Checklist for Sellers

We take a holistic approach with our clients and consider every detail of buying or selling a home and how it will affect our client’s lives. Buying and selling homes tends to be one of the largest financial transactions of a person’s life. Finances aside, choosing to sell or purchase a home affects a person’s health and lifestyle as well.

 

Here is a checklist for selling your home we think you may find helpful:

 

  1. Pricing your home to sell. Home sale prices directly correlate with days on the market in our current market conditions.
    When a home is on the market for more than 30-60 days (generally in the $500,000 and below range), buyers perceive that there is a problem with your home and your offers will tend to get lower and lower with time.
  2. Home Inspection Issues. We can identify potential inspection issues for you when walking through your home and
    consult with you on repairs so that your sale will not fall through based on inspections. You might also consider getting a pre-listing home inspection to avoid complications during your sale as there are things we will not be able to see.
  3. Home Warranty Coverage. Some homeowners get frustrated by a home warranty because they assume they can hire anyone they want to make a repair and that if something is broken or old they can simply have the item replaced by the warranty policy. Home warranties offer important protection from unexpected repair bills, but they won’t usually be enough to replace an item that has worn out, had pre-existing problems, or were improperly maintained.

4. Seller Disclosures. These disclosures provide a wide range of information. Overall the basic premise of the disclosure is to have the seller explain any known material or legal defects with the property. Some of the items to expect in the disclosures are the seller’s knowledge of any zoning or legal violations on the property, legal actions affecting the property, location within a Greenbelt, damage to the roof, past-due utility payments (ones that affect title), problems with culinary water, damaged sewer or septic tanks, damaged heating and cooling devices, etc.

A. Fraud. In Utah, lying on a seller’s disclosure in a way that induces a homebuyer to purchase your home is fraud. For instance, if you were to say that you’ve never repaired leaks in the basement, but in fact have patched an area that’s now hidden by boxes, that would be a lie. Don’t do it. Fill out the seller’s disclosures, and fill them out honestly.

B.  Fradulent Nondisclosure. Fraudulent nondisclosure involves failing to disclose a material defect. For example, if you

were to incorrectly claim that you never noticed any leakage in the basement at all, that would be a nondisclosure.

7. Staging.Before listing your home it is important to have your home looking its best. Staged homes sell an average of 17% faster than homes that are not. There are many statistics to be found from many sources but staged homes also appear to sell for 1-5% more than a home that is not staged. We work with many different staging companies so we can tailor staging services to each unique home’s needs.

8. Marketing. We achieve high list-to-sale ratios and very low days on market in contrast with other brokers. We excel in evaluating homes, making them better with staging, advising of needed repairs and setting the right price to get the best outcome for our sellers. We set realistic expectations based on anticipating repairs needed after a buyer’s home inspection, preventing most of the typical drama that comes up during a sales transaction.

9. Showings. Sellers should be aware that same-day and even last-minute requests for showings are common, so a seller with a ‘24 hour notice to show’ stipulation often cuts himself out of a good chunk of the buying market. The only standard lag time that should be necessary is when you must give ample notice to a tenant. In Utah the standard is 24 hours notice. Once a house gets tagged as difficult to show by agents, you won’t receive as many calls to show it.

Home Buyer Checklist

Our mission is to guide home buyers and sellers through one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. We strive to make buying and selling homes a smooth process where our clients feel empowered with information and shielded from complications.

We hope this checklist helps you through the process of buying a home.

 

1. Get Pre-approved for a mortgage loan and establish a budget. This important step will illuminate any disappoints by avoiding looking at homes outside of your budget or what your qualify for.

 

2. Identify what type of property you would like to buy (condo, townhouse, single family home, duplex etc.)

3. Identify what locations are acceptable for your new home. Consider public transit, schools, grocery stores, shopping etc.

4. See prospective homes with your agent. This can be daunting but so much fun!

5. Write an offer on a home and get it accepted! Keep in mind sometimes negotiations will need to take place.

6. Once you have an accepted offer, follow your agents instructions for providing earnest money, ordering a home inspection and starting the loan origination process with your lender.

7. After inspections are complete and the appraisal is completed, usually the transaction will go through so it is time to start packing and planning your move.

8. Contact movers 1-2 weeks ahead of time as a minimum to be sure your timeline can bet met. And start packing!

9. Less than one week before closing you will need to set up utilities to be inyour name, homeowner’s insurance to start. We will provide you with the contact info for your utility providers.

10. On the day of closing or day prior to closing, you will need to wire your down payment and closing costs to the title company for closing. After your loan funds and the deed records, you are the new owner of your home! Your agent will arrange to get keys to you so you can take possession.

Hidden Costs for New Homeowners

When the time comes for you to buy a home, new homeowners need to understand that there are ‘hidden’ costs and fees when you are ready to sign on that dotted line. We are calling them ‘hidden’ because they are not included in the actual price of the home, these costs are obtained through the buying process and at the time of closing.

Here is a breakdown of those ‘hidden’ costs.

 

Home Inspection

Although this is an optional expense, it does protect you from purchasing a home that may have a lot of issues that may not be obvious. These can include things like mold, problems with the heating or cooling system or water leaks. A rough estimate for a home inspection is $300-$500. Keep in mind, if you end up not buying the house after the inspection, you are still obligated to pay the fee.

Appraisal

This is a necessary fee that asses the home and property so your lender knows that you are paying what the property is worth. There are times when a seller may have to adjust their asking price due to an appraisal coming in under the amount of asking. Appraisal fees can run $200-$500.

Loan Application Fees

These fees start the entire loan process. A lender will need to run your credit report to ensure you can qualify for a home loan. That fee is included in the application fees. These typically run $75-$300.

