Phone: (480) 234-9225

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 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have We Hit Bottom?


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

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 

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  For me, it’s become mandatory reading and a hiking prerequisite.

Once you browser lands at, 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

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 

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

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 

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. 
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