Tucson Real Estate and Community News

July 4, 2023

Tucson Art After Dark 2023

Fireworks on the 4th aren't the only excitement you'll find here in Tucson. Reid Park Zoo offers Safari Nights every Saturday through the middle of August. You can shop the Mercado District's summer night market on the last Friday of the month through September. And the Children's Museum hosts their Tucson Art After Dark 2023.

On the second Saturday of the month, bring your family to the Children's Museum Tucson for Tucson Art After Dark. It's fun. It's family-friendly. And it's free!

What: Tucson Art After Dark 2023
Where: Children's Museum Tucson (200 S 6th Ave)
When: 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm on the Second Saturday of the Month
Admission: FREE
Contact: Children's Museum Tucson (520) 792-9985 or via email

Tucson Art After Dark 2023

Search Tucson homes for saleWhat is Art After Dark? This fun program provides different entertainment each month. For July, come watch the Barbea Williams Performing Company perform their Afrikan and Afrikan Latino choreography. They even teach guests how to do some of the dances themselves. Audience participation ranks high on the list for Art After Dark, too. Your kids create their own works of art based on the theme of the night. Even though these activities were created with children ages 5 to 8 in mind, they really appeal to the child in all of us. And it costs you absolutely nothing but a couple of hours of your time to participate. However, the memories created are priceless. So, make this your destination of choice with your family on the second Saturday of each month. You won't regret it.

Where's Waldo?

Don't forget. Throughout the month of July, more than 20 businesses in the 4th Ave District will be participating in the Where's Waldo Challenge. First, visit the library or Antigone Books to pick up your passport. Then, visit the businesses in the 4th Ave District. Make sure to scour every nook cranny, and shelf for the 6" cutout of America's favorite striped shirt and beanie-wearing Waldo. When you find him, let the employees know. They'll stamp your passport. Once you receive 20 stamps, you become eligible for a fun prize. It's free to participate and a great way to get to know our local businesses and business owners. The challenge ends on July 31st, 2023.

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

Posted in Tucson Events
June 24, 2023

Where's Waldo Tucson Challenge 2023

I have a riddle for you. What's red and white and found all over? Why Waldo, of course! The Where's Waldo challenge is back for the month of July. 

What's red and white and hides all over? Waldo! Join the Where's Waldo Tucson scavenger hunt during July 2023 for fun and prizes.

What: Where's Waldo Tucson
Where: Businesses Throughout Tucson
When: July 1st to July 31st, 2023

Where's Waldo Tucson

Search Tucson homes for saleMore than 20 businesses throughout Tucson put up cardboard cutouts of the famous striped sweater and beanie-wearing Waldo in their establishments.Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to locate where Waldo is hiding. Simply pick up your free passport at either Antigone Books on 4th Ave or at the Pima County Public Library. When you locate Waldo at one of these businesses, let the employees of that shop know and receive a stamp in your passport. Get at least 20 stamps to be eligible for a prize.

Where to Look

Waldo excels at hiding in plain sight. So, don't go looking for his life-size cardboard likeness. These cutouts are only 6" tall. That means that you need to look in every nook, cranny, and shelf space to find him. And stay away from the big box national stores. After all, the whole reason why Where's Waldo Tucson was created in the first place was to highlight local businesses. So, stop inside locally owned businesses like Antigone Books, the Food Conspiracy Co-Op, and Eastland Alley Design Co, just to name a few. In the past, Waldo's shown up at family-friendly places like the Chidlren's Museum, too.

All-in-all, 22 different local Tucson businesses in the historic 4th Ave District plan on displaying Waldo somewhere in their stores, markets, or galleries. Your job is to find each and every one of them. And while you're in there, consider purchasing something inside one of these businesses. Think globally. Shop locally. And find that little red-and-white-striped weirdo for fun and prizes all month long.Good luck!

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

Posted in Tucson Events
June 11, 2023

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

You bought your Tucson home years ago. Thankfully, you managed to either pay it off or now hold a considerable amount of equity in it. Now, you're considering retirement. That may mean that you are looking at a fixed income soon. One of the ways to tap into your equity without selling your home may be through a reverse mortgage. 

You may have heard about them before, but do you actually understand how a reverse mortgage works? Is it a good idea or a bad idea to pursue one for yourself? Do your due diligence before you start the process.

