Spring Cleaning Tips: Prepping Your Home to Sell

Spring is coming fast! It makes me happy that the sun will be much more present, but springtime also gets me in the cleaning mood.

Disclaimer: I am usually NOT a fan of cleaning, but I LOVE a clean house. It is truly such a gift for me when my home is free from clutter. My baby is 3 now, so she’s still a bit of a busy bee who likes to make a lot of messes. I am looking forward to a little less clutter in the future…please tell me it happens.


I need my house to look like this. Always.

Some life hacks that will help you clean out stubborn stains and organize your home in a way that helps it to feel clean: I HAVE THEM HERE. Step right up!

Ebay has some great cleaning tips that can help you stay on top of it all.

Tangent: I tried the Marie Kondo thing. She’s a genius. I’d love to know how I can make her methods work in a family of 6 in a medium/large home, not a tiny apartment in Japan.

Moving on…

For crazy stains that have been bothering you around the house, try these tips from The Indian Spot.  A couple tips: white chalk to remove oil stains, and vinegar to remove blood stains. My question is, how many people need to remove blood from their home? This is a frightening thought.


Some helpful blogs/sites…

Sand between my piggies (a fun name for a blog, right?) recommends several options for carpet stains.

Wrapped in rust recommends several ways to maintain a clean home.

She Knows recommends these life hacks.


What are some ways you get in the spring cleaning mood? Please share your ideas! Happy cleaning!

Dreaming is allowed: what are you looking for in a dream property?

Floor plans. Tons. Of. Them. All over my bedside table. Ask my husband.

I have used my pencil to sketch and create dream homes for years. This was one of my favorite hobbies, especially before Pinterest and Instagram came along. Now I just find what I like online, and save it there. But the dreaming and imagining is still a big part of my heart.

Are you playing the new game called “Design Home“, by Crowdstar? It isn’t necessarily floor plan design, but more of a game about interior design. (Okay, I apologize to your significant other, in advance. It will send you dreaming, so don’t get too hooked.) This has filled a part of the gap I experienced, since I haven’t been drawing floor plans and designs for homes as much. But, on a positive note, I’m saving paper… right?

So, as I dream and plan for a future dream home I am working toward, I have been wondering what style I really want. I love contemporary and clean lines, but I crave warmth and comfort in a home. I also like farmhouses, but am not a huge fan of a lot of chipped paint. I am totally confused about what style I would actually design, when the time comes.

What style do you like? If you were to have a dream home, what would you start with in your design? A favorite piece of art or furniture? An heirloom? A feeling? A color palette?

What would be your inspiration for the design of your home?

Here are some dream properties I have been drooling over…

Give me an idea of what your dreams are. I think I’m going to go sketch mine.


Heather Johnson, dreamer and Realtor

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Influence Partners

Pleasant Grove, UT

Special Announcement: Women Build 2018

I am so thrilled to announce an opportunity to give back to our community through HABITAT FOR HUMANITY!

I am searching for 10 willing women to fill our team! UPDATE: WE HAVE OUR FIRST TEAM OF 10. I’m opening up a 2nd team. I’ll serve with all teams that I organize, so I need 9 more women on each team. !!! PEOPLE ARE GOOD! Thank you!

This springville Home will be started in march 2018, finished around August 2018.

Our team of 10 women will get to volunteer our labor for 4 hours on the home for Nacole, and her 4 boys.

Here is her story:

My name is Nacole Morgan. For the past two years, I have worked 40 hours a week as leasing agent. I have 4 boys: Jeremy Elton (14), Jaedie Elton (11), Parker Elton (6), and Rylan Elton (3). Jeremy is in the 8th grade and he loves to play football. He is taller than me and very athletic. He is a very smart and loving kid. Jaedie is in the 6th grade. He enjoys making YouTube videos, fishing, and playing video games. He is a very sweet boy who has been through a lot in life. He has a heart of gold and has the best manners, He is very strong and is very good with his little brothers. Parker is in 1st grade.  He has the funniest personality and keeps us laughing. There is never a dull moment when Parker is around. Rylan is an average 3 year old who loves outdoors.  He loves to play with his brothers while letting them know he is the boss. 

I love my kids with all my heart and I don’t know what I would do without them. I enjoy doing anything and everything with them. Our family is very thankful for Habitat for Humanity.  Because of this program, we will be able to live in a house we call our own. We have moved a total of 6 times in the last 10 years. It breaks my heart that my kids experience a feeling of loss each move.  They are also not able to hang posters or pictures because we don’t know how long we’ll be here.  

Growing up as a kid, I lived in apartments. I never got the chance to live in a home because it was always a new apartment.  I know the feeling of not having a place to call home. I promised myself that when I had kids, I would make sure we had a place to call home. Then reality came in.  As an adult, I witnessed how hard it was to own a home. No matter how much I worked, I would never be able to afford a house.  Also, not having any credit has been a big factor. 

Apartments can be a dangerous place to raise kids and you have very little control over your neighbors or the condition of the complex.  My 5-year-old son started having health problems because of mold in our apartment.  I had no idea that we had mold until a year later. It started showing through the paint when it rained. He was struggling to breathe and sounded like he was snoring all the time. He had his tonsils and androids removed, but he still continued to sound stuffy and breath hard. He has had allergy tests which indicate that he is allergic to mold and that is why he is suffering. That is when I realized that I needed to find a decent home for our family. 

I heard about the Habitat for Humanity program from a friend.  I went to their website and saw that I met all of the qualifications. I thought to myself that this would be the answer to our prayers. I called and got put on the list and then attended the orientation a year later. I completed the application and a month later I was scheduled a walk-thru of our apartment with Harvey (a Habitat Family Selection Committee Member) and Kena.  Then 2 months later, Harvey came and told my kids and me that we were picked! I could not believe it. We were overjoyed and I couldn’t help but cry happy tears and think to myself, “This is it!” 

We finally get a permanent home where my kids and I can call home. This is a wonderful blessing and this would have never been possible if it wasn’t for Habitat for Humanity of Utah County and God.


Team Sponsorship $1,000

  • Team name on site sign
  • Team build for 10 women, includes t-shirts
  • Each participant raises $100 to join our team: try a bake sale, yard sale, or social media fundraiser…be creative!
  • We will select our team name together!


To sign up, contact me on my Facebook Page

or by text 801-369-4841.

I can’t wait to get to work on this awesome family’s new home! Let me know by mid-january if you are in!

We should probably wait to sell our home, right?

“We will wait until the spring to list our home. That’s when buyers are out in full force.”

That’s one way of looking at it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all people looking for homes actually waited until your home was available in the spring?

In my own city of Saratoga Springs, Utah, sales in winter months match or exceed sales in spring months. For example: in December of 2016, 63 homes sold, but in March of 2017, 60 homes sold. The only difference: more homes were on the market in the spring. So for every home that sold, there were several others that sat, waiting for those “spring buyers”.

Listing your home in the winter is the perfect time. Your beautiful holiday decor will add to the ambience and feeling of home, giving buyers the vision of how it will be to enjoy the holidays in their new home.

There are about 100 homes listed currently in Saratoga Springs. More than half of those are not even completed yet. So, through the whole pricing range of $235k to $4 million, there are around 50 or less homes that are existing, quick move-ins.

Let’s say that your home is worth around $450,000. If so, you have only about 8 homes you are competing with that are move-in ready. (Priced from $420k to $480k). The rest in that range are new construction homes, which will likely take anywhere from 4 to 9 months to be completed.

If you list your home this week, you will be on the radar of all of the buyers in your price range. But, if you’d like to wait for better weather, that’s cool, too.

Just realize that your home will be much harder to find for buyers, when everyone else puts their homes up in March, too.

Same amount of buyers in every season. More homes listed in the spring than in the winter.

Do the math…

Then, call me. I am happy to help!

Heather Johnson




Home Winterizing Tips

In Utah, we experience winter in a variety of ways. It can be beautiful. And fun! But it can arrive sooner than expected!

Winterize your home before it is covered in snow.


My kids at Grandma’s house in the winter

There are days, like this one (shown below) a few years ago, where I felt spring, summer, fall and winter all in one day. It was special…ish. THESE WERE TAKEN ONLY HOURS APART ON THE SAME DAY in Utah.



THIS WAS IN APRIL. Crazy, right?

