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Utah Professional Women in Building group leaves a mark

Kudos: The group reveals the "House that She Built"

Utah Professional Women in Building group

In 2018, Kristin Smith was tasked with starting the first-ever Utah Professional Women in Building group. Now, in 2021, the large, female-only company designed and constructed a home that was showcased in the 2021 Utah Valley Parade of Homes — and sold to benefit several good causes. 

The proceeds from the sale of the home will be divided between scholarships, women-run charities and future home projects. The scholarships will account for 60% of the total profit and will be awarded to women pursuing construction management related degrees or trade school programs, and 20% of the profits will be used for education initiatives and future building events. The remaining 20% will be donated to Life Start Village Family Support Center, a local woman-centric charity.

“We reached out to as many women as possible we knew in the construction industry, and today, we have over 60 women who are members of our council,” Stephanie Sharp of Steven Dailey Construction and Utah PWB president, said. “Our collective goals are to continue to grow and create a valuable team that can promote the growth of women in the industry.”

The two-story home, dubbed the House that She Built, was constructed in Saratoga Springs, Utah, with approximately 3,200 square feet of living space, including a finished basement. It also includes a children’s play area and large master bedroom. 

The home is a testament to and reflection of the women running Utah PWB, all of whom have multiple years of experience in the industry. 

Sharp worked for an architectural office for more than 10 years before returning to work in the family business — Steven Dailey Construction, based in Draper, Utah. The Professional Women in Building group, she said, can best be defined as a national home builders association group, with separate chapters across the U.S. 

Smith, who started Utah PWB, is a mortgage veteran, having been in the industry for 15 years. Jennie Taylor, Utah PWB vice president, has worked in the finish hardware aspect of construction for 25 years. And Kristi Allen is a builder for WoodCastle Homes in Alpine, Utah and is a third-generation Utah home builder.

The Utah PWB design team working on the House that She Built is made up of Pierrette Tierney of Magleby Construction, Stefani Thatcher of Domani, Natalie Miles of Natalie Miles Design, Alison Simpson of Acute Engineering, Kimberly Parker of Kimberly Parker Design, Allison Campbell of Allison Campbell Design, Rochelle Broadhead of Cambridge Home Company and Denise Johnson and Randi Smith of Black Goose Design.

“Utah is an amazing place to live and work,” Sharp said. “Utah has done a great job with economic development, and I am so thankful and blessed to be able to help more families be able to enjoy the beauty of this incredible state. 

We have a large population of real estate agents here and we all work together very well. It is a privilege to be able to help more families.”

Utah became a popular destination for homebuyers during the COVID-19 pandemic, as work-from-home employees realized they could move to states with cheaper — and bigger — lots. 

“I think I’ve worked with more out-of-state buyers in the past 12 months than actual Utah residents,” said Caylee Bess of Bess Real Estate, located in Ogden, Utah, which sits between Salt Lake City and Logan. “It’s a lot of people from California, but also Washington, Texas and Oregon. Our prices obviously weren’t as high as California’s at the beginning [of the pandemic], but we’re definitely catching up thanks to demand.”

Bess described the bidding wars in towns like Logan — which sits 90 minutes north of Salt Lake City — and central Utah as “insane,” with homes that have been on the market for only 12 hours receiving anywhere from 20 to 40 offers — and all well above asking price.

“People are offering $10,000, $20,000, $30,000, up to $60,000 above listing price,” Bess said. “Honestly, in most cases, $10,000 over asking isn’t even going to cut it. Logan is growing a lot and has a ton of room to build, so it’s really competitive.”

Sharp agreed, noting that she and her husband began buying homes for clients themselves — usually all in cash — and then selling them back after closing to ensure the client gets the home without going through a stressful bidding war.  

“This allows us to make a strong offer that the sellers can’t decline, and also allows our clients the opportunity to live in this beautiful Utah valley,” she said. “The state is in the heat of one of the busiest and craziest markets we have ever seen.” 

“When helping home buyers in today’s market, they are all up against cash buyers who can offer the sellers more than the average buyer has. It’s difficult to see your clients lose home after home, due to not having a few extra hundred thousand dollars to bid, or on an all cash offer,” she added. 

During the pandemic, Sharp said Utah PWB even added employees and focused on “dominating the industry.” She said Utah PWB is always looking for additional skilled women in the trades, particularly plumbing, HVAC and electricians.

“In our eyes there was never a pandemic,” she said. “We worked harder than everyone else and made our dreams reality. The best part of my job is being able to help families continue to build the American dream.”

Joining the Utah Professional Women in Building group is simple: Send an email to [email protected] to get started.

To read the full August magazine issue, go here.

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