Tucson Real Estate and Community News

March 31, 2020

Tucson Coronavirus Testing Available

Everywhere you look, COVID-19 dominates our news cycle. As of the publishing of this post, total confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassed 840,000. Almost 1300 people in Arizona alone have been infected. If we practice social distancing and shelter in place as much as possible, we limit the chances of exposure to the virus. Even if you don't get sick, you could pass it along to a loved one with a weak immune system. No one is immune. So far, the availability of testing hindered early detection and containment of this disease. Fortunately, Escalera Health stepped up to the plate to make Tucson Coronavirus testing more readily available.

If you think you might have been exposed to COVID-19, Escalera Health offers Tucson Coronavirus testing at their Craycroft clinic every weekday.

Local Health Clinic Provides Tucson Coronavirus Testing

Search Tucson homes for saleEscalera Health sits near 2224 N Craycroft Rd in Suite 100. Beginning last week, they began offering Tucson Coronavirus testing to the public. You must display symptoms of the virus in order to receive testing. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, call the clinic at 209-1919. Make sure you bring a photo ID and your insurance information with you when you visit the clinic. Escalera offers this testing every Monday through Friday from 9 am to 12 pm and again from 1 pm to 3 pm.

Do You Exhibit Symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, symptoms include the following:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Aches
  • Dry Cough
  • Difficulty Breathing (pressure/pain in chest)
  • Loss of sense of smell

The clinic places people aged 65 or older, anyone with other health issues (chronic lung issues, asthma, diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney issues, liver disease, and immuno-compromised), and all healthcare workers and first responders as a top priority for testing. But, they must exhibit symptoms of exposure to COVID-19 to be eligible for Tucson Coronavirus testing. Once tested, Escalera requires patients to follow-up with the clinic via a telemedicine visit. This can be set up at the time of testing.

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Tucson News
March 24, 2020

Recession Home Sale: Good Idea or Not?

First came the Coronavirus talk. Then, we learned about "social distancing" (please practice this to keep you and your loved ones safe). As more and more cities around the world are put on lockdown to fight against exposure to COVID-19, talk now turns to what happens next. Some people worry about a possible recession looming on the horizon. Our government officials fight for a way to tamp down this possibility. If you planned on taking advantage of the traditionally busy springtime to put your home up for sale on the Tucson real estate market, you might worry about whether a potential recession home sale is a good idea. The answer depends on your situation.

With stock markets going haywire and the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the US, there are rumblings of a possible recession on the horizon.If you were thinking about putting your property on the market, you might be wondering if a recession home sale is a good idea or not.

Recession Home Sale in Tucson

How Home Prices Are Affected

Search Tucson homes for saleDuring a recession, the whole economy takes a hit. That includes home prices. If you choose to sell during a recession, most likely you'll receive less for your sale price than during better economic times. That should come as no surprise. However, it also works for you. While you might sell for less, you'll also be buying for less when it comes to your new Tucson home. In the end, that helps even things out a little. Some

Timing

Why are you selling? Did you lose your job? Do you need to move out of the city? Are you just thinking you'd like a change of scenery? If you don't have to sell, you might want to sit tight for a little while. Is money an issue? Try tapping into some of your equity with a mortgage refinance to help you get by until better times arrive (and they will). Interest rates are so low right now, that this might be the better option. However, if you absolutely must sell, then you don't have the option of considering the timing of the market right now. If you want to sell your home to invest in something other than real estate, sit tight. The stock market is on a roller coaster ride at the moment. Your house remains your most sound investment right now. Buckle down, price it right, get the property in tip-top shape, and hire a Tucson REALTOR® that knows their stuff!

Pricing it Right

Listing your property for the right price is always a smart idea. But this especially rings true during a recession home sale. That's one way in which hiring an experienced Tucson REALTOR® comes in handy. They know the local market. They have first-hand insight into what homes are selling for in your area. You need to listen to what they have to say, even if you think the price should be higher. Stick close to what other properties are selling for in order to direct traffic to your home. If you price too high, you run the risk of alienating potential buyers from your property.

