Selling the Compound...

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by BPearson, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    The year was 1999; we were a scant 51 years of age and were looking to buy our place in the sun. We looked at dozens of homes in Sun City. We also looked at 4 other Sun City communities (Sun City West , SC Grand, SC Summerlin and SC Tuscon). All were newer and nicer, none felt as much like home as did Sun City.

    I came to Phoenix and went house hunting with my parents for a couple of days and then drove to Vegas with them to meet my wife who was flying there. I had found the perfect home and was excited to show her the video my dad had filmed with that 20 pound camera laid across his shoulder. Heck, i can still see the reflection of him in the mirrors every time he walked through a bathroom.

    The price was more than we wanted to spend but the house was larger than anything we had seen. With the addition across the back there was something in the neighborhood of 2800 square feet of living space. And best of all i told my wife it was perfect, there's nothing needed to be done to it.

    It got ugly that week in Vegas. Our Realtor put a bid in and when she called back, told us the listing price had gone up some $10,000. Huh? They claimed they had done work on the house and raised it from a previous listing. I was crazed, but calmer heads prevailed and over the next week we reached a price we could barely live with.

    The plan was to rent it out during the winters and in 4 years (when we turned 55), we would move here. When my wife first saw it in person, we owned it. Turns out she was delighted, but alas, her sentiments about its perfection were far from mine. She had visions of projects i would have never, ever expected nor done.

    When we bought it there were 16 sets of sliding doors scattered throughout the house. The model was the Castillo and at just under 1900 square feet was considered large (that was before the addition). It had a large corner lot and was in a great phase 2 location (4 blocks from Bell Rec Center).

    We've now owned it for 19 years and in that time, there's not a door, window, piece of flooring that hasn't been remodeled or replaced. There are currently no sliding glass doors remaining (my wife hated them), however there are two french doors. We've enclosed the laundry room from the garage and added a mini-split unit for heating and cooling which makes it livable space.

    The numbers of projects we have done is beyond count both in number and in dollar figures. It's not perfect and before we sell it, we will touch up those areas that aren't just right. The kitchen has been remodeled three times and on the last one we did it "right." Bathrooms are nicely done and doorways widened to accommodate walkers (too damn many knee and hip replacements i guess).

    We've hosted parties of more than 100 people because the outdoor living space is expansive as well as expensive. From the outside it looks like a compound with the stuccoed walls matching perfectly the chocolate chunk color of the house. Whenever anyone comes in for the first time, they invariably say "it doesn't look this big from the outside."

    So why am i telling you all this? When Sun City first opened, it was called the great social experiment. For years, i have watched Realtor sites become popular, but there's never any personality to them. Consider this thread a "social experiment." I want to see what kind of following it draws. In coming posts i will put up photo's and continue to tell the story of this wonderful property that will soon be on the market.

    We have a Realtor that we will hire and in the coming weeks i will post their contact information. As much as selling it by owner is appealing, using a professional makes better sense for both buyer and seller. There's days i lament we will be moving, but the house is larger than we need and without question, we loved it. It's time to downsize and selling this will be bittersweet. What i do know is whoever buys it will be delighted with what we have done, though i full well expect they too will want to come and put their stamp on it. It's part of the joy of Sun City living.
  2. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    So to be clear you're not leaving Sun City, just moving to another property in SC, right? I do believe it's better to hire an experienced realtor. You need a buffer between buyer and seller many times.
  3. Tim Nixon

    Tim Nixon New Member

    What a great story Bill. Your story, like so many others in Sun City, is a labor of great memories and true pride of ownership.
  4. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Sad to say Emily, we have found a nice little bungalow in El Mirage...nuh, just spoofing ya. Of course we are staying in Sun City, no place better i my humble opinion.

    For those of you who know me, i am a full disclosure/absolute transparency kind of guy. Thus, let me say, over the years i have been posting on this site, i would guess there are nearly a half dozen readers who have used Realtors i have recommended. Nope, don't get anything from it but the satisfaction of sharing my experiences with people who do a great job in the community. And when the other house is done and we move in, i will post tons of photo's and the contractor information we are using because he is something special. I just don't want to share that information yet, need him to stay focused on finishing our job.

