Free Places to Visit in Salt Lake City

family giving thumbs up


Be sure to visit these free places in Salt Lake City.  From movies, museums and tours there is always something to explore.

The Utah Film Center offers free film screenings to the community at several locations.  Some screenings may also include a post film discussion with the director, or other professionals to further the conversation on the topic of the film.  Locations of the free screenings within Salt Lake County include the City Library, Rose Wagner Performing Art Center and the Viridian Event Center.  Check the link for the schedule for upcoming films.



movie film


The Clark Planetarium  at the Gateway Mall has free interactive exhibits for children and adults to explore and learn about our planet and beyond.   It has an authentic moon rock sample on loan from NASA on display.  A popular exhibit provided guests allows them to select from among different planets to serve as their location while they acted in the role of a weather forecaster reading from a teleprompter the weather conditions.  New exhibits are regularly added.  Access to the exhibits is free.  There is a charge for tickets to see the Star shows and IMAX movies.


astronaut suit on display at Clark Planetarium


The International Peace Gardens exhibit is located in the Jordan Park at 1000 South 900 West in Salt Lake City. The diversity of twenty-six nations is represented through use of native plantings and garden architecture in allotted plots to represent their homeland and culture.  The garden was founded to increase understandings among nations.


Viet Nam garden at International Peace Gardens


Wheeler Historic Farm is located at 6351 South 900 East in Murray.  The 19th century farm has 75 acres with trails and wooded areas to explore.  It is open daily from dawn to dusk.  Thousands of agricultural artifacts from 1887 through 1940 are on display on the farm.  You can view and interact with a variety of farm animals, and enjoy a walk through the wooded areas.  Dogs on leashes are permitted.  There is a large playground, with a separate play area designed for toddlers.  Additional activities are available for a fee, such as milking a cow, or wagon rides.


cows in field at Wheeler Farm


Fort Douglas Military Museum is located at 32 Potter Street in Salt Lake City.  Open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 pm.  Check the website for upcoming special events.


Pioneer Memorial Museum is on 300 N Main Street in Salt Lake City.  It is across the street from the Utah State Capitol Building.  Artifacts including a 1902 fire engine, stagecoach, medical and dental tools, furniture, portraits and much more.


Utah State Capitol Tours – located at 350 N State Street in Salt Lake City, volunteers offer tours on the hour from 9 am to 4 pm.  Reservations are not required for groups with less than 10 people.  If you prefer, brochures can be picked up at the Visitors Center for a self-guided tour.




Utah State Capitol Building


See the world-famous Tabernacle at 50 W North Temple in Salt Lake City.  Open for free public tours at the North and South gates, tours last approximately 30 minutes.  The acoustics from the 11,623-pipe organ is amplified by the Tabernacle’s curved ceiling. Check the website for the Tabernacle Choir’s rehearsal schedule.


Tabernacle organ





Posted on November 19, 2019 at 10:19 pm
John Hamilton | Posted in Places to visit, Salt Lake City, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Dinosaur Bones, Outlaws and Moonshine – Three Places to Visit Outside of Vernal, Utah



Dinosaur National Monument, the Outlaw Country scenic drive, and the Moonshine Arch are three places to try to visit just outside of Vernal, Utah. The Dinosaur National Monument is a national park located on the border of Utah and Colorado and covers 210,000 acres. The Quarry Visitor Center is located in Jensen, which is southeast of Vernal, Utah. Shuttle buses will take visitors to the Quarry Exhibit Hall where you will see a wall of nearly 1,500 dinosaur bones. A  few of the 149 million year old fossils are identified permitting you to touch them, while others can be viewed from several feet away. The National Park offers scenic drives, and walking trails.  If you are traveling with pets, be sure to be familiar where pets are permitted. Pets at Dinosaur National Monument


Outlaw Country scenic drive is an approximately 85 miles loop that travels through some of the most picturesque parts of the country.  Be sure to have a full tank of gas and carry plenty of water.  You will be traveling through Crouse Canyon, Brown’s Park, Jarvie Historic Ranch, and Jessie Ewing Canyon.  Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch and other noted outlaws were known to stay in this remote area.  The Jarvie Ranch  has been historically reconstructed.  Crouse Canyon with its red-rock walls is a beautiful drive, but you will need a high clearance vehicle to get by sections of deep ruts in the road. Driving Directions for Outlaw Country




Just eight miles outside of Vernal, and a short distance from the road is an opportunity for a short hike to an incredible natural sandstone arch that is 85 feet long and stands 40 feet above ground.  The hike to Moonshine Arch is approximately 1 mile, with an elevation gain of 290 feet.  Read my previous post on Moonshine Arch for directions and additional information.









