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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.

Lightning Safety: Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona

Posted by on August 13, 2015 with 0 Comments

Lightning safety: Scottsdale real estate Arizona is a homeowner’s guide to protect home and family during those magnificent light shows that we experience here in the Valley of the Sun.

Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona: Lightning Safety

Photo by: Discovery Communications, LLC

Although lightning-related fatalities have declined over the past few decades, lightning still claims more lives than tornadoes or hurricanes each year. A lightning bolt can reach temperatures of approximately 50,000-degrees Fahrenheit, which is five times hotter than the sun’s surface, and can travel at speeds up to 90,000 miles per second. These facts make lightning particularly problematic for homeowners in thunderstorm-prone areas.

Lightning is unpredictable and can strike at any time of year during a variety of weather conditions. Your best defense is to be prepared to protect yourself, your home and yard, and vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, and the disabled.

Between 2004 and 2013 there were 22 lightning fatalities in Texas, making it the second highest number after Florida, which had 46 fatalities. Parts of southeast Texas average 50 to 60 days with thunderstorms per year, which frequently occur in the late afternoon and early evening hours during summer. The Gulf Coast has more lightning strikes than anywhere else in Texas; however, the cities of Austin and Dallas see a similar number of lightning strikes each year.

Lightning Safety: Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona

Lightning Damages

Scottsdale real estate Arizona: Lightning Safety

Lightning bolts at S. McClintock Drive & The Reservation. (Source: Curtis Gruninger

In the U.S. alone, some estimates put lightning losses at over $2 billion in damages each year. Lightning damage affects both homeowners and business owners. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, 30 percent of businesses suffer lightning losses, costing the U.S. economy $6-7 billion. Lightning also has the potential to cause devastating fires that completely wipe out homes, businesses, and people who stand in the path of destruction.

These days, many communities have emergency warning systems to alert residents about severe storms. Learn about your town’s warning system, and if your town doesn’t have one, talk to your mayor or city councilman.

As a homeowner, it’s important to be prepared in your community and in your home so that you can devise an effective storm survival strategy. The first precautionary step you should take to prepare for an oncoming lightning storm or future lightning storms is to secure your home. These are some things that you can do right now to prepare for potential storms.

Identify the safest place in your home, on the lowest level away from doors and windows, for household members to gather during a storm. You should also create a list of items that you might need in this safe place during a storm. Pack an emergency preparedness kit and place in in a location that everyone will remember. These are some of the most important items to place in your kit:

Scottsdale real estate Arizona: Lightning Safety

Build an Emergency Kit for Home & Car

Homeowner’s Guide to Lightning Safety:

  • At least 1 gallon of water per person
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Emergency contact information
  • Battery powered or hand-crank radio
  • Cash

Lightning rods are fixed metal rods or wires that are installed on an exposed part of a building to divert lightning to the ground. Homeowners may want to install these because provide a path of low-resistance from the sky to the ground and protect your home. Contact your local fire department to discuss whether installing lightning rods on your building is a good idea.

Taking Shelter in Your Home

Generally the safest place for you to go during a lightning storm is your own home or a safe building nearby if you are away from home. Postpone any outdoor activities until after the storm has completely ended, because lightning often strikes before rain starts and after it lets up. Unplug all electronic devices at the first indication that a storm is coming.

Mobile homes can often blow over during strong winds, so seek a more stable shelter nearby. When a storm starts, shutter your windows if possible, or at least close your blinds or curtains.

During a Lightning Storm

Although electronic devices may keep your kids occupied and entertained during a storm, you should prohibit the use of plugged-in electronics when thunder and lightning are in the area. Keep a battery-powered TV or radio handy so that you can use these devices instead and keep your kids safe.

Consider playing a few fun card games or board games with your kids during storms while listening to weather updates on the TV or radio.

Don’t punish your kids for being scared of storms, but rather acknowledge the fear and try drown out the noise. These are some other effective strategies for calming down children during storms:

  • Build a DIY tent or fort out of sheets and pillows
  • Prepare your child’s favorite snack
  • Play musical instruments
  • Watch favorite cartoons

Preparation for Pets

Not only can humans be struck by lightning, but dogs and other household pets can be too. The records, statistics, and research isn’t as nearly complete for lightning-related pet fatalities as it is for humans, but it is a real possibility that you must be prepared for as a pet owner.

It is never safe for your pets to remain outside during a lightning storm, and outdoor dog houses do not constitute a safe shelter. Dogs that seek shelter under trees or that are chained to metal poles are at an even greater risk of lightning strikes.

