Homebuyer Help

You’d have to live on the dark side of the moon if you haven’t heard of Ivory Homes. The developer has been building homes in this state for 30+ consecutive years, with 20,000+ homes built and sold, 70+ communities established, 100+ different home designs and 45+ model homes to choose from. The CEO, Clark Ivory has been obsessed with trying to figure out how to get affordable housing into the mix of options for Utah’s homebuyers. He’s certainly not alone because politicians, bankers, business leaders, developers big and small statewide are trying to figure out this damnable housing problem.

As we know, this state is undergoing unpreceded growth with more people moving here than leaving, and all needing a place to live that they can afford. Sadly, Ivory and his minions have come head to head with local communities in trying to increase density where traditional zoning laws make it nearly impossible to building nothing more than single family homes on large lots. We aren’t building any more land, and the future is grim for homebuyers if we don’t start revamping how many dwellings can go on one lot. Ivory is attempting to bring more housing options into our future, with plans for homes with ADU’s (accessory dwelling units), and homes on smaller lots in some subdivisions where allowed.

Ivory Homes is offering “Workforce Housing” for owner occupied homes (not rentals) to first time homebuyers, first responders, teachers, veterans and military, nurses, construction workers, police officers and public employees. Rules to qualify for Ivory’s special affordable housing are simple: use their preferred lender and you can’t use your own REALTOR because they don’t offer any commission to your agent. You of course can pay for your own representation.

The Salt Lake Board of REALTORS is currently offering a limited number of $5000 grants to single parents who are first time homebuyers and the deadline for applications is April 23rd. Applicants can contact gavin@slrealtors.com for more information. Other assistance can be found through the Utah Housing Corp. which offers mortgage loans around the state to qualified first time homebuyers

Safe Cities

Are you afraid to go out of your nest because you might get the RONA?  A recent Gallup Poll found that almost 50% of all Americans are worried about getting the damnable virus. I personally believe there are four types of folks right now: ones who have not left their humble abodes since March of 2020, those who only go out to the grocer and doctor appointments and those who go out to shop, eat but don’t travel, and those who act like nothing is going on and do whatever they want, where they want, when they want to.

WalletHub just compared more than 180 cities across 42 key indicators of safety. Their data set ranged from the number of COVID-19 cases in the past seven days per 100,000 residents, assaults per capita on individuals, to the unemployment rate and road quality. The top safest cities found were: Columbia, MD, South Burlington, VT, Plano, TX, Nashua, NH and Lewiston, ME. Salt Lake City came in 76th on their survey of 180 cities. The other interesting results found that Salt Lake City had the highest percentage of households with emergency savings at hand over all other cities.

Other findings: Fewest traffic fatalities per capita: Bismarck, ND, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Yonkers, NY and San Francisco, CA; Most traffic fatalities per capital was Little Rock, AR. Cities with most law-enforcement employees per capita are Washington, DC (more so with all the troops still stationed there), New York, NY and Chicago, IL.   Fewest law-enforcement employees per capita: Raleigh, NC, Fontana, CA and Fremont, CA. Fewest hate crimes per capita: Baltimore, MD, with most hate crimes reported in Newark, NJ.   The highest unemployment rates were in New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL with the lowest rates in Lincoln, NE, Bismarck, ND and Boise, ID.  And finally, the survey found that the cities with the lowest natural-disaster risks were Dover, DE, Brownsville, TX and Corpus Christi, TX with the highest risk cities to have a natural disaster were San Jose, CA, Huntington Beach, CA and Garden Grove, CA.  Those disasters could be earthquakes, floods, hail, hurricanes, or tornados.

After suffering through a scary earthquake in 2020 and even scarier 100MPH winds on Labor Day Weekend I think we would have been higher on the scary scale of findings! After the wind storm my wife and I had no power. I borrowed a generator from a friend which was stolen the same day. I found one to buy and that helped for the week we were out of electricity. I was able to loan the genny I bought after power was restored to the neighbors across the street who didn’t get service for three more days. That whole experience prompted us to invest in a permanent household generator that is supplied with natural gas, but if an earthquake damages the gas line-then propane. It kicks on regularly so when needed it’s ready to go. And good old Murphy will rule: now that we have it, we won’t need it!

