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.

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.

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.

Buying A New Home vs An Old Home

Driving around Utah, there is a lot of building go on. Everywhere you turn it seems everyone is building a home, but is worth the cost? As you determine which is the best option for you, here are some of the pros and cons for buying an older home:new vs old

Benefits of Buying an Older Home Cons of Buying an Older Home
Larger yards, more room for kids to run around. More expensive, things get old and all apart, and there is always things to fix or upgrade.
More character, interesting architectural features. Smaller closets, storage space, and garages.
Established neighborhood, more people know each other. Required updates and remodels.

However, for some, owning a home with a larger yard and established neighborhood is not what they want. If you’re considering buying a newer home, here are some important factors to consider:

Benefits of Buying a Newer Home Cons of Buying a Newer Home
Modern conveniences, everything is newer. No uniqueness, tract homes tend to have identical floor plans which can pretty boring.
New construction, your items will last a longer. Immature vegetation, new homes aren’t established like an older homes.
Energy efficient, new appliances use less energy and makes your home more green. House settling, new homes haven’t had a chance to settle so you can expect cracks in the foundation, walls, and door frames.

In the end there is no wrong choice. The important thing is buy a home that fits your lifestyle, needs, and budget. Write down everything you want in your home, what you have to have, and what you can live without. The more you know about what you want going in, the better you’ll be able to decide if a older or newer home is the best option for you.

Have you bought an older or newer home? Would you do it again? What do you wish you’d known going in? Tell us about your experience below in the comments.

9 of Utah’s Best Fishing Hideaways

People flock to Utah to experience some of the best snow on Earth and enjoy world-class skiing and snowboarding. On the other hand, Utah possesses beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife and some outstanding fishing holes. Check out one of these hidden gems before summer ends!girls-918753_640

  1. Starvation State Park

Known for is great walleye fishing, Starvation State Park hosts an annual walleye fishing tournament, the Starvation Walleye Classic. This recommended reservoir also provides opportunities for catching crawdads and is located off of I-40 near Duchesne.

  1. Otter Creek State Park and Reservoir

This central Utah reservoir boasts excellent fishing opportunities year-round with fly fishing all summer long and ice fishing during the winter. One of the oldest dam projects in Utah, Otter Creek Reservoir is stocked with rainbow trout and a limited amount of bear lake cutthroats.

  1. Sand Hollow Reservoir

This southern Utah gem is well known for its boating and wakeboarding, but beneath surface lies excellent bass fishing opportunities. Located north of St. George on SR-9, Sand Hollow Reservoir is ranked by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and local anglers as a hot spot for fishing. Adventurists also enjoy the many campsites and trails.

  1. Utah Lake

For those interested in catching channel fish, walleye, bluegill fish and white bass should look no further than Utah Lake. Also, a growing population of largemouth bass has become available. You can use hard plastic crankbaits, tailed worms and/or grubs to catch the walleyes and largemouth bass. Although there are plenty of access points on the lake, we recommend the marina in Prove on Center Street. The marina offers family-friendly fishing opportunities complete with picnic tables, pavilions and volleyball nets.

  1. American Fork River

This river offers great fishing from the mouth of the American Fork Canyon all the way up to Tibble Fork Reservoir. This river is stocked with brown and rainbow trout all year long. Floating a night crawler down the river does the trick on this river. For more tips and tricks on catching trout, check out this article.

  1. Pelican Lake

There is good news for anglers and bad news for fish at Pelican Lake. Recent surveys of this Uintah Basin lake show that there is an overabundance of largemouth bass and bluegill. Also, recent repairs to the pier allow anglers to reach even deeper or more water. Aquatics managers are encouraging the targeting of carp to reduce the biomass build-up at the lake.

  1. Huntington North Reservoir

This Emery County well-kept secret is booming with a white bass and striped bass hybrid called wipers. Biologists introduced the wipers in 2009. They have been flourishing due in part to a hefty food supply of Utah chub and green sunfish. People have reported catching 6-pound wipers all summer long. You also can find lunker largemouth bass and brown trout in the Huntington North Reservoir.