Gotta Be Move-In Ready

During a recession, buyers look more for move-in ready homes. Disposable income becomes more scarce. The idea of plunking down more money into renovating or repairing a property sounds less appealing, especially when there are plenty of other homes out there that don't need it. Even small repairs and maintenance (manicured landscaping, fresh paint, etc.) could net you a higher sale price.

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 17, 2020

Tucson Social Distancing: What to Do to Stay Busy

The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone worried. For the next two weeks, the Arizona school system closes down. Many bars, restaurants, and businesses operate on limited hours if they haven't shut down. The president encourages gatherings of no more than 10 people to reduce potential exposure to the virus. Many events, like the Tucson 4th Ave Spring Fair, have been canceled while others are postponed. We have now discovered a new term: "social distancing". If you find yourself on hiatus from work and need to entertain your kids without going stir-crazy, why not take advantage of some of these Tucson social distancing ideas?

A new term has hit the vernacular lately: social distancing. Keeping a six foot distance between you and others greatly reduces risk of exposure to COVID-19. But that doesn't mean locking down inside your home forever. Get outside for some Tucson social distancing instead and keep your sanity intact during this turbulent time.

Tucson Social Distancing

Reid Park Zoo

Search Tucson homes for saleThe Zoo recently announced a reduced schedule and exhibit access to greatly reduce the opportunity for large group gatherings. Giraffe feedings, touch carts, carousel, train rides, outreach programs, and behind-the-scenes tours are temporarily suspended. You can still come to see the animals roam their pens, though. They ask that you stay away if you feel unwell at all. 

Tucson Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens remain open as of the publishing of this post, too. Right now, the Butterfly Greenhouse remains closed to reduce the chances of exposure to COVID-19. Keep a six-foot perimeter clear around you to also reduce exposure risk.

Hiking and Parks

Does the thought of being around other people worry you right now? Just because you practice Tucson social distancing doesn't mean you must remain cooped up inside. Go for a hike or picnic in a park. The weather's gorgeous. Explore Saguaro National Park. Hike Sabino Canyon or Tumamoc Hill. Take a stroll up Sentinal Peak. Go offroading at Mount Lemmon. Fish Kennedy Lake. Get out and enjoy the weather while still keeping that six-foot distance recommended by the experts.

For the latest updates on what's happening with closures and postponements around the City, visit Tucson's COVID-19 website.

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Tucson Events
March 10, 2020

Tucson 4th Ave Spring Street Fair 2020

When you live in the Southwest, you barely see the change of seasons. For most parts of the country, winter hangs in there with chilly temperatures and constantly darkened skies. But here in Tucson, we enjoy an occasional sprinkle here and there. But, mostly, the sun shines bright above and we see highs in the 70s. In exactly nine days, we celebrate the 1st day of spring. I can think of no better way to do that than with the Tucson 4th Ave Spring Street Fair 2020.

Celebrate the start of a new season at the Tucson 4th Ave Spring Street Fair 2020 in the Historic 4th Ave District on March 20th to 22nd.

What: Tucson 4th Ave Spring Street Fair 2020
Where: Historic 4th Ave District (434 E 9th St)
When: March 20th to 22nd, 10 am to dusk
Admission: FREE
Contact: Historic 4th Ave email form

Tucson 4th Ave Spring Street Fair 2020

Search Tucson homes for saleThe Street Fair extends over five blocks in the Historic 4th Ave District. It's bordered by University Ave on the north and 8th St on the south. Hundreds of artists from all over the world come to Tucson at this time of year specifically to participate in this premier annual event. Visit the artist booths all around the district. Watch live entertainment on the 5th and 7th St stages. Activities are also scheduled throughout the entire three-day event all over the Historic 4th Ave District. And, of course, you need to try some of the yummy food available. So, come back each day for more fun.

