Tucson Real Estate and Community News

March 5, 2019

How Sellers Can Make the Home Inspection Process a Little Easier

Selling a home can be a stressful process. You must clean and stage it so that it's ready to show at a moment's notice. Anyone with kids and/or pets knows how difficult that can be to maintain on a daily basis. While scheduling things like a home inspection or appraisal falls on the buyer's shoulders, it's beneficial to the seller to have the inspection run as smoothly as possible. You don't want anything hindering the completion of the sale. Here are a few tips that can help you make the home inspection process run a little bit easier.

While scheduling an inspection is up to the buyer, sellers can make the home inspection process run much smoother by performing a few tasks ahead of time.

How Sellers Can Make the Home Inspection Process a Little Easier

Get Your Own Inspection Done First

Search Tucson homes for saleFirst of all, home inspections benefit sellers as much as they do buyers. Having an inspection performed before you even list your Tucson property allows you, the homeowner, to rectify any broken, damaged or questionable areas of the property before it even hits the market. With early detection, you have time to shop around for the services needed to make necessary repairs. That saves you money. Plus, your home looks much better to buyers when you do put it on the market. In turn, you may be able to sell your home for more money. If nothing else, knowing the real condition of your home eliminates any "surprises" that may arise when the buyer performs their inspection.

Complete Your "Honey-Do" List

We all have little projects around the house that just don't ever seem to get done. You had every intention of completing them at some point. Now is the time. Tackle that "honey-do" list before a home inspection. Tighten up loose doorknobs and window screens. Oil squeaky hinges. Fix leaky faucets. Repair dried caulking or loose tiles. Make your Tucson home the best it can be before the inspector comes through.

Clean 'er Up!

You already performed a good deep clean before you listed your Tucson home. Before the home inspector arrives, make sure all toys and tools are put away. Leave a clear pathway around the exterior of the house so the inspector can move freely about. A home inspection encompasses every part of the property, including the garage, attic, baseboards, and storage areas. Providing easy access to all areas of the house makes it easier on the inspector and easier on the inspection.

Light it Up

Finally, you can make it a home inspection a little easier on the inspector simply by turning on all the lights before they come through. Yes, inspectors usually carry a flashlight with them. But it would help them see better when rooms are well lit ahead of time. Besides, it provides a great opportunity to ensure all lightbulbs work properly. Now would be a great time to check for and replace burned out bulbs on both the interior and exterior of your house.

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


Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 26, 2019

Escrow: What is It and How Does It Work?

When you buy a Tucson home, you learn a whole new vocabulary. Downpayment. FHA. VA. FICO score. Appraisal. Inspection. Contingencies. Spuds/SPDS. Outside of a real estate transaction, you might never come across most of these terms. Another important one to know about is "escrow". What is it and how does it work?

You might have heard the term "escrow" before. But, do you know what it means or how it works?

What is an Escrow Account?

Search Tucson homes for saleIn real estate terms, an escrow account opens up when the seller and the buyer enter into a purchase agreement. Important documents (such as the sales agreement, earnest money deposit, financial information, and property deeds) are held in safekeeping by an impartial third party until the final exchange of ownership takes place. Sometimes, this may be through an attorney. Other times, the account is held by the title company. It may also be the bank or another trusted individual that is in charge of the escrow account. Usually, it's left up to the buyer or the buyer's agent to decide who will hold escrow. Your Tucson real estate agent should have a list of trusted escrow companies they've worked with before for you to choose from.

How Does Escrow Work?

After you've chosen the company you wish to work with, your earnest money and all documentation relating to the Tucson home sale in question stays with the escrow company. During the sale process, the escrow company accumulates all relevant documentation (contingency checklists, inspections, repairs, etc.). Once all portions of the sales agreement have been officially met, money will be released from your lender into the escrow account. Then, the escrow company disburses the money to the appropriate parties. Finally, an escrow officer clears the title and the Tucson home officially becomes the buyer's. However, if there's a hold-up anywhere along the way, no money will be released. 

