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Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity in Their Home

Posted by on November 25, 2015 with 0 Comments

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity in Their Home

The average home seller nets about a 23 percent gain in equity from the time they purchase their property – or about $40,000, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. (NAR)

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity

What is the percent of Equity Earned in your home?

A closer look at the data reveals that sellers who purchased their home during certain volatile years tend to fare worse than others.

Home owners who purchased their home eight to 10 years ago—from 2005 to 2007, during the height of the real estate bubble—have earned just $3,000 or 1 percent in equity during that time, says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s managing director of survey research and communication. Those home owners may show the most reluctance to sell their homes, and that may be adding to the inventory shortage in many cities, Lautz says.

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity

Take a closer look at NAR’s latest profile of buyers and sellers report at the breakdown below to see who fares the best in the equity picture:

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity

Percent of Equity Earned

That group of homeowners may be reluctant to put houses on the market today, even though they are right at the average tenure of sellers who make a house trade, and that may be adding to existing-home inventory shortages in many cities, Lautz said at the NAR’s annual convention here.

Despite the equity gains for most homeowners, it is taking more and more income these days to purchase a home. The NAR’s profile of home buyer and sellers for 2015 shows that the gross household income of all purchasers was $86,100, a figure that has risen every year since 2012 when it was $78,600. This is inspite of the lowest increases in COLA during that time.

Source: “If You Bought Your Home During These Years You’re Really Hurting,”® (Nov. 17, 2015)

Scottsdale Real Estate News | Wednesday, November 25, 2015

7 Bedroom Styling Tricks That Anyone Can Do | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on November 19, 2015 with 0 Comments
7 Bedroom Styling Tricks That Anyone Can Do

7 Bedroom Styling Tricks That Anyone Can Do | Scottsdale Real Estate

7 Bedroom Styling Tricks That Anyone Can Do | Scottsdale Real Estate

We spend a great deal of our time at home in the bedroom. Even when we aren’t sleeping, we’re breakfasting in bed, blogging, reading or just relaxing. But the bedroom can be one of the last rooms we decorate; the main living areas often take up most of our time and budget. Here are some simple styling tricks to help you give your bedroom a professional, polished and finished look in next to no time at all.

  1. Aim for “effortless.” Bedroom styling should create a lived-in, relaxed vibe. Your bed is a great place to start. Don’t worry about arranging the pillows and bedding perfectly. But to keep your bed from looking like a hot mess, keep one element of the bed linens straight and neat. A casually draped throw on a bed is for example, can be offset by the crisp lines of the quilt beneath it.
  1. No headboard? Add an art wall. Use the wall space above your bed to create a meaningful gallery wall. Instead of hanging one large artwork, try experimenting with a group of smaller pieces. Note where your head will rest when you are sitting up to read, and use this imaginary line as a guide for the bottom edge of your artwork.
  1. Create an “end zone.” A spot at the end of your bed, the “end zone,” as I call it, is great for sitting to get dressed and put your shoes on, for scattering some magazines on or laying out a tray for coffee or tea. Space permitting, all you have to do is move carefully chosen furniture to the end of your bed. You could try a chest, a bench seat, two stools, an upholstered ottoman with hidden storage or a chaise longue. It is reminiscent of the polished look so often seen in boutique hotel bedrooms.  Tip: Have a purpose in mind for this area and keep it clutter-free.
  1. Style the nightstand. A styled nightstand makes your bedroom look complete. Keep only essential items here, such as a lamp, clock and book, and decorative details, like a dish, to hold your jewelry or a memento.Keep this area clean and dust-free, as you don’t want to wake up to a mess or breathe in allergens while you sleep.Tip: The interior style of your bedroom should guide you in your choice of bedside items. A coastal-inspired bedroom could have lush green tropical leaves in a glass bottle on top of a stack of books and a maritime-inspired clock, for example. “Boho” bedrooms might feature a small arrangement of brightly colored flowers and a string of beads. Just don’t be overly obvious in your approach to themes.
  1. Choose oversized artwork. This easy styling trick is perfect for renters or decorators short on time. You don’t need to mount oversized art — just lean the frame against the wall. This has the bonus of adding to the relaxed, effortless feel we’re going for in this room. I like to work with over sized prints and frames as they’re a little bit unexpected and draw your attention.
  1. Pick a color scheme. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Anyone can choose a color scheme; the trick is to find the inspiration for it in the right place, and then stick to it. This bedroom uses a contemporary twist on traditional blue and white style. Varying shades of blue give the bedroom depth, and a mix of contrasting textures creates interest.Can’t find inspiration? Look to your existing wall color or standout features to guide you. You could, for instance, select two or three colors from an artwork and match these to your bedding, bedside table lamps, throw rugs or pillows. Another feature that could give your bedroom color cues is the wallpaper. Treat the paper as a work of art in itself, and use the pattern or color as inspiration and a style direction for the rest of your bedroom.If you love neutrals, remember to mix textures and vary shades so your bedroom doesn’t feel stark or flat.
  1. Work a feature wall. If you rent and you have a wall of color you are stuck with, fear not. Use the existing color as inspiration for the palette or theme of your bedding. In this striking bedroom, the soft aqua blues of the nightstand lamp and pillows stand out against the coral pink wall.  Tip: Aim to create harmony and balance. If you have a strong, bold color, research what colors would work harmoniously with it. Look at a color wheel— using colors that lie next to each other will have a calming effect, because those combinations are pleasing to the eye.

