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Fall in Love with FQ Story Neighborhood

by The Russo Team

Fall in Love with FQ Story Neighborhood

Imagine a neighborhood rich with culture and a diverse architectural style that rivals the days of old. That place exists and it’s located right in scenic downtown Phoenix! The FQ Story Neighborhood Historic District is one of Phoenix’s first historic districts. The form of the neighborhood, the placement of the buildings and its distinctive landscaping all contribute to its charming character. Here are just a few reasons you’ll fall in love with the FQ Story Neighborhood.

The Architecture: The gorgeous cluster of homes spans a variety of architectural styles including Spanish Colonial Revival, English Tudor, Craftsman bungalows, and transitional ranch. And in a city known more for its southwest style and desert landscape, these homes stand out as a refreshing rarity to the senses.

The Location: The FQ Story Neighborhood is located in central Phoenix, spanning from McDowell Road south to Roosevelt Street and from Grand Avenue. Neighbors enjoy proximity to downtown with a slew of amenities nearby including Chase Field ballpark, Symphony Hall, art galleries, restaurants, and several other cultural venues to indulge in. Neighbors also have the ability to utilize the light rail if they want to venture out of town to Mesa and Tempe.

The History: The eclectic range of historic styles date back from the 1920s through the 1940s. It’s because of this that the neighborhood is proudly governed by the Story Preservation Association, a non-profit group consisting of Story Residents. Their mission is to preserve the history and integrity of this enchanting neighborhood which features over 600 homes. The thriving FQ Story Neighborhood also has many prominent homes that are represented on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). 

If you would like more information about the FQ Story Neighborhood or any of the beautiful historic districts in the Signs of Downtown Phoenix area, please contact the Russo Team today.

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New Tax on Phoenix Water Bills

by The Russo Team

New Tax on Phoenix Water Bills

Don’t be surprised if you notice an increase on your water bill soon. As of June 18th, Phoenix City Council members voted to create a new tax on Phoenix water bills and to increase some of the service fees.

Though many Valley residents and business owners are complaining about the new rates, the increase and changes are estimated to bring in about $11 million dollars in revenue to help close a $37.7 million dollar budget deficit. Phoenix’s deficit is attributed to expenses growing faster than revenues. Quickly rising employee costs, such as pensions and health care, have created the largest strain on its budget.

What does this mean for you? This means Phoenix will base the tax on meter size rather than water usage. The tax on city utility bills will affect hundreds of thousands of residents, costing an average homeowner an extra $1.50 per month. Commercial users and others with larger meters would pay between $1.50 and $75 more per month, depending on the size. This change alone would raise $9.5 million annually.

Please click here if you’d like to know more about the Phoenix utility and service fee increases designed to close the city deficit. For more local valley news and information about what’s happening in your Phoenix neighborhood, please contact the Russo Team. - Frank

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Remembering Why We Celebrate the Fourth of July

by The Russo Team

Remembering Why We Celebrate the Fourth of July

Independence Day is once again nearly upon us, and Arizonans everywhere will brave the triple digit heat to celebrate with friends and family. So as we gather around campsites, barbeques, parks, and fireworks let’s all take the time to remember why we’re celebrating the Fourth of July.

For over 200 years, Independence Day has been the celebration of the day we declared our independence from Great Britain. Since Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence it has been a symbol of freedom known worldwide.

July 4th is a day to celebrate our freedom, specifically the freedom to govern ourselves. Americans have always known that Independence Day is the day we celebrate our freedoms that the Founders fought and died for. As a country dealing with everything from unemployment to political distress, we all need to pull together and unite to remember the extreme sacrifices that have been made to protect our country and our rights.

Please enjoy this wonderful occasion and remember those who have given their lives for this great country. Happy 4th of July! – Frank

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Roosevelt Historic District: A Presidentially Beautiful Area to Call Home

If you envision homes with shady porches for reading and attics just like at grandma’s house, then you won’t be able to resist falling in love with the Roosevelt History District. As one of Phoenix’s original neighborhoods, the Roosevelt Historical District is known for its large elite homes that date back to the turn of the century. You’ll find an eclectic mix of architectural delights throughout the neighborhood including Bungalows, Mission Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Italian Villa Revival, French Provincial Revival, and English Cottage Revival.

