Tips to Reduce Closing Costs

Even once you’ve found yourself the perfect solution for your mortgage needs, and even if it’s a no-down-payment solution (which are definitely possible – even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer) you need to be aware that there are still closing costs that you should be anticipating.  Oftentimes those costs can be rolled into the loan, but not all the costs, and not all the time.

As is the case with homeownership, it’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard with a payment you weren’t anticipating. One thing that people aren’t always aware of is that they have some level of control over closing costs-  they’re not all set in stone, and some of them are even negotiable.  As is in every case, it’s important that you make sure you’ve got the reigns in this journey.  Some things to consider when reducing closing costs could be:

    • Oftentimes, your bank or lender may have some discounts and/or rebates that would apply to your particular situation. While you’d hope they’d make you aware of them, that’s not always the case – and it never hurts to ask. Am I right?  After all, you don’t get what you don’t ask for!
    • A common way to reduce closing costs is to ask the seller to help contribute during the negotiation process.  Ask for a contribution up to a particular amount, and chances are you’ll get some contribution, if not the full amount asked for. Some is better than nothing!
    • A good way to reduce costs is to do some shopping around. Whether it comes to your pest inspection, survey services, home inspection or other specialists involved in the process, you may be able to find a good deal that will help take the edge off of those closing costs.
    • Many people aren’t aware that all loans – and all lenders – aren’t equal. Depending on your lender as well as your personal situation, you may come up with a few different offers if you reach out to different lenders.  Take the time to shop around and compare lenders fees.  The loan details will likely be similar for similar programs, but the lender fees probably won’t be. Ask for estimates, and compare to find yourself the best deal.

And of course, if at any time you’re not comfortable or don’t understand what’s going on in the process, reach out to your Realtor®. That’s what we’re here for – we’re here to get you home, and make sure you’re comfortable with the process.

Looking for some good recommendations for lenders, title agents, or other specialists? I’ve been in this business a long time, and would be happy to give you some names of people I know and trust.

Posted on September 12, 2019 at 7:00 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

The future is here. And we’re calling it Evans Square.

I don’t even have the words for how motivating this new project is.  Evans Square is an INCREDIBLE new development created by Next Level Homes – and Next Level it certainly is.

It’s a hybrid commercial/residential space, and I. Am. Here. For. It.

It’s preselling now, and the concept is so enormously fantastic that I have no doubts it will sell out soon – so if you’re a small business owner or aspiring small business owner who dreams of walking downstairs to the business you adore, this place is for you.

Work downstairs. Live upstairs. Love every square foot.
It’s a small business owner’s dream – because for those people who love their work, leaving it at the office isn’t an option. And it doesn’t have to be.
Check out our quick walkthrough here, and here, and here; and then get in touch, because these amazing homes are pre-selling, and they’re going to go fast.
Posted on July 5, 2019 at 12:13 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

Culture and Arts in Salt Lake City

When you think of Salt Lake, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is the greatest snow on earth. I won’t fault you for that – Utah is an incredible place to hit the slopes. With 10 ski resorts within a few hours drive of anywhere in the state, it’s a pretty great place to call home in the winter months.  And the summer months? Well, let’s tackle a different kind of skiing … well, we’ve got lakes and reservoirs galore. Whether your a snow-or-sun-bunny, Utah’s got something for you to do all year round.  But what if I were to tell you there’s a whole other side to Utah – one that doesn’t necessarily get the respect it deserves?


Utah has a rich history of providing all that the art community could ever desire – and it extends far past it’s Sundance roots.  Whether you’re looking for performing or visual arts, there’s something enriching for every taste.  Who knew, right?  There’s something for every taste and every age.


Local Art Galleries

  • 15th Street Gallery
  • Arts of the World
  • Phillips Gallery
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts
  • A Gallery
  • Art at the Main
  • David Dee Fine Arts
  • Every Blooming Thing
  • Glass House
  • Macaroni Gallery
  • Michael Berry Gallery & Custom Framing
  • Urban Arts Gallery
  • Anthony’s Antiques + Fine Art
  • Commerce + Craft
  • Rio Gallery
  • Modern West Fine Art
  • Alice Gallery
  • Arte Haus Collectif
  • David Ericson Fine Art
  • Fringe Gallery
  • Hope Gallery
  • Mestizo Institute of Culture + Arts
  • Sego 3 Fine Art
  • Williams Fine Art
  • Art Access
  • Finch Lane Gallery
  • Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Alpine Art
  • Brushworks Gallery
  • DRAW Inc. Gallery
  • Evergreen Framing Co. & Gallery, Inc.
  • F. Weixler Gallery
  • HORNE Fine Art Lanny Barnard Gallery
  • Relics Frameworks + Gallery
  • Sorenson Unity Gallery



  • Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum
  • The Leonardo at Library Square
  • Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center
  • Classic Cars International
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts
  • Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Modern West Fine Art
  • The Beehive House
  • Social Hall Heritage Museum
  • Fort Douglas Military Museum Association
  • Midvale City Museum
  • Murray City Museum
  • Utah Arts Council
  • Utah State Historical Society
  • Hill Aerospace Museum
  • Daughters of Utah Pioneers Pioneer Memorial Museum
  • Museum of Church History and Art
  • Alice Gallery
  • Emigration Cyn Historical Society
  • Sandy Museum


Performing Arts 

  • Eccles Theater
  • Capitol Theater
  • Ballet West
  • Maurice Abravanel Hall
  • Utah Film Center
  • Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts
  • USANA Amphitheater
  • Kilby Court
  • Ballet West
  • Repertory Dance Theater
  • Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company
  • Pioneer Theater Company
  • Utah Symphony, Utah Opera
  • Kingsbury Hall
  • Red Butte Outdoor Concert Series
  • The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square
  • The Off Broadway Theater
  • Salt Lake Acting Company
  • Hale Center Theater
  • Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center
  • Sandy City Amphitheater
  • Utah Opera


It’s really an amazing area to be a part of – who needs to travel when chances are you haven’t experienced all that OUR area has to offer? Do yourself a favor and plan a few ‘staycation’ adventures this year – enrich your mind and your soul, and fall in love with Salt Lake all over again.

If you’re ready to make Utah your home – or ready to explore more of what your home has to offer, check out these amazing, enriching opportunities – and make sure to come back and let us know how it went!

Posted on June 11, 2019 at 4:35 pm
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

6 Home Trends: What We’re Seeing

No two homes are quite alike – even if they’re built by the same builder and have the same finishing touches, it’s the homeowner who makes it unique. It’s the personal touches and the personal design style that turns every home – even a beautifully built one – into something special.

And are there ever a lot of design styles to choose from! From classic to contemporary, from farmhouse to colonial – and everything in between, there are enough styles to mix and match and draw from as there are homeowners. There ARE, however, some emerging trends that we in the Real Estate industry get to see on a daily basis, and it’s a pretty cool up-close-and-personal situation that we’re really loving.

Wondering what emerging trends may come out of 2019, or hold strong from years prior?

6 Home Trends: What We’re Seeing

In artwork, less is more:  this is a big one. We’re seeing a lot of beautiful, well-chosen pieces that make a statement. Clean lines, understated accents and sharp details are leaving no room for clutter.

Wallpapers: beautiful floral wallpapers are making a comeback, and it’s one that I’m loving – in moderation.

Patterned Backsplashes: beautifully designed backsplashes are an amazing way to bring interest to your kitchen without overdoing the paint color or art. It’s an interesting contrast to the lasting simple, monochromatic kitchens that have been around for a while. It’s a beautiful way to keep things clean and uncluttered while still adding some interest and personality.

Stand Alone Tubs:  New homeowners are embracing the bath – and it’s something that’s creating absolutely beautiful bathrooms. A tub that’s built for an at-home spa experience has become an amazing selling point – and building requirement – for new homebuyers.

Rich Painted Rooms: For a long time, white has been king, but it’s moodier cousin seems to be gaining ground. Deep, thoughtful colors are making their way into homes and it’s adding some depth that has long been missing.

Modern Farmhouse: This isn’t a new trend-  for the last little while, we’ve been seeing shiplap and board and batten take over both the home and garden channels as well as our pinterest boards and neighborhoods – and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The modern farmhouse look has become less a design style choice and more of a lifestyle, but it’s one we just can’t argue with. It gives texture and interest and seems to scream ‘down-home American dream.’



Posted on March 14, 2019 at 7:00 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

Utah’s Time to Shine

It’s a pretty amazing time to be a Utahn. For those of us that have lived here for any extended amount of time, you don’t have to do much to convince us that it’s a remarkable place to call home –  and it seems like the rest of the world is just catching up to realize what Utah has to offer.