Money raised from the Spring Street Fair helps fund programs and infrastructure along the District's streets. So, supporting the artists and their work actually goes right back into helping the community. That makes this a win-win for everyone!

Parking & Shuttle Service

Organizers provide a free shuttle to and from the Penning Street and Tyndal Ave garages. (Thank you VIP Taxi!) Don't want to wait? Hop aboard the Sun Link when you park along the Modern Streetcar Line. Happy Spring!

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Tucson Events
March 3, 2020

Tucson Home Rehab Programs Available for Low Income Homeowners

Last October, the City received a huge HUD grant of almost $4 million. With this grant, the City must identify homes that contain lead-based materials in their construction, especially for households occupied by children under six years old. However, that's just one of the Tucson home rehab programs available for our lower-income homeowners. The City is currently also accepting applications for major, minor, and mobile home repairs. But these remain available only while funding remains available. So, you should apply as soon as possible.

Lower income homeowners now have the opportunity to choose one of five different Tucson home rehab programs to make necessary repairs to their properties.

Tucson Home Rehab Programs Available

Lead Hazard Control Program (LHCP)

Search Tucson homes for saleAny Tucson home built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. LHCP provides a free lead-based paint test of your property if you meet eligibility standards. If lead is found, your child receives a free blood test to determine if it contains elevated blood levels (EBL). For those with EBL detected, they proceed on to the next step of treatment and any follow-up care deemed necessary. Also, you may be eligible for up to $20,000 in remediation funds to reduce the lead-based paint in your home.

If you live and a child under the age of six live a house built before 1978, you might be eligible for LHCP care. Your mortgage payments and taxes must be up-to-date and you cannot have any liens on your property. Your household income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income (AMI). At the time of this post, that was $51,425. Based on that, your household income cannot exceed $41,140. 

Home Access Program

Assisted living facilities cost money. Not everyone can afford them. As our population ages, they tend to stay in their homes for as long as possible without outside help. Tucson's Home Access Program provides between $2500 and $5000 to help increase access to various parts of your home (handrails in bathrooms, ramps, etc.). But this program isn't just for the elderly. It's also for disabled people living in a Tucson home. Like LHCP, your household income cannot exceed 80% of the AMI. Plus, at least one resident of the household must be at least 62 years old or disabled and in need of the features CHARM provides. 

Mobile Home Repair

Do you own a mobile home in need of repair? The Mobile Home Repair program provides up to $7500 to make repairs on your property. RVs, travel trailers and campers do not qualify. This grant covers roof and plumbing leaks, electrical work, problems with the sewer line between the home and the disposal point, gas leaks, furnace, cooling, and water heater replacement, any structural repairs needed, and front or rear door replacement. It does not cover appliance repair, drippy faucets, running toilets, clogged drains, fixing switches, light fixtures or electrical outlets, simple mechanical issues or cosmetic work. Household income must meet the same eligibility requirements as the other two programs listed above.

Major Home Repair

This provides up to $25,000 for major home repairs of properties owned by low-income homeowners. Mobile homes are ineligible for this program. This covers the same repairs as the Mobile Home Repair program. Ineligible repairs are also the same. All mortgage payments and property taxes must be up to date and the house needs to be free of any current liens. When you use funds from this program, the City places a lien for the amount used on the property. It becomes "forgivable" after 15 years. If you currently have homeowner's insurance that covers some of the repairs, this program only covers the additional amount that your homeowner's insurance won't cover. Also, you cannot have utilized any other type of housing rehab assistance from the City of Tucson in the last 10 years.

Minor Home Repair

Finally, the last Tucson home rehab program available to low-income households is for minor home repairs. This grant provides up to $10,000 for minor home repairs similar to the ones covered by the major home repair fund. Also, like the major home repair grant, you must be up-to-date on your mortgage and tax payments and the house must be free of any current liens. The City will place a 15-year forgivable lien on the property for any funds it provides. Plus, you cannot have utilized any home rehab assistance from the City of Tucson in the last 10 years to receive funds through this program.

