Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eve Salt Lake City: Such a great change from First Night!



I don't know about anyone else but I was tired of the old and tired, family exclusive, dry(in all senses), and expensive First Night. I planned this year
to stay in, with friends and be bored. Then I heard about Eve: WOW what a change
this is going to bring to DSLC with it's amazing line up of events for ALL(young, old,
Republican, Democrat, saint and sinner alike!) Events are inside and out and there truly is something for everyone(including little Ms Cleo who may be attending the animal activities at the Gateway)
Check out the schedule and maps at their oh so glossy and easy to use website
From an art treasure hunt, to fireworks, to outdoor concerts to kids crafts all with free parking, dining discounts, and free transportation on the 31st this is the most bang for your $15 there is going to be on the big night and the 2 days before! I'll be there every day! I live in the middle of everything! All of the events are a short, free Trax ride away!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy! Merry!

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Tax Credit approved(and improved)!

Home Buyer Tax Credit Details Revealed…
November 6th, 2009

TAX CREDIT OVERVIEW

Who Gets What?

First-Time Homebuyers (FTHBs): First-time homebuyers (that is, people who have not owned a home within the last three years) may be eligible for the tax credit. The credit for FTHBs is 10% of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available credit of $8,000

Single taxpayers and married couples filing a joint return may qualify for the full tax credit amount.

Current Owners: The tax credit program now gives those who already own a residence some additional reasons to move to a new home. This incentive comes in the form of a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified purchasers who have owned and occupied a primary residence for a period of five consecutive years during the last eight years.

Single taxpayers and married couples filing a joint return may qualify for the full tax credit amount.

What are the New Deadlines?

In order to qualify for the credit, all contracts need to be in effect no later than April 30, 2010 and close no later than June 30, 2010.

What are the Income Caps?

The amount of income someone can earn and qualify for the full amount of the credit has been increased.

Single tax filers who earn up to $125,000 are eligible for the total credit amount. Those who earn more than this cap can receive a partial credit. However, single filers who earn $145,000 and above are ineligible

Joint filers who earn up to $225,000 are eligible for the total credit amount. Those who earn more than this cap can receive a partial credit. However, joint filers who earn $245,000 and above are ineligible.

What is the Maximum Purchase Price?

Qualifying buyers may purchase a property with a maximum sale price of $800,000.

What is a Tax Credit?

A tax credit is a direct reduction in tax liability owed by an individual to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In the event no taxes are owed, the IRS will issue a check for the amount of the tax credit an individual is owed. Unlike the tax credit that existed in 2008, this credit does not require repayment unless the home, at any time in the first 36 months of ownership, is no longer an individual’s primary residence.

How Much are First-Time Homebuyers (FTHB) Eligible to Receive?

An eligible homebuyer may request from the IRS a tax credit of up to $8,000 or 10% of the purchase price for a home. If the amount of the home purchased is $75,000, the maximum amount the credit can be is $7,500. If the amount of the home purchased is $100,000, the amount of the credit may not exceed $8,000.

Who is Eligible fort FTHB Tax Credit?

Anyone who has not owned a primary residence in the previous 36 months, prior to closing and the transfer of title, is eligible.

This applies both to single taxpayers and married couples. In the case where there is a married couple, if either spouse has owned a primary residence in the last 36 months, neither would qualify. In the case where an individual has owned property that has not been a primary residence, such as a second home or investment property, that individual would be eligible.

As mentioned above, the tax credit has been expanded so that existing homeowners who have owned and occupied a primary residence for a period of five consecutive years during the last eight years are now eligible for a tax credit of up to $6,500.

How Much are Current Home Owners Eligible to Receive?

The tax credit program includes a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified purchasers who have owned and occupied a primary residence for a period of five consecutive years during the last eight years.

Can Homebuyers Claim the Tax Credit in Advance of Purchasing a Property?

No. The IRS has recently begun prosecuting people who have claimed credits where a purchase had not taken place.

Can a Taxpayer Claim a Credit if the Property is Purchased from a Seller with Seller Financing and the Seller Retains Title to the Property?

Yes. In situations where the buyer purchases the property, even though the seller retains legal title, the taxpayer may file for the credit. Some examples of this would include a land contract or a contract for deed.

According to the IRS, factors that would demonstrate the ownership of the property would include:

1. Right of possession,
2. Right to obtain legal title upon full payment of the purchase price,
3. Right to construct improvements,
4. Obligation to pay property taxes,
5. Risk of loss,
6. Responsibility to insure the property, and
7. Duty to maintain the property.

Are There Other Restrictions to Taking the FTHB Credit?

Yes. According to the IRS, if any of the following describe a homebuyer’s situation, a credit would not be due:

They buy the home from a close relative. This includes a spouse, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild. (Please see the question below for details regarding purchases from “step-relatives.”)
They do not use the home as your principal residence.
They sell their home before the end of the year.
They are a nonresident alien.
They are, or were, eligible to claim the District of Columbia first-time homebuyer credit for any taxable year. (This does not apply for a home purchased in 2009.)
Their home financing comes from tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds. (This does not apply for a home purchased in 2009.)
They owned a principal residence at any time during the three years prior to the date of purchase of your new home. For example, if you bought a home on July 1, 2008, you cannot take the credit for that home if you owned, or had an ownership interest in, another principal residence at any time from July 2, 2005, through July 1, 2008.

Can Homebuyers Purchase a Home from a Step-Relative and Still be Eligible for the Credit?

Yes. As long as the person they buy the home from is not a direct blood relative, the purchase would be allowed.

If a Parent (Who Will Not Live In The Property) Cosigns for a Mortgage, Will Their Child Still be Eligible for the Credit?

