How to Buy a House in Utah

how to buy a house in utah

When buying a house, it’s important to know that the housing market is going to be different depending on your state.

It can even depend on what county or neighborhood you want to live in. Buying a house can also be a complicated process if you don’t know what to do first.

Some households might also still be contemplating between renting an apartment, buying a home, or using Utah home builders to build their own home. Currently, the median home price in Utah is $370,000 with the median rent price at $1,550 per month.

Explore this Guide:

What is Needed to Buy a House in Utah

A lot of the requirements to buy a house in Utah are going to be the same things you’d need to buy a house anywhere. But there are things specific to your state that you’ll want to research. This is primarily to help you be familiar with the housing market in your specific area.

Below are all the things you’ll want to go over and have in order when buying a home in Utah:

Get a Real Estate Agent

First, you need to find a buyer’s agent, otherwise known as your real estate agent. A realtor is a person that will help guide you smoothly through the home buying process and handle much of the paperwork.

Some other services that a realtor provides a home buyer include negotiating on your behalf with the seller, showing available properties, and helping you find what you’re looking for in a home.

Do Your Research

When buying a house you have to do some of your own research. There are things you must be aware of before you can responsibly buy a house and make this important decision.

For example, you might want to do your own research on areas that you want to live in, average prices, property taxes in that area, the housing market right now, and whether it’s a good time to buy.

But you also need a basic home buyer’s knowledge of many things pertaining to buying a home like what an HOA is and what kinds of mortgages are available to you.

For example, property taxes in Utah are calculated based on the value of your home. So how much you will pay in property taxes depends on the overall value of your home and your specific county. In Utah County the average property tax rate is about 0.565% meaning that many homes end up paying about $1,413 a year in property taxes.

You also have to consider closing costs and fees. In Utah, the average closing costs on a home are around $1,891, but they can be anywhere between 2% and 5% of your home. That means that more likely, Utah residents might end up paying between $6,812 and $17,030 in closing costs for their home.

Make a Pros and Cons List

Don’t forget to make a pros and cons list before you go into the home buying process. You want to make a list of things you do and don’t want in a house to help your realtor show you homes you would like.

Having a pros and cons list will also help you make a final decision. But you also have to be familiar with what are deal breakers in a home and what you can easily do without. You might really need an office space in your home for working from home, but maybe a kitchen island is something you would like to have but don’t have to have.

All of these things are the details you’ll have to work out for yourself or with other members of your household before you can easily make a decision on a home in the end.

Figure Out How Much House You Can Afford

There are actually a couple of calculations you can use to figure out how much house you can afford. You can determine how much you can spend on a house based on how much you have saved, your income, or the monthly payments you can afford.

Take the amount you have saved up for a house and divide it by 20% or take your gross annual income and multiply it by 2.5 to get how much you can afford in total on a house.

Take your gross annual income and divide it by 28% to figure out how much you can afford to spend in total each month on a mortgage payment.

Read more about how to figure out how much house you can afford by checking out the article, “How Much House Can I Afford?

Get Together a Down Payment

You need a down payment in order to buy a house. A down payment on a home usually needs to be at least 20% of the total cost you expect to spend on a house. This is often the minimum you need saved up in order to get most mortgages approved.

Ideally, you would pay a higher down payment than just 20%. Many financial advisors even suggest home buyers save up all the money they want to spend on a house so that they can buy their house in cash and forgo getting a mortgage altogether.

But most people can’t afford to pay for a house in cash and that’s ok. Just know that the higher the down payment you can afford, the more likely you’ll get a great mortgage.

Get Approved for a Mortgage

You need to get preapproved with a lender for your mortgage before you can make an offer on a house in Utah. This will show sellers that you are ready and approved to finance the purchase of the home. Getting approved for a mortgage can also give you a budget when looking at houses of different prices.

Credit Score to Buy a House in Utah

Different housing markets are going to have different demands when it comes to credit score requirements and expectations. Credit Karma says that the average first-time homebuyer has a credit score of 684, so this is probably the credit score you want to aim for.

But the average credit score for homebuyers will also change depending on your region. For example, they also found that if you live on the West Coast, you’ll be better off if you have a higher credit score of 700 or more. Many Utah home buyers have a credit score of 690, buy their first home at age 31, and have an average mortgage of about $315,951.

How to Buy a House in Utah with Bad Credit

If you have bad credit you might have a harder time getting a mortgage and getting a good interest rate on that mortgage. It might be in your best interest to postpone buying a house so that you can work on your credit score first.

But if that isn’t possible you do have options. There are specific mortgage lenders, lending programs, or housing communities that you can go to in order to get a mortgage approved.

There are federal organizations you can use to get a mortgage approved with bad credit like, FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans. There are also state-specific programs in Utah that you can turn to as a mortgage resource when buying a home in Utah.

  • FirstHome Loan
  • HomeAgain Loan
  • Score Loan
  • NoMI Loan
  • Grants for Veterans
Average Credit Score to Buy a House in Utah

Your credit score, also known as your FICO score, is one of the things mortgage lenders look at during your application for a loan. This will tell them how likely you are to be a good loan customer. Depending on where you apply will depend on how good you need your credit score to be. In Utah, home buyers want to have a credit score of 620 or higher, but ideally home buyers in Utah will have an average score of 690 or higher.