Well, you just do not know what each day will bring in the winter. So, I have collected a few tips that may help your home stay somewhat stable, even if the weather refuses to do so.

Here are 12 Tips for your Home this Winter… I had not thought of the ceiling fan trick. Worth it? I might try to add this one to the honey-do list. Sorry, honey!

Rachel from One Crazy House gives some awesome low-cost tips to help avoid drafts in your home. http://www.onecrazyhouse.com/drafty-house/

Here is a great infographic from Mint.com as well. Super helpful!

Wholefully shares a cool free winterizing checklist here.

Ace Hardware has this short little video with Winterizing tips.

Your Dream Home: Step-by-Step

It’s pretty easy for me to know what I like in a home design.


From littledekonings.com

I have been pinning beautiful images to my “Dream Home” Pinterest Board for years. Check mine out: Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 2.52.32 PM

Knowing what I want isn’t the issue, and it isn’t the issue for most dreamers. The issue is that buyers, in general, are clueless about what they need to know and do, and in which order steps are to be taken.

I mean, you thought you just dream about the property you want, choose a builder, have them build your dream home, and voila! Perfection!

Easy, right? 

Take it from Jack Nicholson, who answered this simple question with a resounding, “NOPE!” (Okay, he didn’t say that. But I bet he would!)



Please consider the following steps…

Step 1. Have a Dream


This looks pretty dreamy to me.

“Wait, I thought you were sort of shaming me out of dreaming, Heather!”

No, I actually want you to follow my mom’s words of wisdom:

“Have a dream, and live your dream!” (She really said that. Thanks, Mom!).

Without a dream, you’ll be spinning your wheels, never achieving anything.

Decide what you and your loved ones want in a home. Be bold and deliberate, but realistic, visualizing how you will use every room, every outdoor space, access to recreation and work, usability of the property, the details about what you are hoping for in a neighborhood and community…etc.

Start with a dream.


Step 2. Partner with a Realtor.

One of the most important choices you can make is selecting the Realtor who will help you through the entire process of purchasing property: whether it’s an existing home, land, or a new construction home. A trusted, ethical Realtor can make or break a purchase. You want to find one who responds to you, offers you help, and treats you with respect.

Heather 20%

I would love to be your Realtor

Here is just a portion of what a Realtor should do for you:

  • Be on your team from the beginning. I love to meet with you and learn all I can about your goals to be the best agent I can be.
  • Listen to your dreams, and care about you and your family.
  • Advise you from start to finish, and becomes a trusted advisor in the future when you have questions down the road.
  • Connect you with the best financial specialists, escrow officers, or other professionals they know to help you through the particulars of the transaction.
  • Take action to help you find what you are looking for.
  • Show you any and all properties in which you are interested.
  • Educate you on the state of the local real estate market as changes come.
  • If you want to build your own home, introduce you to reputable builders that are the best in the field.
  • Become an extra set of ears and eyes in every meeting you would like them to attend. You’re in charge. You are not bothering your agent when you include them in meetings. They can help alert you to red flags, calm your concerns, and take notes for future reference.
  • Negotiate on your behalf, getting the most bang for your buck from any home seller, builder, or land owner.
  • Show loyalty, confidentiality and obedience.
  • Consult with you, day or night, addressing your questions and concerns to the best of his/her ability.
  • Research any information you have need of knowing. Really, this is one of those options that many people just don’t realize they can ask of their agent.
  • Keep paperwork organized, emailing you copies of all interactions. You shouldn’t have to think too hard when it comes to signing documents. They will help you understand what you are signing through the process (and there is a lot to sign!).
  • Assist you in keeping deadlines met, reminding you of all important dates.
  • Communicate promptly and often, responding quickly to your needs.
  • Advocate for you in any and all situations through the end of the process.
  • Follow up after all is said and done, addressing any new concerns or issues.
  • Field calls and struggles that arise, alleviating the pressure on your shoulders.
  • So many other personalized tasks and efforts that you will never really know about, and that’s okay! I love what I do, and it involves totally different efforts based on my individual client’s needs. Every situation is unique, and every client is different. That is what makes it so exciting!
  • Bonus: invite you to special client parties, movies, sporting events. (wink)

Step 3. Prepare Financially


This is the part where we all want to plug our ears, close our eyes, and bury our heads in the sand. Financial stuff can be intimating for many buyers. Your agent will know who is great to work with and who to avoid. Don’t use your brother-in-law’s cousin’s neighbor out of some sort of obligation (sorry, bud)!

