Spend the Night in a Lego House

About three years ago, this would have been an incredible dream for my kids!

LEGO and Airbnb have teamed up to offer some lucky winners a night in an architect’s dream house filled with 25,000 LEGO bricks. READ MORE HERE

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Perhaps the most impressive angle to examine the new structure is from above; BIG conceived of the project as 21 brightly colored, large-scale LEGO bricks that overlap to frame a publicly-accessible central plaza. Above the square, a cluster of galleries overlap to create a continuous sequence of exhibitions, and children’s play zones are located on the first and second floors. 

Those Who Live in Glass Houses...Literally

This spectacular home with giant glass walls is currently for sale in Carmel, California for $11,900,00.

3 bedrooms | 3.5 baths | 2,667 square feet |  .65 acre | $11,900,000

3 bedrooms | 3.5 baths | 2,667 square feet |  .65 acre | $11,900,000

Architecturally shaped like a butterfly, the ocean dances below the home, rainbows of light twirl through the glass walls, and the majesty of nature embraces your soul upon arrival. The home is alive with ocean drama, swaying cypress trees, quiet sunrises, and flamboyant sunsets. Estate evokes spirituality with the movement of nature all around, creating an ambiance of tranquility. The home is a rare architectural masterpiece, sure to be coveted by global estate collectors worldwide. A labor of love, ten years in making, showcasing enfilade design, connecting each space to the next, to infinity. The style mimics exuberance of Italian Baroque and simplicity of Japanese minimalism. Joan Murray the creator, enjoyed poetry, music, meditation, and nature. Architecture by Wallace E. Cunningham, Inc., Wallace Cunningham, Principal Designer named one of top 100 designers by Architectural Digest, and recognized as one of the top 30 designers by Robb Report.

Take 5: What Affects Property Values?

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Some the features that increase property values are obvious—like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you have not have realized can affect property values.

 1. The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.

 2. Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.

 3. Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it’s not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.

 4. Parking: This isn’t too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That’s why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.

 5. The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers—many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.

October Arcadia and Paradise Valley Sales Stats

Greater Arcadia experienced an uptick in sales volume over last month.  This is typical with the seasonality of our market. When the homes that closed in October went under contract, summer was winding down. People were back from vacation and ready to take looking for a home seriously.  The sold prices were down from last year, but so was the size of the home sold.  If you look at price per square foot, the prices were still down from last year, $297 per foot this October compared to $301 in October in 2016. Could this be an indicator of a softening market?

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The chart above only includes single-family homes, but it is interesting to note that condos in the area made of 30% of the total sales, up from 24% a year ago. Condos continue to be a more affordable option in the Arcadia area.

If we look specifically at Arcadia Proper, we are ahead year over year with most activity occurring at the lower end of the price range. With prices still on the rise, most speculative builders are starting to feel a bit priced out of the market. As it has been for the last year or so the best opportunity is for the home buyer who is willing to take on a remodel, the buyer can tailor the home to their needs and spread the potential gains over a number of years.

It is a seller's market for the people trying to sell homes under $1.5 million, but your price has to be spot on. Buyers are not willing to pay top dollar for an older remodel. Sellers need to be realistic about their homes value.

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Paradise Valley is continuing its hot streak!  Six months inventory of homes is considered a balanced market, favoring neither buyers nor sellers. In the luxury market, the months inventory figure is often higher given the smaller pool of available buyers.  But, PV is bucking the trend. Under $1.5M in PV, there is only a 4.6 month supply of homes. This means if no new homes were to come to the market, in a short 4 and half months, there would be no homes under $1.5 million in PV! Also notable are the 8.4 months supply of homes priced between $1.5M and $2M and 14 months supply of homes between $2M and $3M.  Sales of homes between $2M and $3M are up 39% year over year. The softest part of the PV market is the ultra high-end with 27 homes priced over $6M, only two have sold in 2017.

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September Arcadia and Paradise Valley Real Estate Stats

The sales that closed in September typically went under contract in August. In August, in Phoenix, prices are usually at their lowest point. Buyers do not have a lot of choice and prices have usually been reduced to the range where they will finally solicit offers. But, even with that gloom, closed sales prices still made a upward tick in September. In fact, homes sold for 8% more than they did last September. 

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If we look specifically at Arcadia Proper, the area bounded by Camelback Rd on the north, Indian School on the south, 44th Street on the West and 68th Street on the East, you will notice the volume of sales is a bit greater than last year at this time.  But, 45% of sales were under one million dollars.  I will make the assumption that most of these properties will be demolished and rebuilt.  At the higher sales price points, the numbers are almost identical to last year.  With 10 homes currently priced over $3 million, many more about to come online and only 7 being sold so far this year (same as last year), we are looking at about 20 months of inventory. This price range favors buyers at the moment.

