Choosing Investment Properties in Utah

Don’t let the fear of being a landlord keep you from looking into purchasing investment properties. In fact, investment properties can generate great passive income and there are several options to managing the property that can make you a passive participant.

 

If you do not think you can manage your investment by yourself, be sure to calculate property management fees into your strategy. Be sure you learn about fair housing laws and other laws that pertain to the property you are considering purchasing.

Consider taking a landlord or Property Management class to learn how to select tenants, screen them to be sure they qualify, etc.

 

Be aware that many condo complexes have rental restrictions. You will make sure you have covered all these before proceeding.

 

If you choose a home that needs a lot of repairs you will get more phone calls from the tenants, and you may have more liability if protections like smoke detectors, safe electrical systems, etc are not in the home.

 

Choose your strategy. Generally, you get good cash flow or better appreciation. Homes in suburbs of SLC tend to cash flow better because of lower price points but do not go up in value as much as areas like downtown, sugar house, near universities, etc.

If you limit or deny pets, you will limit your pool of potential renters. If you allow pets, be sure to get pet deposits and pet rent.

Summer Housing Trends

The climate of the current housing market it still a positive one. Housing trends that we have seen in the past year will continue for the most part especially these highlighted trends. According to reports, unemployment is low and the overall economy is in good shape, making home ownership still a viable option.

 

Home Prices Are Rising Slowly: Part of the reason is due to increased mortgage rates and the overall economy. Uncertainty tends to discourage buyers who may already been on the fence. In addition, over the past few years, home prices increased as buyers competed for fewer homes.

Interest Rates May Be on the Rise: After years at a standstill, interest rates are forecasted to increase an average of 5% on a 30-year mortgage. The Federal Reserve raises the rates to help stabilize the economy and controlling inflation. Rising rates make homes less affordable.

Majority of Home Buyers Are Millennials: Most are in stable careers and with getting older, they are looking to buy their first homes in middle to upper-middle class neighborhoods. Baby boomers are retiring and downsizing, thrusting the millennials into leading the market.

Home Equity Will Still Increase-In 2018 the estimated equity increase was 2-6%, that is predicted to continue into 2020.

Urban Centers & Main Metro Areas are Getting Expensive: Cities that adjourn or are within easy commuting distance of main urban areas are suddenly seeing HUGE growth on the market. Here in Salt Lake, that means we are seeing areas like Murray, Millcreek, Holladay, Rose Park and Sandy explode!

Staging Your Home in the Winter Months

Staging your home in the winter months is just as important, if not more so, than in the summer time. Accomplishing that warm and welcoming feel just takes a few steps and some attention to some minor details and your home can be brought out of hibernation. Make a good first impression from the moment perspective buyers pull up curbside. By creating a welcoming and relaxing environment, buyers will take extra time exploring the home.

1. Snow removal.

This may seem like an obvious first step as you want people to not only have easy access to your home, but for obvious safety reasons as well, but don’t forget those outdoor spaces you may also want to feature. Decks and patios that are a sellable feature for your home need to be accessible as well.

2. Create a warm welcome.

Hanging a winter wreath on the front door. If possible, have seasonal plants like spruce on the walkway or front porch. Be sure you turn those lights on early to avoid people approaching a dark house.

3. Provide a place to wipe feet.

Have a welcome mat and an indoor rug inside the door. Decide whether you want to keep the outdoor elements outside and then provide a place for people to wipe their feet or take off their shoes. Offering shoe covers is another affordable option.

4. Turn up the lights and the heat!

No one is comfortable meandering around a cold, dark house. You want guests to linger, checking out all the details that make your home appealing.

5. Create cozy spaces.

If you have a fireplace, light it. Use extra pillows and throws on the furniture, light some candles and pile a few books on that coffee table. This will allow potential buyers to see decorating possibilities as well as make them comfortable.

Looking for additional tips on staging or selling your home?  Here are a few more articles that might help you out:

Make the most of a 3 day relocation house hunting trip

You’re getting ready to move across the county in a few months.  For a new job or a new adventure or a change of scenery.  Relocation is a big, complicated step.  A lot of our relocation clients pick a 3 day window to fly out and start seeing houses a few months before the move.  We’ve compiled all the things we’ve learned to make a relocation trip that much easier for you.  Here’s how you can plan your relocation house hunting trip and condense it into 3 days.