Let Us Pray!

New year, new president, and vice president. I cannot imagine stepping into such leadership in such times as these that are so challenging for all of us. Sure, there’s a horrible pandemic and we need to cure it or get it under control, but there’s a HUGE economic problem facing us because of the effects of the virus. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have closed in the past year from coast to coast and it’s expected that numbers will be grim this year for people filing bankruptcy.

Let’s step back to January 2009, when Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. The country had almost collapsed under the bank fraud recession that had boiled up the previous year and he had to basically rescue us from going bankrupt as a country. Working both sides of the aisle he got the biggest economic stimulus package passed and signed (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) this country had ever seen a month after he took office. By the time he left office eight years later the U.S. economy had gained 11.6 million jobs and home prices rose 20% (but the home ownership rate hit the lowest point in half a century).

So many people lost their homes during the aftermath of the Great Recession and those of us full time REALTORS became experts in short sales. In real estate a short sale is when a homeowner who’s behind in payments and facing foreclosure sells their home for less than the amount they owe on their mortgage, with the bank’s permission.  It was a total nightmare for us professionals as well as homeowners in financial distress because there was no guarantee you’d ever be able to speak to someone at the bank holding the note on the home. And when you did track a representative down, they’d be gone a week later. It became almost a science for us to get a homeowner through the process before the sheriff came knocking at their door demanding they leave because the bank had taken back the home in the formal foreclosure process. REALTORS specializing in short sales were worth their weight in gold!

There was a bad after effect once a homeowner completed a successful short sale of their property. Simply, they would have a noticeably big stain on their credit rating for a long time, which would make it impossible to buy a home again.  Time passed and several years later we saw lenders changing credit requirements and rules to bring in new customers for home mortgage loans.  A bad economy and people’s bad credit records were why home ownership hit such a low rate during Obama’s tenure in the White House. According to chicagofed.org there were approximately 3.8 million foreclosures from 2007-2010 in this country. Biden and Harris are facing Covid-caused economic chaos as they sit in their newly sanitized offices and have plans to help us all see our way to national prosperity again. My prayers are with them.

The One For You?

If you haven’t seen the thread on social media, go now and look for ‘The One Bel Air’. You will find photos and info on the most expensive home for sale in California-a 105,000 sq. ft. property that someone will be able to call home in the future. This is all new construction that’s been going on for about eight years and has been kept secret until now. Trust me, it’s been the talk of the town of high end REALTORS, investors, and developers in the L.A. area.

Picture this estate floating above the city of Los Angeles atop of its own hill, surrounded on three sides by a moat and 400-foot long jogging tract. Going through the main entry inside you pass an area filled with water, a bridge and a large sculpture mounted on the floor that rotates under a custom glass Murano chandelier. It would be hard to give you a tour because where would you look? There’s 42 bathrooms, 21 bedrooms and a master suite that’s 5,500 sq. ft. The amenities include a 30-seat movie theater, a four-lane bowling alley, 30-car garage with two display turntables and five swimming pools. Of course, there’s a full service spa with a hair and beauty salon that surely the bitchy Housewives of Salt Lake City would fight over to utilize before they attended a gala in the intentional philanthropy wing that can hold 200 guests.

It took around 600 workers to build this mansion of all mansions, and it will not be topped in size by any other future project in Los Angeles thanks to newly approved city ordinances for permits for the size of homes. The asking price is $340 million and that includes the art and designer furniture in the home.

Back in Utah, the highest price for home sold in 2020 was at the Colony at White Pine in Park City for $19,250,000. The two story new construction only has 13,510 sq. ft., 6 bedrooms, 9 baths and a 5 car garage. The mountain contemporary style design of this home fit in well for the area and is located on a cul-de-sac. The views from the 16 foot walls of glass looked out across a small lake and the wooded property sits on over 3 acres of prime Utah forest. The architects made sure that every room looked out onto the mountain range from every room of the house. California may have ocean views, but this Utah home offers ski-in/ski-out access to the Canyons ski area. Amenities inside the home included a ‘Bento Room’ that served as a take on a traditional bunkroom with six bento-style beds and a large communal-style bath. The upper level of the home has a massive gaming room.

