Posted On: February 10th, 2015 6:38PM
Unfortunately for all of you out there in North Central land, I expanded this column for just this one month. I PROMISE I will not do this again ... but I've got lots of thanks to shout out. First and foremost, I want to thank all of my loyal clients who allowed me to sell more than 150 homes in 2014. In 35 of those sales, I represented both the buyers and the sellers, which can sometimes be a little challenging. Because I really enjoy what I do, it makes it fun even though it takes working crazy hours to be organized and to do all that is necessary to help my clients through a sale.
I am very appreciative of the North Central sellers who trusted me to list 167 homes this year. Thanks also to Porchlight Homes for hiring me to list and sell a new gated 15-home subdivision on 7th Avenue between Bethany Home and Maryland as well as a new 10-home subdivision just near Northern and Central avenues called Sendero Villas. I am proud to say that we closed out both subdivisions and the reaction and demand for new homes was incredible.
For many years my North Central clients have asked me expand my business into the Biltmore, whether it be North Central friends or clients who have decided to downsize, upsize or are just looking for a change and want to stay in the same general area or have family members who want to sell their Biltmore homes. I appreciate their trust and have been willing to help them. In fact, I've sold more than 50 homes in the Biltmore ranging from a $200,000 patio home to a $5.8 million dollar sale on the Biltmore Estates golf course. Thanks to your encouragement, I am excited to be making the Biltmore part of my ‘hood beginning in 2015. Take a look at my new website that highlights the Biltmore:www.biltmoreazagent.com.
I will continue to have my North Central website at www.centralphx.com. Terry and Alan Bandler, who have lived in North Central for many years, are my first clients to support me in my business expansion. They are buying a home that I listed in The Biltmore Hillside Villas, located on Glendale/Lincoln just west of 32nd Street. The beautiful guard-gated home was owned by Mary DeConcini. Once Ms. Bandler works her her magic, the home will look brand new.Thanks also to Lisa Walker, the Bandler's family member who also decided to move from a beautiful North Central home that I sold a few years ago. She also trusted me to find her new home in The Biltmore Hillside Villas. Look for the Bandler's trophy home located on West Frier to go on the market in the first quarter of 2015.
I also want to thank Leslie Phillips for allowing me to sell her parents’ Biltmore home, located at 5048 N 25th Place, which I sold to them nearly 14 years ago. Finally, many thanks to the Pattersons for allowing me to sell their Biltmore home at 3039 E Stella Lane. The support from my North Central friends and clients has been overwhelming as I embark on this exciting expansion opportunity!
I want to also thank Patty Johnson of Connections Marketing & Communications for guiding and structuring the Biltmore expansion for me. Patty and her husband, former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, have been longtime friends and clients of mine. She is the best person to organize the marketing of The Biltmore.
Thanks also to the 26 North Central and Biltmore area businesses who allowed me to place my sports magnets (D-Backs, Cardinals and Suns) in their stores. We are all so lucky to have such an eclectic and supportive mix of retail, restaurants and specialty stores. Just look around. There is lots of construction and expansion of more new businesses that plan to open in 2015. Why live anywhere else? If you would like to have the magnets in your stores, please give me a ring.
Another thank you goes to the incredible HomeSmart agents –– not only those in our Central and Biltmore offices but each of you throughout the Valley (we have nearly 5000 HomeSmart agents here). I was reminded how amazing our entire team is about three months ago when I received a call that one of our agents almost lost his wife during a scary and tragic incident. He let me know that as his wife was getting into her parked car in their own driveway, she was shockingly yanked out of the car in a car-jacking. Unfortunately, her head hit the concrete. She was in the hospital with severe brain and head injuries for weeks and although she is now back at home, she will never be physically the same again.
Hearing the story, I felt the need to try to help the family defer some medical costs but the husband said all he wanted was some good old Italian food because he had been eating McDonalds for three straight weeks. With help from HomeSmart's own Carol Perry, we brought him some of his favorite Italian food and we launched a non-profit charity called We Care HomeSmart. Through We Care HomeSmart, the funds we raise help HomeSmart agents whose immediate family members have suffered a serious medical setback and the family needs a little help. At our various HomeSmart regional meetings, we collected $13,000 in just four weeks. This is an amazing testimony to the camaraderie that our HomeSmart agents and partners share. Thank you to the many good people at HomeSmart and thank you to our chairman, Matt Widdows, for matching a significant portion of our donations. Anyone who would like to donate is also welcome to participate. Just let me know.
I certainly cannot end this year without thanking this paper, the North Central News. I have been advertising here since it was founded 15 years ago and it has been an incredible boost for my business. The circulation is 22,000 issues mailed to North Central homes and businesses and another 4,000 copies that are distributed in area news racks. There is no better vehicle to reach all of you with important community information, whether it's about the new companies, real estate or community activities. Please do not tell the North Central News how much I appreciate them or they might increase my advertising fees!