Cats that spend time outdoors tend to look for shelter under cars during storms, which is one of the most dangerous places for them to be when lightning strikes. If a car parked outdoors is struck by lightning, outdoor cats could be seriously injured or killed by the conducted electricity through the metal parts.

Don’t wait until the last minute to think about providing shelter and safety for your pet when lightning begins to strike. Decide on a safe location to bring your pets when a storm comes and make sure that all of the enclosures are secure.

Many pets, especially dogs, are fearful of thunderstorms and begin to panic even before the first bolt of lightning strikes. Find a quiet, safe area in your home that your pet will feel comfortable in during storms. You should never force your pet to stay in a designated area during a storm, but make it as inviting and comfortable as you can. Stock the emergency location with blankets, pillows, treats, and toys. Periodically, invite your pet to spend time in the emergency location so that he becomes comfortable with the environment and feels safe and welcome there.

If your pet is especially prone to anxiety during storms, talk to your veterinarian about potential solutions. Prescription medication or herbal remedies may be recommended to ease your pet’s worries during thunder and lightning. Anti-anxiety medication can be taken orally and mixed with food. And finally, make sure that your pet has a microchip in the unlikely event that he escapes during the chaos of a storm.

During a Lightning Storm

Make sure to bring all pets indoors and into a safe place, even dogs that spend most of their time out in the yard. Leave the dog house behind and bring your pet into the safety and security of your home when it begins to lightning. Bring your pet into the safe location that you have been training him to feel comfortable in and reward him with treats and toys for cooperating. Make sure that all doors and pet doors low to the ground are securely shut so that your pet can’t escape to the outdoors during a lightning storm.

If your pet is afraid of storms, use a ThunderShirt or swaddle him/her in a blanket. Comfortable, close-fitting garments can create a calming effect and reduce anxiety for many pets. Gentle grooming and soft music can also calm pets during storms, and many pets feel more comfortable in a dark interior room away from windows.

These are some other helpful tips for distracting your pet during a storm:

  • Close all the curtains and blinds
  • Set up a plastic crate for the pet to settle in
  • Stay by your pet’s side
  • Keep pets away from exits so they don’t run away if a door is suddenly opened

If you happen to get stuck outdoors and far from home while out with your pet, there are a few precautions you can take.

  • Don’t panic because your pet may sense your anxiety and mirror it
  • Seek shelter in an enclosed building nearby
  • Walk or carry your pet away from hills, bridges, and large trees
  • Keep your pet far away from water sources
  • Keep your pet far away from metal fences and electrical wires

Preparation for Seniors

Seniors, especially those with limited mobility, should prepare a first aid kit and storm emergency kit and store them in a place that’s easy to reach and remember. They should also write down a list of emergency contact numbers, including those of adult children, doctors, and neighbors. Even if you know commonly used numbers by heart, they can come in handy when you’re feeling panicked or caught off-guard during a storm.

Seniors should avoid leaving the home during lightning storms and communicate with a trusted network of friends and family to inform of their safety. Work with seniors to plan multiple evacuation routes and keep extra medical supplies on hand in case they are unable to leave the house for a few days. These some foods that don’t require cooking that seniors should stock their pantry with to prepare for storms.

Lightning safety: Scottsdale real estate Arizona

Emergency Checklist

  • Cut Green Beans
  • Sliced Carrots
  • Whole Kernel Corn
  • Sweet Peas
  • Orange Juice
  • Apricot Halves
  • Sliced Pears
  • Chunk Ham
  • White Meat Chicken
  • Pork & Beans
  • Chunk Light Tuna in Water
  • Non-Fat Tuna in Water
  • Corn Flakes

During a Lightning Storm

As a senior citizen, you’ve likely seen lots of storms over the years, but it’s still important to take necessary precautions to stay safe. In particular, don’t take a bath, shower, or do any household chores that involve plumbing during a storm, such as washing dishes. Seniors should also avoid using corded telephones during storms in case the storm has caused downed power lines in the vicinity.

For Caretakers of Seniors

If you are responsible for caring for a senior citizen, do your best to keep him/her calm and relaxed during the storm. Make sure that seniors stay away from doors and windows during a storm and avoid using plugged-in electronic devices as much as possible.

If you are a caregiver that lives a significant distance away from your senior, you may feel helpless to protect her during a bad storm. Resist the urge to go out into the storm yourself to be with her unless it is an emergency that requires immediate attention.

Preparation for People with Disabilities

Similarly, people with disabilities should be taught emergency preparedness strategies and practice “storm drills” on a regular basis. If people with disabilities understand the routine for staying safe during storms, they will be more likely to remain calm and take effective action when lightning begins to strike.

