Desert Life

Snow in Phoenix

Although it’s rare, sometimes we Phoenicians have to protect our desert plants from freezing temperatures. Our Tucson branch manager, The HouseChick, a.k.a. Kelley Koehler wrote about prepping your cactus for the few freezing nights. Click on over to see  cups on cactus and the new trend, bags on cactus.

Thinking of visiting the Phoenix-Scottsdale area to get away from cold, snow and ice? Don’t despair. It’s rarely this cold in the Valley of the Sun. predicts we’ll be back to our usual sunny and warm 75 degrees by about the first full week of January 2011.

Need a vacation rental? Thinking about buying a winter vacation home and want to look at a few Phoenix or Scottsdale homes while you’re here?

Contact us. We’re Realtors, we’ve been helping buyers and sellers in the metro Phoenix area for a combined 10 years. We routinely help buyers find vacation homes, and we help investors choose appropriate rental homes, as well as handling typical residential real estate sales. Check out client testimonials, then give us a call.

video courtesy of (“Snow Falls on Phoenix Suburbs”, by Jennifer Thomas of AZ and originally published December 30, 2010 at 3:14pm)

Arizona crime rates up? Not really.

Yesterday a local talk radio station aired a long interview with a local expert criminologist and a 20-year veteran Sergeant of the Phoenix Police Department.

Campaigning local politicians talking about a rash of murders in the desert, but the FBI Crime Index shows crime sharply down statewide and in Phoenix since 2005.

The FBI statistics measure two types of crime: property crime and violent crime. Violent crimes include murder, negligent homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, theft and car thefts.

  • In Phoenix, violent crimes are down 22% since 2005.

  • Phoenix’s homicide rate has dropped by 50% over the past 4 years.

  • Phoenix area property crimes are down 30% since 2005 while auto theft fell by 50%.

  • Statewide the numbers show a 24% drop in property crimes and a 14% drop in violent crimes.

Despite the widely perceived need for SB1070, Phoenix police have been checking the immigration status of people they arrest since 2008. A review of arrests since 2008 shows no significant increase in arrests of Hispanics, the majority of illegal immigrants in the area.

If you want facts instead of election season hyperbole, listen to the interview on Arizona’s falling crime rates.

All about the Phoenix monsoon

This is a reprint of a post from summer 2009.

When I was a kid and we moved here in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the knee-jerk reaction answer to "When's the monsoon?" was “August”.

With the heat island effect, it seems like the monsoon arrives earlier and lasts longer each year. In 2008, the National Weather Service announced they would date the monsoon season in Arizona from June 15 to September 30 each year. In prior years, the weather services had dated the beginning and ending of the monsoon season based on meteorological readings of the barometric pressure, temperature, humidity, etc.

According to Wikipedia:
The North American Monsoon (NAM) occurs from late June or early July into September, originating over Mexico and spreading into the southwest United States by mid-July. It affects Mexico along the Sierra Madre Occidental as well as Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah,Colorado, West Texas, and California.

Monsoon With a Dust Storm Chaser

Monsoon with a dust storm chaser originally posted on Kathy Anderson’s AZ Active Retirement Living blog
Monsoon Clouds Over Phoenix Skyline

monsoon over downtown Phx image courtesy of The Downtown Phoenix Journal
Monsoon near Quartzite Arizona, 1976

AZ monsoon near quartzite, AZ 1976 CDouglas Stockdale on DouglasStockdale DOT com photo courtesy of, and copyright by Douglas Stockdale
Video of Monsoon Storms

Here’s a really exciting video about Phoenix monsoons created by the local CBS news affiliate, channel 10 (hat tip to Kathy Anderson for linking me to it). The video clip is undated but it appears to be a retrospective of the 2008 monsoon season, which was one of the Valley’s 10 worst.

In the video, CBS reporters talk to a hi-rise condo owner in downtown Phoenix who shot video of the August 28 (2008?) storm as it swept across town, blew out the windows in his condo, and then proceeded to dump cherry-sized hailstones into his living room!

