Top 5 Upgrades that Pay for Themselves

Houses aren’t a cheap investment. We all know that – whether you’re buying a move-in-ready or a fixer-upper, the money doesn’t stop flowing once you sign on the dotted line.

That’s just a given.

But before you pick up that hammer and dive into ‘demo day’, you really should strategize which upgrades you’re opening your wallet for. The trick is understanding which upgrades are going to boost your home value and give you the most bang for your buck. That’s not to say that board and batten isn’t absolutely gorgeous, or that backsplash isn’t exactly what you’re looking for – but if you’re looking to recoup some of that money if and when you ever decide to change addresses, you may want to be discerning about where those funds are directed.

So, if you’re turning in circles wondering which upgrades may be the best, whether you’re thinking of selling right now or just thinking about the future, here’s a good list of home updates that pay back.

#1 – Garage Door Replacement

You can’t deny that curb appeal can make or break the opinion of a potential home-buyer. If you’ve got a stunning garage door, chances are your curb appeal will be increased dramatically – and for less costs upfront than other more costly upgrades, you can make a huge difference in a short amount of time. The average US cost of a garage door replacement is #3,470, with a resale value of $3,411.

That’s a whopping 98%.

#2 – Deck Addition

There’s nothing like a great yard. Extending a beautiful living space to the outdoors can really add value to a beautiful home. It helps people to picture the lifestyle they’re shopping for, aside from just a beautiful home.

This is the kind of upgrade that you can really enjoy for years and years – with the added bonus of recouping itself if and when you decide to move.

A mid-range wood deck addition can cost upwards of $11,000 – with a resell value of around $9,000. If instant math isn’t your thing – that’s an 82% recoupment* rate.

Not too shabby, hey?

#3 – Kitchen Update

Note the term ‘update’ here – this is not the same as a full remodel. That basically means demo day is going to be much shorter than normal – we’re likely not changing floor plans here, but some rather significant cosmetic updates.

Things like re-facing cupboards, installing new appliances, mid-level countertops & flooring. Paint, appliances, and updated light fixtures will put you in the $15-20,000 range.

Good choices can leave you with a recoupment rate of somewhere around an 81% recoupment rate. Worth it? Probably. Livable and sellable – that’s what we’re looking for here.

#4 – Window Replacement

New windows, believe it or not, can be one of the best investments you can make. While you’re living in the home, a solid investment in decent windows can save you a significant amount of money in energy costs. That (valid point) aside, new windows can also add substantial visual value in curb appeal. Adding vinyl windows averages nationally, in 2018, to be about $16,000. You’re going to get about $12,000 back for that investment. That comes in at about a 74% recoupment rate.

#5 – Bathroom Update 

Bathrooms are one of the biggest decision making aspects of a home when people are walking through. They can seem either amazing or overwhelming, depending on the imagination of the buyer. If you want to err towards the side of ‘amazing’, making sure that you’ve got a solid background for your bathroom.

Updating the tub, tile, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures can potentially get you a 70% recoupment* rate.

Add those updates to continued maintenance, good landscaping and yard care, and you’ve got a good solid plan for not only updating your home – but getting some of those hard-earned dollars back if you decide to sell.

*Cost vs. value recoupment rates retrieved from Remodeling.hw.net. 

Top 10 StayCation Locations

Summer’s in full swing here in the Salt Lake Valley – and people are vacationing all over the place. If you’re schedule (or budget) doesn’t allow you to travel somewhere exotic, your summer doesn’t have to be a bust. We live in one of the most adventurously-versatile and beautiful states in the nation.  You don’t have to let time or finances hold you back from having an amazing summer – you just have to venture outside your back door. Without further ado – here’s our list:

TOP 10 UTAH STAY-CATION LOCATIONS

Over-Nighters & Day Trips

1. Bear Lake, Utah

If you’re a local, chances are Bear Lake holds a little bit of your childhood in it’s hands. Nestled the very furthers point of Northern Utah, it straddles the border between Utah and Idaho, and has something for everyone – year round. For your summer staycation, you can plan on good food, good shakes, hours on the lake, and a whole slew of extras sprinkled in. Fishing, horseback riding, paddle-boating – or evening spelunking through Minentonka Cave, if that’s your thing.

2. Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa

If you’re looking for luxury meets adventure in a quick weekend getaway, this hidden gem in Southern Utah is for you. The Ranch features all the spa amenities you could hope for with quick access to the outdoor fun of Moab and the National Parks in Southern Utah. Offroading, river rafting, hiking, biking, and more.

3. Alaskan Inn Bed & Breakfast

Located just north of Salt Lake City in Ogden Canyon, The Alaskan Inn is a secluded piece of Alaskan wilderness right in the middle of Utah’s very own bit of wilderness. Whether you’re just looking for a quick & quiet getaway, a spa, or even some outdoor adventures like hiking, fishing or horseback riding, the Alaskan Inn is something everyone should experience.

4. Sundance Resort 

Sundance is something that everyone should experience – particularly those local to Utah. It’s a stay and play vacation experience that encompasses the magic and beauty of Utah in one location. From a beautiful lodge experience to mountain homes for rent, there’s a place to stay for everyone. You’ll have the option to experience the wellness spa, art classes, zipline tours, lift rides, art exhibits, and exceptional food, all in one beautiful location.

6. Marriott’s Mountainside

One of Utah’s key attractions – for both locals and tourists – is Park City. Park City is a tourists dream, with something for everyone for every season. Marriott has created a year-round oasis within minutes of everything that Park City has to offer. Individual villas with a kitchenette, pool access, fireplace, and more provide a place to crash after spending the day exploring Park City’s historic Main Street, the venues of Sundance, the Alpine Slide, and of course – the outlet shopping.

Half & Full Day Excursions

6. Hop On & Off Bus Tours

Want to test your knowledge about your state-  or even discover some things you didn’t know that you didn’t know? Take a hop on and off bus tour with a buy-one-get-one tickets for local residents and see Salt Lake City through the eyes of a tourist.

7. Segway Tour of Salt Lake City

Same idea as above – but on a super cool segway that can take you to a whole bunch of places that a bus can’t even imagine. Good balance and a hankering for some adventure? This is a cool way to bring some summertime vacation to your day off.

8. This is the Place State Park

You don’t get much more Utah than This is the Place State Park. An interactive history lesson, This is the Place offers not only museum-like exhibits and education, but hands on lessons that will take you and your children back to the days when our state was in it’s infancy.

9. Timpanogas Cave National Monument

Located 10 miles off I-15 in American Fork Canyon, Timpanos Cave is a national monument, with a steep 1.5 mile hike leading to it’s entrance. For those feeling adventurous, the round trip through the cave and back to the trailhead is approximately 3.5 miles.) Inside the cave, the temperatures are a chilly 45 degrees, but don’t let the temperature deter you. You’ll have enough to keep your attention away from the cold as you walk from room to room and discover the beauty and magic of the formations and cave exploration.

10. Thanksgiving Point

Thanksgiving Point, located in Lehi Utah, is a full day of all kinds of fun. Take your children to visit the Museum of Natural Curiosity and the Museum of Ancient Life, then stop by Farm Country and the Butterfly Biosphere to experience . Walk through the Ashton Gardens and finish the day with a 3D adventure on the Mammoth Screen!

Inheritance Issues – Is Title Insurance Still Relevant?

You’ve heard it said ‘all in the family,’ but when it comes to real estate, it’s best to dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s.’

Even if a piece of land has been in the family for generations, the fact remains that title disputes can still arise, and if you don’t have all of your ducks in a row, things can get complicated.

Here’s what you need to know – prior to March of 2001, title insurance forms were created in a way that allowed for inherited properties to be transferred in an inheritance transaction. If you have questions – be sure to ask your trusted Title Insurance agent just what kind of coverage exists for your claim.

While most companies currently utilize forms that ensure the transference of Title protection along with inherited properties, it’s always in your best interest to ensure that you (and your new property) have sufficient title insurance coverage.

