Matterport, What A Great Service

Technology advances can be wonderful. That comment especially applies to those of us who sell real estate. It used to be that my favorite invention of all time was GPS. For me it has saved me hours of extra time. Not wanting to look stupid or inconvenience my buyers I used to travel to all of the locations we would be visiting the day before, just to make sure I knew the route. GPS made navigating a breeze. (Of course the GPS on my iPhone is a step up as it even talks the directions to me as I go.) Now I discover matterport camera. Matterport, What A Great Service

Well, the matterport camera may have just taken over as my favorite. Here is the dollhouse view of Canyon Road Towers 401 and the dollhouse view it creates. Even this is amazing. From dollhouse you click on a room and you are taken there. You can move throughout the come as if you were right there.

The photo below shows a room view. You can travel throughout the home, see it all, by clicking your way through the home. It functions similar to Google Streets.


It also creates a to scale floor plan of the home. Don’t ask me how it does it, it seems impossible, but below is one of my listings plans that was created by matterport. How handy this is illustrated by a text I received this morning from the new buyer of Zion Summit 1004 who requested a floor plan to scale. Hot dog, where I often have to decline as they aren’t always available, he got this. I am still flabbergasted that this was created by a camera.

Here are some links to some of our most recent Mattterports

My guess, is that you will insist on this service whenever you put your home on the market. It is now another of the standard marketing tools I provide my sellers. It comes at a cost to me, but it is so worth it.

Here are two examples of the benefits because people can virtually walk through the home online. They see everything, ceiling to floor, wall to wall.

  • More people can see it. I have sent the link out to 100’s of my contacts. I am getting feedback that they love it. Two have been forwarded to people out of the country. One is telling me they approve an offer being made and they haven’t even seen it.
  • The second is a convenience factor. One negative thing is having people walk through your home day after day and hour after hour. Even when agents are instructed to give the seller a certain amount of notice it is not unusual to have someone knock on your door with, “I am sorry but my client wants to see it now?” Can we please do a last minute showing? Please, pretty please? What are you to say, you want to sell the darn thing. So many are just looky lou’s. Now they see it virtually on line before asking to see your home. The net result is that those that disturb you are pre qualified as to their interest.

Another Windermere marketing benefit is its international reach. We are a member of one of the premier international marketing sharing groups who have a world wide reach of buyers. This is accompanied by our Living Magazine which is targeted to local and out of our market qualified buyers.

I am committed to my clients and welcome the opportunity to assist you.

Larry Cragun – Windermere Real Estate

Condominium and Residential Specialist

Posted on April 19, 2018 at 8:48 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Featured Properties, Vendors I Recommend, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged ,

Interest Rates Have Risen Some, What Does That Mean?

Interest Rates Have Risen Some, What Does That Mean? Of course when an in, terest rises the monthly payment on a loan or mortgage also rises. What is the actual impact? In my case, maybe yours too, my spouse would grumble as she closely watches the monthly payment commitment amount that we make.

Aaron Morgan, a preferred mortgage lender by some builders, many REALTORS®, and myself provides a chart to help visualize the impact of a rate increase. I provide here a snippet from that chart.

So, on a $300,00 mortgage a 1/4 % rise in interest rates is almost $50.00 per month. Yes, that an ouch but beyond that what impact can that have on your new purchase?

Does it keep you from buying the home you have targeted? The answer is not usually. It can push the ratios too high to comply with the automated underwriting approval that lenders begin with in  issuing an approval. In the many years that I originated loans I rarely was in a situation where we were pushing the maximum to the point a small rise in interest rates killed the transaction. My advice is if you are in a situation that is so borderline, do all you can do to get to the point where you can lock your rate in.

There are two ratios that lenders consider. The first is  your income vs your house payment and the second ratio adds your monthly debt payments to your housing costs vs your income. Sometimes paying of debt, or getting the payment reduced is a way to counteract the effect of an interest rate rise. A third way to deal with this issue is to buy your interest rate down. The is never just one rate you can secure. All lenders have the ability to select a rate that costs you more in fees to get a lower rate. Sometimes this is the best way to lower your payment.

People resist adjustable rate mortgages but Aaron currently has an excellent 7 year adjustable rate mortgage. It’s probable that you spend less money on a 7 year adjustable if you keep it for 9 or 10 years. This lowers your  payment for at least 7 years and can be refinanced during that period should it be your desire.

We have been in a historical and artificial low rates period. In past times rates being higher were accaptable. My first home purchase was at a 10.625 rate. As rates went down I refinanced.

