Babs DeLay

Babs DeLay

Real estate activities are permissible at this time under Utah state law. Attached are questions that we have received from clients and customers with the best answers we have as of May, 2020. We will attempt to up-date/supplement these FAQs as we hear from our local and national REALTOR® associations and our government.

1) QUESTION: Can REALTORS® conduct in-person listing appointments and property showings?
ANSWER: Yes.

2) QUESTION: What requirements must be followed at any listing appointment or showing?
ANSWER: a) All real estate activity conducted at a property must be by appointment unless the MLS listing specifically states ‘Go and show and or /keyboxed and vacant, no appointment necessary’; b) No more than four peo-ple may be in attendance whenever possible apart from those persons living in the home; c) All persons visiting a property must wear a mask and maintain a six-foot social distance at all times.

3) QUESTION: Does a rental unit need to be vacant before I can schedule an appointment?
ANSWER: State law requires that tenants in a leased property be given a 24 hour notice to show the property. However a listing brokerage may have made specific arrangements with that tenant during the listing period to ac-commodate safe showing practices. We will abide by the listing brokerage’s instructions to enter any leased property.

4) QUESTION: Is a seller required to allow in-person showings?
ANSWER: No. A seller has the right to elect not to permit an in-person showing or to set up conditions on such showings such as the wearing of masks, gloves, booties and/or the existence of a pre-approval letter from the buyer’s lender.

5) QUESTION: Do we have to apply for a mortgage in person? And will the mortgage person attend the closing of escrow?
ANSWER: All lenders have on-line applications and websites. Have your real estate professional suggest a great lender to help you through the loan process. A good lender will meet buyers at the close of escrow to go over the final paperwork and answer questions.

6) QUESTION: Will my REALTOR® attend the closing of escrow?
ANSWER: Yes. By law, your REALTOR® or a representative from the brokerage must attend the closing. In this day and age, under this pandemic, it is completely allowable to have lenders attend via a live-stream.

7) QUESTION: What protections do title companies have for clients at the final escrow table?
ANSWER: Each title company has a different in-house safety policy. Once the title company is chosen then they can be contacted to see what they will require (masks) 6-ft. distance, gloves, etc. All monies in a sales transac-tion are handled by bank wires so checks are very unusual, which eliminates the need to pick up and deposit monies by sellers or buyers to close escrow. They have adopted their own mitigation measures for the protection of their Employees and patron (i.e. buyers and sellers). Assuming that the title company allows you to attend the closing then you will need to make a determination as to whether you should attend the closing in-person or remotely, keeping in mind the requirement that businesses promote remote work to the fullest extend possible. The level of complexity of particular transaction may dictate whether attendance in person at a particular closing is required.

8) QUESTION: My buyers want out of their purchase agreement because of their overall uncertainty about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. My buyers have decided they don’t want o make a large purchase now, even though they can afford it. Given the circumstances, can my buyers unilaterally terminate the purchase agreement.
ANSWER: As a general legal matter, there is no right to unilaterally terminate a contract due to a change in circumstances-even a really significant change in circumstances unless all parties have signed a ‘COVID-19 RELEASE FORM’ found through the Wasatch Front MLS.

9) QUESTION: The signed purchase agreement states that my buyers will pay cash for the home. They have now produced a document signed by their financial advisor stating that due to market conditions, they no longer have sufficient funds to buy the home. Can my buyers terminate the purchase agreement?
ANSWER: If a purchase agreement calls for a cash purchase, it is not contingent upon the purchasers having availa-ble cash. Rather, by agreeing to a cash purchase, the purchasers are representing that they have the available funds. Purchasers are not excused from performing under the contract if, due to market conditions, they no longer have enough money to close. Rather, under these circumstances, the purchasers would be in breach of contract.

10) QUESTION: If I own two residences in different parts of the state can I travel to visit and live at them whenever I want?
ANSWER: Yes.

11) QUESTION: Since real estate activities are permitted during the pandemic, can a seller hire someone to conduct an estate sale?
ANSWER: Estate sale/liquidators are allowed to sell the personal property of the estate/deceased. They will each have their own protocols for viewing and purchasing items at a property so it is wise to call in advance to go over their rules prior to hiring such a firm or shopping at an estate sale.

