Tucson Real Estate and Community News

Dec. 4, 2018

Be a Santa to a Senior Tucson 2018

For most of us, the holidays provide happy memories. We look forward to spending time with family, doing activities together and exchanging gifts. However, for our elderly population, it can be depressing and lonely. The Be a Santa to a Senior Tucson 2018 program provides gifts and a bit of companionship during the holiday season. But they need your help in order to accomplish this.

Help make this Christmas merry and bright for a lonely senior citizen by participating in the Be a Santa to a Senior Tucson program this year.

Be a Santa to a Senior Tucson 2018

Since 2003, Home Instead Senior Care has managed to deliver over 1.2 million gifts to more than 700,000 senior citizens nationwide. You can help make this Christmas merry and bright for our local elderly population by participating in the Be a Santa to a Senior Tucson program.

All you have to do is visit one of the specially decorated Christmas trees at one of the locations listed below. Pick a tag (or three) off the tree. On that tag, you'll find the name and request of a specific senior citizen living here in the Tucson area. Purchase that gift and then return it (unwrapped) along with its tag to the box located next to the tree you took the bulb from. Home Instead works with local volunteers to wrap and deliver all presents to their intended recipients in time for Christmas. 

Where to Find Santa to a Senior Tucson Trees

  • Search Tucson homes for saleCurves (Tanque Verde Rd in Tucson & La Canada in Oro Valley)
  • Home Instead Senior Care (3208 N Tucson)
  • Ignite Sign Museum (331 Olsen Ave)
  • K-Mart (7055 E Broadway)
  • Pantano Christian Church (1755 Houghton Rd)
  • Rocco's Pizzeria (2707 E Broadway)
  • Washington Federal (all Tucson & Green Valley locations)

There are 1400 senior citizens in the Tucson area hoping to receive a gift and a kind word this year. Can you help make that happen? Be a Santa to a Senior Tucson 2018 trees will be up at all participating locations until December 17th. Please do what you can to make the holidays special for a lonely senior this year. 

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

Posted in Tucson Events
Nov. 27, 2018

Creative Ways to Pay Your Tucson Mortgage

Congratulations on buying a Tucson home. In order to do so, you had to be smart with your money. Saving up for your down payment was merely the tip of the iceberg. Now, you've got to pay for it. But you don't necessarily have to be the only one to do so. Sometimes, it helps to get creative when it comes time to pay your Tucson mortgage.

Why pay your entire Tucson mortgage yourself when there are several creative ways to get others to pay it for you without having to move out.

Creative Ways to Pay Your Tucson Mortgage

The Classic: Roommate

One of the classic ways to creatively pay your Tucson mortgage is to rent out your spare room to a roommate. Depending on your monthly mortgage payment, the rent paid by a roommate covers anywhere from 25-50% of it. This helps free up money for you to pay off your credit card or student loan debt, make improvements to your house (which increases its value) or pay down your mortgage. Do some research into what rooms for rent typically run in your area to stay competitive. If you're anywhere near U of A, you're bound to receive more interest and garner more rent due to student turnover. But, even if you're not near campus, room rentals are on the rise due to the cost of individual rental units going up.

Airbnb Calling

Hotels are so "yesterday". Vacationers want a more "homey" feel when they travel. Thus, the rise in popularity of places like Airbnb. Another way to pay your Tucson mortgage is by becoming an Airbnb host. Contrary to popular belief, you don't necessarily have to rent out your whole house either. Some hosts only rent out a room for the week. And, while a traditional roommate brings in enough money to partially pay for your mortgage, renting a room for a week might actually pay your entire mortgage for the month, depending on where your house is located. However, before you sign up as a host, you need to check with your insurance company to see how this might affect your homeowner's insurance. Traditional insurance might not cover you if something happens while you rent out via Airbnb.

Hello Hollywood

Finally, consider renting out your home for ads or even movie shoots. Location scouts are always on the lookout for beautiful homes to shoot advertisements or movies in. Places like Home Studio List allow you to sign your home up on a roster for consideration. And they pay good money, too, if you're chosen. This creative way to pay your Tucson mortgage offers the biggest paycheck for the least amount of time. And don't worry if you think your decor leaves something to be desired. Many companies provide their own "set dressing" to exchange out for your family's furnishings.

A few things to keep in mind when considering any of these options. No matter which one you choose, you're going to be inconvenienced in some way. Before you sign any contract, read the fine print. Make sure you understand all the terms in place. And always check with your insurance company first to make sure you're covered in case anything goes wrong. Good luck!