  1. Boulder Mountain

This relatively new, Blue Ribbon fishery has almost 80 lakes, reservoirs, streams and ponds that offer endless fishing opportunities. Known for is brook trout fishing, Boulder Mountain also boats tiger, cutthroat, splake and rainbow trout along with arctic grayling. Many areas are only accessible by ATV or four-wheel-drive. As such, camping opportunities are sparse and you can plan on really roughing it.

  1. Willard Bay

Like the Huntington North Reservoir, this Box Elder County water also has wipers along with walleye and channel catfish. The smallmouth bass population has been growing here as well. Stop by Willard Bay for some amazing angler opportunities when you’re zooming down I-15.

Pioneer Days Events/History

In Utah, Pioneer Day is a popular holiday celebrating the entry of the Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley in 1847. This holiday allows Utahns to remember the journey Brigham Young and the pioneers made, their strength and endurance, along with the trials they faced to make it across the States. The first official Pioneer Day was held on July 24, 1857 but was interrupted by Johnson’s Army. Pioneer Day wouldn’t be celebrated until 1862.wagon-1018705_640

Because Pioneer Day is a state holiday, many county offices with the exception of emergency services and businesses are closed that day to enjoy the festivities. To commemorate the day, many people enjoy seeing the fireworks, parades, enjoying some rodeos, picnics, and other festivities that take place across the state.

Want to get in on the fun? The Days of ‘47 are holding a lot of great, family-friendly events. Here are a few to check out:

  • Youth Parade. Taking place Saturday, July 23, 2016, this is a fun event Sponsored by Union Pacific Railroad. The Youth Parade starts at 10 am so grab the kids and enjoy a fun day of great food and floats.
  • Family Festival. After the Youth Parade, this event allows children and their families to enjoy some family-friendly activities and crafts.

In addition to these fun events, the infamous Pioneer Day Parade will be taking place on July 25, 2016. This parade has all kinds of colorful floats celebrating the local businesses and vendors.

On the flip side of the state holiday, another holiday many haven’t heard of, for those who aren’t interested in celebrating Pioneer Day, is Beer and Pie Day. Already KRCL has some great events taking place this year.

Regardless what side of the fence you fall on, there are a lot of awesome things taking place across the state that you’ll definitely want to check out.

Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Buying A Home

Home buying can be a stressful experience, but it can also be an exciting time. While you search for your dream home, explore various neighborhoods, and find the best place to raise your family, here are 3 rookie mistakes to avoid which can cost you more money.potted-731201_640

  1. Keep emotions out of it. Remember, as you search for your dream home, this is a huge investment, but there are a lot of great homes out there. As you look at homes, find a few that you’re interested in so if one falls through you have other options that you love as well.
  1. Save your money. Take some time to save up enough money for a down payment (at least 20%) and also save up an emergency fund. General rule of thumb, save up at least a thousand dollars, but better yet, save up enough to cover you for a few months in case you lose your job or have another financial problem.
  1. Get Pre-approved. Many people mistake going into this without getting pre-approved first. Before you begin your search or hire a real estate agent, speak with a loan officer to find out how much you qualify for and what you can afford. This way you don’t get discouraged with falling in love with a home way out of your price range.

Learn more about what rookie mistakes to avoid by checking out  this article by Home Value Plus.

4 Things To Do Today To Prepare Your Home To Sell

welcome-to-our-home-1205888_640Are you ready to sell your home? As you move forward in getting your home on the market, take a moment to spruce up your home to help make it not only look better to potential home buyers, but to boost the price.

While you’re looking around your home for little projects to boost the resale value, here are 5 easy things you can do to make your home look its best.

  1. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint. When it comes to curb appeal, give your front door a splash of color to make it pop. Plus, a fresh coat of paint makes your home look well kept and will appeal to potential buyers.
  1. Maintain a healthy lawn. Another simple thing you can do to make sure your home is appealing to buyers to to keep your lawn looking its best. Invest some time into making your lawn is properly aerated, mowed, and watered. If you’re grass is brown or has big gaps missing, not only does it make your home look unattractive but it turns buyers away.
  1. Install safety lights around your property. Not only are floodlights or landscape lighting a great safety feature around your home, it enhances the beauty of your home. Add lighting around certain areas of your home to accent focal points and other areas of your home you want to highlight.
  1. Replace any broken items around your home. If you have any broken screens, shutters, or gutters around your home, now is the time to get them repaired. Not only does this take away from your home’s appeal, but broken home features can turn potential buyers away.

If you’re ready to sell, give us a call today. We are here to help and ensure you get the best price out of your home.

6 Must Do’s To Save Money At The Store

We all want to save money. For some, part of the shopping experience is coupon clippings and hunting down the best deals, but what about the rest of us? If you don’t have time to seek out deals and find yourself forgetting those few coupons you did clip, here are 6 tips to help to save some money. shopping-1232944_640

  1. List in hand. One way to save yourself some money is to go in with a list in your hand. By going in with a list, knowing what you need, will save you money and not pick up food and other items you don’t really need. Another tip to add, never go into the store hungry. If you’re starving, you’re more likely to buy additional items that can add up and cost you a lot more money.
  1. Watch the scanner. When checking out, pay attention to the store register. In some cases, the store register isn’t current with sale prices which means you’re paying full price for something you thought was on sale. Also, take a moment each month to check your bank statement to ensure you haven’t been charge for something you didn’t buy.
  1. Avoid pre-made foods. We’ve all seen those pre-made foods in the deli and, you may have thought how great they look. However, no matter how tasty they look (or the ease of them), their costing you a lot of money. Instead, my the ingredients and make the dish yourself at a fraction of the cost. Not only will  this save you some money but it’ll be fresh and taste better.
  1. Go shopping alone. Sure, it’s fun to go shopping with your friends, but when it comes it grocery shopping—go alone. According to Time Magazine, around 65% of the items we place in our basket, when shopping with a group, is unplanned. That is an 8% increase over shopping alone. So whenever possible, leave your spouse and kids at home.
  1. Don’t buy bottled water. Not only is bottled water bad for the environment, but bottled water is a billion dollar industry (all of which is coming out of your pocket). Huffington Post reports the average 16 oz. bottle of water costs about a $1. If you drink the recommended amount (4 bottles per day), that adds up to $120 per month. Just think what you can do with that extra money. Instead, skip the water bottles and drink free water from your tap.
  1. Skip the herbs. Instead of buying bundles of herbs (which can cost $2 or more) grow your own herbs. Keep them in your kitchen or some place you can get to them easily  to use while you’re cooking. In the long run, the $5 cost of a fresh herb will save you money.

Have something to add to the list? Tell us about it below in the comments or on Facebook. We always love to hear from you.

Boost Your Creativity Through Gardening

The weather slowly warming up and I don’t know about you, but I’m getting eager to get outside in my garden. Although it’s still too early to start planting anything, it’s nice to know spring is around the corner and it’s only a matter of time we can get outside a plant. sun-741813_640

However, as you’re preparing and planning your garden for the future months, did you know there are health benefits associated with getting your hands dirty?

When working with your hands, you reduce stress in your life (that’s why adult coloring books have become so popular). While you’re working your garden, you can let your worries go and find peace and relaxation in the simple task of weeding.

Another excellent aspect of working in your garden is that it boosts creativity. When you’re out in nature you can unplug for technology, leave your phone behind, and reconnect with yourself and let your creativity flow. What can you come up with while you’re daydreaming? Why not grab the kids or grandkids and have them help. Let them use their imaginations and see what they come up. Another fun idea? When is the last time you’ve looked up at the clouds to see the pictures they’ve created?

Use what you produce in your garden as a way to give back to the community. For those living in an urban area, where it’s impossible to have your own garden, find a community garden you can volunteer at and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you’re able to have your own garden, give some of your excess fruits and vegetables to neighbors and friends? If you haven’t had a chance to meet your neighbors. or haven’t seen them in a while, this gives you the perfect opportunity to reconnect.

What do you love most about the spring months? What are you looking forward to most? Tell us your thoughts and ideas below or on Facebook.