Salt Lake City is becoming the new New York neighborhood, but without the hefty price tag and the mass amounts of residents. According to a survey by Realtor.com, Salt Lake City is the No. 1 “Trendiest U.S. City Where You Can Still Afford to Buy a Home”. The survey focused on a few criteria, including number of food hot spots, bike shops, yoga studios, cultural outlets, and populations of 25- to 34-year olds. Along with the numerous trendy spots in the city, the affordability of new homes in Salt Lake City is staggering compared to home prices in other parts of the nation. Median home prices in Salt Lake County are around $248,000, and job opportunities abound in this area. A 2016 economic report found that Utah had the strongest job growth in the nation from 2014 to 2015, luring everyone from young millennials branching out to tech companies looking to make their mark in this trendy city. There are several neighborhoods in the valley that combine trendiness, family values, and affordability to create the perfect areas to buy a new home in Salt Lake City.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or moving into a larger space, you have probably thought about designing your own house. Before you break out the blueprints, though, you should weigh the pros and cons of custom design against purchasing a pre-built home.
Custom Time FactorBuilding a custom home is time-consuming and requires you to stay in your current home or find another living arrangement during construction. This is great if you can do this, but sometimes you have to sell your current home to afford the new one. A pre-built home is move-in ready so you won’t have to rent an apartment or stay with friends or family for the duration of construction.
Building CostsIf you custom design your own home, you get to create it to your exact specifications. However, you also pay individually for materials, including the ones needed to ensure the house is up to current environmental and building codes. It could get more expensive if you factor in any changes you make during the process. Companies who design and build new homes “in bulk” usually get a discount on materials, meaning you could see cost savings in the purchase price.
A Sense of CommunityIf you like the feeling of moving into a well-established community where your kids can ride their bikes with friends or walk to school, a pre-built home will likely have been built in exactly this type of neighborhood. On the other hand, if you like space and want a larger yard or a bit of distance between you and the city, a custom home allows you to purchase as much or as little land as you want and be as far away from city traffic as you’d like. Whether you choose to design a home to your specifications or to purchase one that is already built but never lived in, each offers its own pros and cons. Either way, be sure to contact a reputable company such as Hamlet Homes to avoid costly mistakes.
Buying a brand new home is an exciting endeavor. When working with a home builder, you have the power of design and style right at your fingertips. You’ll want to make sure your home builder is a good match for all of your new home wants and needs. Knowing which questions to ask yourself before committing to a home builder is a great idea because you’ll find out what you want, and what you want out of your new home builder. Read through our list of questions to help you get started in finding the perfect new home builder for you.
Do your needs match their offerings?This question will help put together your own list of wants and needs from your home. Gather up all of your must-have list items like budget, building materials, neighborhoods, timelines, building processes, and so forth. Once you have all of this information laid out, you can compare and contrast your list with the home builders in your area. You can quickly cross off some and highlight others based on how well your needs match their offerings.
Does your design aesthetic mesh with theirs?While there may be some leeway in terms of design, most home builders typically have a specific style and aesthetic design that they stick to from house to house. If your dream home looks like a contemporary modern work of art, then you may need to cross off any home builders who create rustic or traditional homes. Make sure your home builder has work in his or her building portfolio that includes elements of your dream design. That way, there’ll be no surprises down the line when you have a specific design in mind.
Are past home-buyers happy?The Internet has allowed for easier information finding, and that definitely includes reviews. Search through online directory listings for home builders in your area to see what past customers have to say about the home building process and their experience. Home builder websites also highlight specific testimonials as well, so you can get a feel for what their past customers thought. Many home-builders also offer past home buyer referrals, so you can ask them your own questions. We recommend focusing on past home-buyer’s overall experiences when doing your research.
Are they licensed and insured?This standard question may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many builders claim to be licensed and insured. Better to be safe than sorry and ask prospective builders about the insurance they carry and any licenses they have. This will ensure that you’re covered from day one of home construction.
Can you tour model homes?This is the deciding vote for most when searching a home builder. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few builders, make sure you can tour past homes that they’ve built. Seeing them in person will enable you to more closely inspect the quality of craftsmanship that goes into the build, as well as the elements of design that you’re after. Hopefully this list of questions will get you started on the right foot in your search for your new home builder. Every builder will have some pros and cons, so be sure to carefully weigh what matters most to you before making your final decision.
