Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Alternative Investments



In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have rarely been this flush with cash.  The economic uncertainty due to the pandemic and the volatility of the stock market has caused assets in money-market funds to increase to approximately $4.6 trillion, the highest level on record according to Refinitv Lipper.

The question becomes should an investor be "out of the market" until things settle down or should they seek to find alternative investments to produce satisfactory results.  Even in the middle of this uncertainty, residential rental property has been a stable performer.

Rents are continuing to increase along with values.  Investor mortgages are available at 80% loan-to-value at fixed interest rates for 30-year terms.  Most other investments must be purchased for cash or at best, are limited to low loan-to-value loans, at floating interest rates for relatively short time frames.

The use of borrowed funds, especially at today's low interest rates, contribute to the rate of return and in some cases, increase it.  This characteristic is known as leverage.

Income properties enjoy specific tax advantages like long-term capital gains rates lower than ordinary income rates, standard depreciation, which is a non-cash deduction, as well as expensing many big-ticket items in the year purchased.

Tax deferred exchanges are available for investors wanting to avoid the tax due on sale and defer the profit into the replacement property.

One of the most cited reasons people invest in rental homes is that they feel they are more in control.  They understand a rental home because it is the same type of property and requires the same maintenance as the home they live in.  They can make the decisions to improve it, repair it, what rent to charge and when to sell it.  For most owners, a home represents their largest financial asset.  That familiarity becomes a natural bridge to decide to invest in rental property rather than something they are less familiar.

If you'd like to know more about the benefits, download the Rental Income Properties guide and call me at (801) 726-1443 to discuss what kind of opportunities are available.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Smart Sprinkler Controller



It seems like most homes have sprinkler systems and if they do, they have some form of controller to automatically turn the water on and off for the time and days you feel necessary.  It seems like basic functionality and if it isn't broken, you may not feel the need to replace it. 

Today, there are so many smart home devices that are not only convenient, but they'll end up saving you enough money to pay for the upgrade.  There are different manufacturers, but you should at least consider the Rachio if for no other reason than the easy installation procedure. 

The process is simple.  Unplug the old controller and disconnect the wires being sure to label which wires went to which stations.  Using the Rachio template, mark three spots on the wall, drill holes in the drywall, insert the anchors into the holes and screw the new controller to the wall. 

This model has convenient wire connectors that do not require crimping a wire around a screw.  It is quick and easy to put the numbered wires in the corresponding slot.  The directions are simple and easy to follow.  When complete, connect the power source and plug it into a wall socket. 

Now, install the Rachio app to your phone and continue following the instructions to connect the controller to the Wi-Fi.    In minutes, you'll be sitting in a lawn chair making adjustments and seeing what it will do. 

Some of the features you'll find very convenient are the multiple schedules that can be created and easily switched from one to another.  As you set up each zone, you can take a picture of the area and be able to identify with a glance which area you want when individually selecting one. 

Another thing you might like is that when you're trying to track down a broken head or just need to adjust it, you can turn on a zone from your phone while looking at the yard.  When you identify which head is the culprit, turn the water off from your phone, make the adjustment or repair and turn the water back on to test it without having to go back and forth to wherever your controller is located. 

Rachio will even monitor the weather to skip a scheduled cycle in case of rain, high wind or freezing temperatures.  You could literally be anywhere in the world where you have an Internet connection and you'll be able to adjust your watering cycle.  This device really does save time and money while being fun to operate. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

How Does It Measure Up?



People are always looking for a "down and dirty" way to determine the value of a home and square footage seems to be one of the most common things used by people whether they are buyers, sellers or real estate agents.  While it seems straight forward, there are several variances that can lead to inaccurate determinations.

The market data approach to value uses similar properties in size, location, condition and amenities to compare with the subject to arrive at a price.  Differences in any of these things can affect the price per square foot.  Appraisers are trained and licensed to make these adjustments but the differences are not necessarily objective and that is where opinions start to influence the value.

Even if a person were to make accurate adjustments, they would be based on the assumption that the square footage of the comparable properties is correct.  That leads to the next area of concern: how was the subject property measured.