Reverse Mortgage Explained

What Is It?

Search Tucson homes for saleFirst of all, a reverse mortgage allows homeowners aged 62+ to access part of their home's equity with a loan. How does this differ from a HELOC or home equity loan? Well, instead of making monthly payments to a mortgage company, the bank pays you a monthly stipend. Plus, the loan does not require payment until after the last legal homeowner dies or moves out of the home permanently. And you may still qualify even if you still owe a balance on your mortgage loan.

Who Qualifies for One?

Homeowners must be at least 62 years old and use the home as their permanent residence to qualify. You must either own your home outright (meaning no balance due on your mortgage loan) or you must have a low balance. If you still owe money on your mortgage loan, you must use part of your funds from the reverse mortgage to pay it off. You cannot owe anything for outstanding income taxes or student loans. Your property must be in good condition. And you need to meet certain financial requirements through HUD.


On the positive side, a reverse mortgage gives you money right now. Also, you get this money without going through the hassle of selling your Tucson home and moving. Moreover, this money usually goes into your pocket tax-free. Furthermore, as I stated before, the loan does not come due until you move out of your home.


Unfortunately, these also come with a few negatives. For example, it costs more than a traditional mortgage. How? In higher interest rates and higher loan fees. Once you move out, the loan comes due. That means that you must provide proof each year in writing that the property is your permanent home. Otherwise, you may find yourself forced into foreclosure. Finally, if you decide to leave your property to your heirs, it could force them to sell the house relatively quickly in order to pay off the mortgage. 

Before you decide whether or not this is a good option for you, consider all of the pros and cons. Talk to a reputable lender. Ask them any questions that you may have. Make sure you understand every aspect of a reverse mortgage before you start the process.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips
June 4, 2023

Rent-to-Own: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In recent years, we've all seen how the cost of just about everything has gone up. Groceries. Gas. Healthcare. Inflation also hit the real estate market. While Tucson home prices decreased from their highest point in June 2022, they steadily increased each month since February of this year. Partner that with higher interest rates and buyers begin to look for alternative ways to purchase a home. One of those options may be a rent-to-own situation. Here is what you need to know about this option before you start down that road to homeownership.

You may be familiar with rent-to-own when it comes to furniture, appliances, and televisions. But did you know that it might be an option for buying a Tucson home? But before you decide, you need to know the pros and cons first.

Rent-to-Own: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

How it Works

Search Tucson homes for saleBasically, you have two options when it comes to rent-to-own real estate: lease option or lease purchase. Both of them designate a specific amount of time and a specific amount of money to be paid each month. Additionally, the renter must pay a non-refundable fee. The eventual sale price is decided at the time of the agreement. At the end of the agreed rental period, the renter either agrees to buy the house or they are given the option to purchase it. Which one depends entirely on the initial agreement signed by both parties. 

The Good

One good thing about rent-to-own is that you have the opportunity to "test drive" the property before actually buying it. Also, part of your rent goes toward your down payment at the end of the agreement. So, instead of coming up with one large chunk of money at one time, it forces you to "save" for your downpayment in smaller increments. Plus, when you choose this option, it takes away any competition from other buyers. Finally, you can take your time exploring your mortgage financing options as well as work to beef up your credit score during the rental period.

The Bad

On the downside, you pay much more monthly for "rent" than you would otherwise. Plus, you may have to pay for any maintenance required on the house while you rent it. That includes everything from regular landscaping to emergencies that may arise during your rental agreement (pipe bursting, electrical shortage, water leak, etc.). Another negative is that you are stuck with the sale price in the contract, even if the property depreciated in value since the initial signing of the contract. 

The Ugly

Finally, what could be considered the "ugly" part of the rent-to-own option...you're at the owner's mercy. If they take your money yet refuse to pay their mortgage, the house may go into foreclosure. Then, you lose all of the money you put into it: your monthly rent (that includes part of your down payment) as well as any money you paid for maintenance costs. That puts you right back at square one with nothing to show for it.

So, before you decide whether this is a good option for you, weigh all of the pros and cons. Then make an informed decision about whether or not "rent-to-own" is the best choice for you.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
May 28, 2023

Open House Prep Tips

In the early days of the pandemic, many things went virtual. Grocery shopping. Employment. Even buying a Tucson home.  In fact, many times, the first time a buyer laid eyes upon a home they purchased was after they closed the sale.  But today's home buyer wants a return to the traditional way of doing things. That includes attending an open house. In case you forgot what that means, here is a handy prep list to get you started.