Currently the highest price home in Utah is in Springville. The owners are $48,000,000 for 17,493 sq. ft, 7 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, 4 family rooms all on @3400 acres of Left Fork in Hobble Creek Canyon on land that varies in elevation from 5,700 feet to over 9,100 feet. Hmmmm…mountain or ocean view?

Get Your Drink On

We’ve now survived the season to try and be jolly. The one-dimensional Zoom cocktail parties are kinda a bore now, but if you mix in a drinking game with prizes you might have more fun! The holidays are this time of the year when we pay attention to when liquor stores are open and where stores are located because some of us heathens want to buy wine to give as gifts or load up on supplies for the cold winter’s night. The State of Utah is keeping all locations open during the COVID-19 winter of our discontent, so yeah for that fact. And the store hours at most locations are Monday through Saturday from 11 am to anywhere between 5 pm and 10 pm, depending on the location. UDABC operates over forty Liquor and Wine Stores operated by low paid, mostly part-time retail employees. Many bars have closed due to COVID19 and more are expected to fail if PPP funds don’t resurface from the government and hours of operation are allowed to expand.

Utah’s drinking laws aren’t that weird, since so many other states have excessive controls over liquor. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which most Utah residents belong, advises against the consumption of alcohol for its members in the Word of Wisdom given in the Doctrine and Covenants. Legislators have attempted for over a century to make this a dry state or a very difficult state to find a drink in when the urge manifests itself. Utah repealed the national alcohol prohibition in 1933 and let each to their own decide if they wanted to drink or not. When I moved to Utah in the 1970’s drinking was a hard process. To get a cocktail you had to a) belong to a private club and pay an annual fee to that club to get access to mixed drinks or b) go up to the hostess of a restaurant and buy a mini bottle-like on an airplane. You would take that back to your table and order a mixer to mix your drink yourself. More recently there was the ‘Zion Curtain’ that legislators imposed on bars and restaurants supposedly to ban people from seeing cocktails being made that turned into a national farce. The ‘solid translucent and permanent walls’ between customers and bartenders preparing drinks cost money and confused people to no end. Bars and restaurants also had to put up signs to say, “This premise is licensed as a restaurant, not a bar” or vice versa.” That law is now another piece of historic Utah embarrassment.

One mention to those booze seekers-the little State store in Lamplighter Square on Foothill Drive has closed and re-opened at the space formerly occupied across the street at Foothill Village by Red Butte Café. The Lamplighter Square is being demolished along with the old Skyline Inn and a few other buildings near it to make way for a new mixed use construction project. CHEERS and HAPPY FREAKIN’ NEW YEAR…PLEASE?!

What To Do in 2021?

The #1 question people ask me about real estate is …will housing prices go up or down in 2021? Followed by, “Should we buy or sell?” To me, the answers are easy.

During the last 10 years Utah has had more growth per capita than any other state. Basically, more folks are moving here than leaving, and sans a pandemic, we are low in overall inventory of rentals, affordable housing, condos, homes, multi-plexes, mansions. Add on COVID19 with people wanting to (or being encouraged to) stay home makes for less properties available to buy. We REALTORS® sold more homes in the state than 2019 and we sold them for more money, too. Our National Association of REALTORS® has us at @10% over 2019 with Summit County, Wasatch, and Cashe Counties up over 50% over the previous year.

I know that on December 31st of 2020 I was still frantically trying to find some buyers a home in their price range. Just for shits and giggles I pulled up ALL residential properties for sale in Salt Lake County (homes, townhomes, condos, twin homes, mobile homes) in any price range. In recent years there would have been a few thousand homes for sale at the end of the year. There were 634 homes for sale-total. To put that number in perspective, certainly there are more than 634 people/families looking for a place to buy as a home or investment right now, and there are almost 10,000 REALTOR® members in the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS® trying to help many of them. Now you understand why homes are flying off the market with multiple offers in hours or just a few days!

Not only is it extremely tough for buyers to find a home right now, but it’s also just as tough for real estate agents to make a living, too. Luckily, most members are only part timers, and fact is, 10% of the members sell about 90% of the listings. If you’re thinking of changing careers to become a real estate agent let me lay some facts on you. First, Real Estate School costs around $600 for the required 120 hours of classes you need to take to take the State test. Once you pass the test it’s a few hundred bucks to get your license in order with the State, and twice that to join the Board of REALTORS® and another $50 or so each month for MLS fees. Then you’ll need cards, an ad budget and keyboxes. Some brokerages might offer to pay much of the costs if you sign away your soul to work for them for a period until you pay the man off.

Bottom line-prices on all properties are going to go up in 2021. I’m being conservative and predict a 10% jump in values in the next 12 months. DON’T stop looking because you think the market will loosen up, it won’t!

Buying & Selling A Home In Utah During COVID-19

Buying & Selling A Home In Utah During COVID-19COVID-19 & Real Estate FAQs As We Understand Them:

Real estate activities are permissible protected industry under Utah state law. Attached are questions that we have received from clients and customers with the best answers we can give you! We will attempt to update/supplement these FAQs as we hear from our local and national REALTOR® associations and our government leaders. Our hearts go out to everyone who has experienced loss because of COVID-19 during this pandemic, whether it’s the death of a loved one, an eviction or loss of a job.

1) QUESTION: Can REALTORS® conduct in-person listing appointments and property showings?

ANSWER: Yes. Some agents/brokers may personally not want to show homes or visit clients at their homes, and some buyers may not wish to enter properties to see them. We always encourage buyers to look at virtual tours and photos on the internet through www.utahrealestate.com and if we feel comfortable, we can show you homes via Facetime or similar apps.

2) QUESTION: What requirements must be followed at any listing appointment or showing?

ANSWER: a) All real estate activity conducted at a property must be by appointment unless the MLS listing specifically states ‘Go and show and or /keyboxed and vacant, no appointment necessary’; b) No more than four people may be in attendance whenever possible apart from those persons living in the home; c) All persons visiting a property must wear a mask and maintain a six-foot social distance at all times. We ask sellers to open all interior doors and turn on all lights so there is minimum physical contact in the home.

3) QUESTION: Does a rental unit need to be vacant before I can schedule an appointment?

ANSWER: State law requires that tenants in a leased property be given a 24 hour notice to show the property. Tenants, due to COVID-19, can decline a showing. However, a listing brokerage may have made specific arrangements with that tenant during the listing period to accommodate safe showing practices. We will abide by the listing brokerage’s instructions to enter any leased property-always!

4) QUESTION: Is a seller required to allow in-person showings?

ANSWER: No. A seller has the right to elect not to permit an in-person showing or to set up conditions on such showings such as the wearing of masks, gloves, booties and/or the existence of a pre-approval letter from the buyer’s lender. In most cases the seller’s agent will instruct us in advance if we want to show a property that is not an Urban Utah Homes and Estates (UUHE) listing.

5) QUESTION: Do we have to apply for a mortgage in person? And will the mortgage person attend the closing of escrow?

ANSWER: All lenders have on-line applications and websites. Have your real estate professional at UUHE suggest a great lender to help you through the loan process. A good lender will meet buyers at the close of escrow to go over the final paperwork and answer questions before the transaction is recorded. And given COVID-19 worries, the loan officer can live-stream Facetime to call in during the final signing. By law, your REALTOR® or a representative from our brokerage must attend the closing either in person or virtually.

6) QUESTION: What protections do title companies have for clients at the final escrow table?

