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Arizona Falls: A Historic Project in Arcadia

Arizona Falls

 

By Mackey Martin

The History of Arizona Falls

Arizona Falls is a historic project located in Arcadia, skirting its southern border. In the late 1800s, Phoenicians enjoyed the wonders of Arizona Falls. They would gather to picnic, socialize and dance near the cool water. There was no air conditioning, so one had to get a little creative.

Arizona Falls was also the site of the first hydroelectric plant in Phoenix. It was originally built in 1902. Rebuilt by SRP in 1911. Delivered power once again in 1913. And it was eventually shut down in 1950.

That all changed in June of 2003. I remember it well. SRP, the Phoenix Arts Commission and Arcadia neighborhood joined hands to transform a historic waterfall into something special and restored the inactive hydroelectric plant. Today, it has become a timeless gathering place for Arcadians and visitors alike.

About Today’s Arizona Falls

Arizona Falls combines art, history and technology to generate clean electricity from the canal’s waterfall. This hydroelectric plant provides enough electricity for approximately 150 homes a year. Go figure, Arizona has always been ahead of the curve where water is concerned. In fact, legislation to build the CAP canal passed through the U.S. Congress as part of the Colorado River Basin Project Act of 1968.

That created Arizona’s destiny.

When it comes to water, people are always amazed that Arizona is, indeed, one of the most well-managed areas in the world. No droughts for us, as we conserved and planned. I lived in Texas most my life and water rationing was common. I have been in Phoenix for 26 years now and have never  experienced it here. While there are still many Phoenicians, Arizona is a true melting pot of those from all over the United States and world. And water is key to supporting the area’s growing population.

Arizona Falls Features

Arizona Falls, formed by a natural 20-foot drop along the Arizona Canal, is as unique as the surrounding terrain. Trust me, it’s no Niagara Falls. But to people who live and dwell in the desert, it is quite mesmerizing to witness the water rolling over this significant drop of the hydroelectric plant.

  • Art

The site also showcases the Phoenix Art Commission’s “WaterWorks at Arizona Falls” project, designed by renowned artists Lajos Heder and Mags Harries of Boston, Massachusetts.

 

  • Historic Destination

The main entrance is on the south side; a footbridge connects the north bank to the viewing platform. Everyone gathers around the water seen on three walls in the “water room.” Seating is available on large boulders, where everyone can enjoy the cool and soothing sounds of flowing water.

Through sheets of flowing water, antique gears from the original plant can be seen. Two aqueducts frame the room to create the feeling of being inside the historic waterfall. A shade structure covers stone block seats near a pool of water. Everything has been thought of to make a wonderful environment for visitors. No matter what time of year, Arizona Falls is always a cool and refreshing experience.

The Future of Arizona Falls: Generating Capacity

Arizona Falls generates up to 750 kilowatts of clean, renewable electricity. The roof of the new turbine building and the adjacent shade structure will house solar panels to power ceiling fans on the public deck. The electricity generated by the plant and solar panels is then fed into SRP’s grid.

Arizona Falls: Something for Everyone

Come visit the Arizona Falls and bring the kids, cousins, aunts and friends. Enjoy this wonderful walk back in history and witness how this project married the future.

How Long Will Real Estate Be Recession-Proof?

Real Estate Be Recession-Proof

For those concerned about the possibility of a recession, Kevin Thorpe, global chief economist at Cushman & Wakefield, had comforting words to share in a recent interview with Inman:

“This is going to be the longest economic expansion in the post-WWII era.”

There are many factors that contribute to keeping a recession at bay, and most signs currently point toward economic expansion.

An Economy in Balance

Thorpe asserted that economic imbalances need to be visible for a recession to occur. Fortunately for the U.S., this doesn’t look to be the current case. There are many factors indicative of a balanced, strong economy that will continue to remain so in the near future.

  • Equity markets are rising. Just this week, Reuters reported that the dollar reached its highest point in two months.
  • Oil prices are wavering, but it may be due to wonky algorithms and automated trading, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Oil prices were on the rise in June, only to dip over the Fourth of July holiday.
  • Chair Janet Yellen just noted last week that interest rates are once again imminent. This is the mark of a confident Federal Reserve.
  • Even more encouraging? The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It’s been growing steadily at about 2 percent for the past eight years. In addition, the Commerce Department recently revised its readings for Q1 2017. Due to consumer spending, the GDP increased at a 1.4 percent annual rate instead of the initial 1.2 percent.

