5 Tips for Buying a Home

Are you thinking about purchasing a home? That’s great! Here are some tips to help you make one of the most significant financial decisions of your life.
1. Ensure your finances are in order
Many homeowners finance their home purchases through lenders including banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders. When financing your mortgage, all of these lenders will pull your credit report. It is your job to ensure your report is free and clear of any negative items before starting the buying process. You also will want to home-2406416_640consider the different loan options and the associated down payment costs.

2. Obtain prequalification from lender
Once your finances are in order, you can schedule a meeting with your lender or lenders when choosing the best option for your needs. You can prepare a file of the following documents to aid in the pre-qualifying process.

• Financial statements
• Bank account information
• Investment information
• Credit card information
• Auto loan information
• Recent pay stubs
• Tax returns for the last two years
• 401K statements, stocks, bonds, life insurance and mutual account information

3. Choose an agent
Not just any real estate agent will work. You need an advocate or expert in your corner ready to help you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life. The right agent can navigate the complex process of purchasing a property and complete all necessary paperwork. Look for these qualities when selecting an agent.

• Experience – A full-time agent has the experience in completing similar transactions to the one you are wishing to make.
• Credentials – Interview a few agents and ask them about their credentials. An excellent agent constantly strives to improve their knowledge of the latest real estate trends and should hold the highest designations in their respective fields.
• Timeliness – You want an agent who returns your emails and calls promptly. Someone who is always ready and willing to answer your every question.
• Attentive – This goes hand-in-hand with timeliness. You want an agent who listens to your needs, interests and concerns. One whom you are comfortable working with through the entire process.
• Excellent references – A list of recent properties sold by the agent can be very helpful. You can also ask for a list of references and see what others experiences have been like with a particular agent.

4. Shop around
After you have completed the preparations and gotten your ducks in a row, it’s time to start looking for your dream home. Go for a drive and explore which neighborhoods, complexes and/or subdivisions attract your attention. This also provides a great opportunity to get a feel for the properties available in your preferred areas which helps you to narrow your search. Once you have a list of properties that interest you can have your agent set up the appointments to visit them. Providing a list to your agent also helps them research the current and long term value of the properties. Also, the agent will help you craft an offer that sellers will accept giving you an advantage over other offers.
5. Understand the purchase agreement
The purchase agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential buyer and the property’s owner or seller. To streamline the process, it is best to keep records of everything and to stick to a pre-determined schedule. The agreement also contains information regarding inspections and appraisals.

Affordable Family-friendly Fun in Davis County

Summer is here and soon school will be out. With the kids at home, finding lots of activities to stay busy can be an exhausting and expensive task. Here is a city guide list of the fun Davis County offers without breaking the bank.


Cool down with the Clearfield Aquatic Center. This fitness complex offers a refreshing break from the blazing heat. Although admission is not free, it is pretty reasonable. Admission for youth 17 and under is $3 while adults are only $5.50. With a large lap pool, kiddie waterpark and waterslide, the Clearfield Aquatic Center is a great stop for the whole family to enjoy.


Ellison Park is another great summer hangout spot for the family. Besides being completely free, the park offers plenty of recreation opportunities. Basketball courts, baseball diamonds, football fields, a sand volleyball court, tennis courts, picnic pavilions, barbeque grills, a skate park, playground equipment and a splash pad fill this 44 acre park.

Plunge into Layton’s Surf N’ Swim year around. Enjoy this fun waterpark all summer long. During the cooler months, a unique bubble covers the wave and lap pools. Admission for children ages three and under is free while everyone else in the family pays $4.50 for an all-day pass.



Kaysville Theater offers a less expensive movie going experience Monday through Saturday. Admission costs $2 per movie for everyone 2-years and older and $3 for Friday and Saturday night shows after 6 p.m.

Boondocks Fun Center offers reasonable specials including Family Fun Mondays and $12 Tuesdays. Check out all the activities they offer including mini golf and go-carts.



The new Station Park provides so many family friendly options. Enjoy bouts of laughter coming from the centrally located playground complete with music and a multi-color light up fountain. Check out their event calendar for more upcoming summer fun.

Tell-Tale Signs Your Home is Overpriced

Overpricing a home leads to damaging effects. In fact, the most common reason a home doesn’t sell is due to its price. Furthermore, the probability that you will end up with less money from pricing your home too high in the beginning is astonishing. Here’s a few signs that your home price may need some adjusting.

