Family Friendly Communities Beyond Scottsdale

playgroundWhen families move to the valley, the top question we get asked is: “Where are the family friendly neighborhoods and where are the good schools?” Most have heard mentions of Scottsdale, but there are plenty other choices. Metropolitan Phoenix has many good choices, but we’d like to introduce you to these four to start:

This north Phoenix suburb was actually designed with families in mind, so it’s no wonder it netted a #1 ranking from Parenting Magazine for a family friendly community. A 63-acre community park offers outdoor sporting fields, an amphitheater and lakes, and bike paths cross every part of town. The community also hosts a year-round schedule of signature events. Affordable homes and a tight-knit community make this an excellent choice for raising kids, if you don’t mind it being farther away from the city.

This area is desirable for everyone, but families are especially fond of homes here for the incredible location, upscale interiors and top choices for schools. Arcadia sits neatly between Phoenix and Scottsdale. In terms of home prices and size, the area offers the best of both worlds (although remodeled homes here are not inexpensive, by any means). Living in the center of town means you can access everything the city has to offer.

Quiet and removed, Ahwatukee offers affordable single-family homes away from hustle and bustle, but still close to freeway access and downtown Phoenix. The location at the base of South Mountain gives this neighborhood a secluded feel, and if your family is active, you’ll love the proximity to the hiking and biking trails. Crime is extremely low, and there are many community entertainment and shopping options.

Up-and-coming Gilbert is often rated for families as the safest suburb around. The community is growing quickly, while still retaining its family-friendly, small-town sensibilities. Gilbert’s historic Heritage District seems to be adding new local restaurants every time we are there. Exciting events and entertainment keep the whole family occupied. The low cost of living and low home prices are a huge factor for the influx of new residents, so it’s a great time to consider this neighborhood.

Let us know what you are looking for, or if you know of anyone who is looking to move and is searching for family friendly neighborhoods. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Are Home Warranties Worth the Cost?

kitchenAs a home buyer or home seller, you may have wondered whether a home warranty is worth the cost. Homeowners insurance protects your home against unforeseen accidents or damage.  A home warranty, on the other hand, is a supplement to this insurance. Simply put, a home warranty is a convenience program that covers normal wear and tear on the major electrical and mechanical systems in a home, typically for a one-year period.

A home’s ventilation, heating and air-conditioning, plumbing, water heater and kitchen appliances are typically covered by a home warranty. However, be sure to read the fine print on any home warranty. Be sure to note what exactly is covered and what isn’t.

Another wrinkle with home warranty plans is that they don’t offer quick fixes to any problems that are discovered within the home. Home warranties are not the same as emergency home service contracts, where the homeowner can make a phone call and have the problem diagnosed and fixed within the same day.  Instead, with a home warranty, the homeowner will have to file a claim, and the home warranty company will choose a local service contractor to diagnose the problem for a service fee, which isn’t covered by the warranty.  Then, the claim must be approved by the company.

While a home warranty can be a nice back-up plan, it’s critical that any homeowner identify any necessary repairs during the home inspection period.  The home inspection will typically uncover any major issues with the maintenance of the home, and will set a precedent for regular service of the major mechanical services. For example, some home warranty companies won’t cover an air-conditioner that hasn’t been serviced in a past set number of months. Therefore, having this done during the home inspection negotiation period will help to set up a seamless transition to the home warranty service period. Home warranties in Arizona average around $400-500 depending on the size of the home.

Click here to begin the search for your next home! 

Buying and Selling Simultaneously

house keyBuying and selling homes simultaneously can can feel overwhelming, it can also raise many questions, especially regarding timing. When should you list the home you’re selling? At what point should you begin looking for a new home? What happens if you get an offer on the home you’re selling before closing on your new place?

The key to combining your buying and selling processes is timing. Taking the time up front to consider your options and make educated timing decisions will increase the chances that you’ll get to seamlessly move from the old home into the new space.

So, how do you make those smart timing decisions?

Find an Expert. A good real estate agent is a knowledgeable and reliable expert on buying and selling homes simultaneously. The agent researches and understands current trends which will help you time your transition to the new house while also getting the most money from the house you’re selling.

Know the Market. A real estate agent is also a great resource to educate you on your local market. The agent uses current market data, the condition of your home, neighborhood comparable homes and other factors to determine a realistic selling price for your listing.

