What Your Real Estate $$ Buys Today

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Built in 1991, the home has had only two owners. The current owner, an artist who works at home, has lived here for eight years. The house in­cludes RV parking, a workshop in the garage, and numerous skylights and large closets. Jerry says buyers in the $650,000 price range tend to be “young retirees – in their 50s or 60s – or professionals who work from home.” They generally come from out of state (especially from California and back east), though Cathy and Jerry say they’ve had buyers from Sedona (typically widows or empty nesters). Questions about schools are few and far between; more common are queries about the heat and resale potential. Most buy with a large down payment while mortgaging the balance.

“I think a big question is, Does Sedona offer enough to do?” says Jerry. “Our midnight is 9 p.m. Some like that, others don’t.”

While buyers in this range are unlikely to use the home as a rental unit, Cathy and Jerry say corporations sometimes buy in this range, using the properties as vacation homes for executives.

Both realtors agree this house would have sold for $450,000 to $500,000 three years ago. “No matter what happens to the economy there will always be people with money, and people with money want to live here because it’s so beautiful,” says Jerry. “That’s what will keep prices up.”

$769,000: Pump Up the Volume

Jenny Reynolds of Prudential Foothills Real Estate shows us the six high-definition TVs scattered throughout this custom home built out of energy-efficient E-Crete in 2005. There’s surround-sound audio to match, with three subwoofers, 18 speakers, five high-definition audio receivers, two TiVos and satellite radio; more than $55,000 of home entertainment equipment. The living room has 19-ft. ceilings, maple floors, and Lutron electronic blinds. If you can tear your eyes away from the TVs and open the blinds, you’ll get a glimpse of Capitol Butte.

Aside from the technology, the home has a 21.5-by-25-foot multi­purpose room the current owner uses as a gym, with its own private entrance, rubberized flooring, mirrored wall, separate massage room, and private bath. Jenny says the house would be ideal for a fitness trainer, physical therapist, or yoga or dance instructor who wants to open a home business, yet the space could easily be converted into a recording or art studio, or separate living quarters.

The home came on the market for $769,000 at the beginning of August; Jenny says homes in this range usually stay on the market from six months to a year. She estimates the house would have sold for $600,000 three years ago and says the home will maintain its resale value due to its location and quality construction. Typically, buyers looking at homes in this price range come from out of state. They want privacy and quiet, yet to be near amenities. Many are retirees (though she notes this two-story house is not ideal for seniors), looking for a second (or third) home, or professional families.

“If they have a family we are usually talking about doctors and lawyers but I’d say most have grown children so schools aren’t a concern,” says Jenny. “The job market doesn’t typically come up as a concern. Ninety-five percent purchase with cash – many come from California, where they’ve just sold a home. They expect quality.”

She says the typical buyer at this price point loves the outdoors, whether it be hiking, biking or golf (the home’s proximity to Seven Canyons is a selling point), and they are generally tired of the traffic and congestion of the city. She hasn’t had any questions about potential fire danger but she said there’s one complaint she hears quite often: “The streets all roll up at 8 p.m.… or earlier.”

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