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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 4, Summer 2011 Edition
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This month's quiz- Why do  men have more trouble seeing what this is? Scroll down for the answer!
 Elephant Butte

Stay Off My Wall! Couple served a foreclosure notice via Facebook
From the National Association of Realtors "Realtor Magazine"

For lenders who can’t find a defaulting home owner, they may turn to Facebook or other social networking sites to track them down. That’s what a lender in Australia did. The lender used Facebook to track the defaulting couple down and send them a foreclosure notice via the social networking site, AOL Real Estate reports.

The lender was unable to find a physical address or e-mail for a couple in Australia who defaulted on their six-figure mortgage. So the lender’s lawyer located them on Facebook, verifying the couple’s identities by matching up names, birthdates, and the fact that they “friended” one another.

Australian courts recently upheld the lender’s right to use Facebook to send foreclosure notices. The court ruled that the couple didn’t have any privacy protections on their Facebook accounts and were frequent visitors so it served as a reasonable way to send a notice.

While industry experts say they haven’t heard of lenders sending foreclosure notices via social networking sites in the United States, “it’s bound to happen,” Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, told AOL Real Estate. "The real concern the courts have is whether it's a fair notice that the person actually receives."

As long as it’s obvious the person is a frequent user of the site, legal experts say the ability to serve foreclosure documents via social network sites seems like a justifiable way to send a foreclosure notice.

Source: “Your Facebook Status: Foreclosed,” AOL Real Estate (June 17, 2011)


Carefree Inn
Carefree Resort jammed with cars for the national American Legion convention

Sold out in 108 degrees! Carefree Resort hosts the American Legion

Carefree (PW) With a chance to show off a multi-million-dollar renovation, the Carefree Resort and Conference Center was filled to the brim for a national American Legion convention concluding on June 26.  Fresh out of  a difficult year that included bankruptcy in 2010, with a new deep-pockets and dedicated owner, the storied resort has renovated scores of rooms in the Sonoran Suites,  with new landscaping laid out, and a whole new menu for the main dining room, the Lariat Room. Rumors were that so many people attended in near-record hot weather, that another 65 rooms had to be procured at the nearby Boulders Resort.  The Carefree Resort has 60,000 sq.ft. of meeting space, an Opera House of 11,000 sq. ft., where an ABBA Tribute is scheduled to perform in early August, and a new and improved 20 acre property. Local Carefree residents were quite astounded to see the huge crowds in town, during the normal dog days of summer!
the Sonoran Suites at the Carefree Inn

Pleasant path to the newly-improved Sonoran Suites, part of the 20-acre Carefree Resort and Conference Center

Maricopa County Active Listings-    22,300
County Listings in April, 2011-          29,619
Carefree Active Homes Listed-                 73
Carefree Active listed in  Apr 2011           85
Carefree Bank-owned homes-                    3
Carefree Homes Under Contract-            21
Carefree Homes sold last 30 days-             4
Cave Creek Active Homes Listed-         213
Cave Creek Homes Under Contract-    157
Cave Creek Bank-owned Homes-           60
Cave Creek homes sold last 30 days-      71
Scottsdale Active Homes-                     1,883
Scottsdale Homes Under Contract-    1050
Scottsdale Bank-Owned Homes-          359
Scottsdale Homes sold last 30 days-     552
Paradise Valley Active Listings-            277
PV Homes Under Contract-                    74
Paradise Valley Bank-owned Homes-  25
PV Homes sold last 30 days-                   51
Top Home Sale in the Valley
last 6 months-10814 E. Heritage Ct, 1610 Silverleaf, Scottsdale       $6.2  million

Thanks for reading our blog!  Check out our Summer Issue for the latest news and special events for our visitors!

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Real estate hot tips
Insider Commentary by Preston Westmoreland

arefree (PW)-"You are the first Realtor to bring clients into this home," the young blonde agent said, as we stepped into the palatial home that Sarah Palin would soon buy.  Our trip there began with one of my clients hurriedly wanting to see a new listing that had just been renovated.  several months ago near 80th Street in Scottsdale.  They were anticipating such a super deal, they insisted on going right over and waiting for me, along with the listing Realtor.  I thought the barely-developed dirt road it was on was a little crazy, with no culverts and small up and down hills where water had washed across. But Alaska friends had told me that Sarah Palin doesn't mind dirt roads, after all, there's a lot of those in Wasilla, but I wished I had brought my SUV.  Upon entering the gates, there was a regal circular driveway.  Once inside, the feeling of immense space hit you, with ceilings about 18 feet high, new travertine laid throughout.  There were circular stairs going down to an extensive basement living area, and the Master Suite was up on the second floor with nice views above the surrounding homes.  And finally, the walled backyard truly looked like something out of a resort. 
"I don't like what they've done with the place," my clients said during the tour. They had seen an older tour of the home on, before it was sold by the bank, and just didn't like how they had changed it, so they left with no interest.  I had calls periodically for the next month or so from the listing agent, trying to whip up some interest, so the Palin crowd entered the home later on when it was ripe to be sold. 
    I know from showing some of our other listings to celebrities, that they very easily can disguise a sale, with a new LLC with a strange name, and business partners on the board of directors, so when the rumors started that Safari Investments, LLC, a Delaware corporation, made the purchase, I completely understood what was being done.    See below for information  about rumors of  one of America's wealthiest families, building a spectacular home in Carefree, reported to be the fifth or sixth home they have built there.  Again, registered to an LLC owner of a completely-different name.

