Moving On Up

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Kenny and Cassie Balser took advantage of the improving real estate market and upgraded to a Saratoga Springs home that fits their family of seven. Thousands of Utah Valley families are finding a friendly real estate market, and experts expect it to continue through 2014.

Kenny and Cassie Balser took advantage of the improving real estate market and upgraded to a Saratoga Springs home that fits their family of seven. Thousands of Utah Valley families are finding a friendly real estate market, and experts expect it to continue through 2014. (Photo by Leah Aldous

The Balsers nearly took their home off the market before a quick transaction sent them packing

It took their neighbors one week to get full asking price for their Eagle Mountain home. That’s what got them thinking.

It was 2012 and Kenny and Cassie Balser were like many homeowners — unsure about the housing market and yet facing reasons to upgrade from their first home.

But watching their neighbors make a quick sale put the idea close to home for the Balsers.

“That’s when I knew the market was in a place where we could probably sell for a good price and get into a bigger home,” Kenny says.

And the Balsers needed the space. They have five children, including teenagers who wanted more room to hang out.

 

Eagle Mountain-ous value

Kenny and Cassie made their home in Eagle Mountain in September 2006 after spending their college days in Provo. They had never considered the move west of the lake, but they found they could get more house for the money without having an unreasonable commute to Kenny’s American Fork workplace. Plus, as regional director of sales for Novarad Corporation, Kenny travels frequently and the quick access to Salt Lake International Airport was handy.

Their original Eagle Mountain house started as three bedrooms and was expanded to four with the basement’s eventual completion.

“We loved Eagle Mountain even though we never thought we’d move west of the lake,” Cassie says.

 

The price is right

After the Balsers decided to follow their neighbors’ lead and sell their home and upgrade, the first call they made was to Steve and Stephanie Vincent of Prudential Utah Real Estate in Orem. The all-star Realtors were helpful when the Balsers were looking for their first home, and they jumped at the chance to work with Kenny and Cassie again.

The Vincents visited the Balsers’ Eagle Mountain home and helped the family identify improvements that would make their house easier to sell and for a higher price. The Balsers spent a few weeks making final preparations and put their house on the market in July 2012.

After seven days, they were still in Eagle Mountain. In fact, months went by without a serious offer.

The Balsers were ready to take the house off the market and wait for the next summer, but that’s when things hit close to home. And quickly.

“It was general conference weekend (Oct. 6, 2012) when we decided to take the house off the market,” Kenny says. “Steve called and said he had some people interested in looking at the house. We said OK, but if this didn’t work out, we were going to take a break.”

Things worked out.

The Balsers got an offer just shy of their asking price, but the buyers wanted to move in by Halloween.

The negotiations took one more step — the Balsers wanted their full asking price, but were accommodating on the quick turnaround. Done deal.

“If you know what you’re doing and price the house right, you can get what you’re asking,” Steve says.

 

Perfect timing

Now the heat was on the Balsers, who were going to be homeless in a few weeks.

They already understood what they could afford financially. They had done their homework and were working with a lender — First Colony Mortgage — that makes decisions locally and was able to process both deals at the same time.

“Our finances were already in order, which was the only way we could do it so quickly,” Kenny says.

After looking at 15 properties from one end of Saratoga Springs to the other, the Balsers found a newly built home where the intended purchasers’ financing fell through.

“We loved the house and it was at the top of our budget,” Kenny says.

The Balsers submitted a low offer, but the builder took it because the Balsers could get financing quickly and close on the house in the same timeframe as the builder was originally expecting.

 

Everything came together

Now, almost 18 months later, the Balsers have more house than they originally hoped for. They’re in the neighborhood they’ve admired for years, and their kids are still attending school with friends.

But their “happily ever after” wasn’t an afterthought.

“You have to plan,” Kenny says. “Know what’s happening in the market and what’s realistic for you. Then you’re ready to take advantage of opportunities.”

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Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett is an editor and writer with Bennett Communications. His primary responsibilities are with Utah Valley Magazine and the company's custom publications division. He's the father of four children and has been married to his wife, Adria, for 19 years. Contact Greg at greg.utahvalley360@gmail.com.

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