What is a mortgage pre-approval?
In a nutshell, a mortgage pre-approval is written assurance from a lender or broker that you’re able to borrow money to purchase a home up to a certain amount. It’s based on the income, employment and asset documentation you supply at the time of application, in conjunction with your credit history. So let’s look at reasons you should get pre-approved.
- It carries more weight than a “pre-qualification”.
A pre-approval differs from a pre-qualification. With the former, the lender has actually checked your credit and verified your documentation to approve a specific loan amount (usually for a particular time period such as 30, 60 or 90 days). A pre-qualification can be useful as an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on your home, but it’s a less accurate indicator of your ability to purchase. A pre-approval always carries more weight.
- You’ll know how much house you can afford.
Getting pre-approved before you begin house hunting allows you to know how much house you can realistically afford. Knowing this narrows down the options and makes the selection process more efficient. Not to mention, it protects you from the unpleasant surprise of realizing the home you fell in love with doesn’t fit your budget.
- It adds clout to your offer.
In the Salt Lake housing market, at this time there is a shortage of inventory in properties priced below $450,000, and often we are experiencing multiple offers of homes. Although, not as common in the higher price ranges, on well priced homes, it is also possible to have two or more competitive offers. When the sellers are weighing one offer against another, they will most likely work with the offer that is accompanied by a pre-approval letter. That’s because pre-approvals instill confidence that the buyer is financially capable of purchasing their home.
- It could increase your negotiating power.
In addition to strengthening your offer when compared to buyers who haven’t taken this step, getting pre-approved may give you a better opportunity to negotiate the price or the terms. If the homeowner is eager to sell, they may be more willing to accept a lower offer from someone they’ve been assured is financially capable of purchasing their home.
- It saves time.
Obtaining a mortgage is a lengthy process. Getting pre-approved ahead of time shortens the time between the contract acceptance date and the closing date — this way you’re ready to proceed with finalizing the mortgage once you’ve found the home you want to purchase.
Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolate Factory tour is a fun way to see how the candies in your favorite box of chocolates are made. The tour is child friendly, with steps near windows to enable young chocolate enthusiasts to have a close up view of the process.
Throughout the factory, there are several Curious George stuffed animals for the children to search for. They will find him in high and low locations throughout the kitchen. The book, Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory, is also available to purchase along with a variety of candy and ice cream inside of the store. The family’s model train collection and mural of a village is in a room at the end of the tour and includes a searching game to find the hidden sweets among the train scene.
The tour includes a short video on the history of chocolate. The tour guide will also tell the story of how a family recipe for Pecan Rolls, which was passed down to Marie Cavanaugh, was initially used as a church fundraiser and later evolved into the business it is today.
Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates have been family owned and operated since 1964. They have six stores throughout Utah, located in Bountiful, Layton, North Salt Lake, North Ogden, Orem and West Valley City. A new store recently opened in Spokane, WA.
Tours are provided by appointment Monday through Friday between 10 am and 3 pm at 835 Northpointe Circle in North Salt Lake. It cost $1 per person, which includes samples. The tour will last approximately 30 to 45 minutes. To schedule a tour, call (801) 677-8888.
You can purchase chocolates at any of their store locations or order on-line at Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Website.
More posts about chocolate For the Love of Chocolate
Deciding whether you’re ready to purchase your first home is perhaps one of your life’s major decisions. Buying is a huge (not to mention expensive) commitment and isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Before you make the leap to homeownership, it’s imperative you know where you stand, what you want, and what’s realistic for you and your financial situation.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before buying a home:
- “How much can I really afford?”
One of the biggest mistakes first time home buyers make is stretching their budget and buying a house they can’t afford. Before you start looking for your dream home, you should sit down, write out a budget, and figure out exactly how much you’re comfortable paying per month.
Keep in mind that owning a home is more than just a mortgage payment. In addition to your mortgage, you’ll need to cover additional home-related expenses, like homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, property taxes, and maintenance.
- “What kind of shape are my finances in?”
Before you purchase your home, it’s imperative you take stock of your financial situation. The state of your finances plays a huge role in how much lenders will approve for your mortgage, and before they approve your loan, the banks will dig deep to make sure you’re a qualified applicant. Your financial situation will also affect the interest rate on your loan, which can save or cost you hundreds of dollars per month.
When deciding whether to approve your mortgage, the banks will look at:
- Your credit history, including your credit score, delinquent payments, and overall balances
- Your debt, including credit cards, student loans, personal loans, and auto loans
- Your income
- Your employment history, including your salary history and your length of employment
- Your savings and the amount available for a down payment
Essentially, your lender is going to review your financial history to determine whether they believe you will pay back your loan. If they feel you’re a risky candidate, they’ll either approve a loan with a high interest rate – or turn down your loan application..
Before you apply for a mortgage, it’s important to get your finances in the best shape possible. Review your credit report and ask for any inaccuracies to be removed. Work on paying down your debt and padding your savings. The better your financial situation, the better deal you’ll get on your mortgage.
- “What are my must-haves, my nice-to-haves, and my can’t-haves?”
Before you buy a property, it’s important to iron out the details of exactly what you’re looking for. You should break down the qualities of your future home into three lists:
Your must-haves are the qualities you absolutely need in a home in order to move forward with a purchase. A must-have might be a home in a preferred neighborhood, enough bedrooms or potential future bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate your family, or a backyard where your kids can play.
Your nice-to-haves are things you’d ideally like to have in a home but aren’t deal-breakers if they’re missing. Nice-to-haves might include an updated kitchen, a spacious master bedroom, or a finished basement.
Your can’t-haves are the qualities you absolutely don’t want in a property. These are the deal breakers that will keep you from purchasing a home. Can’t-haves might include a property that borders a busy street, a fixer-upper property that needs a lot of work, or a property that’s too far away from your job site.
Once you have these three lists, it will be easier for you and your real estate agents to judge potential properties and narrow down the list of homes to view.
- “Do I know where I want to live?”
When it comes to real estate, one of the more important things is location. And before you purchase property, it’s important you iron out exactly what you’re looking for in a location.
Do you want to live in the center of a city or out in the country? Do you want to live in a residential neighborhood or in a more developed area? Is it more important to be close to your job or close to shops, restaurants, and entertainment?
Once you know everything you’re looking for in a location, your real estate agent can suggest neighborhoods that match your criteria.
5. “When do I want to move?”
When you move is also an important factor to take into consideration. There’s no “best time” of the year to move, but different times of the year have different advantages.
If cost is your top concern, you might want to consider moving in the winter, when prices are traditionally at their lowest. If being able to see a wide variety of home choices is more important to you, then plan to look at properties in the spring and summer, when available inventory peaks.
Get in the holiday spirit at the Festival of Trees now through Saturday, December 1st. In addition to viewing hundreds of beautifully decorated trees, there are aisles of wreaths, gingerbread houses, quilts, Nativities, centerpieces & collectibles. After walking around the 220,000 square feet of displays, you may want to sit for awhile at one of the two performance stages to watch the dancers and singers performing.
Children will enjoy a visit with Santa or making crafts at the Kids Korner. Be sure to stop by the Elf Emporium for handmade gifts for children, the Sweet Shoppe for some fudge, and the Gift Boutique for some early holiday shopping.
Everything at the Festival of Trees has been donated to raise money for Primary Children’s Hospital. It is run by volunteers. The Festival of Trees was inspired forty-eight years ago by a group of women looking for ways to raise funds for children’s medical costs. In its first year, $47,000 was raised. Last year, $2.7 million dollars was raised.
The Festival of Trees is at the Mountain America Expo Center, 9575 State Street in Sandy. Adult admission tickets are $7. Children (ages 2-11) are $4. Children younger than 2 years are free. Seniors, age 65 and older are $6. If you have younger children, strollers would be very helpful to bring. I would recommend leaving heavy coats in your car (if you can manage the walk from your car to the building), to avoid having to carry them around inside as you are walking around for hours.
The trees are beautifully decorated with themes including super heroes, cartoon characters, sporting events, and nostalgic memorabilia. Many of the trees were designed in the memory of a loved one who has passed away. One of the trees was in honor of South Salt Lake Officer David Romrell who was killed in the line of duty on November 24th.
Although many of the trees have been sold at auction on the opening night; there are still many that are available to purchase at the listed price.
The holiday season starts off before you can finish eating all of leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal. The dark sky is ablaze with festive lights. Here are a few ideas to get into the holiday spirit.
Turning On the Lights!
Draper City Park Tree Lighting Ceremony – Monday, November 26, 2018 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Draper City Park 12500 S 1300 E. Festivities include lighting the Tree of Life, music and a visit from Santa.
Lights on Wakefield’s Lighting Ceremony – Friday, November 23, 2018 Lights will be turned on at 7 PM. 6388 S Wakefield Way (5885 West). 60,000 light display in tune to music. Keep your radio tune to 87.9 FM. Light Display runs nightly until New Years. Free event, but donations are gladly accepted for the Mascot Miracles Foundation.
Midway Town Square Tree Lighting Celebration – Saturday, November 24, 2018 from 6 PM – 7 PM Enjoy cookies, hot cocoa and have photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Ogden Electric Light Parade – Saturday, November 24, 2018 5:30 PM. Parade of lighted floats and performers on Washington Blvd, from 22nd Street to 26th Street. Santa arrives on the final float of the parade and flips the switch to light up Christmas Village at the Municipal Gardens.
