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City of Surprise Banning Cellphone Use While Driving

by Lisa Bray

City of Surprise Banning Cellphone Use While Driving

According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes annually. Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol is. One out of every four traffic crashes that occur in the U.S. are caused by cell phone usage. This startling data may be one of many reasons why a new law banning the use of cellphones while driving went into effect in Surprise this month, making it the latest city to attempt regulation rather than wait for a state effort.

Surprise officials put an ordinance banning talking, texting or anything involving a handheld communication device into effect last week, the Arizona Republic reported. Police will generally issue warnings only for the first thirty days of the new law, said Surprise police Sgt. Tim Klarkowski. After that, the fines will begin. The fine is $250 on the first offense. The law prohibits talking on a cellphone, sending a text message or otherwise using a hand-held communications device while driving in the city, unless the device is in hands-free mode.

City leaders were cautious when enacting the outright ban, fearing that it could make the city a target of the state Legislature, which has been enacting local pre-emption laws on many subjects. But Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott said the Arizona League of Cities and Towns believed the law could be imposed.

Lawmakers have gone back and forth on cellphone bans in cars for more than a decade. Earlier this year, legislation banning drivers’ cellphone usage was shot down gained approval in the Senate but died in the House.

The lack of a state law has led to a mishmash of different ordinances across jurisdictions. Tucson, Sedona and Oro Valley currently prohibit handheld cellphone use while behind the wheel. Meanwhile, Phoenix, Flagstaff and Fountain Hills only prohibit texting while driving.

If you’d like more information about the Surprise cell phone ban, or if you’re interested in selling or buying a home in Surprise, Goodyear, Litchfield Park and the surrounding cities, please contact Lisa Bray today!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691

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Join Me for the Are You Faster than a Boy Scout Run

by Lisa Bray

Join Me for the Are You Faster than a Boy Scout Run

As an Arizona native and Goodyear resident, I’ve been proudly serving the West Valley real estate market since 2003. In addition to working as full-time agent helping clients achieve their real estate goals throughout the Valley, I love participating in local community events. Especially the charity 5Ks! Back in December I had the pleasure of running in the Run Run Rudolph Quarter Marathon Run at Rio Vista Park in Peoria. This month, I invite you to join me for the upcoming community walk/run event, Are you Faster than a Boy Scout on Saturday, March 17th.

This is a fun, family-friendly event that you will want to return to year after year. The race is a flat and fast, chip timed event and is staffed by the Boy Scouts with support from adult volunteers. Best of all 100 percent of the proceeds for this race go to fund Scouting activities including, summer camps and high adventure camps for the active Scouts in the local Troop. Troop 99, based in Litchfield Park, was chartered by the Goodyear Aircraft Corp. in 1943 and has been developing young boys into leaders in the community ever since.

The run will take place at 7:00 am at the City of Litchfield Park located at 100 S. Old Litchfield Rd., Litchfield. There will be a 5k and 10k course available to either walk or run and participants will receive a race shirt, Boy Scout themed finisher medal, and assorted discounts. The top three male and female finishers in each age group will receive awards and there will be a special division for Scouts. If you’d like more information about the first annual Are You Faster than a Boy Scout Run or if you’d like to join me, you can register by clicking here.

For more fun things to do in the West Valley or if you’re ready to buy or sell a home in the communities of Goodyear, Litchfield Park and Avondale, please contact me today!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691

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Proud to be a Certified Residential Specialist

by Lisa Bray

Proud to be a Certified Residential Specialist

I’ve got great news! I’ve just recently earned my CRS Designation, and I am now a Certified Residential Specialist. The CRS designation is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers, and brokers from the esteemed Council of Residential Specialists.

As a proud member of the National Association of REALTORS®, I have the unique opportunity utilize their wide-range of programs and services to help me increase my skills, proficiency, and knowledge so that I can be of better service to my community and to my wonderful clients.  Education and experience is the foundation of being a Certified Residential Specialists, and I am proud to have earned this honor.  

