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Team Schlopy Member Spotlight – Bobbi Jo Wilkerson

Team Schlopy Member Spotlight – Bobbi Jo Wilkerson, Associate Broker/Director of Operations

  1. What does the Park City Lifestyle mean? Endless outdoor activities and diverse lifestyles. 
  2. Favorite neighborhood in Park City and why? Pinebrook, I love the surroundings and amazing views.
  3. Favorite winter & summer activity in Park City and why? Snowmobiling/ Boating and water sports.
  4. Favorite dining spot and why? The grub steak, great family atmosphere. 
  5. Favorite season in Park City and why? Summer- Recreational opportunities.
  6. Why choose Team Schlopy as your Realtors? Amazing Team dynamics. Endless knowledge and experience.
  7. Most important thing to know about selling a property in Park City. Hiring the best Real Estate Team to represent you is the most important investment you could make.
  8. Most important thing to know about buying a property in Park City. Picking the best buying agent to represent you is the 1st step in the right direction.
  9. What made you get into real estate? I started in the construction industry and loved working with the contractors when they were purchasing the land to build homes on I thought “hey I can do that” and I did. 
  10. What is the best thing about your career as a Realtor? The wonderful clients and friends I get to work with every day.

6 Effective Disinfecting Tips

While staying at home remains the best practice right now, going out isn’t something everyone can postpone indefinitely. Taking the right precautions on grocery runs, errands, and the occasional meal can help reduce your exposure to the coronavirus. Disinfecting — that is, killing pathogens — is an essential part of keeping your home environment safe and healthy.

Incorporate these tips into your daily and weekly cleaning routine for a virus-free home as you navigate the new normal.

Clean first

Disinfectants eliminate germs, but what many don’t know is that they don’t clean surfaces. Surfaces must be cleaned before they’re disinfected, because disinfectants lose some of their effectiveness on dirty surfaces. Pathogens can even survive under a layer of dirt. Luckily, soap and water is enough to sufficiently prep a dirty surface.

Make your own disinfecting solution

Out of Lysol sprays and Clorox cleaning wipes? You can make your own disinfectant using the right proportion of water and bleach. The CDC recommends mixing one part bleach to 48 parts water. That’s eight ounces of water for every teaspoon of bleach.

Since bleach degrades quickly once diluted, mix up just enough solution for one day, pour it into a spray bottle, and use.

Let the solution sit

Disinfectants, bleach-based or not, are only effective at killing pathogens if they’re allowed to remain on a surface for a certain period of time. Resist the urge to wipe surfaces dry right after you spray them. Instead, wait 10 minutes — the CDC-recommended “dwell time” — then wipe with a wet cloth.

A word about cleaning solutions: high-strength bleach solutions are only recommended for hard, non-porous surfaces like tile. Avoid using them on metal, granite or wood and opt for non-bleach sanitizers for these surfaces.

Disinfect high-touch surfaces daily

Personal contact poses the greatest risk in contracting the novel coronavirus, but it never hurts to err on the side of caution. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces every day, especially if you have to go out for something. High-touch surfaces include countertops, doorknobs, cabinet handles, light switches, kitchen appliances, the bathroom, and personal electronic devices.

Put outside clothes through the wash

Do you have a job or errand that makes contact with the outside world regular? Change out of your clothes as soon as you come home and take them straight to the laundry room. Regular laundry detergent and a higher dryer temperature than usual are adequate enough to kill germs.

If it’s impractical to do a load after each trip outside, don’t forget to clean and disinfect everything your clothes came in contact with. You can do this while the washing machine is cleaning your laundry from the past few days or week

Wipe electronic devices with alcohol

Since smartphones, laptops, keyboards, and mice are sensitive to moisture, clean and disinfect with an isopropyl alcohol solution. A microfiber cloth moistened with a 50 to 70 percent alcohol solution works well. Wipe down every inch that you can touch, and use cotton swabs for hard-to-reach sections. 

Regularly cleaning your home keeps you safer and makes it easier to maintain your home. Are you interested in finding out what other options there are for your home? Our team of local real estate experts can guide you through Park City’s local market. Call Team Schlopy at (435) 640-5660 or email us at info@teamschlopy.com today!

 

Miss dining out? These Park City, UT restaurants are now open

As Summit County continues to reopen, so do beloved and popular restaurants in Park City. Now that dining at establishments is once again allowed, you can give your kitchen a break.

Head to these restaurants in town for an enjoyable meal you don’t have to prep for.

