How to Choose Your Salt Lake City Dream Home.

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Finding your dream home in Salt Lake City, Sandy, Draper, Holladay, South Jordan, West Jordan, Park City, Bountiful, Murray or Alpine can be an exciting endeavor. If you are just moving to a new location and are unsure of where to begin looking, it might also be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few tips on how to make your home buying in Utah a bit less daunting:

Start With Location

The first step to picking the right home is the location. Once you know what neighborhoods you feel fit your family best, you can start to narrow down the specifics characteristics of homes you may want to buy. 

Neighborhood Checklist:

  • Quality Of Schools
  • Property Values
  • Traffic flow
  • Crime Rate
  • Future/Planned Developments
  • Proximity To Local Amenities: Schools, Work, Hospitals, Shopping etc.
  • Proximity to negative impacts: train tracks, airports, landfill

If you find a neighborhood or an area that meet these personal requirements of yours, you’re on the right track. Next you’ll want to get the statistics from your Realtor on home prices in the area. Are homes selling close to asking price? Is there a lot of inventory? Is the neighborhood full of foreclosures and short sales?

If the neighborhood you want to purchase has negative features like foreclosures, poorly maintained homes, or lots of stale inventory... do more research on these areas. You don’t want to purchase a home that will decline in value because of a declining neighborhood, unless the prices have already declined to near or the same as the foreclosure sales.  Then the neighborhood could be a great value.

Even though the neighborhood might be perfect for your needs, negative features could drastically affect your pocket book over the next couple years as we slowly recover from the recession. Consider each home individually, as some distressed properties can be your best value, if you're willing to do the work and usual maintenance.

What Type Of Home Do You Want?

There are many types of homes out there which include single family, condos & town homes, and multi family properties. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each:

Single Family: Advantages of owning a Utah single family home is you own the property out right.  You can also choose how close you want your neighbors. A disadvantage would be the maintenance. All repairs would have to be completed and paid for by you.

Town Home: Advantages of owning Utah town homes is less exterior maintenance as your home is attached to one or more homes.  Town homes usually have community amenities, and you can usually get more house for the money. Disadvantages include the proximity of neighbors, home owner association fees, and a small parcel of land.

Multi Family Properties: Advantages of Utah multi family properties include paying less in mortgage payments by renting out part of the home, help with maintenance if you get a descent renter, and can later become an investment property. Disadvantages are dealing with renters, property damage caused by unsavory renters, and the noise of sharing a home with someone else.

Define Needs And Wants Than Compromise

Now that you have an idea of the neighborhood you want, the type of home you’re comfortable living in, it’s time to determine what your needs and wants are.  You also have to realize what a need is and what a want is. Most home buyers will have to compromise their wants in order to meet all their needs.

For example: 

Some Needs Include –

  • # of Bedrooms
  • # of Bathrooms
  • Square Footage
  • Garage size

Some Wants Include –

  • Updates such as granite counter tops, wood floors, new cabinets etc.
  • Views
  • Fenced yard
  • Location near prime amenities, golf courses, waterfront or ski property etc.

Once you identify your absolute must haves (your needs), you can narrow down the homes that have the most of your wants. Your list should be getting smaller.  Then you can determine your wants to limit the list further, if the list of available Utah homes for sale is still too large.

Check Price And Condition

With your smaller list in hand, which homes are priced the best and in the best condition? These two options should be your last consideration before buying your Salt Lake City home, Sandy home, Draper home, Holladay Luxury Estate, Park City Ski home, Bountiful home or South Jordan ranch. The reason they should be last is, the price of a home doesn’t really matter until you know you can live in it and be happy.

The condition doesn’t matter until you know the home meets your needs. You can determine the best priced homes via the amount of square footage, the location, and the year the home was built. Newer homes will be more expensive, but may require less work.

Older homes may require more work, but you can get more house for your money. The only way to determine proper condition is to view the homes in person.

This should be your last step, and once you’re at the condition stage of your property search, you know you’re ready to go look at homes in person. You now have the tools to wade through excess inventory and if you follow these steps, you can make the Utah home buying process less stressful. 

Linda Secrist - Lisa Herron-McKinney - Brett Butler - Linda Secrist & Associates - Whatever they touch turns to sold!

Comments (4)

Larry O'Sullivan
Sandy, UT

Linda - a well thought out comprehensive post aimed at the client. A very useful tool, thanks.

Feb 09, 2011 08:14 PM
Linda Secrist
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Holladay, UT

Thanks Larry.  I appreciate your comment.  Have a great day!

Feb 10, 2011 02:00 AM
Ryan Frost
Compass Lending Solutions, LLC - Draper, UT

That neighborhood checklist is so important and so often overlooked. If you have to commute consider the time it takes to get to the freeway. Also, if you are an avid skier or enjoy some of Utah's great hiking trail the proximity to the mountains or canyons should be considered. 

Feb 10, 2011 05:45 AM
Brett Butler
Linda Secrist and Associates (Prudential) - Draper, UT

Nice work Linda!!

Feb 11, 2011 03:54 PM