Should Your HOA Be FHA Approved?

Should Your HOA Be FHA Approved? I recently dealt with an HOA where the HOA board debated on whether or not to renew their FHA approval. FHA will not make a loan on a building that isn’t approved. VA usually follow FHA. The approval process is in depth. FHA reviews the financial condition, the number of rentals, is in in a floor plain, is it properly insured, etc.

The approval must be updated and is good for two years. The board can start the renewal process six months prior to expiration and can go back within six months of expiration.

My efforts to persuade the board was based on the benefits to buyers:

There are two reasons that buyers use FHA: 1- to do a reverse mortgage 2- to have more lenient
mortgage underwriting. The prices in CRT and the size of the monthly dues virtually eliminates any FHA
buyers from using a typical 30 year mortgage to purchase here.
Benefit of FHA reverse mortgages to the HOA: STABILITY. People have to buy with about 50% down.
Using conventional financing it can be as low as 5%. With a reverse mortgage the lender will foreclose
on them if the HOA notifies the owner is delinquent on their HOA dues. The 50% down rule virtually
assures that you have an owner with a great deal at stake. The underwriting process gives reasonable
security that the buyer/borrower can pay their taxes and HOA dues with verifiable income.
FHA condo project requirements: The Building must be primarily residential, contain at least two
dwelling units – No more than 25% of the property’s total floor space in a project or unit can be used for
non-residential or commercial usage – No more than 10% can be owned by one investor or entity – no
more than 15% can be more than 60 days past due on their HOA dues – at least 75% of the units must
be owner occupied.

RE benefits for the building: 1- Demand – The more in demand a property is the more the value. Eliminating a source of financing
reduces the potential value. Mike Kline asked me to prove that FHA was a positive not a negative to CRT.
To me the way to measure that is value. The more in demand a property is the more the value.
Eliminating a source of financing reduces the potential value.
2- Restricting rentals: FHA does not encourage rental owners. The borrowers on reverse mortgages
must commit to owner occupancy. The HOA must account for the rental percent numbers which is one
of the main reasons for the two-year renewal process. Some of the buildings denied FHA have received
a denial because of too many rentals. Zion Summit and American Towers as an example.
3- Endorsement: Many knowledgeable buyers and/or their agents understand the FHA approval means
that important issues have been reviewed buy HUD. These would include too many rentals, a law suit on
the HOA, poor reserves, issues that might arise from the HOA meetings minutes, and any item they
consider a red flag.

The vote went 3 to 2 to renew. A homeowner and the HOA attorney made a different point that swayed the yes voters. That is, when times are tough having the ability for you to sell your home FHA may be critical.


Posted on September 9, 2018 at 11:01 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: Condominiums | Tagged ,

Sales Prevention Program #84: Sorry It’s Rented

It really is a bear of a situation, being an agent selling a home that is rented. Of course you want that income stream. The fact is that it will impede what is perhaps the right buyer from finding it.

In many cases it is worse on your pocket book to have it rented and for sale at the same time. I say this because the longer the home is on the market the more likely it will be that you lower the price. I don’t and won’t encourage that, but it is a fact.

In almost every price range and location there is competition. Your home isn’t the only one to choose from. If you throw any hurdle in the way of showing your home it is possible the right buyer might miss it. Maybe I should use the work probable, not possible. Rented homes almost always need appointments. Some renters don’t cooperate. Often the rule is at least 24 hour notice. There is one condo currently for sale in downtown Salt Lake City that only allows showings once a month. It’s pretty ridiculous to even have it on the market. In lesser extremes it’s still a problem.

Having your home presented for sale is important. I believe in staging it as practical as possible. I showed a home this week that was rented and kept in sloppy condition. Hey the renter doesn’t care, it wasn’t their home. Instead of staging this home was, shall we say, destroyed. In many cases the buying or not buying decision is made the minute they walk through the door. It is an emotional decision. To some buyers the condition affects the decision.

Sales Prevention Program #84: Sorry It’s Rented. Do you like snakes? I showed one rented home that had a python to greet you as you entered the living room? We did a fast exit out of the front door.  I wonder if the home ever sold.

