Welcome Sherice Sparrow

Sherice SparrowWe would like to give a warm welcome to our newest agent Sherice Sparrow!

Sherice boasts more than 15 years of experience in both the residential and commercial real estate industries. She strives to use her knowledge along with her experience to represent clients to the best of her ability. Educating and communicating with them throughout every step of the process ensuring they make the best decisions possible.

Real estate has always excited Sherice. The industry allows her to combine her enthusiasm for property and design with her love of working with people. Her hard work, passion for serving clients’ needs and helping them achieve their goals sets Sherice apart. Sherice serves the entire Wasatch Front to ensure a positive and seamless buying and selling process for all.

Sherice married 16 years now has three beautiful children. You may find Sherice and her husband cheering loudly on the ball court and the dance floor. Nothing makes them more proud than to support their children in all of their endeavors.

Sherice spent 15 years as a successful business owner. Sherice earned a bachelor’s degree in technical sales from Weber State University.

She enjoys time outdoors, skiing, hiking, wakeboarding, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. When not working tirelessly for clients, Sherice enjoys running. In fact, she has ran many half marathons and the Ogden Marathon. You can always count on Sherice for her honesty, commitment, passion, and fun-loving aura.

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

Blog-Post---10-things-to-have---DaneneThe 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!)
  10. Crock Pot- Slow cookers are a great way to have a hot meal on hand at the end of the long days ahead.  Toss some meat, veggies, and sauce or stock into the slow cooker in the morning and forget about it.  By the time your stomach is rumbling for some dinner, you will have a hot and ready meal you don’t have to go out or order out for.

Having just a few things when you move into your first home that will help make the first couple of days easier, will make all the difference.  Especially because mom and dad’s towels aren’t likely to make the move with you and probably weren’t at the top of your list of awesome stuff to get for your new space.

What are some of the items you would add to your list?  Does your top 10 differ much from ours?

The First 3 steps Millennials must do when preparing to buy their first home

  1. Blog-Post---3-Steps-for-Millennials---DaneneStart Saving. When you start planning for buying your first home having some money in the bank is a must.  A recent study showed that 61% of first time home buyers paid for their down payment from their savings.  Considering your down payment could be anywhere from 3.5%-20% of the total purchase price, it is unlikely you’ll be able to save that amount over night.  Also, most first time home buyers only plan for the down payment; however, there are additional out of pocket costs you’ll need to account for.  You may end up paying for the home inspection, appraisal, and in most cases closing costs.  You also want to plan for unexpected circumstances not just with the home but your life in general.  You don’t want to wipe out your savings to purchase your home and then become unable to work or have a major expense surprise you.  It is recommended that you have 6 to 9 months of living expenses in an emergency fund in addition to the costs you are anticipating.  ***
  2. Understand the importance of your credit score. Your credit score affects much more of your life than just whether or not you will qualify for a home loan.  Knowing what makes up your score and what your score says about you is crucial.  Employers, credit card companies, and many other institutions look at your credit score as a stamp on your financial situation and sometimes your character.  There are many free resources online to find out your credit score but keep in mind they are not 100% accurate.  Knowing your score and better yet steps to improve it will put you in the fast lane to getting approved for your mortgage.
  3. Understand the lingo. What is PMI and what does ARM stand for? Of all the processes in your life there may be none more foreign than the processes when it comes to purchasing a home.  In an effort to reduce the risk of loaning an incredible sum of money and to keep your information secure home loan paperwork is very… thorough.  With that being said you are likely to hear terms that you have never heard before and that may be intimidating.  Get familiar with some of the terms you are likely to hear or read by checking online for a mortgage term glossary (vfund.com/glossary) and always make sure to choose a professional loan officer who will take the time to ensure you understand not only the terminology but the process of buying a home.  (Click here to find an officer in your area today).

