MGroup Arizona Real Estate Blog

March 20, 2019

Tips for Staging Your Home in 2019

If you’re preparing to put your house on the market, the presentation is everything. Staging a house—or, the process of strategically rearranging your furniture and décor—allows you to present the property in its best light, so that prospective buyers are more inclined to imagine themselves living there. Best of all, home-staging doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. In addition to keeping your house sparkling clean, there are plenty of small, simple changes you can make to your home to help it look its best.

Are you ready to sell your house as quickly as possible in 2019? Follow these tips to boost your property’s appeal in an instant.

  • Get rid of signs of pets. Sure, our cats and dogs are part of the family—but their presence isn’t always helpful when you’re trying to sell your house. Some potential buyers may not be animal people, so you’ll want to make sure you erase any sign of pets from your home. Remove any toys, litter boxes, water bowls, or food dishes, and clean your house from top to bottom to get rid of any pet hair.
  • Banish the clutter. Clutter is your worst enemy when you’re trying to stage your home. Go through room to room and declutter by removing extra items, paying special attention to your closet and pantry spaces. If you have more clutter than you know what to do with, consider hiring a trash removal service in Phoenix to take care of it for you. 
  • Reorganize your bookshelves. If your bookshelves are stuffed to the brim with all your books and trinkets, it’s time to reorganize: Step things up a notch, style-wise, by removing at least 25 percent of your books (if not more), and then artfully rearranging the ones that are left. Stack some horizontally, stack others vertically, and place just a few trendy trinkets on your shelves as bookends.
  • Depersonalize. If you truly want to sell your house as fast as possible, depersonalizing your property is crucial. This means getting rid of any family photos, personal souvenirs, décor with your name on it, or any other keepsakes. Remember, buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in your home—and it’s hard to do this when there are pictures of another family all over the walls.
  • Keep things fresh. Plants and flowers can add serious life and freshness into a space. However, it's all about placement: Don't crowd your home with a bunch of plants; rather, space them out so as not to clutter any areas. A well-placed plant or fresh bouquet of flowers can do wonders for your home.
  • Buy white towels. This may seem oddly specific but putting out all-white towels in your bathroom is a small yet effective trick to staging your home. Crisp, white towels feel much cleaner and more luxurious than colored towels.
  • Don’t neglect the outside. While the interior of your house is the true selling point, curb appeal is important, too. This is because most potential buyers peruse listings online, so you want to make sure the outside of your home is in tip-top shape. Thoroughly clean your windows, plant flowers, mow the lawn, put out a welcome mat and brightly colored potted plants, trim any overgrown greenery, and maybe put out patio furniture (if you have space) to attract buyers. Your front and backyard upgrades are important. 
  • Stay neutral. You may appreciate big, vibrant pops of color—but potential buyers may not. Keep things as toned-down (and gender-neutral) as possible to appeal to a much broader audience.

Staging your home doesn’t have to be stressful or costly—as long as you deep-clean, declutter, and follow the rest of the tips on this list, you’ll undoubtedly sell your house in no time at all. Trust your local real estate experts to help you move to your dream home in Phoenix!

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
March 11, 2019

Greenify Your Home

Making the decision to be greener in your home is not only great for the climate but has recently become more economically viable for most. Most green appliances or energy efficient updates to the home are no longer out of reach for middle class Americans; as the technology driving these items has improved the costs of these items have become much more affordable and accessible to the public. The public’s acceptance of climate change has grown substantially in the past ten years, and it’s no longer strange to be concerned about your own carbon footprint if for no other reason than saving money. The goal of this post is to help the average home owner find ways to lower their impact on the environment and in turn safe some green as well. Here are some tips to greenify your home:  

 

  • Sealing your windows: When you have small gaps or other ways your air can leak out of your home, you waste a lot of your heating and cooling energy. Use silicone caulk to seal the cracks in your drywall and consider shrink wrapping your windows during the winter. It’s a small change but it can make a big difference in your heating and cooling efficiency. All it takes to seal your windows is an in expensive kit from your local hardware store, a hair dryer and about 15 mins of your time.  

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  • Cold Water Washing: Washing your clothes in cold water saves a dramatic amount of energy, considering water heating is typically the second highest energy expense in your home. Cold water washing also benefits the colors of your clothes and can make your clothes last longer than washing in hot water.  