Yes, provided that the child meets the other requirements for the tax credit.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Foster Art Program featured Artist:John Sproul



Another piece that we have been fortunate to be fostering.
John Sproul's work was immediately intriguing to me because of the haunting nature of his subjects and the vibrant use of color--a strange and beautiful combination that made me want to see more, and more.
This piece has garnered universal dislike from all of our guests but for some reason, it calms me.
The comments have been mostly of intregue followed up universally with "what are they doing" many see athletes, some see slavery, others have commented on the strong same sex vibe of the piece. Me? I see common man and how we are all more the same than we are different--a lesson, sometimes the only lesson we should all learn over and over.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mr Coffee-Tall, Dark and Handsome


So far in my life I have managed to escape with a few, harmless, yet ferocious vices.
They are, in no particular order: ice cream, bad tv and craigslist.

I have managed to avoid the oh so common: "I must have a cup a day of coffee in order to feel normal" -thing- but yesterday, while in Smiths something happened that I can only describe as genetics combined with a great sale.

My family, who's only real common worship of an identifiable belief can be summed up in: boating, coffee and Budlight. Other than those things, we are one of the most diverse of any family I know--and I like it that way.

All of my childhood memories are tied to coffee, the smell in the morning at our house, the sound of any one of my uncles at Flaming Gorge noisily rummaging through camping gear to make a fresh pot to share, and even every Christmas morning bargaining with my parents to get out of bed in the wee hours by offering to make coffee if they would finally get up(usually at 3 or 4 am).

So it may be interesting to note that SM and I have so far resisted getting our very own coffee maker to make our home complete.
Long story short: I never felt the need to add yet another vice to my life and actually like to stop through the drive through at the local coffee shops for the occasional treat.

Yesterday though--yesterday when a very basic model was on sale for under 20 and some, coffee drinking, family tradition gene took over-- I caved.

So welcome to the family Mr Coffee! Here's to many good years and to low cal
options after the initial newness wears off when I start gaining "coffee weight"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Foster Art Program: I am in LOVE




When I was invited to join in on the first Foster Art Program I was at once salivating. The list of artists was even more intriguing, and once the first meeting came along I already had my list in my head.

We ended up fostering several artists:
The first, and the spotlight today is Thomas Aaron

We have known Tom for a few years as a friend and have always admired his work.
When we went to pick out our piece to foster we knew immedietly which one we wanted.
When we realized that it would not fit in the Fit(a first for us--sad day) Tom told us just to carry it home--I was incredibly doubtful(plus I was in heals) but without many other options we picked it up and started the 2 block journey home.



We hung it and now have been enjoying for about a week. This piece speaks to me on so many levels: it's design aesthetic, color, complexity and size all make for a perfect statement for what we have deemed to be our "feature wall"
Thanks Tom!

Monday, September 21, 2009

YIPEE! Private Clubs out, Pierpont entertainment district IN!




I'm not sure if you can feel it but the winds of change in our fair city
are a flutter and it has a name: Pierpont Entertainment District.

Home to some of SLC hottest clubs(note not private clubs for members any longer!) E Pierpont Ave is poised to be THE place to be on the weekends if you want a great time, walk-ability and beautiful people.

E Pierpont Ave is hidden between 200 & 300 S and 100 & 200 W and is flanked by all of the best restaurants in the city. Included are the likes of Red Rock Brewery, The Metropolitan, Squatters, and last but not least Acme Burger. Additionally, on the opposite side and next door to one another are the Hotel and Elevate--to dance the night away. But Pierpont, oh little Pierpont is coming into it's own and is a happy addition to the weekend flurry of fun. With the legendary Lumpy's(has to be part of some kind of historic registry by now) and the recent addition of the Sandbar this quaint street is hoppin' and if you don't want to dance but you want more than dinner this is a great alternative for a great night out.

Bottom line: ditch your car, get glammed up, and hit the town-this is not to be missed!

Gallery Strolling it+Spring Fashion Show-TONIGHT! 7pm




Tonight's stroll is not to be missed!
a little food, a little art, a litte fashion show--what's not to like?
Plus you know you have been hibernating(and for good cause-the weather has been brutal!) but it is time to wake up, get out and see what is going on in the SLC art scene
Get a printable map here

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Try the Monki--a refreshing alternative to "don't touch the Monkey"


Those of you that know and love me(ok put up with me is more like it but I digress)

Those of you--you know who you are: well you know that I LOVE and embrace technology and allow it to run my life. This fetish and dare I say obsession is often fueled by
my tech geek superman husband who feeds it and fans the flame and sometimes roasts marshmallows and makes smores over it...again I digress....

What my internet bot filled life has been missing(and mourning) is a way to make a shopping list from a recipe and then save it--all online, all accessible from the mobile device of my liking(nope not going there--no religious wars on this blog--well, not today anyway)

I have been searching and searching, and begging SM to build, and searching, and obsessing and searching for the right tool(sans monthly subscription, downloadable version, ugly site--you see where this is going right?) I want my web 2.0, pretty, free, do everything I want, read my mind, blow my mind type of site that I am so accustom.

Today: I found it--or at least the Beta version of it--in Kitchen Monki

It is everything and more that I would want(it even links to facebook if you so desire) Try it--I will be for the next 5.2 minutes and believe me: if it fails the test you will hear that too--otherwise I will be happily integrating my somewhat meager recipe collection and making list after list--just for list sake--

Go ahead: pet the Monki-you know you wanna

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Check it out--SLC is still on the rise--I could really get behind this!