Park City Electric Light Parade – Saturday, November 24, 2018 beginning at 4:00 PM. Santa and holiday carolers can be found strolling along Main Street. At 5:30 PM the Main Street lights and the Christmas tree in Miner’s Park will be turned on. The Electric Parade arrives on Main Street at 6:00 PM.
Spanish Fork Winter Lights Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony – Friday, November 23, 2018, lighted floats parade on Main Street beginning at 7 PM.
The Jingle Bus is a free bus service for visitors to downtown Salt Lake City. Jump on board the Jingle Bus for rides to the Gateway, Temple Square, City Creek Center, Gallivan Plaza and the Capitol Theatre. Volunteer hosts provide fun facts about downtown as riders enjoy seeing the holiday lights and decorations in the city. The Jingle Bus runs 7 days a week from Friday, November 23rd to December 31st (except Christmas day) from 5 to 10 PM.
Candy Cane Hunt – Monday, December 10th, 2018 4 PM. Draper Historic Park 12625 S. 900 E. Hunt for thousands of candy canes will be hidden in bushes and trees and scattered around the park. Look for the specially marked candy canes which can be redeemed for toys. Santa will arrive by fire truck. He will be available for visits with the children under the Christmas lit gazebo where you can take your own photos for free.
For some, there is confusion on what we are honoring on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day. Armed Forces Day is observed on the 3rd Saturday of May to recognize men and women are serving in the Armed Forces in the present time. Memorial Day, also known as “Decoration Day” is observed on the last Monday of May to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Veterans Day is observed on November 11th annually to honor all military veterans who have served during peace time or at time of war in the United States Armed Forces.
Veterans Day was initially called “Armistice Day” and was to honor veterans of World War I. On November 11, 1918 at 11 AM, a temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect. A year later in 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day a legal holiday to be celebrated on November 11th each year to honor the veterans of World War I. The Act of 1938 was amended in 1954 by replacing the word “Veterans” for “Armistice” to honor all American veterans.
Veterans and non-veterans are able to take advantage Free Admission Day at the National Parks on Veterans Day.
Additionally many restaurants and other businesses offer discounts or free Veterans Day deals.
Local events in Salt Lake County recognizing our servicemen and women include:
Draper City – Veterans Day Ceremony Friday, November 9th 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Magna City – Veterans Day Parade Sunday, November 11th 11:00 AM Magna Elementary School, 3100 South 8500 West.
Utah PTA/National Guard Annual Veterans Day Concert at the Tabernacle on Temple Square, Saturday, November 10th at 7:00 PM
University of Utah’s 21st Annual Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony Schedule of Events
West Valley City – Dinner and Veterans Day Program Monday, November 12th 5:30 PM at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 West 3100 South West Valley City
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
Are you looking for something different to do this Thanksgiving besides cooking all day and eating a big meal? Whether you are a newcomer to Utah or a lifelong resident, spending the holiday alone or with house full of friends and family; here are some fun ways to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary
The 20th Annual Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner and fundraiser for the animals at Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary will be held on Saturday, November 10th at the Wasatch Elementary School, 30 R Street from 5 to 9 pm. Erika Tymrak, midfielder of the Utah Royals Soccer Team, will be the guest speaker. Also there will be plenty of great items to bid on during the silent auction. Buy tickets here
Utah Food Bank
The Utah Food Bank distributed 39.2 million pounds of food to people facing hunger in Utah during 2017. Each day, 392,000 Utahans (including many children) are at risk of missing a meal. You can help support them by donating food, time and/or money.
Donating Food: There is a virtual food drive on-line where you can fill up a grocery cart with the most needed items – with the added benefit of paying less for the items than you would at retail prices, as well as save on gas and time by doing it on-line.
Time: Last year, volunteers worked 83,418 hours. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer time as an individual, family or group at the warehouse. All volunteers must sign up in advance. Keep in mind, Thanksgiving is a popular time to volunteer, but volunteers are needed throughout the year.
Money: There are several ways to donate to the Utah Food Bank including cash, donating your used car, employers’ matching gifts, and gifts of stocks. Check their link for further details.
Utah Human Race 5K/10K
You may also want to participate in the 13th annual Utah Human Race on Thanksgiving morning (and burn some calories before your Thanksgiving meal) to support the Utah Food Bank. Registration Details
Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving Day 5K
Be part of the longest “running” Thanksgiving Day event. Strollers and dogs on leashes are welcome. Commemorative Medals awarded to participants who beat the Mayor to the finish line. Registration Details
“Thankful 13” Half Marathon / 5K / Kid’s Race
Participate in the half marathon, 5k or kid’s race on the Jordan Parkway trail in Lehi. Pumpkin pie, rolls and hot chocolate are available for participants at the end of the race. Registration Details
The Pilgrim 5K at Thanksgiving Point is a pilgrim wear costume run which includes their iconic long-sleeved cotton T-shirt and a giant buckle hat or bonnet. Pilgrim scenes can be found along the course, ending at Plymouth Rock where finishers can feast on pumpkin bars and drink apple cider. Registration Details
Fall is the ideal time to hike the Wind Cave Trail to see the colorful foliage. Driving approximately 5 miles up the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway, you will find the Wind Cave trailhead across the road from the Guinavah-Malibu Campground.
