Tips for Buying a Home in the Summer

Lots of folks think that the spring is prime time to buy a home. Sure, it may be the busiest season, but there’s no need to fret if you struck out during the spring or are just now beginning your journey. In fact, some sellers actually wait to put their homes on the market until summer due to curbside appeal, better weather for open houses, and more. There are plenty of reasons to buy this season and we’ve compiled some tips to help you navigate through the market.

 

1.) Check Out Old Listings

Just because the spring is peak season doesn’t mean that every home sells. Take a look at homes that have been on the market for 50+ days and start there, especially if you’re looking to save money. If the seller is in a time crunch or eager to part ways with the home, they may be prone to lowering the price.

 

2.) Get Pre-Approved

If you’re looking at this process as crunch time, you can save time, energy, and multiple rejected bids by getting pre-approved. With the beautiful weather and sellers looking to let go of homes, your bid will have a much better chance of being selected if you are pre-approved for a loan. Everyone will feel comfortable with the process and it’s a win-win situation all-around.

 

3.) Be Strategic at Times You Look

Take advantage of looking at homes when no one else is. The nice weather and cashing out on PTO means that people are preoccupied with vacations, BBQs, family time, and more. The last two weeks of July and first half of August can be prime time to find your dream home when not everyone is out looking.

 

4.) Get to Know the Community

With everyone cooped up inside during the winter months, it can be hard to get a feel for the community. In the summertime, people are bustling about. You have a much better time to chat with potential neighbors, can see neighborhood kids outside playing, and have a clear vantage point of neighborhood maintenance and upkeep. If you have any red flags or deal breakers, you will literally see them in the harsh light of day.

 

5.) Spend Time with Your Agent

A busy spring can mean more people competing for your agent’s time. Agents are less occupied with getting new listing after new listing on the market. Take advantage of this to ask questions, schedule meetings, and see as many homes as possible.

 

Our agents go above and beyond to help find your dream home year-round. If you’re just now beginning your search, give us a call to find the perfect agent and perfect office for your needs. 801-995-4700.


Skip Summer Sales—Become a Realtor!

There isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to summer plan, especially when you’re a new graduate. While it’s easy to toss off the cap and rejoice in your recent achievements, it’s as easy to stress out about what’s next or where your career is headed.

 

Summer sales are always a great option, especially for college student. It’s an easy way to make money fast and focus on school for the rest of the year. More and more, we’re hearing mixed feedback about summer sales. They don’t allow time to focus on a career path. People are becoming less and less interested in door-to-door sales. Some options seem like a scam for not only potential customers, but for those working summer sales.

 

Many folks argue that summer sales can help increase communication skills and put you in a real-time sales setting, but after examining what we hear from recent grads we have a better idea on how to spend your summer—become a realtor!

 

Even if you see yourself setting down another career path, you can obtain your Utah real estate license over the summer and always have it in your back pocket for a plan B or to endeavor in seasonally or at your will. When you’re a realtor, you get to be your own boss and create your own schedule.

 

Worried about being able to afford real estate school? Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Real Estate offers scholarship programs! Worried about losing summer flexibility? Stringham Schools and several other programs offer online programs. Yes, you CAN do it all and that includes sitting poolside while studying for your real estate licence.

 

Our process is easy and approachable. We welcome people from all walks of life into our brokerage whether you’re a recent graduate or looking for a career shift. We’ve outlined the steps to become a licensed Utah realtor below. Give us a call at 801-995-4700 or shoot us an email at info@utahproperties.com to learn more and ask questions!

 

Utah Licensing Process  |  Utah Licensing Requirements

 

Be at least 18 years of age at the time of application

Have at a minimum, a high school diploma or its equivalent

STEP 1 – Meet with a Broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Real Estate to learn more about our company & scholarship program

 

STEP 2 – Take 120 hours of approved education at a certified real estate pre-license school, call 801-995-4700 for school and scholarship options.

 

STEP 3 – Take and pass the state sales agent exam.

 

STEP 4 – Once you have passed the state exam, bring the following to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Real Estate and then we will overnight it to the division:

 

  • Completed and signed application (issued at the testing center)
  • Signed original school certificates (issued by the real estate school) or Education Waiver (issued by the Division)
  • Signed responses to the Qualifying Questionnaire (issued at the testing center) and supporting documentation to any “YES” answers.
  • Utah candidate fingerprint receipt and signed fingerprint waiver (issued at the testing center)
  • Certification of legal presence

$152 non-refundable fee ($100 application, $12 recovery fund fee and $40 fingerprint processing fee)

 

STEP 5 – When you get your license back from the state, bring it to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Real Estate and we will get you set up with the MLS & Board of Realtors.