 Consumer Confidence Returns

There is good news, particularly in real estate: Global consumer confidence is on the rise. In fact, Reuters says consumer spending currently accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.

And according to Thorpe, “A lot of this was a long time coming. It’s the result of trillions of dollars of global stimulus and people and businesses working really hard to clean up their balance sheets.”

This kind of consumer confidence typically reflects job growth and rising wages – both of which inevitably benefit the real estate industry.

A Growing Labor Shortage 

Also noteworthy is the current labor shortage. The number of employers unable to fill open positions is approaching an all-time high. This may cause the demand for property market space to slow. In the meantime, the commercial real estate industry is continuing to build office space, and demand for space is expected to fall short of supply.

Economic Effects of the New Administration

Not all influences are unquestionably positive. The Trump administration may be “the biggest wild card” when it comes to economic growth. However, the economist is optimistic, saying growth prospects still remain favorable based on proposed policies. There’s a move toward corporate and individual tax reforms and increases in government spending.

“Trump’s policies should result in stronger economic growth in the near term. Most of us… have upwardly revised our GDP forecast.”

Real Estate Appears Recession-Proof For Foreseeable Future

With all these factors in play, the global economist predicts we are years away from another major recession. The next one is likely to be a more “traditional” recession with a few quarters of job loss. Events like the Great Recession of 2008 seem to only occur once a century, which certainly offers a collective sigh of relief. In all, most signs are currently pointing to economic expansion – potentially the longest “since WWII” – which is good news for real estate buyers and investors.

Millennials and Real Estate: 3 Reasons to Consider Homeownership

Millennials and Real Estate

Millennials are influencers. While the youngest of this generation recently graduated high school, there is also a large segment who have children and have been in the job market for 10+ years. Despite the wide age range, this group’s choices have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts. They’re creating new markets… and disrupting others, including the real estate industry.

It also turns out that millennials are investors. A new study from Merrill Edge shows that this group is saving and concerned about the future. They’re also concerned about the “now.” They are not waiting to traditional retirement-age to enjoy the results of their workplace efforts.

While these patterns may look different than generations past, it’s important to understand that millennials grew up during the recession. And the housing bubble, in particular, has left a lasting impression. Many have opted to rent.

But as 2017 rental prices begin to reach mortgage levels, it may be time for millennials to look at real estate through a new lens: as part of their investment portfolio. When it comes to millennials and real estate, here are three reasons why this audience should consider homeownership.

  1. Homeownership can help earn financial freedom.

Financial freedom is the goal for millennials. In lieu of saving “to leave the workforce” like 55 percent of Gen X and baby boomer counterparts, 63 percent of millennials aim to reach a level of savings or income that will allow them to live a desirable lifestyle long term.

And owning a home can certainly be a part of a strong investment portfolio and a step toward that goal. It is an asset protected from inflation — and a physical asset at that, meaning it won’t disappear into thin air (like stocks sometimes do). However, like a stock, homes do have the possibility of appreciating over time. And while interest rates have gone up slightly this year, they are still at historically low levels. In addition to getting a great deal, paying more off the principal and less interest means homeowners are more likely to pay off a mortgage at the end of the term. And being mortgage- and- rent-free? Well, that’s a true hallmark of financial freedom. What’s more, there are also tax breaks, giving homeowners more liquid assets to work with throughout the life of a home loan. It’s an opportunity to invest back into the property, fund retirement accounts or even travel.

  1. Homeownership means equity and investing in oneself.

One of the most interesting stats in the recent study? Millennials are saving 36 percent more than prior generations on an annual basis. There’s even more than one-third who save 20 percent of their salary. They clearly value investing in themselves.

There’s a gap, however, when it comes to investing in real estate. First-time homeowners only make up 32 percent of buyers, the lowest percentage since the 1980s. Historically, this number has sat at 40 percent. What’s more, many millennials are opting to rent for six years before considering homeownership, and others have returned home. From 2006 to 2013, living with parents has increased almost 15 percent.

This could be the year of change for millennials.  As rent is expected to continue an upward climb in 2017, it may be the right time for this audience to take a stronger foothold in the real estate market. To start paying themselves each month and start gaining equity. There are already signs of a new trend. In the first quarter, new-owner households were double that of new-renter households.

