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Friday, September 21, 2007

Major Changes About To Happen At Very Vintage Vegas

UPDATE: the basics for the website are being loaded onto the server now. Lots of content to move. Will take all weekend. But we're real excited. Hope you like it!

We've been creating a whole new website for Very Vintage Vegas.

People used to say things like "I went to your site once" "It's just like every other site", and "once I was there, there was no reason to go back", "it was all about you, not about the market (or the neighborhoods, or the houses, or anything else)

99% of the Realtors have people say the same thing. We call that a static website. The thing is, that the static site had lots of stuff on it, such as tips for buying and selling, articles about how to pick a Realtor, Mortgage Calculators, links to the mls etc, but mostly it was "All about Jack".

Then we started blogging. We abandoned the old site, and built up a blog with available free resources such as BLOGGER.

People started reading VeryVintageVegas regularly. I started getting calls from people that sounded something like "My friend sent me a link to your blog, and I've been reading it regularly for a month now" "I am so happy that you're telling the world how cool, hip, fun and interesting it is to not only live in Vintage Vegas, but that they can have a home that doesn't look just like the one across the street". They say "thank you for providing a resource that allows us to show are friends that we're not crazy for not living in the suburbs".

We started trying to get noticed by the search engines, and we started getting calls and emails from people who don't live Las Vegas, but are planning on it in the near or far future.

But still there's "static" parts of the old website that ought to be there.

We've been building a whole new site, which will have the "BLOG" at it's centerpiece, but we'll have all the static stuff again, and....we'll have a much better platform to showcase the properties that we're promoting, including other agent's listings that are worthy of showing you, and for sale by owners.

We're Going to start transitioning to the new site Friday morning. The functionality is complete, but the content will be added back in over the next week or two. I'll continue blogging daily, and will probably blog about each section of the new site when it comes on line.

Your comments, critiques, criticism, and hopefully compliments will be welcome.

You might have to create a new bookmark or shortcut though, the website URL will still be

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Todays Worst MLS Photo

From the "how did they do that" folder.

Uncle Jack's Pictures and Comments From the Citizens Leadership Academy

Mary did a good job yesterday (in her very first published post) describing who spoke, and what we did.
I wanted to mention a few things that I learned.

One, the Mayor is a part time job! But it seems he works like I do. They say he's often in the office before 8, is the last one to leave, an has events and appearances almost every evening. I also learned that he loves momentos of his job as much as he loves being the "happiest mayor in the world"

Two: I have a face made for Radio. :( but I loved being in front of the camera, wasn't nervous, and sound great on the playback. And I got a real kick out of running a camera and turning all the knobs, and wearing the fancy headset which is way cooler than my bluetooth. The control panel for a TV station is more complicated than a jumbo jet. I'd have never been a good TV production "geek".

This Saturday, I'm taking a guided tour of the Lied Animal Shelter. I sure hoping all the previous problems have been straightened out. I've got a lot of questions, and don't intend to let them sugar coat anything.

McNeil Is One Of Our Favorite Neighborhoods in Las Vegas's Vintage Vegas

I got a real shock yesterday when driving thru McNeil. One of the homes we've been watching had a fire. We were watching it because it was being rebuilt, though the new front didn't match the home) and updated.

The contractor we talked to didn't know how the fire started, but he's tearing the house down completely so now there'll be a new house on the lot. The property is on Colanthe at Strong, and well worth doing a regular drive by to see how it progresses. We sure hope they're not about to go build a new suburban "Mediterranean".

We'd been talking to the owner about how a square box, crown molding and an arch over the door didn't fit or look right on a classic "Cinderella" Ranch. He had never thought about it before. He was trying to make the house more 2007 suburbia. The term for that is "re-MUDDLE". Looks like now he'll get a do over. These 2 pictures are the front of the house when he bought it last year (from the MLS) and after the fire showing the "box".