It is commonly accepted to the measure the outside of the dwelling on detached housing.  Is it customary in this area to include porches and patios under roof and if so, do they get full value or only partial value?  Is there any value given to the garage since it isn't living area?  What about other areas that do not have HVAC coverage?

Some areas don't give consideration to basement square footage at all.  Others might give some value if it is finished or has access directly to the outside like a walk-out basement.  Similarly, attic space could be finished and under HVAC but if the ceiling height is not standard for the home, it may not receive value.

The problems become exacerbated when different comparables are not treated consistently and yet the common denominator ends up being an average of the square foot price of each.   This is calculated by taking the sales price and dividing it by the number of square feet being quoted.

The source of the square footage should be listed to help determine the accuracy.  It could be what the builder said it was to the original purchaser.  If there is a set a plans available, that might seem credible but it is not uncommon for the builder to make changes while the home is being built which could increase or decrease the square footage.

Another source is the tax assessor.  In many cases, they don't actually measure the home but take the word of the builders or appraisers for it.  If permits were obtained to add on to the home since it was built, it should be reflected in the square footage.  However, sometimes permits are not secured properly.

After reading this, you may think that more doubts have been introduced than solutions and you are correct.  It takes diligence on the part of all parties to determine the correct amount.  The most highly trained person will be the appraiser and they should be measuring the home in its "as is" condition but understand that even a competent person can inadvertently make a mistake.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

It's Worth Digging a Little Deeper



There are hundreds of thousands of people who believe, for one reason or another, they cannot afford to buy a home currently.  Some people  may not for any number of reasons but it would be very surprising to know how many who can buy but have gotten some bad information along the way.  It's worth digging a little deeper to find out the facts.

John and Karen have been renting a home for the last five years at $2,000 a month.  During that time, the value of the home they were renting went up by $30,000 in value while the unpaid balance decreased by $18, 400.  Even though they were fortunate enough the rent remained constant over the five years, they missed out on close to $50,000 of equity that the owner realized instead of them.

Another thing to consider with today's low interest rates, it is quite common for a mortgage payment to be lower than a tenant is paying rent for a similar property.  So, in this example, John & Karen paid more to rent than a house payment would have been and missed out on the equity build-up that occurred due to appreciation and amortization.

The simple fact is when tenants like John and Karen pay their rent, the landlord is the beneficiary of the rent received as well as the equity earned.  Over time, the rent paid by John and Karen and other tenants will pay for the landlord's rental.  It a great concept and a good investment.

True, not everyone can afford a home.  A buyer needs money for a down payment and closing costs.   They also need to have income and good credit to qualify for the mortgage.  Some of these may seem insurmountable but instead of imagining that buying a home is not in the cards at the current time, talking to a real estate professional is a better route to take.

There are lots of low-down payment mortgages available including 100% financing for qualified veterans and USDA eligible buyers.  It is sometimes more difficult to find sellers willing to pay all or part of a buyers closing costs when inventory is low, but lenders do allow it.  It is a matter of finding the willing seller.

The source of the down payment could be a gift from a family member as long as there is no repayment expected.  It's amazing how many parents or grandparents might be willing to help a relative get into a home.  Funds for a down payment may be available as loans or withdrawals from qualified retirement programs like IRAs or 401k plans.  It's worth investigating based on what retirement programs you have.

Good credit is necessary to qualify for a loan but buyers should not assume that theirs is not adequate.  A trusted mortgage professional can assess a situation and may be able to suggest some things that will not only raise the score enough to be approved but possibly, even raise the score enough to qualify for a better interest rate.

There are a lot of misunderstandings about whether a person can or cannot qualify for a home at this time.  Instead of relying on second hand information or something that might be floating around on the Internet, spend some time with a real estate professional who can give you the facts, assess your situation and if necessary, point you in the right direction to get help from a trusted mortgage professional.  Call (801) 726-1443 to schedule an appointment where we'll help you dig deeper to determine whether you can buy a home now.

Download our Buyers Guide to give you more information.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Grilling Safety



More people grill in July, June & August than any other months and correspondingly, there are more injuries, as well as fires, due to grilling accidents in those months. Even though Labor Day is in September, we still need to be aware of safety.

