How Do You Know When Your Best Interests Are Not Looked After? A Cautionary Tale in This Week’s Blog:

This Made Me So Angry!

Real Estate in the Golden YearsI love helping people. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy being a real estate agent. And if you are a current or past client of mine, you fall into a special category. I care about you and want the best for you. Even if the best for you means no transaction for me.

Someone who holds an especially dear place in my heart is Delia (not her real name). She was my very first client. She purchased a condominium in lower Deer Valley from me in December, 2003. Continue reading about Delia’s experience here

Park City Housing Market Predictions for 2017

Park City Housing PredictionsNational Predictions

I have been reading a lot of predictions for the United States real estate market. Here are the themes I see repeated:

  • There will continue to be low inventory, creating a “sellers” market.
  • Interest rates will continue to rise.
    • This will impact first time homebuyers more than luxury home buyers, as luxury homebuyers tend to pay cash or put down a larger down payment.
    • Rising interest rates will make it more difficult for current home owners with good mortgages to move up and pay higher interest rates
  • Annual home appreciation will slow to about 3%.
  • If the Trump administration cuts taxes, this could have a positive effect on the luxury home market.
  • Real estate generally follows 7-year “boom and bust” cycles and we are nearing the end of a 7-year boom. Most experts did not see signs of a real estate crash looming in the distance. The days when people bought homes with no money down and could walk away are behind us.

How They’re Playing Out in Park City

I’m currently working with buyers and sellers in all different boats. One of my clients is selling an investment property now because she thinks this is a good time to be a seller. I have a couple of buyers who have benefited from the upturn in the economy. They are investing their money in Park City real estate as opposed to the stock market.

I’m also working with some retirees who want to downsize from a 6,000 sq. ft home and buying a smaller, easier-to-manage condominium. I’m working with others who are looking to buy their “last” home and want single level living.

Right now, inventory is very low in most Park City neighborhoods. But it’s a great time to be a buyer because there are fewer buyers competing for the existing properties. Springtime will give way to more inventory and more buyers. The excellent snow this season and the Vail Epic Pass are bringing many newcomers to Park City. Some of these people will inevitably fall in love with Park City and want to invest in a vacation home.

There will be a lot of new condominium inventory at the Canyons Village in the next 2 years, making the Canyons Village its own “micro market”. Purchasing a unit in an irreplaceable location with good views will be important to ensuring a good long-term investment.

My prediction for 2017 is that prices in Park City will be stable. Some micro-markets will do better than others. Because of our strong resort economy supported by Deer Valley and the Vail Epic Pass, we will continue to see second home buyers choose to make lifestyle purchases in Park City. In addition, we are a bedroom community to the Salt Lake Valley, which has the one of the best economies in the nation. Those high paying technology and biotech jobs will continue to bring qualified buyers into our full-time neighborhoods.

Park City’s Treasure Hill Development: a 30 Year Saga

treasure-hill-development

The Treasure Hill Development has been a controversial thorn in the mountain side of Park City for more than 3 decades. As development plans move forward, plagued by questions and opposition, we try to highlight some of the more important aspects of the project to better view where it stands today. Read more by clicking here.

Our Top 10 Park City Real Estate Blogs of 2016

2016 Park City Blogs

It has been an interesting year on many fronts, hasn’t it? From the world to our nation, and right here to our little (or not so little) town of Park City, a lot has happened in 2016. When we do our annual year in review here at Inside Park City Real Estate, it’s always fun
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How has Tourism Effected Our Favorite Town?

Being “America’s Favorite Town”: The Impact of Tourism on Park City

pc-main-street_winter

It doesn’t take much to realize that tourism means big business for Park City. When you look around at the number of hotels, taxis, restaurants and other tourism services, it is evident that people are visiting and enjoying our town in great numbers. In fact, a Travel and Leisure reader survey from 2015-2016 named Park City “America’s Favorite Town”.
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Free Home Buying Guide Available!

We are offering a Free Printable Home Purchase Guide! Learn how to make your home purchase completely stress free by clicking on our blog link and requesting the guide at the end of the article.

Click here to access article and free guide

 

 

 

 

Interesting Trends in Park City Real Estate Today (Q3, 2016)

The story of the Park City real estate market continues to be the same—newer or remodeled properties that are in move-in condition are in demand.

At the same time, older, dated homes take longer to sell. And they sell for less. We see this in the both the condominium and single family markets. While trends in Park City real estate continue to vary by neighborhood, the trend is directly reflective of the neighborhood’s age. Newer areas like Promontory have strong sales. Neighborhoods with older homes, like Deer Valley, have fewer sales.