Home buyers still like virtual tours. But they prefer seeing a Tucson home in person before they buy. That may mean attending an open house. Here's a guideline to make sure your home is ready to be seen.

Open House Prep Tips

Clean & Clear

Search Tucson homes for saleFirst, clean your Tucson home from top to bottom. That means washing baseboards, wiping down the blades on your ceiling fans, scrubbing the windows until they sparkle, and clearing out the cobwebs. Scrub those floors. If possible, you might even want to hire a professional cleaning service to take care of this cumbersome chore. Also, make sure you clear out the clutter. Store away anything that does not absolutely need to go on the countertops This includes the blender, toaster, knife sets, spoon rests, and even the coffee pot, if possible. Next, make sure personal photos and mementos are stashed out of sight as well. While you may not consider this "clutter", potential buyers might.

Get Rid of the Stink

Next, homeowners tend to go "nose blind" after even a small time living in their homes. So, before an open house, do a deep clean of the carpet, drapes, and any upholstered furniture. Clean out the litter box. Take your pets out for a "spa day" a day or two beforehand. Ozium Air Sanitizer Spray tops CNN's list of the Best Odor Eliminators. In fact, their list includes fixes for just about every odor situation you may find in your home. 

Fresh Towels Make a Great Impression

It may sound silly, but consider purchasing new towels for the kitchen and bathrooms. Buyers like a spa-like bathroom. And nothing screams "spa" like a super-soft, luxurious bath towel. They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. But a spaghetti-stained towel doesn't emit a positive impression for one of the most important rooms in the house. So, a trip to the store for new linens may be in order.

If It's Broke, Fix It

Buyers look at everything when considering a Tucson home...and I mean everything. If they see something as little as a doorbell that doesn't work or a loose handle, it makes them wonder what bigger problems lie under the surface. That's not a thought you want on buyers' minds. So, make sure you fix anything and everything before your open house.

Play Up the Curb Appeal

After that, don't forget about your curb appeal. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Mow the lawn. Get rid of weeds. Trim the hedges. Create a clear path to the front door. Put toys and tools away. Stash your trash cans on the side of the house, out of sight. 

Get Out!

Finally, leave. You want buyers to feel like your home could be there home. But it's hard to feel at home with the current owners lurking about. Plus, potential buyers may not feel comfortable being honest about the home. This may leave them with the impression that this is not the home for them. So, before an open house, take your dog to the park Go to a movie. Take the family out for a day at the zoo. Just leave your house in the capable hands of your REALTOR® for a few hours.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 21, 2023

Loan Pre-Approval and the Home Buyer

According to a September 2022 Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors®, approximately 22% of home buyers paid all-cash for their properties. That sounds like a healthy amount. But if you happen to be one of the 78% of buyers that need to finance your purchase, you'll need to deal with a lender. And that means obtaining loan pre-approval as soon as possible.

Before you even start looking at Tucson homes, you need to start the loan pre-approval process. What does that entail? Will a pre-qualification suffice?

Loan Pre-Approval and the Home Buyer

How Important Is It?

Search Tucson homes for saleShort answer? Very. In fact, many agents require that you get pre-approval from a bank before they even start showing you any Tucson homes. And most sellers will not even entertain an offer if it does not include a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender. Since this process takes a little bit of time, you need to get started as soon as possible.

Is This the Same as Pre-Qualifying?

No. Loan pre-approval and pre-qualification (or a "pre-qual") are two very different animals. Pre-qualification only takes a few minutes. The lender asks a couple of questions about your income and may run a preliminary credit check. Based on the information you provide, they determine how much you might qualify for. While this may offer a tentative baseline to help you set a price range to look in, it does not guarantee that you will be approved for a loan.

On the other hand, the pre-approval process takes a much more in-depth look at your finances. Lenders require copies of paycheck stubs, bank statements, income tax returns, and any other financial documents that prove your actual income. They also need to see how much money you wish to put down for your home purchase. Then, they run a more thorough credit check to look at any past-due accounts, late payments, and other information to determine your creditworthiness. Finally, they verify that all of the data you provide them is accurate and true before deciding whether or not you qualify as well as how much you qualify for. Even so, this is still not a guarantee that you will be approved. However, it shows the seller that you performed your due diligence and may be a good candidate for this home sale.

