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 30, 2015

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home, and Life

"The Old Year has gone.  Let the dead past bury its own dead.  The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time.  All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months!"  
-  Edward Payson Powell   

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pet Suites May be the Next Home Trend

Henry Dreams of His Own Pet Suite
Another home trend from California is washing across the American real estate landscape. Pet suites!

According to RealtorMag, Fido may now have his own suite complete with a shower/dog wash area, bed, storage and maybe even a camera so the owners can check on their pet while away. They report that the suites range in prices from $1500 to $16,000 depending on the features, square footage and upgrades. Granite water dishes?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

What Are Buyers Buying in Tucson?

Of 909 Tucson homes sold in November, the best-selling price range was from $200,000 to $249,000. That was 13% of the Tucson homes sold for a total of 118 sales. The next most popular price range was $160,000 to $179,000 with 97 sales.

But the most homes available for sale on the market were in the $300,000 to $399,900 price range with 590 homes.  So while there are more homes available at the higher price range, many buyers are being selective and going for lower priced homes.

All this from the Tucson Association of Realtors' MLS database.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pocket Listings or "Coming Soon!" Homes

"Coming Soon!" may be on the for sale sign or in the word spread around the real estate office. The words can generate excitement for you the Seller but is it in your best interest?

Pocket listings or "coming soon" listings are those withheld from the local MLS and are often pitched at Sellers as a way to avoid lots of people tromping through the house, or as a way for the agent and their office to pitch the listing to their select group of Buyers. And some Sellers like the sound of exclusivity that comes with being a pocket listing. But think about it. When you sell, don't you want your home to get the widest exposure possible to potential Buyers? And would you rather have your home's exposure limited to an "exclusive" group of agents in one office or open to all agents in the local multiple listing service with potential Buyers. 

So when listing your house, have this conversation with your potential agents. I believe I owe it to my Seller clients to give their home the widest Buyer exposure possible, which gives them a greater chance of getting a higher sale price for their home.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

87% of Buyers use an agent in buying their home.

New stats from the National Association of Realtors shows that 87% of Buyers use a real estate agent in finding and buying their new home. That is up from 69% in 2001.  8% bought from a builder and 5% directly from the owner (often friends or family.)

41% of Buyers used an agent referred to them by friends or family, 12% used someone with whom they had previously worked, 10% someone found through a web site and 5% through an open house.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home, and Life

"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors." - Ludwig Van
Beethoven   (on the occasion of his birthday, December 16, 1770)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Buyer Asks: What if the house does not appraise for the contract price?

At some point during the transaction, usually just after the inspection period, the Buyers' lender will order an appraisal on the property. Obviously, the lender does not want to make a loan on a property that is worth less than the sale price. As we have painfully learned in the past few years, sometimes the lender ends up owning the home if foreclosure proceedings are required.

So Lines 90-93 of the Arizona purchase contract includes an appraisal contingency stating:

"Buyer's obligation to complete this sale is contingent upon an appraisal of the Premises acceptable to lender for at least the purchase price. If the Premises fail to appraise for the purchase price in any appraisal required by lender, Buyer has five (5) days after notice of the appraised value to cancel this Contract and receive a refund of the Earnest Money or the appraisal contingency shall be waived."

So the Buyer can cancel the contract within five days of finding out the home did not appraise for at least the contracted sale price. But in practice, the first step usually is for the Seller to be asked to lower the sale price to the appraisal price. That is quite common and a smart Seller should strongly consider doing just that. After all, the next Buyer will also likely require an appraisal and the Seller could find himself right back in the same situation.

But note!  That contract language ONLY applies when there is a lender involved. If a cash buyer wants similar protection, that must be written into the contract separately and agreed to by the Seller. But more on that later.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

2015 Ups and Downs Continue in November Tucson Homes Market

2015 has been a year of ups and downs in the Tucson homes market.  Both prices and sales volume seem to fluctuate on a monthly basis. And that was the situation in November with both the number of home sales down, and both average and median sales prices down.