Finally, I want to thank my family beginning with my two dogs –– Jakki, a 13 year old Weimeraner and Layla, a 3-year old Boxer rescue. Oh yeah ... I also want to thank my 23-year-old daughter, Juliann, a Xavier High School grad, who graduated from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University with freakin’ HONORS and just began her master’s in sports psychology, and my 25-yearold son, Sean, a Brophy grad,who recently started with one of HomeSmart's partners who help to sponsor our meetings, Homeowner's Financial Group. Sean is currently a business and marketing partner for the company and studying to be a loan originator. I hope to be able to refer him business within the next few months. Congratulations also to Jesse Milleson, who jut graduated from the University of Memphis.
And, finally, my former disc jockey at the Jockey Club, who never listened to her boss
(ME) for five years (sometimes even cussed at me when I asked her to play certain songs or to
turn the volume down) ... my beautiful wife of 28 years, MaryAnn. She often tells me how
lucky I am for having to put up with my family for so long ... and you know? She is right!
I also truly appreciate my assistant, Kathy Wright, who has tolerated me for 15 years. I
owe a lot of my success to her hard work.
Thanks to my family and thanks to all of you for making 2014 such a successful and healthy year. I cannot believe another year is just around the corner. Cheers to 2015!
Posted On: February 10th, 2015 6:31PM
A few weeks ago I returned from attending my high school reunion in Atlanta and it was really amazing to see how my old neighborhood and the surrounding areas had changed. I have written a few times in this article how changes in Central Phoenix are inevitable and the changes have increased our values and brought in new people. I grew up in an area where our apartments, which were over 40 years old but always felt like a million dollar neighborhood, were pretty amazing to our family. My parents were divorced, my dad was here in Phoenix so my brother and I lived with our mom in a threebedroom apartment surrounded by a lot of our friends. The old apartments were torn down a few years ago to make room for a new apartment complex that was ultra modern. At first seeing the new structures was very weird to me but I was proud that my old ‘hood was worthy of some developers seeing potential in it and that made me smile.
My old public high school is located in Buckhead and even that had changed: It is now a private arts school with an astroturf football field. I found out the school was featured in the Sandra Bullock movie, The Blind Side. Yes, it was strange seeing the additions and modernizations in a 60yearold school but I realized that it was a necessary venture for survival. All the homes that surrounded the school have now tripled in price even though they look the same as they did 40 years ago. Ok, I certainly must be driving a point here–I am letting you know that it is essential for neighborhoods to change and, in the long run, we all benefit from the changes. North Central is an amazing area with new businesses, including a myriad of restaurants and stores, moving to our area in the past few years as well as many new housing developments that increase our values and bring in new families. Change not only is good for all of us but it is essential for longterm growth.
I just listed a home that has been owned by Maryann McCullough and her husband, Bill, for many years. Ms. McCullough was a longtime math teacher at Brophy and Xavier and she wanted to hear from those of you who had her as a teacher. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward your emails to her. My son and daughter never had the privilege of having Ms. McCullough as their teacher but I know many of you were fortunate to have learned your math skills from this incredible person.
I am featuring local businesses in this monthly column, so if you want to be written about here, email me your information. I am very bullish on businesses that have survived the tough times and have been around for more than 20 years. This month I want to congratulate Desert Song, which specializes in yoga, massage, meditation and other healing arts for the Phoenix community. Independently owned by North Central residents Mary Beth and Vince Markus, Desert Song has always called Central Phoenix its home. They started off with a little rented space at the Phoenix School of Ballet in 1981, then moved to the Cannedy Dance Center. Next it was Campbell Crossing and eventually another space just north of the Valley Commerce Center on 7th Street and Camelback. In 2012, Desert Song found a permanent residence, which is a midcentury modern building located on 20th Street just south of Osborn. Come see for yourself what a difference Desert Song can make in your life by calling 602-265-8222 or visiting www.desertsongyoga.com.
Have a great Turkey Day as this year starts to come to an end.
Posted On: February 10th, 2015 6:26PM
I want us to flashback five or six years ago and remember the pain in our guts when our home values were at an incredible low value and about 60 percent of our home values were under water. Unfortunately, some of our friends and family members lost their homes to the banks.
There was doubt about how long it would take to recover but the North Central area had a strong turnaround and although we are not back at pre-2005 prices, we have come a long way. We certainly are in a great location with excellent schools, tremendous restaurants and top retail stores. I feel there is a common factor as to why our home prices have almost doubled in the past 3-4 years and we owe a large thanks to the home builders/ developers who believed in our neighborhoods as much as we did. Back in the 1970s, the restaurant Willy and Guillermo's at Central and Missouri was torn down for new homes, as was the Ambassador Hotel at 4th Avenue and Maryland, which is now a luxury gated subdivision.