Do you have your dream home already designed in your mind? We know most people do, and there is a lot to think about in terms of what turns a house into a home. Look, style, gated community, neighborhood, schools, and so on; the list is a lengthy one. Most new home-buyers would rank ‘neighborhood’ as a very important factor when thinking of buying a new home. Some areas may have a few of your items checked off, but not all. Maybe it’s close to great schools and shopping, but the neighborhood is less than ideal. A gated community allows home-buyers great options, safety, and amenities in a way that standard neighborhoods cannot.
Safety in a Gated CommunityA gated community lets you live your life at ease because of its many inherent safety features. There is a reduced amount of traffic, so children are free to be themselves and roam the neighborhood without fear of heavy or reckless traffic. The reduced traffic will also allow for a quieter neighborhood, offering more peace and relaxation in your home. The amount of solicitors will also be fewer in a gated community. Because of the gates, solicitors are generally discouraged to enter, so you can live life uninterrupted.
Lifestyle in MindMost gated communities have stricter policies that residents must abide by to live there. Similar to HOA regulations, residents typically have to keep their home and surrounding property up to certain standards. This will ensure that your neighborhood looks beautiful and well-kept year round. Many gated communities also feature golf courses, tennis courts, or other amenities not available in a standard neighborhood. Some offer coordinated activities and clubhouses, so your family can stay active and make new friends in the community. The Highland Court community in Holladay, Utah features the expansive Murray Park, just three miles from the neighborhood. The park has a large outdoor amphitheater, playing fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, walking trails, picnic tables, and the popular Aquatic Center with a mega-slide. This park also hosts a weekly farmer’s market during the summer months, and multiple golf courses are within a five-mile radius of Highland Court. Photo Use By Jere Keys If you want a safe, beautiful, relaxing environment to call home, a gated community might be just the ticket. Hamlet Homes offers a variety of gated neighborhoods in many areas of the Salt Lake Valley. Call us today for more information on your new Utah home!
New homes with ‘green’ features are all the rage these days. Whether it be a solar panel installation or composting in your backyard, many home owners are going eco-friendly to save money and the environment. You’ve probably heard of the most common ways to green-up your new Utah home, but innovation continues to allow for new and exciting ways to help the environment right from your home. These are four innovative ways to make your Utah home eco-friendlier.
Use Rainwater for Outdoor WateringGarden Gate magazine has proclaimed ‘there’s money falling from the skies!’, and we have to agree. Harnessing the power of rainwater is a great way to go green. You can use this otherwise unused water to irrigate and water your garden. You’ll be saving water, money, and preparing for a possible drought situation. Go you!
Install Smart SurfacesAs noted in the Bob Vila blog, smart surfaces look just like the real thing, but made with eco-friendly products. Surfaces like Paperstone, Sqauk Mountain Stone, Richelite countertops are made with materials from post-consumer recycled materials, and never emit high levels of volatile organic compounds. Don’t just stop at your countertops though. Eco-friendly butcher blocks, carpets, and wood floors are gaining popularity too, all made from recycled products.
Use Draft Stoppers to Keep Heat or Cool Air IndoorsDon’t let your expensive heating and air drift outside; you work hard to pay those utility bills! An inexpensive solution to this problem is draft stoppers. They come in a variety of colors, patterns and styles, and work hard at keeping your climate control in check. Not only will you be saving energy, but the money saved on utility bills can go towards that new Utah home project you’ve been putting off.
Innovative Smart InsulationThere are new and exciting ‘green’ insulation options for every budget and home. These insulation materials are made from recycled materials, and are usually very flame retardant. This new wave eco-friendly insulation offers supreme moisture and heat resistance, great acoustics, and protection against mold and pests. When designing your new Utah home, see if you can utilize more green building materials to save energy, and money in the long run. Photo use by Nicolas Raymond and Aqua Mechanical
Everyone who lives in or around the Salt Lake valley knows that Utah is a very special place. With more and more people moving here every year, apparently the secret is getting out. But there are still a few hidden gems in the area that the locals love. From hikes and drives to delicious meals, these are our favorite best kept secrets in Salt Lake City.
The Secret Living Room HikeIf you want to get an all expansive view of the Salt Lake valley, the Living Room Hike is for you. The trail-head is close to the University of Utah, and is a fairly quick hike with moderate difficulty, due to the quick elevation gains. Around .85 miles in, the valley views will start to make an appearance. Around the 1.3-mile mark, you’ll see the fabled Living Room, a slab of sandstone rocks that look strikingly like a cozy bench. Take a friend, or enjoy the views alone. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. Photo use by PilotGirl
Redwood Drive in TheaterThere’s nothing more nostalgic than a night at the drive in theater to catch a double feature with friends and family. The secret Redwood Drive In is located in West Valley, and is a great way to unwind and see the latest flicks. Check their website for show times and screenings.