Median Park City Sale Price

The above chart shows Park City zip codes of 84060 and 84098. Overall, the median sale price is rising at a healthy rate. At the same time, the number of sales is relatively flat over the past 2 years. If you would like to receive a copy of the Park City Board of REALTORS market statistics press release or the full statistics packet, contact me.

Forget all the Boring Stats, Here are Some Interesting Market Trends

Market Trend 1: Single family homes in the heart of Park City with an 84060 zip code are expensive.

  • Median sale price in Old Town is up 7% to $1.4 million.
  • Median sale price in Prospector is up 17% to $840,000.
  • Median sale price in Park Meadows is flat at $1.5 million.

Market Trend 2: Buyers who want to be in the heart of town but are shut out of Park Meadows due to price are buying in the Prospector neighborhood.

The Snyderville Basin (84098) continues to remain active with large increases in number of sales and median sale price. Buyers shut out of 84060 or who want to be closer to Kimball Junction or Highway 80 are snapping up these homes. Affordable neighborhoods like Summit Park and Trailside showed the highest increase in median sale price. Buyers who don’t have $500,000 to spend on a single family home will be unable to purchase a single family home in Park City.

  • Median sale price in Summit Park increased 22% to $619,000.
  • Median sale price in Trailside rose 13% to $715,000.
  • Median sale price in Kimball Junction rose 5% to $525,000.

Market Trend 3: Condominium sales in 84098 outpaced sales in 84060. My hypothesis that buyers are attracted to newer inventory is supported by this sales trend.

  • The Canyons neighborhood saw a median sale price increase of 50% to $590,000.
  • Pinebrook saw a 19% increase in median sale price to $455,000.
  • The Jordanelle area, which is located in Wasatch County and outside of Park City mailbox, saw a median sale price increase of 13% to $475,000. Most of the inventory at the Jordanelle is new. Buyers are attracted to the higher end finishes and proximity to Park City and Highway 40 even if it means they have a Kamas zip code.

How Should Buyers & Sellers Look at the Park City Real Estate Market Today?

So what do the third quarter statistics mean to buyers and sellers in Park City? Homes that have been updated sell faster and for more money. Before undertaking any improvements prior to selling your home, it is imperative that you consult with a REALTOR to ensure you are making the right and most cost-effective improvements. If you are unable or unwilling to update your home, you will need to price your home realistically based on the supply and demand for such homes.

There are great purchase opportunities available for those buyers willing to undertake renovations. As Park City becomes less affordable, buyers are moving to neighboring Wasatch County and Kamas Valley neighborhoods, or purchasing condominiums instead of single family homes. Currently, there is about a 10-month inventory of homes in Park City, creating a buyers’ market (6 months of inventory is considered “balanced”). However, the inventory varies greatly by neighborhood, creating an assortment of micro-markets. For example, Summit Park is a sellers’ market, with less than 3 months of inventory, while Upper Deer Valley is a buyers’ market with over 2 years of inventory.

Please contact me if you have questions about your own neighborhood or an area where you are considering making a purchase.

Real Estate Negotiations: How Get What You Want

negotiationsLast month, I took an 8-hour course on negotiation.

Before I became a REALTOR, I negotiated health care contracts for a living. After attending the 8-hour negotiation course, I learned that the concepts of negotiation are pretty simple and they haven’t changed since the beginning of civilization when people bartered instead of using money.

Overcome Fear to find a Win-Win

JFK Negotiation QuoteSince I utilize my negotiation skills every day, I forget how hard negotiating can be for my clients. I often hear “I don’t want to go back and forth.” My clients fear rejection or offending someone. My advice is to think of real estate negotiations as a conversation and not a win or lose proposition. In fact, the best negotiations are win-win, where both sides get what they want in a transaction.

I was recently involved in a Park City real estate transaction where a buyer told me he was thinking of making a low offer on one of my listings and asked for my opinion. I told him that I didn’t know how my client would react, but any offer is better than no offer. It is a tool to start a conversation to see if we can get to win-win. When I presented the offer to my client, her first response was that she was “offended” by the low offer. I told her that she should not be offended. The buyer raised his hand and said he wanted to buy her property. Now it was up to us to figure out if we could come to a price that made sense for both parties.

Approach Real Estate Negotiations as Joint Problem Solving

Here’s how corporate negotiation consultant Jeff Weiss explained it to Harvard Business Review:

“If you frame the negotiation as adversarial, you will ensure it becomes adversarial. Instead, approach it as an act of join problem-solving: What are the critical issues at hand, what are my interests and their interests, and what are some different options for satisfying those various interests? Negotiation isn’t about conceding, it’s about being creative.”

The purpose of negotiating in real estate and any application is to produce something better than you can without negotiating.

