Tucson Real Estate and Community News

Nov. 22, 2022

LightsUp! Tucson 2022

In just two days, we celebrate Thanksgiving. There is still time to contribute to the Gospel Rescue Mission and Salvation Army food drives. (If you read this after Thanksgiving, they still need help feeding people experiencing food insecurity for the holidays as well as the rest of the year. So, please consider donating what you can, when you can.) To get you into the Christmas spirit once the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away, you might want to take the family to LightsUp! Tucson 2022.

The only thing to rival Tucson Botanical Garden's beauty during the day is visiting it at night during LightsUp! Tucson 2022. Tickets available now.

What: LightsUp! Tucson 2022
Where: Tucson Botanical Gardens (2150 N Alvernon Way)
When: November 25th, 2022 to January 15th, 2023, 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm every Tuesday through Sunday
Admission: $26 to $30 (children under 4 are free)
Contact: Tucson Botanical Gardens (520) 326-9686 or via email

LightsUp! Tucson 2022

Search Tucson homes for saleOne of our most popular and beloved holiday events kicks off the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving. Tucson Botanical Gardens illuminates the night skies with gorgeous light displays throughout the grounds. Edna's Eatery helps you keep up your strength while you walk through the gardens with its "grab and go" menu. Parking at the gardens is extremely limited. If you end up parking outside of the gardens, please be courteous. Watch out for "no parking" signs and never block someone's driveway.

Ticket Info

LightsUp! starts at 5:30 pm and ends at 9:30 pm every Tuesday through Sunday between November 25th and January 15th. The gardens will be closed on Mondays, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. Tickets will not be sold at the gate. Instead, you must purchase them ahead of time. That means picking a specific date and time to attend. They also offer a "flex option" that allows you to reschedule your visit one time only due to either weather or some other unforeseen circumstance. Non-member pricing runs $28 for kids ages four to 17 and $30 for adults ages 18 and above. Members receive a $2 discount for each person. For flex tickets, you pay an extra $10 each.

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

Posted in Tucson Events
Nov. 15, 2022

Tucson Thanksgiving Food Drives and Volunteer Opportunities

In just nine days, we celebrate Thanksgiving. For many of us, that means sitting down to a fabulous meal with our loved ones and giving thanks for all the good in our lives. Unfortunately, over 34 million people in the United States suffer from food insecurity. That includes nine million children. With the price of groceries and everything else on the rise, millions of people turn to food pantries to help fill in the gaps in their budgets. I know of at least two Tucson food drives that are trying to fill the bellies of those less fortunate at Thanksgiving.

Millions of people in the United States face food insecurity every day. Help make the holidays a little easier for our local neighbors in need by participating in one of the Tucson Thanksgiving food drives.

Tucson Thanksgiving Food Drives & Volunteer Opportunities

Gospel Rescue Mission

Search Tucson homes for saleGospel Rescue Mission hosts its annual "Blessings to Go" Thanksgiving dinner from 11 am to 2 pm on Wednesday, November 23rd at their Palo Verde location. They need 200 turkeys as well as all the trimmings to serve 2000 of their sit-down and drive-through meals. They also need volunteers to help prepare and serve these meals. Please consider donating money to help purchase all the items they need. But if you cannot afford to donate money, how about donating your time instead? Get your friends, family, co-workers, and social club involved in volunteering, too. It all helps feed our neighbors. Plus, volunteering provides a wonderful opportunity to teach children compassion for our fellow humans.

Salvation Army Tucson

The second one of the Tucson Thanksgiving food drives you should know about is for our local Salvation Army. They serve their Thanksgiving meals from 11 am to 1 pm on Thursday, November 24th (Thanksgiving Day) at St. Demetrius (1145 E Fort Lowell). Like Gospel Rescue Mission, they provide meals both as a sit-down and a drive-through option. Last year, they gave out 750 meals. This year, they hope to serve even more. But they need your help to make this happen. You can help by either donating money (one-time or monthly commitment, your choice) or volunteering. They need help with food prep and serving as well as decorating, helping with parking, clean-up, and more. Sign up for a volunteer spot here.

Please help make this holiday season a little easier for those facing food insecurity. Volunteer your time or money to help local Tucson Thanksgiving food drives. Thank you.

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

Posted in Community News
Nov. 1, 2022

Tucson Halloween Bar Crawl 2022

OK. So, Halloween officially took place yesterday. But the celebration does not have to end there. At least, that's what the organizers of the Tucson Halloween Bar Crawl believe. They scheduled their crawl for Saturday, November 5th. So, if you're not ready to store that costume for another year yet, add this to your weekend plans.

