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Five Reasons your home is not ….. SOLD!

Written by Laura Wise.

1.     Price.  Buyers will not overpay for homes, even in this market.  If your home is priced too high, it will just help sell the competing homes in the neighborhood by making them look like a good deal.

2.     Showing Condition.  Once you decide to put your home on the market, you must think of it like a product.  Don’t you pay more when you go to a store like Dillard’s that is attractive and organized?  Your home should look as close to a model home as possible.  Buyers can’t see past your personal clutter and will not pay top dollar for a home that “needs work”.  Odors are another big no-no, examples – pet, smoke, garbage, diapers or any other unusual smell.

3.     Buyers Can’t Find Your Home.  Your home should be syndicated on all the popular internet real estate sites with lots of professional photos.  Buyers will move on to the next virtual home if they don’t like how your home looks in photos.

4.     Buyers Can’t See Your Home.  I was trying to show a property and the listing agent said “No showings on Mondays”, or sorry not today – My client was only in town for one day and bought something else.  People need to be able to see your home before falling in love and buying it.

5.     Your home has been on the market too long.  Just like clothes that don’t sell and go into the bargain bin, a home that has been on the market too long will make buyers think there is “something wrong with it”.   If your home hasn’t sold in 4 months, see items 1-4 above.

 

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Time To Evaluate Your Heating And Cooling Expenses

Written by Laura Wise. As we approach the end of the summer season, now is a good time to review and evaluate all that you’ve spent over the past few months to keep your home cool. Recognizing that energy leaks can lead to higher bills and can affect your home and your wallet in any extreme temperature, hot or cold. Now is the time to consider home-energy efficiency improvements you might be able to take advantage of before the winter weather sets in.

Utility Expenses – Have you spent more this year than last evaluate your usage.  Here are some of the things you can do to improve energy efficiency:

An easy first task is to seal any gaps that might be found around your windows or doors, as well as in your attic or basement. Replacing the caulking or using rubber insulation around entryways can be a messy yet fairly simple task, and spray foam insulation is a quick and easy way to plug larger gaps that might appear around the foundation of your home.

Repair Duct Leaks – The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that roughly one-fifth of the air that is transferred throughout your home via forced-air systems is lost through leaks in ductwork. Duct sealant is available at most home improvement stores and can be an easy fix to repairing these leaks.

Install Thermostat Control – Programmable thermostats allow for more controlled costs on heating and cooling bills. You can program them to at home hours. If conservatively programmed, these devices can contribute anywhere from 5-15% savings in costs per year.

Replace Old Windows & Doors – Installing higher-efficiency windows and doors in your home can lead to less energy waste for years to come. While certainly a higher cost than other improvements, replacing old windows and hollow metal doors is one of the best investments you can make to your house. If this type of project seems outside of your budget range, consider applying for energy financing as a way to supplement the cost, and you may find the ability to make other, significant energy efficiency improvements as well.

Any of these improvements that can be made done the DIY-way contribute to reducing home-related expenditures. Additionally, any number of home energy efficiency improvements should be considered as investments to the overall value of your home — particularly those greater in cost.

If all else fails turn down the thermostat, put some sweats on and snuggle

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Are you Ready, Willing and Able to get a great deal?

Written by Laura Wise. “The housing market has bottomed. It’s not too late to get involved. I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make. Affordability is still at an all-time high.”—John Paulson (Billionaire who made his fortune by predicting the real estate meltdown in 2007.)

If you are looking to pick up an investment property or looking to get a great deal on a new home, these are proven tips to win.  The most important concept to remember is that there is a lot of competition for good deals and proper preparation is essential. Skipping any of these steps will decrease your chances of getting the best possible deal.

You must be ready, willing and able to buy.

1.     Ready means that you have cash in hand or you have been through underwriting at a reputable financial institution.  You must have either written proof of funds if you intend to pay cash or a written preapproval letter from your lender.