But the changes were minor and reflect more of a stabilized market than anything.  Average sale price was down a tad to $211,566, a decrease of 0.98%.   The median sale price (which some statisticians argue is more accurate) was down 2.21% to $172,825.

The total number of Tucson homes sold in November was 909, down 23.48% from October's 1,188.  But there is often a dropoff this time of year, and indeed that is a reduction of only 0.87% from November 2014.

If there is a message here, it is that potential buyers are looking at a good opportunity to find a great Tucson home, and indeed should get moving before the expected interest rate rises kick in soon.

For the full report on November home sales in the Tucson MLS, check out  Tucson MLS November Statistics

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home, and Life

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." - Desmond Tutu

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Tucson Seller Asks: How Can I Increase My Home's Value without Breaking the Bank?

I often have Tucson sellers ask if they should renovate the kitchen, add a pool or patio or some other dramatic improvement in order to increase the potential sale price of their home. And while such improvements will increase the appeal of the home, it is unlikely that the seller will get the full return on their investment in such improvements.

Some of my best recommendations to increase potential sale value are also some of the cheapest.

First of all...CLEAN AND DECLUTTER!  Seriously, how much can that cost?  I know you love them, but do you really want your potential buyers to be distracted by your collection of baseball caps artfully arranged on all four walls of your den? So my advice for sellers is to start packing, rent a storage unit and picture their home as prospective buyers will on their visits.

My second bit of sage advice? Maximize curb appeal. Trim and clean up the front landscaping, and have the house properly painted and beautiful as well. I have driven up to houses with buyers in the back seat who have told me to drive on after viewing the front and the landscaping.  Curb appeal is so very important.

I could go on and on but here is a link to a great list of 10 frugal ways to help your house without breaking the bank.

10 Cheap Ways to Increase a Home’s Value

Friday, December 4, 2015

Boomers Hanging Onto Their Homes, Building Equity

In a sign that aging baby boomers may be hanging onto their homes rather than selling and moving elsewhere in retirement, households aged 55 and older now control two thirds of all home equity.  This from a 2013 study by the Federal Reserve. One federal estimate puts the aggregate value of boomers' houses at close to $8 trillion!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Tucson Buyer Asks: Who Owns the Solar Panels?

Most people look at a solar array on a Tucson house and just assume they are part and parcel of the property.

But in many cases, the homeowner has leased the solar panel system from the solar company. And this is where a real estate transaction can get a little tricky.

If the new buyer does not assume, or is not approved to assume the lease, what rights does the leasing company have for removal of the system, or to continue collecting lease payments from the now-previous owner.  And what rights do the new owners have regarding the presence or removal of the solar system from what is now their roof?

The seller should disclose up front if the solar system is leased and be prepared to provide a copy of the lease to the prospective buyer.  Buyers should ask up front (even before the offer is made) for a copy of the lease so that they know what sort of financial commitment they may be signing up for.  Buyers should look carefully at the lease terms for any transfer fees, pre-payment penalties and other provisions which may affect their rights and responsibilities as the new homeowners.

Tuesday Tucson Snapshot: Morning Sun

Morning sun on a Gates Pass ridge

Monday, November 30, 2015

Under Contract! Views and Acreage in the Tucson Mountains

Gorgeous mountain and city views, citrus trees, raised bed gardens, solar system, water harvesting plus a guest casita welcome you to this unique tri-level home set on 3.3 acres in the Gates Pass area of the Tucson Mountains.  With all of this and only minutes to downtown and UA, this great home did not last long. 

1951 N El Moraga Drive, Tucson AZ 85745

1951 N El Moraga Drive

Friday, November 27, 2015

Stat of the Week: Cash No Longer King in the Tucson Homes Market

It seems just a short time ago that investors were picking up distressed properties at the bottom of the Tucson homes market and plopping down a lot of cash.  But these days, most of my cash buyers are retirees from back east or "near-retirees" picking up a warm Tucson home for their future retirement.

Even so, a healthy 28% of real estate transactions reported in the October 2015 Tucson MLS statistics were cash transactions.  That is about the same level as one year ago.  Conventional financing was down just a bit to 36% of transactions and FHA/VA loans popped up to 34% of October transactions.

All in all, a nice healthy balanced market for Tucson home financing.
Tucson MLS October Stats

Shop Tucson Local and Ride the Streetcar for FREE this Saturday!!

A big shout-out and thanks to Tucson Medical Center for sponsoring free Sun Link streetcar rides on Shop Local Saturday tomorrow, November 28. 

It is that time of the year for holiday shopping and there are so many great local businesses along the streetcar line.  4th Avenue in particular has always been one of my favorites, but there are also shops at the UA Main Gate, downtown and the wonderful Mercado San Agustin. 

The streetcar runs from 8am to 2am on Saturdays.  For more information, check out Sunlink Streetcar

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Quote of the Week for Thanksgiving

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” - Marcel Proust

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Shopping at Santa Cruz Farmers Market Today

One week to go before Thanksgiving and this afternoon will be a good time to stock up on locally grown greens, squash, pumpkins and more for your feast.  I recently found my great-grandmother Howland's recipe for fresh pumpkin pie and am looking forward to seeing how much better a locally grown pie pumpkin tastes over the canned stuff.

The market will also feature lots of other good stuff to grace your table including locally produced honey, baked goods, eggs and meat. 

So come on down this afternoon. The market is open from 3pm to 6pm in the Tucson's Mercado San Agustin.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home, and Life

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.” - Polonious in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tucson Tuesday: Clouds over Tucson

Does Your Listing Have Enough Walls? | Realtor Magazine

This is a great article and confirms some of what I have been hearing from some Tucson buyers. While the open floor plan is still quite desirable and people want that open flow feeling for living, eating and entertainment, I am also hearing of the need for some privacy. With so many people working at least part time from home, kids needing some homework space, and just the occasional need to sneak away from the family with a good book, that private space is important.

And some people are finding that with fewer walls and rooms, where do you put stuff?!  Having just inherited some wonderful old family furniture, we are finding a serious lack of walls to place them against in our open floor plan house.  Who knew?

Does Your Listing Have Enough Walls? | Realtor Magazine

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Stat of the Week: Tucson Visitors Plan to Return

A whopping 75% of Tucson visitors plan to revisit sometime in the future.  This from a study by Visit Tucson.  I think we need to give nature a little credit for this but our good food and genuine southwest culture (as opposed to that big city to the north) have a lot to do with it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Santa Cruz Farmers Market Winter Hours

   The weather doesn't feel like it, but winter hours have arrived for the Santa Cruz Farmers Market. Located on Congress Street at the Mercado San Agustin, this is my favorite of the Tucson markets and is nationally recognized.
   Starting at 3pm today, you will find the usual incredible selection of locally grown and organic produce plus freshly baked goods, coffee from Chiapas and other locally sourced goodies. I am heading down hoping to find tomatilloes for my chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce for a potluck this weekend.
   Again, the new market hours are 3pm to 6pm, each Thursday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Add to the Buyer's Home Inspection List: Cell Phone Coverage

You know the frustration you feel when you can't get a good cell phone signal. It may be at a friend's house in a beautifully secluded Tucson canyon setting. But that moment of frustration can turn into a permanent situation if you buy a Tucson home with limited or poor cell coverage. So my advice to clients is to check cell phone coverage at the home during the initial home inspection period. While it is more common to cancel a contract due to a bad roof or leaky plumbing, lack of cell phone coverage is a perfectly valid reason to cancel the purchase contract at the end of the home inspection period.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home, and Life

"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015

On the Market! Shade and Lakes at 2340 N Creek Vista Drive

2340 N Creek Vista Drive
One of Tucson's hidden gems is the east side's The Lakes at Castle Rock. The Lakes is a gated community off Tanque Verde road that features...lakes! And walking trails, community pools, tennis courts, fitness center and recreation center.

And the house? This is a beautiful three bedroom/two bath home with mountain views.  Mature trees in the backyard and a covered patio will draw you outside for shady relaxation. Inside you will find a fireplace in the great room, tile floors throughout, new Corian counters in the kitchen, plantation shutters, new tankless hot water system and newer energy efficient A/C and gas furnace.

