Utah County Real Estate News

July 31, 2018

Converting Closets to Office Space

For many, the dream is to have a significant home with lots of living space. Unfortunately, having lots of space is often too expensive or not possible in the area where you live. When someone works out of the home or telecommutes regularly, it is necessary to have a home office to work out of. Thankfully, there are lots of options for even the smallest space to create an office. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities for a home office you can that can build out of good closets, nooks or other crannies in your home.

Make Space your own

With a little imagination and space, you can create an office out of a closet. Since you will be spending a lot of time in your home office, make it personal. Decorate with colors that will make you more productive. Decorate with pictures of your family, or put decorations up for specific holidays or special occasions. If you have space, you can even include sports memorabilia. Find a comfortable, ergonomic chair that will fit your space. Make sure you are comfortable and at home in an area because you will be spending a lot of time here during work hours.

Make it functional

It is essential to make space a comfortable place to be, but as necessary is for it to be practical. Make sure you have the space required for your desktop or laptop computer and printer. When trying to work with a smaller area, shelves are a necessity for creating more space for other essentials like papers and other projects you are involved in. You may need to have a space for an office phone or different ways to communicate with the office. If a door is not available for the office space, you could put a curtain up to maintain some privacy for calls.

Make it productive

When you are in a home office, you will need to be in a relatively distraction-free area. Make sure all the items you need are within reach of the room that you will be in. There are other ways to store things, even if you need to save them in other areas of the room. When you have a family that is at home with you, make sure to establish rules dealing with interruptions, especially when it comes to phone calls or conference calls. Having all the necessary items in your office can help with the distractions.

When it comes to having a home office, it is always helpful to have a separate space, but it doesn’t have to be a vast space if you are creative and make good use of the space you already have.





Posted in Home
July 17, 2018

Your Home's First Impressions

When it comes to meeting people, most of the time first impressions matter. Whether it is for an interview, at a party, or meeting your neighbors for the first time, people often remember how you were the first time you met. The same thing happens as people see your home for the first time. As the expression goes, “You only get one time to make a first impression.” Make sure you get the most out of people’s first impression by showing them your home in its best light.


This one especially hits home for me. When I went to look at a house recently, the homeowner’s were in the process of moving, and they weren’t ready for showing at the time. Afterward, when we talked to our agent, we couldn’t get over the amount of clutter that was in the house. If the people are looking at your house and see a messy house, it is distracting to the point they can’t imagine themselves living in the home. If your home is in the process of moving and cleaning, it may be a good idea to delay the showings. Make sure the house is in the best possible state of clean before taking photos and showing it to potential buyers.


Light is your friend when it comes to showing your house. It gives people a chance to see the home with all its best features. When showing, make sure all the possible windows are open, so it allows the natural light to come into the home. The natural light also helps buyers imagine themselves on a relaxing day in the house.

Utilize Space

If you have a great open space, make sure to utilize that in both photos and showings. If you have a kitchen and free area with that space, taking a picture to show that will draw people in and help them realize the space and can see it as a place to entertain. Buyers love seeing open areas and how they can use it with their families.

Take Photos during the Spring and Summer Months if Possible

Especially if your yard is something that is a great asset to your home, let people see that in your listing. If it is possible, take some great pictures of your yard when greenery is blooming, and things are lush and entirely green. Make sure the yard is in tip-top shape as well.

Just like any time you meet someone, first impressions matter. Make sure your home is decluttered, shown in the best light, and you utilized the space in the best possible way. When people see pictures of your home, they should feel like they are home.





Posted in Home
July 10, 2018

Home Disclosures

The home is your most valuable property. When making an offer on the house, you are going into the decision with a lot of assumptions. You hope the home was adequately taken care of, that all the permits are in proper order and that the seller tells you every significant thing about the house you need to know. Those disclosures are an actual document given to you as part of the sale of the home, so you have all the necessary information before you go into the house.

What is a real estate disclosure?

