The Placeholder House

It wasn’t your first choice. It wasn’t your second either. In fact, the short sale you wrote the offer on was likely more a product of attrition than anything else.

Short sales take time. Like most astute 2012 home buyers, you are all too aware that the offer you submit on an upside-down property will likely take a minimum of 60 days for a response from the seller’s lender. You are also aware that the list price of the home is not necessarily reflective of the price that the lender will ultimately be willing to accept. If you are like many buyers I encounter, the cumulative uncertainty of a short sale transaction is likely what ultimately convinced you to first trawl the regular resale and/or foreclosure market for a home before turning your attention to short sale candidates. Fact is, unless you are an investor or in no hurry to move out of your month-to-month lease, you likely don’t have the luxury of waiting on an uncertain outcome.

With the pace that the good homes are selling in early 2012 due to a heightened demand and greatly reduced inventory (approximately 18,250 active property listings in the Arizona Regional MLS at the time of this post), it is also likely that you have either lost out on a property or five to competing buyers or become disenfranchised with the lack of choices.

Enter the Placeholder House.

Or not.

You see, in recent years it has become en vogue for buyers and their agents to tie up a short sale while continuing to look for a more expedient and/or desirable option. Utilizing a standard AAR (Arizona Association of Realtors) short sale addendum, you don’t have to deposit earnest funds, complete inspections, pay for an appraisal or otherwise commit yourself to the transaction until you get the yea or nay from the seller’s lender.

In essence, you get to tie the property up for free. If something better pops up while the bank is going through its laborious machinations, you can bounce at a moment’s notice. Sounds like the perfect backstop, right?

Not so fast, my friend.

Wising up to the ploy, short sale sellers and their capable agents have taken to adding penalties to such indiscriminate escrow hopping. The shrinking inventory means that there is more competition from your fellow buyers on short sale properties, too. No longer do the better opportunities lie all over the market, waiting for an indifferent buyer to pick them. They are sought after commodities. As such, you can expect to encounter terms such as non-refundable earnest money placed in escrow upon seller acceptance of your offer (before it is submitted to the bank for approval) for the first 60 days (or until bank response, whichever comes first). Some short sale list agents have taken to demanding that the inspection period begin upon seller acceptance as well.

These are measures undertaken to tie you into the deal; they provide you with a vested interest in sticking around for an approval rather than discarding them for the first best alternative that comes down the pike.

If you enter a short sale transaction in 2012, it’s best you leave the placeholder mentality where it belongs: 2010.

Time to abandon the contractual hedging of bets and get back to entering a purchase agreement with the intention of buying a house, lest you get stuck in a purchase you only sort of want to make.

Short sales: they aren’t just for Real Estate philanderers anymore.


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Pinnacle Peak Vistas at 9535 E. Via Montoya

Pinnacle Peak Vistas at 9535 E. Via Montoya


This, you tell yourself.

This is why I moved to Arizona.

Pulling into the stately neighborhood, your eyes take in not the exquisite custom homes, but the Sonoran Desert panorama into which they disappear. Rising out of the valley floor to the East are the majestic McDowell Mountains. The Northern skyline is dominated by the specter of Pinnacle Peak itself. The Western horizon is reserved for the dying sun and the shocking array of magentas and oranges that accompany its languid descent. Removed from the hustle-bustle to the South, you are as unconcerned with the problems of the human condition as the mighty Saguaros that dot the vistas that will yield to twinkling city lights come nightfall.

You are home.

And, oh, what a home it is.

Featuring over 5500 painstakingly designed square feet, this 1999-constructed Spanish marvel is the pride of Pinnacle Peak Vistas 3. The ground-level master suite is its own sanctuary within a sanctuary, highlighted by a luxurious master bathroom with a wrap-around shower and a walk-in closet larger than your first apartment.


The living room greets you at the front door with faraway views through the butted glass windows. A stacked-stone fireplace would steal the show in any other home, but is just another jaw-dropping feature here.


A wet bar joins the living and family rooms, offering an ideal layout for entertaining that would suit the Great Gatsby himself.


And the kitchen … oh, the kitchen.


The bards of old would have written sonnets about this kitchen. Alas, none would have adequately captured its full character. Designed for the gourmet’s gourmet, its story cannot be told simply. Yes, it has alderwood cabinets. Yes, it has the expected granite counter tops in a home of this caliber. Yes, it has high-end appliances such as a Viking range, Sub-Zero refrigerator and multiple ovens to go with a stone fan hood.

The island? It would be more appropriate to call it a continent.

Alas, one must experience this kitchen in the flesh to truly appreciate it.

A den and bonus/game room/sportsman’s paradise round out the ground floor.


Up the sweeping stairway you go to find a loft with a walkout balcony, and three additional bedrooms with some of the best views the Valley has to offer out of virtually every window.



Stepping outside, the rear patio is a room unto itself. With seating / entertaining areas to take advantage of the various views from every nook and cranny of the acre plus property, there is no wrong place to sit.



Cool off on those warm summer days with a dip in the pebble-tec pool, or warm up from that faint nip we call winter here in Scottsdale with a soak in the adjoining spa. Either way, you can rinse it all away with the outdoor shower when you’re done.



A home of this size demands commensurately generous parking, and there are no disappointments here with the four car garage (standard two and a tandem two).

You will know the owners scrutinized every last detail in the construction of this house when you see the thought put into storage. Find a dead space in this home that was not utilized for extra pantry space, under-stairs storage, etc and I’ll take you to lunch.

Yes, this is why you moved to Arizona.

Whether new to the Valley, or a long-tenured resident, it makes no difference.

This is your Sonoran Desert experience.

You can live it for $1,000,000.

 View Full Property Details

Home offered for sale by Ray and Paul Slaybaugh, Realty Executives (480) 948-9450

*This is a short sale offering. All purchase contracts are subject to lien-holder approval.


Contact us today for more information.


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