Blind Dog1251 Kearns Boulevard, Park City, UT

If you want the freshest seafood in all of Park City, reserve a table at Blind Dog. A 21-year-old veteran of the Park City restaurant scene, Blind Dog is popular among locals for serving delicious East Coast-style seafood in a casual setting.

Under Chef Penn Kinsey, the restaurant keeps its diners happy with fresh shucked oysters, sushi, and pan-roasted shellfish. The bar is well-stocked with beers, wines, and cocktails to drink with your meal. The restaurant also runs specials on certain days of the week. Stop by on Saturday, for instance, if you’re craving Maine lobster and corn on the cob.

Buona Vita804 Main Street, #101, Park City, UT

Comfortable, classic, and generous are just a few adjectives that describe Buona Vita. This family-owned Italian restaurant in Old Town is the ideal setting for a cozy dinner with your family or a partner

Authentic fare is served in generous portions at Buona Vita. Locals speak fondly of the wood-fired four cheese pizza, garlic bread, salmon piccata, and chicken primavera. Round off your meal with a glass of wine and a slice of tiramisu.

Chimayo368 Main Street, Park City, UT

Walking into Chimayo feels like teleporting to Mexico. Its patterned tile floors and walls, wooden pillars, and wrought iron detailing looks right at home south of the border. It’s the perfect atmosphere for enjoying an intimate dinner of southwestern and Mexican dishes.

Prepared using French cooking techniques, duck enchiladas, stuffed avocados, and seared trout fajitas travel from the kitchen to your table on beautifully styled plates. Margarita lovers can imbibe five versions of their favorite drink. (The house margarita is highly recommended.) The restaurant also stocks a wide range of Spanish and New World wines.

Harvest820 Park Avenue, Park City, UT

Vegetarians and vegans will love the creative and flavorful dishes at Harvest. The small cafe has a great variety of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options and centers its menu around seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

Though it only stays open for breakfast and lunch, the cafe is a popular spot for locals looking for a satisfying and healthful meal. Not sure what to order? Try the Buddha Bowl or the Savory Toast for a filling meal and the Acai Bowl for a lighter one. The coffee — and the latte in particular — receives high praises.

Powder at Waldorf Astoria2100 Frostwood Drive, Park City, UT

This hotel restaurant in the Wasatch Mountains is a popular après-ski destination for its proximity to Park City Mountain Resort. When it’s not winter, Powder is a fine dining destination for diners searching for flavorful contemporary American cuisine.

The seasonal menu of globally inspired dishes is built on locally sourced ingredients. Guests can opt for frittatas, smoothies, or a continental breakfast in the morning. Unique and decadent dishes like heirloom tomato and burrata salad, duck carbonara, strawberry-peach gazpacho, and lobster agnolotti become available for lunch and dinner.

Since its management is still adjusting to reopening, Powder’s restaurant area is only open for breakfast. Lunch and dinner patrons enjoy their meals on the outdoor patio by the hotel’s pool.

Discover what else Park City has to offer aside from a diverse dining scene. Get in touch with our team to learn more about your real estate options in this beautiful resort community and other communities nearby. Call Team Schlopy, your local real estate experts, at (435) 640-5660 or email info@teamschlopy.com to get started.

 

Quick decluttering projects while you shelter at home

Now that people are spending more time at home, they are coming to realize that their living spaces aren’t as big as they once seemed. One surmountable reason is clutter that has piled on over the years.

Win back valuable space from the things you no longer use (and didn’t even realize you still had). Take on these decluttering actionables to free up space in 30 minutes or less.

Organize your workspace.

Having trouble focusing? Your desk may be at fault. Several studies have linked physical clutter to higher levels of stress and difficulty in working with new information. Clean your way to better productivity. Throw away papers you don’t need and hide extra office materials in drawers. You might even feel an instant energy boost right after.

Inspect your fridge and pantry.

Refrigerators and pantry shelves are notorious for harboring forgotten clutter. It’s easy to just put things in the fridge or on a shelf and forget about them until the next cooking project.

Empty your fridge and pantry in sections and commandeer the kitchen countertop for easy sorting. Discard food and ingredients that have gone past their expiration date, and make a list of what you need and what you have to use up soon. Once everything is sorted, return the supplies back, grouping them together with like items for easy reference.

Winnow down your media collection.

The pull of analog is real even in the age of Kindle, Netflix, and Spotify. But even meticulous catalogers of analog media have books, DVDs, or vinyl records that are better off in a new home. Evaluate your collection a shelf at a time, removing all the titles that aren’t your favorites. Next, go over the review pile with a strict rule in mind: titles will only be reshelved if you really plan to read, listen, or watch them in the future. Discard and donate the rest.

