Window Replacement: When Is It Time?

If your windows are no longer shielding your home from the elements, filtering the noise, or are just doesn’t contribute to your curb appeal, then it may be time to replace them. There are a lot of benefits for window replacement which include, but are not limited to, energy savings, aesthetics, and weather resistance.SMflowerpots-house-window-2539

When it comes to replacing your windows you have a lot of options to consider. Single or double hung windows are the most common, but there are casement, awning, and slider windows. According to Energy Star, installing qualified windows in your home can lower household bills by 7-15%. Did you know you might be able to get a tax credit for 10% for energy savers such as new windows and insulation?

When choosing the best windows for your home, the general rule of thumb is you get what you pay for. It is good to read reviews, consumer reports, online forms, and company websites about various windows and ask around. What windows do your friends and family have? Which windows are the best for the climate you live in? What area of your home gets the most sun?

Hiring a contractor to install your windows is also very important to make sure the job is done correctly. Before hiring someone it is good to have a list of questions to ask them. Angie’s List recommends you get at least 3 detailed bids and be sure to check the laws in your state. Some states limit the amount a contractor is allowed to charge you.

Are you happy with the windows in your home? What do you like best about them? What would you change?

Finding the Best Hiking Trails in Utah

sun-rising-over-utah-canyonsUtah is a great place for many outdoor adventures during all times of the year. With all the unusual warm weather for this time of year is easy to start planning all the hikes you want to go on.  There are so many wonderful hiking trails in Utah to explore such as Donut Falls TrailBells Canyon TrailWaterfall Canyon and Angels Landing ~ to name a few.

Remember before setting out, it is important to pack a backpack with a map or guide book, plenty of water, fuel (load up on those high energy power bars) and first aid. For a full list of items to bring check out this helpful site.

Another thing to keep in mind before heading out is to check the weather so you can be prepared or adjust your plans as needed. Always inform friends and family about where you are going and when you expect to be back. Carry out what you brought in ~ keep the outdoors clean for next person.

What are you doing for the 4th of July weekend? What are some hiking trails in Utah that  you enjoy?

Time Management – Setting Your Priorities

Do you ever sit down to complete a task only to find the hours have passed and you have accomplished nothing? Is procrastination your best friend? It is easy to get distracted with gettinggreen-alarm-clock-1391422612n8N things done especially when you haven’t mapped out all the tasks you need to finish. Time management is one of the greatest skills you can develop to organize your priorities and complete the most important tasks.

Start by creating a daily plan of all the jobs you need to work on (and complete) the night before. This gives you time to make sure you have the necessary information (phone numbers, notes, etc.) already to go so you don’t waste time searching for them.

For more time management tips and tricks, check out Eat That Frog (Tracy) and The 4 Hour Work Week (Ferriss).  I’ve found these books to be helpful and interesting when it comes to setting goals and managing time better.

What are some of your time management techniques?

Renting Vs Owning: What Is Best for You?

When it comes to buying a home, there is a lot to consider and weigh to make sure you are making the best choice. If you are still deciding if you should move from renting to owning, here are a few more things to take into consideration.smlight-bulb-3229-830x550

First thing, when you own your home you have more freedom to decorate, remodel, and/or alter the landscaping to fit your style. In addition to the flexibility to enhance your home, you gain a pride of ownership and belonging within the community. Last, but certainly not least, are the financial benefits of being a homeowner.

In an article put out by Keeping Current Matters, they looked at the financial benefits of why now is the best time to buy. Breaking it down why not is the best time to buy, financially, consider your dream home costs $250,000 today, at 4.41% interest, your monthly principle and interest mortgage payment would be $1,253.38. Then let’s say you decide to wait to own for another year, with the rates and prices increasing, the same home costs $270,000, at a 5.7% monthly interest. That makes your monthly payment at $1,567.08; a $313.70 difference in monthly payments. Now looking at it over the long term (30 years) you would have saved $112,932 over that time by buying now.

For some, the idea of taking on a mortgage can be intimidating, but consider this, no matter what you are paying on a mortgage ~ either yours or your landlords ~ regardless (unless you live with your parents). Taking that into consideration, wouldn’t you rather be paying on a mortgage that will benefit you in the long run not someone else?

A few other things to consider is that rent can always go up, whereas with your mortgage, it is a fixed payment. In addition, your mortgage payment could be tax deductible and you can build equity in your home.

What is holding you back from moving forward to buying your own home? Give me a call today at 801-774-1687 to find out what I can do for you to help you find your dream home.

Understanding the Home Buying Process

Right now, the benefits of owning your own home far outweigh renting. In addition to the pride of ownership, owning your home is a great investment, has tax advantages (in most cases), and allows you to build equity.  When moving forward with the purchasing a home, it is important to understand the home buying process to make sure you get the most out of your investment.