Feature walls can be oh so right when used correctly- like a moody wall -especially in a deep inky indigo or deep charcoal. The color can help frame the bed area and looks great with wood accents.

Tip: An inky blue-black wall is a great solution for creating a gender-neutral bedroom or a space that caters to both men and women. Add interest and contrast through the bedding, nightstands, lighting, artwork and headboard.

Above all, go for comfort. The style of your bedroom should reflect your personality. Make the room comfortable and inviting. It’s your special place, so use and select the things you love and that make you feel good.

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes Team at 480-595-6412

Five Ways to Jump Start a Whole House Decluttering Effort | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on November 13, 2015 with 0 Comments
Five Ways to Jump Start a Whole House Decluttering Effort | Scottsdale Real Estate

Five Ways to Jump Start a Whole House Decluttering Effort | Scottsdale Real Estate

Five Ways to Jump Start a Whole House Decluttering Effort| Scottsdale Real Estate

If the piles of paperwork and jam packed closets have you feeling like a deer in the headlights, take a deep breath and a baby step…

It’s a common problem. You know you have way too much stuff for your available space, but you become paralyzed at the thought of decluttering. One solution is to start with something that takes minimal effort but makes a big impact in your home right away. From carving out a bit of breathing room in your closet to making a dent in the junk drawer, these five ways to begin the decluttering process are relatively painless. You can do this!

Where Not to Begin

Don’t plan to start with a major weekend-long purge. Plan to start being the key phrase. A big decluttering weekend can be a great way to make progress, but carving out such a large chunk of time may not be easy to arrange — and if you keep putting off getting started because you’re waiting for a big space to open up on your calendar, you could be waiting a very long time.

Don’t start with other people’s stuff. Oh, it is so tempting, I know! But although you may be dying to bag up your least favorite items from your spouse/significant other/kid/housemate’s space, resist the urge — it’s not likely to go over well. Even if you have way less clutter than the other members of your household, it’s important to take responsibility for your own part. If you’re lucky, the clutter-clearing bug will be catching!

Don’t start at the front door. In theory, the entryway is a wonderful place to begin decluttering. But guess what tends to accumulate around the front door? Stuff you actually use a lot. That means that while there could be a few things to get rid of in this area, it’s more likely that the stuff just needs to be put away. But if everywhere else in the house is packed, there’s nowhere for the entryway clutter to go.

Where to Begin

1. Discard a few clothes. Removing some of the clothes and shoes you don’t wear from your closet and drawers is a good first step. By clearing out a bit of space in your bedroom closet, you can then tuck away some of the extra items (jackets, scarves, shoes) cluttering up your entryway, in effect clearing two areas of your home at once.

How to: Try not to get hung up on winnowing down your entire closet right now; just grab a few no-brainer items that obviously need to go (socks without mates, worn out sneakers, ill-fitting pants), toss them in a bag, and get them out of there.

Next step: If there is now enough room to do so, take the extra coats and shoes from the entryway and put them away neatly in your closet, lightening up the entry. If space is still too tight to add anything, make another pass at your clothes and shoes, and fill a bag with items to sell or give away.

2. Sort a pile of papers. For as much talk as there is about offices going paperless, I find that somehow an awful lot of paper makes its way into the house. Seeing piles of unsorted paperwork while you’re trying to relax or enjoy a meal can create a low but persistent level of stress in the house, so this is a helpful place to begin. 

How to: Grab a pile and sort it; if you don’t currently have a filing system set up, just label a few files as you go, keeping the categories broad. When you’re done sorting the first pile, designate one spot to put all incoming paperwork. Place a paper recycling bin beside it and call it a day.

Next step: Collect all the unsorted paperwork from around the house and place it in the designated paper spot. Grab a stack and sort it. Repeat.

3. Organize the junk drawer. An overflowing junk drawer is a drag to look at and can really slow you down when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Junk drawers tend to get overstuffed thanks to a) stuff you really should have thrown away in the first place and b) too many extras of things. For now, focus on a) — the stuff that doesn’t belong at all.

