Tucson Real Estate and Community News

Aug. 20, 2019

Top Three Most Popular Room Remodels and Their Cost

They say the kitchen's the heart of a home. It also speaks to most buyers' hearts when they look at a Tucson home to purchase. Tired of the dated look of your property? Thinking about putting it on the market soon? You may want to invest in a bit of updating. But where should you put your remodeling dollars to make the most impact at sale time? Here are the top three most popular room remodels (and their average cost).

If you want to put your Tucson home on the market soon, you may need to update some of the areas of your home first. Which room remodels are the most popular with buyers?

Most Popular Room Remodels

Kitchen

Search Tucson homes for saleKitchens can either make or break many sales. That explains why it's the #1 most popular room remodel. Recent tariff increases on imports also make this one of the costlier rooms to remodel. According to Houzz.com, 28% of homeowners remodeled their kitchens last year at an average cost of $14,000. With new tariffs imposed, expect those costs to increase by around 10%. Homeowners chose newer energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances to replace outdated ones. Open shelving mixed with closed cabinets appears to currently be on-trend. So do vintage fixtures (think "country chic").

Guest Bathroom

The second most popular room remodel in homes last year was the guest bathroom. Approximately 25% of the homeowners that remodeled their properties last year chose the guest bathroom at an average cost of $3500. Much more manageable budget-wise than a kitchen remodel, the guest bathroom should be pleasing to the eye as well as functional. In here, welcome a designer's touch. A beautiful mirror, stylish light fixtures, updated faucet, and pedestal sink are nice. Make sure you include storage area to keep toiletries, cleaners, and other items out of view when not in use.

Master Bathroom

Finally, coming in at 22% of the total room remodels performed last year...the master bathroom. Buyers love kitchens and master suites. So, these are both great rooms to put your remodeling budget to work. On average, homeowners spent around $8000 for this project. Spa-inspired design with soft, soothing colors ranks high with buyers. Smart-home features do as well, such as a wifi-enabled system that controls water temperature and duration and a water-saving showerhead. Check with your local home improvement store for ideas.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Aug. 13, 2019

Price Isn't Everything When Buying a Tucson Home

Beautiful hardwood floors. High-end appliances. A swimming pool to die for. A good list price. It's easy to fall in love with a Tucson home that includes amazing amenities at a decent price. However, you can change just about anything inside or out on a property. And the price shouldn't be your sole focus when buying a Tucson home. You still need to be happy with the neighborhood you live in. Otherwise, you'll be miserable until you can get out of there.

When it comes to buying a Tucson home, pricing isn't everything. Avoid "buyer's remorse" by paying attention to the neighborhood it's located in, too.

Why/How Location Matters in Your Tucson Home Purchase

Your Family's Safety

Search Tucson homes for saleFor many homeowners, safety comes at or near the top of your mind when looking at the neighborhood you plan on living in. Websites like CrimeReports.com and CriminalWatchdog.com compile data on reported crimes as well as registered sex offenders in your area. These free websites only require you to enter the address you want to investigate. Once you submit that, they scour their database for information about the neighborhood surrounding the Tucson home you want to buy. You'll also want to know how close you are to hospitals, the fire department, and police in case an emergency arises. Time is of the essence in cases like that. So, you don't want to be a huge distance away from medical care when you need it.

Property Taxes

The amount of property taxes you pay depends on where you live. Finding a great deal on a home in a fantastic neighborhood may not be as great of a deal after you factor in the taxes you pay. Talk to your Tucson REALTOR® about taxes and HOA fees (if applicable) before you put in an offer. You need to include this with the monthly mortgage payment to figure out if the house fits in your budget.

Schools

Families want their children to receive a good education. Where you live determines which public school they attend. Also, a home located within the best school district in the city can increase your home's value when it comes time to sell in the future. Check out GreatSchools.org to see how schools in the area of your new home rank.

