Scottsdale’s "Frances “Forever” Young Unsung Community Heroes for 2011

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Can you imagine volunteering at the local hospital for 50 years, like:

Marguerite “Pam” Berges
Fifty years . . . five decades . . . a half century — that’s how long Community Hero Marguerite “Pam” Berges has been volunteering at Scottsdale Healthcare as part of the hospital’s Auxiliary volunteer program. Pam has been there since the program’s 1961 founding, when she was just one of 25 charter members.

Or starting a group of community minded volunteers called the “Charity Chicks”?

It started with a few crazy “chicks” who met through casual volunteering and ended up forming lasting friendships. One of those chicks, Amy Davison, saw the endless possibilities . . . and the endless community needs. So in 2003, Amy hatched Charity Chicks with a simple mission – getting a bunch of women who care together to “share the joy of giving.”

Or, believing in people of all abilities, like:

Matt Mays has volunteered his time for Scottsdale’s special needs community for six years. While a recreation leader and volunteer coordinator working with the developmentally disabled, he continues that job on his own time. For the past two years, Matt has energetically served as a volunteer coach and scene designer for Detour! Company Theater, a business that makes theater accessible to actors of all abilities.

I had the good fortune to be invited to the 2011 Frances Young Unsung Community Heroes breakfast this morning. I walked in and immediately bumped into Matt Mays, not knowing he was an award recipient. What a special treat is was to learn of his award and be there as he was honored.

Matt has been a mentor and a friend to my son with autism.  His spirit is huge and he always gives with a smile on his fact. Truly a special guy.

To learn more about each of the award recipients, visit the City of Scottsdale’s new release: 2011 Frances Young Unsung Community Heroes named

More about Scottsdale services:

“Wish I could say Scottsdale home sales prices were holding steady”


After a long hiatus, I took a peek at average sales prices for single family homes in Scottsdale. Prices are still on the decline, looking at the overall picture.  And, approaching the average sale price of approximately $400,000 of 2002.

Was really hoping to see a bit of appreciation, but not yet. 

Maybe 2012 will be the year that I can say that Scottsdale home prices are holding steady.  I sincerely hope so. Any predictions?

Summer’s Over!

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Well, summer in Scottsdale is FINALLY over! One hundred degree highs are behind us for at least six months, we hope. And the glorious time of year that makes us all very grateful to live here is here!

Seriously, who can complain about this forecast of sunny days, with high’s in the 85-90 degree range. While it still may be a bit warm for some, it feels like heaven after a long, hot summer.  Right?


More Scottsdale weather info:

Scottsdale Association of Realtors Leadership Academy

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The Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors has this phenomenal leadership program, and I was nominated and selected for Class XV.  For the past seven weeks, I’ve been spending a day or two a week with thirteen other Realtors learning about the inner workings and offerings that make Scottsdale what it it is.

I have learned so much about this city and what it offers its residents and will share as much as I can here as time permits, since we still four weeks to go.

So far, we’ve had days that included learning about Scottsdale city government, several major businesses, an arts and culture day, the police department, and this past week, we spent a day with the fire department at their training facility (which was absolutely phenomenal).

Our  Class XV has assumed the moniker of Feisty Fifteen.  Feisty as in “full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky”.  We most definitely are that, and more.

As a group, we’ve bonded. And, as leaders in our community, we are growing and evolving.

bob-peirceBob Peirce, the CEO of the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors, is retiring at the end of this year, and through this program I’ve had the incredible opportunity to spend more time with this phenomenal human being and supporter of both Scottsdale and the Realtor community. 

This leadership program has been Bob’s “baby” over the years and what a special time it has been.

Thank you, Bob.

For the opportunity. For all you do. And for what we all have learned from you about being a truly gracious and effective leader.

How many dogs can I have in my Scottsdale home?

The three dogs waiting

photo credit: Dave Goodman

Recently, a home buyer asked me if she was allowed to have three dogs in Scottsdale.

I emailed the Information Office for the city and got this detailed response back:

The City of Scottsdale’s codes and ordinances does not have a limit on the number of household pets. There are two relevant sections of the City Code regarding the keeping of animals on private property. The first is Chapter Four, Article II, which refers to sanitary requirements, noise produced from animals and the authority of Maricopa County health officers to inspect premises and require abatement of nuisances.