Not sure where to begin the pre-approval process? Contact me. I can provide you with a name or two of some great lenders that will work with you on this.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
May 14, 2023

Pros and Cons of Owning a Pool Home

Temperatures in Tucson hit the 100F mark or above an average of over 60 days a year. In fact, in 2020, we hit the triple digits on 108 days of the year. Because of this, a pool home may sound appealing. However, before you run out and buy that house, you might want to weigh the pros and cons of owning a Tucson home with a pool first.

Before you start looking at properties that include a pool, you might want to weigh the pros and cons that come with owning a pool home in Tucson first.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Pool Home

Pros of Owning a Home With a Pool

Search Tucson homes for saleFirst of all, swimming pools beautify a Tucson home. They look much better than a dirt patch in the backyard. Second, they offer a great opportunity for no-impact exercise. Swimming is one of the best all-over workouts you can do for your body. Since it uses nearly every muscle in your body, they get stronger and leaner at the same time. Plus, swimming provides an excellent cardiovascular workout, which helps you maintain a healthy heart and strong lungs. Finally, a swimming pool can increase your home's value by as much as 7%.

Cons of Owning a Home With a Pool

Now, the downsides of owning a pool home. It costs money to maintain your pool. And this must be done year-round, even if you don't use it all the time. A regular pool-cleaning service may cost you $30 to $35 per visit in Tucson. That's between $1560 and $1820 per year if you get it cleaned once a week. Now, you might be able to save a little bit of money if you do it yourself. But there is also the time and energy required for regular maintenance. Then, there's the safety issue. Many insurance companies charge you more for homeowners insurance if your property includes a pool. Plus, there's the cost of installing a gate around it to protect your little ones (and their friends). Finally, while some people love the idea of owning a home with a pool, it might limit your appeal when it comes time to sell it. Some buyers see more work and possible safety issues than they do a nice place to relax with the family. 

These are just a few things to keep in mind when considering buying a pool home in Tucson. When you are ready to start looking for your next property (whether that is one with a pool or without one), please contact me.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
May 6, 2023

Is For Sale by Owner a Good Idea?

DIY has become extremely popular in recent years for everything from party decor to home repairs and remodeling. And with the cost of everyday items on the rise, people want to save a buck wherever possible. That includes when you sell your Tucson home. Instead of paying a commission to an agent, it might seem like representing yourself in a home sale would save you money. But is going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route really a good idea?

Does a For Sale by Owner real estate transaction actually save me any money in the long run when selling a Tucson home? Not necessarily.

For Sale by Owner: A Good Idea or Not?

What Does an Agent Do for That Commission?

Search Tucson homes for saleFirst, they take on all of the responsibility of marketing your property to potential buyers. That includes listing it on the MLS, which only professional real estate agents can access. This opens your home up to a much wider pool of buyers than you as an individual may have. Also, their services typically include a professional photographer and (sometimes) a videographer that make your property look its best online. Since more than 97% of home buyers between the ages of 21 and 66 use the internet at some point during their search for a new home, you need to make sure it looks as good as possible.

Next, they host open houses and private tours of your property. And since this is their job, they can make themselves available for these tours at any time of the day. Fitting in an open house or private tour between your regular job, shuffling the kids to school and after-school events, making dinner, and running your errands might prove difficult. Limiting viewing times may end up turning away potential buyers. 

Also, real estate agents know the market. They cultivate relationships with other agents. They know how to negotiate the best deals. Their knowledge of the local market definitely works in your favor. With a For Sale By Owner situation, unless you happen to be a real estate agent yourself, you may lack these crucial skills. And that's just a few of the many, many tasks a real estate agent completes when trying to sell your Tucson home.

Does an Agent Get Paid if Your Home Doesn't Sell?

Short answer? No. That's right. If a sale never takes place after all of the hours of marketing, negotiating, scheduling, and coordinating your agent performs, they receive $0 for it. And they absorb any costs incurred for all of these services. 