 


Best Easter Events in Utah County

How is it already Easter week? You’re going through your to-do list and checking off your holiday menu, guest accommodations and more, but you still haven’t whittled down exactly what you and your family will be doing to enjoy the day. Utah County is abundant with Easter egg hunts and family fun, but which events are the best? We put together a short list of some of our events in our community we highly recommend hitting up this year!

 

Easter Eggstreme – Thanksgiving Point

10-2 – Saturday, April 15th

Thanksgiving Point, Lehi

 

We LOVE Thanksgiving Point—it’s home of Luminaria, summer camps for kids, the Tulip Festival and so much more. Easter is no different when it comes to taking festivities to the max. The Easter Eggstreme is one of our community’s most massive Easter egg hunts with prizes that include small toys, candy, and other goodies. And make sure you’re prepared for photo ops with the Easter Bunny!

 

University Place Easter Extravaganza

1-4 – Saturday, April 15th

University Place, Orem

 

While the Toddler Easter Egg Hunt is sold out (and is notorious for doing so year after year), you can still attend the Easter Extravaganza at University Place. This event is fully equipped with a mini-parade, Cirque-tastic entertainment, cotton candy, and even a petting zoo! If you wish to attend, make sure you register online.

 

Cedar Hills Teen Candy Hunt

8:30-10:00 p.m. Saturday, April 15th

Cedar Hills Recreation Center, Cedar Hills

 

For your older kids, the Cedar Hills Teen Candy Hunt is a gem in our community that is geared towards youth ages 11-15. Make sure to have them gather their friends and bring a flashlight for a fun-filled night hunting for candy and other prizes that takes place on the golf course (weather permitting). After the hunt, there is an afterparty that runs until 10 p.m.

 

Operation Easter Egg Drop at the Outlets at Traverse Mountain

11:00 a.m. – Saturday, April 15th

Traverse Mountain, Lehi

 

This is a whole new spin on Easter egg hunting. Watch over 20,000 Easter eggs the sky as the Easter Bunny take the reigns operating a helicopter. Families with children ages 2-12 are invited to participate in this free event, which will also feature story time with Mother Goose, photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny, and delicious spring cooking demonstrations. Attendees are also invited to visit the center’s 52 stores to find amazing deals on the latest spring fashions and hunt for one of the 100 golden eggs, filled with gift cards and other exciting prizes!

 


Tips for Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung! As the cold weather begins to go into hibernation and the sun takes its place in the spotlight, your home could use a little extra love during the transition. During the winter months, dirt from muddy boots can get tracked into your home and pet hair can linger in nooks and crannies. With just a teeny bit of time and effort, you can freshen up your home in no time to go hand-in-hand with the sense of renewal that comes with spring!

1.) Make a Schedule

Our lives are too busy to dive head first into spring cleaning willy nilly. The last thing we want to do is create more stress for ourselves. Scope out your home and prioritize—which spaces need the most TLC? Is there anywhere you regularly skip in your routine cleaning that is in dire need of attention? Map out what rooms/areas you’re going to tackle and when. A set schedule will keep you on task and make the process less overwhelming.

2.) Love Your Walls & Windows

During our routine cleaning, it’s easy to place top priority on the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and commonly frequented areas. Your windows and walls can fall to the wayside and there could be dust and residue build up you don’t even notice. Take a sponge or damp towel and make sure to wipe your walls from top to bottom. When cleaning the windows, make sure to take off the screen and remove dust. A steam cleaner with a squeegee is an excellent way to get your windows in tip-top shape.

3.) Get Rid of Clutter

We can get lazy in the winter months and let mail stack up, gather piles of laundry in the corner, and who knows what else. Feeling stressed? It’s no wonder because studies show that disorganization and chaos attributes to your stress level. If you have old magazines that have collected dust, toss them. If you have kitchen items all over the place, put them in the pantry or get a basket for fruit and veggies. Trust us—you’ll feel like a weight’s been lifted off your shoulders.

4.) Invest in a Good Vacuum

So much junk can gather on your carpets and rugs over the winter. Plus, during the beginning of spring, allergens can run rampant. If you don’t want to fully commit to shampooing your carpets during the spring, we highly recommend investing in a HEPA vacuum. HEPA filtration removes dirt and dust as well as impurities in the air. High-quality vacuums tend to come with a variety of attachments, so you can really dig into corners, walls, and beyond.

