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Housing Becoming Less Affordable Along Wasatch Front


In March, researchers at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute found that our current market conditions are threatening to cause a crisis in Utah based on a growing housing shortage, while current home prices continue to appreciate.

The Wasatch front housing market is stronger than ever with an increasing demand for both single family and multifamily rental units through the northern part of the state. New research shows that demand has outpaced wage growth which is causing a greater rift in affordability. Studies show that median home prices during the first three months of 2018 were not affordable for average wage earners in about 68% of the counties included in the US report.

Incomes in Utah have failed to keep pace with interest rates, the report noted. The report also defined housing affordability as a unit where an owner or tenant pays no more than 30 percent of their household income toward housing costs — rent or mortgage.

Davis, Utah and Weber counties, which are located along the Wasatch front rated less affordable than any prior quarter average during the first three months of 2018, while Salt Lake county was equal to its historic affordability index.

Affordability often suffers during booming economic cycles, which frequently outpaces incomes for at least the start of these growth spurts. The risk is that individuals and companies could pull out of the area when they are no longer able to operate or live because of the expensive housing.

Home values are going up quickly [but] the negative side of that is that the homes themselves are also becoming less affordable. Three factors that could help improve affordability in the short term are things like decreasing home prices, increasing wages and although cited as the least likely to happen, decreasing interest rates.

However, the Wasatch front is still a more reasonable market than other large surrounding urban areas like Northern or Southern California, Las Vegas, Seattle or even Denver. Housing prices in Utah will continue to increase at rates well above the national average due to relatively high rates of population and economic growth. As long as the state is considered a bargain for some other competitive markets, we will probably see home prices continuing to grow and affordability continuing to be an issue.


Five Signs You Are Ready to Buy a New Home

Have you been asking yourself if it might be time to fulfill the American dream of home ownership? There are many factors to consider before making this decision — beyond low interest rates and competitive pricing. Here are five signs which might indicate that the time is finally right for you:

1. Debt Elimination

Being able to conquer outstanding car payments and credit card debt means you won’t have as many extra bills, which could diminish your available funds to be able to support a mortgage. The increased cash flow (which is now not going toward debt) gives the opportunity to make sure other homeowner related expenses can be covered, such as property tax, homeowners’ insurance, repairs, maintenance, furnishings, etc.

2. Job Security

While any job always comes with the possibility of uncertainty, the longer you are in a position or have obtained enough years as a business owner, the more likely that your job will be viewed as sustainable enough to back up home ownership.

3. Income Increase

No more than 30 percent of your total monthly income should be going toward a mortgage payment. However, you are able to put as much as 50 percent toward the mortgage payment, if you know you are able to live within your means until a raise comes your way. Earning more means you won’t have to put as high of a percentage of your earnings toward your house payment. Otherwise, lack of extra income could put you at risk for financial vulnerability.

4. A Solid Savings/Emergency Fund

Acquiring a new home can mean many potential surprises. In general, something unexpected will always come up in life as well. It is logical and vital to minimize stress and prepare in advance with extra accounts, including a savings account and emergency fund. After all, having to rely solely on a monthly income to cover unexpected costs (since monthly income has already been calculated and is needed for the mortgage and other bills) can create avoidable issues.
By having funds set aside in the amount of an equivalent of at least a year of monthly bills — is a good position to be in before considering a big move. Setting and sticking to a firm goal is the only way to attain this level of security for your household.

5. Higher Credit Score

After paying off debt and monitoring your credit report, you are able to increase your credit score to obtain a more ideal interest rate. Qualifying for a better interest rate means you get to enjoy a lower monthly mortgage payment, making the option to become a homeowner an obtainable goal.


These are just some of the signs that you can use to determine whether or not you are ready for the home-buying process. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Please contact us if you feel you are ready to pave the road to your new home!


The Great Easter Egg Hunt!

