Phone: (480) 234-9225
Website: www.TomWeiskopf.net

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Tips

Is it the season? Maybe the economy has something to do with it.  Is it just me or does it seem that everyone is on edge? 

I keep running across people that are just not happy -  It's more than just the lack of a smile.  It's their persona.  Deep from within, they're accustomed to being lonely, angry, unhappy people.

Well, it's the Holiday Season, folks.  Lighten up.  Get a grip.  Smile.  What goes around comes around and if you don't, I suspect your life is going to continue to be a downer for you and those around you.

I'm thankful for many things - my friends rank right at the top of that list.  I often get humorous e-mails with jokes, cartoons and anecdotes, all with the intent of bringing a smile to my day.  I know, we all get them in some form or fashion.  I usually don't pass them on to others, but one particular e-mail caught my eye.  I did have to share "Holiday Tips."  Share it with others, too - make someone smile and brighten their day.

As you're preparing your holiday get-togethers, or accepting an invite to one, consider these "HOLIDAY TIPS" ~

1.  Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday  spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat.. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on.  Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a  Holiday  party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have a great holiday season!!

Special thanks to Craig for brightening my day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chateaux on Central is Back!

Strolling by, you might think you're on the upper East side of Manhattan. These "mini-mansions" feature turrets, iron railings and tons of brick. Plagued by the changes in the recent real estate market, a new owner of Chateaux on Central stole the property and it's better than ever. These posh town homes are a welcome improvement to the central corridor. The development offers 21 units, now priced beginning at $1.3 million. In 2007, they were priced between $2 and $5 million.

The grand re-opening is set for this Friday, December 12 with ticket proceeds going to support Phoenix Children's Hospital. Check out the full story here: Upscale Condos in Downtown Phoenix Sold

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Safari Condos back on track!

Well, looks as if they are back on track!

Across from the architecturally cool Optima at Goldwater and Scottsdale Road is Safari, a development that has taken a hiatus for the the past couple of years. This development originally included trendy retail, work and live spaces, entertainment and condos in the heart of Scottsdale's urban nivarna.

Safari Drive, a luxury-condominium complex along the Arizona Canal north of Camelback Road is back on track after a long dormancy. Last week, sales resumed on the 4.8 acre mid-rise development. Unit prices start at about $370,000 with three units priced around $1,000,000. The majority of the units are 1,200 to 2,100 square feet. A second, smaller phase is being planned that would be built in front of the project.

Read the full details here: Safari condos resume sales

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Future of Housing

Remember all the talk about the Baby Boomers?  Well, it seems like we are making a transition from the baby boomers making news to the....

Echo Boomers (born from 1981 to 1999)!

I always enjoy the articles in REALTOR Magazine - I found this one interesting as there is on-going discussion about real estate and housing trends - and it all ultimately translates into a homes resale appeal.  A previous post of mine discussed the end of the McMansion era and how people are looking to downsize. Architects are creating spaces that are more open and multi-purposed. Homeowners seek smaller digs with improved functionality, technology and efficiency.

Check out the trends according to Hanley-Woods Prosalesonline.com in REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-7 Trends That Will Drive the Future of Housing

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Historic Home Tour Kicks off the Holidays

FQ Story Luminaria Tour Set

Its official – the acclaimed holiday tour in downtown Phoenix’s FQ Story district is set – This highly regarded event has become a family tradition for many as a kick off to the holiday season.  Always something to look forward to – this year’s event takes place Saturday, December 4 from 6 pm to 9 pm.  If you haven’t been, you’re in for a treat.  This is a holiday event you don’t want to miss.

For the past 26 years, Phoenicians look forward to the festive event with luminarias lining the walks of this quaint historic district. Residents open their doors to their restored classics and welcome visitors, young and old into their homes. 

Ten homes along Culver Street - each a restored gem in its own right - will be open this year and promise to treat visitors with architectural beauty, historic integrity, Dickens-like carolers and plenty of holiday magic.

The tour resumes the following day, as well.  On Sunday, December 5 from 11 am to 5 pm, vendors set up booths with crafts, gift items, food, beverages and bakery items. 

With a non-perishable food item, tickets are $15 per person.   The event begins at 9th Avenue and Culver Street.  Tickets are available on-site.
For complete details, including a map and photos of homes being featured, visit FQ Story online.

