Babs De Lay
Here's an excellent party trivia question: "How many liquor stores are in Utah?" Answer: 44 State Liquor Stores. Unlike most states in the good ol' USA, we in Utah cannot control our adult cravings and must have the government pick what we drink, when we drink and where we drink. Yet, we Utahn's have a great history of booze made by white men that continues to today.
Supposedly the first brewer in the state was Brigham Young's personal hit man and self proclaimed cannibal, Porter Rockwell. He opened the Hot Springs Brewery Hotel in 1856. There was simply a great need for beds and liquor in the territory because immigration and industry were whirling towards Zion like a modern day sharknado. If hard working rail roaders and miners couldn't get a simple beer or a shot of cheap whiskey after a back breaking day of work they'd just keep movin' on to another state like Wyoming or west to California that did would to drinkers. Local Mormon businessmen learned quickly that booze was good for business if they wanted to attract workers.
Flip the page forward to today. The same mentality for a successful business atmosphere continues. The LDS Church-owned City Creek Mall allows the Cheesecake Factory and Texas de Brazil Churrascaria to sell alcoholic beverages on its property. That might not have happened if the Mormon-controlled legislature hadn't met earlier to increase the number of restaurant liquor licenses just in time for the grand opening of the shopping mall. Thank goodness because the immigrants keep coming and are demanding more and more options! Look at Goldman Sachs with almost 2000 employees working in downtown with more coming. Many of their folks hail from big cities and want food trucks, bike rentals, local pubs and restaurants. Whaaaat? Neumont University just opened its doors in the old Salt Lake Tribune building and has 40 apartments upstairs for eager tech-minded students to live in year round. That's 500 students who are coming closer to the heart of Zion. It's working numbers like that which helped Gracie's on West Temple just get voted 'Best Cocktail in Utah'.
Just east of downtown there's been a vicious verbal throw down for the owners of a proposed pub near 2100 East and 1300 South. They recently came to Salt Lake Planning and Zoning to ask for permission to create their drive-up, sit down restaurant and pub aptly named 'Brewhaha Tavern'. Owners Jones and Pohlman want to bring a concept of a neighborhood pub to an area of town occupied by people who apparently don't drink a sip of liquor. Over 400 'neighbors' signed a petition to not let them open. Rumors flew that modern day temperance workers were telling other businesses in the area that they would stop shopping with them if didn't also help vote the potential pub down. Residents complained that they didn't want their children to walk by a bar (God forbid the kids might hang at Foothill Village behind the building where McCool's Tavern operates). One NIMBY ("not in my back yard") said she was scared that a place like Brewhaha might bring strangers and addicts to the neighborhood. I'm not making that up. Sadly, the loud neighbors won out so far and P and Z voted the request for a conditional use permit down. That means the owners can't get a liquor license now.
I recall when Dick N Dixie's at 479 E. 300 South-across the street from Michaels "Now and Again"-consignment shop petitioned the Salt Lake Planning and Zoning Commission to open up their neighborhood bar. Neighbors streamed into the hearing to complain that the world would end if their new changes to the hood passed through the city permitting system. Low and behold, Dick N Dixie's has a 4 star rating from Yelp and is one of the hottest little dives in town. I have not been able to find any statistic that any addict has been sleeping on the sidewalk there or that crime is at an all time high on this urban corner because of this pub.
The more business we want to attract to Utah the more all of us will have to look to improve the accessibility to adult watering holes and boozy beverages for the immigrants we wish to attract.
Let's go back in time to the early 1900's in Salt Lake City. The J.G. McDonald Chocolate Company had just built a 100,000 sq. ft confectionary factory that produced sweets, chocolate and a chocolate drink intended to replace tea and coffee. J. G.'s dad had been a taffy maker in the 1860's and his son took the talent and small company into sugary success. The building which housed the operation had wonderful Victorian gardens on the roof, where ladies in their corsets, petticoats, fancy dresses, big hats and white gloves could enjoy fine treats served on white linens by an equally well dressed wait staff. Sadly, the garden isn't there anymore but the building still is...and is now known as The Broadway Lofts Condominiums (next door to Squatters).