Posted on September 4, 2019 at 4:18 pm
John Hamilton | Posted in Places to visit, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Off-Leash Dog Parks in Salt Lake County

Dog Days in the City


Dogs and their human companions have several options throughout Salt Lake County to enjoy off-leash dog parks for exercise and socializing. Whether living in the city or just visiting; dogs love having some space to run. A few of the parks offer designated areas for smaller dogs if desired.


Dog Days in the City

Dayland Dog Park


Dayland Dog Park is located at 13450 S 300 E in Draper. It offers a separate fenced in area for small dogs, as well as a fenced area for larger dogs. The park includes grass, gravel, sand, and water for dogs to wade in. There is shaded seating available.


Dog Days in the City

Herman Franks Dog Park


Herman Franks Dog Park is located at 1371 S 700 East in Salt Lake City. This park offers partial shade and seating along the perimeter of the fence. It is a single fenced area for dogs of all sizes. It offers an agility course and has a water fountain for dogs.


Dog Days in the City

Lions Park


Lions Park is located at 361 E Robert Avenue in South Salt Lake. This park has a single fenced in area for dogs of all sizes. It offers agility tunnels and a hoop to jump through, and plenty of space to run and fetch. It has shaded seating. There is an entrance at each end of the dog park, and has curbside parking.


Dog Days in the City

Memory Grove Freedom Trail


Memory Grove Freedom Trail is located at 375 N at 120 East in Salt Lake City. On street parking can be difficult to find at certain times, but is well worth the effort to seek out. The trail offers a partially shaded hike for dogs and their companions, and has shallow water for the dogs to wade in.


Dog Days in the City

Millrace Dog Park


Millrace Dog Park is located at 1200 W 5400 South in Taylorsville. This dog park is unique from the others, as it charges an annual fee for a permit tag. Every dog utilizing the park is required to have a permit tag. Find out more about the tag fees and the hours of operation at Millrace Dog ParkThe dog park has a single fenced area for dogs of all sizes. It offers agility tunnels, has a water fountain for dogs, and has shaded seating.


Dog Days in the City

Tanner Park


Tanner Park is located at 2760 Heritage Way in East Millcreek. Signs are posted designating the leashed and unleashed areas of the trail. The gravel trail is approximately one mile. The trail is lined with trees which offer partial shade. It has two areas where dogs can wade in the water.


Dog Days in the City

West Jordan Dog Park


West Jordan Dog Park is located at 5982 W New Bingham Hwy in West Jordan. This park is located next to the West Jordan Animal Shelter. The 4.5 acres park is separated into three separate areas. A grassy section is reserved for small and/or passive dogs, and the other two sections are for larger and more active dogs. Larger, active dogs have a choice of grass or gravel fenced-in areas. All three sections offer partially shaded benches.


Dog Days in the City


The annual Dog Day at Liberty Pool will take place on Saturday, September 7th from 9 am to 4:30 pm at 900 South 650 East. Four separate swim times are scheduled. This event helps to support the Salt Lake County Animal Services education fund.  Price is $10 per dog.  Find additional information at Dog Day.


Special Treats


Dog Days in the City


Looking for a cool treat when the temperature is soaring?  You may want to check out the “ice cream” for dogs at Healthy Pets. It is like more like a Popsicle than ice cream. Our dog, Roxie, enjoyed the Roast Beef flavored treat.


Dog Days in the City


Ma and Paws Bakery for Dogs also has an excellent selection of treats for special occasions.  This peanut butter based “cake” with yogurt topping was a big hit.