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC.  Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have We Hit Bottom?

Maybe.

Home affordability is at an all time high. Interest rates are unbelievably low.

Some analysts suggest these factors will spur an onslaught of activity. Increase in demand, reduction in inventory, a rise in home prices and new construction picking back up.

We've all wished for the crystal ball - some of us realize we the ship has sailed without us. Real estate experts -  and now more and more media reports - are suggesting we've hit the bottom. One way to test that theory is to do nothing. Sit back and watch what happens. Just don't say, "I wish I would have..."

Check out what Beacon Economics says in REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Economists Say Housing at Bottom

Time will tell, but if my business is any sign, things are definately picking up.

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Guide for the Winter Visitor

Welcome to Arizona! We’re delighted to have you in our magnificent state.  Whether your visit is for just a week or two, or you’re planning on being with us through “season”, we hope you relax and enjoy. 

You are essential to our economy and we are humbled that Arizona is part of your travel plans.  You’ll find locals to be welcoming and we are delighted to share the Valley of the Sun with you.  Area businesses and merchants are eager to serve and are so appreciative of your selecting Arizona for your winter respite. You’ll love our restaurants, world class golf, sparkling pools, pristine walking and biking paths and shopping galore.  Our museums, our libraries and our arts venues are “musts” for the to-do list. 

Perhaps you’ll even fall in love with our community and decide to own your own Phoenix area home. [I can help you with a top-notch real estate agent if you’d like].

To enjoy our community to the fullest extent and for your own safety, we appreciate your following these visitor guidelines when driving about:

 
1)  Right-hand turns should be executed from the right lane of the road.

2)  Left-hand turns should be executed from the left hand lane.

3)  Keep your vehicle in “D” when motoring through traffic. “P” and “R” should be reserved for your garage or parking areas, not in traffic lanes on the main roadways.

4)  Sometimes a difficult concept to remember, but green lights at intersections signal the driver to go.  Red means stop.  An easy way to remember this is to associate the first letter of each color with the appropriate action:  “G” for “GO; “R” for “REST.”

5)  Carefully observe signage that addresses the speed at which you are permitted to travel.  Please note, as a general rule and weather conditions permitting, you should be travelling at a speed of no less than one equal to approximately 78% of the posted maximum.  For example, if the speed limit posted is 45 mph – and it is safe to do so – your vehicle should be traveling at least 35 mph.  If you conditions are not safe to drive within the tacit range, move over to the right hand lane, or rest your vehicle in a nearby parking lot until it is safe to do so.  15 mph is acceptable in parking lots, some residential neighborhoods and in school zones, not major thorough fares.  If you are most comfortable driving at 20 or 25 mpg, please refrain from using the highway system.  

6)  Many roads in Arizona have white lines painted on the asphalt.  Please keep you vehicle between the lines.  They are not to be straddled.  This guideline can be applied to parking lots as well.

7)  We encourage you to take advantage of our extensive public transportation options available.  Our bus system, Valley Metro, is extremely reliable and provides a great way to enjoy the scenery while getting around town without the hassles of driving.  The Metro Light Rail is an adventurous way to travel Tempe to Phoenix and has received rave reviews and accolades from transportation gurus, proponents of the green movement, hip urbanites and drunken college kids alike. 

Once again, welcome to our great state - Have fun, think about a permanent home here, enjoy your winter and let's all stay safe!

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC.  Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Phoenix Area Hiking

The complete guide to Phoenix area hiking is just a click away.

Now that the temps are coming down and the snakes are going wherever it is they go, it’s just about time to get back out there and hit the trail!

Maricopa County has a plethora of hiking trails through some of the most picturesque scenery you're bound to see.  The desert takes on its own life and the only way to really see it – and appreciate the unique beauty of our desert – is to get out there.  Whether you’ve got just a hour or so, or looking for an all day excursion, you’re in for a treat.

Growing up in Colorado, as a kid, we’d plan a day in a park.  Mom would put together a picnic lunch and we’d pack up the station wagon, get the leash out for Sam, our Newfoundland, jump in the car and head for the hills.  We’d spend the day as a family hiking the (easy) trails around Denver and Boulder.  The memories I’ll treasure from those excursions are priceless and will last a lifetime.