Visitors know our capitol city as a clean town with ultra-wide streets and 20' sidewalks. There are lovely gardens and plantings from the Temple grounds down Main Street here, but it's been difficult to find outside dining or friendly places to sit to enjoy downtown without the interruption of our panhandler plague. How to make areas of town more inviting to pedestrians has been a dilemma. We've rushed ahead to make bike lanes and put in UHaulcareshare and green bike rentals. And slowly bars and restaurants have been setting out a few tables to lure in more traffic-with or without the permission of City Permits.
I remember many years ago the only place you could go for outside dining was Ruth's Diner, The Park Café and out south to La Caille. Now we have many options to sit, eat and watch the world go by AND we're about to get more. City officials are ready to enact sweeping guidelines to enable and clearly control outside dining. The process to change rules is not quick. For example, it took a few million meetings for the City to get on board with food trucks this past decade. Old planners with pocket protectors ran around in a dizzy yelling about the potential trucks, "Where will they get power? Where will they go to the bathroom? Will they stay open late?". After all the worry we have a thriving community of local, mobile, yummy alternatives to Taco Smell and Dickey Me's for lunch or dinner. Our winter weather doesn't make for good roof top dining or curbside tables but soon you'll see proper short walls and portable heaters going up in front of several eateries downtown because the laws are being updated.
The other great addition to our city that I've personally been pushing for is the legalization of 'Parklets'. Other cities in the U.S. from Boston to SoCal have found that their street scene is not warm and fuzzy with just merely sidewalks and parking spaces to greet people. Businesses and neighborhoods have created mini-green spaces to sit, read, dine, exercise or have marshmellow roasting parties. Parklets are like pop-up small urban parks legally created in usually two parking spaces outside of buildings. We have had parklets here before and this Saturday, 9/21/13 from 11-5 there will be more. I tip my fedora to the 21st and Twenty First Autumn Arts Festival on the north side of 2100 South (between 2100 East to 2200 East). The local businesses there have worked with Salt Lake City to put in temporary grass and planters for the day's activities of food, art and music. Go check it out-it's a free event and you can see what a parklet looks like and maybe get some ideas for your own area.
Last time I was in San Francisco we went shopping in it was 'Parklet Friday' and all the stores on one block face had erected side by side experiences. It made you want to stop and check out the crowds and the fun. One parklet had temporary indoor/outdoor carpeting and a surround of crafty trees. People were BBQ'ing weenies on hangers while skinny jeaned kids played silly camp songs on acoustic guitars. Another parklet had several old school exercise bikes that you could get on and pedal with your friends for as long as you wanted. There are more permanent parklets all over the city where people can just sit and read. Restaurants can't use them to serve customers, but people can eat there and must abide by local laws (like no smoking).
Soon Salt Lake City will have its outside dining regulations updated and the rules for operating a seasonal parklet on the books. Methinks next summer will be a lot more fun in this old city of salt!
"My wife and I live in a condo with very little parking. It would be expensive and stupid to own two cars, have two car/insurance payments each month especially since Salt Lake's version of Zip Cars has a rental parked outside of our home. A cute little Mini has been stationed there for a year, under the U-Haul car share program Salt Lake City initiated. Mysteriously U-Haul's cars have disappeared and been instantly replaced with Enterprise Rent-A-Car vehicles in the dark of the night."