Less than four percent of the more than one million REALTORS® in business today hold the prestigious Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Designation, the highest professional designation awarded to REALTORS® in the residential sales field. That's because just one in twenty-five has the experience, the commitment and the hours of advanced training necessary to call themselves a Certified Residential Specialist.

And as new CRS designation recipient, I promise to continue to provide the expert level of service you’ve come to expect from me over the years and more. So whether you’re looking to sell your Arizona home or buy an Arizona home, let a newly Certified Residential Specialist with a proven track record of success guide you every step of the way!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691
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12th Annual Heart and Sole 5K Returns to Goodyear

by Lisa Bray

12th Annual Heart and Sole 5K Returns to Goodyear

February is National Heart Health Month so it’s only fitting that the 12th Annual Heart and Sole 5K returns to Goodyear this month. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that's one in every four deaths. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing about 365,000 people in 2014. So if you’re looking for a great way to get exercise and spread awareness, then the 12th Annual Heart and Sole 5K is for you!

The family friendly event takes place Saturday, February 11th at 9:00 a.m. at the Goodyear Ballpark located at 1933 S. Ballpark Way. The 12th Annual Heart and Sole 5K race is sure to be a great time for serious and recreational runners alike! The Heart and Sole Race also features a one Mile Family Fun Run/Walk for those of you who would like to introduce your little ones to the benefits of running! Vendors will also be on hand to help educate and show runners and walkers the best way to take care of themselves from head to toe.

Want to know more? Visit goodyearaz.gov for more details and registration information. For more fun things to do in Goodyear and other local west valley events happening in your neighborhood this spring, please contact Lisa Bray today.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691
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Top 5 Reasons to Make a Move in 2017

by Lisa Bray

Top 5 Reason to Make Move in 2017 

Now that the holidays are over, many people will be focusing on their New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. If making a move is something you are considering but not sure if it’s the right time, here are the top 5 reason to make a move in 2017:

  1. Interest Rates Will Go Up: by now we have all heard that President-Elect Trump plans to raise interest rates this coming year. By how much, remains to be seen, however some industry experts speculate rates may go as high as five percent by the end of 2017. This may not seem like a lot but even a slight change in the rate can impact your home affordability. Don’t wait to cash in on the low interest rates – consider buying now!
  2. Reduced Lending Regulations: higher interest rates might impact your home affordability but they could also mean a reduction in the stringent lending regulations we have seen recently. This means we could see more credit opportunities for qualified home buyers and more creative financing options for those homebuyers who need a little extra help.
  3. Millennials Are Ready to Buy: if you a Millennial reading this, you are probably already searching for a new home, now that you’ve finally landed the perfect job. For those homeowners who want to buy up or perhaps downsize into a retirement home, the Millennial generation is your target home buyer. With recent improvements in the economy, this generation is in a better position to own a home – and they are finally ready to leave the nest and commit to homeownership. It is predicted that this group of first-time home buyers will lead the housing demand in 2017.
  4. Equity Opportunities: people who bought a home in 2008-2009 at the lowest point of the real estate market are sitting on a pile of hard-earned equity – but they may not know it. If you are one of those homeowners, why not cash in and use this opportunity to buy up in size, location and amenities?  
  5. New Home Construction: according to the 2017 Housing Forecast provided by realtor.com, the Phoenix-metro area is ranked number one with a projected increase of home values by 5.94 percent and a sales growth at 7.24 percent – which includes new home construction. If you have driven anywhere in the northwest valley, you have probably noticed the new home sites popping up. This is great news for our housing market, as we have experienced a shortage in available inventory for the last few years.

If you would like to learn more about the homeownership opportunities available to you, please give me a call today. I am happy to meet with you to discuss your options and help you determine the right New Year’s Resolution that fits your personal housing needs. I look forward to hearing from you soon – Lisa

Lisa Bray
RE/MAX Professionals
www.LisaBray.com
602-762-3691
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Goodyear building Water Conservation Committee

by Lisa Bray

Goodyear building Water Conservation Committee

Did you know? About 95 percent of the water entering our homes goes down the drain according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Just in time for Earth Day, the City of Goodyear is now recruiting members to establish a water conservation committee to find ways for everyone to use water more efficiently. The City Council approved the formation of the committee in February. Its goal will be to generate ideas to reduce outdoor water use by one percent each year. The committee will be composed of eleven members and two alternates selected by the City Council and will meet eight to ten times a year according to the City of Goodyear press release. Applications to be on the Goodyear Water Conservation Committee are due by Friday, April 22nd which is coincidentally Earth Day.

Mark Holmes, water resources manager for Goodyear, said irrigation consumes about twenty-nine percent of the city’s total water use. Single family outdoor uses another thirty-five percent of the total water. Sandra Rode, water conservation specialist for Goodyear, said the committee would look at making recommendations into the future five years and also review the city’s existing water conservation plan. She said the ultimate goal of conservation is to protect the quality of life in Goodyear.

For details on how to apply, go to goodyearaz.gov. If you’d like to be more involved with the Goodyear community or if you’d like to buy a home in Goodyear, please contact Lisa Bray today. Happy Earth Day!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.lisabray.com

602-762-3691
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City of Avondale poised for future growth

by Lisa Bray

City of Avondale poised for future growth

If you were lucky enough to catch Mayor Kenn Weise’s State of the City address last week, then you’re sure to be fired up about living in Avondale! His theme of “Striking a Balance” really hit home as it was hosted near the bowling lanes at the newly opened Main Event, one of Avondale’s major new commercial developments.

Weise said Avondale is among the healthiest home construction markets in the country, with an increase of 175 percent in permits for new houses in 2015. “2015 was a great year for Avondale. If 2015 was the year of groundbreakings, 2016 will be the year of ribbon-cuttings,” Weise told a group of about 180 public officials, business leaders and others who attended the event.

As the city observes its 70th anniversary this year, Avondale is one of twenty cities named as finalists for the 2016 All-America City Award. Here are some of the upcoming community projects that further demonstrate Weise’s statements that Avondale is poised for future growth:

  • Copper Springs Hospital, which Weise said will have 150 high-wage jobs.
  • Two locations for QuikTrip gas and convenience stores.
  • Seven restaurants will open in the next eighteen months along McDowell Road.
  • Copper State Rubber facility
  • 200,000 square feet of entertainment and retail space on the city’s east side

“Avondale remains among the most stable government organizations in the Valley of the Sun. People want to live in Avondale. This is where they want to raise their families,” stated Weise. “They will eat, they will shop, they will play here.”

Want to live in the booming City of Avondale? If you’d like information about relocating to Avondale or buying a home in Avondale, please contact Lisa Bray today. My goal is to leverage my knowledge and experience to help you get the best price the market. Your complete satisfaction with my service and representation is the number one priority!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.lisabray.com

602-762-3691

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FREE tax prep services available in Avondale

by Lisa Bray

FREE tax prep services available in Avondale

Tax time is here again and if the thought of having to prepare your own taxes or coming up with the funds to hire someone is daunting, then you’re in luck. The City of Avondale’s Neighborhood and Family Services Department, together with Valley of the Sun United Way offers free tax prep services available in Avondale. The no cost tax preparation services will benefit individuals and families with low to moderate income. Services will be offered to the community every Tuesday and Saturday at the Care1st Avondale Resource and Housing Center until April.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, known as VITA, offers IRS trained and certified volunteers to assist households that make less than $54,000 and need help processing their annual income tax returns. VITA sites not only offer free tax preparation, they also help taxpayers apply for benefits they may not be aware of such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC.

Tax preparation assistance is available at Care1st Avondale Resource Center located at 328 W Western Ave., Avondale on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. -7 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1p.m. until April 16. No appointment necessary. Walk-ins are welcomed.

VITA site visitors should bring the following items with them:

•Social Security cards or IRS ITIN card or ITIN letter for all household members

•Picture ID for taxpayer (and spouse)

•Birth dates for all persons listed on the tax return

•Proof of all income, including W-2 and 1099 forms

•Name, address, and tax ID# of childcare provider

•Amount of money paid to childcare provider last year

•Account and routing numbers for direct deposit

•Copy of last year’s tax return, if available

•All Forms 1095, Health Insurance Statements

•Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received

•Forms 1095-A, B or C, Affordable Health Care Statements

Contact the Care1st Avondale Resource Center for further detail at 623-333-2703. For more information about local community events in Avondale and the West Valley please contact Lisa Bray today.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.lisabray.com

602-762-3691

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Save the Date! 5th Annual Tale of Two Cities Festival

by Lisa Bray

Save the Date! 5th Annual Tale of Two Cities Festival

Want to learn about a variety of cultures without even leaving Arizona soil? You’ll definitely want to save the date for the upcoming 5th Annual Tale of Two Cities festival on Saturday, February 20th! The Tale of Two Cities is an international-themed, award winning event that is a collaboration between the cities of Avondale, Goodyear and Estrella Mountain Community College, and attracts thousands all over the Valley! Over 8,000 attendees enjoyed this multi-cultural festival complete with parade, festival and a naturalization ceremony last year.

‘Tale of Two Cities’ was awarded the AzTEC Awards for 2015 Outstanding Event of the Year and is produced by Goosebump Marketing Events. The parade, booths and activities promote a multi-cultural theme, with food, music and performances to complement the experience. Vendors and community groups offering a diverse assortment of products, including arts and crafts, as well as concessionaires that share authentic food and international cuisine from nations around the world.

Also, a total of one hundred fifty area residents will take the Oath of Allegiance and become United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony on the main stage. The ceremony is coordinated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Festival admission is free and includes music and entertainment, a kids’ zone, vendor booths, cultural-related displays and more.

The cities of Avondale and Goodyear invite locals and visitors to the 2016 Tale of Two Cities Parade and Festival, themed ‘International Celebration’ and see the world without leaving town! For more event details, visit www.taleof2cities.org. And for more local west valley events and things to do in Goodyear, please contact Lisa Bray.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.lisabray.com

602-762-3691

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Surprise police alert residents of jury duty scam

by Lisa Bray

Surprise police alert residents of jury duty scam

Let’s face it. There aren’t many people that are excited to receive a jury duty summons in the mail. And we all know someone who either casually tosses a jury duty request in the trash or lets it fall to the bottom of the mail pile without giving it a second thought. But what would you do if you received a phone call alerting you that you had a warrant for your request for not appearing for jury duty needed to pay a bond to prevent getting arrested? Well, before you whip out your checkbook, check to make sure you’re not being scammed first!

The Surprise Police are alerting the public on a “jury duty” scam being attempted in Surprise. This scam has been attempted several times on multiple victims here in the community. According to one of the victims, they recently received a phone call from an unknown suspect who identified himself as a deputy with the Surprise City Court’s Warrant Division. The suspect informed the victim they failed to appear for jury duty and/or respond to a jury summons.

As a result for failing to appear, the suspect advised the victim that a warrant was issued for their arrest and if they failed to pay the bond, sometimes up to $4,000, it would result in an officer being dispatched to their residence to take them into custody. Additionally, the victim also reported the suspect as hostile and very threatening on the phone.

The Surprise Police advise Surprise residents to not pay the “bond” to avoid going to jail. If you received a call from a person claiming to be law enforcement and/or threatening law enforcement action as part of this fraudulent scheme, please contact the Surprise Police Department at 623-222-4000 to report the incident. Also, if you have any information leading to the identity of the suspects involved in this scam please contact the police at 623-222-TIPS (8477), or if you wish to remain anonymous you can also email your tip to crimetips@surpriseaz.gov. Please share this information with friends and families and help prevent others from this jury duty scam.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.lisabray.com

602-762-3691
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