Morrison Ranch in Gilbert, Now Open!


Water Tower

It’s no surprise that we, as well as more than 242,000 residents, love Gilbert, Arizona. Once known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World,” Gilbert has evolved, grown and enticed many an Arizonan to stop and stay awhile with its small-town charm and big-city conveniences. What’s more, it was named the “2nd Safest City in the United States” by Law Street Media and “22nd Best Place to Live in the United States” by Time’s Money Magazine.  

If that doesn’t make you want to pack your bags and head toward Gilbert, here’s even more good news.

This past weekend, we celebrated the grand opening of two new neighborhoods, Marquis and Artisan, located northwest of Higley and Warner roads, within Morrison Ranch’s Warner Groves community. A picturesque and unique utopia in the Arizona desert, Morrison Ranch features groves of trees, wide grass-covered setbacks, white rail fences and a series of interconnected, pedestrian-friendly greenbelts that link residents to employment centers, shopping, dining and entertainment.

Marquis and Artisan debut all-new home designs from the New Arizona Living Collection and include Maracay Homes’ LivingSmart® program for high performance and cost efficiency. Artisan features four FlexDesign® single- and two-story floor plans on approximately 50’ x 120’ homesites, while Marquis offers five FlexDesign® single- and two-story plans on 70’ x 130’ homesites.

Add in Gilbert’s award-winning school district and affordable cost of living and you have an attractive combination that’s tough to beat. To schedule a tour or for additional information on these two new Maracay Homes neighborhoods at Morrison Ranch, please email our New Homes Specialist, Pam Meyer or call at (480) 889-3713. 

Center Pointe Vistoso Grand Opening – Watch Video!


More than 1,000 people celebrated the opening of Center Pointe Vistoso in Oro Valley with us during a weekend-long party that included tours of the community’s luxury amenities and seven beautifully appointed model homes, lots of grilled burgers and hot dogs and plenty of opportunities to mingle with future new neighbors.

If you didn’t get a chance to come out, no need to worry. We captured all the fun and action in this short video. Take a look!

Center Pointe Vistoso Grand Opening from Maracay Homes on Vimeo.

For additional information about Center Pointe Vistoso, please contact Maracay’s New Homes Specialist Pam Meyer at (520) 329-0370, or visit www.CenterPointeVistoso.com. Hurry, homes are selling quickly!

In The Hood: Things To Do This February


Tucson Farmers Market Peaches

Winters in the Sonoran Desert are nothing short of perfect. Sure, the nights can get chilly, sometimes leaving behind a morning frost, but typically the air is warm and the sun is shining all season long. And, the month of February is no exception, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

Here are a few February events happening near our Maracay Homes neighborhoods that embrace family fun and the great weather:

Glendale
22nd Annual Glendale Chocolate Affaire
Friday, February 5, 5 – 10 p.m.
Saturday, February 6,10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 7, noon – 5 p.m.
Get ready to fulfill your sweet-tooth cravings because the 22nd Annual Glendale Chocolate Affaire is bringing 40 chocolate purveyors and all of their treats to Murphy Park in Historic Downtown Glendale. Visitors will be able to try mouth-watering chocolate-covered confections as well as tour the candy factory of Arizona’s famous candy makers, Cerreta Candy Company. Festival activities also include face painting, carnival rides, a rock-climbing wall and more. For more info, visit www.GlendaleAZ.com.

26th Annual Winter Tractor & Engine Show
February 13-14, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
A fun event for all generations, the 26th Annual Winter Tractor & Engine Show returns to the Sahuaro Ranch Park Historic Area for antique engine displays, engine demonstrations, tractor pulls, a parade, food, crafters and more. For more info, visit www.aedgeta.org.

Mesa
2016 Arizona Renaissance Festival
February 6 – March 27
Travel back to the medieval times at the annual Renaissance Festival, where families can enjoy 13 stages of continuous live entertainment, 30-acre circus, arts and crafts fair, jousting tournament and a day-long feast. Watch the ancient skills of glassblowing, leatherwork, woodcarving or candlemaking, or take part in games of chance. More detailed information can be found here.

Chandler
Sonoran Sunset Concert Series at Veterans Oasis Park
Thursday, February 18, 6 – 7 p.m.
The Sonoran Sunset Concert Series continues into the month at Veterans Oasis Park, where the whole community is welcome to come out for free live entertainment and family fun. Bring your blankets, chairs, and dinner to sit and watch local talent, The Real Thing Band, play on February 18. For more details, click here.

Downtown Chandler Art Walk
Friday, February 19, 6 – 10 p.m.
Every third Friday of the month, the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership puts on the Downtown Chandler Art Walk as a way for local artists to showcase their work for visitors and residents alike. From oil painting to finely crafted jewelry, there will be something for everyone to appreciate. Located conveniently downtown, art-walkers can view more artwork in the independently owned galleries or grab a bite to eat at any of the numerous downtown-area restaurants.