In the past few years, two of my clients, Porchlight Homes and Magee Builders, have built more than 30 new homes in the corridor ranging in price from $370,000 to $780,000 and increasing the per-square-foot price to close to $250. Just a few years ago we were lucky to get more than $175 per square foot but now we are creeping up to the $300 per foot prices, thanks to two incredible homes built on Central Avenue and Lamar by Starion Custom Residences, who tore down an old home that sat on an acre. I have not confirmed the exact square-foot price with the builder but I feel the masterpieces he created are worth every bit of a $300-plus-per-foot price. Another new builder in our area, CE Residential, currently has two new homes under construction on Myrtle, just east of Central Avenue, for around $1.5 million. An old home was demolished, making way for these fabulous homes. CE Residential also built a new home at Lamar and 2nd Street that sold for $980,000.
Another project that I will be involved in will be located at 325 E Maryland, which replaced a 70-year-old home that should have been condemned many years ago. There will be three new homes, soon to be under construction, at that location. There are many new clients of mine who want new homes and are moving here from other parts of the Valley only to buy a new home. I know I mentioned in another one of my monthly articles that change is good, especially when it pertains to our Central Corridor. I will be representing more than 25 new custom homes in our area over the next 18 months. I am seeing more and more buyers moving here from Paradise Valley and Arcadia in order to be closer to work and schools. These buyers will only move here for homes in the $550,000 and higher range that are brand new or remodeled throughout.
Please be supportive of these developers as they take us to a newer financial level. Remember CHANGE is good for a neighborhood and please know that these builders are building homes that have current zoning in place and they want their homes to conform to the neighborhoods in which they are being built.
Posted On: February 10th, 2015 6:21PM
I had a client last week who placed a home in escrow near 28th Street and Camelback, which
had brand new floors, counter tops and cabinets; all bathrooms remodeled; a new roof and new air
conditioning. The home was a fix and flip by an investor and seemed like a great home until...WE
HAD AN INSPECTION...that revealed the roof was not new,the AC was not new and basically the
home was in poor condition and he canceled. I cannot tell you how many homes that I have seen like this in the past three or four years where investors,who are not licensed, put together what we call a “lipstick remodel” that looks good from the inside until you have that inspection. There are some amazing licensed contractors in our market, so be careful who you choose to remodel your home or in choosing a home that has a licensed contractor who did the remodel because they will stand behind the work.
The other problem that I have seen in the past four years is all the homes that had their roofs replaced because of hail damage. About 75 percent of these roofs were replaced by imposters who issued useless roof warranties. Most of these roofers were storm chasers who go from city to
city preying on desperate people. My take in all these stories is you get what you pay for, so be
My suggestion is to investigate the contractorseither through the Better Business Bureau or ask for references. The best overall scenario, if you can afford it, is to go with a new home where the state mandates certain warranties that builders must offer their clients, such as one year for cosmetics and two years for any structure issue, along with manufacturer warranties for appliances, roof and air conditioning. I am very fortunate to represent two incredible builders who have called North Central their home for the past two years and will continue to build here for at least two more years. One is Magee Builders, who has built or remodeled more than six North Central homes and currently has a brand-new home located at 7220 North 15th Ave., which is listed for $784,000 and sits on a half-acre lot. Magee has at least 15-18 more new North Central homes either under construction or in the planning stages. The next homes will be completed by the end of July and include 405 E. Montebello, priced around $900,000 and including 3,400 square feet on a 22,000 square-foot lot; and 5506 N. 2nd Street. priced in the mid $700s and including 3,050 square feet with a three-car garage. Magee Builders are Randy Rochford, Brian Magee and Scott McLean.
The other builder that I am representing is Porchlight Homes, which developed a 5.5 acre horse property located on 7th Avenue between Maryland and Bethany Home Road. It is a new gated subdivision, originally consisting of 15 homes which is now down to three spec homes: two at 3,500 square feet and one at 3,150 square feet. All three will be active on the market in mid July. Porchlight has a second gated 10-home subdivision located on Central Avenue just north of Northern Avenue. In just six weeks, eight of the homes have been sold and the two remaining specs with be active the first of July. NORTH CENTRAL LOVES NEW HOMES. Go new if you can afford to.
My heavy condolences to the family of Herb Sperber, who for many years owned a tuxedo store at 7th Avenue and Campbell called Lad T Dad, which later became Tux and Tails. Herb dressed all of us for proms, weddings, premiers and special functions. I was more nervous on my wedding night, worried about my losing or tearing my tuxedo than I was about the wedding party, which consisted of 250 wild animals. Herb made all of us feel and look like a million dollars and we are all better off for having him in our lives. I still own a tux from Tux and Tails but, unfortunately, it has shrunk over the years! Thanks, Herb, for making me feel special for many a night wearing your clothes. The Valley was a better place with your presence in our lives.
Additionally the name Herb is very special to my brother and me because that was our dad's name. I lost another longtime friend this month, Bob Warren, who was in my wedding party and a great customer for many years at the Jockey Club. I enjoyed Bob's company at my club for many nights and years and even playing golf with him. Bob, Mary Ann and I and all of our Jockey Club cardholders will dearly miss you.
See you guys in San Diego!