Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Demand for hotel rooms in Tempe brings building boom

Demand for hotel rooms in Tempe brings building boom
By Katie Nelson
The Arizona Republic

Business travelers and tourists alike flocked to Tempe last year. As a result, hotel occupancy rates were some of the highest in the Valley.

New hotels are being proposed with just about every new downtown development, and it's prompting analysts to wonder: Can Tempe support the industry's growth?

The answer is yes, according to a study conducted by an Annapolis , Md. , company and paid for by Tempe .

Yet the report also cautions that the number of rooms available in Tempe can expand only so far. The report said three hotel projects that are already rolling take up much of the space between "keeping up with demand" and "market saturation" - even though an additional nine hotels could be on the way.

Experts have continually pointed out that although the city is successful at attracting many out-of-towners through its extensive repertoire of events, it also fails to provide them places to spend the night. The result is lucrative bed tax and tourism dollars oozing into Phoenix and Scottsdale .

Nine new hotels that are proposed or are a possibility around Tempe 's core could stop the bleed-out, according to the study. But even more likely to help are the three hotel projects already lined up, which include Hayden Ferry Lakeside, an expanded Tempe Mission Palms and Rio East.

Next week, Hayden Ferry Lakeside is expected to announce the hotelier that will take up residence in its posh master-planned project on the south bank of Tempe Town Lake , according to project manager Randy Levin.

The Tempe Mission Palms is planning an expansion that would increase the number of rooms by more than 60 percent, according to Chris Kenney, the hotel's director of marketing.

And the Pier 202 project that would go on the Rio East site by the eastern part of Town Lake intends to include an upscale hotel.

"The construction of these three projects will absorb 52 to 80 percent of the additional demand," the report says. "However, these projects will add to the segment of the Tempe hotel market that is currently underbuilt."

There are 47 hotels and motels in Tempe , with 5,371 rooms. The majority of those are smaller hotels and economy motels concentrated around Arizona State University . More than 80 percent of Tempe 's hotel room rates are less than $150 a night, according to the study.

That proves there is ample room for upscale options, some say.

"It (high-rate hotels) means more tax dollars coming into the city," said Michael Martin, executive vice president of the Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau. "And typically that type of rate will bring visitors with a higher disposable income."

Tempe officials will use the study to guide development as it grows, said Chris Messer, a principal planner for the city. It's the second hotel study the city has done in three years; the other was conducted in 2004.

"It's not an exact science to see what's out there and what's needed," Messer said. "Hotels are one of those difficult things to develop, so it's odd that a lot of the big projects almost always mention hotels. Apparently, (this study shows) there is a market for them, but no one has been able to put one together yet."

To search for homes in Tempe, AZ, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008, or visit her webstie at:

or to search directly into the Tempe area, go to:
Search Tempe Homes

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Former Arcadia Resident Steven Spielberg Still Visits His Phoenix Roots

Former Arcadia Resident Steven Spielberg Still Visits His Phoenix Roots

Steven Spielberg Lived in Phoenix, attended Ingleside Elementary and Arcadia High and still visits his roots.

Steven Spielberg directed his first movies while residing at 3443 North 49th Street in the Arcadia District of Phoenix.

On April 1, 1999, Steven Spielberg and his sons paid a surprise visit to the GameWorks at Arizona Mills when he was in town visiting family and friends during Passover. According to the Arizona Republic, that was the second year he spent the holiday in Phoenix, staying at the Buttes in Tempe. The Arizona Mills Gameworks was the company's fifth location. It opened in November, 1997, after openings in Dallas, Seattle, Las Vegas and Ontario earlier in the year. GameWorks is a joint venture of Sega Enterprises, DreamWorks SKG and Universal Studios Inc. Spielberg is the "S" in DreamWorks SKG.


Steven stepped out of the shiny limousine amid the flurry of flashing cameras and the glow of search lights on Tuesday night, March 24, 1964. He made his way through the paparazzi and into the packed theater where his science fiction thriller, Firelight, would be shown for the first time. This was not your typical Hollywood premier. It wasn't even in Hollywood. It was at the Phoenix Little Theater where 17-year-old Steve Spielberg would preside over the premier of his first full length feature film.

This box office sellout made back its $600 cost in its first showing at 75¢ a head, and would portend future blockbusters that have made Steven Spielberg the most successful director in movie history. Long before Spielberg moved his operations to Hollywood for Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977--an improved version of Firelight), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and many others, he was producing and directing movies from his home in the Arcadia District of Phoenix.

Although his early films might have lacked the financial success of later ventures, they would bring their youthful director a notoriety rarely achieved by secondary school students. In 1958, he earned a photography merit badge as a Boy Scout for a 9 minute 8 mm film, The Last Gunfight. A local television crew covered his filming of 41 minute World War II movie, Escape to Nowhere (1962). In the early 60's he appeared on KPHO's top rated Wallace and Ladmo kid's show to present a short space film.

The Spielbergs moved to Phoenix in 1957 when Steven's father got a job with General Electric. They lived at 3443 North 49th Street in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix. Steve attended Ingleside Elementary School from the 2nd semester of the 4th grade on, and Arcadia High. The day after the premier of Firelight, the family moved to California.

If you would like to find out more information on Arcadia homes and schools or are thinking about moving to Arcadia or the Arcadia area, call a Real Estate Agent who has lived in Arcadia since 1989 and specializes in the area. Call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today and/or visit her websites at: and and

Del Norte Historic District ~ Phoenix, AZ

Del Norte Place Historic District
by Sadie Jo Smokey ~ The Arizona Republic

The residents of Del Norte Place Historic District like their smaller vintage homes. Like other historic districts in central Phoenix, the neighborhood has its share of investors who buy homes to update and then sell in a year or two. That hasn't affected the character of the neighborhood, residents say.

The area has an almost storybook quality. Made up of just eight blocks and bordered on three sides by Encanto Golf Course and Encanto Park, the neighborhood has tree-lined streets, with English cottages, bungalows and a few ranch homes.

Dick and Nancy Bauer have lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. Nancy said it's still a quiet area, a nice place to raise a family, even though today more women work, professional couples have fewer children and the neighborhood isn't as social as it once was.

"People always want to live in a place with trees," Nancy said. "A lot of residents walk their dogs. We know a lot of the neighbors. There's a lot of pride."

If you are looking or are interested in looking at homes in Del Norte Historic District, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. at 602.400.0008 and/or visit her website which focuses on historic Phoenix properties at:

Historic Phoenix's Roosevelt Row ~ Phoenix, AZ

Roosevelt Row is a dynamic, walkable urban mixed-use area with a significant concentration of artists and other creative professionals. With increasing density, this is an area that is becoming more pedestrian-friendly and supportive of small local independent businesses that give downtown Phoenix character. Roosevelt Street is an east-west corridor that runs between Grand Avenue and 16th Street. The corridor also connects Copper Square and major cultural institutions with the historic neighborhoods of downtown Phoenix, the new downtown ASU campus and the biomedical campus.

Roosevelt Row is also home to artist live/work spaces, gallery spaces and studio spaces. Roosevelt Row is a pedestrian friendly street that connects the arts and downtown Phoenix historic neighborhoods including Garfield Historic, Evans Churchill, F.Q. Story Historic District, Willo Historic District, the Roosevelt Action Association and Grand Avenue.

Roosevelt Row CDC started in 2001 as an informal affiliation of galleries and art spaces along East Roosevelt Street.

A more formal community development corporation was established in 2005 to market the unique character and assets of the area, to advocate for the continuing role of the arts in the revitalization of downtown Phoenix, and to foster a diverse and pedestrian-friendly urban environment.


Roosevelt Row has been a vital mixed use area from the earliest days of the establishment of Phoenix. In the early 1940's, when there were approximately 30,000 people living in Phoenix numerous businesses were established along Roosevelt Street. The flower shop at Fifth Street and Roosevelt has been in continuous operation since 1948.

In the 1970's, parts of the area were re-zoned as a high-rise incentive district leading to land speculation and a decline of the neighborhood that lasted until the late 1990's.

The blighted area was attractive to artists because the boarded-up buildings and former crack houses were affordable for studio and gallery space. The arts were a major factor in the revitalization of the area resulting in significant decreases in crime as more people began to venture into the area to experience the cultural vibrancy.

