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MOVING UP RUNGS OF HOUSING LADDER IS A STEEP CLIMB

SHARE MOVING UP RUNGS OF HOUSING LADDER IS A STEEP CLIMB

If you thought it was difficult to purchase your first house with the associated paperwork and details, consider the situation when you sell that house and try to purchase another one.

After renting for several years, you pack up your belongings and move into a house, whether new or used, after paying closing costs and arranging for the loan. That is a rather simple operation.When you try to sell your old house and move into another one, it might be like getting caught in a meat grinder - especially if you have picked out a new house and made an offer but your old house isn't selling.

That's the situation Diana and Rod Jackson found themselves in. The Jacksons, who live at 1455 Edison St., decided a few months ago they needed more room for the growing needs of their family and picked out a house at 934 S. 1100 East. They put their house up for sale and made an offer on the house on 1100 East.

They held open houses on the Edison Street property, but so far they haven't had any concrete offers. Meanwhile, someone else made an offer on the 1100 East house, and the Jacksons had 72 hours to match the offer. The second offer apparently was higher than that tendered by the Jacksons, and because they haven't sold their house they couldn't increase their offer.

The owners of the house on 1100 East accepted the second offer, so the Jacksons are beginning to look at other housing prospects. Although disappointed, the couple was fully aware of the possibilities of losing the other house.

Such are the pitfalls of trying to sell a house and buy another one. The Jacksons liken their situation to a stack of cards - take out one card and the entire stack falls.

Rod said they realized last spring the real estate market was strong and they could probably get more money from their house, built in 1894, which theypurchased in November 1989. The Jacksons paid $56,000 for the house, but it has been appraised at $115,000, and they want to recoup their initial investment and the cost of the improvements.

Diana said they wanted to get into a different neighborhood, needed a bigger house because their daughters are growing up and they need more space and they wanted a bigger house to accommodate relatives when they visited from out of town.

Rod, a reporter for KTVX, Channel 4, and Diana, an account executive for The Summit Group, said they faced a big challenge finding another house because they wanted to stay in Salt Lake City's downtown area. Their children attend Wasatch Elementary School at R Street and South Temple, so they were pleased when they found the house on 1100 East.

The Jacksons said they want to stay close to their jobs and not have long congested commutes from the suburbs.

Moving up the housing ladder definitely takes some study of the real estate industry, said the Jacksons, trying to figure out all of the hoops that need to be jumped through. They learned the real estate market in Salt Lake City is "hot," which means that people like the Jacksons are trying to get the best price for their house.

They not only had to hire a real estate agent to handle the sale of their old house, but they have to deal with the real estate agent who was selling the house on 1100 East. Rod said the various amounts of money they have had to pay are "nickle and diming us to death." Some of the money will be refunded.

Scott Christensen, an associate broker with Prudential Prestige Real Estate, has been trying to sell the Jacksons' house on Edison Street.

Because there are so many details that needed to be taken care of when selling a house and buying another one, he suggested people determine how much equity they have in their house and get pre-approved for a loan from a mortgage company or bank.

He said the real estate agent does a market analysis to determine the median price of houses in the area in which you want to settle. The sellers fill out some forms, negotiate a brokerage fee, which usually is 6-7 percent, and fill out a disclosure form stating what works and doesn't work in the home.

The forms are returned to the listing office and then go out via a computer to the 3,200 members of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. Buyers are asked what area they prefer, how many bathrooms and bedrooms they desire and the price range.

Sometimes inspectors are hired to inspect a house to make certain everything is working, Christensen said. Some real estate agents do promotions such as open houses.

When the buyer is approved by a mortgage company, title insurance is needed to protect the seller and the buyer. Christensen said many things are done to avoid lawsuits.

After a walk-through by the purchasers to make certain everything is working, both parties agree on a possession date. Christensen said it seems as if there always are minor problems that delay the move-in date.

For the Jacksons, they still have a roof over their heads and probably will spend the next few weeks looking at existing houses or possibly a new one.