In general, it’s important for people with disabilities to establish a supportive network of friends and family to assist them in times of disaster. Be patient with people that have disabilities and explain storm preparedness procedures in terms that can be understood. Write lists and post-it notes to remind them about the precautions they should take when a storm hits, including the following items:

  • Necessary medications
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Fully-charged cell phone

For Caretakers of Disabled People

Caretakers of the disabled should remain calm and ensure that the disabled person stays indoors and away from windows and doors. Ensure that disabled people stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after the last boom of thunder before resuming normal outdoor activities. Books, games, and craft activities can keep everyone occupied and entertained while a storm is happening. These guidelines apply for caretakers who are responsible for people with physical disabilities, mobility issues, Downs Syndrome, Alzheimer’s, autism, and other mental disorders.

If you work in an environment that cares for multiple people with disabilities, employ the “buddy system” and have residents pair up to assist each other. It can also be helpful for people with disabilities to wear a medical alert tag or bracelet that identifies their disability and vital medical information in case they become lost or separated.

Where do Most Strikes Occur?

Most lightning strike injuries and deaths occur when people fail to seek shelter and don’t go inside at the first signs of lightning. These are common places where lightning strikes occur:

  • Hills and mountains
  • Swimming pools and open water
  • Tall isolated trees
  • Near fences and metal poles
  • Picnic shleters
  • Boats
  • Baseball dugouts

No Shelter is Available

If no building shelter is available in your near vicinity, seek shelter in a hard-top vehicle. Although cars are far less safe than buildings, they are safer places to be than outside in the open during a lightning storm. The metal frame of a hard-top vehicle can provide you with some protection. Just don’t lean against or touch any metal parts of the car while sitting inside.

If you are in a forest during a lightning storm, look for a low-lying area with plenty of plant growth and small shrubs. If you are in the wilderness hiking, biking or camping and there are no buildings or vehicles available, always look for the lowest place possible to seek shelter. However, be careful of flash floods if the thunderstorm is accompanied by heavy rain. Never wait out a thunderstorm on a boat or in the water, as these are very common places for lightning strikes.

Scottsdale Emergency Medical Services: 911 Voice

Scottsdale Neighborhood Cleanup Program: 480-312-3111 Voice

Arizona Emergency Response Commission:  602-771-4106 Voice

Scottsdale Emergency Preparedness: 480-312-8000

Source: Much of the information was provided by: Home City Real Estate at

UPDATE:  Lightning Strikes 44 Soldiers and Instructors at Army Ranger School |

Forty students and four Ranger instructors in the swamp phase of Ranger School were struck by lightning Wednesday afternoon. Lightning safety is a concern for all including the physically elite.

All 44 were evacuated to a local hospital, but many were discharged, according to a press release from Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. Eleven soldiers remained hospitalized Thursday evening, according to a news report.

Lightning Strikes 44 Soldiers and Instructors at Army Ranger School |

This is the same class that includes two female candidates who are participating in the third and final phase of Ranger School at Camp Rudder at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

All of the lightning-strike victims were males. The group was in day seven of the 10-day training cycle during the so-called “swamp phase.”

How to Get Your Landscape Ready for Summer Storms | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on August 8, 2015 with 0 Comments

How to Get Your Landscape Ready for Summer Storms | Scottsdale Real Estate

Don’t let high winds, dust storms and torrential rainfall catch you or your landscape by surprise

How to Get Your Landscape Ready for Summer Storms

Luxury home backing to Winfield Mountain

Like heavy storms in other parts of the country, monsoons in the desert Southwest often leave a path of destruction, including flooding, fallen branches, uprooted trees or all of the above, in their wake.

Whether you live in the Southwest or another region that experiences heavy rainfall and high winds, there are steps you can take to avoid or minimize the damage these events can cause to your landscape. Let’s take a look at the different types of landscape damage that can occur as a result of these severe weather events and ways you can help prevent or lessen much of the damage they can cause.

How to Get Your Landscape Ready for Summer Storms

Monsoon: Photo by KTAR

What is a monsoon? The word monsoon comes from the Arabic word mausim, which means season or wind shift. Monsoons affect many parts of the world. In the United States, the southwestern region, including Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, southern Utah, Colorado and southern Nevada, experiences this seasonal phenomenon.

Winds and storms typically blow into this region from the west, but in June the wind shifts to come from the south, bringing in the more humid air from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. This moist, humid air is what triggers monsoons. The humid airflow leads to the occurrence of thunderstorms, which trigger severe weather events such as high winds, dust storms, lightning, torrential rainfall and flooding. This wind shift generally lasts from late June through the end of September.

