Lori Fleming June 4, 2008

Base your decision on local facts

If you want to know what the weather is going to be like in Utah, you don’t check the national forecast. The same is true with housing. If you want to know the local conditions, you have to look at the local facts:

  • FACT: Utah has a strong economy with high job growth and low unemployment
  • FACT: Mortgage rates are at historic lows. Loans are readily available for qualified borrowers and there are good finacing options for those with less-than-perfect credit
  • FACT:Utah’s record population growth is expected to continue throughout the decade.

HUD program provides big discount for qualified buyers

Know anyone who would like to buy a home for a 50 percent discount? It’s hard to believe, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a program that allows homes to be sold at a 50 percent discount — meaning a buyer could purchase a home listed for $100,000 for $50,000. The catch is that the buyer has to be a teacher, law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency medical technician to qualify.
HUD’s program, called Good Neighbor Next Door, allows eligible buyers to receive the discount if they purchase a single-family HUD home in a designated revitalization area and live in it as their sole residence for three years. After that, they can sell the home and keep any profits. Qualified participants do not have to be first-time homeowners although they must not have owned any residential property for one year prior to making an offer on a Good Neighbor home.
As part of the three-year occupancy agreement, buyers must sign a mortgage note for the discount amount. Once the three years is up, HUD releases the “second” mortgage obligation. If buyers fail to meet the three-year agreement, HUD requires a prorated repayment of the mortgage amount — 1/36 of the discount — for each month short of the commitment.
Properties available for the Good Neighbor Next Door program are available on the Utah Web page of Michaelson, Connor, & Boul, a management company contracted by HUD. Any eligible properties will be listed on Fridays under the “Special Programs” section. No negotiations or offers for less than the list price are allowed for these properties, and buyers must use a HUD-registered real estate agent or broker. If more than one person places a bid, the buyer is selected at random. More information about how to become HUD-registered agent is available on HUD’s Web site.

(information from the Utah Association or Realtors)

Getting the House Ready to Sell

Thank you for Visting my Blog When selling your home, your goal is to get the potential buyers to see the house as their potential home. Following are some ideas to make your home more attractive. I hope you find them useful and interesting.

Uncluttering the House
After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it. Clutter collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and basements. Take a step back, and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter, as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive. Let your agent help you too.
Organize the Kitchen
The kitchen is a great place to start organizing your home, because it is an easy place to start. First, get everything off the counters. “I mean everything,” including the toaster and other appliances. Put the toaster in a cabinet, and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice that you do not have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them out. The dishes, pots and pans that rarely get used? Put them in a box and put that box in storage too. You see, homebuyers will open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen. They want to be sure there is enough room for their “stuff.” If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative message to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful storage space. The best way to do that is to have as much “empty space” as possible.

Beneath the sink is very critical too. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. You should scrub the area down as well, and determine if there is any tell-tale signs of water leaks that may cause a homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home.
Closet Clutter
Closets are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter. We are talking about extra clothes and shoes – things you rarely wear but cannot bear to be without.
Furniture Clutter
Many people have too much furniture in certain rooms – not too much for your own personal living needs – but too much to give the illusion of space that a homebuyer would like to see.
Cleaning Your Storage Areas
Basements, garages, attics, and sheds accumulate not only clutter, but junk. These areas should be as empty as possible so that buyers can imagine what they would do with the space. Remove anything that is not essential and take it to the storage area.

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