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  • Changing Your Light Bulbs: Replacing your incandescent bulbs with LED’s or CFL bulbs can save a significant amount of energy. CFL’s use about 70% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last much longer. Contact your local energy company to see if they have a program for free energy efficient bulbs, many often do and that can help offset the costs. 

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  • Programmable Thermostat: Using a programmable thermostat optimizes the heating and cooling operations within your home by only running your HVAC system when necessary. Since heating and cooling are typically the biggest energy user, a programmable thermostat can make a significant impact right away. New models have WIFI capability and can be controlled from your mobile phone. Very convenient for those you who may be on the go a lot and might forget to set your thermostat.  

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  • Repair Leaky Faucets: Leaky taps can waste 140 gallons of water per week. Most faucet repair is simple and can be done in the matter of 10-20 minutes with a few tools and YouTube. Leaky faucets can usually be fixed by replacing the seat washer, here is a resource that goes into common leaky faucet repairs by faucet type. Another common faucet problem is that the faucet aerator gets clogged and needs to be empty. Cleaning the aerator can fix faucets with suddenly decreased water pressure. Not only will you save some money in water costs, but you’ll learn a valuable skill as well!  

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  • Install A Low-Flow Shower Head: Water costs a lot and using a shower head that isn’t low flow wastes valuable water which is expensive and unnecessary. Modern low-flow shower head models can achieve higher water pressure than those of old, so fear not if you like a powerful shower! 

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  • Install a Low-Flow Toilet: Water consumption via your toilet adds up quickly. Because this part of your plumbing system is used so frequently, having a toilet that unnecessarily wastes water can cost you a lot of money in water consumption. Newer low-flow toilet models are very good at removing waste and save a lot of water in the process.  

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  • Attic Insulation: By adding insulation to your attic, you drastically improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. It’s also one of the highest return on investment home improvement projects a homeowner can take on, so if you have some extra money consider putting this at the top of your list.  

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  • Replacing Old Appliances: Older appliances have been significantly out paced by modern technology when it comes to energy efficiency. When your older appliances start to give you trouble, consider upgrading to an Energy Star certified model. If possible, upgrade them one by one that way you can offset the initial costs with time in between.  

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So, there you have it, a few ways you as a homeowner can greenify your home. While this post is in no means fully comprehensive, it will give you a great start to lower your impact on both the environment and your wallet. From there you can move on to optimizing more areas of your home and further reducing your energy consumption! 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Nov. 28, 2018

Winter Driving Tips for Your Trip to Flagstaff

Driving in snowy and icy conditions can be downright dangerous if you have not done it before. There are plenty of factors that combine to make driving on a slippery surface much different than a normal road. For that reason, it is best to do your research and be prepared before heading out on the winter roads. Here are a few top tips for safe winter driving:

Car Preparation

First and foremost, you must make sure that your vehicle is ready to be driven in winter conditions. Having the essentials such as a car accident kit, first aid kit, a snow shovel, and a ice scraper can really get you out of sticky situations. The tires are also really important to get checked before the first snow. It is best to switch to snow tires or run all-season tires for best control on slippery surfaces.

 

Another good decision is to get a car with all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive. These vehicles offer the best traction on slippery surfaces because all four wheels are being powered by the engine. Colorado’s most popular car brand is Subaru simply because of their cars’ ability to handle in snowy and harsh conditions.

 

You can always prepare yourself before you drive by turning on the weather channel and planning what drives you have during the week. Aim to drive only if you have to and do your research before. If you check your local news, you can also see if traffic is already severely backed up. It is a good idea to leave long before you need to be somewhere. Rushing leads to accidents.

Driving In Winter Conditions

Winter driving can be stressful, but as long as you have time and patience, things will go smoothly. First, you need to recognize that your car is heavy, so any sudden stops are going to cause you to slide. The same goes for any sudden accelerations.

 

Your best bet is to ever-so-lightly accelerate and brake to control the movement of the tires. This is nearly impossible if you are going fast, so take a nice pace that you feel comfortable with. If you are holding up traffic, just turn on your hazard lights and go to the slow lane. People should get the hint and move around you.

 

The normal distance for following another car on dry pavement is one car length for every 10 miles per hour. When you’re driving in snowy conditions, it is best to double that metric. So every 10 miles per hour, you should be 2 car lengths back. This will give you plenty of reaction time if the car in front of you starts to spin out. Not everyone has a four-wheel drive car. Make sure that if you drive a sedan, to take extra precautions.