Even if a home purchase seems a few years away it is best to start planning for it now.  Not only will you be ahead of the curve on the financial end of things but you will also be more familiar with the process as a whole.  Most of the hiccups or horror stories you hear about first time home purchases are due to the fact that the borrower (you) was not educated or prepared for a home purchase.  Again, having a professional and experienced lender will help you through the process effortlessly.

*** This is not an offer of credit or commitment to lend. Loans are subject to buyer/property qualification. Loans programs are subject to change without notice.

Realtor’s Guide to Snapchat

Are you using Snapchat for your real estate business? Snapchat isn’t just for teens and celebrities. In fact, 57 million Americans use Snapchat and more than half of new Snapchat users are older than 25. Furthermore, seven out of 10 Snapchatters are millennials. Here’s a few pointers to make the most of your Snapchat marketing efforts.

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Unique to Snapchat, your profile photo is composed of four photos that create a moving GIF. Get creative. Your profile photos can be serious to silly or even tell a story. Your profile also contains your snapcode or username. This code provides an easy way for people to find and connect with each other and is likely the reason you’re seeing tons of screen shots of Snapchatters profiles on other social networks.

Connect

Start by adding your network. Search for those you know by username or Snapcode. Work with your existing contacts to find others already using Snapchat. You also can connect with and follow people, pages and stories that interest your clientele such as the top 10 who are dominating the real estate industry. Tastemade and BuzzFeed also are extremely popular.

Start snapping

First, let’s cover the basics. Snaps can be photos or videos up to 15 seconds. When you take a snap, you are doing so for one of two purposes: sending a snap to individuals or sending a snap to your story. You contribute to your story while it shares your snaps for the past 24 hours. Utilize your story to showcase a behind-the-scenes look at your life and business. Another great aspect of your story is the ability to see who has viewed your content. Knowing who has viewed your content could produce potential leads and other growth.  

The possibilities are endless in real estate because the industry is so visual. So, what are you waiting for? Get snapping today!

3 Signs Are You Ready to Buy a Home

Blog-Post---Signs-You-are-Ready-to-Buy-a-Home---DaneneIf you are renting an apartment or a home, you may feel like you are throwing money away month after month.  But how do you know if you are ready to buy a home?  There are many factors that go into what will be one of the biggest decisions of your life, and here are 3 signs that you may be ready to start looking for your first home.

  1. Are you ready to commit? Buying a home encompasses many different types of commitment. While people don’t usually spend the rest of their lives in the same home, they typically spend 5+ years in a house.  If you have been in your current location for several years you may be ready to choose a long-term location.  Also, realize you are committing to the care and upkeep of your home.  If you find yourself completing small repairs and improvements around your current space, you are definitely ready to care for your own home.
  2. Are your rent costs close to or larger than a mortgage payment would be? If you are spending close to what a house payment for your area, (taking credit, available loan programs, and other factors in to consideration) perhaps you are ready to purchase a home. When you purchase a home, you are building equity that will benefit you in the future.  When you are paying rents, you retain no benefit and build no value.  Talk with a qualified Loan Officer to see what your mortgage payment would be.  If your rent is equal to or greater than a payment on a similar sized home, you may be ready to buy.
  3. Do you have money in the bank? I am not talking about a few dollars left over at the end of the month. If you have been saving and have amassed more than just an emergency fund you may be ready to buy a home.  While most home purchases do require some type of down payment that you would need money for, the larger factor is that you are in the habit of living within your means and saving money.  Buying a home is a large investment that you will be paying on over time and strong money management skills are a great sign you are ready to take the next step.

If you answered yes to one or more of these signs the next step will be speaking with a qualified Loan Officer and looking at all your options.

 

5 Tips for Planning Your First Garden

Blog-Post---5-garden-tips---DaneneMoving into a new home is abundant with opportunity and the addition of a home garden is usually at the top of the list.  Whether you are a master gardener or a first timer the steps to planning out a garden are about the same.   Follow these simple steps to ensure you get a garden you’ll love and actually use.

  1. Draw up a rough plan- start by mapping out a rough shape and size. A good way to do this is to take a look at where you will be placing the garden and sketch it and other major features (trees, fences, etc.) onto graph paper.  Remember that you will be moving things around so a pencil would be best.
  2. Start small- The best rule of thumb for creating a garden is to go small and leave room to expand later. Many ambitious gardeners set out to develop a large garden that quickly becomes overwhelming with upkeep and the amount of produce being produced.  You can always add additional area, but you can’t undo gardening burnout!
  3. Consider prep work- when mapping out the area to turn into your garden keep in mind the work that will be required to prepare for gardening. If you have very rocky soil are you going to do rock removal, bring in dirt, or build raised beds?  If the area you are looking at is currently overgrown with thorny bushes or is set up as a pond are you willing to put in the work to use the area?  Is there another area that would also be great but take much less effort to set up?
  4. Consider watering- When setting up a garden most gardeners don’t consider the availability of water, one of the most essential ingredients to healthy plants!! Of course, in most areas water is easily accessible; however, will you need to pull hoses to the area, haul large buckets, or set up a water delivery system?  All these factors will add to or subtract from how much you enjoy your garden.
  5. Plan for food you already eat- moving into a new house, setting up your first garden, and overhauling the way you eat are pretty difficult to tackle at the same time. The thought of fresh produce being readily available at any time tends to inspire new gardeners to plant everything they can get their hands on, even if it isn’t something that they eat regularly.  Over planting adds to the workload and can decrease the enjoyment of your garden is a couple of different ways.  First, you will have more area to water and more area to control the weeds.  Second, if you don’t use the produce it will decompose in the garden which attracts pests and smells terrible; however, if you pick the produce and it goes to waste in your fridge or on your cupboard you will feel like your hard work is being tossed in the garbage.

Remember that gardening is supposed to be enjoyable!  By following these steps in planning your garden you can avoid a few of the pitfalls that can have you off the gardening bandwagon in less than one growing season.

5 Apps To Help Save You

Blog-Post---5-Apps-graphics---DaneneIn true millennial fashion saving for your first home has gone mobile.  Believe it or not here are a few apps to help with just that…

Simple– True to its name this app makes managing your budget so easy.  It will tell you how much money you have left over to spend (or save) after taking your goals and bills into account.

YNAB–  YNAB stands for “you need a budget” and its goal is to give you just that.  This app has a 34 day free trial period to let you test the waters.  You connect your accounts so that the app can decide just how much you are working with.  Then, you set up your spending categories (or use their defaults) to track where your money is going.  The interface looks very user-friendly and since it is an app is easy to use on the go.

Tiller– Do you love manually entering in data and tracking spending in spreadsheets?  Yeah, neither do I, but Tiller offers a solution that does it for you.  Link you accounts and walk through the setup tutorial to create an automated spreadsheet that is customized to your financial goals (also offers a 30 day free trial).

Digit– This brainy app checks your spending habits and automatically moves a few dollars from your checking if you can afford it.  You can withdraw your money anytime from your digit account but won’t see it in your checking account for frivolous spending.

Tip Yourself– This is by far my favorite spending but saving app out there!  Tip yourself does just what it says.  You reward yourself for different things by giving yourself a “tip.”  You have unlimited transactions for those times you are on fire.  This way you can save for your down payment or for anything you deem worthy of breaking into your tip jar.

No matter how you decide to start or manage your savings these tools can help.  What are some of your favorite budgeting/saving apps?  Do you use them frequently?  Do they help you save?

 

What Are The Different Types of Home Loans Available in Utah?

canstockphoto27398 (1)VA, USDA, or FHA?  Are you wondering what all the terms mean?  When it comes to buying a home, there are so many terms it’s hard to keep them all straight.  Here is a quick guide to demystify the names used for different types of loans and loan products here in Utah.