Now as a Phoenician, we’re fortunate to be blessed with terrific weather – ideal for hiking most anytime, as long as you’re prepared and know where to go.  At first, the number of hiking trails were mind boggling.  Trying to pick the right trail seemed daunting.  Until, I discovered a great resource.

One of the best sources for information on hiking trails in Maricopa County is online.  Check out the hiking section of  trails.com.  For me, it’s become mandatory reading and a hiking prerequisite.

Once you browser lands at trails.com, you’ll get a map. Click on it to zoom in and then you can navigate across the valley to find the perfect trail.  When you pick a trail, you can then drill down for some great information – trail length, degree of difficulty, elevation at start, elevation changes, reviews from past hikers, even a topo map. I think you’ll find it to be one of the most comprehensive tools on the subject available to us.

The complete link is http://www.trails.com/activity.aspx?area=11535

Don’t forget the camera, wear appropriate footwear, bring along sunscreen, a light jacket, a hat, plenty of water and some food bars – and hit the trail!

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC.  Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Foreclosure halt creates another system clog

Seems as if this just won't go away. The recent foreclosure halt announced by Bank of America is - now in all 50 states, well, guess what.....?

....Muddying the waters. Suprise!

Hold on, gather your patience. The fat lady hasn't even thought about warming up those vocal chords.  Because 1 in 3 homes are distressed sales.

Read more about it here-
REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Foreclosure Halt Creates Problems for Buyers

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Home Fire Sprinkler Systems

Scottsdale has had a progressive policy on fire prevention for a number of years.  In 1986, the City passed an ordinance that required single family residences to be equipped with a home fire sprinkler system.  At this time of year as we watch the evening news, I often wonder why more cities across America haven’t followed Scottsdale’s lead. 

America is burning up.  As I write this, across the country, 57,419 wild fires have been reported so far this year destroying over 3.1 million acres.  According to the US Fire Administration, in 2009, 377,000 residential fires were reported.  These fires claimed the lives of 2,590 people and injured another 13,000.  Scottsdale has been recognized across the country as one of the most progressive and diligent cities in terms of fire prevention.

People often wonder about home fire sprinklers.  Some even remember something about a recall.

Yes, in the ‘90’s, there was a recall on certain fire sprinkler heads – there known as Omega heads – and they were recalled due to system failure. 

Beginning in 1982, hospitals, prisons, schools, hotels, offices and homes across the country were being fitted with the Omega fire sprinkler heads manufactured by Central Sprinkler Company.  In the day, it was not uncommon to see them in many Scottsdale homes. Heck, they were in some of the most prestigious buildings across the country.  Then Smithsonian.  The US Capitol building. Even the White House.

In 1990, reports were being made that Omega heads were failing.  In some structures, only 40% of the heads would perform.  In others, none of the heads proved to be operational.  People were injured and millions of dollars in property damaged occurred.  When Central got word their heads were failing, they immediately took responsibility and announced a nationwide recall.  Over 8 million heads were to be replaced.

Photo from Consumer Product Safety Commission
Central launched an aggressive campaign to ensure all affected knew of the recall.  They provided replacement heads and even a cash settlement to get the heads replaced.  For homeowners, many did as they were instructed: called a licensed fire sprinkler contractor and had the heads replaced. 

Unfortunately, others put the box of new replacement heads in the garage, took the cash and headed to the casino. 

By now, most homes with a fire sprinkler system with heads that meet guidelines and pass muster.  From time to time, a home inspector will identify Omega heads that need to be corrected.  Call a licensed fire sprinkler contractor to get them changed out.  It’s a relatively easy correction and you’ll appreciate the peace of mind.


If you’re not sure about the type of heads your home has, contact your local fire department.  They’ll be happy to come out to your home, check the heads and run a system check to make sure your sprinkler system is operating correctly.

Other valuable resources on Fire Prevention and Fire Sprinklers:
©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An AZ Owner’s Manual?

Ever wish you had an owner’s manual for your life? 

We have ‘em for the toaster. And, for the vacuum.  One for the car.  I’ve got one for the TV, the microwave, the cell phone and even the alarm clock. 

But, when we move into a Phoenix area home, we have to go without? What’s up with that.

Ah, contraire. 