Lake BlancheThe Lake Blanche trail is 6.9 miles out and back, featuring stunning waterfall and peak views that would make a postcard jealous. The secret hike is more on the difficult side, so be prepared to work a little extra to earn those stunning landscape views. The trail is open from June to October, and the blooming wildflowers during the summer months are not to be missed. Photo use by Owen Xu
Pat’s BBQFeatured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Pat’s BBQ is not to be missed. Their famous dry rub barbeque won Best of State in 2012, and they were named Best Comfort Food by Salt Lake Magazine. Their famous burnt ends are a crowd pleasure, and you can even take home their award winning dry rub so you can relive that tasty barbeque experience. Perfect for families or just a casual meal out with friends, Pat’s BBQ has all the comforting southern flavors you’d expect from a home-town barbeque joint.
Mirror Lake HighwayThis is technically not in Salt Lake City, but actually near Kamas, a little town just 40 minutes east of the valley. The Mirror Lake Highway is a secret outdoor gem in the midst of many growing cities, you might think you’re in rural Canada instead of Utah. The highway follows the Provo River and climbs to over 10,000 feet at Bald Mountain Pass. There’s little to no cell service out there, and that’s one of the reasons it’s so majestic. Connect with nature and drive through the breathtaking surroundings that Utah has to offer. Hiking and overnight camping is also available for a small fee. The highway is typically open June through October depending on snowfall, so check the roads before starting your excursion. Photo use by Andrey Zharklkh
Em’s RestaurantIf you’re looking for a secret outdoor dining this spring and summer, don’t miss Em’s Restaurant. Em’s is located in a restored old brick building, with character and charm to go with the farm-to-table dining they are famous for. This eatery is a local favorite in the Capital Hill neighborhood, with a constantly changing menu depending on what’s in season locally. Listed as one of USA Today’s 10 Best outdoor dining options in Salt Lake City, Em’s is perfect for Sunday brunch, a casual family lunch, or a romantic dinner.
There are a lot of options available when it comes to mixing textures and styling your new Utah home. From paint colors and carpeting to furniture and décor, the combinations are virtually endless. It’s easy to get carried away with color and design, and before you know it, your house looks like something out of a Dr. Sues story. To keep things simple, elegant, and tasteful, review our tips on the best ways to mix textures and patterns in your new Utah home.
Texture Patterned RugA creative patterned rug can act as the perfect focal point for any room in your home. Firstly, choose a rug that coexists with the dominate colors in the room of choice. It’s best to choose a rug that contains at least one or two of these room colors, so they will harmonize more easily. If your room has a lot of boldness already, like a vibrant paint color, you can still bring some new texture to the room with a rug, without making it compete for color. Try finding a neutral colored rug with a large graphic displayed, to tie a whole room together with ease and style.
Unique Elements of ArchitectureIf you’re designing your new Utah home from scratch, you’ll be able to choose what kind of architecture will go into your home. Unique and eye catching architectural elements can add more texture to your living space in a subtle way. A defined entryway with textured trim can add visual appeal and a beautiful entrance to any room. You can also get creative with your walls and design decorative molding. Design the molding to look similar to picture frames on the wall, where you can highlight artwork, photos, or molding itself.
Window DressingsYour windows can do more than just let the breeze in. Thoughtfully chosen drapes or curtains can add great style to your home. If you want to add some subtle dimension to a room, a small and more neutral print like tiny dots or symbols works great. For a louder statement, particularly if the rest of the room is more on the neutral side, a brightly colored curtain or a large graphic print could be the visually stunning focal point you’re looking for. If the room has any patterns on the bedding or furniture, consider sticking with a solid colored window dressing, so as not to cause any color or pattern clashes.
Moderation is KeyErica Islas, owner of EMI Interior Design in Los Angeles, gave the Chicago Tribune a few tricks to decorating a home with texture. The one point she emphasized over and over again? Avoid mixing too much texture with too much pattern. You may feel the urge to go wild and include every print and color you’ve fallen in love with, but be sure to keep a strong editing eye when selecting your textures and patterns. A few carefully chosen patterns mixed in with a mostly neutral room will add eye catching dimension and will give your home a finished look. Just make sure the room’s patterns aren’t competing with each other.
Spring has just about sprung in Utah, and the days of letting the snow take over our front yards are over. Any Salt Lake City home can have a great sense of curb appeal with just a few tweaks and projects. These five simple tips will have your home’s exterior looking more welcoming, intriguing, and attractive in no time.