  1. Homeownership does not have to limit travel opportunities.

For some millennials, the opportunity to own a home may be competing with the opportunity to travel. Millennials place great value on experiences: 81 percent are more likely to spend money on traveling than generations before. And buying a home is often correlated with “settling down,” which is the opposite of this group’s life plans.

It’s true that the best real estate investments are ones where buyers intend on owning the home for years to come. That said, owning and living in are two different things. Homeownership doesn’t have to tether someone to a property. It can even offer money-making opportunities. From Airbnb to Craigslist, there are a number of digital apps and avenues to make some extra money off of a property when out of town. Homeowners can even work with a trusted real estate agent to manage a property if gone for many months.

Homeownership can help any generation invest in themselves – for the future and for the now. It’s always worth discussing current opportunities with an experienced real estate expert to learn how you can reach your unique property and investment goals.

 

 

The Rich History of Arcadia in Phoenix, Arizona

History of Arcadia

The Rich History of Arcadia in Phoenix, Arizona

Full of charm and rooted in history, Arcadia continues to be one of the most highly sought-after neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona real estate.

Natural Beauty & a Highly Desirable Location

The name “Arcadia” is rooted in ancient Greek history. It is a region and also part of its mythology. Arcadia was home to one of the Greek gods and symbolizes “unspoiled, harmonious wilderness.” Aptly named, Arcadia in Phoenix, Arizona is truly in harmony with nature. There’s majestic Camelback Mountain views. Water weaving in and out from the Arizona Canal. And an abundance of fruit trees.

The heart of the Arcadia community (known as Arcadia Proper) is from Indian School Road to Camelback Road and between 44th and 68th Street. It shares boundaries with other well-known affluent areas, like Old Town Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Biltmore Phoenix, and more.

The history of Arcadia, however, is one of the most unique stories in the Valley.

1900s History of Arcadia: Citrus Groves & Large Lots Prove Profitable

Arcadia has been considered valuable Phoenix real estate for more than a century. It all began in 1899 with the very first citrus grove. Planted in Arcadia, it performed exceptionally well in the fertile soil at the foot of the mountain. It didn’t take long before the area was teeming with citrus trees. The profitable crop attracted the eye of farmers, investors and land speculators. And it quickly became an important piece of the local economy.

1920s Arcadia: First of Its Rural Estates for Wealthy Landowners

Fast forward to 1920, there were now hundreds of citrus orchards. The Salt River Valley Reclamation Project was in full swing, making water more accessible. The Arcadia Water Company was providing widespread irrigation. And Arcadia had its first subdivision — also the first in central Salt River Valley — called Citrus Homes.

Area home developers worked toward the same development strategy: offer considerably large lots — between four to ten acres — and require homebuyers to spend more than $5,000 in construction costs. Shortly after the initial neighborhoods went into development, the minimum was raised to $10,000.

Without a doubt, Arcadia drew a discerning, affluent homebuyer to the region from the very start. And the original development strategy certainly proved successful; most properties within these historic neighborhoods are valued at well over $1 million today.

The original Arcadia neighborhoods include:
  • Citrus Homes
  • Glencoe Highlands
  • Arcadia Estates
  • Arcadia Replatted
  • Hacienda Allenada
  • Alta Hacienda

Further supporting the prosperous area, Arcadia saw its first resorts in 1930. It was now a destination in addition to an affluent community. The Cook Mansion, a 3,500-square foot Spanish-style villa on a sprawling 65 acres, turned into the modern-day Royal Palms Inn. It was a celebrity-hideaway favorite. The Jokake Inn and Paradise Inn were other early developments. The properties were located on what’s now known as The Phoenician. Elizabeth Arden’s Maine Chance retreat was the first luxury spa. Inspired by Arden’s rural farm in Maine, the resort was open during winter months and quickly became a hot spot for First Ladies and other famous women.

1950s Arcadia: Phoenix Population Boom Reaches Camelback Mountain

Air-conditioning was now ubiquitous. And like that, Phoenix quickly became the largest city in the Southwest and one of the top 100 most populous cities in the US.