Treat interest rates as just a fact of life. Don’t expect to lock at the bottom. It isn’t worth the stress. Don’t get sucked into low rate advertising. Deal with a lender referred by a real estate agent. In my case I recommend Aaron Morgan. He’s dependable and if you use my name you won’t get any special deals, but use it anyway. Aarons phone number is 801-560-8162





Posted on April 18, 2018 at 9:04 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Mortgages, Vendors I Recommend |

Zillow Zaps Buyers Brains

Zillow Zaps Buyers Brains, where is Zorro when you need him?

We have been riding the valley for the perfect home, not to be found. It’s been two years from listing to listing. Then it’s offer accepted then dang, it’s off the market, seller decides he’s not a seller. Buyer confounded, disappointed, and discouraged. A year later the seller still not willing and the buyer can’t find the perfect home.

Whoopee, we find it. Preparations being made to offer full price. Buyer  is ready to tackle the world, oh joy. Then neighbor gets involved, says lets look at Zillow. Buyers brain becomes messed up, fried you might say. Help I say, where the heck is help, perhaps it’s time for Zorro to the rescue, I need some help. The price offered is $685,000 and Zillow Zestimate says its worth $459,000. Zap and damn. Buyers brain is zapped, but only for a few moments. I show them facts that we have from data in the MLS. The home is priced right.

Similar to Zorro can be facts not Zillow fiction. Zestimates are admitted fiction. Founder Rich Barton was on a Seattle television interview with writer and agent Larry Cragun. He admitted that the Zestimate is just an estimate. He stated it could be as much as 13% off. This in a State where County records record the sales price.

Utah is a non disclosure state. As such the sales prices are not recorded and published by the Counties. Therefore the Zesimate is zapping peoples brains when they publish values. This Zestimate was off by over double Barton’s admitted 13%.

The buyer came to me excited and confused. “This looks like a great home but it’s a bit overpriced”. “It is I say, how much overpriced”? “Well maybe a couple of hundred thousand dollars he says”.

Now my brain is fried.

There is a secondary Zillow issue. Zillow lets any agent become the expert in a zip code, expert or not. They only need to pay the price to buy that zip code. Experts aren’t always hungry to pay for leads. I don’t. So when someone searches on Zillow they may end up with just any old agent, even one quite hungry for business, even a new agent. That’s not the way to pick your agent. Doing so, you once again may need the help of Zorro.

Larry Cragun – Windermere Real Estate

over 25  years in the real estate and mortgage industry.


Posted on April 14, 2018 at 6:27 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Purchasing A Home or Condo, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged

Seniors – Is Your Current House The Right House?

Seniors – Is Your Current House The Right House?

For some this may open up an exciting new dream. The ideal person is over 62, home free and clear, healthy, and willing to dream about the yes, “dream home”.

In Salt Lake City it is pretty impossible to find a decent home for $300,000.00. There are first time home buyers out there scouring the new listings for such a home. Sadly, when one comes on the market so many are after this home multiple offers are the norm. So instead of finding the $300,000 home  you are in a bidding war against what can be 30 competitors. Good bye to the $300,000 hope. Tooele County is the 7th fastest growing County in the US. Why is that? Prices. You get more for the money over there. However, my experience is that many won’t live there. So buyers remain renters in many cases. In others, they luck out and win the bidding war.

OK, lets say that you own such a home. Is this home really the right home for you? Does it take more yard care than you want? Is it a multiple level home and you are tired of stairs? Have you been online or to the Parade of Homes and dreamed of a new home, even a home you can’t afford?

Well, dream on senior citizen. Your current house, free and clear, can launch you into a new dream house with no new house payments. What? Yep!

First, take a look at what you can purchase for between $550,000 and $650,000, click here. These are all single level living homes.

So how do I pull this off for you with no payments. It’s with a government program for senior citizens. The program allows those 62 or older to put about 1/2 down and forego any mortgage payments. The older you are, the less you put down. For example: age 70 puts less down, 44.9%.

Because the program is not the norm, the common immediate reaction is NO, this isn’t for me. I suggest that if you do have a dream of a different home, open your minds to this program. I can help you decide if this is actually right for you. I can help you over your questions. I believe in this program. To me, it’s a wonderful solution for many, very many.

Seniors – Is Your Current House The Right House? It might not be. I can help you figure this out. 

Larry Cragun – Windermere Real Estate

Residential and Condominium Professional.

Posted on April 11, 2018 at 7:10 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Mortgages, Reverse Mortgages | Tagged

Featured Property of The Month of April

Featured Property: Featured Property of The Month of April. This is a new category for me here in Utah where I pick out one property that is either unique or of a great value, even one that stands out to myself or my wife Kathleen. It was popular when I was licensed in Washington State and writing about Issaquah. Those featured won’t always be my own listings as is this April featured property.



