Questions You Must Ask When Searching For Your New Home

When it comes to finding your dream home, it can take some time to find the perfect place just for you. There are so many factors which go into finding the right home and the home buying process. As you begin your due diligence in researching the area and getting know your potential neighbors, finding the right schools, hiring a real estate agent, and making sure the home you fall in love with is in your price range (check out this great calculator tool).

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Before you move forward towards homeownership, take some time to chat with a loan officer to find out what kind of mortgage you can afford. If you’re not sure you can afford a home, you should also take some time to chat with a mortgage officer. There are various loans you may qualify for so make sure you get pre-approved first.

As you continue down the path towards homeownership, ask yourself these questions—

  • Why is the home for sell?
  • Are there some issues with the home you should be aware of?
  • What do you like most about the neighborhood? What don’t you like? Can you leave with it?
  • How long has the home been vacant? Why?
  • What is the water pressure like? Insulation in the attic?
  • How many drawers are in the kitchen? Is there enough counter space for you?
  • Do all the electrical outlets work?
  • Is the front door well insulated?

Your home is a place you can take pride in. Take some time now to find the best fit for you, something you can see yourself living in. Write down all the questions you have, what you can’t live without, what you’re willing to compromise on, and so on.

As you move down this path, let us help you find your dream home. We are here to answer all your questions and to assist you in finding your new home.

Origins of Thanksgiving

We all know the story of how the pilgrims and Native Americans “broke bread” at one of the very first Thanksgivings. They shared the first autumn harvest feast in 1621 with many more to come. We can learn more about the origins by first examining Thanksgiving at Plymouth and then discovering when Thanksgiving became an official holiday.

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Plymouth

The Mayflower, a small ship, left Plymouth England in September 1620. The ship carried 102 passengers consisting of a variety of religious separatists seeking a new home to freely practice their faith. The New World promise of wealth and prosperity lured others aboard. The Pilgrims settled across Massachusetts Bay one month later.

The first year proved to be brutal for the colonists. Many suffered from exposure, scurvy and disease outbreaks. Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast in November 1621 after the Pilgrims’ first successful corn harvest. He invited a group of the colony’s Native American allies. This gathering is considered to be America’s first Thanksgiving even though those words may not have been used at the time.

 

National Holiday

The evolution of a Thanksgiving holiday began during the American Revolution. In fact, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanks per year. In 1789, the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States was issued by George Washington. He wished for Americans to express their gratitude for the favorable outcome of the war for independence and successful ratification of U.S. Constitution.

New York with several other states following suite officially adopted an annual Thanksgiving holiday in 1817. However, each of the states celebrated on different days. Sarah Josepha Hale, author of nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” launched campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1827. In the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln answered her request in 1863 and scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday of every November.

Official Thanksgiving was celebrated the last Thursday of November annually until 1939. President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to move the holiday up a week to stimulate retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan was met with fierce, passionate opposition. He eventually and reluctantly signed a bill making the final Thursday the official date for the Thanksgiving holiday.

New Construction Advice

New ConstructionToday’s market has no shortage of cheap, previously-owned homes to pick through. But you have decided to buy a new construction home or have one built to your liking. Despite all of the benefits of buying a new construction home, you will want to make sure you do it right with these seven tips.

1. The Right Agent

A great agent to help you navigate the new construction buying process will have specific experience with builders and buyers in the area. However, they should not be affiliated with the builder. Builders and real estate agents often maintain relationships, but you will want someone to look out for you best interests.

2. Research the Builder

Searching reviews, testimonials and news online might be the best place to start. After that, you can visit other developments and talk to homeowner’s that have worked with the builder. Remember that most builders will have both satisfied and unsatisfied customers. Don’t get turned off by one bad review. Look for trends and cover your concerns in the purchase agreements.

3. Creative Negotiations

You can negotiate other factors besides price as most builders are opposed to lowing their prices. Other options include asking the builder to pay closing costs or performing upgrades at no additional charge.

4. Everything in Writing

Make sure that everything has been negotiated, agreed upon and written in contract form before you sign anything. If you are purchasing an incomplete home, it is important to ensure that you specify in writing how you want the home finished. Keep in mind that verbal conversations are not binding.

5. Remember that you don’t always get what you see

Fully finished, decorated and staged model homes aren’t a true representation of what comes standard from builders. All of those fancy upgrades like stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors come with a price.  Avoid sticker shock when touring the home. Ask the guide which features are standard and which are extra.

6. Guarantee Please

When buying a home that is not completely finished you will want to ensure that you have guarantees the home will be ready on time. Some new construction homes even come with warranties covering the home up to a year for anything they may have overlooked.

7. Home Inspection

Going along with their warranty, newly built homes often have problems too. Hire an inspector to make sure everything is safe and up to code before moving in and signing off. Typically, builders allow the buyers to conduct an independent inspection and agree to repair code compliance issues. However, they do not include a provision that allows buyers to walk away without losing their deposit.

Haunted Houses In The Area

halloween-pumpkin-carving-faceI don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things about Halloween are the haunted houses. There is nothing like going through some of these spook houses and having a good scare (or laugh—depending how you go through them). This year, get your scare on by exploring some of these haunted houses around Utah.

  • Halloween Insanity. Located in Syracuse, this is a free haunted house open to the public. Running from October 17-31, 2016, this is a fun haunted house which changes each year.
  • Deads End Yard Haunt. This residential attraction located in Logan, Utah, which includes witches, werewolves, and other haunting spooks that are sure to thrill. Come and enjoy a night of spooks!
  • Castle of Chaos. Head on over to Midvale for a night of thrills and chills. This haunted attraction is known to give you nightmares.
  • Fear Factory. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Fear Factory is a popular place for unusual accidents and has a long history of twisted past. Enjoy a night of entertainment and scares with live bands, concessions, and some undead visitors.

Want to know more about other Haunted Houses around the area? Make sure to check out some of these haunted destinations.

Have a favorite Haunted Houses? What is your favorite thing about Halloween? Share your stories and thoughts with us. We love to hear from you.

Getting Your Yard Ready for The Winter

We are moving closer to winter and, as each day ticks closer to our first snowfall, now is the time to prepare your yard for the cold months ago. To help you prepare, here are some steps to start taking today to ensure your yard survives (and thrives) over the winter. frost-on-grass-1358926_640

Lawn care. Even though the temperatures are cooling down, mowing your lawn is still important. While you’re at it, take a moment to aerate and fertilize your lawn to ensure it has the necessary nutrients to survive the winter ahead. In addition to making sure your lawn has the nutrients it needs, it’s equally important to rake up your leaves as they begin to fall. Unraked leaves will lead to fungus which can kill your lawn and may lead to health problems.

Winterize your sprinklers. Utah can have some serious cold months so it’s critical you winterize your sprinkler system so it doesn’t crack or burst. To do this, turn off the water and push the excess water out of your pipes with an air compressor.

Prepare your soil. As we move further into the autumn months, add some manure to your flower beds, especially around the plants that need a little extra protection, which can be absorbed throughout the winter.

Cover your air conditioner. While you’re preparing your yard, don’t forget to winterize your air conditioner. Use this time to wash out any dirt and debris from your unit, check pipes, and wrap your unit with visit a plastic or vinyl cover. As your close down your AC unit for the winter, this is also the perfect time to check your furnace and change your filters.

Have some tips to add? Tell us about it below in the comments.

Labor Day Activities and Sales in (and around) Davis County

If you didn’t already have plans this weekend (and even if you do!), you need to check out these fun activities and wallet-saving deals!

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Hit up the South Davis Labor Day Triathlon

The will hold the race rain, snow or shine! The course in in true triathlon order starting with swimming, on to biking and wrapping-up with the run. The show starts 8 a.m. so be there or be square! For more information, please visit their website.

Family First Monday’s at Station Park

Although this event happens the first Monday of every month, it is something to do this Labor Day. Bring the family out from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for free games, activities, entertainment and discounts.

Multi-Exhibit at Bountiful Davis Art Center

The Mulit-Exhibit is great spot to get up close and personal with local artwork. The work will be displayed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for your viewing pleasure! For more information please visit their website.

Around the area:

Free Red Butte Garden Admission Day

Free Park City Miner’s Day Celebration

Swiss Days, Onion Days, Peach Days, Blue Moon Festival and Jazz Festival

For more information, (and other discounts) visit Coupons4Utah.

Sales:

Post Labor Day Mini Book Sale

The Monday after Labor Day, the Davis County Library System is hosting a mini book sale at the Davis County South Branch Library located in Bountiful. The book sale will offer a quality selection of titles in “limited quantities at bargain prices.” Hardbacks, books on CD and DVDS will be one dollar while paperbacks are just 25 cents! Don’t miss this deal and remember to bring cash or check.

Utah Symphony

The Utah Symphony also is having a Labor Sale where you can choose any three or more performances to save 20 percent! The sale runs from August 28 through Labor Day. Tickets start at $18, $14.40 after discount is applied. For more information, please visit their website.

Check it out! All of these stores have Labor Day Sales Events:

Trimming Your Trees For The Fall

leaves-970188_640Right now, as we move into the cooler months, it’s tempting to want to prune your trees and bushes. However, the autumn months are not a good time to prune. Trimming your trees in the fall can lead fungi to spread in their spores, which slows down their ability to heal wounds caused by cuts. This is also a time when trees are starting to go dormant (preparing for the winter months ahead) and pruning them will result in a spurt of regrowth.

Instead, wait until the summer months to prune your trees and bushes. This will allow you to remove the old and dead branches without causing excess stress to your trees. When pruning your trees and shrubs, don’t make the cut too close to the trunk of the tree. Also, you don’t want to cut too far from the trunk which may leave an ugly stub and allow insects easy entry.

There are other important things you can do to help prepare your yard for winter. Apply some fertilizer, spread cool-weather grass seed, and aerate your lawn to protect it over the cold months. In addition, take some time to ensure the water in your sprinkler systems is pushed out and your air conditioner is properly stored.

The more you can do now to prepare your yard (and home) for the winter months the better. You never know when the snow will start flying and the more prepared you are the less surprises you’ll have.

Have something to add to the list? Tell us below in the comments about some of the things you do to help get your yard ready for the winter.

9 Reasons For Sale by Owner Can Backfire

simpolo-1478505_640Every year homeowners contemplate hiring an agent or listing their property for sale by owner (FSBO). However, FSBO might not be the best option for the majority of sellers. Here are a few considerations to mull over before you decide if you have the chops to take on a complex real estate transaction.

1. You probably don’t have the time

Think about it, do you really want to be answering calls and knocks at the door from complete strangers who may or may not actually be potential buyers? Safety and privacy are big considerations when deciding to sell without an agent.

2. After sale issues

Although employing an agent doesn’t protect you from liability or guarantee that there won’t be any after-sale consequences, they help by taking precautionary steps. An example of an after sale issue includes a leaky roof and the buyer now wanting you to pay for a new roof. However, if you disclosed the leaky roof before the sale your bases should be covered. The key to avoiding after sale issues lies with prevention.

3. You may not be saving money after all

One of the most common reasons for someone to try and sell their house on their own is to save money. Although a very valid reason, the average FSBO home sold for $210,00 in 2014 compared to $249,000 for a home sold by a real estate agent according to the National Association of Realtors.

4. You could get scammed

Or taken advantage of. Buyers often feel that they can get a better price or deal for themselves because owners lack the skills and knowledge to negotiate. By employing an agent, you will have an expert negotiator in your corner ensuring you get top dollar for your property.

5. It’s all about the details

Underestimating the complexity involved during the entire real estate purchasing process can be detrimental. The list of potential mistakes is huge unless you are aware of your state’s laws and regulations regarding real estate transactions. Knowing how to read closing documents, fill out purchase agreements and calculate the true value of the property are extremely beneficial skills in protecting you from future litigation.

6. Too many people to negotiate with

Let’s say you decide to list your home FSBO. You should be prepared to negotiate with the buyer, the buyer agent, the buyer’s lawyer in some cases, the home inspection companies and the appraiser all of which work for the buyer. They are looking out for the buyer’s best interests. Who will you have looking out for yours?

7. The internet gets results

And real estate agents have solid internet marketing strategies. According to recent studies, 92 percent of buyers search online for their next home while only 28 percent look at print materials including newspaper ads. Do you have the skills needed to get maximum exposure to potential buyers?

8. FSBO is getting more difficult

The percentage of people listing FSBO has dropped from 19 to nine percent over that last 20 years. One of the main reasons for this drop is that as industry disclosures and regulations increases so does the paperwork involved in selling and buying a home.