The Neon Run
Saturday, February 27, 4 – 11 p.m.
The Neon Run kicks off its 2016 tour in Chandler. The all-ages 5K night run will take place at Rawhide, filled with epic lighting, DJs, dancing, glow sticks, black lights, costumes and more. For tickets and more information, visit The Neon Run website.

Queen Creek
Flashdance
Saturday, February 13, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The National Tour of Flashdance hits the stage at the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center and tells the story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a bar dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional performer. When romance with her boss threatens to complicate her ambitions, Alex learns the meaning of love and its power to fuel the pursuit of her dream. For tickets, call 480-987-7469 or visit http://qcpac.com.

Peach Blossom Celebration
Every Thursday-Sunday, from February 4 – March 1, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Peach blossom season  is in full swing in February at Schnepf Farms, where the whole family can come out to celebrate the beauty of the farm with over 80 acres of fruit trees blooming with pink and white blossoms. When visiting, families can hop on guided hayrides, the walking trail, or a train ride through various orchards, all while enjoying a homemade peachy cinnamon roll or peach pie in hand.

Tucson
Savor Food and Wine Festival
Saturday, February 6
The momentum behind the Tucson culinary scene is rising, and this year the Savor Food & Wine Festival grows with up to 40 of the region’s finest chefs and local restaurants highlighting the flavors of Southern Arizona and techniques of conscious cooking. Held at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, the event will feature samplings of food, fine wine, spirits, craft beer, as well as entertainment.

Broadway in Tucson –  The Book of Mormon
February 16-21, 2016
For an entire week, theater-goers have a chance to get a taste of Broadway when The Book of Mormon comes to town. The often acclaimed “best musical of the century” and nine-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical from the creators of South Park pokes fun at religion, sexuality, poverty and race. Show times and tickets can be found here.

Tucson Rodeo & Parade (La Fiesta de los Vaqueros)
February 20-28
Celebrate the Old West heritage at the Tucson Rodeo & Parade, better known to many as La Fiesta de los Vaqueros. The eight-day event attracts more than 650 competing cowboys and cowgirls. Workshops, performances, competitions and bar dances occur daily and the Tucson Rodeo Parade takes place on February 25. For more information and tickets, visit www.tucsonrodeo.com

Join us for the Center Pointe Vistoso Grand Opening, Saturday, Jan. 23


Center Pointe Vistoso Grand Opening

After years of preparation, planning and work, the big day has finally arrived. Tomorrow, the public will get its first look at our latest highly anticipated Maracay Homes community, Center Pointe Vistoso, located on one of the final – and best – remaining parcels in the Rancho Vistoso master-planned community in Oro Valley.

Grand opening festivities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., including tours of our seven new model homes and the community’s beautiful 6,000-square-foot luxury swim complex. While you’re here, enjoy a barbecue lunch with refreshments, and mix and mingle with potential new neighbors.

You won’t want to miss out on the chance to be among the first to see Center Pointe Vistoso’s 343 premium homesites, and its assortments of home plans ranging from approximately 1,404 to 3,668 square feet. Organized within five gated neighborhoods, the plans feature a mix of executive, vacation (lock and leave) and family designs from the New Arizona Living Collection that fit nearly every lifestyle. Like with all Maracay homes, the layouts at Center Pointe Vistoso may be customized using our unique FlexDesign® program. Each home is also ENERGYSTAR® certified and built according to Maracay Homes’ LivingSmart® program for maximum performance and cost efficiency.

You’ll find us on La Cañada Drive, 1.9 miles north of Tangerine Road. Unable to attend? Contact Maracay’s New Homes Specialist Pam Meyer at (520) 329-0370, or visit www.CenterPointeVistoso.com.

Expert Outdoor Living Tips from a Maracay Design Partner


Traveler at Victory at Verrado

Maracay Homes is privileged to work with some of the best in the business when it comes to creating thoughtfully designed floor plans that answer the needs and wants of today’s buyers.

This month, Nick Lehnert, head of KTGY Architecture + Planning’s Market Research and R + D Design, shares his thoughts about outdoor living spaces in the January 2016 issue of Professional Builder magazine. If you’ve ever visited our Victory at Verrado neighborhood, you’ve seen KTGY’s handiwork incorporated into home designs that capture the heart and soul of active-adult Arizona living – including abundant indoor-outdoor living spaces.

