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Finding the perfect tenant

Do you have an empty basement or separated suite in your home? If you have a suite sitting empty, you are missing out on collecting some extra monthly income in the form of rent. Let’s take a look at a quick four-step process that will help you find the perfect tenant to rent out your basement suite.

Step 1: Play by The Rules

Is this your first-time renting out a home or suite to a tenant? If so, you will want to do a bit of research first. Read up on Fair Housing Rules and other regulations as these will inform you of your responsibilities as a landlord. Keep in mind that you cannot discriminate in any way when it comes to race, religion, gender, family status or disability. Anyone who applies must be given a fair chance.

Step 2: Be Specific in Your Advertising

When you place a rental listing, be as specific as possible in what you are looking for in a tenant. If you are a single, quiet person, you may want someone similar as you will be compatible. Conversely, if you are a young couple, you may clash with a retired senior or someone older. Be as specific as possible but remember that you cannot be discriminatory.

Step 3: Meet Potential Tenants in Person

Be sure to take the time to meet with every short-listed applicant in person. If you are not comfortable with having so many strangers over to your home, consider attending at a local coffee shop. An in-person meeting will allow you to visually assess the person and determine if your personalities are a fit for living in the same home.

Step 4: Don’t Skip the Checks

Finally, don’t take any shortcuts when performing background, credit and other checks. Ask your tenant for at least one or two references that you can call to verify their rental history. Investing in a credit check will help to assess their risk of missing monthly rent payments. And if necessary, a criminal records check can let you know if they have been in trouble with the law.

As long as you are well-prepared and diligent, finding a suitable tenant for your basement suite can be a painless process. To learn more about mortgage products are perfect for rentals, contact us today. Our mortgage team will be happy to help you!

 

Top 10 Things to Buy Before You Move into Your 1st Home

The first couple of nights in your new home will be exciting and memorable. Make sure that you are prepared to make those memories good ones by having these 10 things readily available.

  1. Coffee maker-Waking up that first morning in your new home the last thing you will want to do is leave!! Running down to Starbucks won’t be nearly as alluring as starting to settle into your new morning routine.  Make sure that you have filters and coffee grounds as well.  Bonus points if you unpack two coffee cups the night before so you won’t have to fumble around in the bubble wrap to find them.
  2. Fire extinguisher- Let’s face it stuff happens. New stove, new cooktop, and maybe even a new fireplace.  Even though you may think it could never happen to you, a small fire may have your new home dreams up in flames, if you aren’t prepared.
  3. Cutting boards and knives- Whipping up a tasty meal in your brand spanking new kitchen usually is top of the list for most new homeowners who love to cook. Having your supplies on hand will make it so much easier, and cutting boards are essential to protect your new surfaces.  Picking up a few flexible cutting boards is a quick fix and very inexpensive.
  4. Bath Mat and Towels- Hopping out of the shower can be chilly and slippery if you don’t have the basics. Your first home calls for fluffy new towels and definitely a bath mat.  Depending on if you already have décor themes in mind these could be the first steps to making your house into a home.
  5. Corkscrew or Wine Key- Before turning in on even your very first night a little celebration is in order. Whether or not wine is your go to beverage of choice, it is a very common new home gift.  Have an easy to use corkscrew or wine key on hand to open a bottle for yourself or for friends and maybe a few glasses (your morning coffee mugs work great too)!
  6. Curtains- new builds and most existing houses tend to come without curtains and other window coverings. Curtains start to build the character you will bring to the home but also keep out the light early in the morning, or the peeping eyes of curious neighbors in the evening.  If you haven’t settled on paint or accessories, just get a few inexpensive curtains to cover up for now.
  7. Plunger and toilet brush set- You never know when nature’s call won’t be well received by the plumbing. Make sure to have a plunger and toilet brush handy just in case.  Especially if you are moving into an older home that may have older pipes.
  8. Vacuum- While you hope that nothing is broken in the move, you want to be prepared.  A good quality vacuum is a must for any home.  They come in many different styles with different functions such as cordless, wet/dry capabilities, or the fancy robot ones that drive around all by themselves.  No matter what kind you are leaning towards, invest in a good vacuum that will last a while.  This is one item you will ALWAYS have in your home so don’t just buy the cheapest option or you may end up replacing it often.
  9. Document Holder- Having a safe and consistent location to keep all the documents you will receive when you first move is critical to being able to stay on top of all the must do’s you are likely to have. An expandable file with write on tabs make it easy to keep your incoming documents organized and accessible.  Documents you may need to keep track of are your loan documents, utility set up paperwork, and lists of important number for your new area.  (You never know when a mean Chinese craving will attack in the middle of unpacking!)

3 Things to know before you buy a home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever heard the expression “Practice makes perfect”?  Start a healthy habit, practice setting aside money that would represent your monthly house payment.  This habit will help to make sure you can afford your future house payment.  If you have the ability to set aside the amount that you plan to pay for a mortgage payment you will not only show that you have the income and discipline to be able to repay a loan but you will also have accumulated funds to assist in the down payment and other expenses of buying a new home.

Pre-approval amount does not mean a loan payment you can afford.  When you obtain a pre-approval, a lender has reviewed your application, credit report, outstanding debts, and savings.  They do not take into account the lifestyle that you choose to lead.  Your monthly expenses that are not reflected on your credit report or listed as debts have not been factored in.  It is your responsibility to sit down and take a good look at what you can truly commit to making as a monthly mortgage payment before you decide on a home.

Your loan officer and real estate agent are not a tax professionals and it is recommended to meet with one before you sign.  While many loan officers have the experience and knowledge to guide you through the process of purchasing a home most are not equipped to give you tax advice.  They may know the tax incentives that are out there for purchasing a home but not how they directly will apply to you and your financial situation.  This is especially important if you are purchasing additional properties to rent or resale.  The good news is that your loan officer or real estate agent can recommend you to an excellent tax professional in your area.

 

Why right now may be the best time to build your dream home

The housing market here in Utah didn’t cool down over the cold winter months.  Houses are flying off the market the day they hit the market, if not sooner.  Now that the weather is heating up so will the real estate market and that leaves one very important thought for you to consider: “If you don’t LOVE your current home, why not build a new one?”

  • As life changes, so does what you need from your home. As a young family, you may have moved into your current house with one or two small children but as your family has grown your home has not.  Or consider the opposite, you purchased your home while all your children were living at home and you needed plenty of space to spread them out, but now that they have moved away do you really need to be cleaning that six-bedroom house or hauling laundry up three flights of stairs?
  • We currently live in a “sellers’ market” in Utah. Some houses are going under contract before they even hit the market and selling for more than the asking price.  Why?  Because there are more families in need of homes than there are homes available.  What does this mean for you?  If you have worried in the past that your home may not sell or that you wouldn’t be able to get a good price for it, don’t worry anymore.

 

Right now, it’s a seller’s market because of the low inventory of single-family homes. Leavitt said it is extremely difficult to find homes in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range on the market.” -Chase Leavitt, ReMax Agent

This means that there may be buyers out there looking for your exact home right now, and probably lots of them!  One of the biggest fears in building a new home in the past has been what do I do if my current home doesn’t sell.  This market makes that a very unlikely situation.

 

 

  • Building a new home allows you to customize your home to your needs and wants. From choosing the type of neighborhood you want to live in, to the exact floorplan that will work best for you, building a new home gives you control.  Instead of choosing from the limited list of houses currently available you will be able to decide exactly what you want in your next home.  While having the perfect paint colors and all the upgrades completed before you move in is just a perk, it definitely makes a move a little less stressful.
  • Financing for construction loans has never been easier, especially, here in Utah. With all the new developments along the Wasatch Front (and off the Wasatch Front), you can find the best lender to help you fund your dream home.  In the past construction loans were difficult and had lots of moving parts for you, the borrower, to manage.  Getting a Veritas Funding construction loan has changed all that.  We pair you with a construction loan specialist in your area to make sure that the process is streamlined.  Our professional loan officers are trained to help you every step of the way.

So, whether you have outgrown your home or your home has outgrown you, building new is a great option for living in Utah right now.  Don’t invest time, money, and tears into extensive remodels or additions when there are people interested in buying your home as it is right now.

5 Spring Must-Do Hikes in Zion National Park

Winter blues got you down? Longing for warmer weather and a little adventure? Good news, we’ve compiled a list of must-visit hikes for the adventurer that needs a nice relaxing stretch of their legs as soon as spring comes!

Don’t worry these hikes are perfect for both the solo hiker and families alike.

