The Carefree Times blog      

Today's Forecast Sunny. Hi 75 Never Windy

Volume 1, October 2008 Edition






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

The Real Story on Selling Your Home Now


Excerpts from REAL Trends Newsletter July 2008

The July 2008 REAL Trends reported that the June 2008 housing market shows that for the first time in nearly three years housing unit sales are at the beginning stages of finding a floor and perhaps even heading up. The report makes it is clear that a major factor in the turnaround in key markets is the decline in the average sales price of the homes being sold. The average price declines in the California and Nevada markets were 28-32 percent, indicating the turnaround is mostly in the entry-level market segment.

What REAL Trends hears from brokerage firms in these markets are that homes at the entry levels include a significant number of foreclosure sales, short sales and builders dropping their prices to clear out older lower priced inventory.

Until the excess inventory throughout the price spectrum gets brought back into line with demand, prices will remain under substantial pressure. And this will not happen until sales professionals and brokerage firms regain discipline in how they price and market listings. There are simply far too many overpriced listings on the market; listings that the listing professional and brokerage firm both know are overpriced and unlikely to sell in any reasonable time frame.

Pricing and transparency
To help real estate professionals improve the housing market and their business, REAL Trends said: either get your sellers to reduce their prices in line with the true market or give the listing back. It is not new news that having a seller sit with their home on the market for 8-12-15 months is not good for anyone. The seller is frustrated with the listing associate and the listing associate is frustrated with investing huge amounts of money to market the listing with little chance of a sale. Both parties are engaging in destructive behavior which benefits neither.

The fact is prices are now available to everyone 24/7. Unless and until real estate professionals deal with the new level of transparency and adjust their behaviors accordingly, this market will take far longer to recover than we have ever experienced in the past.

Until real estate professionals develop new behaviors about pricing and marketing homes for sale, the promise of a brighter future will be pushed off farther into the future than it needs to be.

Is rattlesnake venom getting stronger? Experts are wondering.







Carefree/Cave Creek by Preston Westmoreland

Coming home from dinner tonight, I noticed the temperature was 74 degrees, and right away, started looking more closely at the road. After all that's what I call "snake temperature," the general range at which these cold-blooded creatures can comfortably crawl around.  Sure enough, a young snake was seen crossing a path near the Carefree Inn, where guests can sometimes walk.  I was grateful to see an Inn worker come up with a snake hook, for their catch-and-release- somewhere-else program. Newcomers to the desert ask me if these snake sightings are unnerving.  "Not if you're careful and are always looking down, and watching where you put your hands and feet.  This summer has seen an unusually high number of people bitten and valley doctors report seeing more people becoming critically ill after rattlesnake bites, compared to just a few several years ago.

As reported by KPHOTV5's website, "These patients commonly have very low blood pressure.  Many times they are lethargic or unconscious," said Dr. Steve Curry of Banner Poison Control. Similar trends were seen across Southern Arizona and Southern California. "The reason for this isn't clear to us," says Dr. Curry. "Snake venom just can't change all across the country at once."  To put things into perspective, however, desert visitors still need to remember that the honey bee kills more people on Earth than ALL poisonous creatures combined.

Today's Quiz?????

What's the significance of this Carefree home and who lived there    (scroll down for answer)









































Moving to the Desert?  Would you know which cactus can tell you direction?  A quick and easy way to get help, what poisonous creatures can be found with a black light?  Take the desert survival quiz and see highlights of the program Stay Alive-A Guide to Survival in the Desert Southwest. Taped in the Carefree area









List of Homebuilders thought to be in Trouble. ADRE publishes list of builders facing financial trouble
Phoenix Business Journal - by JAN BUCHHOLZ
Friday, September 26, 2008

The Arizona Department of Real Estate has published a lengthy list of home builders and developers that are in financial trouble in Arizona.
The vast majority of listings are in Maricopa County. The companies listed either are in bankruptcy, have properties in foreclosure or have mechanics liens filed against them.
Below are companies on the ADRE list that have projects in the greater Phoenix area:
47 Maryland Development LLC, project in Phoenix
American Partnership LLC/Keystone, project in Surprise
Cambria Homes, project in Phoenix
Charlevoix Homes, projects in Phoenix
Element Homes, projects in Cave Creek and Chandler
Elite Homes, projects in Gilbert, Maricopa County and Surprise
Empire Land with KB Homes, project in Phoenix
Engle Homes, projects in Goodyear and Surprise
Hacienda Builders, projects in Buckeye and Phoenix
Jackson Properties, project in Avondale
Lighthouse Land & Development LLC, project in Gilbert
Maltabano Homes, project in Peoria
Ponticello LLC, project in Phoenix
Quantum at Troon North, project in Scottsdale
Randall Martin Homes, projects in Chandler, Mesa and Surprise
Santa Anna Homes, project in Phoenix
Sun River Mesa Condos, project in Mesa
Sunwest/Stratland, project in Gilbert
V&M Homes LLC, project in Phoenix
Village at Surrey Hills LLC, project in Phoenix
Weinstein Communities, project in Chandler
Woodside Homes, projects in Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Tempe
Zacher Homes, projects in Litchfield Park and Phoenix
For more:

Give us your comment: Email us your thoughts on the area and real estate trends to:




















check out
Who is this guy writing the blog?
State gets $121 mil to fight foreclosure blight
by J. Craig Anderson - Sept. 27, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Arizona will receive $121 million in federal funds to ease neighborhood blight in areas affected by home foreclosures, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Friday.
That's more than state officials expected for Arizona's share of the $3.9 billion in so-called neighborhood-stabilization funding authorized in July's federal housing bill.
The Arizona Department of Housing will receive $38 million to buy foreclosed-on homes, rehabilitate them and sell or lease them to residents.
Phoenix received even more money. It will have nearly $40 million to address foreclosure-related blight.
Eight other county and municipal governments will receive funds, too.
The federal money, although not nearly sufficient to buy and clean up all foreclosed-on properties, could improve the situation in some neighborhoods and return many unwanted homes to a safer and more marketable condition.
"Arizona communities need substantial help in fighting the effects of foreclosure, and this funding will do a great deal," Gov. Janet Napolitano said Friday in a statement.


Quiz Answer: What's the significance of this house and who lived there?Answer:  If you had your choice of any home site in Carefree, which would you take?  This home on the westside of Black Mountain was built on a fortress of rocks and features an underground wine cellar. All built for the first home of Carefree's co-founder, Tom Darlington.
Real Estate Stat Box
Maricopa County Active Listings:  52,692
Maricopa County Actives Last mo.  52,480
Carefree Active Homes (last mo 106)  116
Carefree Homes Under Contract          5  
Cave Creek Active Homes                 499
Cave Creek Homes Under Contract     43 
Scottsdale Zip Code 85262 Actives      834
Scottsdale Zip 85262 Under Contract    41
Paradise Valley Active Listings          462
Paradise Valley  Under Contract          21
Paradise Valley Homes over $ 1 mil    462
Most Expensive P.V. Home listed$18.9mil
Homes sold in the last 30 days/1 year ago: Carefree-2/3, Cave Creek 44/33, Scottsdale zip 85262- 25/37, Paradise Valley 15/14
Current Carefree foreclosure/short sales 8

Cave Creek foreclosures/short sales    74  




Real Estate Hot Tips

Why isn't your house selling? Pick your poison. . . . Short sales, foreclosures, no credit, glut of new homes.

Carefee/Cave Creek                        by Preston Westmoreland

As the scorching summer temperatures cool and fall arrives, homeowners are worried that a  frozen market that never thawed, could get colder. Listen to this: Over 42% of all sales in Maricopa County are bank-owned and short sale properties.  Everything is about price.  At the beginning of the summer, there were about 52,800 properties in Maricopa County. Now, in October, it's the same. 

A recent study indicated that new home builders put up 75,000 unneeded homes in the valley in the last real estate boom in 2005.  It's no surprise then, that in the biggest areas of overbuilding, the southeast and northwest parts of the valley have the most bank-owned properties.  With these properties selling so well, buyers have even scrambled to grab deals in multiple offers!

There's a lesson for home sellers in how the banks price these properties.  They get an appraisal and then price the home 92%of the appraised value.  Break it down: The bank wants 85% for the home and 7% for costs. If you're selling a home right now?  This is your competition! The old rule of starting high and working down puts homes on the sidelines now, not in escrow.  

Moving to the area?  Check out our website for more information at: Click on the "Moving Here" button













Coming Soon:  The astonishing story of a purported UFO Crash in Cave Creek, as told in the book "Above Top Secret" You'll be amazed!!




The Virtual Office Extreme.

Having just returned from vacation, we were called by a Realtor who wanted to send us an offer on one of our Paradise Valley short sales.  Being near Mt. Lassen National Park, and having no cell or wireless signals, we set up our office in the car, and drove 40 miles to get on top of the Mt. Lassen Summit Road at 9000 ft.

  There, we received the offer for the property on efax, forwarded to the buyer who sent it to the bank for approval. The property is scheduled to close October 16th.