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Commentary and Perspective from one of America's most unique small town areas, edited by Preston Westmoreland of Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty.

     Carefree times name            Preston photo
Volume 6, Fall Edition 2018
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Drought Continues! Carefree (PW)  Even though we have seen some big rainstorms this summer, coverage has been spotty. Cave Creek can get over 1 inch or rain, Carefree can have a trace amount.  The long-term drought over the West continues, and this Spring, wildflowers were sparse, but better news for homeowners, so were weeds!   (photo, left) A towering thunderstorm up on the rim toward Flagstaff,  Fireworks were even replaced locally by a drone show on the Fourth of July.  




This month's quiz-

Why is this house famous?
Scroll down for the answer! 

You'll see the low numbers below, indicate a shortage of available homes.  This was tabulated in late July, 2018.  Many properties are also taken off the market during summer

Maricopa County Active Listings-    13,369
County home listings-Aug, 2017        16,077
Carefree Active Homes Listed-                  45
Carefree Distressed homes-                         3
Carefree Homes Under Contract-             11
Carefree Homes sold last 30 days-              6
Cave Creek Active Homes Listed-          229
Cave Creek Homes Under Contract-       78
Cave Creek distressed     Homes-               2
Cave Creek homes sold last 30 days-       75
Scottsdale Active Homes-                       1537
Scottsdale Homes Under Contract-        610
Scottsdale Distressed Homes-                   24 Scottsdale Homes sold last 30 days-       501
Paradise Valley Active Listings-              248
PV Homes Under Contract-                       69
Paradise Valley  Distressed Homes-          0
PV Homes sold last 30 days-                       37
Top Home Sale in the Valley
last year-$17.5  mil,  at 20450 N. 108th Pl., Silverleaf, Scottsdale
    20,000 sq. ft.

Syleste Rodriguez, host of "Cool House" pauses by a Cirrus aircraft in the hangar of this airport/golf home

Skyranch home showcased on Fox10s "Cool House"

Carefree (PW) Skyranch, at over 50 years old now, is one of the premier aviation fly-in communities in America, and rarely do homes come on the market there.  We had the pleasure of not only selling this home originally, but now have relisted it for sale.  Fox10's Syleste Rodriguez came out with the news crew and featured the home recently.  See the broadcast here:  Skyranch on Fox10!

This contemporary home is not only on one of the great golf courses in the country, at Desert Forest, but right on the runway so you can taxi your plane right to your home.  And these days, the mammoth hangars at these homes, are used for RV's, car collections, boats and all sorts of toys.  This hangar, in fact, is one of the largest every built at the airpark with a 90 foot-wide door.

It was broadcaster Hugh Downs, who discovered what a great location Skyranch was.  Years ago, he and veteran builder Gerry Jones, constructed a spec home on the runway and thought either a pilot or golfer would buy it.  When the buyer said he was neither a pilot, nor a golfer, they asked "why did you buy this home on the runway and golf course, and you do neither?"  The man gazed up at the mountains to the North, and said "where else can you get a view like this!"  See more of this amazing home by clicking on the button:   We love the windows in the entry, that show See the Skyranch homehat's in the hangar, the ultimate wall art!


Quiz Answer. . .

This 10 acre Scottsdale estate is anchored by a stunning view home on a hilltop, designed by legendary adobe king, Bill Tull.   Tull was a personal friend of the family, and worked his magic on this historic home. The residence is also for sale (MLS 5664580) in gated Carefree Ranch Homesteads.  See the article on Tull and his significance in this issue.


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When homes hit the market, there is one architect's name with a magic touch!  Bill Tull.  Why have his homes achieved such a legendary status?
photo courtesy of

Scottsdale (PW)- You would think if a construction material was used since Egyptian days, for 4,000 years, that it really couldn't be improved, yet it was Bill Tull who made building with adobe bricks even better!    Tull perfected a way of strengthening the mud and straw composition, to make them more durable and stronger in construction.  He saw his adobe creations as Artwork in Building, and was named one of the Six "Icons of Southwest Architecture" by a local magazine, who also included Frank Lloyd Wright on the list.
Tull was an accomplished artist who painted minimalist paintings in a distinctive bold style, and he designed his pueblo-style homes the same way, with a sense of boldness and flair.  Arizona Foothills Magazine described his early years as such:
 “Bill was hands on during construction to make sure all walls were what he had envisioned with his artist’s eye. He also preserved the trees on the site and selected new trees for his projects to complement the houses. His homes ‘grew from the earth.’” Tull’s custom designs were built in Desert Mountain, Desert Highlands, Paradise Valley, Pinnacle Peak, Cave Creek and the Adobes de la Tierra at The Boulders in Carefree. Outside of Arizona, his homes are in Texas, for singer George Strait; in Santa Fe at Las Campanas; Las Vegas, Nevada; and, in California at Palm Desert, Carmel by the Sea, Santa Barbara and La Jolla.