Close to 20,000 patients per year visit the emergency room due to injuries involving grills.  Approximately half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns.  If you are around fire, there's a chance of getting burned. 

About 2/3 of American households own at least one outdoor barbecue, grill or smoker.  Interestingly, gas grills contribute to more fires than charcoal grills.  In addition, there are over 10,600 home fires started by grills each year.

While grilling is associated with celebrations, good food, fun and friends, it is important to make sure that accidents don't interrupt your activities. 

  • Only use BBQ grills outdoors and in ventilated areas
  • Place the grill away from home or anything that could be flammable
  • Keep grill stable
  • Keep fire under control
  • Keep children away from grill
  • Never leave the grill unattended
  • The grill lid should always be open before lighting it.
  • Grease should not be allowed to build up in the grill
  • Use long-handled utensils

Gas/Propane

  • Check the tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year by using a light soapy water solution to see if bubbles appear.
  • You should not smell gas when the grill is lit.  Move away from the grill and call the fire department.
  • If the flame goes out, turn off the gas for 15 minutes and open the lid before re-lighting it.

Charcoal

  • Never add any starter fluid or other flammable liquid to a fire
  • Only use charcoal starter fluid and not gasoline, kerosene or other flammable liquid.
  • Keep starter fluid away from heat sources and out of reach of children.
  • Electric starters have a coil that ignites the charcoal.
  • When finished cooking, close off the grill vents to suffocate the fire and save some of the remaining charcoal.

Practice safe grilling and enjoy any occasion to cook outdoors and share time with your family and friends.

Friday, February 21, 2020

New Listing! 501 Nottingham Dr, Tooele, UT 84074 - $435,000 - MLS 1656041



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Attention Serious Camping Enthusiasts! 57’ long by 17’ wide RV pad poured along the side of the home with an additional 26’ long by 17’ wide RV pad continuing behind the gate of the fully fenced back yard. That’s over 1,400 square feet of beautifully poured concrete to accommodate all of your outdoor-adventuring passions. And because you can never really have enough parking and workshop space, there’s a real 4-car garage (not tandem) with built-in cabinetry, shelving and epoxied floor, too.
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Inside this move-in ready 2-story home with mountain views, the main level features a well-designed kitchen with an island, pantry, large dining area and an almost brand new top-of-the-line KitchenAid “black stainless” appliance package: 5-burner gas cooktop double-oven range, microwave, dishwasher and French Door refrigerator. The family room has a corner gas-log fireplace, there is an office/formal living room and a main level ½ bath for convenience.
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The master suite, along with 3 additional bedrooms and the laundry, are together upstairs - away from the activity on the main level. The spacious master bedroom and bath features a walk-in closet, shower with separate tub, double-sink vanity, and private toilet. No tiny spare bedrooms either!
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The fully-finished daylight basement with stained concrete and carpet flooring is a great place for TV, home theater and gaming (online or on a pool table) and features a guest/5th bedroom and a third full bathroom.
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The amazing-is-an-understatement back yard is a get-way-from-it all retreat with a large deck off the kitchen and expansive patio with a fireplace, perfect for both entertaining and playdates. Fully fenced with an automatic sprinkler system and surrounded by trees for privacy. Plus a stuccoed outbuilding with a roll-up door that would make SheShedCheryl proud.
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Make sure to click in to “Tour” for the Matterport virtual walk through.
Welcome to Your New Home 💗 MLS 1656041
Talk with your agent or call Kim today to schedule your showing appointment today!



Kim Novak is the Broker/Owner of
Novak Advantage Real Estate.
She can be reached by call/text at
(801) 726-1443 and by email to
kim@novakadvantage.com

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Northern Utah Is Seeing a Commercial Real Estate Boom


Perry Van Schelt and David Rindlisbach [CC BY-SA]

Click Here to Read the Article (it's really, really good) ➜ Northern Utah Is Seeing A Commercial Real Estate Boom

This headline could be "Weber & Davis Counties Relocate to be Closer to Salt Lake." Ok, ok, I kid. That's kind of an inside joke. You know, like it's a 30-minute drive from Ogden to Salt Lake, but 10-years from SLC to Ogden. So this article sums up what we Northerners have always known. Our long-game comes with a plan. And we're in it to win it.

