The Stories Behind Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch, Gainey Ranch …

One of the questions I commonly get when I’m showing homes in Scottsdale is:

Why are all these subdivisions call “Ranch”? 

For starters, we have McCormick Ranch, Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale Ranch, McDowell Mountain Ranch, DC Ranch, and more….

… and yes, they were really ranches.

Today, I stumbled across the post, The Stories Behind Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch, Gainey Ranch …, from the Arizona Oddities blog (which now in my must-read list).  Fun stuff for anyone who likes a little bit of history, odd observations, as well as a bit of life and culture from around the state of Arizona.

For example, I learned:

Not all of these spreads were exactly hardscrabble kinds of places. McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, before it turned into a residential development, was the home of Fowler and Anne McCormick. Fowler McCormick’s two grandfathers were Cyrus McCormick, the inventor of the grain reaper, and John D. Rockefeller, so he wasn’t exactly hurting for cash. He later became president and chairman of the board of International Harvester.

To get the rest of the McCormick Ranch story and learn the history of Gainey Ranch, wander over to Arizona Oddities.

Top 12 Women Real Estate Bloggers for 2009

I met Joe Ferrara in San Francisco last year.   He is a prolific blogger, an intellectual property attorney, and a social media strategist.  He also has a passion for helping people, and which I discovered in his session at the first Real Estate BarCamp, where he was leading a session on how to help homeowners’ stay in their homes.  As I recall, he used the term pro bono repeatedly!


A few days ago, Joe announced the results of Sellsius’ 4th Annual Top 12 Women Real Estate Bloggers for 2009.  The winners were women from accross the U.S.,  who had been blogging for at least a year, were pushing the envelope, using video, and involved in some sort of community service, charity, and education.

Joe’s list for this year included:

I’m delighted to be included on this year’s list!  Thank you, Joe. What a wonderful way to end the year!

How to sell a house in Phoenix in 3 easy steps

1. Clean. De-clutter. Make it pretty.


2. Price it well, based on condition, location, and competition.


3. Make it easy to show.



Listed on 10/27/09 for $300,000.

Under contract in 20 days.

Sold 12/4/09 for $288,000.

Start to finish in 38 days.

Autumn in Scottsdale

With winter almost upon us (grin), I thought I’d slip out on my bike to see what signs of fall I could find in Scottsdale.  Wednesday was one of our very, very few overcast days, so you’ll get a chance to see what one of our gray days looks like!

Found a ton of ducks, a few trees changing color, and lots of green. 

The high temp on Wednesday was 72 degrees and the low was a balmy 50.

Winter won’t be much different!

Do I have to sell my home to qualify for the homebuyer tax credit?

John Hall & Associates publishes a monthly e-newsletter for its real estate agents.  Packed with lots of current and useful info, I discovered the following gem, which conveniently answered another question one of my clients had been asking. 

Q: I’m already a homeowner. If I buy a replacement home after Nov. 6, 2009, to use as my principal residence, do I have to sell my home to qualify for the homebuyer tax credit?

Michelle Lind, General Counsel/Asst. CEO for the Arizona Association of REALTORS® sent us the following response and websites:

A: If you meet all of the requirements for the credit, the law does not require you to sell or otherwise dispose of your current principal residence to qualify for a credit of up to $6,500 when you buy a replacement home to use as your principal residence. The requirements are that you must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, the replacement principal residence after Nov. 6, 2009, and on or before April 30, 2010, and close on the home by June 30, 2010. Additionally, you must have lived in the same principal residence for any five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the replacement home is purchased. For example, if you bought a home on Nov. 30, 2009, the eight-year period would run from Dec. 1, 2001, through Nov. 30, 2009. (11/17/09).

Here are two websites that Michelle also sent.

From the Arizona Association of Realtors: Homebuyer Tax Credit Expanded and Extended through April 30, 2010!

From the IRS: First-Time Homebuyer Credit Questions and Answers: Homes Purchased in 2009

The New & Improved HUD-1 and why it’s a good thing for home buyers


Kari Monk, over at Wells Fargo, shared a copy of the new HUD-1 Settlement Statement a few weeks ago, and when I looked it over, I was pleased.  Since then, I’ve talked to a number of other real estate agents who heard it was coming, but had no idea of the changes that had been made.

The HUD-1 is a statement drawn up by the title company that provides:

  • The type of loan (FHA, VA, or conventional)
  • Buyer, seller, property, and settlement agent information
  • A summary of both the buyer’s costs , which will include proration of property taxes, down payment, and loan amounts
  • Details of  seller’s proceeds, after tax proration and loan payoff (if any)
  • Details of the settlement charges, including real estate broker fees, loan costs, lender required reserves for insurance and property taxes, and title charges

The new and revised HUD-1 includes two new sections:

  • A comparison of the buyer’s lender’s original Good Faith Estimate with the HUD-1 figures completed for closing. These costs include the loan origination charge, discount points, escrow fee, and title insurance.
  • A section for loan terms, which are spelled out in plain English.

I love the Loan Term section!

Look at these straightforward questions where really important questions about the home buyer’s loan are answered.

  • Your initial loan amount is ___.
  • Your loan term is ___ years.
  • Your initial interest rate is ___%.
  • Your initial monthly amount owed for principal, interest, and any mortgage insurance is $___. 
  • Can your interest rate rise?  Yes or no.
  • Even if you make payments on time, can your loan balance rise?  Yes or no.
  • Even if you make payment on time, can your monthly amount owed for principal, interest and mortgage insurance rise?  (And if so, how much.)
  • Does your loan have a prepayment penalty?  Yes or no.
  • Does your loan have a balloon payment?  Yes or no.
  • Total amount owed included escrow account payments

 Some have expressed concern about this new form.  I, for one, think it’s a great improvement and can’t wait to see in use.