For More Info: Visit Downtown Rising's website

Skyline District
The Skyline District is, first and foremost, cosmopolitan. It bustles with activity and purpose; it invokes action and prosperity. Home to downtown's traditional business center along Main Street, the Skyline District is what its name implies - the place for taller buildings, commerce, government activity, entertainment and unique shopping. The Skyline District includes downtown's largest concentration of office workers and a growing number of residents.

It's where a new corporate headquarters building and high-rise apartment buildings feel at home. The new mixed-use City Creek Center anchors the northern edge of the Skyline District. Mid-rise residential buildings line 200 East in a "Park Avenue" concept featuring green parkways in the center of the street, creating a pleasant, leafy pedestrian-oriented environment.

Temple Square District
The calm and tranquil antithesis of the Skyline District to the south is the Temple Square District. It is green, contemplative and at a slight remove from the material world. Centered on the majestic Salt Lake LDS Temple, built with pioneer determination over 40 years, the Temple Square District is the historical spiritual heart of downtown. It contains not only the important religious buildings on Temple Square itself - the city's and state's largest visitor attraction - but also a major employment center at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints office complex, and a new higher-education center composed of the LDS Business College and Brigham Young University's Salt Lake City extension. The Temple Square District has promising opportunities for serving as a key link in efforts to connect the Wasatch Range with the Jordan River Parkway by a network of Green Loops.

The Broadway District
is one of the places Salt Lake City goes to have fun. It is the lively epicenter for the arts, culture, entertainment and hospitality. It is animated, bold and lively. The Broadway District takes its cue both from the historical name for 300 South - Broadway, which the district is centered on - and from the quintessential home for theater and entertainment in New York. The Broadway District contains the theaters, art galleries, restaurants and bars that make downtown the cultural center of the Intermountain West. The Broadway District is home to growing population of residents living in new condos and converted loft- style flats, and it includes the Downtown Public Market, located in a permanent home in Pioneer Park or elsewhere in this area. The District is enlivened by the creation of interesting places for bars, restaurants and shops in the interior of blocks, connected to the street by pedestrian passageways.

The Salt Palace District
is all about hosting and caring for our visitors. It feels welcoming, friendly and gracious. With the newly expanded Salt Palace Convention Center at its core, the Salt Palace District is the place for conventions and trade shows and their related hotels and services, the place people temporarily call home while visiting the city. Because of its focus on visitors, the Salt Palace District is closely intertwined with and overlaps the Broadway District, and could serve as home for a large performing arts center to house professional traveling shows and other events. The Salt Palace District will also be the site of a future convention- headquarters hotel featuring up to 1,000 rooms. This district is also one logical home for a future Global Exchange Place, a group of buildings that could include an international mediation center, a language translation facility and educational components - all gathered around a pedestrian-oriented plaza.

Gateway District
The Gateway District is entrepreneurial, lively and inventive. It is an incubator for new enterprises and creativity -- the place where artisans, writers, entrepreneurs and others congregate to live, work, shop and converse. It's warehouse spaces are filled with art galleries, high-tech businesses, unique shops and one-of-a-kind restaurants. The Gateway District encompasses a broad swatch of downtown stretching west to Interstate 15 and including several sub-districts such as the Rio Grande District, Granary District and The Gateway shopping district itself. As the name implies the Gateway District is key to downtown as the entry point for most visitors via automobile, light rail, bus and commuter rail. It is home to the new Salt Lake Central Station, the intermodal transit hub that will grow in importance along with the downtown and regional rail network. Its excellent transit connections, supply of warehouse structures, superb shopping and undeveloped land make the Gateway District a center of focus for Salt Lake City's growing downtown.

Grand Boulevards District
The Grand Boulevards welcome the world to downtown Salt Lake. This district includes the foremost entry corridor from the Salt Lake International Airport and is also home to many of Downtown's hotels. With many hotels, it is truly a hospitality neighborhood. As such, the Grand Boulevards offer an outstanding first impression. The dominant features of this district are 500 South and 600 South leading to the doorstep of the Grand America Hotel. Buildings here clearly have the strongest presence on the street - creating an urban ambience - while stately landscaping hints at the beauty further within downtown. The urban design is monumental, befitting the width and character of these Grand Boulevards.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three little words that always make my stomach flip with excitement

DINE-O-ROUND

2 weeks of divine YUMMYNESS!!

You know you wanna

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What we all have been missing




This weekend Doug and I went to the new exhibit at the
Salt Lake Art Center. I am always thrilled to go to
this somewhat under appreciated resource in our city--
I was blown away and very happy to see the exhibits and
MANY opportunites to take part in art activites--everything
from free kids programs to continuing education--check it out
at their website


20 South West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: 801.328.4201
http://www.slartcenter.org/

Admission is always FREE

Tuesday - Thursday & Saturday: 11 am - 6 pm
Friday: 11 am - 9 pm
Closed: Sunday, Monday & Holidays


Stephanie Wilde: Harmed
All American:
Defining Ourselves in a Time of Change
through October 31, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cameras purge and relocate crime

Deseret News editorial
Published: Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009 12:03 a.m. MDT

As with so much encouraging news these days, the success of the surveillance cameras at Pioneer Park comes with a caveat of concern.

To begin with, the cameras have done exactly what they were supposed to do. They have reduced crime. Calls to police about drug-related problems have been cut almost in half. And because the cameras at the corners of the park are so visible, only two dealers have braved them. Both were arrested.

All that is a plus.

The concern comes later — when dealers begin to disperse and do their business in surrounding neighborhoods instead of congregating at the park.

In short, criminals don't go away. They just go elsewhere.

So busting up the pushers in the park may well be like scattering a nest of spiders. One big problem can quickly turn into a hundred small ones. In fact, some citizens would prefer the desperate be allowed to stay at the park. That is where social service organizations can easily find them and supply needed medical, intervention and nutritional needs.

