Phoenix bird photo

Ever Wonder How CNN Makes Their “Top Places To Live” List?

Phoenix bird photoThe methodology is more scientific than you may think. Here’s how they do it.

Start with all U.S. towns with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. Screen out places with a median family income of more than 200 percent or less than 85 percent of the state average. Then, screen out places with more than 95% of one race and those with poor education and crime scores. Exclude retirement communities and towns with major job losses.

Rank the rest based on job growth, home affordability, safety, school quality, health care, arts and leisure, diversity, and several ease-of-living criteria.

Factor in more data on the economy (including the fiscal strength of state and local governments), plus jobs, housing, health care, and happiness. Give the most weight to economic data.

Visit towns and interview residents; assess traffic, parks, and gathering places; and consider intangibles like community spirit.

Finally, select the winner based on the data and reporting.

Scottsdale, Arizona is MY best place to live.  Nothing beats Arizona sunsets, midnight swims in my pool during hot summers and being surrounded by the amazing Sonoran desert landscape.  Scottsdale has so many wonderful amenities such as hiking, biking, shopping, exquisite and eclectic dining even skiing is only a short drive north to Flagstaff.   The valley’s housing market continuous to boom.  The “valley of the sun” is still growing and it’s an excellent time to buy or invest in real estate.  If you are considering moving to Scottsdale or surrounding areas – give me a call (480) 980-8286!  I know this area like the back of my hand and can help you find the right home, in the right neighborhood that meets your needs and lifestyle.

Click here to learn about Scottsdale homes and neighborhoods and view homes for sale listings. 

The Pros and Cons of Active Adult Living

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-featuredIn general terms, active adult living describes lifestyle in a collection of communities generally age-targeted or age-restricted to people aged 55 or older, primarily featuring detached single family homes – aptly named, active adult communities. The amenities vary widely from state to state and from city to city. They are far closer to “The Golden Girls” style of living than the “old folks homes” that people disparage.

Is one of these communities for you? The folks over at TopRetirements.com asked this very question to their readers and here are some of the popular responses.

Pros:

1. Low maintenance and hassles

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-001

Do you see yourself pushing a lawnmower when you get older? Many active adult communities are low to no maintenance, as many properties include landscaping and other chores in your monthly payments.

2. Getting away from teenagers

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-02

Loud cars, loud music and bands of rowdy teenagers do not exist with active adult living.

3. Active lifestyle

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-04

“You can be as active as you like or as sedentary as you like,” says one of the respondents.

4. There’s a community for everyone

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-06

There are a number of different types of adult living communities, so it’s best to do your research and find the community that best suit your lifestyle. The “active” adult communities give you the most options and amenities, whether you decided to use them or not.

5. Social life

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-07

Those on the younger side of “55 plus” have the opportunity to build long-term friendships.

6. All inclusive community

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-08

The amenities afforded to active adult communities varies by the neighborhood. Most (if not all here in Arizona) have pools and a long list of features for you to pick and choose what you enjoy.

The Cons:

1. Tightfisted community members

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-09

I found the responses about frugal community members quite funny like, “They are WWII folks who are really frugal. Yet, many of them openly brag about their last trip to China, their great dinner at (an expensive restaurant), etc.”

2. Home Owner Associations

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-11

Homeowner associations rarely win popularity contests, and the sentiment doesn’t change in active adult communities, where fees are a huge concern for people on fixed incomes. High fees can stretch the budget, however, lowering fees can mean fewer amenities.

3. Restrictions

pros-and-cons-active-adult-living-10

Barney Fife was mentioned a few times. In all seriousness, you should consider all ramifications of active adult living restrictions. For example, what happens if you need to take custody of grandchildren or some other unforeseen circumstances, that would be in violation of community rules.

Given all the positive and negatives, the best advice is to do your research – talk to residents to find out the low-down your target community, know your likes and dislikes, and find the community that matches your taste and lifestyle.

Featured Active Adult Listings: Province – Maricopa, AZ

front yard landscape photo

Landscaping to sell

front yard landscape photoLandscaping is a huge part of curb appeal and home seller should not forget that the appearance of the outside of the home is just as important as the inside.  Prospective buyers get a first impression as soon as they pull up, and it could impact how they feel about he home even before they enter it. Everyone loves manicured grounds and most prefer low maintenance yards.  People like to envision themselves having their morning coffee on the patio and may weigh in on how welcome the entrance feels and how inviting the front of the house is.  This is a good time to put away your scattered backyard toys, landscaping supplies and anything that looks old and unused.

A landscaping investment will give sellers a significant return in home value, however, homeowners should still be cautious with their spending.