Looking for the best egg hunt to attend this Easter? There are so many to select from that it can be nearly impossible to choose!

Easter is easily one of the most memorable kickoffs of Springtime. Kids gleefully filling baskets with incredible amounts of goodies… ones that mom and dad can eat once the kids are in bed. In Utah, Easter egg hunts are serious business. Figuring out which would be the most fun for your family can be a tough choice. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of most all of the locations in the better part of Northern Utah. Whether you are hunting for a new home (or eggs), we are here to lend a helping hand. Now all you have to do is hunt for the best fit!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

  • Bluffdale – Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Cedar City – Sigma Nu Easter Egg Hunt – Cedar Main St. Park – 9:00 AM
  • Clearfield – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Clearfield – Easter Egg Dive – 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM or 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
  • Clinton – Easter Egg Bash – 9:00 AM
  • Cottonwood Heights – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Daybreak – Easter Egg Hunt – 1:00 PM
  • Delta – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:30 AM
  • Draper City – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Fruit Heights – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Helper – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • Herriman City – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Ivins – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Kaysville – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM
  • Kearns – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • Layton – Easter Egg Dive – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Lehi – Cabela’s Hunting for Eggs – 1:30 PM
  • Liberty Park – Easter Egg Hunt –  8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Lindon – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • Midway – Zermatt Resort – Easter Egg Hunt – 12:30 PM
  • Mona – Young Living Lavender Farm – Easter Egg Hunt – 11:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Monticello – Easter Egg Hunt – 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Morgan – Easter Canyon State Park Egg Hunt – 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Neola – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • North Salt Lake – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • Ogden – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Orem – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • Payson – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • Provo – UP Easter Egg Hunt – 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
  • Redwood Recreation Center – Easter Egg Hunt –  9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Richmond – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • Riverton City – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Roy – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Salt Lake City – Northwest Community Center – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM – 10:15 AM
  • Santaquin – Easter Egg Hunt – 8:45 AM
  • Smithfield – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • South Davis Recreation – Easter Egg Dive – 10:00 AM
  • South Jordan – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • South Jordan – Easter Pool Plunge – 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • South Ogden – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Spanish Fork – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • Sunset – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Syracuse – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • Washington City – Easter Egg Hunt – 10:00 AM
  • West Jordan – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM
  • West Valley City – Easter Egg Hunt – 8:30 AM
  • Wheeler Historic Farm – Easter Egg Hunt – 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM.  *Registration will open February 28, at 9 AM
  • West Haven City – Easter Egg Scramble – 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM



“Shining Star in Our Home Purchase Process”

Anthony with ALV Mortgage was a fantastic broker to work with! He was the shining star in our home purchase process. We are first time home buyers. Anthony not only worked with me to make sure I know what the process was supposed to look like, but he also worked to ensure that the process happened quickly and smoothly. Interest rates went up during the process, but Anthony worked his magic and was able to get us the rate we were after!

Our loan processer (Rhoda) was incredibly professional and quick on the phone. We had a couple calls and sent several emails along the way with updates.

I would recommend Anthony and ALV Mortgage to everyone! He was able to beat Rocket Mortgage’s rates and fees, and was much quicker!

Jeffrey Green – Salt Lake City



“The Struggle is Real…” Estate

For homes priced under $400,000, almost every property put up is going into a multiple offer situation. Home buyers are getting frustrated and feel like ripping out their hair when they finally find their perfect house, only to have some “punk” outbid them by $400.

The reason being is the lack of listings to satisfy the high property demand. Too many buyers want to take advantage of today’s low rates before they inevitably change. Buyers are snatching up homes faster than agents can list them on MLS. There are also not enough owners wanting to sell, perhaps waiting for values to continue appreciating. Many people are simply staying put, remodeling what they already have, perhaps due to lower rates from years ago. Others are converting their current homes into rental properties. In addition, builders are not able to keep up with the high demand to build new homes, as dwindling options give rise to a need for greater diversity.