But a civil society must do what must be done. And winking at felonies in one part of town while cracking down on them in others is not a solution. It's a dodge.

Pioneer Park is a legacy park. In recent years, it may not have lived up to that legacy, but it is still the place where the Mormon pioneers spent their first night in the Salt Lake Valley. Down the decades it has been the site for many historical and cultural events. In the name of convenience alone, it cannot be allowed to remain a haven for anti-social behavior.

Where there's lawlessness, the law must move in.

And though dealers may have filtered out into other areas, Pioneer Park itself has a new look and feel. Merchants and visitors there remark on a friendlier tone.

As for those who wonder if police use of surveillance cameras may be a slippery slope toward trading freedoms for security, we feel that's over-thinking the issue.

The police saw a problem with felonies at the park. They found a way to correct that problem. And the city is better off for it.

We commend the Salt Lake City Police Department for a job well done.

Good find

When I see them, and I don't have a client that has need I post them here:
East Sandy, Approved Price, 5000 sf, 5 beds, 3 car garage
415,000
That's less than 100/sf people and in a great location(well depending on
your affinity for Sandy)
This is one of the better deals I have seen this year
Contact me if you want to take a look--it will not last long


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Local tidbits

-‘America’s Incredible Pizza Co.’, will be entering the market here in Utah…60,000 square feet including an 8,000 sq. ft pizza restaurant, 12 screen movie complex and go-carts at 12101 Outlet Dr. in Draper. Right by that new crazy water park out there! They are a 19-unit chain out of Missouri.

-The second phase of redevelopment of Valley Fair Mall has been announced for construction in 2010. Right now the first phase is adding outparcels (tenents in the parking lots) with Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, Smashburger, Wingers and Wells Fargo. The second phase will have 95,000 sq. feet in an outdoor ‘lifestyle’ type center (think outdoor and indoor mall combined).

-The Utah Jobless rate climbed to 6% in July. Last July (2008), the rate was 3.4%.

-Work has begun in Heber City for Valley Station, on 17 acres. The 200,000 ft. retail project will be at the northwest intersection Main Street and Highway 189, anchored by a 100,000 sq. ft Wallmart.

-EmbroiderMe (across from Nordstroms Rack) will be moving to 2511 So. State, doubling the size of the store.

-Stimulus monies are going to the creator of Thanksgiving Park offices in Lehi. A portion of property taxes is being deferred so those monies can be invested in Thanksgiving office park, a 38-acre development of five high rise office buildings.

-SLC’s Farmers Market has been named the 3rd best in the US of all Farmers Markets!

-Liberty Heights Fresh is doing a Paella Party at 8 PM Sept 11th for $10. Bring a bottle of wine to add to the sangria. 100% of the proceeds will go to Utahs Against Hunger.

-Salt Lake Brewing Co. (Squatters) celebrates 20 years in the biz this September. A new beer will be released call ‘Hop Rising’-a double India pale ale with…9% alcohol ! Beer prices Sept. 1-7 will be rolled back to $2.50 per pint and food will be at 1989 prices.

-All 18 Beans and Brews have teamed up with the Red Cross Phones 4 Charity program so become a drop off place for old phones that will be re-sold and recycled.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Wisdom in having a back up Lender in 2009

In all of my transactions this year there has been one HUGE
glaringly obvious similarity in any deal that has gone down
to the wire--LENDERS and most specifically Mortgage Brokers.

It has happened more than once that I am waiting the day before
closing on an approval---doesn't that seem wrong? My clients,
want to buy this house, have been told that it is going to be
possible,even to the point of passing their financing deadlines
and the day before closing, and we are still waiting on an approval
from the Broker. This is a bad, bad spot to be in so this is my
new advice in the 2009 lending/real estate world: ALWAYS have a
backup lender--
In a world where lenders are now facing daily changes in rules and
regulations it pays to have your eggs in more than one basket.

For example: One new rule is that once fees have been disclosed
to a borrower the file CANNOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES close
for 7 days--what does that mean for you as a buyer?

Well, say that Broker #1 strings you along until 3 days until
your settlement deadline and then stops returning your calls(
I have seen it happen, multiple times) you hold onto hope that
he or she has had a medical emergency and that they aren't just
screening your calls. But with some hesitation you start calling
some of the other Brokers that didn't make the cut originally or
desperately ask around for recommendations. You find another Broker
#@ that you think MIGHT get the job done this time and he says that he
can FOR SURE get it done for you, but your settlement deadline is
in 3 days---now it is extension time and this is a really bad spot
to be in--now your earnest money is in danger, your dream home hangs
in the balance and you will have MANY sleepless nights until the deal
is closed--AT LEAST 7 days later(realistically 2-3 weeks)

BUT if you have a backup lender waiting in the wings that you can call
on when anything feels fishy with Lender #1 you will be better for it.

NOW: Mortgage Brokers work on commission and will NOT like being the
backup broker, so depending on your situation, your relationship with
said Broker and how up front you feel like being I might just go through
the process with both brokers or just simply let them know that
they are, in fact, your backup--however you want to handle it--you will
do yourself a lot of good to have a B team waiting to rush in.

Now this usually isn't a problem with Banks--usually just Brokers that
offer really low rates--that has been the issue with many of my clients--
They are chasing those low rates and get a dishonest or under experienced
(or overconfident) broker. DO NOT be afraid to ask questions--even really
basic ones and make sure they give you a solid answer that you can understand.

If you start getting nervous do NOT hesitate to call your reserves, seek a
second opinion or to ask for an extension BEFORE your earnest money is
at stake--Bottom line: NO ONE CAN BE TRUSTED in 2009's lending atmosphere
and DEALS DO FALL APART for highly qualified buyers that just picked the
wrong broker.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Music and Movies at the Capital Building!