Population Boom

Did you know that Utah ranks No. 1 among the states for its population growth in this decade? This is due both to the high birthrate as well as the increased number of people who have decided to move here and call Utah their home. We’re not surprised, of course, it’s a pretty amazing place to call home – but what is the sudden draw that sees not only our population and housing market on the rise, but also our economy? Well, there’s a lot to said about whats going on it Utah, and a bunch piece of that comes back to the strong economic growth we’ve seen developing over the past few years. The economy is on the rise. That means people are moving here to meet the need for more workers. THAT means that the housing market is expanding to meet the need for all those new workers.  It’s math, really. And for the most part, pretty good math.

Economic Boom

Utah has become a hotbed of tech start-ups and establishments who have seen what Utah has to offer and has decided it’s a pretty solid place to build or expand their businesses. And can you blame them?  Dubbed ‘Silicon Slopes’, this seemingly overnight pop up digital hub that stretches from SLC down through Utah County, borrowing the ‘silicon’ title from the ever popular Silicon Valley startup hub in california, with a new twist because of the bevy of available ski slopes in our fair state.  According to FORBES in 2016, Utah is the best state to do business, and it seems that people are taking that to heart. the economy is on the rise and people are choosing to do business in the family and adventure friendly state. And because of all the new transplants? Well, we find ourselves with the need for new housing opportunities.

Housing Boom

Thousands of new housing opportunities seem to be popping up all over the wasatch front, everywhere from massive new neighborhood developments to smaller housing projects fit in established neighborhoods. If you’ve spent any amount of time in Utah lately, you’re aware of the constant stream of construction that just can’t seem to meet the demand. We’ve run into an interesting problem in the last few years – the supply just hasn’t been able to meet the demand. That seems to be slowing down just a bit (thank heavens for buyers!), but that doesn’t mean that the need for housing is going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, the forecast for this coming year shows things to be healthy and steady.

So … what else? 

Well, on top of the attention and growth on Utah in the recent years, we’re also seeing a healthy development in other ways as well. We’ve got the potential for another Winter Olympics (didn’t hear? Well, head on over here and find out more!) Besides that, there’s all kinds of things that are happening! We’ll be sending out a monthly happenings notification so that YOU make sure you don’t miss a beat! Want to make sure you’re on that list?

Sign up here and get all the details! 

Posted on March 7, 2019 at 8:13 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

And the bidding goes to …

We all know how great Utah’s winter sports game is. One version of our license plates are even dedicated to it – if that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is. Skiing Utah is truly an experience that even the most home-grown Utahn doesn’t take for granted – let alone those who visit our fair state for just such an experience.

It’s no surprise, then, that with our abundance of outdoor opportunities, that others have taken note – so much so, in fact, that Salt Lake City has once again been chosen to bid for an upcoming winter Olympic games opportunity.

Yep. There’s a possibility of a repeat 2002 on our hands – with a lot of enthusiasm (and a hefty price tag to boot). 

With the new airport in our corner, and existing venues that will merely need an update and facelift, Salt Lake seems to be in a good place to submit a budget that will underbid it’s competition. The 2002 Olympics cost $2.52 billion, but the proposal for the 2030 Winter Games should come in at around $1.35 billion.

That’s no small chunk of change, but those in the know are optimistic about their chances.

So, what does that mean for Utah? 

The bid won’t be won until possibly the summer of 2023, but the legacy from the 2002 Olympics still holds strong, and it’s likely that a repeat will only increase what Utah has to offer – a fact that is more quickly becoming well known as Utah’s reputation grows not only as a beautiful state for recreation, but a growing powerhouse in the technological business industry.

What a time to be a Utahn! What do you think – is the possibility of another Winter Olympic Games one that you embrace with open arms?

Posted on February 21, 2019 at 7:00 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

And that’s a wrap – Sundance 2019 is one for the books.

You’ve all heard about Sundance – it’s an exciting time for locals around here as hundreds of thousands of people flock to our beautiful state to  view the best of the submitted films, and have a better-than-average shot at glimpsing a celebrity. It’s always an amazing event.

Sundance 2019 was no exception.

For 2019, Sundance received a record number of submissions for the film festival – 14,200. That astounding number was whittled down to 112 that were featured over the week-long event. Of those 112 films, 28 awards were presented – after a long, arduous process for these filmmakers, these are truly the best of the best. Want to see who won?  Check out the official announcement from Sundance itself. 

Where did Sundance get its start?