Additional Posts about Pets:

Planning for your pets during evacuations





Posted on August 15, 2019 at 12:27 am
John Hamilton | Posted in Pets, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Pathway to the Pfeifferhorn

Pathway to the Peifferhorn


The pathway to the Pfeifferhorn Peak is a popular 10.6 mile out and back trail with an elevation gain of 3,792 feet.   It is also known as the “Little Matterhorn”.  Although it has locally been known as the Pfeifferhorn after the death of Charles Pfeiffer in 1939, the name was officially changed in 2013 in recognition of the former President of the Wasatch Mountain Club. The summit at 11,362 feet is the fifth highest peak in the Wasatch Range, offering beautiful views.  The trail is in a protected watershed, so dogs and swimming are prohibited.


Due to the elevation gain and scrambling over rocks, it is recommended for intermediate and advanced hikers.  It is advised that you check the weather report before hiking, to avoid dangerous conditions such as avalanche or thunderstorms, depending on the season.


Pathway to the Peifferhorn


Driving Directions:  From Salt Lake City, take I-15 to Exit 295.  Turn east on 9000 South, driving 7.2 miles to Little Cottonwood Canyon.  When you reach Wasatch Blvd, turn right and continue up Little Cottonwood Canyon for 5.2 miles where you will find the White Pine & Red Pine Trailhead parking lot on the right side of the road.


Pathway to the Peifferhorn

Left: small bridge to Maybird Gulch. Right: Red Pine Lake


Trail:  After parking at the trailhead, head south and cross a wooden footbridge over Little Cottonwood Creek. Follow the main trail which curves to the west, and at the split of the White Pine trail and the Red Pine trail you will cross over a second footbridge heading west. The trail heads northwest and then west to the Red Pine drainage. The trail curves to the south, and gradually works its way toward Red Pine Creek. You will come to an old mine on the left and a short ways farther you will see the trail split with the trail heading west going over another small bridge that will take you to Maybird Gulch and eventually to a small lake at the foot of the Pfeifferhorn. But follow the main route straight heading south that will take you to Red Pine Lake.


Pathway to the Peifferhorn


When you reach the Red Pine Lake head east toward White Baldy and the two Upper Red Pine Lakes.  At the upper lakes go south along the ridge to the saddle between White Baldy and the Pfeifferhorn.  There are great views from the saddle toward Box Elder Peak and to Mt. Timpanogas. Head west along the saddle toward the rocky ridge that leads you to the base of the Pfeifferhorn. Use care on this ridge as there is a bit of exposure  The scamper up to the peak is about 500 feet and is a bit steep but not technical. When you get to the top, take a break, have a snack, and enjoy the views of Lone Peak, Chipman Peak, Hogum Fork, and Maybird Gulch, along with the spectacular sights of Utah Lake and Mt. Timpanogas. Use care when going down to retrace the route you took going up – if you go too far to the west you will be in danger of increased exposure.


Pathway to the Peifferhorn

View of Red Pine Lake & Upper Red Pine Lake from upper saddle


Pathway to the Peifferhorn

Left: Before the rocky ridge leading to the base of the Pfeifferhorn


Be sure to always be prepared, no matter what season. A storm can come up quickly and at that altitude, lightening can be a real danger, as well as the cold, even in the summer. Dress in layers, bring plenty of water, and protection from the sun.


Other interesting hikes:

The Maybird Gulch Trail – A Trail Less Travelled

Ogden’s Waterfall Canyon Trail

Moonshine Arch – Hidden in Plain Sight

Cascade Springs – Accessible Nature Walk

Take a Seat on the Living Room Hiking Trail



Posted on August 6, 2019 at 9:58 pm
John Hamilton | Posted in Outdoor Living, Places to visit, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

The Poppy Fields at Mantua and Alpine

The Poppy Fields at Mantua and Alpine

Poppy Field in Mantua, Utah


The poppies are blooming in Mantua and Alpine. The ideal time to see poppies in Utah is during late May or early June. Due to the cooler than normal temperatures in May, the poppies are still in full bloom this year.

Mantua is approximately 62 miles north of Salt Lake City.  The poppy field is easily accessible by car.  You will be able to see the poppies from your vehicle, but is only a very short walk (no hiking) from parking area to the poppies.