Ah, the pleasures of summer... Sunsets over the Great Salt Lake, warm dry evenings, the smell of freshly cut grass, and the gentle glow of the silver screen. The Utah State Capitol is thrilled to announce their premier outdoor film series:
Movie Under the Stars!
The summer film series will run June through August. All feature films will be preceeded by live music and a locally produced short film.
The 2009 schedule will be:
June 10th
7:30 – 8:30 Live Music: TBD
8:30 – 9:00 Spy Hop Productions Film
9:00 – 10:30 Feature Film: KUNG FU PANDA
June 24th
7:30 – 8:30 Live Music: The Little Big Band
8:30 – 9:00 Spy Hop Productions Film
9:00 – 10:30 Feature Film: MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING
July 8th
7:30 – 8:30 Live Music
8:30 – 9:00 Spy Hop Productions Film
9:00 – 10:30 Feature Film: SHREK THE 3RD
July 22nd
7:30 – 8:30 Live Music: TBD
8:30 – 9:00 Spy Hop Productions Film
9:00 – 10:30 Feature Film: ANT BULLY
August 12th
7:30 – 8:30 Live Music: The Crescent Super Band
8:30 – 9:00 Spy Hop Productions Film
9:00 – 10:30 Feature Film: IRONMAN
August 29th
7:30 – 8:30 Live Music: The VooDoo Orchestra
8:30 – 9:00 Spy Hop Productions Film
9:00 – 10:30 Feature Film: BEDTIME STORIES
So bring your family and friends to the southwest corner of the Capitol lawn at 7:30PM and enjoy free popcorn, great music, and the magic of a movie under the stars!
Questions: Please contact Visitor Services at 801-538-1800

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interesting article in the trib...

Downturn impacts landscape for condos
Real estate» Despite price cuts, financing tough to come by for developers, buyers.

By Lesley Mitchell

The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake Tribune
Updated:05/09/2009 09:19:38 PM MDT


Two years into the housing downturn, the condo market in the Salt Lake area is starting to take a real beating.

Sales in Salt Lake County are down a sharp 37 percent in the first quarter, compared with a year ago. Median selling prices are down 8 percent over the same time period, a much larger drop than the just under 1 percent decline in single-family homes.

From Sugar House to downtown and beyond, many condo projects are on hold. Others are moving forward, but their future is uncertain.

Condo markets often suffer more in downturns, but this time around could be worse because of the added scrutiny lenders are giving to such projects.

"Banks aren't crazy about financing projects, and they're even less crazy about giving people money to buy them," said Rick Howa of Howa Capital, who has put a venture west of the State Capitol on hold because of the challenging economy.

Condos historically are considered a higher-risk investment than single-family homes. During downturns, they tend to lose value more quickly.

But Salt Lake City mortgage lender Al Bingham said the subprime lending debacle -- and the huge losses that followed -- have lenders taking an especially hard look at this segment of the market.

"Condos are considered really 'high risk right now,' " he said.

That doesn't mean sales have dried up completely -- creative incentives and distinctive products are still drawing buyers -- but the landscape for sellers certainly is more difficult to navigate.

Lenders already have tightened credit standards across the board, but condo buyers are being put through more steps during the loan qualification process, he said, and in a number of cases are being required to put up more of a down payment than they would for a single-family home.

In a condo development, buyers own the space but share ownership of the building with other owners.

Salt Lake City Realtor Jillinda Bowers said lending challenges have made it more difficult for anyone selling a condo.

"For sellers, it's taking them a little longer to sell, and they're having to lower their price," she said. "We have an overabundance of condos and town homes, compared with the percentage of buyers for them."

Developers of The Metro at 350 S. 200 East have 18 units left to sell in the 121-unit project, which was completed in July 2008.

Andrew Pratt, director of sales and marketing, is offering concessions of $12,000 to $18,000 on the remaining units. That's in addition to the $6,000 state grant available to buyers on new construction.

He said he's noticed how the tighter lending standards have played out. Some earlier buyers in his development put down only 3 percent to 5 percent, but "now 10 percent is the new minimum, and that's for premium borrowers. If you've got anything less than perfect [credit] scores, they're asking for 15 percent to 20 percent down."

Despite the environment, "our phones still ring, and we're still showing units and still selling some ... but even with the low mortgage rates, people are still very much on the fence."

Developer John Gardiner knows the condo market isn't as good as it was a couple of years ago, yet he's proceeding on a 29-unit project called Urbana on 1100 East in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City.

The project, on slightly more than a quarter of an acre, will feature units priced from just under $200,000 to more than $500,000.

He said 13 of the 29 units will average 750 square feet and have an average price of $241,000. Six one-bedroom units will average 980 square feet with an average price of $308,000. Another nine will be two-bedroom or loft units averaging 1,185 square feet with an average price of $388,000. One live/work unit will have 1,762 square feet and be priced at $532,300.

Whether he'll get those prices when the project is completed remains to be seen.

Gardiner's confident the location so near popular Sugar House amenities will work in his favor, as will the prices, if they hold.

But how low do prices need to be to attract buyers? Marmalade Square condos at 650 N. 244 West are priced from about $145,000 to $185,000. Veteran Salt Lake City Realtor Babs De Lay said that price range, and the fact that the project is "FHA approved," has made it extremely attractive.

Approval by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration means buyers generally have to put down less of a down payment.

"They are selling two to three of those units a week," she said.

The LDS Church isn't counting on low prices to sell the condos in its City Creek development downtown.

Across from Temple Square, prices at the Richards Court 10-story towers, which have 90 units, range from $442,000 to more than $2 million. Both of the buildings are set to open next year.