  1. Priced higher than your neighbors
    Often times, home values in most neighborhoods will be relatively consistent and similar. If your home is priced much higher than neighboring homes, it is probably overpriced. Real estate agents complete a comparative market analysis when determining your home’s value. Avoid this potential overpricing problem and contact us today for your free analysis.
  2. Little to zero showings
    Listing a home stirs excitement in all sellers. Seeing your home advertised all over the internet and social media brings proud and happy feelings. But when weeks pass and there have been a few or even worse, no showings, giddy sellers turn into very concerned and frustrated people.
  3. No offers
    Maybe you have had a few showings and things seem to be going well, but for some reason you just haven’t received an offer. Generally speaking, homeowners should receive at least one offer within the first two weeks on a correctly priced home.
  4. Low internet traffic
    In just the past 10 years, the internet and social media have revolutionized the real estate industry. Majority of homebuyers search online before even talking to an agent. Once they find a home or two that looks good online the homebuyers contact either their agent or the listing agent to schedule a showing. If your home is experiencing little to no internet traffic along with few property inquiries, you may want to consider adjusting the price.
  5. Neighborhood homes are selling
    Although comparable homes in the same neighborhood usually sell for around the same price, don’t get sucked into the, “well my neighbor’s house sold for $200,000 and my house is so much nicer.” Chances are that if neighborhood houses are selling but yours is not, the home is overpriced.

What Is Home Equity?

In the world of real estate, there are a lot of terms to know and understand. One of the important terms to know is home equity. So what is home equity, exactly? According canstockphoto407212to Wikipedia, “home equity is the market value of homeowner’s unencumbered interest in their real property.” In other terms, home equity is your home’s real property value.

Using home equity has its advantages which include lowered interest rates due because they are considered secured loans. When it comes to your purchasing a home, it serves as collateral which means lenders can offer competitive interest rates and may have little or no closing costs.

However, it’s also important to know there are disadvantages around using home equity. Because your home serves as collateral, if you are unable to repay your loan, you may end up having to foreclose on your home.

If you are ready to take the next step towards homeownership, we are here to help you find your dream home. Today is the day to move closer to your dream of owning a home and building home equity.

Give us a call today—we are here to answer all your questions and concerns.

Showing Your Home During the Holidays

The holidays are here and your calendars are packed with parties and activities. Not only are budgets strained but roads are covered in snow. And to top it off you are showing your home this holiday season. Make it easier on yourself and entice perspective buyers with these five tips.

  1. Decorate, but not too much
    Decking the halls for the holidays often makes homes look their best. However, sellers should be wary of going overboard. Oversized adornments often crowd spaces while distracting and turning off potential buyers. You also can avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall or winter decorations and avoiding religious themed items.
  2. Mind the Tree
    Sure, a tall Christmas tree accentuates your two-story living room, but keep in mind the size of the base. A too wide base could potentially overwhelm your floor space and perspective buyers. You can save space and show off your great room with a skinnier tree. When decorating, swapping antique heirloom ornaments for a cohesive theme also goes a long way.
  3. Cozy-fy
    Making your home feel warm and cozy gives house hunters an inviting place to escape from the cold. Start by cranking up the heat, playing soft classical music and setting out homemade holiday treats during showings. Encouraging buyers to spend more time in your time, also gives them more time to admire features they might have missed with a quick walk through.
  4. Price to Sell
    Regardless of the time of year, you always want to price your home to sell. Rather than gradually making price adjustments, we suggest that sellers slash their initial price before putting their home on the market to attract the most offers. After all, a below market price home is sure to make buyers feel merry.
  5. Always declutter
    Going along with tip number one, a few decorations go a long way, but many sellers tend to fill up all of their extra space to hang every last ornament. Cutting back on the decorations and clearing the clutter shows off your extra space to potential buyers. This decluttering also allows potential buyers picture their own decorations in the space. And remember next year, you will be in a new home and bring out all the decorations you went without this year!

Tips for Traveling on a Budget

Saving to TravelOften, the popular answer is to travel when you ask someone what they wish they could do more. A common misconception is that you have to have a lot of money to travel, but traveling doesn’t have to break the bank. Use these tips to enjoy a budget friendly vacation anytime, anywhere.