How to get there:  from Salt Lake City, drive north on I-15 and take the 362 exit for Brigham City.  On highway 89, you will take the Mantua exit.  You will see signs for the Box Elder Campground.  You will begin to see an abundance of poppies along the side of the road, and you may believe that you have reached the poppy field.  However, the field is just a little bit further, and is much larger.  Continue to drive until to reach the first stop sign – then take a left. Proceed until you see a fork in the road.  Turn right at the fork and drive until you see the poppies.


The Poppy Fields at Mantua and Alpine


Alpine is located approximately 32 miles south of Salt Lake City.  The poppy trail is located inside Lambert Park.  Lambert Park is a 255 acre park, with trails for hiking, mountain biking, and for horses. There are some designated camping areas.

How to get there:  From Salt Lake City, drive south on I-15 to exit 284 to Alpine/Highland.  Drive east (towards the mountains) for five miles. Turn left at the stoplight in Highland which is Main Street (you will see a Chevron gas station at the northeast corner of the intersection).  Drive north for 2 miles into Alpine past the 4-way stop at 200 North to 300 North.  Turn right and go a few blocks to Alpine Blvd. Go left and you will shortly see the LDS church at 1125 N Alpine Blvd. If you are planning to mountain bike or hike the trails, you can park your vehicle on the road near the church but not in the church parking lot.  Maps for the trails are below.

Lambert Park Trails Map

Lambert Park Map


The Poppy Fields at Mantua and Alpine

Poppies in Lambert Park, Alpine, Utah.


An alternative option if you prefer to shorten the hike is to drive closer to the poppy field, by continuing on Alpine Blvd. north of the church until Grove Drive. Turn right and follow Grove Dr to Box Elder Dr. Turn right and Box Elder Drive connects with Box Elder Circle. Turn right again and park where the pavement ends and turns into a gravel road. You can park before the warning sign which states “motorized vehicles not allowed.” Follow the gravel road about one block and the small trail to the Poppies goes left and is approximately 300 feet to the Poppies.


The Poppy Fields at Mantua and Alpine


Although the poppies are dominant at this time, look for a variety of other flowers in the field.  You will also find the remains of the summer home of George Cannon Lambert.


The Poppy Fields at Mantua and Alpine


The Poppy Fields at Mantua and Alpine

Remains of the summer home of George Cannon Lambert.


Additional Posts



Posted on June 16, 2019 at 6:23 pm
John Hamilton | Posted in Places to visit, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery

Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery


Nine Mile Canyon has been called the world’s longest art gallery.  The canyon is actually 46 miles long and is home to the greatest concentration of petroglyph and pictographs in the United States. A petroglyph is an image carved into stone, while a pictograph is a painting using natural pigments on stone.  You may have seen many of these images in National Geographic magazines.  There are over a thousand catalogued sites of Freemont and Ute rock art.  Some panels of rock art can be viewed from just a few feet from the road.


Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery


This is a very scenic drive on a paved road.  There are no fees.  There are many dips in the road to permit running water to pass over; it is advisable to avoid on rainy days due to being unable to pass if roads are flooded. There are no services for 75 miles; plan on having a full tank of gas, plenty of water and snacks to eat.

A great place to begin your trip is by visiting the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum for more information about the history of the people and how they lived.

This Nine Mile Canyon brochure includes a map for a self guided tour.


Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery


There are pavilion covered picnic tables and toilets at both the Daddy Canyon Complex and the Cottonwood Glen Picnic Area.  There is no water for washing or drinking.

The mile markers cited on the tour brochure can be a little off, but there are small signs to help you identify the sites.

Approximately half way through the Canyon you will pass the ghost town of Harper.  It was once a stagecoach stop along the route between Price and the Uintah Basin.

The public lands in Nine Mile Canyon are closed to camping.  The Nine Mile Ranch Bunk and Breakfast operates a private campground that is open year round.


Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery

First Site


Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery

Balanced Rock


Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery

Daddy Canyon Complex


Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery

Great Hunt Panel


Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery


Nine Mile Canyon – the World’s Longest Art Gallery


Driving Directions:  Approximately 125 miles from Salt Lake City, take I-15 to the Manti/Price exit 258.  Travel on US Highway 6 to Price exit 240.  Continue through Price for 7.5 miles into Wellington.


