Just released

Salt Lake County prices still moving up, but market is slowing with ‘Days on Market’ now 23. BETTER for buyers as sometimes you can actually go back for a second look before making an offer. BUT interest rates are now up to 6.5%

Tax Time

Property tax notices have been mailed to folks who own land, homes, commercial buildings, condos, etc. During mid-summer we get a notice from the County Tax Assessor where we live that shows what our property taxes were last year and what the Assessor intends to charge for the coming year. Folks are calling me to get comparable sales data from January of last year to show the Assessor how LITTLE their property is worth so they don’t get a major bump in property taxes. In Salt Lake County the average home value rose 28.7% over 2021. The Assessor didn’t raise my taxes by that amount, but it’s looking like I’m going to get an increase of about 20% over the previous year. YET, the value of my home is way under what it would be if we put it on the market today to sell. So, we’re winning the property tax game-for now.
Anyone can protest their property taxes. Do you have a chance battling the big bad gubmint? Actually, yes. I called a friend who used to work for the Assessor and they shared you might be able to get a bit off the proposed tax valuation BUT you must apply by September 15th with an application that has a current appraisal or comparable sales data attached to it. You can simply send it in (there’s a form/envelope included with the notice) or you can go in person to plead your case. IF you lose your protest you can appeal to the Utah State Tax Commission for a hearing, or argue your way all the way to the Utah Supreme Court.
Many people can’t pay their property taxes in one lump sum. You can talk to the Assessor’s office in your county to find out options for payments. They can’t take away your property until you have been delinquent for four years of non-payment. The county can sell your property to pay off the tax bill via a public auction, where the wining bid must equal at least the amount of the overdue taxes, penalties, interests and administrative costs. IF the County accepts the sale terms the winning bidder gets a tax deed as long as they pay the terms of the winning bid within a few days. Property owners can then file a claim to receive any amount paid to the county in excess of the property taxes plus interest.
Where do most of the taxes go, once paid? School districts, city services take up the most of your property tax money. If you are having trouble paying your taxes, there are several programs that can help if you are 65 or older ore getting disability benefits, income /assets less than $35,807, are blind or the unmarried spouse or minor of a deceased blind person, veterans with a service-connected disability or on active duty outside of Utah. For more information: slco.org/treasurer/tax-relief.

Crypto Buyers

The real estate business can be creative at times. It’s not always ‘write up an offer, get an inspection, and wait for the lender to send out an appraiser and finish your loan’ kinda thing. For example, I had friends (a social worker and a librarian) wanting to purchase their first home but had little in the bank for a down payment. Except…the husband had his original baseball card collection which had value. We went to a creative lender that I liked and presented the idea of buying a home with old printed pieces of cardboard, and the lender simply said “I think I can get you a loan, but let me talk to the underwriter”. So, a day later, the lender came back and said my buyers could use the cards as a down payment but would have to a) sell the cards for the appropriate amount for the down payment and b) provide a receipt for the sale. My buyers figured out what they needed to sell and we found them a great house where they still live today. If I recall, one of the cards was a Micky Mantle. A mint condition Mantle Card just sold last month for $12.6 million-the most ever paid for a sports memorabilia card and possibly the most for any kind of sports memorabilia to date. A Honus Wagner card recently sold for $7.25 million, which was the second highest amount for memorabilia in all of sports-so far. Something tells me that the legends of the all American game of baseball would not have minded that their faces were used to buy housing for first time buyers.
Clients I worked with presented a slightly different problem to me when they handed me a neatly wrapped piece of tissue paper to say they would use ‘emeralds’ as their earnest money and down payment. When I opened the tiny packet I saw ten green pieces of what looked like jujube’s (candy). I had no idea if they were real stones or their value, and neither did my broker. In this case, the seller of the home they wished to buy didn’t have a problem with them using emeralds but wanted assurance the stones were real and of value. My broker went to O.C.Tanner and had the gems appraised and they found that they did have appropriate value, which satisfied the seller.
I asked our favorite mortgage broker, Julie Brizzee with Intercap Lending, if a buyer could use cryptocurrency as a down payment. She replied, “It’s like selling a car for the down. I would have to provide documentation of value-an appraisal of value, then a bill of sale and receipt of funds.” My own real estate brokerage is not set up to accept cryptocurrencies as earnest money and regardless of that I would still have to prove a buyer’s earnest money (cash, check or wired funds) was valuable currency that could be transferred into an escrow account once the buyers offer was accepted

News and Notes

If you’re driving or taking TRAX from downtown SLC to the airport, you notice the massive Rocky Mountain Power triple stacks @1400 W. North Temple. They’ve been there for a long, long time-since the 1950’s.  More than 100 acres belong to RMP (a subsidiary of PacifiCorp) and the company has applied for a zoning change to tear down a bunch of old and decrepit buildings and replace them with a new headquarters that will hold about 700 employees. The more interesting news is that RMP envisions a mixed use development over time which they have dubbed ‘The Power District Campus’.  The construction will be environmentally correct for current standards and will of course be all-electric. After the new commercial buildings are completed, the company will hope to change more of it’s acreage into housing and businesses to create a ‘vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood.’  What’s crazy to think about is that this huge tract of land is about the size of downtowns Central Business District or slightly larger than the Sugar House business district so the possibilities for creative development are tremendous. The power plant that’s on the site is scheduled to be phased out by 2032.

Been to Arches lately? If you recall our state/national parks were overrun with visitors during the pandemic when flying was either banned to many areas around the world or just a plain pain the butt. In 2022 Arches went to a ‘entry reservation’ system from April to October. The park reported an increase in visitors of 66% from 2009 to 2019, and then was deluged with visitors once Covid-19 hit. People wanting to see the big red arches had to line up at 4 in the morning prior to the reservation system and other who came later in the day weren’t able to get into the park, as it was full. Other of our ‘Big 5’ experienced massive visitors but there are no reservations for riding the park shuttle or to enter Zion National Park. Utah’s five national parks reported a record 11.3 million visits in 2021, compared with 10.7 visits the previous years.  Arches reports that with the required reservation system visits have dropped this year which is probably due to the fact more people are stepping on planes to destinations beyond Utah.  Friend report that having a timed entry to the park was convenient and really cut down on chaos around some of the most visited arches.

Finally, Millcreek Canyon is getting massive road construction that’s going to narrow the road to one lane during weekdays.  They have to resurface the road and do work on the drainage system in the canyon this fall. For those of you who LOVE bike riding up Millcreek Canyon, find a new route/adventure as it will be closed for cyclists all summer long. Except, you can drive up, pay your tiny fee, and haul your mountain bike along to get to the trail head. If you plan on eating at the Log Haven or Millcreek Inn, they will be open, but expect delays to get there.