PS We're bringing Box Elder with us.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Kim Novak, Broker/Owner, Novak Advantage Real Estate
A Veteran-Owned, Woman-Owned Real Estate Brokerage
Call or Text: (801) 726-1443  Email: kim@novakadvantage.com

Your Guide to Finding Home in Utah * Start Your Home Search Here www.UtahHouseandHome.com
ABR, AHWD, CRS, CSP, e-PRO, Green, GRI, MRP, RENE, RSPS, SFR, SRES, SRS
RE/MAX Hall of Fame * RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award *  Salt Lake Board of Realtors® Hall of Fame
Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors® Lifetime SalesMaster * Link to Résumé

UT DRE Brokerage License# 8817929-CN00 * UT DRE Principal Broker License# 5459481-PB00

Understanding Reverse Mortgages




Reverse mortgage loans are like traditional mortgages that permits homeowners to borrow money using their home as collateral while retaining title to the property.  Reverse mortgage loans don't require monthly payments.

The loan is due and payable when the borrower no longer lives in the home or dies, whichever comes first.  Since no payments are made, interest and fees earned are added to the loan balance each month causing an increasing unpaid balance.  Homeowners are required to pay property taxes, insurance and maintain the home, as their principal residence, in good condition.

Reverse mortgages provide older Americans including Baby Boomers access to their home's equity. Borrowers can use their equity to renovate their homes, eliminate personal debt, pay medical expenses or supplement their income with reverse mortgage funds.
Homeowners are required to be 62 years and older and meet the following requirements:
  • Own the home free and clear or owe very little on the current mortgage that can be paid off with the proceeds
  • Live in the home as their primary residence
  • Be current on all taxes, insurance, and association dues and all federal debt
  • Prove they can keep up with the home's maintenance and repairs
Payouts are based on the age of the youngest spouse. The younger the age, the less money can be borrowed. Reverse mortgages offer two terms ... a fixed rate or variable rate. Fixed rate HECMs have one interest rate and one lump sum payment. Variable rate loans offer multiple payout options:
  • Equal monthly payouts
  • A line of credit with access until the funds are gone
  • Combined line of credit and fixed monthly payments for a specified term
  • Combined line of credit and fixed monthly payments for the life of the loan

Traditional reverse mortgages, also called Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, HECM, are insured by FHA. There are no income limitations or requirements and the loan funds may be used for any purpose. The borrower must attend a counseling session about the HECM, its risk, benefits, and how much can be borrowed. The final loan amount is based on borrower's age and home value. FHA HECMs require upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums but can be wrapped into the loan.

Proprietary HECM loans are not federally insured. Lenders create their own terms, including allowing loan amounts higher than the FHA maximum. Proprietary HECMs don't require mortgage insurance (upfront or monthly), which may result in more funds available. Proprietary reverse mortgages typically have higher interest rates than FHA HECMs.

Advantages
  • Create a steady stream of income during retirement
  • The proceeds aren't taxed or risk borrower's Social Security payments
  • Title and rights to the home are retained by the homeowner
  • Monthly payments are not required
Disadvantages
  • The loan balance increases over time rather than decreases as with an amortizing loan
  • The loan balance may exceed the property value eliminating inheritance
  • The fees may be higher than traditional mortgage loans
  • Any absence of the home for longer than 6 months for non-medical or 12 months for medical reasons makes the loan due and payable

More information is available about reverse mortgages from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or Federal Trade Commission or HUD.gov.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Choosing the Right Agent: Is Your REALTOR® a Mentor or a Motivator (and which is right for you)?


men•tor mĕn′tôr″, -tər
noun. A wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

To serve as a trusted counselor or teacher, especially in occupational settings

A MENTOR is someone:
Who trusts your abilities to rise to the occasion
Who tells you what you NEED to hear
Who inspires confidence and pulls you along to become your best


mo•ti•vate mō′tə-vāt″
verb. To cause to be enthusiastic.

To provide with an incentive or a reason for doing something; impel.

A MOTIVATOR is someone:
You depend on to keep you "up"
Who tells you what you WANT to hear
Who needs to push you to action


I admit: I am a terrible motivator. 

