It's all here! News on the Tucson real estate market, tips and information for your Tucson real estate needs, and my occasional "likes" about Tucson and all the things we love about it. Read on!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Brrrrrrr!!!! Cover your Tucson plants!

I know our friends and relatives back east think we spend our winters basking in the warm sunshine.  But we do have the occasional night (or two) like this where the temperatures can get down towards frost levels.

My friends at Sonoran Gardens have put together a web page with some great advice on protecting our plants, animals and pipes from the few nights of cold weather heading out way.  So take a look, bundle up and protect your plants!   Link to Sonoran Gardens

Last Tucson Sunrise of 2014

Sunrise View of Tucson from Gates Pass
 It might be a little fuzzy but here is the view this morning as I headed out for my morning walk with Henry Clay (the dog, not the late Kentucky senator).  It is always the clouds that make for a beautiful sunrise (or sunset.) Just another reason we all love living in Tucson.

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home and Life

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier'...”
- Alfred Tennyson

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tucson Mayor Rothschild seems to think it is time to take down the tree!

Henry Clay ignores the Christmas tree
We are nowhere near ready to take down the Christmas tree.  It seems as if we just put it up!

But for those efficient souls amongst you who are ready to dispose of Christmas tree 2014, here is some information for you from Tucson Mayor Rothschild's email newsletter.
The  City of Tucson offers a number of locations where you can "TreeCycle" from now until January 11th. Please remove all decorations and tree stands before dropping trees off at TreeCycle sites. The city will not collect Christmas trees from curbs and alleys, so please bring your trees to one of the locations below.
The following TreeCycle sites are open during daylight hours, seven days a week.
Golf Links Sports Park, 2400 S. Craycroft Rd., northwest of Craycroft Rd. and Golf Links Rd.
Los Reales Landfill, 5300 E. Los Reales Rd. (follow signs)
Oro Valley lot, 660 W. Naranja Drive
Purple Heart Park, 10050 E. Rita Rd., southeast corner of Rita Rd. and Esmond Loop
Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. 1st Ave., east parking lot (follow signs)
Silverbell site, northeast of Goret Rd. and Silverbell Rd. (follow signs)
Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. 6th Ave., northeast of Irvington Rd. and 6th Ave.
Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Rd., south of ball fields (follow signs)

From January 2nd through the 11th, you can pick up free mulch from shredded Christmas trees at Udall Park, Randolph Golf Course or the Los Reales Landfill. Be sure to bring your own container."

Fannie Mae Looking to Expand Loan Availability: 3% Down is Back for First Time Buyers

My good friend Barb Smith at Sunstreet Mortgage sent me a quick update on the new Fannie Mae loan program, designed to open the homes market to more first time home buyers.  Here is what Barb has to say:

"Last week Fannie Mae introduced a 97% LTV home loan. Effective immediately, your first time home buyers with a mimimum 3% down payment, can avoid the funding fee and very expensive monthly mortgage insurance of the 3% FHA mortgage and go conventional. Yes, there is monthly mortgage insurance for this conventional mortgage, but its considerably less than FHA's.  And, Fannie Mae considers a "first time home buyer" anyone who has not owned a home for 36 months."

Yes, low down payment loans are coming back.  There are still some strict criteria to meet including a credit score of 620 and documentation of income, assets and job status.  But this is still a great opportunity for many first time buyers. So give Barb a call for details. Then let's get to work to find that special Tucson home for you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home and Life

"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more." - The Grinch

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tucson's Winterhaven Festival of Lights

Two of my favorite Tucson home clients invited us over for a Christmas get-together tonight followed by a short walk to nearby Winterhaven to see the lights. Now, other than showing houses in the neighborhood in the daytime, I have not been to the Winterhaven Festival of Lights in probably 20 years. I made all the usual excuses...the cold, the crowds, the traffic. wasn't that cold, it wasn't that crowded and parking was easy. And we had a wonderful time! My clients had invited a fun group, so we strolled with their friends, neighbors, children and grandchildren, enjoying the lights, the music, storytelling, hot chocolate, and watching the other watchers bedecked in Santa hats and flashing red noses.