 

This is somewhat of a no-brainer, but your seatbelt should always be on when you get in the car. This could potentially save your life if there is any trouble on the road. Also, you can do yourself a favor and warm up the car before you start driving. This will be one less distraction and put you in slightly more comfort when driving in a stressful situation.

 

Driving in the snow can seem like a daunting task. As long as you take all of the necessary precautions, you will keep yourself and others safe. Just keep in mind only to drive if you absolutely have to. When you do, make sure you have had great rest the night prior and have all of your senses dialed to 10. Remember these simple steps and you should be able to traverse the snowy roads like a professional. Good luck this winter!

Posted in Lifestlye
Oct. 3, 2018

Phoenix's Favorite Food Spots

Natural beauty and gorgeous weather make Phoenix one of the finest places to live and visit in the Southwest. The fifth largest city in America, Phoenix has become to be known as the Silicon Desert for its tech industry growth over the past twenty years. The city is the perfect home base for day trips to the Grand Canyon, Tombstone, and the Painted Desert and also offers a range of things to do for families.

 

Many people visit Phoenix for amazing hotels and golfing, but the city is also a hub of fantastic food and drinks. Like much of the southwest, the earliest restaurants in Phoenix were steakhouses, but now the city boasts an array of amazing cuisines from Mexican to sushi, Southern comfort to Italian, and everything in between.

 

Whether you’re looking for great bar-b-q and steaks or cheap tacos and a sweet treat, dive into delicious and decadent dishes in the Valley of the Sun.

The Stockyards

Meat lovers rejoice at Arizona’s original steakhouse, The Stockyards. A Phoenix institution, the restaurant was founded in 1947 and continues to offer some of the heartiest steak and prime rib in the Southwest with an emphasis on local ingredients and flavors.

Centrico

If you’re on the hunt for great Mexican food in a beautiful space, make sure to stop by Centrico for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A relatively new restaurant on the Phoenix foodie scene, diners rave about their salsa, fish tacos and extensive tequila list.

Postino

If you’re looking for a chic wine bar to impress your friends or business colleagues, look no further than Postino. With a rotating bottle list and bruschetta boards to share, the Italian cafe delivers on its mission to leave you feeling “dang good.”

Harumi Sushi

A casual sushi restaurant with affordable grab-and-go boxes for lunch, Harumi Sushi is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Fast service and high-quality food mean that even when its busy, Harumi is well worth a visit. It's not often you can order something silly like the Sex and the City Roll for laughs and still be wowed by the great taste.

The Stand

Another exemplar of the dedicated beef culture of the city, The Stand offers some of the best burgers and milkshakes in town with a farm-to-table approach sure to impress even the most die-hard foodies. After you’ve inhaled your delicious double patty burger, try to save some room for the indulgent Salted Dulce De Leche milkshake.

Beckett’s Table

If you’re feeling homesick and searching for a slice of the south during your stay in Phoenix, Beckett’s Table has you covered. Comfort food never looked or tasted so good as Chef Justin Beckett whips up incredible seasonal foods sure to taste just like home.

Bobby Q

Formerly known as Bobby McGee’s, Bobby Q has been serving up great steaks and bar-b-q since 2005. The original location in Phoenix is a family favorite that also offers take-out and catering. Come and get your brisket fix with a side of cornbread or go to Whole Hog Heaven, a feast fit to share including ribs, two types of meat and three sides.

The Yard

If you like your food and drinks with a side of corn hole, shuffleboard and ping pong, visit The Yard. Enjoy great cocktails, beer and wine selection in the former garage and motorcycle dealership retrofitted into a restaurant cluster that includes eateries like Culinary Dropout and more.

Tutti Santi by Nina

Spoil yourself with the finest Italian food, wines, and hospitality at Tutti Santi by Nina. Since 1996 Italian specialty chef Nina Vincenti has opened four locations of her signature restaurant across Arizona and continued to create dishes renowned for their flavorful sauces and fresh, local ingredients. Stop in for Reverse Happy Hour from 9:00 to 11:00 pm on Fridays to enjoy live jazz, great drinks, and out-of-this-world food.

