The Ahwatukee Mom vs the Remodel and the things you don't think about 😬

Anyone will tell ya that 5 weeks to remodel a 2 story, 2600sf home from top to bottom is pretty tight never mind while reconfiguring the entire kitchen, removing an Arizona room and refinishing and retrofitting a 1920's clawfoot tub.  Needless to say the #LamFam moved into a home with still a few things left to do. 

Here's what was left:

  1. More insulation blown into the attic 
  2. Exterior paint job 
  3. New Roof 
  4. Window washing 
  5. Sunscreens 

Doesn't seem like a big deal, right?

Here are the things you don't think about... 

More Insulation blown in the attic: This sounds easy.  They just hoist the small hose up the back balcony and through the sliders and should just take a few minutes and they'll be out and cleaned up shortly after.  Wrong. 

First off, they had to come twice because they noticed that the original batt insulation was actually falling off of the walls and it was going to be a little bigger of a job than they had planned for the day as there was so much undone up in the attic and so many things that weren't sealed, etc. 

The "hose" isn't that small either, btw.  If it is being pulled from around the corner, put rubber, tape or something that will protect your baseboards from being scuffed...especially if they are bright white.  Also, keep in mind the door has to stay open which totally sucks in the summer when it's 115 degrees out.  If you are planning to add more insulation in your attic (and it's a great idea to do so) it's more comfortable for you and your home to do it when the weather is cooler.

I didn't enclose the entrance to the attic completely in plastic but I wish I did.  My attic access is in the master closet and there were and still are pieces of insulation on clothes, in shoes and shelves.  I can't recommend enclosing the area in plastic enough.  The guy did his best to keep it as clean as possible but it's impossible with all of that flying around

It took about 3 hours from start to finish and that's including some sealing and different things they needed to do to prepare.  The difference in the overall comfort of our home was recognized immediately and I am sure we will see a difference in our utility bill too.  We used and were very satisfied with EnergyRite LLC.

New Roof:  We have a tile roof which means they remove the tile and replace the underlayment then put the tiles back.  Some of the materials used when replacing the roof gave off a very strong asphalt smell.  I work from home and started noticing it a few hours after they started reassembling the roof.  

Opening the windows weren't an option because it was June.

We have jump ducts above the bedroom doors (they open the rooms to a register on the other side of the wall into the hallway).  I remembered that the guy from EnergyRite said that our jump ducts weren't sealed and they were just open to the attic which meant that nice, cool air was being released into the bazillion degree attic.  Wow, that's awesome of the builder to not seal those 😳 I quickly realized that #1. it's hot and #2. those jump ducts are open to the attic so that asphalt smell is going to just keep getting worse especially since we can't really open the windows. 

Panic.  I can barely be inside my house at this point let alone sleep there or let my 4 year old sleep in that chemical smell.  I grabbed the plastic wrap from the kitchen and the blue painters tape from the laundry room and wrapped all of the jump ducts in plastic.  I threw open a few windows and set up some fans.  It took about an hour but the smell went away for the most part thankfully. 

Lesson learned.  If possible, replace your roof when it's cooler so that you can keep the windows open or do it before you move in.  Hopefully, the home is sealed, including registers and ducts, from the attic. We used Prime Roofing for the replacement.  

Exterior Paint:  This was pretty painless, was only outside and only lasted a few days.  We used an epic painting company that we love and refer to all of our clients, Sharper Edge Painting, LLC

I would absolutely recommend getting this done AFTER the new roof if possible.  We did it the other way around and there are a few spots that we have to have the painter come back and touch up because the roofers didn't put the tiles exactly in the same point in a few spots so some of the old color is exposed.

Window Washing:  You'll want to line up window washers especially if you have large windows or a two story home.  The painters will power wash your home and the windows will get wet and likely streaked, etc.  The window washing company will remove the screens and clean them as well. 

The company we used is South Mountain Window Cleaning.  They were awesome and my windows are so clean and clear.

Sun Screens: I recommend getting the window cleaning the day before or the morning of the day that you are getting new sunscreens.  The window cleaning company will remove the screens if you ask them to and then you'll be clean and ready for the new screen install. 

I caution getting the window washing more than a day before the sun screen installation.  It can get really hot on windows that need sunscreens especially once the old ones are removed and you were used to the comfort they provided. 