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Much like Arcadia, the Paradise Valley inventory in the upper price points is definitely favoring buyers. Last year, 3 homes over $6M were sold, after 9 months in 2017, only 2 homes have sold, yet there are 24 homes listed for over $6M actively on the market in PV.

One bright spot in PV are the homes under $2M, there is less than 5 months of inventory, which favors SELLERS! There have been 35% more sales of homes between $1M and $1.5M  than last year at this time! Amazing growth.

More phenomenal still, the price range from $2M to $3M, is up 64% in sales volume.  59 homes have sold in this range in the first 9 months of the year! That is a remarkable 6.5 homes per month. Could that be why 82 homes in that price range are on the market? They are trying to grab that hot spot of activity, but that could prove troublesome if the homes are not priced accurately. 

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Do you want me to look at stats for your particular neighborhood? Just shoot me an email at hillary.gurley@russlyon.com and I would be happy to drill down in your price point in your neighborhood.  The picture can be very different from price point to point and street to street.

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$120,000 Awarded for 56th Street Redesign

FROM the ACMNA newsletter...

The SAVES and Connects 56th St Group is excited to announce its award of the 2017 Maricopa Association of Governments Design Assistance Grant. You may be asking yourself, “What is the MAG Design Grant and what does this mean?” Since February of this year ACMNA has teamed up with The Arcadia Osborn Neighborhood Association and local school leaders to address several issues relating to 56th Street, specifically: Safety, Aesthetics, Volumes, Enjoyment, Speeds and Connectivity.

Traffic and Overgrowth on 56th Street

Traffic and Overgrowth on 56th Street

The committee worked directly with local schools (VERITAS, Hopi, Ingleside, Arcadia, Prince of Peace and St Theresa) to assess and identify specific concerns. The committee engaged local leaders (Councilman Sal DiCiccio, Representative Maria Syms and Camelback East Village Planning Committee Chairman, Jay Swart) to garner support for our cause. Most importantly, we met monthly with City Staff (Sam Stone, Mark Melnychenko, Michael Pinder, Eileen Yazzie and Scott Logan) to guide us in our work. In addition, Dawn Cartier, Principle Traffic Engineer with CivTech contributed much extra time in guiding us through the application process. All totaled the letters, survey responses, traffic data and meetings with city planners has paid off for Arcadia and netted us $120,000 in design assistance for 56th Street.

Later this year we anticipate that the city will select a design firm capable of managing the complete streets project of 56th from Camelback to Thomas (and possibly Oak). The term “complete streets” is a key word, as the project seeks to best serve the needs of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. This visually significant corridor has the potential to be an enjoyable connector to walking paths, parks, the canal system and safely bring commuters and school children through our neighborhood.

We want to assure you that no plans will be finalized without heavy community input and consideration. The ACMNA will keep you updated on all community meetings as well as representing all ideas and concerns we have received to date. If you want to stay up-to-date on design progress, sign up for meeting notices, or if you have ideas or want share, please visit acmna.org/56th-street

How to Pick Paint Colors to Fix Any Room's Quirks


Courtesy of  Jan Soults Walker

Paint colors can do a ton to fix a room's flaws for not much money.

Every home suffers a few negatives, but not every solution requires pricey structural changes. Paint is a frugal remodeler's go-to solution to perk up a problem room.

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Here's how to pick paint colors to give any room a facelift:

Choosing Paint for a Room That's Too Small

Painting walls white, cream, pastels, or cool colors (tinged with blue or green) creates the illusion of more space by reflecting light. 

White or light colors on walls lifts the ceiling, bringing your eyes up, which makes you feel like you're in a larger room.

How to use paint color to make a room seem bigger:

  • Paint trim similar to walls to ensure a seamless appearance that visually expands space. 
  • Use a monochromatic scheme to amplify the dimensions of a room. Select furnishings in the same color. Lack of contrast makes a room seem more spacious.
  • Extend wall color onto the ceiling an additional 6- 12- inches. This will make the room seem taller.
  • Paint vertical or horizontal stripes. Vertical stripes enhance room height by drawing the eye up, horizontal stripes lure your gaze around the perimeter, making walls seem further away. Use similar light colors for low-contrast stripes, and your room will look even larger.
  • Get a bit of a similar effect if you really want a darker shade by selecting a high-gloss paint sheen, which reflects light and enhances space. 

For a Room That's Too Large

When a space feels cavernous, draw walls inward and make it cozy with warm colors (red-tinged) because darker hues absorb light.

Similarly, a dark or warm color overhead (in a flat finish) helps make rooms with high or vaulted ceilings seem less voluminous.

For a Room That Needs a Soothing Vibe

The right paint choice can lend tranquility to a bathroom, master suite, or other quiet, personal space. A palette of soft, understated color or muted tones help you instill a calming atmosphere.

Some good choices include pale lavenders, light grays or greens, and wispy blues.

For a Room With Special Features That No One Notices

Call out notable features in a room with paint. Dress crown moldings and other trims in white to make them pop against walls with color.

Make a fireplace or other feature a focal point by painting it a color that contrasts with walls. 

“Using a higher sheen of paint on woodwork, such as baseboards and door or window casings,” says Schwartze, “creates a crisp edge and clear transition from the wall to the trim.”

For a Room With Something Ugly to Hide

Not everything should stand out in a space. Using a low-contrast palette is a good way to hide unappealing elements or flaws.

Conduit, radiators, and other components painted the same color as the wall will seem to disappear.
    
Selecting low-sheen or flat paint colors also helps hide flaws. Unless walls are smooth, avoid using high-gloss paint because it reflects light and calls attention to an uneven surface.

How to Pick Paint Colors for Any Room

  • Sample paint colors on a few walls.
  • Use large swaths of paint so you can get a real feel for the color.
  • Add samples to opposite sides of a room to judge the paint color from different angles.
  • Check the space with the samples in place and watch how the paint color changes at different times of the day.
  • Check the color on cloudy days, sunny days, and at night when you've got artificial lights on.

 

 

Sotheby's Latin America: Modern Art Evening

During the Golden Age of national cinema, Diego Rivera looked to Matilde Palou for inspiration. Rivera’s portrait of the Mexican actress, part of Sotheby’s Latin America: Modern Art Evening sale on 25 May in New York, not only nods to a great era of film and art, but it also serves as a testament to the pride of the Mexican people. Watch the video to discover Rivera’s mastery of twentieth-century portraiture.

Want to see and learn more about Diego Rivera and Latin American Modern art? Don't miss the Heard Museums, Frida & Diego Exhibit running through August 20th. Purchase tickets online.  

4 Great Home Buying Tips

1. Determine your budget: Before you even start looking, you need to know how much you can comfortably afford. Don't waste your time looking at homes that you can't buy - that's a terrible way to disappoint yourself in the end.

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2. Get Pre-approved: This relates to tip #1 but it's also a way to boost your standing in the eyes of a home seller. Buyers that are pre-approved are nearly as good as people paying cash. Also, our Arizona real estate purchase contract requires an offer to be accompanied by a pre-approval form for the bank. 

3. Differentiate between your wants and needs: What do you really NEED in a home? It might be storage space, or it might be three bedrooms. You may only WANT granite countertops and walk-in closets. Be sure to know what you need versus things that you simply want. I see couples argue about these things all the time, so be on the same page with everyone involved in the transaction.

4. Call me: I'm the best possible person you could talk to when you're looking to buy a home in Arcadia or Paradise Valley. I will provide you with the best real estate experience possible! I'll listen to your wants and needs and do everything within my power to satisfy you.

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

What Will Cause Your Phoenix Home Sale to Fall Through?

Today we are excited to be talking about the major mistakes that you can make that will screw up the sale of your home. I’m going to give you four of the most common ones today, so hopefully you will be able to avoid them in the future. They are:

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1.  Selling FSBO: Trying to sell your home on your own is admirable, but just doesn’t make sense. There are so many things to take into account when selling a home, not to mention the fact that most FSBO homes end up listing with an agent eventually anyways. Why waste the energy, time and frustration of doing it yourself, when you could just hire a professional to get the job done for a reasonable price and make sure your home sells for top dollar.

2. Mispricing your home: Incorrectly pricing your home can be a big problem. Price it too high, and you’ll get no showings or offers until you reduce it. If you underprice your home, you may get too many offers to keep track of, and it may be hard to sell for top dollar. A good agent can come in and help you price your home correctly for top dollar.

3. Using lousy photos:  We’ve all seen them online, the weird sideways pictures with bad lighting, and clutter in the background. Nothing turns off potential buyers more than bad online photographs. You need to have a professional photographer take pictures that tell the real story of your home, that’s what will attract people to your home online.

4. Ignoring the backyard and landscaping: Oftentimes, people will make a decision on whether they like a home or not in the first 15 seconds of seeing the property. Having nice landscaping will help quell buyers' fears. Don’t ignore the backyard though, that’s an easy way to turn buyers off as well.