Real estate disclosures come in many forms. They are the buyer’s opportunity to learn as much about the property as possible so they can be sure about things they are looking for in the home. As the disclosures are everything the seller knows about the property, they are a way to protect the seller from future lawsuits. The buyer must sign off on the information they have, showing that they are okay with all the disclosures in the document.

What are some of the things you need to put in the disclosure documents?

The seller is required to the best of their knowledge to disclose any improvements, renovations, or upgrades they have done, with or without permits. It behooves the seller to be as honest as possible, as home inspectors will find any problems. Some buyers are aware of the risks and are okay with or will take the money or spend the time to repair them. Other standard disclosures include termite problems, pets, property line disputes, and defects with appliances. Most documents ask if there are bankruptcy or liens placed on the property.

What can a buyer do with the disclosure information?

Once a buyer gets the information from the disclosure documents, they have the chance to react to what they now know. If a buyer is uncomfortable with the number of repairs they will have to do, they can walk away from the sale. Also, the necessary repairs can be negotiated either by the buyer asking for something to be fixed, or credit given as a part of the house sale.

Is disclosure the same as an inspection?

Disclosure is merely a homeowner’s honest assessment of what the home is like and if they perceive to be any problems with the house. They give their best knowledge of the house and what things may or may not be wrong with it. A home inspection is a credentialed and licensed professional looking at all the fundamental systems and components of the house. They will have all the facts of the house and will give you all the information needed to do an accurate assessment of the house.

Disclosures are a necessary part of the home buying process. They give the seller a chance to tell the story of the house, and the buyer, some essential information about the house, to feel comfortable in their buying decision. 





Posted in Home
June 26, 2018

Simple Kitchen Remodel Ideas

The kitchen is the central hub of your home. It is the place where much of the entertaining of the house will be primarily the holidays or other events. Make sure your kitchen is a warm and inviting place where family and friends will feel comfortable and want to gather. Use some of these renovation ideas to make the kitchen a place where people will want to congregate.

1.       Consider your cabinets. If you don’t have the money to replace or update them, you can change the color by painting them. Choose a color that is warm an inviting.

2.       Something that is a simple fix and can completely change the look of the kitchen is the fixtures on the cabinets. It is an economical and easy fix you can do yourself.

3.       Change the color in your kitchen. A change in color can give your kitchen a whole different feel and one that can draw people into the home.

4.       Lighting in a room is the most important thing to attract people to the kitchen. Change or get new lighting to spruce up the area, to make it more inviting for guests.

5.       The flooring in a space like a kitchen can have a considerable effect on how people come into your home. Change to hardwood floors or a nice-looking tile. These are not only more comfortable but can look great.

6.       New countertops can add to the flavor of the kitchen. A countertop that is both sturdy and has a great color can add to the ambiance of the house.

7.       Appliances are an essential part of the kitchen. Getting a refrigerator that is both functional and matches the color and theme can drastically improve the feel of a kitchen to guests.

8.       Improving the space of the kitchen is always a good idea. Whether it is adding more cabinets, increasing the size of a pantry or using shelving within an enclosure can provide a tidy and cleaner looking kitchen.

9.       In addition to utilizing the space within the kitchen, you can also find ways to store things on the counter space or trying things like a pot rack to make more space.

10.   Something as simple as improving the windows in the kitchen by putting up a curtain or other simple amenity can improve the looks of the space.   

With small improvements to the kitchen, you can make the kitchen an entertainment hub that people will talk about long after they leave.




Posted in Home
June 19, 2018

Open House Ettiquette

One of the best ways to get your feet wet in the home buying process is by going to an open house. Open houses can be an excellent way to visit homes and get a good idea of what homes are like in specific prices ranges without an agent. Knowledge of home prices can also help you talk with different agents and get an idea of what you are looking for in an agent. It is important to remember, however, that the people that are hosting an open house are looking for serious buyers and there is some proper etiquette involved with visiting an open house.

First Impressions

While it may not seem that this is important to a buyer, the real estate agent is observing you and giving feedback to the seller. If the sale is between multiple bidders, your impression may be a determining factor.