  • Conventional- a conventional loan or conventional mortgage refers to a loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. A conventional, or conforming, mortgage adheres to the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  It may have either a fixed or adjustable rate.
  • FHA- FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration, FHA is not actually a type of loan but insurance that protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan.
  • VA- VA stands for Veterans Affairs and is a loan in the United States guaranteed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The loan is issued through qualified lenders.  The VA loan was designed to offer long-term financing to eligible American veterans or their surviving spouses.
  • Utah Housing- Utah Housing Corporation loans allow an eligible borrower, to borrow all or a portion of their down payment and closing costs. Qualified borrowers are able to purchase a home with little to nothing down if they qualify.  This loan is a second mortgage.
  • USDA- USDA loans are mortgages backed by the United States Department of Agriculture as part of its USDA Rural Development guaranteed housing loan program. USDA loans may offer up to 100% financing with reduced mortgage insurance premiums and feature fellow-market mortgage rates.
  • Jumbo- Jumbo loans refer to any loan amount that exceeds the conforming loan limits established by regulation.  For most of the United States the limit is $417, 000 (as of the time of this posting).  These loans typically require 2 appraisals instead of just 1 and require higher down payments (up to 30%)!
  • Construction- A construction loan is typically a short-term loan used to pay for the cost of building a home. It may be offered for a term (typically one year) to allow time to build your home.  At the end of construction, when the house is done, you will need to get a new loan to pay off the construction loan.
  • Fixed- A fixed rate mortgage is a loan that has a fixed interest rate for the entire term of the loan. The distinguishing factor of a fixed rate mortgage is that the interest rate over the entire period of the loan is set at the time the loan is originated.
  • Adjustable- An adjustable rate mortgage is a loan on which the interest is figured according to a predetermined formula. The interest rate can vary through the life of the loan through specific terms.  It is typically tied to the prime rate or another interest rate.

Working with a qualified Loan Officer will take all the worry out of what type of loan is right for you.  If you are ready to start your home buying process but feel overwhelmed with all the lingo, options, and steps just click here to be paired with a Loan Officer that will work with you.

 

New Build Advice

Are you building a home in 2017? That’s exciting news! Now, here’s what you need to know before you break ground on your new house.house-1158139_1280

Location
The old real estate adage “it’s all about location, location, location” couldn’t be more true especially when you’re constructing a new house. Housing, zoning and even real estate laws vary state-by-state, county-by-county and city-by-city. Understanding the laws relevant to where you are going to live is paramount to new build success. Our agents make it relatively easy to learn and digest all of the information you need about permits and home building regulations.

Price
Building a home can be more complicated than simply purchasing one. Instead of using a lump sum to buy a home, you have to decide upon all the conjoining labor, materials and finishes to acquire a final price. Often times this means balancing different materials used in different parts of the home to stay within budget. Aside from cost, personal preference plays a large role in choosing materials. However, certain materials continue to stay trending in 2017 such as granite counter tops while others like bamboo flooring can stay in 2016. Concerning the general market, experts predict that mortgage rates, home sales and prices will continue to rise in the coming year.

Reputation
While there are many builders in the sea, not all of them are created equal. It’s vital that you shop around. Do your research and check the reputation of builders you are considering. Start by searching reviews online. Find out what did their previous liked or disliked. Then inquire about builders from family, friends and coworkers who have recently built a home. We recommend using builders who are members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Green
The trend of going green and building homes that are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly has been gaining popularity for more than a decade now and continues to do so in 2017. Selecting energy-efficient options when building your dream home will pay off in the long run due to reduced utility costs and increased resale value. Materials and products across the board have gotten better throughout the years. However, there are styles that are better still. Take windows for example, overall windows are more efficient but picture windows that do not open are better at protecting your home from drafts.

Resale
Whether this your first or fifth build, it’s highly unlikely that it will be your last. No matter how much you end up loving the house, you should be mindful of its potential resale value. Avoid adding so many upgrades that force you to overprice your home for the neighborhood. Don’t go crazy and choose anything too out of the ordinary. In reality, our homes are investments and as a general rule of thumb ask yourself, “Will the features I am considering appeal to others?”