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Radon Awareness and Your Home

You may be wondering what Radon Awareness has to do with buying your dream home? Even if you aren’t currently buying or selling your home, this topic is still relevant. Did you know Radon is present in every home? It accumulates in soil and rock from the decay of radioactive elements. The radon gas eventually rises above the ground into the air and into your home. It doesn’t matter if your home is old, or new, brick, or stucco, on the beach, or a mountainside retreat, they ALL have it. The trick is finding out how much.

The EPA and Surgeon General recommend that everyone have their home tested for Radon, and for good reason. Radon kills 22,000 people annually. That is more people killed every year than drunk driving. In Utah 1 in 3 homes has high enough levels of Radon it requires mitigation.

I’ve been selling real estate for over 40 years. Radon is fairly new concern in the business. I’m usually skeptical of new things. We built a new home 5 years ago and felt the need to do a radon test. Recently, people I personally know have battled or passed away from lung cancer caused by radon exposure. I was surprised to find the levels in our home were alarmingly high. We went through the mitigation process. It was very reasonable and easy to do. When my grandkids are visiting our home, I’m glad I did it. 

Radon is not something you can be see, smell, or taste. There are several companies along that Wasatch Front that have professional testers who can come to your home. You can also buy a kit online or at a home improvement store. Some companies even provide free radon test kits.

If you have any questions, give me a call. I’d be happy to talk with you!

Steve Brough

Owner & Broker

(801) 458-8383

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Protecting Your Home In Cold Weather

How to Protect Your Home During Extreme Cold Weather

With the extreme cold weather we have been experiencing here in Northern Utah recently, I’m reminded on how it can be hard on both you and your home. Here are some tips I found at that you should put into practice when freezing weather, snow, and ice hit your area.

How to Deal with Frozen Pipes

  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
  • Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers.
  • Turn off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on faucets to allow them to drain.
  • Turn off sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the lines to drain them.
  • Close or cover foundation vents under house and windows to basements.
  • Close garage doors.
  • Insulate exposed pipes (both hot and cold) under house with foam pipe insulation.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks.
  • Drip hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath. Drip single control faucets with lever set in middle.
  • Set ice-maker to make ice if the water line to it runs under the house.
  • Don’t forget to check on pipes to your washing machine in the laundry room.
  • Locate water main cut-off valve, and have a cut-off key handy.
  • Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape, or a portable space heater to thaw frozen pipes that have not burst.
  • Keep the faucet open when thawing frozen pipes to allow water to begin flowing through it.
  • After the weather has warmed above freezing and any frozen pipes have thawed, turn off dripping faucets and monitor your water meter to check for unseen leaks.

How to Keep Warm in Your Home

  • Have your furnace inspected before cold weather arrives. Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, install a clean air filter, and check the thermostat to see if it’s working properly.
  • Inspect fireplaces, and chimneys before using, and have them cleaned if needed.
  • Keep drapes and blinds closed, except when windows are in direct sunlight.
  • Put up storm windows, or install sheet plastic window insulation kits on the inside of windows.
  • Cover or remove any window air conditioners.
  • Insulate electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals available at home centers.
  • Caulk any cracks or holes on the outside of your house.
  • Repair or replace weather stripping and thresholds around doors and windows.
  • Run paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate warm air.
  • Put draft snakes on window sills, between window frames, and against doors.
  • If you heat with propane or fuel oil, make sure the tank is full.
  • If you heat with wood or coal, have plenty of fuel on hand.

How to Protect the Outside of Your Home

  • Clean your gutters and downspouts before cold weather arrives to prevent ice from forming in them.
  • Spray an ice repellent solution on steps and walks before freezing weather arrives.
  • Check antifreeze levels in cars. Add if needed, then run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
  • Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spay to circulate it in lines.
  • Check air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower.
  • Bring in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures warm above freezing.
  • Drain birdbaths and fountains
  • Gently sweep snow off plants and shrubs in an upward motion with a broom.
  • Use rock salt, sand, or clay based kitty litter on walks and drives (NOTE: Salt can damage grass and other plants).
  • Don’t overdo it when using a snow shovel.
  • Stay off your roof during freezing weather, but once the ice and snow have melted, inspect your roof for any damage.

How to Stay Safe in an Ice or Snow Storm

  • Stockpile nonperishable food and water.
  • Refill prescription medications in advance of storm.
  • Fill car with gas.
  • Charge cell phones.
  • Have flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, and a manual can opener on hand.
  • A portable generator can come in handy when the lights go out, but take precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when using.
  • Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and the batteries powering them are fresh.
  • Have a working fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.
  • A chain saw can come in handy for removing broken limbs after an ice storm.

I hope these help and that you don’t have any unanticipated issues this winter.

Have a great day.

Jim Schoneman

Brough Realty


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4 Ways To Get Into a Home With No Money Down

If you think you don’t have enough money to put down on a home, the stress has been lifted.

