MGroup Arizona Real Estate Blog

June 6, 2019

Don't Miss These June Events in Phoenix

Phoenix is a bustling city year-round, but in the summer there's a whole flurry of events just waiting for you to enjoy. Along with great restaurants, there's amazing entertainment, the city attracting the best of the best from music, theater, sports, and art. Don't miss out on these amazing events!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  • June 11, 2019 to June 16, 2019 , 6:00 PM – 11:30 PM 
  • ASU Gammage
    1200 S. Forest Avenue
    Arizona State University
    Tempe, AZ 85287
  • Tickets:  $53 - $300

Transport yourself into a world of true imagination as Roald Dahl's famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes to life on stage. The popular Broadway musical arrives in Phoenix for a limited engagement and is not to be missed. Fun for the whole family, see the world of Willy Wonka as you never have before in this whimsical stage production.

Chelsea's Kitchen Summer Dining Series 

  • June 13, 2019 , 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Chelsea's Kitchen5040 North 40th StreetPhoenix, AZ 85018
  • Tickets:  $95

Chelsea's Kitchen is back for its summer dining series, bringing specially cultivated meals to a table near you. Enjoy a magnificent five-course feast featuring some of the best food the Southwest has to offer. Each course will be paired with its own specific drink, prepared by a renowned wine curator. From grilled peaches to tacos and smoked chicken, this is a meal not to be missed.

Andre Nickatina at Marquee Theatre

  • June 14, 2019 , 6:00 PM – 11:30 PM 
  • Marquee Theatre
    730 North Mill Avenue
    Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Tickets:  $23

American rapper Andre Nickatina lights up the Marquee Theatre with his tour, laying down all the beats for a wicked night. J. Lately joins Andre, doubling up the talent and tunes. Jam out to all the hits and new music in Tempe, just a short drive out of Phoenix.

Tan France: Naturally Tan, A Memoir

From the runaway hit Queer Eye, Tan France opens up about his childhood as a gay Southeast Asian when coming out was the last thing on anyone's mind. This touching and hysterical talk accompanies his memoir, out now and available for purchase and signing at the event.

Snacky Snacks: Game and Snack Fest

  • June 14, 2019 , 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM 
  • Fellowship Center at North Phoenix Baptist Church
    5757 N Central Ave
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Tickets:  $11 - $15

This one-of-a-kind food festival the best gaming fuel of all: snacks! Enjoy snacks from all over the world along with video game tournaments and free-play. Local vendors will feature their snacks and treats, available for purchase. Non-video games include card games, lawn games, tabletop and traditional board games. A perfect afternoon for friends, families, and nerds alike.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Colorado Rockies

One of the ultimate summer pastimes is a good game of baseball. Cheer on the Diamondbacks as they take on the Colorado Rockies in a three-game series. Bring your glove, grab a hot dog, and enjoy a seriously good game of ball.

Sunset in the Skyspace

  • June 21, 2019 7:30 PM
  • Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
    7374 East Second Street
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251
  • Tickets:  $10

The Summer Solstice is a longest day of the year. What better way to celebrate it than by getting an up close and personal look thanks to James Turrell’s Knight Rise Skyspace. Watch the sunset with refreshments from this wonderful piece of art meets technology. You'll never see the sun the same way again. 

Suds and Slides

Why should kids only get slip'n'slides? Suds and Slides is a water park for adults! Set up in Riverview Park, enjoy a menagerie of water slides, slips, and activities all for the inner child. Grab an ice cold beer or spirit and have some seriously summer fun.

Eddie Izzard Wunderbar

  • June 22-23, 2019 , 8:00 PM 
  • Orpheum Theatre
    203 W. Adams St.
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Tickets:  $52-$74

Eddie Izzard returns to the stage with his personal brand of witty commentary on the world and hysterical stand-up. Multi-lingual and multi-talented, Wunderbar isn't a show to be missed. Be prepared to laugh until you cry as well as have a few moments pause.

Phoenix Rising vs Portland Timbers

  • June 29, 2019 , 7:30 PM 
  • Casino Arizona Field
    751 N McClintock Drive
    Tempe, AZ 85257
  • Tickets:  $22 - $40

Soccer is a great spectator sport and is typically overshadowed. However, you'll have a roaring good time at the field when Phoenix Rising takes on the Portland Timbers late this month.

If you're looking for something to do this June in Phoenix and the surrounding area, look no further than the above list. As always, we're here to provide the best Phoenix has to offer.

Posted in Lifestlye
June 4, 2019

Must-try Home Paint Trends in 2019

When deciding to sell your home, it’s difficult to know what pre-sale improvements are both low-cost and will increase overall value.  Choosing the right colors to paint your home can have a dramatic effect when making a sale. Be sure to consider the interior and exterior walls, the kitchen aesthetic, and the front door. If your home needs an overall paint refresh, consider hiring professional house painters to do the job. Either way, we rounded up the 2019 expected trend forecast for paint colors that will add a little joie de vivre to your both expectant buyers and your bank account. 