Posted on May 27, 2019 at 1:33 pm
John Hamilton | Posted in Places to visit, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Earth Day Events

Earth Day Events


Events to celebrate the 49th annual Earth Day are taking place around the globe.  It was a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969 which inspired former Senator Gaylord Nelson for the idea for a national day to focus on the environment.  The Wisconsin Senator enlisted support from Republicans and Democrats.  The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.   By the end of that year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created and the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were passed. Presently, Earth Day is observed worldwide and is celebrated by more than a billion people annually.

Here are some of the events celebrating Earth Day in our community:


Earth Day Events


April 20th


The Ogden Nature Center located at 966 W 12th Street will have activities and entertainment from 11 am to 4 pm.  Entertainment includes live performances by the Celtic Beat Irish Dancers, Utah Puppet Association Puppet Show, and live animal presentations.  Activities include a climbing wall, storytelling, nature crafts, puppet making workshop, face painting, composting workshops and much more.  Plants, pottery, books, and recycled goods will be available to purchase.


Tracy Aviary is holding an Earth Day Eggstravaganza, between 9 am to 5 pm.  Pick up a list at the gift shop to check off as you find the eggs hidden among the birds.  Bring your own yoga matt or beach towel to do yoga with the birds.  Listen to a natured focused story, and watch the bird show.  Check the link for the schedule of events.   589 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City.


Alta is holding their 10th annual Earth Day celebration between 9 am to 8 pm.  Participate in the Naturalist Tours, Ski Recycle, and Eco-Friendly Vendors.  Listen to live music.


Earth Day Events


April 22nd

Salt Lake Community College Earth Day Festivities includes a Sustainability Panel, Reuse Fashion Show, Art Contest Awards, Open Mic Night, live music, and food trucks from 10 am to 4 pm at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus located at 4600 South Redwood Road.


The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter have an afternoon of Earth Day Activities from 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm, located at 1258 Center Drive, Park City.  Information tables, green energy displays, games, crafts, and hands-on activities.  See the Nature’s Ninjas Exhibit to learn about animals’ defense mechanisms.  Between 4:30 and 6:30 pm, participate in the earth day cleanup at the preserve and learn what is recyclable and what isn’t.  Volunteers for the Earth Day cleanup will be entered to win sustainable prizes.



Posted on April 2, 2019 at 9:48 pm
John Hamilton | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Planning for Your Pets during Evacuations

Planning for Your Pets during Evacuations


An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility. Many homeowners create evacuation plans for their homes and practice them with their kids, but far fewer have considered one for their pets. Take these steps to add your pets to your evacuation plan.


Assign pet evacuation to an adult. Everyone should know how to act during an evacuation, and that includes assigning one parent or adult to the pets. This allows the other parent and the children to focus on their part of the evacuation plan, so there’s no confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.


Keep evacuation maps and pet carriers readily accessible. If you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. If you pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily.


Practice your plan. Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. It’ll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think!


Planning for Your Pets during Evacuations


Be prepared in case you get separated from your pets. No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it’s possible that a dog or cat will run off while you’re focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it’s safe to return to the area.


Prepare a Pet Emergency Kit including:


  • Crate or pet carrier – is needed in the event that you will need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough to permit your pet to stand up and to turn around in it.  Attach a label on the crate with your pet’s name, your name and contact information
  • Food & water – at least a seven day supply
  • Food & water bowls
  • Medicine and veterinarian records – including history of shots, rabies vaccines
  • Collar with tags & leash – although your pet should be micro chipped, it is helpful to have a collar with tags for quick identification in the event that the dog gets separated from you.
  • Photo – of your pet, especially of unique markings or characteristics
  • Familiar items – toys, blanket
  • Plastic bags to clean up after your dogs, litter box & litter for cats


With the exception of service animals, pets are not permitted in emergency shelters.  Be sure to keep a list of pet-friendly hotels. Bring Fido can help you identify hotels/motels which can accommodate your pet.


Make a plan for when you’re not at home.  Plan in advance what you would do if a disaster occurred while you are away from home and are unable to return for your pet.  Identify a neighbor or other trusted person who would be able to retrieve your pets and their emergency kit for their care.



Posted on March 30, 2019 at 6:06 am
John Hamilton | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

What to Consider Before Buying a Home

What to Consider Before Buying a Home


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:

  1. “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.

