My full-time real estate career takes me all over the valley. As I talk with my clients, I can get a feel of what they are looking for in a home. But there’s a bigger picture in mind. The people. The neighborhood. The community. What do they picture doing on the weekends? Whether it’s hiking or perusing through a local farmer’s market, finding a home is so much more than where you place your head at night. Through a series of Valley of the Sun Community blogs, I will be featuring several local communities that may give you a new yearning to be there, to connect there, and to live life there. So let me ask you…what area you want to call home?
If it has been a while since you’ve been to Tempe, it’s time to give it a second look. With a thriving culture of eclectic restaurants, museums, shops, and ASU (Arizona State University for all the non-locals) campus, there’s always something to do. Walking through downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue gives you a sense of the life here.
You’ll quit eating chain food restaurants when you discover the sacred dining district in this part of town. You never have to leave your own town to experience flavors from all over the globe in the local eateries. House of Tricks offers a relaxed dining experience and a menu that is sure to satisfy any craving. Feast on Korean baby back ribs, house smoked salmon, or seared scallops. Don’t forget to end your meal with a salted caramel-apple bread pudding topped with cinnamon whipped cream
Meet friends for Sunday morning brunch at Postino. The quaint establishments serves up ciabatta French toast and breakfast sandwiches whipped up with only the freshest ingredients. Check out the wine selection for seasonally rotating menu. Take in your whole experience while sitting on the patio.
If morning runs or getting on the water are your thing, Tempe offers plenty of parks and water recreation. You’ll soon find your own favorite hotspot for all those sunny desert days when you want to be outside.
One of the most popular spots for everybody- locals and visitors alike- is Tempe Beach Park and Tempe Town Lake. Town Lake boasts the title for largest Independence Day celebration in the state! But there’s a plethora of activities around the calendar. Check out the Fantasy in Lights Boat Parade in December and Ironman Arizona in November. Competitive runners enjoy marathons such as The Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon, The Color Run, and Run the Distance for Parkinsons.
Hiking or biking fanatic? Explore the network of trails at Papago Park. You will enjoy the natural setting and find some of the best views that the Tempe area has to offer. The park features an archery range, fishing lagoon, and baseball facility. The Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Gardens are conveniently located.
You always hear to think local, buy local, and support local. Here’s your chance! Tempe Farmers Market specializes in organic and local products. If you want to eat healthy or just try out new ingredients, they can guide you towards what you want. Grab a specialty latte at the coffee bar while you are taking it all in.
Find a workshop or class for the whole family at the Tempe Center of the Arts. The events calendar is jammed packed with educational classes to weave in history, art, and fun.
Sea Life Arizona offers an interactive aquarium with touch pools and a 360 degree tunnel. Spend a day observing the likes of lionfish, octopus, and sharks. Be sure to stop by and visit Ziva, the aquarium’s very own resident endangered sea turtle!
Become a hometown tourist
I know what you’re thinking…. “Erin, why would I do something so “tourist-y”?” My response is you’re seeing the city from a whole new perspective. And if we’re being honest, you know you’re curious about how fast a segway goes. Take one around Tempe Town Park. Is there any better way to get to see your own town?
If that doesn’t sound like your speed, there’s plenty of other ways to experience the city. Rent a boat and spend the day on the water, take an electric bike through the trails, or even see the views by hot air balloon!
A Culture of Art, Food, and Music
Calling all art lovers! Tempe Festival of the Arts is consistently hailed as one of the top art shows in the nation and is the recipient for the Pinnacle Award from the International Festival and Events Association. While locals can enjoy this bi-yearly event in the spring and fall in their own backyard, visitors from all over the country come to this three-day weekend event. Arts range from photography to ceramics and jewelry but not everybody is invited to participate. A jury selects the top artists to showcase their work to ensure that guests are viewing the best of the best. As many as 400 artist booths line Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets displaying unique and hand-made artwork that offers a distinctive shopping experience. In addition to the art, the festival also features live entertainment, food and beverage vendors, and street performers for the whole family. Grab lunch and enjoy the day!
Beer and wine bars are a specialty here in Tempe. Tap into your more refined side (we all have one, right?) at the Arizona Wine Festival for tastings and sales by the glass, bottle, or case. Or if wine isn’t your drink of choice, The Great Arizona Beer Festival features local microbrewery sampling and sales. Be sure to bring along a DD!