 Wrigley House and new site
Work continues on filling in this gap in the Carefree mountains with a stunning luxury home.  Final completion of the residence could be years away

Members of the chewing-gum Wrigley Family,
rumored to be moving UP in the world,  building their best-ever Carefree Home

Carefree, (PW) from the Rumor Mill

Drivers heading North on Tom Darlington Drive have been noticing lately, a lot of activity in a natural mountain gap on Black Mountain, high up in the exclusive gated community of Hawk's Nest. It's clear that with the enormous site preparation, drilling, and retaining walls going in, that the area is in for a showcase residence when finished.  Hints to who might be building this one-of-a-kind home can be found if you look at who use to own the home below it, members of the famed Wrigley Family.

The old Wrigley Home

A yellow arrow indicates the site of the newest home in Hawk's Nest.  Directly below, is the current Carefree residence of the Wrigley's  

Carefree Skyranch to celebrate their 50th Anniversary this November

Carefree (PW) It began as a dirt airstrip in the mid 1960's, as part of the original concept of Carefree and has evolved today to one of the nation's premiere gated airparks, as the place where celebrities like John Denver and Cliff Robertson flew, where Ed King of King Avionics lived and home of the hangar where Bayliner Boats first took shape. Prominent members included Capt. Bill Judd, highest-time pilot that TWA ever had, and Dr. Karl Edmark, inventor of the defibrillator.  Check out the before and after to see what a difference 50 years as made at Skyranch

original photo of the Carefree Airport


Skyranch today

Photo left-A Cessna aircraft completes a journey with a sunset landing at Carefree Skyranch, due to celebrate the 50th anniversary as one of the country's first airparks, where residents could live with their plane

Find out more:
Who Is This Guy Writing this Blog?

For more information on this area and it's Incredible properties:

  Sarah Palin
Photo: Associated Press        Sarah Palin chats about Paul Revere while visiting historic sites near Boston. 
 Sarah Palin home

Sarah Palin Buys Home in North Scottsdale A Dry Heat is Better than an Alaskan winter!
Carefree (PW)
Rumors were flying for weeks about the Delaware corporation buying a home on five acres, South of Dixeleta Road in a rural area of North Scottsdale. With hundreds of bargain-priced homes getting snapped up in the last thirty days, investors from Alaska came gunning for big deals as well.  What seemed odd about the purchase, was that the corporation that made the buy, Safari Investments, LLC,  had with ties to Sarah Palin.  The 8,000 sq. foot home on a walled compound had been purchased from JP. Morgan Chase bank  by Ian Whitmore for $803,650, and was extensively renovated and then  "flipped" back on the market for $1,695,000 on May 13.
       Immediately, no trespassing signs went up at the winding entrance to the home, amid denials and "no comment" by parties involved.  Finally after weeks of speculation, Sarah Palin told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, that she was involved with other investors, who had taken advantage of the down Arizona real estate market, and made an acquisition.  No word on how much time she plans to spend in the home, or whether the purpose is to establish residency for an eventual Senate run, or merely as a more convenient base to use with a presidential run.

Distressed properties dropping in numbers
Distressed properties accounted for just 31 percent of existing-home sales in May, the National Association of Realtors (NAR).  These numbers are also reflected locally, where in Carefree there are currently five bank-owned, or REO homes, compared to fifteen, which has lately been the norm.

The ratio of distressed homes – typically bank-owned or pre-foreclosure short sales – took a dive last month compared to earlier in the year. May’s market share is down from 37 percent in April and 40 percent in March. However, it’s right on target with May 2010, when distressed properties made up 31 percent of the month’s sales.

Clear Capital says all spring and summer seasons, even since the 2006 downturn, see an increase in non-distressed sales volume, so a decline in the relative proportion of REO and short sales is pretty standard.

But last month, overall sales of previously owned homes dropped along with the distressed percentage.

NAR says its measurement of existing-home sales, which is based on transaction closings, fell 3.8 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million and its lowest mark in six months.

The previous month’s figures were revised downward to reflect a 5.00 million annual sales pace. May’s numbers are 15.3 percent below the 5.68 million pace of May 2010 when sales were buoyed by the approaching deadline for the federal homebuyer tax credit.

The latest results from NAR were largely in line with market expectations. Median forecasts pegged the annual sales rate to come in at about 4.80 million. The number to hit for a “healthy market,” analysts say, is 6 million.

Total housing inventory at the end of May fell 1.0 percent to 3.72 million existing homes available for sale,

according to NAR’s report. That figure represents a 9.3-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 9.0-month supply in April.

NAR’s data show that the national median price for existing homes sold last month was $166,500, 4.6 percent below the median price from a year earlier.

“Current housing market activity indicates a very slow pace of broader economic activity,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The pace of sales activity in the second half of the year is expected to be stronger than the first half, and will be much stronger than the second half of last year.”

But for now, Yun blames the lending community and tight credit for restraining market activity.

Answer to this month's quiz- Why do more men have more trouble seeing world-famous Elephant Butte?
Ask a woman and she'll point it out for you.  Frequently, men have more trouble making out the landmark, than women do. Hint: Look West-Northwest from Carefree, to the North of the 7 Sisters!
Elephant Butte

airplane lands into the sunset