The sunscreen company that we used is ScreenMobile and it's made a huge difference in the comfort level of our home already. 

We still aren't done but we are getting there even though it's been a little stressful as we ride this crazy real estate market while also raising a 4 year-old. The boxes are finally almost all unpacked, the punch list is getting shorter and we more than grateful to be fortunate enough to live minutes from the preserve in this cool little town called Ahwatukee.

Speaking of this cool little's an awesome new listing of mine that's 3/4 of a mile up a mountain offering the most epically epic views and privacy that you would expect from the top of the world. Call 480-250-0023 for more info. 

Listed by Katie Lambert with Team EvoAZ at Revelation Real Estate


Coyotes in Ahwatukee? What to do...

I was NOT ready for that!  Working late one night I heard what sounded like babies crying.  The more I listened I realized that it wasn't babies, it was a pack of coyotes and they were in our cul-de-sac!!

Immediately I hopped onto the social media site, NextDoor, for my neighborhood and asked the neighbors about their experience with the coyotes.  Does this happen frequently?  It turns out, per the neighbors, the coyotes quite like my cul-de-sac and it's not uncommon to hear and see them.   Oh boy... that wasn't on the Seller Disclosure Statement.  ðŸ˜³

Since we'll likely have encounters in the future, I researched what to do:

1. Do not approach the animal and do NOT run.  It could trigger a natural reaction and the animal may chase and attack.

2. Stand your ground.  Make loud noises and stamp your feet and yell.  These actions may prevent an attack and scare the animal off. 

3. If you have a small pet or child with you, pick them up off of the ground.  The animal could view them as a food source. 

Here's a few tips to reduce their attraction to your home / neighborhood:

1. Install good outdoor lighting and use it nightly.

2. Keep bushes and vegetation trimmed so there isn't anything for the coyote to burrow under.

3. Secure trash and don't store any trash outside of trash containers. 

Apparently it's very uncommon to be attacked by a coyote and, per the neighbors, they aren't really what I need to watch out for. 

It's the javelina 😳

Welcome to living by the preserve, LamFam! 

Popular Ahwatukee Neighborhoods - Ahwatukee Real Estate

MOVING DAY came just as quickly as it went, thank goodness 😓 The movers arrived at the old house right on 7am and they started right away.  Of course, in nervous anticipation of this moment, I had been up since 5am anyway.  We said goodbye to our home of almost 4 years that was a little sad but something that I quickly forgot once I got settled into the new place.


Our son stayed with us the whole day.  He's four so he got bored quickly and needed to be entertained. He also needed a nap.  I left the old house well before Matt did with the movers and set out to run a few errands and get the kid fed and hopefully some sort of nap.  

I needed a desk for the new house so we headed to the Potato Barn Outlet.   It's so hard to not want one of everything in that store!  We found a desk right away for $200 off the original price and scheduled the delivery for later that day!  Mission accomplished! 

After a quick lunch at Uncle Bears in Ahwatukee we set out on a little adventure.  For the next two hours, I listened to some awesome music and explored all of the amazing and popular neighborhoods in Ahwatukee while my 4 year old snored away in the back seat. 

My top three favorite Ahwatukee Neighborhoods at the moment are:

Ahwatukee Custom Estates:  Located in the Equestrian Trail and 36th Street / Knox and 36th Street area, this is my favorite Ahwatukee neighborhood for many reasons but mostly the location and jaw dropping scenery.  The custom homes in this area are typically a little bit older but have so much character and, of course, stunning views of South Mountain preserve.  A hiker or mountain bikers dream within minutes from the trailhead.  

Mountain Park Ranch:  It's huge and it's awesome.  Offering three community pools and spas, tennis courts, children’s pool and playground area, plus volleyball and picnic areas, residents barely have to leave the "bubble".  

Foothills Club West:  Heaven if you are a golfer!  Grab a bite at the Sunset Grill while you are waiting for your tee time!  The Foothills Golf Club offers a facility for weddings and banquets.  It's a pretty awesome place to be with the stunning backdrop of the Foothills. 


This is the night we heard the coyotes for the first time... 

Ahwatukee Remodel 🏡 Top 10 Tips for Organizing a Move to a New Home

OMG any remodel is always a project...this one seemed to be a bit more taxing because it's our home, maybe?  You'd think after 300 some odd remodels we'd be numb to this but it's just different and weird when it's the home you are going to live in.  