5.) Conquer the Kitchen and Bathroom

We can see the look of horror in your eyes, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A kitchen refresh can simply entail wiping down your cabinets and shelves in your refrigerator. If you have family members who are sensitive to allergens or you just haven’t done it in awhile, consider replacing your bathroom fan. Make sure to clean out any junk drawers and any old cosmetics and beauty products sitting dormant. Check any shower liners for mildew and replace them if so. A little bit can go a long way with these spaces!


Perks of Being a Realtor

You may have entered 2017 thinking that it was time to put your nose to the grindstone and change your attitude about your work life. Despite these new sentiments, you still feel yourself compelled to hit snooze every morning. You still have days where you think there isn’t enough caffeine in the world to keep you going. And above it all, you still feel lost and unfulfilled.

If the 9-5 grind is getting you down or you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your job, a career in real estate might be right for you. With dedication, obtaining your license doesn’t take that long and it’s fairly inexpensive. Curious? BHHS Elite RE offers resources, tools, and training to help you succeed at every step of your career.

If you’re only thinking of the change – check out these perks and continue to be tempted!

 

  1. YOU are in Control

It can be easy to get burned out and feel underappreciated if you’re confined to an office all hours of the day. On top of that, having to “answer to” someone when you have a family, hobbies, and other pursuits can get tedious and wear you out. When you’re a real estate agent, YOU make your own hours. YOU decide where you work. YOU design the business plan that works best for you. This career is what you make of it and how you can make it work for you.

 

2.) Business Growth is Up to You

There is no limit to how much your business can grow. With a good attitude, attention to detail, and a strong work ethic, you will have a sustainable business in no time. Once you find your sweet spot of what you want to earn, there will be no one hovering over your shoulder telling you to work more or work longer hours. That is entirely up to you.

 

3.) There is No Cap on Earnings

As a realtor, your income isn’t based on salary or an hourly wage, so there is no limit to how much you can make. You are essentially an independent contractor with income generated through commission. For instance, if you sell a $200,000 home and earn 3% commission, that’s $6,000 from the sale. Even after the broker fee, you still wind up with $4,000-5,000 in your pocket. The National Association of Realtors reports that the median annual income for a full-time agent is $55,000.

 

4.) Good Customer Service Pays Off

Several people enter the real estate industry because they enjoy helping others and consider themselves to be a “people person.” That love for quality customer service can pay off otherwise, too. In the National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, we see that 66% of home buyers said they would use their real estate agent again or recommend the agent to others. A home is one of the biggest investments someone will make in their life, so good word of mouth will go a long way!

 

5.) The Real Estate Market Will Never Die

Although the economy can be a roller coaster at times, the fact of the matter is people will always be buying and selling homes. Even when the market experiences its slow points, you will never cease to be selling homes completely. When the market is thriving, the success will taste even sweeter and your business will flourish.

 

Although being a real estate agent comes with these perks, it can be hard work and isn’t easy money. You will quickly find that BHHS has advantages that sets us apart from other firms. We invite you to see what others are saying and meet with a broker to discuss more about our company and scholarship program. You can request info here.


Tips for First Time Home Buyers

CONGRATULATIONS! You’re taking the plunge and setting out on the exciting journey to buy a home. We know the market is tighter than ever. In fact, in the Utah housing market, demand is exceeding supply all over the state. Like any milestone, buying a home can be full of ups and downs. Rather than discourage you, we want to give you some of the best tips we’ve ever heard for first time home buyers. That way, you can set yourself up for success and enjoy this moment!

1.) Get Your Financials In Order

A homebuyer’s credit score could very well be the most crucial piece of the puzzle when qualifying for a loan. Before you begin shopping, see what you can do to clean up your credit score. You can use tools like AnnualCreditReport.com or creditkarma.com to view your potential FICO score. Additionally, you can see if there are any errors on your report and get in touch with any collection agencies if you need.

To qualify for the best loan rates, you generally need a credit score of 740 or higher. To give your score a boost, pay down credit cards so your balance is less than 30% of the limit and avoid late payments. Paying bills on time is the single most important thing you can do, so if you have any outstanding payments or have fallen behind, make a concerted effort to get back on track.

 

2.) Know Your Assets and Liabilities

After your ducks are in a row with payments and you don’t owe exorbitant amounts of money, you need to carefully evaluate how you spend money. Do you have heaps of money left over every month or are you feeling stretched thin? Make sure you track your spending for at least a couple months prior to shopping for homes as it will reflect how lenders evaluate your income. If you are self-employed or a commision-based professional, you may have a harder time being approved for loans, so make sure you have at least 2 years of solid income records.

