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  • Questions that Salt Lake Home Buyers always Ask (#1)

    Posted on October 9th, 2010 admin No comments

    If the appraisal comes in higher than the purchase price can we get a loan for the higher amount?

    Wouldn’t that be nice.
    But no, the lender will not exceed the necessary loan amount.   For some reason it also doesn’t seem to make the loan any easier or faster to close.  Just be satisfied that you negotiated a great deal.
    Later when you own the home and have a current appraisal that exceeds your principle balance then you may be able to get a second home equity loan.  But that can be risky.  Ask anyone who did this from 2005 to 2008.

  • The Second Bathroom is a Little Photo Shy

    Posted on October 8th, 2010 admin No comments

    We had to sneak up on it, just to see this much.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 6

    Posted on October 7th, 2010 admin No comments

    “There’s no sense in listing our home this close to the holidays.  Lets wait until spring when there are more buyers.”

    There are more buyers in the spring.  There are also more sellers.
    It has been my experience that the ratio stays pretty much the same with the difference being that someone who is shopping in the off season usually has to buy a home and is much more motivated.

  • Would You Look at the View From this Room!

    Posted on October 7th, 2010 admin No comments

    Well, you had me fooled.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 5

    Posted on October 4th, 2010 admin No comments

    “My tenants are really good about this whole sales thing.  I don’t want them disturbed unless the buyer is serious.  We should have 24 hour notice.”

    If you are selling a multi-unit building or other investment property then yes, that is a reasonable request.  Skip the following rant.

    If you are selling a single family home or condo then it is very unlikely that the buyer with the highest and best offer will be interested in keeping your tenants.  In short, they will not be investors.
    Buyers who are not investors are scared witless by occupying tenants, even if the lease is up before closing.  They don’t like the idea of buying something that was a “rental”.  It just isn’t sexy.
    Selling a rented single family home puts the seller between a rock and proverbial hard place.  It is expensive to vacate paying tenants and stage the home for sale.  Every day on the market is a loss in income.  However the ultimate cost is likely far less because a vacant home that is prepped and staged is much easier to show and will bring a higher price than one that is being occupied by tenants who have nothing to gain by the sale of the property.
    If you really must keep the tenants then I suggest that you put in writing an agreement with them to keep the home in top condition and available to show on short notice in exchange for a cash bonus at closing.
    But only at closing.  Keep the carrot on a long stick.

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 4

    Posted on September 29th, 2010 admin No comments

    “My home has a lot of special features.  It would be best if I helped the buyer’s agent show the home so I can point out those antique doorknobs.”

    No, it wouldn’t.  I have spent at least half of my career as a buyer’s agent and I can testify right here and now that the buyer does not give a rat’s hinee about those little custom touches.  Those were special for you but it is not what will sell your home.
    Buyers first and foremost do not want the seller at home during a showing.  They want to be able to move around the property on their own time and fall in love with it for their own reasons.  The presence of the seller also inhibits buyer/agent conversation which is necessary in resolving issues that keep the buyer from making an offer.
    If you must, make a list of these features and leave a copy out for the buyer.

  • Color Combinations That Do Not Occur in Nature

    Posted on September 28th, 2010 admin No comments

    The wrong paint.  Also know as “Depreciation in a Can”

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 3

    Posted on September 27th, 2010 admin No comments

    “It would be easier to have anyone who wants to see the house just call me directly for the appointment.  No sense in them bothering my agent for every call.”

    Easier maybe, but not smarter.
    If you were charged with a DUI would you just call up the district attorney and suggest you settle the whole thing over a couple of drinks?
    Of course not.  You have professional representation.  Let them, no, make them do their job.
    You do not want to talk to the potential buyer or worse yet their agent because it puts you in an awkward position of being asked questions about the property or your motivation.  None of which is going to benefit you in negotiations.
    There is a version of the Miranda warning for real estate.
    Anything you say, can and will be held against you in the offer negotiations.