Best Place to Buy a House in Utah

Finding the best place to live will depend on a lot of factors. Different places have different market advantages and advantages for residents who live there. Like if you want to sell your house again later in the future, you might want to be in a good neighborhood with a great school and parks nearby.

You might also have a job that you want to live near or family that you want to live closer to. All of these personal factors will go into your choice.

Buy a House in Provo Utah

Provo is a very popular place in Utah. It’s a hotspot for tourists, businesses, and has Brigham Young University. The median home prices for Provo is around $219,900, which is actually on in the lower range for homes in Utah.

Explore Homes for Sale in Provo, Utah HERE.

Cheapest Place to Buy a House in Utah

If you’re looking for an even cheaper place to buy a house in Utah, then you’ll want to check out the home prices in different counties and towns. But the best city for first-time homebuyers in Utah according to the National Association of Realtors is Ogden, Utah. The National Association of Realtors based their analysis on domestic migration, housing affordability, job growth, population age, whether retirees want to live there, and home price appreciation.

Zillow also has lots of information about different major cities in Utah and how much the average house costs there.

City in Utah Median Home Price
Sandy $295,800
Salt Lake City $281,300
West Jordan $252,200
Orem $236,200
Layton $232,800
Saint George $231,400
Provo $219,900
West Valley City $202,100
Ogden $145,200

Best Time to Buy a House in Utah

The housing market is actually seasonal in Utah, as with many states. Spring and summer tend to be the best times to buy a house in Utah because this is when sellers list their houses for sale.

But if you don’t want as much competition from other buyers than buying offseason, during the fall and winter, could be smarter. You could also get a better price because there are fewer buyers for you to compete against.

When thinking about when to buy a home, it’s paramount that you consider the overall housing market. On Zillow right now, the median price of a home in Utah is $352,595 and this price is projected to go steadily higher in the next year. The values of homes in Utah have gone up 5.2% in the past year and Zillow predicts they’ll continue to rise 4.4% in the year to come.

How to Buy a House Without a Realtor in Utah

If you choose to not use a realtor, you can save money, and take your own time searching for and finding a home.

But you’ll have to go through all the steps of buying a home, do research on the neighborhood, get seller disclosures, get preapproved for a loan, get an inspection, make negotiations all on your own.

You won’t have as much knowledge about the market, you’ll have to do negotiations all by yourself, there is a lot of paperwork involved in buying a home that you’ll have to take care of, and at the end of your home buying experience, you really won’t save a lot of money buying a home without a realtor.

But if you decide to go it alone anyway, here are the steps you’ll have to go through in place of your real estate agent:

Step 1: Apply for a mortgage

You’ll want to shop for a home loan, pick your lender, and get preapproved so that you have the means to purchase your home when that time comes.

Step 2: Do your research

Normally a realtor would be able to tell you about the neighborhood, the housing market, or what prices are fair or unfair. Thoroughly research everything question you can think of.

Step 3: Choose a house

Now it’s time to shop for and pick a house! Make sure you know what you want, what you can afford, and what different features are worth.

Step 4: Get a seller disclosure

A seller’s disclosure is a document that overviews everything the seller knows about the property. You’ll still want to get your own inspection done on the house.

Step 5: Make your offer

Normally when buying a house you’ll make an offer and make getting your own inspection on the house done a part of your offer.

Step 6: Get an inspection

It’s important that you get your own home inspection done on the house before you finalize the purchase of the house. That way you can catch anything that might affect the value of the home.

Step 7: Negotiate

After your own home inspection, it might be time to do some negotiating on the house price. For instance, if you find a major problem in the piping or something you can sometimes negotiate a lower price.

Step 8: Finalize the sale

Now that you’ve done all that work it’s time to finish the paperwork and make the house your own!

Retirement Communities in Utah

There are many retirement communities that are specifically created for the 55+ community. But maybe you don’t want a home that is going to control or alter too much of your life with specific 55+ community requirements. Maybe you just want a home you can grow old in and make your life a little easier.

If this is what you’re looking for in a house then the homes at Strawberry Fields might be the dream place for you.

What is a Retirement Community?

A retirement community, like Strawberry Fields Utah, is a community of houses or a facility specifically designed for residents who are 55 years old or older. They can also be called assisted living communities and can come in different levels of assisted living.

Their purpose is to provide certain benefits to members of the 55+ community age group. A lot of them are meant to help older age groups live as independently as possible, or take care of members of the 55+ community. Some retirement communities will do everything for their residents, including providing meals and having a staff of registered nurses while others will provide fewer services and staff and allow for much more independence.

Independent Living Facilities

Independent living facilities are for residents who don’t need special medical treatment or daily help. They can simply be a community of houses that are restricted to the 55+ age group, or houses that are designed for ground floor living with wider doors and hallways for easier wheelchair access should that ever be necessary.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities are just that, homes or a housing facility that has the added benefits of assistance from a professional staff. People who live in assisted living facilities often don’t need extensive care, but they do need some assistance with certain daily tasks.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes are for people who need more extensive, daily care. They have professionals continually on staff and provide everything for their residents.


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