The home inspection is the important first step to learning about your new home.  The inspector will walk you through the home and can show you all sorts of things you’d never think to ask about – From the electrical box, to the fire sprinkler shut-off valves; they are a great source for all sorts of important stuff.  Ask and he (or she) will take all the time you need.  Have them walk you around the home and point out the sewer clean outs, the circuit breaker, the water main.  They can help with not only the items needing fixing, but with suggestions for on-going preventative maintenance to keep your new home in as good of condition as possible.  And, don’t feel you can’t get an inspection if you’re not buying a home.  Use them periodically to give your home a periodic “physical.”  You’ll be glad you did.

After moving in, another great resource is your home warranty company.  They want to keep your home running smoothly, so tap into them for all sorts of helpful preventative tips.

Ok, then what? 

Ask any one and they’ll tell you.  Arizona’s a bit different.  For one, it’s the climate.  For another, the soil is sand and hard as a rock.  Well, I’ve learned to look forward to a couple of publications that come to me monthly.  Sunset and Phoenix Home & Gardens.  I couldn’t go without.

Each month, I get gardening and landscaping advice from experts that understand Arizona, our soil and our plants.  There are tips about what to plant when, what to trim where and what to feed.  Plus, great ideas for the spontaneous weekend getaway.  Anything you need about living indoors or out.  I get the complete calendar of events – all the art events, the shows, charity fundraisers and happenings around the state and am never at a loss for what to do.  Plus, some terrific tips on keeping my home looking its best.

For me, these pubs are my Arizona owner’s manuals.  No one twisted my arm to give ‘em a plug – I’ve just found the recipe for great Arizona living.

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC.  Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com. 

The 10 Best Cities for Babies

The latest issue of Parents Magazine has come out with the best places for young families. The report talks about best cities overall to raise young children, as well as the best small city and best large city.

Guess what folks? Scottsdale ranks number one overall.

Apparently, people in the know (pediatric "experts" and stay at home mom's who are spending their time blogging) cast their votes and it's official.

Get the full report by visiting The 10 Best Cities for Babies

Good stuff, Scottsdale!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Here’s to Pre-owned

I was talking with Kyle the other day about cars.  Not an uncommon subject with him.  He loves ‘em.  He’s like an auto-a-pedia.  He knows everything about them.  It doesn’t matter the make or model or the decade it came off the assembly line, he can fix ‘em and knows all about their power, how they are rate, etc.  He can talk liters’ and mpg’s, abs and suv’s with the best of them.  If my math is correct, in his seven years of being of legal driving age, he’s owned eight vehicles.  And that doesn’t count the go-carts or the go-peds.
This time, we weren’t talking about torque or tranny’s.  We were talking about their values.  “Cars have crazy depreciation.  You lose instant money the minute you drive a new car off the lot”, he said.  We’ve all heard that before, but he knew his stuff.  I did some research, and some say you can throw away about 20% of the value the second you take possession and drive off to Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles.  And, you can flush 65% down the toilet by the fifth year. 
Ouch.                                                                      
I was pondering that concept and came to the conclusion the same is true for other things if you stop and think about it.  Many other things, if my hunch was correct.  We are all buying new things when there’s a choice to buy used.  In this economy, maybe we should apply Kyle’s wisdom to our everyday life.  After all, we think nothing of buying a pre-owned car or re-sale home.  What about our household items?
Enter EBay, Goodwill and countless other businesses that specialize in pre-owned, used, re-sale and refurbished.  There are a number of businesses that flourish off of someone else’s stuff.  Even Kyle practices what he preaches.  He has some rims for his Lexus, a bed, a computer, a refrigerator and even a couple of dogs that all had belonged to someone else first.
Like father, like son?  As for me, since moving to Arizona, I’ve become a huge fan of consignment stores.  And, the Valley has a ton of them – really great ones to boot.  There’s of course Terri and My Sister, and so many more.
My current home is largely furnished from treasures found in consignment stores.  Ok, most of it came from Recreate in Scottsdale, with a few items sprinkled in from Fabulous Finds and My Sister’s Attic.  Not only some great furniture finds, but you can discover some terrific lighting, great art, stuff for all the pot shelves and the patio, too.
This time, I needed to find a dining set and a new couch (new to me that is to say).  So, off to two my favorite consignment shops.  My first stop was Recreate.  I didn’t see a dining set that was suitable, but came across an incredible sectional, with a tag that boasted Crate and Barrel.  Great color, looked like it never even was sat on.  But, being my first stop, I made a mental note and moved on.