Prices range from about $300,000 to $1.7 million for units in the 20-story Regent. The 150-unit project is one block to the south, at 35 E. 100 South. Unlike Richards Court, however, the Regent will be completed when enough of the units have been pre-sold, said church spokesman Dale Bills.

Given the uncertain economy, "we're encouraged by the interest we've seen" in the condos, Bills said.

Realtors agree that the project's distinctive location and affiliation with the state's predominant religion is a major selling point.

Back in Sugar House, Craig Mecham doesn't have the church's deep pockets or its location for his planned condos near 1100 East and 21st South.

Mecham's project, which also is projected to include offices and shops, is on hold because of an inability to get financing. Yet next to Mecham's property, California-based Red Mountain Retail Group said it still hopes to begin work this summer on its efforts to overhaul old Granite Furniture buildings and create a mixed-use project with about 300 condos.

A bit to the north of those projects, Gardiner remains hopeful -- not only for his project, but for others, as well. "I think over time, as the economy gets better, these other projects will get done, too."

For now, projects such as Markea Court, between 200-300 South on 600 East, remain on hold.

And, developer Howa appears more doubtful about the prospects for condos in his Marmalade development (not affiliated with Marmalade Square). He originally envisioned a fairly upscale, 90-unit condo and town home development as being a key part of his Marmalade project on 300 West between 500 North and 600 North. Offices and retail shops were also a part of the mix.

The latter two components are still in the works. In fact, construction on the first phase of retail development is nearing completion.

But the condos, which would have been priced at about $350,000 to nearly $1 million?

Howa has an agreement with the city to build condos. But he said he can't get financing. Even he could, he doubts whether there would be demand for the units or whether willing buyers could get loans to buy them.

"Everything is moving forward except the condominiums," Howa said. "We're rethinking condos at Marmalade."

lesley@sltrib.com


Condo buying tips

Expect to have more money for a down payment »Lenders may require a larger payment for those buying a unit in a project that isn't "approved" by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration.

Drive a hard bargain » Downturns tend to hit the condo market hard, and further selling-price declines are not out of the question. A great price can help guard against future price-cuts. Many sellers also are paying closing costs and making other concessions.

Ask for someone well versed with condos » Because so much has changed in the condo market, you may want to at your lender and your real estate brokerage.

Check out the homeowners association » Some, because of the bad economy, aren't in such great shape.


Condo buying tips

Expect to have more money for a down payment » Lenders may require a larger payment for those buying a unit in a project that isn't "approved" by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration.

Drive a hard bargain » Downturns tend to hit the condo market hard, and further selling-price declines are not out of the question. A great price can help guard against future price-cuts. Many sellers also are paying closing costs and making other concessions.

Ask for someone well versed with condos » at your lender and your real estate brokerage, because so much has changed in the condo market.

Check out the homeowners association » Some, because of the bad economy, aren't in such great shape.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tony's Localvore sure to be a hit!


From their website:
Miss the Farmers' Market? We do, too. That's why we started this mini farmer's market. It will be held every Saturday from 10:00am to 3:30pm.

We're hosting some of our food producing friends and showcasing some of the BEST food in the state. Best part -- they keep everything they make. We don't charge fees of any sort. So shop local!

THIS WEEK:
* Clifford Family Farms (Fresh eggs, produce)
* Beehive Cheese Co.
* Larson's Piedmontese Beef
* Slide Ridge Honey (high-altitude artisan)
* Choffy (Coffee like bev from single origin cacao)
* Creminelli Fine Meats
* Cibo Mushrooms (fresh wild and farmed mushrooms)
* Crumb Bros. Bread

This local crazed Urbanite is so there(early though-before the masses)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Join us


I will be there from 7 on and would love to see you guys there!
(must be 21 or over)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

construction update 4/12/09





Painting should be done Monday, marble by the end of the week and appliances too---now just waiting for the farm sink--we are on target to close by the end of the month(knock on wood)
You will all be invited(or evited as it were) to the grand opening bash!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our current obsession

..................................................
Some of you may know and some not but we have been
in negotiations to buy this loft for awhile now--
We are so excited to move in but there is A LOT of
work to be done! The space is exactly what we need
and is in our fav little neighborhood--here are the
before pics(ie what it looks like now) I will TRY to
keep you updated although I am horrible at this stuff!










Tuesday, March 24, 2009

6000 tax credit for New construction

$6,000 Utah Grant for New Construction Not Just for First Time Homebuyers - Does Not Have to be Repaid

State of Utah $6000 home purchase grant

The State of Utah is offering purchasers of new construction a $6,000 grant that does not have to be repaid. You do not have to be a first time home buyer to qualify, but there are a few limitations.

Here are the basics of the "Home-Run" grant:

Does the amount of the grant vary? Is it up to $6,000? No. The amount of the grant for qualified applicants will always be the full $6,000.

Does it have to be re-paid? No. The $6,000 grant does not have to be re-paid.

Do I have to live in the home? Yes. The grant is for owner-occupied transactions. You must move into the home as your primary residence within 30 days of closing.

Do I have to be a first-time homebuyer? No. You need only to purchase a newly constructed home that has not yet been lived in.
AND you can still qualify for the 8,000 tax credit if you are a first time homebuyer!

Where did the money come from? From the Federal stimulus money given to Utah.

Are there income limitations to qualifying? Yes. A single Buyer cannot earn more than $75,000 per year and a couple that files jointly cannot earn more than $150,000 combined.