Pizzeria Bianco

Authentic wood-fired pizzas and homemade mozzarella cheese made Pizzeria Bianco an instant hit when it opened in 1987. More than 20 years later, the restaurant boasts a second location offering the same great food that made it a Phoenix mainstay. The short, rotating menu usually consists of two appetizers, three salads, and six pizzas. But what the restaurant lacks in options, it makes up for in quality.  

Binkley’s Restaurant

With a familiar, comfortable bar, beautiful garden terrace and sociable dining room, Binkley’s Restaurant takes the experience of eating as seriously as the taste. The seasonal menu is created daily by head chef Amy Binkley, who sometimes offers to bring guests into the kitchen to learn more about their meals as he prepares them. For a slow, picturesque journey into the way food should be experienced, Binkley’s is unparalleled across the city.

 

Phoenix is a city of great natural beauty that ripples into many different aspects of their welcoming, lavish food culture. No matter what your taste, there’s something for everyone to rave about in the Valley of the Sun.

Posted in Lifestlye
Sept. 24, 2018

Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Owning a home means owning homeowner problems, including the most infamous of homeowner problems: plumbing. If you’re worried that you’ll sink way too much money than necessary into your real estate investment (à la the poorly received 1986 movie, The Money Pit), follow along with this guide and we’ll help you make sure you don’t flush away thousands on home maintenance.

Repairs

The first thing every homeowner should know when it comes to plumbing is what they’re able to repair on their own and what repairs they’ll need to call in backup for. Simple fixes include things like turning off the main water valve, turning off a water heater, fixing leaky pipes, stopping toilets from running, cleaning a shower head, unclogging a toilet, and fixing dripping faucets. You can easily learn these simple fixes from blogs and books, but when it comes to things like pipe blockages and burst pipes, you’ll want to immediately contact an expert to mitigate water damage, reduce the risk of personal injury, and avoid major property damages.

To supplement your budding plumbing knowledge, you’re also need some tools, like a plunger, a roll of duct tape, a pipe wrench, an auger, a snake, and an adjustable wrench. These can be purchased at any local hardware store. You should also pick up a maintenance book for those simple fixes.

Plumbing System

Homeowners should also know where certain things are in their home, like water valves, cut-off valves, and the water heater. If a pipe springs a leak, knowing where to go to shut off the water could easily save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in water damage repairs. The same is true for gas system valves. The main water shutoff valve is usually in a warmer place, like a basement, attached to an exterior wall, or inside an underground box. If you can’t find the valves on your own, your local utility company might be able to help you out in find where they are. The water supply valves for toilets, sinks, and applications are much easier to spot, and are usually within a few feet of their distributor. But just because they’re easy to find doesn’t mean it’s safe to put cleaning supplies, plants, or furniture to cover them up. In the event of an emergency, you’ll need immediate access to them.

Maintaining Plumbing System

Accessing pipes also means maintaining the environment around pipes to ensure nothing corrosive is affecting them. Climate issues, like an unexpected hard freeze, can also cause issues. If you’re not home, make sure a trusted neighbor or family member is able to check on your pipes for you. You can also prevent pipe freezes by properly insulating your pipes, especially in crawl spaces, attics, and wherever your pipes are exposed.

Water Heaters

Water heaters are a particularly troublesome staple of the home. While with regular maintenance and a good brand, water heaters have a lifespan of around 8 to 12 years, the location, design, quality of installation, and water quality will all impact the longevity of your unit. You should also know whether your water heater is electric or gas, in case you need to describe your issues over the phone with a plumber. Fixing or replacing a water heater can be a fairly expensive proposition, so it really helps to do regular maintenance on them, from checking the pressure valve and flushing the tank, to knowing how to light the pilot or connecting it to electric power.

If you’re in need of service manual resource for your water heater, you’re in luck: follow along here for handbooks on miscellaneous models for both commercial and residential uses.

Don't stress about these project when you think about buying a new home. Your experienced real estate agent will ensure you find your dream home and that inspections go well. Are you ready to start the search for Phoenix real estate? Contact us today!

Posted in Home Maintenance
Aug. 30, 2018

Top Questions to ask a Real Estate Broker

It is easy to fall in love with what seems like the perfect home, only to end up with major financial headaches down the road. While immediate issues such as water pressure are important, it’s key to ask a real estate agent questions to help prepare for the future. Here are some top questions everyone should keep in mind before buying a home.

Pricing

Buyers should set a budget upfront and see which homes fall in the range. A real estate broker may also be connected with mortgage brokers who can pre-qualify buyers. This way, a loan is already in place if needed.