Wind Damage

While you cannot completely prevent damage from high winds, you can decrease the incidence and severity of damage to your trees by pruning correctly, watering deeply and choosing a suitable tree species.

High winds during a storm can uproot trees, and they often leave behind a path of broken branches in their wake. Two major factors increase the likelihood that your trees will incur damage from the high winds: shallow root growth and overhanging branches due to overgrowth or incorrect pruning.

Trees are often watered too shallowly or rely on the water received from surrounding plants. Unlike perennials and shrubs, trees should be watered to a depth of 3 feet, which encourages deep root growth that helps them withstand strong winds, decreasing the chance of their being uprooted. Even mature trees that survive on natural rainfall do best when watered deeply once a month in summer.

Another major type of monsoon damage happens to trees that are overgrown, have been improperly pruned or both. Long, overhanging branches with a lot of weight on the ends are prime candidates for suffering damage from windy conditions.

The angle at which a branch is attached to a tree can also indicate the likelihood of whether or not it can handle high winds. In general, the narrower the angle where a branch is attached, the more susceptible the branch is to breaking. Wider angles mean a stronger branch attachment.

Inspect your trees annually, ideally in late spring before the rainy season, to reduce the chance they will suffer significant wind damage. Prune back any long, heavy, overhanging branches so that the tree and its trunk can better support the branches. (It’s important when pruning to prune back to another branch.)

Hire a certified arborist if you’re in doubt as to whether your tree is at risk of substantial wind damage.

The type of tree you plant can also contribute to the risk of wind damage. Multi-trunk trees are less prone to broken branches, because the weight of the branches is shared among three to five trunks instead of a single one. Some trees are more susceptible to wind damage, including eucalyptus, mesquite and willow acacia. Contact a nursery professional or certified arborist for a list of trees susceptible to wind damage, and avoid them.

It is a wise precaution to keep parked cars and other important items away from trees when monsoons are forecast.

Dust Storms

Towering walls of dust sometimes precede approaching thunderstorms in the desert southwest. Commonly referred to as haboobs, these giant dust storms can top 3,000 feet. Once they hit, they severely impair visibility to just a couple of feet, making it dangerous to be outdoors. Thunderstorms often follow dust storms.

Dust storms can also create a welcome environment for spider mites, tiny mites about the size of a grain of sand that congregate on the undersides of leaves and suck the sap from plants. The dusty conditions that result from dust storms protect them and their eggs from insect predators.

Spider mites cause tiny yellow specks on the leaves. Advanced infestations of spider mites will often cause visible webbing on the leaves and a scorched appearance. Plants can die from severe spider mite infestations.

Infestations of spider mites can best be treated with insecticidal soap when they’re first observed. The easiest way to prevent problems with spider mites that thrive in hot, dry conditions is to lightly spray plants with water every few days in the absence of rain.


Thunderstorms bring torrential amounts of rain in a very short period of time, and all that water needs someplace to go. Natural channels, called arroyos or washes, exist throughout the Southwest landscape and take care of directing much of the rain that falls. But in our towns and cities, most of the natural washes have been paved over, which means that the water has to be channeled elsewhere to prevent flooding.

Large retention areas in parks and landscaped common areas capture large amounts of storm water, which then slowly percolates through the soil over a period of several days.

In residential landscapes, there are several things you can do to minimize the risk of flooding. First and foremost, all hard surfaces, such as porches and patios, surrounding your home should be sloped outward at least 2 percent to direct water away from your home and reduce the risk of flooding. Instead of allowing water to flow into the street, channel it toward your plants with swales and mounds. Not only will this save you money on your water bill, but it will also flush away accumulated salts in the soil.

Minimize the use of impermeable surfaces like asphalt, brick and concrete, or mix them with permeable surfaces like gravel or permeable pavers. Paths can be created using decomposed granite alone or using concrete, flagstone or paver steppingstones. These porous surfaces let water be absorbed into the ground, reducing the risk of flood and preventing storm water runoff

Rain gardens reduce the risk of flooding and can be used to harvest rainwater. Water is channeled away from the house toward the rain garden, a low, planted area in the landscape, to percolate back into the landscape.

If allowed where you live, rain barrels can be quite effective in watering your landscape and preventing landscape flooding. They collect water from the roof for later use and are easy.