 

3.) Investigate Alternate Options

Many people shy away from buying homes because they aren’t close to having a 20% downpayment or their credit is lower than 740. Did you know that Federal Housing Administration loans let you put just 3.5% down, and offer better rates for those with less-than-pristine credit? Mortgage powerhouses Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also launched similar programs. The fact of the matter is, nothing is completely cut and dry and there are options out there.

 

4.) Get Pre-Approved

Are you confident with how you look on paper and are looking for a quick and seamless deal? Have a mortgage lender check your credit and verify your income and assets. Some lenders may even provide pre-approval letters which are “as good as cash” in the eyes of some sellers.

 

5.) Be Patient and Flexible

Playing up your flexibility won’t only save your nerves, but it can give you an edge over pushy buyers. Have your agent get in touch with the sellers and gauge what they need as far as a closing window, option to rent back, etc. The more flexibility you give them, the better shot you might have to seal the deal.


Where to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Utah County

It seems like every January we get to kick our feet up and relax after a turbulent holiday season. Fast forward a few short weeks and Valentine’s Day is knocking on the door. Don’t panic—Utah County is abundant with events to spend the romantic holiday with your loved one. We could write a novel, but we’ve narrowed it down to this short list.

 

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Thanksgiving Point

Doesn’t an evening with exceptional music, a divine meal, and dancing sound like a picture perfect night with your sweetheart? Valentine’s Day at Thanksgiving Point is a memorable affair year after year. You can enjoy festivities over the weekend on February 11th or the actual holiday on February 14th.

 

Valentine’s Day Tastings – Love at Taste

Taste is one of Provo’s finest establishments carrying artisan chocolates, oils, vinegars, and more. Their Friday night tastings have become one of the hottest events in Utah County. Taste is holding a special Valentine’s Day tasting at 7:00 p.m. on February 14th. Eat a light dinner then come celebrate each other over a stacked tasting fully equipped with chocolate, cheese, and more.

 

Love is in the Air – A Valentine’s Day Concert

Sometimes you just want to be serenaded. If sultry vocals are your thing, you can go to the Driehaus Museum to enjoy jazz vocalist, Rose Colella, singing amorous standards, tongue-in-cheek tunes about love gone awry, and more. The concert also includes cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres. The performance goes from 6:30 to 8:30 on February 14th. Doors also open one hour prior for guests wishing to visit the museum.

 

Valentine’s Masquerade Ball at Provo City Library

If you’re looking to write a new chapter in your love story, the Valentine’s Masquerade Ball at Provo City Library is the perfect place to be. For $30 a person, the night includes dinner catered by Marvellous Catering, live music and dancing performing by CB Jazz, and a rose for every lady. If you can’t escape to celebrate Valentine’s festivities during the week, this is the event for you as it takes place on Saturday, February 11th with dinner starting promptly at 6:00 p.m.

 


How to Deal with Snow and Ice

Utah County is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but the winter can take a toll on you if you aren’t prepared. It can become easy to lose motivation during the colder months. All of a sudden your daily routine of work, school and errands can seem like a chore. However, a few simple tricks and a little legwork can help you go about as usual, even in the worst of weather.

 

Invest in good snow tires

If you live in an area that consistently snows, snow tires are a must. These tires are built with softer rubber, which allows for more traction in grueling snowy and icy conditions. They also allow you to stop at a more rapid rate avoiding potential collisions and traffic infractions. Although the tires are an initial investment, they could help avoid accidents and save your life.

 

Stock up on supplies

Times of being stuck inside your home due to extreme inclement weather can be few and far between, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Always have enough food on hand to get through a few days, some extra non-perishable goods, and stock up on toilet paper, diapers, and other necessities. If your furnace is going non-stop, you should also consider investing in a gas detection device that will alert you if there is a malfunction.

 

Use salt as a de-icer

Table salt can be a fantastic de-icer when used in moderation. If you want to avoid waking up to frost on your windows, put some salt in a sock and rub it on your windows the night before. Be careful about overdoing it as repeated use could cause damage to the surfaces you are de-icing. For sidewalks and large surfaces, consider picking up salt that’s specific to snow and ice removal.

 

Put a sheet over your windshield

If you know a big storm is rolling in, place a drop cloth or tarp over your car’s windshield for quick snow removal. You can also cover up steps leading up to your house and walkways with those sturdy cloths. Come time to leave, you simply pull it off and you’re good to go.