Here are 4 ways you may qualify that would help you get out of paying rent and start building up equity in your own home.


  1. Utah FHA with Home Grants:

Utah Home Buyer grants assist home buyers with down payment assistance and reduction in loan principal. Often Utah grants can help buyers, who have not owned in the last 3 years, purchase a home with no money down.

These grant programs are sponsored by local cities and counties to attract home buyers into their area. Cities and counties want more people living in their municipality because it supports their revenue from utilities, merchant services and property taxes. Often these municipality ask that you live in the area for a minimum of five years, otherwise if you sell earlier just prorate back a portion of the grant through the sale.

Several cities and counties have home grant programs available, although they do not always have funds available and you may need to wait to be refunded.

Example: A buyer has not owned a home in more than three years and qualifies for a FHA loan. The purchase price of the home is $140,000, so the required down payment by FHA is $4,900. They applied for a grant and got $5,000. So $4,900 covered their full down payment and the remaining $100 reduces their loan amount.



  1. Utah Housing:

Utah housing is a state program that provides financing for down payments. FHA has a down payment of 3.5%, so if you are purchasing a home at $150,000, then you would need to bring a down payment of $5,250. For several buyers this could be a lot of money to come up with for a home purchase. Fortunately, as long as you do not own a current home, then Utah Housing will provide the down payment as a second loan. Allowing you to purchase a property with no money down.

Eligible down payment assistance for First Time Home Buyers or previous home owners could go as high as 6% with a 660 credit score. Otherwise if the score is above 620, then down payment assistance may go up to 4%. If your credit score is below 620, we can help repair your credit in order to get you above 620 or higher.

Utah housing has 30 year fixed loans with no prepayment penalties. Warning: Only certain lenders qualify to offer these loans. So if a lender says you do not qualify, check Utah Housing approved lenders list to see if the lender qualifies.

There are several Utah housing no money down programs available to Utah home buyers.  One of the best is “First Home” which offers their best rate to Utah first time home buyers with no money down.  If a Utah home buyers is not a first time home buyer, then Utah housing offers a program called “Home Again” which allows a previous homeowner to purchase Utah homes with no money down.

Other programs include Score, which helps Utah home buyers with lesser credit scores.  A new program which allows Utah home buyers to purchase Utah homes with no mortgage insurance regardless if the buyer is a first time home buyer or not.

Side note:  a first time home buyer is classified as any person who has not owned or purchased a homes within the last three years.  So if an owner was foreclosed on their home and it has been three years, not only could they qualify for a Utah FHA loan but they are also considered a “first time home buyer”.

Regardless if you think you can buy a Utah home or not, it is always best to check with an experienced lender to see if you qualify.  Chances are that you may qualify for more than you know.



  1. Utah USDA/Rural Housing:

Utah Rural housing loans are one of the best loan programs that has no money down.  This program, which is administered by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) offer financing programs to Utah home buyer purchasing Utah homes in rural areas

These Utah home loans have lower mortgage insurance with no money necessary for down payment.  They are underwritten by a lender and approved by USDA.

Utah homes that are within the USDA rural housing maps in Utah can qualify for the rural housing loan Utah program.  Currently, Utah Rural Housing maps are under review with USDA and may change. Typically, areas with less population are deemed rural, but once that population grows USDA may remove that area from the rural housing maps.



  1. Utah VA:

Utah VA loans are designed specifically for those serving or have served in the military. When compared to other loan options, VA is often the best choice. VA loans do not have a down payment and monthly mortgage payments are often less than other loan options due to no mortgage insurance and great rates. VA loans have comparable closing cost (if not lower) to other loans, they are assumable to other qualified veterans and can be prepaid without penalty.

The VA loan qualification process is different than most other loans. Income, credit and other factors are used in different ways. Also, there is not a regular appraisal completed, but rather, a Certificate of Value, which has a very different process than a regular appraisal and may take up to two weeks to complete.

The most important piece of the VA loan is the Certificate of Eligibility. This entitles the recipient to get a VA loan with all it’s benefits. Getting the certificate may take some time and paperwork, most cases can be done online.

If this article has given you hope contact a lender and begin the conversation.  Or if you know someone this may help, please forward it to them.

I can help you or your friend locate a home and help you or them get out of renting.


To get started click on this link:



Jim Schoneman

Brough Realty


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Boomerang Generation

As my friends and I get older, many of us have found ourselves in a situation that has our adult children moving back in with us.  I know this isn’t something that we all have happening to us. However, many of us have friends that either have their children move back in or we have friends that are moving back in with their parents.

Boomerang Generation

If there’s supposed to be a stigma attached to living with mom and dad through one’s late twenties or early thirties, today’s “boomerang generation” didn’t get that memo.

One reason young adults who are living with their parents may be relatively upbeat about their situation is that this has become such a widespread phenomenon. Among adults ages 25 to 34, 61% say they have friends or family members who have moved back in with their parents over the past few years.

