Davis County’s Haunted Houses

candles-195109_640Halloween is just around the corner. Soon the allure of haunted houses and other frightful adventures will be too strong resist. Give in to temptation with these scary attractions in Davis County.

Frightmares at Lagoon

Utah’s premier destination for family friendly Halloween fun, Lagoon offers something for everyone. Their Fun House of Fear combines strange, freakish and odd. Terrors of the Past lets patrons relive old school nightmares by showcasing some of the most popular houses of the previous Frightmares. You can experience The Labyrinth, Nightmare Midway, Haunted High School, Haunted Hollywood and Deception. Another scary attraction is the Zombie Lockdown. Don’t worry the outbreak has been contained, but once you enter the prison you may never be the same. All attractions are open Fridays through Sundays 5 p.m. to close.

Haunted Kays Cross

Utah’s rated number one scariest place is opening Oct. 16. Haunted Kays Cross also made the Top 100 Scariest Places in America list. Not quite a haunted house, Kay’s Cross is a three-quarter mile haunted, wooded outdoor area. It’s $12 for Kay’s Haunt and $5 for Kay’s Tour and History. Open the 16 through the 31 from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Learn more about the legend here.

Great Room Escape

Haunted House meets mystery zombie thriller at Great Room Escape in Layton. This fully interactive, immersive experience is different than anything you have ever done before. Bring you family and friends up to 12. Enter a room with one hour to escape. Clues and riddles hidden throughout the room reveal the tools you need to get out as the clock runs out. Can you stay calm and get out before the zombies get in?

Other Halloween Events in the area:

Cherry Hill Scary Hill

Scary Hill at Cherry Hill is Halloween fun minus the haunted attractions. They offer unlimited day passes for children ages five and up for $9.99. Passes for children ages three and four are $4.99 while children two and younger are always free. Bring the whole family to enjoy Scary Hill miniature golf, bone yard tractor rides, a spooky maze, spider aeroball and much more. Scary Hill is open September 30 through Oct. 29 excluding Sundays and Halloween Day. Please visit their website for specific hours.

5 Tips For Choosing a Builder

Great news! You’ve decided to have yocanstockphoto45908ur dream home built. But now what? Here are few considerations to help you avoid headaches, hidden costs and keep everything on track and running smoothly.

1. First Define Your Needs
Evaluate the type or types of home you are looking for, your price range and personal style. Keep in mind that some builders construct a broad range of homes and others specialize in specific types. You want to find the perfect fit to match your needs.

2. Do Your Homework
Obviously finding a reputable builder is priority number one, but remember that not all builders advertise. Some often rely on word-of-mouth and referrals for business. Ask your friends, family and co-workers who have recently purchased a new home or had one built for any recommendations. You also can check with your local chapter of the National Association of Home Builders. They can provide a list of experienced builders that produce quality work.

3. Shop Around
When visiting display homes, remember that not all homes are created equal. Don’t be fooled by the cheapest estimate, make sure you are making direct comparisons when possible from multiple builders. Look for quality and value. You should also be on the lookout for builder promotions that offer big discounts and even bonus inclusions such as an office or den.

4. Ask for a fixed price
You will want to avoid contracts with long lists of estimates and to be announced or to de determined pricing. Ensuring that you have information about every cost will help you avoid ending up with sky-rocketed price. Also, keep an eye out for suspicious clauses such as “pending test.”

5. Develop a Well-Written Contract
Communication is key to success. Disputes between parties often arise due to issues that the contract didn’t adequately address. A critical tool in reducing liability and future friction is a well-written contract that is a product of parties’ negotiations, describes in great detail the rights and obligations of each party and fairly allocates the risks inherent in the project.

Best Places in Utah to Visit Before Spring Ends

Utah is home to some of the world’s top natural monuments and locations. The spring time offers many locations one can visit and enjoy in the special place called Utah.

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Zion National Park

This article details some top places one can visit in Utah before the end of spring. The places are as follows.