Arcadia’s homebuilding skyrocketed. Many of the area’s famous ranch-style homes were built during this time and complemented the larger estates. The midcentury homes were carefully constructed and also careful not to disrupt another important regional crop: the Sphinx Date Palm. Arcadia was one of the few locations where it would grow. The area became dotted with citrus and palm trees, making it a one-of-a-kind paradise complete with dramatic mountain views.

Today’s Arcadia: Luxury Real Estate More Popular Than Ever Before

In summary, Arcadia has it all: Neighborhoods with tons of architectural character, historic roots and large lots – a true rarity in Phoenix. Its bike-friendly community and a culture of indoor-outdoor living. And some of the Valley’s best schools. Farming is still present here. There are a number of “urban farms” and bountiful gardens. It is also known for local restaurants and unique businesses.

So, it comes as no surprise that Arcadia luxury real estate has held strong. Home values have only increased. And it continues to be a top real estate market among millennials, young families, affluent audiences, and those seeking a highly strategic investment property. If we’ve learned anything about this picturesque place over the last 100 years, it’s this: Arcadia is one of the best places to live in Arizona. And its future is just as rich and promising.

Arcadia Local Businesses Support Its Thriving Culture & Community

It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite aspect of Arcadia and what makes this place oh-so unique and enchanting. Maybe it’s the small-town “everyone knows your name” culture that’s been cultivated within a city of 4.3 million people. It’s the easy downtown accessibility, while still being located just far enough – with the Arizona Canal and Camelback Mountain as natural bookends – that it’s shielded from heavy traffic.

Walkability

Foot traffic, however, is a different story. Arcadia’s walkability factor is certainly a big part of its charm. It’s a place where bikes often outnumber cars. Runners take to the canal that winds its way throughout the neighborhoods. And friends regularly bump into one another on the corner.

Farming Roots

Many of these friends are often also neighbors. The community bond in Arcadia is strong, and this local pride can be seen in the myriad neighborhood associations. Much of Arcadia was developed in the 50s and 60s, and such organizations help preserve the area’s rich local history. This history includes its famous citrus groves, which have brought a lushness to the area that isn’t commonly seen in the desert. Its farming past has also meant unique large lots for homebuyers, proving to be a favorite amongst young families in particular.

One-of-a-Kind Arcadia Local Businesses

Arcadia has many unique characteristics, but one thing is for sure: Local businesses play a major role in the thriving community. You’ll find many housed in retrofitted buildings that combine vintage charm and modern sensibility. There’s always a fun new concept making its debut in the neighborhood. Post offices have become wine bars. Coffee is served in garages. And craft beer can be found in attics. Yes, all of these examples happen to be eateries… but it’s hard not to mention the bustling restaurant scene when you mention Arcadia. There’s outdoor cafes with twinkling Al Fresco lighting at every turn and new culinary talent popping up all the time.

Here are a few local favorites:

  • Postino Arcadia. Known for its ambiance, wine and bruschetta, Postino is an Arcadia staple – so much so that its creators, Upward Projects, have developed other local concepts that are equally as unique and delicious.
  • Arcadia Tavern. This could be considered Arcadia’s version of the “Cheers” sports bar — where you’ll find families and sports fans alike gathering for the big game or diving into a made-from-scratch dish.
  • The Little Woody. Spot the owl on the building and you might just find the door to this hidden gem. Once inside, restaurant-goers can play all arcade games all night long and enjoy classic speakeasy spirits.
  • Madison Improvement Club. This bright, airy space offers health food and juices. Not to mention, there the high-energy “Party on a Bike” spin classes and all kinds of yoga.
  • UrbAna: From push-pop confetti to Match Pewter serving bowls, you’ll find something at this locally focused boutique to celebrate any occasion. The proceeds from select items even go toward Arizona nonprofits, like Homeward Bound.

(There’s so many local spots to discover! Find more favorites on Local First Arizona’s Small Wonders Map. )

Keeping Dollars In the Arcadia Community

Not only do local businesses drive a sense of community in Arcadia, they also add to the local economy. For every $100 spent at a local Arcadia shop, approximately $43 stays in the community, according to the Indie Impact Study Series promoted by Local First Arizona. In addition, another study showed that local restaurants — something Arcadia is known for — provide even more economic benefit: 79 percent of revenue is recirculated as opposed to 30 percent from chain dining.

Locally owned businesses are key to a sustainable economy, and they’re certainly a driving force in Arcadia’s continued prosperity. With an ideal location, setting and so much more, Arcadia has always been a desirable area. Its future looks as bright as the café lights twinkling from its citrus trees.