 

There you have it, the four major mistakes that will screw up your home sale. If you are thinking of buying or selling soon, give me a call or send me an email. I’d love the opportunity to interview for the job, and I look forward to hearing from you!

How Can You Add Value to Your Home?

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Today I want to talk about the top five areas of your home that you can renovate in order to earn some money back when you sell your home. It's important to remember that many repairs will not earn you more money back. Below are the top five repairs for putting some value back into your home before you sell.

1. The Kitchen: Renovating your kitchen is a great way to earn some money back. Buyers love to see updated kitchens. However, if you spend more than $20,000 to repair your kitchen, you're likely not going to get all of it back.

2. The Master Bathroom: Everyone likes to have a large and luxurious master bathroom, and buyers will pay extra for this.

3. Paint: Keep your paint neutral. Earth tones are popular right now, so aim for beige, grey, off-white and white. 

4. New Flooring: It's unlikely that you can clean your carpets well enough to make people think that they're new. Investing in new carpeting or tiling is a great way to add value. Buyers will notice that 'new floor smell' and they'll have peace of mind.

5. Curb Appeal: When people drive by, you want to leave a great impression on the buyer. Plant flowers, trim bushes, and pull weeds. The more organized and orderly your lawn can be, the more attractive your home will look to a buyer.

These are the top five home renovations in our area. Pay attention to these and don't be distracted by other costly repairs because they will likely just cost you money.

If you would like to learn more about this, or if you'd like to speak about real estate in the Phoenix area, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Why Should You Take Zillow's Home Evaluations with a Grain of Salt?

More and more people head online to find real estate information nowadays. Zillow is by far the most popular - but is it accurate? Can Zillow really put an accurate value on your Phoenix home?

The short answer to those questions is no. Zillow pools a lot of data from different sources and comes up with a very good ballpark number of your home's value. However, there are many factors Zillow can't take into account, such as neighborhood details and any updates you have made to your home.

"Zillow is a good resource, just not for finding your home's value."

Zillow readily admits that it is often off by 5%-15%. If you have a $300,000 home, they could overprice or underprice your home by as much as $45,000! That's why it is absolutely essential to have a real estate professional assess your home. They will note the differences between your home and other homes that are selling in your neighborhood, and will account for other details that Zillow has no way of accounting for.

If you have questions about the home valuation process, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to help you get top dollar for you home!

How Can You Stage on a Budget?

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If you are looking to sell your home, your goal is to get the most money possible in the shortest amount of time. One of the best ways to add value and appeal to your home is through home staging. You have a lot of options for how you want to go about it. You could hire a professional staging company, but that comes with a hefty price tag. Most of the time, a few simple fixes is all it takes to transform a living room.

Today we are going to go through some of our most favorite, inexpensive home staging tips or you. We hope these will help you save both time and money when it comes time to sell your home.

A fresh coat of paint is always a good idea. Neutral, warm colors work best for highlighting the natural light in your home. This will make it easier to punch up the room with some colorful accessories and pull everything together.

A common design problem facing many homeowners is that they have no real entry way, as their front door opens up to the living room. To fix this, you can add a table, some lighting, and a rug to "fake a foyer" and make it feel like the living room and entryway are two different spaces.

A patterned rug, some pillows, or bright curtains add a ton of texture and an eclectic layer to the space, which is essential to a well-designed room.

In some cases, a "make-under" is just what you need. In the case of most fireplaces, taking some accessories and clutter away enhances the look and feel of the room greatly.

"Add thousands in value by spending hundreds of dollars."

You could spend well over a few thousand dollars with a staging company, or you could do these fixes yourself for around $500. That's a small investment considering the value that you add to your home by adding those pieces.

If you have any questions for us about staging your home or anything else real estate related, give us a call or send over a quick email. We are always here to help, and would love to hear from you!

Pretty Cool Auction

This is not your typical Sotheby's auction! On December 10th, Sotheby's will be hosting: A Rock & Roll Anthology: From Folk to Furya kaleidoscopic survey of the history of rock & roll, pop, folk, and punk. Featuring important manuscripts and memorabilia from the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Eagles, and a rare offering from the Sex Pistols’ seminal album Never Mind the Bollocks (the original working autograph manuscript of "Problems"), among others. A highlight of the sale is John Lennon’s Broadwood Upright Piano upon which he composed “A Day in the Life,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and many other iconic songs. See the auction catalog here 

John Lennon's Piano

John Lennon's Piano

In advance of Sotheby’s 10 December auction  A Rock & Roll Anthology: From Folk to Fury, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins talks about how living with rock & roll memorabilia is like being surrounded by old friends. He also offers his personal take on some of the highlights from the sale including an original awning from the legendary punk club CBGB.