12) QUESTION: Buyers found a few items on the home inspection that was conducted after the home went ‘under contract/sale pending’ that needed to be addressed, such as a broken picture window and a water heater on it’s last leg. The buyers will go forward with the sale if the seller agrees to repairs/replacements. If the sellers are will-ing to do so, can they have this work done so that the closing can proceed?
ANSWER: Yes. Like workers in the real estate industry, work in the construction and building trades are allowed to make repairs and or upgrades to properties (Plumbers, roofers, electricians, painters, carpeters and flooring vendors, etc. )

13) QUESTION: Can the agent hire professional photographers to shoot my property or do I have to provide them my-self?
ANSWER: Yes, professional photographers practicing safe practices are allowed inside properties.

14) QUESTION: May local government (like Utah, Davis or Salt Lake County) preempt the Governor’s Executive Order to be more restrictive than the county where I want to see properties, what rules take precedent? Who do I listen to?
ANSWER: Local health departments, cities and townships may be more restrictive than State rules and regulations. As professionals we attempt to keep up on any changes in those restrictions in practicing real estate sales. We will share any updates with our clients as customers as we learn of them.

15) QUESTION: How has the pandemic changed how YOU as REALTORS® conduct business?
ANSWER: We are still listing homes and selling them, and working with buyers. The market hasn’t changed that much: there is still low inventory and buyers often find themselves in a multiple offer situation. Some sellers are mov-ing out of their homes to not deal with the hassle of showing their home and sanitizing it before and after showings. Some buyers are making offers after only virtually showing homes that their agent/broker has live streamed to them. Inspections continue once a home is under contract without problems as vendors who offer home inspections, sewer scopes, radon and meth tests. If any pre-emptive or post inspection repairs or upgrades are needed, these vendors also have had no problems working safely in properties.
We will continue to operate under national and state restrictions and morph as the climate changes in every pos-sible POSITIVE way for our clients and customers.

June 10, 2020

Red Lining

With the whirlwind of news about racism these past few weeks I paused when I read a blurb that Salt Lake Mayor Mendenhall reportedly keeps an old map of ‘Red Lining’ at her desk. I had not thought about that topic since I was in real estate school 36 years ago, as the topic is covered thoroughly in licensing classes and discussed regularly in continuing ed.  Housing discrimination against African Americans was so intense in this country that in the 1930’s the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation happily created color-coded maps of neighborhoods that they considered were the highest risk of loan defaults. Why would a bank want to grant a home loan to someone who wanted to live in a ‘red’ area if the odds were (according the HOLC) that the buyer would default?The redlining maps weren’t just unique to Salt Lake-there were 238 cities that used these maps as a basis where home loans should NOT be granted because of high risk. Here in Utah the maps specifically noted where ‘negros’ lived, which were the areas that were coincidentally red-lined. The ‘best neighborhoods’ where lenders easily gave out loans were upper Sugar House, property around the University of Utah, the Avenues and Sugarhouse itself.  The main red or ‘negro’ areas where lenders ‘should not’ grant mortgages were Rose Park and the west side (picture Poplar Grove) and Liberty Wells. Each block of the map had related information as to the education, average income, percent of vacant homes/owner occupied homes and yes, the racial makeup of each and every street.We certainly have problems in our capitol city and in Utah with home ownership, specifically affordable home ownership. Economic segregation is obvious if you take a driving tour of your city. There are neighborhoods full of blight and run down and areas of obvious wealth, and all in between. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1968 as a follow up to the same act of 1964. It added language that prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national, origin, sex (and later amended) handicap and family status. It had one hell of a time passing through Congress and was carefully watched by civil rights activists like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It ended up flying through congress after Dr. King was murdered in 1968 and the country fell into shore to shore riots. The first African-American ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate helped after he testified that he returned from WWII and because of his race could not buy a home in an area of his choice. The ‘Red Line’ maps were banned and any lender caught using them or anything like them would face Federal crime charges. Those rules still apply today and as REALTORS we continue to help enforce overt discrimination in housing. We can’t control housing prices, but we can make sure our buyer’s lender of choice is not steering them away from any given neighborhood where they want to live by denying them a loan because of their race.                https://cdn.filestackcontent.com/qjEaoEvgQnaA6m7CT6SA