Understand your Finances. As you look at your options, know where you stand financially, how much equity you have in your current home, and how much money you can reasonably use toward the down payment of a new house. Homeowners who have enough equity to sell their existing home and can come up with a down payment for another one are going to have an easier time buying and selling at the same time. Know that there are many options for those homeowners in all financial categories. Understanding your finances will help when you discuss this process with your agent.

Make Quick Fixes. Price and home condition are the two most important factors that effect the sale of your home. As explored specifically in previous posts, investing money up front to update the yard, repaint the walls or make other small fixes has been proven to significantly increase the likelihood that your home will sell more quickly.
Start Shopping for the New Home. If you and your agent agree that listing your home is a good decision for you, it’s time to begin your home search process. If possible, start looking at homes before you put yours on the market so that you have an idea to the timeframe it could take to find the new place based on your search criteria.

When You’re Ready, List Your Home. Putting the home on the market is a careful process that depends largely on how fast you think you will be able to find and close on your new home. The previous step, shopping for the new home, will help make that decision. Keep in mind, if you put the home on the market and the right buyer puts in an offer more quickly than you anticipated, there are contingencies you can add to the contract to give you more time to find your new home.

Buying and selling homes simultaneously has its challenges, but we have the experience and knowledge to make it happen for you. Call us to learn more! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

5 Packing Tips for Your Move

moving dayYou sold your house-congrats! Now you must tackle the daunting task of moving! Use these helpful tips to pack up and move with ease:

1-Have a place in your home that is designated “packing central”.  All your moving information and needs like labels, box tape, markers etc. should always be kept in the same location so you know that is where everything is during the moving process.

2-Make a list. If you write things down you won’t forget things. For example, you may want to make a packing list. For every box you pack you will have the box numbered with the contents listed clearly on the box.  This will help not only you, but the movers as well. If items are clearly labeled “kitchen” then the movers won’t put that box in a bedroom.

3-Or instead of numbering the boxes, you can color coordinate your boxes. For example, anything with yellow on the box is for the kitchen and red marked boxes are for the master bedroom. You can then place a color sticker on the doorway at the new home that matches the ones on your boxes so the movers will know where each box is to go.

4-Wardrobe boxes are very handy. They can take all the items from your closet and transport them easily to your new home without worrying about being all creased when you get there. You can also fill the bottom of these boxes with shoes and purses and then cover the clothing with dry cleaning bags to keep from getting dirty.

5-Give yourself plenty of time to pack.  Do a little bit at a time and you won’t feel so overwhelmed and stressed out that it needs to get done quickly.  This is also a good time to clean out your closets and cabinets of items you no longer need or want.  You can make a big trip to a local Goodwill or other charity in your area that can use your household items or clothes.

Moving is a hassle and no one really enjoys it, but with any luck you are moving into the home of your dreams and this will be the last move you make for a long time!

Tips for Buying a House on a Budget

phoenix home for saleJust because you have a low budget doesn’t mean there isn’t a great home waiting for you to discover it. However, shopping for a home on a budget can be challenging. You may feel nervous telling your realtor or you may not know how to approach your bank about it, either. Just remember that there are plenty of people who buy houses on a budget, follow the tips below for great results!

Consider Foreclosures
Foreclosures are usually homes that were repossessed by a bank or lender because the owner could no longer make mortgage payments on the property. The bank is then trying to sell the property to get it off their hands and recoup the money they lost on financing the home in the first place. Because of this, however, another bank isn’t likely to finance this type of purchase, so you may not have the benefit of a loan to help you out. Also be aware that these homes are almost always left in disarray and poor conditions because the owners couldn’t afford to keep up with repairs – or, in some instances, were angry about the foreclosure and trashed the home before leaving.

Look for “As-Is” Homes
Once again, you may have trouble getting the bank to approve a loan for an “as-is” home, but if you’re in good standing with your bank you may be able to qualify for assistance with one of these properties. These homes may have only minor cosmetic damage, but in some cases, they could have serious structural or roof problems that will need to be repaired at your expense. If you plan to buy an “as-is” home, be prepared to spend a long time shopping around before you find a home that doesn’t need anything too significant in terms of repairs. Otherwise, in the long run you may end up going way over your budget.

Stay Up-To-Date on Neighborhood Changes
If you live in the city, think about neighborhoods that seem to be transitioning from low-quality to better-quality. While you may have to deal with more growing pains than you might prefer in these areas, at least for a few years, chances are good you can get a great home in a neighborhood many outsiders aren’t considering yet. In a little while, these neighborhoods will improve and you’ll be living in a great part of town. The same is true of suburbs surrounding cities that are expanding. Give it a few years, and you’ll be closer to town than you used to be.

