Laveen Real Estate and Vee Quiva – Defying the Odds

IMG_1833Last summer I wrote about Vee Quiva Hotel and Casino, south of Laveen on the Gila River Indian Reservation. The repeating theme of the post was that it was, well, Vee Quiva. Which is to say, quirky.

It’s also become the favorite of my wife and I. Granted, if we want really fuzzy rum drinks and to spend a night people watching, Talking Stick in Scottsdale is a better option. But for everything else, including the games we like, Vee Quiva wins in a landslide. (Disclaimer – we’re waiting on our first comp room in Talking Stick, which could change some things.)

Did I mention the $3.99 eggs your way all day? Breakfast for dinner for the win.

Now, one of the quirks of Vee Quiva is you have to understand the odds don’t apply as they normally do.

I’m a somewhat decent poker player, not good enough to win consistently but good enough to know how to handle the cards I’m dealt and the myriad odds attendant to each possibility. Years ago I started gravitating toward the poker room because it was the one place in the casino where the house didn’t have a statistical advantage. In fact, other than the rake, the house could care less who wins.

That doesn’t much matter at Vee Quiva, though, where folks with too much money and too little sense play anything and everything regardless of the odds and seem to come up lucky far too often. This isn’t a loser’s lament. This is just the reality built after watching people with low cards pull down pots in which they never should have been.

On the contrary … the penny and two-cent slots, where you essentially know you’re just lighting your money on fire, seem to be the most profitable way to go. Yes, there will be times when the machines bleed you dry. There also will be times when a $450 win comes on a 2-cent machine. You’re not going to find those kind of possibilities anywhere else.

I know that makes next to no sense but, well, that’s Vee Quiva. It often defies logic.

In that respect, it’s much like the Laveen real estate market. Time was when the drive down 51st Avenue to Vee Quiva was fairly quiet south of the Salt River because nothing was there. Then the Baseline corridor was built and Laveen sprung to life. That was 2004 and 2005, right before the bottom dropped out of the real estate market.

Laveen was one of the hardest hit areas in the main Phoenix metro area (excluding suburbs like Buckeye and Queen Creek). It always had been a bit of an oddity, behaving more like the distant suburbs than a community in the heart of the Valley. It’s a bit south of Interstate 10 but, as anyone who has gone from Laveen into downtown Phoenix, it doesn’t matter when there are a half-dozen arterial roads that lead both east and west.

There was a house back in 2012 that I remember to this day. I was working with a buyer and, after some begging and cajoling, I was able to lock this one down for them at $84,000. It was going to be an investment house and it was perfect for what they wanted. Except, of all things, the back yard was too nice for them and they were worried a tenant would ruin it.

I told them at the time, with the utmost conviction, that if they let that one get away there wouldn’t be another opportunity like it again.

That same house sold last May for $131,000 – about a 50 percent increase.

Laveen recovered to a substantial degree. Where once there were homes in the $70s and $80s, the least expensive home on the market now is $132,000.

This isn’t to say everyone who bought in the 2004-2006 time frame is back to even after a hard fall. Maybe it never will. But I wouldn’t take that bet no matter what the odds. I learned that at Vee Quiva.

Speaking of the Laveen real estate market, here’s what’s available right now. Want to take a look? Call me at 602-502-9693 or drop me a line through the schedule an appointment links on the listings.

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Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at