Category: Whats happening in Utah Real Estate

The Red Tape of Permits in Salt Lake County


I picked up this home on Kelsey Ave at the end of 2019. We applied for permits to get this under utilized single bedroom/bathroom home turned around into a three bedroom charming rental in downtown Salt Lake City. After I purchased Kelsey Ave it took us three months to get the permits back from Salt Lake County in order to begin construction. I've never been a fan of Salt Lake County but this took the cake. The was one of the longest holds I ever seen just to get our permits back from the county in order to begin our work. After waiting, in March of 2020 we were finally able to get in and get to work with the appropriate permits in place.

The first thing about this home anyone would notice is the overwhelming odor of cat urine. The smell was so strong you could barely step inside without your eyes watering while covering your mouth. The urine has seeped into every nook and cranny of this home. The floors and walls were literally saturated with cat urine. The home had been very poorly taken care of and was not planned appropriately to utilize all of its potential. With a great fenced backyard and big two car garage this home has everything you could want while living downtown. The goal is to completely rework the entire floor layout and build another two bedrooms and totally update the bathroom and kitchen from the ground up.

This goes to show no matter how long you have been in the business you can always run into roadblocks with delays that are just out of your control. Navigating through these roadblocks is where the true teachings of experience come into play. We are now nearing completion of the project and should have final images in fall of 2020! Stay tuned as we get this rental turned around and ready to go in the coming weeks.

Updates Needed:

  • Trash Out
  • Cleaning
  • Flooring
  • New Roof
  • Demo Walls/Build Walls
  • New Bathrooms
  • New Kitchen
  • Build Two Bedrooms
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing

Renovation Cost and Budget:

  • Purchase Price: $170,000
  • Total Renovation Budget: $35,000
  • New Rent: $2000/mo

The After Effects of COVID-19 on Utah’s Real Estate Market

Most states throughout our Nation have put into effect the stay-at-home initiative to keep people safe and keep unnecessary travel to a minimum due to COVID-19. The effect that this has had in housing markets is very different state to state. We have pulled information from multiple sources on what we can hope to expect with our local housing market and economy. According to John Burns Real Estate Consulting they have outlined several facts to take into account when considering the economic impacts in our areas. JBREC believes if we want to know what Utah's Real Estate Market will encounter there are a few key questions to ask looking at the Nation as a whole:

  • Demand: What will demand look like once stay-at-home initiative is removed? By price point and rent range? By submarket? Two decades of forecasting home prices and sales volumes by metro area have taught us that job growth and losses in the industry sectors most important to the local economies will play a key role in this answer. Mortgage financing will also be critical in determining whether the demand shifts to rentals or for-sale housing.
  • Supply: What will supply look like? Supply was balanced heading into this recession. JBREC calculated that the country needed 1.4 million housing units/year, and that is exactly what the industry supplied. But construction was overweighted to multifamily units. Over the next 18 months, we expect multifamily construction will add new supply, while single-family construction will certainly slow down, limiting that inventory and helping the market recover more quickly.

Salt Lake City is considered to be one of several "Boom Markets" throughout the country. Metro areas like Salt Lake City, Austin, Phoenix, and Tampa have all had less exposure to the industries most impacted by COVID-19 and are also affordable markets with pro-growth governments. JBREC has also rated all four for-sale housing markets as Strong or Very Strong in their February research reports, and we expect them to be among the first to earn their ranking back. Each of these markets also had high apartment construction, but vacancy rates below 6.0% should help them weather the storm of move-outs and completions.

They have pointed out several metro areas that are considered to have less competition. Las VegasMiami, and Orlando are on their list of markets to recover last due to their reliance on tourism. With travel bans, tourism, and unnecessary travel all on hold; these areas of our Nation will be the last to recover. Read more about their thoughts online.

Utah Real Estate MLS shares their market statistics from March with us to show where we are at as a state. In March our average sale price was $340,000 which is up from $305,000 last March 2019. If we peek at our current inventory of active residential listings we see relatively strong numbers across the board holding through the most unsure month we have seen so far. With 6,457 active listings and and 7,230 under contract we can see that the demand for homes in Utah is still very strong.

In 2019 we had 8,369 active listings and only 6,411 under contract in March. Total residential homes sold last month is only down 1.4% from March 2019. Considering the amount of uncertainty people have had over the last two months these are really positive numbers for our state. You can find out more and read further insight at and stay up-to-date daily on market statistics.