Years of management experience, in and outside the field of real estate, has taught me that you truly cannot motivate another person. Motivation comes from within. You either are or aren't about whatever someone else is trying to motivate you to do or achieve. Most real estate agents are motivators, which is why the public often perceives those in my profession as pushy and self-serving.

I also admit: I am not for everyone.

"You didn't tell me that." This is a feeling I never want my clients to experience. I've built my service commitment on the foundation of helping my clients set achievable expectations, providing them with information about, well, everything, and being their step-by-step guide to a successful closing. Think of our relationship like learning a new language - Real Estate Immersion. 

Choosing the right agent is your prerogative. Don't leave it up to Yelp reviews or Zillow advertising. Interview your agent voice-to-voice and face-to-face(time). Ask for a résumé and references. Make sure that they are a "match." This initial step to achieving your homeownership goals, whether buying or selling, is on you.

So in closing, and kinda-sorta relevant because he attended the London School of Economics, I leave you with this profound insight from Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones ...



Kim Novak is the Broker/Owner of Novak Advantage Real Estate. 
(lucky) 13 industry Designations and Certifications and 4 industry Awards, but at the center of all that are her Clients.

Kim can be reached by call/text/FaceTime at (801) 726-1443 and by email to kim@novakadvantage.com.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Finding Home in Utah: Downsizing in 2020



Sometimes Moving Up Means Downsizing, Too.

Approximately 52 million or 16% of Americans are age 65 and over.  It is easy to understand that some of them are thinking of downsizing their home because they don't need the same space they did in the past.

It can be liberating to divest yourself of "things" that have been accumulated over the years but are no longer needed.  Moving to a less expensive home, could provide savings for unanticipated expenditures or cash that could be invested for additional income.

Savings can be realized in the lower premiums for insurance and lower property taxes, as well as,  the lower utility costs associated with a smaller home.

Typically, owners downsize to a home to 2/3 to 50% of their current home's size.  In some situations, it is not only economically beneficial, but their interests may have changed so that a different style of home, area or city might fit their lifestyle better.

The sale of a home with a lot of profit will not necessarily trigger a tax liability.  Homeowners are eligible for an exclusion of $250,000 of gain for single taxpayers and up to $500,000 for married taxpayers who have owned and used their home two out of the last five years and haven't taken the exclusion in the previous 24 months.

Homeowners should consult their tax professionals to see how this may apply to their individual situation.  For more information, you can download the Homeowners Tax Guide.

Call or text me at (801) 726-1443 to find out what your home is worth and what it would take to make the move to another home.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Kim Novak, Broker/Owner, Novak Advantage Real Estate
A Veteran-Owned, Woman-Owned Real Estate Brokerage
Call or Text: (801) 726-1443  Email: kim@novakadvantage.com

Your Guide to Finding Home in Utah
Start Your Home Search Here www.UtahHouseandHome.com
ABR, AHWD, CRS, CSP, e-PRO, Green, GRI, MRP, RENE, RSPS, SFR, SRES, SRS
RE/MAX Hall of Fame * RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award *  Salt Lake Board of Realtors® Hall of Fame * Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors® Lifetime SalesMaster * Link to Résumé

UT DRE Brokerage License# 8817929-CN00 * UT DRE Principal Broker License# 5459481-PB00


Saturday, January 4, 2020

New Listing! 5107 S 2125 W, Roy, UT 84067 - $265,000 - MLS 1647029




Searching for an affordable home with a huge garage and workshop, in an ideal location? Check this out! 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2088 sqft, 4-car garage, .23 acres in Roy, east of the tracks and just a few minutes from Hill AFB. Heated 24'x36' detached 4-car garage with 9' door, power & workbench plus a separate storage shed. Backup generator for the home is included. 

Remodeled kitchen with granite countertops, white appliance package, smooth top range, built-in microwave, refrigerator and laminate flooring. Hardwood floors under the carpet on main level. Updated bathrooms with tile floors. Newer vinyl windows. Central Air. Enclosed patio adds living space that's heated and cooled - window A/C unit stays. Extra room in the basement could be 4th bedroom, exercise room or office. Covered carport parking at the back door. Beautiful lawn & trees, almost completely fenced yard, automatic sprinkler system connected to secondary water.

