As with most states, certain laws, costs and general practices apply to buying a home in Utah.
In Utah, buyers typically fill out a property disclosure form to avoid potential legal problems. The form asks sellers to address a long list of possible issues, such as asbestos, mold, defective plumbing and electrical systems, foundation concerns and pests.
Utah legally requires sellers to disclose whether a home has been used to either produce or store the stimulant drug methamphetamine.
Utah allows both non-judicial and judicial foreclosures, although non-judicial are the most common. With a non-judicial foreclosure, a lender can move forward with foreclosure proceedings without suing the borrower first or appearing in court. The lender is legally required to give borrowers 30 days written notice before moving to foreclose, and they must also wait at least three months before giving notice of sale.
Equitable distribution state
Utah is not a common property state, where marital property is divided 50/50. Instead, it is an equitable distribution state. This means that when it comes to splitting a couple’s assets in the event of a divorce or annulment, a judge will oversee the process to ensure a fair and equitable split. By state law, any real estate purchased during a marriage is generally considered to be marital property, even if only one name is on the deed.
Utah is an escrow state, which means an attorney is not required to be present during a real estate closing. Instead, buyers and sellers work with an escrow agent — often a title company — to both move the transaction forward and close according to the terms of the sales contract.
Utah doesn’t have a real estate transfer tax, at least not yet. There has been some movement to institute the tax, including state legislation that was introduced earlier this year, which included it as part of a comprehensive tax overhaul. The bill was scrapped by lawmakers, so Utah homebuyers can benefit a while longer.
In Utah, property taxes are not exorbitant. In 2017, the average property tax bill for Utah residents was $1,892, according to the National Association of Home Builders. This means Utah ranks 33rd out of all states in highest taxes paid.
Utah does offer a potentially sizable property tax exemption. For example, residential property used as a primary residence qualifies for an exemption of 45%. This means most Utah homeowners only pay property taxes on 55% of the fair market value of their home.
Conforming loan limits
Conforming loans are mortgages that adhere to federal guidelines and limits that have been set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government-sponsored enterprises set national loan limits each year, and the limits help bring liquidity and stability to the conventional loan market. Conventional loans that conform to federal limits generally provide the best interest rates to consumers who have good credit.
Most counties in Utah have a standard conforming loan limit of $484,350 for a single-family home. However, these Utah counties have higher conforming loan limits:
- Summit: $726,525
- Tooele: $600,300
- Salt Lake: $600,300