The Wind Cave is composed of a group of natural limestone arches and hollows. It was formed as water seeped through cracks in layers of underground limestone, creating caverns. Downward cutting from the Logan River exposed the caves, and the arches were created by water continuing to erode the limestone.
The trail is rated moderate with an elevation gain of approximately 1000 feet. It is 3.5 miles round trip. The elevation gain does not appear as steep due to switchbacks. The trail is well maintained and is clearly marked. If there is an unmarked trail that leads off, stick with the wider trail.
There is shade for the first half of the trail; however the last half does not have shade. It is advisable to dress in layers, wear a hat and protection from the sun. Be sure to bring plenty of water.
The trail is heavily trafficked at times, particularly during the weekends. If you prefer to hike when less people are on the trail, weekdays are a good option. Dogs on leashes are permitted.
The end of the trail leads to the top of the cave. If you have children with you, be sure to watch them carefully as there are steep drop-offs. You can climb down into the cave and explore the alcoves. It is a great place to rest in the shade of the cave and take photos of the gorgeous views.
Other interesting hikes:
Smokey skies from the wildfires did not discourage the volunteers who came out to clean up Antelope Island State Park on a very hot, windy day. A second group of volunteers met at the Great Salt Lake Marina State Park as part of the International Coastal Clean-Up Day.
For thirty-three years, the Ocean Conservancy has been organizing volunteers to clean up litter along their coastline. Volunteers throughout the U.S. and more than 100 countries join efforts to clean up beaches, waterways and oceans. In 2017, over 20 million pounds of trash (majority of it plastic) was picked up during the International Coastal Clean-Up Day.
Friends of Great Salt Lake organized Utah volunteers at two locations along the Great Salt Lake. Five million migrating birds representing 257 species will stop at the Great Salt Lake every year. Migratory birds are not only aesthetically beneficial to humans but have a vital role in the biodiversity for all ecosystems. They help pollinate, disperse seeds and regulate pests.
The effects from littering can have detrimental affects on birds. Discarded and rotting food can attract predators. Rats and feral cats attracted by food waste may also prey on the birds and/or their nests. Litter may lead to habitat loss, with fewer resources for nesting, feeding and shelter. Glass, plastic, fishing line and kite string can cause injuries to birds’ wings, legs, feet, or throats if entangled in them. Birds may mistake pieces of litter as food, and can suffer from digestive blockage or poisoning. Also, oil or grease could cause plumage disruption which would affect their ability to maintain proper insulation and easy flight.
Some people may believe that cleaning up the litter is an endless battle and that their effort really wouldn’t make a difference. However, just as every piece of litter that is carelessly discarded matters, the same goes for every piece of litter that is eliminated.
The Antelope Island clean-up focused on an area where shooters have been using discarded toys and electronic devices for target practice. Most electronics contain toxic materials including lead, nickel, zinc, and chromium. When released into the environment it can cause health problems to humans. Toxic materials can also seep into the groundwater affecting animals on land and in water.
The use of ammunition containing lead is discouraged. Accumulation of lead from ammunition on the lakebed will have a health impact on waterfowl.
Collected litter was weighed. Metal and toxic debris were separated from the paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and aluminum cans for proper disposal.
Within two hours, the combine efforts of hardworking volunteers were able to clear out 1000 pounds of litter.
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop.” – Rumi
Festivities to educate, explore, restore, and enjoy the Jordan River and Jordan River Parkway are scheduled throughout the month of September during the annual “Get into the River Festival”. The Jordan River flows for fifty miles through sixteen cities in three counties.
Cities along the river are hosting events such as a Pancake Breakfast/ Puncturevines Pull, canoe and kayak float, riding the river trail with the Mayor, and a Children’s Beatles Tribute Choir. Although some of these activities have already taken place, there are many more fun events still to come. Check the schedule for information on activities.
There are additional opportunities scheduled for later this month to learn about the flora and fauna; plant trees and seeds, bird watch, listen to live music, play lawn games, mud volley ball, Ducky Derby Dash or enjoy a root beer float.
Each month, approximately 15,000 people utilize the Jordan River Parkway each month for walking, running, skating, cycling and horseback riding.
Although the festival events are scheduled only during September, the Jordan River and trails are enjoyable year round.
If volunteering as an individual or with a group to help with planting, weed pulling, or picking up trash to help maintain the Jordan River is of interest to you, (typically needed between April and October) check with Jordan River Commission for upcoming opportunities.