  • Mistakes That Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 2

    Posted on September 25th, 2010 admin No comments

    “I don’t want to show my house to anyone who isn’t pre-approved for a loan.”

    It’s understandable that you don’t want to waste your time getting ready for a showing that has little chance of success.  But consider that when you have your home listed professionally, then the only buyers that should be seeing the home are being represented by buyer’s agents who don’t want to waste their time either.  In other words, don’t put undue restrictions on a showing that may ultimately yield in a profit.
    You want to show your home to as many buyers as possible to generate an offer at the highest price.  You don’t want to do anything that makes it more difficult to show your home.  Today’s buyers expect near immediate availability with a minimum of hassle.  They don’t come back later because there is always something new to see tomorrow.
    It’s not fair, but it is a fact.

  • Window Coverings Included

    Posted on September 24th, 2010 admin No comments

    The fringe really pulls it all together

  • Mistakes that Salt Lake Sellers Make. Number 1

    Posted on September 23rd, 2010 admin No comments

    1. The neighbor said his daughter wants to buy my house.  Should I see if they’re serious before listing?

    Selling your home to the neighbor and listing your home are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  This scenario happens more often than you might imagine.  Letting friends and family know that you are going to sell brings out all sorts of responses in people.  Most of them well meaning.  Yes, your neighbor, cousin, or orthodontist  may suddenly announce that they have always wanted your property but they also want to bicycle across France someday.

    There is a way to force them into action, still list your home and be fair to everyone.  It is called an exclusion clause.

    Simply put, let your agent know the whole story and suggest that you want to still list your home but with the neighbor excluded from the listing contract “for a specific time period” because of course you found them yourself prior to the listing being signed.  This means that if the neighbor follows through and really does make an offer in writing then you pay no commission.  In the mean time your agent is going to start marketing your home which will motivate the neighbor into getting off the fence.

    Both the potential buyer and your agent are motivated to make things happen, and you don’t waste valuable marketing time waiting for the neighbor to make up their mind.

    I would also recommend that you offer to pay the listing agent (through their broker) a reasonable fee to write up this offer and follow through to closing represented your interests.  The buyer feels they got a discount, your agent is gainfully employed and you get a legal  binding contract with professional representation at a discount.

  • Someone put Miracle Gro in the Carpet Shampoo

    Posted on September 16th, 2010 admin No comments


    Note how they installed it up the back of the cabinet.  Carpet installers just aren’t that motivated these days.

  • At Least the Drapes match the Carpet

    Posted on September 13th, 2010 admin No comments

  • What is Limited Agency

    Posted on September 12th, 2010 admin No comments

    Limited agency occurs when one agent (and/or brokerage) represents both buyer and seller for a specific property at the same time.


    Danger Will Robertson, Danger!


    Question: How can an agent effectively represent two negotiating parties and get the best deal for each?
    Answer: They can’t.  Hence the term limited agency.
    Nothing makes a Realtor pop more Prilosec than walking this thin line.
    The agent is limited in their disclosure, confidentiality and loyalty to each party.  The primary limitation is in negotiating the price.  A limited agent cannot disclose whether the price is as low (or high) as one side is willing to go.  The limited agent is still bound to treat each party fairly, ethically and neutrally.  And they cannot withhold material facts about the property or the buyer’s ability to complete the transaction.
    For example if they learn that the roof leaked last year (but it hasn’t rained much since then) or that their buyer just got fired and the loan approval was contingent on employment.


    There are at least 3 ways in which limited agency can happen.
    1. You are a seller who has listed your home for sale with Barbara from Better Hovels and Herbs RE.  Barb’s client Bill decides that your home is perfect and asks her to write you an offer.
    2. The inverse of the above. You are a buyer with an agent and happen to fall in love with a home that they are already representing as a selling agent.
    3. Buying or selling a home where the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent are associated with the same brokerage.  In this case the broker (someone you will probably never meet) would be the limited agent, but the individual agents still work for their respective clients to full effect as buyer and seller agents.  This type of limited agency is fairly benign and usually inadvertent.
    In all cases you will have to sign a disclosure, that you understand and agree to limited agency before proceeding.