Ask what the offering price of the home is based on. Some homes may be priced extremely low for a reason. Others may have a higher price due to a recent addition or home upgrade such as a modernized kitchen. Buyers should base their offer on what other homes in the area have sold for, not the asking price.

See how many offers the home has received. Homes with multiple offers sell quickly, so a buyer may need to make a strong offer for something they are set on. It also helps to find out how long a home has been on the market. The longer a home is up for sale, the more likely a buyer could get a discount.

Location

Location is key, especially if a buyer eventually plans to sell the home they pick. A good real estate broker will be able to provide some insight into if the area is growing or declining. One area used to be prone to foreclosures could be the next hottest market.

Check to see which school district the home falls under, and review the ratings of local schools in the area. Families should also see how long it takes to commute to school or to work. Those who want to live closer to a city’s bustling social scene may have to sacrifice time sitting in the car during rush hour.

Along with your budget, consider your new commute to work. It might also be necessary to invest in a fuel-efficient car. But don’t get lost in exploring the new gadgets in cars and forget to check if the car will fit in the garage. Many real estate brokers say buyers end up with trucks too tall or too long for their garage.

Review any nuisance factors. Living next to a restaurant can be a nice convenience during the day but a headache at night with extra traffic. Also, highway noise may keep a light sleeper awake.

Home Condition

A broker or agent can help buyers estimate repair costs for major projects. Ask about the roof’s age, as newer roofs can last for decades. If a roof needs repair, it’s important to determine if the buyer or the seller will end up paying.

Check to see if the walls and attic have insulation, especially if the home is located in a colder climate. The U.S. Department of Energy previously recommended an upgrade if a home has insulation with a thickness of less than 11 inches. And a proper upgrade can help a family save up to $600 a year on energy costs.

Review the home’s plumbing history with the real estate broker. Ask if the sewer line has experienced any issues, as well as the plumbing. Burst pipes are one of the top homeowners insurance claims, so homebuyers should make sure exposed pipes are protected.

 

Previous owners should disclose any water damage, but an inspector can review the home in case. Long-term water damage can lead to mold and rot wooden beams. Both are dangerous for people’s health and expensive to fix.

Posted in Market Update
Aug. 24, 2018

The Ultimate Arizona Road Trip

When thinking of taking a road trip through Arizona, many people might imagine a long and boring drive through desert terrain. But they couldn’t be more wrong. For those who have taken a road trip in AZ before or are native to the state, you know that Arizona has a lot of unique beauty to offer.

 

Besides all the fun and interesting stops that you can experience along the way, an Arizona road trip can prove to be refreshing, enlightening, and wonderous. If you live in Phoenix and are itching to get on the road, we got you covered. Here is a list of things to consider and places to visit in the beautiful state of Arizona.

Phoenix

First of all, if you’re starting your road trip in Phoenix and haven’t explored Phoenix itself, then you’re in a great starting place. We highly suggest visiting Papago Park before heading to the other places on our list. Papago Park is a hiking haven with incredible scenic views and even a zoo nearby. The trail opens at 5 a.m., so it would be a fantastic first stop in the crack of dawn to enjoy the sunset. Next, we suggest making your way down towards Tucson.

 

To save time before you start, make sure you consider traffic in this area before taking off down the highway. Rush hour on the highway towards Tucson can put a real damper on your trip if you don’t time it correctly. Consider grabbing a new book on tape and drive a fuel-efficient car to ensure that you don’t have to stop for gas too often.  

Sonoran Desert

Taking I-10 Southbound and catching the 347 will take you straight to the Sonoran Desert National Monument. This desert is one of the most biologically diverse deserts in all of North America, and is definitely worth the drive. With three different main mountain ranges, this monument has vast desert plant-life to witness, an extensive Saguaro cactus forest, and an unlimited amount of fresh mountain air. With over 487,000 acres of Sonoran Desert Landscape, you can easily spend a day or two exploring this unique area.

Tucson

Heading over towards Tucson, make sure to drive through the Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway, and make a visit to the Mission San Xavier del Bac, a Catholic mission from 1692 that is now a National Historic Landmark. This architectural building is great for taking some instagram-worthy photos and enjoying the in-person awe it gives off. If you’re looking for a stop to have some nighttime fun, we suggest heading over to Fourth Avenue. On Fourth Avenue you will find many funky shops to buy road trip trinkets, and nightclubs along the way for some spontaneous dancing. The great thing about Tucson is that there are so many unique sights to see and really fun things to do. You will never be bored! Other sights and stops can include the Rattlesnake Bridge, the Vista Sun Wheel, and the El Rio Neighborhood Center Murals.

Flagstaff

Making your way back up North towards Flagstaff, you have the opportunity to visit three other huge Landmarks: The Tonto National Forest, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, and the Coconino National Forest. These stops will call for some adventurous hiking, desert plant-life discoveries, and of course many gorgeous views.

 

One thing to consider while heading towards Flagstaff, however, is that you may hit some major traffic along the way. Road trips are mostly all fun and games, but traffic isn’t fun for anyone. The I-17 can get pretty congested during rush hour, so if you’re traveling on the Interstate during those busy times, it would be a great opportunity to stop and grab some lunch or spend a little extra time at the National Forest of your choosing. Or, take a more scenic route - you are on a road trip, after all! Having a large truck with plenty of trunk space also proves to be a huge plus when taking a long road trip, so choose wisely!

Grand Canyon

The big kahuna of landmarks in Arizona, The Grand Canyon, is quite possibly the biggest attraction area in the entire state. With its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history, the Grand Canyon National Park gets hundreds of thousands of visitors every single year. This National Park covers an overwhelming amount of land, and there are plenty of fun things to do there such as backcountry camping, river trip opportunities, walking breathtaking trails and more. Make sure to witness either a sunrise or sunset when visiting here; it is a magical experience.

 

Arizona is nature’s finest museum. The Grand Canyon alone is worth a thousand mile road trip, but there are also thousands of other stops along the way that will help make your trip unforgettable. Go hiking through the many different national forests, visit some nifty and unique shops while driving through smaller towns, and soak in all the views throughout your time on the road itself. Arizona is a gorgeous state for a 7-10 day road trip, so get in your car and head to these wonderful places that will sit in your memory for years to come.

Posted in Lifestlye
July 24, 2018

7 Things to Consider Before Downsizing

There are a number of different reasons that people decide to downsize and move into a smaller home. Whether your kids are grown and out of the house, you are looking for something easier to maintain, or you have simply been put in a tricky situation and need to move, downsizing may be a good option. Before uprooting your home though, consider these seven things to make sure your move is the right one for you.

Size of Household

If you have a small family or your children recently took off to college, a big house can be a big burden. Downsizing to something that perfectly houses your family means less maintenance - and less unnecessary empty space. But if your household could potentially gain a few members, moving to a smaller home could be problematic down the road.

 

If you are planning to start a family or bring in pets, you may want to stick with a space that can accommodate a crowd. If you also enjoy hosting large groups of people, it may be best to remain in a suitable sized home. Consider whether or not your household is at its maximum capacity, or if you may be welcoming in new friends and family soon before making the big (or small) move. It’s also a good idea to consider what other areas you might be able to save when downsizing. For example, if you have a large van that fits a whole family, it might be a good idea to get a compact SUV that gets better gas mileage.

Is Your Home Sentimental?

You have probably already spent a number of years in your current home, settling in and making memories. While you might not realize it, your house can become a big component of your life. Have you established an elaborate backyard and patio setting? Maybe you have a special room or space dedicated to your hobbies that won’t occupy the same space in a smaller home. If you have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle within your home, it is subject to change once you are living in a smaller space, so think about if you are willing to part with the memories and set-up of your current home.

Cost of Moving

Perhaps you are looking to downsize to decrease your monthly bills and potentially even have a leasing company who handles large repairs. While downsizing in itself can lead to a cheaper living option, there are still a ton of costs associated with moving. Plus, you will likely still want to make your new space feel like home, and renovations can quickly add up - even for small projects. When you consider your budget for downsizing, be sure to include costs for closing both on your new and old home, movers, construction and any other pressing needs. Cut costs where you can so you are able to save up for the move.

Size of Space Needed to Live

When you are in a space, it can be hard to realize how you expand over time and how your favorite activities occupy space. But if you are downsizing, such as to a townhome, your living space will change. Floor plans for smaller homes also do not provide as much flexibility when it comes to decorating and furniture placement, so you may have to make due with a setup that fits the home well. Think about how much physical space you realistically need to go about your daily routine and maximize your smaller space.