How to: Toss out the instruction manuals, broken rubber bands, pens that don’t write and freebies you never really wanted. If you have a ton of extras (pens, batteries, etc.) that you know you’ll use eventually, just neaten them up and try to make a mental note to not buy any more of those for a long time. 

Next step: Separate the useful little items (tape, stamps, flash light) into a separate drawer or wall organizer so they’re easier to reach and leave the extras (boxes of batteries, stapler refills, lightbulbs) in the drawer. If you need organizers for your neatened-up drawer, jam jars and tupperware are quick (and free!) stand-ins.

4. Shed a piece of furniture. Perhaps you have furniture in the house that isn’t really needed but you put it there simply because you have it. Getting rid of just one piece can free up a lot of space. Also, furniture tends to attract piles of clutter, so one less piece also means one less place for clutter to congregate. If your space feels too tightly packed with furniture, see if you can choose a least-favorite piece to sell or donate to charity.

How to: Take a walk around your home, peeking into every closet and outbuilding, making note of the furniture. Find one piece that’s not being used or isn’t really needed and make a plan to get rid of it. If you plan to give it away, try to drive it to a donation center today. If you want to sell it, place an ad or bring it to a consignment shop today. Don’t wait!

Next step: Follow up with your plan to get rid of the piece of furniture. If you’re having trouble selling it, lower the price or try a different method (Craigslist, eBay, garage sale, consignment shop). Set a reminder on your calendar to take the item to a donation center by a certain date if it doesn’t sell.

 5. Give away one thing right now. This is about the power of beginnings: When you have a mountainous task ahead of you, even a relatively small suggestion (like tackling a single drawer or decluttering for five minutes) can feel overwhelming. Instead, go right now and grab one thing you can give away. One thing is not so hard to remove. And even if you removed just one thing each day, after a year that’s 365 things — not too shabby!

How to: Look around the room you’re in and grab the first thing you see that you could give away. It could be a DVD, a book, a candleholder you don’t really like — it doesn’t matter, just grab something quickly! If you don’t see anything, peek in a cupboard or drawer and grab something there. Once you have your one thing, don’t just put it by the door — actually remove it from the house. If you absolutely can’t take it away right now, at least put it outside, or in the car.

Next step: Find one more thing to get rid of and put it in a bag or box to take to a donation center. Each day, add one more item to the container; when it’s full, drop it off. Repeat.

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes Team at 480-595-6412

Your Guide to Stress-Free Thanksgiving Prep | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on November 6, 2015 with 0 Comments

Your Guide to Stress-Free Thanksgiving Prep | Scottsdale Real Estate

Your Guide to Stress-Free Thanksgiving Prep | Scottsdale Real Estate

Hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year? With so many details to coordinate, guests to host and dishes to cook, having a plan will save headaches and pave the way for a beautiful feast you can really feel grateful for. This breakdown of just what to do and when, from the early preparations to Thanksgiving Day, can help.

One Month Ahead

  • Figure out a few basics: How many people will you be inviting? Do you want it to feel elegant, cozy, casual? Start a list that you can add to over the month as you think of things you need.
  • Order your turkey early, especially if you are planning to get a heritage bird (they do sell out).
  • Choose recipes and figure out who will be making what.
  • Do a walk-through of your house. Does anything need fixing or updating before the big day? Make a plan to take care of repairs and decorating projects now, while you still have ample time.
  • Clear space in the pantry, checking levels of staple ingredients as you go.
  • Clean the coat closet— move extra coats into another space temporarily if you need to, so guests can use the main hall closet on the big day.
  • Figure out now if you will need to rent, borrow or buy anything — extra chairs, serving platters, silverware etc.

Two to Three Weeks Ahead

  • Make any DIY table decor you’d like to personalize, such as napkin rings, candleholders and place cards.
  • Make your shopping lists: one for perishables and another for nonperishables.
  • Make your cooking schedule. Look up all the recipes you will be making, noting down cooking times and temperatures, as well as which dishes can be made in advance (and how far in advance).
  • Shop for all the items on your nonperishables list, but don’t unpack them. Instead leave them neatly packed in their bags and tuck them away in a closet or cupboard. This saves you time putting everything away now — and helps on turkey day when you don’t have to go rummaging around for, say, the canned pumpkin.
  • A few extras you may want to think about including: paper takeout containers for handing out leftovers, crayons and butcher paper for the kids’ table and wineglass charms or removable stickers for glasses.
  • If you still need extra chairs, platters or coffee cups and haven’t yet bought or borrowed them, now is the time. Ikea is fabulous for budget-friendly staples (like the cute folding chair shown here), but a local party rental business is a good option, too.