Shop a few lenders, to see who you want to work with, what their fees are, and to be sure you feel good about your choice. Loan officers who work regularly with your agent will put forth extra effort to stay on top of their job for them, knowing they will only receive future referrals when they do their job well.

Information that most lenders will ask you to bring with you:

(this documents list is from my awesome loan partner, Trisha Wollebaek with Citywide Home Loans in Utah. twollebaek@citywidehomeloans.com Thanks, Trisha!)

  1. 2 years most recent tax returns, personal and/or business (all schedules/ pages are required).
  2. 2 years W2/1099’s for each person listed on the loan application (K1’s if applicable).
  3. 2 most recent pay stubs covering 1 full month, must include year-to-date earnings (be sure the entire page is legible and nothing has been cut off in the margins)
  4. 2 most recent checking/savings/retirement statements (All pages, even if they are blank, are required. If you have any large unidentified deposits over $300, we need documentation showing where the money came from.).
  5. Name and contact information of the insurance agent for your homeowners insurance policy. If you do not have a trusted insurance agent, please let us know and we will refer you to a reputable insurance provider.
  6. A current mortgage statement (if applicable)
  7. Divorce decree (if applicable, all pages required)
  8. Bankruptcy discharge papers and all schedules (if applicable)

Your loan officer will offer ideas to improve your current financial readiness, if needed: suggesting that you resist new large purchases, pay down revolving debt, bring all accounts current (if there are any that need your attention), save up for closing costs and a down payment, and avoid new debts. If you play your cards right, you can receive the best financing options, such as lower rates and fees, saving you money in the long-run.


Once you obtain the credit-approval letter (sometimes called a pre-qualification or pre-approval), include it with your offer on your dream property. This shows financial strength and capability to the seller, and will give you a better chance at obtaining an acceptance of your offer. Hooray!

Step 4. It’s all about the House


Building? Meet the builders you want to meet with, and those your agent suggests as well. Bring your plans and ideas, staying consistent with your budget so you compare apples to apples.  After you have the main ideas and plans in place, knowing the measurements of the footprint of the home, you are ready to find your ideal piece of land.

There are several loan options with land. You can purchase the land only, and sit on it, but this will usually require a HEFTY down payment. My suggestion, if you’d like to save on the down payment, is to acquire a wrapped loan that includes the land (lot loan) and the cost of your future home (construction loan). It takes a bit more time, but your down payment can be much lower, freeing up cash for other home details, such as furnishings, yard…etc. Again, obtain professional advice from trusted loan officers before jumping in. (There are so many moving parts to home construction, this will be a topic of a future article…I just know it).


Purchasing an existing home? Go see the homes you like with your agent. I like to suggest to my clients that they always keep their top 2-3 homes in mind, and adjust it as you find better homes, kicking off those that do not meet your expectations.

Keep in mind the 80/10/10 rule: you’ll likely find an existing home that you love 80%, hate 10%, and can make adjustments to 10% (Thank you, Creston Inderrieden, in Houston, TX, Broker/Owner of IndyQuest Properties, for this concept).

For example, you could find what seems to be the perfect home: a great floor plan, perfect neighborhood, close to your work, on a quiet street, with beautiful views. But the paint color inside is horrific and the backyard is only partially finished, and there are large power lines nearby. Take a step back, and see what of the home meets 80% of your expectations, the 10% that can be changed (paint and yard), and the 10% that cannot be changed (power lines). It still is a great choice, but you may have to live with one or two things that bug you.

Depending on the market conditions, you might be left without the luxury of “think on it” time. If a home meets your key criteria, and the 80/10/10 rule, go for it! In this market, buyers are competitive, and sellers are picky.

Your agent will assist you with your offer, and you’re on your way!


Step 5. Sell your current home.


Need to sell your existing home before you purchase a new home? To learn of the best timing, work with your agent, builder, and loan officer to plan the best timeline for your situation. Some choose to list their home right away, and move in with family or into a rental property during the building/moving process. Others wait until a couple of months before completion of their new home, then list their current home. Some rent out their current home, using it as an ongoing investment that brings returns.

Consult with your team to learn what would work best for you.

Heads up: moving can be stressful. It also can be exciting and fun at times, but there are always obstacles that are thrown your way. There will be days when you are overwhelmed and tired, feeling as though you want to give up your dream.

Keep your dream at the top of your list. Hold on to what you truly want to create in your next home. Buckle up, prepare by taking the right steps, with the right team, and press on with confidence.



Thanks for reading!

Contact me if you have any questions. heather@bhginfluence.com

For fun, this is one of my favorite houses. I like to dream, too!


I love this house style, but I prefer a bit smaller. I dream of a stone home with black windows, nestled in the trees. It will happen one day. I know it!


Face it: you want to live here.

Have I mentioned that I love it here? I do. And you will, too. We have such a unique community in Saratoga Springs, Utah. People from all around the country who felt in their gut that they needed to move here. It is so common, that I just assume now that everyone who lives here experienced the same feeling. We knew we belonged here the second we walked into our current home. We just knew.

Come be our neighbors! We would love to show you why Saratoga Springs is booming. It is a lovely place to live, for many reasons. Plus: we are supposedly getting a COSTCO! Can I hear a “aw YEAH”?!

Here are two beautiful residential listings that are fully finished homes, ready for you!

In Summerhill Subdivision…

5 bedroom 3 bathroom home on Honeysuckle Drive


View from the front porch. Utah Lake and Timpanogos.

Link to information about the lovely home above…  utahrealestate.com/1444256


In Hawk’s Landing Subdivision…

Beautiful beach-style home on Osprey Trail

View from the Master Suite

Link to more information about this beautiful home… utahrealestate.com/1445673


There are two lakefront properties left of the four we listed this spring, right on the water in Lake Cove Subdivision. One is 1/3 acre and one is almost 1/2 acre. Both are stunning, and you can bring your own builder! If you need assistance finding one, I can help you with that!

I know, right? It’s like a dream. Just reduced to $259,000 for almost 1/2 acre of lake front property. utahrealestate.com/1434528

And, right next to that gorgeous property, sits this incredible 1/3 acre lot…

Just reduced to $189,000 utahrealestate.com/1434540

If you have a home or property you would like to buy or sell, I am here for you to help provide the best service possible.

I love my clients. I really have the best! I am honored to help them achieve their dreams in real estate.  Call me, text me, or email me if you have any questions or are in need of an agent who cares about YOU. I would love to help! Thanks!

My family in 2016.

Heather Johnson, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Influence Partners in Pleasant Grove, Utah.



5 Reasons You Want to Live in Saratoga Springs, Utah

Saratoga Springs, Utah, incorporated as a city only twenty years ago, is growing faster than ever before. HomeSnacks ranked Saratoga Springs as the No. 1 fastest-growing city in Utah. 


Here are 5 reasons you want to live here.


Located north and west of Utah Lake, Saratoga Springs is a unique city, with insane views of Utah Lake and gorgeous Mount Timpanogos across the lake.


Photography by Niki Martins of Saratoga Springs, Utah


We have lived here for over eight years, and these views never cease to take my breath away. We love to have company over for a BBQ or to sit around the fire, enjoying the views. Just come see. Seriously. Come see. I know we don’t look like much from over there, but once you’re on the west side of Utah Lake, you’ll see it.


Photography by Niki Martins


Easy access to Utah Lake for boating, fishing, SUP (stand up paddle boarding), canoeing, and ice-fishing (that one is for my neighbor, Scott) makes it convenient and incredibly fun to live here. The public Marina, located in the south end of Saratoga Springs, is getting an overhaul at the moment. They are dredging it to clean it up and make it deeper.


Friends on the Lake. No fun at all.

If you are a runner, hiker, or ATV/UTV kind of person…we have it all. Access to Israel Canyon is easily obtained at the top of Stillwater Drive.

We love to use the nearby Jordan River Trail. You can park near Inlet Park, and jump on the trail! Paved trails follow Redwood Road through the south area of our city, used by many for running or biking with kids.


My little fam, ready to ride on the Jordan River Trail


About a decade ago, residents were throwing parties because we finally had a stoplight by the Smith’s.