Lamp & glass top table are recycled treasures!

Next was to Switch.  If you haven’t been to this shop, fasten your seat belt. Amazing. Leather couches you would think came right from the pages of Architectural Digest.  Bar stools from a NY nightclub. Coffee tables you’d be hard pressed to find on the showroom floor of Robb & Stucky.  A vintage desk – stainless steel, mind you, with an iridescent glass tiled top.  I saw an amazing bamboo dining set in charcoal that was incredible [out of my budget, I’m afraid].  But, alas, around the corner was a Tommy Bahama styled set that was perfect.  And, the price was less than some dinners out!  Sign me up.
As I settled my check, we started talking about sectionals.  I mentioned the one I had seen earlier at Recreate. They told me any Crate and Barrel sectional they get shoots off their floor in just a few hours.   Now I was nervous.
I stopped at home for a sandwich, and fired up the internet.  I googled Crate and Barrel and discovered the very sectional I had seen at the consignment shop sells for $2400.  It was priced at Recreate for not even a third of that price.  I spat out my sandwich, picked up the phone and called Recreate.  “Yes, it was still here”, Stacy said.  “Hold that baby because I’m on my way”.
In less than an hour, my shopping was done.  And, that counted time out for lunch.  I doubt I could have found better choices with new - and the prices are unbeatable. 
Ah, the rewards of being a frugal shopper.  Cheers to re-sale.  What’s old is new.  Let someone else take the hit on the depreciation.
©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Before you make the offer…

Tips for Evaluating the Lender Owned Property

So often when I’m out with buyers, we are looking at a number of homes and they tend to run together.  Some are short sales, some are “normal” where there is a traditional seller and some are bank owned properties.  All are in various states of repair and we tend to look quickly at the details as we concentrate on the floor plan, the kitchen area, the views, amount of storage, etc. 

Sometimes, we miss a few things. Or, underestimate what it might take to make it work.

As a recent buyer myself, I had narrowed my list of possible homes down to a few.  I had a tough decision to make.  The short list included one property that was being sold by family members after the original owner had passed away – more of a traditional sale.  Another was bank owned.

The traditional sale was smaller, but very well appointed. Although somewhat dated with brass fixtures and those bleached kitchen cabinets that give off a pink cast, it was built in 1996 and was very well maintained.  The expensive items had been updated with granite in the kitchen and the baths.  The flooring was acceptable but nothing to write home about.

The bank owned home was built in 1986 and was being billed as a complete remodel.  It was WOW from the moment the Porsche [by now you know I'm kidding] pulled up to the curb.  Offered at about the same price as the traditional sale home, it had great curb appeal with its adobe brick walls and tiled roof.  It was spectacular on the inside, too.  It was quite spacious with more rooms than the other home, honed travertine floors everywhere and a dramatic stacked stone fireplace.  Cherry looking cabinetry in all the baths, brushed nickel faucets and hinges.  It had an enormous lot with desert landscaping and a pool.  The home looked like perhaps an investor had bought it to remodel, and then turn around to flip it. Not uncommon. As I ventured into each new room, I kept thinking to my self, “This is it. This is perfect”. 

Put the emotion aside for a bit; peel back the blinders for just a moment.  With pen and paper in hand, I followed the tips below to help make my decision:

  • Look under all sinks.  Check for signs of leakage; evidence of repairs (or lack of repairs); age of fixtures; type of piping.  Polybutylene is a big concern. 

  • Look at and around all toilets.  Can they be cleaned or are they so stained they will need replacement? Any visible water staining at the floor?

  • Jiggle the shower fixtures – turn them on if there is water to the home.  What kind of life do they have left?  Often times, a plumber will have to tear out the tiling to make any repair.  Consider those costs.

  • Carefully look at the ceiling, especially the edges where it meets the wall, in every room, including the garage. Look for signs of staining which could indicate water leaks from the roof.  Does the ceiling texture need correcting? Was all the popcorn properly removed, or are there still remnants at vents and in the corners?