 

Lower Emerald Pool | Easy| Round-Trip 1.2 Miles| 30 Minutes

Since winter was long this year, even if it was a bit warm, let’s start you out with the easiest of the hikes; Lower Emerald Lake! This beautiful and brief hike has a wide paved path. Translation: No getting lost on your way to your destination. It also makes this hike handicap and stroller friendly, meaning no one in your family has to get left out of this adventure!

This is a great place for a picnic or nice brisk morning walk, but please be respectful of the surrounding nature and pick up after yourselves.

Bring with you:

Water- It may be a short brisk hike, but better to have water with you instead of wishing you had (especially if you decide to extend your hike).

Trailhead:

Directly across the road from Zion Lodge

Additional Information:

If you are looking for a longer stretch of your legs you could check out: The Middle Pool Trail which is 1.9 miles roundtrip or the Upper Pools Trail that is 2.5 miles roundtrip. Unfortunately, these additions aren’t paved, so they are not handicap or stroller friendly. Also, keep in mind if you decide to extend your hike that you might wish to bring a few snacks with you.

Water Canyon | Moderate| Round-Trip 2 Miles | 45 to 90 Minutes

The only moderate hike on this list is going to be proven to be worth the addition because on this spectacular hike leads you to a slot canyon! This Canyon is a mini subway experience that allows the hikers to experience tunneled walls and a slight trickle of water.

Make sure to be careful and watch your steps as you will be walking on wet rocks that may be covered in mossy algae. This trail is a fantastic fit for families that enjoy a little technical challenge.

Bring with you:

A water filter- To filter the ever-present water in Water Canyon or if you prefer you can always just pack your own water.

Shoes- That you don’t mind getting wet.

Trailhead:

Take the exit UT 59 east from Hurricane to the town of Hildale. Then turn east on Utah Avenue and follows Short Canyon. Turn right onto Water Canyon Road until you get to a pond. The trail starts at the upper side of the pond.

Additional Information:

You have the option to go both above and beyond to the Canaan Mountain. Heads up, that route does require a bit more skill and know-how about desert navigation.

The Watchman | Easy| Round-Trip 2 Miles | 60 Minutes

If you are looking for geological wonders to gaze upon and relive your 7th-grade science glory days when you thought you’d join Mrs. Frizzle’s adventures into science, then you are in luck because we found the hike for you!

The Watchman Trail is a 3-feet wide wind through the foothills with breath-taking views of Bridge Mountain, The Watchman, Virgin River, as well as views of the Towers of the Virgin. Each switchback reveals a view of the overhanging cliffs and stratified layers of rocks.

Bring with you:

Snacks- Who doesn’t love stopping to have snacks while looking at a beautiful view?

Water- There isn’t a natural resource nearby, so make sure to pack a little water.

Sunscreen and hat- There isn’t much shade of this beauty of a hike, so make sure you apply sunscreen, wear a hat and maybe even bring some sunglasses to not strain your eyes while you investigate your surroundings.

Trailhead:

Make sure to park at the Watchman Campground visitor center and you’ll see directions to the trailhead from there.

Additional Information:

This hike is going to need a bit more out of you due to the lack of shade so be sure to refuel after and drink plenty of water!

Northgate Peak | Easy | Round-Trip 4.4 Miles | 2 Hours

The scenic trail of Northgate Peaks is another easy one, but it is located in a remote area of the park near Kolob Canyon— perfect for the hikers that are hoping to get away from all the crowds! As you trek through Navajo sandstone, sage meadows, and gorgeous pine trees you will be struck in awe of the lava outcrops and show-stopping views of North Guardian Angel and Northgate Peaks.

With some slight inclines and beautiful landscapes, this is sure to be on the top of your must-see list!

Bring with you:

Water- A must on this nearly 5-mile beauty.

Snacks- Nothing quite like a handful of trail mix to keep you energized for the next hill.

Trailhead:

Drive up 16 miles up the Kolob Reservoir Road and you will run right into the Wildcat Canyon trailhead.

West Bank of the Virgin River | Easy | Round-Trip 5 Miles | 60 to 90 Minutes

The most well used and beloved trail in Zions, West Bank is well loved straight and level beauty. There is a reason that this trail is so beloved, it is filled to the brim with views of the Mount Majestic, Cathedral Mountain, the Great White Throne, Spearhead, and even mule deer!

You might even notice that you cross the path for the Emerald Pools trail too! This a must-do hike for all who visit Zion.

Bring with you:

Water- This trail is stunning, but it’s harder to enjoy when you are thirsty.

Sunscreen & Hat- This trail has an even mix of the sun to shade, you can thank yourself later that you brought that extra protection.

Camera- You aren’t going to want to miss the chance to capture those glorious views.

Trailhead:

Head to the viewpoint at Zion Canyon at the Court of Patriarchs (There is a shuttle that can take you there between April and October).

Additional Information:

Springtime is the best time to visit Zions, due to the lower crowd rates. So if you want to see everything the West Bank has to offer with a lot less crowds make sure to visit then.

 

Lucky you, you don’t just have to long for warmer weather, but now you actually have a great outline of where to visit and get a leg up on your outdoor adventuring before the crowds! Zion National Park is open between the months of April until the end of October!

5 Ways to Turn your Rental House into a Home

Whether you are trying out a new area, on a temporary work and/or Military assignment or working on your credit to buy a new home you might find yourself in a position of renting a home for a few years. The question that is on everyone’s mind is how to make this new place feel like yours!

This list compiles 5 simple ways for you turn that house into a home.

  1. Paint

It may seem beyond obvious, but if you are allowed in your rental contract to paint a few doors or walls, do it! Whether it’s creating an accent wall in your living room or painting your front door, every little splash of paint will almost instantly make you feel more like that is a place all your own.

  1. Bring in Your Own Lighting

Your landlord might not feel super comfortable with you painting, but something that can transform a home is a little unique lighting.
Since replacing a ceiling fan with a chandelier isn’t permanent change most landlords won’t be opposed if you decide to put up your own.  (Just make sure to pack away the landlord’s lights with care that way when you move out you can easily put them back up without having to replace them!)

  1. Add Accents

Make sure to add accents that help scream YOU! If you have a tan, black or any neutral furniture then grab some colorful and fun throw pillows! Pair those throw pillows with a beautiful accent chair that matches the pillows and suddenly your living room feels like you.

*Note: You can do this in any room, decorate with your style and don’t be afraid to decorate uncommon places like the laundry room or entry hall.

  1. Add Some Vinyl

Simple, beautiful and an easy way to spice up a space is to add some vinyl. The best part? It isn’t permanent! You can add your own flare that looks beautiful but can be removed when it the end of your lease.

Add your housing numbers to your front door or one of your favorite quotes on the wall in your living room. This quick addition makes your new rental feel more like your own home.

  1. Use Window Treatments

Invest in the addition of window treatments! This simple change will harness the natural light coming into your new home. Make sure to use bright or light neutral colors in rooms that you are wishing to accent the natural light.

It’s crazy how transformative adding a window treatment to a room can be. Change up the different types of window treatments per room, so that you are putting your own signature in every space in your new home.

Quick tip:  Hang the longest panels your room will allow.  That will make even a small room with a low ceiling seem larger. 

 

Remember this is a new blank canvas that you get to create however you want. Now that you are settling into your brand new space, make sure that you aren’t afraid to really style your new home! Make your space all your own, so that you go from feeling like a guest to feeling like family.

Demand For Rental Property In St. George To Increase

St. George Utah is once again among the top 10 in the nation for population growth.  This growth has been consistent over the past several years.  In July of 2015 Washington County’s population was 160,245 and grew by over 3.1% in 2016.  This makes St. George the sixth fastest growing city in the nation.  This growth has provided some great opportunities for investment buyers.

Statistics of renters in St. George continue to grow as the population expands.  It is expected that by July 2018 there will be 58,539 renters looking for homes in the St. George area.  That is an average of over 1700 new renters moving in each year.  This means that there will be even more drive for rental space in an already tapped market.  Vacancy rates in St. George, Utah are under 1%.  This means that these new renters will need to compete for space.  A higher demand for rental properties increases the value and increases the rent that can be collected.  Due to the great culture and weather of St. George it is predicted that this boom in growth will continue for years to come.

So, if you are looking to increase your portfolio with rental properties, St. George is the best place in Utah to start your search.  Pairing the great market for investment properties and the presence of Red Rock Property Management to manage your properties make perfect sense.