September 14, 2012

We Need First Time Home Buyers



First time home buyers make up a little less than 40% of the market. That is interesting because the market depends on these people taking their first steps into home ownership.

The rest of the market needs that 37% first timers to buy their homes so they can “move up” to their second, usually more expensive home.

The reason most say they purchased was because they just wanted to own their home. Owning the homes we live in is a rewarding and safe feeling. Traditionally, it seems that most people rent until they can afford to buy. The rumors I’ve heard in recent years is that there is a growing trend to rent on purpose and forever. It appears there is a mentality that renting is more convenient. Some people don’t want to bother with home ownership. They think it is cheaper, they are not tied down, and have less work since they don’t have to mow the lawn or shovel the walks.

Sometimes, rent is not cheaper. Rents flucuate. Right now, there are homes you can buy that are cheaper than some rents for the same size, type of property. When the real estate market is good, home prices go up an rents go down and vise versa.

When you rent, you are paying someone else’s mortgage. Your landlord is taking your rent money and putting toward the mortgage he has on the property and building his own equity. When you are buying, your money goes toward the cost of your home and your own future.

There have been a lot of people that have lost fatih in this concept since they are upside-down in their homes right now. I can understand that frustration but they were, when they bought their homes, believing that home was worth the price they paid.

History shows us that the market will have its ups and downs. There has never been a market where home values went down and stayed down forever. If you are upside-down in your home, but you still love your home for all the reasons that made you buy it in the first place, stick it out. You have to have a place to live. Isn’t it better to be paying toward your own home ownership than someone elses?

No matter what your home’s value is, someday you will have it paid off. It WILL even be worth more than you paid. I believe that!


Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Real Estate,Renting,Selling — Susan @ 11:13 am

August 2, 2012

Make Your Bed


If you were looking to buy, which one would you rather have?

This is the same room. If you are trying to sell your house, you must make your bed, not only on the days you know you have a showing but, every

day. You don’t know when the buyer that is ready to make you an offer is going to want to see your home at the last minute.

Always be ready to show.






Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 10:04 am

August 1, 2012

Service~Who Services Whom?

I am currently working on a deal. The deal’s origination date was June 18. Settlement deadline WAS Monday. That is 7 weeks.
We, the buyers, did not make our Settlement Deadline because the underwriters didn’t get their review of the conditions done in time.

I’ve seen this happen on occasion in my almost 10 years in the industry but it is the exception, not the rule. When the economy took a turn for the worse and the real estate market “crashed” (as some call it), it seemed to happen a little more often because mortgage lenders grew quite skiddish about taking on any new potentially bad loans and wanted more time to make sure every “t” was crossed…
But, we agents adjusted and started allowing extra time in our contracts for this.

Now, the market seems to be getting back to a more normal pace and all this year, lenders have been promising me that they can do a loan now in just 2 weeks. I am still contractually giving my buying clients at least 6 weeks which seems to be a safe time frame but, over the last few months, the loans on my deals have been coming in sooner than the time allowed and we have been closing early. (Closing means funded and recorded with the county records)

I guess I am writing this because of my frustration. We had to extend our Settlement Deadline because, while they had plenty of time, the underwriters just didn’t get to us and potentially caused my clients to default on their contract. Luckily for us, the sellers agreed to the extension.

Wednesday, 5 days before our deadline, they promised to have it in 48 hours. Friday, they promised to get to it over the weekend. Monday, the day of our deadline, we had to extend becaue they promised to have it the next day. Tuesday, 1 day into the extension, they wouldn’t even answer their phone. The loan officer and title company were both trying to call to get a status update. No way!

Now, we extended a whole week because we just don’t know what to do or when it will be finalized and the sellers are saying it better go by then because they will not extend again.

I called the loan officer working with the company that will be servicing the loan, and while he is frustrated also, I grew increasingly displeased with the words coming out of his mouth. Ha ha~ kind of.

