Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Photo of the Day: WFRMLS Takes Over The World

The Wasatch Front Regional MLS has been a great tool.  It has improved and grown substantially over the years and continues to do so.   In fact, it appears it has ambitions beyond Utah or even the contiguous United States as this screen shot shows:

First Utah, next the Island of Sao Tome, then the world!

Monday, August 18, 2014

FOR SALE: Ogden East Bench Craftsman Home

I just listed this giant home on Ogden's east bench for sale:

This home was constructed during the Craftsman era around 1910.  It is over 3000 SQFT with a fireplace, refinished hardwood floors, an updated kitchen, and room to grow.  The home has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, an old-time one-car garage, and a brand new roof.  The property was slightly modified in the 1920s to accommodate multi-family living.  But today, it is permitted to be used as a traditional home.  The quaint legacy kitchens remain as a reminder of the days of yore.

Historical research indicates this property was home to the Lewis Family when it was originally constructed.  Newspaper clippings from 1912 show the residents signing petitions to support various political causes of their day.  This home has a lot of history and would restore beautifully.

It is also priced very competitively.  Here is video of the property:


If you are looking a lot of room on Ogden's premier East Bench neighborhood, this home is a must see.  CONTACT ME to set up a private showing.

Just Sold! Historic Ogden Victorian

I just closed on the sale of this Historic Victorian home in the Lorin Farr neighborhood of Ogden.

This charming one level home is located at 484 Canyon Rd. just down the street from the rodeo grounds and water park.  It was constructed in 1890's with some additional space added to the home in the early 20th century.  The home had deteriorated quite a bit over the years until the sellers purchased it and did a complete overhaul of the home.  They did some amazing work.

The home was listed on the 4th of July for $159,000.  My clients had been patiently waiting for the right home to come on the market for the past year or so.  We pounced and placed it under contract just 10 days after it was put up for sale.  We offered and closed the sale at the ask price.

Congratulations to my buyers!  If you are looking for a historic grade home in Ogden, CONTACT ME, and let's find a home that has the personality to match yours.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Just Sold! Historic Victorian Charmer

I just sold this home in Downtown Ogden.

This 2 bed 1 bath home is located at 2144 Adams Ave. in Ogden just a block away from the Ogden Temple site.  The sellers asked me to list their property since they were being relocated out of state for work.  We placed the home on the market for $84,900.  Conveniently, I also had a client shopping in the market in this price range.  I recommended the home to my client and we placed it under contract immediately after it came on the market at $83,500.

Unfortunately, later in the transaction we bumped into some title problems which were credited to sloppy work performed by the previous owner's escrow company during the sale of the home 10 years prior.  The previous owner was erroneously showing up in the county records as having an ownership interest in the home.  Our title company had to do some serious investigative work to find the previous owner.  They found him in Park City.  However, it turns out he was a real estate 'guru' who was in bankruptcy and also being hunted by the IRS.  He refused to sign any paperwork out of paranoia of what the consequences would be.  So, it took us a week or so to gently persuade this former owner that it would be in his best interest to authorize the paperwork.  After he understood that he would be invoiced for all the legal fees incurred by our title company to complete a quiet title action, he agreed to fix the problem at no cost to himself by signing a simple quit claim deed.

Once that was done, we closed immediately.  The home will be an investment property with our company providing property management services for the new owner.

Congrats to both my buyer and sellers on a win-win transaction!  If you are looking to sell your home, or are in the market to purchase, CONTACT ME and let's see what we can do to meet your needs.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Just Sold! Clinton Suburban Homestead

I just sold this property in Clinton.

This home was originally purchased as an investment for $140,000 in cash in August 2013.  The owner finished his repairs and finally listed with an agent in January of 2014 for $189,900.  In March 2014, the price was dropped to $179,900 and in April it was dropped again to $178,500.  In May the agent unlisted then relisted the home for $177,900 with the price being reduced shortly thereafter to $174,500.   The property then went Under Contract with another buyer before the contract fell apart in July.  The property was unlisted and relisted again in July for $178,500 after the seller made some additional improvements to the property.

That is when my clients entered the picture.  We had been looking for homes in North Davis County for some time and when this home came on the market we were there the first day to check it out.  It turned out to be a perfect fit for my clients.

My clients were well prepared.  We placed our offer at list price and put the home quickly under contract.  Inspections were uneventful and we closed in a timely fashion.

Congratulations to my buyers!  If you are in the market for a home in North Davis County, CONTACT ME, and lets find a home that is perfect for you too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Risks of Renting to Roommates

Landlords are exposed to many varied and interesting scenarios when it comes to their tenant's living arrangements.  We have often rented to folks who are consolidating households where a parent will be sharing space with grown children or vise versa.  In our 10 years of property management experience, we have rented to nearly every kind of family situation you can imagine.

Sometimes, we have two or three college students or unrelated individuals apply to rent a space.  This 'roommate' scenario is often the most tricky to navigate.  Since landlords cannot discriminate based on family status, our applications are blind to the social structure of the applicants.  The only exception we have in law is related to the number of unrelated individuals that can live in one residence.  In this case, the law allows cities to restrict the number of unrelated individuals living in a home to three.

So, assuming the roommates pass our credit and background screening, we have to be prepared for events that almost inevitably occur.  In this kind of social arrangement, the tenants are sharing their living space with each other to minimize costs. But, each of the roommates is living their own lives and each of those lives may find itself on a trajectory that conflicts with the terms of the lease agreement or subverts their good relationship with the other tenants.  Often, a roommate may find themselves "voted off the island" if they don't keep in good standing with their other cohabitants.  Or, a roommate may fall in love and run off and get married to someone who is not on the lease agreement and cannot live there without violating city zoning restrictions.

In these kinds of cases, I have found it an advantage to keep an open mind to finding a substitute tenant when a void is created by a departing roommate.  However, to prevent abuse of this rule, I often will charge the tenant that is leaving and the tenant that is filling the void a fee for the inconvenience.  Historically this has worked well.

One of the things to consider is that it is very important to make sure that all the roommates ratify the changes that are being made.  So, it is often necessary to sign new lease agreements with signatures of all parties.  You can imagine that filling a vacancy created by a departed roommate with someone who does not jive with those remaining could create more problems than it fixes.  Typically, we place the responsibility for finding a replacement on the tenant that is leaving.  This keeps them motivated to find someone that will fit the mold and still pass our application process.

Roommate situations are by far some of the most complicated to manage.  However, with some careful thought, it can be done.  If you are considering renting your property and want an expert handling the details for you, CONTACT ME, and lets discuss what our brokerage can do for you.

Monday, August 4, 2014

JUST SOLD! Historic Short Sale Fixer Upper

I just closed on this very interesting short sale listing.

This property was a top contender in the gross-out category for craziest homes.  It had been abandoned for 4 years and become a frequent den of iniquity.

Yet, the property has good bones and a lot of architectural appeal despite the abuse it's received.  We listed the property at $44,900.  In an indication of where we are in our current market cycle, we received four offers the first day this property went on the market.

It took us only 75 days to conclude the transaction with a cash buyer at $40,000.

Amazingly, the bank was owed $136,000 in principle and fees and they agreed to come down to $40,000 to make this transaction work.  It is quite the write-down.

Indicative and congruent with the direction Ogden city is moving, the buyer will be doing a complete restoration of the property and transforming it back to its previous luster.  It will be exciting to see what they do to this historic property.  

If you are upside down on your home or our unsure if you can sell in today's market, CONTACT ME, and lets discuss your specific situation and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

JUST SOLD! Seller Financed Fixer-Upper Breadbox

I recently listed and sold this property:

This home is located at 3506 Eccles Ave. in Ogden just about a block from Weber State University.  The owner of the home recently reacquired it after it was returned when the previous owner defaulted on financing provided by the current owner.