According to Nick, the best outdoor spaces follow these guidelines:

  1. Privacy is a priority
  2. The scale is relative to the rest of the house
  3. Indoor and outdoor spaces co-exist in logical, livable layouts
  4. Cost sensitivities are taken into account
  5. Upstairs spaces are not overlooked

To read the full article – which includes a photo of our Traveler model at Victory and talks in detail about one of the most commonly requested home features – please click here

Oro Valley at a Glance


With just slightly more than 42,000 residents, Oro Valley is a small town that packs a big punch. For further proof, just take a look at these statistics compiled by the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Educated residents, solid home values and plenty of wide open spaces – not to mention Oro Valley is home to its own University of Arizona campus, a children’s museum and a vibrant dining and shopping scene.

These are just a few of the many reasons we’re excited about our new Center Pointe Vistoso community, scheduled to open early this year in Oro Valley. Find out more at www.centerpointevistoso.com.OV demographics

What’s a HERS Rating?


Lumiere Gardens Exterior

In sports, if you want to know how well your team is playing, you check the scoreboard, right? Well, that simple concept has made its way into the housing industry, and now homebuyers can check a home’s energy-efficiency score before they buy — which could help them save thousands in energy costs, annually.

Known as the Home Energy Rating System®, or HERS for short, the rating has become the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. Think of it like a car’s MPG (miles per gallon rating).  Just as a car’s performance can be measured by its MPG, a home’s energy performance can be measured by its HERS score. In fact, a favorable number can be a win-win for both buyers and sellers.

For example, if you’re buying a new home, the HERS score can help you anticipate the cost of future energy bills, helping you to better understand whether the home fits within your budget. Meanwhile, if you’re a seller, a good rating could make your home stand out to buyers, especially in a competitive marketplace. In many ways, a favorable HERS score has become tantamount to quality.

But how does it work? In 2006, the U.S Department of Energy created a rating in which a standard-sized new home constructed to the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code scores 100 on the HERS Index (the HERS reference home), while an average resale home registers at 130. Issued by a third-party inspector, a HERS rating factors in many features that contribute to a home’s energy consumption, from heating and cooling to water heating, lighting and the efficiency of some appliances.           

Each one-point change on the HERS Index scale represents a 1 percent change in energy efficiency. This means a home with a HERS Index score of 65 is 35 percent more efficient than the HERS reference home at 100. The lower the score, the better. A home with a HERS rating of 0 produces as much energy as it consumes – a status known in the industry as “net zero.”

At Maracay Homes, we are committed to building quality homes that lead the industry in energy efficiency. In fact, most of our homes regularly score in the 50s and 60s on the HERS rating system. And, as technology improvements are made in appliances, light bulbs, components and building materials, we will continue to push our scores even lower, helping Arizona homebuyers keep the “green” in their wallets and the environment.

For more information about HERS, visit the Residential Energy Services Network website at http://www.resnet.us/hers-index

In The Hood: January 2016


Happy New Year!

The New Year is practically upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about those new year’s resolutions. While many of us have our sights set on losing weight, saving money or even cleaning out old emails, we could all benefit from resolving to have a little more fun in our lives.

To help you kick the year off right, here are a few family-friendly events happening in January near our Maracay Homes neighborhoods:

Glendale
45th Annual Battle Frog Fiesta Bowl
Friday, January 1, at 11 a.m.
One of college football’s most prestigious bowl games, the Fiesta Bowl will feature the Ohio State Buckeyes and Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish. You don’t have to be a fan of either team to enjoy the festivities. Events include a parade, pregame parties and much more. For more info, visit www.fiestabowl.org

Glendale Glitter & Glow Block Party
Saturday, January 9, from 4 – 10 p.m.
Put on your shades, because this stunning light show features 1.5 million lights and more than 20 hot air balloons glowing brightly over 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale. The block party also features live music, games and much more.

Live Music at Westgate
Every Friday and Saturday, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Dust off your dancing shoes because every Friday and Saturday night will be buzzing with talented local bands and musicians at Westgate. Whether you prefer jazz, rock, funk or something in between, this calendar of events can’t be missed. 

Mesa
Spring Out to Lunch Concert Series
Every Thursday, beginning January 21, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Take a break from the usual and enjoy these free concerts in the Wells Fargo Garden performance area, located on the Shadow Walk at the Mesa Arts Center. You can bring your own picnic lunch or choose from a variety of hot and cold lunch options available at the concert.

Chandler
Rawhide Snowy Christmas
Saturday, January 3, at 5 p.m.
Christmas may have passed but that doesn’t mean the holidays are over. This is your last chance to join the fun during Rawhide’s 3rd annual Snowy Christmas. In addition to meeting Santa, the family can stroll down Arizona’s most western town and watch the snow fall while shopping and taking in the holiday lights.

Chandler Multicultural Festival
Saturday, January 16, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Chandler’s signature event, the festival offers a quality arts experience in the comfortable setting of the downtown Chandler Public Library. Honoring the community’s heritage and diversity, the fun-filled day includes music, dance, art, interactive sports areas and much more.

Queen Creek
The New Shanghai Circus
Friday, January 22, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Watch in amazement as these astonishing athletes of the New Shanghai Circus defy gravity and execute breathtaking feats while they stretch the limits of human ability. The family-friendly event is hosted by the Queen Creek Arts Center and features acrobats, jugglers, and contortionists.

Saturday in the Park at Queen Creek Olive Mill
Saturday, January 30, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
It’s a great time of year to be outside, and what better way to spend it than taking the family to the famous Queen Creek Olive Mill for its Saturday in the Park event. Enjoy live music by the Valley Fever band, plus ice cream, games, a free photo booth, a balloon artist, food, beer and much more. Admission is free.

Tucson
Tucson Jazz Festival
January 14 – 24
Jazz of all genres brings together thousands of fans at the HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival in historic downtown Tucson. The dazzling 2016 lineup includes a free MLK Day Downtown Jazz Fiesta, January 18, and renowned international artists such as National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and saxophonist Jimmy Heath, Grammy Award-winners Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band, and much more. Information can be found by clicking here.

Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase
January 30 – February 14
Be a part of the action as Tucson becomes a playground for the world of international gem and mineral trading, buying and bragging rights. Occurring all over Tucson, with more than 40 sites, there’s an exhibit or show for every type of person. Nearly every show is free, including the “Main Event,” the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, which features free seminars and a junior education area.

Tucson Desert Song Festival
January 20 – February 7
Bring the whole family out and enjoy performances by some of the world's leading classical singers joining accomplished regional arts groups. The festival features a unique three-weekend blend of glorious singing in orchestral, chamber, choral, and solo formats along with related lectures and master classes in the warmth and charm of Arizona’s renowned Sonoran Desert resort region. The full lineup and details can be found here.

Is Buying or Renting Cheaper for Millennials?


Northlands Maracay Homes

People of all ages have asked themselves this question at one time or another during their search for a place to live: Which is cheaper, owning or renting?

While the price gap may have narrowed over the past few years, buying is still a better bargain than renting in most communities across the country – including Phoenix and Tucson – according to Trulia, an online real estate company.

Trulia has been tracking the advantages of buying vs. renting in the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan markets since 2012. Traditionally, the research has assumed three main conditions: the buyer will stay in the home seven years; federal tax deductions are itemized in the 25 percent bracket; and there is a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment. Based on these assumptions, buying a home at September prices was 36 percent cheaper than renting, nationally.

But now, for the first time, the company has taken a look at the rent vs. buy proposition through the eyes of Millennial homebuyers (ages 25-34). Using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and a new Truila consumer poll, the company tweaked the assumptions slightly to reflect the behavior of younger buyers, who may plan to stay in a home only five years; itemize federal tax deductions in the 25 percent bracket; and have a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a 10 percent down payment. Under these conditions, buying is not only 23 percent cheaper than renting nationally, it also is cheaper than renting in 98 percent of the nation’s top 100 markets.

Honolulu and San Jose are the only exceptions. Buying a home is 5 percent more expensive than renting for Millennials in Honolulu and 2 percent more expensive than renting for their counterparts in San Jose. The company’s calculations take into account the cost of buying and renting for identical sets of properties, including maintenance, insurance, taxes, closing costs, down payment, sales proceeds and monthly mortgage and rent payments.

In Phoenix and Tucson, the rent vs. buy margin for Millennials is on par with the national average of 23 percent. Even so, the gap has narrowed since 2012, when it was 41 percent cheaper to buy than rent in metro Phoenix, and 35 percent less expensive to do so in Tucson.

So, when would we reach a tipping point where renting becomes cheaper than buying? It’s hard to say for sure. Overall, Trulia economists predict interest rates would have to hit roughly 6.5 percent to equalize the rent vs. buy equation for young buyers.

Buying & Selling Simultaneously


ArchCrossing-Lantana-MIRH-12

As if buying a new home isn’t hectic enough, selling your existing home at the same time can pose  even more demands. Between boxing up your grandmother’s china, choosing the right floor plan for the new home and finding time to research current market prices, handling all of the above can become overwhelming.  

Enter Smart Move Advantage®. We proudly partner with Utah-based Smart Move Advantage to make buying and selling your home simple and exciting — as it should be.

When you purchase a Maracay home, Smart Move Advantage will guarantee the rent on your existing home for up to three years, upon approval. If you’re looking to sell, we’ll arrange to have your home listed with a top realtor in the area and once it’s sold, we’ll have your belongings packed up and moved. Better yet, we’ll even have your home cleaned…at no cost to you!

Take advantage and make the smart move, so you can start enjoying your new home sooner. For more information visit the Smart Move Advantage® website.