The Weekend Before

  • Give your house an all-over cleaning. Don’t waste your time with hidden areas and deep clutter — focus on the entryway, bathrooms, dining room and living room.
  • Tidy up the front porch, check porch lighting and add a few fresh potted plants or a wreath on the door.
  • Clean out the fridge and freezer.
  • If you’re buying a frozen turkey, pick it up now and begin thawing it in fridge.
  • Shop for and begin cooking dishes that can be made ahead and frozen, like pie dough.
  • Review the menu and gather all necessary serving pieces and trivets in one spot; use sticky notes to label each platter with the dish it will hold.
  • Polish any silver you’ll be using.
  • If you want to be super organized, print copies of all your Thanksgiving recipes and put them in a presentation binder with clear plastic sleeves. After the big day, you can add notes and shopping lists, and next year you’ll be ready to go!

Thanksgiving Week

  • Shop for perishables.
  • Pick up the turkey if you’re buying fresh.
  • Unless you made a Thanksgiving binder over the weekend (see above), now is the time to gather your recipes. Pin copies to a bulletin board, tape them to the kitchen wall or at least bookmark them in your cookbooks for easy reference.
  • Write the cooking plan (oven temperatures and cooking times) on a whiteboard or tape it to the wall, somewhere that you and your helpers can easily check it.

The Night Before

  • Set the table if you’re serving family style or set up the buffet.
  • Put labeled serving dishes and implements on trivets on the table or buffet.
  • Tidy up around the house.
  • Prep any dishes you can to ease the workload for the next day.
  • Put anything you made in advance and froze in the fridge to thaw.
  • Set up the kids’ table.
  • Arrange flowers.
  • Put out place cards.

On Thanksgiving Day

  • Fill a dishpan with soapy water and use it to clean as you go.
  • Start the turkey in the morning and follow your cooking plan.
  • If anyone offers to help, accept!
  • Wrap up leftovers promptly to avoid food-borne illnesses. If you’re giving leftovers to guests, pack the food in takeout containers and store it in the fridge until it’s time to go.
  • Run a load of dishes in the dishwasher before sitting down to dessert.
  • Now sit back and enjoy that pie!

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes Team at 480-595-6412

Interesting Real Estate Photos Meant to Display Property

Posted by on November 5, 2015 with 0 Comments

Interesting real estate photos meant to display property presumably in their best light. These are photos that were used in the Multiple Listing Service in conjunction with the listing of that home. We are not recommending these real estate agents but thought you might get a chuckle, as we did when we saw these photos.

Funny Photos

Tropical Backyard with Great Views

interesting real estate photos

Ah, the pleasures of a fully plumbed dining room.
Interesting Real Estate Photos Meant to Display Property

Highly Decorated Family Room

Highly Decorated Family Room

Very Private and Bushy Entrance

Private Bushy Entrance

Clean Lines – Bright – Vegetables in Tub Included

Clean Lines - Vegetable in Tub Included
When you want professional real estate services call or email the Luxury Valley Homes team in Scottsdale, Arizona. We hope you got a chuckle from these photos found on the Multiple Listing Service.
BuzzFeed offer us what they call 24 Appalling Estate Agent Pictures if you would like to see more like those above.
You can see all of the current listings right here for the Scottsdale real estate Arizona.
If you need help with real estate just call or email the Luxury Valley Homes team. Just contact us.

Baby Boomers Finding Freedom in Retirement Scottsdale

Posted by on November 5, 2015 with 0 Comments

Baby boomers finding freedom in retirement Scottsdale – Within the next five years, Baby Boomers are projected to have the largest household growth of any other generation during that same time period, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard. Let’s take a look at why…

Baby Boomers Finding Freedom In Retirement

In a recent Merrill Lynch study, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” they surveyed nearly 6,000 adults ages 21 and older about housing.

Crossing the “Freedom Threshold”

Throughout our lives, there are often responsibilities that dictate where we live. Whether being in the best school district for our children, being close to our jobs, or some other factor is preventing a move, the study found that there is a substantial shift that takes place at age 61.

The study refers to this change as “Crossing the Freedom Threshold”. When where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like. (see the chart below)

Crossing the Freedom Threshold
As one participant in the study stated:

“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.”

On the Move

According to the study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.

The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses”. See the chart below for the top 6 reasons broken down.

Reasons for Moving in Retirement

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with fewer children at home, they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.

Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them.

“Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations.”

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed or are about to change, let’s get together and discuss your next steps. You can contact us by way of email at Jane@LuxuryValleyHomes or give us a call at 480-595-6412.

You can also search for any current listings in the valley of the sun, within Maricopa County that is provided by the Luxury Valley Homes real estate team.



