Blog Post

10 Ways to Avoid Boredom This Summer!

Summer is in and kids are out – of school, that is. After the summer camps, the family trips and the holidays, a lot of parents are left wondering what activities they can use to keep the kids busy and get them out of the house. With triple digit weather just around the corner, we know you are looking for simple, cool and entertaining ideas for the kiddos this year. Beside perhaps letting the kids frolic in the yard, what’s a parent to do?

Fear not! We’ve compiled a list of 10 fun summer activities for you, all within the Salt Lake Area. Get your planning in gear today!

  1. Red Butte Garden Outdoor Concert Series – Located on the upper east side of campus, the Red Butte Garden will be hosting some amazing musical talent this summer such as Sugar Ray, Steve Miller Band, and a host of well-known artists.
  2. Hit the biking/hiking trails – Some of the best biking trails are also some of the best trails for a great hike. There are trails just east of the U of U campus; you might also consider nearby canyons such as City Creek Canyon and Millcreek Canyon.
  3. The Utah Arts Festival – The Arts Festival will be held at the downtown Library Square from June 25 – June 28. See more info on their Facebook page by clicking here.
  4. Fireworks at the park (twice in the same month) – One of the benefits of living in Utah is that we have two July holidays with fireworks—the 4th of July and the 24th of July (Pioneer Day). Why not take advantage of both days?
  5. Go to the pool or water park – You can go to a local pool or you can try out Seven Peaks Waterpark (formerly called Raging Waters) at 1200 West and 1700 South.
  6. Twilight Concert Series at Pioneer Park – Join gatherings of outdoor concertgoers for some of the hottest shows in town, such as Death Cab for Cutie. Tickets are only $5 in advance and $10 at the door.
  7. Drive-In Movie Theater – Pack up a cooler with your favorite beverages and snacks, along with some blankets and beach chairs, and you’re good for a relaxing time with two great flicks for a low price. Click here for more information.
  8. Hogle Zoo – Not only are there dozens and dozens of exhibits for kids to bounce back and forth between, there are also great clubs, camps, Harry Potter themed zoology classes and sunrise/sunset safaris where no kids from 1 – 92 will be able to find anything to be bored about.
  9. Boondocks Fun Center – Tuesdays will never be boring again when you can get unlimited Laser Tag, XD Theater, Kiddie Cove and video games all for $12 at Boondocks. For an extra $8 per person, you can buy an Outdoor Upgrade with Go-Karts, Batting Cages and more. Military discounts apply.
  10. Wheeler Historic Farm – This is a working farm with a museum and a great amount of open space for kids to run around. Picnic facilities and a playground make for a good afternoon escape, and wagon and train rides give a very nostalgic feeling to the whole experience. Did we mention it’s a public park, so it’s free?
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Mortgage Insurance : A Breakdown

What is Mortgage Insurance?

Mortgage insurance is a specialized protection for the lender -not the buyer- if you are unable to make your mortgage payments, for any reason. If you fall behind, your credit score may suffer, and you could stand to foreclose on your home.

How does it work?

Mortgage insurance lowers the risk to the lender making the loan to you, that way you are eligible for a loan you might not otherwise get. This does increase the cost of the overall loan but if you are required to get it, it will either be included in your monthly payment, your costs at closing, or both.

Who needs Mortgage Insurance?

Typically, borrowers making a down payment of less than 20 % of the purchase price of the home also will need to pay for mortgage insurance. This insurance is also usually required on FHA and USDA loans.

Are there different ways to pay for Mortgage Insurance?

There are several different kinds of loans available to borrowers who have low down payments, and the resulting mortgage insurance can be paid for in a number of ways:

  • Conventional Loans – your lender may arrange for a private company to insure you. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) rates vary by the amount of the down payment amount and credit score, but are tend to be cheaper than FHA rates for good credit. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to cancel your PMI. (see last question)
  • FHA Loans – premiums from your insurance are paid to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This insurance is required on all FHA loans. FHA insurance is paid by both monthly payments and upfront costs included in closing. Loan amounts can increase if there is not enough cash on hand to pay upfront and the fee is rolled over to the mortgage.
  •  USDA Loans –  Similar to the FHA but typically cheaper. You will pay for insurance both upfront and monthly. You may choose to roll the upfront portion to the mortgage but again, this will increase overall loan cost.
  • VA Backed Loans – replaces mortgage insurance and functions similarly to it. There is no monthly premium with this loan but there is an upfront “funding fee”, which varies depending on the type of military service, the down payment amount, disability status, type of loan (buying or refinancing), and whether or not it is a first VA loan. You have the choice to roll the upfront fee with this as well.

Can you get rid of mortgage insurance?

In order to remove private mortgage insurance (PMI), you must have at least 20% equity in your home. You may ask the lender to cancel PMI when you have paid down the mortgage balance to 80% of the home’s original appraised value. When the balance drops below 78%, the mortgage servicer is required to eliminate the PMI.

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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.

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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

 

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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. (https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/))

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

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The Road Map for Home Ownership

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. (https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/))

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

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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.

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I’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.

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Welcome to My Sandy, UT Real Estate Video Blog

Find Mortgage Rates

Apply for a Mortgage

Welcome to my YouTube channel! I’m a firm believer that the best place to get a home loan is through a mortgage broker, and we shop hundreds of lenders across the nation so we can find you the best possible interest rate for your mortgage. Our goal is to make this process easy, fast, and stress-free, and our motto is “closing is about communication.” We communicate with you every step of the way through a number of channels so you know where your loan stands at all times. If you have any questions or you’re interested in seeking a loan, reach out to us any time. We look forward to serving you and giving you more helpful content and information soon!

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Why I Love Working With VA Financing and Veteran Buyers

VA loans are my favorite type of loan to originate because of all the options they give to veteran borrowers. Here’s why.

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VA loans are my absolute favorite to originate because I love working with VA borrowers. Within this loan type, there are three different options: a VA purchase and two types of refinances.

VA purchase loans are awesome because they allow you to borrow up to 100% financing on the purchase price of a property with no down payment required. You’re able to do a lot of cool things with VA loans as well. Did you know you can actually have a home seller pay off your credit cards to help you qualify to buy their home? No other loan program does that!

If you’re refinancing a loan, there are two VA options. One is the IRRRL, or interest rate reduction refinance loan. This type of loan is especially great because it allows you to lower your interest rate without an appraisal or any of the paperwork like bank statements, W-2s, or pay stubs. Since it’s an easier refinance, the closing costs and fees are much lower too. Essentially, the VA allows you to lower your rate and save money every month in a way that’s as easy and streamlined as possible.

“IRRRL VA loans are great because they allow you to lower your interest rate without an appraisal or any of the paperwork.”

VA also allows a cash-out refinance for up to 100% of the appraised value of your home. No other loan program does that. You can take equity out of your home in cash to easily do things like pay off debt, remodel your kitchen, or a number of other things. VA makes it very easy to pull out equity for what you want.

I truly love working with VA homebuyers, so if you’re a veteran and you’re thinking about buying a home or refinancing your house, give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to tell you more.

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13 Things to Do Now so Your Total Loss is Not A Total Loss

Knowing the prevention strategies for a home fire and what to do afterwards are key to protecting your home and its contents. Also, if you don’t have your house in order, you can wind up with a total loss. As your friend, I’d like to give you some tips on how to recoup what you’ve lost. I’ve also included some tips on what to do after the fire. This way, you can have your dream home back again as soon as possible. You’ll be looking to your insurance company for relief, and it’s a savvy move to be prepared way before disaster strikes.

  1. Look for Signs of Home Electrical Problems: Be on the lookout for circuit breaker issues, hot ceiling fixtures, appliances that deliver shocks, flickering lights and smoke odors from electric switches.Picture1
  2. Get Adequate Coverage – Keep in mind that your basic homeowner’s coverage may not adequately cover valuable artwork, collectibles and jewelry. For example, jewelry may only be covered for up to $200. So, if you’ve got an expensive heirloom piece, it’s wise to opt for a rider or floater coverage to cover the replacement of your personal treasures. The last thing you need to hear after a fire is that you’re underinsured. If you need a recommendation for a good insurance agent call me.
  3. Know Your Stuff with a Home Inventory Sheet – Being able to pull up an up-to-date inventory of your possessions will make it easy to account for everything you own. Start by walking through your home with a pad of paper and jot down anything worth more than $50. Go room by room, including the basement, attic and garage. Be sure to include electronic equipment, clothing, jewelry, antiques and coin or stamp collections.
  4. Do a Video Walk-Through – Using your smart phone, film your home’s content and narrate the items as you do a walk-through. It’s fool-proof documentation that will tell a story of what you owned before the fire.
  5. Formalize Inventory Sheets – You can use insurance inventory forms or access free software from the Insurance Information Institute to create inventory sheets. Formalized inventory sheets are where you enter a complete description of the item, such as serial number, make and model. It also helps to write down where you can find your receipts, owner’s manual and ownership documents.
  6. Secure All Documentation – Save all of your home inventory documentation in a secure place. This can include a metal fireproof box or even a safety deposit box.
  7. Find Out if It’s Safe to Reenter – Before you go back into your home to inspect the damages, check with the fire professionals to ensure that it’s safe.
  8. Call Your Insurance Agent Immediately – Be sure to call your insurance agent immediately after the fire. They will let you all of your options at this point in the process, such as hiring contractors to put your home back together again.
  9. Get the Fire Report – You can get this report from the fire marshall or the fire department. Line Up the Pros- Set up appointments with restoration companies that can help with cleaning up soot. Many restoration companies also have good connections with architects and engineers as well.
  10. Separate Damaged Property from Undamaged Property – For an accurate tally of the damages, separate damaged property from undamaged property. Any items that aren’t damaged should be put in a safe place, even if it means putting these items in a storage facility.
  11. Cooperate with the Insurance Company Investigation – To help settle your claim in a timely manner, be sure to be available for insurance company phone calls and meetings.
  12. Find a Place to Stay – If you can’t live in your home, find somewhere to stay. Most homeowner’s policies include “Loss of Use” coverage. This coverage pays for the shelter, food and clothing that your family may need for a specific period of time.
  13. Escape Route – Always have a planned escape route in place, so everyone can escape quickly to safety.

 

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