At Sutherland Title – we can help you determine just what kind of coverage your property has, and make sure that you’re provided with not only a clear title along with your title insurance – but peace of mind, as well. It’s what we do.

Spring Prep

One of the beauties of Utah is that it gets a good taste of all of the seasons – and they all bring with them something remarkable to admire, not to mention all the outdoor activities that come along with them.

It’s really an amazing place to call home.

Along with all that extreme weather, however, you have to consider that each season brings it’s own unique maintenance needs to keep your home running as efficiently as possible. We know you’re busy, and we know that these things have a tendency to creep up on us – so to make things as simple as possible, we’ve putting together a quick list of the top ten overlooked spring time home maintenance tasks.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – we’ve got your peace of mind.

 

  1. Check Your ShinglesYour room has a big job. It works hard to keep you and your family covered and safe from all of the harsh elements. It’s a thankless job, really. Make sure you do your due diligence and check for loose or missing shingles at the end of the winter. It’s in your best interest to be sure that you maintain your roof – because the better you maintain it, the less likely it is to fail you.
  2. Clean Your GuttersSpeaking of your roof, while you’re up there, take a little bit of time and clean out those gutters. Fall leaves get trapped by winter storms, and as the snow thaws and the spring rains pick up, it’s imperative to be sure that your gutters are free and clear to do their job, directly rain away from your home.
  3. Clean and Replace Your HVAC Filters. Both your home and your allergy-prone family members will thank you for this one. A dirty filter slows air flow, and forces your HVAC system to work overtime, decreasing is efficiency, raising energy costs, and shortening the life span of your system overall. Ideally, these should be replaced several times a year.
  4. Replace Compacted Soil. Here comes those spring showers we hear so much about – and before they arrive, make sure that your yard is ready to keep that water directed away from your foundation and your basement. Look for any low areas and fill them with compacted soil to prevent any pooling.
  5. Inspect the ChimneyAfter a winter of cozying up to a warm fire, take this time to make sure that it’s all safe, clean, and ready for next year. Bring in an expert chimney sweep to clean the flu, and make sure you physically inspect the outside for cracks or damages.
  6. Check Concrete and Outside Surfaces. Inspect your driveway and foundation for cracks and settling. Power wash decks and fences, and be sure to check for any damage that needs to be fixed before it gets any worse.
  7. Check Outside Faucets. Make sure that your outside faucets didn’t suffer any cracks or damage from winter freezes. Turn the water on slowly and place your thumb over the opening. If you can stop the flow, water is likely backing up into the house.
  8. Check Your Paint for Peeling or Cracking. Not only does a consistent paint job keep your house curb-appeal ready, but paint acts as another barrier to keep your home protected from the elements (and keeps you on top of things so you don’t end up repainting as often!)
  9. Have the AC Unit Serviced. This is one you want to get handled sooner than later – because, well, no one wants to be caught with a malfunctioning air conditioning unit when the inevitable heat wave arrives. Schedule a qualified HVAC technician to give your machine a once over and make sure all is working as its supposed to.
  10. Replace the Batteries in your Smoke Detectors. All the maintenance in the world will make no difference if your smoke detectors don’t do their job – protecting your family and your home.  Make it a habit to replace your batteries when you do your seasonal maintenance.

 

There you have it. Our top ten overlooked home maintenance tasks. What do you say – would you add anything to the list?

 

 

 

 

What Does Owners Title Insurance Cover?

We’ve been on the education train lately – we’re all about making sure that people know what it is we do and why we do it. We’ve talked about what title insurance is, why you need it, and what’s in a title report.

Today, we’re going to tell you what title insurance covers.

When you make the one-time payment as a homeowner for title insurance, you can be assured that that insurance will cover such title issues as:

  • outstanding mortgage, liens or judgments against the property
  • property boundary disputes
  • easements & land claims
  • legal action against the property that could affect you
  • unknown heirs of previous owners that may arise and attempt to claim ownership
  • fraud, forgery or misrepresentation
  • chain of title disputes
  • clerical errors

Essentially, title insurance assures the buyer that not only are they purchasing a home that is, at the current time, free and clear of any claims at the time the title report is run, and ensures you’re covered for as long as you (or your heirs) own the property.