Waiting until after the hectic holidays to sell your home? Think again

Posted by on November 3, 2015 with 0 Comments
Waiting until after the hectic holidays to sell your home? Think again

Scottsdale Arizona Custom Home

Waiting until after the hectic holidays to sell your home? Think again. Did you know that buyers looking for a home during the holiday season are some of the most serious buyers all year? So, if you’re thinking of selling, don’t wait until spring to list your home for sale. Clean, clear-out, fix-up and prep your home like you’re hosting a big holiday party. Your home will shine online and be tour-ready when that right buyer walks through the front door. After all, emotion sells homes. Few homes for sale are more appealing than a warm and cheery holiday home. Give yourself the gift of a quick holiday home sale.

Tip #1: Contact us to learn how we make holiday home selling easy.

Tip #2: Decorate, but don’t go over the top. Consider putting out just half of your decorations while it’s for sale. You’ll have more home to show and many fewer items to put away when you’re busy packing to move!

Tip #3: Focus on the outside. Make sure that your outside still looks inviting even though it’s winter. Be sure the front walkway is clean, clear and inviting with seasonal holiday décor.

Tip #4: Turn up the heat. Don’t skimp on the temperature. Turn up the thermostat to make it cozy and inviting. During an open house (where fireplaces can be closely monitored) consider a fire in the fireplace or warmed cookies in the oven.

Tip #5: Price it right and be flexible and open to all offers. The key to a home sale any time of year is making sure your price is realistic and takes into account the competition. We can help you set the right price to sell!

Three Red Flags That Make Lenders Nervous

Home-For-Sale Scottsdale AZ

Know About Lending Issues

You don’t want to give lenders any reason to doubt your ability to repay your mortgage loan. But not everyone is a perfect borrower. Just know there are three traits that make lenders especially nervous. And if you have any of them, you might struggle to qualify for a mortgage loan until you resolve them.

You have a low credit score: Lenders rely heavily on your three-digit credit score to determine if you are a risky borrower. If your FICO score is under 620-640, that’s a red flag for lenders. (FHA requires a minimum 580 FICO score to qualify for low 3.5% down payment.) Order a free copy of your credit score—you’re entitled to one each year from the national credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—from Determine why your score is so low and fix the problem, whether you need to start paying your bills on time or reduce your credit-card debt.

You don’t have a steady job: Lenders want to be assured you have enough money coming in each month to make your payment. If you don’t have a steady job, it can be difficult to convince lenders that you’re not a missed-payment-waiting-to-happen. Maybe you are self-employed. That’s fine. But if you don’t have at least two years of tax returns charting your self-employed income you’ll struggle to land a loan.

You’re missing important payments: This relates to having a low credit score, but if lenders see that you are not making important regular payments, such as your student loans or child-support or tax payments, they’ll be far less likely to work with you. Avoid these red flags if at all possible. Otherwise you’ll struggle to convince lenders that you’re financially mature enough to handle a mortgage payment.

How to Get Your Kitchen Island Lighting Right | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on October 27, 2015 with 0 Comments
How to Get Your Kitchen Island Lighting Right | Scottsdale Real Estate

How to Get Your Kitchen Island Lighting Right | Scottsdale Real Estate

How to Get Your Kitchen Island Lighting Right | Scottsdale Real Estate

The kitchen island is often a central gathering spot in the home, in addition to being a functional, much-used work space. That’s why it’s important to light it right. I’m a fan of hanging fixtures, which, if chosen correctly, provide ambient and task lighting while acting like beautiful jewelry. Here are a few key tips for selecting kitchen island lights that get the job done while looking great.


As a general rule of thumb, the more copies of a pendant you’re hanging, the simpler the pendant should be. These mini-chandeliers work well because there are only two of them and they aren’t full-size, so they bring a little drama but not too much.

If a light fixture clearly feels like a chandelier, it’s usually best to use just one and let it be a statement piece. Repeating such a large, standout feature can detract from its grandeur.


Here you can see that these four pendants are very simple in shape and muted in finish. They might not seem striking if used individually, but together their architectural look is beautiful

The simplicity rule is especially important when a more dramatic chandelier is present nearby, such as over a dining table. Let the multiple pendants be much simpler so they aren’t fighting for attention, and consider using a similar finish to tie all the fixtures together.

In general, an elegant, understated bell or schoolhouse shape is a safe bet for anything from two to 12 pendants. These beautifully hold their own without clashing with other accents.

Multi-Bulb Fixtures

One advantage of multi-bulb fixtures is that they bring extra sparkle and even out the lighting without cluttering your sight lines. Choose a style with a hurricane-lantern-like shade for a transitional effect that balances modern and traditional elegance.

Track Lights

Who says track lights are a thing of the past? Modern gallery-like lights tucked up against the ceiling will add functional lighting to an island while preserving a wide-open and airy look. Use simple white fixtures against a white ceiling, or place them between beams, and they’ll disappear even more than pot lights.