  • Arches National Park: Arches National Park has more than 2,000 stone curves that range from thin splits in the stone to the heavenly 300-foot long Landscape Arch. They are the aftereffect of a great many years of disintegration, testimony, and other topographical occasions that have influenced the delicate sandstone. For a short visit, you can take the 18-mile long grand street, yet you will see a great deal more by climbing one of the restricted unmarked trails. Stroll with care, as the encompassing desert plants are delicate. People have been living in the territory for a long time and you can see vivid, extensive pictographs a couple of miles north of Moab.
  • Zion National Park: The most seasoned and the most prominent Utah National Park, Zion signifies “eminent mountain” and the glory of the encompassing nature motivates reverence. Nature has cut a fabulous topographical aggregation for guests to appreciate: opening gulches, brilliant sandstone bluffs, towers, stone monuments, streams, and waterfalls. Situated in southwest Utah, the recreation center is best known for its brilliant Zion Canyon red precipices.
  • Monument Valley: Monument Valley looks today a similar way it looked a great many years prior. You will see an unending skyline with a broad horizon and gigantic extraordinary buttes standing out and isolated by profound gullies. Made by centuries of constant work in the interest of wind and water, the buttes can be found in solace from the 14-mile long soil street that crosses the Valley.
  • Great Salt Lake: The Great Salt Lake, which fringes the state’s capital, Salt Lake City, is salty on the grounds that its tributary streams are always transporting little measures of salt broke down from the encompassing rocks in their water. Once the water goes to the Great Salt Lake, the water dissipates in warmth, deserting the salt. Moreover, the lake does not have any outlets to give a portion of the salty water a chance to out. The lake is 75 miles in length and 35 miles wide, and it is spread over various level bowls. It is all that remaining parts from the last ice age lake, Lake Bonneville.
  • Canyonlands Park: Around 35 miles from Moab in southeast Utah, Canyonlands National Park is partitioned into three fragments that are isolated by the Colorado and Green Rivers, which course through Canyonlands. Canyonlands National Park is world-celebrated and one of the best places to visit in Utah. You can scarcely get a look at the waterways from the edge, however you will see numerous sandstone columns, ravine labyrinths, and unbroken scarp on the gully sides. One fragment or area is a high plateau called the Island in the Sky, a headland around 2,000 feet over the streams.

In conclusion, these natural monuments and parks displace Utah’s grace in all its beauty. Spring time is the best time to visit them, so start packing and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

When Should You Sell Your Home?

Spring is the perfect time to sell your house. It’s the right time of year. The flowers are in bloom and buyers are coming out of hibernation. You also will get a completely new buyer pool as more and more millennials join the home buying party.
Now that you have decided to list your home in the spring here are a few pointers:

  1. You have 60 secondsHome With For Sale Sign
    In just one minute, buyers will decide if they want to consider your home. Consider your curb appeal. You don’t want to turn buyers off before they even get inside. Start with trimming trees and bushes, washing the driveway, front walk, house and patio. In addition, buyers often linger at the front door while waiting for their agent to open the lock box. A fresh coat of paint on the door could be your chance at a great first impression.
  2. You have too much stuff
    Your belongings have a special place in your heart, but not the buyer’s. One mistake many sellers make is that their stuff is taking up space that makes their home look smaller. Clutter will turn off buyers, as will large and awkward furniture pieces. Start by going through all of your furniture and closets with a discerning eye. Toss what you can and pack up the rest. Stripping your closet and home down to the bare necessities will highlight the space and storage your home offers.
  3. You have the right price
    Today’s buyers are savvy shoppers. They think there is something wrong with a home priced too low while high prices turn them off. Furthermore, overpriced homes that stay on the market for more than 90 days are extremely difficult to sell. Ensure pricing your home right the first time by being reasonable. Even though prices are rising in many areas, make sure to compare your home to similar properties on the market in your neighborhood. You also should compare similar homes that have recently sold.

St. Patrick’s Day History & Fun Facts

canstockphoto43769782Don’t forget to wear green this Friday or you might get a pinch. That’s right, St. Patrick’s Day is here. Many of us love to celebrate but are unaware of the history behind the holiday.

