Archive for November, 2013

Which Custom Home is the Best Home at “Street of Dreams”?

House #3 - Curved Cathedral ceiling with matching tall chandelier

House #3 – Curved cathedral ceiling with matching tall chandelier

Stuff animal lounging chair .

House #3 Stuffed animal lounging chair.

 Spanish inspired entrance with massive columns.

House #4 Spanish inspired entrance with massive columns.

Main Entrance featuring intricately designed arched borders create a dramatic entrance.

House #4 Intricately designed arched borders create a dramatic entrance.

Open great room concept featuring the spacious kitchen.

House #5 Open great room concept featuring the spacious kitchen.

Sea shell pavers make for a unique feature of elegance in this home.

House #5 Sea shell pavers make for a unique feature in this home.

by: Maria Hass

“Street of Dreams,” an open house project showcasing the latest in technology, architecture and design created by five custom home builders opened in October and runs through December 1, 2013. These luxury homes range from $1.5 million to 2.8 million. This year’s Street of Dreams is at Whitewing at German Estates Custom Home Community in Gilbert, AZ.

Why Gilbert? Gilbert is home to three of the Whitewing’s five communities because of the town’s focus on family lifestyle, educational opportunities, business growth and executive living. Throughout the years, Gilbert has received several awards including the 33rd Best place to live in the nation, the fifth safest city in the nation, Playful City USA, Bike Friendly City, and Among the Best Places in the Nation for Babies.

Realtors, builders, homeowners of every lifestyle, including some from Canada and California came to see the homes to satisfy their curiosity, pick up style and design ideas or as the project name says – “dream” about their ultimate home. As a curious Realtor and one who serves clients in this price range, I went to see the “Street of Dreams” not once, but twice. My second visit was interactive thanks to my 12-year-old daughter, who engaged me in conversation about the houses we saw.

Each house had unique characteristics of course, but the house I loved the most is the first house by Mr. David Love and called Casa Del Mio Cuore. I adored the strong eye for detail, ranging from the choice of flooring, a mahogany wood thematic approach evidenced in the crown molding, cabinetry, kitchen island and more. I love the display of rich color, although the hot pink room and green room I thought were a bit too hard on the eyes. I enjoyed the wall designed with gold metal in the alley and the master bedroom fireplace. The kitchen accessories like a cappuccino maker, ice maker, pot faucet, plus the whitewashed finish of the island and many other parts of the home made for elegant additions. I found the layout of the house functional, with not a bit of space wasted. The chandeliers, wood beams and blend of wood and tile flooring, cabinetry and draperies gave the home an elegant and luxurious feeling. Except for the very tall cabinets and closets, which I would need a ladder to access, this house is a “WOW” house for me.

In general, most of the houses had small backyards for million-dollar homes. I would have liked larger backyards with grassy play areas, bigger pools, basketball courts or more space for future additions to the homes.

The second house, Le Chateau Moderne by E & A Custom Homes, is the biggest home with 8,956 square feet of living space priced at $2,700.000. The house has highly customized features such as a shooting range, dance studio and game room basement. This home features many gigantic window panels directing your eyes to the nice backyard.

The third house is called Luminescence by builder Mark of Excellence. The tall crystal chandelier grabs your attention at the entrance. This is what I would call the “crystal building with eccentric shapes.” There are plenty of shining crystals in the lights, wall decor and overall design. The color appeared pale and unfinished. The concept of “modern” architecture sounded strongly. My daughter and I agreed it was over the top.

The fourth house is La Casa De La Paloma Blanca by Sharp Western Development. This home I call, “The Church of Dreams.” It reminded me of St. Steven’s Catholic Church along Riggs Road in Chandler. The entrance takes you to the outdoor courtyard on your right and many doors on your left. The home appeared small to me due to the layout and the aisles where tight as well. I did love the massive columns — it seemed like a California home to me.

The final home, Rainey House, was built by Rainey Homes. This home was custom-built for a specific family and is therefore already sold. This is my daughter’s favorite home because it is the most “homey.” The great room concept gave a feeling of space, and this home has the largest and most functional backyard.

It was a great experience admiring the work of five competent builders. The evolution of a masterpiece took months to complete and many people played a part in its completion. I’m appreciative of those who made this year’s Street of Dreams happen. Their passion for building homes made me “dream” of the endless possibilities a home can be.

Admission to Street of Dreams is $12 per adult, with discounts for children or seniors. Proceeds go to the House of Refuge, a non-profit organization that provides homeless families and individuals with transitional housing and services.

* Photos courtesy of my 12 year old daughter and her Ipod.

November 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

Short Sale Shenanigans, Courtesy of Wells Fargo

by: Maria Hass
I am currently processing a client’s short sale with Wells Fargo, and unlike Bank of America, the Wells Fargo Short Sale Department doesn’t seem to have a streamlined escalation process or system that works.

I found this out when I tried escalating a short sale recently regarding a file that isn’t moving forward because the processor is requiring numerous documents from the buyer which the buyer does not possess and cannot provide. Ironically, Wells Fargo has recently approved the same buyer on several other short sale transactions without requiring these documents. Wells Fargo apparently changed their minds, or maybe “it depends” on who you get to review your file.
Having worked many short sales before, I knew something like this was bound to occur. To escalate a short sale with Wells Fargo is like throwing darts wearing a blindfold and hoping one of them hits the bull’s-eye. So, you contact the executive officers by phone, email, Equator. You also Tweet a request or communicate to the world via Facebook and hope that someone from Wells Fargo will reply. Once you finally get a soul to reply, there is no guarantee that the file will be approved or move forward.

The lesson of the story is this: When dealing with Wells Fargo on a short sale, have a list ready of the most current executive officers to whom you can escalate the matter. It is a shame that a company as big as Wells Fargo still hasn’t figured out an efficient system to escalate and resolve matters more quickly for its customers.

The verdict on whether Wells Fargo will allow this buyer to move forward without these documents on this particular short sale will, I hope, soon be delivered. I continue to work every angle possible and hope to offer good news to my clients soon.

November 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment


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