Gilbert, AZ Real Estate News

By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
A pretty constant question I hear from soon-to-be clients is "What will I get my money out of?"  Everyone knows that eventually they will sell and they'd like to enjoy some upgrades in their home.  But what is the best use of a remodeling budget?  Pretty much everyone agrees, it's the kitchen.The overall look is heading towards cleaner, airier, sleeker - but still traditional.  The popular Tuscan look that is so rustic, warm and inviting is still working but make sure you don't overdose into the heavy English Country look that is out.  These days people like to see some contrast, either with colors or materials.  Yesterday the hot topic was the cabinets, today it's the countertops.  Granite is still very popular but right on its heels are the quartz products that mimic the look but are ...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
ASU Realty Studies has produced their report for the Phoenix-area sales in January.  The number of homes that sold fell about 1,000 from December to January.  Not a huge suprise since homes that close in January are usually decided on in December.  Not too many home shoppers in December.  However last month was the slowest January for resales since 2003.  The median price for a resale climbed about $4000 from December to January, landing at $260,000.  Jay Butler, the director of the Realty Studies center and general voice of real estate statistics and opinions, said the size of the home sold in January also climbed, so the higher price is due partly to a greater percentage of bigger houses selling.  The median square footage in January was 1,700 compared with 1,620 sq ft in January '06. 
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
I firmly believe that every community is what you make of it.  If you want a wonderful community for you and your family to live in, you have to help that happen.  Volunteering is not only a great way to help your neighborhood, it's a great way for other family members to learn about real life and grow together.   Personally, I work with a group of teenage girls as a kind of mentor.  We meet at least twice a week for different activities and enjoy fun activities like camping, rock climbing and water-skiing.  It's a great way for me to get out of my rut of mommy-hood and real estate and help others at the same time.  My boys know that I love to help other people even at the expense of personal time and my husband is a wonderful support, even using vacation time to be home with the kids w...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
An interesting article in today's Arizona Republic talks about a sold home in upscale Ahwatukee that is across the street from a house that is "unusually painted'.  The neighbor house sold for nearly asking price, a rare thing in today's buyer's market.  People outside of the Valley may wonder why that is worthy of mention.  But here in the Phoenix the neighborhoods have a severe case of Stepford-ism.  Part of the point of the plethora of HOA's is to make sure everyone follows the same style, architecture and paint guidelines.  The anticipated result is that everyone's resale value will remain high.  However, as this article points out, that isn't necessarily the case.  The pendulum is swinging the other way, I think.  As the next generation is starting to buy, they are looking for home...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
If you are thinking of settling down the in East Valley,  you might want to get an idea of the community and what it offers.  Here is a great list of things to do with your family during the month of February that will both show you the sights and enlighten your soul.    Learn to paint like professional artist, Mary Lou Stewart, whose works are on display at vision galler.  She will conduct a free painting workshop for agest 6-14, Feb 17, in two sessions, 10 am and 1pm.  The gallery is located here.  To register call (480) 917-6859.Trout Fishing In America is an eclective acoustic music duo hailing from Arkansas.  They are presenting an interactive song-writing workshop for children at 6:30 pm, Feb 15.  Registration is required and walk-ins are welcome if there is space.  It will take p...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
While looking for a wonderful real estate agent to represent you and your family, there are a few things that will separate a really good AZ agent from the rest.  Do you know where and when the freeway system is building?  The Phoenix area freeway system is key to a good location.  Even if you don't have to commute, lucky you, the future value of your home can be seriously affected by the building and expanding of the system.  Do you know which areas are affected by snowbirds?  If your agent doesn't even know what a snowbird is, than keep looking...if you don't, shoot me an email.  Do you know where roof rats like to live?  Same comment as above.  Do you know the top three school districts in the Valley?  Even if you don't have kids, future resale is greatly affected by the quality of t...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