May 29, 2020

Investing 101

You may have been thinking of buying a home because mortgage interest rates are the lowest, they have ever been-hovering @3% per year. This really is terrific for the real estate market for what is one of the largest economic pieces to a healthy national financial recovery. But what if you’re NOT in the real estate market and just trying to make a good investment on your savings? What interest are you getting on your savings account right now? The Annual Percentage Rate quoted from First America Credit Union is 0.10%. If you want to invest in a money market by depositing $0-$4,999.99 the APY is 0.15% and for $5,000-$9,999 it’s 0.30%.  For example, if you deposit $5000 into a savings account and then contribute $100 per month at 0.15%, you’ll earn a whopping $8.32 at the end of a year on your investment.  Hell, you could hold a virtual yard sale or sell some clothes at Uptown Cheapskate that will net you more than that savings account ever will!  The Federal Reserve (aka ’the Fed’) is the central bank of the United. It’s been called the bank for all the banks in the country and one of its biggest jobs is to help economic growth and keep inflation in check by controlling interest rates.  Basically, when banks need to borrow money, they go to the Fed. Depending on what the Fed charges, the bank wanting money will then filter down to what that bank charges its customers for home loans, car loans and credit cards.  For a simple ‘Econ 101’ class we learned that when the Fed lowers interest rates when the economy isn’t doing well to help jump start a sluggish economy. Visa versa, when the economy is growing too fast, the Fed will raise its lending rates to banks.  Right now, the Fed may be moving to charge BELOW ZERO interest rates, which would be a negative interest rate. That would be like if our Fed changed its lending rate from 0.1% to –0.1%. In 2016 Japan adopted this negative interest rate policy to generate economic growth but that has proven to be a dismal failure for what had been the world’s second largest economy. This doesn’t forebode well for our country as the corona virus is causing severe economic distress with insane unemployment figures and predictions for massive business bankruptcies and permanent business closings. How do you make money then if the world is in crisis and our economy sucks? Buying stocks, bonds or annuities are risky for the uneducated investor, especially during a recession. Look hard at buying a primary residence or an investment property. Sure, I’m a REALTOR and thus suspect in my intentions, but when property values are going up at say 10% a year, that’s something to analyze and investigate deeply. A $350,000 home in two years could be worth @$424,000 given inflation. That’s a gain of $74,000. Maybe you should be in the real estate market?

Mark Twain once said, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”  Around the Wasatch front raw land to build on is about as rare as a victory for common sense!  I always have a steady number of calls from old and young hippies who want to “find a lot in the city so we can build a tiny house, have chickens and farm.”  Again, buildable residentially-zoned land in the tri-city area is virtually unheard up and generally is swooped up by full time investors and builders who can squeeze in high density townhomes (where allowed). Two BIG landholders here are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Rio Tinto. I recall when I was a Planning and Zoning Commissioner for Salt Lake City when Rio Tinto came to meet with us and discuss their vision for the far west side of the Salt Lake Valley. Basically, the multi-national company owns from the smelter smokestack on the north end of the Oquirrh mountains to past daybreak. As the mine ore taps out the Rio Tinto plans to build communities. Most important, they own the water rights to support those communities (like Daybreak) and one employee pointed out “By the time we’re done building we’ll need 90 schools to support the families that will live there!”  Rio Tinto is NOT building the 900 acre ‘Olympia’ project just west of Herriman, but their land virtually abuts that project. Just south of Daybreak and Olympia is Camp Williams, a training site for Active and Reservist National Guard as well all sorts of covert and overt military specialists.  The military with cooperation of private and public landowners is planning to put an open space plan around certain parts of the 23,000 base, which is smart because again, vacant land is being bought up to build housing projects. If you drew a circle with Camp Williams in the middle of it, the ‘Sentinel Landscape’ project would have Lehi and Draper on the north, Herriman on the east, Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs on the west and Utah lake to the south. As a homeowner you don’t want errant bullets and shells ending up in your new bedroom and so it’s good to have a buffer zone that will also help protect wildlife and our unique ecosystem. If you flew north west over the Oquirrh range the Church is building a new Temple in Tooele. Their real estate arm (Suburban Land Reserve) who built the City Creek project has announced that they will now build a massive housing project of homes to surround that edifice. Why not add green space, rec areas and walking paths and housing that looks good with the Temple as a focus. As I’ve also told clients over the years “If the Church announces they are going to build a Temple, buy any land you can around it because the value is going to skyrocket! If not land, a home. It’s logical that a Temple is going to add value to the neighborhood.”

