5 Things to Do Before Putting Your Home on the Market

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and put your home on the market. Before you put up the for-sale sign in the front yard you need to make sure everything is show-ready. Today’s buyers have very particular tastes and turnoffs that could mean your home gets snapped up fast or sits on the sidelines. If you want your home sale to succeed, follow these tips:

1.    Give your house a deep clean

First impressions are everything and so much as a stray hair can make a potential buyer balk. Cleaning your home is an obvious must-do, but a deep cleaning can make all the difference. This means scrubbing the showerheads, wiping down baseboards and ceiling fans, and getting into all those hard to reach areas that are often overlooked. Consider calling in a professional cleaner who can do the work for you. The upfront investment will make it easier for you to maintain its cleanliness throughout the home selling process.

2.    Declutter the home

Decluttering and organizing your space will go a long way in appealing to potential buyers and there’s no better time to start packing than now. When a home is clutter-free, buyers are able to focus on all the impressive features of the home instead of distractions caused by too much stuff. Remove unused appliances from kitchen countertops, keep the bathroom counters clear and clean, and start weeding out those closets. Buyers always open closet doors and the last thing they want to see are items spilling out.

3.    Depersonalize your home

When selling a home, you want to strike the perfect balance between depersonalization and creating a warm, welcoming home. This means putting away the framed family photos, kid’s artwork and other personal items you currently have decorating your home. By removing personal belongings, buyers will be able to envision themselves living in your home and this will translate to a SOLD sign in your front yard.

4.    Call a handyman

When selling a house, you should have your handyman on speed dial. Make sure anything and everything that needs to be fixed (locks, hardware, leaky faucets, squeaky doors, etc.) has been taken care of before listing the home. Otherwise, buyers may think your home hasn’t been well taken care of, which can be a turn-off for many.

5.   Find a great real estate agent

Now that your home is in order, it’s time to find the right real estate agent. It’s imperative that you do some research to find a real estate agent who is knowledgeable in your specific market. There are a lot of agents out there, many of whom are well qualified, but what you’re looking for is someone who is an expert in your neighborhood. They will be key in getting your home sold fast, for the highest price, and with the least amount of hassle.

The Bruske Team specializes in working with buyers and sellers in Arcadia, the Biltmore, Paradise Valley, and the surrounding areas. Reach out to us if you’re looking for more home selling tips or if you want a complimentary price evaluation on your home. We’re always available.



Mortgage Rates Remain Low

There has been a lot of buzz recently about interest rates – are they going up, going down, and what does the forecast really look like. NBC News put out an article today touting how low interest rates have increased the volume of mortgage applications by 28% over last year.

Read the article here: NBC NEWS

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The Arcadia Lifestyle

The number one thing our clients ask for when looking for a home may surprise you. It isn’t a modern kitchen with chef-grade appliances, oversized master suite, his and hers closets, infinity edge pool, or mountain views (although, all these items are on their must-have list). What they’re looking for is the lifestyle. They want to be in a neighborhood that reflects how they live, what they enjoy doing and encompasses who they are. They want the Arcadia Lifestyle.

As cliché as it may sound, Arcadia truly has that quintessential trendy, modern, hip, classic, timeless feel, all wrapped into one tight knit, affluent community. Second, only to Paradise Valley, Arcadia is one of the most desirable and priciest addresses in Phoenix. Nestled inbetween Paradise Valley, the Biltmore Corridor, and Old Town Scottsdale, Arcadia has accessibility to all the upscale amenities these neighborhoods have to offer, plus picturesque views of Camelback Mountain. Within a 5-mile radius you’ll find exclusive country clubs, luxury resorts, a central business district, two fashion parks brimming with luxury retailers, the best restaurants and nightlife, and so much more.