  • Hire a real estate agent. Hire a qualified agent to help you find your dream home and make the whole buying process easier. Real estate agents are here to help you, answer your questions, and make sure nothing is overlooked.
    • Shop for mortgage rates and terms. Even a half of a percent difference could mean huge savings for you in the long run. Speak with a mortgage lender to better understand the rates and what you qualify for.
    • Prequalify for a loan. If you go in to the home buying process knowing how much you can afford can make all the difference and let sellers know you are serious about moving forward in the home buying process.
    • Visit properties. Take time to shop around, see what you like and don’t like. Your real estate agent can be a huge help here by finding properties that will meet your placeit (1)needs and stay within your budget.
    • Research. Take the time to tour houses and talk with your agent about what features can help or hurt the resale value of your home. Take note of what you liked and didn’t like so you have a more concrete picture of what you want/need in a home.
    • Make an offer. Once you have narrowed in on your dream home, you will want to make an offer. Utilize your agent to help you negotiate and handle the financial and contractual side of the dealings.
    • Arrange a home inspection. After the offer has been accepted, you will want to set up a home inspection. Be sure to hire someone who is certified to check the home for leaks, cracked walls, or foundation problems. Note, you can negotiate repairs as part of the purchase.
    • Close. This is where you sign the final paperwork and receive the keys to your new home.
  • Prepare for your life in your new home. Now you can relax and get comfortable in your new home. Unpack and make the home your own.

Do you have any questions about the home buying process? Be sure to leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Growing Your Success

What does success look like to you? Do you see yourself as a success? In today’s world, we seem to emphasize success on how much money you make, if you are famous or not, but what about the teacher who inspires their students to never give up or the person who helps their neighbor?

Regardless of how you define success, if  you want a rewarding life you need to know what you want. What drives you to accomplish 14464606763_5473161990_zthings that keep moving your forward? Keep challenging yourself by setting new goals and discovering what you are capable of (and exceeding your wildest expectations).

According to Tony Robbins, life coach and motivational speaker, recommends that you to develop daily rituals to creating the life you want and giving power to your goals. Look at your goals, or the challenges you are facing in your life, and break them down into little bit size rituals. What could you accomplish in your life if you completed a small task every day? Remember the old saying, “how do you eat an elephant? One bit a time.”

What is one thing you would like to achieve in 2014? What is something you can start doing today to make your dreams come true?

Luxury Home Buying 101

When it comes to investing in a luxury home, many high-end properties are not listed on MLS or search engines. So how do you find the luxury home of your dreams? Hiring a qualified real estate agent who knows the market for luxury homes is the besSMapartment-design-inside-4703t person to talk to. In some cases, the agent may have inside information about a listing before it hits the open market.

When looking to buy a home, it is important to know the loan process for luxury homes typically take longer than a smaller mortgage. For a guidance on moving forward in the home buying process, the best person to speak with is a mortgage lender about what loan would be best for you, your purchase range, and much more. Many real estate agents recommend having your financing approval early on in the home buying purchase.

Be clear on what you are looking for and do your due diligence. Just like with other properties, it is important to take time to properly inspect the luxury home prior to purchase. This can take a little more time as specialized home inspectors may be required.

Are you interested in a luxury home? Give me a call today 801-774-1687 to further discuss what you are looking for.

The Role of a Real Estate Agent

CardWhen it comes to being a real estate agent there is a lot of time and energy that goes into being successful. The role of an agent is to serve others. Sometimes when people call looking for an agent, it can be under stressful circumstances such as a death in the family, job promotion or divorce. It is important for an agent to understand and relate to their clients and how they can best serve them.

Communication is key. You need to be able to build trust with your clients, know your product and your strategy. When it comes to being a great agent, you need to be responsive and available 7 days a week. Agents often work nights and weekends showing homes, setting up open houses, and marketing properties.

An agent’s job is to know the markets they work in and be able to answer all the client’s questions and concerns about school districts, zoning, expansion and so much more.

Although the role of agent can be demanding, there is a lot of reward to helping someone sell or find the perfect home for them.

Share your thoughts. What do you look for in an agent? How did having an agent benefit you?

Bicycling Utah

smBikeSpring is right around the corner, and for me, that means spending more time outside taking in the beauty Utah has to offer. One of my favorite pastimes is taking my bicycle out and exploring some of the trails across the state. When getting into the sport of bicycling, decide what your primary riding style is so you can choose the best bike.

There are some great trails around that are perfect for biking. One of my favorite areas to ride around is Antelope Island, with 20 miles of trails open across the island, there are many areas to explore.

Utah offers a lot of biking events across the state for people who are interested in meeting up with others who share the same passion as them.

Looking to support a great cause? Logan, along with Harmons, is having their annual MS fundraising cycling event in June 2014. For more information about registering to participate in this event, check out the National MS Society website.

What are some of you favorite summer activities in Utah?

Kitchen Organization

smallJarsDo you ever open your kitchen pantry and fill overwhelmed with the clutter? Is everything just cramped in your cupboards, looking for a spot of its own? Try these awesome tips for getting your kitchen organized and refreshed. The best place to start when you are organizing is to first empty out the space and throwing out or giving away the unwanted items.

Getting everything organized in the kitchen can be a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end. Just think how great your kitchen will look ~ perhaps you will be motivated to organize other rooms in your home.

Please share your tips and tricks with us…we love hearing from you.