I was asking him if he ever mentioned to them that they were making their client default on their contract. I believe he started to sound a little huffy as he said he hadn’t mentioned that because,

       “they don’t care about that. We are asking them to give us their money so we are at their mercy. We want their money
so we have to just jump through their hoops because they don’t have to give us their money.” (I am paraphrasing because, maybe,
I was listening more to his tone and getting frustrated with the gist of his words possibly more than his actual words, (–in his defense).

Ok, here is my problem with this. Yes, it is their money and yes, they don’t have to give it to us, —they have the right to examine and consider their risk. But, we didn’t come up to some random person in the street and start begging for him to give us some money.

The second they put the sign in the window, “Money to Lend” they became a solicitor/servicer. They aren’t deciding to give us money for this mortgage out of the goodness of their hearts. This is a business transaction and they will make a profit on the transaction. Buyers are the consumers and because of that, lenders automatically put themselves in a position to owe their clients some fidiciary responsibility! They have compromised my —thier client‘s position which could potentially cause these people to lose, not only their dream home, but their Earnest Money, inspection costs, AND loan origination fees– yes, they actually paid to be subjected to this type of treatment.

These particular clients are more than a good risk. Great, stable income, excellent credit scores, 20% down payment, and a substantial savings account balance. This loan is a no-brainer and there is no reason for hesitation on this decison.

I recently closed a client that was a marginal risk. His/her (to protect the identity) credit score was barely in the acceptable bracket, no down payment, salary barely able to qualify for the house payment. He/she applied for the loan and we were sitting at settlement in 9 days!!!!

I’m frustrated. I feel bad for my clients. I know mortgage lending is tricky right now as all the lending institutions are sitting on too many foreclosures and dealing with too many short sales. I understand there needs to be a higher level of care taken when deciding who to lend money to.

But, this is a “TIME IS OF THE ESSENSE” industry. That’s all I’m trying to say in spite of my rant.

Everyone– REALTORS®, inspectors, title companies, etc., AND lenders, need to work together to make sure the consumer does not have their position weakened or compromised. Lenders should not have the right to disregard the contractual obligations of their consumer/client.

Please pay attention to the deadlines in the contract!

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Credit & Finances,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 9:11 am

July 29, 2012

Things are changing…

Most of the last few buyer clients I have had are looking for homes in the range of    $250,000 or less.


I have been feeling a trend that things, at least in that price range, $250,000 or less, are getting harder and harder to find and that is the price range of the typical buyer.

I feel pretty confident in saying that the trend in that range right now would be considered a “Seller’s Market”.

Yep, after years of waiting out the horrible conditions that sellers have been facing, it is finally their time.

I took a listing recently that sold before it was even on the MLS. That is right, I was still working out the details of our listing agreement when, by word of mouth, a buyer came along and begged us to show them the home. I was reluctant because I wanted to give my seller time to fix it up. I got the price we wanted without the cost and time of the fix up. I couldn’t believe it. The buyer was desperate.

Please, if you have been wanting to sell but have been thinking you should wait until conditions improve, I am saying it is time; please give me a call. I need homes for my buyers. I would love to represent you and help you through the process.

Filed under: Blogroll,Community,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 3:24 pm

July 13, 2012

Get Connected!

When you are moving, you will need to call your utility companies and inform them of your move. You will want to disconnect your service if you are moving out or get connected when you are moving in. It can be tedious to look up all the numbers necessary so I have compiled a list that I hope will make things a little easier.

Please let me know in the comment section if I have overlooked anything or if I have the wrong information for something. I would love for this to be correct and include anything that would be of help to the most people. Thanks

Get Connected: Utah County Utilities list

Rocky Mountain Power

201 S Main St Ste 2300
Salt Lake City UT 84140
Tel – (888) 221-7070
Fax – (888) 800-2851
Power Outage – (877) 508-5088
Web –
Web – RMP Utah Regulatory Information
Questar Gas Company

180 E 100 S
PO Box 45360
Salt Lake City UT 84145-0360
Tel – (801) 324-5555
(801) 324-5111 Customer Service
Fax – (800) 324-5131 Legal
Web –
24 Hour Emergency Service (800) 323-5517
Centurylink (formerly Qwest) Phone, Internet