The homes featured in the Roosevelt Historic District are anything but cookie-cutter as each home as unique and timeless as the last. You’ll find distinct properties ranging from 1800 square feet to more than 3000 square feet. Comfort and efficiency were important in the design of these homes, along with quality of construction and workmanship.  Architecturally, the Roosevelt neighborhood has some of the finest streetscapes of early twentieth century residential, religious, and school architecture in the City of Phoenix. People have often compared the style of the homes in Roosevelt to homes built in the Midwest or “back east.”

Roosevelt Historic District is probably the ultimate “downtown neighborhood” in Phoenix. Residents and visitors alike can walk to the famers market, to the Dodge Theatre or Puppet Theatre, or catch the light rail and go to a ballgame at Chase Field. Art lovers will especially appreciate the Roosevelt Row Arts District, a walkable, creative district in the urban core of downtown Phoenix that is nationally known for its arts and cultural events, award-winning restaurants, galleries, boutiques and live music.

Sound like your kind of place? If you would like more information about the presidentially beautiful Roosevelt Historic District or any of the beautiful historic districts in the Signs of Downtown Phoenix area, please contact the Russo Team today.

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What You Should Know Before You Buy a Home

by The Russo Team

What You Should Know Before You Buy a Home

We’ve all been in situations where we wish we could go back in time and do something differently or wished we knew then what we know now. When it comes to buying a house, there are many experiences even the most seasoned homebuyer wished they could change. I’d like to share with you what you should know before you buy a home, in the hopes that you’ll be able to avoid a few of the most common blunders.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. As a first time homebuyer, finding out that you are qualified for a $400,000 mortgage can be an exciting thing. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. As a general rule, it’s smart to take twenty percent less than what the bank will lend you and to be sure to have an idea what your mortgage, taxes, and maintenance costs could run you before committing to that “mansion “you’ve been dreaming of.

Beyond the money for the down payment, there are additional costs involved in a home purchase. Home purchasing costs can include loan application fees, closing costs, appraisal fees, buyer broker fees, and more. After you sign all the paperwork and receive the keys to your new home, there are also Homeowners Association fees, homeowners insurance and property taxes. I cannot stress enough how important it is to save and plan for additional costs long before you sign the dotted line.

What do you wish you had known before you bought your house? We welcome you to join The Russo Team on Facebook and Twitter and share your thoughts. –Frank

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Arizona’s Sign Law Trumps Home Owners Associations

by The Russo Team

Arizona’s Sign Law Trumps Home Owners Associations

The Home Owners Association (HOA) has the authority to dictate neighborhoods on just about anything. From the color of your home to the height of your fence, if you have an HOA, then you know they’re the first organization you need to speak with before making any changes to your property. But there is one thing even the HOA cannot disallow, and that’s “for sale” signs on your property.

With the support of the real-estate industry, there is now a law restricting regulation by HOA of these signs. The bill, signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, states that a homeowners association can no longer regulate the color, design, or size of the “for sale” signs. Signs cannot be larger than the industry standard of eighteen by twenty-four inches.

That being said, if your neighborhood HOA is requiring you use their preapproved sign or disallowing an industry standard “for sale” sign on your property, you should know that they are violating Arizona’s For Sale Sign statutes. The Arizona law states in part that “the association shall not require the use of particular signs indicating an open house or real property for sale.”

For more information about your rights, you can visit www.aaronline.com/manage-risk/for-sale-sign-laws. If you have any questions or concerns in regards to your sign rights with your HOA, please contact the Russo Team today.

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Encanto Palmcroft: Your Historic Home Away from Home

by The Russo Team

Encanto Palmcroft: Your Historic Home Away from Home

Every home has a story to tell, and there’s no better place to hear its story than the breathtaking Encanto Palmcroft. Noted as one of the most enviable places to live in Phoenix, Encanto Palmcroft features spacious lots and admirable architecture dating back to the 1920’s and 1930’s.

The Encanto Palmcroft Historic District is just one of many popular historical districts located in the heart of Arizona’s beautiful Sonoran Desert and nestled within the Signs of Downtown Phoenix area. This charming seventy-five year old neighborhood offers some of the most varied in design among all the historic districts. Many of the estate-like homes here boast amenities such as large living spaces, guest houses, and lavish extras like wine vaults, servant's quarters, and second stories.

The winding streets and lush landscaping that envelope these classic homes are like something out of a storybook. Love golf? Encanto Palmcroft borders an 18-hole championship golf course. And if you love to play, the district is next to the beautiful Encanto Park which features 200+ acres of green grass, playgrounds, a swimming pool, and the Enchanted Island Amusement park which has been a family favorite for years.

