How are you doing on the top ten list? If you're not doing at least six of the ten, resolve to make improvements. Choose one area at a time and set a goal for incorporating all ten into your lifestyle.


The Size of the Castle is in the Eyes of the Beholder

The rapidly appreciating home values throughout Phoenix have made moving up into newer or larger homes a huge challenge for many families. Although these owners may have substantial equity built up in their first home, making the leap to another larger home may also mean substantial jumps in mortgage payments. But while some home owners feel stymied by the increasing home values, others are finding it a unique opportunity to simplify their lives. Many communities have seen a trend of "bigger is better", especially in the real estate arena. There are a number of neighborhoods that have large, boxy houses perched on small lots, with little thought to character or charm.

In 2001, Sarah Susanka wrote a book that captured a lot of attention - The Not So Big House: A Blueprint For The Way We Really Live. This book emphasized that small homes can offer a great deal a beauty, charm and style, all without the price tag of the McMansions. In Phoenix, many homeowners are taking this trend to heart. They are selling their large, family homes and moving into smaller homes that are a better fit for their lifestyle.

If you think these smaller homes are the "starter homes" of old, think again. These homes may be smaller and may be streamlined, but that's where the similarity ends. These homes are elegant and offer custom-built features, generous, open floor plans, luxurious pools and spas, easy access to golf courses, and plenty of room for entertainment. The homeowners also realize a great deal of equity from the sale of their family home - money they can use to buy a smaller, but more luxurious home and even have money left over to invest, purchase a second home, put into a college fund, or even help other generations get into the housing market. The trend of downsizing also creates opportunity for younger home buyers.

As more of the baby boom generation decides to move down to smaller homes throughout Phoenix, it increases the inventory of family homes available for sale. An increase of inventory may soften the prices for the family home, making it a little more affordable for younger buyers that previously wouldn't have been able to afford to buy a home. Buying a home for retirement isn't the same as getting into a retirement home. The baby boom generation is alive and vital, with home needs that reflect their vitality and healthy pursuit of life.

Go to www.central-arizona-homes.com and get a free copy of Reg Gustin's 2005 Housing Appreciation Report. A 10-page report with data analyzing the housing appreciation throughout Maricopa County.

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