Clear out old or unused clothes.

Much like unread books and discounted DVD bundles, clothes in surplus just take up space. Sift through your wardrobe and ferret out barely used as well as threadbare pieces. Sell and donate items in good condition, and place clothing that has seen better days in your recycling bin.

Spot-check rooms for random and misplaced items.

The goal for this time-based task is to quickly declutter each room and return everything to its rightful place. To get started, get a garbage bag and set a timer for 30 minutes. Next, go to a room and survey it. Place anything that has neither use nor purpose in the garbage bag, and put the room back in order (magazines on the coffee table, remote on the TV stand, books shelved). Proceed to other rooms and repeat. Stop once your bag is full or when time is up, whichever one comes first.

Quick decluttering projects like these are manageable to do on your own. But other things, such as searching for a new home, are better done with the help of professionals. Let the local real estate experts at Team Schlopy be your ultimate guide to Park City’s real estate market. Call our team at (435) 640-5660 or email info@teamschlopy.com today for more information.

Should you sell your Old Town home during the pandemic?

The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many plans to remain just that. In real estate, buyers and sellers often second-guess whether to go through with a home search or sale. Given stay-at-home orders, gradual reopening, and heightened health concerns, it’s common for sellers to question if now really is a good time to put their home on the market.

Should you go ahead with a listing in the midst of a pandemic? The answer depends on a few factors, the most important of which is your personal situation. Analyze your answers to the following questions to get a clearer picture of your circumstances.

Why am I selling?

List all the reasons why you want to sell your Old Town home. Just going through this simple action can highlight several aspects that you have to consider for the sale of your home.

Are you moving for a new job? You’re probably on a tight timeline, which makes pricing competitively and getting to closing as soon as possible top priorities. Selling to profit from a seller’s market? Look toward making your home stand out from among the listings nearby as well as those in other communities, and create a seamless experience for buyers to keep the offers rolling in.

Sometimes, you may find that your reason for selling is not compelling enough to outweigh personal concerns about the current situation. Should this be the case, it’s also fine to postpone the sale rather than unwillingly commit.

How much time can I spare?

COVID-19 has had a great impact on how people work. Summit County now recommends businesses to have their employees work from home whenever possible. For the housing market, this means longer home closings that are directly caused by delays in negotiations, home inspections, and even deed recording.

While there’s no way to avoid these delays, you can see a closing to its very end by offering a buyer a safe and convenient way to close on the sale.

What do I have to do to ensure everyone’s safety?

Selling a home requires certain health precautions, especially if you’re still living in it. Offer video tours of your home to reduce the number of in-person showings. And if they must happen, limit showings to certain times and disinfect “high-touch surfaces” like door handles, switches, and countertops before and after a visit.

Check in with your household members as well. If you live with a high-risk person, it may be best to vacate your home before listing it or wait for a better time to sell.

How is the local market faring?

For the second half of 2020, Park City’s housing market appears to be quickly recovering and prospering from the initial slump caused by the pandemic. There is now an influx in demand, much of it from out-of-state buyers who are choosing to live in more remote areas of the country in lieu of dense urban metros.

According to Salt Lake Tribune, Park City — which has always attracted its share of luxury buyers and investors — has gotten so much demand that home sales in the small resort community doubled year-over-year for July and August. Second-quarter statistics from the Park City Board of Realtors also note that the sales volume and median price for Old Town were up from 2019, by 9% and 16%, respectively.

In short, now is an encouraging time to sell a home in Old Town Park City.

Ready to take the leap? Let Team Schlopy’s local real estate experts help you time your sale to get the biggest offer. Call (435) 640-5660 or email info@teamschlopy.com for more information.

What to ask if you’re buying or selling a home in Park City right now

As if buying or selling a home wasn’t complicated enough, people now have to deal with a global pandemic, too.

How does COVID-19 change the marketplace? How are people buying and selling homes in the social-distancing era? What opportunities and pitfalls await?

Read on to find out the answer.

Should I withdraw my home from the market?

It’s safe to say that the current pandemic has spooked buyers. As such, many sellers are thinking about pulling their property off the market until the situation stabilizes. But you shouldn’t be so hasty. As this report from The Salt Lake Tribune notes, sales of properties in Park City this July and August were double what they were compared to the same period last year. The reason? A pandemic-induced exodus from big cities for environments that are less dense and the opportunity to live in homes with more outdoor space. And with more companies allowing their employees to work from home on a permanent or indefinite basis, people are leaving expensive places like New York and L.A. to live in more affordable states like Utah.

Is now the right time to buy a house?

Job security is a big question for workers today, and many wonder if buying a house makes sense right now. After all, you wouldn’t want to purchase a home if there’s any chance you’ll lose your job. However, there are advantages to buying property during a down market.

  • Sellers tend to list homes below their market value to entice reluctant buyers
  • Mortgage rates just dropped to a record low of 2.86%, so taking out a home loan has never been more affordable
  • Real estate tends to weather downturns better than the stock market – the more wealth you have invested in real properties, the more secure your finances are despite economic headwinds.

How do you show or view a property?

While properties can be viewed in person, many buyers and sellers feel that it’s safer to hold virtual showings instead. As the name suggests, properties are shown remotely to buyers using 3D home tours or by live-streaming a property walkthrough. This drastic shift highlights the need to find an agent who is digitally savvy and has experienced coordinating remote home sales. If you must view the property in person (e.g., during the home inspection, for example, after you’ve made an offer), make sure to follow health precautions such as wearing a mask and observing proper social distancing.

How will the pandemic affect real estate transactions?

Generally speaking, expect selling or buying a home to take longer than usual. That’s because every step of the process will be delayed due to manpower shortages or limited business hours. Banks will take longer to process mortgage applications, there are fewer home inspectors available, and escrow agents will need more time to close a sale, just to name a few examples. Buyers and sellers may even invoke force majeure provisions if they experience unexpected hardships due to COVID-19.

Needless to say, these are unprecedented times. Everyone has had to change their perspective and adjust to new ways of  doing things. We hope that by answering the questions above, we’ve empowered you – buyers and sellers alike – to make better-informed decisions.

Looking to buy or sell property in Park City, UT? Just get in touch with our team at (435) 640-5660 or info@teamschlopy.com.

How to Transform your Backyard into a Serene Retreat

How to Transform your Backyard into a Serene Retreat

What if your favorite part of your home isn’t even inside it?

Imagine stepping into a backyard that’s an escape from the stresses of daily life. A little slice of the outdoors where you can relax, recharge, and refocus. A place that’s open, comfortable, and enjoyable.

The good news is that this vision is easier to achieve than you might think. With the tips below, you can have a serene retreat that’s literally right in your backyard.

Set the mood with lighting

You don’t have to invest a lot of money to turn your backyard into a serene space. In fact, all you need is mood lighting. String up lanterns on a tree, hang fairy lights on the fence, and install path lights to create a relaxing ambiance with a flick of a light switch. Atmospheric lighting also makes your garden an inviting place to enjoy an al fresco dinner with the family or guests.

Install an outdoor fire pit

Nothing adds warmth to your backyard quite like a fire pit.  In the summer, you can huddle around the put with a friend or two, or roast s’mores with the kids. During fall evenings, you can warm yourself by the fire while stargazing. You can even add some citronella oil to the fire to keep bugs away while giving your yard a refreshing fragrance. Many manufacturers now offer portable fire pits, so you can get one for a very reasonable price.

Build a pool

Turn your backyard into a resort by building a pool. And no, you don’t need a large space for it. Contractors can usually tailor-fit pools to the size of your yard. You can also install a space-saving plunge pool, which is ideal for wading or lounging. Get comfy lounge chairs, put up outdoor umbrellas, and stash rolled up towels in a basket for a truly resort-like feel.

Install a water feature

No budget or space for a pool? Get a water feature like a fountain instead. The gentle trickling of the water soothes the mind and calms the spirit. It can also mask traffic noise or mitigate the hum of your HVAC system. There are a variety of fountains to choose from, including wall-mounted, cascading, tiered, and Japanese-style designs. You can even turn the fountain’s pool into a mini-pond where you can raise koi and other decorative fish.

Add a patio

Aside from extending your home’s living area, a patio also makes your backyard a more inviting space. Your patio can be an ideal place to have breakfast, read a book, or entertain guests. When designing your patio, make sure it follows your home’s overall look and feel. Add an outdoor rug to help define the space and give it character. To provide shade, you can either purchase outdoor umbrellas or install a pergola where vines can grow.

Are you looking for a home in Park City, Utah that has ample backyard space? Team Schlopy has properties that will surely fit the bill. Call our team at (435) 640-5660 or send an email to info@teamschlopy.com to get your home search started.

Great Park City trails for outdoor social distancing

When you’re exploring the trails of Utah’s Park City, social distancing will be the least of your worries. With hundreds of miles of open space to gambol in, you’ll rarely, if ever, bump into other hikers.