9. You will end up hiring a Realtor anyway

Generally, those who are unsuccessful with selling their homes FSBO seek out professional services including hiring a real estate agent. Employing an experienced agent with a history of success gives you peace of mind that your real estate transaction will be handled carefully, respectfully and professionally.

Best Restaurants in Salt Lake City

canstockphoto12474229One thing I love about Salt Lake City is the restaurants. No matter what you’re craving, you’re bound to find something that appeals to your taste buds and not break the bank.

Here are 6 of our favorite restaurants we think you should check out.

  1. Red Iguana 2. A hugely popular Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City, the Red Iguana 2 is a hot spot for many locals. This place fills up quickly so make sure you plan ahead and get there early.
  1. Ruth’s Diner. Looking for some of the best food around Utah, Ruth’s Diner won’t disappoint.
  1. Caffe Molise. Craving Italian food? Vegetarian? Caffe Molise is the place for you. With great food and a stunning view to go along with it, this will become one of your favorite places.
  1. Eva. If you want something away from the norm, Eva is the place to go. With some of the best Mediterranean food around, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is what you’re going to order.
  1. Beerhive Pub. The Beerhive Pub has some of the best brew and pizza around. Grab your friends and enjoy a night of fun and laughter.
  1. The Cheesecake Factory. Another popular destination for both locals and tourists, The Cheesecake Factory is a fun place to take the family.

For more restaurant suggestions, check out Trip Advisor to find out about other great places to eat in Salt Lake City. While you’re in the City, take a moment to check out a show, walk the grounds of City Creek, visit a museum, and explore some of the other attractions the city has to offer.

Have a favorite restaurant or place to visit while in the city? Tell us about it below in the comments.

Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycle SafetyOn average more than eight million motorcyclists hit the road every year. Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured. In 2014, 4,586 motorcyclists died in crashes while another 92,000 were injured according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Stay safe out there. Don’t become a statistic.

Following are two safety checklists: one for drives and one for riders.

For Drivers:

  • First and foremost, as a driver you need to be aware of your surroundings especially motorcycles. There are a lot more cars and trucks on the road making motorcycles easily forgotten and hidden.
  • Keep in mind that due to its smaller size, a motorcycle may appear to be farther away than what it actually is and plan accordingly.
  • The small size of a motorcycle also gives the appearance of increased speed. Not all motorcycles are actually speeding, some just look like they are.
  • When following, give motorcyclists more room than you would a car. Motorcycles usually slow down by downshifting and easing up on the throttle which doesn’t activate a brake light. Be prepared for a slow down without a visual warning.
  • Due to decreased traction, motorcyclists often change and adjust their position within a lane. They do this for a variety of reasons including to be seen more easily by other motorists and avoid obstacles such as debris and sand. Just remember most of these adjustments are made for a purpose and not to be reckless.
  • Although increased maneuverability is one of the perks of operating a motorcycle, don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to stop or get out of the way in time.
  • Last but certainly not least, when you encounter a motorcycle on the road, think of it as a person and not as a motorcycle.

For Riders:

  • Protect your noggin and wear a helmet. We’ve all seen what happens when a grape gets smashed.
  • Use your turn signals either manually with your arms or electronically through your one man (and occasional passenger) riding machine.
  • Wear appropriate attire, like boots and gloves. No shorts and sandals unless you like dealing with an extreme case of road rash.
  • Look where you want to go because you will go where you look- it’s that simple. Keep those eyes focused on the road and avoid running into surprises or the other lane.
  • Avoid using the front brake first. Remember that time you were barreling down a hill full speed on your bicycle, pushed your hand break to stop and went flying? Yeah same concept. Apply your foot break first and you will be glad you did.
  • Down shift and chill. Riding is all about weight distribution and traction. If you go into a turn or corner too hot and try to brake you’re going to be thrown off balance. Instead, shift down and brake before the turn. Save the going fast part for your way out.
  • Look out for sand, debris and other obstructions on the road. Gravel and sand between the pavement and tires give your motorcycle even less traction than it had before and is best avoided altogether. However, if you happen to find yourself riding across an unavoidable sand trap remember to keep it slow and steady along with keeping your hog as upright as possible.
  • You also should be on the lookout for other motorists, cars and trucks. You will likely see them before they see you if they even see you at all.
  • Last but not least, please don’t drink and ride!