    Note: Do not confuse these examples with a situation where an unrepresented buyer works directly with a builder, new construction developer or contacts a listing agent directly.  That buyer would have to sign a document agreeing that they had the right to have professional representation but chose not to.  The inverse is also true, such as when a “for sale by owner” receives an offer from an agent representing a buyer.  With these examples the agent is not limited because they only represent their client and not the other party.

  • Detached 2nd Bath

    Posted on September 11th, 2010 admin No comments

  • What Should a Seller’s Agent do to Sell my Salt Lake Home

    Posted on September 10th, 2010 admin No comments
    • Fully evaluate your home and property with a top to bottom walk-through taking copious notes for strengths and weaknesses.
    • Help you measure your home or assist you in finding a reasonably accurate source for size.
    • Interview you, the seller to learn about your home and why you enjoyed living there or what benefits might not be immediately apparent.
    • Work with you to determine what repairs or changes are necessary to maximize the value.  Help you see your home through the eyes of the buyer.
    • Find recently sold and under-contract homes in the neighborhood that would be considered comparable to your home.
    • Find the active listings in your neighborhood that could be considered competition and visit them if possible to determine your home’s advantages or weakness in the market.
    • Interview agents involved in the comparable sales to get a better feel for market pressure and to find out what hidden conditions might have influenced their sales price.
    • Bring together the above information and present the most likely marketing, sales and appraisal price.
    • Determine a time frame for entering the market and discuss probable expectations for showings and offers.
    • Fill out and explain all the paperwork necessary to list and represent the property.
    • Photograph the property.
    • Create an ad campaign for the property (without the use of cliché)
    • Create and print color fliers
    • Submit all paperwork and photos to the multiple listing service (MLS).
    • Double-check all MLS data to eliminate data entry errors that could prevent your property from appearing in a buyer’s search.
    • Submit listing data to all available on-line sources for maximum exposure.
    • Be available by phone, text or email during all reasonable hours, seven days a week to respond to buyer questions.
    • Arrange all showings.
    • Schedule a Realtor bus tour for professional exposure and feedback.
    • Act as your full representative and professionally respond to buyer’s questions and calls from buyer’s agents to protect your position in negotiation.
    • Regular reevaluation of the market and property price to stay informed of your home’s position among the competition.
    • Collect feedback from buyer’s agents who have shown the home.
    • Receive any and all offers from other agents.  Interviewing those agents about their clients qualifications and needs to better craft a negotiation strategy.
    • Review the offers with you and evaluate their merits and possible pitfalls.  Help you determine the best response in order to get the highest net price and best terms for you, the seller.
    • Pitch any counter offers to the buyer’s agent in line with the your instructions.
    • Assist in the scheduling of inspectors and appraisers.  Meeting them at the property if necessary.
    • Help you evaluate and respond to any request for inspection repairs or appraisal discrepancies.
    • If the buyer defaults on the contract, inform and assist you in your rights and options to retain the earnest money deposit.
    • Sit with you at the closing table to ensure that what you are signing is what you negotiated.
    • Arrange for the key transfer and possession.
  • Salt Lake’s City Creek to Host a Harmons Grocery

    Posted on September 9th, 2010 admin No comments

    To be completed in late 2011, this large full service grocery store will be a welcome addition to the new urban core of Salt Lake City.  The 43,000 square foot multi-level glass front building will have parking above and will be open 7 days a week.  Harmons is a local chain of Grocers currently operating 13 other stores in Utah.  It will be located at 135 E. 100 South as part of the new City Creek development.
    Artist rendition courtesy of www.harmonsgrocery.com

  • What Should My Salt Lake Buyer’s Agent be Doing for Me?