We showed one home where the renter was present. Hey “no problem” they said. We were then treated to a clear explanation of everything that was wrong with the place.

Do you like smells of the unusual nature? We have been subjected to them. Renters rarely care, so there.

Of course it’s a financial situation. My suggestion, if you really want it sold, wait until the renter is gone to put it on the market.

Posted on May 14, 2018 at 7:44 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: Sales Prevention Programs | 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 | Category: Governors Plaza, Larry K Cragun, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Canyon Road Towers A Downtown Salt Lake Condo

Canyon Road Towers A Downtown Salt Lake Condo

Canyon Road Towers, Downton Salt Lake CIty, Utah, Real Estate

One of downtown Salt lake City’s Condominium’s that is very popular is Canyon Road Towers. Built in 1976 it still has residents that were original to the building. The mix of residents is eclectic with many newly wed living here. I live in Canyon Road Towers and appreciate the residents that live here. they are mostly professional or retired professionals. A few are recent graduates of the University of Utah. I find my neighbors friendly and welcoming.

Currently 3/28/18 there are 3 units for sale in Canyon Road Towers:

  • #710 for $350,000. A very nicely updated unit. One of the smaller versions of floor plans but a corner unit giving it a more spacious feeling. The view is to the North and East.
  • #409 for $399,000. A 3 BR corner unit facing South and East. This needs much updating, not a total redo.
  • #401 for $450,000. The most popular corner 3 bedroom facing West and North. This condo has been updated.

It’s close in location, near Temple Square and City Creek make it walkable in Salt Lake. Most shop at either Harmon’s of City Creek of Smiths in The Avenues.

Just up Canyon Road is the beautiful memory grove which local residents of The Avenues annually have a cleanup event that is well attended. This is a popular walking pedestrian park with ponds you sometimes see dogs cavorting and playing catch the stick with their owners.

Canyon Road Towers is at the West end of The Avenues and residents are encourage to attend and participate in the monthly community association meetings.

The neighborhood is inviting with City Creek Park and Brigham Young historic park abutting the tower. Views are evident from almost every unit, some looking to the beautiful Capitol view, some overlooking Temple Square and some with the city to the South.

The building has good amenities. There are two social rooms that can be reserved. The one below is a fairly recent remodel and is on the right as you enter the building. The pool you see below is long enough for the lap swimmer. There is a hot tub and sauna. There is a onsite tennis court. There is a tennis table room off the second social room. There is also a room with a billiard table. The third photo below is the entry.



Animals are not allowed and there is a rental cap of 25% maximum rented. The cap is currently near the maxim allowed.

The building is well managed, is managed professionally, with two full time employees maintaining the property. In the morning there is an onsite employee in the office off of the lobby. The building is secure.

At the time of writing this article there are two units listed for sale with one pending sale. The pending sale was only on the market two days.

The unit mix is from one to three bedrooms. The three bedrooms rarely come on the market. One three bedroom is being remodeled in preparation of being sold. The unit sizes range from about 920 square feet to 1300 square feet.

Many of the units have not been remodeled. I know this building well, have lived in it for three years. I see people loving it here as do my wife and I. We see people moving within the building to different units.

Home owners dues cover more than most in that they pay for all of the utilities, basic cable, and the normal maintenance condominiums must incur.

The zip code for this area is 84103. Come and take a look if you are in the under $300,000 price range.

 by Larry K Cragun, REALTOR®

Windermere Real Estate

4770 S 5600 West Valley City, UT84118

801-923-4765 URL of Map


Posted on March 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: Canyon Road Towers | Tagged , ,

Sales Prevention Program #81 Rent To The Wrong Person

Rent Wrong Person? (SEO Key) word_

Rent Wrong Person. I wanted Sales Prevention Program #81 Rent To The Wrong Person to post this today as it was a recent event.

Renting to the wrong person can be costly, and cost you a sale. For this reason often the wise thing to do to use a professional rental company to manage your property. I will post one I trust, RESE Property Management,  on the main page of this site.