In 1961, Robert Redford (yes, THAT Robert Redford) took a cross-country motorcycle trip and fell in love with the beauty of the Provo Canyon and Mt. Timpanogas. He bought two acres, and promptly built a cabin. And then, 8 years later, those 2 acres grew into a whopping 5,000 dubbed ‘Sundance’ after his recent role in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid.  He opened his land to the public and had it designated as a wilderness preserve.

What a guy, am I right? We know our state is beautiful, but it’s always heartwarming to know that others feel the same way.

Since then, Sundance as developed into something that educates, inspires, and lifts through it’s more than half a century in Utah. the first Film Festival was held in 1985 – and has expanded into the phenomenon it is today, with 10+ days of films chosen from the countless contributions submitted internationally. It’s pretty remarkable, with a pretty remarkable history. I don’t think many people could argue with the fact that Sundance has become a staple of the creative industry.

And besides that, it’s become a Staple of Utah’s history (and revenue, to boot.)

What does Sundance mean for Utah?

A lot, as it turns out. In 2018, Sundance announced that the 2018 Film Festival generated an astounding 191.6 million in economic revenue for Utah. But guess what, there’s more – oh, there’s more.

The economic impact study also determined that the 2018 Festival generated over $19 million in state and local tax revenue; supported 3,323 jobs; and attracted more than 124,900 attendees from 49 states and 26 foreign countries. This year’s economic impact brought the five-year cumulative total since 2014 to $585.4 million, with more than $55 million in state and local tax revenue generated and more than 10,300 jobs supported. –

Pretty incredible, right? So whether you’re a film lover, a starry-eyed celeb lover, or someone who’s indifferent to the entire event, the fact is, Sundance is an incredible boon to our great state’s economic wellbeing. And that’s something that’s good for all of us.

(So thank you, Sundance, and thank you, Mr. Redford.  Also, thank you, Utah, for being such a gorgeous place in the first place.)


Posted on February 12, 2019 at 6:57 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

The Real Estate Sales Process: The Prep

I’m on a mission to open up the real estate process for people. I know that, if it’s not your daily lane, the language and the process can seem a bit overwhelming. That’s understandable – and while I’m always here to help walk you through the process, it still helps to make sure you understand exactly what’s going down when you’re taking on such a big transaction. Let’s get started, then – with a quick overview of the Real Estate Sales Process. For the next few weeks, we’ll dive into each of these pieces a little bit deeper.

The Real Estate Sales Process, in 4 Easy Pieces:

  • The Prep
  • The Market
  • The Contract
  • The Closing

Real Estate Sales Process Step One: The Prep

Overwhelming, isn’t it? That big decision to list your home for sale? It’s a big step, and once it’s made, it seems like the lists and the tasks and the projects just swirl around with no apparent structure. That’s why there are professionals for this (hint, hint!). But just so you know what to expect, when the time comes for you to put your home on the market, getting it ready to hit the market is priority number one.

And that looks like this: 

  • Talking with a professional to get accurate, actionable feedback and direction
  • Improving your curb appeal
    • Paint doors + shutters
    • Trim hedges
    • Mow lawns
    • Seed dead patches
    • Add fresh, colorful potted plants
    • Choose a new welcome mat
  • Declutter, declutter, declutter
    • Clear out overcrowded rooms
    • Pack up knickknacks and books
    • Throw out unnecessary items and papers
  • Depersonalize the space
    • Remove unnecessary heirlooms and family photos
    • Cut back on bold statement pieces
  • Clean out closets and storage cabinets
    • Clean, organize, refresh
  • Make minor repairs
    • Replace floor or counter tiles
    • Patch holes in walls
    • Fix leaky faucets
    • Touch up paint, or apply a fresh coat of neutral paint
    • Replace light bulbs
  • Clean
    • And I mean clean. Scrub your house from top to bottom.
    • Make daily habits of keeping things clutter free and tidied up
    • Clean windows inside and out
    • Pressure wash the outside
    • Purchase fresh new towels and keep them displayed
    • De-oderize

It’s a big job, but the better prepared your home is for potential buyers, the quicker they will be to recognize that your home is the home that they want.

Tune in next week for round two: Real Estate Sales Process Step Two: The Market.

Posted on January 10, 2019 at 12:33 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

What comes first – the lender or the agent?

It’s a chicken and an egg type situation, when you get right down to it.

Here’s the thing: when you’re a first time homebuyer (or even a veteran, for that matter) there are a lot of things you need to consider. There’s a whole slew of professionals who are involved in your home-buying process, and a whole lot of steps to consider. It can be overwhelming to say the least.