250 Bell Plaza RM 1603
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Phone: (801) 237-7200
Toll Free: (888) 642-9996
Customer Service: (800) 244-1111
Comcast (Phone, Internet, & Cable TV)

One Comcast Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tel: (215) 286-8667
Toll Free: (800) 288-2085
Fax: (215) 286-8414

Orem City Utilities (Water, Sewer, & Garbage):
58 North State St. Orem, UT
801- 229-7275
Provo City Utilities:
351 West Center, Provo UT 84601
Payson Utilities:
439 West Utah Ave, Payson, UT 84651
153 North 100 East, Lehi, UT 84043

20 North Main Street, Alpine, UT
(801) 756-2378
American Fork:
Uinta Water Systems
947 S 500 E # 216, American Fork, UT
(801) 492-4900 ‎
Pleasant Grove:
70 South 100 East, Pleasant Grove, UT
(801) 785-5045
10 South Main Street, Springville, UT
(801) 489-2706
Spanish Fork :
Eagle’s Landing Water Company, LLC.
1094 North Ridge Way
Spanish Fork, UT 84660
Tel: (801) 794-9559
Fax: (801) 794-9669

Alpine School District: Orem and North Utah County
School Boundary Map:

Nebo School District: South of Provo
(801) 354-7400
350 South Main
Spanish Fork, UT 84660
Provo School District: Provo
280 West 940 North, Provo, Ut
Phone: (801) 374-4800
Fax: (801) 374-4808

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Community,Personal,Renting,Selling — Susan @ 9:00 am

July 11, 2012

What are you waiting for?


Yesterday, our in-house lender was telling us that too many people lately have told him they are still waiting to buy a home. The reason?

They are waiting for the interest rates to go down some more. The interest rates are at an all-time low. They have been hovering around 3 and 4 percent. Any lower, and it will be like believing the banks are going to pay you for the priviledge of lending you money. (I’m kidding)

Back when rates dropped to 7%, I thought that was as low as they would go, then they went to 6%, then 5%…, so, I was wrong.

Yes, it was advantageous to wait during those times because house prices were dropping as well. No one was buying homes so the rates kept going down to entice people to get out and buy, something that wasn’t happening.

I have information for you– homes are selling again and prices are starting to go up in Utah County.

The number of homes listed right now is down, bordering on a Seller’s market level. Each of the last 3 clients I have been working with have lost, not one home, but at least 2 and even 3 of the homes they wanted, because –they lost the bidding wars. There have been multiple offers on every home we finally found for them and we were not the winning bid.

One of my clients lost a home even after offering $20,000 over the asking price. Another client finally won her home by offering $5,000 over the asking price and the other got his at asking price with no seller-paid concessions.

Times are changing. I think buyers are tired of waiting and sellers are still afraid to list so the demand for good homes is growing. Even in spite of all the short sales out there, the opportunity to make that killer deal is getting rare. If you are waiting, you are running out of time and may just wait yourself out entirely.

Back to my friend’s point. Interest rates are down, yes, you may wait and get a percentage of a percentage better but in the meantime, prices are going up. So, if while waiting for that percentage of a percentage on the rate to go down but the price of the type of home you want goes up, it will cost you more in the long run.


June 13, 2012

What do you expect from your agent?





