Gender Reveal

People filed into the 1920s Craftsman nestled in a downtown Phoenix historic district. Most were armed with gift bags or bottles of wine with bows affixed to the neck. All wore big grins above the turtlenecks or cardigans they donned against the blustery late autumn afternoon. An excitable, merle Yorkiepoo on hopping hind legs greeted each new arrival on the porch. Of the cars stretched up and down the tree-lined street, there was a conspicuous preponderance of small hybrid and electric vehicles.

Hector and Peter received their guests in the great room they had created by demolishing the walls that previously divided a living room, family room, and kitchen. Gifts piled up on the soapstone counter of the kitchen island, which was large enough to be its own continent within the sea of old world charm and new world luxury that the couple had painstakingly curated over the past year. Soft jazz played on an unseen Alexa. The centerpiece of the entire space, a massive spanish-tiled fireplace was prepped with logs, but unlit beneath the reclaimed driftwood mantel despite the dreary weather.

Guests mingled and made small talk in between trips to the antique dining table for appetizers. Its drop leaves fully upright for the occasion, it held platters of shrimp cocktail, aged cheeses, exotic fruit, and fresh, organic veggies. The aroma of fair trade Bolivian coffee that percolated on the bar top made its way to every nose in the house. Clad in black tuxedos with green ties and cummerbunds, waiters circulated amongst the revelers with flutes of champagne, as well as sparkling cider for the non-drinkers.

Fifteen minutes after the arrival of the last guest, Hector cut through the conversations around him by clinking a fork against his glass. Only when the most boisterous conversationalists finally took notice did he begin to speak.

“Distinguished guests,” he greeted with as much force as his thin voice would allow, “Thank you all for coming today. Even you, Dorothy.”

Polite chuckles and several catcalls arose from the crowd as a skeletal woman with severe eye makeup and a shock of silver running through her spiked, jet-black hair affected a deep curtsy in response.

“As you all know, Peter has been hard at work honing this diamond in the rough into the jewel you now see today,” he continued, gesturing at his sheepish husband who was attempting to disappear behind him. The size disparity between the couple making the spectacle absurdly hilarious, another wave of laughter rippled through the crowd.

“It was a team effort,” the towering architect demurred.

His voice was a deep, throaty bass that didn’t match his demeanor. The vertical stripes on his grey suit may have been slimming, but they also made him loom even larger than his six foot six frame normally did despite his cowering.

“Shush,” Hector chided him. “Peter did everything. Drew the plans. Selected the finishes. Met with all the contractors. I just paid the AMEX bill and yelled at people on the phone.”

Another chuckle from the crowd.

“Accept your flowers, honey,” he insisted, raising his glass. “To Peter!”

“To Peter,” the crowd echoed back.

Peter took a reluctant half bow as everyone took a sip of champagne or cider.

“But this isn’t just a housewarming party,” Hector continued when the voices died down. “We fibbed a little bit on the invitations. Peter and I invited all of you here today to make an announcement.”

The crowd tittered.

“Oh my God, you’re adopting,” one guest gushed.

“Where from,” another demanded. “Russia? Africa?”

“No, no, nothing on that front yet,” Hector corrected them. “We are still buried on all the waiting lists. Things have gotten more complicated in the last couple of years, but we remain hopeful. China is looking promising.”

He held up crossed fingers before lowering his hand and taking Peter’s.

“This is a gender reveal party,” Peter boomed, finding his voice.

The crowd stared back at the smiling couple with blank stares.

“Gender reveal,” a slight man in a top hat and overcoat asked. “You just said there was no baby?”

“No, we just said the adoption hasn’t been approved yet,” Hector clarified. “This is our baby!”

He made sweeping gestures in all directions, The guests followed his hands, confused.

“What, the house,” one asked with a derisive scoff. “You can’t be serious.”

“Why not, Chad,” Hector replied, offended. “Didn’t you name your car Christine?”

“Well, yes, but-“

“But what,” Hector pressed. “You assigned it a name.”

“It’s not the same,” the man squeaked. “I just named her for fun.”

“Ah, but why did you presume your car is a her,” Hector followed, well-practiced at the art of cross-examination.