Are you looking to buy a home? Get started with this custom home search. We are real estate experts who can help you find a home that meets your needs and lifestyle. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Scottsdale is #1 Profitable City for Airbnb has ranked Scottsdale as the #1 profitable city to own an Airbnb! This is no surprise to us since the City of Scottsdale has long been a popular destination for families and American corporate elites looking for a vacation getaway filled with golf, hiking and outdoor adventures.

With the growing popularity of short term rentals across the country, many cities have created tighter rules or banned Airbnb rentals altogether. Yet, Arizona has gone in the opposite direction. In 2016, Arizona signed a law that prevents cities from banning short-term rentals. Arizona’s legal protection combined with vacation rental demand, makes Scottsdale the perfect place for real estate rental investors.

Scottsdale Residential Real Estate-
Median list price: $685,100
Average daily rate: $301
Occupancy rate: 81%
Active rentals: 5,178

With our years of experience in Scottsdale real estate, we are prepared to find your next profitable investment property! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Things to Look for at an Open House

home for sale
Are you getting ready to go to open houses? Looking at open houses is one of the many ways you may choose to work with your realtor to find the perfect home for your family. Yet, an open house is different from an individual home showing, and the things you’re looking for may be quite a lot different in this situation. In an individual showing, you’ll be better able to look closely at potential problem areas or things you want to think about, but in an open house, you’ll need to focus on a handful of factors during the time you spend touring the home.

Look At The Floors
You’re probably busy looking around at all the features of the home you’re viewing, but don’t forget to stop and look down every now and then, too. If there are tile floors that look as though they were laid in a DIY project rather than by a professional, you may want to consider the potential issues that could come along with this. Of course, any DIY job isn’t always a sign of something wrong, but it does mean you should keep it in consideration.

Maintenance Issues
Does the home look like it’s been kept up well, or does it appear to be lacking maintenance? Are there a lot of burned-out bulbs, dirty light fixtures, outlets mixing covers, cracks in the decorative molding, or other similar issues? Maintenance problems usually indicate that the homeowners haven’t been keeping up with more serious repairs around the home either.

Mold And Water Damage
Always be on the lookout for mold and water damage. If you notice a discolored spot on the ceiling, it’s likely a water leak and you should ask about it. If you see mold, bring this up as well.

Foundation Problems
You probably won’t be able to get a great look at the foundation while you’re looking around at an open house, but you can check the inside and outside walls for cracks. Small hairline cracks aren’t really an issue, because these are normal with older homes regardless of their quality. However, if you notice very large cracks, especially those that go from floor to ceiling, you may want to move on to the next open house.

Are you ready to start touring homes? Give us a call, we’d love to schedule private showings for you and tour open houses with you! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Appliance Disposal Tips


When preparing your home for sale, we often suggest to replace your old appliances with new ones or you may have just bought a home with old appliances and you replaced them…so what do you with the old appliances?

You can recycle your smaller appliances with most cities. The Cities of Scottsdale and Phoenix both offer quarterly electronic recycling events, look for announcements of these events in your monthly water bill.

Give Away
Check with local charities to see what their policies are regarding used appliances donations. Charities that accept appliance donations will often offer free curbside pick-up service. You may also be able to write your donation off on your taxes.

Have It Hauled Away
You may decide you just want the appliances out of your home. When that happens, you can call services for responsible appliance removal. There will be a fee, so you might want to go through your house and find any additional items in need of being hauled away to make the fee worth the money.

Sell Them
Are your appliances still running? Head over to Craigslist or to sell them. There is a growing market of shoppers looking for a bargain. There are also customers who want to strip your appliances for parts to re-sale. Fielding offers from bargain shoppers can be a more time-consuming option, but with a little effort, you could put some cash in your pocket!

Are you thinking of selling your home? Our complimentary home stagers will help you make the decisions needed to get you top dollar! Call today for more information. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

What You Need To Know Before Buying A Horse Property

If you have a horse, or multiple horses, there are plenty properties in the Carefree, Cave Creek, Rio Verde and North Scottsdale to chose from.  Most horse properties are located in unincorporated areas without HOA’s restrictions but there are still various guidelines and regulations that you need to be aware of if you are considering purchasing a horse property.