Cost for Buying Smaller Furniture

Like moving costs, furniture costs may not be at the forefront of your mind, but the furniture that fits in your current home may not transfer to the layout of a smaller home. Factor in what furniture you can keep and what you will need to replace or ditch, and how that will impact your budget.

Current Real Estate Market

Depending on the fluctuation of the real estate market, you may not walk away with as much profit from selling your home as you would like. While big cities, like Phoenix, are seeing a boom in real estate prices, not all areas are, and you should consider the gain you will have from selling.

Location

Probably one of the most important things to consider, the location of your move. Whether you are moving down the street or across the country, a new place is a new place and that is something exciting to celebrate. Cities like Scottsdale, Arizona are a great place to relocate as the city has seen a real estate boom in recent years. Homes in Scottsdale also have a wide variety of selling prices, so no matter your budget for downsizing, you can find a great home at the right price. Make sure to consider aspects like schools, nearby activities and attractions, crime rates, and even simple lifestyle changes like commute times.

 

Moving can be a tough decision to make, but downsizing is a great way to lower your expenses and give you more disposable income. Downsize to a smaller property so that you can live a simpler life and not have to stress over home maintenance.

Posted in Lifestlye
May 24, 2018

Ways to Beat the Heat in Phoenix

Ways to Beat the Heat in Phoenix

Summer usually brings happiness and outdoor joy. However, sometimes the summer heat can bring boredom and sweat. Especially in Phoenix, Arizona. Here in Phoenix, it can get so hot you can actually cook an egg on the sidewalk. As crazy as the heat can get, we have found tips and tricks to beat the heat and keep the summer blues at bay. Whether you are visiting or just moved, all of these tips will be perfect for you to enjoy the summer in some form. Let’s dive right in and see how we can beat the heat in Phoenix!

The Basics

Let’s touch base on how hot it can really get here. The average high temperature in the summer months can get up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also note that the skies tend to stay blue. This means a lot of direct sunlight. The basic ways to beat the heat in Phoenix, Arizona are the same as anywhere else.

 

Drink a lot of water, aim for the shade, and make sure to carry around a travel sized pack of sun block. Of course, staying hydrated is most crucial. This means drinking up to 10 glasses of water each day just to beat the heat and stay healthy. You always want to protect your skin as much as possible from the harmful UV rays. This is where the shade and the sunblock come in. Nothing is worse than burning your skin and having to manage your day with a sunburn.

Keep the House Cool

Keeping the house cool can get pretty expensive in the summer just running the air conditioning. At times, it will even feel like the air conditioning isn’t working as well as it could. This usually means that you need to make efforts in different places throughout the house. Begin by trying to create as much shade as possible. Sunlight coming into the home will get trapped and take advantage of that little piece of well-known science we all know as the greenhouse effect. Not letting the sun in will cool down the core temperature of the home.

 

You can also start placing fans in every room. There are all kinds of fans out there, and while having 10 fans going can get noisy, at least it beats the heat. When it comes time to do the yard work, you will want to aim to do it when the sun is setting or rising. This is obviously when it will be most cool and keep you away from the dangers of heat exhaustion. Working in the heat can cause a heat stroke easily so take this tip wisely. When you are all done getting the house cooled down, you can get yourself a huge block of ice and drop it in the pool to cool it down. Trust me, after working all spring to be ready for a trendy swimsuit, you’ll want to take advantage of a nice cool dip in the pool.

Activities

The pool isn’t the only way to cool down in Phoenix, Arizona. You can always float the Salt River! This is a favorite past time in Phoenix. Just grab your friends and head on down. Maybe even bring some nice cold beers. Just be sure that you bring cans and not bottles and always bring your trash out with you.

 

If floating the river isn’t quite your thing, you can always go and visit the desert botanical gardens. During the summer, the temperature there is 10-15 degrees lower than the outside. This makes the gardens a beautiful place to go to relax and escape the heat!

Keeping the Car Cool

One of the worst things about not having a garage in Phoenix is that your car can get very hot. Luckily, there are ways to keep your car cool. Obviously, you will want to get a windshield sun cover. This will help keep the majority of heat away. Tinting your windows is also a good idea. As for the seats, you can place a towel over them. Many also get interior cleaner that can block UV rays so that way your car’s interior will last longer.