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

First Citizen's Leadership Class

Last night Jack and I attended our first class of the Citizen’s Leadership Academy. It was really fun and informative. First of all they fed us a great dinner complete with chocolate chip cookies for desert. Then Dr. Doug Selby, the City Manager explained how the council/manager form of city government works. He was very intelligent and obviously knows what he is doing.
Next the City Auditor, Radford Snelding, explained what his office does and said they mainly are auditing performance and compliance since an independent auditor actually comes in and does the financial auditing. Then Ted Olivas, director of the office of government, community and cultural affairs explained the advocacy, outreach and business functions of his office and told us that he actually goes to the legislature for their biannual sessions to promote the city’s agenda.

All of that was great information and then we got to go for a tour of the 10th floor which included Mayor Goodman’s office. Wow! Jack took several pictures which I’m sure he will post for all to see. Mayor Goodman had told me he was a collector and I sure would love to have some of his fabulous things in my collection. This was such a treat for everyone in the group, especially Jack and me.

Finally we got a complete tour of the city television channel, KCLV, channel 2. It is really a well equipped TV station and it doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything. The money to pay for it comes from part of the franchise fees paid for cable TV. Everyone got to appear both behind and in front of the camera. It was my first time behind one and getting to zoom in and focus on the panel discussion we improvised was truly amazing. They explained about green screens and blue screens and we got to see all the fabulous video and audio equipment.

The class was totally enjoyable and I am so looking forward to the one next week. MJ

Federal Reserve Interest Rate Cut Is Good News For Las Vegas Real Estate

From the Mortgage Matters Newsletter:

The long awaited Fed decision arrived with a bang! The Fed surprised many economists and traders with a half percent cut in both the Fed Funds and Discount Rates. Stocks soared higher and enjoyed their largest gain since 2003.
What does the Fed cut mean? Rates on consumer debt, car loans, and Home Equity lines will all benefit. But because Home Loan rates are tied more closely to inflation, it is not uncommon to see less of a reaction...or even an opposite reaction in mortgage rates.
The Fed cut also hurts rates of return on investments, which gives foreign investors less incentive to invest in US securities. This has sent the Dollar much lower against the currency of most major foreign countries. This makes foreign goods more expensive for us to buy, which adds to inflation pressures.Overall, the Fed cut is good news for the economy, but may nudge inflation a bit higher.

Uncle Jack's take on it:

We started getting some good news 3 weeks ago with the discount rate cut, and now, this 1/2 point drop in the fed rate is another shot in the arm. As Gary Keller, the founder of Keller Williams Realty always says "All Real Estate Is LOCAL". The fundamentals of Las Vegas haven't changed at all. Low unemployment, job growth, more people moving in than moving out. All unchanged.

The first buyers off the block (or the fence, in this case) will either score the best deals, or score the best home. Investors are out snagging the foreclosures. The vast majority of the homes in Vintage Vegas that are on the market are pretty crappy. The nice ones aren't nearly as discounted and aren't going to be either. The selection of the BEST homes in Vintage Vegas has never been better.

The big difference between Vintage Vegas and the Suburbs, is that EVERY home in Vintage Vegas has to be considered a "custom". There are no 2 alike. Out in Summerlin, or Green Valley or Alliante, or countless neighborhoods on the way to them, there's dozens, if not hundreds of absolutely similar properties for sale. Not so in Vintage Vegas. Each home is old enough to be unique.

There's some fantastic property that's ready for the smart buyer. And, there's some terrific bargains for the savvy investor or owner occupant, but they will need some or a lot of work. 3 or 6 months from now, I'll be hearing buyers lamenting that they didn't buy last summer or fall.

It's inevitable. All real estate is local. The dynamics of the gentrification of the urban core can't be stopped.

worst MLS photo of the day -- Clutter Does Not Help To Sell Real Estate in Las Vegas

Time to visit the "clutter" folder again. I keep explaining that buyer's are looking for the best properties, or the best bargains.