A Pew Research analysis of Census Bureau data shows that the share of Americans living in multi-generational family households is the highest it has been since the 1950s.

Census data shows that during the recession years (2007-2009) the share of Americans living in multi-generational households increased more among adults ages 25 to 34 than among any other age group.

A 2015 survey found that almost 40 percent of young Americans are living with parents, siblings or other relatives, the highest percentage in 75 years.

Some parents expect and welcome the post-college sojourn for up to a year while the new grad finds a job and saves money to move out. The problems occur when a young adult refuses to leave or returns home with no game plan.

Make a Plan

What can parents do in these situations?  Kim Abraham, a therapist in Grand Blanc, Mich., and coauthor of The Whipped Parent suggests:

  • Don’t share the wealth. Many parents worked hard to earn a comfortable life, and their children expect them to share it. “When you hand them those comforts you’re cheating them out of gaining self-confidence and pride when they achieve those things by working hard themselves.”
  • Lose the guilt. We sometimes are held hostage by anger, disappointment or fear of what will happen if we don’t bail them out. “Children are very good at pushing those buttons to make us feel responsible for their happiness and emotional well-being.”
  • No excuses. The adult children may claim their boss doesn’t like them or they’re not happy with their work and want to jump ship. They don’t need to come home to do that. They can find a new job while continuing to work or go to school part time to get new skills.
  • Make a plan. Adult children will claim they need to stay for only a short time while they save for a down payment or get back on their feet. “They usually come in with a goal. Then they get in the door and are not saving any money” or making any changes. Stop this by demanding a written plan with goals and deadlines.
  • Threaten eviction. Draw up a contract with specific terms. “This is an agreement between two adults. Don’t think of her as your child; picture her as a tenant.” Set a move-out deadline and no matter what happens remind them 60 days out, and then 30 days out, that you are holding firm.
  • List expectations. Make them contribute by paying rent or helping around the house and yard. Be specific about expected responsibilities. List your rules, from what time the front door is locked to no food in the bedroom. Be clear about your limits on babysitting if grandchildren move in.
  • Resist rescuing. “It’s unlikely that your child will end up homeless. Their survival mode will kick in and they will find a way. Remind them that you know the world is a scary place but that you have confidence in their ability to stand on their own feet.”


Jim Schoneman
Brough Realty


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Kaysville’s Real Estate Company

Kaysville’s Real Estate Company

This photo is from a ’79 ad in the Kaysville paper promising if you used Brough Realty, they would get “right on top” of selling your house. Much has changed since this photo was taken. Ties have gotten skinnier, pants are less plaid, and advertising isn’t as simple as a flyer in the newspaper. Today, finding a real estate agent is as easy as a google search. However, few can say they have been around for over 60 years. We have gained the trust of the community and continue to serve generations of customers.

Beginnings of Brough Realty in Kaysville

Brough Realty was one of the first Real Estate Companies established in Kaysville. It was originally located in a renovated chicken coop. It eventually made it’s way up the street to a brick and mortar building off of Main Street. As one of Kaysville’s long established businesses, we strive to be involved with our community. Our business is still run by the Brough Family and is serving generations of customers. Although the industry has changed our company values have remained the same. We are committed to taking the best care of our customers from start to finish.

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Things to do to prepare to sell your home. By Jim Schoneman, Realtor @ Brough Realty

Selling your home is never easy.  Besides the many memories that come with owning a home, over the years there will be many things that you have accumulated that sometimes can make your home less appealing to a potential buyer.  Here are some things to look for as you prepare to sell your home:

  • Excess décor, art & family photos that are placed on shelves, counter-tops etc. Do not remove any things that are hanging on walls (removing them will leave nail holes that are extremely unattractive).

  • Hide any traces of animals. Feeding supplies, litter boxes, bed boxes, etc.  If you can, while your home is being shown board your animal with family, friends or a boarding facility.

  • Keep the kitchen clean. Take everything off of the tops and fronts of the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. Make countertops spacious and roomy by cleaning off any excesses.

  • In the bedrooms, make all beds and see that there is a minimal amount of things on the nightstands and dressers, especially the Master Bedroom.

  • In the bathrooms make sure all cabinets are neat and orderly. Remove from sight trashcans, toilet bowl scrubbers, tooth brushes, soaps, toiletries and anything else that could be on the sink counter-tops, in the shower or bathtub areas.  Keep towels folded and on the racks.

  • As much as you can move out or put in storage, do so. If you can’t get a storage location, garages are good places to put all your excess stuff as long as it is orderly.

  • Outside, make sure weeds are pulled, lawns are mowed, bushes trimmed, walks are cleaned, etc. I cannot overemphasize the importance of “curb appeal.”  I’ve taken many buyers to potential homes that have messy yards and they’ve said, “Let’s just move on to the next place.”

This by no means is an all-encompassing list but I hope it is a good start for you.