 

Pricing Your Property to Sell: Avoid These 7 Costly Mistakes

 

There are many reasons to sell right now: 2016 saw low inventory and strong buyer demand. Home prices are continuing on an upward swing, offering better returns. And interest rates are at what’s expected to be the lowest of 2017, prompting buyers to secure mortgages within the first half of the year.

If you’re considering selling and taking advantage of current market conditions, one of the first things you’re likely wondering is: What’s my property worth?” Setting a property’s price is a highly strategic process, and an experienced real estate agent will be able to help you navigate it. However, there are a few common pricing misconceptions that can end up costing sellers in the end. Here’s what to avoid:

Pricing Too High

Negotiations are a part of most real estate transactions. However, pricing a home too high, knowing prospective buyers may come in lower, can actually end up costing the seller. What happens is the buyer’s agent – or the buyer – sets up search notifications within a select price range. If the home is priced above the price block, the seller will miss an entire audience segment and reduce the chance of it selling quickly.

Improperly Testing the Market

“Testing the market” can be tempting, but doing so without proper preparation can lead to a property sitting on the market for longer than it should. Prospective buyers will be interested in the full history of the home, and one that has been on the market multiple times within a short time period can raise concerns. In addition, a property that doesn’t sell within the first few weeks is likely to lose more margin. The best scenario is to put the property on the market once and have it sell right away, and that takes an expert real estate partner and detailed preparation.

Incorporating the Full Dollar Amount of Repairs & Upgrades

Upgrading the kitchen and bathroom can increase a home’s value by as much as 7 percent, according to Consumer Reports. While sellers may or may not recoup the total costs spent on upgrades, it will certainly make the property more attractive and meet current homebuyer expectations. It is especially important to consider the expectations of your specific audience. For instance, if you are selling a high-end real estate property, modern kitchens and updated bathrooms are expected and not necessarily considered “upgrades.”

Placing Personal Needs in Front of Market Facts

Coming from a “I need to make X amount off the sale of this home” perspective tends to set sellers up for disappointment. It’s always best to lean on comparable home sales, current market conditions and other facts when setting the price. When done correctly, you’ll be reaching the top dollar possible for your property.

Connecting Emotion and Price

Homes mean a great deal to their owners. So, when it comes to selling, it’s sometimes tough to place a dollar amount on such a special place. It’s always best to try and disconnect from the home’s sentimental value and treat it as a business investment. An objective mindset is a seller’s best tool.

Not Considering FeedbackOr Lack Thereof

The real estate market is fluid, and conditions can change from one day to the next. You’ll often see market forces at play within the first two weeks of a property listing. If your property hasn’t sold, it’s important to use any agent feedback to re-evaluate the listing price. An issue may need fixing to meet the expectations of that price point or the price may need to be dropped.

No agent feedback also speaks volumes. If the property has been sitting on the market for an extended period, it can raise red flags. For instance, real estate agents and their buyers may assume something is wrong with the home.

Using the Wrong Realtor – Or No Realtor

Be sure to partner with a real estate agent who has experience in your community and price point. This becomes even more important when selling luxury real estate as there can be much more at stake.

Not only do realtors have contacts with others in the industry, but they’ll provide a deep market analysis: the rate at which homes are selling in your area, strength of local school systems, key community highlights, and much, much more. In addition, there’s regulations and other small details that can lead to costly mistakes and bigger headaches. These are also many of the reasons why it can be costly to go it alone.

Often Overlooked Ways to Get Top Dollar

Once your property is properly priced, here are a few ways to ensure you get the full listing price. 

Professional Photography

Professional photography is especially important for luxury properties. While this should be handled by your realtor, it’s important to know that professional photography is being used to best showcase your property. Taking it a step further, drone footage has also become popular and gives prospective buyers a more interactive look at your lot and surrounding community.

Home Staging

The property should make buyers feel like home when they walk in — just not your personal home. In addition to de-personalizing the interior, your realtor and a professional stager can help strike that perfect balance of cozy and modern to help homebuyers envision their new space.

PetFree Showings

Be sure to bring furry friends with you or find a place for them to stay during showings. While pets bring so many of us great joy, you never know if they might bring allergies or anxiety for another. You certainly wouldn’t want to leave prospective buyers with a negative experience or simply distract them from focusing on your beautiful property.

In all, you only want to sell your home once, so it’s important to do it right the first time. Find an experienced real estate partner who can help you make the most of current market conditions, leverage all that your property has to offer and reach your home-selling goals.

What You Should Know About Real Estate Cybercrime in Arizona

From Target to Yahoo, we often hear about cyberattacks happening to major corporations. What we don’t usually hear about is the impact on smaller locally owned businesses, the everyday person, and real estate cybercrime in Arizona.

There’s a common misconception that cybercriminals only have interest in hacking big business. This is not always the case, and these new scams are nothing like the poorly translated ones piling up in your spam box. They’re more sophisticated, and they’re beginning to target real estate transactions.

The first line of defense for buyers? Awareness. So, here are the new cybercrimes that anyone buying or building a house should know.

Hacking

Cybercriminals are finding holes in security and hacking into the email accounts of clients, real estate agents, loan officers, lawyers and others. This allows them access to any information passed between parties regarding the property, mortgage lending and more. The hackers often monitor activity and wait for an opportune moment to step in and divert funds.

Spear-phishing

Cybercriminals are known to employ what’s called a “spear-phishing” scam. Once they have access to the desired account, they will send an email from a seemingly legitimate email address and direct buyers to new wiring or routing details for funding a real estate transaction. What makes this difficult is the timing; it is usually highly strategic and centered around key closing dates. Not to mention, hackers often have specific home-buying details — names, addresses, dates, banking information — and can make emails seem as though they are coming from the agent or title company.

Gmail-Specific Scams

Gmail reached more than one billion monthly users in 2016, and as one of the most ubiquitous email providers, there are scams targeting Gmail users, in particular. And it could be one of the ways many real estate users are being hacked.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say someone in your Gmail contact list has already been hacked. You receive an email with an attachment from their now-compromised account. When you click on the image of the attachment, it opens up a new tab in the browser instead of downloading a preview. The newly opened page features a Google sign-in identical to the real one, and hackers capture your login information and gain access to your account should you fill in the well-recognized fields.

It’s pretty tricky. However, there’s a telltale sign in the URL: The phrase “data:text/html,” before the normal “https” language in the location bar. (There are some helpful pictures on the security website WordFence.)

Luxury Real Estate Cybercrime

With emails passing between a number of different parties throughout the home-buying process, real estate transactions are becoming an increasingly common target for such phishing scams. And this certainly includes high-end real estate.

In fact, a savvy Manhattan investment banker encountered a real estate phishing scam while purchasing a $19 million property last year. The buyer’s real estate lawyer used an AOL email account that was compromised. Hackers sent carefully written emails to the buyer during closing and the $1.9 million down payment ended up in the wrong hands. This is one of the most expensive examples of this scam so far.

Real Estate — Arizona

However, it seems cybercriminals aren’t just looking for high-profile transactions in major cities. There was even a recent case in Tucson, Arizona. In December, the phishing scam caught a pair of first-time homebuyers and it cost them their $50,000 down payment.

Cybercrime Red Flags

There are ways to spot these scams. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for in your email.

  • Last-minute changes or instructions during the closing process.
  • Wire transactions – especially any reference to “SWIFT” wire transfers, in particular, as these can potentially be international wire transactions.
  • Requests for social security numbers.

Ways to Protect Your Personal Information

The National Association of Realtors and security experts recommend taking the following precautions.

  • Employ strong email passwords: Consider alternating capitalization and using special symbols in passwords to increase security.
  • Update passwords: Change your usernames and passwords on a regular basis, and try not to use the same one for all of your accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: This adds an extra step to the email login process. After using your login credentials, your provider might text you a code for account access.
  • Use a private Internet connection: Connecting to free public Internet at the local coffee shop can be tempting, but it’s certainly not secure. Be sure to use a home-based or private Internet for real estate communications.
  • Utilize old standbys: “Snail mail” and fax are secure options when sharing personal information. In addition, consider writing checks instead of relying on online bank transfers.
  • Add email encryption: If you have to send personal information over email, add extra protection with encryption. This makes it a little more difficult for outsiders to read private communications.
  • Don’t click: Should you receive a fraudulent email, try not to click any links. They could deploy malware onto your computer.
  • Delete old emails: Be sure to clean out older communications. This reduces the amount of information a hacker can learn about you.
  • Pick up the phone: Call your real estate team members using their official, verified phone numbers to double-check transaction instructions, like wire transfers, before inputting your personal information.

There is a lot to think about when buying or building a house. The good news is your agent is your partner throughout the entire AZ real estate process. Take time with documents. Trust your gut, and don’t be afraid to ask your real estate agent questions — especially if something unexpected pops up in your inbox during the closing process. In addition to taking steps to protect your personal information, a seasoned real estate professional will be able to guide you and ensure a safe and successful investment.

The Estates at Nordon Manor

 

Nordon Manor_Backyard Rendering

Don and Norma LoPiccolo built Nordon Manor in the early 1970’s on what were once the Orange Orchards of Arcadia. In the design, the Lo Piccolo’s and architect Frank Auspitz were determined to bring their Pennsylvania roots to Arizona on this five-acre estate parcel. The labor-intensive project required 26 months of planning, gathering materials, transporting (from Pennsylvania) and building before their estate was complete. The concepts of this house combine several elements that will appeal to anyone who sets foot inside.

Design and Construction

slide5In January of 2017, we broke ground on Nordon Manor Estates in Arcadia on the prestigious street of Exeter Boulevard. Working alongside Sage Luxury Homes and Drewett Works Architecture, we have a goal in mind of bringing out the rich and renowned history of the original estate, as well as help each resident experience living in Arcadia. These strikingly beautiful builds will incorporate Drewett’s vision of modern farmhouse architecture, and each one has a spectacular view of Camelback Mountain to the north. If you are striving to find history, elegance, and luxury in Phoenix with breathtaking views, then Nordon Manor Estates is something worth considering.

Lots and Floorplans

slide1Each of the four lots are a healthy size: The main home will sit on 50,740 square feet, which will be the largest, with the other three lots being 48,460 square feet, 39,984 square feet and 39,102 square feet. The main home will be renovated and re-constructed in various parts of the house to ultimately give it a Western Farmhouse feel and look. Floor plans and architectural renderings for two of the other homes can be seen at NordonManor.com. The final lot is going to be a complete custom, and the owner will sit down with C.P. Drewett, and design the home of their dreams.

The “Why” to Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing can be an amazing way to make a return if you can roll with the punches and work diligently.

Real Estate Investing can be an amazing way to make a return if you can roll with the punches and work diligently.

 

What do you really think it means to be an investor? I always tell everyone that there are two distinct people in your life. . . your Stock Broker that deals with your liquid assets and then there is the Realtor that will work with you to most likely purchase the single largest asset in your portfolio, your home. You probably spend more time finding a Dentist to put on a new crown than the individual that will help you purchase your largest fixed asset?

If you’re laughing right now, you know I hit the nail on the head. Being a student of Real Estate when I came in the industry became a passion for me. Our group can literally show you from a map study how the map moves from an investment standpoint, and help you in putting up walls of protection for this monumental investment. Being a “good” investor often means learning more than just one industry. Let’s face it you’ve got to own your opinions. Money in the Stock Market can fly off the shelves and it is gone and to me it seems a little more manipulated; however with housing you have an asset that regardless of the market is real, touchable, and whether the market is trending up or down. . . it’s yours.

If you look at the market in 2004-2005 everyone was flying high in Real Estate. Look at real estate in 2008 and through the distressed market, it could literally make you sick. The theme overall if that you have to have staying power when dealing with a fixed asset like Real Estate, and this is not an investment for sissy’s, but dedicated Investors. Look at the market in 2016 and the market is trending upwards, and in some areas has already hit 2005 numbers. I own several properties, and I like the touch and feel to Real Estate as it is mine, and personally I don’t like to see anything fly off the shelf.

Conversely, my husband was a Financial Advisor and obviously we were invested in the market. Let’s use Mackey’s rule of thumb. . . put 40% in the stock market and 60% in Real Estate. You know at the end of the day everyone has an opinion but as you can see I have no problem with owning my thought process. Oh I forgot to even venture into the tax scenarios that benefit one from owning Real Estate. I am not sure if real estate investing is for you, but if not call me for counseling? Here are some reasons real estate investing is worth considering:

1. Controlling Your Investment

Do you want to be in control of your success with each investment? Real estate investing allows you to do this, as it gives you the chance to:

– Search for deals based on your needs.
– You can adapt your moves (sell, make updates, rent, etc.) based on how the market is performing.
– Compete by increasing advertisement.

2. Increasing Your Net Worth

When a tenant pays rent every month, that money can go towards the mortgage payment. This will help to increase your net worth, especially once the home is fully paid off and you can continue collecting monthly payments with no mortgage to satisfy.

3. Steady Cash Flow

What’s better than having a steady stream of cash coming in every month from rental properties? The money from these types of investments is more stable than it would be from others, so you’ll be able to count on it for further business deals or to get you through more difficult times.

4. Tax Savings

Did you know that the money you make through rental properties is not subject to the same tax that other self-employed earnings are? This is because the government wants you to own real estate, so they offer much lower tax-rates for the income you make form them.

5. Fight Inflation With Real Estate Investing

Inflation might sound bad when you consider that it can double the price of a loaf of bread, but it’s not all that terrible if you’re invested in real estate. That’s because inflation means that property values (and therefore your rent) is going to rise as well. If you have a fixed-rate mortgage or property that is paid off, you will have more cash to pay for the higher cost of living with ease.

6. Watch Property Values Increase

As with any investment, real estate is not guaranteed to be a success, especially if a recession occurs. However, if you’re willing to stick out the ups and downs, you will see property values rise with time. Just imagine 20 years from now having a home that’s worth double what you paid for it!

Real estate investments can lead to incredible success, but that’s never guaranteed. You have to work hard, roll with the punches, and learn the business in order to make the money you’d like.

 

Living in Phoenix – Why Live Anywhere Else?

You kind of have to wonder how a West Texas girl is living in Phoenix.  My husband and I raised our family in a small town in West Texas and to us its population of approximately 100K seemed extremely large.  Our roots were entrenched in the Oil Industry as my husband was an oil trader for a small refinery in west Texas.   It was around 1990 when my husband was offered a job in the Phoenix market and wanted to see what my temperament would be to leave our root system of career, family and friends and start a new life in Phoenix.   Phoenix certainly has gotten far too negative press for its heat; as it experiences approximately 6+ months of the year of a true paradise.  Living in Phoenix gets high marks from my vantage, but you don’t have to believe me, just look at the stats of people that move to the Valley of the Sun.

The thing that makes Phoenix attractive is not only the climate, but the endless mountain views.  With an annual rainfall of 7 inches, you can see why so many are attracted to living in the Sonoran Desert as there is no snow, rain, bugs, tornadoes, earthquakes, humidity. . .need I say more?   What we do have is 345 days of sunshine every year.  So I’ll confess there are a few months that we have higher than normal temperatures if you measure Phoenix against other areas of the United States, but not to fret as we are about a 1 ½ to 2 hour drive to 7000 feet above sea level offering national forests and pine trees.  Living in Phoenix has to be the best thing since sliced bread.

Current Phoenix Real Estate Market

Since entering into the world of Real Estate over twenty-four years ago, I have seen a housing market tick up steadily, surge with unbelievable growth, inflate, then pop, and bottom out.  We are a Deed of Trust State so when the distressed market brought the entire nation to its knees, Phoenix was one of the first markets to rebound as judicial foreclosure is not done in Arizona.  As you can see from the chart below our real estate market is headed upwards.  What a great time to purchase a home in Phoenix.   We have a healthy vibrant economy with growth happening at a record pace.   See the chart below taken from the Cromford Report which is very revealing of the past and current market trends.

July Blog

June 27 – With the frenzied atmosphere in resale this year there are great expectations for the final number of closings in June, typically one of the highest closing months of the year.  We are not quite at the end of the month, but let’s see how June is faring thus far.  First, it’s always important to know how many working days are in the month to do a fair comparison.  This June will have 22 working days, which is the highest number of working days possible for the month.  That’s one indicator that the month as a whole will have a higher volume of closings compared to the others.  It’s also why we should look at the daily rate of sales instead of the total volume in order to make a fair comparison.

So far this June is 10.6% higher than last year and 8.0% higher than the long term average of daily sales for June.  Not bad, but not spectacular at this point.  In the prior 6 years, the only Junes we’re beating out are 2012 and 2014.  The good news is that the vast majority of sales are normal, which is positive for prices.  We will have to see how the last 2 working days make a difference.