The bargain hunters will flock to a property that shows like this, so the seller better be prepared for no offers, or real lowball ones.

But the "I want to live in it for 5 years buyer" who's NOT looking for a fixer upper won't even want to go see it.

Homes that don't show well, and promoted as such are inviting the buyers to try to steal it, or to ignore it.

The only thing worse than a bad picture is NO PICTURE AT ALL!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Worst MLS Photo Of The Day -- Their Kids Love To Skateboard In The Kitchen

Of course, yesterday I did crooked pictures, and found another great example today, so this is crooked pictures part 2

Monday, September 17, 2007

Las Vegas Sun Tells All About Fremont Street East--And It's All Good!

Our favorite Sun Reporter (Joe Schoenmann) and past client wrote a great piece yesterday on the Fremont East Entertainment District Read the whole article HERE.

If you've been reading us for a while, you know that we are huge supporters of Fremont East. We go down every Thursday for the LoPro Mixer. Often we stay around for what ever band is at the Beauty Bar, have dinner at the El Cortez or venture across LVB to Fremont Experience.

We're always running into locals, meeting new friends and having a great time.

Joe nails it pretty good, but I think it will look like 6th Street in Austin Tx real soon. It's been the iconic live music street in America for many years, but I think Fremont can top it real soon.

If you haven't been there yet, next Wednesday the 26 will be a special event that Steve and I are inviting you to attend.a special event that Steve and I are inviting you to attend. Great Cause, Great Music, Gold FUN! We'll remind you again next week.

We've Found Two New Decorative Block Patterns This Week In Very Vintage Vegas

Steve found the first one last week and posted it and I really thought there couldn't possibly be any more that I've missed, but here's another, which I found on 6th Street. Still swearing I'm going to get around to naming them and cataloging them. Someday!

Downtown Las Vegas Fundraiser! Come Together Sept. 26th For Children in Need

In a breakthrough collaboration of artists, musicians, designers and small businesses in Downtown Las Vegas, Lolita Bush has managed to pull together an amazing fund raising event. With artists & DJ's traveling from as far away as Los Angeles, Detroit, & New York, this event promises to be the do not miss party for September.

You'll read about the event in City Life, but you can visit our Artists, Beneficiary, and Sponsors today by clicking the flyer!

Jack LeVine and is just one of the local small businesses behind the effort to raise funds for Toms Shoes; a company that last year put 50,000 pairs of shoes on the feet of impoverished children in Argentina, & this year will be making a drop in South Africa. I (as DJ XMS) and Dj Duwop will be representing Las Vegas in the Dj battle vs. Matter & Balance from L.A. Whether you want to come dance, support the cause, or just play your chance to win prizes & raffles, or the 'Best Golden Dressed' contest, please come out and join us @ Beauty Bar on Fremont st., Wednesday, Sept. 26th from 7pm to the wee hours of the morning.

A "Green" Home Show Place Is Coming To Downtown Las Vegas

Well, the "Mr. Green" we've been hinting at has successfully negotiated with us to be the new buyer for1701 S. 15th St. (subject of course to inspections, loan, appraisal and all the usual).

The really cool thing is the home will be retrofitted with all kinds of new technologies to create a healthy home, an energy efficient home, and a green earth sustainable home. I am so looking forward to watching this develop.

All that, and the best example of Mid Century Modern architecture and design in all of downtown. A double WINNER!

Rainbow's End Natural Foods Is One Of The Oldest Health Food and Vegetarian Restaurants in Las Vegas

I got my camera back the other day, thanks to the nice folks at Rainbow's End. The last 3 pictures I had taken were these.

Their Cafe has a great menu of Vegetarian and Healthy foods. I recommend them highly.

The other day when I was being interviewed by the RJ View for the downtown and east side edition, we also interviewed Jennifer, my new neighbor. One of the many things that she mentioned about why she decided to move downtown was the diversity of the "mom and pop" and small businesses.

Rainbow's End is a classic example of what she meant! I couldn't find a website for them, but Rainbow's End is on Sahara just West of Maryland Parkway.

Worst MLS Photo Of The Day -- Lazy Real Estate Agents Don't Help The Las Vegas Real Estate Market

From the “lazy agent” folder, we find this little gem. What buyer wouldn’t want to have to clean this up? Actually, what agent wouldn’t spend 1 minute to at least push the stuff out of the picture? Granted it’s a bank owned repo, and the previous owner left in a hurry, but really!

But then again, if all the crap and the chair was removed, what would the photo tell us about the property? It has carpet in some room or other.

The only thing worse than a bad photo is NO PHOTO AT ALL!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We've Added A Virtual Tour For Our Newest Listing in Downtown Las Vegas's Marycrest Neighborhood

We've never done a video tour before on any of our listings. Frantz and Stephanie and I agreed to give it a try. I'm going to use photos from this, as they're professionally lit.

We're marketing the heck out of our listings, and promoting the urban core (which we jokingly call "Very" Vintage Vegas) in general, but I only usually see these done for huge mansions of more than a million.

Click Here For The Tour of 1720 S. 15th Street

A So-So Sunset That Should Have Been Stunning

I went chasing the sunset yesterday evening thinking it was going to be spectacular. With all the smoke in the air, and all the interesting cloud formations I thought we'd get terrific colors. Sickly yellow was the predominant one. Maybe tonight?

The Strangest Sky Ever In Las Vegas

The minute I walked outside to go meet Susan, I started sneezing and my eyes started watering. From our kitchen window, we have a great view of downtown, and the Sheep Mountains to the north. Usually we can judge the air quality with just a glance. I knew I couldn't see the mountains at all, and the skyscrapers were kind of blurry, but I didn't think it would affect me so heavily.

As to Susan's hunt for the perfect townhouse, we've narrowed it to the first choice in each of 4 communities. Each is special in it's own way. The minute her house sells in Spokane, Steve will fly in to Las Vegas just to see the 4 choices (presuming one or more don't sell by then).

Susan's bathroom is complete, finally, and her agent in Spokane has a buyer who's very interested but hasn't made an offer yet. And, I'm happy to report that after a month of living in Las Vegas, and teaching special ed 8th Grade, she's even happier in Las Vegas than she thought she'd be! I never doubted she would.

These pictures were about 6pm looking west from Pecos and Desert Inn.

Click the pictures to see them full screen.

Worst MLS Photo Of The Day -- Crooked Pictures Annoying As Well As Confusing

I'm still trying to figure out how they took this picture. I could have put it in the furniture folder, or the crooked folder for the wall pictures, or in the how did they do this folder. But I went with the crooked picture category since the 2 photos together will let me make a double entendre.

The bathroom shot below tells the rest of the story about holding the camera level.

At least the agent didn't show up in the mirror!

The only thing worse than a bad picture is NO PHOTO AT ALL!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

recap of the week

We found the owner of "Tink" the puppy that we rescued last week.

My camerawas rescued by the wonderful people at RAINBOW'S END NATURAL FOODS to whom I am deeply grateful.

Or listing at 3455 Algonquin Circle (in Paradise Palms) CLOSED on Monday! The buyer is a performer in one of the Cirque shows. Thanks to Stephan LaForge of Vegas Realty for bringing us a very smart buyer, and for a clean, on schedule transaction.

My dear friend and one of my favorite Realtors (I mentored her for a year when she started her career) Astraia Matelich became MRS. Scott Lee last night in a beautiful ceremony at the Four Seasons. Congratulations and Best Wishes!

Green Technology And Vintage Vegas Homes
The "Green Guy" is the one we're negotiating with on 1701 15th St. We have an agreement in principal, but will get the actual contract today for review.