 

Allow extra time

When traveling in winter weather conditions, make sure to give yourself extra time to get from point A to point be to avoid stressing out and being reckless. If your usual commute takes 30 minutes, give yourself 40 to get there. Make sure you slow down and adhere to speed limits as well.


BHHSEliteRE—More than Realtors

You see our “For Sale” signs in yards. You see our social media posts gushing about how much we love being realtors. You know our partnerships with new developments building folks the home of their dreams. Maybe you even know that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Real Estate has been locally owned and operated in the greater Utah County area for more than 25 years and consistently ranks among the Top 50 companies in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network. But did you know that BHHS Elite Real Estate is MORE than just real estate?

“Home Services” extends beyond simply buying and selling homes. It ensures people are comfortable with their living situation under any circumstance whether it’s helping with relocation, property management, commercial real estate, or REO sales. Let’s take a look at how BHHS can help:

 

Relocation

Moving itself can be one of the most stressful times in one’s life. Couple that with having to up and leave the place you call home and it can cause some major anxiety. We’re here to help. Our agents will examine your time frame and price range, find a home that suits your needs, and partner with lenders that will make it work. Even if you aren’t moving for 6 months, it’s never too early to get the ball rolling and we’re here to help you ease your mind and plan ahead.

 

Property Management

Are you reluctant to sell your property, but don’t have the time or energy to be a “landlord.” Let BHHS step in and manage your property. Our sales staff and state-of-the-art support system takes property management a step further and actually help you build value in your real estate. Our management team has an average of 20 years of experience and members have been awarded the Certified Property Manager and Certified Shopping Center Manager. Our agents will handle the day-to-day maintenance and supervision of your home or commercial property and will ensure it’s filled with tenants who are reliable and have a steady income.

 

Commercial Real Estate

We’re not just showing offices. We’re seeking opportunities to create value and help develop customized real estate solutions for office tenants, developers, investors, and owners of office properties. We understand what can go wrong with a commercial real estate transaction, work to avoid risk and have the business savvy and experience that can add real value in setting your strategy to meet project objectives.

 

REO/Foreclosure

BHHS has sold more foreclosed homes than any other brokerage in the last 20 years. We specialize in asset disposition, REO sales and marketing, short sales, property management and all services for the sale of such assets. Our clients include but are not limited to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wells Fargo, Greenriver Capital & Hud. If you’re interested in buying a foreclosed home, we’ve helped countless people who are looking for a bargain, looking to create rental properties for revenue and “flip” houses, and more.


Home Resolutions for 2017

By now, anyone who’s boasting a “New Year, New You” might sound like a broken record. There’s no denying that a new year brings a sense of renewal as it opens a platform to hone in on some new goals and expectations. While health, fitness, and finances tend to dominate “New Year’s Resolutions,” we can also flip the script and spin those areas of improvement. It’s not rocket science or a huge financial undertaking—look and see some of our favorite Home Resolutions for 2017:

 

1.) Get Organized (Rid Yourself of Clutter!)

Not everyone is a hoarder, but we could all stand to get rid of some excess when it comes to our home’s space. The easiest solution is to reconfigure your storage space. Get high storage shelves for hallways or pull-out storage units for your room or communal spaces. If you’re in a pinch for space to begin with, there are several ways to get creative like utilizing shoe organizers to store keys, notepads, and small household items.

 

2.) Get out of Debt (Budget)

Saving money and getting out of debt are popular resolutions, but homeowners should take this resolution one step further and allocate funds specifically for their homes. The U.S. Census Bureau finds that the average cost of home improvement and maintenance is about $3,300 per household. A yearly home budget will prevent overspending and will allow you to plan for bigger projects like new roofing or a new appliance. Lending institutions recommend setting aside 1%-3% of your home’s value for yearly improvements. For instance, if your home is valued at $500,000, save $5,000 annually for upkeep.

 

3.) Trim the Fat (Monitor Energy Use)

Saving energy help the environment, but it can make immense differences in your savings. An easy place to start for gaining control of your energy use is your HVAC ductwork. These ducts can leak your heating and cooling system through holes and loose connections. Plus, sealing and insulating your ducts can improve your heating and cooling systems up to 20%, according to Energy Star. You might not even need to hire a contractor. You can use a duct sealing called Mastic (metal-backed duct tape) and seal the connections at vents and floor registers.

 

4.) Volunteer (Get Out in the Community!)

Volunteering isn’t only a selfless act of kindness, it also provides immense balance in your life. Consider joining a neighborhood watch program and discussing community concerns and priorities. A community garden is a great way to not only eat healthier and sustain the environment, and you can meet and connect with your neighbors, too.