The lights are on through December 27, so take a break from the holiday madness, gather your friends and loved ones and take a leisurely stroll through Winterhaven. Their website lists lots of options and links for bike rides, hayrides and trolley rides but I recommend your own two feet. You can see the lights at your own pace and will probably run into people you know and have not seen for a long time.

It is also a food-raising event for the Community Food Bank so bring a bag of canned goods to leave at the neighborhood entrance collection boxes. In 2013 over $18,000 and 43,336 pounds of food were donated to the Food Bank through the Festival of Lights.

Support the Tucson Boys Chorus and Get a Beautiful Christmas Tree

You can decorate your house for Christmas and support a wonderful Tucson tradition by buying your Christmas tree from the Tucson Boys Chorus this year. This year you will find their lot at 4330 East Broadway. We chose a Nordmann fir from their large selection of trees. The tree price includes doing a fresh cut of the tree base (the better to absorb water once you get the tree home and set up), wrapping in net and tying it to the top of your vehicle.

Since 1939 the Tucson Boys Chorus has served over 8,000 choristers. Through the chorus, boys from across Southern Arizona learn music, leadership, teamwork, self-discipline and community service.  Our favorite concert is their annual Christmas concert at the San Xavier mission.  That is a joint concert with the Sons of Orpheus Men's Chorus and is a fundraiser for the restoration of the mission. It is always the highlight of our Christmas season.

For more on the Tucson Boys Chorus, their season and of course, their Christmas trees, click the link: Tucson Boys Chorus

Lots of trees to chose from
They wrap it up
And tie it to your car!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home and Life

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."-Winston Churchill

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winter Hours for Tucson's Santa Cruz Farmers Market

Tucson's nationally recognized Santa Cruz Farmers Market is now on Winter Hours, with the weekly event kicking off at 3:00 pm and ending at 6:00 pm today.  This week the market features a workshop on harvesting and preparing the fruit of the Sonoran Desert's barrel cactus.

For details on this week's Santa Cruz Farmers Market and a list of local vendors, click the link: Santa Cruz Farmers Market for December 4, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home and Life

"Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; great minds rise above them."
-Washington Irving

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

5 Home Improvements That Don't Make Sense

I ran into an interesting real estate article entitled 5 Improvements That Don't Make Sense, a link to which is included below.  And my thoughts?
  1. Outdated finishes: Oh yeah...popcorn ceilings, foil wall paper, shag carpet (yep, it is still out there), bedrooms totally done up in the theme of an athletic team from thousands of miles from Tucson.  The list goes on and on.
  2. Awkward spaces: Yep...we see those all the time. Rooms with space borrowed from other rooms, awkward placement of built-in features, refrigerators not even in the kitchen but off in the utility room, laundry closets opening into the living room, etc etc.
  3. Conversions: In Tucson, this is definitely the porches converted to Arizona rooms.  While there are some outstanding ones out there, too often it is a simple enclosure done with no heat or A/C and the kitchen window now looking out into the Arizona room rather than the outdoors. And porches enclosed into "bedrooms" with no closets and awkward (through the kitchen?) access to bathrooms.
  4. Bad add-ons: See 3 above.  The awkward poorly non-permitted Tucson porch enclosures are everywhere, becoming bedrooms, offices and dens.  So so many bad ones...
  5. Expensive to maintain luxuries: Swimming pools are the national winner in this category but in Tucson, many buyers consider them to be required necessities. Fountains, fish ponds and grassy lawns top the list here in Tucson. Yes, lawns are an expensive and difficult proposition to water and maintain in Tucson. But the winner in this category that I have seen in Tucson was the house with an acre of landscaping that rivaled the Tohono Chul Park in its beauty.  My buyers loved the house but the thought and expense of trying to maintain that beautiful landscaping scared them off.  
So take a look at the full article and let me know your thoughts.

5 Improvements That Don't Make Sense from

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quote of the Week for Thanksgiving

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” - Epictetus

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fun Things in Tucson for the Weekend of November 22-23

There is a chill in the air this late Friday afternoon and a bit of cloudiness over Tucson, but the forecast is for low 70s and beautiful sunshine this weekend.  El Tour de Tucson encircles the town with sweaty cyclists on Saturday, so check the map when planning your weekend outings.