For more information and market opportunities, join our newsletter or contact our consulting expert Regan Richmond.

Utah’s Real Estate Market and Corona-virus

Our Company Outlook and Expectations Related to Current Financial Turbulence

We want all our clients – current, past, and future – to be aware of our planning and expectations as we have begun what we expect could be a lasting turbulent time as fall out from Corona Virus concerns.  This is not a “sky is falling” expression for our business or personal outlooks, however, we feel it’s important to be aware and have a plan.

I will not pretend to have accurate facts or present opinions on Corona Virus or Covid-19.  I will however share my outlook and opinion on the economic concerns that have begun, and I believe we will see lasting effects, in particular how I believe it pertains to Residential Real Estate.

For some background, my father practiced real estate as a broker, investor, appraiser, and manager starting in the 70’s and through my growing up years, and I learned a lot.  I have been licensed in Real Estate in Utah, and extremely active across many sectors since 2003.  I am a large investor in residential real estate, our company manages many millions of dollars’ worth of real estate for clients, and our companies participate in hundreds of rental and sales transactions per year.  This business is mostly all in Utah, however minimally in other western states, and I have spent time with clients in over 30 states over the years analyzing and consulting on real estate investing.  That is to say, I have seen the market though a few ups, and a few downs, and many angles in between.  Most notably of course the downturn which began in the 3rd quarter of 2008 when median home prices declined year over year until 2011.  The only other time that has happened since statistics can be reliably tracked was 1 year in the 80’s.  To be very clear, I don’t expect we are on the brink of a slide like 2008-2011.

Here are my two biggest takeaways having gone through that firsthand and having taken it on the chops in some aspects.  1st – those who were in a sound financial situation as it pertained to their real estate going in – came out even better.  2nd – Rents never saw a year over year decrease even though values saw four straight years of median price decreases.  My personal rental portfolio saw increases throughout that four-year economic slide, in addition to the other tax and financial benefits of real estate ownership.

Tanking interest rates have already, and I suspect will continue to prop up the sales market – which in my opinion could have used some cooling – but certainly not a drop.  That is great news for sellers, loan officers and brokers, and even buyers who plan to use lots of leverage - they can now afford a much bigger mortgage for the same monthly payment.  I expect this will lead to temporary decrease year over year in inventory, jump in prices, and added frustration in a market that is already heavily multiple offer scenarios.  I’ve lost multiple deals to multiple offer situations in the last few weeks, where my clients offered my recommended max market value, and others were willing to pay more.  If the quarantine recommendations or mandates rapidly increase, and we are all on lock-down, of course that will alter that outlook.  One difference now vs. 2008-2011 is that avg. mortgage rates at the end of 2008 were 5.1%, that’s after the slide had been going for over a quarter, and banks and lenders were closing doors and being shut down left and right.  Current rates at just the beginning of this current storm are already hovering at 3%, lower than where they bottomed out in 2013 after that recovery was already gaining steam.  For perspective to the 80’s where we only saw one year of median price declines, peak rates hit 18.6%, and they had a floor at 9.1%.  I don’t have an opinion on good or bad policy, or other contributing factors here, but those are some facts that will sustain prices in my view. (source:

Cancelled conventions, summits, and other large gatherings, as well as closing of tourist attractions around the country and the world have already lead to a massive financial loss in the travel, entertainment, and hospitality industries – if you want proof, log into your favorite travel search engine and compare your dream vacation now v. the last time you checked, if you can even get there.  To what extent it spills over to other industries directly is not yet known, but it will.  This will have a lasting economic effect, which of course will also affect Real Estate.

Trickle down consequences I expect to see soon are: an increase in late and non-paid rents for landlords from tenants and missed mortgage payments eventually leading to more foreclosures among homeowners.  Landlords will have to make some plans and decisions of how they want to handle late or missed rent payments.  And for over-leveraged paycheck to paycheck owners, it will take some time, but there will be an uptick of foreclosures.  To give you some relevance on foreclosures; Salt Lake County has seen approx. 4-5 avg. foreclosure filings per day over the last couple years, in 2011 there were approx. 25 per day.  Borrowing criteria has been much higher for the last 10 years, so I don’t expect we’ll see foreclosure rates like we did prior.

I’ll tell my management client owner’s what my plan and policy will be on my own rentals, which is a change from our standard company policy to date.  Our owner clients will need to determine their stance and let us know if they would like to adopt any changes.