Livability

Staying cooped up in your Tucson home for too long can be more than most folks can take. Therefore, you want your property to be located near conveniences such as shopping, restaurants, and other entertainment. Within walking distance is great. But a short drive is OK, too. Find out about community activities as well as local centers, libraries, and the types of events hosted in your area throughout the year. The livability of your neighborhood helps make you feel that you're more integrated into the community. That's what makes a house a home.

Your Neighbors

Finally, nothing is better than getting information straight from the source. Talk to your potential new neighbors. Let them know you're interested in moving into the community and want to know what they think about the area. Maybe they can offer up some great restaurant or business recommendations as well. Plus, you'll have a friendly face or two when you actually do become a member of the community.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 6, 2019

Free Water Conservation Kits for Tucson Water Customers

Living in a desert climate such as ours, we always look for ways to save on water usage. First, we replace old washers with newer, more efficient models. Then, we only landscape with local flora that require little water to thrive (like those you may have seen at the Sustainable Landscape Expo back in March). After that, we look into rainwater harvesting (yes, it rains in Tucson) and using greywater to irrigate our yards. Now, the Tucson Water Department offers free water conservation kits so that you can lower your household water usage even more.

Order your free water conservation kit from Tucson Water today. Supplies are limited. Only one available per household while supplies last. Save money and save the planet today.

Free Water Conservation Kits

Search Tucson homes for saleIf you are a Tucson Water customer, you're entitled to a free water conservation kit. The kit includes a low-flow showerhead, a shower timer, a toilet tank bag, leak detection dye tabs for your toilet, and a bathroom faucet aerator. Tucson Water limits one kit per household. Visit Tucson Water's Conservation Kit Request site to order your free kit today. They only ask that you choose just the items you intend on using to make sure they get all items into as many local households as possible. If you don't think you'll use certain items in the kit, check "none" in the drop-down menu underneath it. Receive up to two of each item in your kit. Supplies are limited. This offer ends when supplies run out. So, order your kit today!

Save Water, Save Money

I highly recommend that you download a copy of the Smart Home Water Guide to get great ideas about conserving water usage. It comes in both English and Spanish versions. In addition to the free water conservation kits, Tucson Water offers several rebates when you replace your old toilets and washing machine with more efficient models. You may also earn a $1,000 to $2,000 rebate when you implement a rainwater harvesting and/or gray water system at your Tucson home. Special programs provide assistance for low-income families to save money on these projects as well.

We only have one planet. We need to do what we can to preserve her natural resources. Download your free Smart Home Water Guide and then order your free water conservation kit right now. The sooner you start, the better.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips
July 30, 2019

Tucson Activity Guide for Fall through Spring 2019/2020 Now Available

Last weekend, we celebrated the Tucson Summer Quenchfest. Earlier this month, we saw a spectacular fireworks display over the city. Truth be told, there's always something happening in our fair city. In just two days, students in the Tucson Unified School District begin a brand new academic year. Where did the time go? To keep your children and yourself occupied with extra-curricular fun throughout the upcoming months, the Parks and Recreation Department recently released their Tucson Activity Guide for Fall through Spring 2019/2020. The time to sign up for your favorite sport/class/club is right now!

The new Tucson Activity Guide for Fall/Winter/Spring 2019/2020 is now available online. Register soon so you don't miss any of the fun.

Tucson Activity Guide for 2019/2020

Afterschool Programs

Search Tucson homes for saleNeed a safe space for your kids to spend time after school ends? Sign them up for KIDCO. This program takes place from the moment school ends until 6 pm every day that school is in session. Children ages 5 to 11 enjoy sports, games, and other fun activities to keep them busy until you get off work. The program costs $500 per child for the entire year for all Tucson residents. Choose one of several locations around the city for your convenience. 

Sports

Whether it's basketball, soccer, karate, tae kwan do, badminton, pickleball or learning various sports-related skills, Tucson Parks and Rec offers it for your little one. Several different activities for children ages three and older allows everyone to hone their skills. It also helps kids build their self-esteem, learn how to be a part of a team, and increase their physical fitness. 