A few more monsoon season landscape tips:

  • Clean out rain gutters and outdoor drains so that rainwater flows freely.
  • Skip an irrigation cycle after a monsoon thunderstorm in which ¼ to ½ inch of rain falls; there’s no need to water your plants twice.
  • Check to see if your irrigation controller has a battery backup. Monsoons can knock out power, and your water-reuse system will be lost if you don’t have a backup power source.

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

Vietnam War: He earned the Medal of Honor, Died – Few Noticed

Posted by on August 6, 2015 with 0 Comments

Vietnam War: He earned the Medal of Honor, died – Few Noticed. You’re a 19 year old kid. You are critically wounded and dying in the jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam . It’s November 11, 1967. LZ (landing zone) X-ray. Your unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so

Vietnam War: He earned the Medal of Honor, died - Few Noticed.

Major Ed (Too Tall) Freeman

intense from 100 yards away, that your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming in. You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you’re not getting out. Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you’ll never see them again.

Vietnam War: He Earned the Medal of Honor, Died – Few Noticed

As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day. Then – over the machine gun noise – you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter. You look up to see a Huey coming in. But.. It doesn’t seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it. Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you. He’s not MedEvac so it’s not his job, but he heard the radio call and decided he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway. Even after the MedEvacs were ordered not to come. He’s coming anyway. And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 3 of you at a time on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses and safety. And, he kept coming back!! 13 more times!! Until all the wounded were out. No one knew until the mission was over that the Captain had been hit 4 times in the legs and left arm. He took 29 of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have made it without the Captain and his Huey. Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United States Air Force, died Wednesday, August 20, 2008, at the age of 80, in Boise, Idaho. He was laid to rest at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise.

We didn’t hear much about this hero’s passing, We’ve heard plenty about murders, Health Care, Border security etc. BUT NOTHING ABOUT THE PASSING OF Medal of Honor recipient Captain Ed Freeman (call sign Too Tall). Perhaps it wasn’t sensational enough for the media because it was just another old soldier. In my opinion – Shame on the media ! Now… We can honor this Hero internally. Like usual if our military brothers and sisters are not involved – It doesn’t get done. Hoorah!

This act of courage earned Major Freeman the Flying Cross and decades later, the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was a veteran not only of Viet Nam, but of World War II and Korea.

He was the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on November 14, 1965, at Landing Zone X-Ray, in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam.

During the Vietnam War Freeman served as a helicopter pilot with the rank of Captain in US Army’s Company A, 229th, Assault Helicopter Battalion, First Cavalry Division Air Mobil. He was a 1st Sgt. in the Korean War where he received his battlefield commission.

It was on July 16, 2001, Congress awarded the Medal of Honor to Freeman with the persuasion of Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall, other survivors who were rescued by Freeman, and Senator John McCain.

More than 30 soldiers survived because of Major Ed Freeman’s bravery. Now his watch is over, Taps has played for you the last time, so rest in peace brother. We’ll all meet again at or final RP.

Photo by: “Ed freeman 2001” by Original uploader was Nv8200p at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Special Forces Part V: During the Vietnam Era

Posted by on July 31, 2015 with 0 Comments

Special Forces Part V: During the Vietnam Era – Nam Dong, Lang Vei, Dak To, A Shau, Plei Mei – these were just some of the places SF troops fought and died during their 15-year stay in South Vietnam. A mission began in June 1957, when the original 16 members of the 14th Special Forces (SF) Operational Detachment deployed to Vietnam to train a cadre of indigenous Vietnamese SF teams.

Special Forces Part V: During the Vietnam Era

MACV-SOG Extract

The first and last American Soldiers to die in Vietnam due to enemy action were members of the First SF Group. On Oct. 21, 1957, Captain Harry G. Cramer Jr. was listed as killed in action, (KIA) and on Oct. 12, 1972, Sgt. Fred C. Mick was became listed as KIA.

Throughout the latter years of the 1950s and early 1960s, the number of Special Forces advisers in Vietnam steadily increased. Their responsibility was to train South Vietnamese soldiers in the art of counterinsurgency and to mold various native tribes into a credible anti-communist threat. Initially, elements from the different SF groups were involved in advising the South Vietnamese. In September of 1964, the Fifth (5th) SF Group formed exclusively to conduct operations in Vietnam. The 5th Group set up its provisional headquarters in Nha Trang. Nearly six months later, in February, Nha Trang became the 5th’s permanent headquarters. From that point on, all SF Soldiers in Vietnam were assigned to the 5th until 1971, when the group returned to Fort Bragg.