When The Outcome is Not What You Want

In my example, if the buyer did not present his offer, he would have no other way of knowing whether he could buy the home for what he was willing to pay. From my sellers’ perspective, she had to really think about her what she was willing to take for her home. After some back and forth, we realized that buyer and seller were too far apart for this transaction to come together.

The negotiation was positive and friendly and the door was left open in the event the buyer reconsiders his position and is willing and able to come up in his price. What started off as emotionally scary for both parties turned into an educational and positive interaction, even though it did not result in an immediate transaction.

What Negotiating is Not

Negotiation ProcessNegotiating does not have to be confrontational, insulting or rude. It should be approached like a conversation. Sometimes the needs of both parties can be brought together and sometimes they cannot. The only way to find out is to enter into the negotiation process. It helps if you have an experienced professional to guide the process.

What are your thoughts on negotiation? Have you been turned off by someone who came on too strong? Have you ever reached an agreement when you never thought it would happen?

Historic Park City Buildings – My Top 10!

10 Historic Park City Buildings & Why They’re Still Important

Park City is home to a number of historical buildings. They add real charm to our little town, especially for a real estate geek like me. Fortunately, ample foresight has been taken by stakeholders to preserve these beloved structures. They dot the local landscape like old friends and are well preserved and utilized to this day.

The best part about these historic Park City buildings is that they all can still be enjoyed by the public. And they can all be accessed year-round. You can get married in Miner’s Hospital. Grab a cup of coffee at the Park City Library. And spend the afternoon at the Museum. For dinner, head on over to Zoom for the short ribs.

Miner’s Hospital

Miners Hospital Park City Historical BuildingsThe Park City Miner’s Hospital was built in 1904 to provide medical services to the miners in the area. Its original location was at the north side of the Park City ski area. At the time, the closest hospital was in Salt Lake City. That 30-mile journey would have been especially cumbersome in winter. The hospital remained a clinic until the 1950’s. Then it was renovated into a restaurant, bar and youth hostel. In the 1970’s, development plans threatened to demolish the structure and it was moved to the present site in City Park. In 1982, the building was remodeled to contain the Park City Library.

Currently, the Miner’s Hospital is a meeting and event space and can be reserved for meetings, parties or weddings. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is easily accessed by public transit, foot or bike.

Park City Library

Park City Historic LibraryThe High School building was built in 1928 and in 1993 the Library moved in. Coincidently, the library did a brief visit back to the hospital in 2015 while the structure went through an extensive renovation.

Now known as the Park City Library and Education Center, the building is truly a location where old meets new. The library has state-of-the-art computer labs, an extensive children’s library and the Park City Roasters coffee shop. Plenty of community activities take place here. Community classes and programs for all ages, the Park City Film Series, the Park City Cooperative Preschool to name a few. Even dogs can enjoy the library as the outdoor field is pet friendly and leash-optional. It’s the only off-leash area in Park City proper.

Park City Museum

Park City MuseumThe Park City Museum can be found in the historic City Hall, which was built in 1885. The original cost to build city hall was $6,400! At that time, Park City’s Main Street was boom town central and many buildings were being built. City Hall was home to the police and fire department as well as the Territorial Jail, all of which remain as exhibits today.

A fire in 1898 destroyed much of the building and others on Main Street. In an effort to prevent future fire catastrophes, a Whistle Tower was built in 1901 to warn residents of fire in the area. In 1905, the whistle was replaced by an electric siren and sounded each night at 10:00 p.m. to warn youngsters of curfew. This prudent tradition continues signaling to Old Town visitors and residents that it is 10 o’clock.

Union Pacific Train Station

Union Pacific Historic RailroadIn 1886, an iconic train station was built at the bottom of Main Street. Its main purpose was to accommodate the transport of silver from the mines. Upon completion, the Park Record wrote, “The building is one of the finest in Park City…the design is modern [and] tasteful and brilliant yellow paint adorns it on all sides.” For about 100 years, this building facilitated travel for freight and passengers. It ceased operations in 1977.

In 1995 Robert Redford renovated the historic Park City building into Zoom Restaurant, part of the Sundance properties. Patrons can enjoy quality American continental cuisine in a fun, memorable atmosphere. As a hallmark of the past, the rail bed remains in place today.

McPolin Barn

McPolin Barn Park CityThe timeless White Barn that marks the corridor into Park City began as a 160-acre farm in 1886. In 1908, the barn was erected with recycled timber without the use of nails. It operated as a dairy farm for many years until the city purchased the property in 1990.

McPolin Farm House

McPolin Farm HouseThe McPolin house was relocated to its current location in the 1920’s. Prior to being a farm house, the charming structure served as a mine office. Park City purchased the farm in 1990 and has refurbished all areas of the farm.

Currently the White Barn is under construction. Yet the bike path, skiing and hiking trails remain available for use. A beloved location for family photos, vista seeking families can often be seen snapping shots around the farm house.