Whether you want a relaxing day hike or a challenging adventure, Park City has the perfect trail for you. Check out our top recommendations:

Armstrong Trail

For many avid hikers, Armstrong Trail is the ideal jump off point for outdoor adventure. The 3.8-mile trail connects directly to two additional hiking paths – Dawns and Mid-Mountain – giving visitors plenty of lush paths to explore. Armstrong Trail is beautiful no matter the season; it’s teeming wildflowers during the summer and is draped in fiery leaves in the fall. The towering scrub oaks and evergreen forests are a sight to behold, too. Even better, the trail is dog friendly and you can even explore it on horseback.

McPolin Farm Nature Trail

If you want to make hiking a family affair, McPolin Farm Nature Trail is the ideal destination. The entire path is paved, so it’s suitable even for little kids. Its path goes through McPolin Barn, one of Park City’s most beloved historic landmarks. Despite being an easy trail, it offers stunning views of McLeod Creek. It also has several shaded benches where you and your family can take a break and enjoy some snacks.

Round Valley Trail

Hikers often refer to Round Valley as a choose-your-own-adventure trail. That’s because you’ll come across several forks in the roads, each one leading to a different section of the six-mile trail. It’s perfect for beginning mountain bikers, who will find the wide, soft surface of the Hat Trick and Fast Pitch areas as ideal practice spots. Dog lovers will also love the trail, as their fur babies can roam leash-free. The trail has minimal shade, however, so bring plenty of water during your visit.

Bloods Lake and Lake Lackawaxen Trail

If you want to experience high-alpine environments without hiking for hours, this is the trail for you. The path can be steep in certain parts, but the two lakes waiting at the end are well worth the hike. Bloods Lakes attracts more people, but the more secluded Lake Lackawaxen is just another mile out. What better way to end your hike than by dipping into the crystal clear water?

Bald Mountain Trail

Up for a challenge? Then Bald Mountain Trail will surely put you through your paces. The path ascends 12,000 feet, so you may want to conquer the less challenging trails on this list first as a warm up. High-altitude hikers, though, will find this trail a welcome and exhilarating adventure. The trail terminates at Bald Mountain Peak, which offers panoramic views of Park City, Weber Valley, and the Uinta Mountains, among other sights. Given its high altitude, the trail is prone to snow and lightning, so check the weather report before heading out.

As these trails prove, you can observe social distancing even as you have a grand adventure.

If you’d like to live where nature is right in your backyard, get in touch with our team at (435) 640-5660 or info@teamschlopy.com to find the best real estate in Park City, UT and other communities nearby.

How ski resorts in Park City, UT have been adapting to the new normal

There’s a reason why Park City, UT was chosen to host the 2002 Winter Olympics. With its excellent location and top-notch slopes, it counts among the best ski destinations in the world.

Now that the winter season is fast approaching, tourists are once again expected to flock to the area. Given the current pandemic, however, how are ski resorts adapting their operations in line with the new realities we face?

General health precautions

As with any business, ski resorts have implemented standard health guidelines stipulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Primary among these is the wearing of masks in all public spaces, including at tram lifts, restaurants, and amenities. Likewise, people are required to maintain proper social distancing and floor markings have been installed to reinforce this. To encourage proper hand hygiene, guests can expect to encounter sanitation stations throughout the resort premises.

Safety starts with employees

The staff plays a key role in ensuring the safety of guests. As such, many ski resorts are observing the following protocols

  • Employee health checks
    Resort staff undergo temperature checks before starting their shifts to rule out a fever, one of the main symptoms of COVID-19. Workers who exhibit COVID-like symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and loss of taste or smell are not allowed to report to work, but are instead directed to rest at home and observe their condition.
  • Work from home
    Where possible, employees with administrative functions in HR, accounting, and IT are advised to work from home to minimize the number of employees physically present at the resort. As such, only critical on-ground staff such as the service crew, housekeeping, and maintenance is at the premises.

Sanitation is key

The novel coronavirus is primarily transmitted through infectious droplets. However, the virus is also known to survive on hard surfaces for up to several days.

In light of this, frequent sanitation has become standard operating procedure in ski resorts. High-touch surfaces, along with frequently used amenities, are regularly cleaned throughout the day

For instance, tram lifts are cleaned immediately after use, while oft-touched surfaces such as doorknobs and faucet taps are frequently sanitized.