Dropped Ceilings

If you want to add pot lights or any other recessed fixture but don’t have the ability to install the wiring in a solid ceiling, try a dropped panel. It visually anchors an island while providing a cavity for the new electrical. Plus, you can add modern cove lighting to give the space an extra glow that mimics daylight pouring in from a skylight.

You can also add an LED strip that faces downward for a modern twist on the usual pot light, as seen in this example.

Try covering the panel in a fun color, or add some organic interest with wood, so the panel itself becomes decorative.

Wide Fixtures

Rather than several pendants, try one wide fixture that will cast light evenly across the entire island. LEDs and light strips create a modern look and take up very little space, providing lots of light without blocking the view.

You can also use a wide bar with multiple exposed bulbs for a more industrial-eclectic vibe. The sparkle off the appliances will be almost as beautiful as the fixture itself.

Mixing Metals

Don’t be afraid to mix metal finishes between your lighting and the appliance suite. Stainless steel and warm brass are beautiful together, and your lighting offers an opportunity to add a little warmth to balance out the cool silvery tones.

Doubling Up

Ultimately, the most effective lighting scheme always involves mixing multiple sources for an even wash of light that’s free of harsh shadows. Mixing pot lights or track lights with hanging fixtures will balance spotlighting on the counter with a more general illumination for a balance of beauty and practicality.

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes Team at 480-595-6412


Which Pet Matches Your Lifestyle?

Posted by on October 9, 2015 with 0 Comments

Which Pet Matches Your Lifestyle? – Luxury Valley Homes

Which pet matches your lifestyle?


Considering adding a pet to your life? It might sound wacky, but try thinking about it like buying a car. You might love the idea of a particular model but, in the end, it might not fit the needs of your lifestyle and limits of your budget. Luckily, as with cars, there is a type of pet out there for just about everyone.

Matching your pet to your lifestyle is a smart, sanity-saving, happiness-inducing move. So, for now, think less about comparing scales to feathers to fur. Focus on figuring out whether you would do best with a low-, mid- or high-maintenance pet. And don’t assume that a low-maintenance pet is automatically the best choice for you. Higher-maintenance pets require more of you but can often give you more in return as well.

Which pet matches your lifestyle?

Colorful Saltwater Fish

Low-maintenance: insects, reptiles and fish

While these three types of pets are very different, they do share a number of qualities:

  • Pros: relatively inexpensive, depending on species, breed and living habitat; can be kept in a cage/fish bowl; require no interaction; non-allergenic; make no noise
  • Cons: due to size, more easily lost and harder to find if removed from cage; don’t interact or bond with people
  • Best for: child’s first pet; educational observation; small spaces; frequent travelers and people with limited time
  • Good starter pets: ant farm; turtle or tortoise; leopard geckos, bearded dragons, green anoles; goldfish; Siamese Fighting Fish (also called betta fish) but only one per fish bowl

Other things to keep in mind: Some reptiles, like tortoises, can live for decades, which can be a negative if you don’t want to commit to a pet for that long. Turtles, tortoises and snakes can bite, requiring adult supervision when handled by children. Some lizards are active at night, which means little kids can miss out on a lot of their action. And most lizards need to eat live insects.

Medium-maintenance: birds and small mammals

Which pet matches your lifestyle?


The pros and cons of these two types of creatures differ more but, in general, they’re a good choice if you want a small pet that will interact with humans without needing constant attention. They are also typically confined to cages and require little space.


  • Pros: depending on breed, can be intelligent, lively and social; are more likely to interact or bond with people; they sing and chirp, which can also be a negative if noise is an issue; parrots can live for decades, so owners should be prepared for a long relationship; can be kept in a cage
  • Cons: delicate and require adult supervision as well as a level of maturity from children; some breeds, like parrots, need higher levels of interaction; require care on a daily basis
  • Best for: individuals and families that want a more active pet that is still relatively low-maintenance; older or mature young children; small spaces
  • Good starter pets: parakeets and canaries make good, inexpensive and easy to care for first pets; cockatiels and cockatoos are more costly but also more intelligent

Small mammals

  • Pros: quiet but social; work well in same-sex pairs (except for hamsters, which are solitary); nice to hold, pet and play with; regular handling encourages friendliness; can be kept in a cage
  • Cons: small rodents are easy to lose if removed from cage and not closely monitored; can bite if they feel threatened
  • Best for: individuals and families that want a more interactive pet that is still relatively low-maintenance; people who want a more cuddly pet; small spaces
  • Good starter pets: mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits; rats have an undeservedly bad reputation because of their cousins who live in the wild, but domesticated rats are generally friendly and highly intelligent

High-maintenance: cats and dogs

Cats and dogs are some of the most common pets for individuals and families. They are the most social, cuddly types of pets but also need the most daily care.