  1. Plan, plan and more planning

The longer you wait, the more expensive everything gets. Not only do airplane tickets and hotel reservations rise but you miss out on early bird deals and specials for cruises and travel packages. Plan your travels well in advance to keep on budget.

  1. Travel off-peak

Another tip for sticking to your budget is to travel when most people aren’t. Sticking to off-peak travelling seriously cuts the cost. Peak times can vary based on your destination, but try to avoid holidays and spring and summer breaks. Plan your off-season trip today to save big!

  1. Use hotel alternatives

Hotels even the ones lacking luxury can seriously pack on hundreds of extra dollars to your trip. Try an alternative like hostels to save on cash.  You can even look into Airbnb.com which allows travelers to rent rooms and apartments from locals or couchsurfing.com where you can find a spare couch or bed to crash on for the night. If you simply must have a hotel, be sure to check out the cheap deals on Skyscanner.

  1. Embrace sack lunches

Dining out at fancy or beach side restaurants is always great, but also very costly adding $50 to $100 every night you eat out. To save money you can limit the eating out and stock up on groceries. Cooking your own meals especially breakfast is easier to do when travelling than you might think. How hard is to make up a couple sandwiches to toss in your bag as you head down to the beach?

  1. Ditch the souvenirs

T-shirts, shot glasses and other memorabilia add unnecessary costs to every trip no matter how fun they are. A really affordable souvenir to remember your trip and location can be found in your smart phone or camera. Just taking a picture will give you the same feeling of bringing your vacation home with you while allowing you to show your family and friends.

  1. Shop discounts

If you haven’t heard of Groupon now is a great time. Discount sites like LivingSocial and Groupon provide amazing deals ranging from tours to spas to product discounts. Make sure to browse these sites while planning your trip to see how you can save.

  1. Keep an eye out for freebies

Last but not least, see what’s free while you’re traveling. Free alternatives such as parks and shows allow you to enjoy the culture and scenery without the big price tag that come with the “must-see” attractions.

Preserve Your Pumpkin Carvings

One of the best things about this time of year is carving Halloween pumpkins! There are so many fun, and spooky, designs that you can create anything you want. However, after doing all that work, you don’t want to have all your pumpkins rotting the day after you carved them.

To help extend the life of your pumpkin, here are 3 tips:

Halloween Carved Pumpkins1. Refrigerate your pumpkins overnight. If you live in a warm area, consider placing your carved pumpkins in the fridge at night to help preserve them. Spray your pumpkins with a soap-water mixture and wrap in a bag before placing in your fridge to help keep your pumpkins rehydrated.

2. Soak your pumpkins overnight. If you don’t want to refrigerate pumpkins, you can soak them overnight instead. To do this, place your pumpkins in a bin or tub of cold water to soak overnight. This is especially good for people who live in cooler areas, if your pumpkin begins to wilt, give them a good soak.

3. Fruit fly solution. Fruit flies are attracted to rotting fruit and other produce, such as pumpkins, and actually can ramp up the rotting process. Create a DIY mixture, poison free, to help keep fruit flies at bay.

Have some tips and tricks for keeping your pumpkins around longer? Do you love this time of year? Share your tips and stories with us below.

6 Haunted Places in Utah

Halloween is just around the corner. It’s not too late to get in some last minute thrills with your friends. Check out these haunted places around Utah, if you dare!

