Monday, December 21, 2015

Home Theater Economics, Star Wars and Statistics

A few years ago we built a home theater, with a nice projector, pretty nice screen and some of the best speakers available.  Even doing most of the construction myself and with my children's help I'm wondering if it was worth the expense.  I love being able to watch a movie in some comfortable clothes and slippers. I don't need to worry about sitting by an annoying movie goer and the refreshments are a lot less expensive.  So why am I questioning whether the home theater was a good expense or not?  Because of the new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


A few years ago we built a home theater, with a nice projector, pretty nice screen and some of the best speakers available.  Even doing most of the construction myself and with my children's help I'm wondering if it was worth the expense.  I love being able to watch a movie in some comfortable clothes and slippers. I don't need to worry about sitting by an annoying movie goer and the refreshments are a lot less expensive.  So why am I questioning whether the home theater was a good expense or not?  Because of the new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

This weekend the new Star Wars movie, "The Force Awakens" opened in theaters around the world (excluding China where it opens early next month).  Some of the following information is more interesting than supportive for either argument, but with a new Star Wars movie, interesting information is just as important as objective support for or against a home theater, right?

I remember well in 1977 going to the first Star Wars (later called Episode IV), and later that year for my birthday I received an LP (Wiki definition if you don't know what an LP is) Star Wars sound track with an awesome poster of all the different star fighters battling around the death star.  It was awesome (and is now worth over $100 on ebay).

Since that time, I have eagerly awaited and always seen the new Star Wars movies as they have been released in a public theater. So do I wait for the latest version, "The Force Awakens" to come out on blue ray so I may watch it in the comfort of my own home or do I breakdown and go see the movie as soon as possible?

You may think this is trivial, so let me first remind you that I live in Utah and if you didn't know, the biggest Star Wars fans are in Utah as per Wonkblog and Google Trends.  Even more support for the psychological dilemma I'm in is how many times "The Force Awakens" was shown in Utah theaters compared to the rest of the country, which can be seen in the chart included in the article about the Weekend Record sales of $238 million - there are a lot of movie goers in Utah.

I haven't seen the movie yet and I have started debating the economics of building a home theater versus going to movies in a public theater. It is a little easier to contemplate my decisions versus the financial repercussions of the Rebel Alliance destroying two Death Stars as argued by Zachary Feinstein in his study, "It's a Trap: Emperor Palpatine's Poinson Pill".  A good counter argument from Tho Bishop says the building of the Death Star was more damaging to the inter-galactic economy than the destruction of the Death Star.

Either way, I'm stuck with a home theater and I'm at odds when clients ask me about the value of a home theater when we are pricing their home to sell or looking at a home to buy. It all depends if you are an avid Star Wars fan.

From everything I hear, The Force Awakens, is worth seeing twice (as is any Star Wars movie) so my plan is to go to the movie this week and also purchase it on blue ray when it is released.  In between I've found a great youtube channel, Undeleted Scenes about Star Wars movies created by Jackson Renouf, a resident of Utah that faithfully supports the statistics mentioned above.

Now how about the scientific study that we should eat popcorn at the movies?

Enjoy and May the Force be With You.
Brian Olsen, WWR

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Park City Single Family Homes in November 2015

A total of 50 single family homes listed for sale in Park City during the month of November. This compares to 3 new listings in November 2014.

November 2014 saw 48 homes sell compared to last month when 29 homes closed.

The two areas selling the most homes last month were Glenwild / Silver Creek with 5 closings, which included the most expensive property closing last month at $2,375,000.00; Promontory, Jeremy Ranch and Park Meadows each had 4 closings in November. 



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Preparing and Beginning Your House Hunt: A Homebuyer's Checklist

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Buying a home is one of life’s most important decisions and exciting adventures. But there’s much more to finding the right property than simply picking out the perfect floor plan. Even experienced buyers can find the process complex and very time consuming. That’s why the time you spend preparing before you start your search can be the best investment you make in your new home.

It's important to understand the buying process, the decisions you will have to make, and undoubtedly the tradeoffs along your path to homeownership. So here are some things to keep in mind before and during your search:
  • Do the math on your purchasing power. Before you start cruising any neighborhoods for open houses, you need to know which driveways you can financially afford to pull into. Meet with a lender who will help you determine which type of financing (fixed rate, adjustable, first time home buyer, FHA, etc.) will work best for your situation and how big of a loan you can comfortably qualify for with each type of available financing. Getting pre-approved can put you in a much stronger negotiating position because it shows the seller that you are a committed buyer, financially capable of buying the property and more likely to close on it. Most people will first check with their banking institution to get pre-approved. Getting a second opinion may pay off for the few minutes it takes to make an extra call to a mortgage lender.
  • Find the right agent. Your real estate agent will be your partner in your search, so it’s important to have confidence in him or her by doing your research. Look for a strong, professional REALTOR® with experience and success who listens and communicates well and consistently. Ask friends and family for agent referrals, and don’t be afraid to interview more than one agent to compare competency before making your decision.
  • Start surfing. One of the most important tools for your house hunt can be found right in your own home or office – the Internet. Many homes are listed for sale on the Internet because real estate agents know that most people turn to the Web first when looking for a new home. With just a few clicks of a mouse, you can see pictures, take virtual tours and map out locations for homes that contain features you are looking for. A good place to start is at www.2ndhomeutah.com. Your agent can help you investigate whether the homes you find are still available, coordinate a time to see the home and research the market value of the home based on past comparable home sales.
  • Location, location, location. One can make a list of pros and cons for nearly every home in every neighborhood. That’s why it’s important to narrow your search before you start touring every house in town. Decide which neighborhoods work best for you, your family and your work commute. Check out school districts, shopping and dining, public transportation, recreational areas and any other facts that are important to you.
  • List your priorities and prepare to compromise. The dream home you have pictured in your mind might not exist in reality – or at least not in your neighborhood or price range. It may be necessary to sacrifice that extra large bathtub or redwood deck in order to get the home located near your child’s school that has the four bedrooms you require. Make a list of the features you would like versus ones you can’t live without. Then, bring your list with you as you tour homes to keep score.
  • Would you like French doors with that? Once you’ve found a home you like, consider the costs of upgrades, repairs or remodels and factor those into your short or long term budgets and be certain to investigate with the local planning entities whether or not those upgrades are even possible.
With a little planning up front you will be well on your way to enjoying your new home before you know it.



Information and Photo from Coldwellbanker 




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