Which pet matches your lifestyle?


Felines have a reputation for being aloof but the stereotype doesn’t apply to all cats. Some are very social and even dog-like in their enjoyment of human companionship. Whether adopting a kitten or cat, spend time with it and ask the animal shelter or pet store about its personality so you can find one that fits with yours.

  • Pros: depending on the cat, can be both very social and independent, although all cats will need some level of interaction, petting and play time; in general, they are better than dogs at handling long periods of being alone, but still need daily food, water and litter box cleaning; can live in or outdoors, though indoors is considered safer for both cats and local wildlife
  • Cons: some people are allergic to cats; however some scientific studies suggest that having a cat in the home during a child’s first few years can help protect him or her from some types of allergies in the future; depending on the breed and particular cat, they can shed hardly at all to a lot; indoor cats will need a litter box
  • Best for: individuals and families that want a more interactive, cuddly pet and who are able to devote more time and money to daily and annual care; small spaces
  • Good starter pets: prioritize personality when choosing a cat and make sure that it fits well with you and your family members, especially if you have kids; some cats are scared of children/people while others aren’t


Which pet matches your lifestyle?

The Department of Home Security

Man’s best friend asks a lot of owners but also has so much to give in exchange. Dogs are known for their loyal, affectionate nature. Temperament can vary dramatically by breed and dog. If you adopt from a shelter, remember that some dogs come from difficult or abusive backgrounds, which can contribute to temperaments that mix fear with aggression. This kind of behavior can possibly be overcome with time and commitment. Get advice from shelter staff before adopting such a dog, especially if you have children.

  • Pros: enjoy being taken along on a variety of adventures, whether in the great outdoors or on city streets; loyal and social creatures who bond with people and crave their companionship
  • Cons: need to be walked every day; some breeds require a lot of exercise to avoid getting hyper; don’t do well being left along for long periods of time; poorly-trained dogs can bark a lot but owners can work to change that behavior; unless the dog itself is small, dogs are generally not good in small spaces
  • Best for: individuals and families that want a more interactive, cuddly pet and who are able to devote significant time and money to daily and annual care
  • Good starter pets: as with cats, prioritize personality when choosing a dog and make sure that it fits well with you and your family members, especially if you have kids; Labradors, Golden Retrievers and dogs with those breeds mixed in have generally pleasant temperaments

Other things to keep in mind about cats and dogs: Size, temperament and health permitting, small cats and dogs can be put in a carrier and taken into the main cabin of most airlines (always check with the airline first); however, most pets will be happiest if left in familiar surroundings, so only travel with them if you must. All cats and dogs need yearly vet checkups and ones that go outside will need annual vaccinations. They are at a higher risk of injury from other animals, humans and cars, so annual vet bills could be higher than for other pets. They can nip, scratch and bite if frightened or over-stimulated during play, so adult supervision is needed around small children.

What kind of owner are you?

Not all pets are the same, and neither are owners. Even if you think you know what type of pet you want, it’s worth taking the time to figure out what type of owner you are able to be, based on how much of your time, attention and budget you can devote to a pet.


Important Luxury Valley Homes Disclaimer: All content provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor Luxury Valley Homes assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. Luxury Valley Homes does not sponsor, recommend or endorse any third party, product, service or information provided on this site.

URGENT: VA HealthCare Treatment | Continuity of Care is AWOL

Posted by on September 19, 2015 with 0 Comments

URGENT: VA HealthCare Treatment | Continuity of Care is AWOL. Some may have noticed I have not been around for a while. By the title of this article, you probably already guessed why.

URGENT: VA HealthCare Treatment | Continuity of Care is AWOL

VA Healthcare System

A strange thing happened to me while in CA celebrating my grandson’s seventh birthday. During our daily walks along the ocean, I started walking as though intoxicated, drifting left, feeling off balance, and weak on the left side of my body. A bit disconcerting for me as my usual activity level is high. Now I find myself physically and intellectually limited and determined to fight through this process. Needing help, I turn first to my VA PACT Team Primary Care Physician. (PCP)

Being I can never, reach them by phone because of the answering system I usually have better luck communicating by way of the VA secured messaging system.

The response I got back after giving them the symptoms was that I needed to wait for my regularly scheduled appointment and that if I got worse I should go to the VA emergency room. Just hearing the symptoms one might think first of a stroke so the urgency of care seemed justified – Not in this case.

My tolerance for pain is high but the next day the pain I was feeling blew through those levels. It was so debilitating that I needed someone else to drive me to the VA hospital.