Millennials are finally coming of age, buying homes unprecedentedly. Good paying jobs in Utah’s booming tech industry afford them the opportunity to be able to move into a starter home with a greater success rate than previously experienced.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah has the nation’s third highest growth rate in the country. They cite the reasoning being a continuation of high birth-rate and big-family culture, which many millennials in Utah are compelled to maintain. In fact, Utah has been in the top 10 for its growth rate every year so far this decade. As the number of new families continues to grow, the demand for property will sustain, putting increasing pressure on an already pressurized market.

The top 7 things you can do to get YOUR offer accepted:

  • Strong Pre-Approval Letter
  • Escalation Clause
  • Tighter Deadlines
  • Higher Earnest Money
  • Letter to seller from buyer
  • No Closing Costs
  • Shorten or drop due diligence

Having your documents in order for the lender, along with a specific, strong pre-approval letter goes a long way in getting an offer accepted. It lets the seller know that you are not flighty and are qualified to purchase the house in the first place.

Escalation clauses tell a seller that you will pay x amount (i.e. $2,000) over any other offer in order to ensure that the offer closes on your bid over another’s.

Many of our buyers are writing letters directly to the seller, saying how much they love the home and the neighborhood to help persuade the seller to choose their offer. The biggest help we have seen is not needing the seller to pay closing costs. One challenge with multiple offers is the property gets bid higher than what is actually worth. If the seller has to lower the purchase price to meet the appraised value, not needing the seller to pay closing costs is a huge help to seller to net the highest amount. Don’t lose your hair (or potential home) over the struggle of the current market! Our firm grasp on the buying process will give you peace of mind without losing pieces of your hair. But, let’s be honest; we all know you wear extensions anyway… 😉



“She Works Hard for the Money”

As the Donna Summer’s song goes, “She works hard for the money.” We want to help you put that money to work for you by exploring the advantages of a cash out refinance on your home.

A cash-out refinance may be the key for opening financial doors for you and your family. We have assisted hundreds of clients in putting their equity to work in many ways, including:


  • Eliminating high interest rate credit cards
  • Finishing a basement, remodeling their home, etc
  • Starting a business without seeking outside lenders and investors
  • Diversifying their investments into such things as stocks, rental properties, etc.
  • Helping with unexpected or major expenses such as medical and education needs
  • Pulling cash out for the purchase of a new primary residence


I recently closed a loan for a family who had gotten in trouble with their credit cards. The husband had gone on a little shopping spree and neglected to tell his wife that he had opened a few credit cards without her knowledge. Upon the loan application, imagine her shock learning that there was more debt than what she was aware of! This family was in a FHA loan and paying high FHA Mortgage Insurance. Their home had appreciated an astounding $100,000 in the 5 years they had lived here.

We decided to complete a cash out refinance and ended up helping them pay off $32,000 in credit cards. We refinanced into a Conventional Loan and removed the FHA Mortgage Insurance. Because we did raise the loan amount, their monthly payment increased, but only by an additional $172 per month. By paying off the $32,000 in credit cards, they saved $1,238 per month in credit card payments. This cash out refinance gave them the freedom they sought by alleviating the heavy debt burden they had been carrying.

A family who owned a three-bedroom home with an unfinished basement initially bought the home with two kids, which fit them perfectly. After having their family grow by an additional two kids, they had become completely crammed. We completed a $24,000 cash out refinance, which afforded them the ability to finish their basement, as well as add two additional bedrooms, a bathroom, and a TV room for the kids to do exactly as they pleased with plenty of space to run around.

One of our clients, who is a mechanic, had worked for years at large dealerships fixing cars. He decided he was ready to work for himself, so he came to us to complete a cash out refinance for $40,000, which gave him enough to open his dream garage, as well as purchase the lifts and other equipment he needed to be independent. He now works longer hours for himself than before at the dealership, but he followed through with his vision of owning his own business successfully because of his decision to refinance!