Year-Round Heated Pools

Do you favor aquatic activities? Try one of nine different locations around Tucson that offer heated pools. Edith Ball (Reid Park), Catalina (Dodge Blvd), Clements (Poinciana Dr), and Sunnyside (Bilby Rd) all stay open year-round. The other five locations close during the winter months. Learn to be a lifeguard or water safety instructor. Or simply take these classes to learn valuable safety techniques and procedures. If teens are good enough, they can go through the lifeguard screening process in December to set up a summer job for next year. Must be 15 years old to try.

The Arts

Cultivate you or your child's artistic side with performing arts classes. Sign up for guitar or piano classes. Learn about photography (both digital and 35mm). Take a pottery class (family classes available, too). Learn how to make your own jewelry. Create amazingly unique gifts for friends and family. You can even learn a second or third language with Italian and Spanish classes.

Online Registration

Register online for any of the great classes available through the Tucson Parks & Recreation Department today. Simply visit EZEEreg.com to create your account. But you must sign up before classes begin. Online registration closes once that happens. Discount programs are available but must be applied for before you register. To find out more about discounts and class schedules, download the Tucson Activity Guide here.

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

Posted in Tucson Events
July 23, 2019

Tucson Summer Quench Fest 2019

Watermelon. Peaches. Cantelope. Strawberries. Summertime fruit makes my mouth water. At the Tucson Summer Quench Fest 2019, vendors offer the freshest of the fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables for your family's dinner table. 

Stock up on the freshest fruit and produce of the season at the Tucson Summer Quench Fest 2019 in Rillito Park on July 28th.

What: Tucson Summer Quench Fest 2019
Where: Rillito Park (4502 N 1st Ave)
When: Sunday, July 28th, 8 am to 12 pm
Admission: FREE
Contact: Heirloom Farmers Markets (520) 882-2157 or via email

Tucson Summer Quench Fest 2019

Search Tucson homes for saleBeat the heat with some gorgeous, juicy fruit at the Tucson Summer Quench Fest 2019. With cooler weather later in the year than normal, summer crops were put on hold. But, they're ripe now and ready to eat. Visit the Taste of the Market booth to find out how to take these wonderful summer fruits and create a tasty, refreshing alternative to plain water or sugary sodas. Contigo Latin America provides live demos on how to create a delicious summer salad with items you find right there at the market. 

In addition to the food selections available at the market, enjoy live entertainment from Big Grin. They perform their own brand of indie-folk music cultivate right here in the southwest. And when you get hungry, visit the food vendors for a ready-to-eat bite.

Be Prepared

As you are all well aware of, temperatures soar in the summertime here in Tucson. So, be prepared to face the heat head-on before you visit the market. Since it takes place outdoors, wear a hat and sunscreen. Sunglasses protect your eyes. Bring a bottle of water with you to stay well hydrated. It might be a good idea to bring a cooler bag with you to keep your fruit and vegetable purchases from wilting/sweating before you get home. Avoid the hottest part of the day by shopping early. 

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

Posted in Tucson Events
July 16, 2019

Tucson Makes Affordable Places to Live Lists

Forbes. Money Magazine. Student Loan Hero. They all say the same thing. Tucson ranks high on their most affordable places to live lists. Whether you're a college student, millennial just starting out or you're just trying to make your money stretch as much as possible, Tucson provides an affordable place to hang your hat at night.

Tucson made several of the most affordable places to live lists for college students, millennials, and for those households making under $60,000 per year.

Tucson Named One of the Most Affordable Places to Live in the US

When You Make $60,000 or Less Per Year

Search Tucson homes for saleLet's face it, money can be tight. Managing feels like a full-time job for many. Putting a roof over your head and food on the table gets more and more expensive every year. Finding bigger cities that allow you to do that on less money gets harder each year as well. According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income runs just shy of $58,000. But statistics show that Americans spend 99.4% of that each year on various expenses. You can see why it might be difficult to make ends meet. 