Holiday Artisans Market at the Tucson Museum of Art

Over 140 of the Southwest's finest artisans display their wares and help you find the perfect holiday gifts on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.  Food trucks too!  Admission to the market and museum is free this weekend.   More information is at Tucson Museum of Art Holiday Artisans Market

El Tour de Tucson 

If you aren't riding in this year's event, you can still turn out to cheer your favorite Tucson bicyclists.  Click the link for the map so you can see the passing cyclists (or just avoid the street closures and traffic.) 

The Rogue Theatre's Last Weekend of Jerusalem

This is the last weekend of Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem at The Rogue Theatre in the History Y.  So hop the new streetcar and head down for an entertaining evening of fine theatre.  More info and tickets at The Rogue Theatre

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Westside Tucson's Agustin Kitchen Featured on Arizona Highways Television

I have lived on Tucson's beautiful Westside for many years and we now have our first upscale restaurant since the closing of the original Scordato family restaurant out towards Gates Pass. Our newest wonderful Westside restaurant is Agustin Kitchen, located in the Mercado on West Congress. 

Arizona Highways Television (and I thought it was just a magazine) recently featured Agustin Kitchen in the video link above. Located at the western terminus of the new Modern Streetcar line, Agustin is the home of Tucson's award winning chef Ryan Clark. It is a great place to start an evening with an early dinner, then hop the streetcar to concerts or games at the UA or a wonderful play at the The Rogue Theatre just off 4th Avenue.

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home and Life

"Anger is one letter away from danger."- Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, November 17, 2014

University Area Duplex at 1727 E 8th Street

Great rental opportunity or put your University of Arizona student in one unit and rent out the other. Just two blocks to the UA stadium and rec center, this great solid masonry rental duplex features off street parking and private outdoor space for each unit.  Each unit has two bedrooms, large kitchen and washer/dryer.  Front unit is leased through July 31, 2015.  If you drive by to take a look, please do not disturb tenants. Shown by appointment only.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fun Things in Tucson for the Weekend of November 15-16

Another morning in paradise with the morning paper and a good cup of hot coffee out in the hammock.  Hummingbirds hovering around the feeders. But I need to get to work now and let you all know what is going on in Tucson and environs this weekend.

 Ironwood National Monument "Meet the Monument" Event

Did you know that just a few miles west of Tucson lies one of the newer national monuments in this country?  Taking its name from one of the longest living trees in the Arizona desert, the 129,000-acre Ironwood Forest National Monument is a true Sonoran Desert showcase, with ironwood trees (of course) but also a lush desert landscape of beautiful mesquite, palo verde, creosote, and saguaro, blanketing the monument floor beneath rugged mountain ranges named Silver Bell, Waterman and Sawtooth.

Come out today to Meet the Monument at a series of events including hiking and talks on the archaeology of the area as well as the Tohono O’odham culture and traditions as related to the Ironwood Forest.

Where is the Monument? Click the link to find out:  Ironwood Forest Map and Directions

Tucson's Award Winning Rogue Theatre presents Jerusalem

Set in modern day England, the Rogue's lively production of Jerusalem draws on themes, traditions and mythology as "Rooster" Byron presides over his retinue of modern day nymphs and faeries while girding for battle with a developer determined to take his trailer home in the woods for development. This is another wonderful play by Jez Butterworth (The Rogue did his The Night Heron two seasons ago.) We have already bought our tickets to see it a second time.  Go see this!  Tickets and info are at the Rogue Theatre presents Jerusalem.

Viva La Local Food Festival at Rillito Raceway Park

The horses may not be running but the local food will be plentiful at Rillito Raceway Park on Sunday Nov 16. With more than 80 farmers market vendors, 25 locally owned restaurants and several microbreweries and wineries setting up shop, you will have no excuse to go away hungry.  And music too with several local bands.  The fun starts at 9am and goes until 5pm.  The farmers market goes until 3pm.

Viva La Local Food Festival

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mortgage Rates Still Near Yearly Lows

Who would have thought?  With the economy improving and unemployment down, mortgage interest rates are still really really low.  30 year rates are averaging 4.01% this week!

