Arizona Science Center

We visited the Arizona Science Center last weekend.  It was a hot summer day, and my son picked it over a trip to the Grand Canyon.  🙂

It had been many years since I’d visited the Science Center, so it was a good refresher.  The building is currently undergoing major renovations, but there was still more than enough to see, even though we skipped the featured exhibit (The Science of Fear!), the planetarium,  and the IMAX theatre.

On the first floor, the home construction exhibit, “Many Hands Make a Home”, is always a hit with both kids and adults.  It is fun to see how a home is put together step by step.

Moving upstairs, we spent a bit of time on the “Music Landing” playing with sound, and then headed over to the Get Charged Up Gallery, another one of the many hands-on exhibits. In here, I laid on a bed of nails. It was prickly, but not painful at all. Actually, it felt pretty cool.

On the third floor, the “My Digital World” was new to me.  Fun! I had to pull my camera out for one of the exhibits (see the show below).  Still don’t know quite how the technology works on this one, but totally enjoyed watching everyone play with the light!

The Forces of Nature exhibits on this floor were interesting, too. My favorite was the short movie about weather, complete with wind, heat, and rain showers.

SRP sponsored a solar exhibit, “Solarville”, in the fourth floor hallway. Small, but definitely educational.  It’s so much easier to understand a concept when you have a chance to play or get a hands-on experience.

The Arizona Science Center is located at 600 E. Washington in downtown Phoenix, just north of Chase Field.  We parked in the garage just north of the Science Center, and with validation, the charge was only a buck (even though there was a Diamondbacks game going on at the same time).  Exhibit hours are usually 10-5, seven days a week, but you will want to check the center’s web site to make sure.

Helpful Arizona Science Center Links:

Arizona Home Sellers – Changes in Sign Laws for Home Owners Associations and How They Impact You

I sit on the Board of Directors for the Sandpiper Home Owner’s Association here in Scottsdale, and receive up-to-date HOA information from a number of sources.  Yesterday, I received the following email from a local law firm (Ekmark & Ekmark), and since it covered the new sign and open house laws so well, I asked if I could share it verbatim.

If you live in a community governed by an Arizona Home Owner’s Association, you will want to know what your rights are as a home seller. 

For Sale Signs

            An association may not prohibit the indoor or outdoor display of a for sale sign and a sign rider by a unit owner on that owner’s property.  

            This applies to all properties subject to deed restrictions (A.R.S. § 33-441, created 2009), condominiums (A.R.S. § 33-1261, amended 2007) and planned communities (A.R.S. § 33-1808, amended 2007), including those that are access-restricted.  It does not apply to timeshare properties.

            These laws protect not only professional realtor signs but signs that indicate that the property is for sale by owner.  The laws also state that the size of the sign and sign rider shall be in conformance with industry standards.  The laws define industry standards as a sign that does not exceed 18 x 24 inches.  Likewise, the sign rider shall not exceed 6 x 24 inches.

            Also, planned communities (A.R.S. § 33-1808, amended 2010) and condominiums (A.R.S. § 33-1261, amended 2010) may not regulate for sale signs if they are not larger than industry standard size.  Associations may not require the use of particular signs indicating real property for sale and may not further regulate the use of for sale signs that are industry standard size and that are owned or used by the seller or the seller’s agent.  In other words, associations may not force owners to use pre-approved for sale signs or signs that are a particular color or design. 

Open House Signs and Open House Hours

            Arizona law protects open house signs and open house hours in condominiums (A.R.S. § 33-1261, amended 2010) and planned communities (A.R.S. § 33-1808, amended 2010), including those that are access-restricted. 

            Associations may not prohibit or otherwise regulate temporary open house signs if they are not larger than industry standard size.  Associations may not require the use of particular signs indicating an open house and may not further regulate the use of temporary open house signs that are industry standard size and that are owned or used by the seller or the seller’s agent.  In other words, associations cannot force owners to use pre-approved open house signs or signs that are a particular color or design.  It is important to note, however, that planned community and condominium associations may still prohibit open house signs on common areas or common elements. 

            Associations may not limit the hours for an open house for real estate that is for sale, except that the association may prohibit open house being held before 8:00 A.M. or after 6:00 P.M. 

For Lease Signs and Open Houses for Rental Properties

            Arizona law protects for lease signs and open house hours for rental properties in condominiums (A.R.S. § 33-1261, amended 2010) and planned communities (A.R.S. § 33-1808, amended 2010), including those that are access-restricted. 