If you've not lived in a city with a car share program, it's smart and simple. To use the cars you must of course have a valid driver's license and car insurance and some form of pay plastic. Cars are generally in good city locations and here you can find them near TRAX and FrontRunner stations, the University of Utah, Utah Valley University and at several locations in the capitol city. You log on and reserve the car and if you don't cancel it in time you will be charged a fee. UTA has jumped in with Salt Lake City and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to suggest locations for the autos to help with the mass transit that we should all be trying to support and use here. The good news is that the annual membership for the new program is $40, but if you sign up NOW your joining fee will be waived through January 31st of 2014. The cost of the cars starts at $5 per hour and can be up to $75 for an entire day depending on the kind of car that you rent. http://www.enterprisecarshare.com/car-sharing/program/slc
During the holiday season, tax TRAX downtown and jump on the free Jingle Bus supplied by the SLC Downtown Alliance that will move you from the Gateway to Temple Square, to the Gallivan Plaza, Capitol and City Creek Center. This is a way to keep down the insane car traffic during the holidays around the malls and Temple Square. The cute Jingle Trolley (it looks like a trolley, not a train) runs from 5-10 pm 7 DAYS A WEEK in a loop that takes 20-30 minutes from beginning to end. Thus, you could park at Gateway and see the giant electric Christmas tree (unveiled Nov. 21), buy some old school candy at Blinkenstaffs, hop on the Trolley up to Temple Square for photo ops, wander over to Macy's and see the six candy windows (unveiled Nov. 21st, too) in the front of the former ZCMI store and wander through City Creek. Hop on the Trolley again to the Gallivan and get some cocoa and ice skate or head to the Capitol Theater for the Nutcracker and back to the Gateway. Easy peasy and fun for families and date nite. The Alliance has volunteers like yours truly give tours along the way, start up songs or tell jokes to get people in more jovial (not manic/panic moods). I can tell you last year it was so cold some nights people burst into tears when we pulled that Trolley up alongside their group and said, "Free! Warm! Come ride with us!"
For a map: downtownslc.org/jingle
Did you hear that really loud Latin cheer from the Northwest quadrant of the City two weeks ago, the one that sounded like the soccer announcer saying: "GOAL!!! ???" You might have missed the noise because you're so engrossed in the outcome of REAL Salt Lake's (RSL's) standing in the league. This is bigger than a REAL game-for reals. Almost ten years ago us folks that actually vote at the polls approved a bond for a huge soccer complex with a championship field (seating for 2000+ people). The original idea was for 25 fields all in the same location but over time it's been whittled down to 15 fields, with half of them to be lit for night time play. The whole dang ball game was tied to a deal with RSL to share in funding it so that they could build the Rio Tinto Stadium at the south part of the Valley. This past Saturday I was headed to Craft Salt Lake on TRAX when a few bazillion RSL fans boarded to head to the game against Houston. I confess, I did not grow up with soccer. We didn't play it, have teams for it or even hear about it until I was in college and traveled abroad. I have tried to watch it and cannot wrap my mind around the game in any way, shape or form. I love my Yankees, my Packers and to lose all credibility, I play golf. But soccer is beyond me. However, it is a game so popular in the world now that even this dinosaur cannot ignore this phenomenon. When I heard Doug Wright on KSL radio stutter and stammer about how the league would like Salt Lake fans to stop screaming the 'YSL' chant (without him being able to explain what it stood for) I had to pull over and text a friend. I am still laughing to find out that here in Utah, out in sleepy ol' Sandy, there are tens of thousands of fans screaming at opposing teams during RSL games, 'YOU SUCK A--HOLE!'.
These new soccer fields just a bit north and west of Rose Park will see 50,000 + kids play the game in all different leagues when the fields open in 2015. More than most of them will be kids that don't have blond hair and blue eyes because soccer is a sport brought here by immigrants and now played by all. I remember years ago at the Salt Lake airport when I came back from a trip, took the escalator down to baggage, and realized I was the only person in that area who had dark hair. I stuck out like a sore thumb among the blond and blue eyed natives. I served on the Board of the Utah Hispanic Festival for a few years when Ramon (now passed) from the Red Iguana was producing music shows there at Dirks Field. We had to almost bus people in from the suburbs to fill up the shows then. The other night I checked out Erykah Badu at the Twilight Concert and realized I was just Whitey McWhite in a crowd of wonderful colors. I grinned when I looked around me and I felt like I was back home in New York. Imagine the businesses and potential housing that will spring up in this forgotten area of the Valley when these fields get rolling with balls. UTA will be stepping up to get mass transportation out there to what now seems the middle of nowhere at 2200 North. Environmentalists aren't too happy that the complex could harm the Jordan River Flood Plain. I sat in many, many meetings about this as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner here and voted in favor of the project. Who knows? The fields may end up being a landing zone in the winter for migrating birds in this flyway. I'd say this is one of the biggest goals in this Valley since we scored the Olympics and now it's finally back on track. Score!
Rio Tinto, a British mining company with over 67,000 employees worldwide has just announced that it's going to be giving furloughs and early retirements to many of the 2100 people who work at their Bingham open pit copper mine. Many of those folks live in Magna and towns south of there at the base of the Oquirrh's (Goshute for 'wooded mountains') and They will be affected greatly if the mine stays closed for a long time, as will surrounding businesses.
Magna was settled in the 1850's and 60's by Mormon pioneers who called their town Pleasant Green. One of the first folks there was a guy named Abraham Coon who homesteaded a cattle ranch he called 'Coonville' at the mouth of a canyon about 5400 South at the base of the mountains there. Locals today know it as Coon Canyon, which has Coon Creek running out of it, through Magna, to the Great Salt Lake. Early citizens of the town were mostly immigrants from Eastern Europe, and the website www.magnautah.com says that "Magna developed a reputation for embodying the American dream-being a town where immigrants' children gained an education and often moved into professional, business and civic leadership roles in and outside the community.
In 1890 a law was passed that all kids were to receive free educations, and a small one-room school for all grades was built about 4100 South and 8450 West. In the early 1900's D.C. Jackling established the Utah Copper Company, later becoming what we all know as Kennecott Copper Corp. His company is the one that started digging the now-gigantic open pit mine that has collapsed. They called it 'Magna Mill' from the Latin word meaning "great or superior".
Another mine popped up called 'Boston Consolidated' and soon merged with Utah Copper Co. The workers (remember back then-most folks couldn't afford cars) had to be pretty close to the mine and mills surrounding them. Many lived in a tent city called 'Ragtown' just north of the Webster School there today. It was the post office that made 'Pleasant Green' change its name to Magna, as the former moniker was too similar to Pleasant Grove. Just like other mining towns like Helper and Price, Utah, workers walked to their jobs-and the towns that did spring up were pedestrian friendly with houses built close to the street amongst churches, saloons, fraternal halls (ELKS, EAGLES, etc.), stores, shops. In Magna there were ethnic sections of the city called "Snaketown, Japtown and Little Italy".
As brick kilns began popping up in the Valley, citizens were able to begin building more permanent housing. The town grew as the mines grew, and housing started spreading east to West Valley and South. Copperton sprung up in 1926-built by the Utah Copper Company exclusively for its employees and remains the only mining town specifically created for miners- except for Lark, Utah (torn town in 1980 due to mine expansion). In the 1960's when the dynamite manufacturer "Hercules" started producing rocket motors just south of Magna, the voters approved a bond for sewage and water plants and the town just about doubled in size. By then people in Magna pretty much all had their own cars and they began venturing out of the city to shop and work. Downtown Magna started to fade. But with the new library on Main Street and the sausage pioneers "Colosimos", still there, it's a sweet town with a rural feel right outside the Capitol City of salt. Magna is about a 15 minute drive to downtown Salt Lake City and has some of the most affordable housing in the Salt Lake Valley. Last year homes there were selling for $109,400. This year, they've jumped 27.9% to $139,950 (WFRMLS). We'll see how the layoffs affect the housing there in the next 12 months.
How many of you are snuggled up at night catching up on your BBC Downton Abbey episodes before Season 3 starts in January? Come on, raise your hands. I see a lot of you are like me: love to dress in costume; agree that wearing a tux at night for drinks in the drawing room sounds perfect, jodhpurs are sexy; and that protocol and manners is so lacking these days. And that castle, oh my! Who wouldn’t want to live UPSTAIRS in that place?
That television show is filmed at Highclere Castle, just west of London, England and is the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Folks live there in that TV set and you can visit it pretty much year-round. You might recognize the name of the owners family… the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and his friend Howard Carter, discovered the buried tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt in 1922. The family manse, now castle, started out as a little brick and free stone house and was converted to a classical Georgian mansion in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It was fully finished to a fine home during the reign of Queen Victoria and it is said that Benjamin Disraeli’s first words on seeing the castle in its pastoral setting were “How scenical! How Scenical!” It was turned into a hospital in 1914 for the troops of WWI, just like in the PBS/BBC series. And the current Countess has published a book on her famous relative (the 5th Countess) entitled ‘Lady Almina of Downton Abbey’. It was that woman who converted the home to a hospital and she became known as a great healer of her time.
Whatever was in fashion in Europe, it was sure to be brought quickly to the U.S. during the last few centuries. The Georgian style of construction can be seen all over the Eastern Seaboard and New England, and it did make its way out west and even to Utah. Frankly, by the time we started building Georgian-style homes, they were passé back in Washington and New York. They aren’t that common here but just about every Utah town has a few examples of Georgian design.
How can you tell if you’re living in or by a Downton Abbey-like Georgian castle? The architectural style is very recognizable: the homes here like that are @100+ years old and have features such as wide fascias, stones over or at the base of the windows or doors, and round columns on the porches. I have heard one history buff say that when these homes are looked at from the side view ‘They resemble small temples’. They are generally one or two story homes and have granite or sandstone foundations. Utah.history.gov says “Although the true Georgian house has a central passage dividing the two rooms on each side, the most common Georgian form in Utah has the passage running only halfway through the house, with two large rooms in the front and three smaller rooms along the rear.” They also tend to have side gables and low pitched roofs.
We’ve all seen pictures of the Frankenstorm, “Sandy” that hit the East coast two weeks ago. Disasters like that prompt a myriad of thoughts and discussions about “What would happen if disaster struck HERE? Am I prepared to be without electricity and water for a week? What if my entire home disappears into a crack in the earth during a tremor?” Homeowners are required to carry insurance on the behalf of lenders, to protect the lenders interest on their loan. When disaster strikes, a property owner will likely call their insurance agent immediately and make a claim. But what if you had let your insurance lapse or can’t get insurance on your property? Look for the folks riding in on proverbial white horses to save the day: FEMA!
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is a government agency paid for by your taxes, under the Department of Homeland Security. It was only created recently-in the 1970’s and is called in when a State declares a disaster area due to a man-made or act of God event that overwhelms the abilities of the citizens of that state or states. Before then the government responded to disasters like the great fires of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and New York City in the 1800’s by waiving taxes to merchants to help them recover from loss of property.
FEMA is not the Red Cross, but people in need often confuse the two and think that FEMA brings the food and blankets right after the storm leaves. FEMA helps individuals after disasters who do not have insurance or who have been hit by flooding. They send out inspectors to the area in question, evaluate your situation and make a decision about your case within 10 days of the visit. They may cut you a check immediately for temporary living expenses not covered by flood insurance, and if you’re just a renter, they may give you living expenses for up to 6 months. Landlords can’t get money for lost rents, though.
The agency can give you money up front for emergency purposes, and offers grants. You must use their grants for specific purposes, as in what repairs to make to your current home and the amount of rent assistance you’ll get while you do those repairs. Anyone affected by a huge disaster (like the storm surge and floods back East) can apply for help from FEMA and the State will encourage you to apply because they will get more money from FEMA for infrastructure repairs. FEMA can offer assistance in negotiations with your insurance company, too.
Basically FEMA is there for folks in extreme circumstances after disaster strikes, and especially for people who don’t have insurance. In reading over threads about how effective the agency is, one person wrote, “I wish I didn’t have my car insured-my neighbor got a huge check for his beater that hadn’t run for years.” What does your insurance cover? It’s good to know, whether you’re a property owner or tenant. You never really know until disaster strikes, but call your agent and ask a few basic questions:
- Am I covered for earthquake? For flood? Fire?