Okay, so this ISN’T Redwood Road, but you get the gist. Photo from The Weather Channel

We deal with a bit of traffic every morning and evening with the weekday commute on Redwood Road. We have tried to patiently wait for some changes to come. Okay, maybe we haven’t been THAT patient.

AFTER many-a-public-outcry, UDOT listened. UDOT is gearing up to build wider and smarter roads, so we won’t have to endure the extra twenty minutes of the one-lane of parking-lot-esque commuting on Redwood Road, hopefully in the near future. We are all grateful that our community is finally getting what we have needed for years.

See Saratoga Springs’ Transportation Master Plan Here

“As the City’s population grows, there are additional planned arterial roads that will assist the region to keep up with the traffic demands of large populations. There is an additional north-south arterial roadway west of Redwood Road that is planned to carry traffic out of the foothills and north to I-15. There are three planned east-west arterial and collector roads that will also connect with I-15 and should assist traffic getting through the City to I-15 to the east.” – Saratoga Springs City Website



Homes in Saratoga Springs are selling for 4.23% more this quarter than they did in the 1st quarter of 2016. The median sales price in the 1st quarter of 2016 was $324,200. The median sales price in 2017’s 1st quarter was $337,900. (Source: Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service).

Saratoga Springs’ growth is in such a wide array of areas: businesses, developments, parks, and much more. Take a drive out here to see for yourself. Property is a hot commodity at the moment. The secret is out, and people are moving here for a variety of reasons, but there is a lack of inventory at any given moment. You may see that there are around 100 homes on the market, and think I’m crazy. (About half of those listed are new construction). Schedule to view about 5 of them this weekend. You’ll wind up seeing only 1 or 2, as the others might be under contract by then. The good news for those who are a bit too picky for this fast-paced market: we have several new developments here if you want to build a home.


Don’t be looking at the tears in my eyes as I get a bit sappy. Geez! I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful the people are in Saratoga Springs. They are hidden gems. Quiet, everyday people, who love each other and serve without need of praise or reward. We had the help of several neighbors, day after day, as we put in our yard. We have seen, over and over again, the love and kindness of these wonderful people.

Here are just a few of the good guys… and this event below is just one illustration of what our neighbors do for one another.


Volunteers after the flooding in 2012.


Kids from our neighborhood, thanking all who helped with the clean up efforts in 2012.

We have been through a lot more together in this new city than you might expect. In 2012, we had a horrific fire in the hills to the west of the Jacobs Ranch area. Soon after that, we had a storm that caused a massive amount of water and debris to come down the mountain, ripping through our neighborhood. (Don’t let this scare you, there have been remedies put into place that will prevent this from happening again.) Video compiled by Thomas Erickson, who is one of the reasons our city is as strong as it is.

The reason I share this with you is to give you a glimpse of how a community pulls together in the face of extremely scary situations. Miraculously, the hail stones chased kids indoors to watch out the windows from the safety of their homes. Almost a dozen homes’ basements filled up with mud and debris, but nobody was trapped or hurt. I still think about this with awe. Thousands of volunteers and donated supplies, equipment, food, love and hugs were shared over the months that followed. For those of us who were able to pitch in and help, we will be forever strengthened by the experience.

One thing that sets us apart from other cities: our grit. We stick together. We are there for one another.

You can’t place a limit on people like that. Bring on the growth.

Saratoga Springs is ready for you.


Written by Heather Johnson, resident of Saratoga Springs, Utah, and Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens – Influence Partners in Pleasant Grove.



Niki Martins Photography


Saratoga Springs City


Deseret News

Waterfront Property in Saratoga Springs, Utah, Ready to Build your Dream Home

In the gorgeous Lake Cove community near the marina in South Saratoga Springs, Utah, these beautiful properties await your custom dream home. Bring your own builder. Watch this video on YouTube as well.

influenceListed by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Influence Partners, Pleasant Grove, Utah.

Heather Johnson, listing agent 801-369-4841 heather@BHGinfluence.com

4 properties available: 3 right on Utah Lake, and 1 across the quiet road, Spinnaker Bay Drive.

See the listings on the MLS below.









Lake Cove Properties listed by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Influence Partners, Heather Johnson, agent: Lot 1, 11, 12, 13

Map lots for sale (2)