  • Current company policies:
    • We do not waive late fees
    • If someone is late and they:
      • (a) don’t reach out to us to make a payment arrangement, we serve a 3-day pay or vacate notice within 3 business days of the 5th. If that notice expires, and there still has been no communication, we submit it to our attorney for eviction which takes approx. 3 weeks.
      • (b) respond and/or reach out to us, we will create a payment plan with them, if we deem it to be in the best interest of the property owner, and the tenant shows ability to perform. Still serve them a notice to pay or vacate, so that if they fail to perform on the agreement, we aren’t waiting another 3 days to file.
    • No payment arrangement can carry a balance over current months end.


  • My personal changes for tenants effective immediately (it should be noted these temporary changes will not be shared directly with tenants):
    • Late fees may be waived if tenant provides logical and documented reason for being late directly related to changes in their income or health status, or that of other breadwinners in the property based on current economic factors
    • Payments plans may extend beyond the end of the month, with agreement from the property owner
    • Evictions will be turned over to the attorney only after a tenant is a full month late AS LONG AS THEY HAVE COMMUNICATED WITH US, and we can determine they are trying to get funds.
    • Balances will not be allowed past due of 45+ days without being turned over to eviction

In summary, I don’t propose that I know what the next 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years will look like.  What I do know is that our company is prepared to weather a storm, and we have weathered past storms.  Our clients are in good hands, with experience on their side.  Throughout history, it is evident that with each economic cycle there can be massive increases in wealth both in good times and bad, it depends on one’s positioning, mental state, and adaptivity.  If you would like to discuss in more detail your specific situation as it pertains to your real estate needs, I’m happy to schedule a time and discuss thoughts and ideas.


Regan Richmond

Utah Select Realty – Associate Broker

True Options Real Estate & Richmond Consulting

The BRRR Method Explained

Who Says Work Doesn't Get Done While In Mexico?

The BRRR Method Explained

My wife Mori and I were on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico when I saw an email come over for a new deal. I've been looking for a property for my client Kurt for a while now so when my birddog partner sent this over I knew we would have to act fast.

I got on the phone with one of my team members Brooke to get over to the property as fast as possible to scope it out. Within about 15 minutes of getting the email, Brooke was in front of the property and told me it was a go. It had everything my client Kurt was searching for and more. It's in a great location, in his budget and minutes from my office. I called Kurt, while lounging by the beach, and told him about the property, gave him all the details and he was in.. We made a few more phone calls and sent several emails back and forth between us, and by mid-day the following day we had wired money and closed on the property, all while I was still on the beach.

Now I don't advocate to everyone "sit on a beach to get your work done" but years of experience, trusted connections, and an amazing team were definitely in my favor this time around. The property details are below and I'll be sure to include you on updates as we get things completed. Right now this property is about 50% done, the before pictures are below- it was nasty. I'll send out fresh pictures with updates on our progress in the following weeks.

You may have heard of this really fancy new acronym floating around investments groups BRRR. Well I’ve used this since 2003, and that’s what we’ll be doing on this property (Buy - with cash, Renovate, Rent, Refinance – and pull all the cash back out that’s possible). The concept and reason for this strategy is buying bargain priced homes, that probably need some renovation, where an ability to close fast is what makes them such a great deal. Then after it’s renovated and rented it will appraise much higher than we paid, and so now we’ve bought both equity and cashflow rather than paying full price.

This strategy is what we intend to do here. Upon completion of our renovation, I expect Kurt to have about a 7.4% ROI on the cash investment after all costs of ownership and management – nothing to scoff at. However, once he refinances and pulls most of the cash back out, with a very modest estimate of only 3% appreciation, I expect that ROI will jump up to well over 25% - because we bought him equity he will be able to leave a minimal amount of cash parked in the home and gain appreciation and all the tax benefits on the full leveraged value of the home. DISCLAIMER – I’m not a licensed financial planner or investment advisor.  I am an Investment Real Estate Manager, and for me, ROI is the whole purpose behind rentals.

Updates Needed:

  • Trash Out
  • Cleaning
  • Flooring
  • New Roof
  • Demo Walls/Build Walls
  • New Bathrooms
  • New Kitchen
  • Bedrooms
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing

Renovation Cost and Budget:

  • Purchase Price: $239,990
  • Estimated Home Value: $320,000
  • Total Renovation Budget: $55,000
  • New Rent: $1800/mo
  • Estimated ROI: 7.42%