Don't pack that costume away just yet. While Halloween may officially be over, the celebration continues with the Tucson Halloween Bar Crawl 2022 on Sat, Nov 5th. Grab your favorite boils and ghouls and head out for a night of merriment and mayhem.

What: Tucson Halloween Bar Crawl 2022
Where: The Funky Monk (350 E Congress)
When: Saturday, November 5th, 4 pm to 12 am
Admission: $18 to $22.50
Contact: Crawl With Us 

Tucson Halloween Bar Crawl 2022

Search Tucson homes for saleThis is the biggest crawl of the year with more than 1000 crawlers expected to attend. Check-in takes place at the Funky Monk on Congress at 4 pm. With each ticket, you receive a commemorative cup, two drinks or shots, and free entry into all of the bars located along the crawl route. Keep up your strength (and soak up the alcohol) with a tasty morsel or two from food trucks set up along the route as well.

After you finish "crawling", head to the Cobra Bar Arcade for the after-party. A guest DJ spins the tunes while you dance the rest of the night away. Make sure you set up a plan to get yourself and your friends safely home before you head out for the evening. We want everyone to enjoy themselves responsibly so that they can live to party again another day.

Ticket Info

Tickets cost $22.50 per person. But if you plan on traveling in a group of four people or more, receive a $4.50 discount per ticket. Visit the Eventbrite website here to purchase your tickets today.

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

Posted in Tucson Events
Oct. 25, 2022

What Negatively Affects My Credit Score?

With interest rates on the rise, you really need to make sure that your credit score is in tip-top shape before you apply for a mortgage loan. The higher your score, the better your interest rate. To help you out, I thought I'd explain what negatively impacts your score and what you need to do to avoid it.

Before you start looking for a new Tucson home, you need to get your credit score in tip-top shape. The higher your score, the better you interest rate. It helps to know what negatively affects your score so that you know what to focus on first.

What Negatively Affects My Credit Score?

Late Payments

Search Tucson homes for saleFirst, late payments hurt your score. Even when you pay a day or two late, it impacts your credit score, especially if it becomes a pattern. However, anything 30 days late or later severely affects your score. Many banks and creditors offer an automatic payment option for your account. In fact, some creditors offer a discount when you set up automatic payments. Never be late again and you'll start to see your score go up.

Maintaining a High Balance

Next, check out the balances on your credit accounts. High balances lower your score. However, maintaining a zero balance doesn't help either. Scores are based on payment history. If you don't use your card, there is no payment history to show. Experts suggest that your balance never goes over 30% of your credit limit. On a $5000 card, that means keeping your balance at $1500 or lower. If you have several credit cards, work on paying down your debt to 30% of the limit on one card and then going to the next one and paying it down to 30%. And so on. And so on. Once you hit 30% on each card, then continue to pay that debt down as much as possible. You can either start with the card that charges you the highest interest rate or you start with the card that is closest to the 30% mark. Whichever option you choose, the important thing is that you start paying that debt down as soon as possible.

Declaring Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy should always be your last option. It affects your credit score for at least the next seven years. While some lenders may work with borrowers whose bankruptcy was out of their control (such as a divorce, extended illness, or death in the family), that is not always the case. If you did declare bankruptcy in the last few years, talk to your lender to see how this affects your chances of obtaining a mortgage loan.

Too Many Hard Inquiries

Finally, too many inquiries on your credit report hurts your score. There are two types of inquiries that a creditor can make. A "soft inquiry" allows the creditor to check out your score without actually showing up as an inquiry. A "hard inquiry" means that the creditor actually requested a credit report for the specific purpose of evaluating your creditworthiness. One or two hard inquiries in the past 24 months won't hurt your score. However, six or more in that same time brings down your score. If you balance on the edge of "good" and "fair", this may tip you over into the "fair" category and affect your interest rate. So, avoid applying for any kind of credit for a while before you apply for a mortgage loan. And definitely do not apply for any credit while you are in escrow.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 18, 2022

Home Improvements That Increase Your Property's Value

While the Tucson real estate market remains slightly in the seller's favor, it has begun to slow down quite a bit. With more properties added to available inventory, buyers have more to choose from. So, if you want to stand out from other homes on the market and get the most money possible, you need to focus your efforts (and money) on a few important home improvements that increase your property's value before you list.

If you want to get the most money for your Tucson home as possible, you may want to consider making these home improvements to increase its value before you list it.