Title Services

Title services include running a title search on a property, paying the notary to notarize all the documents that you sign, and the required government filing fees. It is important to get a detailed invoice for these fees so you are fully aware of what you are paying for. These fees run $150-$400.

Origination Fees

These fees go to the lender for creation of the loan. These are paid upfront and include processing the loan application. the underwriting process and the actual funding of the loan. These fees are usually based on a percentage of the loan amount and range from 0.5%-1.5%.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

If you put less than 20% down on your new home, the lender will require you to purchase PMI. This protects the lender from losing money in the event of a foreclosure. This fee can be re-assessed at such time as you have equity in your home. This fee is based on a percentage of the original loan amount as well.

 

Disclaimer- All dollar amounts and percentages are estimates. 

 

Xeriscaping in Utah

Should you be Xeriscaping in Utah?  Here are a few things to consider!

Let’s face it, Salt Lake City is a desert.  A high desert, but still with our annual precipitation rates, we 100% qualify as a desert. Living in the desert, such as we do in Utah, can make keeping a green grass and fully landscaped yard a spendy endeavor.  Not only that, but it is not terribly environmentally friendly.

According to the WSS Water Usage table: “Running a typical sprinkler from a standard garden hose (5/8”) for one hour uses about 1,020 gallons of water; if you run it three times per week, that is about 12,240 gallons per month.”  When it is 90+ degrees out there and you have to water every day to keep your lawn alive, well… it adds up.

That is why we are seeing more and more homeowners lean towards xeriscaping in Utah.  Just what IS xeriscaping?  Xeriscaping is a way of landscaping that uses drought-resistant plants, natural elements, and water-wise features to reduces the need to water your space.

Here are some of the benefits of xeriscaping in Utah:

 

  1. You will DRASTICALLY reduce the amount of water you use in your yard.  This is better for the environment and much more affordable for you.
  2. Water-wise plants can be quite beautiful
  3. No weekly mowing, trimming and weeding your lawn (though be careful in thinking that xeriscaping means “maintenance free,” it does take time and care and you’ll probably still have to weed).
  4. Xeriscaping with native plants reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
  5. Your yard isn’t going to die if you go out of town for a week and forget to have someone water

 

Here are our top tips for xeriscaping in Utah:

 

  1. Using native plants for the area will give you a could chance of success, these plants have already adapted to the elements and climate.
  2. Also, due to their deep root system, using native plants when xeriscaping in Utah, means they can survive with the little water they capture from rainwater runoff. These plants are also resistant to freezing, common diseases, pests, and herbivores.
  3. Having some form of irrigation may be necessary depending on your layout and plant selection.  This can be natural irrigation channels that are built into your xeriscaping layout.
  4. Rain barrels may be a great option to collect rain run-off and distribute in your yard or to your house plants. (Check your city ordinances, since rain barrel collection isn’t allowed everywhere)
  5. Don’t think you have to plant everywhere – you can use natural elements like stone, sand, gravel, and wood to create a beautiful landscape.
  6. Weeds can be aggressive when you take out a lawn – so be sure to be aggressive and ruthless back.

 

Our BEST resources for xeriscaping in Utah:

 

  • Contact Salt Lake City Public Utilities, rain barrels are for sale for $68. The barrels have a mosquito screen, threaded spigot, two ¾-inch overflow valves, and 60-gallon capacity.  A GREAT deal.
  • Find a list of native plants for Utah here.
  • Find information on how to design a Wildlife Garden here.

What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?

People often wonder what a real estate agent does besides hosting open houses and maybe having the occasional headshot on a billboard. Actually, there are so many aspects to being a good real estate agent, here is a short break down for you, that way, when you need one, you will know what a good one looks like.

 

 

Price Your Home to Sell

One that is qualified and experienced in your area can help you price your home correctly. If your home is overpriced or underpriced you lose out either way. Underpriced means that you aren’t maximizing the dollars that you can get for your property. Overpriced means that it will languish on the market and not sell. And you end up often accepting less than it is worth in the long run.

They Handle All the Paperwork

It can be difficult to get a contract when you are competing against multiple offers when selling your home. A good agent will watch the market and let you know if any changes have occurred and make recommendations on what to do next if so. There are so many steps in buying and selling a home, your agent will have your best interest in mind from start to finish and will facilitate the transaction up until closing.

Marketing

Staging, getting the best photos and bringing in people to see your home is vital to it selling. A good agent knows all the tricks of the trade that can get your home the most exposure and ensure it shows well.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home is a very exciting time, but first-time homebuyers can also feel a bit anxious if you do not have all the information you need or are not fully prepared for all the costs necessary to buy a home.

 

Here are some things to consider to help you be prepared for your big move.

  • First and foremost, determine a realistic amount for how much you can afford.Consider your current monthly budget, leave room for miscellaneous home costs and repairs, like HOA fees, taxes and insurance. Then determine the amount you can afford for a house payment, considering what percentage of your take-home pay can be used.

 

  • Pay off all debt. Carrying debt will not only decrease the amount you will qualify for but can also add stress to your monthly bottom line
  • Save for a down payment. Having 20% down is ideal, that will get you into a position of not having to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
  • Save for closing costs. Typically, closing costs are 3-4% of the purchase price. Once you have a good idea of the home price, you can get to this number easily.
  • Loan pre-approval. Once you have paid off debt and saved for closing cost, it is a good idea to have a lender pre-approve you for a loan. This will help expedite the closing process and give you an idea of what amount you actually qualify for.

 

  • When it comes time to finding the perfect house, research desirable neighborhoods to find the best fit.

 

  • Hire a real estate agent that can help you navigate the maze of open houses and do all the necessary paperwork!