- Will you pay for my lodging until I can move home, and if so, how much and for how long?
- What repairs won’t you pay for?
Your insurance carrier can also advise you on additions to your current policy which might cover you better during a total property disaster.
I hate to keep harping on you all, but it’s school time and you’re desperately still looking for a place to rent, right? Once again the Department of Commerce has sent out a media alert, ‘Consumer Protection warns of fake rental scheme targeting real estate ads’. There are FAKE rental ads on Craigslist, KSL-beware the pirates! Yes indeed, there are scammers out there who go onto the interwebs, clip photos of homes for sale and paste them into phony ads. The Francine Giani, the Executive Director and soon to be Liquor Commissioner said recently, “Young people seeking rental properties need to be especially careful when searching housing ads online. Many have grown up with the internet and feel comfortable doing business without face-to-face interaction which can make them more vulnerable to these types of online scams.” WTF? Because you’re interwebs saavy, you’re an easier target?
Generally you can smell a scam from a mile away because you are younger and you are used to scams: 1) the language in the online ad is poor at best, as if ‘Peggy’ used a Russian to English translation website to help her/him write it; 2) for whatever reason, when you call the landlord he or she says that they are out of the country on a mission in Wadiya, or live in Vegas, baby so they can’t meet you there; 3) the phone number to call for the ad always has an out of state number or worse-is an international number; 4) they want you to WIRE a deposit somewhere to hold or rent the property; 5) the rent price is like wow, HALF the normal rent for a two bedroom flat.
Ding, ding, ding, all your alarms are going off. The proper protocol for leasing an apartment or house generally starts with a readable ad written by a landlord or property manager then published on the internet or in a local paper. Sometimes you get to see the property because the landlord has hidden a key, left the door open, or the property manger gave you a code. You then usually fill out a rental application for the landlord. IF you go through a professional leasing company you will also a) have to submit an application fee along with your application; and b) at least have your criminal back ground checked.
Additionally, you are smart enough to find out who the owner of record is of the property. The county you live in has access for you on-line to the owners of property on the records. If you meet a private individual at an apartment touting themselves as the owner, ask for ID? And take a friend? Not only could “Peggy” be a scammer, but “Peggy” could be there to rob and or rape you. Not kidding.
Words to the wise-put on your super scumbag alert headphones and be cautious, not desperate. If you’ve been looking for weeks and weeks for a landlord who will rent to you with your 225LB dog, and FINALLY “Peggy” shows up at a fantastic penthouse downtown and offers it to you for a $1000 cash depost-RUN! It’s too good to be true. If you call the area code/ number listed for Wadiya and “Peggy” tells you there are 7 people interested in the unit and if you WIRE $1000 tonight you’ll get the place know that he/she is a LIAR ! Don’t send money unless you can verify the source. Do not give the stinkin’ rent pirates ANY of your personal account information, SSN numbers or a rental application UNTIL you know where that pirate does his banking and docks his ship at night! And remember: TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY IS SEPT. 19TH. Arrrrgh!
Wasatch“The tables have turned-It’s now a seller’s market”! Those were happy words on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune last week, right? That is not a headline we’ve seen in these parts in FIVE FREAKIN’ YEARS! Let me take the next few paragraphs here and share with you my slant on the statistics that were just released by the Front Multiple Listing Service (WFRMLS). FYI: The WFRMLS is a private company owned by the three largest private real estate associations/Boards of Realtors in the state: The Davis County Board of Realtors, the Utah County Board of Realtors and Salt Lake Board of Realtors.