High West’s National Garage

High West Old GarageHigh West’s Old Town location is in two historic buildings. The Saloon is in an old Livery Stable built sometime around 1907. Horses that pulled carts of ore out of the mines were kept there. In fact, the horseshoe seen in the High West logo was a horseshoe found while renovating the livery. The livery would later become the National Garage. When a building across the street went down in flames, the heat was so intense that it peeled other layers of paint from the building.

The National Garage sign boasts a layered patina look that High West has preserved. Whisky lovers and hungry patrons can enjoy a beverage or a delicious meal at the world’s only ski-in-ski-out gastro distillery. A favorite amongst locals and tourists alike.

High West’s Ellsworth J. Beggs House

Ellsworth J. Beggs HouseNext to the National Garage sits the stately Victorian-style Ellsworth J. Beggs house. E.J. Beggs was a master carpenter and built his home in 1914. At the time, it was one of only two Victorian homes in town. Beggs constructed the house right after completing the Summit County Courthouse in Coalville, which stills serves as the County seat.

Now connected to the National Garage, High West patrons can enjoy a meal or expertly mixed drink in one of the charming rooms or on the inviting patio.

Swaner Farm

Swaner BarnThere’s not just one historic white barn in town. This white barn next to Highway 224 is a welcome site as one passes through the bustling Kimball Junction. In fact, the farm was purchased in 1884 by the Kimball family who operated a stagecoach service between Park City and Salt Lake City. The barn itself was built in 1933. It was a farm until the property was purchased by the Swaner Nature Preserve in 2003.

Swaner Stone House

Swaner Stone HouseThe stone house next to the white barn was built in the 1990s. A number of families farmed the area until 2003.

Currently, the house and barn mark a corner of the Swaner Nature Preserve. They are connected via boardwalk to the paved bike path perimeter of Kimball Junction. Eventually, the barn will be fully restored to host community events. But is not currently in use.

A walk around Park City is like a walk through a history book. Whether you are hiking past an old silver mine or viewing fine art in a Main Street gallery. We consider ourselves lucky to be able to enjoy the rich and vibrant history that these buildings offer. These are only ten of Park City’s historic buildings but there are many, many more. Which are your favorites?

References: Park City History | Zoom Park City High West Distillery

What I’ve Learned from Being Hacked!

Cyber Fraud – It Happened to Me Last Week

Cyber FraudI received a panicked call ten days ago. The agent who listed the home my client was buying told me he needed to talk with me right away.

My client had signed his closing documents the day before and we were just waiting for the lender to transfer money to the title company and close the sale of the house. What could go wrong at this stage of the transaction?

The listing agent, Mike, told me that two hours after the sellers signed their closing documents, the title company received an email from him asking them to change the account where they were to send the seller proceeds. (The amount was approximately $200,000). The email was from Mike’s email address, had his exact signature block and even referenced the file number. Because Mike had a long relationship with the title company, and it was unusual to receive such a request, the escrow officer called Mike to confirm. Sure enough, someone had hacked into Mike’s email account and sent that email to the escrow officer. Mike and I both breathed a sigh of relief that the experienced escrow officer thwarted the criminal activity.

What would have happened if the proceeds had gone into a mysterious bank account instead of the sellers’ account? Would my buyer still owe a 30-year mortgage and have no house to live in? The ramifications were frightening to Mike and me. My client has no idea about this close call.

Exactly one week later, on October 12th, my gmail account was hacked. Hundreds of people received an email from me asking them to open a document. Every one of my saved emails was gone. It felt like someone had robbed my house. Fortunately, I learned of the hack 10 minutes after the fake email was sent and I was able to change my password and add 2-step verification to secure my account. I received tons of emails the day of the hack and the next day from people asking me if I had sent them the email, informing me I was hacked, etc. To say this was a distraction is an understatement.

So, what can we all learn from this?

  1. I’m no longer saving emails in my gmail account. It is not a safe place.
  2. Although my brokerage requires buyers and sellers to sign a “wire fraud” disclosure, I am having a verbal discussion with each client about the danger of wire fraud. Under no circumstances should clients wire money unless there is a verbal confirmation.
  3. I will coordinate very closely with the escrow officers involved in my transactions to ensure they understand that they should not wire proceeds without a verbal confirmation from the client. Generally the seller provides a hard copy of wiring instructions either in person or as part of a Fed Ex pack. Any instructions sent via email should always be confirmed verbally. Financial services companies have followed this protocol for years.

Cyber crime is here to stay. If a candidate running for President of the United States can be hacked, so can you. Take steps to secure your email account and verify all wire transfers to ensure you are not a victim of cybercrime.

Has your email ever been hacked or have you been a victim of cyber crime? Please comment.