“Come on, Hector. It’s a teal blue Tesla with cream leather interior, not a jacked up Ford.”

“That’s sexist and you know it,” he sang to the tune of the ubiquitous Right Said Fred tune.

“It’s a model Y, Chad,” he said with the air of a closing statement.

“But not an XY,” Chad sniffed, taking a step back in defeat.

“Anyone else have thoughts about this,” Hector quizzed his guests. “How about you, Daniel? I saw that look. Need I remind you that you refer to your hairless cat as ‘Them’?”

“Yeah, because They have nine lives,” A small disembodied voice answered. “Get it?”

“Look,” Hector announced. “It’s twenty twenty four, and the world has gotten scary enough. Half the country wants to cosplay the 1950s as it is. I didn’t expect our own friends and families to judge our choice to respect the right of our home to self-identify.”

“You’re right,” Chad said, reemerging from the crowd. “Hector, Peter, I am sorry for my closed-mindedness. I respect your choice and did not mean to offend you.”

“Thank you, Chad. No offense taken.”

Murmured approval went through the crowd.

“A house may not have an identity,” one surmised. “But a home is different. You pour your love and energy into a home. A home is a living thing. Of course it has feminine and/or masculine energy. Why wouldn’t it have a gender?”

Everyone looked at the mousy speaker, stunned, but nodding. Those standing near him pat him on the back and narrow shoulders.

“Percy,” Hector exclaimed, grabbing the wincing man in a fierce embrace. “You spoke!”

“Well, should we get this show on the road,” Peter asked, raising his voice above the din.

Replies to the affirmative rang out.

Peter withdrew a long lighter from his jacket pocket. He approached the fireplace and bent the long way down to the hearth. He turned to the throng of guests with a raised eyebrow, and touched the lighter to the firestarter brick beneath the waiting logs as cheers erupted.

“To the back yard,” Peter bellowed, leading the way as everyone hurried out of the house through the french doors, past the koi pond and herb garden to the lawn. There they craned their necks to watch the roofline.

“Pink smoke for a girl,” Peter announced. “Blue smoke for a boy!”

The anxious crowd waited.

“Definitely a girl,” one voice assured those around him. “Did you see those curtains?”

“Definitely a boy,” another challenged. “I haven’t seen that much red oak since the 1987 Boy Scout jamboree.”

Peter was about to return inside to make sure the fire was actually lit when the first few faint wisps of smoke appeared. Guests shushed each other as all attention turned to the chimney.

Cheers and I told yous went up as a light stream of pink trickled out of the roof. Only to be followed by opposing voices cheering as a trickle of blue chased it.

Peter cast a squinty-eyed look at Hector as a full rainbow of color billowed out of the chimney.

“What the fuck, Hector,” he whisper-scolded his partner. “What happened to green?”

They had settled on the home being gender neutral, at least until their tenth anniversary of home ownership, when the home’s identity would reveal itself organically rather than having one forced upon it. They had not even discussed its orientation.

“Oh lighten up, silly,” Hector responded with a glint in his dark eyes. “If Bob and Tina can fly that flag upside down and blast AM radio sermons every weekend, we can have a big gay house.”

He let the party-goers enjoy the spectacle for another minute before heading back inside to extinguish the fire. It was a no-burn day after all.

Is It A Good Time To Buy?

Is it a good time to buy a house?

If I had a donut for every time I have been asked this question over the past quarter century, my whole family tree would have diabetes.

In the pantheon of real estate inquiries, it remains unrivaled. All other frequently asked questions flow from its headwaters. You never get to is this a good area, or how are the schools without first fielding the pre-requisite question that begets all others.

No one cares about the specifics until satisfied that buying a home at this (or any) particular time is a good idea in general.

Over the years, I’ve had different responses to that question based on current market forces, prognostications, etc. Sometimes it’s a no-brainer, like when the foreclosure and short sale market started to clear out on the back side of the great recession of the late aughts. It didn’t take much foresight to realize that prices had reached a nadir and were about to slingshot the other way.

Indeed, over a decade of value gains catapulted those fortuitous buyers to equity piggy banks larger than even the most optimistic predictions could have anticipated.