1) Everyone wants Tooele County. Prices there went up 6.5% in the past year, from $139,900 to $149,000 on average. That is still a screaming deal for folks looking for a more small town living experience and a 30 minute commute to Salt Lake City;
2) Salt Lake County saw a 5.9% increase, with the highest sales prices in the past year jumping up in the Holladay area-with a change from $280,000 a year ago to $370,000 this past quarter. That’s no surprise to me because that’s an area of very high priced homes. Surprisingly, Sandy went down by 1.9% in the past year to an average of sales prices of $180,000, Herriman down 5.4% to $244,000 and the 84106 zip code down 1.9% to $211,900. There were no stats reported for my neighborhood downtown (84101) but that may be related to the fact that the LDS Church hasn’t been reporting most of their sales in the City Creek condo projects or that the Broadway Park auctioned condos by Pioneer Park are only starting to close this month (after a 6+ month wait in escrow).
3) Davis County is up 3.4% in prices to an average of $196,500, with the highest prices now found in Layton and then Woods Cross.
4) Utah County (Provo area) just squeaked by Weber County in popularity: Utah County prices went up from $191,900 to $195,000 where as Weber County went up only 1.3% to an average sales price of $145,000.
There are still grim statistics out there: Eden properties went down -18.7% in the last year, followed by South Odgen at a drop of -16.6%. I generalize, but use the rule of thumb “We dropped on average of 30% since the crash 4 years ago. We’ve adjusted back to prices of 2003 now.”
How can you NOT buy a home when interest rates are at 3.5%? Rent IS HIGHER, period. Sure, you have some credit issues. Fix them! A good lender will hold your hand and HELP you fix your credit-for free. You don’t have money down? There are totally legit zero down loans out there which a good lender can tell you about. The apocalypse is soon and zombies will only destroy your house to get to your yummy brains? Buy a damned high rise condo and pick them off from your balcony!
One other really obvious fact I want to mention in response to the ‘seller’s market’ headlines: If you’re a seller you’re only going to sell IF your property is priced correctly. Otherwise, if you’re priced wrong, you’re going to sit, and sit, and sit on the market and be fodder for the bottom feeders.
My fellow Realtors are going to be a bit peeved at me when they read this article. Why? It’s college graduation time and I’m going to tell you lucky graduates NOT to run out and buy a home for a few years. I know that seems like crazy advice right now especially since mortgage interest rates are incredibly low and mortgage payments are less than rent payments these days. Please consider some of these points when you approach the biggest financial decision of your new life:
1) What did it just cost you to get that diploma in your hands? Just two years ago the Huffington Post reported that the average college student owed @$25,000 in loans once they graduated. President Obama has been lobbying Congress and speaking at universities around the U.S. in the past two weeks explaining that many student loan payments may double starting July 1, 2012 if changes aren’t made immediately to Federal loan programs. If you’re one of those unlucky kids who’s getting the crap scared out of you because you might not be able to pay back your student loans, then it’s not a good time to buy a home. Your debt is too high and may be getting higher!
2) The Associated Press just released a survey this past week that said basically 50% of college graduates this year won’t be able to find jobs or find positions in their field. Generally when you apply for a mortgage loan, you have to be on the job for at least 2 years. If you just got lucky and were offered a guaranteed job in your new field (i.e.- a position with a local law firm for $45,000 a year as starting pay), a lender will have some hoops for you to jump through before you get a home loan. Basically, you have a 50-50 chance you might not have a job waiting for you after your parents go home after the graduation ceremony. Certainly it’s not a good time to buy a home without a job. It’s an even worse time to buy a home if you landed a job you know you’re not going to stick with for long, or if you think you’ll be moving out of state later for better employment.
Congratulations on getting that sheep’s skin. Right about now you’re pretty much done with people telling you what to do, how to do it, and where and when to get it done. I humbly ask that you consider a few last words of wisdom…if you can stand it. Make sure you go over all your options when you decide to buy a home. Giving your landlord the middle finger is a wonderful feeling, and owning a home can be an even better one. Please WAIT until all your financial and career ducks are in a row.
And last but not least, use a professional. These days it’s easy to shop for homes on the web. You can download forms and all the books you can possibly read about real estate onto your IPad. Aligning yourself with a full time negotiator (Realtor) will make the same difference in your financial plan as when you stopped having your roommate take notes in class and actually attended in person.