Oldest Home in Phoenix

Oldest Home in Phoenix
Happy 135th Birthday! If the Farmer-Goodwin property is not the oldest remaining home in Phoenix, it is certainly tied for first and features the most interesting history.

Originally built in 1883 by a saloon keeper on land he bought in 1880, it was then purchased by Hiram Farmer in 1886 for $3000 and situated on 160 acres. It served as Farmer’s home during his work as (what is now) Arizona State University’s first professor and principal.

So where does Goodwin fit in? When the railroad arrived in 1887, Farmer developed his land into one of Tempe’s early subdivisions but when he left the area in 1890, the property passed through several owners until it was acquired in 1897 by James Wilson, whose daughter Libbie married James Goodwin in 1902 and the house was deeded to her.

Goodwin was a successful Tempe rancher and businessman. He was a member of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War and served in the Arizona State Legislature from 1915 to 1918. The house continued to be owned by the Goodwin family until the death of James and Libbie’s son, Woodrow Wilson Goodwin, in 1992.

The home represents Victorian-era architecture but lacks the “gingerbread” detailing often found in Victorian-era buildings. It is a two level adobe structure, rectangular and symmetrical in floor plan, with exterior adobe walls finished in plaster and scored with lines to simulate the look of cut stone.

Inside the house has a central hall with approximately equal-sized rooms symmetrically on either side of it. The room layout is identical on the upper level and access is by a stairway in the central hall, located in the very middle of the home.

Today the mansion sits on a 25,000 sqft lot and features just over 4,000 sqft living space along with a pool and detached 2-car garage with guest casita. It resides (aptly) at 820 S Farmer Ave and is in the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Farmer-Goodwin floor plan

Real Estate Then and Now

How Technology Changed Real Estate
After 8 years as a full-time realtor, I’ve seen some changes in my career and that got me thinking about how much buying and selling a home in Phoenix has changed in the last 20 years:

– MLS (all listed homes are online in our searchable realtor database vs found in a printed book much like a telephone book)
– Docusign (approve documents with a few taps on your phone, table or laptop vs having to sign paperwork with a pen)
– Pictures (homes for sale have lots of professional photos online vs one blurry shot of home exterior taken by agent to print in book)
– Lockbox (agents obtain key at property using their phone vs driving to listing agent office for key and returning it)
– Internet (nothing could function without it today vs somehow millions of homes have been bought and sold without it)
– Zipform (documents generated and completed online vs having to press hard with a pen to be sure you could read carbon copies)
– Drone (home pictures and video taken from remote controlled aircraft vs nothing like it)
– Matterport (gives viewer 3D experience of walking through home vs nothing like it)
– Phone apps (closing cost estimator, mortgage calculator, value estimates and MLS search vs nothing like it)
– Texting (texting for property info vs calling an agent for details)
– Short sale and foreclosure (very common in 2011-2014 vs essentially non-existant)
– Mortgage interest rate (30-year fixed 7% then vs 4.75% now)

These are the big changes I could think of and I’m sure there are many other smaller ones I have omitted. As with most everything the past 20 years, technology has revolutionized how we work, play and function.

November 2018 Phoenix Real Estate Report

phoenix real estate market updateHighlights of my November 2018 Phoenix Real Estate Market Report:

1. How fast are homes selling? Average number of days on market for homes sold is 60 (down 5 from last year)
2. How many homes are for sale? We currently have 19,654 properties for sale (down 4.5% from last year)
3. What is the average sales price? Homes across the valley are selling for $326,100 (up 9.8% from last year)

The Phoenix real estate market has been very good to homeowners for many years and we are still on an upward trajectory that started a long while back. October’s supply (measured by homes listed for sale last month) was down 1.4% from October 2017 and October’s demand (measured by homes sold last month) was down 1.2% from October 2017. Since the rate of drop in demand was essentially the same as the drop in supply, we would expect home values to be flat of late – which they have been and will likely remain so through the holiday season that is upon us. There is good news however: home values have still risen almost 10% on average in the past 12 months but our current market absorption rate has spiked to 2.43 months (keep in mind, lower is better if you are selling) from under 2.2 months not long ago. Absorption rate means that if no additional homes were listed for sale, it would take 73 days for every home listed in the valley to sell, based on current level of demand. Last year it would have taken over 78 days to absorb every home offered for sale in Phoenix, so we are still better off in theory than a year ago. A seller’s market is said to occur when absorption is below 3 months and a buyer’s market is when it is over 5 months. When absorption is between 3 and 5 months, it is deemed to be a balanced market favoring no side in particular.