Any homeowner interested in these Tucson home rehab programs cannot be currently receiving any Arizona Long Term Care Services (ALTCS). Otherwise, they automatically become ineligible (except for LHCP). To apply for any of these programs, simply download a City Home Advocacy Repair & Modification (CHARM) application here. Fill out all pertinent information, making sure you mark which program you're applying for. Then, click submit. The City will get back to you with their answer after reviewing your application.

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Feb. 25, 2020

Facts About Downsizing in Tucson

People downsize their homes for many reasons. Your kids left the nest. Perhaps your relationship status changed. Maybe you or your significant other lost a job. Even a death in the family may spur the need to simplify to a smaller dwelling. Before you put your current Tucson home on the market, learn more about downsizing.

People downsize for many different reasons. But before you do, learn more about the realities of downsizing in Tucson.

What You Need to Know About Downsizing

Smaller Home May Mean Smaller Furniture

Search Tucson homes for saleFor years, you've loved spending family movie night all cuddled up on the large sectional in your family room. And you spent years saving up before finally buying your dream sleigh bed for your master bedroom. They fit perfectly in your current Tucson home. But, when you look at a smaller household footprint, that also means smaller room sizes. The idea of sinking thousands of dollars into new furniture just after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new home might not appeal to you. So, before you begin your house-hunting, measure out the furniture pieces you plan on keeping. Then, make sure they fit in the Tucson houses you visit. This saves you money and hassle in the long run.

New Construction Offers Less Compromise

An existing home leaves you fewer options with how to use the space when downsizing. However, most new construction tends to offer open living areas. This allows you to utilize space how you see fit. Plus, you might be able to customize the space to fit your needs instead of compromising yourself to fit the space.

Smaller Home, Lower Utility Bills

It costs less to heat and cool a smaller home in comparison to a larger one. Plus it takes less time to clean. Smaller yards mean less water to maintain and less time it takes for mowing, weeding, and general upkeep. That saves you time as well as money. 

Brings Families Closer

I mean this both literally and figuratively. Downsizing may mean that siblings share bedrooms. But it also means that you must learn to get along and work through issues. In a larger home, you retreat to your separate areas. Meanwhile, in a smaller home, there's nowhere else to go.

It's OK to Miss Your Old House

Finally, you might grieve the "loss" of your bigger house. That's normal. The excitement of a new home may give way to a brief mourning period. Eventually, you'll learn to love the new house as much as the old one...especially when you find yourself paying less to live there each month.

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 18, 2020

2020 Census Info for Tucson Residents

Starting next month, everyone living in Tucson (and across the rest of the US) will receive an invitation in the mail to take the 2020 Census. As part of our Constitution (Article 1, Section 2), our government must take an official census of US citizens every 10 years. This began as far back as 1790. And, since they included it as part of the first article of our Constitution, obviously our founding fathers felt this was extremely important. However, this represents more than just a governmental headcount. It's extremely important that you respond when you receive your invitation.

Beginning mid-March, look for your 2020 census form in the mail. All forms must be completed and submitted online, on the telephone or via mail by April 1st.

2020 Census Info for Tucson Residents

Why Should I Respond to the Census?

Search Tucson homes for saleThe census determines the number of seats each state receives in the House of Representatives. Data collected from the census also helps determine how much our city and state receive in federal funding for the next 10 years. This money funds road projects, public schools, medical facilities and local emergency services (fire, police, etc.) among other things. When you refuse to respond to the 2020 Census, you lessen the amount of money our city receives for these services.

How Can I Respond to the 2020 Census?

For the first time ever, residents can fill out their census form either online, via phone or through the mail. Each form should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. As soon as you receive your invitation in the mail (between March 12th and 20th), you may complete your form in any of the three manners listed above. The deadline for completion is April 1st. 