By the time the 5th left Southeast Asia, SF soldiers had earned 17 Medals of Honor, one Distinguished Service Medal, 90 Distinguished Service Crosses, 814 Silver Star Medals, 13,234 Bronze Star Medals, 235 Legions of Merit, 46 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 232 Soldier’s Medals, 4,891 Air Medals, 6,908 Army Commendation Medals and 2,658 Purple Hearts. It was a brilliant record, built on blood and sacrifice.

During this time other SF training teams were operating in the 1960s in Bolivia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Counterinsurgency forces of the Eighth (8th) SF Group conducted clandestine operations against guerrilla forces, carrying out some 450 missions between 1965 and 1968. In 1968, SF-trained Bolivian rangers were involved in tracking down and capturing the notorious revolutionary, Che Guevara, in the wilds of south-central Bolivia.
Southeast Asia, however, was the SF’s primary focus. Through their unstinting labors, SF troops eventually established 254 outposts throughout Vietnam, many of them defended by a single A-team and hundreds of friendly natives.

However, fighting in remote areas of Vietnam – publicity to the contrary – wasn’t the only mission of SF. It was also responsible for training thousands of Vietnam’s ethnic tribesmen in the techniques of guerrilla warfare. SF took the Montagnards, the Nungs, the Cao Dei and others and molded them into the 60,000-strong Civilian Irregular Defense Group. (CIDG) CIDG troops became the SF’s most valuable ally in battles fought in faraway corners of Vietnam, out of reach of conventional back-up forces. Other missions included civic-action projects, in which SF troops built schools, hospitals and government buildings, provided medical care to civilians and dredged canals. This was the other side of the SF mission, the part of the war designed to win the hearts and minds of the people. SF personnel were instrumental in the covert war against North Vietnam.

Special Forces Part V: During the Vietnam Era

Special Forces Part V: During the Vietnam Era

Special Operations Group Patch

The Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Studies and Observation Group, (MACV-SOG) conducted cross-border operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam to disrupt the enemy’s use of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. SF-led teams ran in-country long-range reconnaissance patrols under the Delta, Sigma and Omega projects. In one of the most daring missions of the war, 100 Special Forces Soldiers under Colonel “Bull” Simons launched a raid to rescue 70 American prisoners of war from the Son Tay Prison outside Hanoi. Staged out of Thailand, the assault was successful, but unbeknownst to the U.S., the prisoners, due to the flooding of a nearby river had been moved to a new location.

The valiant attempt, known as Operation Ivory Coast, raised the morale of the POWs, and forced the North Vietnamese into improving the treatment of the captives. On March 5, 1971, the Fifth Group returned to Fort Bragg, although some SF teams remained in Thailand, from where they launched secret missions into Vietnam. At the end of 1972, the SF role in Vietnam was over.

Next: Special Force VI: The Real Stories of Men and Missions.

Special Forces: From Birth to Present Day | Part I

Special Forces Part IV: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Posted by on July 15, 2015 with 0 Comments

Special Forces (SF) was designed in 1953 by Major Herbert Brucker, a veteran of the OSS. First Lieutenant Roger Pezelle adopted it as the unofficial headgear for his A-team, Operational Detachment FA32. They wore it whenever they went to the field for prolonged exercises. Soon it spread throughout all of SF, although the Army refused to authorize its official use.

Special Forces Part IV: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Special Forces soldiers in Vietnam

Special Forces Part IV: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Finally, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy planned to visit Fort Bragg. He sent word to the Special Warfare Center commander, Brigadier General William P. Yarborough, for all SF Soldiers to wear their berets for the event. President Kennedy felt that since they had a special mission, SF should have something to set them apart from the rest. Even before the presidential request, however, the Department of the Army had acquiesced and tele-typed a message to the center authorizing the beret as a part of the SF uniform.

When President Kennedy came to Fort Bragg Oct. 12, 1961, General Yarborough wore his Green Beret to greet the commander-in-chief. The president remarked, “Those are nice. How do you like the Green Beret?” General Yarborough replied, “They’re fine, Sir. We’ve wanted them a long time.”

A message from President Kennedy to General Yarborough later that day stated, “My congratulations to you personally for your part in the presentation today … The challenge of this old but new form of operations is a real one, and I know that you and the members of your command will carry on for us, and the free world in a manner which is both worthy and inspiring. I am sure that the Green Beret will be a mark of distinction in the trying times ahead.”

In an April 1962 White House memorandum for the U.S. Army, President Kennedy showed his continued support for SF, calling the Green Beret “a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.”