 

These are among the top ways you can fight back the heat and be comfortable during the scorch of a Phoenix summer. Just remember, rule number one is to drink at least 10 glasses of water per day! Then, keep your skin up to date on the sunscreen. After you get the hang of this, beating the summer will be a piece of cake. The sun won’t even be able to stop you!

Posted in Lifestlye
March 9, 2018

St Patrick’s Day Events in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona hosts a variety of exciting and busy events for St. Patrick’s Day. There is something for people of all ages. Parades, festivals, and parties occur in Phoenix at this time of year and you won’t want to miss a single one. Immerse yourself, and your family in Irish culture with the events that provide music, food, and beverages. Navigating through the busy times in high-traffic areas can be frustrating, but these events are absolutely worth it.

 

When riding in the car to a busy event, you will most likely encounter traffic. Especially when it is a holiday and everyone is trying to get somewhere. Whether you’re with your kiddos or a group of friends, this situation is not ideal. Get to your event on time by leaving with plenty of time, accounting for traffic, and time to find parking. Make sure all riders are comfortable within the car to make the traffic more bearable. The comfort level of the driver should be most important, since they will carry most of the stress traffic ensues. A comfortable, quiet, smooth ride will provide a relaxing drive, even through traffic. This can be achieved with the right car. While driving to the St. Patrick’s Day event, make the ride more fun and play car games or listen to a St Patrick’s Day playlist.For this drive, you will want to drive a car that has efficient fuel so riders are saving money on gas, especially in stop-and-go traffic. For more tips and tricks for commuting to your St. Patrick’s Day event, view the Ultimate Guide To Commuting.

 

 The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Faire began in the year 1984 and was so well received by guests that it has continued ever since. This event is quite large and attracts thousands each year. The parade takes over 3rd Street in Phoenix and begins at 10am. Viewers line the street each year, so make sure you and your family arrive early to get a good spot. The parade is packed with performers, floats, marching bands, Irish dancers, and bagpipes. The fun doesn’t stop there; following the parade is the faire, which takes place at the Irish Cultural Center at Hance Park. Here, there are 3 stages of Irish music, Step dancing, and bagpipers. There is also food and drinks, crafts, a children’s area, and more for everyone to enjoy. Tickets are needed to be a part of the faire, but the enjoyment within will be worth it.

 

The Musical Instrument Museum is hosting an “Experience Ireland” event for visitors or members of the MIM. The event occurs from 9am-5pm on St. Patrick’s Day and on Sunday, March 18th. The event will be celebrating Irish music and culture by playing traditional Celtic tunes. This event is family-friendly and includes crafts, face painting, music, a photo booth, and food. The museum’s café will be serving Irish-Inspired food for lunch such as bangers and mash, corned beef, and traditional Irish soda bread. If you plan on attending this event, allot the duration of the event to ensure you don’t miss an activity. You and your family can enjoy the traditions of Ireland at the Musical Instrument Museum.

 

Shamrock Fest is the St. Patrick’s Day event for music lovers and gathers large crowds each year. This music festival, held at the Dr. AJ Chandler Park, hosts a variety of artists for this event. Headlining the event is Alien Ant Farm and local artists and entertainers will be performing as well. Shamrock Fest is superior for the Irish music but the food trucks, beer-cocktail garden, and traditional Irish cuisine make the event a must-see. This can be an adult getaway, or a family-friendly event with a family activity zone, games, and more. Children under 12 are able to get in without a ticket. For this event, gates open at 11am and close at 11pm. Shamrock Fest is a must-attend for those in Phoenix, AZ.

 

A more adult-centered St. Patrick’s Day event in Phoenix is the LPGA Guinness Party. Golf-lovers and beer-lovers can come together and enjoy this St. Patrick’s Day with golf, games, and a pint. This event brings beer and golf together for the LPGA Bank of Hope Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club. From 4pm-7pm, stop by the driving range at Wildfire, drink a pint of Guinness, play Irish-themed games, and listen to Irish music. In previous years, players have stopped by to greet guests. Guinness supplies prizes at the door for some of the visitors.

 

Phoenix hosts riveting events for St. Patrick’s Day, some for the family and some adult-centered. These events will all attract large crowds and you should join in on the fun. While traffic, busy roads, and difficult parking will be present, don’t let this stop you from enjoying St. Patrick’s Day. Leave early; allot time for traffic, carpool to ensure more parking is available. Each of these events will be worth enduring traffic for.

Posted in Lifestlye