Wasatch Front Real Estate and Community News

March 2, 2020

5 Questions to Ask When Looking to Build a Custom Home on a Lot

OK! So I was gearing up to do an open house on one of our Distinctive Properties in Draper, Utah. I had my hors d'oeuvres out. (Chocolates, Cookies and bottled water.) The Lights were on. It only took me 15 minutes to turn on every light in the home because it is 8,500 s.f. Also, installed new toilet paper in the guest powder room along with turning on the fireplace, opening the French country large double doors in the great room, opened the blinds and made sure all the directional signs were put in place. Now, I wait to see who comes in through the door? 


Draper Cove at Corner Canyon

As far as open houses are concerned, I've never done one by myself. I felt confident enough; however, because my 4 years working for a builder (which is like having an ongoing open house from Monday through Saturday.) should have prepared me for what the buyers coming into the house were going to ask me. 

Not only are we selling this $1.7 million beauty, in the most exclusive community in Draper, we are also selling the 1/3 of an acre lot adjacent to the property where we were hosting the open house. It is the last buildable lot in this community with gorgeous views of the Salt Lake Valley below. I wasn't prepared to start sending over buyers to that property, but the truth is, once I told buyers about it, they wanted to know more. Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared for the questions that would be hurled my way at a breakneck pace. 

Draper Lot

The point of this blog is to inform you about the questions I received that day and compare them with the questions that you too should have. Here they are in random order:

#1- Has this property had a soils test completed? This is such a good question because where we were at is on the foothills of draper and we are on a fault line. If I had that soils test in hand, I could have been better prepared to build confidence in the buyer that this was a solid location to build their next mansion on. However, I got 100% of nothing that day because I didn't have that test done. Lesson learned. Get a soils test. Here in Utah you can get that accomplished somewhere in the ballpark of $400-$2500 depending on who does it and what tests you need. 

#2- "We have an awesome plan that we would love to build. Do you know the setbacks?" Duh!! I should have seen this coming from miles away. How did I forget my training? No matter. I failed that test. I called up my Title gal and she had her team send over the plat map and lot map within minutes. This showed me the front, side and backyard linear footage along with the setbacks. Cool thing is, I could also see the setbacks of the neighbors homes and the home we were doing an open house on too. 

#3- "Along with that plat map, can you find out what the CC and R's are?" Duh duh duh!! Of course buyers are going to need to know what restrictions are placed on the home they could build. Again, I hopped on the phone and had my title gal send me over the CC and R's. I read through them and found out that there is also a reservation amount that the buyer has to pay at settlement and then every year thereafter on 1st day of January. Good to know. 

#4- I noticed that having my list of custom builders was a pretty handy thing to have out as well. This allowed some options for the out of state buyers to become acquainted with who the heavy hitters were in terms of who to trust for home building luxury homes. 

#5- Know the taxes and HOA. Not much to say here about taxes. Uncle Sams little brother "The School District" gets his fair share of funds. But the HOA (Home Owners Association) could have reassessment fees, dues and their stipulating factors that could be a positive or a negative. 

So, in the end, even if you start with these 5 things to ask a listing agent, you're going to be miles ahead of the process if you do decide to hire a draftsman or general contractor to generate plans and build your dream home. And, like me, if you come across an agent that doesn't know these things. It's not that I don't care about selling the home, I do; it's that I haven't totally done my homework either. Or that I've forgotten all that I have previously learned through my general contracting and new home sales experience. I'm glad I learned (again), and my buyers will be more prepared going into a transaction in the future when they're working with me. 

- Ben


Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 30, 2020

Strength of the Economy Is Surprising the Experts

Strength of the Economy Is Surprising the Experts

Strength of the Economy Is Surprising the Experts | MyKCM

We’re currently in the longest economic recovery in U.S. history. That has caused some to ask experts to project when the next economic slowdown (recession) could occur. Two years ago, 67% of the economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) for the Economic Forecasting Survey predicted we would have a recession no later than the end of this year (2020). The same study done just three months ago showed more than one third of the economists still saw an economic slowdown right around the corner.

The news caused concern among consumers. This is evidenced by a recent survey done by realtor.com that shows 53% of home purchasers (first-time and repeat buyers) currently in the market believe a recession will occur by the end of this year.

Wait! It seems the experts are changing their minds….

Now, in an article earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed only 14.3% of those economists now believe we’re in danger of a recession occurring this year (see graph below):Strength of the Economy Is Surprising the Experts | MyKCMThe WSJ article strongly stated,

“The U.S. expansion, now in its 11th year, will continue through the 2020 presidential election with a healthy labor market backing it up, economists say.”

This optimism regarding the economy was repeated by others as well.

CNBC, quoting Goldman Sachs economists:

“Just months after almost everyone on Wall Street worried that a recession was just around the corner, Goldman Sachs said a downturn is unlikely over the next several years. In fact, the firm’s economists stopped just short of saying that the U.S. economy is recession-proof.”


“When Barron’s gathers some of Wall Street’s best minds—as we do every January for our annual Roundtable—we expect some consensus, some disagreement…But the 10 veteran investors and economists who convened in New York on Jan. 6 at the Barron’s offices agree that there’s almost no chance of a recession this year.”

Washington Post:

“The U.S. economy is heading into 2020 at a pace of steady, sustained growth after a series of interest rate cuts and the apparent resolution of two trade-related threats mostly eliminated the risk of a recession.”

Robert A. Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank:

"I expect that the U.S. economy will avoid a recession in 2020."

Bottom Line

There probably won’t be a recession this year. That’s good news for you, whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home.

Posted in Buying a Home
July 31, 2017

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates