To Step In or Not to Step In to New Construction

To build or not build??? That my friends, is only the first of many questions you need to consider before you walk in the door. Once you have decided to embark on the journey of new construction communities, the questions will just keep on coming. I am hoping I can answer a few for you here.
Location! Location!! Location!!!
One of the questions I often hear is where to find information on new communities being built. This can be tricky as some homes are listed in the MLS but most are not. There are hundreds of new home communities in the area and it seems like a new one pops up every day! Writing about every one would be daunting to say the least. I only write about neighborhoods I’ve personally visited and spoken to a sales representative about.
As time permits, I will be posting about various new build communities. In the interim, if there is a specific neighborhood you would like to know more about, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have access to information and would be more than happy to assist you in finding the perfect community to fit your needs.
BEFORE walking into any office in a new build community, there’s a few things you should know.
• DO YOU HAVE A REAL ESTATE AGENT? Don’t let your curiosity kill your pocketbook. If you decide to stop by without your real estate agent present, then they will not allow any agent to help you negotiate your new home. Usually a phone call to your agent before walking inside will allow agents to register you to go in to communities with or without us, yet still allow your agent to help you navigate the process and negotiate for your best interests.

• New home prices show a base price. Much like car dealer… you see an advertisement on TV that looks amazing and a price flash on the screen with a little asterisk next to it with little tiny writing about that being the ‘base price’. Then you go to the dealership to drive the amazing car only to realize how much more all of those bells and whistles featured in the commercial are. Worse yet, you don’t even LIKE the base model of the car and don’t want to pay the asking price for all the whistles.

Remember when you are touring the model homes that they carry premium upgrades. It’s important to physically see a “base” house compared to the model. The upgrades you’re viewing in the model will cost tens of thousands more than the base model. It’s not unusual for someone to see the model and fall in love only to go into a “base” home and not even recognize it as the same plan.

Case in point: this weekend I showed clients through several model homes. The flooring that was in the great room and entry of the model cost $50,000. No, that is not a typo. Nor was that the flooring price for the whole house, just the entry and great room. We then looked at a base home of a different plan and they hated it. Later we went to another community from the same builder where they had the home they “hated” shown as a model. Guess, what? They LOVED it, only to suffer sticker shock when they saw how much upgrades were.

• Sticker shock doesn’t stop inside the house because you still need to pick out your lot. Each lot has a premium attached to it. Sometimes they have the lot price included in the base price, but more often they do not. If the builder has several lots available on which to build a plan, some may be more desirable than others based on N/S verses E/W exposure, lot size, location and other factors. The more desirable lots will have a larger “premium” to purchase them. The premium can be from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars for a lot on a prime golf course, lake or with a view.

• The same “lot” premium also applies to what level floor you’re purchasing on in a condominium; the higher the floor or the better the view or exposure, the higher the premium. The penthouse unit may be exactly the same as one on the first floor, but will be much more expensive.

• Negotiating new builds has some intricacies. My recommendation is to have a clear understanding of what floor plan, lot and amenities you want before even thinking about writing an offer or discussing price with the sales people in the office. Offering too soon can leave you with a price tag much higher than originally intended. Before walking in the doors to negotiate, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what you “need” vs. what you “want”. Make a list and shoot a copy to me. That gives us a starting and ensures you don’t later regret what is missing in your new home.

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Dorada Estates by Toll Brothers

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Dorada Estates Queen Creek4

Dorada Estates is a new community the corner of Recker Rd and Ocotillo in Queen Creek at next to the southeast border of Gilbert. This community is a luxury neighborhood featuring 20,000 sq ft lot sites (approx .46 of an acre lot). Dorada Estates is not too far away from San Tan Village, restaurants, entertainment and all the conveniences you want while being far enough away to have the privacy and space you desire.


Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Dorada Estates Queen Creek

Dorada Estates features open floor plans from 3.461 sq ft to 6,668 sq ft with Spanish, Andalusian, and Craftsman architectural choices and some homes with a basement option. They have a central park with playground, ramada, walking paths, and a half basketball court to enjoy outdoor family time and fitness options.

Chandler Unified schools make this a great home and community for your family. To top it off, they’re Energy Star Version 3 certified which helps conserve the environment and save money.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Dorada Estates Queen Creek2

Below is an example of their smallest floor plans, the Costellana with an Andalusian elevation. If you would like to see more floor plans or learn more about buying a home in a new community, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona Dorado Estates Floor Plan

a Toda Madre!

One of our favorite and more recent finds is Barrio Queen in the Heritage District of Gilbert.  Barrio Queen has a long standing location in Scottsdale in addition to their new location in Gilbert.  Barrio Queen is not your average Mexican restaurant.  Gordon Ramsey showed up at the opening, if that tells you anything.  The atmosphere is casual sophistication so you can wear everything from shorts to dresses and feel perfectly comfortable dining there.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona Final Barrio Queen sign 

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Barrio Queen Enchiladas SuizaDana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Barrio Queen Carne Asada TacosDana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Barrio Queen Cocktel de Elote

Recently we had friends in town that are looking to relocate from the Midwest.  They desperately missed the type of good Mexican food they couldn’t find at home but remembered from their youth.  They were a little dubious that we were taking them to an “upscale” rather than “traditional” Mexican restaurant.

When we ordered the guacamole, our friend Jim said he didn’t really like ‘guac’ but it was fine if everyone else wanted it.  It only took one bite and we had a convert to the ‘guac’ loving side of life.  Why didn’t anyone ever tell me about putting craisins in guacamole?!?  Granted I would’ve thought that sounded weird but as it turns out, weird tastes good.  Really good.
Then there’s the queso fundido….seriously, who can resist hot and gooey Oaxaca cheese topped with chorizo??  Christine spent the remainder of the evening raving about it and wondering if she could get this cheese in Iowa.  Needless to say, we ate far too much, loved every bite and took home fewer leftovers than we should have.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona Barrio Queen with Jim and Christine

 I think they liked it!

From previous dinners there, my husband has decided that the elote (corn) appetizer is one of his favorite items.  It tastes like a salsa infused corn and very flavorful.  Speaking of salsa – theirs has spice without being hot, just the way we prefer it. The carne asada has a mild citrus flavor and is tender and tasty.  The pulled chicken suiza enchiladas are topped with chorizo which adds a pleasant spice to the meal.

Let’s talk margaritas for a moment, because really, what’s Mexican food without a margarita?  Barrio Queen does not serve what we consider a traditional margarita.  In fact, the margarita they call traditional is not blended and (for me), quite strong!  If you’re looking for traditional, you might be disappointed.

The bar is always hopping.  Unfortunately, their water is not filtered but the iced teas are not hampered by this.  They serve both black and passion fruit tea, agua frescas, coke fountain drinks, bottled Panna and Pellegrino and Mexican coffee in addition to a full bar menu.

If you’re in the area before 6pm, stop by for Margarita Mondays, Taco Tuesdays or just plain ol’ Happy Hour from 2-6 weekdays.  You won’t get $1 tacos on Tuesday but you will get $2.50 tacos.  The quality of the food, flavors and atmosphere are totally worth the extra buck fifty to us.

Put Your Boots on for Joe’s Real BBQ

Time to head back into “Old Town Gilbert” for another stroll down restaurant row to a place to fill a hankering for BBQ, Joe’s Real BBQ.  When Joe says “Real BBQ”, he’s not kidding.  So real that my brother from Texas likes it.  If you know Texans, you know that’s quite a compliment.  The barbecue is slow cooked over pecan wood and is tender, juicy and so so yummy!

Joe’s is located in a real 1929 brick building set in the time that Arizona was all about agriculture.  We’ve always received friendly service, which is saying something for a place that often has a line out the door just to order.  If you just can’t wait and need to take your food and run, they do have a walk up window that you can order from too.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Joe's Real BBQ Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Joes BBQ To Go Window

Once inside, you order then choose where to sit.  The inside is quaint and full of old farm charm.  If my Dad was still with me today, the ability to sit inside a farm house that’s inside the restaurant next to a big tractor, would make his Iowan farmer’s heart very happy.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Joes BBQ9Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Joes BBQ1

If the weather is cooperative you can also sit outside on benches or in a covered veranda.  A sink to wash all the BBQ goodness off your hands is located outside near the restrooms. There’s plenty of seating, inside and out, which helps the long line to get in move fairly quickly.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Joes BBQ7

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Joes BBQ8Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Joes BBQ5

Have I mentioned before that I’m a carnivore?  I know, I know….we could start a debate on how animals are treated, farm raised vs organic etc. but that’s not what this post is about. (Although I do prefer organic and farm raised but I’m not as strict about it as I should be). If you are one who desires, wants or needs gluten free, they do have gluten free buns.

I’ve tried many of their meat options. I say “many” because I came across one I love so much that I just can’t find it in myself to order anything else.  Their meat choices are fairly extensive and include pulled pork, pork ribs, beef brisket, chopped brisket with BBQ sauce mixed in, chicken breast, bone-in chicken, turkey breast, hot link sausage, turkey jalapeno sausage and my very favorite, pit ham.  Seriously, it’s some of the best ham I’ve had.  They also have plenty of sides that harmonize with the country charm, such as coleslaw, applesauce, cheesy potatoes, mac and cheese and more. While I’ve heard favorable reports, I can’t go there without ordering their salad with the ham on top. The only downside is they only have BBQ Ranch dressing as an option. Personally, I use their variety of peppers that they offer as a side and skip the dressing for the most part. The meat and veggies are all so good that it’s more than I could possibly eat, even though I want to eat all of it.  My husband is a fan of the brisket options. The BBQ brisket on their massive stuffed potato is enough for one very hungry appetite or you can share, if you’re willing to give it up.

They also have dessert, cornbread and homemade root beer.  By now, you probably know I’m a water or iced tea kind of girl. Their iced tea is not fancy but it’s fresh and tasty.  FYI, Joe’s gives you a free meal (up to $10 off) on your birthday.  Celebrating your life with good food sounds wise to me.  I’m not saying I will always be here on my birthday, but I was this year!

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Joes BBQ4

What’s with the Blog?

As a REALTOR® I am often asked questions about where the best places are to live, eat, shop and play. The answers are all dependent on the type of neighborhood you want to live in, the food you enjoy and what you consider fun. To help my friends and clients with the answers, I decided to start this blog.
My husband and I regularly look for new places to explore, visit or dine at. While we spend a good amount of time in the SE area of Phoenix, I do work, sell and play around the valley so there will be reviews from a variety of locations, including weekend getaways. That being said, you should know my husband is a HUGE burger fan so there may be an abnormally large number of burger-related entries.
For the first few posts, the focus will be on Gilbert, the fastest growing community in Arizona and the 8th most thriving city in the US. Beginning in the Fall of 2015, Saint Xavier University (SXU) will be opening its doors in the Gilbert’s Heritage District. SXU will occupy an 87,000-square-foot space with state-of-the-art technology, smart classrooms and teaching laboratories, conveniently located in the heart of the Gilbert Heritage District.
In anticipation of this exciting new addition, there has been an abundance of new restaurants opening to accommodate all the hungry residents, tourists and students. I feel it’s my duty, as your blog writer, REALTOR® and friend to suffer and try each restaurant. I have to confess, we’ve already tried most but…I’ll suffer just for YOU, my reader and try a few more. On that note, stay tuned…your Gilbert dining extravaganza is about to begin!

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Water Tower4

What’s Happening at Greasewood Flats?

Plans are progressing for Taylor Morrison’s proposed 79-lot single family residential development on the site of the former Greasewood Flats following the Scottsdale City’s Council’s consent approval of the final plat.

The proposed Cavalliere Flat subdivision features 55 townhouses and 24 free-standing homes on approximately 46 acres at the southeast corner of N. Alma School Parkway and E. Pinnacle Vista Drive. The city’s Development Review Board approved the preliminary plat in February.

The developer will dedicate rights of way widths on Alma School and create a private trail within the subdivision, as well as public trail easements on both Alma School and Pinnacle Vista. 17.7 acres will be dedicated as open space.

Site work is planned to begin in October, with models open by Fall of next year.

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

15,315 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?

15,315 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours? | Keeping Current Matters

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet, maybe it’s not priced properly.

After all 15,315 houses sold yesterday, 15,315 will sell today and 15,315 will sell tomorrow.

15,315!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.59 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 15,315 homes sell every day.

The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.8 months supply of inventory available for sale, (6 months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).

This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy the buyers who are out in the market now in record numbers.

Bottom Line

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.