May 29, 2020

Asshats

As a native New Yorker, I think I know pizza.  For years I never ate it in Utah because I couldn’t find a thin and crisp slice served on a cheap paper plate. The piece of pie had to be foldable in half and the grease drip down my arm like it did when you eat a slice from Joe’s or Ray’s in Manhattan or Brooklyn. When I moved to Utah in the 1970’s there were very few choices for pizza other than a few lame national chains who made doughy nasty fast food. You’d be hard pressed today to review my spending to find that I’ve ordered more than two or three pies delivered to our home in any given year, and then only because of a last minute party.  Yet much to my surprise, my Visa card just reported that I bought pizza in Texas and Ohio about a dozen times in one week. FRAUD ALERT!  I’d been hacked. Hackers and fraudsters come in many forms these days. These jerks are selling fake surgical masks, sanitizer that wouldn’t kill a single germ, forging/stealing the $1200 stimulus checks, etc. In real estate there are two common frauds: 1) rental properties too good to be true and 2) fake emails that direct buyers or sellers to change where wired funds should be sent. I often get calls reporting that photos of one of my listings is showing up on a Craigslist-type website for a rental property: “This 5 bedroom luxury home in the Avenues with a pool and four car garage is leasing for only $800 a month!”. The scam is that the non-owner (criminal) will run a fake ad with someone else’s house photos, get calls from eager renters and meet them at the property. The crook has already scoped out the home, sometimes even figured out how to get in (if it’s vacant) and will tell the prospect that they can have the rental if they throw down a cash deposit right then and there! The ‘landlord’ promises a key and to meet up the next day only to never be seen again. The second fraud has surfaced in the past two years with computer hackers following a real estate transaction and at the last minute sending out a fake email to a buyer that looks like it’s from their own real estate agent, escrow officer or lender changing the wiring instructions at the last minute for the funds to close. The unsuspecting victim eager to finalize the purchase changes the wire and BAM, all the funds disappear to some mystery country and asshat fraudster.Salt County now has a new service to help stop fraud via the Recorder’s office. ‘Property Watch’ is free and it notifies you if someone puts a lien /mortgage on your property without your permission. It’s like the services some banks and credit card companies offer now to alert you if someone is falsely using your account. Just sign up at SLCO.org or call 385-468-8176 to register to keep fraudsters away from what is yours.

May 29, 2020

MICROTRANSIT

My industry has been protected in Utah since Covid-19 struck and I’ve been able to leave our home and to work-going to the office for paperwork, close escrows for buyers and sellers, and show homes (virtually, usually). There haven’t been that many folks out on the roads and it’s interesting to get on I-15 and see how many people are speeding. I find myself in the fast lane going 90 mph and realizing soon after that I am the one speeding, too because I’m not paying attention and just going with the flow. Slow the F down! I’ve noticed that there are less cars attached to the TRAX trains yet UTA is still getting people where they need to go. Bus and train drivers are part of the huge group of unsung pandemic hero’s working to keep our transportation system going. Sure, the schedules may be different with less options, but you will eventually get to your destination. Uber and Lyft are working and as are cab and limo drivers. My go-to taxi company (Ute) told me that so many of their drivers have little kids at home or are older and can’t drive, and that many haven’t been able to get unemployment benefits. You just don’t see these kinds of companies on the road because YOU’RE not on the road with our suggested stay at home orders these past several weeks, but as regulations loosen, you’ll be calling them again for rides. One alternative to moving people that hasn’t stopped is a new program offered by UTA that was at first an experiment and is now may be a permanent fit for public transportation if UTA votes it in during their November planning meeting. “Microtransit’ is the minivan option that offers shared rides along the southern section of the Wasatch front for the same price as a bus ticket. Ridership for all service providers-public and private-have dropped as much as freeway traffic. Given that fact it’s a good time to be working out the potential bugs of getting people too and fro for UTA. Basically, you use your smart phone and app (UTA ON DEMAND) to request a ride or you call from a landline. They’ve partnered with demand rider sharer ‘Via’ to connect multiple riders heading in the same direction into a Mercedes Benz van to save riders money and provide more transportation options.  You book the ride and the app or person at the end of the land line will let you know where the van will meet you. The real point is to get riders to TRAX or Frontrunner stations from areas where bus service is limited.  It’s a pilot program that other large cities are also trying and so far, people seem to like the option. Just like Uber and Lyft you can rate your ride from 0-5 while the program is being tested. For more information, go to rideutah.com/services/UTA-on-Demand-by-Via or call 385-217-8191. Yes, their drivers are masked, and they are not cramming six people into a van at this time due to social distancing recommendations.

March 05, 2020

Urban Living

I'm not one to go shopping. My wife likes to gather groceries and finds my involvement more annoying than helpful. I rarely go online, and I've never been in or dropped a dime in a Walmart. I try to make an impact on my local economy by supporting local businesses whenever possible and I ask my clients to do the same. During my college days, I discovered Jolley's Drug where I filled my prescriptions. Back then, they were known as Jolley's Rexall Drug and located in the 9th and 9th neighborhood. It was the first pharmacy that customized compound (hand-mixed and blended) medications in probably 100 years in Salt Lake. In 1991, the Jolley brothers opened a store on 1300 South and 1700 East. Then in 1996, the 9th and 9th pharmacy closed and moved to the 1700 East location where they ran a pharmacy and a Top Hat Video rental store (think VHS tapes). The video store died as tapes went by the way of the dodo but both pharmacy locations (the other at 1100 East and 1700 South) have become beacons of their neighborhoods for not just meds but cute tchotchkes. Often, my only gift shopping comes from this small pharmacy.I'm a super loyal shopper and one of the main reasons I support this family-owned store is because during the AIDS crisis, they were the only folks who treated my friends who carried the disease with kindness. The chain grocery store around the corner made my friends put on masks and would not even shake their hands. Jolley's people were understanding and went overboard to find the best bargains on the first drugs available to help those suffering.As I picked up my script the other day from Dean at the 1700 South store, bought a greeting card, got a question answered from Hanna and was rung up by acerbically funny Beth, I was grateful that a local store still doing well—and not being bulldozed by developers. Across the street is the original Westminster College gymnasium, then later, the Salt Lake Costume Co. It's been gutted and turned into high-end apartments, but just like Jolley's, there's a bit of nostalgia still in the signage there. The original Salt Lake Costume Co. sign lives on and has been restored and replaced to light up the corner across from the drug store.Sometimes, you read about it or talk with your friends about how you hate the fact your favorite little store or bodega closed, or bemoan the loss of a cute building or sign. Salt Lake City updated sign codes in 2018 to save historic and iconic signage around the city. Stop in at Jolley's at 1100 East and 1700 South and shop and check out the sign across the street. Or check out their location on 1300 South and 1700 East and the Emigration Market sign across the way.

March 04, 2020

Women’s History

Women have two celebrations going on right now in Utah: 1) how we got the right to vote on local and national ballots 150 years ago and 2) that Girl Scouts was established here (in Ogden) 100 years ago!  You might be hearing a lot right now about Suffragettes and the Equal Rights Amendment in the news or even see women standing outside the Utah State Capitol building dressed in 1800’s garb with green and purple sashes with the words VOTES FOR WOMEN across their chests.  If you’ve missed all of this, here’s a bit of history that’s relevant today in so many ways: Suffragettes were the militants of their day (early 20th century) who fought for the right to vote in public elections. They were most noticed in first world countries because they had the best press coverage of their marches, heckling, hunger strikes and civil disobedience. Women were brutalized by police and arrested for organizing and then held hunger strikes in prison where they then were force fed with metal funnels shoved in their mouths to keep them alive. It was an ugly time for women and the men who loved them, and after decades and decades of protests and through perseverance, Congress ratified the 19th amendment to our constitution in 1920 giving women the right to vote. Huzzah!  Utah has a different legacy though, women in the Utah ‘Territory’ were unanimously granted the right to vote in 1870, one year after Wyoming women received the same right and then again by Congress in 1920-twice!Utah women are rising up to say we want the U.S. Constitution changed to say that women are guaranteed equal rights regardless of sex (the Constitution’s wording only uses the MALE pronoun). That battle started in the 1970’s and according to recent poles over 70% of Utah women want the Constitution changed.  This voting battle is happening all around our country now, so pay attention, people! Elect representatives who support the ERA!When I started my career in real estate, women had only recently been able to buy a home without a husband as a co-signer or get a credit card in their own name. Federal Fair Housing laws were passed in 1975 that struck down sex discrimination in lending and home buying, but even into the 1980’s it was still hard with some lenders for women to get loans. And God forbid, if TWO women wanted to buy a home together? Most lenders could barely stand the thought of loaning to lesbians or even to a mother and daughter! They had grant loans to women by law, but many files got pushed to the bottom of the stack. I had one client who was a lesbian and African American back then, unmarried, who the lender at the time put through the ringer to get her home loan. She finally got approved but it seemed like her loan took 10 times longer than other clients I was working with at the time (both male or female). Through the feminist movement in the 1970’s and the wave of vocal advocates for women’s rights we can buy homes and get credit on our own today.

