City Creek Mortgage News

Recently it was brought to my attention that one of our closed clients was writing about their experience with City Creek Mortgage. This is far from a common REVIEW. It very well may be the first chapter in our soon-to-be-written book on The Perfect Client Experience. I am monumentally proud of my entire team for carrying out our vision so genuinely and for amazing clients like Kennie Christiansen and his fabulous wife Tracee for taking the time to articulate their experience. This was NOT paid for or even asked for which makes it PRICELESS! To read the full experience click here:



I recently lost my last living grandparent. My Grandpa Tom was an outstanding man, who loved and cared deeply for all of us. We will forever miss his repetitive jokes, his warm hugs and his fabulous cooking. Outside of the grief, this feels to be a strangely symbolic event. Since grandpas are generally considered to be the Patriarch of a family, his loss represents a “passing of the torch” if you will. A shift that is slowly working its way down to me. The reality is that I’m getting older and I need to decide what kind of legacy I want to leave behind.

Having lost his wife, my beautiful Italian grandma just two years’ prior, my grandpa’s health sharply deteriorated after her death. I believe that the pain of losing her was more than his body was able to handle.

Love stories like my grandparents are becoming less common and are a legacy worth repeating. For me, they will remain a vision of the commitment, love and compassion that I hope to model with my bride.

2016 was a great year for the Utah Housing Market. According to CoreLogic, a well-respected source for housing market statistics, the average home in the State of Utah grew at an 8% annual pace over the last year. Further, it states that home values have nearly recovered all of their losses since the Housing Crisis of 2008. This strong report makes Utah one of the top appreciating Housing Markets in the country, which is great news for those who currently own a home.

With interest rates moving higher over the past few months, some are worried that this will have an adverse impact to the future value of homes. Although there is validity in the concern, the longer-term impact of rising rates has often proven to coincide with high levels of home value appreciation. Let’s take a look back on history to help form a conclusion.

The graph below shows four points in time when mortgage rates experienced rapid rates of increase and compare those times with their annualized rates of home value appreciation over the same period. As you can see, not only did home values remain in growth mode, they often experienced attractive improvements to home values. TRUST E D · R E S P E C T E D · LOVED

Traditional economics support the theory that as the cost of a mortgage increases with higher rates, the value of homes will fall to bring the relative cost back into balance. However, when values are rising because of growing incomes and a stronger job market, home values have room to move higher even as rates increase. Given the current strength of the housing market, the current level of wage growth is more than enough to sustain a reasonable rate of home value appreciation. Utah’s Unemployment Rate is currently at 3.2%, which is considered “full employment.” Further, the outlook on the job market is expected to remain strong for years to come; making Utah one of the greatest places to live.

Utah Home Values 2017

Although mortgage rates aren’t anticipated to experience a significant increase in 2017 (see next month’s 2017 Market Forecast), some experts and media pundits are calling for a drop in home values this year. Although we anticipate a slower pace of growth in 2017, we still see at least a growth rate of 4.5%. This is a healthy rate of appreciation and a level that is sustainable for the foreseeable future.

Of course, there is no way to say for sure what will happen, but it doesn’t appear likely that higher rates will have a significant negative impact to home values here in Utah.

High rates of home appreciation provide a tremendous opportunity to increase net worth. If you plan to move-up in the near future, you may want to make the move sooner rather than later. An extra $100,000 in home value, increasing at a rate of 4.5% could add an additional $14,000 to your net worth over the next three years. This could also be achieved by purchasing an investment property or a second home. Also, if you have millennial children, encourage them to become homeowners early in their adult life. Home ownership is a determining factor of long term financial health and security. Starting early is the key.


Anyone who knows me well understands how much I value transparency. The most fulfilling conversations are ones where each party is transparent and open with the other. A wise friend once told me that Transparency = InToMeSee (Intimacy). When we allow others to see beyond the good and even into the ugly side of us, they develop a greater understanding, trust and emotional connection. Although sometimes difficult, it can be the single most important element of a beautiful relationship.

I believe we live in a society where we are taught to be one person in public and another in private. My coach would say that the best way to live a life of integrity is to be the same person in all situations. Although sometimes I fail, this is something I consider often. I believe that if we all make an effort to focus on transparency, we will find that we develop deeper relationships and will have more fulfilling friendships as a result.

Last November, I realized the power of journaling during a trip to Costa Rica with a business development group that I’m a member of.  During my stay, I was given the time to develop my thoughts and ideas.  As I sat down next to the water to think with my pen and journal in hand, I was able to map out plans, hopes, and dreams that have been on my mind for years.  I felt a burst of life envelop around me.  For the first time in a while, I felt a sense of peace and recognized many new possibilities.

Journaling is now a ritual in my life.  Having a place to land my thoughts helps me to feel more secure in my knowledge and prepares me to face situations that arise.  By tracking my feelings, lessons and ideas, I have found that I am a more well-rounded person with a greater sense of knowledge and perspective.     

If you aren’t currently journaling, I encourage you to try.  It may seem like one more thing to add to a busy life, however, I believe it is something that you greatly benefit from immediately.

Within my own family, I have recently experienced first-hand the need for proper planning for aging parents and family members.  I found this especially true as it relates to health care and housing.  If proper plans aren’t established early on, it can complicate the process and cost far more than anticipated or necessary.

I strongly suggest every adult have a will and estate plan established by a reputable estate planning attorney.  The cost to establish a plan is minimal compared to the price of wishing one was in place after it is needed.  If you need a referral, please reach out to me.  I’ll make sure your estate planning needs are in the hands of a capable professional.

Key areas that should be considered early on:

  • Vesting of home, assets and other items of value
  • Long-term care needs, costs and insurance
  • When to begin taking Social Security distributions
  • Ensuring adequate health insurance coverage (beyond Medicare)
  • How to handle life insurance policies
  • Medical directive, power of attorney, guardianship and conservatorship
  • After life plans


Tobi and I recently wrote our core story, outlining some of the key milestones in the development of City Creek Mortgage from the time we met in high school up until now. It was an eye-opening process to re-live some of the moments of victory, defeat and downright misery. Overall, it was an emotional experience and one with great lessons.

WHAT IS A CORE STORY? Just like people, companies have an “essence”. I think of it as the soul of a business that fuels its personality, beliefs and decisions. A core story is essentially trying to capture that essence. Because feelings are created in the limbic portion of the brain, they often don’t have words. Therefore, pictures or videos are often used as tools to help connect the audience with the true intent of the story. Although someday we hope to make our story into a short video, for now it is a 10-page brochure.

WHY WE CREATED OUR CORE STORY We believe that most people value relationships and feel better about doing business with people who are human, face struggles and try to always grow through mistakes and challenges. By being transparent, we hope that people will get to know us a little better and see how hard the fight has been to keep City Creek Mortgage in business for more than 18 years.

As any person who owns a small business can attest, running a company is not easy. It can be a road filled with incredible highs and very deep lows. It is generally in the extremes where we find the greatest lessons and experience the most growth. When we sat down to discuss what to include, we made a timeline history of the key milestones from the development of City Creek Mortgage up until the current day. This process bought up some painful memories that were quickly followed by strategic advancements. It was interesting to be able to tie our moments of growth to our darkest times. In a way it made me appreciate the struggles which I have desperately tried to avoid reliving. The realization that our moments of greatness were discovered in the midst of misery made the process of writing the story emotionally charged and worthwhile.

LESSONS LEARNED Every company has values. Some businesses may be aware of their values and post them on a wall for all to see, while others may never have taken the time to consider what their values truly are. Early in the life of City Creek Mortgage, we spent a number of days hashing out what truly mattered to us. At the end of an extended “values retreat,” we came up with five beliefs that are core to who we are. Even today, the same values live on within our organization. The true test of values is found in the process of analyzing the most important decisions that a business makes. As we wrote out our story, we realized that our stated values shined through in the significant decisions that have shaped City Creek Mortgage. This served as tangible proof that the values we claim are in fact true to who we are. Further, we realized that our culture is clearly a reflection of our values. You are a part of what has made City Creek what it is today and we are grateful for every opportunity we have to continue our relationship.

You can find the full story at this link or request one to be mailed to you by emailing your address to our relationship manager at

A while back I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life. I was at a business seminar with my wife when the presenter, Tony Robbins, talked about his theory on human needs. Many years ago, he recognized that there are six key forces that drive human behavior. These forces drive the decisions we make, how we feel about things and how we respond. According to Tony, the Six Human Needs are:

6 Human Needs

Of the six needs, the first four are “Basic” needs and number 5&6 are secondary needs that generally can be met only after the first four are secure. In other words, people tend to focus on growth and contribution at a higher level once they feel a reasonable level of achievement in the first four human needs. Further, if an experience or feeling meets at least 3 of the needs simultaneously, it can be highly addictive.

Although each person experiences all six needs, the order in which they drive behavior is not of equal importance to everyone. For example, some people may value Certainty more strongly than others and some may find the need for Love & Connection to be their primary need. In general, there is one that is dominant in each person and a second need that follows. The remaining two, although still important, tend to be lower on the scale than the primary and secondary needs.

My Personal Lesson

As I contemplated the meaning and validity of his theory, I had the epiphany that if I were to meet each of the six needs within my marriage, both Tobi and I would experience a richness and beauty that would exceed our expectations. Further, it would create an addiction that would make our connection more difficult to break. But to do this, I needed a plan.

I will share with you some of the notes and questions I came up with regarding each need. Although there isn’t sufficient space to share my detailed plan for each, I hope to give you a vision of the potential power hidden within the plan.


  1. Certainty – Per Tony, the need for safety is the most predominant need in most humans. I find this to be true with me as well as for my wife, Tobi. So, I asked the questions – What do I need to do to ensure that she never needs to question my commitment or dedication to her? How can I increase safety in all interactions with her?
  2. Variety – What does it look like to experience the art of surprise and spontaneity within our relationship? How can I ensure we maintain excitement in our lives?
  3. Significance – My wife is an exceptional person with many talents and gifts to offer this world. How can I help her to live out her greatness?
  4. Love & Connection – We all have the need to feel loved and to experience deep connection. Unfortunately, too many give up on love and settle for connection. This is not a place I ever want to be. How do I ensure connection and simultaneously love my wife unconditionally?
  5. Growth – If we aren’t growing, we are dying. What will be our ongoing source of fuel that keeps us learning and inspired to become better? What daily disciplines are needed to ensure these are ongoing and never stop?
  6. Contribution – True meaning in life comes from what we give back. While most seek happiness in having more, how will we be different and experience true happiness through the art of contributing our gifts and talents to help others?

Of everything I have learned so far through this process, the idea of fiercely loving my wife through every good time and bad seems to be the greatest lesson. After 23 years of marriage, I’m thankful for every new thought that can help strengthen our relationship.

This is clearly a unique article for me to write. If this has created curiosity within you, I’d love to share the Six Human Needs with you. Please e-mail me for more information to

When I was younger, I would tell people that I like dogs more than I like humans. Now that I’m all grown up, although not as extreme as when I was young, my love for animals continues.

There are many wonderful organizations out there that exist to serve and protect our four legged friends. One such organization is the Humane Society of Utah. For the past 55 years, The Humane Society of Utah has specialized in connecting homeless pets to loving families. In 2017 alone, they expect to place 11,500 pets, which is more than they have ever placed in a single year. However, as an organization that is fully funded through donations, they couldn’t accomplish this goal without help.

City Creek Mortgage is a proud sponsor of the Utah Humane Society. Next time you are there, visit our sponsored kennel and be sure to give a little extra love to the dog who happens to be living within. Take a picture of the pet and post it on social media along with #citycreekmortgage and we will pass a little extra love on to you as well!humane

I’ve personally learned that regardless of how hard you try to avoid them, financial storms happen. In all fairness, there is a wide range of what a financial storm means to one person relative to another. To some, it means an inability to afford health insurance, pay utilities or provide food for their family. In other cases, it means losing half of a multi-million-dollar investment. Both scenarios are painful and come with powerful lessons.

Although the method of protection from a financial storm will vary from one family to another, the basic premise begins with the word Safety. For some, this means ensuring they save a portion of their income for a rainy day. For others, it is ensuring that funds placed at risk are limited based on what can be reasonably afforded to be lost.

Having a strong understanding of money is an important part of creating financial stability. One of my favorite sources of financial knowledge is a book written by Tony Robbins, Money – Master the Game.