In Davis and Weber Counties
A low cost of living and abundant natural amenities in Davis and Weber counties contribute to a high quality of life not often found in larger metropolitan areas. In 2015, an estimated 336,043 people called Davis County home, while around 243,635 resided in Weber County, the U.S. Census Bureau says. Population density in Davis County was 1,026 people per square mile, and 401 in Weber County in 2010, the Census found.
Hill Air Force Base, in Davis County, is more than 22,500 people strong, and approximately 70 percent of personnel live off base in surrounding communities, according to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Market Analysis of 2012. Additionally, more than 34,000 veterans live in the area.
The counties’ communities give newcomers plenty of choices when selecting a home. Enlist the help of a reputable real estate agent to help you sort through the area’s home options. The Utah Association of Realtors is a central source of local real estate information and services. Those interested in purchasing a home can find the expertise and professional services they need at http://utahrealtors.com.
For the global military community, the Automated Housing Referral Network (https://www.AHRN.com) works both for those looking to rent a place to live, and landlords and property managers seeking tenants. The website provides accurate information on available housing from anywhere in the world 24/7.
Davis County, Gateway to the Great Salt Lake, is close to 633 square miles in the heart of Utah. However, the majority of the county’s land is under the waters of the lake. The county was primarily farmland until after World War II, but today most of those farms have evolved into residential developments.
Elevation across the county ranges from 4,200 feet at the lake to 9,706 feet at Thurston Peak. Morgan County lies to the east, Weber County to the northeast, Tooele County to the west and Salt Lake County to the south. The county boasts 200 miles of trails for exploring the Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake. For more information, check out the Davis Chamber of Commerce website at www.davischamberofcommerce.com/davis-county/about.aspx.
Communities in Davis County near Hill Air Force Base include Clearfield, Kaysville, Layton, Sunset and Farmington, the county seat.
55 S. State St.
Clearfield, UT 84015..........801-525-2700
Clearfield, 28 miles north of Salt Lake City, is bracketed by the Great Salt Lake on the west and Hill Air Force Base on the east. The city’s 7.62 square miles are home to more than 30,600 residents.
Sand Ridge, as the city was once known, was settled in 1877, but its name was changed to Clearfield to make it more attractive to agricultural settlers. Construction of Hill Field, now Hill Air Force Base, began in 1940 along Clearfield’s eastern border, changing the farming community forever. Further change came when the U.S. Navy installed the Clearfield Naval Supply Depot in 1943 along the southwestern side of the city. When the depot was phased out in 1962, private businesses moved into the warehouses and the area became known as the Freeport Center, today a major western hub for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution.
One of the last communities settled in northern Davis County, Clearfield has transformed from a farming community to a thriving city with about 100 national and international businesses.
But life isn’t all work in Clearfield. The Wasatch Mountains east of town are a spectacular playground for all ages. The city also has 17 parks with walking/biking trails and a state-of-the-art aquatic/recreation center.
Homes in the area range from well-established neighborhoods to brand-new housing developments. Median rent was $920, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage were $1,187. Mean travel time to work for those living in Clearfield was 20 minutes.
23 E. Center St.
Kaysville, UT 84037..........801-546-1235
The first incorporated city in Davis County, Kaysville was settled in 1850 and incorporated on March 15, 1868. Thanks to its location between the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains 20 miles north of Salt Lake City, its residents enjoy beautiful panoramic views.
The city began as a farming community and for the first 100 years had few other business interests. Around the 1950s, Kaysville began to grow as a residential community between the employment centers of Salt Lake City and Ogden, and its growth has expanded in tandem with nearby employment opportunities.
Kaysville boundaries encompass 10.45 square miles with a population of 30,472. Mean travel time to work for those who reside in Kaysville was 23 minutes. Median rent in the city was $759, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage were $1,670.
Kaysville is home to the Davis Chamber of Commerce and Davis Applied Technology College.
437 N. Wasatch Drive
Layton, UT 84041..........801-336-3800
The most populous city in Davis County, Layton counts more than 74,000 residents within its 22 square miles. It’s 25 miles north of Salt Lake City, and bordered by the Wasatch Mountains to the east and the Great Salt Lake to the west.
Originally an adjunct to Kaysville, after years of controversy over Kaysville city taxes (and Kaysville’s limiting dog ownership to two per household), in March 1902 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Layton’s right to cast off its neighbor, and it incorporated in 1910.
Today, Layton is a rapidly growing community, and nearby Hill Air Force Base greatly influences that growth. The city has a regional shopping mall, a state-of-the-art hospital and more than 500 acres of open space with 15 parks, trails, playgrounds and athletic fields and courts to entice residents into the great outdoors.
Mean travel time to work for residents of Layton was 23.3 minutes. Median rent was $873, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage were $1,406.
200 W. 1300 N
unset, UT 84015..........801-825-1628
The residential community of Sunset lies 10 miles south of Ogden at the north end of Davis County. Hill Air Force Base is directly east, Weber County is to the north and Clearfield to the south, with the Union Pacific Railroad running along the city’s western margin. Originally pasturage for Mormon pioneers to graze their animals, Sunset incorporated in 1935 and refocused as a residential community in the 1940s as the U.S. government was developing Hill Air Force Base.
At just 1.31 square miles, Sunset is nearly fully developed with just over 5,100 residents. Median rent was $713, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage were $1,947. Mean travel time to work was 23.4 minutes.
160 S. Main
Farmington, UT 84024..........801-451-2383
The county seat of Davis County, Farmington began with a Mormon family, the Haights, who took up land there to pasture their cattle. Within two years, five more families had joined them in a loose settlement that they called North Cottonwood, a name the Territorial Legislature changed to “Farmington” in 1852 when the lawmakers chose the community to be the county seat of Davis County. For its first 100 years or so the area remained agricultural, though the coming of the Utah Central Railroad and, a century later, Interstate 15, produced economic spikes. In 1855, Utah’s first courthouse opened its doors in Farmington, which over the years has become noted for its homes and public buildings built of native stone and a present-day community of people who relish its small-town feel but tend to work elsewhere. At incorporation in 1892, 1,180 people lived there; by 2015, residents numbered 22,566.
Farmington maintains almost 146 miles of trails from the hilly east to the wetland west, and in addition to the county jail, library and fairgrounds, has the venerable Lagoon Amusement Park (1886) and its 10 roller coasters, five of them, including Colossus the Fire Dragon, said to be unique. The S&S Shortline Railroad Park & Museum is nearby, and the private Oakridge Golf Course has a good name among golfers.
The median monthly gross rent was $900 and median selected monthly costs for homeowners with a mortgage were $1,726, the U.S. Census says. Workers’ average commute time was 24.4 minutes.
Weber County — pronounced WEE-ber — in north-central Utah covers nearly 600 square miles. North of Davis County, Weber is bordered on the west by Box Elder County, Cache and Rich counties to the north and Morgan County to the east. Elevation across the county ranges from 4,200 feet at the Great Salt Lake to more than 9,700 feet at Ben Lomond Peak.
For more information, go to www.webercountyutah.gov, or visit Weber Center at 2380 Washington Blvd., Ogden, Utah.
Communities in Weber County near Hill Air Force Base include Ogden and Roy.
2549 Washington Blvd.
Ogden, UT 84401..........801-629-8000
“You can’t get anywhere without coming to Ogden,” or so the saying and the city’s nickname, “Junction City” go, because of its role as the junction for the transcontinental railroad. The Weber County seat and heart of northern Utah, Ogden lies at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains between the Ogden and Weber rivers, and has about 85,444 residents within its 27.09 square miles. The city’s history began with a way station, Fort Buenaventura, established in 1846 by trapper Miles Goodyear on the banks of the Weber River near what is now downtown. One year later, James Brown bought the fort and more than 200 square miles of land under orders of Mormon leader Brigham Young to establish a Mormon settlement. When the city incorporated in early 1851, the name was changed from Brownsville to Ogden in honor of Hudson Bay Company fur trader Peter Skene Ogden, who had made a memorable impression on the area. When the transcontinental railroad came through in 1869, Ogden morphed from a small agrarian community to the area’s business and economic hub.