Sound like your kind of place? If you would like more information about the Encanto Palmcroft Historic District or any of the beautiful historic districts in the Signs of Downtown Phoenix area, please contact the Russo Team. 

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3 Home Irritants That Are Making You Sick

by The Russo Team

3 Home Irritants That Are Making You Sick

There’s a reason why the adage, “Home, sweet home” resonates with so many of us. Home is where the heart is and usually where we are at our most comfortable. But what happens when your haven becomes a harbor for the types of pollutants that make you sick? Here are 3 home irritants that are making you sick and how you can help rid your home of them.

1.) Cleaning Products: Hard to believe that the products designed to keep your home clean could also be bad for you. But certain cleaning products, especially the ones with strong fumes have can cause eye irritation, headaches, and breathing problems. Not to mention the skin irritation if you’re not protecting yourself with gloves. If you choose to use potentially carcinogenic cleaning products, be sure to read the label carefully so as not to use more than what’s recommended. Also, be sure to open windows and dilute when needed. Want to avoid strong cleaning products all together? Go natural and buy green cleaners or better yet, mix your own. Good Housekeeping offers safe and effective cleaning mixtures you can make for your home and breathe easy.

2.) HVAC Systems: As the temperature heats up in Arizona, your air conditioner unit gets more use than usual. When AC units cool your home, they often leave traces of water in the ducts that can become a cesspool of mold and bacteria. These microbial growths can be linked to respiratory ailments such as allergies, asthma, frequent colds, and headaches.  Changing your air filters monthly is a must, and having your air ducts cleaned by a professional will not only help your system run more efficiently, but can also help alleviate those health concerns.

3.) Furniture: Living in the beautiful deserts of Arizona makes tracking dust into your home pretty tough to avoid especially during the dust storms. So it’s inevitable that your favorite comfy sofa or mattress could be housing dust mites that set off asthma and allergies in people who are susceptible to those conditions. Unfortunately according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) every home has dust mites, but there are ways to cut back on them if they are affecting you or someone in your home. Washing your sheets and covers weekly in hot water and allowing them sufficient time to dry can help cut down allergens. Also weekly dusting and vacuuming (with a clean vacuum) can help rid your home of dust mites that lurk in the carpets, furniture, and curtains.

Ridding your home of these 3 home irritants is not guaranteed to alleviate allergies or respiratory concerns, but every little bit can help. And who doesn’t like breathing easy in their home?  If you’d like more information on keeping your home pollutant free, please contact The Russo Team today.

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May 2014 National Housing Report

by The Russo Team

May 2014 National Housing Report

It’s refreshing to see the housing market stabilizing and home sales, much like our Arizona temperatures, are still continuing to rise. According to the RE/MAX May National Housing Report, April home sales rose higher than in March for the second month in a row. Year over year home prices are reflecting a 5.8 percent increase from this time last year, and April became the thirteenth consecutive month with fewer inventory losses than the previous month.

RE/MAX CEO, Margaret Kelly states, “After the disruptions to the market at the beginning of the year, it’s a good sign that sales have picked up and have now increased for two months in a row. While sales and prices aren’t growing at the rate they did last year, we still remain in a recovery with the market settling into a more sustainable growth pattern.”

So far, the greatest monthly sale increases were seen in metros from a variety of geographic regions. Click here to view the current RE/MAX National Housing Report. If you or someone you know is considering a home purchase or sale, please give the Russo Team a call today.

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Nearly Half 2014 Home Sales are Cash

by The Russo Team

Nearly Half 2014 Home Sales are Cash

As of the first quarter in 2014, all-cash deals hit a record of forty-three percent according to RealtyTrac. This all-cash housing purchase increase, which is at its highest reported level since 2011, can be attributed to intense buyer competition and the recent stringent mortgage requirements.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac believes homebuyers who want to purchase in the current competitive housing market are opting to make an all-cash offer to appear more attractive to sellers. Some buyers are even putting up cash bids just to shoot up to the top of the potential buyer list.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also found the share of all-cash deals up and institutional investors’ purchases decreasing in a separate survey. This means despite the national inventory shortage, there is still strong demand from other cash buyers including second-home buyers and even owner-occupant buyers. Lawrence Yun, the NAR chief economist also attributes the higher levels of cash sales to the aging of the baby boom generation, with more trade-down and retirement buyers paying cash with decades of equity accumulation.

If you’d like more information on purchasing a home with cash or would like to know the current mortgage rates, please contact the Russo Team today.

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 226