Well, there’s no hard and fast rule, but my professional two cents is this: get yourself an experienced agent.

Your loan is absolutely important. I mean, you’re not even going to be  In fact, before you ever even head out the door to start house hunting, a lot of agents will require a pre-approval. So why, then, would I tell you to get an agent before a lender?

Because, like I mentioned before, there are a lot of steps involved in this whole home-buying process, and you’ll want someone who can walk you through the whole process, not just a small part of it. Experienced professional real estate agents will come with a whole entourage of experienced, professional professionals that they can refer you to.

Whatever your situation, your Realtor will be able to help you figure out how your home fits into that situation, and find you a lender (as well as the other important players in the transaction) that can cater to whatever your particular situation may be – and you’ll be able to be confident that your agent is confident in their recommendation.

At the end of the day (or rather, at the start of this process) you need someone who can be involved in every step of the transaction. You’ll want someone who can keep you updated, let you know what’s coming next, and keep the process moving as smoothly as possible.

So do you need to get pre-approved before you start searching for a home? It’s a really really good idea. But the first step you should take? Find yourself a Real Estate agent who’s ready and willing to show you the way home.

Are you ready to get started now? I’d be honored to help you find your way home.

Posted on November 24, 2018 at 12:32 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized

Top 10 Reasons I Love Being a Real Estate Agent

Real estate is an ever-changing field – particularly in those times when the real estate market is being heavily affected by economic factors, such as is the case in Northern Utah right now.  The impact of the ‘Silicone Slopes’, the rapidly expanding technological economic infusion is bringing new residents to the Wasatch Front in droves, demanding an increase in the demand for housing and driving home prices up, alongside the rental market.

It’s been an interesting phenomenon, watching the demand for housing outgrow the market availability. Quite simply put, there are more buyers than there are available homes, which means that as agents,  we need to be at the top of our game. And THAT has reminded my why I love this field.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Being a Real Estate Agent

10: It’s an adventure. Every day is something new. I can plan out my day the night before, and before I’ve even finished breakfast, my day is headed in a different direction. I wouldn’t have it any other day.

9. Growth Opportunity.  You hear over and over how much people love being their own boss. In this game, success ebbs and flows, but if you’re willing to put your head down and work hard, you’ll find your success. And there’s nothing more gratifying than knowing you’ve created something amazing.

8. Community Pride.  When you spend every day selling this beautiful state for all the ‘greats’, it’s hard not to appreciate them. You gain an unparalleled amount of local pride, and with that comes a desire to give back and be involved.

7. Challenge.  I love the challenge of finding someone the perfect place to call home, or finding a buyer for a home I’ve listed. I love both the challenging properties and the easy sells. There’s nothing more rewarding than helping someone navigate unfamiliar territory – especially when it’s something as big as real estate.

6. Goals.  Aside from my experience and training in the Real Estate industry, I also have accomplished some significant training in personal development. As such, I understand the importance of setting and reaching goals. In a business like real estate, there is an enormous opportunity to build business, set goals, and make big impacts in my life.

5. Camaraderie.  There’s nothing like a solid tribe. In this industry, there’s no way to make it on your own. You need a good network of solid professionals to help finish out the deal. A bonus of that is, when you find that tribe, your world will never be the same.

4. Job Security.  I love knowing that no matter what else happens in this crazy world, people will always need a place to live. Yes, technology is taking over a lot of the mundane, monotonous tasks, but there will always be a need for people to help walk buyers and sellers through the process. As long as I work hard, I’ve always got work to do.

3. The Houses.  Real estate isn’t just a thriving career for me – it’s a hobby. I love homes. I love the details, the lines, the architecture. I appreciate solid craftsmanship and good design, and it’s incredible to get to surround yourself with it on a daily basis.

2. People.  I love meeting new people. I love the match-making part of real estate – when you get to meet someone and help them find a home that is just what they’re looking for (especially when they’re not actually sure what they’re looking for). I love making new friends and acquaintances and contacts.

1. The flexibility.  Life as an agent is both demanding and flexible. There’s a lot to get done, but it’s up to me when to do it. When life is moving along at a hectic pace, I’ve got the ability to match my work to my life, not the other way around.

And the un-numbered reason that I love real estate so much? I’m really good at it. It’s pretty amazing to spend your days doing something that you actually are both enthusiastic about and talented at.


Posted on November 24, 2018 at 12:31 am
Kristel Gough | Category: Uncategorized