MLS 1647029 Talk with your agent or call Kim today to schedule your showing appointment!


Kim Novak is the Broker/Owner of Novak Advantage Real Estate. She can be reached by call/text at (801) 726-1443 and by email to kim@novakadvantage.com.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2020: Joy and (more) Baby Yoda



(no spoilers)

Yes, I'm one of "them" (he's just so adorable!).

Happy New Year, too! But better than just any new year. A new year that starts a new decade. And a new decade that begins with a fortuitous LEAP 🐸 year.

My wish for 2020 is that we leave the high-anxiety real estate markets of 2018 and 2019 behind us in favor of a healthy balance beneficial for both Buyers and Sellers. I confess to my palpable, adverse reaction to every news report, including those published by my REALTOR® associations at the national, state, and local levels, proclaiming this one-sided awesomeness of the real estate market. If my 24+ years in real estate have taught me anything, it's that neither hyper-price-appreciation in strong Seller's markets, nor depressed-prices and distressed-sales of strong Buyer's markets, are good for our national psyche and overall economy. Buyers have reached burn-out critical mass and Sellers, who are the beneficiary of all that home-value appreciation, are experiencing the same painful reality when they become Buyers themselves after the sale. My wish for 2020 is Joy in Homeownership. Whether buying your first home or selling your current home so that you can build a new one, you deserve to love the experience.

2020 is also the Chinese Year of the Rat. Make of that what you will, but in Chinese culture it portends wealth and surplus. "Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life." Sounds pretty good to me.

Kim Novak is a long-time Trekkie who has found re-connection with the Star Wars universe in the form of a little green 50 year-old baby. She is very excited about the real-life US Space Force and loves spending time with clients in her Tesla named ⭐Star⭐. She can be reached by call/text at (801) 726-1443 or email to kim@novakadvantage.com.

Monday, December 30, 2019

2020 Housing Forecast: Sunny Days for New Construction


"Home sellers will remain on the sidelines, but millenials are on the move."


I love this infographic. They say a picture says a thousand words and this one represents both a business plan and a marketing strategy for 2020.

Mortgage Rates by end of 2020 increase to 3.88%
(still crazy low)

Average Median Home Price up by 0.8% 
(median home prices predicted to increase 3.6% according to NAR's Forecast)

Homeownership Rate 64.6% 
(troubling: essentially no growth 2014-2019 resulting in less home equity wealth-building)
Source: NAR Real Estate Summit Forecast

Single Family Housing Starts up 6%
(new construction continues to position itself as a viable inventory shortage solution)

Existing Home Sales Down 1.8%
(existing homeowners are staying in place, plus purchases shifting to new construction)

Take Aways for 2020

  • Low mortgage interest rates, minimal down-payment requirements, home equity wealth-building opportunity and the IRS mortgage interest tax deduction offer a winning scenario for Buyers in 2020.
  • There will be more new-home inventory for Buyers to choose from, replacing the void created by the lack of existing-home inventory. New construction is the housing shortage solution for Buyers.
  • For Sellers, the heyday of listing as-is and selling day-one with multiple offers is drawing to a close for this market cycle. New construction will continue to be the primary competition for existing-home sales into the foreseeable future. See Related Blog Post: Selling? Think Like a Buyer

Kim Novak is a CSP: Certified New Home Sales Professional and a CRS: Certified Residential Specialist. She can be reached at (801) 726-1443 or by email to kim@novakadvantage.com

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Selling? Think Like a Buyer


Link to Report

Selling a home for highest & best takes strategy, even in today's strong Seller's Market.

When I meet with potential Sellers to present my Marketing Plan, I explain that although I represent the Seller as my client, I must market to the Buyer in order to successfully sell the home.

The recently released 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers compiled by the National Association of REALTORS® provides valuable insight in to both sides of the real estate transaction. While home buyers may find the information interesting (reinforcing what they already know), the target audience for this report is home sellers. It is a "how-to" guide to attract the best qualified, most motivated buyers.