A client of ours, for whom we did a cash out refinance four months ago, took $120,000 in cash out of his house. He felt that the equity in his home was not working hard enough for him and decided to turn it around by investing. He immediately bought a condo for an investment property and as a result, is now cash flowing $350 per month. He kept half of his cash and is actively looking for another investment property to buy. He is seeking to turn his equity into about $700 in monthly cashflow with additional property, made possible by the services we were able to provide.

In 2012, a couple came to us seeking to cash out $50,000 to fund in vitro fertilization treatments and other expenses incurred while trying to expand their family. Having no kids of my own then, I thought they were nuts! I have been blessed not to be in a similar position, but now that I have two children myself, I understand why this was such an important step for them. They have expanded to a happy, healthy family with three children (including a set of twins.) I have been able to stay in touch with them through social media and their decision to refinance is one they would not go back on. They put their equity to work for something that not only helped their future, but assisted with their goals of having a loving family of their very own.

In the last 12 months, we have noticed what has become an exponentially growing trend. Many of my clients have sought to purchase a new home by using their equity, keeping their home, while converting it into a rental property as a means of providing future retirement income. This works by pulling the cash out of their current house, then using that as a down payment toward their next purchase. There is only one move here, which eliminates stress about selling their house and trying to buy a new one simultaneously. They utitlize the existing equity to work for the purpose of providing for themselves looking toward the future..

Owning your own home is not just a fundamental aspect of the American Dream. For many American households, the equity in their homes represents as much as 67 percent of their total net worth. For generations, the power of home ownership has created a solid financial base for millions of families, and a little knowledge offers the potential for even more financial independence. We can assist you with the knowledge and expertise to help you not only envision a possible dream, but live it by ensuring money doesn’t stand between you and your lofty goals. You work hard for your money, and we are here to treat you right!




Are Home Prices Too High?


A lack of new construction in the last 10 years may actually be a blessing in disguise. For now, that is.


’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about home prices. Are they too high? Is the market overheating? I think people are overreacting just a little bit. Here’s why.

As you can see on the chart in the video above, the number of new construction homes being built has moved up and down in cycles for the last 60 years. The gray lines on the graph show our recessions.

If you look closely, you’ll see that we’ve built less than 1.2 million new homes in the last 10 years. We’ve never had another 10-year period where we built less than 1.2 million. We’ve occasionally dipped below that, but those dips have never lasted longer than 18 months.

“If you don’t already own a house, you need to.”

Another topic I get asked about a lot is inventory. The reason it’s so low right now is because we haven’t built enough homes in the last 10 years. Homes are going to continue to go up in value as long as this is true.

If you don’t own a house already, you need to. If you have any questions at all about buying or aren’t sure what you can afford, give me a call or send me an email. I would be glad to help you out.



Buying a Home: Great No to Low Down Payment Options



Owning a home is a major element of the American Dream, and many people find that purchasing a home is the wisest financial decision they ever make. However, the belief they need a sizable down payment keeps many potential homeowners out of the market. They end up spending thousands of dollars each year on rent instead of building financial independence with home ownership.

You May Qualify for No to Very Low Down Payments

Recognizing the importance of home ownership, the federal and state governments have enacted several loan programs that require no or exceptionally low down payments. It is well worth your time to explore these programs, even if you have the cash to make a larger down payment. Using any of the programs will often allow you to purchase a home, and perhaps one larger than you might otherwise consider.

We carefully monitor the best programs to get you into the home of your dreams with the least upfront expenses and lowest down payment. I discuss several of our favorites below, and we can help you determine which ones meet your needs and qualifications.

Conventional 1% Down Program

Our current favorite actually allows us to assist you in buying your home. The program we use actually requires 3% down, but we gift you 2%. That means with just 1% down you can get into a home that starts you off with 3% equity. Additionally, your monthly payments average as much as $200 a month lower than other options, such as the FHA Grant and Utah Housing Programs that we discuss below. With these advantages you can see why we are currently completing a number of these loans each month.

FHA Loan with Down Payment Assistance.

The state of Utah and its counties put great emphasis on the concept of home ownership. As a result, there are multiple grants available to help you purchase a home. There are often income restrictions and other qualifying factors, but the help is significant for those who qualify. For example, our favorite, the CDC Grant ( provides many residents of Salt Lake County an outright grant of as much as $5,000. We can help you explore this option and other grant programs if you live outside Salt Lake County.

FHA Loan with Utah Housing Second

Another popular and useful program has been established by Utah Housing to work with FHA loans ( The state agency enhances a regular FHA Loan with 3.5 percent down loan with a 6% second note. This amount covers the required FHA down and part of the closing costs on the loan. We find this is an excellent option for homes with a purchase price below $200,000 and borrowers with some credit rating challenges. While the rate on the mortgage may be a bit higher, this program usually generates multiple offers and is a great solution for certain situations.


If you live in or are looking to live in qualifying rural areas, the USDA loan is a 100% financing option that many buyers fail to consider. Fortunately, we are able to help many clients who live in such qualifying areas as Tooele County, Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, and the Southern part of Utah County. On top of 100% financing, USDA Mortgage Insurance is significantly lower than the required FHA Mortgage Insurance. Our team will help you evaluate this as a preferred source of home financing.

VA Loans

Of course, active duty and veteran military personnel are rewarded for their service to our country with a great 100% financing, program. Additionally, VA loans are generally more flexible on minimal credit scores and you avoid the cost of mortgage insurance. If you have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, let us explain this important benefit in more detail. You may find this an ideal route to home ownership.

FHA Loans

As we mentioned above, a traditional FHA loan requires only 3.5% down. While there are certain restrictions and qualifications, this is a great way to get that starter home and begin the process of building equity in your own home, with the option to later use that equity for refinancing or purchasing a larger house.

Conventional Loan Programs

Contrary to what many people believe, 20% is not a requirement for many great conventional loan options. We constantly monitor the markets for the best options, and we can show you a variety of ways to purchase your house with as little as 3 to 5% down.

Are you sitting on the sidelines because you think you can’t come up with a large enough down payment? Call today and we will show you how you can get into the home ownership game with a zero or very low down payment!



The Magic of the 1% Down Program

How our Unique Program Is Changing Lives

One of the major financial decisions most individuals ever make is buying a house. Owning a home provides you with a sense of security and stability that simply can’t be achieved by renting from someone else. Additionally, the many long-term advantages of home ownership provide a life-changing opportunity to grow your personal net wealth.One of the great joys we have in our firm is helping many of our clients purchase a home and join the family of contented home owners. Our secret?

It’s not really so much a secret as the way we have designed what we call our One-Two-Three program. As one of Utah’s leading mortgage brokers, we have created an innovative approach that allows buyers to move in to their new home with a net 1% down payment. That’s right, just 1%. We pair our clients with a 3% percent down mortgage and then we gift them 2% of the home value. Again, that’s right – we gift the 2% and you move into your house with an instant 3% equity.

Here are comments from just a few of those new homeowners:

         “Putting 1% down in a hot market like this was a great investment. We were able to use the money we had saved as a down payment to improve the value of the home and truly make it ours: new floors, paint, kitchen cabinets, window treatments, and even furniture. The improvements gave us instant equity and made it feel like home from the day we moved in.” ~Kenneth

Ken really used this program to his advantage. He had the money for the down payment but chose to use the 1% down payment program anyway. This allowed him to use the money he saved for a down payment on renovating and updating his home.