Above, magnificent Scottsdale estate designed by Tull, currently on the market in Carefree Ranch Homesteads.

 In 1968, Tull invested $1,000 from an art show held in the family’s rented adobe to buy three acres in Paradise Valley for $15,000 to build his first family home. As the costs to build exceeded what the bank would lend him, he sold his paintings"
Tull, who passed away in 2000, would be gratified to see his name as such a powerful designing influence, and to see his homes renovated in such a way as to preserve his original design.  Here's a link to a Bill Tull home we have listed. Be sure to take the aerial drone tour, to really appreciate what he did!
Bill Tull Home for Sale

photo courtesy of Arizona Foothills
Bill Tull compared designing a home, with painting a work of art! With the above photo, you can see why!

Finally, will this approach work at the area's most dangerous intersection?
Anything but a traffic light!

Cave Creek (PW)  It was a startling expose on the nightly news.  Someone had set up cameras and recorded crash after crash  at an intersection by stop sign runners. It took place at the intersection of Schoolhouse and Cave Creek Roads, reported to be the most dangerous intersection in the area.   What steps to take was an often a hotly-debated topic at Town Council meetings, in social media, and on the street.  "How do you get people to stop at this intersection, where drivers have actually been killed?"  Here's what they did, huge signage now with blinking red lights in all directions and all sorts of warnings.  The message seems to be clear.  If this doesn't work, get ready for the area's first traffic light. There are 6 of these poles!

Carefree, Cave Creek-still a Deer Haven! 

The unusually dry weather has brought even more animals down from the high country for water and foliage.   We did  a drone shoot recently of a golf course, and kept seeing deer under the drone! (photo below) And look at this proud buck, hiding out in the thicket, just feet from a well-known golf course, and the Carefree Skyranch runway!

Below, several deer alongside the Desert Forest Golf Course captured on drone! Note, because of the angle of the sun, their shadows are larger than the animals!


Real estate hot tipsWhat's in your wall?  Surprising news about building trends you should know about.

Carefree (PW) I had never had this happen before. . . A young couple wanted to go out and preview some homes, and I printed out several in their price range.  One of them was a block home.  "We don't want to see any block homes," they explained.  And when I asked why, they just shrugged their shoulders and said "don't know a lot about them, don't think they are any good, too old fashioned." 
I was amazed, and took it off the list and showed them a variety of what we call "chicken wire houses."  You can't blame builders to try and come up with new methods of building, to hold costs down, but the chicken wire was pushing the limits.  I've seen homes built from a thin sheet of white Styrofoam panels, with chicken wire stapled to it, and then covered with stucco. 

News reports years ago, from the town of Maricopa, Arizona, indicated teams of burglars had figured out, easily, that you could break into a house anywhere on the wall with a hammer and snips, and there were a number of homes burglarized that way, until the word got out.

We've all sold or lived in chicken wire houses, and homes would be unaffordable to many, without those new techniques, but its not something I prefer.  We happen to live in an old-fashioned block house, cinder block, with 2 X 4s  on the inside of the block, packed with insulation, and it keeps it quiet, and cool, but block and brick houses are harder to find these days. Even rarer, the foot-thick-walls of adobe, the material best suited for the rigors of desert living. (below)

One other important point I recently learned of, from a respected home inspector.  Some builders are now back to using aluminum wire through an entire house, to save money by eliminating copper wire.  While aluminum is not illegal to use, it does require more care, and some companies won't insure a house with aluminum wire, because of increased fire danger, so be sure to ask, before you buy! Aluminum wire is fine when properly used and inspected, and many homes today have aluminum wire on the dryer and washer connections but its sized correctly.
Of course all these homes are an improvement from the past! Watch that chimney!!

Drones show off on the Fourth of July, in Carefree, due to fire danger!
Carefree (PW) Tinder-dry terrain in the area caused the cancellation of the July 3 Fireworks show in Cave Creek this year, and kudos to the resort of Civana, who hired a company from the midwest to put on a drone light show for residents that night.  They also got lots of national publicity!