The Statement Door

Make a powerful impact on your curb appeal and showcase a modern trend that can mean big bucks by painting your front door a variant of black. A Zillow study showed that homes with this unexpected color can sell for up to $6,000 over a seller’s expected ask. Easily one of the easiest paint-jobs a homeowner can make, this striking detail can be achieved for under $300. Be sure to use acrylic latex paint, as interior paint won’t last under the duress of mother nature. 

Welcoming Walls

A cheerful yellow-toned home used to be the go-to for a home on the market, but in 2019, we’re seeing that this age-old trope is gathering dust and losing sellers over $3000. To reach your house’s full potential, opt for a serene light-blue, a romantic neutral taupe, or a sturdy looking grey; we recommend Benjamin Moore Elephant Tusk (OC-8). Be sure to take your location into consideration before doing the dirty work, as extroverted homes in neutral neighborhoods can dissuade a potential buyer. 

A Pop of Color

Resist the urge to play it safe; although neutrals like white and beige are nearly never wrong, there’s been an increasing demand for playful pops of color sprinkled throughout prospective homes. Pinkish hues with warm tan undertones make for a lovely accent wall in a cozy living room, whereas soft periwinkle blues add serenity to an otherwise basic bathroom. Have a bit of fun and expand your imagination, but don’t forget to keep the design cohesive throughout the house when painting and staging your home. For first time sellers unsure of where to start, Lowe’s paint visualizer offers a virtual home ready for your experimentation without dropping a dime or lifting a finger.

A Kitchen to Remember

Known as the heart of the home, a kitchen that wows is sure to make a lasting impact on potential buyers. Trend forecasts for 2019 are placing their bets on blue to increase home value. Before settling on a shade that works for your home, be sure to anticipate things like natural light, especially before choosing a darker hue that could leave your kitchen lurking in the shadows. Alternatively, a tuxedo kitchen - a two-color combination of upper and lower cabinets- could add a value of over $1,500. Opt for a color combo of lighter upper cabinets with a contrasting black or navy to the bottom for a sleek modern finish. Avoid a brick red aesthetic; Zillow says that this mistake can cost you over $2,000.

Find the Right Color, Find the Right Buyer

Sprucing up your home with a fresh coat of paint is often the most efficient way to increase property value on a budget.  A timeless exterior and modern door will transform a buyer’s viewing experience. Additionally, a well thought out interior will ease buyers’ minds so as not to worry that the property is used up or run down. Keep our list of helpful tips in mind when heading to your local hardware store, or visit Sherwin Williams Colormax Forecast for an exciting look at the blossoming trends for 2019. 

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
May 21, 2019

6 things you should do in Phoenix this June

School is out, spring cleaning is done, pools are open and it's officially summer in Phoenix. June is one of the best months to be in the area because it is warm enough for water activities and it is right before the rainy monsoon season. Whether you are visiting for the weekend or planning a staycation, keep reading for ideas on what to do in Phoenix this month.

1. Check out a concert

June kicks off the busy concert season in Phoenix, with major acts coming to perform in the city. Dance along with Jennifer Lopez at the Talking Stick Resort Arena June 16, or check out country star Luke Bryan when he comes to the Ak-Chin Pavilion June 13. Classic rock lovers should see Paul McCartney when he performs June 26 or check out Santana June 22.

If you want a different music experience, then plan to see the monthly Lasers and Liquor show at the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix. June’s theme is Beyoncé and Queen, and there will be karaoke and a cash bar for people 21 and up.

2. Head outdoors

Phoenix has a beautiful desert landscape worth exploring. Grab the fishing poles and head out June 1 for Free Fishing Day. No fishing licenses are required this day for people fishing in public waters. The city will also host several free fishing clinics as part of National Fishing and Boating Week.

If you’re an early bird, then head to the trails for a morning hike. There are several shorter hikes in the area that you can do before the sun rises, such as the Sidewinder, Apache Wash Loop in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve or the Holbert to Dobbins Lookout at South Mountain. Just make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Art lovers should step outside for the First Fridays Art Walk. More than 70 galleries will open their doors June 7, and there are complimentary shuttles to each of the art hubs in downtown Phoenix.

3. Go for a swim

One of the best ways to beat the heat in Phoenix is splashing at a local waterpark. There are several to choose from, including Hurricane Harbor, Big Surf and the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa. The city also maintains public pools, such as the Pecos Park pool and the Cortez pool.

If you want to be adventurous, then rent a kayak or pontoon boat for a day on the lake. There are multiple lakes within a short drive of downtown. Options include Saguaro Lake in Tonto National Forest and Lake Pleasant Regional Park.