Commonly referred to as Arcadia Proper, the boundaries of this neighborhood may shift depending on who you’re talking to. Roughly spanning from 44th Street to 68th Street, Camelback Road to just north of Indian School Road, Arcadia sits within both Phoenix and Scottsdale city limits. Originally home to citrus orchards, the irrigated, oversized lots are ripe with mature landscaping, grassy front yards and expansive floor plans. The neighborhood has retained its 1950’s charm, while embracing the renovated and restructured show pieces that are on par with what modern day buyers are looking for.

On the weekends you will find locals engaged in leisure activities – joggers on the canal, parents pushing strollers to the park, little leaguers swinging bats, and people of all ages riding beach cruisers from one restaurant or bar to the next. The tight knit feel and family focused community is the essence of Arcadia. While the neighborhood may have a trendy vibe, it doesn’t come with an air of arrogance or fleeting restaurant concepts that you might find in similarly affluent communities. La Grande Orange, Postino’s Wine Cafe, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and The Vig are a small sampling of long-standing, locally owned restaurants that appeal to all age demographics, and are popular with those living in and outside of Arcadia. Other neighborhoods claim to have all these amenities, but simply can’t deliver when compared to what Arcadia has to offer.

Living in the neighborhood gives our team a competitive advantage and a deep understanding of pricing, availability and trends in the real estate market. Our clients look to us for pricing guidance, negotiating acumen and for the inside scoop on where people really want to live. Lucky for us, those are easy question for us to answer. Give us a call and we’ll give you a private tour of the Arcadia Lifestyle.

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5 Questions You Should Ask When Hiring a Real Estate Agent


It’s crucial to know which questions to ask so your real estate agent can meet your expectations in terms of pricing, timing, and overall experience. We’ve listed out the top 5 questions smart home sellers ask when interviewing agents.

  1. Who will I be working with?

This is not as straightforward as it sounds and is often the most overlooked question. When interviewing agents make sure you ask who your main point of contact will be, what the roles are for each team member and what kind of communication you can expect. This helps mitigate miscommunications and sets the stage for a smooth transaction. 

  1. Who will be there to show my home (you, your staff, or no one)?

A common concern for sellers is whether or not their personal belongings and valuables will be safeguarded during showings to buyers. Some agents simply provide a lock box code and let the buyer’s agent show the property, and while systems are put in place to protect homeowners, this doesn’t give your agent the opportunity to highlight the attributes of your home and the neighborhood.

How long have you been in the business?

It might surprise you to learn the requirements to obtain a real estate license in Arizona are pretty lax and only require a high school diploma. Agents learn on the job, and the more sales an agent has completed, the more they know. Don’t be afraid to ask about their level of experience, number of years in the business and about the neighborhoods they currently work in.

  1. Tell me about your experience working in my neighborhood.

Aside from negotiating the best possible price for the sale of your home, perhaps the greatest value a real estate agent can add is their knowledge of the local market. By working with an Agent who knows your neighborhood, you will have a higher likelihood of achieving your asking pricing and benefit from a quicker sale. Be wary of agents who claim to work in any and all areas. They may lack the local market knowledge needed to get you the best price for your home.

  1. How will you determine the list price for my home?

The million-dollar question. Predicting a sales price can be challenging for even the most seasoned agents, and it requires more than making a guess based off comps. Pricing a home requires a strong understanding of market conditions in the neighborhood, an accurate evaluation of sales comps, and factoring in how days on market have affected comps on recent transactions.


When you hire the Bruske Team, you work directly with Jim Bruske and Gretchen Baumgardner and benefit from our 33+ years of combined experience. Our depth of market knowledge, long-standing experience working in Arcadia and the surrounding neighborhoods, gives us an unparalleled understanding of the changing market conditions that directly benefit our clients.

Gives us a call and we’ll let you in on our secrets to selling your home the Bruske Team way.



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Meet The Bruske Team


The Bruske Team

We specialize in luxury homes in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley, which requires a particular understanding of the high-end market in Arizona. Our commitment to our clients and community is unparalleled. When you become our client, you become our friend, and with that comes all of the respect and care we would reserve for a friend, as well as our determination and drive to help you find the perfect home to call your own. We understand there are thousands of real estate agents in Arizona to choose from. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to become your best option when you’re looking to buy or sell a luxury home.


Meet Jim Bruske

After graduating from Loyola Marymount University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, I was drafted by the San Diego Padres and enjoyed a 15-year career, playing for the Padres, the Dodgers, and was fortunate enough to pitch for the Yankees during the 1998 World Series. In 2000, I hung up my cleats and moved to Paradise Valley with my wife and our children. As I started considering my next big career move, I realized I was destined to work in the real estate industry. I was inspired by mother’s 35-year career in real estate and decided to make my mark as a top producing agent in Arizona.

For nearly 20 years, I have guided hundreds of clients through the home buying and selling process. I love building relationships with my clients, the art of negotiating the sale, and the joy and gratitude my clients have once we’ve closed the deal. Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than finding a home for a client that not only meets all of their requirements, but also fits well within their budget. Being able to continuously help my clients over the years and see their families grow has been one of the greatest markers of my success.

As an avid sports enthusiast, I remain active in the Arizona Major League Alumni community and often volunteer as a coach. True to baseball my roots, I spent many years coaching little league teams, coached for the Brophy College Preparatory team, and continue to run baseball-training clinics for children. Sitting on the golf committee for Arizona Country Club, and having a spot as a lifetime member and past executive councilman for the Executive Council Charities, keeps me grounded and connected to my community.


Meet Gretchen Baumgardner

As an Arizona native, I intimately understand why so many people want to live here. Gorgeous weather, wonderful people, and an incredible dining and entertainment scene are just a few of the reasons. After splitting my undergrad studies between the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, my passion for art led me to earn my Masters in Art History at the University of Washington. After graduating, I worked in San Francisco as a Corporate/Private Art Consultant for several years. My fine art career in California was a wonderful and enjoyable experience, but eventually, my love for the desert drew me back home.

Once I returned to Arizona, I decided to pursue a career in new home sales. This experience helped me establish a deeper understanding of the home building process, architecture and design – something I often draw upon today as I guide clients through their home search and purchase. After a few years, I went on to achieve my goal of earning my Broker’s License and went on to open my own real estate brokerage. Now a partner on the Bruske Team, I use my 16+ years of experience to bring a depth of local market knowledge to each and every client. Being a native has helped me gain an insider’s perspective on Arizona real estate, and this knowledge has become one of my strongest qualities as a Realtor.

Throughout my career, my family has played an important role in shaping my character and career success. Our close bond and support for one another was strengthened when my young daughter was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three. Thankfully, after we overcame many trials, she went on to beat it. Enduring this incredible challenge taught me so much about strength, compassion, and kindness – life lessons and qualities that I now work hard to apply in all areas of my life. This experience led me to become involved with Phoenix Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council and the Children’s Cancer Network. These programs work to promote awareness and fundraising for pediatric cancer. These days you can find us happy and healthy living in Arcadia with our dog Otis.


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Essential Tips for Buying a Home in Arizona

Essential Tips for Buying a Home in Arizona

Real estate markets vary from state to state, so it’s very important that you do your research if you are moving out of state. Knowing about local market nuances ahead of time will help you understand what to expect as a homeowner in your new state.

Additionally, finding your perfect home will be much easier once you have a better understanding of the state and its cities. If you’re working with a local realtor, this will also help him or her show you homes that align with what you are looking for.

Because I grew up in the wonderful state of Arizona and I’ve been a realtor here for many years, I understand what Arizona homebuyers need to know and how they can make the most of their home search. I love sharing these insights because I want new residents to enjoy Arizona living as much as I do. If you don’t currently live in Arizona and are planning on moving here, below are five tips you should know and leverage.

Buy a Home During the Summer Months

The Phoenix metropolitan is referred to as the Valley of the Sun, and for good reason: the region is known for its hot summers and sunny weather. Fortunately, you can use this to your advantage – especially during the summer time.

From May to September, Arizona’s population decreases as residents go on vacation and snowbirds travel back to their cooler homes. More realtors and moving services become available as result, which is great news for those who are in the market for a new house. Additionally, you will experience less competition from other homebuyers because fewer people will be searching for homes during this time. You may even be able to get your dream home at an unbelievable price.

Look For a Heatproof Home

Just because you should search in the heat of summer doesn’t mean you need to buy a hot house. In fact, by searching for a home in the summer, you can ensure that the home you buy can really handle the heat. If the realtor is taking good care of the house, it should be properly cooled during the showing. This will allow you to ensure that the central air is working efficiently.

You should also check the house for ceiling fans and dual-pane windows. Ceiling fans help circulate cool air from the air conditioner, making it easier to cool the whole house. Dual-pane windows prevent excessive heat transfer from the outside. Thick, sturdy blinds on windows are also a very beneficial and convenient feature in Arizona homes.

Additionally, if you are searching for a condo in Arizona, consider looking for ones that come with a garage that can easily fit your car. You car needs extra protection in Arizona because the summer here is much longer compared to other regions. Temperatures averaging in the 90s start in May and last through September, with heat waves into the 90s common in many other months as well. The more shade you can give your car, the better your car will fare.

Consider The Down Payment Assistance Program

Fortunately, Arizona makes it possible for people to buy a home even if they don’t have a down payment. Those who don’t yet have a down payment saved up can apply for the HOME Plus home loan program through the Arizona Department of Housing. HOME Plus loans are 30-year fixed-rate loans that cover a percentage of the down payment for people who meet specific credit and income criteria. Applicants can have incomes as high as $92,984, so this program certainly isn’t limited to only those with low incomes.

Hire Local Movers

When you do eventually find that fantastic home, let movers do the work for you. If you can comfortably afford movers, there’s no reason why you should take it upon yourself to haul boxes back and forth in summer weather. Even if the heat seems bearable at first, it can catch up with you suddenly and even cause heat stroke. Let local movers who know how to handle the heat carry everything so that you can stay cool and safe.

Work with a Trusted Realtor

Realtors work in your interest to find the best deals for you and to protect you from unscrupulous sellers. As a licensed Realtor, I follow the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics and can translate ‘‘real-estate-ese’’ for you so that you fully understand what you’re buying and signing.I know Arizona’s real estate market inside and out, and I understand what every Arizona city has to offer. Whether you want to buy a home in Scottsdale, Arcadia or another part of the Valley, contact me so that we can discuss your need. The Phoenix metropolitan area is booming and continues to grow – it’s time for you to be part of it!


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6 of the Latest Design Trends in Luxury Homes

6 of the Latest Design Trends in Luxury Homes

There are many benefits to buying a luxury home these days aside from the obvious aesthetics. If you really take a look at some of the latest affluent home trends and upgrades, you will understand the core benefits of having access to such modern and luxurious advancements. I specialize in selling million dollar homes, so I am quite familiar with the current features that make luxury homes so spectacular.

Consider me your concierge of luxury Arizona living as I walk you through these six modern home design trends.

Upgraded Kitchen & Appliances

Innovative new homes now offer kitchens with considerably more counter space, including dramatically larger islands. This is ideal for large gatherings where you may have more than one cook in the kitchen. Everyone can set up their space comfortably, with plenty of elbowroom, even if they are only watching the kitchen magicians in action.

You will also find that Arizona mansions and luxury homes come equipped with advanced refrigerators that signal you when food is about to expire. They will also let you know when you are running low on an item that needs be replaced. What’s more, they may even go as far as to order it online for you!

Luxurious Amenities

An exciting part of the modern luxury home is the assortment of bells and whistles you get to enjoy. Great examples include chilled glass-enclosed wine rooms to display your favorite bottles, a theater room and outdoor kitchenette for entertaining, private transformable sports amenities, a workout room or a sparkling pool.

Bathrooms are likely to feature touchless restroom fixtures, steam showers, body jets, heated toilet seats and electric bidets. These elements will surely make you feel like you’re on vacation at a 5-star hotel every day.

Unique Design Elements

Especially exquisite is the new trend that consists of an expansive single-story layout instead of a multi-level design. This allows for additional space throughout the home, including an enormous multi-car garage.

You will also encounter modular multi-purpose areas that can easily be adjusted using collapsible window walls. These well-designed dividers are developed with the ability to alter the indoor-outdoor boundary of the home as you please.

Another popular interior design element you will find that is prominent throughout updated homes is mixed-metal fixtures. The variety in textures and tones adds a touch of class that is subtle and unexpected.

Enhanced Security Features

Newly advanced security systems are just the update you need to feel safe and sound in your luxury home. Infrared exterior cameras are now a common component that strengthens the safeguards against potential break-ins by implementing night vision capabilities. Another example is fingerprint recognition, which is used to protect locked safes, vaults and private areas.

There are even new systems that douse intruders with pepper spray when certain sensors are tripped. Blast films have been added to windows to make them more difficult to penetrate. This all makes it very difficult for any unwanted individuals to forcefully enter the home, which allows you to have immense peace of mind as you fall asleep in your luxury home.

Smart-home Technologies

Automation features are key in modern homes. Many updated residencies contain LED wall pads that are used to conveniently control lights, shades and temperatures. Voice activation abilities create a lifestyle of ease with cutting-edge voice assistants such as Alexa or Google Home, which make entertaining so much more smooth and carefree.

Thanks to these technological advancements, making yourself and others feel more at home is easier and more convenient than ever.

Spacious Walk-in Closets

Although large walk-in closets are a well-known feature of larger homes, you will find that master closets in luxury homes are even more lavish. Islands are a welcomed addition to the private closet area, constructed with drawers, cubbies, mirrors and more. These new and ingenious closet islands solidify the high-end touch by transforming a once-dark storage area into an additional room fitted with lounge chairs, speakers and more.

Regardless of the glamorous features that today’s new homes offer, you should make sure it is unique to your personal taste. The architecture, design, tones and textures of the home should make you feel comfortably connected to its walls. Every single detail contributes to the incredible classiness of the entire home.

If you want assistance with finding your ideal luxury home in Arizona, I can certainly help. Contact me so that we can discuss your requirements and my current listings!




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The Cost of Living in Scottsdale, AZ: What New Residents Should Know

The Cost of Living in Scottsdale, AZ: What New Residents Should Know

With a population just shy of 250,000 residents, Scottsdale is a popular destination in Arizona. Families, retirees and celebrities move from all over the world to enjoy the beautiful desert landscapes, renowned nightlife and thriving dining scene.

Scottsdale also boasts luxury homes and extravagant amenities – making it one of the most luxurious cities in Arizona. Of course, these features come at a price, but those who can afford Scottsdale living know that it is worth every penny. Moreover, even though Scottsdale is known for being of the most expensive cities in Arizona, it is still one of the most affordable luxurious cities in the country. Needless to say, Scottsdale is a hidden gem for established professionals and affluent families.

To help you gain more insight into the cost of living in Scottsdale, I’ve provided some valuable details about common Scottsdale amenities below.

Goods and Services

There are numerous items and services we all need to purchase on an everyday basis. Fortunately, even though Scottsdale is a rather upscale city, pricing for basic goods is typically not above average. Whether you need to purchase paper towels, toothpaste, or other common household items, you will be able to find them at a fair price in most Scottsdale stores. Additionally, the vast majority of these stores carry numerous brands, which means you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for.

However, when it comes to supplementary goods such as clothes, jewelry and cars, expect to pay more than residents in other Arizona cities. This is due to the fact that Scottsdale mainly carries high-end brands, stores, boutiques and vehicles, so homeowners are paying extra for the superior quality they are receiving. This same is true for Scottsdale’s services, as the city contains many top-tier salons, tailors, spas and hotels.



If you like to make home cooked meals without overspending, Scottsdale is a great place to live. This wonderful Arizona city gives residents a variety of grocery stores to choose from, which ensures you will find a grocer that meets your budget and personal dietary preferences. Additionally, most grocery stores in Scottsdale are very welcoming and well kept.

If you are looking for a basic grocery store with great deals and prices, you can frequent a Fry’s Food and Drug store or Safeway store in the area. Because there are several scattered throughout the city, you won’t need to drive far and can reserve your gas money. If you prefer smaller grocery stores that carry more unique and healthier options, there are Trader Joe’s and AJ’s Fine Foods stores in the area as well. Best of all, you can find several farmers markets around town offering fresh, local produce at fair prices.

Health Care

According to the PayScale Cost of Living Calculator, Scottsdale’s healthcare costs are only 3 percent above the national average. Yet it is considered one of the less-expensive places to receive medical care when compared to other major cities. For example, PayScale data reports that Scottsdale healthcare costs are 5 percent lower than costs in San Diego.

A few examples of healthcare prices in Scottsdale that are lower than the national average include general care consultations, vision care and medication costs. The exception is dental care, which does tend to cost more in Scottsdale, according to data shared on the Movoto Real Estate website. However, most Scottsdale dentists are very established and experienced, so they are able to provide residents with superior treatment and care.


Homes in Scottsdale can be expensive, but considering the high-appeal standards of the city, the average values fair well when compared to major cities nationwide. For example, Zillow reports that the average Scottsdale home sells for around $438,000, while the average Los Angeles home sells for around $753,000.

However, many Scottsdale homes exceed this average price by a large margin because they are considered luxury homes. In other words, they feature extravagant amenities such as wine cellars, remote-controlled curtains, resort-style pools and spectacular views. Luxury homes can dramatically improve a homeowner’s quality of life, making their high prices well deserved.

When you consider real estate and economic trends, it’s clear that buying one of these homes could be a wise investment for your future. Scottsdale home prices have increased by at least 5 percent in the last fives years, and the market continues to push values upward. Knowing this, new Scottsdale homeowners can expect their home’s value to increase by the time they are ready to sell.


Most Scottsdale residents own at least one car, and they rely on this vehicle as their primary method of transportation. If you own a car and plan on using it to navigate through Scottsdale, AAA Newsroom reports that you can expect the annual cost to run you somewhere between $6,700-$10,600 per year, depending on the size of the vehicle. This includes gas, maintenance, insurance, and registration.

Although the gas prices in Scottsdale don’t veer far from the national average, other motor vehicle maintenances costs are quite lower. According to Scottsdale Muffler and Automotive, “The average cost of simple maintenance and repairs breaks down to about $80 a month.” Moreover, most Scottsdale car repair shops have a fantastic reputation for being honest and helpful, so these prices are certainly a steal.

If you don’t currently own a car, or if you plan on selling your car before moving, public transportation is another option for getting around Scottsdale. The most convenient and comfortable methods of public transportation in Scottsdale are driving apps like Uber or Lyft. Due to their practicality and safety, residents often use these apps when attending special weekend events.


Water, gas, power and Internet service are simply must-haves no matter where you live in Arizona. Of course, most of these bills will vary based on how much you use and how large your home is, but 2014 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the average electric bill in Arizona is $120.51. Regarding Internet, Scottsdale is home to numerous providers whose costs vary quite dramatically. You will quickly learn that sometimes it is worth paying a bit more for consistent and reliable service. This applies to cable providers as well.

Although the cost of living in Scottsdale is higher than some Arizona cities, it is only the fourth highest in the state. Scottsdale is an upscale community with enhanced safety, top-tier amenities, clean neighborhoods and marginally cooler temperatures. With that in mind, living in Scottsdale will noticeably enhance your everyday life. Contact me at your convenience if you are interested in relocating to Scottsdale. I would be happy to show you around!