With lots of talk of Trulia, Zillow, etc. many home owners and would-be home owners have questions about finding out how much a home is worth.  Let's break it down in plain English here.A home is worth however much someone is willing to pay for it.  An appraisal is what a lender thinks its worth to them.  A tax record, what Zillow's number is mostly based on, is what the government thinks its worth to them.  That number has the least bearing on your decision.Market value is what will entice a would-be buyer to put an offer on the home and what a real estate agent will try to determine.  When an offer is accepted on that home, an appraiser will use a very similar, but not the same, method to determine the appraised value.Market value is fairly easy to figure out.  It's not that mysteriou...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
The City of Gilbert Parks and Recreation Department organizes an incredible amount of classes every year.  Ranging from Toddler Sign Language to Mother & Daughter Belly Dancing to Tae Kwon Do, there is something for everyone.  Luckily, all at very reasonable costs.  The only snag is that everyone in Gilbert, and their dog, wants to take classes.  Especially the kids' classes.  So you have to be on your toes or there's nothing left but Fairy Tale Ballet.  Not good for my two boys, I'll tell you that.  I don't even want to imagine the look on Daddy's face if I enrolled them in that one!So, sign up for the next round of classes is scheduled for Feb 20, 2006, 8 am.  If you've never used the online system before, you have to plan ahead.  Call (480) 503-6200.  They get you registered and give...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
The Gilbert library is celebrating Family Festival Month in February.  There will be puppet shows, concerts, and even an Apache family dance performance.  This library is one of my favorites because of the many story times they have for lots of different age groups.  They also have lots of computers for kids to use.  The best part is the view.  The back of the library looks out over the Riparian Preserve.  Incredibly peaceful setting for reading.     Gilbert is a great place to live, filled with friendly neighborhoods and fun activities.  Especially when you have a friend to show you all the great spots.  Let me know if I can help your family find your next home in the Phoenix area!Where Integrity is Just the Beginning,Elena Thurston
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
The City of Gilbert is sponsoring a Dance featuring music from the 50s and 60s on February 16, 2007.  The Needham Twins will be the evening's entertainment.  Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase.  Tickets are $6 at the door.  Music starts at 7 pm and goes to 10 pm.  It will be at the Gilbert Community Center.  How fun!  It sounds like a great time. 
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
While the rest of the country is recovering from the Deep Freeze, Gilbert AZ is already thawed and ready to play.  Spring is probably my favorite season here in Gilbert, mostly because there is so much to do!  Top 5 ActivitiesBike rides.  Whether your family is big or small, you can't miss out on a great way to get out of the house and enjoy the Spring weather.  You can ride right in your neighborhood or head to the canal system by Freestone.  It's a great trail with a good chance to see some horses.  Kids love that!Feed the ducks at Freestone Park.  The ducks love it, the kids love it.  And afterwards you can play at one of the many playgrounds or take in a baseball, soccer, or rugby game.  Check out the batting cages at Freestone.  Even my 4 year old loves this.  Trust me, in two mont...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
As I wrote in my previous post, I am searching for the just perfect kindergarten for my son.  Last week I visited a few schools and today, I think I finished it up.  First I went to Gibert Traditional Academy, Neely Campus.  A group of friends strongly recommended this school for it's traditional, back-to-basics concepts, while being a public school without uniforms or the "weirdness" of a charter school.  Even though it is a public school, I wasn't allowed a tour under any circumstances.  I was given a DVD to watch and an invitation to email the principal with any questions.The movie explained how they teach the Spalding method for spelling, implement the Saxon Math method, and use Accelerated Reading.  After watching the DVD, I am slightly more informed but nowhere closer to being abl...