March 04, 2020

GHOSTS AND HOBBITS

I finished out high school at Wasatch Academy in Sanpete County. I was sent to this small private school to ‘reform’. I graduated with dreams of going to medical school and got accepted to the University of Utah. Sadly, I lasted like two quarters there because the classrooms were filled with hundreds of students and I was used to classes with 5-10 people at the most. Friends I’d gone to school with before had enrolled at Westminster … ‘the party school’ and encouraged me to switch over. I did, and ended up graduating twice with two B.S. degrees in Behavioral Sciences/English and Business Marketing with an Art minor. I partied so much the first four years I had to go back and get another degree! I lived in the dorms for a few years and across the street was this scary but beautiful privately owned compound/greenspace called Allen Park. There were a few rental cabins in that 7-acres that went for like 80% less than market value back then. But a tenant had to put up with a constant barrage of people like me wandering around in there mentally altered looking at all the weird sculptures the original owner had put in, feeding the remaining peacocks and birds wandering around and hunting for ghosts and hobbits. Yup, the place was full of ghosts and hobbits. I know I saw misty apparitions several times with friends, but we never saw hobbits. Allan Park was the creation of Dr. George Allen who loved birds and back in the 1930’s he was a well known man of means who served on the Salt Lake Zoological Society and helped start Hogle Zoo and get it’s animals there from what is now Tracy Aviary. He put in ponds, fountains, birdcages and mosaic artworks all over his large chunk of land with religious and spiritual sayings. Long story made short, the family had died off and is about to be bulldozed for up to 60 new high end homes. The developer, Rinaldo Hunt wants to preserve the pieces of art that are salvageable and allow for public greenspace (think east to west trail through the property). He’s got a battle ahead of him because neighbors, who’s homes now have great financial value due to the rise in property sales, LOVE the green spaces behind their homes along Emigration Creek on each side of the park on Westminster and Downington Avenue above 1300 East. They don’t want to see high density homes in there. His design team says he wants 7.5 units per acre.  The loss of beautiful old and healthy trees and birdlife is a real concern in a city that battles dirty air. There are many meetings for community input with the Sugar House Community Council and later with Salt Lake City Planning and Zoning. If you live in the area and know weird old dilapidated Alan Park and love every odd bit and tree in there, pay attention and get to the meetings or follow the Community Council online.  BTW, it’s fenced off now, so no hobbit hunting for you!

March 04, 2020

1, 2, 3…

Next month you will get an envelope from the government that isn’t your tax refund. Instead, it’s a notice about the 2020 Census which you can fill out and mail or go online to complete. And if you don’t do one of those options a census taker will come a knockin’ on your door to ask you a bunch of questions.  Don’t start looking for the nearest exit-this is a normal thing that happens in this country every 10 years and is mandated by our Constitution and thus required by law for all of us to answer/respond. The Bureau can impose fines for failing to answer or intentionally providing false information.For example?  How many people are living in your home as of April 1, 2020? This is to help the government count the entire U.S. population.  Is this a house, apartment or mobile home and if this home is owned by you is there a mortgage on the home? This information helps produce statistics about homeownership and renting. Ownership has a direct indication of our economic health. In an ideal world, renting stats can help increase/create housing programs. A mortgage is most often public record and the census taker can look up an address to determine who holds the mortgage. What’s your phone number? They may call later to clarify information or ask for more specific information.  The Census Bureau wants to know the name of the person who pays the rent or mortgage and the sex of that person. Why? Again, to create statistics to better understand where different age groups live. One of the contentious questions this year is ‘Is the person paying rent or mortgage of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?’  The Bureau states that they “Want to get answers to this question to help federal agencies monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions such as those in the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.” Many folks think that this is an excuse for the government to ferret out illegal aliens and go after them, which is denied by officials constantly. There is a separate question about the person’s race-which can be White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, other Asian, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, other Pacific Islander or ‘some other race’. U.S. census takers get @$15 per hour and they are wanting to hire 5,000 Utahns to head count/knock on doors. The application is on line and they are really hoping to get a lot of temp employees this year who are bilingual who will work in their own towns to go door to doors of those who don’t respond or to track down Native Americans in extremely rural areas. Flexible hours, paid training and weekly paychecks to count heads isn’t a bad job and training starts ASAP.Fill it out, people! Conspiracy theories about the census are rampant but hey, it gets us better federal funding in many areas and could get us more representation in congress!To find out more about what’s coming in the mail or to apply: go to www.2020census.gov