Entering a Home

It is important to remember that despite the fact that this is an Open House, this is still another person’s home. It is currently their property and could someday be yours. Treat the house of another person with the respect that you hope they would treat yours. It is courteous to find the broker and follow the lead of what the broker is doing. They may be informal and allow you to wonder the home, or they may be more formal and take you on a guided tour. Many brokers, especially on the more expensive property, may ask for some information like names and phone numbers. They may also ask if you are already working with an agent.

Walking through the home

As there may be several other families walking through the house at the same time, make sure you are giving proper respect to them as well. If they are in a room, wait until they finish before entering. Allow them to inspect a place at their own pace.

As many open houses involve people still living in the home, things are still in drawers and shelves. Rifling through a homeowner’s possessions is inappropriate. It is especially inappropriate to look in medicine cabinets.

Also keep comments about some of the flaws of the house between you, your family and your agent. You shouldn’t share your comments with others at the open house. Allow them to make their impressions.

Before you Leave

It is considered polite to treat the home with the respect of any home you visit. Before leaving, make sure to the thank the agent showing the house. Make sure you sign the visitor sheet and if requested give your contact information.


Remember as a buyer, an agent’s impressions of you are as important as your opinions are of the house. 

Posted in Home
June 12, 2018

5 Chores Your Kids Can Do to Help in the Kitchen


The center of the home tends to be the kitchen. It’s the first room children run after school. Before and after meals is where many families gather as they work together. Keeping dishes, countertops, and appliances clean and running efficiently takes a lot of work and responsibility.


Children, even young children, can take part in the daily upkeep of this favorite room. Daily chores build responsibility, life skills, and confidence. Kitchen chores can help your child become a part of the family activity and let them know that they are essential to the daily workings of your family. It’s crucial to find chores that are age-appropriate, but you know your child best. We put together a few suggestions that might help give you some ideas.


1. Put Away Dishes

There are always dishes to that need to be put away. If your children aren’t tall enough to reach the cupboard, they can still take plates out of the dishwasher, sort, and stack them on the counter to be put away by an adult. Placing the silverware away is an excellent chore for younger kids because they can sort as they go, a skill most kids ages four to six-year-olds are still practicing. Use a stool to give shorter kids a boost.


2. Meal Prep

Helping to prepare a meal is an excellent way for children to learn how much work it takes to put food on the table. Picky eaters may be more willing to eat if they’ve had a part in preparing the food. Preschool age children can shred lettuce for a salad or wash fruits and vegetables. Older children can help peel, cut, or shred other vegetables. At first, it may feel like it’s more work to have children in the kitchen, but they’ll be learning valuable cooking skills and the more they do, the more help they will be.


3. Setting and Clearing the Table

Setting and clearing the table is another area where even young children can help out. Toddlers can carry silverware to the table and preschoolers can place silverware in the appropriate place. Moving plates and glasses will depend on the coordination of your children, but once they’re old enough, they can certainly take over these chores. When the meal is over, everyone can help take dishes to the sink.


4. Wiping Counters

Wiping counters isn’t hard, and as soon as your child is tall enough to reach, he can take over this task. You may need to check his work the first few times, but it won’t be long before he has the hang of it.


5. Wiping Cupboard Doors

Fingerprints and food have a way of collecting on cupboard doors. A wet rag and some elbow grease are all it takes. Once they see how much food sticks to the door, they may think twice about opening cupboards with peanut butter on their hands.  



Chores build your confidence and a growing sense of responsibility. But there’s more to kitchen chores than just obligation. When your children are working in the kitchen, they’re working with you. Opportunities to teach about proper nutrition and talk about their school day arise when you work together. Chores become an opportunity to speak and strengthen family relationships.  