Whilst the demo, remodel and material management is going on, we were facilitating the rental of our current home, planning the purging, packing and moving of our current home and pulling all the strings that make it come together all at the same time. 

Our top 10 tips for organizing the "big move":

1. Get rid of CRAP!  Be honest with yourself. You don't need 55 shirts and you don't need anything that you haven't used in two years.  PURGE.  It feels good and it's cheaper and easier to move when you purge the crap.

2. Schedule a free pick-up from a local charity.  Our favorite is donating to Sunshine Acres.  If you haven't been to this place, it's totally worth a visit.  It's the most incredible children's home we have ever seen and they will pick up your household donations. 

3. Set aside items that can be sold.  Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups and OfferUp are great websites to list items for sale. 

4. Hire pro movers for the big day.  If you have ever moved yourself, you need no further explanation.  They'll even reassemble your furniture.  Sleeping in your bed the first night in your new home is WAY better than not sleeping in your bed. 

5. Create a master moving "to do" list and make sure all family members are on board and know their part.  

6. Schedule your utility disconnect at the old house and reconnect at the new house.  Make sure to include internet and an alarm system if applicable.  Forward the mail as well! 

7. Start packing early!  Pack decorative items, holiday items and dishes, stored items and other things that you won't need for a few weeks.  The earlier you pack the more relieved you will be once moving day gets closer.  It comes quickly and goes so much more smoothly when you are prepared. 

8. Keep an overnight bag with things that you would pack for a vacation.  You may be without all of your stuff for a few days so pack like you are heading on vacation for three or four days.  If you have too much, no big deal.  If you don't have enough, you'll sure wish you planned that better. 

9. Take pictures of the settings and connections of your electronics so you can quickly set them back up at the new house. 

10. Assemble and make up the beds first!  You could get tired quickly because moving is super exhausting so, after the movers have assembled the beds, make sure you have the box with linens handy.  

We move in 9 days.  It's unreal how much the house has come along in the last few weeks.  I'm super excited for the shiplap back splash in the kitchen and the fresh materials and paint. 

I feel good about moving mostly because we landed great tenants for our current home.  We have a few homes that we rent out and I normally am not very emotional but the one we have raised our baby in in the last few years is getting to me a bit.  I feel really good about knowing that the people that will be there will love it like I have. 

Our home was quickly rented and we were able to choose the tenants.  That was pretty cool.  I'm a real estate broker so I was able to set this up and execute it perfectly.  We allowed for 7 days marketing time and held an open house for 4 hours on a Saturday with all showing appointments scheduled during that time.  We had 19 groups through the home and several applications that weekend.  We were able to meet the tenants we chose at the open house and that made us feel much better and more confident about our choice.  The magic was definitely in the marketing.  

A Gem in Ahwatukee Foothills

We settled on a 4 bedroom home in a cul-de-sac off of 36th and Knox and inspections began right away.    It's so important to be super thorough during the due diligence period so we checked everything out.  Special thanks to Alati's Inspection Service for the radon test.  Many have no idea that Ahwatukee is an area that is known for higher radon levels and it definitely should be tested.  

We had an HVAC tech come for the A/C unit, we had a pool guy come for the pool and equipment, we had a general inspector come for a overview of all systems, etc. and we had a pest inspector for termites and infestation. 

That's when we found these...

16 scorpions were found in one night!!  Our home is really close the the preserve which means easy access to the trailhead but also means a few extra Arizona critters to deal with.  Creepy Crawly Pest Control advised us that this can be controlled and they will be sealing the house this coming week.  They have already started spraying to reduce the food supply for the scorpions and nightly hunts help as well.  

We decided to do a complete remodel.  We are replacing the flooring throughout, the cabinets and counters, the bathroom fixtures and a full interior paint job.  We closed on the 16th of March and by the 17th we no longer had a kitchen.  ðŸ˜³

Why Ahwatukee?

We chose a home in Ahwatukee for many reasons but these were the major ones:

We really loved the mountain views behind our home when we lived in Scottsdale.  Matt enjoys taking a bike ride here and there and family hikes are a Sunday favorite.  Living near the mountains again is really exciting. 

We love the parks and public recreation areas especially Sun Ray Park!  We have a 4 year old and the park is perfect for afternoon entertainment. He can cruise on his bike while we walk the bike trail beside him, he can run in the huge grass fields and he can hike the "little mountain" without any help from us.  It's a great park with great scenery.  

The location is great for us.  The proximity to the I10 and the 202 is a huge plus not only for work but we do like to take the jeep to the mountains and to Canyon Lake.  It's close to many of our favorite restaurants like Uncle Bears, Smokin Fins and Z'Tejas.  Phoenix Sky Harbor is 17 minutes away.  We travel and have family that visits from back East so airport proximity is important.  Chandler Fashion Center is a great shopping mall that is super close and has a Harkins Movie Theatre.

We know that we'll be on the hunt for a good school for our son in about a year.  We really like what Ahwatukee has to offer.  We did our research on the Great Schools site. 

Mesa Mom, Tempe Mom or Phoenix Mom?

We do the real estate thing for a living, right?... so we knew to sit down and make a list of everything that is important to us for the new house.  

Things that lined up:

4+ bedroom, Larger Lot, 2500sf+, Pool, Privacy, Variety of High Rated Schools, Freeway close

Things that did not:

His: 3 Car Garage, Full Remodel Needed, Open to Building Pool, View of City or Mountains or both 

Hers: Garage not Important, Close to Historic Mesa, Move-In Ready, No Scorpions

For awhile the differences kept our home search in a stalemate.  We searched online a lot and went out to actually tour property with Jaxin in tow maybe 10 times or so over a two year period and mostly in the north/northeast Mesa area because it was the most bang for the buck and ticked the most boxes.  We'd walk into a full remodel and, before we even got over the threshold, it was a no from the Mr.  We'd visit a semi-custom on a huge lot with flood irrigation and it was a no from the Mrs.  Layla, the family dog, would just track mud inside and the scorpions were inevitable in those areas. 

It seemed like we would never move even though we did make a few offers.  They just never worked out for one reason or another.  Maybe, even though we sell quite a bit of real estate there, Mesa just wasn't for us?

So we decided to explore other areas.  We were hooked on Tempe for a hot minute and even considered Chandler in the area around our son's current school.  He is only at this school for two more years though so we knew basing our home choice on that school might not be necessary. 

We were excited about Tempe!  What a great location, close to everything.  There was quick freeway access from most of the neighborhoods we targeted.  We found some homes we really liked but no views, or no pool, or no 3 car garage, or less than 4 bedrooms or it backed a busy street.  

Knowing the market conditions we expected low inventory but this was getting frustrating and seemingly hopeless.  We exhausted all ways of sourcing property, MLS, For Sale By Owners, our off MLS lists, wholesale lists and upcoming listing hot sheets.  Nothing was coming up. 

So then we had a thought... if Chandler was a consideration, why not Ahwatukee? 

How It All Started

Let's start this story from its very beginnings, shall we?  I moved to Arizona from New Hampshire back in the summer of 2004 seeking warm weather and opportunity.  I got a job as an assistant mortgage loan officer located in Ahwatukee and fell I love with the area.  Although I lived in Gilbert at the time, I had always dreamed of moving to the foothills.

Fast forward a few years to 2007 when I got bored doing loans and decided to jump into real estate. Within three weeks I was fully licensed as a salesperson and, having had a few years in the mortgage industry, it didn't take long before things started rolling and I was getting pretty busy. 

I got really good at listing and negotiating short sales, which was probably a good idea because that was pretty much all that was selling at that time, and that's when it happened...that's when I met Matt. 

Matt was also in real estate and represented the buyer on one of my listings.  Short sales are everything but short and these aren't your average transactions so Matt and I had a lot of opportunity to get to know each other over the course of a few months.  I liked him immediately and especially when we discovered that he too is from New Hampshire and his parents actually were from my hometown.  How freakin' coincidental is that?  And not only are his parents from my hometown but his father actually grew up across the street from my mother and they knew each other!  It had to be fate so we decided to get married and have a baby. 😊 Why not, right?

Once the baby came we realized that our then perfectly sized little Scottsdale home was no longer perfectly sized and moved into one of Matt's projects in Mesa which was supposed to be temporary...except we ended up staying there for over three years.  

Why?  Because it was hard for two people to agree and decide where we wanted to live with so many things that are important to us like schools, amenities, freeways, dog/family friendly recreation and restaurants and bars that we enjoy.  

I said "Yes"...

On the beach in Maui in June of 2013 ❤️