FSBO Home Sellers Still Pay a Commission

What?! How is that possible when you cut out an agent from your home sale? Well, that commission fee actually gets split between the buyer's agent's brokerage and the seller's agent. So, even when you eliminate an agent from one side of the transaction, you still pay the buyer's agent's fee. And that typically costs you about 3% of the sale price.

Is a 2 to 3% savings really worth all that time and hassle it took to sell your home? Only you can determine that. But, if you decide that you'd rather trust a professional to handle it, contact me. I'm always happy to help my home sellers.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 30, 2023

How to Pay Down Debt and Boost Your Credit Score

This year, you want to buy a Tucson home. You saved a nice chunk of change for your down payment and your closing costs. Good for you. But you also need to whip your credit into shape. Why? Because it helps you qualify for better interest rates. Also, you need a minimum credit score of 620 for many mortgage loans. Some require lower scores but come with heftier interest rates to compensate. Your debt-to-income ratio also affects whether or not a lender approves you for your mortgage loan. Find out how to pay down your debt quicker and boost your credit score at the same time before you start looking for your next home.

Learn how to pay down debt and boost your credit score before looking for your next Tucson home so you can qualify for the best interest rates.

How to Pay Down Debt and Boost Your Credit Score

By Balance

Search Tucson homes for saleFirst, let me start off by saying that there really is no "bad" way to pay down your debt. A lower debt-to-income ratio looks good to lenders no matter which way you accomplish it. One way to do this is by starting with the credit card containing the lowest balance. Make the minimum payment for your other credit accounts but put as much as you can towards paying off the card with the lowest balance. Once that gets paid off, take the money you were paying towards that card and start putting it towards the next lowest balance. Just make sure you add the minimum payment for that card on top of it. And so on and so on. That way, the amount of money you spend each month never changes. But the balances get paid down faster.

By Interest Rate

Starting with the lowest balance feels a bit like instant gratification. Paying off an account feels incredibly satisfying. However, a better way to pay down debt may actually be to start with the credit card that charges you the most interest. Why? Because the higher the interest rate, the more it costs you. Start off the same way as you would with the lowest balance method. Only pay the minimum payment required for your lower interest cards. Then, put as much as you can towards the highest interest card. Once that balance is paid off, take the amount you had been paying and start paying that (plus the minimum payment) on the next highest interest card.

No matter how you pay down debt, just start doing it today. You want your credit score in its best shape before you apply for a home loan. When you're ready to start looking for your next Tucson home, contact me.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
April 23, 2023

How New Windows Can Get Your Home Sold More Quickly

Plan on selling your Tucson home this year? It is never too soon to begin making necessary updates, repairs, and renovations. While painting, de-cluttering, increasing your curb appeal, and general tidying up usually hit the top spots on a home seller's "to do" list, what about your windows? Believe it or not, new windows help sell your home more quickly than you might think.

When preparing your Tucson home to sell, you might want to consider replacing your windows with newer, more energy-efficient ones to appeal to more buyers. Plus, new windows may get your home sold much more quickly.

How New Windows Can Get Your Home Sold More Quickly

Energy-Efficiency is a Huge Selling Point

Search Tucson homes for saleDid you know that homes lose as much as 30% of their heating and cooling usage through their windows? Today's homebiuyer looks for energy-efficient features. In fact, 83% of buyers ranked energy-efficient windows as either essential or desirable in a home. With temperatures regularly in the triple digits all summer long, you want your home to function as efficiently as possible. So, it makes sense to focus on updating/upgrading your outdated windows if you want to sell your Tucson home anytime soon.

Makes Home More Visually Appealing

Another reason for adding new windows before you list your property? It can make a huge difference in the entire look of your home. And we all know how crucial curb appeal is in attracting buyers. If buyers see broken, cracked, or chipped windows, they only see a huge expense coming their way after they move in. And when buyers see "expense", they start decreasing their offer price.

Is the Return on Investment Worth It?

According to the Glass Doctor, homeowners should expect an average ROI of 73% when they replace their old windows with new ones. That being said, the cost of replacement depends entirely upon which type of window you use and its size. Vinyl windows range from $150 to $800 each. Wood windows cost between $850 to $2000 each. Aluminum-clad windows range from $700 to $2500 each. And full-frame windows cost between $800 and $3000 each. Ideally, shop around for the best prices and reputation before determining which company to use.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home