Posted in Home
June 5, 2018

Home Office Features Writers Crave

Working from home is becoming more and more common now. And now that people are working from home, they want to have more features in the office to create a better environment. While many home office jobs are more technical and don’t require as much inspiration, there are more and more creative people, such as writers that need their office to be a part of their creative process. They might require more features to inspire their writing. So, what are some characteristics a writer will need to help give them the inspiration they will need?

Natural light

A more technical person might find an open window and light coming through as a distraction from what they do. On the other hand, a creator needs to be able to soak in different aspects of life to gain inspiration. Because of this, natural light and an open window is a feature many writers and creators are looking for. 


Most writers need to focus on getting their best work done. The most important thing a writer craves is quiet. There will always be distractions when it comes to working in any capacity. An excellent thing you can do for your home office is to soundproof it. Soundproofing is a growing trend in offices. Not only can it help drown out sounds from the outside, but you can also drown out any noise you are making outside of the office. In a home, this is important.


When it comes to the size of the office, the opinions differ. Some crave a larger space so they can pace around or have all the things they need to work at their fingertips. Others prefer a smaller area, so you are forced to focus only on the project you are working on. It will depend on the person and the space they are in, but the size does matter.

Separate Access

The most significant time suck for a writer is distractions. Distractions can come from anything, so they do their best to minimize the amount that comes their way. While you can’t avoid every distraction, you can find ways to eliminate the bigger ones. Having a separate entrance where others can go in and out without disturbing your work can be a huge time saver.

Internet Access

Home internet is getting faster and faster, and you can easily integrate it into your work. However, when you are sharing that internet with the rest of your family, and they are using it all at the same time, the internet can get slowed and decrease your productivity. Consider getting a business line, so you don’t have the technology slowing down your work.

It is the dream to have a completely distraction-free workplace, but chances of that are small. With a little planning, however, you can create an environment where you are free to develop and write.




Posted in Home
May 29, 2018

Finding the perfect tenant

Do you have an empty basement or separated suite in your home? If you have a suite sitting empty, you are missing out on collecting some extra monthly income in the form of rent. Let’s take a look at a quick four-step process that will help you find the perfect tenant to rent out your basement suite.

Step 1: Play by The Rules

Is this your first-time renting out a home or suite to a tenant? If so, you will want to do a bit of research first. Read up on Fair Housing Rules and other regulations as these will inform you of your responsibilities as a landlord. Keep in mind that you cannot discriminate in any way when it comes to race, religion, gender, family status or disability. Anyone who applies must be given a fair chance.

Step 2: Be Specific in Your Advertising

When you place a rental listing, be as specific as possible in what you are looking for in a tenant. If you are a single, quiet person, you may want someone similar as you will be compatible. Conversely, if you are a young couple, you may clash with a retired senior or someone older. Be as specific as possible but remember that you cannot be discriminatory.

Step 3: Meet Potential Tenants in Person

Be sure to take the time to meet with every short-listed applicant in person. If you are not comfortable with having so many strangers over to your home, consider attending at a local coffee shop. An in-person meeting will allow you to visually assess the person and determine if your personalities are a fit for living in the same home.

Step 4: Don’t Skip the Checks

Finally, don’t take any shortcuts when performing background, credit and other checks. Ask your tenant for at least one or two references that you can call to verify their rental history. Investing in a credit check will help to assess their risk of missing monthly rent payments. And if necessary, a criminal records check can let you know if they have been in trouble with the law.

As long as you are well-prepared and diligent, finding a suitable tenant for your basement suite can be a painless process. To learn more about mortgage products are perfect for rentals, contact us today. Our mortgage team will be happy to help you!




Posted in Home
May 15, 2018

How to Decorate your Backyard for Entertaining

To have a car that is running smoothly, you need to perform regular check-ups. Check the oil, get the tires inspected, and make sure all the spark plugs are working. One of the great things about owning a home is the opportunity to host a party or entertain during the holidays. You will want to make sure your yard is in tip-top shape to delight. Some simple changes can change your yard from simple to spectacular. Follow these tips to get your yard ready for the show.