The corridor is re-emerging as one of the more vital areas of downtown Phoenix and a significant cultural resource in the metropolitan region and the state.

In 2002, residents and business owners worked with Joy Mee and the City of Phoenix Planning Department to establish the Evans Churchill Plan.

Information courtesy of:

If you would like to browse homes in the Roosevelt Historic Phoenix District, click on:

Roosevelt Row Welcomes ASU and U of A Faculty, Staff and Students!

Roosevelt Row Welcomes Arizona State University and University of Arizona Faculty, Staff and Students!

Two state universities begin classes this month in downtown Historic Phoenix. Roosevelt Row welcomes these new students and professionals into the historic downtown Phoenix community! The University of Arizona and Arizona State University join a rich tapesty of history, art, culture, and business that make downtown Phoenix a unique experience.

Whether you are as student, a Professor or just someone who digs living in a historic Phoenix district, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008 and/or visit her historic Phoenix website at:

Historic Information FAQ's and Links: Willo Historic, Roosevelt Historic, Encanto-Palmcroft Historic and All the Rest

Historic Information FAQ's and Links
(Grants, Zoning, Etc...)

What does the city of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office do?

The city's Historic Preservation Office works to protect and enhance historic Phoenix neighborhoods, buildings and sites in Historic Phoenix. The city's Historic Preservation Office works closely with the city's Historic Preservation Commission to identify and designate those properties and districts eligible for listing on the Phoenix Historic Property Register. Protection is provided to designated properties through city review and approval of exterior alterations to buildings and demolition requests. The office also administers the Historic Preservation Bond fund that supports a number of financial assistance programs for historic properties. Rehabilitation training and educational activities are offered by the city Historic Preservation Office to heighten public awareness and appreciation for the community's historic resources.

Check out the Historic Preservation Office website:

The quickest way to find out information about historic renovation is to log onto the City of Phoenix’s Historic Preservation Office website.

For those who do not have Internet access at home or work, call the office with your questions.

City of Phoenix Historic Preservation contact information:

Main office
200 W. Washington St.
17th Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
Walk-in hours: 8am to noon,
Mondays through Fridays
Field Office
The Ellis-Shackelford House
1242 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(By appointment only)

How do I get the city to help pay for my remodeling? How do I get the grant money?

Read about the Exterior Rehabilitation Program here:

How do I get my house to have a Historic Designation?

Learn how to designate your property as a historic resource here:

I want to build an addition, whom do I call in the City for Assistance? Who must approve it?

Read about the city's permit review process:

What is the city of Phoenix Neighborhood Services?

The city of Phoenix created the Neighborhood Services Department to preserve and revitalize neighborhoods, and help residents access city services. The department approach to project- and problem-management emphasizes partnerships between residents, business owners, elected officials, and city employees to build and preserve clean, safe neighborhoods that reflect the diversity of the city's population. The city's investment in healthy neighborhoods is ultimately an investment in people, in a sense of community, and in an ethic of shared pride.

Check out the Neighborhood Services website:

To search ALL 36 Phoenix Historic Districts itemized, go to:

Click here to search homes in the Willo Historic District.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District

Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District
by Sadie Jo Smokey ~ The Arizona Republic

Searching historic Phoenix homes in the Encanto-Palmcroft historic district is easy.
Mature landscaping, picturesque homes and friendly neighbors attract residents to the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District in central Phoenix. Composed of two subdivisions built beginning in the 1920's, the neighborhood has ornamental streetlights, mature palm trees and curving streets.

"I love living here," said resident G.G. George. "It's kind of small-town Leave It to Beaver."

Architectural styles include Spanish Colonial Revival, Tudor, Pueblo Revival, Neo-Mediterranean and Monterey Revival. The neighborhood is within walking distance of Encanto Park. George said that when she moved to the neighborhood 35 years ago, she was one of the youngest on her street. Now, young families are moving in. George said she spends a lot of time talking to people thinking about buying a home in the neighborhood.

"It's a privilege to live in this neighborhood," George said. "Neighbors look after each other. I tell people, 'You're not buying a home, you're buying a neighborhood."

If you would like more information on homes in the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008 and/or visit her specialized historic district website at:

To search for homes specifically in the Encanto-Palmcroft historic Phoenix district, go to:

44 Monroe ~ Luxury Phoenix Condos

44 Monroe ~ Luxury Phoenix Condos

Looking to live or invest in a luxury Phoenix residential tower? 44 Monroe is the hottest Phoenix real estate project to hit the area this year!

As 44 Monroe joins the list of new Phoenix real estate development projects, there is something unique and quite glamorous about this high-rise tower project. 44 Monroe Phoenix luxury condos are at the middle of the lively and vibrant downtown Phoenix corridor. If you are looking for the latest and hottest Phoenix real estate tower, 44 Monroe is the place to buy your next home.

44 Monroe Phoenix High-Rises are Centrally Located

Located in the middle of downtown historic Phoenix, the 44 Monroe residential towers are close to city life both day and night. You can sit back and enjoy some cultural events at the Arizona Opera or even the Phoenix Symphony orchestra some nights. Other nights, you can stroll from 44 Monroe luxury condos to the Phoenix Art Museum. Whatever you’re looking for 44 Monroe residential towers are one of the most centrally and conveniently located condominium real estate development projects in downtown Phoenix ever.

With award winning restaurants and fine dining everywhere around 44 Monroe, you will have the option of visiting the Arizona Science Center or even catch a baseball game with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase/Bank One Ballpark after your evening meal.

44 Monroe real estate residences are close to everything, from the Phoenix Suns basketball team to the Orpheum Theatres and boutique shopping strips. Just outside your luxury home at 44 Monroe, the sky is definitely the limit when it comes to culture, sports and entertainment.

About 44 Monroe Exclusive Residences in downtown Phoenix

Grace Communities is launching a new unprecedented 34-storey high-rise tower in the middle of downtown Phoenix. Grace Communities Phoenix is well known for their quality craftsmanship and on-time construction timelines and 44 Monroe will enjoy all of these things. Destined to be the hottest Phoenix real estate development project in decades, 44 Monroe luxury homes represents a unique buying opportunity for residential exclusive homes or for Phoenix real estate investment. Located at the corner of 1st Avenue and Monroe Street, 44 Monroe Phoenix is so popular because of it’s convenience to the downtown core activities as well as its amazing amenities and in-house conveniences.

For example, the Phoenix 44 Monroe luxury homes has an amazing swimming pool (not just a lap-pool, but a full-size pool) as well as a spa on the eighth floor. Even more amazing are the panoramic skyline views you will have from the eighth floor at 44 Monroe Phoenix. Not only that, but 44 Monroe luxury homes in Phoenix on the eight floor also has an outdoor terrace and sundeck for you to enjoy during all those sunny and warm days. Just pick up a book and a drink, and you’ll be set at 44 Monroe exclusive homes.

Amenities at the 44 Monroe Towers in Phoenix

There are many more amenities at 44 Monroe then the ones mentioned above. With a full fitness center at Phoenix’s 44 Monroe, you and your family will be able to keep in shape and stay active throughout the year. With yoga classes and free weights there’s something for everyone at 44 Monroe luxury homes. If you are looking for a place to work or meet with your fellow colleagues, don’t worry, Phoenix’s 44 Monroe exclusive towers has a business center that will take care of everything. Being so centrally located, 44 Monroe is in the heart of downtown, and therefore, in the middle of the business district if anything urgent arises. With a community center and conference room, 44 Monroe is one of the most tantalizing and full-serviced condominium towers in all of Phoenix.

The Luxury Homes at 44 Monroe, Phoenix Condos

With so much action going around 44 Monroe and it’s construction site, the towers are expected to sell-out very quickly. There are 202 exclusive residence condominiums at 44 Monroe. All luxury homes will be outfitted with SmartHome technology, the latest and greatest in digital technology and saving energy as well as large spacious balconies that will have terrific panoramic views of the skyline and mountains surrounding Phoenix.

