Summer in Utah Done Right

Even though Utah is known for having the greatest snow on Earth, it’s also full of amazing sights and fun activities to take advantage of during the warmer seasons! From family fun to experiencing everything the great outdoors has to offer, both locals and visitors will be enthralled with our great state’s ability to have it all!

Lagoon

Location: Farmington, UT

Renamed and relocated from The Great Salt Lake in 1899, Lagoon has become a staple for summer fun in Utah, home to one of the oldest operating roller coasters in the world, and the Cannibal—the roller coaster with the steepest drop in North America, fourth steepest in the world, and holds the world record for the tallest beyond-vertical drop on a roller coaster. The prices range from $41.95 to $58.95 for all-day family fun.

Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point

Location: Lehi, Utah

Canopy tours, treehouses, trading posts, and unique activities make this an awesome spot to take the kids for an afternoon of fun and learning. Bring the family in on the third Saturday of each month to spark their inner engineer with the Design Challenge! The second Saturday of every month is dedicated to Curious Critters, an interactive experience that allows your little ones to get up close and personal with exotic animals from all over the world. Admission varies, with the highest-priced ticket coming to $34.95.

Boondocks

Location(s): Draper and Kaysville, UT

There are two locations in Utah making it accessible for people spread across Utah’s metro hubs. They offer many specials, but one of my favorites is $12 Buck Tuesday. For that small price, you get unlimited XD theater, laser tag, rollerball, nowling, kiddie cove and video games until close! And for an extra $8 a person, you can upgrade to go-karts, batting cages, mini golf, and more. What a fun way to spend a Tuesday!

Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

This wonderfully hidden-away garden contains 12 original sculptures and over 70 stones engraved with scriptures, poems, and literary texts. As a whole, Gilgal Sculpture Garden is significant as the only identified “visionary art environment” in Utah. While adults are more likely to appreciate the free garden, this is a great way to expose the little ones to Utah’s art scene.

Dave & Buster’s

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Utah recently acquired their first D&B location jam-packed with fun for adults 21+ or the whole family. While this location is different from the rest in the way that the bar will be kept separate from the rest of the activities, the brand still promises endless amounts of fun! Bowling, arcade games, Dance Dance Revolution and more make this the perfect hangout spot for friends and family to spend some quality time together! If you go, I suggest the Eat and Play Combo, starting at $17.99 a person.

Brewvies

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

A unique, local business, Brewvies makes for an awesome date night for anyone of legal age to take part in. Have a drink and catch a flick at the only cinema pub in Utah with your significant other, your friends, or even flying solo (nothing beats treating yourself). Hit this awesome spot on Tuesdays for their $6 movie deal.

There are so many new things to go out and experience, why are you spending your time doing the same old thing every weekend? Get out and make some memories with your family and friends this summer, and if you have any more suggestions, comment and let us know!

 


May Activities in Utah County

 

Springtime in Utah is a magical thing to experience, no matter how long you’ve lived here. The flowers are in bloom, the trees become green, the temperature is in its very-rare sweet spot, and the long-awaited sunshine is no longer hidden behind grey clouds. Staying inside on days like the ones we’ve had recently is pointless. Here are a few things you can do to celebrate the perfect month of May!

Now Through – May 31, Woodland Fairies at Gardner Village: Visit the Village with your kids to try to spot these magical fairies. Various events throughout the month will include face painting, fairy parades and fairy house tours. There is also a Fantasy Run on Saturday, May 7.

Now Through – May 7, Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival:

Celebrate the return of spring with over 250,000 tulips in just about every color you can imagine. Garden tours are held daily. Fridays and Saturdays include music, food and vendors. Open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed on Sundays.

May 6, May Day on Main:

Visit floral-themed exhibitions at participating Main Street galleries and the eight artist-designed temporary public parks. The evening’s gallery and garden stroll sets the scene for a plethora of creative activities on Main Street.

May 6- May 7: Utah State University Baby Animal Days:

This event takes place at the USU Botanical Center in Kaysville. FREE activities with each ticket include: one FREE horse ride and one FREE miniature train ride. Reptiles, sheep shearing demos, horse rides, miniature train rides, and food vendors. Tickets are $7 per person for ages 3+ or $35 for families of up to six.

May 7, Holi Festival of Colors Salt Lake City:

Festival goers can enjoy interactive dance shows, live DJs and music, food vendors, yoga, crafts and lots of colors at the Krishna temple in Salt Lake City. Tickets cost $5 for general admission, and kids 12 and under are free. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

May 8-14, Amazing Earthfest in Kanab:

Celebrate the centennial of America’s national parks by connecting with the great outdoors. Various activities include arts and crafts, yoga, documentary films, photography workshop, presentations and guided outdoor adventures.

May 12-16, Great Salt Lake Bird Festival:

Renowned nature artist and writer Julie Zickefoose will be the keynote speaker at this event, and attendees can enjoy field trips to wildlife areas in Utah abundant with hundreds of species of birds. Workshops are free, but tickets are required for field trips. Visit daviscountyutah.gov for daily schedule information.

May 20-through September, Sundance Scenic Lift Ride:

Experience panoramic views of the mountain as you glide to the top of Ray’s Summit on a Scenic Lift Ride. Once you reach the top, take some time to explore the designated hiking trails or just sit, relax, and enjoy the mountain’s serene beauty. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, take Arrowhead lift further up the mountain and enjoy lunch at Bearclaw cabin. Moonlight rides are also available on select dates.

Is there anything that we missed or anything you would add to the list? Make sure to stop by our Facebook or Twitter pages and let us know!


Enjoy the Rest of Your Summer in Utah County

Is it really mid-July? It seems like just yesterday we were picking rambunctious kids up from their last day of school. This time of year always seems like a mad dash to squeeze in as much summer fun as possible. There is still plenty of time to maximize time with your family in Utah County this summer. Here are some of our favorite activities:

1.) Visit the local pool

Visiting a local pool is low-cost and doesn’t take days of planning to execute. Plus, who doesn’t have fond memories of splashing around in their childhood? You can even dive into a new book while laying out when the kids are romping about. Utah County is home to several pools including:

 

SCERA Pool (Orem)

Provo Rec Center (Provo)

Lindon Aquatic Center (Lindon)

Cowabunga Bay

 

And more. And don’t forget to check out our community’s abundance of splash pads, too!

 

2.) Check out a Owlz Game

Very few things say summer like a baseball game with a hot dog in hand. Orem is home to the Owlz, a great minor league team and the games are abundant. You can check their full schedule here.

 

3.) Go Outside

We know a strenuous hike might not be EVERYONE’S idea of family fun, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors and get a little exercise and enjoyment while you’re at it. One of our favorite activities is tubing down the Provo River. Take a nice walk and enjoy the scenery and then max out during your two hour flat down the river. We also recommend Timpanogos Cave, which is a monument that’s barely been open over a year. Enjoy the underground cave and explore the majesty of minerals, water, and beyond.

 

4.) Attend the Utah County Fair

We think the Utah County Fair is one of the best ways to conclude a summer of fun in the sun before the kids head back to school. Festivities in the past have included pig wrestling, monster trucks, a Miss Utah County Pageant, and animal shows. Mark your calendars for August 16-19th at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds!

 

5.) See a Movie

While it’s natural to want to maximize your time outside, sometimes you want to cool down with a good movie with the AC blasting. Cinemark theaters offer $1 G and PG movies as a part of their Summer Movie Clubhouse. There are also a few weeks to enjoy the SCERA Cinema Series that offers matinee films for kids and teens throughout the summer.


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 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.


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.


Pros to Buying a Home in the Winter

For most people, the winter means decking the halls, not buying new ones. It’s easy to have a picture perfect image of looking for homes in sunny weather, but there are actually some immense pros to buying a home during the winter months. Plus, doesn’t the holiday spirit motivate you to treat yourself a little? Here are some of the best reasons to buy a home during the winter months.

1.) Less Competition

In today’s competitive market, bidding wars run rampant. When lots of people are bidding at once, sellers tend to hold off and wait for the best offer. In the winter, they may be anxious to sell sooner than later, so you might also get a better price than busier months. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

2.) Savings

Piggybacking off of less competition, you can potentially save a lot of money buying in the winter. Because real estate is a “supply and demand market,” you can find good deals when no one else is looking. A little savings on an interest rate can go a long way, too. Anishka Seker, Financial Adviser on NerdWallet gives the following scenario:

“Let’s say you’re buying a house with 6 percent closing cost and a 30-year mortgage with a 3.25 percent interest rate. If your house costs $500,000 as opposed to $550,000, the total cost of your mortgage will fall by over $80,000. You’ll feel the benefits of buying low for decades to come.”

3.) All Systems are a Go

The winter can be the ultimate “litmus test” for buyers. All of the homes heating and plumbing systems are put to the test during the cold months, so you can ensure that everything is in working order before having the surprise of a heater going out months after buying. The structural elements are also put to the test. You can check to see how the roof is holding up and how the gutters function when searching for homes in the winter.

4.) The Home is in its Purest Form

When trees aren’t blossoming and leaves aren’t reducing noise, you can truly see the home in its most natural state. You’ll want to see your investment in its uncamouflaged state to assess the reality of the property. Plus, you’ll get to appreciate the home even more when it’s in its most aesthetically pleasing state in the summer.

5.) Other Perks

Did you know if you close on a home before December 31st, you can apply the purchase of your home towards tax deductions? If you buy after, you’ll have to wait a whole fiscal year to reap any tax benefits. And speaking of closings, mortgages tend to close much faster during the winter due to less people buying and selling, so the process moves faster.

If any of these reasons spurred some new thoughts about searching for a home, feel free to reach out and contact us. We never pressure anyone into any decisions they’re not ready for and simply like to lend an ear and a helping hand to help you make the best decision. Free free to shoot us an email at info@utahproperties.com or give us a call for more information. 801-995-4700.


Ways to Give Back to the Utah County Community

The holiday season is always a mad dash. Out of nowhere, your to-do list is inundated with hosting guests, shopping, and helping kids finish the semester. With cooking, shopping, parties, and fun, it can be easy to overlook that there are people in our Utah County community who are far less fortunate or a little down on their luck this holiday season. Whether it’s donating your services or making a small contribution, we encourage everyone to see if they can chip in to help those needing a little extra love. Here are four great organizations we wholeheartedly support.

United Way of Utah County

The United Way is rooted in the belief that we are all people. We all benefit when a child succeeds in school, when someone finds a job that will help them provide for their family, or when more people are able to access quality, affordable healthcare. Anyone and everyone can lend a hand. If you’re an art teacher, you can volunteer to teach family art classes. If you want to serve meals to the Utah County community, there are several opportunities to do so. You can even donate cleaning supplies, office supplies, or food depending on the need.

Learn more about the United Way of Utah County and volunteer opportunities here.

Intermountain Foundation – Utah Valley Hospital

The Intermountain Foundation at Utah Valley Hospital provides support for a variety of programs focused on improving patient care and community health. From hosting special events to raise funds to supporting capital campaigns to improve the overall quality of the hospital, they are a Utah County community staple. To pitch in, you can donate money to your local intermountain community hospital, include memorial-gift opportunities in a loved one’s obituary or find out if your employer offers matching gifts to not-for-profit organizations.

For more information, visit their website.

Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry South County

Did you know that over 78,000 people in Utah County live at or below the Federal Poverty Line? 1 in 5 children in Utah County are food insecure. Tabitha’s Way aims to alleviate food insecurity in Utah County and provides food and supplies to an average of 5,000 individuals monthly. To help, you can donate money, host a food drive or volunteer.

Learn more about how Tabitha’s way is helping fight hunger and how you can help.

Utah Community Action

Utah Community Action helps low-income families achieve self-sufficiency through six core programs. These programs range from Adult Education to Nutrition to Housing Case Management and Beyond. Last year, 89,120 individuals were served by UCA, 254 houses were improved through weatherization services, and 2,191 individuals obtained health care services for themselves or a family member. While most volunteers are placed in the Community Food Centers due to demand, there are several opportunities to help out in each program.

Find out more about the programs and opportunities here.

Volunteering in Utah County isn’t limited to this list. We encourage everyone to take a few minutes to explore how you can give back to your local community this holiday season. If there’s an organization you’re passionate about, feel free to respond and let us know!