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