Origins

Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the patron saint of Ireland with a Roman Catholic feast day. Ironically, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He did die on March 17, AD 461. Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn. Originally, he hailed from Roman Britain and was kidnapped, enslaved and brought to Ireland.
Eventually, Patrick escaped and fled to a monastery in France. There he converted to Christianity and went back to Ireland as a missionary in AD 432. Legend states that Patrick confronted the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites making way for Christianity’s spread across Ireland.
Patrick soon became a bishop. After his death, he became known as Ireland’s patron saint. Initial celebrations were not like the larger celebrations and parades known today. In fact, eighteenth century Irish Revolutionary War soldiers held the first St. Patrick’s Day parades.

Fun Facts

  • The green: St. Patrick himself preferred a light shade of blue. Green became associated with the holiday after it was linked to the 18th century Irish independence movement.
  • The Shamrock: St. Patrick used a three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity according to legend.
  • Dyeing the river: Dating back to 1962, Chicago city officials decided to dye a portion of the Chicago River green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Corned beef and cabbage: A traditional Irish American dish soon became the staple meal of St. Pattie’s Day. In fact, Irish Americans were so poor that the most they could afford for the celebration was beef and cabbage. Also, there isn’t any yellow corn in the beef. People traditionally used large grains of salt to cure the beef. These large salt grains were also called “corns.”

Irish Potatoes

Put out your Irish potatoes
Before turning in St. Paddy’s Eve.
They will still be there in the morn
but if you truly believe…

The leprechauns will work magic to
Turn some of your potatoes green.
This brings good luck and fortune,
So just believe to see what I mean.

Your Guide to Utah’s Home Shortage

As the Utah housing market dries up, Realtors speculate that there is only four months of inventory left. In fact, if homeowners stopped listing their houses today,Home with For Sale Sign there would be no homes left on the market by the end of April. Of course, that probably won’t happen as buyers and sellers continue to seek services from real estate professionals. However, we recognize that demand continues to outpace supply.

Many factors contribute to the supply and demand issue plaguing the real estate market including the state’s rapidly increasing population growth. The rise in households now exceeds the number of new housing units in Utah for the first time in more than 40 years. This gap results in strong demand and inadequate supply for all segments in the housing market including apartments, existing homes and new construction.

Going forward, the home shortage will result in higher home and rental prices. Last year, the median sales price of a single-family home in Davis County reached an all-time high of $295,000. Experts predict that single-family home prices will increase five to 7 percent in 2017 alone. Multi-family units are expected to increase 6 to 8 percent.

Find out what your home could sell for here

Protecting Your Home From Floods

As Utah keeps getting hit with some major snow storms, you can’t help but think about where all the water will go come Spring. If your home lies in an area that is more prone to flooding, here are some tips to protect your family and home.

Flooded HomeProtect your belongings by filing important paperwork in a deposit back which is waterproof. In addition, make sure your possessions are covered under your insurance policy. Keep a written log or photograph all your major house items and valuables. To find out what your insurance plan covers, make sure to talk with your insurance provider.

Take a moment to prepare your home for a flood. If you have a sump pump, make sure you have a battery-operated backup in case of power failure. Make sure your furnace and water heater are elevated on cement blocks (at least 12 inches above the ground) and anchor any fuel tanks.

As you prepare your home for a flood, remember to also develop an emergency plan for your family. Plan for an emergency by stocking up on drinking water, canned food, blankets, and a first aid kit. In addition to this items, be sure to store a radio and flashlight as part of your emergency plan. As you continue to plan for an emergency, ask an out-of-state family member or friend to be your family contact. Remember to also have a plan to protect your pets in case of a flood.

Want some additional tips to prepare for a flood? Check out this Preparation Guide.

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

Purchasing a new home or property involves many aspects including purchase agreements, contracts, inspections, appraisals, closing, escrow and more. In this article, we will explain what private mortgage (PMI) is, why it is required and how you can get rid of it.

canstockphoto8505074When purchasing a home, you will likely make some form of down payment. In fact, when you make a down payment less than 20 percent, the lender requires that you carry PMI. Basically, it’s a policy that protects the lender from losing money if you end up defaulting on your loan. Lenders also require PMI when you refinance a mortgage with less than 20 percent equity.

PMI fees vary anywhere from .3 to 1.5 percent of the original loan amount per year depending on the size of the down payment and your credit score. Also, PMI premiums are tax deductible on certain years depending upon the whims of Congress. Most policies require that the borrowes pay monthly. However, borrowers also have the option of paying for mortgage insurance with a large upfront payment.

And how to get rid of it:
The lender must automatically cancel the PMI when your outstanding balance drops to 78 percent of the home’s original value. Keep track of your payments because you also can ask that the lender discontinue the mortgage insurance premiums when the balance reaches 80 percent of the original value. Although, both of these options will probably take several years.

You can speed up the cancellation two ways; however, both options require money, time and patience. First, you can make double payments on your mortgage ensuring you reach the 80 percent mark in at least half the time. Next, you can make improvements to your property and refinance at opportune moments. This option can potentially raise the original value of your home to where you already have 80 percent equity.

The Hogle ZooLights

The Hogle ZooLights return this year for its 10th anniversary more sparkly and festive than ever.canstockphoto12096205 There are more than 200 lighted animal and holiday-themed displays illuminating the zoo grounds. Start your night by checking out the crowd favorite 135-foot lighted tunnel. Then take a ride on the Conservation Carousel and stop to see Santa at Macy’s Santa Station. Top the night off with a cup of hot chocolate and some shopping at the Wild Zootique.

With family friendly fun there is something for everyone at ZooLights including nightly activities. Most evenings feature fun entertainment and activities such as ice carverings, crafts, temporary tattoos, animal biography facts and so much more. Plus, all of these activities are free with admission which is $8 for adults, $6 for children ages three to 12 and free for children two and younger.

You may also want to consider ringing in the New Year with ZooLights. They offer an early countdown to involve the kids while still getting them to bed on time. The countdown begins at 9 p.m. Children attending receive a noise maker and can countdown to 2016 with the ZooLights specially lit countdown display.

ZooLights is open from Dec. 1 -31 but closed on Christmas day. Hours of operation are 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

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What is Earnest Money?

In a perfect world, once you found the home of your dreams, you and the owner could sign a purchase agreement, shake hands and follow with your down payment. However, in the real world, once the ink dries on your signature you will need to put money on the table to show that your intent to purchase is “earnest” or in good faith.

canstockphoto6409107The earnest money is usually deposited in the form of a personal or certified check issued to the real-estate brokerage. They require a fraction of your down payment for the earnest deposit. The deposit will then be held in an escrow account until the buyer and seller complete closing.

Many factors determine the various earnest payment amounts. The attractiveness of the sales price, the level of others interested in the home and how quickly a buyer can move from contract to closing all influence the sum a seller requests for an earnest money deposit. If everything goes as planned and the sale moves forward, your earnest money deposit applies toward the down payment.

Now that we know more about earnest money we can address some frequently asked questions.

Just how much should I pay?
Industry experts recommend that earnest money deposits remain between three to five percent of the purchase contract. Although, others argue that two percent should be the maximum. Some sellers require a flat rate without considering a percentage. Each state sets their own legal limits on the amount of earnest money allowed. Avoid paying too much and talk with a realtor today to find out the requirements in your area.

How is the deposit made?
In most markets, you aren’t required to the pay entire deposit at once. At signing, the buyer issues a check for a fraction of the deposit often ranging between $1,000 and $5,000. The remaining of the earnest deposit will then to be paid within one week to an escrow account as previously explained above.

If something goes wrong, am I out of luck?

Most purchase agreements and contracts stipulate that the seller keeps the earnest money deposit if a buyer fails to complete the purchase. Due in part to the fact the seller may face the loss of time and money due to a buyers default on the contract. Although, sometimes the seller and buyer can find a fair solution on how to distribute the earnest money deposit between them. Best case scenario the seller forfeits his claim on the deposit and returns it to the buyer minus a subtracted fee for the brokerage. Worst case scenario, you should be prepared to write the money off as a penalty for causing the seller some form of hardship.