I was admitted rather quickly, and placed in a holding area where triage was conducted for admitting patients. After six and one half hour’s I spoke to a PA that did a preliminary workup and called for a Computed Tomography (CT) scan on my head and back. An hour later, the technicians administered the CT. They were accommodating, and professional. After the CT, it was back to the waiting area in triage. It was a little more than an hour later that the PA came back to advise the CT was not conclusive but raised concern and I would need a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan for further evaluation.

They informed me that an MRI was not currently available, and I would need a consult from my PCP for the MRI. The PA gave me pain medication to mask the problem and sent me home.

The next day the progressive nature of both the pain and paralysis of the left side of my body was alarming. We decided the ER was the better course of action.

Approximately about five hours in the triage waiting area the attending M.D. came to talk to me. He advised that he read the CT and the situation was of such a complex nature it was necessary for an immediate MRI and consultation from a Neurologist. As this was not available at the VA, they arranged an ambulance transport with the destination of St. Joseph Neurological Center. After about an hour American Medical Response transportation loaded me in the ambulance and we were off to the hospital. Oops! They delivered me to John C. Lincoln – Wrong hospital!

In the meantime, my wife was at the ultimate destination in St. Joseph’s hospital. Concerned I had not arrived she called my cell phone to ask where I was, that St. Joseph hospital could not find me in their system. Both my wife and the hospital became frantic because they thought they lost me.

While under medication I responded that, I was in room 41 and she said the hospital had no such room. I finally asked what hospital this was and found I was in the wrong hospital. Two hours later, I was where I was supposed to be and the activity levels surged exponentially.
The MRI’s were conducted, diagnosed, and treatment scheduled immediately after the diagnose of Transverse Myelitis (TM). TM is a rare disease where medical treatment has provided some success in restoring health.

Lucky me, I have one of the worse cases and it can be compounded with the inclusion of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and some other not so fun stuff. It sounds like another kiss from Agent Orange that I was exposed to in Vietnam.

Note: After the initial treatment, if there is no improvement within the first 3 to 6 months, recovery is unlikely, which underlines the significant need for “immediate aggressive physical therapy and rehabilitation.”

URGENT: VA HealthCare Treatment | Continuity of Care is AWOL

After my release from the hospital, I requested my PCP for a consult on the two items requested by the Neurologist.

1) PT/OT and

2) Neurological follow-up from the Lumbar Penetration for detailed diagnosis, treatment, and management.

After two day’s and a follow-up with the PACT team, the consults were in and appointments scheduled. The soonest for neurology follow-up was over a month and the PT/OT was not going to be available for weeks.

I contacted the Veteran’s Choice Program (VCP) to establish more immediate and needed “continuity of care”. I spoke to Niche, Ashley, and the supervisor, Ralph M. located in TX. Last name or employee numbers refused with security cited as the problem. They advised they could do absolutely nothing, and I needed to go back to my PCP and request a consult for VCP to execute that order. When I asked how long that would take once he had that in his hands, he replied a week to ten days. That does not compute with the urgency or timeliness of continuity of care.

Today I placed the request, as advised by the VCP supervisor to my PACT team who should see it on Monday.

The question I am left with is when ill, why does this administrative process belong to the patient?

My personal opinion and that of my medical friends and practitioners all agree that we want our patient free to concentrate on the healing process. Why would that not apply to the VA Healthcare system? This is an opinion developed from my own personal experience but when couple with the articles from publications such as Fox and CNN, it may be more than a single isolated incident.

On Sep 3, 2015, CNN broke a story that said 307,000 vets might have died awaiting VA care. This is a horrible number and I find it hard to believe – That is until now. I was one of the fortunate to survive combat, was decorated but acquired wounds that label me as a disabled veteran giving me a number one classification, that suggest I have good access to the VA Healthcare system. Part of my team’s directive is that we would leave no one behind. We took that seriously, and it was a way of life for us. I thought that carried over from those that promised healthcare for services rendered – Not so much.

This experience demonstrates that may have been true with my brothers in combat, but here, today – Nobody in this administration has our back.
As the drugs evaporate from my system and I become more cognizant I realize the toll that is realized both physically and mentally to take on the administrative gymnastics for as something as simple, as continuity of care within the VA Healthcare system. Where did my PACT team support team go?

Attempting to do this on one’s own while ill, drives high stress levels, and as a professional opinion, it is evident that depression could follow.
Could we have possibly lost that many men and women? Did they not have our back simply because we were not even on the priority list? I am beginning to believe it could be true, certainly, my own experience does not demonstrate improvements in our VA Phoenix Healthcare.

If it sounds like I am concerned and maybe a little angry when I see how our veterans are treated in the VA Healthcare systems, the lack of effort to fix the problem, the tons of political ongoing rhetoric, the wasted millions of dollars, and followed by little to no results – Then you just might be correct in your assumption.

Direct the effort where it will have the most impact – It is where the caregiver and patient meets.

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