At about the 6:28 minute mark of the video, there’s a mind-boggling shot of a huge dust storm surging across the Valley. It reminded me instantly of the videos of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami.
Just the Facts, Ma’am

Are you the type who likes detailed statistical information instead of shocking videos? Here’s the National Weather Service explaining the meteorological in’s and out’s of monsoons. Local news AzFamily Channel 3 has some more great statistics on wind speeds and dollars’ worth of damages during monsoon season.
Related Posts and Information on Other Sites

Design Ideas for Teenage Boys’ Rooms

Sometimes looking at pictures can be a spark for inspiration, and I thought these pictures were great!

I see a few common elements to most of these rooms:

  • Lots of Storage – shelves, cubbies, and closets
  • Going Vertical – efficiently getting the most out of the available space
  • Clean & Organized – sort of an oxymoron to have a teenage boy’s room be clean and organized, but it’s a great goal to shoot for!
  • Calming Colors with bold accents
  • Work Station for homework (or more likely for late-night video chatting and multi-player gaming…)

teen room 7 554x4271 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

25 room designs teen boys

teen room 17 554x36911 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

bedroom boys 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

teen room 4 554x42611 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

Cool Boys Bedroom Ideas by ZG Group 6 554x3001 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

boy room11 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

19 cool boys bedroom ideas by zg group 554x30011 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys


Hats off to for putting these together – they actually have 25 pictures posted, so click on over if you’d like to see more!

Your doesn’t have teenage boys quite yet Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

24 Rooms in a 300 sqft condo

Think your house is too small?  Need an extra bedroom, home office, or garage bay?  We’ve written several times over the years about making the most of the space you have, but nothing compares with this…

Architect Gary Chang lives in Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated cities on Earth.  But that didn’t stop him from designing an uber chic pad to call home.

(4 minute video)

Wow – now I feel really bad complaining about my place…

Thanks to for sharing this amazing video.

Your wonders what Gary Chang could do with an average sized home in Phoenix Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Fun color in the kitchen

Heather & I have written several times about the merits of “real estate beige.”

When you’re trying to *sell* your house, it’s very important to make it appeal to as many people as possible – more people who like it equals more potential buyers which also equals a higher sales price and faster sales time.  In addition, any buyer who wants to decorate in a unique fashion will see your home as an easy change.

But for those of you who aren’t selling, or planning on selling anytime soon, why not make your house your home?  I thought all 3 of these kitchens could be more difficult to sell than their comps’, but I also thought all 3 looked like fun places to live…


kitchen 1

kitchen 2

kitchen 3

all photos via

What do you think?

Your has never lived in a kitchen that bold Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Desert Life – Re-Thinking your Kitchen

Re-Thinking your Kitchen

Yesterday we released February’s Desert Life e-newsletter, where we explore homeownership and Phoenix lifestyles, complete with lots of pictures.  This month’s is chalk-full of ideas & pictures for updating your kitchen.

Read the full article here.

Here’s our newsletter archive page, where you’ll find previous articles which might interest you.

Here’s where you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters by email as soon as they’re released.

Please give it a read; we think you’ll find it interesting.

Your just realized his kitchen is a bit stale Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Desert Life – Clutter, Organization, and Storage

Clutter, Organization, and Storage

We released January’s Desert Life e-newsletter this week, where we present ideas (with lots of pictures) for organizing your home and clearing out some of that clutter.

Here’s the full article, with lots of pictures & examples.

Here’s our newsletter archive page, where you might find previous articles of interest.

Here’s where you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters by email as soon as they’re released.

Please give it a read; we hope you enjoy it.

Your clearing out clutter Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Welcome to Phoenix. It is not Tuscany.

I’m about to come out and say something that will tick off a lot of people, and puzzle some others. This is purely opinion. If you don’t care to hear my opinion, move on.

OK now, for the three readers who are left (who are also, coincidentally, my 3 best friends)…

Phoenix is NOT Tuscany. I believe there is no place in this desert Valley of the Sun for Tuscan inspired architecture.  I wish I could make designers stop it.

My argument, in pictures…

This is Tuscany


This is Tuscan architecture

tuscan stairs

This is what Tuscan style often looks like in the Valley of the Sun

Tuscan kitchen

Tuscany in PHX Ext

Tuscany in DIN

Tuscany in SCTSDL Ext

On the other hand, This is Arizona




This is the sort of interior design that “goes” if you live in metro Phoenix.

AZ Style EXT 1

AZ Style EXT2

AZ Style KIT

AZ Style KIT2

AZ Style LIV


Phoenix is not Tuscany. Now I’m not saying that everybody needs to live in a Santa Fe style house, or have viga beams in the ceiling or saltillo tile on the floor. I’m not saying that you have to have typically “Southwest” architecture and decor in your home. Maybe it’s not your thing.

All’s I’m sayin’ is: if your home is trying sooooo hard to look like it’s located somewhere in Italy, think about why you’re here and not there. And think about whether you just jumped on a design bandwagon because it was passing you by. Maybe your own style is more interesting than what Madison Avenue pumps out with a Tuscan label on it.


I didn’t take any of these photos. Many came from the MLS. Those that came from other websites and blogs are credited with links below that lead back to the original work.

Tuscan landscape, Tuscan stairways, Tuscan Kitchen

Arizona landscapes (2), Phoenix downtown, Additional Arizona Landscape marked “ABQstyle”

Sunshine is better

Our weather has been terrific lately - cool in the mornings and evenings, warm at lunchtime, hot in the afternoon, but still so dry it doesn't bother you at all.  I'm finding myself in a better-than-normal mood lately for no real reason..

This is one of the reasons I'm so optimistic for Phoenix's real estate recovery; people continue to move here from other parts of the country, and every family that comes here needs a place to live.  Eventually the excess inventory of homes will get soaked up and things will get back to normal.

People aren't the only ones who like the sunshine better; check out these flowers' reaction to a cloudy day vs a sunny day:

flowers on cloudy day

flowers on sunny day

Your working outside a little bit today Realtor,

Chris Butterworth


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Would you live in a shipping container?

You know those ubiquitous corrugated metal boxes you see on trains and around industrial centers?  AZCentral ran an article this morning about a local architect, Lorenzo Perez, who's planning to build studio apartments out of them!

My first thought was "come on, give me a break."  But a little more research changed my mind.

Turns out this isn't the first project of its kind.  In fact, there are several residential and commercial projects around the world using shipping containers.  Check out this home in Manhattan Beach, CA (a VERY expensive area!)


image courtesy of Zach Smith's Shipping Container Architecture website:, a great place to learn more about this topic.

The containers are almost 9 feet wide & tall, come in 20' and 40' lengths, and are virtually indestructible.  They reduce our environmental impact by reducing the use of other materials (that recycling thing we keep talking about), and at a cost of $2,000, how can you NOT be a fan?

Your learned something new today Realtor,

Chris Butterworth


Friday Fun

Uber blogger Theresa Boardman does a Fridays are for Fun series. Since I'm totally exhausted this week, I'm shamelessly copying her style.

Henceforth (or at least until I forget I made this mini-resolution), Fridays are for Fun here at the North Phoenix Agent blog.

As a Realtor, I drive a lot. I mean A LOT. This? Warmed the cockles of my heart.

[caption id="attachment_1889" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Woot Woot!"]Woot Woot![/caption]

I filled the tank of my Jeep Wrangle for just over $31. I can't remember the last time I did that. When gas prices peaked at near $4 a gallon, I was plunking down a cool $80 to fill the tank. It's not like I could put clients into a gas-efficient subcompact either. So I grin and bear it. But when I filled up this afternoon I did a little jig of joy.

Have a great weekend y'all!