You’re currently reading – Special Forces Part IV: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Next: Special Forces Part V: The Vietnam Era

Special Forces Part I: From Birth to Present Day

Special Forces Part II: The Early Years


The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Appraisal | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on July 8, 2015 with 0 Comments
The Do's and Don'ts of Home Appraisal

The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Appraisal

The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Appraisal | Scottsdale Real Estate

Selling a home was difficult even before the market started to slide. Now every penny counts more than ever — which means that every leaky window, every dangling gutter and every ugly cabinet can make a big difference in the price of your home. While we all have a natural tendency to nest in the places we live, the reality is that many of the changes you make (or don’t make) can make or break your home’s appraised value.

What to do — and what not to do — before and after a home appraisal?

When remodeling: DO tackle all the major features in each room.

Kitchen — DO have:

  • An open layout
  • Newer matching appliances, stainless steel
  • Extra perks like small beverage refrigerators, dual dishwashers, instant hot water and a central vacuum clean-out
  • Granite countertops
  • Custom cabinetry

DON’T try to fix outdated cabinetry or countertops. These need to be replaced if you want to add value — new hardware won’t be enough to fix them.

Bathroom — DO have:
• New fixtures and mirrors
• A freshly painted tub if necessary
• Natural light
• Good ventilation
• New or refaced cabinetry

DON’T let your bathroom feel dark or have any outdated colors or materials.

Exterior — DO:

  • Pick plants that are evergreen and perennial so your yard always has pops of color.
  • Put in new exterior light fixtures.
  • Add on extra touches like shutters or planter boxes to give your exterior charm.
  • Put a fresh coat of paint or stain on the front door.
  • Keep landscaping healthy and not overgrown.
  • Replace worn-out fencing.

DO pay attention to low-cost finishing touches that can make a big difference. Peeling or chipped paint, mildew, exposed insulation or pipe insulation and visible dry rot are small details that your appraiser is sure to notice. If you have a basement, make sure there are no signs of water leaks, moisture or mildew. Visible evidence will get mentioned in the appraiser’s report.

DON’T try to change your home’s style.

 Interior layout — DO:

  • Incorporate a smooth and open layout. Anything that feels too cramped or doesn’t make sense might need help from a good contractor before going on the market.
  • Think about potential. Does a basement have the capability of turning into a media room, or are the ceilings too low?
  • Fix negative features when possible. Small bathrooms, rooms that are accessed through other rooms, slanted second-floor ceilings and small kitchens can be a downside.

DON’T worry about changing features that are common for the home’s age and area. Appraisers do take into account the way the home functions in the area and for its age.

Before your appraisal: 

DO make a list of recent improvements to your home. Think big and small here — this can range from renovating the kitchen to painting your deck. Make sure your appraiser has a list when comparing your home to others in the area.

DO talk to your appraiser before the inspection. Discuss your house and its history. Find out the appraiser’s history, number of years in business, and knowledge of the area.

DO ask your agent to do a walk-through with the appraiser.

DON’T stage it for the appraiser. There’s no need to do staging until you begin showing your home to buyers. Straightening up and doing light cleaning for the appraiser is fine, but not necessary.

DON’T stage it for the appraiser. There’s no need to do staging until you begin showing your home to buyers. Straightening up and doing light cleaning for the appraiser is fine, but not necessary.

After your appraisal:

DO consider getting a second opinion. Many lenders won’t allow multiple appraisals for a loan, but if you’re not getting an appraisal for lending purposes, it could be worthwhile to get more than one opinion of value if you feel like your home has been seriously undervalued.

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

Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams

Posted by on July 8, 2015 with 0 Comments

Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams – By 1958, the basic operational unit of SF had evolved into a 12-man team known as the Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha (SF ODA). Each member of the team – two officers, two operations and intelligence sergeants, two weapons sergeants, two communications sergeants, two medics and two engineers – were trained in unconventional warfare, were cross-trained in each specialty, and spoke at least one foreign language. This composition allowed

Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams

MACV-SOG Team in Vietnam with a Field Hazard – Python

each detachment to operate if necessary in two six-man teams, or split-A teams.

Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams

By the time John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as president in January 1961, the three SF groups – the 10th, the 7th (redesignated from the 77th on June 6, 1960) and the 1st – were actively engaged in missions around the world. Under the patronage of President Kennedy, SF flourished. In 1961, President Kennedy visited Fort Bragg. He inspected the 82nd Airborne Division and other conventional troops of the XVIII Airborne Corps. As a student of military affairs, President Kennedy had developed an interest in counterinsurgency – the art and method of defeating guerrilla movements.