Title insurance is in place to give you peace of mind – and that’s just what we here at Sutherland Title aim to do day in and day out – provide peace of mind.

Any extra questions? Let us know – we’ve got you covered.

 

 

 

New Construction Home & Title Insurance

Wait, you’re thinking – I don’t need Title Insurance if I’m building a new home.

Right?

Wrong.

Stay with us here.

If you’ve been with us for the last little while, you may have seen some of our recent blog posts about What’s Inside a Title Report, and Why You Need Title Insurance – so you know that essentially, the Title Report pulls the history of the property to be sure that there are no liens or holds from previous title holders, and the Insurance protects you (and your lender) against any risks that could be associated with the property.

Again, you say,  why exactly would I need Title Insurance for a property that is brand new, where I will be the first title holder? Good question.

The answer is this: Title Insurance isn’t only affiliated with a home, it’s affiliated with the property. And the property will have a history all it’s own. Even if the property has never previously had anything built on it, it will have a history of ownership, and it’s important to ensure that ownership is clear and ready for transfer.

The Title Insurance – provided by yours truly, along with a property survey, will help be sure that the the boundaries are clear, and that every thing within those boundaries is free from any liens or claims from anyone else, including previous contractors and subcontractors.

Interesting, right? We sure think so.

Wire Fraud – How to Keep You and Your Clients Safe

Wire Transfer Fraud. It’s an epidemic that’s rising at an alarming rate – in fact, in 2016, the FBI indicated that the number of reported events in 2016 from title companies rose an astonishing 480-percent.

The simple truth is this: =even if you think you’ve crossed every ‘t’ and dotted every ‘i’, there’s a good chance that those who are a bit ‘seedier’ among us have anticipated those actions. They monitor the emails and the communication traffic long enough to ensure that whomever they are reaching out to won’t be alarmed (or even notice) any changes in the emails they’re receiving.

For example – if you’re emailing from TitleJoe@company.com, with a very specific email format – someone MAY receive an email from TitleJoe@company.NET with an identical email format, with wire instruction changes – in an embedded link so as to not alert anyone to changes in URLs – and all will seem well.

When in fact, all is NOT well, and someone has just lost their life savings. The fact is, these cyberattacks are frightening and on the rise – and the only way to protect yourself, your company, and your clients is to initiate secure, consistent protocols that can help everyone be sure that any money being transferred is received by the right party – not someone who merely appears to be the right part.

*Sutherland Title claims no responsibility in regards to any fraud initiated against your company, and is merely providing these safeguards in an attempt to help you implement ideas to secure your wire transfer protocols.

1. Use strong, unique passwords. 

Be sure that any passwords utilized by any member of your staff are unique to that platform and that individual: ensure that no passwords are duplicated.

2. Use anti-virus software.

Ensure that any computer utilized for company-correspondence or wire-transfers be running up to date anti-virus software.

3. Don’t click on embedded links in websites – login securely.

Ensure that every member of your staff recognizes the importances of visiting any wire-transfer sites or programs independent of any links received in emails or correspondence. Always visit the site organically and log in specifically with your individual login credentials.

4. Communicate with your team -don’t assume changes are secure!

Just because an email appears to come from Joe Title doesn’t mean it necessarily comes from Joe Title. If any changes have been initiated via email, be sure to verify in person.

5. Keep (and check!) records of financial institutions.

Be sure that any wire transfer instructions are utilizing financial institutions that you have record of.

6. Encrypt emails and follow company protocols.

Ensure that every email you’re sending, particularly those with wire-transfer instructions, are following specific company protocols and are being sent securely.

7. Be vigilant and cautious – particularly of chang

ing instructions. 

It never hurts to double-check. If instructions have changed, or things don’t look or feel right, trust your gut. You’ll be glad you checked.

8. Always, always confirm via telephone – from independently confirmed phone numbers.

When verifying wire transfer instructions, ensure that you check via telephone – and not the numbers listed in the emails. Make sure you utilize the numbers that have been verified in your company financial records.