Does taking this grant disqualify me from the $8,000 Federal Tax Credit being offered by the Federal Government? No. There is an up to $8,000 federal tax credit for first time homebuyers who purchase a home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009. (Details here) If you qualify for the $8,000 tax credit, you probably qualify for the $6,000 grant and can receive a total of $14,000 in credits/grants if you purchase new construction in Utah.

How long does this program last? While supplies last. There are only about 1600 grants available and once they are gone, they are gone for good.

Why the $6,000 grant? Lawmakers believe that this will help move some of the over 2,000 completed new construction homes on the market that are currently unsold.

How do I receive the money? When you have identified a property, your lender can submit the paperwork to reserve one of the grants available. At closing, $6,000 will be wired to the title company to be used on your behalf. It can be applied toward closing costs, fees, even down payment.

Are there any other restrictions? You must purchase the home with a 30 year (or less) fixed-rate mortgage. (FHA, VA, Utah Housing, Conventional are all options)

Bill text: http://le.utah.gov/˜2009/bills/sbillamd/sb0260s02.htm

Signed into law by Governor Jon Huntsman March 19, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the rates are falling! the rates are falling!

I want y'all to know that rates are
again below 5% on a 30yr fixed--
additionally I HAVE to make sure you
realize:
If you are a first time homebuyer
you will get 8,000 FREE from the
federal gov(talk to your lender)
NEVER has to be paid back--this is YOUR
bailout people!
and
now a state program for new construction
gives 6,000--hurry to get that one though
because there is a cap!

Time to buy or refinance!
Call me if you want to take
a peek at the market or if
you need to find a lender--
I know lots!

Rule of thumb for refinance:
If the rate is 1% or more lower
and if closing costs will pay off
with the difference in new mortgage
within the time you will live there--

Me and My Groceries--all over town!

Yesterday was shopping day for me--why
Wed you ask? Well the biggest reason
is that it is SM's poker night with
the guys--other than that: I had time
to come up for air--OR DID I?

Yesterday was an open day with a busy
afternoon/night. Because of my WONDERFUL
neighborhood and neighbors I had my night
chuck full of events(who needs SM anyway--who?)

SO I went to Smiths, and then to Costco and headed
home only to discover that it was 6pm!! I was
supposed to be at the DCC meeting AT 6 and I still had
to drop off my car and groceries! SO instead of wasting
all that time on that I decided to drive over and let
the groceries wait in the car--an hour wouldn't hurt right?
It's not like I had icecream in my car and it was July.
So I went to the meeting and of course there were new
people to meet so I stayed for 1.5 hours, then, because
my sister lives in the hood now(which explains everything about
my apparent lack of posting the past few weeks)
so I stopped in to visit her for a sec(timer on groceries now at
2 hours) THEN i realized that I was supposed to be at the No Cookie
Left Behind Party at my neighbor's house at 7:30 SO--I packed all of
my groceries from my car, into the shopping cart that is provided by our
building and headed over to the party--with my groceries--
I planned, as always, to only stay for a few minutes(grocery timer
to be slightly over 2 hours, but if everything was still good it would
keep for another 20 minutes right--keep in mind that this type of
delusion fuels my life ;)) So I went, I partook and stayed for an hour--
grocery timer now at 3 hours--and all of my neighbors making fun of how
much food I actually buy for just the 2 of us--
The truth is--I have a feeling that this is one of the only neighborhoods
in Utah where something like this would happen--I am certainly not the
most busy person or the most social person in the state but I literally
know--outside of any church or work structure 20-30 people in my neighborhood--
WOW--love it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Store in the Hood Uptown Cheapskate


Uptown Cheapskate

According to their website:
"Uptown Cheapskate is more than a fashion exchange concept. It is an attitude, a personality, and an art form. Uptown Cheapskate empowers individuals to express themselves using brand name fashions and modern style without the typical price tag. The concept is simple really: we buy and sell your favorite brands at prices that everyone can get excited about. We’re not trying to change the world; just offer an exciting new way to shop it."

I am happy to have a NON chain clothing store in the area(I love the Gateway but c'mon that can't be all there is--RIGHT?) esp in this economy!
I stopped in today and was pleasantly surprised. Brands from Diesel to Forever 21 graced the
stuffed racks. The staff was friendly, they have a great selection and all their inventory is in really great condition.
I found shoes, hats, purses, JEANS(tons--starting at 14.99) tops, dresses(7.99) for both girls and guys.



Def stop in, def buy and sell here and def use the free parking in the back or ride trax(it is just across the street) or if you are an Urbanite like me casually walk over when you get a free minute(yes I love it--I know you are jealous)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Something for everyone--I feel much better


Thanks Erin!!

Kirby: Sorry Sen. Buttars, gay rights won't destroy us

By Robert Kirby


Tribune Columnist
Posted: 02/24/2009 11:57:35 AM MST

Last week, Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, reportedly announced proof that the gay rights movement posed "the greatest threat to America."

According to Buttars, homosexuals lack morals, engage in abominable behavior, are as dangerous as radical Islam, and -- I apologize in advance for saying this, but it's time someone in the media did -- actually fail to floss after every meal.

I consider myself one of the most intolerant people I know, but gays aren't even on my "Top 500 People Whose Guts I Hate" list. I checked it this morning.

Under "H," the list goes from "Happy Birthday Songs in Restaurants" to "Hitler, Adolf" without any mention of "Homosexuals." Nothing under "F" or "Q" either.

Perhaps I fail to appreciate what makes gays so dangerous. Tell me. Is there something else I should be adding to my 72-hour emergency kit? If society collapses -- and it's gays who caused it -- I want to be prepared.

Then again, maybe this is just another of those phony "America is doomed" scares, like giving women the vote. Nearly 90 years ago, people hollered that suffrage was an utter calamity to the American family. When the 19th Amendment passed, just look what happened.

