


We arrived in Budapest, Hungary after a 6 hour train ride.  The following morning we began exploring the city. 

There are three main bridges that connect the east and west sides of the city of Budapest.  All of them were destroyed in WWII and reconstructed to their original specifications and grandeur.

After becoming the second capitol of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Budapest experienced a construction boom.  Most of the buildings in the city date to around the late 1800's.  The city was built, razed, rebuilt, and razed again during successive wars over the centuries.  Due to political intrigue, Budapest escaped most, but not all, of the bombing of WWII.

Hungary survived Nazi and Soviet occupations and have memorialized their experience in a museum on Andrassy Blvd. 

The level of detail and craftsmanship at the Opera House was mindboggling.

Here is a building near the parliament with textured concrete.

Doors and windows are ornamented beautifully. Our visit took us to the Hungarian Parliament building.  In case you are wondering, everything inside was covered in gold leaf.  If it is out of reach and looks like gold, it is.  

This is a cigar holder.

The House Chamber was breathtaking.

We were told that the cost to construct the building would have built a city for 40,000 people.  While gothic in style, the building was completed in 1903 after 17 years of construction.   The following day we visited the Presidential Palance and the Castle District. 

The palace was one of the buildings destroyed in WWII.  The palace was meticulously rebuilt and restored.  We were fortunate to have the designer of the restoration as our tour guide.


Mattias Templum is a  giant cathedral in the Castle District.  It was constructed in its current gothic configuration in the late 1800's after being destroyed several times during war.  The site has hosted several different designs of cathedrals over the centuries.  

The Danube River divides the Buda and Pest sides of the city.


Our final stop was in Eger, Hungary to learn about a major cultural center in the country. Our first stop was at Eger Castle which is being restored.   

This is what remains of a giant support column.

There were many subterranean passages.

This is a primitive seismograph that engineers used to determine where enemy forces might be digging tunnels to subvert the castle walls.  It is basically a pan of water on legs.  But, it served its purpose and prevented many assaults on the castle.

The castle overlooks the city of Eger.

And, in case we got out of line, they had the stocks ready.  

We were also shown a special library that houses medieval books and codeces.  The library was constructed in 1776.

The ceiling isn't domed but is painted to look that way.  

This Romanesque Cathedral was constructed in the 1200's.  The statues were added in the early 1800's during a remodel.  The interior featured Roman arches and motifs.

Overall, the trip was amazing.  I will definitely be going back.