Note that you can virtually walk through this unit online by clicking here

Introducing you to 241 North Vine Street #1004, as in the 10th floor with a North view of Zion Summit. I have other listings but this one is so unlike any that come up for sale that I want to focus on it.

What makes it rare?

  • It is a 3 bedroom 3 bath unit. One of the bedrooms has been more of an office. You could actually have his or hers offices here, or make one of them a studio. Three bedroom units of this size are rarely on the market. Three bedrooms of any size are uncommon.
  • It has 3 parking stalls. Most downtown condos have 1 stall, a few have two but not many.
  • It has 2 storage units. Most downtown condos have 1 storage unit.
    • The second storage unit is actually a large 14 x 17 room, with electrical outlets. It could be a shop or be used in any number of ways.
  • It’s large, 2150 square feet.
    • Check the price per square foot vs others on the market to see the value.
  • The master bedrooms are on the opposite sides of the condo. Note the floor plan attached.
  • It has an open view to the North, with the Capitol.

Zion Summit is unique with extra large social room, a TV room, and a nice gathering room. It is secure and the parking is in the building (underground) and most stalls are quite spacious. The location is perfect for those wanting to be close to City Creek, Temple Square, Trax, and downtown action. It has an outdoor pool, has full time on site management and maintenance staff, and has secure access. Zion Summit is a twin tower, 13 stories high, set above the LDS Conference Center.

I think the buyer will want the touch of an interior designer unless the buyer is flush with books, as are the current owners. The home is a second, actually now a third home, and the sellers are disposing of this one.

Again, you can actually do a virtual walk through by clicking this link: 

The doll house view gives this view. You can walk through each room, down the halls, and out the deck, all on line. From the doll house view you can jump to a particular room instead of virtually walking around the condo. This view can be selected and moved around.

Here is a shot we took off of the deck. This was built as one of the 12 double sized units, so it has two north facing decks. Out on the decks the views are actually panoramic. 

Photos of the shop/storage room:

There are 62 photos (including 2 of the parking stalls) in the MLS #1486115  or click here.

The floor plan view: The masters are on each side of the condo. Great for sharing.

Posted on April 9, 2018 at 6:49 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Featured Properties, Zion Summit |

Six Popular Downtown Salt Lake City Condominiums

Six Popular Downtown Salt Lake City Condominiums. There are more and I have links to many on this site and more coming. But I call these the “big six” because I find them the most popular with my buyers.

I number these on the map from 1 to 6 and they are as follows:

  1. Zion Summit
  2. Canyon Road Towers
  3. American Towers
  4. Trevi Towers
  5. 3 City Creek Properties
  6. Parc Gateway

Two additional good options on smaller buildings is 1- Terrace Falls is on the street behind Canyon Road Towers, (on 3rd ave) and is also a good option.  Click here for info and search on Terrace Falls: Terrace Falls – 158 E 3rd Ave – Click Here

and 2- Garden Towers which is next to Canyon Road Towers: Click here Garden Towers – 141 E 2nd Ave – Click Here

Below the photo are links to commentary and the ability to quickly search for listings that are currently for sale in these properties. When clicking those links the search results will possibly include nearby condos of similar details.

Posted on April 5, 2018 at 8:28 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in American Towers, Canyon Road Towers, City Creek Condos, Condominiums, Terrace Falls, Trevi Towers, Zion Summit | Tagged

Why Larry Cragun Why Windermere Real Estate

About Larry Cragun Windermere Real Estate I write this post to share why I believe I am a great choice for you to use to find your home or condo. Thus the title Why Larry Cragun Why Windermere Real Estate.

The not too long ago photo includes my talented wife Kathleen. She is an important partner in my real estate practice. She has been an award winning and magazine published interior designer during her business career, and considered to be the best designer in whatever firm she worked for or whomever she performed her magic for. She brings to my clients an important eye on how to best present your home for sale. She is an important second opinion on home values, understanding that value is based on more than the square foot of the home. Having Kathleen as my partner is your asset.

I have over 30 years of experience in this industry, including owning one of the largest mortgage companies in Washington State, which I sold prior to the housing crash. Understanding financing is a big asset for my clients.

I am one of the most successful condo focused agents in Salt Lake City. I understand the market. I understand value. I understand the benefits one building vs another. I have sold condos from Draper and Daybreak to North Ogden.

Also, selling condominiums is not like selling homes. Their are sometimes hidden risks not all agents can spot. An important issue is what does FHA think of the property. Is it FHA approved? If not why not? There are many things to understand and many things an agent needs to help you evaluate. I am good at this.

Last year I closed on a condo in Governors Plaza. The buyer came to me off of my website: She had been doing research and as I mentioned the condo product that was available out there she seemed to know they weren’t what she was looking for. She mentioned that she really liked Governors Plaza. Nothing listed matched her wishes. So I went to work looking for something not currently on the market and found the right one. It was perfect for her. It took a bit of price negotiating with the seller but all went down just fine.

This buyer is another example of my approach to this business. She was defensive when we first spoke on the phone. She had talked with other agents she felt were high pressure, were trying to immediately lock her down as their client. Sensing this resistance I shared my philosophy, “if it isn’t working between us, no problem”. I won’t try and contract you with a buyers contract, except when we make the offer and it will only be on that specific property, which contract is required by Utah law. Mutual respect is the rule I try and follow and look for.

All of this was while I was licensed with MediaOne Real Estate, a subsidiary of The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. In January we learned that Windermere Utah had purchased MediaOne Real Estate. At first I, as were my colleagues, were extremely concerned about what this meant for us and our clients. The concern quickly turn to excitement. Their marketing power is unlike any brokerage I have been licensed with in my entire real estate career. I began to realize that I  had more to offer to buyers and sellers than before, and in fact I suggest I have more to offer now than my competition. Take for example the Matterport Camera Windermere just purchased. It provides the current internet shopper, which are the majority of shoppers the ability to actually walk through the home on line, with a beginning overhead view of the floorplan. It is amazing. I am currently scheduling filming with each of my listings to include a Matterport show for my sellers. List with me and you will have a fabulous tool to share, and for me to market with. It is at a cost to me, but man is it worth it. Here is a sample: .

If we meet I will share many other things we have at our disposal for you, such as the Living magazine Windermere publishes to high end and other targeted potential buyers.

To buyers, besides Matterport, besides our terrific search on my site, I have special tools to assist you. For example neighborhood news advertised at the bottom of my website. Subscribing here will provide you a monthly report by zip code of every on home or condo on market, under contract, and sold in that zip code, that month. You receive that report as long as you desire. Pretty cool for sure.

I love helping people with their real estate needs, as do most in this business. It’s a very satisfying career and I am glad to have come out of retirement to enjoy it again. I am pretty state of the art with technology, started a dotcom, am about to have a company publish an app I designed, and am grateful for finding a cool niche in Utah. I look forward to assisting some of you.

Larry Cragun – Windermere Real Estate

Residential and Condominium professional.



Posted on April 3, 2018 at 8:31 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Governors Plaza, Larry K Cragun, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

It’s Not Good, Being A Lead

It’s Not Good, Being A Lead. Did you know that when you fill out a form that makes you a lead that the sales person on the other side of that computer looks like this? They pay for leads when they are hungry for business. Did you also know that some lead generators sell  your name over and over and over and over. How would you like to encounter four of these blokes?

It’s much better to have a friend in the computer. One you get to know, no pressure. By watching and reading you get to know them. You like their style. You know them. You haven’t even met them, but you like them. They know their stuff. They come recommended. Go ahead, you pick them and you aren’t a lead.

This is the main purpose of this blog. It is for me to have a chance to become your friend in the computer. I have had several over my career and it’s a great experience. The first one came as we were helping a disabled neighbor move to a new home in Reno, Nevada. Kathleen and I were having breakfast at our hotel and I received this call. “Hi Larry, this is Teresa. I have just got to talk with you, you have been my friend in the computer for months”. Teresa and I became great friends, she became a client.

My goal is to post interesting enough content that we too become friends. I will try to mix it up yet be consistent. Kathleen is a great photographer. I will enlist her to add her touch to this blog. She is a great asset.

You are welcome to let me know if there are subjects you would like me to touch on. In the meantime, don’t be a lead, choose the route you have control over, pick a friend in the computer, one you got to know before you spoke with them. Hopefully with a few of you, I get to be your friend.

Posted on April 2, 2018 at 9:19 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Purchasing A Home or Condo |

Please Follow This Advice On Using A Lender

Please Follow This Advice On Using A Lender.Use a lender that works closely with your (or on a refi with) real estate agent.

I worked with a loan officer that took pride in charging too much, even on her sister. I have seen loans messed up by fresh loan officers that were neighbors or friends. I have had to step and help people with loans going south from the internet companies. For example, the biggie you hear on the radio was not honoring a rate they had promised. I looked at the paperwork and after threatening to help the client go to the Attorney General they miraculously honored their commitment.

A loan officer from a major bank lied to his borrower about today’s rate, it was so low it was unbelievable. That loan officer didn’t tell the client clearly they were getting a five year adjustable rate.

These types gave the industry such a bad rap that the FEDs stepped in and crunched much of what was going on. Even considering this, much can go wrong to mess up  your closing. In fact, the new rules has made it even trickier regarding closing on time. So much goes into properly completing a loan that you just do not want to mess around.

Think about this: who has the most to lose by poor performance, the person doing your loan who found you from an advertisement or the one who got you from an real estate agent that brings them 4 or many more loans per year?

You cannot assume it will be a slam dunk, under any conditions. Today I was told my a lender I recommend and trust that a borrower/buyer on a real estate purchase I am the agent on probably won’t qualify. This buyers situation is so complicated that for sure it is doubtful that he will be able to be approved within the timelines he is committed to. This on the ball loan officer took the tax returns directly to the underwriter for an opinion. I needed to know this immediately not days down the road. We could  have assumed this would be a slam dunk as the buyer at first was talking about paying cash. Often, and all too often, a sloppy loan officer gets you close to closing before you find out the scary news. Like a manager of John L Scott real estate once told me about lenders, “I hate that so often it’s they qualify, they qualify, they qualify and just before  we are supposed to close it’s oops they really don’t qualify”.

I feel so strongly about this that as a sellers agent I look very closely at this issue. For example, I was informed yesterday that one of my listings has an offer coming in from an out of state buyer. My first question was is she using a local lender that you are familiar with? The buyers agent said no, she is using one from her state, her bank. My response was plan on a counter offer as we likely won’t accept that. We will expect her to use a lender that you have a repeat business relationship and because of the new federal rules we also want to make sure that lender has an approved by them relationship with the title company.

How can I effectively persuade you that you become the priority when you work with a lender that is getting repeat business from the real estate agent? I ask you again, please take my advice. Please recognize my experience in your behalf.

Posted on April 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Mortgages | Tagged ,

A Time And Place For A Reverse Mortgage

I am posting this article because there is a place for reverse mortgages that can be a situation saver. Time Place Reverse Mortgage

There was a period of time that reverse mortgages were sold in a way that they harmed people. This resulted in a lot of negative press and word of mouth. They aren’t the cheapest loan to obtain when it comes to the cost to obtain one.

However, there are definite situations where a reverse mortgage is a life saver. Here are a few examples.

1- Problem: Three siblings, all over 62, have inherited their parents home. Two of them are living in the home and don’t want to sell or move. The third sibling wants them to sell or in some way come up with her share of the homes value. As things are with the two occupying the home there is no way to do that. There seems to be no acceptable solution.

Reverse Mortgage to the rescue: The home is free and clear. The siblings living in the home can secure a reverse mortgage to pull the cash out for their sister. It is even possible that the two living in the home still have the ability to receive a monthly payment from the reverse mortgage.

2- Problem: A retired couple has a rental home with a small mortgage on it. (About 25% of its value) They also have a line of credit on a home they purchased to be there principle place of residence. They are thinking that they need to sell the rental property but doing that only pays off a portion of their total debt. There isn’t enough equity to bring them free and clear, void of all monthly mortgage payments. They wish to relieve themselves of any monthly payments.

Reverse Mortgage to the rescue: When they sell the rental property it leaves them short of being debt free. However, they aren’t that short. Their cash receives will pay off the rental and significantly pay down their primary residence. This amount of equity allows a reverse mortgage to pay off the loan on their primary residence and would even provide monthly income for the rest of their lives.

3- Problem: A senior coupe is renting. Their cash reserves are such that they do not want to part with the amount that it would take to buy the home they want and have no mortgage. Having no monthly payments would be a relief.

Reverse Mortgage to the rescue: Depending on their ages it might be less, but a reverse mortgage only requires the couple to put half down.(this is an approximate) The older the youngest of the couple is the less they put down.  Yes, I said that, no monthly payments.

Many times I have mentioned reverse mortgage to a senior friend. Most of the time they quickly reject the thought. There is much misinformation in peoples minds.. The feds stepped in a few years ago to curb the abuse that hit many. Truly, there are times when the best solution and maybe the only solution for folks was a reverse mortgage.

There are a lot of questions to ask that I don’t cover here. Contact me and I will help you figure them all out to see if it is the answer for you, a friend, or a family member. I can refer you to a dependable reverse mortgage specialist.

Posted on March 30, 2018 at 7:42 pm
Larry Cragun | Posted in Mortgages, Reverse Mortgages | Tagged