 

Make the most of a 3 day relocation house hunting trip:
  1. Plan in advance
  2. Explore the area
  3. See some homes
  4. Write Offers

Plan Ahead

To maximize your relocation house hunting trip, find a real estate agent that specializes in relocation hunting.
Work with that agent in advance to discuss your home requirements and needs.  It will help them eliminate areas, homes and amenities that just won’t work for you.
Plan on seeing about 8-10 homes during your trip.  This means long and dedicated days with your agent – the more time you can give them to plan  the more you’ll be able to see.

DAY 1: Explore the Area

Spend the first day of your relocation house hunting trip exploring neighborhoods.  You agent can help you narrow down areas that make sense for you.  Don’t skip this step – you don’t want to find a home you love in an area that doesn’t suit your needs.
For example, if you have young kids finding are area with a great school district will be important.  If you want to have a minimal commute, targeting a spot that has good access to public transportation or is close to your office is key.
Narrow down your search to 2-4 areas and neighborhoods that you really like and focus your search there.

DAY 2: Visit homes

The second day is the day to dive in and start seeing homes.  Your relocation real estate agent should be able to plan a route to help maximize your time and keep you from driving back and forth across the city.  Set the goal of visiting 6-8 homes – a couple in each of the areas you like.

Wear comfortable shoes, carry some water, take time for a lunch break – it is going to be a long day.
As you see homes be sure to rank them for your agent – tell them which ones you like the most and the least.  It will help them get to know your preferences and dislikes when it comes to a home.  It can also help you cross off some homes without even seeing them.  Maximize time spent looking at homes you actually like in areas you love.
At the end of Day 2 of your relocation house hunting trip, you’ll want to have a couple of homes on the shortlist of possibilities.

 

 

 

DAY 3: Write offers

On the morning of Day 3 you can squeeze in a couple more walkthroughs if you want or if you only have one home that you like from the day before.
Afterwards, you want to spend the third day writing offers with your agent.  Ideally you have 2-3 homes that you’re making an offer on before you head home from your relocation house hunting trip.

 

BACK AT HOME:

Stay in touch with your real estate agent.  They will let you know if any of your offers were accepted, what they need from you next.  You agent can also help coordinate inspections, refer you to people to help with repairs or cleaning, and can even arrange for you to close on your home long distance.

Three Questions to Ask A Contractor – Before Your Hire Them

Need a contractor?  Here are the 3 questions to ask a contractor BEFORE you sign a contract!

As a homeowner, hiring a contractor to do work on your home can be stressful and time consuming. A lot can go wrong. To help you, here are our top 3 questions to ask a contractor that you may not have considered.  These questions will help you save some time and energy in finding a contractor that is the best fit for you.

1.  Ask to talk to references

Our number one on the list of questions to ask a contractor is: Ask for references.  And reviews on Yelp or Houzz don’t count.  Ask to speak to someone on the phone that your contractor did work for in the past year.  A reputable contractor will be more than willing to let you talk to a satisfied customer.

Some things to discuss:

  • What type of work did this contractor do for you?
  • What was your experience with your contractor?  Did they deliver on the agreed upon work?
  • Were they able to stick to project timelines or did they communicate about any unanticipated delays?
  • Did they stick to the budget or discuss any unexpected expenditures or overtime?
  • How would you rate the quality of their work?
  • Would you hire them again?

While you are at it, you can ask to see photos, portfolios or do drive-bys (for exterior or landscaping) of their work.

 

2.  Ask About Payment

Another one of our questions to ask a contractor is all about the money.  Always get a clear (written!) answer on payment and the fee schedule.  It is good to get full clarity on payment BEFORE the work starts.

Some things to ask about:

  • Do you require a deposit?  How much
  • Who pays for materials and supplies?
  • When is final payment due?  Is it when you finish the work, within 30 days, etc.
  • How do you invoice? Is the invoice itemized?
  • What forms of payment do you accept?

Estimate vs. Quote?

Another question you will want to ask: Is this an estimate or is it a firm quote?  Keep in mind that an estimate is just a guess based on what they think a job might cost.  A firm quote is much more definite (assuming of course there are no major surprises or add-ons to the job).  Again, be sure to specify and get all quotes in writing.

 

3.  Ask to See Their Credentials

Another one of our questions to ask a contractor has to do with making sure they can safely provide you with the services you need.

Always ask for:

  • License and any certifications
  • Proof that they do background checks on their employees
  • Proof of insurance – you don’t want to be liable if someone is injured on your property
  • And if it is a major remodel you can even ask to be added as co-insured on their carrier

Remember, your contractor is going to be working in your home – you want to be sure that, like any guest, you feel comfortable with them being there.

 

Finally some resources:

If you have any thoughts on questions to ask a contractor, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.