Census Questions

On this form, they ask about the number of people that live in your home, the age and sex of each person, how many kids (if any) live there, and the race of each individual. They also ask what type of property you live in (single-family home, apartment, manufactured home) and whether you own or rent your property. You must provide your phone number so that the census takers can contact you if they need further clarification about your answers. 

One question that will not be asked on the census is whether you are a citizen or not. Yes, non-citizens will be asked to fill out the census. But any information the Census Bureau receives is strictly confidential and will not be shared with law enforcement officials. The data collected helps determine how much money goes to local programs to help all residents of the US, no matter their official citizenship status.

If you have any questions about this year's official census, please visit the 2020 Census website here. Filling it out won't hurt you. However, it could cost billions of dollars less for local services and programs if you don't fill it out. 

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Tucson News
Feb. 4, 2020

Tucson Asian Lantern Festival 2020 at Reid Park Zoo

On January 25th, the Chinese Lunar New Year 4718 began. This marks the year of the rat. In America, we celebrate our new year with fireworks. Chinese people celebrate their new year with paper lanterns and family-friendly festivities. If you wish to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with your family, visit the Tucson Asian Lantern Festival 2020 at the Reid Park Zoo. 

Celebrate the Chinese new year from mid-February to the end of March at the Tucson Asian Lantern Festival 2020 held at the Reid Park Zoo.

What: Tucson Asian Lantern Festival 2020
Where: Reid Park Zoo (3400 Zoo Ct)
When: Feb 13th to March 1st, from 6 pm to 9 pm every Thurs to Sun & March 5th to 30th, from 6 pm to 9 pm nightly
Admission: $14 to $18
Contact: Reid Park Zoo (520) 791-3204 or via email

Tucson Asian Lantern Festival 2020

Search Tucson homes for saleBeginning on Thursday, February 13th, hundreds of beautifully decorated paper lanterns light up the night skies at the Reid Park Zoo. The Zoo partnered up with several local Chinese organizations to create a special experience for all ages to enjoy. The 400+ lanterns on display throughout the festival have been designed with Southern Arizona in mind. Enjoy tasty Asian cuisine, learn more about Asian culture, and watch live Asian entertainment as you walk through the zoo after dark.

Each week, Zoo personnel invite guests to create their own Asian-inspired crafts. Every Friday through Saturday, show your skills (and maybe learn a few new ones) when you play Chinese checkers, Mah Jong or the marble pick-up game. Sharpen those chopstick skills for that last one! There's even a jumbo Jenga game available for play. It will be rotated out with Corn Hole throughout the Asian Lantern Festival. And it's all included with your price of admission. The carousel also stays open. However, it costs an extra $3 per rider.

Tickets for the Lantern Festival

Tickets cost $18 per adult and $16 for kids ages 2 to 14. Children under two years old get in for free. Pay $2 less per person if you're a zoo member. Purchase tickets ahead of time online here. Or pick them up at the zoo's entry gate. Plan on bringing a large group for a special outing? The zoo offers discounts on groups of 20 or more. Contact group co-ordinator Maria Sainz at (520) 837-8224 or via email to find out more about group discounts.

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Tucson Events
Jan. 28, 2020

Tucson School and Camp Fair 2020

Education provides the gateway to a good life. Extra-curricular activities help children develop into well-rounded individuals. If you are looking for a good preschool program, private school, charter school or special needs programs for your child, visit the Tucson School and Camp Fair 2020 on February 16th. They offer information on all this and more.

The Tucson School and Camp Fair 2020 offers information on school programs, after-school programs, summer camp, and so much more to help your child become a well-rounded individual.