Similarly, there were clear signs in 2005-2006 that an impossibly hot market was bound to cool. Once again, it wasn’t too challenging to see a slowdown and potential value dip looming, even if the full scope of the crash was far beyond what anyone saw coming.

Beyond those times where there are bright flashing warning signs, however, what I have learned more than anything in this business is that the prognostication game is a fool’s errand. Things change too rapidly, and factors too numerous to account for and predict tend to upend forecast models with alarming regularity.

I have been expecting a dip in values since about 2018, convinced that price points have become unsustainable, particularly for entry level buyers. No entry level buyers means no move up buyers. And so on and so forth. It seemed the inexorable march of rising prices was fueled by artificially low interest rates. As soon as rates crept up in response to inflation, I just knew values would suffer as a result.

And I was dead wrong.

Sure, the market cooled when rates first shot up, and prices did see a modest dip. Not nearly as sharp of a decline as I expected, however, and it came much later than I expected.

If you listened to me and sold in 2019, you likely lost out on some additional gain. If you purchased despite my warnings, you realized additional gain.

Why didn’t it go the way I expected? Because homeowners that locked in 2.5 – 3% interest rates in the last five years are now refusing to move.

Why would they?

Those who would like to sell to upsize, downsize, move out of state, or whatever, will have to move somewhere. If they require financing to make the move, as many do, they can look forward to an interest rate that is, at minimum, double their current one.

Kinda kills the vibe.

Fewer sellers, means fewer options for today’s buyers. High demand and low supply has kept home prices high, despite affordability concerns.

The point being that the market is always as likely to zig as it is to zag, because the thing you think is gonna be the thing, turns out not to be the thing at all.

So when people come to me today, in 2024, asking if it’s a good time to buy, what do I tell them?

I answer the question with two of my own:

  1. Are you financially able to purchase a house?
  2. Does the security of being a homeowner outweigh the freedom from attachment that renting offers?

If you answer ‘yes’ to both of these questions, it’s a good time to buy a house. If you answer ‘no’ to either of them, it’s not.

Stop listening to the talking heads with red faces and halitosis who shout their investment/financial strategies at you via cable TV. They don’t know you or your goals. If they want to watch the price of yak milk in southern Sri Lanka to determine whether the Swiss Franc will hold up to the deflationary pressure in the Argentinian gold bullion market, thus spiking land values in the least of the Lesser Antilles, creating a flood of American ex-pat migration, leading to a glut in the US housing supply that crashes the national median sales price by $5000, let them. Doesn’t mean you need to join them on that hamster wheel.

Need a house?

Can you afford to buy one?

Want to put some roots down?


It’s a good time to buy.

A.I. Killed the Real Estate Star

All that’s left for you to do is move right in!

Geraldine sat back from her keyboard, grinning as she laced her fingers behind her head.

“You still go it,” she congratulated herself on another job well done, her smoker’s rasp yielding to a brief coughing fit. She fished the last cigarette out of the pack of Virginia Slims on the desk next to the old Toshiba laptop with an arthritic claw. Everything took longer these days, but that only added to the eventual satisfaction.

Lighting up, she proofed her ad copy for the fourth time through the cancerous haze. She chuckled at her favorite bits, like the proud parent of puns and witticisms that she was.

More upgrades than a Kardashian! More remodeling than a Jenner!

Don’t take these counter tops for granite!

Even the pronoun police agree that Mrs. Clean lives here!

Despite having written hundreds of property descriptions over the years, the one thing Geraldine prided herself on above all else was that no two were exactly the same. She agonized over every noun. Scrutinized every verb. Relished every adjective. While there may be only so many ways to describe a swimming pool, or a great room, by God she would find a new combination of words every time. Even if it just meant tweaking timeless cliches ever so slightly.

This was what she brought to the table. This was why her clients hired her. It was right there on her business card, after all:

“Geraldine Jurgenson – The House Poet

The cursor was still flashing on the screen, insistent. It drew her grey eye to the call to action just beneath her text:

Improve with AI

Geraldine scoffed, as she always had since artificial intelligence entered her profession in recent months. Not for the first time, she wondered what illiterate boob of an agent would outsource her very words to R2D2. The world had become a very strange place since Reagan left office.

And yet … she couldn’t deny the morbid curiosity that flooded her doubting mind.

What does a machine know about selling a house?

What computer code can tug at a home buyer’s emotions like my prose?

She saved what she had written, took a long swig of Diet Pepsi through a turtle-killing bendy plastic straw, and pressed the button allowing for artificial “enhancement” of her property description. This would be good for a laugh.

“Okay, Data, show me what you got,” she smirked, pleased with her reference.

No sooner had she finished her sentence did the lengthy paragraphs on the screen rearrange themselves into shorter blurbs. Despite herself, she had to admit that the new layout was more approachable and easier on the eye than her wall of text.

Parlor trick, she told herself. Of course a computer would structure everything just right. She did use spellcheck and grammarcheck, after all. She shouldn’t be surprised that maximum efficiency was a check in the robot’s column. A useful syntax tool, nothing more.

Fair play, Mr.Roboto, but now let’s see how you do with the actual art of writing.

She comforted herself with the certainty that the glorified Roomba’s words would have all the flow of her late husband’s prostate.

Her smile faded as she read through the opening lines, however. It disappeared entirely when she moved on to the second paragraph. By the time she read through the conclusion, she was physically shaking and near tears.

It was beautiful. Captivating even. The details. The descriptions. The robot’s version was so much more concise and impactful than hers, despite being confined to the same 1000 character limit.

She had never before seen a walk-in pantry described as ” a magical wardrobe to culinary Narnia.” Nor had she ever considered opening a line dedicated to a home’s hardwood flooring with, “Well, shiver me timbers!” Every nuanced phrase was as fresh and unique as her old rote was tired and hackneyed.

It made her want to buy the house. And she hated this house.

She could scarcely believe it. Just like that, the niche she had dedicated decades to carving out for herself had been filled in by the lifeless fever dream of some computer geek in Northern California.

If AI was the latest and greatest trend, Geraldine realized that she had become the handyman special, in need of a total makeover. With her osteoporosis, she couldn’t even make the claim to good bones anymore.

She had seen the future, and octogenarian agents like herself certainly weren’t it. All the selfie filters in the world couldn’t obscure that fact.

“Well, old gal,” she announced to the room as she powered off the laptop and stood. “There is always a market for a fixer-upper.”

She made a mental note to reduce her fee and order new business cards as she shuffled out of the cramped, smoke-filled room.

“Alexa, turn off the lights,” she croaked over her bony shoulder, plunging the old cottage into darkness. “The party’s over.”

“I’m not saying they are flying low. I’m just saying the last one took about two inches off the top.”

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Would You Hire a Realtor to Cut Your Hair?

Would You Hire a Realtor to Cut Your Hair?

The year was 2005.  The market was hot. White hot.  Jump up and down, and yell I’m a pony! hot.  Everyone within the city limits of Scottsdale AZ had or was in the process of obtaining their Real Estate license.  By July, I had lost former clients to chiropractors, dentists, doctors, doctors’ spouses, doctors’ spouses’ doctors … I thought I had experienced it all.  Mind you, the prevailing thought at the time was that a chimpanzee with a business card could sell a house. And he probably could have with a Multiple Offer Addendum and a cell phone, but I digress.  One day while running my daily search of the new inventory in McCormick Ranch, I see a suspiciously familiar address.  I pull up the listing and do the whole Is that …? No, can’t be.  But it looks …? NOOOO!!! bit.

Sure enough, it was the lovely couple I had sold the home to a few years back and had only recently visited over the holidays.  My mind raced.

What did I do wrong? Are they upset with me? Did I fail to keep in touch? Did I keep in touch too much? Is it because I mangled their son’s name that time we ran into each other at the coffee shop?

After letting my stomach churn over the myriad ways I could have potentially brought this upon myself, I finally picked up the phone. After two rings, a familiar voice answered.  Mindful to make sure that I did not say anything that could be construed as tampering with another agent’s listing, I simply blurted out, “What happened?”

Long story short: The wife’s hairdresser had recently gotten her Real Estate license to use on the side.  Now, in my opinion, the words “hairdresser” and “Realtor” should never collide in the same sentence, but apparently not everyone agrees.  No one would ever in a million years sit down at a chair and let me go to town with a pair of clippers and #2 attachment, but my highly educated clients made the decision to help her out by listing a $500,000 asset for sale and purchasing a million dollar property with her.

Now, I will not pretend that I did not first take the news personally and selfishly. That is a big chunk of business to lose to a hobbyist, and it stung. The value proposition of hiring a full-time, active agent did not outweigh the desire to help a friend get started in the industry. That is not an easy pill to swallow. What’s worse and ultimately paramount, however, is the disservice such a choice can do to the consumer him or herself. When you don’t engage in the practice of selling Real Estate but once or twice a year, if it all, you put the people you represent at an immediate disadvantage. You simply don’t know what you don’t know.

And sadly, in this case, my former clients … ultimately got a bad haircut. 

It serves as a reminder that it doesn’t go without saying to the general public that all agents are not interchangeable. The effect of the misconception that we are can have a monumental effect on your bottom line and long-term satisfaction. As such, I try to use such experiences as teachable moments.

Remember, folks. We all want to help our friends and family members when and where we can, but think carefully before employing someone to guide you through a home sale or purchase if it is just their “side hustle.” This is not a profession that requires an advanced degree or special skill set over and above modest intelligence, tenacity, and a willingness to leverage your knowledge and experience for the benefit of your clients, but it does require practice. Experience. Repetition. Like any other human endeavor performed exceptionally, if never perfectly.

I don’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to make a little extra money in their spare time, but I firmly believe there is value to hiring someone who is working in their primary field of expertise. Hire your neighbor’s kid to pull your weeds. Hire your nephew’s girlfriend to walk your dog.

But when you have a major service need, I would advise the following:

  • Need roof work done? Hire a roofer.
  • Need your transmission serviced? Hire a mechanic.
  • Need a haircut? Hire a barber.
  • Need to buy or sell a home? Hire a Realtor.

And not a moonlighter. An active, full-time Real Estate professional who has been there, done that, and won the cheesy t-shirt in a home tour group raffle. 

After all, if you don’t want me fixing your fade after spending my evenings learning the craft via YouTube, you probably don’t want your hair stylist selling your house. 

Paul has been selling the greater Phoenix area as a full-time Realtor for over 20 years now. For all of your Scottsdale AZ Real Estate needs, please visit him at

Phoenix Historic District Homes For Sale

What? You didn’t think we never left the cozy confines of Scottsdale, did you?

Don’t let the self-typecasting branding of this website fool you. We serve the entire metro Phoenix area. We have a particular affinity for the historic homes of downtown Phoenix. Here are the very latest historic home listings sorted by district.

Scroll to peruse live feeds for the latest homes for sale in the Phoenix Historic District of your choice (sorted alphabetically by district name).  Click on district links to view all historic homes for sale.

Alvarado / East Alvarado Historic District Homes


Ashland Place Historic District Homes


Brentwood Historic District Homes


Campus Vista Historic District Homes


Cheery Lynn Historic District Homes


Coronado Historic District Homes


Country Club Park Historic District Homes


Del Norte Place Historic District Homes


Earll Place Historic Homes


East Evergreen Historic District Homes


Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District Homes


Encanto Manor / Encanto Vista / North Encanto Historic District Homes


Fairview Place Historic District Homes


F.Q. Story District Homes


Garfield / North Garfield Historic District Homes


Idylwilde Historic District Homes


La Hacienda Historic District Homes


Los Olivos Historic District Homes


Margarita Place Historic District Homes


Medlock Place Historic District Homes



Oakland Historic District Homes


Phoenix Homesteads Historic District Homes


Pierson Place Historic District Homes


Roosevelt / Roosevelt Park Historic District Homes


Villa Verde Historic District Homes


Willo Historic District Homes


Windsor Square Historic District Homes


Woodland Historic District Homes


Woodlea Historic District Homes


Yaple Park Historic District Homes


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