         “I originally got pre-approved with another lender for an FHA loan but the condo I fell in love with wasn’t FHA Approved. If it wasn’t for my mother recommending a 2nd opinion with ALV Mortgage and the 1% down conventional loan I wouldn’t be in my condo today.” ~Tonia

Tonia was pre-approved with another lender for an FHA Loan and was shopping for condo’s. Unfortunately not all condo’s are FHA approved. Not only was our 1% loan program able to get her into her condo, but it did so at a cheaper monthly payment then the other lender’s FHA loan program.

         “My rent kept increasing year after year so I decided to buy a condo, but I didn’t have a down payment. I decided to quit my Gym membership, quit going to Starbucks, and save every penny I could. It took me 3 months, but I was able to save for a 1% down payment. My rent will never go up again.” ~Angela

I am so proud of Angela. It wasn’t easy but she set a goal and made it happen.

         “When a house came up for sale across the street from my aging parents I just had to buy it, but I didn’t have a down payment. Scrimping up 1% to purchase this house wasn’t easy, but we did it. We wouldn’t have been able to buy this house any other way. Now we love our house and being so close to family.” ~Sofia

This loan wasn’t easy but I am so glad we were able to get it closed. Buying this house made Sofia so happy she could hardly contain herself. She couldn’t wait to get the keys.

Call me today and I can explain how I can get you into a home with just 1% down. We work hard to make the mortgage loan process the easiest part of your biggest financial decision.

~ALV Mortgage


Cash Out Refinance

Let’s discuss when it’s right to turn your home equity into Cash.

Is it Right for You?

Owning your own home is not just a fundamental aspect of the American Dream. For many American households, the equity in their homes represents as much as 67 percent of their total net worth. For generations the power of home ownership has created a solid financial base for millions of families, and a little knowledge offers the potential for even more financial independence.

Building Long-term Value

Most people understand that the total equity in their home represents the current market value minus the balance of the underlying mortgage. The initial equity balance usually starts with the down payment, and equity value generally grows over time due to a combination of factors. These include:

  • Improvements made in the home

  • Paydown of principal from monthly mortgage payments

  • Overall increase in market value

While this growth in equity provides an overall sense of comfort, it may also provide some significant financial opportunities. One of the fundamental principles of financial management is to keep your money at work earning the best possible returns. While the equity in your home is working for you, it can also be leveraged to provide even more financial benefits.

Putting Risk versus Reward to Work

Loans on primary residences are considered relatively safe bets by financial institutions. That is why mortgage rates are significantly lower than most other consumer loans. Likewise, it generally means you can access your equity with a cash-out refinance.

If you have equity in your home, you can usually take advantage of an equity line of credit or loan. However, the rates on such loans are higher than regular mortgages because they represent more risk to the lender. That risk comes from being second in line behind the primary mortgage holder.

On the other hand, the cash-out refi replaces the original mortgage and assumes the first position on your home. Depending on your specific situation, you may end up with lower or very similar payments due to changes in interest rates and other factors. Our experienced loan advisors can quickly help you evaluate your options in this area.

Taking the time to consider a cash-out refinance may open a variety of financial doors for you and your family. We have assisted clients put their equity to work in many ways, including:

  • Eliminating debt with much higher rates

  • Simplifying their financial picture by consolidating multiple payments into one

  • Starting a business without seeking outside lenders and investors

  • Diversifying their investments into such things as stocks, rental properties, etc.

  • Helping with unexpected or other major needs such as medical and education

In light of the new tax changes, your advisor may show you just how much additional financial leverage a cash-out refi may provide you. For example, consider the savings of replacing just $16,000, which is the 2017 average for U.S. Households with credit card debt, carried at 18% for ten years. (

A refinance mortgage that gives you that $16,000 to pay off the credit cards with a 4.5% mortgage would save nearly $15,000 over those ten years. That is called a savvy financial strategy, even before adding in the potential returns from investing that “extra” $15,000.

As the song says, “You work hard for your money.” Let us help you put that money to work for you by exploring the advantages of a cash out refinance on your home.

~ALV Mortgage