Minimizing risk through operational tweaks

While many ski resorts will open for winter, their operations will be slightly different from what regulars have become accustomed to. Guests can expect the following changes:

  • Limited operating hours and guests
    Tram lifts, restaurants, and amenities will all have shorter operating hours. Similarly, the number of people served will also be reduced as gatherings beyond prescribed numbers are discouraged. To compensate, resorts will allow guests to book amenities and services ahead of time.
  • Minimizing physical contact
    When you walk up to the concierge, you may encounter an acrylic barrier between you and the resort staff. Similarly, a few dining establishments may encourage the use of contactless payment via mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

As long as guests follow these safety measures, they can have a splendid time at ski resorts during the winter season.

Want easy access to the world-class ski facilities of Utah’s Park City? Call our team at (435) 640-5660 or email info@teamschlopy.com to learn about the available real estate properties in the area and other communities nearby.

Team Schlopy Member Spotlight – Marny Schlopy

1. What does the Park City Lifestyle mean to you? It is my kind of lifestyle. Outdoors, a healthy atmosphere, social activities, and really good friendships are formed with all the activities.

2. What is your favorite neighborhood in Park City and why? Silver Springs where we lived for 20 years and loved the convenience. Now Red Ledges as a private golf course community with loads of amenities.

3. Favorite winter & summer activity in Park City and why? Powder skiing because it is so exhilarating and Road Biking because it is so beautiful to see all the scenery go by while you are working hard.

4. Favorite dining spot and why? Adolphs because I love the fresh Utah trout and the vegetable that Adolph prepares

5. Favorite season in Park City and why? Summer because you can be outside all the time and enjoy the deep blue skies and the sunshine all day long into 9:00 in the evening.

6. Why choose Team Schlopy as your Realtors? Because we really care about you!

7. Most important thing to know about selling a property in Park City? Use a professional realtor to have your property show the best it can and price it right with their advice.

8. What is the most important thing to know about buying a property in Park City? Use a professional realtor to show you all the neighborhoods that best fits your lifestyle.

9. What made you get into real estate? I had to have a career (it was not a hobby) and I like that I could sell a product (Park City) that I believed in.

10. What is the best thing about your career as a Realtor? The lifestyle I lead and share it with my family, friends, and clients!

Home Buying Today: What to Expect When Applying for a Mortgage

Securing a mortgage is one of the biggest hurdles to buying a home. If you’ve been meaning to buy a home for some time, the biggest question on your mind might be “Will I get approved for a mortgage during this pandemic?”

Here’s what buyers can expect from the loan application process during COVID-19.

Near-historic-low rates during COVID-19

According to Bankrate, interest rates are at a near-historic-low during the pandemic, with some lenders offering 30-year amortization below 3% for owner-occupied properties. Moreover, the Federal Reserve has said that it will try to keep rate low until 2022. These low rates might make the idea of purchasing a home more appealing at this time.

Although the mortgage will still make up the bulk of your home buying costs, experts believe that low rates will continue to drive home purchases during COVID-19.

A potential downside is if mortgage rates do rise within the foreseeable future despite the Fed’s promises to keep them down, the hike could impact home prices and affordability.

But low rates do present an opportunity to buyers as they make homeownership more affordable at the present time – if rates do climb in the future, you can cross the bridge when you get there. Today’s low rates can help you get a foot through the door if homeownership makes sense for you at this time. 

How to qualify for a mortgage during COVID-19

  • Maintain your employment status – According to University Credit Union CEO David Tuyo, you may be in a good position to purchase a home if you have job security. If you’ve been fortunate enough to stay employed during the pandemic, then you may be eligible for a loan.

But if you’ve been stood down, you must keep your focus on getting back to work, finding another income source, or applying for other jobs.

  • Protect your credit score – Were you able to make timely bill and loan payments during COVID-19? If not, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers relief and protection from negative credit reporting during this difficult time.

Money Management International Business Development Director Kate Bulger says that if you think you might miss an important payment due to income reduction or unemployment, you must get in touch with your creditors, ideally before the due date.

  • Refinance an existing mortgage – Do you have an existing mortgage? Refinancing will help you pay it off and take out a new one, on new (and ideally, more favorable) terms. This allows you to take advantage of low interest rates or switch to a different mortgage type that might be more manageable during this time.

Click here to learn more about refinancing a mortgage.

Beware of predatory loans

Lenders in Utah are generally trustworthy professionals who will help you achieve your dreams of homeownership. But predatory lenders do exist, and during challenging times like these, buyers must be as vigilant as ever.

A predatory lender typically will try to:

  • Intentionally lend you more money than you can afford to pay back
  • Use false appraisals to try to sell properties for more than their value
  • Charge fees for hidden or non-existent products and services

Click here for more information on predatory loans and how to avoid them.

Ready to find the perfect Utah home? Team Schlopy Real Estate would be happy to assist you. You can message our agents here <insert Contact Us page link>. You can also get in touch with the team at 3859.991.640. We specialize in buying and selling real estate Park City and the surrounding communities. We can’t wait to work with you. 

The “New Normal” of Buying a Home

As the economy reopens and buyers head back to the housing market to resume the property search, all parties will find themselves settling into a new normal in order to observe safety protocols while buying and selling Park City real estate.

Here’s what to expect as a homebuyer in Park City.

  • Online communication – As national and local officials try to curb the spread of COVID-19, real estate professionals will rely increasingly on digital communication to reach and assist their clients. You will most likely be talking to your agent via FaceTime, Zoom, and similar platforms. Video calls and conferences allow for face-to-face communication while helping agents and clients maintain social distance. Unlike voice calls, video lets people pick up on non-verbal cues like facial expressions and hand gestures.Moreover, being able to see the person you’re talking to, whether it’s an agent or seller, also helps build trustworthiness and a sense of connection. 
  • Virtual tours – Real estate companies and websites have begun investing heavily in technology to create better quality tours of the properties listed on their platform.

According to Globe News Wire, Realtor launched a new feature allowing agents to integrate 3D tours and videos from multiple services in April of this year. Since then, the real estate site has reported a 14% increase in traffic, while agents who advertise on the site say they’ve gotten 25% more inquiries.

These tours give buyers a better idea of how the property looks without having to attend open houses and risking their safety. They help create an immersive experience for buyers who want to explore their options in the market without leaving the safety of their homes.

  • Virtual staging – This online feature isn’t new by any means, it has definitely garnered more interest from both buyers and sellers during quarantine. Virtual staging incorporates graphic design, 3D modeling, and other techniques to help buyers and sellers imagine how a property might look with various furniture, color schemes, renovations, and lighting options.
  • Live streaming – If you want a more engaging way of viewing the property while staying at home, you can attend live streamed open houses in which an agent shows online viewers around the property using popular services like Facebook Live and Instagram Live. This option allows for more interaction. Ask the agent a question while they’re live and they’ll be happy to give answers or show you what’s behind the door.
  • Increased real estate photos and videos – Agents already knew the value of including multiple high quality photos in a listing even before the pandemic. This practice will continue today, and buyers can look forward to seeing more photos and videos attached to listings. Adding more images is one of the simplest things agents can do to drum up interest in a property during a pandemic.

Still looking for the perfect home in Utah? Team Schlopy Real Estate would be happy to assist you. You can message our agents here. You can also get in touch with the team at 385.999.1640. We specialize in buying and selling real estate Park City and the surrounding communities. We can’t wait to work with you.

Park City Real Estate Market Update

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a remarkable time for realtors and home sales. Local real estate agents sold more properties in the Wasatch Back year-to-date than they did all of last year.

Local chatter about traffic jams, busy shopping centers, out of state license plates and over-crowded trails contribute to the speculation that the area is feeling the impacts of “refugees” who are coming here to wait out the pandemic. Park City Board of Realtors shared market data with KPCW and said that initially, the March shutdown orders caused concern for area realtors.

According to a Board of Realtors July 29 report, the market dipped quickly in April, then in mid-May a slight recovery, with June sales showing a full comeback, exceeding last year’s numbers.

There are a lot of people looking that aren’t able to buy but there are a lot of people who are pulling the trigger and buying. We usually average around 2,000 to 2,100 homes on the market at any given time and we’re down right now to about 1,500. But we’ve sold more properties on the Wasatch Back than all of 2019.

DIY Home Repairs Everyone Should Know How To Do in the Age of COVID-19

You’re no Bob Vila, but part of being a homeowner or renter is knowing how to tackle common home repair projects on your own. We’re talking about tasks that fall somewhere between changing a lightbulb and hardwiring a light fixture. These projects aren’t exactly no-brainers, but they also won’t put you at risk of electrocution.

But in the age of COVID-19, perhaps the biggest reason to improve your DIY skills is to reduce the number of folks who enter your home—and that includes repairmen and maintenance workers. So if you can master basic home repair skills, you can be self-reliant and stay safe.

“There is never a bad time to improve DIY skills, but keep in mind that projects can range in difficulty,” says Hunter Macfarlane, a project expert at Lowe’s. “Before starting any project, be sure to look through all of the instructions and ensure you have the tools you need.”

Don’t take a hammer to the wall just yet. Strap on your tool belt, and start out with these no-nonsense DIY home repairs.

Patch a hole with spackle

Hanging a picture can be an exercise in trial and error that often yields unwanted holes in your drywall. Clean up those holes by patching them with spackle.

“It can be completed within minutes—all you’ll need is spackle and a taping knife,” says Macfarlane. “Once you scrape away loose debris, cover the hole with fast-drying spackle and leave it to dry 24 hours.”

For holes larger than a typical nail hole, use a mesh patch to level the surface and evenly apply spackle. You can also use sanding sheets to smooth the area when you’re finished.

Replace a thermostat

“Every 10 to 15 years, old thermostats might need to be replaced with a more upgraded model, like a smart thermostat,” says Marla Mock, vice president of operations at Aire Serv. “A smart, programmable thermostat with Wi-Fi can allow you to create a schedule to adjust temperatures, saving you the expense of heating and cooling an empty home.”

Just how much can you expect to save? Mock says 10% to 20% annually on heating and cooling bills.

Installing a thermostat requires general tools such as a screwdriver, wood or drywall screws, masking tape, and power drill, as well as a basic knowledge of carpentry.

To begin, turn off the power to your heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system, carefully remove the existing thermostat from the wall, disconnect the wires from the back of the thermostat, and carefully label which wire is which.

“Connect the new thermostat to the wires protruding from the wall. Mount the thermostat to the wall using the included hardware. Power on your new thermostat, and set accordingly,” Mock says.

Repair tile grout

Tile grout is porous and can allow dirt, moisture, and other particles to get trapped, causing discoloration or mold, says Macfarlane. Luckily, repairing tile grout is easy and inexpensive and can give bathroom or kitchen tile a fresh look.

“Start by cleaning the broken grout area with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water, then use a grout saw to remove loose or damaged grout,” says Macfarlane. “Remove any debris from between the lines, then dampen the tile and wipe up any excess water.”

Use a grout float, held at an angle, to fill the joints with new grout. Let the grout set firmly, and remove any excess with a damp sponge. After the grout dries completely, apply a sealant to protect it from future cracking and mold.

Paint A Wall

Ready to switch it up? If your walls are in dire need of a fresh coat of paint, this is a simple project that can be tackled in a weekend.

Macfarlane says prep work is needed to keep the space clean and the finishing looking fresh.

“Use a plastic dropcloth or an old sheet to protect furniture, and don’t forget to grab painter’s tape to cover door handles and electrical outlets,” says Macfarlane. “You’ll also need a few 5-gallon buckets for your paint, as well as rollers, trays, and angled brushes.”

Spot-treat your carpet

Being indoors so much means your carpet has seen better days, so a good DIY carpet clean is in order.

“Make a detergent solution by mixing one teaspoonful of a colorless, mild detergent or dishwashing liquid in a cup of lukewarm water,” says Jack White, director of special projects at Rainbow International Restoration.

Blot the mixture into the carpet, and avoid rubbing the stained area since it can drive the stain deeper and possibly damage your carpet. White cautions not to soak or overwet the area.

Rinse with water, and blot until dry with a white cotton towel. If the stain remains, you can attempt to remove it with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.

Replace a toilet flapper

A likely culprit for a toilet that won’t stop running is a faulty flapper—a small piece of rubber that acts as a stopper, separating the tank from the bowl, says Aaron Mulder, co-owner and operations manager for Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Antonio, TX.

“A good way to test for a leaking flapper is to add a few drops of food coloring to the top of the tank where the flapper and flush valve are. Check to see if the water inside the bowl is turning the color of the food coloring you added. If it is, you know you have a leaking/passing flapper,” says Mulder.

He says replacing a toilet flapper is simple and inexpensive for a homeowner to do, and that flappers need to be replaced every two to three years.

First, turn off the water supply behind the toilet, remove the lid from the tank, and then flush the toilet to drain the tank. Remove the old flapper from inside the tank. Then, place the new flapper in the tank and attach the new flapper’s chain to the trip lever, making sure to leave enough slack so that the flapper can fully close, covering the flush valve seat. Turn the toilet’s water supply back on, and do a test flush. If it’s silent after the tank refills, that means it worked.

U.S. Workers Discovering Affinity for Remote Work

Though the coronavirus has disrupted many aspects of our work lives, it may end up accelerating some trends–like working remotely. Gallup polling of Americans conducted this spring found that 62 percent said they had worked remotely at some point by April, an increase from 31 percent in mid-March.

That big spike might seem temporary, but according to that same poll, in 2015, 3.9 million U.S. workers were working remotely. Today that number is at 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population. Remote work is trending up, and as more workers get accustomed to the flexibility, it may end up being a trend that sticks around.

Kevin Crockett Realtor
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