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