Live the college life
Ahhhhh, life in a college town. The Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!) is situated perfectly in Tempe and adds exactly what a community needs. Of course, there’s always collegiate sporting events and Friday night pep rallies. There’s something special about strolling through campus on a beautiful morning. If you want Broadway performances, look no further than the Gammage located on campus. The school has a nationally recognized film school so check out the calendar of events opened to the public.
If you’re interested in looking at real estate in Tempe, consult a native from the Valley of the Sun! I’ll be able to find your dream home in your dream community! Call me- Erin Newman at 480-466-8193 for a consultation.
If 2016 is your year to move, the winter is the perfect time to prepare your home ready for the competitive market. People can often times find this part of the process to be a daunting task but with a little work, your home can be sold in no time to the perfect buyer!
It’s time to de-clutter
Many real estate professionals will agree that when you are getting ready to sell your home that decluttering is key. Your home should be spacious and beautiful as possible but it’s hard to see the beauty when a pile of old books and papers reside in the corner and staring at everyone walking through the door. Take an inventory of your home as you walk from room to room and eliminate the “eyesores”. Spend a weekend creating a pile for trash pick-up, donations, or to be placed in storage. This includes organizing your closets and pantries because- believe it or not- prospective buyers open these doors, leaving no stone underturned. Best of all, it will less packing for you when the day arrives to move out!
According to bankrate.com, curb appeal is important to 71% of potential home buyers. 71%, people! When selling your home, your goal is to get them through the front door (and, of course, to make an offer) but this means you might have to invest time and money. By no means do you have to spend a small fortune to make your lawn look like it’s a photograph from a magazine. However, it may require tasks such as pressure washing the house, driveway, walkway, and mailbox. Make sure old plants and flowers plants are removed and weeded. If life is too busy to maintain your lawn especially during the warmer months, hire a service to cut and edge your lawn to keep it spruce. Feel free to add finishing touches such as a bird feeder or a rocker for the front porch.
A dirty home is one of the most popular factors of turning off buyers. This is probably one of the most challenging parts of placing a home on the market. At any given moment, you can receive a call of your next showing. The constant housecleaning can make anybody exhausted but start off with a thorough deep cleaning. If cleaning isn’t your forte, then hire a cleaning service to make your home sparkle. This includes steam vacuuming, polishing hardwood floors, cleaning your windows and baseboards, and dusting from floor to ceiling. Light housekeeping throughout the week such as taking care of dirty laundry and dishes, cleaning the counters after every use, and a quick sweep through the bathrooms are essential.
With this being said, the cleanliness of a home should also bring attention to odors such as cigarette smells, pet dander, and unpleasantries that may make people stop dead in their tracks at your door and deter them from entering. A thorough cleaning and air-out (and investing in clean-smelling candles!) will help in this area.
If you’ve lived in your house for years, then it may be time to look at home decor through new lenses. The best starting point is leafing through home magazines to see the latest trends. Research popular paint color. Throw a new rug under the dining room table. Replace the yellowing lamp shade with one of a vibrant color. Put away (temporarily) lots of photos of family and friends- you want people to feel like this could be their home! Switch out outdated hardware and light fixtures. These small changes can transform a room.
Home sellers can become a little overwhelmed and concerned at expenses when it comes to updating kitchens and bathrooms. Look into more affordable alternatives for updates such as concrete or soapstone countertops opposed to granite. We all know that hardwood floors look fabulous in any home and you can still get the hardwood look without the steep prices. Luckily, flooring has come a long way in recent years with more natural approaches. Bamboo and cork flooring are great alternatives.
Functional yet comfortable
Staging a room can often times require looking at it from a different perspective. The goal is for the room to be inviting yet provide functionality and space. If you are unsure of where to start, enlist the help of a friend or professional to give you advice.
Whether it be furniture or decor, the pieces in a room don’t have to match but it should create an environment that plays well together. Bring personality by showcasing a dramatic fireplace or playing up exposed wooden beams or a speciality window. Lighting can either be your friend or enemy! Remember that providing the right amount of lighting through natural light and fixtures can bring out your home’s best features or spotlight the dust collected on the mantel.
Use a high-quality digital camera to take photos of each room for marketing purposes. Be mindful of angles and remember that homebuyers want to see your kitchens and bathrooms!
If you need the professional help of a contractor or handyman to make necessary repairs, consider hiring them during the colder months. January and February tend to be slower months and may offer reduced rates.
Check your home value
Want to know the value of your home? Consult a licensed real estate agent in your area. They will be able to give you advice and lead you through the process. If you live in the Valley of the Sun or surrounding area, contact Erin Newman at 480-466-8193 for a consultation.