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By Kim Ottina
(Century 21 Arizona Foothills)
I have been keeping the statistics for Gilbert throughout 2006.   In August 2006 we had about 7 1/4  months worth of inventory (# homes on the market and how many months it would take to sell them all at the current pace),  February 1st 2007 we have about 6.25 months of inventory on the books.  So it is looking a little better than it did this summer. Historically, there is always a jump in new listings in January.  People tend to put their homes on the market after the holidays.   In area 506 (an area of Gilbert) the new listings  were about 15% less in January 2007 than they were in January 2006.  Both of those statistics are good news for the Gilbert area. There are still a lot of homes selling each month. Right now there are 2146 Active Residential listings in Gilbert and there are ...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
Following a year of slumping sales, the Valley's new home market is expected to stabilize in 2007 as builders continue to get rid of excess inventory. "2006 activity will cause the industry to pause and recognize that housing in this market area has to be affordable," said RL Brown, publisher of the Phoenix Housing Market Letter. The dramatic run up in prices during last year's housing frenzy was not sustainable, he said. Home sellers will need to price homes according to today's market or withdraw their listings. Builders must be more realistic if they plan on staying in business, Brown added. The median price of a new home in the Valley was $285,000 in December, down 5 percent from December 2005 but up 8.5 percent from January 2006. Prices should begin to stabilize to a more tradition...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
An Arizona Republic article informed us today that the Arizona School Facilities Board, who are in charge of building public schools, are likely to pay for more schools basics, including for the first time, money for playground equipment and landscaping.  Because construction costs have skyrocketed in recent years, individual districts have had to ask voters to approve bonds for more than $2 billion to pay for what many people consider school basics, like trees and slides.  The meeting will be held at 10 am inside Tempe Elementary School District board room at 3205 S. Rural Rd.From what I understand, after a conversation with State Senator Farnsworth, the Facilities Board is made up of people that are nominated by my less than favorite guy, Tom Horne, our superintendent of education.  T...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
And so it begins...it's the January before my oldest son is due to start Kindergarten and thanks to the crazy Arizona educational system I have my pick of a plethora of schools.  Somehow I must wander through the maze and find the perfect Phoenix neighborhood school for my son, my next son and me.  No pressure or anything.  So, I decided to document the event in case others were in the same boat.  Now I am going to focus on Gilbert so the title of this article is misleading.  However, if any readers are on the same journey elsewhere in the Valley and want to write about it, I would love to post your journey as a guest author on my blog.  I think we could really help each other out with this foreboding process.Now any reader who does not live in AZ would ask "Why don't you just go to the...
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By Michelle Shelton, REALTOR®, Certified Negotiations Expert®
(Realty One Group)
Thinking of hiring a Neighborhood Specialist to sell your home?by Michelle SheltonIf you are hiring a Neighborhood Specialist to sell your home, there are some things you absolutely must know! Otherwise, you could be facing the same disaster the rest of your neighbors have faced! My husband and I were eating breakfast at the Good Egg the other morning and couldn't help but over hear a fellow talking to his elderly parents about their home. It was fairly obvious that his father had a hard time hearing and the louder he talked the more I was tuning in to what he was saying. "Dad, the real estate market in Arizona is going crazy right now!" He said. "Huh?" His father grunted "THE HOMES ARE SELLING IN A MATTER OF HOURS." He said louder. "HOURS?" His father yelled almost in half a question, ...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
I am lucky enough to live in one of the great child friendly Phoenix neighborhoods.  One of my neighbors is a veteran mom and with one idea, essentially guaranteed that most of us young moms will not be moving from the area for some time.  She's made my life easier and my children's lives more fun.  Since the average Phoenician moves aver 4.2 years, this mom has ensured that her child's playmates will stick around for quite some time, also ensuring our Phoenix neighborhood remains child friendly.  What could this amazing idea be, you ask?  A Child-Care co-op.  There are ten moms in the neighborhood that all get along well enough and have kids around the same ages.  We all took either one morning or one afternoon.  We each started off with 20 "tickets".  Each ticket represented an hour o...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
Welcome to 2007!  I hope you endured the holidays, survived the Deep Freeze, and are now enjoying the real AZ sunshine with your family.  This is my favorite time of year, not only is the housing market normal again but I'm negotiating offers while watching the boys at the park.  It's a wonderful life.  I would like to welcome Robin and Ricardo Gonzales to my client family.  They bought Bridget and Derrick Stomberg's house in Laveen.  It was a wonderful transaction and both couples are happy with their new homes.It's a new year.  Take a look around your house.  How does it feel?  If it feels like something's missing, it's probably one the following:  nice paint on the walls and window treatments you can be proud of.  As someone who walks into dozens of homes a week, I can tell the those...
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By Elena Thurston, Family Real Estate Specialist
(Keller Williams Legacy One)
I love, love, love to find new neighborhoods that are just teeming with kids playing outside and parents hanging out chatting. It reminds me of my childhood and it's what I dream for my kids. So far, so good. We're in Country Lane, see article below. I have found a couple of neighborhoods that fit the above description but I don't know anyone in them to interview for an in depth article. I suppose I could just knock on someone's door but that feels a bit forward. I'll have to work up my courage for that one. So, here are a few Phoenix neighborhoods that seem great for kids but I don't really know anyone there. If you are reading this and do know someone there, shoot me a line. I'd love to write a full article for the neighborhood. In no particular order:*Val Vista Lakes, particularly Th...
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