Santa's Calling Tucson 2018

A quick reminder: the deadline to sign your child up for a phone call from Santa is this Thursday, November 29th. Download your Santa's Calling Tucson 2018 request form and email it into the Parks & Recreation Department by close of business on the 29th. Phone calls will be made on December 4th and 5th. If you miss the deadline, your child still receives a personalized letter from Santa. So, feel free to send in your request anyway.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Nov. 21, 2018

Santa's Calling Tucson 2018

When you were a kid, how much would you have loved to receive a call at home from Santa? Standing in line with dozens of other children to talk to him at the mall is one thing. But imagine hearing the jolly old elf himself talking directly to you straight from the North Pole? If you sign your child up for Santa's Calling Tucson 2018, they'll be added to Santa's list.

 When you sign your 4-10 year old up for Santa's Calling Tucson 2018, they'll receive a phone call from the jolly old elf himself. Deadline for requests is Nov 29th.

Santa's Calling Tucson 2018

Search Tucson homes for saleMake Christmas something special. Sign your child up for the Santa's Calling Tucson 2018 event. The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department works with Santa and his elves each year to host this event. It's provided absolutely free of charge to any child between the ages of four and ten. Santa will attempt to call every child on his list between 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm on December 4th and 5th. If he receives more requests than the two days will allow, he'll add the 6th to the roster as well.

All you need to do is fill out the Santa's call request form and email it to santascalling2018@tucsonaz.gov. Or, download the form and send it via snail mail to 900 S Randolph Way, Tucson, AZ 85716. All requests must be received in the Parks & Rec Department no later than November 29th, 2018. If your Santa's Calling Tucson 2018 request doesn't make it in time, Santa promises to send your child a personal letter. So, one way or another, Santa makes sure your child isn't forgotten.

Want to make Christmas extra special for your child? Sign up for Santa's Calling Tucson 2018. Then, watch their faces light up when Santa calls them personally from the North Pole while his elves continue to work away behind him. It's a magical time for everyone. Just make sure to get your request in before the November 29th deadline.

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

 

Posted in Tucson Events
Nov. 13, 2018

Tucson Family Festival in the Park 2018

Next week, Tucson families gather together to count their blessings with their families. The City of Tucson believes that we should always celebrate our loved ones. They don't want to wait until Thanksgiving to do so. That's why they'll be hosting the Tucson Family Festival in the Park 2018 this Saturday, November 17th.

Bring canned food with you to the Tucson Family Festival in the Park 2018 on Nov 17th. All food collected goes directly to our local food bank for the holidays.

What: Tucson Family Festival in the Park 2018
Where: Reid Park (900 S Randolph Way)
When: Saturday, November 17th, 10 am to 2 pm
Admission: FREE
Contact: Sierra Boyer, City of Tucson (520) 837-8032 or via email

Tucson Family Festival in the Park 2018

Search Tucson homes for saleThe Tucson Family Festival in the Park 2018 marks the 13th year that the City of Tucson has held this celebration. And this weekend looks like the perfect fall weekend to hold it. Temperatures should be in the low 70's under mostly sunny skies. Sounds like a great day to spend at the park, doesn't it?

The City offers tons of fun things to do at the festival. Play games for fun and prizes. Get your face painted. Create a fall-themed work of art at the craft stations. Let loose on the inflatables. There's tennis, disc golf, and even some class demonstrations. Visit the Reid Park Zoo for just $1. The Edith Ball Rec Center offers free swimming for the afternoon. They've set up a special inflatable obstacle course in the water specifically during festival hours.

While Admission to the Tucson Family Festival in the Park 2018 is absolutely free, the City is asking that all guests bring canned food with them. All canned food collected will be given to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Please give what you can. Also, your $1 admission fee to the Reid Park Zoo benefits the zoo's conservation fund. 

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

Posted in Tucson Events
Nov. 6, 2018

Download Your Tucson Smart Home Water Guide Now

When you live in the desert, water becomes an extremely precious commodity. The City of Tucson offers rebates when you take certain steps to curb your household water usage. Learning how to identify leaks and repair them when they begin can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Now, the water department offers an online Tucson Smart Home Water Guide to help you with this task.

Identifying and repairing any water leaks in your home helps reduce water waste and costs. Download your free Tucson Smart Home Water Guide in English or Spanish today.

Tucson Smart Home Water Guide

Search Tucson homes for saleThe average Tucson area home uses anywhere from 6000 to 15,000 gallons of water per month, depending on a variety of factors. The EPA reports that we lose as much as 10,000 gallons of water every year through leaks in our homes. Sometimes, these leaks are obvious. Other times, they're slow and harder to detect. Conserving water and minimizing loss through leakage helps lower your household expenses.

The Tucson Smart Home Water Guide teaches you how to read your water meter. Oftentimes, this can be the first indicator that you have a leak somewhere. It also provides tips about how to visually identify leaks inside and outside your Tucson home. Do you have a continuous leak you haven't been able to locate yet? Learn how to perform isolation leak tests in your service line, irrigation system, pool, supply pipes, and all water-using appliances (dishwasher, clothes washer, evap cooler, pond, water feature, etc). Finally, the Tucson Smart Home Water Guide also provides helpful conservation tips to be more efficient in and around your home.

Where to Get Your Tucson Smart Home Water Guide

The guide is conveniently available in English and Spanish. You can download the English version here or the Spanish version here. Would you prefer a paper guide that you can thumb through at your leisure? Simply email your request to pico@tucsonaz.gov. Make sure to include your name, address and whether you'd like an English version, Spanish version or if you'd like one of each. You'll receive your guide(s) in the mail as soon as they can process your request.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Oct. 30, 2018

Helpful Money Tips for the Tucson Home Buyer

Even with the "bubble burst" of the mid-2000s, real estate continues to be a relatively good investment in the long term. Prices are on the rise. The Tucson real estate market appears to be strong right now. Whether you'd like to upgrade, downsize or desire to own your very first home, it's a good time to do so right now. First, follow these money tips so that you're ready to pounce when you find your perfect Tuscon home.

Whether you're buying your first or fifth Tucson home, these money tips help alleviate some of stress that comes up whenever you make a major investment like purchasing a property.

Helpful Money Tips for the Tucson Home Buyer

Be Prepared

Search Tucson homes for saleRemember the Boy Scout motto: "Be prepared"? That's a good motto for anyone in their everyday life. That's why the first one of my money tips is to be prepared. Get your financing in order. That means paying down your debts as much as possible. This increases your credit score. With a good credit score, you qualify for better interest rates. Keep spending to a minimum. Save up as much money for your down payment and closing costs as you can. Then, contact a lender and start up the loan approval process

Bigger Isn't Always Better

Another one of my helpful money tips is to carefully consider the size of your Tucson home before you buy. Keep in mind that more square footage usually translates to more expense. After all, you're going to need to heat/cool the place, pay for the electricity to each area of the home, and take care of the lawn (which could increase your water usage). Also, a larger Tucson home incurs higher property taxes and more homeowners' insurance.

Maintenance Costs

Speaking of taking care of the lawn, don't forget maintenance costs when buying a Tucson home. One of the best money tips I could give you to keep maintenance costs down is to regularly inspect your major appliances, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, and the roof. By doing so, you're more likely to find and fix a problem before it becomes a major (and more expensive) issue.

Build Up Your Equity

Finally, the last of my money tips I'll leave you with today is to try to build up your equity as quickly as possible. How do you do that? Pay down your mortgage. Instead of a 30-year mortgage, consider a 15-year loan. Yes, the monthly payment ends up being a few hundred dollars more, but you pay the entire loan off in half the time and you save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. Also, borrow less by putting a sizeable amount down.

Follow these helpful money tips to alleviate your stress. When you're ready to purchase a Tucson home, please contact me. I'd be happy to show you what's available right now.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 23, 2018

How to Tell the Difference Between a Fixer-Upper and a Money Pit

To maximize your Tucson real estate investment, experts believe you should buy the worst house in the best neighborhood. Then, add some elbow grease to bring it up to snuff with the rest of the homes in the area. However, purchasing a property where the combined sale price and cost to fix it up exceeds the home's value is not a sound investment. How do you tell the difference between a fixer-upper and a money pit? Concentrate on a few key areas to determine if this property is worth the expense, time and effort.

Don't confuse a fixer-upper with a money pit when buying a Tucson home. Find out which areas to concentrate before you invest in a Tucson home.

What to Look at When Buying a Fixer-Upper (Top to Bottom)

Roofing

The roof can be one of the most expensive items to replace in a fixer-upper. They typically last around 15 to 20 years. However, water and other damage severely shorten the roof's lifespan. It would be worth the extra cost to hire a roof inspector to examine its condition and provide you with an estimate to repair, if necessary.