Forbes reports that Tucson residents require $27,689 for the basic household necessities each year. With the median reported income of $37,973, 72.9% goes to the basics. To live comfortably, you'd need a household income of $55,379. That puts your expenses at half of your total income. And that's why Forbes put Tucson in its #5 position on its 13 Cities Where You Can Live Comfortably Under $60,000 list. Only Wichita (#4), Albuquerque (#3), Detroit (#2), and El Paso (#1) beat Tucson out as more affordable.

Millennial Madness

Millennials currently make up the largest portion of homebuyers in the US. They tend to do their research and aren't afraid to put in a bit of sweat equity to make their homeownership dreams a reality. When it comes to investing in a home, they want to get the most bang for their buck. Money Magazine ranked it #4 on their list of Best Places for Millennials, according to Housely.com. The City's investment in the downtown area as well as a projected 11% job growth in the next few years makes it very attractive to millennials. Also, there are a few first-time homebuyer assistance programs to help millennials purchase their first home. This includes help with your downpayment. Only New Bedford, MA (#3), Sioux Falls, SD (#2), and Cape Canaveral, FL (#1) topped Tucson on Money's list for millennials.

College Students

Besides tuition, college students worry about the cost of living for the four years they attend school in a city. The lower the cost of living, the further their dollar stretches. Student Lending Hero ranked Tucson #4 on its Top US Cities for College Students list, making it one of the most affordable places to live in the US. While on-campus room and board actually comes in slightly above the national average, off-campus living runs much lower...like 21% lower than the national average for college students. That helps ease the financial burden on students (and their parents).

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

Posted in Tucson News
July 9, 2019

Buyer Incentives That Help Sell Your Tucson Home

Do you live in a buyer's market? Are you moving due to a job and need to sell your Tucson home quickly? Ready to move on from your current home for some other reason? Adding a few buyer incentives helps attract more interest. Then, you increase your chances of finding the right buyer for your property.

Buyer incentives add extra perks to entice home buyers into purchasing your Tucson home. However, what appeals to one buyer may not appeal to another. Know your audience before you offer incentives.

Buyer Incentives That Help Sell Your Tucson Home

Purchase a Home Warranty

Search Tucson homes for saleThings happen. Some issues may arise even after a home inspection or final sale. Buyers appreciate the peace of mind a home warranty provides. And, for a mere $300 to $600 for a 12-month policy, you can supply that for them. That's a small price to pay to make a deal happen.

Offer a Credit

Making your Tucson home as attractive as possible before you list it improves your chances of receiving top dollar for it. Even little things like a new coat of paint, new flooring, adding pulls or handles to drawers in the kitchen, and maintaining your curb appeal make a huge difference. Don't have time to update the flooring or paint? Offer a credit to cover these costs for the buyer. If it helps facilitate a lucrative sale for you, this small credit is well worth it.

Throw in the Appliances

Anything attached to the home always comes with the sale (window blinds, fencing, TV mounts). For appliances, this includes the dishwasher, oven, and built-in microwave. However, the refrigerator, washer, and dryer don't automatically convey. If your buyer doesn't have any appliances to bring with them, you may want to offer to throw these in with the final sale. First, it sweetens the pot because buyers won't have to spend money to purchase them later. Second, you won't have to move them when you eventually leave the house. Make sure to leave the warranty paperwork for each appliance for the new owner's files.

Miscellaneous Items

Again, if it's a physical part of the property, it's included in the sale. Inground swimming pools, basketball courts, light fixtures, and curtain rods all stay with the property once it changes hands. If you want to take certain fixtures with you, replace them before you list your Tucson home. However, aboveground pools, hot tubs, saunas, and un-anchored playground sets go with you. If you don't have room at the new place for something, you might want to consider adding it to your list of buyer incentives. 

Be flexible when it comes to negotiating a sale. Buyer incentives help sweeten the pot. Talk to your Tucson REALTOR® to find out which incentives they believe the buyer will respond to best.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 1, 2019

Tucson Fireworks Shows for July 4th 2019

In just two days, we officially celebrate 243 years of freedom in the United States. That means barbecues, time spent with friends, and fireworks! Locals have five options available for Tucson fireworks shows this July 4th. Which one will you attend?