As he gazed at the ranks of SF troops, he realized he had the ideal vehicle for carrying out such missions. With President Kennedy firmly behind them, new SF groups sprang up rapidly. On September 21, 1961, the 5th Group was activated, followed in 1963 by the 8th Group on April 1, the 6th on May 1, and the 3rd on Dec. 5. In April 1966, the 46th SF Company activated at Fort Bragg. Formerly Company D, 1st SF Group, 46th Company deployed to Thailand to train the Royal Thai Army until November 1967.

President Kennedy’s interest in SF resulted in the adoption of the Green Beret as the official headgear of all SF troops. Until then, the beret had faced an uphill fight in its struggle to achieve official Army recognition. After his visit to Fort Bragg, the president told the Pentagon that he considered the Green Beret to be “symbolic of one of the highest levels of courage and achievement of the United States military.” Soon, the Green Beret became synonymous with Special Forces.

Basic Element: SF Operational Detachment-A (SFODA)

Special Forces (United States Army) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Special Forces company normally consists of six ODAs (Operational Detachments-Alpha) or “A-Teams”. Each ODA specializes in an infiltration skill or a particular mission-set (e.g. Military Freefall (HALO), combat diving, mountain warfare, maritime operations, etc.). An ODA is identified by its group, battalion, company, and the team itself. For example, ODA 1234 would be the fourth team in the third company of the second battalion of 1st Special Forces Group.

An ODA consists of 12 men, each of whom has a specific function (MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty) on the team, however all members of an ODA conduct cross-training. The ODA is led by an 18A (Detachment Commander), a Captain, and a 180A (Assistant Detachment Commander) who is his second in command, usually a Warrant Officer One or Chief Warrant Officer Two. The team also includes the following enlisted men: one 18Z (Operations Sergeant) (known as the “Team Sergeant”), usually a Master Sergeant, one 18F (Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant), usually a Sergeant First Class, and two each, 18Bs (Weapons Sergeant), 18Cs (Engineer Sergeant), 18Ds (Medical Sergeant), and 18Es (Communications Sergeant), usually Sergeants First Class, Staff Sergeants or Sergeants. This organization facilitates 6-man “split team” operations, redundancy, and mentoring between a senior NCO and his junior assistant.

Next: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Find out how and why the MACV-SOG group was formed in Vietnam.

Special Forces Article Series

SF Part I: Birth to Present Day =
SF Part II: The Early Years =
Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams =

Surge Projected in 2015 | Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona

Posted by on July 7, 2015 with 0 Comments

Surge Projected in 2015 | Scottsdale real estate Arizona zip code 85255 in the northeast valley is the most popular in a recent study.

Surge Projected in 2015 Scottsdale real estate Arizona

North Scottsdale Home in Winfield 85266

Michael Orr advised, “Though stable seems boring, it’s not a bad thing for a housing market to stabilize for a bit”

Looking at 2014, last year’s slowdown is over. Now, a rising number of young first-time buyers along with the people who lost houses during the crash, called “boomerang buyers,” empty nesters and investors are seriously looking or purchasing houses in the Valley. The area’s home sales are surging in the first months of 2015.

The median sales price of new homes built in Paradise Valley climbed to $2.62 million last year, up 18 percent from 2013.

Surge Projected 2015 | Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona

Most Popular Area

The Scottsdale, Arizona 85255 ZIP code, north of Loop 101 and east to the McDowell Mountains, is the most popular area in the northeast Valley for sales — almost 1,100 closed during 2014. That’s more than double the pace of sales in Paradise Valley and some neighboring Scottsdale areas.

The median sales price in 85255 climbed more than 6 percent last year.

ZIP code 85255 also is home to an area rivaling Paradise Valley to become the region’s most expensive neighborhood — Silverleaf in DC Ranch. Currently, a 30,000-square-foot mansion is on the market for $32 million in Silverleaf. That’s the priciest house for sale in the Valley.

Need Affordable – Go West

The winner for the biggest price jump in the West Valley was Surprise’s ZIP code 85378. The area, next to Sun City West, saw a 13.3 percent increase in its median home price during 2014.

More-affordable home prices still continue to draw buyers to the West Valley. People are buying newer houses that are mirror images of those in Scottsdale, north Phoenix or Chandler — but typically cost 25 to 50 percent less.

The median price in her neighborhood, near Pinnacle Peak Road and 91st Avenue, is $325,000, the highest in the West Valley. The area had 875 new home sales last year, more than any other Valley ZIP code. ZIP code 85383 also led the Valley for overall sales at 1,801 during 2014. Next was ZIP code 85338 in Goodyear, with 1,475 sales.

20 to 30 percent: Sales increase projected in next few months compared with the same period in 2014.

Source: Cromford® Report. Mike Orr, Director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

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