The biggest competition that existing home sales face is that of new construction. The good news is that move-in ready new homes are scarce, so the opportunity for your existing home to sell at top-of-market pricing is in making it look and feel similar to the new construction found in your community and price range. A REALTOR® can help their clients prioritize which improvements will give them the greatest return on investment with a focus on maximizing the Seller's bottom line.

If you've been thinking about moving, or are just curious about what homes are selling for in your neighborhood, click HERE to find out how much your home is worth in today's market! #findinghomeinutah



Kim Novak is an SRS: Seller Representative Specialist and has been her Client's guide to successful selling throughout her 24-year career. She can be reached at (801) 726-1443 or email to kim@novakadvantage.com

Friday, December 27, 2019

(Stay On The) Pathways to Professionalism



As REALTORS®, we tout adherence to our foundational Code of Ethics - principles that set us apart from other real estate licensees.

Beginning with the lofty Preamble:

Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization ...,

it is essentially a rule-book. 

The courtesy and etiquette embodied by the Pathways to Professionalism exemplifies what it means to be a REALTOR® when out in the field. It is an appendix to the Code of Ethics and I include it with my listings as an attached document for Buyer's Agents to review prior to showing my Seller's home. 

Section III, #7. is one of my personal favorites. Colleagues, please, for the love of all that is professional, don't call me "hon." In return, I promise I'll never call you "dumplin'."

Pathways to Professionalism

I. Respect for the Public

1. Follow the "Golden Rule”: Do unto other as you would have them do unto you.
2. Respond promptly to inquiries and requests for information.
3. Schedule appointments and showings as far in advance as possible.
4. Call if you are delayed or must cancel an appointment or showing.
5. If a prospective buyer decides not to view an occupied home, promptly explain the
situation to the listing broker or the occupant.
6. Communicate with all parties in a timely fashion.
7. When entering a property ensure that unexpected situations, such as pets, are handled appropriately.
8. Leave your business card if not prohibited by local rules.
9. Never criticize property in the presence of the occupant.
10. Inform occupants that you are leaving after showings.
11. When showing an occupied home, always ring the doorbell or knock—and announce
yourself loudly before entering. Knock and announce yourself loudly before entering any
closed room.
12. Present a professional appearance at all times; dress appropriately and drive a clean
car.
13. If occupants are home during showings, ask their permission before using the telephone or bathroom.
14. Encourage the clients of other brokers to direct questions to their agent or
representative.
15. Communicate clearly; don’t use jargon or slang that may not be readily understood.
16. Be aware of and respect cultural differences.
17. Show courtesy and respect to everyone.
18. Be aware of—and meet—all deadlines.
19. Promise only what you can deliver—and keep your promises.
20. Identify your REALTOR® and your professional status in contacts with the public.
21. Do not tell people what you think—tell them what you know.

II. Respect for Property

1. Be responsible for everyone you allow to enter listed property.
2. Never allow buyers to enter listed property unaccompanied.
3. When showing property, keep all members of the group together.
4. Never allow unaccompanied access to property without permission.
5. Enter property only with permission even if you have a lockbox key or combination.
6. When the occupant is absent, leave the property as you found it (lights, heating, cooling, drapes, etc.) If you think something is amiss (e.g. vandalism), contact the listing broker immediately.
7. Be considerate of the seller's property. Do not allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke,
dispose of trash, use bathing or sleeping facilities, or bring pets. Leave the house as you
found it unless instructed otherwise.
8. Use sidewalks; if weather is bad, take off shoes and boots inside property.
9. Respect sellers’ instructions about photographing or videographing their properties’
interiors or exteriors.

III. Respect for Peers

1. Identify your REALTOR® and professional status in all contacts with other REALTORS®.
2. Respond to other agents' calls, faxes, and e-mails promptly and courteously.
3. Be aware that large electronic files with attachments or lengthy faxes may be a burden
on recipients.
4. Notify the listing broker if there appears to be inaccurate information on the listing.
5. Share important information about a property, including the presence of pets, security
systems, and whether sellers will be present during the showing.
6. Show courtesy, trust, and respect to other real estate professionals.
7. Avoid the inappropriate use of endearments or other denigrating language. 
8. Do not prospect at other REALTORS®' open houses or similar events.
9. Return keys promptly.
10. Carefully replace keys in the lockbox after showings.
11. To be successful in the business, mutual respect is essential.
12. Real estate is a reputation business. What you do today may affect your reputation—and business—for years to come.