ANSWER: Each title company has a different in-house safety policy. Once the title company is chosen then they can be contacted to see what they will require (masks) 6-ft. distance, gloves, etc. All monies in a sales transaction are handled by bank wires so checks are very unusual, which eliminates the need to pick up and deposit monies by sellers or buyers to close escrow. They have adopted their own mitigation measures for the protection of their employees and will let us know how to safely close your sale or purchase (or both!) ahead of time. In some cases, documents can be electronically signed, although generally title companies need ‘wet signatures’ as required by law on mortgage documents. The level of complexity of particular transaction may dictate whether attendance in person at a particular closing is required.

7) QUESTION: As a buyer, I want out of my purchase agreement/offer because of my uncertainty about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. I could lose my job, I could get sick, I’m scared. I know I’m ‘under contract’ with a seller to purchase their home but I really want to stop for now and wait to see what the future brings. Can I back out just because of COVID-19 and not lose any earnest money?

ANSWER: As a general legal matter, there is no right to unilaterally terminate a contract due to a change in circumstances without possibly risking any buyer’s earnest money on deposit-even a really significant change in circumstances. Buyer’s can cancel a Utah Real Estate Purchase contract if a) the home fails to pass buyer’s inspections (‘Buyer’s due diligence), b) if the home does not appraise for the purchase price and c) if the buyer is not approved for the loan. These are generalizations and a simple explanation of the three ‘buyer’s outs’ in a contract. All three (A, B, and C) have specific deadlines agreed to between buyer and seller in the purchase contract and your real estate agent can explain more before you enter into any contract with a seller. The Utah Assn. of REALTORS does have a form that does give buyers/sellers or both to cancel a contract due to COVID-19 but we have not found many people willing to agree to cancelling a contract without financial damages to either party. Again, talk to your agent about this issue.

8) QUESTION: My offer to the seller is a cash offer. My finances have changed-I lost my job just after the seller signed my offer. As a buyer, can I terminate the purchase agreement?

ANSWER: If a purchase agreement calls for a cash purchase, it is not contingent upon the purchasers having available cash. Rather, by agreeing to a cash purchase, the purchasers are representing that they have the available funds. Buyers are not excused from performing under the contract if, due to market conditions, they no longer have enough money to close. Rather, under these circumstances, you would be in breach of contract. A seller might let you out of the transaction with no financial penalty if they have a big heart and aren’t suffering a financial penalty themselves, could agree to accept your earnest money to make them feel whole, or could go to court and ask for damages from you.

9) QUESTION: If I own two residences in different parts of the state can I travel to visit and live at them whenever I want?

ANSWER: Yes. The Governor has not restricted travel like this in any way.

10) QUESTION: Since real estate activities are permitted during the pandemic, can a seller hire someone to conduct an estate sale?

ANSWER: Estate sale/liquidators are allowed to sell the personal property of the estate/deceased. They will each
have their own protocols for viewing and purchasing items at a property so it is wise to call in advance to go over their rules prior to hiring such a firm or shopping at an estate sale. Our broker, Babs De Lay is a specialist in selling properties of those that have passed and offers concierge service to clean out the property, liquidate the personal items, work with the family attorney, trustees, appraisers, etc. Babs would be willing to meet/talk to you about any estate in question.

11) QUESTION: Buyers found a few items on the home inspection that was conducted after the home went ‘under contract/sale pending’ that needed to be addressed, such as a broken picture window The buyers will go forward with the sale if the seller agrees to repairs/replacements but due to COVID-19 the window company is behind schedule. If the buyers and sellers agree, can this work done after the purchase has been completed so that the closing can proceed and buyers become the owners.

ANSWER: Yes. Like workers in the real estate industry, work in the construction and building trades are allowed to make repairs and or upgrades to properties (Plumbers, roofers, electricians, painters, carpenters and flooring vendors, etc.). It’s been rough on all small businesses during this pandemic for businesses to keep and find employees and all of us have to be kind and patient to figure out any bumps in the road during a sale.

12) QUESTION: Can my UUHE agent/broker hire professional photographers to shoot my property or do I have to provide them myself?

ANSWER: Yes, professional photographers practicing safe practices are allowed inside properties. We ask that sellers open all interior doors and turn on lights so that they have minimal contact with surfaces, and never show up if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.

13) QUESTION: May local governments (like Utah, Davis or Salt Lake County) preempt the Governor’s Executive Order to be more restrictive than the county where I want to see properties. What rules take precedent? Who do I listen to?

ANSWER: Local health departments, cities and townships may be more restrictive than State rules and regulations. As professionals we attempt to keep up on any changes in those restrictions in practicing real estate sales. We will share any updates with our clients as customers as we learn of them.

14) QUESTION: How has the pandemic changed how YOU as REALTORS® conduct business?

ANSWER: We are still listing homes and selling them and working with buyers. The market hasn’t changed that much: there is still extremely low inventory and buyers often find themselves in a multiple offer situation. Some sellers are moving out of their homes so as not deal with the hassle of showing their home and sanitizing it before and after showings. Some buyers are making offers after only virtually seeing homes that their agent/broker has live streamed the properties to them. Inspections continue once a home is under contract without problems, as those vendors who offer home inspections are committed to do their job safely, including sewer scopes, radon and meth tests, water, mold and allergen tests, and overall roof to foundation general inspections.

No Bus Stop

For $1 and a chance to win a virtual tour of Scipio, answer this: What’s losing money faster than a restaurant, bar, theater, or concert venue? UTA (the Utah Transit Authority)!  Why? Because COVID-19 has changed the way people move around from home to work, work to pleasure, from here to there.  Ridership this year is down almost 60% compared to before the virus came raging through our state. UTA itself did a survey as to why people weren’t getting on the bus/light rail/commuter trains and guess again what they found out? No big stretch for an answer-55% of those polled said they are working out of their homes now.  I can say as a real estate broker that this same fact is one of the reasons real estate sales are smoking hot. Folks are working, and will be working, at home and want space in their homes to have an office separate from typing on their laptop in bed and who want to stop renting and buy a first home or a bigger home/condo than where they are living now. The other big ish for people is safety-is public transportation safe to ride during a pandemic? My friends in my homes state of New York are very reluctant to hop on a subway there just as riders here aren’t sure buses are clean.  I did serve for two years on the UTA Board and had the opportunity to go behind the scenes where they clean the buses and trains and even got to drive a TRAX train in their training lot.  Every vehicle is cleaned and sanitized every night anyway, but they’ve added additional disinfecting measures to keep riders safe, including disinfecting all vehicles, stations, and facilities daily, implementing in-app wellness checks for riders and drivers on the ‘On Demand by Via’ (kinda their UBER-like program for riders), and periodically testing vehicle surfaces using ATP monitoring to verify the effectiveness of the disinfecting on the vehicles.  Also, on buses there is a plexiglass operator barrier installed on all buses to protect the drivers as well as riders, signs on buses to ask riders to board from the back, riders must wear masks and drivers are all wearing masks. On TRAX and FrontRunner there are ropes or signs to designate separation between operators and the riders to promote social distancing at the stations. The UTA cops that ride along won’t physically touch tickets/passes to see if passengers aren’t ripping off the system (although the ‘free fare zone’ downtown SLC is still free). UTA drivers provide complimentary face masks on most buses and trains and some vehicles have hand sanitizers on board. Safety isn’t just for your sake, it’s for the great people who drive us around every day at UTA. I’ve met many of their employees and know the paratransit buses who help those differently abled/handicapped patrons get on and off vehicles, drive designated or requested routes are the jewels of the crown of service in our public transportation fleet. Not to worry, UTA will get through this pandemic because they know how to adapt to rapid changes in demand and will continue to keep reaching further north and south from the Capitol City to expand services for more riders as our population grows and grows.

What To Do in 2021?

The #1 question people ask me about real estate is …will housing prices go up or down in 2021? Followed by, “Should we buy or sell?”  To me, the answers are easy. During the last 10 years Utah has had more growth per capita than any other state. Basically, more folks are moving here than leaving, and sans a pandemic, we are low in overall inventory of rentals, affordable housing, condos, homes, multi-plexes, mansions. Add on COVID19 with people wanting to (or being encouraged to) stay home makes for less properties available to buy. We REALTORS® sold more homes in the state than 2019 and we sold them for more money, too. Our National Association of REALTORS® has us at @10% over 2019 with Summit County, Wasatch, and Cashe Counties up over 50% over the previous year.I know that on December 31st of 2020 I was still frantically trying to find some buyers a home in their price range.  Just for shits and giggles I pulled up ALL residential properties for sale in Salt Lake County (homes, townhomes, condos, twin homes, mobile homes) in any price range. In recent years there would have been a few thousand homes for sale at the end of the year. There were 634 homes for sale-total.  To put that number in perspective, certainly there are more than 634 people/families looking for a place to buy as a home or investment right now, and there are almost 10,000 REALTOR® members in the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS® trying to help many of them. Now you understand why homes are flying off the market with multiple offers in hours or just a few days!Not only is it extremely tough for buyers to find a home right now, but it’s also just as tough for real estate agents to make a living, too. Luckily, most members are only part timers, and fact is, 10% of the members sell about 90% of the listings. If you’re thinking of changing careers to become a real estate agent let me lay some facts on you. First, Real Estate School costs around $600 for the required 120 hours of classes you need to take to take the State test. Once you pass the test it’s a few hundred bucks to get your license in order with the State, and twice that to join the Board of REALTORS® and another $50 or so each month for MLS fees. Then you’ll need cards, an ad budget and keyboxes.  Some brokerages might offer to pay much of the costs if you sign away your soul to work for them for a period until you pay the man off.Bottom line-prices on all properties are going to go up in 2021. I’m being conservative and predict a 10% jump in values in the next 12 months. DON’T stop looking because you think the market will loosen up, it won’t!

Insane Market

Pity the poor real estate buyer right now in today’s insane seller’s market. I listed a home in Millcreek a few weeks back with a specific marketing strategy that ended up getting the seller 24 offers within three days. Most buyers offered slightly above asking price but there were a few wild offers with ‘escalation clauses’ up to 20% over asking. Let me back track and explain that a seller’s market is when available inventory to buy is far less than the number of buyers wanting to buy homes. It’s not an exact number but I’m seeing about half as many homes for sale right now than there would have been a year ago. And an escalation clause in a buyer’s offer to purchase reads something like… “Buyer will offer seller’s asking price, but if there are multiple offers, buyer is willing to pay X over the highest bona fide offer, not to exceed Y”.  As an example, a home is listed at $450,000. Buyer offer’s $450,000 but seller gets 6 offers. Buyer’s escalation clause says that buyer will pay $1500 over the highest offer seller gets, not to exceed a sales price of $475,000.” The escalation clause doesn’t guarantee the buyer will win the battle for the home because the seller has free will to accept whatever offer they want.I have seen sellers accept lower offers because they were charmed by a letter the potential buyer(s) wrote to the seller or because they knew the buyer. What I am seeing more often is that the cash buyer is beating out all other buyers these days, especially cash buyers who write contracts with no contingencies.  What are purchase contract contingencies?  To paraphrase, there are three contingencies or protections built into the real estate purchase contract used by the Utah Association of REALTORSBuyer’s right to have the property inspected by anyone they choose and buyer can cancel the contract without penalty by a certain date;Buyer’s right to cancel the contract if the property does not appraise for the purchase price without penalty;Buyer’s right to cancel if buyer’s loan is denied by the lender. Cash buyers are often ‘flippers’ who intend to purchase, updated and sell/flip the home for a large profit. Savvy cash buyers will present offers with NO contingencies and offer a fast closing to the seller. If you currently own you probably get dozens of post cards per week that offer to ‘Buy your home for cash!’  Beware of those offers because many of their strategies is to get you to accept their offer and then will have the home ‘inspected’ and come back and tell you there’s a ton wrong with the home. And if you still want them to buy you will have to discount your price to get your money fast. These kind of flippers take advantage of people facing foreclosure and find them in public records of foreclosure notices. Whether you’re a buyer or seller in this real estate market know you need a strategy and call a