Categories
Desert Plants and Wildlife Real Estate

Easy Desert Wildlife Habitats for Your Backyard

There is something satisfying about relaxing in the backyard and watching the birds come and go, butterflies fluttering in the wind, and bees pollinating the flowers. The populations of many species are struggling with the loss of habitat and food sources. Still, you can easily turn your own yard into a mini sanctuary for the various specimens of desert wildlife.

BIRDS

It does not take much to attract a variety of birds to your backyard, but you can offer them some things that encourage them to stick around a little longer. A clean birdbath and shelter in trees or oleander hedges are enough to make most birds happy. A little birdseed does not hurt, either. You can attract hummingbirds by hanging a feeder, but keep it out of direct sunlight, clean it often, and do not use red dye or fruit juice.

BUTTERFLIES

Attract a wide range of butterflies with flowering plants, especially red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple ones. They prefer flowers that are flat-topped or clustered with short flower tubes. Place a few flat rocks in the garden where they can rest and warm their wings. Create a damp puddle with coarse sand in an area that is kept moist. Go a step further by planting some milkweed for Monarchs, the only plant they’ll use for laying their eggs.

BEES

One of the largest threats to bees is a lack of safe habitat where they can build their homes and find nutritious food sources. Although flowering plants provide a good source of food, bees get most of their nectar from trees, a place where they also find nesting materials and shelter.

Fill a shallow bird bath or bowl with clean water and pebbles or stones that break the water’s surface where they can land. Many bees are solitary, so add a bee “condo”, especially if you don’t have trees where they can shelter. Become a bee scientist on the citizen scientist app iNaturalist.

BATS

Bats are a great form of organic pest control, especially for those annoying mosquitos and insects that like to raid your vegetable garden. Plant fragrant night-blooming flowers and herbs to attract them. A birdbath or fountain is a great way to replenish a large amount of water they lose each day. Although trees are their natural habitat, you can also build or purchase a bat house to give them a private place to live. For more details on caring for your bat house, visit https://www.worldbirds.org/how-to-attract-bats/

TORTOISES

Arizona Game & Fish allows Arizona residents to adopt captive desert tortoises that cannot be released back into the wild where they can transmit disease. These untraditional pets can live 80-100 years and need a long-term care plan from their owners. For more information on adoption, visit https://www.worldbirds.org/how-to-attract-bats/

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Real Estate

13600 N Fountain Hills Blvd. #104

One of our newest listings is in the La Strada community on Fountain Hills Boulevard. Watch the quick video above to get an inside look at this beautiful condo!

Open House:

  • Friday 6/24: 1PM – 4PM
  • Saturday 6/25: 11AM – 2PM
  • Sunday 6/26: 10AM – 3PM

Be sure to subscribe to the RE/MAX Sun Properties YouTube Channel for more videos on local listings, events, and companies!

Categories
Home Management Real Estate

Preparing for a Home Inspection

A home inspection is an important and required part of the home selling process. A pre-inspection can give home buyers more confidence in making an offer and can keep you from being blindsided by a major problem further down the road. You can expect inspectors to examine appliances, systems, and structural features.

There are simple things you can do to make sure the inspection process is smooth:

  1. Take your pets with you or put them in a crate. Loose pets can make an inspector’s job difficult or uncomfortable and can create stress for your pet.
  2. Clean your home. A basic, but thorough, cleaning makes it easier and more pleasant for the inspector to examine all the areas he needs to reach. This includes dusting, cleaning the floors, wiping down every surface, taking care of dirty dishes, and tidying up your belongings.
  3. Clear the way to the water heater and A/C systems. These are two areas that require a detailed inspection and need a cleared path.
  4. Prepare access to attic and crawl spaces. Sometimes these access points are in closets or areas that require a ladder. Be sure to remove items that would make it difficult for the inspector to reach.
  5. Move boxes away from garage walls. This might be a big task, but it’s of great importance for the inspection.
  6. Light bulb check. Turn on all lights and replace burned-out bulbs to save the inspector time and prevent him from passing over issues that are actually pertinent.
  7. Leave keys and remotes for garages, storage structures, electrical boxes, gates, ceiling fans, etc. Clearly label the keys since the inspector must examine all these areas, too.
  8. Clear debris & overgrown vegetation away from the foundation. The foundation is a critical part of the inspection. Clearing the area around it makes it easily visible and accessible for a smoother inspection process.
  9. Map out well and septic tank. A simple map of the locations of your well and septic tank is needed to assess the conditions around those areas.
  10. Make sure utilities are on. If you are not living in the home, make sure all utilities are on. The inspection cannot take place without power, water, gas, etc. being on.
  11. Turn on the pilot lights. To inspect gas-powered furnaces, water heaters, and appliances, pilot lights need to already be on.
  12. Handle water stains on walls and ceilings appropriately. If the source of the problem has been addressed, repaint the area with a primer coat, but you must disclose the incident.

Taking care of these things in advance not only leaves a good impression, but will also help the inspection process to be less stressful for both you and the home inspector.

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Home Management Inside Your Home Real Estate

Shedding Light on Homeowner Myths

Whether you’re just buying your first home or have been in the game for decades, there are many common misconceptions people have about life as a homeowner. Below we have several thoughts people often believe to be true before learning the hard way.

“A lifetime warranty means you’re covered for life.”

The term “lifetime warranty” rarely ever means “lifetime”. It’s a bad choice of words that confuses some homeowners. While the definition varies from company to company, it’s important that you do your research and get all the details before signing up.

“DIY projects don’t require permits.”

You may never see your favorite HGTV stars applying for a permit before tearing into a fixer-upper, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t get one. Small projects don’t require a permit, but many larger ones do. It’s important to contact your local Development Services to find out what kind of permit you need for your project.

“When the pipes clog, pour in a bottle of drain cleaner.”

Chemical drain cleaners seem like a quick and convenient fix for a clogged pipe, but they usually cause more damage than the problems you are seeking to fix. The chemicals often wear away the insides of the pipes, causing leaks. A $15 investment in a manually-operated snake from the local hardware store is a much better solution. Preventive measures can go a long way, such as installing screens to keep food scraps and hair out of the pipes, and never putting anything but toilet paper and sewage down the toilet.

“If my water main springs a leak, the water company will cover it.”

Think again! The city is responsible for the water lines from the road to the edge of your property. All pipes within the perimeter of your property are your responsibility. A leak that is not addressed immediately can run up your water bill by thousands of dollars. The biggest culprit is tree roots getting into older pipes. Special water pipe insurance is a waste of money and only covers fresh-water pipes. Instead, rely on yourself by creating a home maintenance account.

“My neighbor’s tree fell in my yard, so they’ll pay for it.”

This may or may not be true. The first thing you should do in this situation is to call your insurance company to see if you are covered. If not, you’ll want to have that tough and potentially awkward conversation with your neighbor to see if their insurance covers it. If your tree falls in your neighbor’s yard, do not offer money for the removal or repairs until you’ve contacted your insurance company. Trimming and maintaining your trees will prove your diligence.

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Home Management Inside Your Home Real Estate Uncategorized

Important Features of a Successful Family Home

Selecting a home in which to raise your family is one of the most important decisions you can make. Likely, it’s a decision you’ll make only a few times during your young family’s life.

While most kids would focus on “their room” and the pool area, parents know there are other features that are important. Aside from the obvious choices of updated features, interiors, good quality finishes, and appliances, here are a few others that might improve family communications.

Traffic flow is an element that may not get as much attention as it should. Having a kitchen that is accessible to living areas and outdoor recreation helps to maximize opportunities for good communication.

A breakfast bar can do much to enhance your communication opportunities with your kids. It creates a place for them to chat about their school day while enjoying a snack and gives them a place to get homework done where you can easily help.

Convenience and storage are other important factors. An easily accessible laundry room that is out of sight makes laundry day easier for the whole family. Having storage for those Costco shopping runs takes the stress out of figuring out where to keep the necessities close at hand.

Our current Fountain Hills family homes give young families room to sprawl while maintaining a convenient home life. For full details, photos, and videos of our homes, visit our site at www.SonoranLifestyle.com .

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Home Management Inside Your Home Real Estate Uncategorized

Energy Saving Tips for the Summer

Saving energy at home used to be an afterthought, but as the times have changed, it’s come to the forefront of the minds of homeowners. There are several small things you can do; it often just takes a few tweaks. With that in mind, we’ve gathered 6 low-cost tips for your home to reduce its carbon footprint and lower your monthly energy bills:

  • Lighting is one of the easiest places to save energy. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures with “Energy Star” qualified bulbs can save more than $65 a year in energy costs. (energystar.gov )
    • Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about $15 per year! (energystar.gov)
  • Electronics such as cell phones and laptop computer chargers account for 15% of your rental home’s energy consumption and electrical use.
    • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use (like your cell phone or laptop computer charger).
    • Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using the equipment.
    • Using a power strip for your computer and other peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption.
  • To keep out the Arizona heat from the summer sun, close window shades and blinds during the hot weather.
  • Save water by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading in the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher and use the air-dry option if available.
    • To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher’s energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load.
  • Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. To save water, try to wash full loads or, if you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately.
    • Hot water heating accounts for about 90% of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes. Only 10 % goes to the electricity used by the washer motor. (energystar.gov)
    • Switching to cold water can save the average household more than $40 annually with an electric water heater and more than $30 annually with a gas water heater. (energystar.gov)
    • Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year. (energystar.gov)
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your dryer has a moisture sensor, it will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are done. Use it to avoid over-drying.
    • Remember to clean out the lint trap before every load.
    • Dry full loads or reduce drying time for partial loads.
    • Take advantage of Arizona’s warm, dry climate by using a drying rack to hang-dry clothing. This also extends the life of your garments.
Categories
Home Management Local Businesses Real Estate

Vendor Spotlight: AJF Inspections

AJF Inspections provides our clients’ homes with every type of inspection you could possibly need to make sure the infrastructure of the building is in great shape. Watch the video above to learn more about what services AJF can provide you.

Remember to subscribe to the RE/MAX Sun Properties YouTube channel for regular updates on homes, vendors, and local events!

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Home Management Inside Your Home Real Estate

5 Home Tips for Empty Nesters

Entering the Empty Nester phase of life will either leave you in a puddle of tears or feeling excitement for the next chapter of their life…and yours. Perhaps you feel both ends of the emotional spectrum.

That chapter is inevitable. And it opens many options when it comes to your home. While some people choose to downsize after the kids move out, some people want to stay in their homes.

As you rethink your home, what changes do you want to make that reflect this new chapter? You have probably spent years defining your decorating decisions based on the needs of your children. It is time to look at your home with fresh eyes to decide how to make it fit your new needs and wants moving forward.

REORGANIZE AND DECLUTTER

This is often the most emotional step after becoming an Empty Nester. Take it at a pace that is comfortable for you, going room by room to purge closets and get rid of things that no longer serve a purpose. Create a keepsake box that you can send along with your kids to their new homes and keep a keepsake box for yourself if there are things you are not ready to part with.

Take a good look at the items in each room. What items will you still use? What things do you still love and want to keep? Everything else can be sold or donated. If you need ideas to help you decide what items you could move out the door, CLICK HERE.

TACKLE THAT RENOVATION

When you are busy raising kids, there never seems to be enough time to tackle the renovations you have wanted to make. Now you can transform your home to meet your needs while also creating more resale value for the future. Kitchens and bathrooms are the best places to spend renovation money.

RECLAIM THE BACKYARD

Now that the backyard no longer needs to function as a playground, you can transform it into an outdoor retreat. Add an outdoor kitchen for entertaining, hang a swing to relax in the shade, and add the landscaping you avoided when your kids were kicking a ball around the yard.

RETHINK EMPTY BEDROOMS

Now that you have empty bedrooms in your home, think about how you want to live in your home going forward. Perhaps you want an exercise room, a hobby or craft room, or a luxurious guest room. Find inspiration on great sites like Houzz, Amber Interiors, and of course, Pinterest.

UPDATE LARGER SPACES

Our large spaces were great areas where the kids and their friends could gather to build forts, eat pizza, and play games. One or two adults will not use a large space the way you did when kids were always around. Add a coffee bar, a wine cabinet, or a bistro area. Trade your sectional for a cozy sofa for cuddling your partner.

If you get stuck or struggle with rethinking your home without kids, consider a professional organizer. We recommend Caitlyn Estes with Project Genesis.

Categories
Home Management Real Estate

Exterior Lighting That Preserves the Night Sky

As our cities grow larger and our lights get brighter, many urban and suburban areas are losing their view of the night sky. Light pollution even keeps us from seeing the Milky Way during summer nights. In January 2018, Fountain Hills responded to this problem and became the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community.

Light pollution can completely obfuscate the stars at night.

Although municipal lighting codes are vital for dark sky preservation, homeowners can also take steps to minimize their contribution to light pollution. Use these simple and inexpensive tips:

  • Shielded lighting. Light fixtures should shield the light to direct it downward where it is needed and prevent it from polluting the sky with scattered light.
  • Warmer color temperature. New LED technology gives us warmer colored lights that are easier on the eyes and reduce light scatter. Cool temperature lights can cause temporary night blindness for drivers and disrupt melatonin levels that affect healthful sleep. They also scatter light from air particles, adding to our light pollution.
  • Avoid uplighting. Landscaping lights that point upward to illuminate trees and buildings are an unnecessary culprit of light pollution. Illuminate your yard with creative positioning and fixtures for a pleasing effect that is environmentally sensitive.
  • Control lighting. Separately zoned lights with timers, motion sensors, and dimmers allow lights to be on only when needed or to be turned down as necessary.
  • Refrain from light trespassing. Many municipalities restrict light that trespasses onto a neighbor’s property or into the street. Better light positioning and shielding keep light right where you want it.

Light pollution has been linked to endangering wildlife and harming human health. Wildlife becomes disoriented in navigating direction and knowing day from night. Human circadian rhythms (wakefulness and sleep) become disrupted and cancer risk is increased. Smart lighting practices protect our health as much as it does the views of the night sky.

When it comes to safety, the Chicago Alley Lighting Project found that when alley lighting was increased from 90-watts to 250- watts, crimes in those areas increased. Smart lighting directs light to where it is needed and creates a wonderful balance between safety and starlight.

Dark sky-compliant lighting is not about diminishing safety or aesthetics, but about smarter practices for better health, a better environment, and a chance for future generations to enjoy a view of the stars.

For more information about dark sky-friendly lighting and the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association, visit http://fhdarksky.com/

Categories
Real Estate

The Sonoran Lifestyle Team is One of Phoenix’s Top Producers!

Phoenix Magazine recently released their “Best of Phoenix” Awards for distinguished real estate agents and teams from across the Valley. The Magazine describes this segment in its May 2022 Edition as an “exclusive resource to find the Valley’s highest-performing agents, from brokerage-provided lists of top producers to our annual editorial round-up of the most creative, dependable agents in Greater Phoenix.”

In the magazine’s Top Real Estate Profiles segment, which can be viewed by clicking here, the Sonoran Lifestyle Team was honored as one of “Phoenix’s Top Producers” for 2022!

The Team was listed with the Gold Group of Phoenix Top Producers, for teams with 3-5 members who sold more than $35 million in the past year. In 2021, The Team assisted over 80 families in the purchase and sale of Fountain Hills area properties, for over $60 million in production, well above the threshold for the Gold Group. For this, a whole page was dedicated to the achievements and unique qualities of the Team that make them stand out from the crowd.

If you’re looking to buy or sell and would like to work with one of Phoenix’s top-producing teams, head to SonoranLifestyle.com to learn more about the team, receive a free home valuation, see listings in the area, read about what’s going on around town, and more!

The Phoenix Magazine can be viewed at PhoenixMag.com.