            Associations may not prohibit or otherwise regulate an owner’s or an owner’s agent’s for lease sign unless an association’s documents prohibit or restrict leasing of a member’s property.  Moreover, Associations may not further regulate a for lease sign or require the use of a particular for lease sign other than the for lease sign shall not be any larger than the industry standard size sign of 18 X 24 inches on or in the member’s property. 

            If leasing of a member’s property is not prohibited or restricted under the association’s documents, the association may prohibit open house leasing being held before 8:00 A.M. or after 6:00 P.M. 

For a link to the actual text of the bill, click here:

            If you have any questions about this new legislation, please contact us at 480-922-9292.

Thanks to Ekmark & Ekmark, L.L.C.  for giving me permission to share this timely info!

Scottsdale Weather Forecast – What does a day in July look like?

June is the month were many of the highest recorded temps have been recorded, but with its lower humidity doesn’t feel quite as hot as July and August, when the humidity of monsoon season arrives.  Whether it’s heat, humidity, sprinkles, lightning, wind, or a true rainstorm, the weather at this time of year varies as much as it ever does.

This week’s forecast:


In July, we wake up to morning clouds and gorgeous sunrises, that often burn off to a clear blue sky.  By mid-day, the thunderheads start building around the city.  At the end of the day, we might get some rain, but more often than not, it’s "just another gorgeous sunset"!

Sunrise - McCormick Ranch Golf Course North

McCormick Ranch View of Camelback Mountain

Saturday Storm Clouds

Scottsdale Microburst

Saturday Night Sunset (Custom)

Corrected 7/22/2010:  First paragraph originally stated that June is our hottest month.  From the National Weather Service web site, I found the historical data showing that this was not the case.  See: Phoenix AZ Monthly Temperature from 1896 to Present  (Thanks to Sage Dillon, Arizona native, for catching this one!)

Federal Tax Credit for Home Buyers Still Available to US Military until June 30, 2011

I received the following info in an email from  Matthew Remus, a lender at People’s Home Equity. 

The Federal Tax Credit for First time Home Buyers is still available to US Military Service Men and Women until June 30, 2011.

Members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and qualify for the credit. Thus, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2011. If a binding contract is entered into by that date, the taxpayer has until June 30, 2011, to close on the purchase. Members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community are eligible for this special rule. It applies to any individual (and, if married, the individual’s spouse) who serves on qualified official extended duty service outside of the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010


A Week in Review

Since I’ve started taking a intermediate photography class from the City of Scottsdale Park & Recreation, my life seems to revolve more around my camera than ever before.  As a Realtor, photos are a big part of my job. In fact, with most initial home shopping being done on-line, I decided that improving my photography skill was a must. 

One of our assignments this semester is to complete a photo log, taking a photo a day and creating a presentation at the end of class.  Today, I was thinking about that project and thought it might be interesting to see what photos I could put together for you that would document and describe what this past week looked like for me.

Take a look what this past week included for me, living and selling real estate in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Real Estate Update: Comparing Short Sales and Foreclosures, 2009 vs. 2010

Here’s a quick update on the status of the Scottsdale real estate market, looking at it from a “distressed” point of view.

First, a reminder of where the Scottsdale market was last year at this time.  A quarter of the listings were either pre-foreclosures or lender-owned properties, yet these two types of sales accounted for almost half of the sales. Depending on the type of sale, listing prices in June 2009 ranged from about $180 to $350 per square foot. Sales prices ranged from approximately $140 to $210 per square foot, with normal sales being about 50% higher than distressed sales.

Scottsdale-reo-short copy 

Looking at today’s market, you will see that not much has changed.  More pre-foreclosures are listed, but not significantly more. Sales of lender-owned properties are down a bit, pre-foreclosures are up a bit, for a wash. Listing prices ranged from about $190 to $310 per square foot. In June 2010, sales prices ranged from approximately $145 to $215 per square foot, with normal sales being about 50% higher than distressed sales. Not a lot of difference. According to the Cromford Index, the market is a bit more distressed.


All in all, more of the same, a bit of bumping across the bottom as many have predicted.  Only time will tell when, we start to see some significant improvement.