In a recent sales meeting, my broker went over some things people say they don’t like about real estate agents. He is always trying to educate us on how to be more successful. It must work because I can’t imagine anyone in my office making some of the stupid mistakes we hear about.
Most of the things on the list are understandable (not saying excusable, keep reading) like agents that do not follow through, do not keep them updated, etc. There are different types of people in the world and even in the real estate industry so it is to be expected that some agents will be unorganized the same way you can expect there to be unorganized people in any profession.
I do believe organizational skills are an important ingredient for success in this business and I think that the unorganized ones weed themselves out eventually. Unfortunately, they don’t drop out before taking some clients for a bad ride.
There is a high turnover in this industry, at least in my area. I think there is a perception out there that it is an easy way to make a lot of money. I’ve seen the list of members in my local association grow and dwindle over the years depending on the market. When times are good, everyone gets a license and when times are tough, 96% of them get a second job or leave the business all together. An extremely high percentage of people getting a real estate license do not renew it when the renewal comes up in 2 years. It is much harder than they expected.
(When I first started, someone told me that only 4% of all the agents are actually successful and knowledgeable. That made an impact on me and I have always strived to be in that 4%. I think I am doing pretty well with that goal as I enter my 10th year in the business.)
Back to the ‘unfortunately’ part I mentioned earlier. I’ve said this in posts before but if you need a real estate agent, you have to do some research; you have to ask around, get referrals, search the internet and interview agents. There is no industry where you can just close your eyes and pick a name out of a hat then expect that the one you picked is going to be the best for your needs.
I fear that the general public, the people taking these polls, mistakenly think that all agents are popped out of some cookie cutter REALTOR® factory. That is just not the case. There are organized people in the business, there are intelligent people in the business, there are friendly agents, and agents that can make your experience buying or selling a home a very positive one. There are even agents that care more about their client’s bottom line than their own.
As in any other industry, profession, or walk of life, there are also going to be people in the business that are not/do not…
With a little research, you can find the best agent for your needs.

P.S. One of the items on the list is the idea that agents are always pushing them to the higher priced home to get a higher commission. I cannot comprehend this concept. I am never “pushing” for anything more than finding the perfect home for my buyers. Yes, when a buyer gives me a price limit of $250,000, I will include homes up to about $260,000 in the search— but not because I am trying to earn a higher commission.
I believe it is important to see what kind of home you get for that slightly higher price. It is an educational tool. It familiarizes buyers with the market …and occasionally, a buyer can offer $250,000 for a $254,000 home and still negotiate a successful deal.
Sometimes when a particular buyer is struggling to find a home in their price range, I can show them a few homes in the higher range and suddenly, they see what they like. I can then kindly point out that they may not have a realistic idea of value and suggest they may have to either adjust their expectations or wait until they can save the difference in price so they can have what they want.
We are not magicians. If a buyer’s likes/wants/needs do not match the price they can afford…
It IS possible the perfect house doesn’t exist in your price range.
In the end, if a client says they want a home for $300,000 and I send them the information on a home for $305,000, the difference in my commission is $75. Not worth compromising my reputation or losing a client over.
If you feel your agent is “pushing” you to higher priced homes, maybe you should just ask them why. I may be naïve and prefer to assume people are basically good, but I think your agent will be able to give you a real, logical explanation. I also think their explanation will more often than not, have something to do with your best interest and not their own.
I hear there are bad, selfish, and crooked agents out there but the agents I associate with work to improve their skills, do what is right and generally strive to do their best and act in a professional manner. If you do a little homework when looking for someone to work with, stick with the “tried and true,” the ones that have proven their ability to do right by their success, you will be pleased with the results.
If your agent introduces himself/herself as your waiter at your favorite restaurant, you may want to reconsider your choice. lol

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Community,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 10:59 am

May 30, 2012

Oh No! Not a new roof!

We have had an ominous feeling hanging over our heads for the past few years, literally! You know; the dreaded conclusion that it is time to get a new roof. Every homeowner hates the thought but even more, they hate the expense. Even when you know it is time, you close your eyes and cross your fingers that you can squeeze by just a little longer. That was us.
Well, a few months ago, our neighbor’s roof suddenly transformed into a beautiful form of art and gave us the boost we needed to bite the bullet. We called the name on the little sign in their yard; you know those signs that say, “This roof brought to you by…” and now, our roof is a work of art too.

It is funny, I’ve never been ‘in’ to roofs all that much. My hubby notices them on occasion but lately, I am surprised at how my “roof awareness” has peaked. Since all the homes in my neighborhood are around the same age, I can’t help but feel sorry for so many of my neighbors as I drive by and think, “Oh wow, I wonder if they know how close they are to water damage?”