  • Mentally calculate the cost to ready the home so it can be inhabited.  Are there faucets, appliances, light fixtures, towel rods? 

  • In the kitchen, open every cabinet and drawer.  What condition are the cabinet boxes in? Is there evidence they have been repaired?  Are the shelves adjustable to accommodate varying heights of bottles and other tall items? Is there a pantry for storage? [I was out with buyers recently who fell in love with a property – it was stunning in every way and very well done, with a remarkable kitchen.  Guess what?  It was missing a pantry.  The buyers did not even notice this flaw as they were overtaken by the other features.  This critical piece was the deal breaker on that home].

  • Consider all flooring.  Does it need replacing?  Is there cracking in the grout? Is the carpet in need of cleaning, re-stretching or more? 

  • Evaluate all windows and doors.  Are they single pane or dual pane?  Do they need replacing now? Will they in the future?

  • On the exterior, evaluate the fascia and wood trim.  Pay careful attention to the landscaping.  Is it in need of trimming? Does the grade slope away from the home or towards it? 

  • If there is a pool, is it empty? If so, it will likely need to be resurfaced as the sun and heat will (not may) crack the surface.  Does the pool equipment appear in good condition?

None of the items above should be deal breakers – merely, be cognizant of the cost to make it yours.  Write down all the items discovered and put a price to each one individually.  Add them up.

These costs should be considered before you make an offer.  When it’s all said and done, does the price plus the costs of repairs still represent a good value – or at least is acceptable to you?  And, you will still get the home inspection done to fully understand what you are getting involved with. 
                                                   
In the end, the traditional sale needed nothing to be able to be lived in.  It would definitely need the rose colored paint in the bedroom corrected very soon though.  That was about it though. In time, the bleached cabinets could be refinished as the quality of the wood and the condition of the boxes was excellent.  My mental calculations on the bank owned home totaled somewhere around $50,000.  Money I would need to spend immediately just to be able to move in. 

We all know there are pro’s and con’s to every home.  I went with the traditional sale because it suited my pocket book and lifestyle at the moment.   Is it perfect? No way.  Does it meet my needs? Absolutely.  Watch for details on the house warming party – but when you arrive, don’t look too close at the pink walls.

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC.  Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

And you thought Education in AZ was an issue....

Photo taken from The Steve/Dave Reality Tour
With all the attention on Arizona, our schools, education and the future of our kids, maybe we're not so bad after all.

Billboard reads "pubic" instead of "public"

As for me, I'm thinking home schooling my kids, maybe even private schools.

Urban Chic

Photo from ARMLS


I see a lot of homes each week.  Some are with buyers.  Sometimes I am out previewing property as I prepare for clients.  I came across one property I just had to share with you.

Some could even describe it as Purposeful Obsolescence. 

Photo from ARMLS
As you drive down the tree-lined streets in Yaple Park, you feel like your back in Mayberry in 1951.  This is an historical area just off of 7th Avenue in the Melrose area of central Phoenix.  Although many of these homes were constructed in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s and are any where between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet – they are largely original - there's a newcomer on the block.

 A number of young urbanites have found central Phoenix as an ideal spot to mingle affordability with urban charm.  Yaple Park is a blend between the younger adults moving in next door to the original homeowners holding on to a simpler past. 

Talk about the young and the old – one example clearly stands apart from the crowd.

Photos taken from ARMLS

From what I can tell, this property began as a 1,200 square foot brick post-war home and has grown into a 3,519 square foot 3 bed, 4 bath urban contemporary complete with basement.  Polished concrete floors, painted block walls and a loft-like stainless gourmet kitchen.  Retro and sleek.  Glass everywhere.  In the side courtyard off the motor court is a rectangular soaking pool perfectly placed in the corner against the living room glass. 

Master bath - photo taken from ARMLS
As I was touring this home, I was amazed at the space, the detail, the contemporary lines but had to question the location.  After all, this is Mayberry.  Was the architect ahead of the times for the neighborhood and a bit too progressive or was this a home that was going to be a glimpse of what was to follow? 

As I drove away, I thought to myself.  I could live there – if only it was more uptown, or more downtown or something.  For me, it was not the right house for the neighborhood. 

But who am I?  Originally listed for $535,000, after 200 days and a price reduction to $320,000, the home went under contract this weekend. 