What: Tucson School and Camp Fair 2020
Where: Tucson Jewish Community Center (3800 E River Rd)
When: Sunday, February 16th, 11 am to 3 pm
Admission: FREE (tickets required)

Tucson School and Camp Fair 2020

Search Tucson homes for salePreschool gives your child an important headstart on their educational journey. It helps ready them for kindergarten. But which preschools offer the best programs for your child? Visit the Tucson School and Camp Fair 2020 to find out. Want to know how the district schools perform in your area? Come to the fair. In search of a private or charter school option for your child? Visit the fair. Want to find a school that addresses your child's special needs? Then, come to the fair. 

In addition to educational information, the fair offers info on extra-curricular activities as well. Find out about STEAM programs, dance schools, and baseball, basketball, soccer as well as other athletic programs. Martial arts classes instill confidence as well as good exercise (work out the mind and body at the same time). Even though we're just finishing up January, it's never too early to start thinking about summer camps. 

While you check out the valuable information provided at the fair, let the kids roam free with fun STEAM activities. Or let them exert some energy in the bounce house or while playing on the inflatable slide. Tucson firefighters allow kids to hop aboard a real fire engine. The Tucson Police Department provides free booster car seats for your little ones. Safe Kids Pima County hands out free bike helmets to anyone interested (while supplies last). Meet the Coca-Cola Polar Bear! Watch live performances from various local groups. You will even have the opportunity to adopt a dog from the PACC right on the spot. So much to see and do all in one location!

Ticket Information

Yes, admission is absolutely free. However, organizers still require a ticket to enter the fair. But, instead of one ticket per person, they require just one ticket per family. To grab your family's ticket, simply visit the This is Tucson ticket website here. If you decide last minute to attend, no worries. You may pick up your ticket at the door on the day of the event.

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Tucson Events
Jan. 21, 2020

VA Loan Changes for 2020

Last year, Forbes magazine put Tucson in its Most Affordable US Cities to Live list for households making $60,000 or less per year. That helps stretch home buyers' budgets. If you happen to be a current or former member of the military in good standing, your money goes even farther. Recent changes to limits and fees for VA loans bring both good and bad news to applicants. On one hand, new legislation eliminated limits. On the other, fees increased. However, these fees only increased a tiny bit and not for everyone.

As of Jan 1st, 2020, VA loans eliminated limits but increased fees slightly for most current and former military members.

VA Loan Changes for 2020

Loan Limits

Search Tucson homes for saleFirst of all, thank you for your service. Our country depends on brave men and women such as yourself. Previously, the VA put a limit on what they would back for veterans buying a house ($453,100). As of January 1st, 2020, they no longer impose a limit for any veteran utilizing their full access to this benefit. However, that doesn't mean buyers can go crazy either. They still must meet the credit criteria of the underwriter as well as show enough income to repay the loan (like any other buyer). Limits also come into play for veterans with at least one current VA loan and anyone who defaulted on a previous VA loan. In that case, the lender may require a down payment. If needed, look into one of Tucson's loan assistance grants available to help you cover these costs.

Fee Changes

With the elimination of loan limits comes an increase in fees for most veterans. Most vets still qualify for no money down loans. However, you are strongly encouraged to put money down anyway if you can. This decreases your monthly mortgage payment because you borrow less. Instead of mortgage insurance that many civilian home buyers pay, veterans pay a fee for the costs involved in obtaining government backing for their loans. For most vets, this fee used to run 2.15% for first-time users of this benefit. As of January 1st, that increases to 2.3%. For vets with other current loans backed by the government, that fee increases to 3.6% (from the previous 3.3%). On the upside, in 2022, these fees revert back to their 2019 levels. Then, in September 2029, they fall even further. So the increase is only temporary. National Guard and Reserve members already pay more for their VA loans. So, the new increased fee doesn't apply to them. And any currently active military member who received a Purple Heart doesn't have to pay any fees.

For more information about these changes, please visit the Veterans Benefits Administration website here. Also, feel free to talk to your loan administrator about any questions you might have regarding VA loans. Thorough research provides the intel you need to make an informed decision before you buy.

Rebecca Schulte, Schulte Real Estate Group, Your Source for Tucson Real Estate

Posted in Buying a Home