The property came back needing some significant TLC.  The home had previously been sold in 2009 for a price of $92,000. You can watch a video tour of the property below:

We listed the property at a price of $76,900 and the seller expressed the desire to sell the property at $75,000 while providing seller financing.  I placed the home under contract shortly after it came on the market but the first buyer felt the repairs were beyond what he wanted to do.  A couple weeks later, we placed the property under contract with a second buyer and this is the contract that we just concluded.

The seller provided financing with a $7,500 down payment.  Investment properties right now require 20%-25% down with conventional financing even if they need repairs.  So, seller financing has provided the seller a quick way to liquidate their home and an investor the opportunity to conserve funds while they spend capital on improvements.

Congratulations to my buyers and sellers on a successful win-win transaction!

If you are looking for investment property or want to discuss the nuances of seller financing when selling your property, CONTACT ME, and lets have that conversation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Community Improvement: Painting Ogden's Historic Gems

With the Ogden Temple scheduled to open soon, Ogden's historic neighborhoods have been buzzing with service projects to give the neighborhoods a fresh face. We recently participated in a one such project.

This property is located on the 21st block of Adams Ave.  In this photo, it had been power sprayed in preparation for our work.  The cream and white two tone paint job was sprayed on about 10 years ago.

Here I am scraping the gable.  It was amazing how much paint scraped off.  The previous paint job clearly just sprayed over any loose paint that existed.  We spent quite a while making sure we got rid of any flaking paint.

Unfortunately, we also discovered that the paint on the brick was oil based.  We had purchase latex paint.  Since they were incompatible, we had to apply a bonding primer to the whole house in preparation for our colors.  This slowed us down quite a bit.

Finally, we were able to start applying colors.

There was quite a large group of volunteers that came to help bring the project together.  Even the kids were helping.

The final product turned out very nicely.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Rental Rule of Three

Ogden Utah Real Estate Rental Property Vesta Real Estate

I have many landlords ask me about how we keep our rental properties full and running smoothly.  No doubt, keeping a rental operating trouble-free can be a challenge at times.  However, my experience has taught me that most of the problems can be avoided at one critical junction in the property management process.

Most landlords think that vacancy is their biggest challenge.  While vacancy certainly takes the 'income' out of income property, this focus on vacancy often leads to rash decision making when it come to tenant screening.  These hasty decisions often lead to property damage, unpaid rents, and expensive evictions.

To avoid these pitfalls, I follow a hard and fast rule on my rental properties.  To qualify to rent, all of my tenants must have a verifiable monthly household income (i.e. social security payments, salary, commission, child support, etc.) that is at least three times the monthly rent amount.  So, if I want rents of $900 per month, my tenants would need to earn at last $2,700 per month to qualify.  The math is pretty simple.

While this rule is not a guarantee of perfect performance, following this guideline avoids many of the problems created by ignoring natural economic laws.  In today's economy, people can afford to pay about 1/3rd of their income to housing.  However, I have seen situations where tenants pay half of their income towards rent.  When I interview landlords about how things are going with these tenants, inevitably they admit they receive rents late, that the tenants have vacated early and unannounced, or there is some other ongoing and time consuming crises.  

While the tenant may technically owe the landlord what is due in the lease agreement, collecting on debts from broken leases is a tedious exercise at best.  After all, you can't bleed a turnip.  I have found it is better policy to help tenants avoid placing themselves in such undesirable situations...especially when the outcome is very predictable.  Everyone benefits when this is the case.

So what does a landlord do if everyone who applies to rent cannot meet the Rule of Three criteria?  In these cases, I have found that it means the rents are too high.  I have often lowered rents to accommodate this rule and make sure my tenants have enough wiggle room to pay rents even if they get sick or have a financial setback.  The last thing I want is a flu to put them permanently behind on rents and ultimately usher in their early departure.

So, if you are a landlord looking for some guidance on how to run your income property business, the Rule of Three is an important and wise place to start.

Otherwise, if you are looking for superior property management services to maintain and protect your income property, CONTACT ME, and lets talk about what we can do for you.