Here’s proof, there’s a buyer for every home and clearly people are discovering it’s a tremendous time to buy.  Someone is getting one heck of home - you'll probably see it in some magazine some day.

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC.  Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paint, lighting and flooring are foundations for home design

Back to the basics.....How often have we heard that?

AZ Central had a great aritcle about paint, lighting and flooring - a winning combination for great home design and comfortable living.

Check out what Michael Payne, HGTV design guru and make-over specialist has to say in the article, "Paint, lighting and flooring are foundations for home design".

Now, where to get hope for the color blind.....details to follow, I'm sure.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Location, Location, Location - But do you know the 4 C's in Real Estate?

I'm an avid reader of Inman News - it always have some insightful tip about the real estate market. I had to share this one because it hits home.

So many times buyers struggle when they enter a home because of how it shows- And, lately, even in this market where you'd expect to see a seller getting their home in show shape to attract the perfect offer, we see other people's stuff scattered all over the place.  Add to that, painted rooms in every color of the rainbow. And, perhaps some forgotten pet accident in the hallway closet.

Take a look at what Paul Bianchina has to say - Let's get back to the basics of location, location, location....And, get over the rest!

The 3 L's and 4 C's of house-hunting Inman News

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nice Chi

It comes up every now and then.  I try to act intelligent and pretend to know what the heck they're talking about.  I can barely pronounce the term, let alone understand it.

Energy.  Harmony.  Vitality.  Clearly, these are important aspects to anyone’s life.  And, in the Chinese culture, it’s known as Feng Shui [fung-shway].   Some believe it’s the recipe for successful living.  Feng Shui deals with the earth’s five elements, then adds a bit of color to bring energy and vitality to a home.  Some absolutely live by the philosophy that dates back to when Buddha was in diapers.

Wikipedia describes it as, “an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive qi” [chi].

I know just a little enough about the subject – and it is obvious I needed to learn more.  I’m not looking to be Feng Shuiologist or anything, but there are some salient points to the practice that we can all benefit from.  It is said that even a Chinese vase, properly placed within the home can bring positive energy.  

Well, in this market, sellers need to do all they can to attract the right buyer.  It was time I did some homework on the subject.

I was watching HGTV’s House Hunters where a wife was most concerned about the home’s chi – energy, it seems, can enter a home allowing the occupants the good fortune of harmony and well being.  It does the opposite as well.  The position of a staircase and the direction of the front door are important elements when it comes to Feng Shui.  Even a tree in the front yard, if not properly placed, can be a barrier to chi entering the home and nurturing its occupants. 

Here’s a great dummies guide to Feng Shui I found through Google – I found it interesting and useful.  Perhaps you will too.  From the front door to the placement of furniture, you, too, can have nice chi.

I’m thinking I’ve lived in a home or two where the chi wasn’t so great.  Just saying.

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wake up - it's not a dream!


This 3 bedroom Phoenix area home recently sold for $82,500

I don’t know if you read the New York Times, but a business partner of mine sent me an e-mail about an article, an Op-Ed actually, that appeared in the Times recently.  You have to really dig hard to find any sort of a positive slant to the current state of affairs as it relates real estate, it seems.   The media has been relentless and aren’t putting people's minds at ease.  

We all know the real estate market is turbulent.  Most of us are not just underwater, but are drowning with no sign of a life preserver. Investors, who were once having a field day, have retreated [although perhaps starting to return for  the right deal.]   

But, check out what Karl E. Case had to say in his article, “A Dream House After All”.  I thought he did a great job helping put into perspective what is happening in neighborhoods across the country. And, he presents a very interesting way of putting pen to paper to help us understand what’s actually going out of our pockets.

Of particular interest to me is where he says, “Do the math. Four years ago, the monthly payment on a $300,000 house with 20 percent down and a mortgage rate of about 6.6 percent was $1,533. Today that $300,000 house would sell for $213,000 and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with 20 percent down would carry a rate of about 4.2 percent and a monthly payment of $833. In addition, the down payment would be $42,600 instead of $60,000.” 

Wow.  When you put it like that, who can afford not to own a home? 

Thanks to Cindy Davis at Equity Title Agency in Scottsdale for sharing.

©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at phxareahomes@gmail.com.