No... he's not an alien with green skin, but his heart and soul are "green", so he's proposing a showcase for "Green" Technologies and a "Green" earth friendly, healthy home ideas. Vintage Vegas is a perfect place for it.

County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani Gave Me An Update on the National Golf Course
The developer deal to buy the golf course did close on schedule August 31.
Chris G. has scheduled a meeting with all concerned Paradise Palms residents and the new owner of the Golf Course. The meeting will be Wednesday OCT. 3 from 5:30 to 7pm at the Orr Middle School on Katie. The real plans for the golf course are still up in the air, but there's tons of opposition to 500+- homes.

How The Fallout From The "Lending" Problem Can Affect Las Vegas and Vintage Vegas Real Estate
It breaks my heart to report that 1249 8th Place is probably going to come back on the market on Tuesday. 5pm Monday is the last last last of many deadlines for the buyer to perform. She got totally caught up in the "lending problem" which we and CNN and the newspapers have reported on HERE and HERE, ad nauseum. We were totally pleased that the home sold in 10 days for a price that demonstrates that we are not losing value in Vintage Vegas. The buyer was amply qualified in late June when we made the deal. The day we thought we going to get loan docs was the very day the whole lending crisis broke into the news, and the company that was supposed to be doing the loan closed their doors instead. 3 other lenders along the way went under, and not withstanding the buyer's and seller's determination (and certainly my own) to get it closed, I think we're done. So SOMEONE'S going to get a second chance at this great home in the John S. Park Historic Neighborhood.

The Newport Cove Condo went into escrow yesterday. The buyer's agent and lender SWEAR! to us that they have a 10% down investor loan, but we're only giving them 10 days to prove it.

Update On The Best Real Estate Deal In Vintage Vegas

The best deal in Vintage Vegas house had another price reduction, and the seller says he's going to at least clean the place this weekend. (1450 sf, 3br, 1 bath AND a pool for low low 200's! It's cosmetically and landscapingly challenged, but for 212k, that's certainly been more than discounted out of it.

worst MLS photo of the day

Buyers sometimes ask for the strangest things.

Why, just the other day someone called and asked me for a Deep Blue Bedroom with Stars on the Walls. I immediately told them about this house, and we ran right over to see it. (NOT)

And another buyer called and said she couldn't buy a home that didn't have a Spiderman mural on the wall. Thank goodness I knew about this house!

Anyway, If they were my listings, I'd be calling in the painter and telling him to bring a couple extra gallons of primer. And I wouldn't be putting the picture in the MLS.

The only thing worse than a bad photo is NO PHOTOS AT ALL!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Breaking Las Vegas News

We just heard a rumor there's going to be a "SLOW SPEED" car chase thru Vintage Vegas. We understand that there's a white Ford Bronco involved. We'll update as the story unfolds.
We think it should happen on St. Louis or Oakey or Alta to make sure we get good shots with all the high rises and skyscrapers and hotels in the background. Vintage Vegas needs all the free press it can get!

An Extraordinary Original 1958 Custom Home In Vintage Las Vegas

Every element that was installed in 1958 is intact. The wool shag carpet, the hot pink counters, the mushroom cloud lights, in fact all of it. There's a turquoise bathroom and a black and maroon one, as well as the ubiquitous pink one.

The pool is 20x40, the exterior is brick, and the construction is post and beam mid-mod.

Have You Dreamed of Owning All Original Mid Century Modern Home?

It can be seen with a signed buyer broker agreement only, as it is not listed and not being advertised. But it is for sale for 535,000.
Call or email me if you believe that having an original mid century modern custom home would be mega-cool.

worst MLS photo of the day --
Changes To The Property Should Generate Changes To the MLS Listing

This "magic tree" defies gravity. I had it also in the "ugliest tree in Very Vintage Vegas contest".
But, alas, they cut it down a while ago. In fact, they cut it down shortly after the home went on the market several months ago.
But the photo lives eternally. It's still the lead shot in the MLS, which also means it's the lead shot at,, the agent's and the company's sites and lordy knows how many other thousands of sites that steal (or have legitimate arrangements to advertise listings) from the MLS.
The Point? The photos should accurately show the best features, minimize the worst features and create an invitation to the buyers and other Realtors to WANT to see the home. If something changes, then CHANGE THE PHOTOS!
The only thing worse than a bad photo is NO PHOTO AT ALL!