One of the most important things to get people out to the yard is proper and mood setting lights. When the fun times go from day to night, the lighting will provide a smooth transition. The lighting will create an atmosphere of fun and relaxation and encourage visiting in a comfortable environment. Some exciting ways to add lighting like stringing lights up on your deck or some trees in the backyard. There are also some temporary lighting options like candles in paper bags to give just enough light for a backyard party.


In addition to keeping your grass, trees and plants green, you can add a little color to your yard with some different colored flowers. Pull those weeds, freshen up your yard with planter boxes, or add some red by growing some tomatoes or strawberries. Guests will appreciate the time you took to landscape your yard and will want to come back again and again.


One of the best parts of having a home and beautiful yard is the ability to have a private party that your guests can enjoy. If you don’t already have a private fence, consider getting one, or updating a chain link fence by getting some privacy slats to give your guests a more intimate setting.


As fun as it is to sit on the grass or a blanket in the backyard, most guests will feel more comfortable sitting in comfortable chairs. Having comfortable chairs gives them a chance to visit and eat, and also watch kids that may be playing. There are a lot of relatively inexpensive options for seating, such as club chairs, lounge chairs, hammocks, patio bar stools, or even patio rocking chairs. Find the option that works best for you and your space. Your guests will love the many exciting opportunities you have created.

Fire Pit

If you have space, a fire pit is an impressive focal point for people to sit around. It will give you the camping vibe without having to leave your backyard. It is a great way to slow down and relax on a long summer day.

When thinking about hosting a party, make sure you have a backyard that is as ready as the rest of your home, and your home will be a place where people will want to gather.






Posted in Garden
May 8, 2018

Things you should know before you buy your First Home

With all the different options out there for a first- time home buyer, it can be overwhelming. There are different types of loans, hundreds of different homes in an area in your price range, and hundreds of agents vying to become your go-to person when it comes to helping you find a home. With all these things happening, it is best to prepare by doing some groundwork before you start your home search in earnest.

Only Buy the Amount of House you Need 

There is a considerable temptation for new home buyers to buy as much house as they can get. When looking at homes, the assumption is that “bigger is always better.” Getting a bigger home can be one of the biggest mistakes that new home buyers make. They get in a house that is too large for their needs and don’t think about all the other things that come with it. First of all, the more space you get, the more it will cost. There are also ancillary costs that you don’t think about like additional taxes, heating and cooling charges are more expensive and other things that can require more as a result of the extra space. Also, make sure you can handle the mortgage. The standard rule for mortgages is that they should be about 28 percent of your net income.  

Think of your home as a long-term investment

As with any long-term investment, you should stick with it for a while. Don’t move in with the assumption that you are going to get a little equity and sell it quickly. Just like with other investments the market fluctuates, and buying at the top of the market can put you in a financial bind for a little while. Make sure that a home is a place that you can see yourself for at least several years. Then you have time to look at the housing trends before you decide to move to a different space.

Always make sure to Negotiate

One of the things you will ever need to remember is that real estate is still negotiable. Don’t think of any home price listing as the final price. You can use many factors as a negotiating tool. No home is perfect, and this allows for wiggle room. You can negotiate on any number of things like the price of the house, the carpet, the appliances, home warranty, even closing costs. If a seller is motivated enough, they will surely be open to personal expenses to get their home sold. Do remember that some homes may have multiple bidders, and that will inevitably affect your ability to negotiate.

You Can Walk Away

 You may find the home of your dreams, but after taking a closer look at it, there may be some things that cause hesitation. The price may be too high, the layout may not be ideal for your family, or there may be some costly repairs that you are unwilling to pay for. As hard as it may be, sometimes it is best to walk away. Don’t worry; there are other homes out there and many that will perfectly fit your needs. And sometimes the smartest thing you ever did was not buy a house.


Homebuying is hard. There are many obstacles that you can run into along the way. Make sure you follow the advice of those who have gone before you, whether it be an agent, a parent or experts in the industry. Most importantly, follow your instincts and you will soon be in a home you will love. 

Posted in Home