Curious about your current Phoenix home value? Ask me for your Phoenix Property Value report created especially for your home and emailed to you within 24 hours. It is filled with local market data, demographics, pricing trends, your home’s estimated value and my confidence rating.

Realistic pricing and professional photography to showcase a property are essential in maximizing value and minimizing time on market. Ask about my written guarantee to sell a home within 67 days at a price acceptable to the owner or they get $1,000 from me at closing.

Real Estate Negotiating

Real estate negotiating
If you prefer buying real estate without an agent (who will watch your back every step of the way at no cost to you), you may wish to consider these real estate negotiation strategies to help you land the best deal:

– offer higher earnest money over and above the typical 1% of sales price; as long as you don’t plan to breach the purchase contract rules, the earnest money is just going toward your total down payment anyway.

– let seller choose the title/escrow company; it could create the illusion of seller controlling the deal but in reality most people couldn’t name a title/escrow company off the top of their head.

– be flexible on the closing date, if possible; let them know you can move closing forward (check with your lender to be sure they can make good on the desire to close sooner) or backward to suit their schedule.

– offer to allow seller to rent home back from you for a few days to help them move to their next home; moving is very stressful but this will give seller so much peace of mind and you will even make a few dollars.

– ask seller to buy you a home warranty – or to leave some item in home with the sale – that you are comfortable negotiating away later; meaning you didn’t really want this anyway but seller thinks they scored a win.

– ask for slightly more closing assistance to be paid by seller than you actually need or can use (if you are asking for any financial help from seller); if you only need 2% help, ask for 2.5% and negotiate it away.

– give seller ample time to respond; it is customary to give 48 hours for review of your offer but I can’t tell you how many times I get an offer at 7pm and buyer expects a response from seller by noon the following day.

Notice property price is not mentioned here. Remember, when buying and selling real estate, it is an often emotional process that can cause otherwise rational people to behave irrationally and out of character.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels in Phoenix
Want to make your home easier to sell? Don’t install a solar system in Phoenix. As an real estate agent, I am often asked by homeowners who are considering adding a solar system whether or not it will have any impact on their home value. Most are surprised to hear me say, in the absolute best case scenario it will not hurt your home’s value and in most cases it will be a negative to future buyers considering your home for purchase.

With all the full sun we get (over 300 days a year), why not install solar in Phoenix?

1. It’s leased so any buyer of your home will need to qualify for assuming the balance of your lease. Solar leases work just like car leases – except car lease payments don’t rise every year on you.
2. It often can damage roof at time of install. I have seen several instances of damage to tiles and flashings, not to mention the need for installing a pigeon/bird net under the panels to stop them nesting.
3. It voids your manufacturer warranty on roof tiles (usually lifetime). Plain and simple, if you install solar you lose your tile warranty against manufacturer defects.
4. It’s hot! Most people don’t realize solar panels feed an inverter in the garage to produce energy and this generates heat. Stand in a closed garage in summer with solar and you’ll see.
5. It doesn’t generate enough power to be off the grid. Most systems on a typical home max out at 9kwh production, which may be just enough to cover power use in winter but leave you a big summer electric bill.
6. You will never own it, even after you make 20 years of lease payments. So after making 240 payments what is your reward? They show up to take the entire system off your roof and promise to fix any damage.
7. The lease payments rise every single year, on average 2.9% compounded annually. To put that in perspective, this increase has been 41% higher than the annual rate of inflation the past 20 years.
8. It’s unproven long-term. What about the company’s chances of being around for the next 20 years? If they disappear, who’s going to repair it when a panel fails? And wow are these things unsightly!
9. What happens when you need to re-tile (and change the weatherproof underlayment) or re-shingle your roof? You must pay the company (assuming they still exist) to remove the panels, store them and then re-install them so you can fix your roof.
10. All else equal, when two homes have identical features, I’ve never met a buyer who prefers the one with solar. The reasons are probably all of the above.

What are the tangible, measurable and direct benefits to a homeowner installing solar in Phoenix?



RE/MAX Renaissance Realty
9059 W Lake Pleasant Pkwy #B200
Peoria, AZ 85382