Well, OK, there's really nothing to see except that the lines at the polls got longer. That's pretty bad but it didn't exactly ruin us.

And what about the dreaded Negro? Back when it was all white, didn't America once court disaster by giving blacks the vote, property rights, civil rights and anything else?

People -- idiots mainly -- absolutely guaranteed that doing away with racial barriers would destroy the country. Today, nobody's even wearing a hard hat over it.

It could be that gays are more insidiously evil. The ones I know don't look it, but I've been wrong about appearances before. I was about Bigfoot. Still, let's see what happens when we're nice or even just grudgingly fair to gays.

In 1998, the federal government made it illegal to fire federal employees just for being gay. It's tough to fire federal employees anyway, but this was different. We held our breath and the Dow immediately stayed where it was.

There's always some horrible threat poised to destroy America, something we're doing that reactionaries say will cause God to unleash his wrath upon us. My grandfather thought it was tampon commercials.

Maybe it takes a long time for America's "greatest threats" to destroy it. It could be that we're actually being destroyed as we sit here talking about it. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

With even a casual glance at our history, it's easy to see that the America people feared seeing destroyed has always been an outdated version that catered almost entirely to them.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

great deal just reduced $50,000


Located near Cactus and Tropicals in Draper(E side of I-15) this house is a keeper!
I previewed it last week when it was listed at $474,000 and while it requires a bit of finish work it is a beautiful home for a great price!
Now that they have dropped it to $424,000 I'd have to say that for the money this is a great deal!
It is located on half an acre
is 95% complete(including the basement)
has 3 laundry rooms(1 for each level)
Amazing detail and unique floorplan
7 (2 in basement)beds
4 baths
basement just needs carpet
Amazing arched upper level

If you want to take a look give me a call!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

They read my mind!


This little treasure could be priceless to those of you out there who, like
me think that having a guestroom to clean and heat and cool and NOT use for
personal space is well: insane! Liftbed looks like a great idea for those of us out there
who reject the idea of extra cleaning for one or two days a year!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An Idea I wish I had considered.....



These amazing little sculptures/coathangers/storage are one of the many wonders
that I found today at materious
Now: if only Materious could find a solution for every odd corner of my life world peace would be just around the corner!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Bars are about more than drinking

By Daniel Levin

Salt Lake Tribune
Posted:02/09/2009 07:31:00 AM MST

Several years ago, a graduate student told me that he was attending a conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Having lived in Madison while attending the University of Wisconsin, I told him that he'd never meet friendlier people and to enjoy himself. When he returned, I asked him how it had gone.

"Terrible," he said, "nobody ever wanted to talk about anything after the conference sessions."

I was surprised, and asked him whether they had invited him afterward for a beer.

"Oh yeah, every afternoon, but, you know, I don't drink." Suppressing my laughter, I could only say, "There's some pretty good root beer in Wisconsin, too."

In Madison, like every other place I know, one does not go to a bar simply to drink. One goes to a bar to be with other people, and perhaps to drink. It is far less expensive and more efficient to get drunk at home.

The current debate about what to do with Utah's peculiar institution of private clubs is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what actually occurs in bars and in restaurants which serve alcohol. While some people do, at times, overindulge, the vast majority of patrons are social drinkers. To be a social drinker does not simply mean that one does not drink often or to excess. It means that drinking is simply part of one's life. And, as an old expression goes, "life is with people."

Bars are, first and foremost, centers of community, but they do not stand alone. Alcohol has long served as the quintessential symbol of religious community. For three millennia, Jews have celebrated Passover by drinking four cups of wine to celebrate their emergence as a people newly freed from bondage in Egypt.

For two millennia, Christians have made wine the center of the communion ritual, in which they not only accept Christ as their savior, but enter into symbolic union with the larger community of Christian believers.

Drinking establishments have long served as incubators of America's traditions of democratic self-government and our distinctive culture. There is no better place to find genuine political debate than a pub. The American rebellion against Great Britain was largely planned in taverns, and many of the most important discussions that led to drafting of the U.S. Constitution took place in City Tavern, across from Independence Hall, during the Constitutional Convention.

Speak-easies gave birth to jazz, Southern "juke joints" spawned the blues and honky-tonks nurtured country music, all authentic expressions of America's genius. American comedy, essential to our national sanity, is as much a product of nightclubs as it is of vaudeville.

Utah's current private club laws are most often derided because they are so inconvenient and so irrational as to be maddening. But I believe that they are most offensive for their chilling effect on Americans' constitutional right of free association. That right, foundational to any democracy, protects our ability to gather wherever we would please, and with whomever we may wish, to argue politics, to dance, to listen to music, to cheer for a football team on the big screen, or to laugh at a comic.

In a free society, the state may not demand that we account for our whereabouts or the identities of our associates. But in Utah, the state requires that private clubs compile membership lists, and make those lists available to the police for any reason which the police may devise. Recent proposals to replace those lists with centralized, computerized databases, now seemingly shelved, were not worthy of a free society.

Current proposals to require scanners to guard against the use of fake identification cards should ensure that that information is protected against disclosure for any purpose other than the proper enforcement of the liquor laws.

A free society trusts its citizens. That trust always involves risk, but one cannot eliminate risk without extinguishing liberty. A free society also requires an active civil society and a vibrant public culture. Bars and taverns serve as centers of community and cultural life. For that reason, they should be just as important to non-drinkers as to drinkers.

For even those who do not imbibe should be free to join in the arguments, watch the game, shake a leg or laugh at a comic without fear that they will have to register their names with the state. There's some pretty good root beer in Utah as well.

Dan Levin teaches political philosophy and constitutional law at the University of Utah.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I couldn't resist