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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Phoenix Feeding Frenzy.

For the last couple of days, after getting the requisite coffee brewing first thing in the morning,  I’ve logged into my email to uncover a plethora of contracts.  Yup, purchase contracts for a listing of mine in Laveen.  After the first 48 hours of the home being on the market, I have received five offers.  Two more expected in this afternoon.

Let me tell you a bit about the home: Built in 2006, this Ryland home is 1,802 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, open great room plan near
51st Avenue
and Baseline.  My seller purchased the home from the builder for $220,000 and added some nice upgrades.  Custom draperies mounted from the ceilings, designer paint and fixtures, even synthetic grass in the back yard.  It shows better than any model.

We all know what the market has been doing since its peak in 2006 and my seller has decided to short sell the property.  Based on the most recent sales in the neighborhood, it’s priced below the current loan amount of $126,000 and it’s being offer for $79,900.

At that price, it’s a feeding frenzy. 

The Phoenix area real estate market is seeing fewer listings in the MLS, pricing has stabilized and actually moving upwards in some parts of the valley.  Demand is increasing, especially from the investor sector and days on the market are dropping.  As of this morning, there were 21,826 active listings in the system.  That’s about half of what we were seeing a year or so ago.  The latest statistics show that the majority of activity is in the $200K and under range – homes less than $100,000 are not likely to stick around very long at all.

The offers my client has been getting range from fair to pretty attractive and we’ve reached back out to the interested parties asking for their "best and final" offer with the hopes my seller can select one to then send on to his lender for final approval.  The winning bid is likely to be above asking price, compliments of an inevitable bidding war.  That’s when the real rubber hits the road. 

From there, we’ll face challenges.  The challenge of getting bank acceptance.  The challenge of holding on to the buyer and getting an answer sometime in his lifetime.  The challenge of an appraisal coming in at or above the accepted sales price.  Picking the "right" offer means more than just terms, price and conditions - it's the unwritten "gut feeling" of the buyer being able to hang on through what is bound to be a very long, stressful period where the agents are on the phone constantly with the seller's lender trying to get an answer. 

The fact of the matter is that there is a very strong possibility that the buyer with the winning bid may not be the final buyer of the home.  I've seen countless times the buyer giving up and movng on after playing the waiting game with the seller's lender.  Weeks are likely to drag into months.  Months and months undoubetly will pass before the lender rubber stamps his approval.  Urgh.  

Welcome to the new “normal” of the real estate industry.  It’s a different world out there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ocotillo: Privacy Fencing Comes to Life

The beauty of the desert Ocotillo continues to draw my eye with those long spikes, tiny green leaves and brilliant orange flames that drip from the tips.  We often see them spotted in our desert landscapes, but rarely seen as a privacy fence, until now.  In this day and age, we see “re-purposing” many items, and Ocotillo plants to form fencing are just one more step in living green in the Sonoran desert.

History books talk about settlers that used Ocotillo to line the properties of adobes in the 1800’s as a barrier and thier stalks as fencing material to keep predators away from livestock.  Well, now you can add a privacy fence of Ocotillo fairly easily.  I recently stumbled across a Tucson-based nursery that is making pre-wired panels of Ocotillo for fencing – Visit Civano Nursery on line for information and some great information for growing a desert garden.

The recent issue of Sunset Magazine highlights the living fence.  According to the publication, place the panels in a 6” deep trench and secure them with posts and in no time, you’ve got what’s sure to be the talk of the town.  The 5' x 6' panels run about $60.  Now, that's living green! 

Photo from Flickr courtesy of Clinton Steeds.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Old West Returns to Scottsdale

Scottsdale has always been associated with the old west.  We’ve seen a lot of change in Scottsdale with glass towers, urban condos and trendy restaurants in the past few years, but developers have announced plans to create a Western-themed entertainment venue in North Scottsdale.  Scottsdale was the gateway to the west and our wooden sidewalks can still be seen in parts of Old Town.   It's part of our heritage and it's exciting to see it's holding on for more than 8 seconds!

Many of us remember the original Rawhide, a great venue for western parties and a hit for out-of towners toting the little ones along side.  When it moved out of town, we were left mainly with good ole western cookin’ as our fix for the cowboy lifestyle. And, do we love our Greasewood Flats, Handle Bar J’s and the Pinnacle Peak Patio.  Westworld remained as one of the few venues for our look into our western heritage.

Looks like we may get more than just a “taste” of the old west once again: 40 acres at
Bell Road
94th Street
near Westworld will be developed into a western-themed recreational park.  City council approved the initial proposal and more detailed plans will be submitted for final approval later this fall.  If all goes forward, the venue could be open by fall, 2012.

I’ve always been a cowboy at heart – Yee Haw!

Photo from Flickr courtesy of Mini D.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places Released

As many of you know, a long time passion of mine has been historic preservation and the great work of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP).  NTHP released today its list of the 11 most endangered historic places – places in need of our attention to avoid further deterioration, and put the beautiful southern city of Charleston, SC under “watch status.”

This list “spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage,” says the National Trust. 

The National Trust is a non-profit organization that works tirelessly to help preserve and protect our heritage.  If you believe such preservation is an important part of our future, I urge you to support the organization and join me by becoming a member.  I continue to be awestruck when I discover buildings, monuments, etc. that have been around for hundreds of years.  As I look at them, I can’t help but think of the time, effort, energy and money passionate people have generously put forth to preserve it. 

My family would often take a rental home or a cabin for our vacations- usually in the mountains of Colorado, sometimes on some powdery beach in the Caribbean.  We cared for the place as if it were our own.  And, when it came time to pack our things and head back home, my mom would always ask us that we leave it in better condition than when we arrived.  Sound advice if you ask me.  Details of membership are on-line and you’ll be making a huge step forward in saving our historic past so the generations ahead of us can enjoy and appreciate what our forefathers built for us. 

Photo from Flickr is the Charleston Clean House courtesy of John Duggan.