Remember: It’s always better to be safe than sorry!  

 

 

*Sutherland Title claims no responsibility in regards to any fraud initiated against your company, and is merely providing these safeguards in an attempt to help you implement ideas to secure your wire transfer protocols.

 

What’s In a Title Report?

Last we we talked about who title insurance was for. It provided a pretty quick & accurate representation of what we do, and when it’s applicable – riveting reading for those of us in this line of work.

If you didn’t get a chance to read it – head on over here. You’ll like it. We talked about quick basics like – what our company does for you, and why that matters in the overall home-buying process. We’ve got a pretty important role.

So now that you know that yes, you really SHOULD have Title Insurance, let’s talk about what happens after you place an order (which you can do here, you know.)

To make things a little more interesting, let’s set this up as a ‘what-if.’

What if you spent a what seems like a lifetime outlining all the must-haves and the would-be-nice-ifs and the can-you-only-imagines of the home you’d like to buy.

What if you spent weeks – or months – working with a top-notch Realtor to find that perfect house.

What if you did? You found it, and your offer was accepted, and it was an absolute dream come true. You set a closing date, and start gathering packing boxes.

What if you get notification that your new dream house has a clouded title.

WHAT THEN? Most people would have no idea what to do if they discovered that the house that they want to buy – and that the sellers presumably wish to sale – isn’t free and clear to be sold.

That’s where we come in. We provide the Title Insurance to guarantee that no title-related surprises arise that would hinder you from calling that new house your home.

And we start with the Title Report. 

Our Title Professionals run a thorough search of your potential property’s title history. We’ll find information such as:

  • a real estate description
  • zoning configurations
  • tax rates
  • a thorough and detailed history of the property’s ownership and any previous title holders.

We also search for encumbrances, which is a fancy word for such as:

  • liens,
  • existing mortgages
  • overdue taxes
  • property boundary disputes

It’s a really useful thing to know – and we make sure that you have all relevant information. It’s like real estate genealogy. We do all this research prior to issuing title insurance, in order to make sure that you walk into that closing with confidence. We’re all about peace of mind.

 

Why do I Need Title Insurance?

Believe it or not, we get asked this question often. People wonder why their lender is requiring it, and why they need to pay for it. Well, we’ve got the answer for you right here.

The short answer is this: you need Title Insurance to protect you and your purchase in the case of financial loss related to the property in question.

The Title Company (that’s us) researches the home you’re preparing to buy to make sure that there are no legal claims against it from previous owners. Essentially, we’re making sure that the person who’s selling the home to you has clear legal rights to do so, and that there are no liens or levies from previous lenders or owners, or taxes due from the government.

So then, if it’s just a matter of research, why do you need title insurance?  The answer is simple – to cover you and your purchase in the event that any previously unforeseen issues arise after closing. Insurance is protection – and purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions and purchases you’ll likely ever make.

It’s a pretty interesting process, to be honest – check back soon and we’ll let you know exactly what Title Insurance entails; in the meantime, here’s what you need to know: we’re more than just another step in the home-buying process. We’re the basis of your new purchase peace of mind – and that’s just where we’d like to be.

 

A Solid Foundation

We’ve recently undergone a bit of a facelift – digitally, that is. We have a new website -which we’re delighted to share with you. It’s been created in an effort to provide more functionality and accessibility to our clients and colleagues; and it looks pretty amazing, as well. We’re pretty excited about it – you should take a moment and check it out.

Through the process we reflected for a moment about what it means to to be in this industry. Every day, we work with Realtors, Lenders & Home-Buyers all with the same goal in mind – to get people home. It’s a pretty amazing thing to be a part of, and we get the added bonus of adding a layer of security to that process.

That’s a pretty amazing way to do business – and it’s the way we’ve always done business. Sutherland Title is a staple in this industry because of the standards and ethos that have been our mainstay from day one. We’ve built our business on a solid foundation of trust, quality, security and ethical behavior that guarantees we’re not going anywhere – and that neither are you, because you and your purchase are safe with Sutherland Title.

That’s a pretty amazing legacy. We’re proud to carry it on.