4. Party at a festival

Celebrate African American culture and history at the Juneteenth Festival on June 15. Taking place in Eastlake Park, this festival celebrates Texas announcing the abolishment of slavery two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The festival will feature historical exhibits, live music, a food court, and a vendor marketplace.

Phoenix has a thriving beer scene, and there’s no better place to experience this than the Bloomin’ Beerfest. This festival commemorates the novel “Ulysses” by the Irish author James Joyce. Head to the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library in the evening of June 15 for live music, craft beer tastings, and a costume contest.

5. See Phoenix after dark

Wait until after the sun sets and check out some fun nighttime activities in the Phoenix area. The Desert Botanical Garden hosts flashlight tours on Saturday nights where people can view blooming plants and nocturnal animals. The tour is for all ages, and the garden serves food and drinks.

For a great view of the stars, head to Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale for Astronomy Evenings. Taking place June 8, this monthly series includes a short explanation of the solar system and a view of the sky through a Celestron telescope.

If you’re looking for nighttime water fun, then head to Tempe for a glow paddle on Tempe Town Lake. Registration for the event includes all necessary kayaking equipment and glow in the dark accessories. Participants are also encouraged to wear their favorite glow in the dark clothing.

6. Try new flavors 

Take a break from cooking this June and try some of the best foods Phoenix has to offer.  Chelsea’s Kitchen is hosting a summer dining series June 13 which includes a five-course meal. Options include a homemade peach sangria, a blue corn veggie taco, and a berry cobbler.

Scottsdale is having beer and wine go head-to-head June 15 with Firestone Walker Brewery competing against Frog’s Leap Winery. The beverages are paired with a five-course meal, and at the end, participants will cast a secret ballot for the winner.

Cool off with a scoop of ice cream at Novel Ice Cream. Try some of their newer flavors such as Thai Tea and Taro, or a scoop of Midnight Munchies with sprinklings of Cracker Jacks. Step up your typical scoop by ordering the Dough Melt, which is ice cream sandwiched in between a warm doughnut.

Posted in Lifestlye
April 29, 2019

4 Things You Should Know About Phoenix Weather

Phoenix weather fluctuates greatly through the seasons. The Valley boasts unarguably perfect temperatures during the winter months. While most people know that summers here are hot, there are a few other things you should know about Phoenix weather:

 

 1.     It’s not just hot

 

Phoenix is known for its scorching summer heat. That said, Valley residents will proudly tell you that it’s “not that bad.” In fact, there are truly only two or three weeks of unbearable summer heat that cause you to be locked inside your Phoenix home.

 

July and August usually bring the hottest temperatures. These months also bring a variety of different weather patterns as well. From humidity to the wind, Phoenix is certainly not just hot.

 

2.     It rains more than you might expect

On that note, it’s important to consider that Phoenix actually a rainy season. It’s actually known as the “monsoon,” but these summer storms usually bring a significant amount of moisture. Officially, the monsoon runs from mid-June to September, but the majority of the monsoon storms fall in late July and August.

 

With the monsoon comes humidity, rainfall, winds and dust storms called “haboobs.” If you’re not from here or if you just moved to Phoenix, it’s important to be informed about the dangers that come with this season.

 

3.     It can be dangerous

By no means do we want to scare you off from finding your dream home. There are very few places in the country with flawless year-round weather. That said, you should understand what summer and monsoon seasons bring for Phoenix residents.

 

The heat in Phoenix can be extremely dangerous. In the few weeks that temperature reaches above 110 degrees, the weather service will issue “excessive heat warnings.” During this time, it’s important to keep your family (pets included) indoors. The ground can be scorchingly hot (yes, we have fried an egg on the sidewalk), which means that your pup’s paws can easily be burned and blistered. If it’s over 75 degrees outside, it’s too hot to leave pets and kids in the car. The heat can become deadly within minutes. Use this guide to determine how hot your car might get.

 

4.     Your home needs special care during changing seasons

After summer comes to an end, it’s time to give you Phoenix home the TLC it desperately needs. With scorching heat and blowing dust, it’s inevitable that your space will need some upkeep. Here a few projects you should do during the fall in Phoenix:

-       Wash your windows. Dust sticks on to your exterior glass windows during the summer. Give your home the shine it needs and hire a window and house cleaner.

-       Seed your grass. We have two seasons for grass here, meaning that as temperatures cool, it’s time to seed your grass. A popular choice for the winter time is called Rye grass.

-       Prune your trees. Certain types of trees need special care during the fall. Oleanders are a popular plant in the Phoenix area. Make sure you wear gloves when pruning these plants, as they are quite poisonous.

-       Get rid of junk. When the summer sun is bearing down, it’s much easier to collect items than to be organized. When the temperature cools off, collect all your unneeded supplies and foliage and hire a junk removal service to remove it all.

 

 

Posted in Lifestlye
March 29, 2019

Things to Remember When Leaving Your Pet in the Car

It’s safe to say that most people love their pets so much that they are considered a part of the family. They make us laugh, show us unconditional love, and make every single day just a little bit brighter. This role is even more important if your pet is a certified ESA.

 

Although it may seem at times that your ESA is taking care of you, it’s important to remember that they need to be taken care of too, both at home and on the road. Whether you take your pet on a short trip to the pet store or on a several hour road trip, there are some things you should consider before even leaving your house. And while no one wants to leave their pet alone in the car, sometimes it happens - and when it comes down to it it’s best to be prepared and know the repercussions.

Safety

There are a number of concerns related to leaving pets in cars. The most common mistake made is keeping pets alone in the car when it’s too hot or too cold outside. It’s important to note that the temperature outside rarely reflects the same temperature inside the vehicle. For example, if it is 70 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car can reach up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you imagine how hot it can get if it’s 90 or 100 degrees outside, parked directly facing the sun? Not to mention the increased danger of having leather seats.

 

To avoid this scenario, the safest bet is to leave your pet at home if you plan on running multiple errands. If leaving them alone - or driving around alone - is unavoidable, park the car in the shade with a water bowl for your pet to drink from. Try to only stay gone for a few moments, and if possible, leave the car running or have another passenger stay behind to watch your pet until you get back.

 

Another safety concern that many don’t consider is other people. Passionate animal lovers often misunderstand situations and are likely to take preventative action to “save” your pet. This could mean calling the police. Or, even worse, it could result in broken car windows, angry crowds, and dealing with petnappers intent on “rescuing” your furry friend. This is especially awful if you drive a luxury vehicle and you don't want to find a smashed window.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, strangers pose as a threat to your pet’s wellbeing when they misunderstand body language. Although your pet must be recognized as an appropriate breed to become a certified ESA, pets are still animals, and may be unpredictable when approached by a stranger. Leaving your pet in the car with the window down may encourage animal lovers to come and reach into your car to pet your ESA, which may elicit your pet to act defensively. This is why it’s best to travel with a buddy so someone can be with the animal at all times and not risk an unpredictable event.

Comfort

Just like any passenger in a car, a pet needs to be comfortable during a car trip. That means having enough space for them to stand up and turn around to see out windows. If you think that sitting in the exact same spot for hours on end is not your idea of a good time, chances are your pet feels the same. Cars with third row seating are sometimes the best for having more than one pet in the car.And, of course, the type of animal your ESA is will affect what size of car you should consider having. Chihuahuas will need a lot less space that a golden retriever, and a cat in a cage will need even less.

 

If the trip is short and your pet is accustomed to being in the car, you most likely won’t need a crate. However, if they tend to be antsy or roam around a lot (like cats), it’s best to get a crate that’s big enough for them to travel in. Place a cushy pet bed on the bottom of the crate for extra padding, and maybe even their favorite toy to keep them occupied. However, it is important to remember that a pet should never be left alone in a crate in the car. There is not enough ventilation being in two boxes at once, and they may suffer from heat stroke or lack of oxygen.

 

Summers can get extremely hot depending on where you live as well. A good tip for the hot months is to give your pet a short haircut to get rid of any excess hair to reduce the chance of overheating.

Entertainment

When humans travel by car, we often listen to music, chat with a passenger, or simply focus on driving. For an animal, being in a car can be uneventful and dull. Your dog may enjoy car rides a lot more than your cat, but having other things to keep them entertained will be much appreciated.

 

Take open windows for example. We’ve all seen the happy pups with their heads hanging out of the window as we pull up to a stop light. Sometime just having a little tim to breath fresh air and bark at the next car over can be the joy of a lifetime.

 

Cats, however, may not enjoy the rushing air hanging out of a window. Consider bringing along a toy or some catnip for them to enjoy. They’ll have even more fun if a car passenger (not the driver!) plays with them during the drive.This will keep their brain working and keep them occupied while you drive for a longer period of time.

 

Longer car rides with pets should also mean more breaks. Plan to stop in areas that they can also get out and roam around a little. Consider trying out a cat leash, and always make sure your pets have proper identification in case they get separated.

 

Making your pets feel safe and comfortable is just as important as leaving a human passenger behind. Also keep in mind that in many states it is illegal. If an animal is unattended in a vehicle that endangers their health or well being due to heat, cold, lack of ventilation, lack of food or water - it could lead to suffering, disability, or even death.

 

However, if the weather is cool enough and you take all the safety, comfort, and entertainment precautions, you and your ESA will have a wonderful time in the car together. There’s no reason to go anywhere alone - as long as you come prepared.

Posted in Lifestlye
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