    With that out of the way, the above comment by Tim Nixon is a perfect segue into the rest of this thread. Over the years i have known/worked with several quality Realtors. Anyone of them would do you well. As noted by Emily, there are more than a fair share of them who i wouldn't trust to run a garage sale for me. No offense, but when buying or selling a house, i want good people who will work their butts off to get it right. About two year ago i walked into an open house and met Tim Nixon. He was with the then upstart Tempus Group. Many of the Realtors were with Meade when it sold to Coldwell banker and didn't care for their structure and started Tempus.

    Since our first meeting we have have gotten to know Tim and his wife Amy. They've been remarkably successful considering some of the Tempus agents have been established and selling in Sun City for 20 years. They use bright orange materials as a promotional tool, but that's nothing compared to the efforts they go to to sell a property and work with potential buyers. We hadn't set this up, but when i posted the thread, i thought i should let Tim know what i was doing. When he logged on and posted, it was important to let people know when we do list, he will be the agent with the listing.

    In coming posts i will get pictures of the outside and inside up. I will also postTim and Amy's email address in case someone is interested in getting an advance look at our home before it hits the market. We have several months before we move, but for anyone interested we would strongly consider an early sale with a lease back arrangement. No matter the outcome, this thread will give potential Sun City buyers a look into home sales in Sun City and what they should be looking for and what to avoid.

    Stay tuned.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  5. sussea

    sussea Member

    I am looking forward to seeing pictures of both houses.
  6. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Me too.

    2,800 square feet. That's a lot to clean. You will be glad you downsized once it's all said and done.
  7. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Hey sus, hope all is well back home. I'll try posting some "compound" pictures tomorrow when the sun finally comes back out.

    In the mean time, lets recap where we were just 2-3 years ago. I wrote countless articles on this site that the norm for a single family home that was vintage was $90 to $100 a square foot. Attached homes something less than that. Homes with some remodeling were $100-$125 a square. The one caveat was golf course and lake properties, they always brought a premium. Golf course lots added $25,000 or more. The two lakes were another story with the condition of the home driving the selling price much higher. In the past year, a gorgeous home on Dawn lake sold for over $800,000 (you can see it outside your window Cynthia). Another property on the lake that was for sale by owner a year ago was asking $400,000 plus. It didn't sell and this year they are asking $600,000 plus.

    I think one of the triggers that sent prices rising was how quickly the Khov sold out. The 142 homes weren't cheap with the average price hovering around $300K. There were small lots but they were new and really well done. They sold out in less than two years and would have sold quicker if they had the tradesmen to build them faster. The other stimulus on prices has been the number of flippers who bought up anything reasonably priced ($125=$175), put 20 or 40 thousand dollars into them and priced them at $2oo,000 to $250,000.

    In 2018, homes have been all over the map on price per square footage. In some cases, there's homes hovering in $150 to $175 per square foot. There's not always rhyme or reason to the pricing and shoppers should be mindful and shop carefully. Again, another reason to use a qualified Realtor who knows the market and will be willing to put in the hours to find the right house for you. Even with rising prices, Sun City is still one of the best values in the age restricted marketplace.
  8. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Compared to other over 55 communities in AZ, (a close second is SCW), even with the higher and I believe presently inflated prices, SC is still a bargain. Dawn Lake property sells considerably higher than the other areas. A house there recently went for 672k (as seen on recently sold Zillow.) I don't follow as closely as I used to. That being said, I wish we had purchased a second property in 2014 when we had the cash. The prices have easily doubled as of now.

    You can't beat SC for the amount of amenities you have here and the reasonable rec fees. Economies of scale.

    I was pleased to see how well the KHov properties seemed to be built as I watched them go up. They took their time. Not slapped together overnight as I had seen other builders on the East Coast do.

    A qualified realtor who really knows SC is a must, especially important for those buying attached property.
  9. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Before I forget, here’s the contact information for Tim and Amy: and their phone number is 602-842-2690. I’ve long argued word of mouth is the most important means of communication in Sun City, and so I am always mindful to share with others those who do it right.