The story is simple and the consequences costly. The owner in this story rented his nice home in Salt Lake City. He had a garage that was behind the home and really not visible from the street. The deal was that the garage was off limits to the new renter, it was full of valuable tools that he didn’t want messed with.

He decided to sell and was able to put the home under contract. The lender’s appraiser went to the home one early morning to do his research. When he opened the garage there were three sad looking men in sleeping bags. Nothing else was in the garage. All of his valuable tools were gone.

What turned out to be the facts is that the renter had sold off the tools, was renting the garage to each of these men, who were druggies, for $100.00 per week. He was taking in more than he was paying.

I don’t know how much research the owner did in approving this renter. I don’t know if he ran a credit report on the guy, or even a criminal report. I don’t know how often he went back to the property to inspect it. These are the types of things management companies do. The one I prefer,Rese Property Management has an interesting business model. Instead of hiring one full time person to manage numerous properties, they hire semi retired professionals and give them a smaller portfolio of homes to manage. This way he can get the services of high quality people and pay them enough per hour to have them appreciate the income. These managers are limited in what duties they are asked to perform. This way the employee is able to stay closer to the renters and the units. They have the time and the responsibility to regularly do physical on site inspections.

I quote this from their website about their approach: This solid foundation provides us with the platform from which to deliver an ever improving property management solution through a group of people who are converted to our distinctive business philosophy.

The goal of saving money by self management often turns out the way this story did, with a bad tenant, doing bad things, with savory people, with drugs, and as in this case going full out to avoid being evicted. Not a good story. This story muddies the sale of the home, and possibly has caused it to fall apart. F

I wonder how many of my readers are considering owning rental properties. Some people have mentioned they are concerned about having their money in the stock market. I have thought long and hard about how to answer folks, who ask my opinion. It is just an opinion but I do conclude that owning rental properties is a safer investment for those who do worry that the market is over valued and risky. However, this story illustrates a risk in owning.

Sales Prevention Program #81 Rent To The Wrong Person

SEO KEYWORD: Rent Wrong Person

Posted on February 27, 2018 at 5:46 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: Sales Prevention Programs | Tagged ,



2018 Salt Lake County Residential Real Estate Market Last Year Was the Fourth Best Year in Overall Home Sales and Biggest Year Ever for Multifamily Sales. By James Wood Ivory-Boyer Senior Fellow, Kem C. Garder Policy Institute, University of Utah Commissioned by the Salt Lake Board of Realtors ® Salt Lake County’s residential real estate market benefited from another year of strong demographic and economic growth and very favorable mortgage rates. For the sixth consecutive year the average mortgage rate was below 4 percent. Recap of 2017 A year-end snapshot of Salt Lake County’s real estate market compared to 2016 shows:® Single-Family Sales • 13,293 single-family homes sold, a slight decline of 3 percent. • The median sales price of a single-family home at $325,000, up 10 percent. • The value of single-family sales at $4.9 billion, an increase of 8 percent.
Multifamily Sales: (Condominium, Town Home and Twin Homes) • 4,500 multifamily units sold, up 4 percent. Biggest year ever in multifamily sales. • Median sales price of multifamily unit at $225,000, up 11 percent. • For the first time multifamily sales exceeded $1 billion dollars. Salt Lake City, West Jordan and Sandy are the Top 3 Cities for Highest Home Sales The combined sales in 2017 of single-family and multifamily homes in Salt Lake County totaled 17,804 units, the third highest year ever. Only during the two years preceding the Great Recession (2005-2006) and 2016 were residential sales higher Figure 1. Salt Lake City captured by far the largest share of residential sales activity with nearly a 25 percent share; a total of 4,213 homes, far ahead of other top ranked cities. The next four highest ranked cities in number of home sales were: West Jordan (1,796 homes), Sandy (1,617 homes), West Valley (1,499 homes) and South Jordan (1,437 homes).
The Median Income Can Still Afford 65% of the Homes Sold in Salt Lake County The median sales price of a single-family home in Salt Lake County increased by 10 percent in 2017, marking the sixth consecutive year of price increases Figure 2. Since 2011, the median sales price in Salt Lake County has increased by 50 percent, moving up from $216,431 to $325,000. Housing price increases in the county rank among the highest in the U.S.


Posted on February 19, 2018 at 6:52 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: Statistics | Tagged ,

Trolley Regent

Trolley Regent fits an interesting niche in the Salt Lake City Condo Market. As of this article there are no condominiums for sale here. Click this link for an update. Its location, 150 S 800 E has advantages. It’s close to the 4th South hub of businesses and the Trax stop. It is close to the U. It has great bus routes access. It is close enough to the University of Utah that a lot of owners purchased to be close to it. Some owners like to rent to students. I sold one unit here where the buyers were from out of State, had a son at the University, and wanted a place to stay when visiting him. Price was important to them and this range fit their budget.

This photo gives you an idea of the structure, 3 floors of units. The stairway goes up two flights and down 1/2 a flight. The lower level can seem dark inside which will drive the price down and conversely the upper floor has high ceilings and feels light and roomy.

Five units sold in the last year: $225,000 to $237,500 for the four 2 bedroom units and $270,00 for the 3 bedroom that sold. So prices are low enough to be meaningful. As mentioned there are none for sale at this time but usually there is one on the market.

The condo fees are very low comparatively to many Salt Lake City Condominiums: $150 for the 3 and $136 per month for the two bedrooms units.

Each unit has a small garage and their is plenty of not covered parking for a second car.

Although the 2 bedroom units seem small by size, 950 square feet +- the floor plans are such that you don not feel cramped. The kitchens are well designed and the living area is off the kitchen. I have never felt like these units were too small.

Trolley Regent was built in 1995.

Posted on February 19, 2018 at 6:26 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: Trolley Regent | Tagged , ,

Garden Towers In Downtown Salt Lake City

Garden Towers In Downtown Salt Lake City

One of the finer Salt Lake City Condominiums is Garden Towers. It is located close to Temple Square, City Creek, Parks, restaurants, TRAX, Memory Grove, and  walking trails. It is also just a few blocks to Salt Palace, Energy Solutions Arena, and The Gateway Mall. The address is 141 E 2nd Avenue 84103. As North Temple crosses State Street it becomes 2nd Ave.

Is there a Garden Towers unit for sale? Not always, click here to find out.

The unit mix consists of 1,2, and 3 bedroom units and Penthouses. Each unit has a private balcony except one penthouse unit which gained permission to close it in. An interesting point on doing this, is that as little as people use their balconies, they are an important factor in a resale.

The top floor, floor nine is divided into four penthouse units. They are at least 2500 square feet. Two of these have sold in the last 18 months or less. One sold for $625,000 the other sold for $450,000 and needed a complete make over.

The smallest that has been for sale is a one bedroom plus a den for $209,000.00 I showed it many times and it just wasn’t what people wanted. It had no view and probably should have been presented better, different wall paint and other staging type efforts.

One great part of Garden Towers is the rooftop garden. It’s a very nice summer feature. I have seen people reading books in the Gazebo and others just out enjoying the view from the park like roof setting.  You can BBQ at each corner of the roof, hold weddings there, or have a private conversation. Speaking views, some have great views, some do not. With most buyers, views are important as they are a possibility in many of the condominiums in downtown Salt Lake City.

Parking is ideal, each unit with at least one stall. It is secure, indoors and the stalls are spacious.

For those who want to purchase with an FHA reverse mortgage or buy with a low 3.5% down the complex is not FHA approved.

Monthly HOA fees range from $205 per month for the smaller units to $530 for the penthouse units. The HOA fees include water, sewer, garbage, and basic cable. It does not include electricity. The building owners manage the HOA themselves.

Like many of the nicer properties the HOA does not allow pets, and where some restrict rentals Garden Towers prohibits rentals.

They are building a website but at this moment it has not content. Its link is here:

Posted on February 13, 2018 at 7:54 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: Garden Towers | Tagged ,

Loan Qualifying Know How High You Can Go

Loan Qualifying: My first loan officer job was working for a major bank. I was thoroughly trained, on salary thank goodness, and then placed inside a large real estate office. Of course mortgage banks have standards for loan approvals. Generally you are working on income to house payment ratios and income to total debt payment ratios. There are other rules to deal with. When a loan officer tells you what you qualify for it is often a conservative number. Besides being safe on the commitment they have to be concerned what happens if interest rates rise while borrowers are out shopping.

No one wants a failure in a transaction because of a loan failure once in process.

Here is another consideration that I have found helpful. I have written that I consider that searching for a home us comparable to a treasure hunt. So what if the treasure is a little more expensive than originally budgeted or a little above the safe approval level?

When I was a loan officer I would respect both the borrowers budget wishes and the importance of being careful. However I had enough experience to take another step. I would tell my agent and usually the borrower to start looking at the low range of the qualifying. In addition I would figure an amount that I believed I could push them to. Often I would run it by an underwrite first to confirm the upper limits. With good credit, extra cash reserves, a higher down payment, or other factors the borrower can be stretched. My proposal is that they move up in price in $10,000 increments. That jump  often makes a big difference in what you get. Moving up in looking from lowest price to the upper limits often finds the treasure is in the higher range, even higher than originally considered.

After all it is a long term purchase, get the dream home folks.

Posted on February 9, 2018 at 9:51 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: Mortgages | Tagged ,

City Creek Properties (3)

The 3 properties built around City Creek Mall are:

Richards Court:

99 WeRichards Court’s 10-story reflects the first-class feel of the City Creek neighborhood. Incorporating traditional features with inspiring views of Temple Square gardens and the Wasatch mountains, residents are connected to the downtown landscape. design with open plan for entertaining, Nine-foot ceilings in living/dining areas (approximate). Elegant hardwood flooring in entries, hallways, kitchen and living areas. Gas fireplaces, Solid-core wood entry doors Open kitchen plan for casual dining and family gatherings with Solid-slab granite countertops with stylish tile backsplash, Under-cabinet lighting and full-extension drawer and cabinet pull-outs with “soft close” hardware. Luxurious Bathrooms with Slab marble countertops, Kohler®plumbing fixtures, faucets & cast-iron deep soaking tub. Porcelain tile bathroom floors with ceramic tile surrounds. Frameless European-style glass shower enclosure. Elegant lobby welcome you and your guests, Social Room with catering kitchen & fireplace for gatherings or meetings. Fitness Room with state-of-the-art exercise equipment. Two high-speed elevators in each building. Main entry intercom system direct to your home. Conveniently located trash chutes & Bicycle storage. LEED Gold certified from the U.S. Green Building Council, for sustainable design, construction, and operation and sustainable features like efficient energy and water use. Card access to residential lobbies, Controlled-access underground parking with assigned parking spaces & 2 owner storage units, Closed-circuit cameras at building and garage elevator entrances. Fire sprinklers and smoke alarms in all living and sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide detection system in parking garage. Private 415 sqft patio, this unit is the only condo that has direct access to the private garden terrace.

99 West:

LEED certified residential high rise right in the heart of the City Creek Development. These unique units include the only wrap around balcony on the 99 West building providing stunning panoramic views of the city! Perfectly situated to provide stunning views of the city, Temple Square, the beautiful Salt Lake valley, and majestic mountains on all sides. Located within steps of Temple Square, Abravanel Hall, the new Eccles Broadway-style theater, Vivint Smart Home Arena and an assortment of new and classic restaurants and shops, including City Creek Shopping Center. Enjoy the luxurious living, privacy, and prime location of this amazing 99 West Building right in the middle of downtown Salt Lake! LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient. They use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save money.

The Regent

SLC’s most contemporary high rise with 11′ floor to ceiling windows! City & Mountain views. 2 Parking spaces and 1 large storage unit / Fitness room, club room, event room & pool in the building. Just steps to shops, restaurants, arts & entertainment. Landscaped walkways with creek, waterfalls & fountains.

Click here to see what in these properties is currently for sale.

Posted on January 19, 2018 at 7:26 pm
Larry Cragun | Category: City Creek Condos | Tagged , ,