If there is a Homeowner Association, there may be CC&Rs and Deed Restrictions which may limit the number of animals permitted, however the City of Scottsdale does not enforce these regulations, the HOA does.

Here are the relevant sections of the Scottsdale City Code:

Articles II. Keeping of Domestic Animals

Sec. 4-16. Purpose

The control of the keeping of animals, as regards to their location and sanitary requirements, is substantially and reasonable related to the public health, safety and welfare.

(Code 1972, 4-202)

Sec. 4-17. General Restrictions

(a) Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, birds, fowl, and any other animal or bird, and the pens, stalls, stables, yards, shelters, cages, areas, places and premises where they are held or kept, shall be so maintained that flies, insects, or vermin, rodents harborages, odors, ponded water, the accumulation of manure, garbage, refuse or other noxious material do not become a public health nuisance.

(c) No person shall knowingly keep or harbor any animal or fowl which by frequent or habitual howling, yelping, barking, crowing or the making of other noises shall annoy or disturb a neighborhood or any two (2) or more persons, one (1) of which may be a police officer or an animal control officer.

So, yes, three dogs are allowed as long as the public is safe, they do not smell up the neighborhood, they are quiet…. and it is allowed by the HOA.

Phoenix Real Estate: Supply is down, so why aren’t home prices rising?

Old Republic Title Company hosted a big event yesterday, where Mike Orr of the Cromford Report gave a presentation. I’d planned attend the event until a Canadian buyer asked me to write a contract right before they headed home.

Good news is that, my wonderful contacts at ORTC, emailed me the presentation last night.  The full presentation was much longer, but the following charts were especially helpful.

This section of the presentation:

 “Supply is way down. So why aren’t prices rising?”

Was answered:

“It typically takes 12-18 months for prices to respond to a big change in the supply/demand balance.”


The following charts show Mike’s logic.

First, "Days Inventory” is defined as the number of active listings divided by the average daily sales over the last year.


Next, he shared the 10+ year history of Days Inventory, also including those properties that are noted as Active with Contingency. These are, for the most part, short sales that the seller has accepted the offer, and all parties are waiting for the bank short sale agreements to be negotiated and accepted.


The “normal” market in Phoenix real estate ended in early 2003.


The “bubble” lasted almost 3 years, ending in early 2006.


Mike called the period of early 2006 through mid-2007 as “running on fumes”, while home pricing remained stable.


Late 2007 marked the beginning of the pricing free fall.Slide15

And then mid-2009, we started seeing signs of stabilization.


Taking shorts sales into account, Days Inventory is still running at a lower level than our normal markets of the last decade.


And when you look at the true number of homes available for sale, excluding those with contingencies, you see that the situation is even more striking.


I’ve heard Mike say this before, and he noted it in his presentation slides.  Basically, “The longer it take before prices respond, the larger the response is likely to be.”


I still get regular requests to help buyers find a “good deal”, and I know exactly what they mean. The reality is that with housing inventories running as such low levels, finding a house that matches their needs and wants, is really the bigger challenge.

I hope that sellers will be encouraged by this historical perspective.  I know I am.

More on our local real estate market:

Photo Walk: Old Town Scottsdale at Dusk

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A couple weeks ago I participated in the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in Old Town Scottsdale. Fifty local photographers met at 5 pm on a Saturday night and wondered about several blocks of Scottsdale. Mostly along Main Street.

Here are several of my quiet views of Old Town Scottsdale on Saturday, October 1st. It was an uncommon day, very overcast, clearing up as the sun was setting.

scottsdale-photo-walk-1960 (Small)Love this Old Town with New Times view.

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Art work and sculptures everywhere downtown. Pretty amazing to see them tucked in here and there.

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Lots of cowboy boots at Saba’s, just across the street from the Rusty Spur Saloon.

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T-shirt stores.

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Lots of jewelry stores. Had to walk in and ask how much this beautiful bowl was. $900!

More sculptures line the street.

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And finally, sunset on Main and Marshall Way.

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More photos:

Downtown Scottsdale on Flickr

Historic Scottsdale–A Walking Photo Tour

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