The issues you should consider are if proper proper permits have been filed by prior/current owners or there is a judgement filed against the property by a bank, a lien holder, or even a level of government. Unless you take the time to investigate and research a piece of property prior to purchasing it, you could find yourself with great financial implications as well as legal issues. 

The areas of Carefree, Cave Creek, Rio Verde Foothills, or Scottsdale are within Maricopa County. The county in itself has ordinances and restrictions based on where the property is situated. While Maricopa County is ultimately the authority in approving land usage. Carefree and Cave Creek municipalities have their own restrictions in addition to the ones in place by the county. 

County Islands – The Unincorporated Land In Maricopa County

 “County Islands”, are the unincorporated Maricopa County” are areas in Maricopa County that aren’t subject to the municipality’s overlays, unless, the property is situated in a specific incorporated area.  These properties are only restricted to Maricopa County, which the Maricopa County Flood Control District could be included. Properties that fall within a floodplain will have a Maricopa County Floodplain overlay.

The zoning of North Scottsdale horse property focuses primarily on setbacks and covered roof area percentages which pertains to square footage overall. Another factor is the number of residential structures located on a zoned property and its usage.  The Maricopa County Zoning Ordinances will provide all Information that relates ordinances, setbacks, use, and zoning.

The Water Issues in North Scottsdale 

Horse property in the Cave Creek area is on municipal water and is known to have significant water issues.  The water supply in other areas may be either hauled in or come from a water well production, dependent on how deep the water is below the ground, the quality of the water, and the water table.

The Floodplain of North Scottsdale 

Maricopa County has areas suitable for horse property are subject to floodplain and floodway, and as such there are additional restrictions regarding building horse arenas, horse barns, horse fencing as well as homesites.  For example, erecting a fence across a floodway requires you to obtain a engineer’s report that determines the flow of water as well as the height and type of the fence structure to be put built. 

The Soil of North Scottsdale

Horse properties in North Scottsdale Arizona area of Maricopa county vary between locations.  The Rio Verde Foothills for example, soil type is stated to as “decomposed granite”, a combination of clay and a fine gravel. When dry, it is hard and slick like concrete, but when wet, becomes gooey. Areas of North Scottsdale have this type of soil, which can be an issue for horses because it does not offer sound footing. Sound footing is needed for those raising horses for barrel racing, cutting, jumping, roping, or working cow horse.  Water is required to minimize dust, compact the dirt and maintain evenness of the ground. Therefore, the water issues combined with the soil in this area both need to be considered when buying land for horse usage.

The Regulations of North Scottsdale 

In regard to buying property for horse use, there are overlays of Maricopa County regulations in Carefree, Cave Creek, Phoenix, and Scottsdale municipalities. Before purchasing property in these areas to use for horses, investigations and research are recommended, which is something we can help you with.

Are you looking to buy a horse property?  Contact Us today!


Do’s and Don’ts When Looking at Homes Above Your Price Range

neighborhood aerial view photoShould you even be considering homes above your price range? And no, I don’t mean the difference between your ideal price and a multi-million dollar house on Camelback. I am talking about the home that is just outside of the budget you sent your realtor.  s there any sense in dreaming a little bit bigger, or is it just a recipe for disappointment? 

The short answer is “you should look.” You set that high limit on your budget for a reason. But sometimes, you can find yourself in a situation where the seller is motivated to accept a lower price, or your realtor can help spot a local market where there is some wiggle room for negotiations. 

Here are some do’s and don’ts when considering homes outside your price range. 

Do utilize stats in the area to do research. We compare the list prices with what homes nearby ended up selling for, which can help you determine if it’s worth it to look at the home outside your budget. 

Don’t get attached and be disappointed if the seller refuses to come down on the price and the home is simply unaffordable for you.

Do understand if you are in a buyer’s market, where the odds are good that a seller is willing to negotiate, or a seller’s market, where you don’t have any bargaining power.

Don’t forget that we have experience determining the proper price range, and we are experts on what is a good deal versus what will be a waste of time to look at. Trust us to help you make the right decision.

Do look for situations where a seller is very motivated to sell.  Sometimes sellers are in a hurry due to personal circumstances and may be more receptive to your offer. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to have a realistic mindset when looking at homes with price tags above your upper limits.  It is uncommon that you’ll be able to “bargain down” a lot, especially in situations where the seller has no motivation to sell for any less than intended. Experienced agents have a nose for what will work and what won’t, so don’t force a showing or offer when you are advised strongly against it. 

Are you considering buying a home?  Click here to create a custom home search and we will set you up to receive as soon as they hit the market.