For the sake of clarity, I have included the following definitions of terms that were used in this Cromford Report chart: 

  • The Distress Index gauge at the center shows a value from 0 to 100 which expresses the overall level of foreclosure activity.
  • REOs or lender-owned properties have already been through the foreclosure process and completed their trustee sale. These properties were sold by the trustee to the beneficiary (lender). In a few trustee sales (typically less than 5% at the moment), the property may be sold to an investor or wholesaler who is prepared to bid higher than the bank. These properties are not classified as lender-owned.
  • The Pre-foreclosure category includes those properties that have started the foreclosure process, but have not yet had the trustee sale. We also include those which are being marketed in a short-sale situation, even if a notice of trustee sale has not been issued. In a full pre-foreclosure situation, the owner(s) have received a notice of trustee sale and the property is being marketed in order to try to sell the home before foreclosure completes. Many of pre-foreclosures are in a “short sale” situation, where the price asked is lower than the outstanding debt secured by the home. Such sales require the approval of the lender.
  • Normal sales are those where the owner has the unencumbered right to sell the property without requiring approval from a lender, court or external corporation of any kind, and the owner is not a financial institution. In a normal market, these constitute the vast majority of all listings and sales. The degree to which these sales become a smaller proportion of all sales indicates the level of distress being felt in the market.
  • Active listings include active-with-contingency and are measured at the beginning of the calendar month. All figures are for single family detached homes only. Monthly sales means sales that closed during the preceding calendar month. The date shown at the top of the dashboard is the date on which this measurement was taken.

Scottsdale Real Estate Tip: Pricing your house to sell

I have all kinds of  great real estate statistics at my fingertips, and I find the Scottsdale real estate market really interesting. 

Different from the surrounding cities because of its price range. Highly desirable because of its beauty, features, attractions, schools, and more. People from around the world know Scottsdale, because of its branding. Scottsdale is a destination, that often becomes a first or second or third home for people visiting the city.

What home sellers need to know is that regardless of the attraction Scottsdale has, home buyers are still looking for value. A deal. Concerns exist that real estate prices haven’t reached the bottom of the market.  And when you look at these next charts, you will see why buyers have been taking their time and making fairly aggressive offers when they do make a move.

First off, you’ll see the Listing Success Rate, which is a comparison between the number of listings sold and the total number of listings closed (sold, expired or canceled) in the last month, expressed as a percentage. So basically, about the same number of listing were canceled or expired as closed last month.


In the next chart you’ll see a number of different Average List Price per Square Foot gauges.

Active Listings – the average price per square foot for all homes for sale, listed as Active or Active with Contingencies, as of July 8th, 2010

Pending Listings – the average price per square foot for all homes pending (under contract) as of July 8th 2010

Closed Listing – average price per square foot for all homes that closed in the prior month

And, then in the lower graph on the same chart, you will see that the actual sales prices is less than all three of these figures, except for this most recent month where pending listings have dipped below the sales price.  This most likely indicates that future sales prices in the next couple months may be down.  The most telling number on this page is the List Price Premium, which shows that Scottsdale homes are selling at 46% less than the list price, when comparing on a price per square foot basis.


Taking a more detailed look at Average Sales Price per Square Foot, you’ll see that the home appreciation I wrote about a few days ago, is a potential trend.  When looking at the figures on an annual basis, it clear to see that depreciation has definitely slowed, and maybe, just maybe, we are at the bottom of the market. Comparing this past month with the same time last year, you’ll see a 5% increase in appreciation.


Now to look at Sales, which are up and have been for the past several months. The annual trend has been increasing, but shows signs of tapering off. Comparing the number of sales for this past month with the same time last year, you’ll see a 5% improvement.


So, for Scottsdale home owners who are thinking about selling, the market is gradually improving.  At the same time, the home buyer’s mindset is one of holding the upper hand. 

The good new is that Scottsdale  home sales are up. Prices are somewhat stable and even appreciating slightly.  However, prices (average per square foot) are on average 46% higher than the actual sales price, which would definitely explain why so many home listings are expiring or being cancelled.

Bottom line:  Buyers know when a home is priced well and they will jump on it, making an offer that much closer to the asking price.  Selling a home quickly will make some home sellers feel like they’ve left money on the table, but in reality, the sales prices for a home that sells quickly, in most every case, will be higher than a listing that priced too high that stagnates on the market.  If you want to sell your home, you need to price it to the current market.  First time, every time.

Related Posts: