Archive for May, 2006

The Stratosphere Tower: Another Change at the Top!

Monday, May 29th, 2006

The Stratosphere Las VegasThe “High Roller” rollercoaster that wraps around the Stratosphere at 111 stories has been closed since January. Recently, construction crews have been taking the track apart in pieces at night! Have you seen those nocturnal daredevil dismantling crews up there? Talk about a job with a view! What are they making way for? How about a 6,880 square foot nightclub with a revolving outdoor deck and VIP Sky Boxes! Yup, that’s the plan. The Stratosphere just keeps on trying to reinvent itself into something that works and makes sense. Next up, 360 degree dancing at 900 feet! MS Las Vegas Real Estate has spent some time at the Top of the World Restaurant on the 109th floor and we can see the appeal of the idea. We’ll send our next report from a skybox at the club!

Las Vegas Luxury Real Estate: One Queensridge Place

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

One Queensridge Place Las VegasThey hit the top about ten days ago! The concrete has been completely poured for the twin 18-story towers that comprise phase one of the One Queensridge Place Luxury Condominium community. Exterior work on Tower One is approaching the 6th floor and you can already get a feel for how magnificent these buildings will be when you drive by. The first two towers are 75% sold and the first residents are due to arrive in early 2007. Starting price? One million six hundred thousand dollars. No question, these are sumptuous Las Vegas luxury homes of the first order.

Centennial Hills Real Estate: The Echelon Mid-Rise Luxury Community

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

Centennial Hills real estate is about to offer up something new and exciting for residents of the northwest section of the Las Vegas Valley. SBA Homes is developing a unique “urban village” mid-rise residential community named Echelon. Located at the junction of I-95/I-215/Durango Drive, Echelon provides a location that makes for easy travel throughout Las Vegas. In addition Echelon will share the neighborhood with numerous retail and dining venues, the new Centennial Hills Hospital and the huge new Mall of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas homes at Echelon will be spread across a 15-acre site and divided into eleven mid-rise buildings. Units range from 1,064 to just over 4,000 square feet. The interior design of each home is decidedly feng shui and features a personal terrace with a glowing two-way fireplace. Secured WiFi and high speed Internet are provided and many units come with a computer alcove to facilitate at-home business. Guard gated entry and 24/hour security ensure that your privacy is undisturbed and common areas provide pools, parks and recreation.

Las Vegas luxury real estate at Echelon allows you to indulge in a comfortable lifestyle that is steeped in style and functionality, while avoiding extravagance and pretension. Interested in learning more? The Sterling Team at Red Rock Canyon Realty is at your disposal. We can be reached at 888-349-2595 at your convenience.

Why it's important to use a reputable lender!

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Didier CiambraAll lenders ARE NOT created equal!

Especially in a thriving home market like Las Vegas, it is imperative that you align yourself with a reputable local lender who is used to doing business in the area.

Sterling Team member Didier Ciambra (pictured to the left) gives practical tips and advice below on choosing and working with lenders:

  • Lenders work on a commission basis and in today’s reality will say anything to get a client. A pre-qualification letter is not an unconditional acceptance of a loan from an underwriter (the person that actually gives the loan). A pre-qual letter is like a Letter of Intent – it confirms intent but does not obligate any of the parties to perform. As a result over 90% of all delays to close of escrow are due to lenders inability to either find a loan or simple incompetence.
  • Not closing on time means that the buyer is in default of his obligations as defined in the purchase contract. This can and usually will trigger the penalty clauses under that contract as agreed by both parties during the negotiation process. This includes the release of the earnest money deposit to the seller (where it becomes non-refundable) or the outright cancellation of the transaction (likely if the seller has a better back-up offer).
  • If the seller cancels the transaction because the buyer has not performed as per the purchase contract, then the buyer will lose his earnest money deposit, as pre-agreed, which can be substantial.
  • If the seller requests that the buyer releases the earnest money deposit, then the buyer looses all leverage with the seller. This can be very problematic as the buyer now has to rely on the seller’s good faith if any additional problems arise before the close of escrow – for example if a problem is found with the house during the final walk-through.
  • In today’s world, that is an uncomfortable leap of faith and a good agent will do everything necessary to avoid this. In fact, a good agent should be able to identify early in the process, if a lender is not-performing or is not reputable and should advise his client of the potential pitfalls before they arise and act accordingly to redress the situation seamlessly.
  • What is critical to a successful and stress free transaction is that all parties involved have their client’s best interest at hand – anything less does a disservice to the client and will increase the likelihood of an unsuccessful transaction.
  • Thank you Didier for this helpful report!

    Didier’s contact information is below. Please contact him if he can be of any assistance to you when buying or selling a home in Las Vegas.

    Didier Ciambra
    Cell: 702 232 6048
    Fax: 702 617 9793

    Las Vegas Doormen – Ever wonder why they try and put you into a Limo?

    Friday, May 26th, 2006

    Las Vegas Doormen and BellmenTransportation in Las Vegas is big business. Just look at all of the Limousines and Taxis running up and down the strip 24 hours a day. There are probably thousands of Limousines and cabs on the strip at any given moment, considerably more on a weekend night.

    Someone has got to be making a ton of money off of this wouldn’t you think? Of course they are! But probably not who you think! The people making the SERIOUS money (pure profit with ZERO expenses) are the REAL transportation power brokers in Las Vegas: The Doormen. You know, the loud guys standing next to the cab line in front of the hotel dressed in the funny looking uniforms, big hats, and white gloves which are always outstretched in your direction looking for money.

    First off, don’t confuse the bellmen with the doormen, the bellman are the ones who carry your baggage to and from your room. Most doormen wouldn’t be caught dead doing this, they have much more important business to take care of outside the hotel, making money!

    To understand how how and why doormen make so much money off of transportation in Las Vegas, you first have to understand the dynamics which go on in front of practically every hotel/casino in Las Vegas. The doormen control everything that occurs outside the front door of the hotel. EVERYTHING. A doorman personally opens EVERY cab and limousine door the hotels guests get into. This goes well beyond just giving good service to the guests leaving the property. By personally escorting EVERY guest into a cab or limousine, the doormen essentially control what form of transportation guests use to leave the hotel.

    Doormen do NOT want guests leaving the hotel in taxi cabs. If a guest leaves in a taxi, the doormen aren’t making any money. Even though you might give the doorman a dollar or two for opening the cab door, he still is not happy. He might have received 100 dollar bills during his shift from people just like you, just for opening up the cab door. That $100 is pocket change for him. The doormen make the REAL money from working the cab line, talking to the guests waiting to get into cabs. The longer the doormen can make people wait in the cab line, and the longer the cab line becomes, the more money the doormen are about to make. Doormen are notorious for putting people into taxi cabs real slowly, to keep the line long.

    The two or three doormen working out front do this together, working as a team. They do this so the doormen not loading the guests into cabs can work the cab line talking to everyone in it. They appear to be real friendly people, asking how you are doing, how you are enjoying your stay, and most importantly where you are headed this evening. All the while they are sizing you up. Do you appear to have money? Are you with your wife or girlfriend? Are you part of a large group all going to the same place? Are you part of a bachelor or bachelorette party? Are you going to a strip club (a doorman’s dream!)? Once they have this information they will always then try and sell you on the idea of travelling to your destination in either a limousine or a “super stretch luxury SUV or hummer”. They even promise to get you a “super good price, just a little bit more expensive then riding in a cab”. More often then not, they will even tell you the price right there on the spot. If you are heading to a strip club, they often will tell you that you can ride in that big beautiful H2 Hummer parked at the curb FOR FREE, as long as it drops you off at the strip club of your choice!

    This is how the doormen make the vast majority of their money (some people have overheard doormen at major strip hotels brag about making $5000 PER WEEK IN CASH!). Every time they load you into a regular or SUV limousine they are given 20% of the total price you paid for the ride by the limo driver. So if the doorman quoted you a price of $50, the limo driver gives the doorman $10 for setting up the ride. If the doorman is REALLY lucky and you and your 20 friends are going to a strip club, he might still try and sell you the super stretch Hummer H2 limo ride for $100. If you balk and tell him you will just take cabs, he will ALWAYS give you the limo ride for free. Here’s why: Strip clubs in Las Vegas pay taxi and limo drivers $20 per head, YES TWENTY DOLLARS PER HEAD, for each and every customer they deliver to the front door of the strip club in their vehicle. Twenty guys getting out of a Hummer H2 limousine, multiplied by $20 per head, is $400. The limo driver has to give HALF of this money to the doorman. That’s $200 each!

    Limo drivers HATE having to give this money to the doormen. But if they don’t, the doormen will NEVER load that limo driver with passengers again. He will never get another ride from that hotel again. For all intents and purposes limo drivers are held hostage by the doormen, they can’t make a living without them. Either pay the extortion or don’t make any money, that’s the limo drivers dilemma. Cab drivers (some of the hardest working and honest people in Las Vegas) also hate this practice. Whenever a doormen diverts customers going to a strip club from a cab (cab drivers do not kick back money for rides or strip clubs to doormen) to a limousine the cab driver loses money. Cab drivers and doormen are usually at each others throats over this issue. Cab drivers feel that doormen are stealing money from them by engaging in the practice of diverting customers from cabs to limousines.

    So, the next time you are in line in front of your favorites casino with 20 of your closest friends heading out for a night of strip club hopping, and the doorman asks you where you are going, tell him the truth. Tell him exactly where you are going. When he starts drooling, you know you have him hooked. Tell him you want a free ride, AND you want half his strip club kickback. Tell him to hand you $100 in cash right there on the spot and you’ll LET HIM load you and your friends into a big stretch SUV limo. The funny part is he’ll do it. Funnier yet is watching him cry as he is handing you the money! :)

    Mother's Day – Does this look familiar?

    Friday, May 26th, 2006

    Mother's Day at your house?Yeah yeah, I know…..Mother’s Day was a few weeks ago. I’m a little late.

    But I just ran across this “Mother’s Day Video” two sons we’re making for their mother. It’s classic!

    Click here to watch the video for yourself, just make sure to turn the volume up so you can hear it.

    Any of you who have a brother or sister around the same age as you will definitely think this looks familiar!

    Why doesn't Las Vegas have a Professional Sports Team?

    Thursday, May 25th, 2006

    Las Vegas SportsAs previously reported here Las Vegas will host the 2007 NBA All-Star game.

    While this is certainly a very nice feather for Las Vegas to put in it’s cap, I have to ask why we don’t already have a major professional sports franchise? By major I mean either Major League Baseball or the National Football League. I’m a big believer that the NBA has lost it’s mainstream appeal to the masses. Sure there are still fans of the game left, but they are pretty hardcore fans (like hockey) who would watch the game no matter who was playing. How often does the casual sports fan tune in to watch the NBA finals? Who won the NBA title last year? The year before that? Now tell me who won this years Super Bowl or World Series. See my point?

    Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing cities in the entire country. Thousands of new people move to Las Vegas EVERY month. The fan base is here. The corporate sponsorships are here. The MONEY is here. Everything is in place to support a professional team. But there is one small problem holding everything back: Gambling.

    The mere thought (aghast!) of people actually gambling on a team that is based in Las Vegas makes the power brokers of the major sports leagues squirm. They worry that the “integrity” of their sport would be compromised by the betting that would take place in the teams home city. I find this pretty laughable. Right or wrong, gambling goes on in every city, county, small town, village, and hamlet in the United States. In pretty much all of these places the gambling that is taking place is illegal. In Las Vegas, that is not a problem. Gambling in Nevada is pretty regulated, to say the least! What is the difference between a Las Vegas casino accepting bets on an NFL game for a team playing in Buffalo and one playing in Las Vegas? There isn’t any.

    Boxing is the only sport that can see the forest through the trees when it comes to staging it’s events in Las Vegas. You want to see a spectacle? Walk around the MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay the night of a big Oscar De La Hoya fight (or ask someone who was there when Mike Tyson, in his prime, was fighting in Las Vegas) and you can literally feel the energy pulsate around you.

    Imagine that occurring 8 weekends (plus the playoffs) a year with a Las Vegas based NFL team. What about the grand daddy of all spectacles in the HISTORY of sports – The Super Bowl being played in Las Vegas. Do you think they would have trouble filling an 80,000 seat stadium? I don’t.

    What are your thoughts? Should Las Vegas get a professional sports team?

    North, South, East, West? What are they talking about?

    Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

    Las Vegas CompassWhere I come from, directions might be given like this: “Turn right on Main St, keep going for about a mile then take a left at the light on Town Rd. At the second stop sign take a right, and the building is the third one on the left.” The residents of Las Vegas have a slightly different way of giving directions!

    In Las Vegas, it’s more likely to go like this:
    “Head south on Las Vegas Blvd for 5.27836 miles past the Mandalay Bay, then turn east on Silverado Ranch. Keep heading east, until you reach Maryland Parkway. Then turn south. The store is on the west side of Maryland Blvd.” I’m not exaggerating!

    The first time someone gave me directions this way, I was like, what the #$%^ are you talking about? North where? South on what? What is the matter with you people!

    If you’re new to Las Vegas, get used to it. This is the way EVERYONE gives directions. Everything is by the compass! It really starts getting confusing when they start throwing in terms like “south-east corner of Rainbow”. But don’t worry, after you have been CONDITIONED to think like this (yes it’s definitely conditioning / brainwashing / mind alteration however you want to think of it) it doesn’t take long to get into the “Las Vegas” way of giving directions.

    Maybe I can help speed up the learning curve a little bit. When I first came to Las Vegas a friend gave me a quick primer on how to start thinking like a compass.

    Let’s start with Las Vegas Blvd, parts of which are also known as “The Strip”. This is basically the center of the universe in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Blvd runs North and South. Basically, everything on the east side of Las Vegas Blvd is known as “the east side of town” and everything to the west of Las Vegas Blvd is known as “the west side of town”. Easy right?

    OK, lets add in some of the major arteries which cross The Strip. Let’s start at the south end of The Strip (subliminal conditioning taking place). The first major road which bisects The Strip is Tropicanna Ave, heading east and west. The MGM Grand, New York New York, Excalibur, and Tropicanna casinos all lie at the four corners of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicanna Ave. The next major road to cross the strip is Flamingo Ave, also heading east and west. Caesars Palace, Barbary Coast, Bellagio, and Ballys all lie on the corners of Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo Ave. We have a great map which shows the strip and it’s main arteries here.

    That’s it! What you just learned are the building blocks for getting ANYWHERE in the entire Las Vegas Valley. Within a few months you’ll be giving directions that would make any cab driver in Vegas envious.

    So, the next time someone asks you how to get from the Thomas and Mack Arena to the Bellagio, your answer might go something like this: “Head west on Tropicanna Ave, then turn North on Las Vegas Blvd. The Bellagio is on the west side of Las Vegas Blvd. Turn west into the driveway of the Bellagio. Valet parking is right at the front of the hotel.”

    Just remember to tip the valet $20 for a good spot! ;)

    The Las Vegas Monorail: The Bleeding Continues

    Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

    Las Vegas MonorailThe MS Las Vegas Real Estate Blog continues the thankless task of chronicling the sad saga of the Las Vegas Monorail. How are things going this year? Well, it depends on how you look at it. The number of passengers is down again although by some miracle the monorail itself isn’t. Revenue is actually up slightly however, and this is due to a fare increase from three dollars up to five. One thing is for sure, the cab drivers continue to laugh hysterically. Once upon a time, they were highly concerned that the monorail would eat into their business considerably. Not any longer! The $650 million privately financed monorail has not turned a profit since opening in mid-2004. The monorail is believed to have lost around $20 million in 2005. What does $20 million buy here in the Las Vegas Valley? Well, let’s just say that the most expensive piece of Las Vegas luxury real estate sold to date went for $14.5 million. Twenty million is serious money and you can bet they wish they had it back. Why? Monorail officials are still trying to line up financing to run the thing from MGM Grand out to the airport despite hideous losses!

    City of North Las Vegas: Bigger Budget / Lower Taxes / What Gives?

    Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

    North Las VegasThe City of North Las Vegas put together a new budget last week that increases spending by just over thirty percent, yet maintains a balanced budget. How did they do it? The same way so many other amazing things happen in Southern Nevada, spectacular growth!

    Here’s additional good news for owners of North Las Vegas homes, property taxes were actually decreased slightly. I know what you’re thinking, how much growth could there have been to pull this off? As it turns out, North Las Vegas is now the third fastest growing large city in America. Overall tax revenues are up, way up. North Las Vegas has adopted a highly positive pro-business approach to the municipality and it’s working. Centex homes has made a major commitment to North Las Vegas real estate with the Ardiente community. The master-planned community of Aliante homes continues to be one of the most popular in the valley. Overall infrastructure continues to improve and the added investment from the budget boost will benefit residents and businesses alike. If you’re thinking of relocating yourself and/or your business to Southern Nevada, by all means consider the advantages presented by the City of North Las Vegas.