Where will you be watching fireworks go off this year? Locals have five different options of Tucson fireworks shows to choose from this 4th of July.

Where to Watch Tucson Fireworks on the 4th

"A" Mountain

Search Tucson homes for saleBefore the this free Tucson fireworks show begins (around 9:15 pm), pre-fireworks festivities start at 7:15 pm with food vendors at the Tucson Convention Center. However, avoid the post-firework mayhem by parking near a streetcar route. The streetcar then takes you from where you park your car all the way to the Tucson Convention Center. After the show ends, hop aboard the streetcar back to your own vehicle. Thus, you avoid the long lines of cars waiting to leave TCC (and believe me, they are long!). Just make sure to take your lawn chair with you for a comfy place to sit. Parking lots B and C provide the best views of the show.

Diamonds in the Sky

What could be a more patriotic way to celebrate our nation's independence than with a baseball game and some fireworks. For just $4 per person (kids ages 5 and under get in for free), watch the all-stars of the Sun Belt College league play at the Kino Sports Complex. Purchase tickets in advance at Pizza Hut, Cactus Bowl or Food City to receive free parking. Enjoy $1 hot dogs. The game starts at 5 pm. Fireworks go off around 9 pm. Tons of activities keep the kids and yourself entertained.

Hotel McCoy

Even if you didn't book a room at the hotel, you can still watch this Tucson fireworks show for free. However, Hotel McCoy parking (720 W Silverlake Rd) is for guests only. And Amazon cleared out all surrounding parking spaces, leaving nothing available nearby. So, you might want to hit up Uber or Lyft for a ride to and from. Food trucks Geronimo's Revenge and Sweet Sensations Ice Cream provide food for a fee on-site to all hungry spectators beginning at 7 pm.

MSA Annex

Want to see the great Tucson fireworks display over TCC but don't want to battle the crowds when it's over? Come to the MSA Annex (267 S Avenida del Convento). Free parking. Free admission. Perfect view of the show. Before it all starts, though, enjoy live music and delicious treats from the food trucks on-site starting at 6 pm.

Sonoran Glass

For an entirely different way to celebrate July 4th this year, visit the Sonoran Glass School (633 W 18th St). Take in a glass workshop for $15 or $20 early in the day. Then, enjoy tasty barbecue from 6 pm to 9 pm for $12 per person + $5 admission. Between bites, partake in the free water balloon fight. Sounds great on a hot summer Tucson day, right? Then, at around 9 pm, enjoy the "A" Mountain Tucson fireworks show without having to beat back the crowd going to or coming from TCC.

Where do you like to watch fireworks in Tucson? Leave your favorite locations in the comments below.

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

Posted in Tucson Events
June 24, 2019

Creating an Eco-Friendly Home in Tucson

More and more of today's Tucson home buyers seek out eco-friendly homes. They want energy-efficient appliances, high-efficiency toilets, and landscaping that requires little to no watering. If you're thinking about putting your home on the market anytime soon, it would help if you implemented at least some of these ideas first. In fact, a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS® found that 70% of agents questioned stated that advertising energy-efficient and eco-friendly features gave a property a greater appeal to a wider audience. Some features require a bit of an investment to start. But the pay-off can be substantial in both utility savings as well as a Tucson home sale down the road. What is the best way to create an eco-friendly home? Better yet, how do you pay for it without tapping into your retirement fund?

After you do a little homework, save up some money, and seek out various assistance programs to offset your costs, you can create an eco-friendly home in Tucson that lowers your energy costs and appeals to a wider variety of buyers when you sell it.

Creating an Eco-Friendly Home in Tucson

Do Your Homework

Search Tucson homes for saleLike any other large purchases you make, check out prices before you buy. Bamboo flooring is beautiful, durable, and highly sustainable. However, it costs about $4 per square foot before installation. Energy-efficient windows cost around $270 to as high as $800 per window to install. Energy-efficient appliances vary depending on which brand you use. Solar panels are available in Tucson but can also be pricey.

In addition to the cost of materials, you need to consider the expense to install. Some things like a refrigerator, washer, dryer or other energy-efficient appliances can easily be switched out by you. However, anything requiring plumbing, electrical work or other skilled labor should be left to the pros. Shop around for estimates from several different companies. Ask for references and proof of insurance. The cheapest labor may not necessarily mean the best deal. But paying top dollar doesn't guarantee the best work either. Again, do your homework before finalizing your decision.

Save Those Pennies

When it comes down to it, you need money to create an eco-friendly home. The amount depends on which eco-friendly upgrades you decide to make. Once you decide what projects you want to tackle, start saving for it. For appliances, seek out sales. We've got the 4th of July coming up soon. Many home improvement companies put their appliances on sale at that time. Some even offer differed payments or "X days same as cash" incentives so you can pay over time without incurring interest. Set a budget and stick to it. 

Look for Rebates/Refunds/Assistance

Thinking about adding solar panels to your Tucson home? The federal government gives homeowners a 30% tax credit when your eco-friendly home project includes solar panels. The State of Arizona makes it even more affordable with a $1000 tax credit. The City of Tucson offers rebates for high-efficiency toilets, Energy Star-rated washing machines, rainwater harvesting, and gray water irrigation systems. Visit EnergyStar.gov to find out about other ways to offset the cost of creating an eco-friendly home.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips
June 18, 2019

HOAs and the Tucson Homeowner

It might surprise you to learn that Homeowners Associations (HOAs) actually date back as far as the mid-1800s in the United States. This happened very sparsely throughout the country from certain landowners. They started to catch on more and more in the 1960s when national growth quickly rose. Today, approximately one-quarter of all American homes reside in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association. What exactly is an HOA and how do they affect you as a homeowner? 

Many neighborhoods today fall under a Homeowners Association (HOA). What is it, how much does it cost and how does it affect the Tucson homeowner? That depends on which HOA you live under.

HOAs and the Tucson Homeowner

What is an HOA?

Search Tucson homes for saleAt its most basic level, an HOA ensures that your community maintains a pleasing aesthetic and the amenities therein function properly. For example, HOA fees usually cover regular maintenance of common areas, such as the community pool and landscaping. The HOA board determines things like how long trash bins can stay at the curb, how long a car can be parked on the street, what paint colors are acceptable for houses, etc. Some associations are more strict than others. All homeowners receive a copy of the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) when they move in. This explains all the rules you must follow as a member of the HOA. By adhering to the CC&Rs, this helps keep property values up. How? A wildly overgrown yard or painted cotton candy pink may actually lower the property values of other homes in the community. Same goes for a home with several cars permanently parked outside of it. While not a guarantee to make values go up, an HOA enforces rules that help everyone stay on a more level playing field.

How Much Does it Cost to be in an HOA?

Monthly fees for HOAs vary from community to community. Someone living in the Sam Hughes neighborhood may pay more than someone living in Meadowbrook, for example. The same can be said for Catalina Foothills Estates versus Sierra Morado. Typically, you may spend around $200 to $300 per month on HOA fees. More expensive areas may require more. Less expensive may require less. Your fees will be included in your closing statement. Your real estate agent can find out what the HOA fees are for you before you put an offer in on a property if you're interested. High HOA fees may deter you from wanting to live in the neighborhood. It's better to find out before you sign on the dotted line.

And if You Don't Follow the Rules?

HOAs aren't the police. You can't get thrown in jail because you didn't cut your lawn. Usually, you receive a written notice in the mail describing your transgression and requesting that the matter be cleared up soon. However, they can file a lien against your Tucson property if you don't pay your HOA fees. Some HOAs even have the authority to force a foreclosure on your property if things really go bad. To avoid problems, read your CC&Rs thoroughly. Contact your HOA with any questions you may have. And before you do any construction or make changes to your property, talk to the homeowners association to make sure you follow protocol.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips