Burger reccomendations from the Burger Miester

As many of you know, my husband is fondly called the Burger Miester. The man could eat a burger 2 times a day and be happy, as long as it’s a “good” burger. 

According to the Burgermsn, it’s not about the toppings, it’s about the meat and bun. You have to have a good base or it’s like putting lipstick on a cow. 

That being said, we recently found a surprising little hole in the wall restaurant that has burgers he not only approves of, but has asked for by name. By name, I mean he asks “What’s the name of the place with the great burgers? You know, the place in the middle of nowhere.”  

That ‘place’ happens to be called Fran’s Place. It’s a little hole in the wall (next to my favorite shoe repairman) at 6320 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85205. It’s small, quaint and had has home cooking! They’re opened minimal hours (often closing around 1pm or 2pm) with seasonally changing hours, so make sure you call to make sure they’re open before heading in that direction.  

Their burgers are fairly inexpensive, hand formed patties, served on a “soft  white sticky bun” (the phrase my husband uses to describe the preferred burger bun). Standard side is potato chips but you can get fries for a little extra. 

If you’re not up for a burger, they have plenty of good ol’ homestyle  food to choose from – including hot beef sandwiches, fried fish, bread pudding, homemade pie and more. The selection isn’t huge but good comfort food. 

  
Personally, I enjoy the people who work and dine there. It’s not unusual to get into a conversation with friendly locals or snowbirds. 

If you’re looking for swanky, this is not the place to go. When you want food like your grandma used to make, you’ve opened the door to the right place.  

 

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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!

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.

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.

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

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