I know how hard it is to do it. I know what drives homeowners to put it off because it is a big expense and there are always other more important things to do with that money, right? But, if you lose the gamble, you can find yourself with water damage inside your home which is also expensive to restore PLUS, you then have to buy the new roof on top of the water damage repair expense or it will just happen again.

We made the jump and not only replaced the old roof but went the upgrade and found a roofing system that looks great and is very functional as well. I have no doubt we would recover the cost if we had to sell and the added expense also added many years onto the warranty. Instead of the typical 30 year roof that is really more like 15-20, we have a 50 year roof. It is supposed to save on the energy bill, (too soon to see it yet) and is more fire and wind resistant than average.
If you are thinking you need a new roof, here is the information on the one we chose.

And if you are in Utah, I recommend the company that installed our roof. They were great to work with.

It might be important to remember, a lender will not give a buyer a loan on a home unless the roof has at least 3 years of life left.

April 9, 2011

Short Sales… not worth it?

As agents, we have been given 3 new addendum/disclosures to show our short sale clients. This has prompted my thoughts on this post:

Home value is a relative thing. The definition is, “What a buyer is willing to pay.” That isn’t really true because the lenders have so much to say about that, …for good reason. They don’t want to give someone a load of money on a house that isn’t worth what they lent. If the buyer defaults, they are stuck holding a house they lose money on. They aren’t going to be in business long if they do that too often.

Many people need to sell their homes but the current market is making it impossible to get a good price. That forces them to offer their homes at less than they owe. That is called a “Short Sale”.  Agents advertise a home at a great price, (too often, too good to be true), wait for an offer, then submit it to the lender/mortgage holder for approval. It often takes a long time and a lot of paperwork if the agent knows what he/she is doing to get an approval on a short sale. Choose your agent wisely. Too many short sales fail for no other reason than the agent didn’t know what they were doing.

Too often the advertised price is so ridiculous, a lot of buyers get sucked into the idea of getting something for nothing and get caught in the black hole of short sales blues.

Hopefully, the offer is finally reviewed, in the lender’s due time, and if the agent has done his/her job well enough,, the lender will most likely come back with a more realistic price or offer they ARE willing in accept, and the buyer has the option of accepting it or moving on to the next “too good to be true” listed home for sale.

If the original buyer moves on , which is most likely the case, the agent then can list the home at the price the lender has said they will accept and hope a buyer will be willing to pay that price. If the price has already been approved, it can make the short sale process go a lot smoother at that point.

Up till now, the biggest problem with short sales is the seller loses twice. Not only do they lose their home at less than they owe, but the lender will file a 1099 on the loss. The difference in the price they lent the owner and lower sales price to the new buyer is a loss for them so they claim it as a loss on their taxes. The IRS then comes knocking on the seller’s door and wants them to pay on that “gain”. It is like getting slapped in the face twice. It is sad.

Now, because of these new addendum/disclosures, I have come to understand the lender can come back to the seller and sue them for the difference. They did sign contract, after all. I am not sure how many years (it is significant), they have to come after the seller for breaching the original contract but it is surprising they can still do this after all the seller has to go through to complete a short sale.

So, they lose their home, at a price less than they paid. They are responsible for the taxes on that difference and now, I’ve learned, they are liable to pay that difference back to the lender anyway. 3 slaps in the face so far, and counting. (Not counting the ding in your credit score for year to come)

It seems short sales are not a very good thing for a seller. I highly recommend you look into other options. The consequences seem to catch up to you and are much too harsh.


Susan Jackson and/or CENTURY 21 Bushnell is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a rule that requires real estate agents to provide certain disclosures when representing sellers in a short sale transaction.

March 14, 2011

Short Sale Listings in Utah County

Here is a list of current *Short Sale Listings in North Utah County.  Give me a call if you would like to make an appointment to see any of these homes or *short sale listings in South Utah County.

*Short Sale report 3-14-11



Susan Jackson and/or CENTURY 21 Bushnell is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating.

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