Today, Ogden residents enjoy simultaneous urban and mountain living, and in 2014, Forbes ranked it as the third-best city in the U.S. for raising a family, based on relatively high incomes and low cost of living with affordable housing, safe neighborhoods and good schools. A booming outdoor recreational industry gives residents outstanding access to the area’s natural beauties.
For more information about Ogden’s neighborhoods and housing choices, visit http://welcomemap.ogdencity.com.
Ogden’s median gross rent was $723, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage were $1,065. Mean travel time to work was 20.5 minutes.
5051 S. 1900 W
Roy, UT 84067..........801-774-1000
Roy is 6 miles southwest of Ogden on Interstate 15 and borders Hill Air Force Base on the east. The city’s 7.92 square miles hold nearly 38,000 residents. Roy was founded in 1873 by William Evans Baker, who hand-dug the first water well between Ogden and Kaysville, but a later settler named the community after a son who died early. The land was dry, congenial to prickly pear and rabbit brush, and commercial development languished until World War II brought rapid development; Roy proved an ideal location for housing personnel from adjacent military installations, including Hill Air Force Base and the Naval Supply Depot, now the Freeport Center, a manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facility. In September 1953, Roy received a charter to establish the first branch bank in Utah.
In 2014, Roy was named the least expensive city in Utah to a buy a home in by Trulia.com. Selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage were $1,239, and median rent was $941. Mean travel time to work was 22.7 minutes.
Planning Your Move
Relocating to a new home can be one of the most stressful situations in life. Whether moving across town or across the nation, preparation and organization can make all the difference. First, decide whether to use a professional moving company or make it a do-it-yourself (DIY) operation.
For a DIY move, consider distance, labor help and the costs to rent the moving van, gas, lodging during the move and insurance. A transportable storage unit can bridge a professional and DIY move. When the unit is delivered to your residence, you load and secure it for transport and then unload it at your new residence.
Whatever the method, be sure to obtain as many quotes as possible from professional movers, as well as cost estimates for a DIY move. Next, compare the costs for each type of move, factoring in the stress and physical exertion involved. Ask any company you are interested in for references and use them to inquire about reliability and customer service.
Regardless of which method you choose, the first step should be to inventory your personal belongings. The list, with photographs of any valuables, will be important for both insurance purposes and to help keep you organized during transit.
Plan for one full day to pack each room — though the kitchen and garage may take longer. Make a rough estimate of your packing schedule and then add 50 percent more time. It always takes longer than predicted to pack. Toss or donate unused items to lighten your load. Visit www.goodwill.org, www.salvationarmyusa.org or www.clothingdonations.org for locations near you or to arrange a pickup.
Pack for success:
- Consider what you’re packing and control box weight. Books should go in small boxes while bedding can easily fill a larger box.
- Wrap fragile items with cardboard dividers, tissue paper or air bubble wrapping.
- Use bright colors when wrapping small items so they don’t get thrown out accidentally.
- Use crumpled paper or newspaper to line the top and bottom of boxes.
- Tape a copy of your inventory list to boxes to identify what’s inside and where it
Buying Versus Renting
The decision to buy or rent is the most important step in your relocation process. Purchasing a home entails a long-term financial and emotional commitment with various pluses and minuses attached. Advantages include the possibility of building equity and the freedom to design and decorate your property or landscape. And don’t forget the tax benefits. Disadvantages include upkeep, property taxes and fluctuating property value.
Renting, on the other hand, makes moving easier and someone else maintains the property. Amenities such as laundry rooms, exercise rooms, swimming pools and tennis courts vary from one rental complex to another. The main disadvantage is loss of control over the residence. Some complexes, for example, restrict or prohibit pets and personal touches such as painting. And the landlord or property managers can also raise the rent with proper notice.
Before determining your best option, account for all of your needs, review your financial situation and research your options thoroughly.
Finding an Apartment
Find local apartments listed in chamber of commerce membership directories, local newspaper classifieds, online or through referrals from family or friends. The Utah Apartment Association’s Renter’s Guide to Landlord Tenant Relationships in Utah can be downloaded at www.uaahq.org/renters.
Be prepared when you meet with the leasing agent, property manager or owner. Bring a list of what you are looking for in a rental; it is important to be clear about your needs and to get all of your questions answered. You will also need to provide information and verification about your job, your income and your past rental history. Dress to make a good impression and treat the meeting like a job interview — be polite and arrive on time.
Before you decide to rent, inspect the apartment with the landlord. Look for the following problems:
- Cracks, holes or damage in the floor, walls or ceiling.
- Signs of leaking water, leaky fixtures or water damage.
- Any signs of mold or pests.
- Lack of hot water.
- Inadequate heating or air conditioning.
Use a written checklist with the landlord to document the condition of the rental before you move in, and keep a copy of the completed checklist to use when you move out.
Buying a Home
Buying a home is a complex process and, as the recent housing crisis demonstrated, requires a thorough education on the part of the buyer. First, fully understand your financial position — credit score, available savings, monthly income and expenditures. Subtracting your expenditures from your income, for instance, will yield the amount you can afford for housing.
Be sure to account for all insurance costs associated with owning a home, possible homeowner association fees and property taxes in your monthly expenditures. Overall, loan rules changed in 2015, but according to www.ginniemae.gov (Government National Mortgage Association) and www.homebuyinginstitute.com (the Home Buying Institute) loan programs continue to vary on the percentage of your income that can be used for housing-related expenses. Lenders balance debt against income to decide if an applicant will be able to repay a loan. Most conventional loans require borrowers to have no more than 43 percent total monthly debt versus their total monthly income, though there are exceptions, such as for those with significant savings. The Federal Housing Administration has a two-tier qualifying system: FHA sets its top thresholds at 31 percent front-end debt (housing expenses as a percentage of income) and 43 percent back-end debt (all debt as a percentage of income) for a 31/43 qualifying ratio. Like commercial lenders, Veterans Affairs combines front-end and back-end debt for a 41 percent limit against income.
Next, research the different types of home loans to determine the right fit for your financial situation and discuss your options with a lending professional. Lenders are diverse today, and not all homebuyers obtain their mortgage loans through their banks and credit unions. For example, you may choose to work with an internet lender, a mortgage broker, a homebuilder or a real estate agency lender. To determine which lender is best for you, get recommendations from friends and family members and check credentials as well as Better Business Bureau ratings.
A preapproved loan before starting your search for a home can determine your spending limits and signal any potential issues in the way of receiving a loan. For any home loan application, the mortgage company will order a credit report, so it may be good to get a free report in advance to determine your credit status and make sure the report contains no erroneous information.
There are three ways to order your free annual report from one or all of the national consumer reporting companies: Visit www.annualcreditreport.com and complete and submit the request form online; call toll free 877-322-8228; or download and complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. For more information, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/credit-and-loans.
Knowing your monthly budget and the amount of your loan are invaluable during the next phase, especially finding the answers to questions before the hunt for a home begins.
First, determine your home preferences. Does a single-family house, condo, town house or duplex best fit your needs and budget? Do you prefer a new home, an existing home or to build one? Though new homes generally cost more, existing homes may come with maintenance issues and renovation costs. How many bedrooms and bathrooms would you like? Do you want an attached garage? Will you live in the city, a suburb or in the country? How close to work, school, shopping or public transportation do you want to be? Answers to these questions will greatly assist your search and the next stage — hiring a real estate agent.
The ideal agent will help find your ideal home and guide you through the purchase process. First, interview potential candidates to ensure they understand your needs, know your homebuying and neighborhood preferences, and are readily accessible.
Good luck and happy hunting!
Ogden City Programs
Ogden City provides housing programs and incentives to help residents with home ownership. For more information, visit www.ogdencityhomes.com or contact Ogden City Community Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-629-8940.
Home Sweet Ogden offers new and renovated homes at a bargain. See homes currently for sale at www.ogdencityhomes.com/programs/homes-for-sale.
Own in Ogden assists home buyers with the down payment or closing costs of purchasing a home. The program provides $3,000 to $5,000 to assist in targeted areas of the city. Go to www.ogdencityhomes.com/programs/owning-in-ogden.
Utah provides housing programs and incentives to help residents with home ownership. For more information, visit http://portal.hud.gov and select Utah from the “State Info” drop-down menu.