Home Improvements That Increase Your Property's Value

Focus on Curb Appeal

Search Tucson homes for saleYou only have one chance to make a good first impression. That makes your curb appeal very important. Never underestimate the impact of a fresh coat of paint. Can't afford to paint the entire exterior? Change up the trim color. Even painting the front door creates an unexpected focal point and adds curb appeal. Add some solar lights to your walkway and flower/shrubbery beds for a bit of pizazz at night. A nice bench with some sturdy outdoor pillows and a water feature establishes a serene, welcome environment that begs visitors (and potential buyers) to come inside.

Install Energy-Efficient Features

Some simple yet effective home improvements that every buyer wants to see are smart tech and energy-efficient features. The demand for solar panels has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Homeowners receive special tax incentives both federally and from the State of Arizona as long as their panels get installed by the end of 2022. But if that doesn't work for your budget, consider smaller changes like installing a smart thermostat Google Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell all come highly rated. Even updating your insulation and getting your Tucson home professionally sealed helps reduce your energy consumption and costs by regulating your interior temperature more efficiently year-round. Then, of course, updating older appliances with Energy Star-rated ones always provides a great return on investment.

Update Windows

We lose about 30% of our heating and cooling through our windows. Therefore, replacing old windows with newer, more energy-efficient windows makes buyers very happy. Plus, they can modernize the look of your Tulsa home as well.

Convert Extra Space Into Livable Space

Another one of the home improvements buyers like to see (and also increase your home's value) is converting any extra space you have into livable space. An extra bedroom and/or bathroom hits high on a buyer's priority list. You can easily tuck a half bath for guests under the stairwell. Or take space from a large laundry room and convert it into an extra bathroom or en-suite. An extra large bedroom can be divided up into two smaller bedrooms, making a three-bedroom home into a more desirable four-bedroom property without the expense of a costly addition. Converting attic space into usable living space increases your home's value in a buyer's eyes as well.

Kitchen Update

Finally, they say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Well, that is most definitely the case with buyers. Drop ceilings. Yellow fluorescent lights. Bright yellowy brass fixtures. Tiled countertops. All of it needs to go. If you can only afford to spend money in one area of your home, spend it in the kitchen. But avoid overspending.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
Oct. 11, 2022

What is a Mortgage Escrow Account?

You most likely have heard of the term "escrow" before. When you buy a Tucson home, a third party (typically the title company) opens an escrow account to hold your Earnest Money Deposit or any other asset used as collateral for your mortgage loan. Then after closing, your lender opens up a mortgage escrow account for you. What function does this serve and how does it work?

Did you know there are actually two different types of escrow involved when you buy a Tucson home? First, the real estate escrow that holds your earnest money deposit while you go through the buying process. Then, the mortgage escrow account for after you buy your Tucson home.

Mortgage Escrow Account Explained

Search Tucson homes for saleYour monthly mortgage payment includes the principal, interest, and PMI (if applicable) due on your loan. In addition to these expenses, homeowners must pay property taxes and homeowners insurance. Ordinarily, these are due once a year. However, coming up with a few thousand extra dollars once a year can be difficult for some homeowners. Instead, they opt to divide these costs up into 12 equal payments and include them in their monthly mortgage payment. This helps make it a little easier to budget that way. With a mortgage escrow account, the escrow company takes charge of making sure all payments get taken care of as they come due. 

Mortgage companies also love it when homeowners utilize the mortgage escrow account for paying their property taxes and homeowners insurance. First of all, it ensures that these fees get paid and paid on time. And secondly, this reduces the risk of liens being placed on the property.

The Downside

Yes. A mortgage escrow account makes it easier for a homeowner to pay their expenses. And that can be a major "upside" to them. But along with this very attractive "pro", you need to know what may be considered a "con". Your lender requires your escrow account to maintain a minimum balance (usually about two months' worth of expenses). They estimate the amount you will need based on loan closing documents, local property tax office records, and information from your insurance company. Since this is only an estimate, it may change. Plus, these costs can fluctuate from year to year. The minimum balance helps cover these fluctuations.

Your mortgage company sends out an annual escrow statement detailing each transaction made with your mortgage escrow account throughout the previous 12 months. If there is a surplus at the end of the year, you are entitled to an escrow refund of any amount over $50. However, you are strongly encouraged to apply it towards the next year's escrow since taxes and insurance premiums tend to increase rather than decrease. On the other hand, if your escrow account comes up in the red at the end of the year, you will receive a request to pay the amount due. Then, your lender will adjust your monthly payment for the next 12 years to take the higher expenses into account.

If you have any questions about your mortgage escrow account, contact your lender. They can provide you with the answers and explanations you need.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 4, 2022

Real Estate Agent Commission Explained

Real estate agents work hard for their money. A buyer's agent searches hundreds of listings to find the ones that fit their client's needs. Then, they help them write a killer offer letter. After that, they negotiate the best deal on your behalf. They walk you through the entire process, from earnest money deposit to closing. A seller's agent advises you on how best to present your property to potential buyers. Then, they market the property, including hiring a professional photographer and/or videographer and listing your home on the MLS. They also supervise open houses and private tours when needed. Plus, they help you get ready for your home inspection among many other things. All this comes at a cost: their real estate agent commission. But have you ever wondered exactly how and how much they get paid? Let me explain the process.

Have you ever wondered how much a real estate agent commission is and how they get paid? Here is a quick explanation to help you understand the process. (Hint: it mostly takes place behind the scenes.)

Real Estate Agent Commission Explained

How Much?

Search Tucson homes for saleTypically, 6% of the total sale price goes to pay real estate commissions. That means that, if a home sells for $350,000, $21,000 of that goes to pay commissions. Usually, half goes to the buyer's agent's brokerage and half goes to the seller's agent's brokerage. However, sometimes, that split may differ. Fortunately, neither the buyer nor the seller needs to worry about that. Why? Because the actual paying of commissions takes place behind the scenes.

How Do Agents Get Paid?

First of all, the commission comes from the seller's portion of the proceeds. But in reality, oftentimes, the commission is taken into consideration when deciding on a list price. So, while the seller technically pays the fee, you could say that the buyer actually pays it as part of the sale price. 

When the loan is funded at closing, the title company cuts a check to the seller's agent's brokerage. From there, the seller's agent's brokerage gives the buyer's agent's brokerage a check for their part of the commission. Each brokerage then pays its respective agents.

What Happens If There is No Sale?

If a deal falls through, the agent does not get paid. As you can imagine, this can be a big motivator for agents to work even harder for buyers and sellers. If you need someone to help you buy or sell a Tucson home, contact us. We are always ready to help.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 27, 2022

Tucson Fall Home and Garden Show 2022

Pumpkin spice lattes. Corn mazes. Halloween decorations spilling into the aisles at stores. Summer officially ended last week. So that must mean that it is time for the Tucson Fall Home and Garden Show 2022. 

Come find everything you need to update your home and more at the Tucson Fall Home and Garden Show 2022.

What: Tucson Fall Home and Garden Show 2022
Where: Tucson Convention Center (260 S Church Ave)
When: Sept 30th (10 am to 5 pm), Oct 1st (10 am to 6 pm) & Oct 2nd (10 am to 5 pm)
Admission: $4 to $8, Kids 12 & under are FREE
Contact: Tucson Convention Center (520) 791-4101 

Tucson Fall Home and Garden Show 2022

Search Tucson homes for sale Can you believe that October is already knocking at the door? Before you know it, Halloween haunts roam the streets asking for treats. Then, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and, before you know it, we say "goodbye" to 2022 and usher in a brand new year. Where does the time go? If you have been thinking about updating or renovating your home, you need to make the Tucson Fall Home and Garden Show your destination of choice this weekend.

Hundreds of vendors travel from all over the country to set up shop at the home and garden show here in Tucson. Whether you wish to concentrate on the inside or the outside of your property, there is something to fit every design aesthetic and budget. Thinking about switching from city electric to solar? Want to install a hot tub or swimming pool (or both)? Need some new storage options to clear up your clutter? The home show offers tips, tricks, and ideas for these things and more. Plus, many vendors offer special discounts only available for those who come to the show.

Ticket Info

Tickets cost $8 for general admission (ages 13+). Members of the military and seniors (ages 65+) get in for half price. Kids ages 12 and under get in absolutely FREE with a paid adult. You may purchase your tickets at the door. Or forget about waiting in line and just get them online right now. If you purchase your tickets ahead of time, you receive a $1 discount on each general admission ticket.

A Few Quick Tips for Your Visit

For safety reasons, no large bags, backpacks, luggage, or briefcases allowed on-site. Only clear bags no larger than 14" x 16" may be brought to the venue. If you try to enter with anything other than the clear bag, you may be asked to return it to your vehicle or you will get turned away at the gate. Food will be available either in the food court or from one of the food trucks located outside. No smoking or pets. Park for free at the convention center. 

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

Posted in Tucson Events
Sept. 20, 2022

Tucson Area Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze 2022

Summer officially comes to a close this Thursday, September 22nd. Time to start preparing for the end-of-year holidays. First up? Halloween. And nothing quite says "Halloween" like a good old-fashioned Tucson area pumpkin patch and corn maze. Where's the best place to go? Apple Annie's, of course!

Now that summer is coming to an end, it's time to get ready for the holidays. Come to Apple Annie's this weekend for the best Tucson area pumpkin patch and corn maze around these parts!

What: Apple Annie's Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze
Where: Apple Annie's Orchard (6405 Williams Rd, Willcox)
When: Now through October 31st, 2022, from 9 am to 5 pm
Admission: Pumpkin patch is free, hayrides & corn maze cost $5 to $12 (kids aged 2 and under are free)
Contact: Apple Annie's (520) 384-2084

Tucson Area Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze 2022

Apple Annie's Pumpkin Patch

Search Tucson homes for saleLocated just over an hour to the east of Tucson, Apple Annie's Orchard is Tucsonans' favorite place to go for their fall-time fun. Grab a wheelbarrow and pick your own pumpkin on their 40+ acres of land. Or take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch for just $5 per person. Visit the barn for pre-picked pumpkins if you prefer a quicker way to shop. Choose from various sizes and colors throughout the entire pumpkin patch. 

Apple Annie's Corn Maze

The corn maze opens up this weekend (September 23rd). It covers 12.5 acres of land and offers three levels of difficulty to choose from. Consider this a "choose your own adventure". Start by grabbing your corn maze passport from one of 12 different topics right when you enter. Answer 10 questions to find the 10 signs that navigate your way through the maze until you make it out on the other side. 

Make sure you stay on the paths established throughout the maze. Do not veer off on your own through the corn. Organizers recommend closed-toe shoes to make walking on the dirt pathways easier. All-terrain strollers should easily maneuver through the maze. No touching or picking the corn. Cigarettes (including e-cigarettes), alcohol, and drugs are strictly prohibited in the maze. Only service animals are allowed. Please leave your pets at home. Most people spend about two hours making their way to the end. There are no restroom facilities inside the corn maze. So, make sure you visit them before you start your tour. You also might want to bring a bottle of water with you, especially if it's extra warm outside. Have fun!

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

Posted in Tucson Area Events
Sept. 13, 2022

How Sellers Can Prepare for a Home Inspection

Once you enter escrow, a buyer has ten days to get a home inspection done. While not required to complete a real estate transaction, many buyers opt for this as part of their home-buying process. As the seller, there are things you can do to make sure your property passes the test when an inspector comes a-callin'. 

Buyers may conduct a home inspection within 10 days of signing a sales contract. You want to make sure your Tucson home passes muster. So, make sure you follow these steps to get your property ready for that inspection.

How Sellers Can Prepare for a Home Inspection

Pay for a Pre-List Inspection

Search Tucson homes for saleYes, this costs a little bit extra. And it is not required. But a pre-list inspection helps you identify potential problems early. This provides you with the opportunity to either fix it before you list it or, at the very least, seek out estimates to fix any problem. Then, you can provide buyers with these estimates to help you negotiate a deal. Buyers like to see that sellers did their due diligence ahead of time. However, you always want to fix issues before you list your Tucson home for sale. Then, the buyer never needs to know there was a problem to begin with.

Pick Up and Go

Before the buyer's inspector comes, clean up. That means picking up and putting away toys, paperwork, pet paraphernalia, etc. Put dishes in the dishwasher. Take out the trash. Sweep and vacuum the floors. Pretend your great aunt is coming by and she is a stickler for cleanliness. Then, go away. You and the kids (and the pets) need to be out of the house while the home inspection takes place.

Make All Areas Easily Accessible

The inspector needs to access the attic, garage, basement, roof, your electrical service panel, and the area underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. So, make sure that all accessways to each of these areas are clear and easily accessible.

Make a List of Any and All Improvements

When did you replace the roof or hot water heater? Did you update the HVAC system? Were the windows replaced while you owned the house? Make a list of any improvements made to the major systems in your home since you bought it to help the inspector determine the age of each. Provide permits whenever possible.

Gather and Organize Paperwork

Receipts. Permits. Waivers. Warranties. Any paperwork you have for your appliances, smart systems, roofing, gutters, electrical system, HVAC system, etc. needs to be gathered together in a binder or folder. Then, give this to the home inspector to reference if needed.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home