    Posted on September 8th, 2010 admin No comments
    • Interview you to find out what type of property you are looking for.  Such as; minimum number of bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. Location boundaries, Price limits, Style, Age, etc.
    • Turning those criteria into a dynamic MLS (Multiple Listing Service) search that will feed you daily updates of new listings.
    • Help you narrow down the choices.
    • Set up all the appointments for showings.
    • Chauffeur a property tour.
    • Help you review and evaluate what you saw.
    • Repeat the above process ad infinitum without whining or eye rolling until you find a winner.
    • Investigate the subject property as to price, seller motivation, and time on the market for strength in negotiation.
    • Run a comparative market analysis on the subject property.
    • Fully explaining all of the documents needed to write an offer.
    • Force you to stay awake during the above.
    • Fill out all of the paperwork for the offer.
    • Craft a solid offer that works to your advantage in price, terms and timing.
    • Assist you through the steps of due-diligence with inspections, document review and appraisal.
    • If the property fails inspection or appraisal they will negotiate repairs, price adjustment or withdrawal of contract and recovery of your earnest money.
    • Work with your lender to facilitate a successful closing.
    • Walk through the property with you just prior to closing for a final inspection.
    • Sit with you at the closing table to ensure that what you are signing is what you negotiated.
    • Arrange for the key transfer and possession.


  • The Camera Always Adds 10 Pounds of Clutter

    Posted on September 4th, 2010 admin No comments

  • The 3 Truths you Must Know Before Calling a Real Estate Ad

    Posted on September 3rd, 2010 admin No comments

    1.  Any free information service that you call or text (or email) is collecting your contact id. and selling it to agents looking for buyers.  Plan on getting a call from a stranger.  The information about the home for sale is free, but the real value is in a phone number or email that is associated with a potential buyer.

    2. The Realtor placing the ad represents the seller’s interest, not yours.  In fact they are required to use any information they gleam from you to get the highest price for their client  if you should happen to make an offer on that home.

    3. The property may already be sold or in escrow.  Even though running misleading ads are illegal and contrary to the Realtor code of ethics, a great number of listings on web sites such as Zillow are woefully out of date.  The agent just happened to forget to update the property’s status when it sold last year and why should he?  It’s like a flytrap for new clients.
    The bottom line is; Shop Smart.

    • Never register with a 3rd party web site to get real estate information.  Use a free service like UtahRealEstate.com .
    • Get a buyer’s agent and tell them to make the calls.  That’s what they get paid for.
    • Browse with your eyes open.  The web is an invaluable tool for real estate but the information is only as good as the source.
  • Illegible Salt Lake City Hotel sign

    Posted on August 31st, 2010 admin No comments

    The only word I can make out is “Hotel”.  Located on the north side of Market Street Grill at 48 W. Market St.

  • Before the Green Pig

    Posted on August 27th, 2010 admin No comments

    These were available to view for only a short time during the renovation of a small building for the new Green Pig Pub.  Construction uncovered several generations of signage that had been hidden by awnings.  Notice the faded “Cleaning” sign and the really cool font on “Larch Tire Service”.
    35 E. 400 South Salt Lake City.

  • A Look Back: Salt Lake’s only Recorded Tornado August 11, 1999

    Posted on August 25th, 2010 admin No comments

    Resulted in 1 death, Tore off the Delta Center roof, Destroyed the Sun private club, Damaged the Capitol grounds, Severe Damage to Memory Grove park, and tore off several roofs in the Avenues.  Believed to be an F2.

  • Virtual Tour of Salt Lake’s City Creek Project

    Posted on August 23rd, 2010 admin No comments

    This is either the conceptual tour of  Salt Lake City’s new City Creek development or a sneak peak at GTA 6.

  • Salt Lake Service, Sales and Slaughter

    Posted on August 22nd, 2010 admin No comments

    Different generation, different needs.  Glad they kept the sign, but the awning has to go.
    Located at 737 S. 400 West.