Kim Novak is a 24-year member of the
National Association of REALTORS®
Contact her at kim@novakadvantage.com
or by call/text to (801) 726-1443

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Winter Is the Best Time for Home Buyers - And December 26th is the Best Day!



Winter Is the Best Time for Home Buyers: Buyers savvy enough to close on these dates may find themselves coming out ahead financially. ATTOM researchers pegged Dec. 26, Dec. 31, and Dec. 4, in that order, as the best days for home buyers to grab the biggest discounts on their home purchase.

84 more days for Buyers to take advantage of Sellers' wintertime motivation. Stay ahead of the game and keep track of the Spring Equinox Count-Down Clock HERE.

Perfect house-hunting weather to take us in to the New Year, too! If you've been wondering if the time is right to start looking for a new home, all indications are, well, Yes!

Kim Novak is the Broker/Owner of Novak Advantage Real Estate. She also loves snow.

Call, Text or Email to schedule an appointment!
(801) 726-1443   kim@novakadvantage.com



Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Home Warranties: Are They Worth It?



Home Warranties aren't just for Home Buyers.

Are they worth it? Absolutely. It's important to set your expectations, though. Home Warranties are not the same as Homeowner's Insurance. They offer protection "walls-in" for appliances, electrical, plumbing, heating & air conditioning. Some offer options for pool and spa coverage. They do not cover roof and foundation repairs, nor flooding from a misdirected sprinkler head or leaf-clogged drain at the bottom of a basement entry. And if you've just bought your first home, remember that they are not a replacement for a landlord, nor is the coverage limitless. One of the joys of home ownership is developing mad home maintenance skills!

Typical Coverage Includes:
Air Conditioning
Heating
Plumbing
Electrical
Water Heater
Washer & Dryer
Kitchen Refrigerator & Ice Maker
Built-in Microwave Oven
Dishwasher
Garbage Disposal
Range/Oven/Cooktop
Ceiling Fan
Garage Door Opener
Instant H/C Water Dispenser
Built-in Exhaust, Attic, Whole House Fans

Need a last minute holiday gift? Consider one that gives all year long. Typically priced between $350 and $500, Home Warranties are a great option when you're looking for a present that you can all chip in on to give Mom & Dad or Grandma & Grandpa or that one friend who always seems to dealing with a home maintenance emergency at midnight (and texts for your help). Or splurge and Secret-Santa yourself. Home Warranties are easy to order online and if you need a recommendation for the best one to choose, just call your favorite Realtor!

Kim Novak is a CRS: Certified Residential Specialist who has been her Clients' guide to Finding Home in Utah for the past 24-years.

Friday, December 20, 2019

It's Friday! Time to Plan Your Weekend Open House Tour


'Twas the Saturday before Christmas when through the open house, REALTORS® were guiding both you and your spouse.

The Flyers were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Offers soon would be there.

Buyers were counting up how many beds, while visions of Homeownership danced in their heads.

With me in my finest and phone in my hand, just in case a text was in order for a home sale to land.

When out of my mobile there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my duties to take care of the matter.

Away to my laptop I flew like a flash, tore open cover and looked down with a gasp.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear but an email saying an Offer was near.

And in an instant the Offer was accepted so quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than fiber-optic the questions they came, and I whistled and shouted and called the parties by name.

Now, Buyer and Agent! Now, Seller and Me! Now Lender and Escrow! Can this really be?

Then I spoke a few words and went straight to my work. My Clients count on me. That's one of the perks!

With accepted Contract in process We gave a great shout. We’re going to closing! Over and Moving Out!

Account of a Visit from St Nicholas by Major Henry Livingston Jr (1748-1828)
Creative license by Yours Truly

Search This Weekend's Open Houses HERE!


Kim Novak is an SRS: Seller Representative Specialist and ABR: Accredited Buyer Representative. She has hosted and toured Open Houses representing her Seller and Buyer Clients helping them Finding Home in Utah.