  1. “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.

  1. “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:

  • Must-haves
  • Nice-to-haves
  • Can’t-haves

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.

  1. “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.



Posted on January 7, 2019 at 10:55 am
John Hamilton | Posted in Buying A Home, First Time Home Buyer, Uncategorized |

Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

Holding a garage sale before placing your home on the market is a great way to declutter.  Whether moving long distance, downsizing, or even upsizing, it is a great time to re-evaluate both what you want to bring with you to your new home, and what items is it time to let go of.  Whether you are moving, or not, a garage sale is an excellent way to earn some money from what you no longer need nor want.


If you have flexibility in scheduling when to hold a garage sale, the most popular seasons for garage sales are Spring and Summer. Since many people are paid on the 1st and 15th of the month, it is also beneficial if you can schedule your garage sale as close to those dates as possible.  Saturday mornings is the most popular time, but Friday afternoons can also be a good time for catching buyers who prefer getting an early start to shopping for deals.

Grouping Garage Sales

Bargain hunters prefer larger garage sales than stopping for a small one, especially if it is held in an out of the way location.  Consider asking neighbors, friends or family to combine garage sales to make it more attractive to buyers.


Most items sold at garage sales are priced at 10-20% of the retail price, based on condition.  If you are struggling to come up with a price, check similar items at a thrift store and price your item lower.  Use individual price stickers for each item, rather than have a sign for pricing multiple items.  It may be difficult later to determine where the item was picked up, or if it had been set down in a different area by another customer.  If you are combing items for a group garage sale, be sure to put the initials on the price tag to track the sales for each individual.  Keep a pad nearby, to document the sales for each seller.

If you are selling large items, such as furniture or appliances, and a person wants you to hold the item for them while they retrieve more money, or to get a vehicle to transport it, be sure to request a non-refundable deposit of $20.  Place a sold sign on the item, and remove it to an out of the way location to prevent reselling the item to a new buyer.

If a buyer offers a lower price than what you are willing to accept for an item, you may want to take their name and contact information to call back, if the item does not sell after the garage sale is over, and you are willing to accept their price.


Take advantage of free ads on Craigslist, local on-line sites and on social media sites.  Be sure to mention big ticket items, or general categories, such as dressers, sporting goods, tools, or baby items.  Be sure to check with your local ordinances about posting signs, so that they are in compliance of local laws and regulations. .  Make the signs easy to read, with large, dark letters and as few words as necessary, in order to provide essential information, such as date, time and location.

Be sure to move your cars away from your home to provide space for shoppers to park.  You may want to park your car where it can be used to provide notice for your garage sale with a sign on the front and/or back windows.


Keep in mind that many people will look as they are driving by.  Be sure to display the items to draw people in.  Take the time to organize similar items together.  If selling clothes, hang them up for a better display.  If you do not have a portable clothes rack, you could improvise by using other items that may be used to hang items, for example, a chin-up bar, a pole hung between two ladders, etc.    Tables and bookcases are great for showcasing items, but if necessary, even upside down boxes can be used as a table top.  If there is not enough table space, spread clean sheets or blankets to display items on the ground.

If you are selling an item in the original box, consider removing the contents to assure the buyer of the condition it is in.  Many people will not take the time to open the box to examine the contents.  If you are selling electrical items, have an extension cord available for buyers to test the item before buying.


It may be helpful to increase sales you have the ability to use a square credit card reader on your cell phone or tablet; if not, stick with cash only sales.  Be sure to start with plenty of change, with lots of quarters. One, five and ten dollar bills are essential to have on hand, as many buyers will not have the exact change.  Always have someone monitoring the cash box, or consider keeping the money in a fanny pack around your waist.  If you are accumulating large sums of money as the day goes on, be sure to periodically remove the larger bills from your money box and store inside your house.


Be sure to have plenty of newspaper (for wrapping fragile items), plastic bags and cardboard boxes for buyers to carry their purchases.  Other helpful supplies to have on hand include, note pads, pens, markers, masking tape and a measuring tape.


Having music playing in the background can make the time go faster, and helps create an inviting environment.  Try to select music with a wide appeal.

Posted on June 25, 2018 at 8:54 am
John Hamilton | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ,