Are you in the Halloween spirit but want to do something different? Here’s a few Halloween alternatives…

Some people love change, like myself.  I enjoy changing my look, my habits, even my foods.  My husband is mystified that he himself has escaped more or less unchanged after twenty-five years of marriage.  Well, if this Halloween is upon you and you’re looking for something different to do, here’s a couple options from the Queen of ‘Something New’.

If you haven’t bought treats for the kids but don’t want to fill them up with lots of candy then you might try some of these Trick or Treat alternatives.

If changing up your cauldron of treats isn’t what you’re looking for, then how about turning off the lights and stepping out yourself?  In or out of costume, the PoeFest is a delight for lovers of literature,  of Halloween, or just for those who have a heart for helping kids learn.  The presenters dramatically read a number of poems and short stories from that master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe.  This year marks the 7th year for Poefest. 100% of the funds earned at Poefest are used by Arizona Curriculum Theater to increase childrens’ learning with the power of the arts to promote literacy, engage students, and make education more fun and accessible.  They are a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization bringing classical literature, arts, history, sciences, and mathematics to life in classrooms and libraries across the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.  Not only that, they are wickedly talented.  My husband and I were enchanted and enthralled at the performance we went to, and want to continue to support their cause and talent.  On October 31st they will be returning to the Rosson House Museum to perform ‘The Raven’ every twenty minutes between 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM.

Nevermore

Still not what you  had in mind?  Check out a few of our other favorite Fall events…corn mazes and fall festivals.  There’s several in the Valley, but in the east valley specifically, there is Vertuccio Farms 7 acre maze as well as Schnepf Farms annual Pumpkin and Chili PartyMother Nature’s Farms pumpkin patch and a hay maze that’s perfect for the little kids.

Be it something for the young, or the young at heart, there is plenty of fun to be had on Halloween.  Wishing you and your family a very safe, memorable and happy Halloween night!

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Cooling Off at Petersen’s in the Gilbert Heritage District

Peteresen's sign (2)

Now that the temperatures have cooled off enough that you can order ice cream and not have it turn into soup before you get the spoon to your mouth, we decided it’s time to step into Petersen’s in the Gilbert Heritage District.

For over 90 years, Petersen’s Ice Cream Company has been producing and selling “Old Fashioned” ice cream.  The Petersen’s in Gilbert continues the tradition by featuring their throwback sign and charming interior.  You can indulge with a cup, cone, waffle cone or go really decadent and order one of their sundae options.  Don’t worry, there’s plenty of toppings to choose from to make it uniquely yours.  If you’re not into ice cream, they serve a variety of coffees, tea and even a few lunch items between 11-5.

I’ll admit I am not an ice cream connoisseur, so I have to rely on the words of others.  The words I heard uttered in pleasant surprise was “Wow.  This IS really good ice cream!”.

The question of the day is: How do you like to order your ice cream??

Peteresen's decorwaffle cup ice cream

Sandwiches (2)

Why is REALTOR® in all capital letters?

My husband asks me about this because he doesn’t like the flow of having a capital word “yelling” at someone in the middle of a document. Don’t worry, in real life I’m not the yelling type. I’m more of a slow simmer, take deep breaths and logic it through type of person. It’s the gift of coming from a big family…either learn the art of patience, communication and logic or get upset a lot. Life is seriously too short for that.

The short answer to the question is REALTOR® is a registered trademark so yes, I have to put it in all caps. Technically speaking, it is pronounced as it is written and not the “Realator” that we often hear. A lot of agents get upset about pronunciation, but honestly, I don’t care how you pronounce it. It’s more important to understand there are subtle differences between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®.

REALTOR®

Both real estate agents and REALTORS® must be licensed by the state(s) they work in to sell real estate. The basic difference is that a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and by being a member, we must follow a specific Code of Ethics.

But what does this mean to you?

The Code of Ethics contains 17 Articles and Standards of Practice. As a REALTOR®, I and my fellow REALTORS®, agree to abide by higher standards and rules. These standards are more restrictive and limits how we conduct ourselves…in a good way. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all REALTORS® are morally or ethically superior to real estate agents, but it is an attempt by the industry to regulate conduct to the benefit of those who hire us.

Now, don’t be confused and think that Real Estate Agents are running about willy-nilly without oversite. Real Estate Agents and REALTORS® must be placed under a Real Estate Broker. The Broker allows the agent to act on behalf of the Brokerage. Meanwhile, the Broker oversees all of the work we do, verifies contracts are written correctly and helps resolve disputes, should they arise. When you sign a listing, you are actually hiring the brokerage who is allowing that specific agent to work on your behalf.

The main difference, besides who carries the liability, is education. Brokers are required to do more education than agents and have been in the business longer. The standards of how long vary by state. As an example, I am a Broker in Washington state but have not chosen to go through the classes and testing to become a Broker in Arizona, even though I have the years of experience to qualify as a Broker. Mostly, because I love what I do and don’t want to be stuck in an office looking over contracts. I much prefer working with you, my buyers and sellers.

In larger organizations there is a Principal Broker, who oversees Brokers, who oversee the agents. Clear as mud, right? If you have further questions or want clarification on anything, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

About the Author

Before getting into a business relationship with someone, people learn as much as they can about that person. They research to see if they have similar goals, are reliable, have the financial means they need to follow through on their obligations and most important, can they be trusted.

Buying a home is a relationship that goes beyond merely “business”. This person is not only helping you negotiate what will probably be your most expensive purchase but help you find the place where you will make friends, raise your family or spend your retirement.  Hiring a real estate agent shouldn’t be a quick, easy decision or one made off the cuff.

So, before getting too involved in my blog, you should know more about who is writing this. First off, here’s my professional bio.

Raised in a real estate family Dana always had a passion for real estate.  In 2005 she made the jump from Human Resources Director to REALTOR®.  With her experience in contract negotiations and attention to detail, Dana gained a reputation for protecting her clients’ interests. Honesty, strong negotiations and clear and consistent communication join uncompromising integrity as the hallmarks of Dana’s service.

Dana is licensed in two states but keeps her focus on Arizona where she lives with her husband in the Phoenix valley.  Dana is known not only for her professionalism and high ethical standards but for being honest, friendly and hard-working.  She does absolutely everything in her power to ensure her clients satisfaction.  Dana’s father and brothers all served in the US military, giving her a unique understanding and empathy for those who have served.  Dana is a Certified Military Residential Specialist (CMRS designation) and proud member of the Heroes Home Advantage, a real estate rebate program for those that protect, serve and care for our country and community: military, law enforcement, firefighters, health care, emergency personnel and teachers.

In her personal time, Dana is committed to giving back and serving not only her community but also nationally and internationally. Locally she volunteers with children and seniors. Nationally Dana volunteers and raises funds to rescue victims of human trafficking. 

If that answers your questions, great. If you want to know more, read on…

I enjoy people and love learning about their life, passions, beliefs, and values even when they are diverse from mine.  I’m perpetually curious and enjoy watching historical documentaries, reading books and visiting museums.

You should be aware, it’s not unusual for me to try a new look from time to time, so don’t get too pent up on what my picture looks like. I may be blonde, brown, red or black, straight or curly, glasses or contacts etc. It really depends on my mood and what my Stylist will let me do. Currently she is opposed to letting me go black again. Darn it!

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona in Cambodia                 Business Photo - Suit                     Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona in Cambodia (2)

All of that being said, I do care about people and believe deeply that we should not leave this world without having made positive differences during our time here. While I actively support various charities with my time and finances, I have a passion for the work in Cambodia through Water of Life Asia and the people they help. I try to visit them every 1 to 1.5 years, bringing a small group with me. Occasionally I have an opportunity to speak about their work.

Why am I writing this blog?   When I decided to relocate to the Valley of the Sun, we had a very hard time finding a real estate agent who could assist us.  Having grown up in a real estate family and being an agent for several years, I knew what to look for.  The problem is, I couldn’t find it.  I interviewed countless agents, hired and subsequently fired around half a dozen agents before I found one that I trusted enough to help us find the place we were going to begin our life in Arizona.

On top of that, I had a ton of questions about various areas, businesses, new construction, shopping districts etc.  I ended up doing a lot of research online, on yelp, at http://www.spotcrime.com etc.  Of course, I now have clients with similar questions so I decided to start this blog to help them find the right community to raise their family.

To sum it up: Your home is where your life happens.  Choosing where you live isn’t just a matter of a nice house, but what is around it.  Helping you find that place for you and your family, is why I started this blog.

Who am I?  A person that loves what I do and believes in working hard, playing hard, laughing often, loving deeply and doing the right thing.