2.     Willing means you are committed to finding a property and purchasing it.  You are willing to spend time touring properties to educate yourself on the market.  You are willing to sign a buyer-broker agreement with an agent who will work on your behalf (more on this later).  Today’s market is not the market of three years ago.  See quote from John Paulson above.  We already hit bottom.  There are more buyers than sellers of good deals.

3.     Able means that you have the finances, commitment and desire to buy a property.  You are not afraid to write an offer sight unseen because you have developed a trusting relationship with your buyer’s agent.

Here is an example of how being ready, willing and able works in the real world.  I receive at least one call/week from someone who says that they are in no hurry, but if I find a great deal on a property, I should call them.  Imagine you are me.  I see a listing that I know is a great deal.  Am I going to call the person from the internet or the buyer who I know is ready, willing and able?   In today’s market, some of the best deals do not even make it to the Multiple Listing Service.  Agents find out about them through other agents.  If you want to find the best property for the best price, you can begin your search on the internet, but then find an agent you trust and make sure you are ready, willing and able to buy.

Remember I am here to serve my clients.  Thanks so much Laura Wise 435-327-1333.

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Retirees WELCOME!

Written by Paige Marsh.

Ahhhhhh, the golden years. What are you going to do ? Where are you going to spend them? If these are questions that plague you, I have some information you may find interesting.

Utah is a terrific location to move to if you are considering relocating for retirement. “The cost of living is just 3.8% higher than the national average and the median home costs a little more than average, at $216,000, according to Sperling’s Best Places. What’s more, Utah’s unemployment rate, 7.6%, is significantly lower than the rest of the nation, so many retirees may have an easier time landing a “retirement job” to offset the costs.” (Hill, 2012. “Retire Here, Not There: Utah”, SmartMoney.com)

Homes in Cedar City cost significantly less than homes in the bigger towns such as St. George and Salt Lake City. Congestion is not an issue. A heavy traffic scenario consists of being stopped at one of the dozen stoplights in town with more than 6 cars. Cedar City gives you a small town city feel but offers many of the conveniences you find in larger towns such as large grocery stores, movie theaters, and independent department stores like Christensen’s and Bealls. (Although – and you may want to sit down for this – you have to drive to St. George to find the Costco.)

Cedar City is nicknamed “Festival City” because of the number of Festivals held here each year, including the Shakespearean Festival, Neil Simon Festival, July Jamboree, GrooveFest, and Children’s Cavalcade Christmas Festival to just scratch the surface. Cedar City also hosts the Utah Summer Games which turns the little town into a mini Olympic festival each June with hundreds of competitive events being held throughout the area.

Cedar City is also nestled up against the Cedar mountains which offer a vast array of activities for the active outdoorsman including hiking, biking, fishing, skiing and snowboarding, camping, photography, rock climbing, rock scrambling, four-wheel driving, and sight-seeing just to name a few.

The best thing about Cedar City is the town’s temperatures which is something I looked forward to when I moved here from Las Vegas. I was a self-proclaimed “desert rat” and loved everything hot. Then I grew up. It’s amazing how the sun feels different when you are older. I now absolutely love being in a town where you have four seasons, and when you have months when you can just open your windows and doors to cool off your home instead of kicking in the A/C.  I like being in an area where you can actually grow a garden in the soils and not have it burn up from the heat. I love being able to have snow in the winter, but not experience that bleak, grey “inversion” phenomenon that the SLC valley has. Cedar City stays bright and sunny even during the winter months. We can have a near blizzard storm on Tuesday, then wake up Wednesday to a bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds, where the ground looks like an endless blanket of shimmering diamonds from the white snow.

I have been lucky enough to spend my pre-golden years in Cedar City and have loved every minute of it. If someone can’t find something they are interested in in Cedar City, that person just possibly may not have any interests at all. I myself cannot find enough time to do everything offered that I want to be a part of. You can truly live a beautiful life in this cute little town.

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What to Consider Before Buying an Investment Property ….

Written by Laura Wise.  The housing market is rebounding and interest rates are still low, meaning an investment property might make a lot of sense for you. Before you move forward with purchasing an investment property, take note of these considerations.

Rental Property
Are you investing for the rental income or speculating on the rate of inflation. Always analyze the cap rates, or income vs expense, or a quick reference is income divided by the value, if it is not at least 7% (much better than any saving institution pays on a savings account) keep looking.

I can help …..

I own rentals. I manage rental properties for my clients out of town. I will find you one that makes sense.

Time Shares
Not my first choice in investment, they are not usually thought of as an investment, re-sale can be difficult, you can lose money if you are buying with resale inflation in mind.  However, they are a great money saver for those yearly vacations. Especially if you buy second hand, similar to a foreclosure. 

Real Estate Development
Development deals come with a high price tag and a lot of risk. While the return can also be high, for the average investor, the risk doesn’t outweigh the potential reward.

Foreign Real Estate
Before buying property in another country, make sure you are aware of the differences in their real estate laws and protections. Also take into consideration the country’s economic and political stability.

Associated Costs
If you purchase an investment property, the mortgage will not be your only expense. Remember necessary insurance, differences in tax treatment of investment property vs. primary residence, upkeep and — if you plan to visit your property — travel costs.  So talk to your accountant.

Once you’ve thought through the considerations above, an investment property may still be a good financial move for you. Interest rates are low, and while home prices are rising, they are still relatively low, call me I will help you find, and analyze the return.

I look forward to talking with you.

 

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Credit Matters

Written by Laura Wise. Are you ready to buy that first house?  Refinance the one you own to a better interest rate? Or even move to a larger home? Credit plays a role in everything from buying a home, to signing up for cell phone service or utilities, to getting car insurance. A credit score is a snapshot taken by the three leading credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, that allows lenders to determine whether or not you will be extended credit, the amount of credit and even the terms (interest rate, loan amount, repayment schedule). 
 
While I am not a credit counselor, I can give you a little bit of information about credit scores and some basic steps to keep them healthy, which are important for you to know when applying for home financing. So you can obtain the financing you need when we find you the perfect house.
 
What is a credit score and how is it calculated?  A credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that is used to predict how likely you are to pay your bills. Many of the companies with whom you have a loan or a line of credit report back to the three credit bureaus information such as whether you pay on time, your credit amount, etc. Your credit score is calculated from this personal financial information. The higher your credit score, the better the credit terms you will receive. The lower your score, the higher the interest rates you may have to pay. Generally, scores over 700 are considered excellent while scores below 600 are considered poor. I know what do they consider those between 300 and 599 …. Yikes.
 
Remember, you are eligible for one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Take advantage of this opportunity to monitor your credit report and ensure there are no mistakes or surprises with your credit, when it is time to apply for financing of any kind.
 
If your credit score is not what you would hope, You can improve it.* 
Although there are no quick fixes when it comes to improving your credit score, you can take steps to rebuild and maintain your score over time:

  1. Continue paying your bills on time — your payment history matters.
  2. Don’t max out your cards or even run the balances up high.
  3. Hold off on applying for new credit or cancelling an old card, since length of credit helps.
  4. Pay down high balances, but don’t just transfer debts among several lenders.
  5. Settle any collections or past due accounts that you possibly can.
  6. Dispute and resolve any inaccurate items in your credit report. The last two years of your credit history are the most important.

Credit scores affect your life — beyond just mortgage interest rates. 
Credit scores are often used in determining prices for auto and homeowners insurance. Employers have also begun using the scores as part of background checks when making hiring decisions. The practice of using credit scores in nontraditional ways is expanding. It’s more important than ever to educate yourself about credit.

 

* I am not a credit counselor or financial advisor this information is for educational purposes only and is not to be taken as guidelines or guarantees to improve your credit or financial situation or eligibility to secure a loan

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“Please Dog, Don’t Eat Me”

Written by Scott Bird.I’ll make a very long story as short as possible. As you know, this house was reported occupied and is fully fenced.

I made the risky attempt to open the gates and walk to the house after being warned by the neighbors of the borrower’s/occupant’s vicious dogs. Nobody has seen movement at this house for weeks. I’ve also never seen any changes to the home since I’ve been checking the occupancy. So I unlock the gate listening for any movement and all I hear is water dripping. The house is about 50 yards from the fence so if there is a dog coming, there is no way to avoid a dog bite in the butt because I’m not as fast as I once was to outrun a dog. I finally got to the house and stepped over all the clutter on the porch and ring the door bell. I hear nothing so I knock. Then I hear some movement inside by the door and know that someone is watching me through the eye hole in the door. After another minute I ring the door bell again, trying to be as polite as possible…then I see two dogs running to the front yard from the back of the house (I think the SOB let his dogs out to feed me for breakfast).

As you can imagine my heart rate QUADRUPLED, and I just stood there with fear in my eyes. Luckily the dogs didn’t see me and headed for the front fence. I was hoping that they would leave the property because I left the gate open in case I need a quick exit. Well…dah. I was 50 yards away so it wasn’t going to make any difference. All I could do is stand on the front porch motionless. I range the door bell too about 30 times, hoping the guy inside would have some mercy on me…NOPE. He’s probably inside sitting back enjoying the show. Then, one of the dogs spotted me…probably smelt the urine running down my leg (just kidding, no I did not wet my pants) and slowly walked towards me growling. He was the pit bull type which made it worse. Then the other dog, more of a border collie type saw me. He stared for a minute and then was quicker to approach me than the other, LUCKILY. Then a third dog came out from the back of the house. Now what? Can this madness get any worse? I had no idea what to expect or what I was going to do. I was going to call someone but that wasn’t going to keep me alive. It was just going to get someone else out here to clean up the mess.

And then God answered my prayers and the second dog approached and started licking me and jumping up on me. Usually I don’t like dogs jumping on my clean clothes but in this case, I really didn’t care. The other two dogs started in on the action and we had a very good moment…I could have cried and I walked slowly away from the home and out the gate. I’M ALIVE!!!!!

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Safe – Keeping Decorations for the Holidays

Written By June Holder

 It is always a fun festive feel to hang lights to brighten the holidays for those crisp evenings this time of year.  In planning which ones to invest in and installation, consider these things:

  • How much light you want to bring in—size of bulbs.
  • Purchase lights that can be exposed to moisture—rain/snow.
  • Connectors need to be where air can circulate to dry out, allowing for water to drain away safely.
  • Cover ends joining together with electrical tape or encase with plastic freezer bags for protection.
  • Electrical tape or plastic zip ties can hold connectors above ground away from runoff by attaching to branches or handy spot.
  • Plastic zip ties can be spaced to prevent the extreme wind from wear and tear, keeping bulbs from banging into things.
  • A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFI) prevents shorts and shocks, and is a safety device for precaution for everyone. 
  • Stakes are often needed to hold down displays – driving into the ground the entire length 6-8” will help keep the wind in check.

These are just a few ideas to help keep your special decorations from being torn and scattered throughout the neighborhood.  Using precautions like this, hopefully we will enjoy a safe, joyful holiday season. 

Stratum Real Estate would like to thank everyone who has allowed us to be a part of your lives.  We are better people because of knowing you, thank you.

 

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Understanding Appraisals

Written by Laura Wise

An appraisal is an opinion or estimate on the value of real property. This value is generally expressed as Market Value. Obtaining an appraisal is an important part of the process it will determine the actual market value of a home being purchased or refinanced. The appraisal allows the lender to determine if the value of the home is sufficient to support the loan amount requested. The appraised value will also ensure that a home buyer is not paying more than a home is actually worth.

Appraisal requirements include:

  • Interior and exterior inspection of the subject property
  • Comparable properties along with a street map that shows the location of the subject property and of all comparable properties that the appraiser used.
  • An outline of the property dimensions
  • Pictures of the subject property and comparable sales used

The appraisal report is broken up into sections. Some of the more common sections include:

  • Subject: Basic information such as the address, legal description, owner’s and/or borrower’s names. The client is also identified here.
  • Contract: Information on the contract for sale is entered here for appraisals in which a change of ownership is about to occur.
  • Neighborhood: Detailed information related to the neighborhood such as boundaries, characteristics, trends, description and conditions.
  • Site: Data on the size, shape, zoning and access to utilities as well as FEMA flood-zone information.
  • Improvements: Physical characteristics of the property such as age, materials, and condition.
  • Sales comparison approach: This is where the property being appraised is compared to recent sales of other properties.

There are three ways to approach an appraisal. These are all used to determine the final, “reconciled” value.

Sales Comparison Approach
The purpose of the sales comparison approach is to derive a value based on recent sales prices of similar properties, called comparables. The method assumes that the typical buyer pays no more for a property than the cost of purchasing an identical property.

Data is collected on recent sales of comparables. Because comparables may not be identical to the home that is the subject of their appraisal, some price adjustment is necessary. To minimize the amount of adjustment required, comparables should be closely similar to the subject in size, age, proximity and condition.

Cost Approach
The purpose of the cost approach is to indicate value based on the cost to replace the property, using current materials and methods. It is not necessary to simulate production of an exact replica. Any depreciation on the subject property is estimated and subtracted from the new reproduction cost. Depreciation includes physical wear, needed repair and replacement of components, outmoded design and materials, and incompatibility with surroundings.

Income Approach
This approach assumes the property is purchased for its productivity as an investment. The appraiser will look at market level rents and operating expense ratios to determine the value. This approach can be used for investment properties as well as owner-occupied properties.

Let us help you evaluate your home at no cost to you. We can help you understand better how to get a safe and fair appraisal.

What Our Customers Are Saying

Great experience with Kelsea Burton

Kelsea helped us buy and sell our homes this summer. It was our first time selling so we had a million questions about the process and she answered them all with patience. Answered calls every time and always kept us updated. We got great deals on...

whitney bladen
Kelsea went above and beyond

Kelsea Burton went above and beyond to help us not only sell our home but also find our dream home! She handled any and all bumps in the road (that come with the process) with ease and because of that it was smooth sailing! (Or smooth selling! ;))...

Kylie Burton
Amazing Realtor

Kelsea is wonderful to work with. I would highly recommend her. She is sweet and knowledgeable and there when I need her.

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Thank you Shelby

Attn. Shelby Smith,

First, my son, Jim, and I wish to express our sincere gratitude for your counsel and information regarding inquiry of properties of the Cedar City area. We appreciated the personal friendliness and helpfulness of our vis...

james melching
Realtor Extraordinaire!!

We recently sold our home with the help of Marilyn Teed. She made the process very easy for us. She went above and beyond anything we expected from a realtor. As we were busy getting settled in our new place, she took care of many incidental thing...

Rick and Dianne Hadlock
Knowledgeable, Reliable, Trustworthy

Kelly Adams is an amazing Real Estate Agent. He is professional, trustworthy, patient, and extremely knowledgeable about housing options in the area. We were moving across country and he worked tirelessly with us. We ultimately felt very comfortab...

Sarah Brock
Excellent Experience!

We bought our home with Jason Spencer and had an excellent experience! Jason was very helpful through the entire process! He was always available which was very helpful as we were moving from out of state. We would definitely recommend Jason and S...

Travis and Keli Allen
Kelly Adams

Kelly did a great job helping us purchase some real estate!
He was prompt with good follow through for our
questions and concerns.

Eric Muller
Steve Barnes answered all our questions

Steve Barnes was extremely instrumental in us finding and buying our home! We were moving across the country and only had a few days to find our forever home. Before we came out to look at homes Steve answered all our questions and would hunt down...

Sarah Black
Honest and hard-working

Kelly Adams has been an amazing realtor! He is honest and hard-working. I know he had several other clients while he was selling our house, but it felt like we were his only client. He was very attentive. He respected our privacy and gave plenty o...

Tyree Jensen

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