I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with margaritas and carne asada tacos with meat from my grill this afternoon. May 5th also marked my two year anniversary living here in Las Vegas.
Looking back at my previous posts I see my topics changing from those of a new-homeowner in a new city to those of being a homeowner in the foreclosure capital of the nation. While things are not great from a debit to equity perspective I take heart in the fact that I would have lost much more had I bought in California. Also, my monthly payment is very reasonable for the amount of space we have. I shudder to think how humongous my mortgage would be for a home in Los Angeles.
An exciting new community is being built not too far from where I live in Southwest Las Vegas. Sullivan Square promises to be a “city within a city” with high-rise living above shops and restaurants. The residences will be modeled after brownstones normally found in older U.S. cities like New York, Boston and Chicago.
Take a virtual tour and see for yourself!
The builders’ idea is to attract more urban and sophisticated tenants who would prefer this pseudo big-city lifestyle as opposed to the suburban sprawl that is most of Las Vegas. I am personally excited about Sullivan Square as an addition to my neighborhood. We desperately need some independently owned cafes and eateries in this part of town – establishments not part of a big, national chain. Also, with a new Station’s casino going up less than a mile away this area of Las Vegas will see lots of growth in the years to come.
At long last the temperature is cooling doing here in Las Vegas. Last night’s weather forecast showed afternoon highs in the upper 90s and down to the upper 70s at night. Phew!
We first moved to Las Vegas in early May and the heat of summer was looming. Our neighbors talked about July to mid-August as being the truly hot weeks of summer. When it got up to 118 the week of Independence Day we cranked up the AC and told ourselves the heat would only last for another month or so.
Labor Day came and went and triple-digit days were still the norm. Of course, everyone kept saying it was unusual and the weather reports said that we were a good 10-15 degrees above normal. Global warming was on the news and on our minds.
But tonight, we have the patio door open, the cool breeze if flowing off the mountains, and it feels great. In hindsight, despite lasting longer than advertised, the summer heat was not unbearable and we are still glad we moved here.
Avante Homes is running a special promotion for their Mountain’s Edge community Denali. Get a free Mini Cooper when you buy a house. I guess this is their way of saying that they’re willing to knock $25,000 off a house’s listing price. Floor-plans range in size from 2320 to 3134 square feet and start in the $380,000s.
Avante Homes at Mountain’s Edge
Rainbow and Erie
No mention of Las Vegas in this article from about the fasted growing cities. I suppose that means we bleed a good number of residents, negating the 6K-8K hopefuls who move here each month. The article was published last October but I doubt growth has changed much since then.
Today is the big day. It’s Cinco de Mayo, Oscar de la Hoya takes on Floyd Mayweather and it’s MOVING DAY! That’s right, after many gut-wrenching and stressful delays we are finally leaving Los Angeles and moving to Las Vegas.
We have a few dependable friends coming to help us load the moving truck at 8AM. We opted for a Budget Truck Rental instead of a U-Haul given the long drive and horror stories we heard about U-Haul’s shoddy equipment and vehicle breakdowns. A one-way move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas will cost us under $350. Very reasonable compared to the cost of hiring a moving company.
Hopefully we can get everything loaded onto the truck quickly and get on the road. We’ve been warned of heavier-than-usual weekend traffic going to Las Vegas for the fight.
On our second house-hunting trip we decided to get a room at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. What a great find! The hotel has been updated recently to include a new pool area with lots of bars, gaming and deck chairs. It is easily the nicest hotel in downtown Vegas and there are many more young people there than at other hotels.
We tried to get into Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse but there was a long wait. Not surprising since it was Saturday night. We plan to go back armed with a reservation next time.
Our second house-hunting trip was much more productive.
We spent two solid says with our real estate agent Kelly Fritz from RealEstate.com looking at 10-20 houses that were more along the lines of what we were looking for. Kelly understood what was important to us and did a great job finding properties that were definite possibilities. There were three areas we really liked.
Alliante in North Las Vegas is a new masterplanned community with lots to offer. All of the homes are brand-spankin’ new there but the neighborhoods tend to be a cookie-cutter and lack charactern (much like the rest of Vegas). A few of the Pulte developments fit our criteria for flexible and open floorplans. Unfortunately, Alliante is a bit far from downtown (where my wife will work) and Chinatown (where we will shop for groceries and eat). We saw two identical homes that we really liked. One had hardwood floors and upgrades like granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. They had small yards though and would not leave much room for a swimming pool.
Mountain’s Edge is another masterplanned community located in the southwest area of the city. This area seemed less crowded and we saw a few places with huge floorplans. One place in particular was gigantic at 4,265 square feet. We could not get over how big it was and the floorplan was pretty ideal. It was just above our price range, however.
It would be cool to say we were considering something in Spanish Trail, but that would be lying. Instead, we saw a home near the upscale Spanish Trail neighborhood that was laid out how we wanted and had a pool. This was the last property we saw on this house-hunting trip. The downsides were that it was a little older and looked like it would need some work. But, it was competitively priced and in a great location.
We’ll be back soon for a third try.
We split our time between two real estate agents during our first house-hunting trip in Las Vegas. While both were knowledgable and able to orient us to the city, one was much more prepared than the other:
Real Estate Agent #1
- Company: Big, established real estate company: Prudential
- Preparedness: Not very. Printed out listings for us to visit while we were there in the office.
- Expertise: Very good. Knew Las Vegas well and gave us good “inside” information about different neighborhoods, traffic and planned expansion.
Real Estate Agent #2
- Company: Brand new division of internet company: RealEstate.com
- Preparedness: Great. Came with maps, city guides and an list of houses for us to see based on preferences we listed earlier in the week.
- Expertise: Very good. Also knew Las Vegas well but had to make a few U-turns to get where we were going. A GPS-powered navigation device would have been helpful.
Ultimately, we decided to continue working with Real Estate Agent #2. He was better prepared, more professional and really listened to what we wanted. His professionalism and level of organization gave us confidence that he could successfully help us locate and purchase a home in Las Vegas. We thanked Real Estate Agent #1 for his help and parted ways.
We decided to stay in downtown Las Vegas in order to save a little bit of money during our house-hunting trip. The hotels on the strip are much more expensive and we’re here to find a new home! The Four Queens was affordable and seemed conveniently located near the middle of Fremont Street.
It ended up being a great little hotel and we enjoyed our time there. There’s not much by way of decor or design but our room was clean. One cautionary note: don’t get a room facing Fremont Street if you plan to sleep. It was exciting at first to look down onto the crowds below but this was a liability when we returned exhausted from looking at 15-20 houses.
Our room looked just like this one and overlooked Fremont Street.