HVAC System

Search Tucson homes for saleWhen you live in a desert community like the Tucson real estate market, you quickly understand how important the heating and air conditioning system can be. Replacing or installing an HVAC system is almost as expensive as replacing the roof. But it's a necessary expense when you buy a fixer-upper, especially if you have plans to flip the property. As temperatures begin to lower, it's the perfect time to get these repairs done, too. After the summer heat fades, HVAC company schedules begin to open up. So, finding a professional at a decent price becomes easier.

Electrical

Older homes weren't built with modern conveniences in mind. You need to make sure that your Tucson fixer-upper can handle the electrical load placed upon it by today's lifestyle. A new electrical panel and extra circuits might be required.

Plumbing

Has that Tucson fixer-upper sat vacant for a while? Then, most likely, it has plumbing issues. Pipes break down faster when they're not in use. Also, look around for signs of leaks (water stains, spots, etc). This could indicate potential problems within the walls.

Foundation

Finally, take a close look at the foundation. Every home settles. Hairline cracks aren't unusual. But, if the cracks run horizontally and are 1/4" wide or more, then they may be cause for concern. Other ways foundation problems make themselves known? Doors that stick when you open or close them. Sagging/uneven floors. Gaps around windows and exterior doors. Cabinets and countertops that separate from the walls.

Always hire a home inspector to investigate the Tucson fixer-upper you're interested in purchasing. From there, determine which areas require further investigation. Then, hire the appropriate professionals to come out and take a look. Ask for estimates. This will help you determine whether that home is a fixer-upper or a money pit.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 16, 2018

Tucson Boo Bash 2018: Halloween Fun at the Park

In 15 days, little boils and ghouls knock on their neighbors' doors, begging for treats and promising tricks if they're denied. But who wants to wait that long? Do you have a costume ready to go? Throw it on and show it off at the Tucson Boo Bash 2018 this Saturday.

Children of all ages (from 9 months to 99 years old) are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costumes and visit Lincoln Park on Oct 20th for the Tucson Boo Bash 2018. Food, games, inflatables, and a costume parade await all who come.

What: Tucson Boo Bash 2018
Where: Lincoln Park (4325 S Pantano Rd)
When: Saturday, October 20th, 4 pm to 7 pm
Admission: FREE
Contact: Tucson Parks & Rec Dept (520) 837-8011 or via email

Tucson Boo Bash 2018

Search all available Tucson homes for saleKick off Halloween a couple of weeks early by coming to Lincoln Park. That's where the Tucson Boo Bash 2018 takes place. Who says trick-or-treating belongs only to the kids? Children of all ages should dress up in their favorite costumes. Anyone who dresses up gets to participate in the costume parade for the entire crowd to see. Consider it a test drive for this year's big night.

Make sure you bring candy with you for some trunk-or-treaters. And don't forget your own bag to haul all the candy you collect home with you. Try your luck at the fun carnival games set up around the park. For the "rebels", get a tattoo. Don't worry. They're only temporary. You can wash that "rebel" right off when the night ends. Everybody loves inflatables. You'll find them here as well.

Forget about making dinner. Geronimo's Revenge, Drew's Dogs, and Dicky's Barbecue plan on bringing their food trucks by to feed the crowd. For dessert? How about a little Pin-Up Pastries or CodyCoyote Kettle Corn? All of this is available for purchase anytime your hunger strikes.

Why should we only celebrate Halloween on one day a year? Enjoy some great free family-friendly fun at Tucson Boo Bash 2018. Here, there are no tricks. Just treats.

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

Posted in Tucson Events
Oct. 9, 2018

Common Contingencies to Include in Your Tucson Home Purchase Agreement

A few weeks back, I provided Tucson home buyers with a closing checklist. Part of this checklist included completing any contingencies that were part of your home purchase agreement. Adding contingencies to a contract could slow down the sale. So, you need to keep them to a minimum. However, there are a few common contingencies that every Tucson home buyer should always consider adding to their purchase agreement to protect themselves.

Insisting on new paint and carpet might hinder a Tucson home sale. But these common contingencies protect you and should be considered as part of any home purchase agreement.

Common Contingencies for Tucson Home Buyers

Home Inspection Contingency

Search all available Tucson homes for saleOne of the most common contingencies buyers include in their purchase agreement is a home inspection. Professional inspectors spot potential problems that might not have been easy to see while conducting your initial walkthrough. Make sure you show up for the inspection. And ask smart questions while the home inspector walks about. The results of their inspection could determine whether or not this Tucson home is worth the investment. With a home inspection contingency in place, you're covered if you decide to walk away.

Mortgage Financing Contingency

Another one of the most common contingencies buyers add to their purchase agreement is mortgage financing. Unless you're purchasing the property with all cash, you're going to need to be approved for a home loan. Unfortunately, sometimes home loans fall through during the escrow process. An issue might arise with your application after you've already put in an offer on a Tucson home. The mortgage financing contingency protects you if your loan is denied at any time.

Home Appraisal Contingency

Banks want to know that the Tucson home you're buying is worth at least what you're asking to borrow. If it isn't, then you'll need to come up with more money or ask for a reduction in the sale price. Otherwise, you might need to cancel your purchase agreement. Therefore, a home appraisal contingency is a must for all sales contracts.

Home Sale Contingency

Do you currently own a home that you need to sell in order to be approved for a new home loan? Most buyers do. That's why another one of the common contingencies we see is the home sale contingency. However, keep in mind that this type of contingency might work against the buyer, especially if you're in a seller's market. If at all possible, sell your current home before you start looking for another one. Sellers don't want to have to take their home off the market while you try to sell your current home. They might move on to a buyer that doesn't have a home sale contingency added to their sales contract.

Clear Title Contingency

Finally, you want to make sure to check that the title is clean and clear. The title shows the chain of ownership on a property. Your title company should review the title history as a matter of normal business. This also includes checking for liens or disputes against the property. You don't want to be held responsible for a previous owner's debt once you take over the ownership of the home. The clear title contingency allows you to resolve any issues before final sale.

When you add these common contingencies to your Tucson home purchase agreement, you'll be covered for these specific unforeseen circumstances that might arise. If any of these happen and you choose to walk away from the sale, you'll receive all your Earnest Money Deposit back. Talk to your Tucson real estate agent to determine which of these common contingencies works in your best interest before you enter into a sales contract.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 2, 2018

What You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

Finding your next Tucson home is only the beginning of your homeownership journey. Once your offer is accepted, you need to schedule a home inspection. This gives you an opportunity to have a professional come out and investigate your property for potential problems you might not have seen on the initial walk-through. I advise you to be on-site when your home inspector conducts their inspection. Why? Because there are several important questions that you need answers to while they're there.

Be there when your home inspector conducts an inspection of your tuscon property so you can ask some very important questions.

What You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

Is That a Big Deal or Just a Minor Problem?

Search Tucson homes for saleIt is perfectly fine for you to accompany a home inspector while they conduct an inspection of your property. However, you don't want to hover. Allow them enough room to do their job. Along the way, they may point out some areas that they see potential issues with. Feel free to ask them to clarify what they mean. Most homes, even newly constructed ones, have some issues. For example, cracks in the foundation could mean something as simple as a normal settling of the house or it could indicate a much larger issue underneath. Sometimes, these are minor and may not need any follow-up on your part. Ask your home inspector which problems are a big deal and which ones are just minor issues.

Should I be Concerned About That Water Spot?

Did you see anything on your initial walkthrough of the property that gave you cause for concern? Go ahead and tell the home inspector about them up front. Ask them to pay particular attention to these areas. Then, they can give you their feedback on it. 

How Does This Work?

Is this your first Tucson home? Then you might never have dealt with an HVAC system or hot water heater, especially if there was a problem. That fell into your landlord's hands. If you have any questions about the thermostat, appliances, water heater, boiler, etc., feel free to ask your home inspector. Believe me when I say that they're used to explaining these things to home buyers. Don't feel embarrassed.

What Do You Think are the Issues Problems With this House?

Finally, and probably most importantly, ask your home inspector for their opinion about what particular issues stand out the most to them. Do they think some areas need further investigation? If so, you might want to ask a specialist (roofer, plumber, electrician, etc to come out and take a look at the problem right away. It will be worth the extra inspection fees you must pay to either relieve your mind of any potential problems or let you know exactly what you're in for.

Time's ticking away while you're in escrow. You need to complete the inspection on your Tucson home as soon as possible. If the home inspector raises concerns about things that you need to have fixed right away, you'll need to address them as soon as possible. Sometimes, this means a price negotiation to cover the expense. Other times, it means walking away from the sale altogether. If you have any questions, please contact me.

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

Posted in Buying a Home