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

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

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
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
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
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

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
Water Heater
Washer & Dryer
Kitchen Refrigerator & Ice Maker
Built-in Microwave Oven
Garbage Disposal
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.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

50+ Not-So-Baby Boomers: Think Right-Size, Not Down-Size

Rightsize verb: to reduce to an optimal size

Marie Kondo taught me to organize what I have and then donate or gift, with intention, all that is left over.

Joshua Becker taught me to not buy the stuff in the first place.

The first step to a successful Rightsize is to Downsize-in-Place. Not only will this give you perspective on the size and space configuration that you envision for living perfectly in your new home, but you'll be simultaneously preparing your current home to sell for highest & best when it's time to put it on the market.

In my experience helping my 50+ clients Rightsize, I've learned that it is never really about moving to a smaller house. It's about moving to a home that is meant just for them. Not for the kids. Not for out-of-town family visitors. Not for the commute. Just.For.Them.

It's your time. You've worked for this. The She Shed in the backyard for your painting, pottery or writing your first novel. The third bay in the heated garage for your workshop, complete with cable TV and chaise lounge chair. Ready? Let's Make It Happen!

Kim Novak is an SRES: Seniors Real Estate Specialist and RENE: Real Estate Negotiating Expert, by experience and industry certification. She has made it her mission to help her clients Finding Home in Utah.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

HUD Homes: Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures Offer Buyers Opportunities

2009 + (78 - 62) = 2025

Prediction: We'll see a growing trend of HUD Home opportunities for Buyers over the next 5+ years that are the result of Reverse Mortgage foreclosure. Aging is a natural process that occurs independently of real estate market conditions. According to NRMLA: National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association statistics, the height of Reverse Mortgage loan originations, since tracking began in 1990, was in 2009. With life expectancy in the US at 78.6 years, 2025 may be the mid-point of a 10-year trend already underway. But don't think this is all doom-and-gloom. Reverse Mortgage foreclosure can result from other factors such as the home no longer being used as the borrower's principal residence, failure to occupy the home for 12 consecutive months because of illness (think "going to a nursing home"), or not meeting mortgage obligations such as keeping property taxes paid current, maintaining homeowners insurance and continuing upkeep of the home.

Reverse Mortgages are officially known as HECM: Home Equity Conversion Mortgages and are generally available to persons aged 62+ who own their home free & clear or have a significant amount of equity. The vast majority are insured FHA Loans. When an FHA Loan is foreclosed, it becomes a HUD Home owned by the US Government and is listed for sale by a REALTOR® on the MLS: Multiple Listing Service.

During the past few months, I've twice crossed paths professionally with Reverse Mortgage situations. First, with a family trying to determine if it made sense to purchase the property themselves under the discounted provisions afforded only to heirs, and, most recently, representing a Buyer make an offer on a HUD Home that resulted from a Reverse Mortgage foreclosure. Looking forward to 2020 and beyond, Reverse Mortgage foreclosures will offer viable new home purchase opportunities for savvy homebuyers.

Kim Novak is an SFR: Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource and Registered HUD Broker NAID# NVKSLS0536. She has represented Buyers, Sellers, and VA & REO Bank-Owned Properties throughout her 24-year career.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

First-Time Homebuyers: New Construction as a Solution to Inventory Shortage Woes


A little can go a long way for a first-time home buyer win in our ultra-competitive, seller's market. If you're in to month #4 of house hunting, your new home would be 1/2 way to completion by now ... at a set price that hasn't increased in tandem with our appreciating market, enjoying an experience that virtually eliminates multiple-offer bidding wars. New construction is an opportunity for you to win in today's real estate market - a brand new home with built-in equity.

Don't let anyone tell you that there aren't affordable options. Don't let anyone tell you they won't work with your agent. Don't let anyone tell you that you'll save money if you buy directly from the builder, without representation. And don't limit your options by going it alone.

Choosing the right REALTOR® as your guide is an important first step to success; a qualified and experienced professional who will be your advocate in navigating all of the new communities, price-points & floor plans, financing options & incentives, warranties & reputation, and translating new construction contracts & builder-ese.

It's All About the Benefits (to you). I offer my clients a comprehensive new home guidebook, which includes a new home communities tour and a builder-match featuring one-to-one meetings with the builders' sales reps. One of the most valuable benefits this affords my clients is that I often know about new home communities and "spec" homes that are almost at completion before they are even made public or listed in the MLS: Multiple Listing Service. Another win for you.

Let's go have fun with this!

Kim Novak is a CSP: Certified New Home Sales Professional and ABR: Accredited Buyer Representative. She has worked cooperatively with Utah Builders and their Sales Teams since 1995, professionally representing her Homebuyer Clients Finding Home in Utah.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

New Listing! 3524 S 5050 W, West Haven, UT 84401 - $429,900 - MLS 1645335

What better holiday gift than to start the New Year in an amazing new home! Eight months of full builder warranty coverage remaining and a 2-5 year transferable extended warranty for the new homeowner. West facing rambler in the Meadow Green Estates community in West Haven (no HOA!). 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 3872 sf, 4-car garage, .31 acres partly fenced with secondary water connection.

The kitchen features quartz countertops, a 5-burner gas range, stainless appliances, island with overhang for barstools and a corner pantry. Main level laundry room and bench, hooks and cubbies as you come in from the garage. The family room features a gas log fireplace and an extra outlet in the floor for table lamps. High-end laminate flooring throughout the main level with plush carpet in the bedrooms and tile in the bathrooms. The master bedroom accommodates a king-sized suite of furniture and features a huge walk-in with enough closet space for everyone. The master bathroom features a comfort-height vanity with quartz countertops and double sinks, private toilet and an oversized dual head shower with bench seat. Custom solar shades & blinds.

Make sure to check out the MATTERPORT virtual floor plan and walk through link along with the photo tour of this beautiful home!

MLS 1645335 $429,900