It’s virtually impossible to describe playoff hockey to someone who hasn’t experienced it. There is a palpable energy in the building, the sensation of 18,000 people holding their breath simultaneously and releasing at sporadic moments throughout the game – a shot on a goal, a crisp pass and, especially, a hard check into the boards.
The first time I experienced playoff hockey was while covering the Phoenix Roadrunners of the since-defunct International Hockey League. And that still wasn’t preparation for 1997, when the Phoenix Coyotes made the playoffs on their first season here and faced the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Laguna Beach and El Segundo.
At the time, all I had to do was call the Associated Press’ hotline with updates every five minutes off the game clock and again whenever a team scored. The first time Phoenix scored, I found myself shouting into the telephone as loudly as possible just to be heard over the roar of the white-clad crowd.
It simply was breathtaking.
So it was two years later when the Coyotes played a Game 7 at US Airways Center against the St. Louis Blues, only to lose in overtime. The collective disappointment among those in attendance was heart-wrenching.
It all may sound a little silly and perhaps it is (as is the playoff beard I’ve decided to grow in hopes it helps the Coyotes escape the first round of the playoffs for the first time in their 15 years in the desert.) But unless you’ve got skates … er … feet on the ground in the moment, you can’t possibly understand.
Such also has been the case here in the Phoenix market for the past six weeks.
Just two nights ago during a family get-together, someone was talking about a friend searching for a home and said she knew “things were moving quickly but there’s just sooo much out there.” Except there isn’t. Not even close. That’s been well-documented here so I’ll save the whole New Jersey shtick.
With inventory on the resale market evaporating, the next logical place to look would be the new builds. And while I’d heard stories of life at the sales offices looking as it did about a half-dozen years ago, it wasn’t until I stepped foot into an office in Goodyear and saw a map filled with “sold” markers that I realized just how brisk that business has been as well.
Both builders I’d visited had sold 40-odd homes in March – on average one a day. In one of these cases, the building was coming in what had been a half-completed subdivision languishing during the dead post-bubble market. (Across the street from the spec home we toured was a short sale built in 2010.) The other was starting to sell in Phase 2, which looked like many other such previously-abandoned phases, replete with weeds growing on the lots where the homes hadn’t materialized.
Housing construction isn’t booming, at least not as it did almost a decade ago, but it’s become the haven for buyers who have grown tired of being one of 22 people to write offers on every home they see, who are fed up with multiple offer forms and bidding wars and bank addenda and as is addenda and short sales and the reality that financed offers are all but worthless up to the mid-100s.
New builds are the best option for many buyers and, as such, I’ve added a new build search to the website.
My ancient admonitions still apply – DO NOT go to a new build community without your agent, at least on the first visit. Once you go it alone, you’re going to be going it alone the entire way. And while the sales agents all are friendly and aren’t going to lie to you, they’re also not going to be working in your best interest. (Though I do give kudos to the agent I heard yesterday explaining to a buyer to not waste their money on flooring at the design center because her builder overcharges. Good to hear.)
Right now, you could end up spending a little more at a new build than you might on the resale market (assuming you can find something and get an offer accepted.) The tradeoff is knowing you have the house you’ve selected without having to sweat multiple offers and blind shots with highest and best offers.
And, unlike most of the resale market, financed offers are just as good as cash to a builder and many offer incentives if you use their lenders.
During April and May, everything is ratcheted up a notch or seven. This April, and most likely this may, the same can be said for the Phoenix market.