Christmas Rainbow

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Christmas in Scottsdale this year was a drizzly day.  Friends and family ran into our home between the raindrops.  The fireplace was roaring, the tree lit up and a wonderful meal was enjoyed by everyone. 

Sitting in the living room waiting for food to settle out the window there was the most beautiful double rainbow.  We stood in awe.  We don’t get many rainbows in Scottsdale, not enough rain.  I ran for my camera and it was already fading away. 

Wishing you joy and rainbows, Irene

New Addition – to the family not the house

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Meet Soleil, she is the newest addition to our household.  She is an Italian Greyhound puppy.  She is keeping us laughing, and thank god, not keeping us up all night.  She has already stolen our hearts.  That was easy to do!  We are very excited that she is getting along with Luna,(seen below) our first Italian thats my girlGreyhound.  We were concerned about sister rivalry, and believe all will be just fine. We are not sure how big our Soleil will get to be, Luna is full grown and only 5.7 lbs (on a good day).  Our lives have changed and we expect to be entertained by these two for a long time.

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A BIG Thank You

The past few weeks have been a bit crazy.  First my mom and partner, Claudina,  went on vacation to Alaska for two weeks.  Then the banks in response to the elimination of Down Payment Assistance  programs shortened the final date up even more.  I had to rush to find homes for a few clients relying on the Down Payment Assistance programs to get into homes.  Not having my ‘wing man’ or in my case ‘wing mom’ was a challenging.  I can truly say I Appreciate all you do for me mom.  Thank You!  Together we make a great team!

Smart Money Magazine:Foreign Buyers Flocking to U.S. Housing Market

I was privileged to be interviewed last week by Smart Money Magazine for an article.  The number of Canadian real estate investors has grown recently.  The price of their dollar makes purchasing homes more enticing than it has been in years and years.

Foreign Buyers Flocking to U.S. Housing Market

AMERICANS’ LOVE AFFAIR with real estate may be cooling, but thanks to falling home prices and the weak dollar, attention is heating up from another group of suitors: foreign investors.

Foreign buyers have long looked to certain U.S. markets — say, high-end properties in cosmopolitan Manhattan or sexy South Beach Miami — as investment opportunities. These days, however, real estate professionals report increased international interest in a much larger range of properties — from $60,000 single-family homes in South Florida’s inland neighborhoods to $1 million waterfront villas located just miles from the Canadian border in Washington State. Almost one in five, or 18%, realtors surveyed by the National Association of Realtors last year said they sold homes to international clients between April 2006 and April 2007. More recent data isn’t yet available, but according to anecdotal evidence, those numbers continue to rise.

"There definitely is more interest in U.S. properties, no question about it," says Mark Partin, president of Toronto-based Trailridge Property Corp., which brokers deals between U.S. developers and Canadian investors interested in buying residential properties in "bulk."

For many foreign buyers, property in the U.S. is downright cheap. Canadians now get an 80% discount on what they would have paid for a piece of the U.S. just three years ago, when one Canadian dollar was worth just 80 U.S. cents and properties in some areas were 50% more expensive, Partin notes. (One Canadian dollar is now worth roughly $1 in U.S. currency.) For European buyers, whose currency carries 25% more buying power in the U.S. than it did just three years ago, today’s depressed property prices are no less attractive.

While Americans are discouraged by images of neighborhoods blighted by "For Sale" signs and taped-off properties, foreign buyers are much more optimistic, especially about the long-term health of the U.S. market, says David Michonski, a certified international property specialist and CEO of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy in New York. "The foreign buyer has an unbridled confidence in the U.S. market that is lacking in the domestic purchaser today," he notes. "They view this as the bargain of a lifetime and are terribly excited about it."

Kim Kirschner, chairwoman of the Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, recently returned from two international trade shows (one in Madrid, one in Paris) exhibiting second-home opportunities. She says interest in U.S. properties was decidedly higher than a few years ago when attendees were more interested in places that offered higher return on investment, such as Bulgaria. "Now they understand the U.S. market is more stable. We may have down cycles, but we go up back again," says Kirschner.

That profit potential is what convinced Londoner Grace Felix to start looking for a place near Fort Lauderdale, an area where she and her fiancée already spend about two weeks out of every three months. "Hotels cost an arm and a leg," she says. "It makes better sense to buy and it’s a good investment."

Felix’s realtor, Jacqueline Christophe-Hayot, receives similar inquiries from French, British and Canadian buyers on a weekly basis. And, she says, these buyers aren’t the stereotypical Florida-bound retiree, but rather "the Miami beach crowd": 30-something professionals who plan to use the property for several weeks a year and rent it out the rest of the time. With prices down to 2002 levels and sellers willing to negotiate even lower, such arrangements make a great deal of financial sense, she says.

In Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz., Canadians who are years away from retirement buy property now rather than risk higher prices later, says Irene Hammond, a realtor in the area. Property values in Canada remain stable, allowing many potential buyers to refinance or take home equity loans that they can use to buy in the U.S. — often, with 100% cash down. "They’ve heard there’s a fire sale going on down here," Hammond says, adding that some Canadian buyers come to her with unrealistic expectations, wanting to pay, say, $225,000 on a house listed for $300,000. (Such low-ball offers do not get accepted, she says.)

Interest is so high, that many of Hammond’s fellow real estate brokers now include the Canadian dollar exchange rate on their web sites, or even host web sites specifically targeted at foreign buyers. In fact, real estate brokerages across the country are increasingly putting an international spin on their marketing efforts.

Jean Groesbeck, a realtor in Anacortes, Wash., located on an island about 70 miles north of Seattle and south of the Canadian border, just started advertising on LuxuryPortfolio.com , a high-end property web site that can be translated into multiple languages and features currency exchange rates. Earlier this month, SecondSpace.com , an online marketplace for vacation homes and retreats, launched three web sites (ResortScape.ca ), ResortScape.co.uk and LandWatch.co.uk ) targeted at Canadian and U.K. residents.

Despite all the hoopla, though, foreign buyers alone will hardly help the U.S. crawl out of the current housing mess, says Mike Inselmann, president of national housing consultancy Metrostudy. Unsold inventory in some areas is so abundant that it cannot be absorbed, even with increased interest from our neighbors north of the border or overseas. "I wouldn’t say it’s the elegant solution to the housing inventory problem, but I do think it’ll play a minor role," he says. "Maybe bigger in some markets than others."

According to Michonski, foreigners can at least bring to the U.S. market what it’s been lacking most in the past months: "They’ll provide a psychological support of confidence," he says.

Welcome back Irene

I know I have not been a busy writer recently…

I have a good reason.  I have been busy shifting over all of my blog to a new service.  Notice the new look. The transfer had to be done manually.  Post by Post.  Ugg! – and that took some time.  I still have many things to get back onto this site, and have plans to make this blog an even better resource for you.  So be patient in the next few weeks, as I re-add in my videos, and then get busy with adding in additional goodies too.

Have a great day and enjoy this unexpected chilly weather! 

 

A great Race in Old Town Scottsdale

It was a great day in Old Town Scottsdale for a bike race. That’s my sweetie in the front of the pack. The temps were perfect, it was delightful sitting outside Fine’s Cellar in the shade and watch the racers fly by. The course was fast and demanding and the racers had a great day. Good news, no injuries. I like that! This was the second annual Cyclo de Mayo , a big thanks to Scott Delaune who worked so very hard putting this race on the past 2 years.

Scottsdale Realtor Technology Symposium

Today was the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors Technology Symposium. There were over 130 people registered, and it was a great turn out. There were 4 breakout sessions, Websites, Blogging, Lead Generation, and Flex MLS. I was invited to be on the Lead Generation panel. It was an honor and a treat. D. Patrick Lewis of John Hall & Associates was the moderator of our segment and did a great job. John Wake with Home Smart Realty and Amy Geddes of Clareity Security

rounded off the group. It is a great treat to have associates who are knowledgeable and so willing to share their knowledge with others.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put the event on. You did a great job, and I think everyone who attended received some great info!

Not the greatest photo, that is me in the middle.

What A Weekend

I just returned from a great weekend! My husband Rick and I drove over to San Diego for a James Arthur Ray Harmonic Wealth Weekend. It was 2 full days of amazing discoveries. I even broke a board with my bare hands. We had the opportunity to meet some great people as well. You may remember James Ray from The Secret if you have had a chance to see it. I am looking forward to an awesome 2008! Join me in making it your best year ever too!

Welcome

Hello,  And welcome to my Scottsdale Blog.  This will be a site that will become filled with what is happening in Scottsdale Arizona, places to go, things to do, restaurants to try and a bit of Real Estate knowledge as well.  I have given lots of thought to what this blog should have for content.  What are you interested in reading?  What are you looking for? My aim is to give the visitor to my beautiful city are resource to find out what to do while here in town, to give the resident ideas of what to do tonight.  I suggest you check out AZ Central.com and the Scottsdale section of their website as well. Scottsdale is filled with great restaurants, resorts, Old Town, night clubs, shopping and much more. Come, visit and enjoy Scottsdale.