Marycrest Is One Of Las Vegas' Most Desirable Downtown Neighborhoods

Marycrest Estates has been home to some of the most recognizable family names in Las Vegas. Liberace, Marnell, Foley, Tiburti, Greenspun and many others have made Marycrest their homes. Some still live there.

Marycrest is one of the nicest pocket neighborhoods, featuring all custom built one of a kind homes on lots ranging from 7000 to 16000 sf.

Marycrest encompasses a square bounded by Oakey on the North, 15th Street on the east, Maryland Parkway on the west and St. Louis on the South. The "Liberace" condos on St Louis are technically called Marycrest Manor, but are generally considered part of the neighborhood. The old Gorman High Campus (now Eldorado Preparatory Academy) is also part of the neighborhood.

The homes themselves, being custom, range from a very small house on Oakey at less than 1000 sf all the way to the biggest which is almost 4600.

A quick driving tour of 15th street, 14th Street (and the cul-de-sacs which run off of 14th) as well as Bonita is a true trip back in time.
There are 3 homes for sale in Marycrest. They're priced from $365k to 525k. We're proud to be representing 2 of them at 1701 and 1720 15th street.

If you'd like to see what I aspire to have all of Very Vintage Vegas eventually look like, take a walk or drive thru Marycrest.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

There's A Lot Of Real Estate Buyers Who Think We've Seen The Bottom Of The Market For Las Vegas Real Estate

Well, certainly a lot more in the last 10 day than in the last 6 months.

That's why you haven't seen as many daily posts as usual. That's why I've had to wash the car twice this last week. That's why Oxbow sold in 10 days.

That's why there's offers being negotiated as we speak on the 15th and Oakey Mid Mod, as well as the Newport Cove Condo. That's why Susan thinks she's getting an offer in Spokane, and is going to decide this weekend which Townhouse is the best blend of best property and best price.

That's why Lori is shopping for a home to surprise her husband with when he comes home from Iraq in November. That's why my phone has started ringing a lot!

There's signs of life in the Las Vegas Vintage Real Estate Market

Who's right? The buyers who have started to call? Or, the buyers who aren't calling yet. Will it continue to pick up? I'd certainly like to think so, and the signs are pointing to it. Rates are coming down. New loan programs are starting to get introduced (that make sense for the average buyer). Investors are bargain hunting the bank owned properties. Many more buyers are calling than they did last week or last month. We're opening escrows. There's signs of life, at least for me in Very Vintage Vegas.

Will it continue to look like the bottom of the Las Vegas real estate market tomorrow, or next week, or next month?

I'll let you know.

Decorative Block That Steve Found In Francisco Park

Well, here's to living downtown & truly being a part of things! I found a decorative block pattern that Jack actually hadn't yet! It was located on the border of Francisco Park and Paradise Palms North. We were touring w/ our new friend Bryan Brey yesterday, looking for mid-mod housing that would be prime for 'green' restoration & functionality when i told Mr. LeVine, our tour guide to throw it in reverse. My 15/20 vision comes through again, we discovered an interesting 4 block composition that I could best describe as a 'honey bee-clover leaf' pattern.

I look forward to bringing you more VVV relevant blogging soon, I apologize for the lag in my personal posting, I'm still unpacking my new digs at L'Octaine on Vegas & Gass (I freakin' love it there.. but g-d I've got a lot of 'stuff')! On top of business as usual, there are some very cool projects I & now VVV are deeply involved with. I'll be bringing you more information on those projects shortly.