Mortgage Rates Still Near Yearly Lows

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home and Life

"I will speak ill of no one, and speak all the good I know of everybody." -Andrew Jackson

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Real Estate: It must be in writing or it means...well...diddly...

I often have Tucson home clients who want to start with verbal offers or counter offers. And that can be fine, though I will add another thought on that later. But I remind my clients that anything we get by phone or email or carrier pigeon for that matter, is meaningless in terms of a legal real estate transaction in Arizona. A proper real estate contract must include all of the terms in writing and bear the signatures of the parties.

And any verbal discussions and agreements between the buyers and sellers either at the home showing, the home inspection or even a chance meeting at Safeway mean...well...diddly unless the issue is reduced to writing in the contract between both parties.
Oh, and that other thought I mentioned earlier on verbal offers and counter offers?  I have found that it is quite easy for a party in an offer/counter offer situation to give a quick "NO!" to a verbally offered price or condition. I am a firm believer in putting offers and counter offers in writing for presentation to the other party. That gives the party on the other side a chance to look, think, and talk with their agent before giving a rash answer in what is often an emotional situation for that party. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sold!: 3620 E 27th Street in Tucson

The new owners will enjoy their weekend walks to the zoo and Reid Park from this light and bright home in midtown.  With a new roof, newer heat and hot water and well maintained over the years, this was a great little home that easily passed on an FHA loan appraisal.  Three bedrooms, a spacious family room/living area and low-care cactus filled yard complete the picture.  Sold for $86,000.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home and Life

"He who controls others may be powerful but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.-Lao Tsu

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New on the Market! 1241 N Fifth Avenue in Historic Feldmans

This is a wonderful 1920 bungalow in the historic Feldmans neighborhood. Greet your neighbors from the vintage front sitting porch or head a few blocks to UA, shopping and dining on 4th Avenue and even the modern streetcar. This charming home features gorgeous wood, wood laminate and concrete floors. The den/office is a permitted addition which could be converted to a third bedroom with the addition of a closet.   Or relax on your paved patio and bring your landscape dreams to the huge backyard which already features mesquites. Store your stuff in the huge laundry/utility room. Move-in ready with appliances, updated kitchen and bath.  Click the link under My Tucson Home Listings in the column to the right to see more details and photos. Priced at $193,000.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fun Things in Tucson for the Weekend of October 18-19

Gotta love these warm days and cool nights.  One of my favorite times of the year.  So get out and enjoy.  Here are some fun things to do both in Tucson and a short drive away.

Food Trucks at Camp Cooper on Saturday Evening
The Cooper Center or Environmental Learning in the Tucson Mountains, is celebrating 50 years of environmental learning in the Sonoran Desert this weekend. The celebration begins with the Tucson Food Truck Roundup at 5pm and continuing until 8pm.  There are also urban wildlife presentations, night sky viewing and mariachis!  Click the link for more information and directions: Camp Cooper 50th Anniversary

Tucson Concert Band's First Concert of the Season
Cholla High School's beautiful auditorium will be the setting for the Tucson Concert Band's opening concert of the 2014-15 season. And yes, I will be there in the middle of the trombone section playing along on an assortment of traditional and modern band classics, jazz, opera overtures and even a polka tune.  It will be a fun afternoon beginning at 2pm. Click the link for their Facebook page:  Tucson Concert Band Sunday Concert

Willcox Wine Country Fall Festival
If you want a short trip out of town, try the Willcox Wine Country Fall Festival on Saturday and Sunday.  Set in Railroad Park in Historic Downtown Willcox, the festival features great food, music and of course, wine tasting.  Did you know that the Willcox area produces 74% of Arizona's wine grapes?  Go check it out.

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Saguaro National Park 
For a beautiul Sunday afternoon drive in the Sonoran Desert, head over to Saguaro National Park West for a 2:15pm talk on the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the park. The Civilian Conservation Corps was a Great Depression-era work program that greatly influenced national, state, and county parks. Saguaro's trails, picnic areas, and scenic drives were established during this program. This 45-minute indoor talk includes old photos and movie clips in a brief history of the CCC in this area.  The park visitor center is located 2 miles northwest of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.