Offered at $228,500.  Come and see it!

For more details and photos, click the link:   2340 N Creek Vista Drive

Living Room with Fireplace
Shady Back Yard
New Corian Counters and Cozy Breakfast Nook
Master Bath with Cool Glass Block!

Lakeside Neighborhood Pool (one of two!)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Are First-time Buyers Slacking Off?

The percentage of first-time home buyers has fallen to its lowest share since January, according to the National Association of REALTORS®' latest existing-home sales report. NAR's report says that rising home prices and persistent low inventories of homes for-sale are likely to blame.

The share of first-time home buyers fell for the second consecutive month in July, reaching 28 percent, and down from 30 percent in June, NAR reports. A year ago, first-time home buyers represented 29 percent of all buyers.

We don't have Tucson market stats specific to first time buyers, but overall sales in July remained steady and the inventory of homes was down just short of 4% from June.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Selling and Buying Tenant-occupied Homes in Tucson

It is quite common in the Tucson homes market for tenant-occupied homes to go on sale. With so many students, military personnel and snowbirds, we have a lot of renters in Pima County.

When it comes to selling a house, the presence of tenants creates several issues affecting both the sellers and the buyers.

Many tenants are quite cooperative in the selling process, particularly if the landlord/tenant relationship has been a good one. If there has been a hostile relationship, then the seller may want to wait until the tenant has moved from the property. Sellers want to have a good relationship with their tenants for two reasons.  First, the tenant needs to be cooperative in allowing access to the property and in keeping it clean and in good showing condition. Arizona law is pretty specific regarding tenant rights and advance notice of access to the property by the landlord.

Tenants also may be quite happy to share their knowledge of the property and any maintenance issues. I love it when I show a property to my prospective buyers and the tenant is present and willing spill the beans about the property.

Buyers too need to be aware of issues related to the presence of tenants in a property they want to buy. A major misconception is that the buyer can give the tenant notice to leave as soon as the property changes hands. But under Arizona law, the lease (and tenant) goes with the property so the buyer is acquiring the tenant as well as the property at closing. Even if the tenant is on a month to month basis, the new owner must follow Arizona law in giving tenants notice.

The bottom line is to have a talk with your real estate agent regarding tenant issues.  This applies to both sellers and buyers who may be considering a tenant-occupied property. Give me a call!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Stat of the Week: Smoking Can Reduce Resale Value by 29%

The National Association of Realtors reports that a 2013 study of Canadian home sales found that smoking in the home can reduce the resale value by up to 29%!  The study was performed by Pfizer Canada, which manufactures a smoking cessation medication called Champix. And yes, I can vouch for the negative effects of smoking and the lingering odor on the sale of homes in Tucson.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stat of the Week: Foreclosed Home Sales Down in Tucson

Tucson real estate analyst Ginger Kneup, of Bright Future Real Estate Research, reports that in March the Tucson homes resale market was comprised of only 14.5% foreclosed homes. That was "the smallest share of monthly foreclosure sales since we began tracking them in 2008," said Kneup. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Quote of the Week: Real Estate, Home, and Life

"God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well." - Voltaire

Saturday, May 16, 2015

SOLD! 4430 West Crestview Road in the Beautiful Tucson Mountain Foothills

4430 W Crestview Road
The wonderful Santa Fe home brought the Buyers to this location but it was the expansive mountain and valley views that really won them over. With 3.3 acres and quiet patios, it is an ideal place to while away the beautiful desert and monsoon evenings.

The main house features beamed ceilings and a fireplace in the great room, gorgeous kitchen with granite counters and maple cabinets, three bedrooms and two baths. And did I mention the really nice guesthouse with an actual bedroom? All this and a great location near scenic Gates Pass and with Downtown, UA, and shopping close by.

Sold for $330,000.


Tucson Mountain Views

Patio Desert Views

Kick back and relax
Maple cabinets and gorgeous granite

Kitchen breakfast area

Light and bright great room