    Took some pictures this morning of the house we will be selling. Curb appeal is one of those things that is in the eye of the beholder, and frankly sometimes overrated. I think in our case, the outside is simply a precursor to what you will find on the inside.
  10. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

  11. sussea

    sussea Member

    I love the dark brown paint.
  12. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Looking at the picture, you quickly note it is not a typical Sun City home. Story behind it was my wife found a picture on the internet of a Santa Fe adobe, printed it out and showed it to the contractor that was going to stucco it. "Can you make it look like this?"she asked. No problem he said; we doubted it, but darned if he didn't nail it. We had a renter showing up in a matter of weeks so we had them color-coat it (the pigment in the stucco) but were advised against it. They told us when you do that, the stucco doesn't cure properly and results in the product cracking. They were right.

    We had done lots of remodeling to get it ready for renters and because i didn't want people walking by bothering the renters, we placed information sheets out with the names of the contractors we used, contact information and what we paid for the work we did. Little did i know. My folks lived here and as we left, we placed 100 sheets in the holder out front and headed back to Minnesota. My dad called within the week and said they were gone. I asked him to print more and put them out.

    From my research, i knew this kind of approach was well received in Sun City. Sharing information was a way of life. We put our contact info on the sheets and got all kinds of nice emails welcoming us and thanking us for the data. It really set the stage how we approached our years here. Being part of the community starts with being part of the neighborhood. And while that has changed some, the ultimate goal for most Sun City buyers is to become ingrained in the Sun City way of life.

    Over the years we have had a variety of discussions with Realtors, friends and family about some of our decisions as we have changed the house to fit "our needs and wants." Most professionals will tell you that customizing a property will limit the numbers of buyers. We never disagreed, but we always said we were designing it for us, not someone else. The best example i can give is the paint color. When we chose chocolate chunk, people were stunned. "too dark" was the most common lament. The funny thing is, since we did that color, no less than a half a dozen people have stopped and asked us for the name of the color. Just as an aside, the paint we used was a product guaranteed for 20 years and will not stain like some stucco does when they get heavy rain.

    As i sit here typing in the back office (where there used to be a sunken whirlpool), i'm looking at one of two dog doors we have. Funny, because as owners we wanted our standard poodles to be able to go outside at their leisure. The six foot block fence surrounding the yard provides some security from coyotes and they typically won't go after dogs that size. Now as we come to the point of sale, should we advertise that only dog lovers need apply? Nuh, we'll just tell potential buyers, if they don't have dogs, we'll change out the openings to look like new.

    Kind of fun reliving all of these years of remodeling stories, and best of all, i've barely scratched the surface. While this may bore some of you to death, the things i will cover in future posts will give potential buyers to Sun City properties a glimpse at the pitfalls and options as you look for your place in the sun. If you have questions, i will do my best to answer them.
  13. Cynthia

    Cynthia Well-Known Member

    That's house is my main lake side view. Love that crazy roof.
  14. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    When I first moved here I didn't like the dark colors. I find it has grown on me. It does remind me of Santa Fe. I like it. You will have no problem selling the place.
  15. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    One of the things that makes Sun City special is we have no paint palette for owners to choose from. In Sun City Grand i think they may have 3-5 color options and most are in the same hue. Not being critical, just drive through Grand some day and note how all the homes look the same; not my cup of tea. When we used the color coat, it was pink. Not uncommon back then for stucco, but not really us. Tried a soft tan for a bit, but it was boring. Then we painted it a milk chocolate and that was clearly an improvement. This last step was bold, and once it was on, we were delighted with the way the house just kind of settled into the landscape of the lot.

    For the better part of our life here, we had a pineapple palm tree on the corner. The darn things grow like weeds and often blocked the stop sign. When we painted, we re-rocked the house with smaller and darker rock and sold the palm. While at Pioneer Rock we came across the massive boulder and asked if it was for sale. He was using it to block traffic. It was 4 and half ton and he said he would sell it, but when they delivered it, wherever it fell was where it would stay. Turned out quite nicely in the drop, and the funny thing is we live on the corner of Desert Rock Drive and Boswell. More than one person has asked us if the street was named that because the rock was there. Really?

    The remodeling has been an ongoing saga. We tried to do a project or two a year. Windows and doors get expensive, but if you have the original, they just aren't very energy efficient. Popcorn on the ceilings was always ugly and oddly we still have one room left to remove it in. No surprise, but it's in the room with the 10 ft ceilings. We'll do that before we sell. The garage still has it, but it's just a garage.

    One of the tips i will give you that never failed to amaze us was the use of solar tubes. Webb put lots of skylights in homes and they were fine. When we did our first kitchen remodel, right after purchase, it was very dark and made it look small. The Castillo is one of a handful of Sun City homes that doesn't have a galley kitchen. We painted everything a soft yellow that really lightened it up. When had the solar tube put in the kitchen, we were dumbfounded. When you enter the room, it looks like there is a bright light on. In the second one we added, we asked them to put dampers in to cut down the light. They are inexpensive and make a huge difference in an interior room where the natural light is limited.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  16. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Definitely mucho curb appeal.

    I miss my condo skylights. For the first month I kept trying to turn off the kitchen skylight lol.

    All the popcorn was removed here. I'd let someone else deal with the last room.

    Relax and enjoy your last days there. I will be surprised if you don't sell in the first couple of days.
  17. Cynthia

    Cynthia Well-Known Member

    That’s a huge rock. Was it already there when you bought the place?
  18. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Yes. Read his last post again. The huge rock is the reason they call the street Desert Rock.

    Sun City Grand. Dare to pick your favorite shade of beige. Make sure the letters and numbers on your mailbox are the specific size and font or the OCD police will come a knockin'.

    I just can't be serious today.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  19. Cynthia

    Cynthia Well-Known Member

    Darn you caught me skimming his post but now you made me reread it. And there it is all about the rock. I actually love the color beige. Most of my life my houses have had various color palates inside and out...gone through my phases. Now I prefer neutrals, mostly white, with color from artwork. My SC house was trimmed in blue when I bought it, the only blue one around, but other than the trim it's white so I'm keeping it for now at least. And fits with the lake. But I painted the inside all white. No permanent color will sully those walls.

    It's not the monotone color of the houses I dislike in Grand, it's the architecture is all the same. I would get lost in there. Do they have circular streets too? That would be a nightmare.
  20. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    You guys crack me up, my leg is sore from being pulled eh?

    You'll note on the house are solar panels. They are leased, we were just unwilling to buy them outright. In another thread, there was a question asked about panels and how they affected the sale of a home. There's volume's written on it. The easiest way to boil this down is to use real numbers to help people get their head around whether they are good, bad or ugly. Before i begin though, owning them outright seems by far the better of the options.

    Ours are now four years old. We did lots of research and worked with a couple of companies before we leased. All the data said Sun Power was the most efficient and had the least degradation. I won's suggest we got the best deal out there because i don't think we did. My wife is a meticulous bookkeeper. She monthly logs costs and had them for years on our APS bills. We were on a 9 to 9 plan (the best deal out there) and were averaging $230 on the fixed monthly costs. At the end of the year the last month was a plus or a minus from that $230 based on how hot it was, but it was close.

    The lease payments on the system were going to be just under $200, but we opted to buy that down with a $5000 payment. That brought our monthly lease cost in at $179. We still get a monthly bill from APS for $13, except with the excess we produce, we have two or three months where it is zero. So basically our monthly cost for APS and the lease is $190. Not a great savings, but still less than what we were paying 4 years ago.

    Here's where the savings starts to add up: APS is averaging a 5% hike per year. Over the four years, that would be 20% on the monthly bill of $230, or $46.00 which brought us to $276 per month compared to the $190 we are paying now. It was simply a hedge against the massive inflation that is crushing people without solar.

    I know for some folks with much smaller APS bills this looks high, but an average Sun City home is 1500 square feet, while this house is nearly double that. It's a solid argument not to have this much square footage because things just cost more. In the end, it's personal preference and what you are willing to pay for it. The good news is, anyone buying this house will have the option of buying out the lease agreement in 2020. That is when the big savings can be had.

    The one thing i'm not sure of is how the changes that were made impact solar leases that are written of late. They grandfathered some protections up until last July, but i think they are gone now and of less advantage.

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