  1. Ted Bundy’s House
    Some may not know that the infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy, had a residence in Utah. The residence has since been demolished. However, the cellar to the right of the foundation can still be accessed. Some speculate that he stored his victims’ bodies in the cellar. With a hole busted in the door, only the most daring will venture inside.
  2. Rio Grande Railroad Depotcanstockphoto0206129
    Recently restored to its beautiful former glory, the Rio Grande Railroad Depot still reports ghostly activity. Reports cite an apparition of a dark-haired woman appearing in the first floor ladies’ room and the café. Rumors say that she was run down by a train. Furthermore, security guards report hearing footsteps and heavy breathing late at night also on the first floor. Guards also report hearing loud noises and flickering lights coming from the cellar.
  3. Hobbitville
    Located across street from Westminster College, Hobbitville also known as Allen Park, boasts small houses, creepy statues and violent “hobbits.” A gentleman reports that he and his friends decided to “check the place out” late one night. They kept seeing an old, beat-up car just sitting in the entrance with its lights off. Eventually the car pulled out and followed them. Even when they thought they lost the car, it would pop back up near them. You can read his full account of the creepy tale along with his other adventures here.
  4. Mountain Meadows Massacre Site
    Reports say that the 1857 massacre occurred when a group of settlers were brutally murdered by Mormon Militia. Many of the area’s visitors report hearing cries on the wind and a feeling of great sadness overwhelm them. One visitor, Jill, reported similar phenomenon during her visit to the St. George area, “I visited there when I first moved to St. George 3 years ago, I had an overwhelming sadness come over me, and sharp pains in my legs. I’m in good shape, so it wasn’t the walking, it was different, like burning, or prickling heat, and it was in March, and cool outside.”
  5. Haunted Old Mill
    The Cottonwood Paper Mill burned down in 1893 leaving only a stone skeleton. The structure was partially rebuilt in 1927 for a dance hall. In the 70’s and 80’s the abandoned stone structure was used as a haunted house and craft boutique. Declared a historic site in 1966 and condemned in 2005, the owners indicate no future development plans for the mill. Visitors beware that the mill is private property and trespassing can come with a hefty fine.
  6. Kirk Hotel
    Located in Tooele, witnesses reported ghostly happenings such as objects being moved, doors and cupboards being opened and closed by themselves and orbs appearing in photographs at the Kirk Hotel.

Fall Maintenance

It’s official! Fall is here. As we move deeper towards the winter months, now is the time to start preparing your home and yard for winter. This will not save you the headache of trying to get things done before the snow flies, but will give you time to make any necessary repairs as needed.pexels-photo

To help give you a head start, here are 5 things to start doing now.

  1. Focus on your gutters. Throughout the year, dirt and debris can build up in your gutters and clog them up. Now is the time to clean out your gutters and downspouts so they are ready for the long winter months ahead.
  1. Check your roof for problems. You don’t want to find out you have a leak in your roof come January. Take some time now to inspect your roof for any damage, corrosion, or curled shingles. If you see any issues or have leaky vents, make sure to hire a professional to get these issues addressed.
  1. Change out your filters. While you’re going over your fall maintenance to-do list, make sure you add replacing your furnace filters to your list. This is a good habit to get into so you go into the winter season with a clean vent that is working properly. While you’re changing out your filters, also check your furnace to ensure it’s running at it’s best. Again, you don’t want to find out your heat isn’t working in the dead of winter.
  1. Replace batteries in your smoke alarms. Use this time to go through your home and replace all the batteries in your smoke alarms. This is a good habit to get into for both the Fall and Spring months to ensure the safety of your family and home.
  1. Clean out your chimneys. Many house fires are, in part, due to chimney’s not being cleaned out properly. Take this time now, before you start that fire in your fireplace, to make sure the chimney is cleaned of any muck and other elements which can easily ignite.

What are some things you do to winterize and maintain your home for Fall? Tell us about your fall maintenance routine below in the comments.

Prelisting Cleaning Checklist

Ready to sale your home, but aren’t sure what repairs or maintenance you should do before putting your home on the market? To help you get your home ready and appealing to potential homebuyers, here are some tips to follow:

1. Remove personal affects from your walls and around your home. When potential home buyers walk into your home, you want them to envision themselves living there. canstockphoto8811691Because of this, take some time to pack away any personal or family photos which may detract buyers from making an offer on your home.

2. Have your home inspected. Yes, the home buyer will have the home inspected too, but if you have your home inspected first, you can make sure all the necessary repairs that may put a halt (or even end) an offer. By going in knowing where you stand is a smart move all around.

3. Hide any evidence of pets. Some people aren’t pet people, so make sure you tuck away any toys, litter boxes, and other evidence of animals which may keep people from making an offer on your home.

4. Shampoo your carpets. Life happens when living in your home and because of this, taking time to shampoo your carpets is important to getting any unwanted odor from your home. Plus, if your carpets look old or worn, this can also deter people from making an offer.

5. Touch up or repaint your walls. If you’re walls are painted a bold or funky color, or just look old and outdated, giving them a fresh bout of paint can go along way with making your home more welcoming. Choose colors that are more neutral so homebuyers can see themselves and their color choices in the home.

Want some more tips and ideas for making your home more welcoming for potential homebuyers? Check out this great cleaning checklist for other things you can do before putting your home on the market.