One of the first things you’ll see at 44 Monroe residences is the attention to detail that Grace Communities has given to this truly unique downtown Phoenix condo development project. From the graceful kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, to the ever accommodating bedrooms and spacious washrooms, 44 Monroe luxury residences feel more like a five-star hotel then a residential tower in Phoenix. With so much going for Phoenix’s 44 Monroe, it is no wonder that the Phoenix skyline will be changed forever through the development of these amazing condominium residential towers.

44 Monroe Luxury Home details

In the heart of downtown Phoenix lies 44 Monroe luxury residences. Here you’ll find a 34-storey high-rise real estate development with the following features. There will be 7 floors of parking garages at 44 Monroe, 1 reserved parking spot for residences owning 1 bedrooms and 2 reserved parking spots for 2 bedrooms and up. The parking garage at the 44 Monroe luxury homes will be fob secured.

Floors 10 – 22 are luxury residential condos. With the finest interior craftsmanship, accelerated elevators and luxury interiors, 44 Monroe really shines where other Phoenix real estate developments have lacked luster and grace. Floors 23 -30 are reserved for the most affluent residences at 44 Monroe. With any of these residences, the 44 Monroe owners will have the ultimate living space with the greatest views of the Phoenix skyline and mountain ranges.

If you are looking to purchase at 44 Monroe downtown Phoenix luxury condos, don’t wait as they are selling very quickly.

Central Phoenix Historic website contains information relating to new condo developments in the downtown Phoenix area.

Go there now:

Historical Central Phoenix's Homes Districts

Chateaux on Central ~ Luxury Phoenix Townhomes Surrounded by 3 Prominent Phoenix Historic Districts

Chateaux on Central ~ Luxury Phoenix Townhomes Surrounded by 3 Prominent Phoenix Historic Districts

Phoenix is a city booming with real-estate developments – but Chateaux on Central ubran mansion town houses are different to the rest. If you are looking for luxury living but not within a high-rise tower than this exclusive gated community is the right choice for you.

Chateaux on Central townhomes offer discerning residents a lifestyle that is unsurpassed in Phoenix, with designs and features that you would only expect to find in a luxury estate home Chateaux on Central condo town homes will surprise you with its attention to detail and craftsmanship. The luxury urban mansion homes at Chateaux on Central Phoenix townhomes range in size from 5100 to 8200 square feet making these homes of distinction and luxury that are comparable to the finest Phoenix luxury properties.

Chateaux on Central luxury Phoenix townhomes are located in a truly spectacular urban setting in Phoenix, adjacent to Willo Historic District on the west, Alvarado and Coronado Historic District to the east and Roosevelt Historic District to the south.

Chateaux on Central luxury town home residences are just a short stroll away from the Playhouse in the Park Theatre, Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Theatre, the Arts District, Burton Barr Central Library, Margaret T. Hance Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden and Tea Garden, the Irish Cultural Center. Across the street is the Viad Sculpture garden, a lush oasis with mature green landscape, ponds and water features.

The new Phoenix Metro Light rail system will offer two rapid transit stations within short walking distance to provide transportation to the residents of Chateaux on Central to downtown Phoenix events at the Civic Center, Bank One Ball Park, America West Arena, Herberger Theater, Dodge Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Science Museum, Phoenix History Museum, Heritage Square, Symphony Hall, Valley Youth Theatre, Arizona Center, downtown galleries, shopping, hotels, fine dining and Sky Harbor Airport.

If you would like to get more information on Chateaux on Central, or, would like to look at homes in any one of the three prominent surrounding historic Phoenix districts, call Laura Boyajian today, aka, Laura B. at 602.400.0008 and/or visit her following website links to any and all of the three adjacent Phoenix historic districts near Chateaux:

For Coronado Historic District, go to:

Phoenix, AZ In Top 10 Best Cities for 2006 Real Estate

Phoenix, AZ In Top 10 Best Cities for 2006 Real Estate

by Mark Nash

Buy, sell or hold seem to be the biggest worries of home buyers and real estate investors in the 2006 residential real estate market. After solid double-digit appreciation in many major markets the last five years, investors and home buyers alike see the brakes on growth in 2006. Where to go? Mark Nash real estate author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home lays out where investors and home buyers can make a go it in 2006.

Atlanta, Georgia. Below average appreciation rates that have not matched other major markets.

Austin, Texas. Good news here, affordable housing prices attracting employers. Rising appreciation.

Boise, Idaho. New on real estate investors radar, attracting scores of out-of-state buyers. Good profit prospects.

Dallas, Texas. Prices creeping upward, fueling investor interest.

Houston, Texas. Demand from Katrina transplants driving a strong market.

Las Vegas, Nevada. Market returning to normal appreciation rates, demand stays steady.

Phoenix, Arizona. Ignored in the boom, now being discovered by investors. Most cities here are bargain-priced.

San Antonio, Texas. Waking from a stagnant appreciation period. Good returns projected here.

Seattle, Washington. Good economy and low inventories offer attractive appreciation gains in 2006.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Solid Midwestern values speculate-proof this burgeoning market.

If you would like to get more information on property values in Phoenix, AZ, call licensed Real Estate Agent Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008 and/or visit her website at:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Benefits of Buying a Home In a Cooling Real-Estate Market

The Benefits of Buying a Home In a Cooling Real-Estate Market

By Amy Hoak ~ From Marketwatch

Residential real estate, a shining star of the national economy that seemed unflappable over the past couple of years, has hit a speed bump.

Nationally, home price appreciation is slowing down from the rapid pace experienced by many markets over the past few years. Mortgage interest rates are on their way up. Is this any time to be thinking about investing in a home? Of course it is -- if you're buying it for a place to live, not as a speculative investment, and can afford to take the leap.

"Owning a home is still financially not a bad deal, as long as you have the income to support the cost of homeownership," said Jim Gaines, research economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. Another caveat: "You better figure on living there five or six years to make any kind of profit on the thing."

Investors who hope to profit quickly on home sales, known as property flippers, for the most part have come and gone from the market, said Raymond Sierka Jr., vice president and regional sales manager with Harris Private Bank.

At the height of the real estate boom, people would buy houses before they were built at pre-construction rates only to sell the homes for a profit a short time later, often before construction was even complete. Speculators in some markets could often sell the property for a 20% to 30% yield, he said.

A normalized real estate landscape boots out those speculators, said Anthony Hsieh, president of online lender "It's just too risky to speculate now," he said.

People now are "buying for the right reasons," said Diana Bull, a Realtor in Santa Barbara, Calif., and a regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors. Sellers no longer hold all the cards, she said, which is creating a more balanced market.

Below are several benefits of home shopping in a cooling real estate market -- the silver lining to news predicting the residential real estate party is over.

More Selection

In a growing number of local markets, buyers have more time to think about a home before they make a decision on whether to purchase it. Last year, that often wasn't a likely luxury.

"Once you as a potential buyer found a house that met your needs, you had to jump on it right away," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac. "One thing that we're seeing nowadays -- compared to six or 12 months ago -- is many markets where homes are staying on the market longer."

Home sales are expected to decline in 2006, yet the year should finish as the third strongest on record, according to a midyear report given by Nothaft earlier this month. With fewer sales, more housing inventory is sitting on the market.

It's a change of pace for agents who not long ago didn't have many properties to show their clients, said David Drinkwater a Realtor in Scituate, Mass., and regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors.

"Two or three years ago, there was a great deal of reacting in the marketplace because we had a smaller inventory pool to work with," Drinkwater said. That's not to say that a well-priced property won't move quickly in this environment, he said, but buyers need to educate themselves so they can recognize a housing gem when they see it.

More Room to Negotiate

Current conditions in many markets also afford consumers a better opportunity to negotiate.

"This market is forcing everybody to slow down and take their time," Bull said. In that time, buyers have more of a say at the bargaining table.

In fact, getting a fair deal is even more of a priority for homeowners who can no longer bank on high appreciation rates to save them if they pay too much, Drinkwater said. If you slightly overpaid in a bidding war at the height of the real estate boom, high appreciation rates helped correct the error, he said. In many markets there is now no such safety net.

Average home value appreciation nationwide should be around 7% for the year, and is predicted to slow even further to 6.2% in 2007, according to Freddie Mac. Local markets vary, however, and even as some markets are cooling, others are still on an upward climb.

Even if you, as a buyer, have the benefit of being more of a haggler than you could have been last year, still remember to look for a place that meets your needs and your budget, Nothaft said. Do the calculations and lay the groundwork before your house hunt ever begins.

Interest Rates Are Still Relatively Low

It's easy to get caught up in the upward scooting of mortgage interest rates. But take the northward movement with a grain of salt.

Some people act like "Chicken Little" and feel as if the sky is falling when interest rates go up a quarter of a point, said Gaines of the Real Estate Center in Texas. Instead, keep it in perspective.

Interest rates are still way below what they were five or six years ago, Gaines said. Even if the 30-year hits 7% by the end of the year, investors should keep in mind the double-digit rates of yesteryear.

The annual average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 16.63% in 1981, and worked its way down to 9.25% in 1991, according to Freddie Mac records. Homeowners may not get rates quite as low as what they could secure in 2004, when the annual average for the 30-year fixed was 5.84%. But relatively speaking, it's still a deal.

A Home is Still a Good Investment

If you're in it for the long haul -- that is, buying a home with the intention to live in it for years -- a home is still a decent investment.

Consider this piece of information from the National Association of Realtors: Since record keeping began in 1968, the national median home price has risen every year. In a balanced market, home values typically rise at the general rate of inflation plus 1.5 percentage points. That's to say nothing of the tax benefits that come with owning your own home.

A look at the volatility of the stock market also proves the benefits of real estate as an investment, said Sierka, of Harris. "The downside of real estate is better than the downside on just about anything else," he said.

If you are considering buying a home in the Phoenix, Arizona area and would like a free, no obligation consultation, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008. You may also visit her website and search for homes on Arizona MLS for free at:

Preserving the Tract Home: Historic Districts on the Rise

Preserving the Tract Home:
Historic Districts on the Rise

By Sara Schaefer Munoz
From The Wall Street Journal Online

As the real-estate market begins to cool, a growing number of homeowners are seeking to boost their property values by getting their neighborhoods designated as historic districts.

Local historic districts, which can trigger regulations on everything from window repair to demolitions, are proliferating across the United States. But the desire for historic designation has some communities touting characteristics with questionable preservation value. Homeowners in Denver say their neighborhood deserves historic designation because it is an early example of large front lawns. A Phoenix subdivision is seeking historic status because it says its ranch homes were the first in the city with central air conditioning.

Countrywide, there were about 34,400 local historic-district properties added to the books in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2005, up from about 17,000 in fiscal year 2000, according to estimates by the department of the National Parks Service that encourages local preservation. In the past two years, Memphis, Tenn., has doubled the number of neighborhood historic districts it usually adds. Los Angeles now has nearly a dozen communities working toward designation up from just a handful in 2000.

The push for historic designation is partly a reaction to a flurry of development that has brought enormous changes to many neighborhoods, as developers have demolished older homes to make way for new construction. (Historic designation usually imposes regulations on new building.) A boost to property values is another big motivation. Values of homes in historic areas in Memphis, Tenn., rose 14% to 23% higher then those in non-historic areas, according to a 2005 study by researchers at Penn State and Rutgers Universities. A similar study of homes in Texas found historic designation was associated with value increases of between 5% and 20% over similar, non-historic neighborhoods.

Experts say designation can affect home value because it leads to neighborhood pride and better upkeep of homes and yards. Most designations encourage repairs to be made with high-quality material, such as wood, rather than vinyl, and prevent a hodge-podge of styles by blocking any new construction that doesn't fit in. Historic designation can also bring financial incentives such as tax credits and matching grant programs for home maintenance. For example, homeowners in many California cities can save between 40% to 60% a year on property taxes with an historic-district designation. A matching-grants program in Scottsdale, Ariz., will reimburse homeowners in historic districts for 50% of the total cost of an improvement, up to $10,000.

But there are downsides to historic designation for many homeowners. Strict regulations on construction and home modification can make repairs costly and burdensome. The potential headaches are leading some homeowners to resist being included in a historic district. In Rockford, Ill., one resident recently led an unsuccessful charge to roll back part of a historic district after the town barred her from installing vinyl siding.

There are several types of historic designation: national, state and local. A spot on the National Register of Historic Places, while prestigious, is insufficient in preventing most alterations or demolitions. Local designations, however, create regulations written into local laws, which block major changes and can even dictate details like gutter repair and fence replacement. The process starts when districts are either identified by local planning departments or by groups of residents. The city, consultants or volunteers then survey the area, cataloguing properties and recommending boundaries. Most municipalities require a strong showing of support from district residents before becoming official.

Local preservation zeal has raised questions about what's worthy of designation. For example, the modest homes in Lincoln Heights and Highland Park, some of Los Angeles' earliest neighborhoods, may be historically significant, but "are they worth preserving?" asks Christian Redfearn, a professor at the University of Southern California's School of Policy, Planning and Development. "Many people don't want 1,200-square-foot houses."

The prospect of higher property values spurred residents on the periphery of the 19th-century Chapin Park neighborhood in South Bend, Ind. to be included in a local historic zone. But one opponent said the historic quality of the fringe area -- which abuts a large medical center and includes mid-century homes -- is questionable. "I live across from a multi-level garage with a heliport," says Sharon Schierling, a university administrator. "Whatever historic character my house had at one time, it's pretty much gone now."

A group of energetic, determined residents is often critical to winning designation. In Phoenix, residents of the Westwood Village and Estates -- an area of modest, midcentury ranch homes -- are paying Arizona State University students $14,000 for an historical survey that city officials were too backlogged to conduct themselves. In addition to the claim that their homes are the first in the city with central air, they also point out on a Web site devoted to the neighborhood their status as one of the city's first planned subdivisions, with "small, box-like" and "L-shaped" brick homes. Says neighborhood association president Forest C. Slaght III, "Historical significance is in the eye of the beholder, much like art."

Officials are considering designation for a neighborhood in Riverside, California that includes minimal, depression-era architecture and so-called Hollywood driveways that have strips of grass running down their centers.

Local criteria for designation varies. Usually, codes draw on guidelines from the Secretary of the Interior, which say landmarks should have characteristics that individually or collectively represent historic or artistic significance, or are related to important historic people or events. Different cities have their own twist. St. Petersburg, Fla. for example, has special criteria for protecting early sidewalks made from hexagon-shaped concrete blocks, because officials say they lend unique character to the city. Denver will consider buildings erected as recently as 30 years ago.

If you are considering purchasing a home in any one of Phoenix's 36 Historic Districts, you need a Real Estate Agent who specializes in historic Phoenix properties. Call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008. You can also visit her historic Phoenix website at:

Monday, August 21, 2006

Downtown Phoenix Meets the Challenge of a Great American City

Finally ... A great American city needs a vibrant urban core, and Downtown Phoenix meets the challenge!

From major-league sports to live theater, from museums to Phoenix historic homes, (check out ) or click the link above.

Luxury hotels and a state-of-the-art convention center, Downtown Phoenix offers a smorgasbord of cultural delights.

Downtown is anchored by the new Phoenix Convention Center, which is in the final stages of major expansion and renovation. It’s located just a few blocks from US Airways Center, home court of the Phoenix Suns, and Chase Field, hometown field of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

All of this is just one part of Copper Square, downtown's lively hub that features the Arizona Center, with its restaurants, movie theaters, specialty shops, concerts, street fairs, live theater, a plethora of historic Phoenix neighborhoods and so much more.

Across the street is Heritage Square, featuring restaurants and an interesting collection of historic buildings dating to the late 1800's. Homes that have been carefully restored and decorated to the period are open for tours

Just a few blocks west is the Orpheum Theater, a historic venue offering a wide array of concerts, performances and drama.

In addition there are luxury hotels, great restaurants, health clubs and specialty events.

And all of this encases the heart of the Phoenix business community and the heads of state, county and city government, including the Legislature, state offices and the office of the Governor, just a few miles to the west.

Put it all together and you have the ingredients for a rich cultural stew that adds spice to the rigorous academic life of ASU at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

If you're considering making a move into the downtown historic Phoenix area, call a Real Estate Agent who specializes in the downtown area and surrounding areas ... Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. at 602.400.0008. You can also visit her website at:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Phoenix History - Growing Into a Metropolis

Growing Into a Metropolis

With the advent of statehood, Phoenix, as well as Arizona, had come of age. The casual, easy growth that characterized a farming community slowly came to a stop. Phoenix began to grow into a young metropolis. At the end of its first eight years under statehood, Phoenix was no longer a town - it was an important city of 29,053.

Two thousand youngsters were attending Phoenix Union High School in 1920. They would throw each other into Jack Swilling's first canal, which ran through the campus and had become the "Town Ditch." A total of 1,080 buildings went up that year. Among them was Arizona's first skyscraper, the Heard Building.

In those eight years, Phoenix also developed the makings of its first political scandal - the $1,300,000 bond issue of 1919 to build a redwood pipeline from the Verde River to Phoenix. The pipeline was finished in 1920, but never worked too well. Today, the portion of that redwood that isn't still underground serves to form walls for the houses of the Indians living near Fort McDowell.

By 1930, the size of Phoenix nearly doubled again with a 48,118 census count. There were 120 miles of sidewalks and 161 miles of streets - 77 with pavement. The public library had 51,000 books, and the police force had 70 men. The budget for the city came to $2,033,886. Another pipeline was built - this time constructed with 48 inches of concrete, which still carries Verde River water to us.

The year 1940 marked another turning point in Phoenix life. The city had gone as far as a farming center and then as a distribution center. When the war hit the United States, Phoenix rapidly turned into an embryonic industrial city. Luke Field, Williams Field and Falcon Field, coupled with the giant ground training center at Hyder, west of Phoenix, brought thousands of men into Phoenix. Their needs, both military and personal, were met in part by small industries in Phoenix.

When the war ended, many of these men returned to Phoenix, and families came with them. Suddenly thousands of people were wondering what to do for a living. Large industry, learning of this labor pool, started to move branches here. Smaller plants were started by private capital and initiative. Water again began to run out as it had done several times before, but citizens were more fortunate than the Ho Ho Kam who built the first canals and saw them go dry. Phoenix had the greatness of American technology to fall back on. The era commencing with 1940 marked the end of agriculture's role as our chief provider. It was the beginning of a greater prosperity than Phoenix had ever known.

In 1950, 105,000 people lived within the city limits of Phoenix and thousands more lived immediately adjacent to and depended upon Phoenix for their livelihoods. The city had 148 miles of paved streets and 163 miles of unpaved streets, a total of 311 miles of streets within the city limits.

Sky Harbor Airport was just getting started in 1934.

To search for historic Phoenix homes in any or all of the 36 Phoenix historic districts, go to:

Roosevelt and Reclamation ~ Phoenix Roosevelt Dam History

Roosevelt and Reclamation

President Theodore Roosevelt at the dedication of the Roosevelt Dam in 1911.

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act making it possible to build dams on western streams for reclamation purposes, an important event for the people of Phoenix and the Valley.

Valley residents were quick to supplement this federal action by organizing the Salt River Valley Waters Users' Association on February 4, 1903, to assure proper management of the precious water supply. This organization still functions as the major agency for controlled use of irrigation water in the Valley.

Theodore Roosevelt Dam was started in 1906. It was the first multiple-purpose dam, supplying both water and electric power, to be constructed under the National Reclamation Act. On May 18, 1911, the former President himself dedicated the dam, which was the largest masonry dam in the world. This opened a new era in farming for the Valley and secured the part of our economy that depended on water for its life.

President William Howard Taft approved Arizona's statehood on Feb. 14, 1912. On March 18 of the same year, Gov. George Hunt called the first State Legislature into session.

Coronado Historic District, Scottsdale & Phoenix Attractions

By Edie Jarolim
Special for

Think L.A. without an ocean. The quintessential New West urban complex, Greater Phoenix comprises 22 freeway-laced cities sprawling over more than 9,000 square miles and hosting some 3.1 million residents. The Valley of the Sun, as it's also known, is one of the country's fastest growing metroplexes. But while satellites such as Mesa, which experienced a whopping 41% population increase in the 1990's, are drawing new settlers in droves, visitors tend to spend their time in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and, to a lesser degree, Tempe.

Phoenix, the country's sixth largest city and growing, is the Valley's prime arena for business, spectator sports, and high culture. Copper Square, the city boosters' designation for downtown's once decaying core, is home to municipal buildings and high-rise corporate headquarters, including that of Phelps Dodge. It's also where you'll find the Bank One Ball Park and America West Arena sports facilities, as well as cultural hubs such as the Herberger Theater Center and the Heritage & Science Park museum complex. Downtown is fairly dead on the weekends and on most evenings when there are no games or concerts, however. Most of Phoenix's action still lies to the north, with its older residential enclaves, popular restaurants, and, along the Camelback Corridor, upscale lodgings such as the historic Arizona Biltmore and low-slung modern business parks.

Scottsdale, which combines an artist's heart with a capitalist's idea of a good time, is where both locals and visitors play. Its strollable downtown — an Old West settlement in an earlier incarnation — is chock-a-block with chi-chi galleries, trendy eateries and happening nightspots. As you head north on the city's main thoroughfare, Scottsdale Road branches off towards endless golf courses, malls, and spa-studded mega resorts. In contrast, Tempe, home to Arizona State University, is a low-key college community with student-oriented shops, bars and restaurants lining its main drag, Mill Avenue.

A few years ago, Tempe flooded a dry riverbed, thus acquiring a watersports scene of sorts. But most of the Valley's outdoor recreation — golf, hiking, biking, and horseback riding — is focused around the cactus-rich northern Sonoran Desert. In winter, you can play outdoors all day, reveling in glorious warm, sunny weather (as long as you remember the shades, water bottle, and sunscreen). Spring and fall, when temps can rise into the 90s, are iffier for fresh-air enthusiasts. And despite the Valley-dweller's mantra, "It's a dry heat," only the hardiest athletes venture outside to exercise in summer — and only in the early morning and at dusk.

A native cultural must — Opened in 1929 in Dwight and Maie Heard's lovely Spanish Colonial-style home, The Heard Museum has long had one of the country's best collections of Southwest Indian artifacts. And it just keeps getting better. Traditional crafts such as antique Navajo rugs and the Hopi katsina dolls donated by the late Barry Goldwater share space with provocative contemporary Native American paintings and displays relating to controversial topics such as transporting Native American children to boarding schools to "Americanize" them. An outdoor sculpture garden makes the most of its dramatic desert setting. On the weekends, there are always interesting talks and craft demonstrations. The Heard hosts a variety of year-round festivals and events.

Located just north of Copper Square in downtown central Phoenix, the Heard is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for kids 4-12, and free for Native Americans and kids under 4.

There's also a smaller branch of the Heard Museum in the El Pedregal complex in North Scottsdale, open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The recommended contribution is $3 for adults.

Phoenix: 2301 N. Central Ave.; (602) 252-8848. Scottsdale: 34505 N. Scottsdale Rd.; (480) 488-9817.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Study: Closing Costs Average $3,000 Nationwide

Study: Closing Costs Average $3,000 Nationwide
Daily Real Estate News ~ August 10, 2006

Nationwide, closing costs average $3,024, according to a study by Bankrate Inc., an online aggregator of financial rate information.

The study examined the closing costs charged by lenders in major cities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including origination fees, title search and appraisal costs. The cities with the highest closing costs were Buffalo, N.Y., $3,887; Houston, $3,578; Honolulu, $3,407; Cleveland, $3,354; and Miami, $3,349,

The cities with the lowest were St. Louis, $2,713; Detroit, $2,714; Concord, N.H., $2,734; Billings, Mont., $2,737; and Cheyenne, Wyo., $2,772.

Bankrate asked home buyers if the closing costs they paid were close to the so-called good faith estimate of closing costs. About 60 percent said the estimate was right on the money. But 13 percent said they paid a higher amount than the estimate, while 8 percent paid less. The remainder didn’t remember.

The survey of closing costs didn't cover government fees and other prepaid items that are essentially passed through by the lender for payment by the borrower.

If you would like a consultation on buying a home, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008. You may also visit her website at:

Common Closing Costs for Buyers

Common Closing Costs for Buyers

The lender must disclose a good faith estimate of all settlement costs. A check to cover your closing costs will probably have to be a cashier’s check. The title company or other entity conducting the closing will tell you the required amount for:

Loan origination fees.
Points, or loan discount fees you pay to receive a lower interest rate.
Appraisal fee.
Credit report.
Private mortgage insurance premium.
Insurance escrow for homeowners insurance, if being paid as part of the mortgage.
Property tax escrow, if being paid as part of the mortgage. Lenders keep funds for taxes and insurance in escrow accounts as they are paid with the mortgage, then pay the insurance or taxes for you.
Deed recording fees.
Title insurance policy premiums.
Inspection fees—building inspection, termites, etc.
Notary fees.
Prorations for your share of costs such as utility bills and property taxes.

A Note About Prorations. Because such costs are usually paid on either a monthly or yearly basis, you might have to pay a bill for services used by the sellers before they moved. Proration is a way for the sellers to pay you back or for you to pay them for bills they may have paid in advance. For example, the gas company usually sends a bill each month for the gas used during the previous month. But assume you buy the home on the 6th of the month. You would owe the gas company for only the days from the 6th to the end for the month. The seller would owe for the first 5 days. The bill would be prorated for the number of days in the month, and then each person would be responsible for the days of his or her ownership.

What to Keep From Your Closing

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) statement. This form, sometimes called a HUD 1 statement, itemizes all the costs associated with the closing. You’ll need for income tax purposes and when you sell the home.
The Truth in Lending Statement summarizes the terms of your mortgage loan.
The mortgage and the note (two pieces of paper) spell out the legal terms of your mortgage obligation and the agreed-upon repayment terms.
The deed transfers ownership of the property to you.
Affidavits swearing to various statements by either party. For example, the sellers will often sign an affidavit stating that they have not incurred any liens on the property.
Riders are amendments to the sales contract that affect your rights. For example, if you buy a condominium, you may have a rider outline the condo association’s rules and restrictions.
Insurance policies provide a record and proof of your coverage.

To have an experienced Real Estate Agent help you in your closing process, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. at 602.400.0008. Also, visit her website at:

Some Options for After You Lock in a Rate

Some Options for After You Lock in a Rate
Daily Real Estate News
August 14, 2006

Buyers who locked in a mortgage interest rate a few weeks ago, before the decline, may be wondering if they made a mistake.

A survey of major lenders shows that the average cost of 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from a high of 6.93 percent on June 28 to 6.65 in the week of August 2.

But after years of consistent increases, locking in a rate was a smart thing to do. Plus, there is a slight chance that buyers can do something to change their rate. Here's what they can try:

Talk to the lender.

They have nothing to lose by asking. One loan officer we talked to suggested that a lender might be willing to split the difference with the borrower, just to keep you a loyal customer.

Secure a lower rate from a different lender by starting the process all over again.

This would only be possible if you have enough time to go through another application process. You would lose the application fee you paid the first lender, but if the savings were significant, it might be worthwhile.

Buy down the rate.

If the buyer decides to buy down the rate (pay discount points upfront to get a lower interest rate) from the locked rate, he or she normally can do that within a week of closing. However, that requires significant upfront money that the buyer who plans to stay in a house for only a few years is unlikely to get back.

If you are thinking about buying a new home and would like a consultation, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008. You may also visit her website at:

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Reasons to Relocate to Phoenix, Arizona

Relocating to Phoenix? Welcome home!

Enjoy mountain views, 300 days of sunshine a year and big-city life without the big-city cost

By Amelia Riedler

Home is where the heart is—not to mention where the shopping is, the art venues, the schools and the job market. Of course, it does take a certain something to make a place feel like home, but it’s often a combination of creature comforts and basic necessities blended together to fit your lifestyle.

It’s also important to find that special sense of community. And Greater Phoenix offers just that—a unique blend of all things demanded and desired.

Located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, the Valley of the Sun sits in a bowl surrounded by the beautiful rocky terrain of Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, the Superstition Mountains, South Mountain and the Estrella Mountains.

If you tire of the city, you can jump in your car and head for Sedona, Picacho Peak or the Mogollon Rim, all a short ride away. With numerous hiking and biking trails in and around the Greater Phoenix area, you’ll find it easy to maintain an active lifestyle. And with more than 300 days of sunshine each year, you’ll find an uncomplicated beauty as your daily backdrop.

The Valley of the Sun offers all the diversity of big-city life without the big city cost. Phoenix ranks as the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan area with 3.5 million residents in Greater Phoenix, according to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

“The Greater Phoenix region offers a quality of life that keeps it at the forefront of the most livable cities,” says Katie Pushor, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “With low unemployment, reasonably priced real estate and a geographic location with easy access, Phoenix offers opportunities for someone new to come into town and create an impact.”

Location, Location, Location

“One of the primary advantages of our area is our location. We’re located very close to three much larger economies: Mexico, California and Texas,” says Tracy Clark, economist at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University— one of three state universities. “We have a cost advantage over California and have clearly attracted a lot of business expansion from our neighbor to the west.”

Among the Valley’s advantages are flat terrain, simple transportation routes and a light rail system that’s under construction. Not only is the transportation system evolving, but housing communities also continue to be developed across the Valley, offering comfortable homes for new and longtime residents.

More than 30,500 homes sales were recorded for the third quarter of 2005 alone, and almost 51,000 single-family housing units were authorized in 2004, according to the ASU Real Estate Center.

The homebuying environment is highly favorable with low interest rates and a wide selection of housing types. “What has become increasingly important is the expanding housing market business within existing communities in the form of urban lofts and condominiums, housing renovation, infill projects and historical districts,” says Dr. Jay Butler of the ASU Real Estate Center.

Recent reports state the median rate of home appreciation has greatly exceeded the rate of inflation, creating opportunities for new homeowners.

A Growing Job Market

Housing isn’t the only thing increasing exponentially. Employment in Greater Phoenix shows higher percentage increases in almost all job categories compared to the rest of the United States, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security. With 1.7 million in the civilian labor force, most residents find themselves in professional or technical roles, with the next largest group being administrative support or service positions.

A 3.7 percent employment increase is expected for 2006, according to the Arizona DES and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Top industries for the Phoenix region are high-tech manufacturing, professional and technical services and health care services, Pushor says.

“The Greater Phoenix metropolitan area was the second fastest growing major employment market in the nation in 2005,” she notes. “Phoenix was ranked either first, second or third throughout most of the 1990s. With continued growth in population and business-friendly policies in the region, we expect the employment market to continue to grow at the current rate.”

Big City Amenities

Entertainment and shopping venues abound in and around the Valley, and there are more than 200 golf courses in the Phoenix area.

Arizona is also home to four major professional sports teams: basketball, football, baseball and, amazingly enough, hockey in the desert. Not to mention three unique venues for motor sports.

Arizona also is rich with history, with ruins from ancient civilizations lying among the 23 Native American reservations that represent 21 different tribes.

Although thoughts of cowboys, cactus and Gila monsters invariably come to mind when contemplating Arizona, there’s so much more to this remarkable region. Find out what the true meaning of home is, here in the heart of the Valley. Welcome to Phoenix, Arizona.

If you are thinking about relocating to Phoenix, AZ, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. TODAY! She is an expert at helping people relocate. She will help you with finding the right school districts for you children, help you with finding a home that will be conducive to all your needs and SO much more.

Visit her website today at:


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Roosevelt Historic District Called 'Model' Urban Neighborhood

Roosevelt Historic District Called 'Model' Urban Neighborhood
Mel Meléndez ~ The Arizona Republic

When Maria Capogreco first discussed opening a delicatessen in Phoenix's Roosevelt Historic district neighborhood, friends warned her about the blight and crime that had overrun the former working-class community.

Three years later, the owner of the Calabria Italian Grocery and Deli smiles when she recalls her initial concerns.

Thanks to new commercial storefronts and lofts, rehabilitated housing and restored historic structures, Roosevelt is now a thriving urban neighborhood.

It recently became the first downtown Phoenix community to meet 100 percent of its revitalization goals, after being designated a Neighborhood Initiative Area in 1998. "It's beautiful and vibrant now and that's attracting lots of young couples and singles," said Capogreco, a Boston transplant. "You get the sense that this is the place to be and live now. I definitely did the right thing."

Phoenix, like several other cities in the Valley, believes it, too, is doing the right thing by concentrating redevelopment efforts on downtown neighborhoods to draw residents and commerce to rejuvenated city cores. The urban renewal efforts are nothing new as several other Phoenix neighborhoods, such as Willo and F.Q. Story, have been replenished and are now in high demand.

But Phoenix officials tout Roosevelt, which runs south from McDowell Road to Van Buren Street and east from 7th Avenue to 7th Street, as a model for how flagging neighborhoods can be turned around when residents work with cities to revitalize communities.

"We picked Roosevelt because it had been in decline for so long, not because it was downtown," said Ken Lynch, spokesman for Phoenix's Neighborhood Services Department. "But it's right up the street from the expanded ASU campus, so its restoration does enhance our overall vision for downtown."

Roosevelt's renewal couldn't have been more timely because of the city's push to redevelop downtown, including expanding Arizona State University's downtown campus, opening a University of Arizona medical school, new housing and hotels, and the light-rail system, which will run through the heart of the Roosevelt community on Central Avenue.

The municipal NIA designation allowed the neighborhood to apply and receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state grants to revamp and build new housing.

Those who remember the formerly blighted community, marked by graffiti, gang activity, dilapidated apartments and abandoned properties, would hardly recognize it today. Tree-lined streets peppered with decorative streetlights showcase more than 200 renovated homes and apartment units and tasteful storefront venues, including the art galleries now featured in Phoenix's popular First Fridays art walk event.

"We've always had artists here," said physician Joan Kelchner, a member of the Roosevelt Action Association. "But the vibrancy and urban culture we envisioned is now here, as well. We're very pleased."

The city worked with Roosevelt residents, business owners and developers to secure funding, including more than $650,000 in federal Community Development Block Grants, and more than $400,000 in Phoenix bond monies for renovations.

"For every dollar we brought in private investors spent 10 times that amount," Lynch said.

The public grants and private funding aided with restoration projects, including more than eight historic buildings, including the Lamar apartments at 301-303 W. Latham St., now a pair of two-story owner-occupied units. Nearly 70 multi-family units now stand along the once rundown 5th and 6th avenues between Fillmore and McKinley streets. The city also helped leverage the private development of Artisan Homes, which brought 105 new condominiums to 7th and Roosevelt streets.

Kelchner, who's lived in Roosevelt since 1984, said partnering with the city sped up the neighborhood's revitalization efforts.

"We'd been holding economic forums with developers since the late 90s," she said. "But the NIA designation gave us the city staff and wherewithal to accomplish our goals. It put everyone on the same page."

Roosevelt business owners agree.

"The city respected our wishes, which helped preserve Roosevelt's neighborhood feel," said Tina Eaves, co-owner of The Cleaners at Alterations and Creations at 214 W. Roosevelt St. "And at heart that's what we are: a very distinct neighborhood."

Across from Eaves' shop on 3rd Avenue sits Gold Spot. Closed for more than 30 years, the shuttered facility reopened in 2003. It now houses several businesses, including the Calabria deli and the Mecha Salon.

"The Roosevelt community is beautiful and safe now," Lynch said. "That's something everybody can be proud of."

If you are looking to purchase a home or business in the Phoenix Historic Roosevelt district, call a Real Estate agent who specializes in the area ... Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. at 602.400.0008, or visit her historic Phoenix website at:

Search homes in this historic Phoenix neighborhood at:
Search Roosevelt now.

New ASU Campus on Track ~ Phoenix, AZ

New ASU Campus on Track
Phoenix officials cheer enrollment of 4,000 students downtown

by Ginger D. Richardson ~ The Arizona Republic ~ June 27, 2006

Interest in the new Arizona State University campus in downtown Phoenix appears to be robust, based on newly released enrollment numbers.

The university said Monday that about 4,000 students had signed up to take one or more classes in downtown Phoenix this August, 60 percent more than the 2,500 ASU officials and city leaders had been predicting.

The enrollment numbers, which include 2,200 full-time students, are important because it's the first indication of how the new urban university is being received by the public. They also are a barometer of whether the city's billion-dollar plus investment in its core might ultimately be a success; officials are counting on the campus to create spinoff development that brings new jobs and businesses to the region.

On Monday, officials at Phoenix City Hall cheered the news, saying that the figures are a sign that their downtown revitalization plans are on track, and that the $220 million in public bond monies that will support the campus are a worthwhile investment.

The new campus opens Aug. 21, and initially will be home to the College of Nursing, the College of Public Programs and the University College. Classes will be at three downtown locations: the Park Place building at Fillmore and Third streets; the 411 Building at Central Avenue and Polk Street; and the ASU Mercado at Fifth and Van Buren streets.

"It's phenomenal," Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said Monday of the enrollment figures. "We've all been looking for a way . . . to get a lot of people down here quickly. When you think about it, this (campus) started two and a half years ago as a vision, and now we've got 4,600 people, if you count faculty and staff, that will be part of downtown this fall."

At this point, university officials say the extra students are not causing any major headaches, and that they have enough space and staff to handle the influx. The larger headcount means some extra work, however. Officials are now currently looking at offering core classes, such as English, math and history, at additional times.

If there is bad news to be found in the enrollment figures, it is in the student housing numbers. ASU has leased enough space downtown to sleep about 270 students, but only 120 have signed up so far.

"That's a little less than we had hoped," said Mernoy Harrison, the downtown campus' vice president and provost.

University and city officials hope to create a 24-7 hub of activity downtown; the best way to do that is by having students live in the area.ASU recently inked a deal to use the Ramada-Inn Downtown as its dormitory during the first years. ASU also is negotiating with a Virginia-based developer to build permanent student housing. Details of the plan have not been released, but ASU is asking that the company build at least 700 living spaces in the city center by fall 2008. The high-rise project also is expected to include retail space and perhaps condominiums.

It's not clear why more students have not requested downtown living quarters. Early indications suggest that the trend has more to do with the type of students attending classes downtown than it does with the area's appeal.

The university expects many of the enrollees to be non-traditional students who are older, work and attend classes part-time, or are commuters.

University officials do not plan to revise their enrollment estimates for the future phases of the campus, based on the newly released numbers. They are still projecting that there will be about 7,500 students downtown in fall 2008, and about 15,000 enrolled at full-build out in 2015 or 2020.

If you are looking to purchase a home near the ASU downtown campus, there are many beautiful homes of all types to choose from. Call Laura Boyajian today, aka, Laura B. at 602.400.0008.

You may also browse her historic Phoenix downtown website at:

Ashland Place Historic District Info - Phoenix, AZ

Ashland Place Historic District was designated a Maricopa County Phoenix historic district in May of 1992. Its period of significance is 1920-1904. Generally located along Hoover, Vernon and Ashland Avenues between Central Avenue and Third Street, it is also known as Ashland Place Subdivision and is approximately 150 acres in size.

Ashland Place was built as a subdivision of Dwight B. Heard’s “Los Olivios” subdivision. Homes in this area consist of Bungalow and Period Revival built in the 1920's.

To search for homes in this historic Phoenix district, call Laura Boyajian today, aka, Laura B. at 602.400.0008 or you may visit her website at:

Also to search directly in the Ashland Place Historic District, click on:

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Tips to Staging the Inside of Your Home Like a Pro

Tips to Staging the Inside of Your Home Like a Pro
Tuesday, August 01, 2006 - Kathleen Yamauchi

“3 Tips to Staging the Inside of Your Home Like a Pro” has tips on ways to prepare a house before listing in order to minimize selling time and maximizing profits. Here are 3 tips to get your client started with the inside of your listed home:

1. De-clutter

This is one of the most important things you can do. It might be easier to think of de-cluttering like this – you’re moving anyway, so why not start packing now? Pack up everything you don’t need and store the boxes out of sight in the garage (or consider temporarily renting a small storage locker).

2. Organize your closets

Put similar colors together, pants together, skirts together, shirts together etc. Why? Because it will make the closets look bigger. (Really.) An organized closet appears bigger, and you want your closets to look as spacious as possible.

3. Make your home look like a model

You want to de-personalize as much as possible so potential buyers can imagine themselves and their own belongings occupying the space in your house. That means minimizing – putting away everything you don’t need or use. Clear off kitchen counters as much as possible – stash all those appliances you don’t use, and put miscellaneous small clutter in a few attractive baskets or boxes.

“Staging a home can be compared to setting the scene for a prospective buyer to imagine himself, his family and his possessions happily occupying your home,” said Yamauchi. “In order for that to happen, the seller has to take herself out of the picture.”

If you are considering selling your home, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today at 602.400.0008 for advise on how to prepare your home to sell!

You may also visit her website at:

Friday, August 04, 2006

Historic Phoenix Willo Neighborhood Makes Country's Top 10 Cottage Neighborhoods

The Country's Top 10 Cottage Neighborhoods
Daily Real Estate News August 4, 2006

What makes a great "cottage" neighborhood? These are places with porches and gardens, lots of parks, streets where you can stroll to local shops and restaurants, areas with impressive architecture, and places where historic neighbors know your name and are trustworthy.

In its current issue, Cottage Living Magazine used these and other factors to choose the top 10 cottage communities in the United States. The magazine divided the country into five regions and picked two cottage neighborhoods from each. It targeted metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people.

The winning neighborhoods are:

Lake Otsego area of Portland, Ore. A neighborhood noteworthy for tiny homes and towering trees. $450,000 buys a 2-bedroom fixer-upper.

McDonald Park area of Pasadena, Calif. Historically intact collection of classic homes; $800,000 and up.

Willo Historic Phoenix neighborhood Arizona. Charming and close to offices and downtown; $450,000 for a 2-bedroom, 1 bath, home.

West Austin Park near the University of Texas. $400,000 for a two-bedroom cottage near the neighborhood center.

Bryn Mawr section of Minneapolis. Five minutes from downtown and near large parks; $300,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bath house in good shape.

Cottage Home neighborhood of Indianapolis, Ind. A funky, downtown community; $250,000 for the nicest home in the neighborhood.

Albemarle Park, near downtown Ashville, N.C. A secluded neighborhood on a wooded mountaintop. Homes rarely sell, but when one does, the price is about $300,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home.

Kenwood area of St. Petersburg, Fla. About 10 miles from the beach with lots of porches for surviving hot days; $250,000 will buy you the nicest house on the block.

DelRay area of Alexandria, Va. A half-dozen metro stops from the nation’s capital. $550,000 may buy you a small house if you move quickly before prices rise.

The South End area of Burlington, Vt. Described as "artsy-craftsy and cute." For $300,000 you can buy a 2,000-square-foot house with a small yard.

Source: Cottage Living, Logan Ward (08/01/2006)

If you are looking at purchasing a home in the Willo Historic Phoenix neighborhood, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. directly today at 602.400.0008. You may also visit her Historic Central Phoenix website at:

To search directly into the Willo Historic Phoenix District, click on:

How to Get the Most from a Cooling Market

How to Get the Most from a Cooling Market
Daily Real Estate News ~ August 2, 2006

A drop-off in buyer demand and rising home inventories has made putting a house on the market trickier for home owners whose properties appreciated during the boom and who hope to retain their gains, says a new report on, The Wall Street Journal's guide to property. offers these tips for selling a home in a cooling market:

1. Size up the playing field. Study your local market and investigate other homes for sale, local asking prices and what buyers are paying.

2. Price competitively. If a home is overpriced, a buyer will dismiss it and move on to the next one. Price a residence just below what the market will bear.

3. Do your legwork. Use the Internet and networking to locate a buyer.

4. Don't delay. Point out to a seller that even if an offer isn’t all he had hoped, taking it instead of waiting for a better deal can save money in the long run.

5. Negotiate. Offer concessions to potential buyers, such as making minor fixes. Small expenditures speed a sale and, ultimately, preserve price gains.

6. Play up a home's assets. Impress buyers with a repainted interior, clean closets, nice landscaping and an orderly garage.

Source: (08/01/2006)

If you are thinking about selling your home and want a Real Estae Agent who will help you get all the value out of your property, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. directly today at 602.400.0008. You will not be disappointed.

You may also visit here website at:

Credit Score Checkup Can Make a Difference

Credit Score Checkup Can Make a Difference
Daily Real Estate News
July 31, 2006

It’s most lenders’ standard practice to run a credit score check immediately before a borrower closes on a mortgage.

Borrowers who have taken on more debt, failed to pay bills or done anything else that change their credit score for the worse since applying may find themselves facing not only a higher rate, but also being asked to come up with a larger down payment.

Borrowers whose credit scores are on the edge should ask their lenders about two computer programs that can help.

ScoreWizard is a powerful simulator that allows would-be borrowers to scan credit files for opportunities to raise scores.
Another possibility is ScoreRight, which uses common assumptions to pose ways to increase a score. Both are only available through loan officers or mortgage brokers.

These credit-advisory programs can prove valuable to anyone searching for the best rate possible. The difference between a 720 score and 580 could be as much as 3 points, according to the booklet "Your Credit Score." It was prepared by the Consumer Federation of America and Fair Isaac, the company that developed the scoring programs used by each of the three major credit repositories: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

On a $200,000, 30-year loan, the difference between 6.5 percent and 9.5 percent is $418 per month, $5,016 a year and $150,480 over the loan's 30-year life.

Source: United Feature Syndicate, Lew Sichelman (07/30/2006)

For credit counseling, home buying, home selling or investment property info, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. today directly at 602.400.0008.

You may also visit her website at:
To read an article and search homes in the Historic Roosevelt District in Phoenix, check out:
Historic Phoenix Homes Information: Roosevelt Historic District Called 'Model' Urban Neighborhood

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Select Mortgage Option That Suits Your Situation

Select Mortgage Option That Suits Your Situation

By Rosie Romero
Special for The Arizona Republic

Jul. 22, 2006

So, it's now a buyer's market, and you're ready to jump into the world of homeownership. One of the first decisions you'll be making is what kind of a mortgage loan you'll be taking out. These days, there are many more options than when your parents bought their first home.

What type of mortgage is best for your situation?

Buying a home is a great investment. There are many types of mortgages out there. Before you decide, be sure to look at your options and see what best fits you not only now but in the long run. Your mortgage should be tailored to your individual needs, goals and plans.

The most popular is the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. You pay off the loan in 30 years with a locked-in interest rate. No matter what the market does, your interest rate will not change. Parents and grandparents probably have this kind (and may not know of any others). This can also be done as a 15-year, meaning you'll pay off the house in half the time. Keep in mind that your monthly mortgage payment will be much more, but overall your interest expense is much lower. This is the one I recommend for most people.

Another type is the ARM, which stands for adjustable-rate mortgage. Don't let the name fool you; the mortgage rate will not start adjusting until after a predetermined time. ARM's can have a fixed term of two, three, five, seven or even 10 years. When the term is up, your interest rate will adjust to the market rate. These rates are typically the lowest possible rates available, lower than a fixed product, and come with more options, such as interest only. If you plan to be in your home for less than five years, an ARM can be very beneficial, as long as the real estate market stays strong and there's little risk of the value of your home depreciating. This is also a good option for potential homeowners with lower credit scores or those working to repair credit since they will want to refinance to get a lower rate once credit goals are achieved, such as paying off large credit card debt.

Before you start looking, it's wise to check your credit score. The sooner you iron out any errors or disputed items, the sooner you'll get mortgage approval. Errors and disputed items can be caused by many situations, including a faulty Social Security number, a name similar to yours, identity theft or a court-ordered judgment you paid off that is still on your public records. Clearing up these records can take a long time, so start now.

When you're ready to start house hunting, be sure to get prequalified and preapproved. Any reputable mortgage broker will prequalify you for a mortgage before you start house hunting. This includes an analysis of your income, assets and current debt to estimate how much you can afford to pay. There's no sense in looking at houses worth a million dollars if you only qualify for half of that amount. Obtaining mortgage preapproval means you have a lender's written commitment to put together a loan for you (income and employment verification will need to be done). The lender's letter of approval helps agents and sellers have confidence that the buyer is serious and qualified to purchase the home. Additionally, early credit approvals by a mortgage lender can expedite the closing of the loan and the close of escrow.

To help get pre-approved for a loan, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. directly today at 602.400.0008.

You may also visit her website at: