How To Find The Right Neighborhood For You

If you’re starting a family, you might want to consider a neighborhood known for its good schools. Or, if your children have graduated, you might feel that it’s time for a change of scenery. Perhaps your company has moved and you want to be closer to work. Lots of your priorities may have changed over the years. Here are seven ways to evaluate whether or not a neighborhood is a good fit.

1. Time The Commute To Your Job

Perhaps you have been spending hours stuck in traffic to and from work and are looking for a much shorter commute. Just because a neighborhood is closer does not mean that you will get there faster. Time the commute from the different neighborhoods you are considering.

2. Meet The Neighbors

Want to get a feel for the neighborhood? Talk to the neighbors. Just by walking around the neighborhood you’ll get a vibe, helping you determine whether it’s the right place for you. Are the people a little standoffish? Are they hesitant to make eye contact with you? Are people friendly and neighborly? Maybe a little too friendly? Take a walk around and strike up a conversation with your potential future neighbors to get a feel for the community.

3. Go For A Walk And/Or Drive Around The Neighborhood

One of the best ways to pick the right neighborhood is to take your time walking around. Go for a walk and/or drive through the neighborhood on the weekend and on weekdays. Do the same thing at different times of the day. Note where there are areas that look a little unsafe or dilapidated. How will that affect your quality of life there?

4. Attend A Local Festival Or Event

Kill several birds with one stone by attending a local event or festival. You’ll meet people from the neighborhood and get a sense of the type of community that it is. Is it tight-knit? Young? Old? A little too country? Local events can tell you a lot about the spirit of a neighborhood.

5. Go Out To Eat At A Local Hot Spot

While you’re checking out properties, go to a popular eatery in the neighborhood. Check out the vibe and take note of people’s behavior. Do they look at you suspiciously? Is the customer service lousy? Are diners happy? You can glean a lot about a neighborhood by simply people-watching.

6. See A Play Or Game At A Local School

If you have kids, the quality of the local schools in your neighborhood may be priority No. 1. Before you buy a house and enroll the kids, visit the school. Go to a school play or watch one of the school’s sports teams to get a feel for the level of community support for the school’s art and athletic programs.

To ensure you find the best neighborhood for your lifestyle, give The Aladin Group a call today and we’ll help you navigate the home-buying process.


How To Prepare For The Unknown When Buying A Home

“You never know what’s behind the walls.” This renovation mantra is so important and should be tattooed on the forearm of everyone about to embark on renovation or even small updates to their home. Before you get started on renovations, protect yourself by taking a few key steps.

Load-bearing walls

Many times a renovation has gone off the rails because a load-bearing wall made it difficult and expensive, or darn near impossible, to move. While you may not be able to eliminate every potential surprise, you can give yourself a leg up by hiring a professional to take a look before you buy, and certainly before you swing the hammer.

“An experienced general contractor can do an initial consultation and assess your wall for as little as $100,” builder Jeff Andreson told Houzz. An architect is another possibility because they may approach the situation differently, which could save you money. “A structural engineer may also be required,” and is often your best bet for achieving peace of mind.


“Homebuyer inspections are the rule these days,” said Angie’s List. “Sometimes plumbers are called in to do a more thorough follow up inspection. Unfortunately, this often happens after the home has already been purchased.”

And the issues can be costly. Hiring a plumber to check everything out before you purchase could uncover problems throughout the house, from the main sewer line to water heaters that could cause extensive damage if they leak or burst, to leaky toilets. “One problem homeowners often neglect to have fixed is a leak at the base of a toilet,” they said. “The leak often appears small or insignificant, but over time the water will begin to rot the subfloor and even get between the subfloor and the finished floor. Someone unaware of the damage this kind of problem can create, may try to seal this themselves, sometimes making it worse.”


If you have a home inspection, which you obviously should ALWAYS do, your inspector will look for signs of foundation damage. But, there are things you can look for ahead of the inspection that may impact your decision to purchase, such as: cracks in exterior and interior walls, cracks in floors, gaps around windows and doors, and doors that stick. Foundation issues can arise regardless of the age of the home, and could be indicative of a serious problem in places that are prone to earthquakes. But you also want to take them seriously in areas with known soil issues, like Texas. A few settlement cracks may be normal and safe, but you need an inspector to tell you one way or the other. Foundation repair can be expensive, something to keep in mind when you consider the price of the home.”


Back to the old knob-and-tube situation. If someone has deliberately tried to hide illegal or dangerous wiring, that’s obviously a huge issue, both ethically and financially. And, it’s one you likely won’t find out about until you get inside the walls. Also, you may or may not have recourse against the seller since it will be difficult to prove there was knowledge that necessitated disclosure. Even in a newer home, issues with the way electrical fixtures were installed could make what you thought was a quick and easy update into a larger undertaking.

The best way to prepare for any type of renovation:

  • Add time to any job – You just never know what’s going to come up

  • Research potential issues so you’re better prepared to roll with whatever comes your way

  • Have a Plan B – See first bullet point

  • Set aside extra money

Most importantly: Establish a good relationship with your contractor – When problems or unexpected issues arise, it may just be your good humor and the rapport you have established with your contractor that keeps you at the top of his schedule instead of having to wait weeks or longer to get your updates done.

Source: Realty Times

Hidden Gems Around Arizona

Arizona offers its lovely desert life for those who love the sun, enjoy nostalgic architecture, and love to feel like they are in the wild wild west. Specifically speaking, Phoenix and all of the other major cities are thriving with incredible things to do. I know, when you think of Arizona, it might not seem so appealing at first, but there is a reason so many people are flocking their way over to this incredible state. With all of these new visitors and movers, it might be interesting to find the hidden gems around the area. Sure, the mainstream things to do will keep you and your friends and family occupied, but seeking that hidden layer of Arizona is what it’s all about! Here are some of the best hidden gems hidden around Arizona.

Arizona Desert Mountain Jeep Tours

What better way to step into Arizona and get to know the place than to hop into a jeep and drive right into the desert. The Arizona Desert Mountain Jeep Tours are not your ordinary tour, either. This tour will give you a first hand experience as to how gorgeous and incredible the desert really can be. Once in the rugged, open aired jeep, you can sit in amazement as the dry air runs through your hair. What makes it a hidden gem though, is the southwestern cookout they offer. This is a barbeque made just for you and your friends deep within the Sonoran Desert. Afterwards, you can top it off with a gorgeous sunset tour. Keep in mind, these trips can last up to 3 hours. This can all be located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is where you can take your friends and family to cool off. Interestingly enough, the Desert Botanical Gardens is about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the city of Phoenix. This is thanks to strategically placed water features that act as a coolant for the area. While you are cooling down, you can walk around and really see what makes the desert life so beautiful and outrageous. This is definitely a good spot if you are aiming to convince friends or family to move out to Phoenix, Arizona.

Saguaro Lake

There’s nothing quite like some refreshing water to swim in on a hot summer day in Arizona. The Saguaro Lake is the perfect spot to take a dip. This can also be a great spot to take your friends fishing. No matter, you will find bliss and peace here. You can also find yourself ramping things up with a live cruise and music. Take a nice sunset cruise that will take you through the lake and some forests, too – all while being serenaded by some amazing local music. Nothing quite beats the view when the sun starts to fall, and the sky starts to glow orange and purple. Major win.

Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

Do you like speed? Do you also like flying through the air and getting your adrenaline pumping? Then this place might just be the spot for you. The ziplining course offers more than 30 exhilarating and adventurous ziplines that will help you satisfy your adrenaline cravings. Just to give you and idea, you could find yourself suspended from just 15 feet to 80 feet high in the air! You will also be monkeying around by climbing ladders and bridges that will test your strength and balance. Just know that this is not considered an ‘easy’ zip line experience. Be sure to check out local deals online for group discounts for your family or friends to sling along. You will be trained briefly beforehand, and will not have to worry about going off course due to it being self guided.

Dick’s Hideaway

Funny enough, this is a delicious restaurant that is tucked away and hidden to even the locals. It has no sign and tries to go full incognito by hiding right next to a hardware store. Dick’s Hideaway has delicious menu choices for each breakfast, lunch and dinner. They try to aim for a more casual, rustic, and upscale feel in the restaurant itself, so you can pretty much wear whatever makes you comfortable to the place. They have a New Mexican style cuisine that will sit in your taste buds until the next time you come back. They also have burgers, salads, steaks, and fresh fish. It is truly one of Phoenix, Arizona’s hidden gems. 

It boils down to exploration in Arizona. If you have that drive to seek more and find the hidden gems, you will find many and have a great time doing so. From amazing eateries, to great hikes, to romantic getaways. You never know what Arizona can bring to you on any given day. If you truly want to dive deeper into Arizona’s secrets, try asking the locals. They will tell you about the real go-to spots that will make Arizona be the number 1 spot to be! Just make sure to pack your sunscreen, and some nice, cold water. You’re going to need it once the heat kicks up. Do not worry though, the adventures will all be worth it!

By: Jeremy Alderman, ZOG Digital

3 Reasons Why Spring Is Best for Selling Your Home

It’s spring and that means the real estate market is in full force throughout the valley. If you have been thinking of selling your home this year, now is the perfect time!

Here are 3 reasons why spring is the perfect time to sell your home:

1. More Convenient for Buyers

Spring is a much better time of year for most buyers to start focusing on moving. Because most buyers want to get settled into a new home before a school year begins, buying in the spring and having the summer to get adjusted appeals to many families. Right now we have the perfect weather, but don’t be fooled, the hot summer will come and no one wants to be moving during 100F. Right now more buyers are out there looking at homes in the spring. And more buyers mean more foot traffic to your home and more opportunities for you to sell your home in a timely manner.

2. Better Curb Appeal

Although we have beautiful weather all year round, it’s not easy to keep up with all the flowers and trees. Lush green grass and beautiful azalea busher.. every buyer falls in love with that! Sellers can take advantage of this “free” bonus of better curb appeal in the spring. You can highlight your home’s best features and draw in buyers who can imagine themselves living there. Buyers can imagine themselves sitting out under the patio with a light breeze going and they are much more easily drawn to buy.

3. Higher Prices

The spring is blooming not only with flowers, but also with buyers. More buyers means a higher change for multiple offers and, ultimately, a higher sales price for you.