Lender's Mortgage Account

After you've officially become the Tucson homeowner, your lender may open an escrow account for you. When you pay your mortgage each month, a portion will be deposited separately into an escrow account. This money pays for your property taxes and homeowners insurance. When these each come due, they will automatically be paid out of your escrow account. This can be extremely helpful to you because then you don't have to come up with a lump sum when either one of these is due. Also, you won't ever be late with your payments since they automatically get paid when due. It helps the lender because they know that their investment is protected. All FHA loans require that an escrow account be opened up for new homeowners. If you borrowed more than 80% of the purchase price, your mortgage company will most likely require you to have an escrow account.

That's how escrow accounts work for a real estate transaction as well as after you become a homeowner. If you have any questions, talk to your mortgage company or contact me. I'd be happy to help wherever I can.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 19, 2019

Protecting Your Water Pipes from Harsh Winter Weather

This is some crazy weather we've got going on here in Tucson. The National Weather Service has put a "Hard Freeze Warning" in effect starting at 11 pm tonight and continuing on through 8 am tomorrow. That means that temperatures are expected to drop to 28F or lower for several hours. At that temperature, water pipes left out in the elements can freeze and burst. More below freezing weather is expected in our area over the weekend. If you haven't had any trouble with your water pipes up until now, count yourself lucky. Then, go and protect your water pipes from the harsh winter weather right now.

With sub-freezing temperatures expected in Tucson over the next few days, you need to protect your water pipes from the harsh winter weather right now.

Winterizing Water Pipes

Search Tucson homes for saleIdeally, this should be done before sub-freezing temperatures hit Tucson. But, it's better to start winterizing your winter pipes now rather than waiting for a pipe to burst. Protect your water pipes from the harsh elements by wrapping them with pipe insulation. This includes any pipes underneath the house that may be touched by cold weather. Big box stores carry both foil and foam wrap varieties. In a pinch, you could duct tape towels or blankets around the pipes. However, the pipe wrap insulation works better and is less bulky. Don't forget to insulate your main shut-off valve as well.

Check your irrigation system owner's manual to find out how to shut it down and get water out of the system. If water is left inside during extended periods of below freezing temperatures, it could freeze. Frozen water expands and may break the pipe, creating an expensive problem to fix later. Unsure how to do all of this? Contact any landscaping service in the area. They should be able to blow out your irrigation system for you. Unhook any hoses from exterior water faucets and store them in your garage. Just make sure they are completely devoid of water before you do put them away for the winter.

What about your interior faucets? Anything that gets fed water from an exposed exterior pipe could be subject to freezing. Open the interior tap just enough to allow a slow drip to eke out of it. This helps alleviate any pressure build-up from the outside.

What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze or Burst

First of all, don't pour hot water over frozen pipes in an attempt to defrost them. This will cause more harm than good. Same goes for using a blow torch or other open flame. Instead, take a hair dryer and blow warm air onto the frozen areas. The frozen water needs to warm up gradually. Make sure you turn your faucets to the "on" position to allow water to trickle through. 

In the case of a burst pipe, go to the main shut-off valve and turn off the water to your Tucson home. Don't know where the main shut-off is located? Go to the water meter and shut it off there. Then, call a plumber or the Customer Service Department at Tucson Water. Tucson Water can be reached during office hours (8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday) by calling (520) 794-3242. Their after-hours line for emergencies is (520) 794-4133.

It's not too late to winterize your water pipes. Keep them protected from sub-freezing temperatures. This reduces the chances of frozen water damaging them which can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Stay warm!

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Feb. 12, 2019

Sunset Magazine Names Tucson Their Favorite Weekend Getaway

Recently, Sunset Magazine wrote a wonderful piece about our fair city. They raved about all the wonderful things you can do in just one weekend while visiting our little town. Anyone who lives here already knows what makes it such a great place to live. But it's nice to know that someone else recognizes all the fantastic things that make Tucson a great weekend getaway spot.

Sunset Magazine recently named Tucson as their new favorite weekend getaway for several reasons, including our great weather, tons of outdoor activities available year-round, amazing food scene, and affordability factor.

What Makes Tucson a Great Weekend Getaway

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

https://www.propertytucson.com/search/advanced_search/With its location so close to the US/Mexico border, the authentic Mexican food scene in Tucson is astounding. Sonoran food, in particular, deserves its own parade. But what really makes Tucson a great weekend getaway is its diverse melting pot of amazingly talented chefs in all cuisine. And what goes better with great food than excellent drinks? Hamilton Distillers makes award-winning whiskey right here in Tucson. Several breweries create fine handcrafted beers locally. Also, a few unique bars and lounges cater to anyone interested in having a good time somewhere that doesn't remind them of where their forefathers might have imbibed.

Awesome Weather

Another reason Sunset Magazine named Tucson their favorite weekend getaway was the weather. Even in the coldest parts of winter, we typically experience highs in the mid-60s. In the spring and fall, we see temperatures more in the mid-80s range. And in the very heart of summer, we skim 100F during peak hours. But mornings and late evenings cool off enough to still enjoy the great outdoors.

Nature at its Best

With the gorgeous Saguaro National Park to the east, north, and west, exploring the outdoors is a must on your weekend getaway. Filled with beautiful flora and fauna, the park offers a desert wonderland for hikers, bicyclists, and offroad trekkers. For a closer view of our natural neighbors, visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Their collection of live mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, and insects forever changes your idea of what to expect at a "stuffy museum". Over 130 miles of bike-friendly pathways around the city make Tucson one of the best cities to bicycle around in the entire country.


Finally, you'll want to make Tucson your favorite weekend getaway when you realize how budget-friendly it can be. As a college town (the University of Arizona at Tucson), the population includes thousands of college students. They bring a youthful, vibrant energy to the city. And when you hear "student", you think "no money". Many local restaurants cater to budget-minded students with great food at a low cost. But you don't have to be a student to take advantage of these deals. They're available to everyone.

As you can see, there are many reasons why Tucson makes a great weekend getaway. When you live here, you can take advantage of what we have to offer every weekend. If you're interested in finding a permanent weekend getaway in Tucson, contact me. I'd be happy to show you what is available for sale around town.

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

Posted in Community News
Feb. 5, 2019

Little Changes Make a Huge Impact for a Tucson Home Sale

Popular HGTV shows like "Fixer Upper", "Flip or Flop" and "Property Brothers" tout the benefits of finding the worst house in the best neighborhood and fixing it up into your dream home. But a large portion of today's buyers look for Tucson homes that require little to no repair or renovation. They want a move-in ready house. To appeal to these buyers, it might be in your best interest to make a few changes to your current surroundings before you list it on the market. The good news is that a few little changes can make a huge impact when it comes to a Tucson home sale.

Many of today's buyers want a move-in ready home instead of a fixer-upper. Instead of throwing thousands of dollars into a major renovation, though, you can make a few small changes that will create a huge impact for a Tucson home sale.

Changes You Should Make Before You List Your Tucson Home


Search Tucson homes for saleOne of the easiest (and least expensive) changes you can make that has a huge impact for a Tucson home sale is to simply add a fresh coat of paint. So, you went through a phase where you sponge painted an accent wall in the living room. Maybe your child loved purple so much that they insisted you drench their bedroom in it. And the royal red in the dining room? Maybe it's time for a change. Paint everything a nice, neutral color. That doesn't necessarily mean that all of the walls should be a stark white. Beige, taupe, light gray, and off-white colors such as ivory or cream add subtle nuances of color without overwhelming the senses. If necessary, you might want to paint the exterior of your Tucson home as well. At the very least, touch up chipped or faded areas so that you present your property in its best light.


If your carpet or flooring is looking worse for wear, it might be time to change it. Say "bye-bye" to shag carpeting. Hardwood floors are popular with today's home buyers. First, check underneath the carpet to see if there are hardwoods underneath. That could save you a ton of money. If not, you could choose a laminate for roughly $0.50/sq ft or a durable bamboo or hardwood flooring for around $1.50/sq ft. For ceramic floors, clean out the grout and replace any cracked, broken or chipped tiles. Don't bother replacing the entire floor before you list your house unless it's in the bathroom or entryway. The cost of replacement runs too high to make this worth your while.


Yes, it's true that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It also helps sell your home. However, instead of dumping $30,000 or more into a major remodel, spend your time making a few small changes instead. Strip or sand down your cabinets and resurface them instead of replacing them. Add a coat of paint or new stain for a completely different look at a fraction of the cost. Add or replace pulls and knobs. Resurface the sink. Replace warn out, cracked or old caulking. Even if you just go through the effort of giving your sink a thorough cleaning it could make a huge impact for a Tucson home sale.


One of the best things you can do to make your bathroom look new again is to give it a deep cleaning. That includes the shower walls, your shower door, in and around the toilet, the floor, and the countertops. Make this room sparkle! Fix any broken tiles or flooring. If you have carpet in here, get rid of it. Carpeting in the bathroom holds in odors and screams "GERMS!" to potential buyers. Even replacing the light fixtures and faucets can make a huge difference to its appeal.

Curb Appeal

Finally, never neglect your curb appeal. This has a major impact on a Tucson home sale. Fix any cracks and erase any stains on the driveway or sidewalk. Check your yard for weeds. Place trash bins to the side of the house, out of sight. Keep toys, tools, and other items stored away in the garage or shed. Keep all landscape neatly maintained and trimmed. Adding a seating bench with a couple of colorful throw pillows to the front porch creates an inviting space to welcome buyers inside. When you're ready to list your Tucson home, contact me. I'll help you sell your home as quickly as possible for the best price possible.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
Jan. 28, 2019

What You Should Ask Your Tucson Real Estate Agent About Before You Hire Them

When you went looking for a job, you most likely went through some kind of interview process. After all, the company didn't know you from Adam. They needed to make sure you were a good "fit" for the company. The same should happen before you hire a real estate agent. When interviewing various agents, ask them about these particular areas of their business so that you can make an informed decision.

Before you decide on which Tucson real estate agent to hire, make sure you ask some very important questions first.

What You Should Ask Your Tucson Real Estate Agent


Search all available Tucson homes for saleThe first question you're going to want to ask your Tucson real estate agent is how long they've been in the business. More specifically, how long have they been working in the Tucson real estate market? Markets vary from state to state and city to city. However, just because they're new doesn't necessarily mean you should write them off completely. Brand new agents might have more time to spend on you than busier, more "seasoned" agents. If they're a new agent just starting out, ask them if anyone's mentoring them. How often are they in touch with their mentors? How quickly do their mentors get back to them? If you feel comfortable with this person, it might be worth giving them a chance.


After you check out their level of experience, ask your Tuscon real estate agent for references from past clients. Ask if you can contact these clients to speak to them in person. Visit their website to read reviews. Make sure the people leaving the reviews aren't relatives of the agent so as not to appear biased.


Next, ask your Tucson real estate agent how they plan on marketing your home. Does he/she incorporate social media marketing into the mix? Will they hire a professional photographer to take photos of your property for online marketing? When will they host the first open house? What changes do they think you should make (if any) before you put your home on the market in order to facilitate a successful sale? The more information they give you, the more likely you'll be putting a "sold" sign in front of your yard soon.


An agent's fee varies from 1-4% per sale, per agent. In Arizona, sellers may be quoted 6-7% for the total commission. Sellers pay both agents' commissions. However, these fees may be negotiated down to 5-6% in some cases. Typically, this fee is included in the price of the home. Ask your Tucson real estate agent what they expect to be paid for their part of the real estate commission.

Method of Communication

Communication means different things to different people. So, you need to ask your Tucson real estate agent what method they use and how often they plan on contacting you. Then, let them know what your expectations are. For example, you want weekly updates. A text or email will suffice. Or you might prefer twice weekly updates via a phone call. Make sure they are willing to accommodate your requests. If not, move on to another agent.

What Else?

Finally, ask them if there is anything else they think you should know about that you didn't ask? You want an agent that clearly considers this question before they answer. Also, it helps you determine whether or not they've paid attention to what you've been saying during your interview.

If you're interested in selling your Tucson home, please feel free to contact me. I'm always happy to talk to you.

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


Posted in Selling Your Home
Jan. 22, 2019

Your Tucson Home Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction

In December 2018, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) into law. One of the things affected by the new tax law is the amount of your home mortgage interest tax deduction. Initially, the law was going to eliminate this deduction altogether. After several revisions and alterations, the final bill allowed homeowners to keep this deduction. However, some restrictions and limitations were put in place.

While some changes have been made, you may still qualify for a Tucson home mortgage interest tax deduction on your 2018 income taxes. But you must itemize in order to receive it.

Who Qualifies for the Home Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction?

Search Tucson homes for saleBefore TCJA, homeowners could deduct the interest paid on home equity lines of credit (HELOC). Now, this only applies if you prove that the money was actually used to make major improvements to your Tucson home. Paying for a vacation, financing your child's college education or paying off your high-interest credit cards won't qualify for the deduction. The home mortgage interest tax deduction can only be used for interest paid on your primary and/or secondary properties. Any other properties you hold a mortgage on don't qualify. (That's always been the case, though.)

There's now a $750,000 cap on the deduction. That means that you can only claim the tax deduction on anything paid up to $750,000 total for mortgage loans. If your primary mortgage loan is $600,000 and your secondary mortgage loan is $300,000, you only get to deduct the interest paid on $750,000 of the $900,000 combined total.

You (or your spouse, if filing jointly) must legally responsible for the mortgage. In other words, it must be a legal, binding contract that requires repayment. Handshake deals with your parents won't qualify for the deduction. The mortgage needs to clearly state that the home you're paying the mortgage on is security for the loan itself. For tax purposes, the IRS considers any property that includes a place to eat, a place to sleep, and toilet facilities to be a "home". That could be a single-family home, condo, mobile home, RV or even a boat in some cases. 

How to Claim Your Home Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction

In the past, many Tucson homeowners itemized their deductions to get the most tax credit they could. That was because the standard deduction was lower. With the TCJA, your standard deduction essentially doubles. As of the 2018 tax year, single and married-filing-separately filers receive a standard deduction of $12,000. Head of household filers receives $18,000 as a standard deduction. Married couples who file jointly or qualified widows/widowers receive $24,000 as their standard deduction. Unfortunately, to claim your home mortgage interest tax deduction, you must itemize your deductions. That is done on Form 1040, Schedule A.

How do you know which way is best? You'll need to itemize your deductions and then compare the total to the standard deduction. Then, you choose which one works best for you. If you have someone preparing your taxes for you, make sure they do this so that you know whether to take the home mortgage interest tax deduction or accept the standard deduction instead. You should receive a Form 1098 from your mortgage company sometime in January. This tells you exactly how much interest you paid last year.

Being a Tucson homeowner comes with many perks. The home mortgage interest tax deduction is one of them. Talk to your tax preparer about whether or not itemizing for the deduction is better than taking the standard deduction when you file your taxes this year.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Jan. 15, 2019

First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Buying your first home can be stressful. Saving for a downpayment. Being approved for a loan. Finding the right real estate agent. Should you buy a fixer-upper or a move-in ready Tucson home? There are so many decisions to make in the home buying process. You don't want to make a misstep somewhere along the way and lose out on your dream home. So, keep these common first-time homebuyer mistakes in mind when you start looking.

Avoid making these common first-time homebuyer mistakes so that both your real estate transaction and, ultimately, your homeownership runs as smoothly as possible.

Common First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

Avoiding the Credit Check

Search Tucson homes for saleYour credit score makes up a huge part of whether or not you get approved for a mortgage. One of the common first-time homebuyer mistakes we see is when buyers avoid checking their credit. According to a CNBC report, more than 20% of consumers show a "potentially material error" on their credit report. That's more than one in five people. Some credit reports show multiple errors. These mistakes could drastically lower your credit score, making it difficult to secure funding for a new home. Request your free credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com right away. Review your report from each of the three main reporting agencies. If you find errors, contact the agency reporting it right away. You must show proof of the error when you dispute it. For more information, read my Credit Score Tips for the Tucson Home Buyer blog post I wrote for valuable tips and links to where you can dispute reporting errors.

Thinking Only About the List Price

Next, the sale price isn't the only thing to look at. Another one of the common first-time homebuyer mistakes we see in the market is buyers focusing only on the list price. Don't forget that there are other expenses involved in buying a Tucson home, too. You'll need to pay for a home inspection, an appraisal, closing costs, etc. Then, once you move in, you'll have to pay homeowner's insurance, HOA fees (if applicable), and maintenance costs among other things. These "hidden costs" all add up. So, add these into the equation when trying to figure out how much home you can afford.

Not Shopping Around for a Mortgage

While a 30-year fixed-rate loan tends to be the most popular among buyers in today's market, it may not actually be the best option for you. Don't make another common first-time homebuyer mistake by not shopping around for your mortgage loan. FHA, VA, conventional, fixed-rate, adjustable rate, 15-year term, 30-year term. So many choices! Then, there's the interest rate to consider. Different lenders offer different rates. An adjustable rate might work best for someone who only plans on being in the home for a couple of years before selling it. Fixed-rate works better if you plan on staying for a while. Talk to various lenders (starting with your current bank) to see which type of loan and terms work best for your homeownership goals.

Being Unrealistic About What You Can Afford

Finally, take a good look at your current lifestyle and budget a new home accordingly. Just because a bank says that they'll lend you $500,000 doesn't mean that you need to spend that much on your new Tucson home. Sit down and go over all your monthly expenses (utilities, credit cards, student loans, car loans, entertainment, etc.). Then, compare that to how much income you earn each month. To continue the lifestyle you currently enjoy, you want to make sure that your new mortgage payment easily fits in with your budget. Set the maximum price you're willing to pay for a home so that it falls within your comfort zone. Then, stick with that price limit. That way you won't struggle to make your payment once you finally move into your home.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 8, 2019

Simple Home Staging Tips You Can Do Yourself

A staged home sells faster than an unstaged one. That's why you see model homes dressed to the nines. You need to set the stage for buyers to envision themselves living here. That'll make them more inclined to purchase your Tucson home. If it's in your budget, hire a professional stager. They know how to maximize every room's potential and hide their flaws. But if a home stager isn't in the budget, there are a few simple home staging tips that won't cost you a dime and take little effort to do yourself.

Staging your Tucson home to sell doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Try these simple home staging tips that you can do yourself for free.

Simple Home Staging Tips You Can Do Yourself

Less is More

Search Tucson homes for saleConsider a minimalistic approach. The first of my simple home staging tips that costs absolutely no money to do is to get clear out your extra stuff. Clutter can stop buyers from purchasing your home. Keep countertops clear of as much clutter as possible. Put mail in a locked desk drawer (you don't need buyers snooping through it anyway). Stash away toasters, blenders, etc. You want buyers focusing on how much counter space you have, not what's on the counters. Reduce artwork to a few key professional pieces in each room (put the children's artwork away). Let buyers see the walls instead of dozens of pictures crammed together. Scale down your book collection by one-third to one-half so that there is space on your bookshelves.


Another one of the simple home staging tips you can do yourself is to depersonalize your space. As I stated before, you want a buyer to envision themselves living in your Tucson home. That's a little difficult to do with your children's school pictures, family vacation photos, Suzie's horse-riding ribbons, and Joey's baseball trophies taking up space around the house. Box up all personal stuff and take it to your storage unit for safekeeping until you move into your new home.

Use a Bit of Elbow Grease

Never underestimate the power of a good deep cleaning. Make sure you do this before you take listing photos. Believe it or not, dirt will show up in these. Scrub the windows, walls, baseboards, and moldings. Clear out the cobwebs. Vacuum behind the fridge. Clean inside the oven (yes, buyers look there, too). Shampoo the carpets. Deep clean the upholstery and drapes. Scour the grout in the kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure your home sparkles from top to bottom.

Furniture Mix and Match

Yet another one of my simple home staging tips that makes a huge impact is switching around your furniture. Sometimes, a side table in one room might make a better nightstand in the bedroom. A heavy bureau could look better in a hallway nook. Reduce the amount of furniture in an overfilled room to make it seem bigger. Any extra furniture that you won't be using should go into storage while your home is on the market.

Light and Bright

You don't want your rooms to feel like dark caves. Flood them with natural light wherever possible. That means getting rid of heavy draperies and opting for simple blinds. Even valances create a heavy feel to windows. So, remove them. Before taking photos, hosting an open house or showing your property, open the blinds up to allow natural light to stream inside. For areas of the house that don't receive a lot of sunshine, add lamps with softer light to create warmth while illuminating them.

Ditch the Storage Boxes

Finally, the last one of my simple home staging tips I'll leave you with is to get rid of your storage boxes. Yes, they keep everything tucked away, which is fantastic and very convenient. Unfortunately, they also relay the idea that there just isn't enough room for everything in your Tucson house. And that's not the impression you want to give potential buyers. This includes plastic bins, over the door hangers, any storage containers on top of the cabinets, and extra racks inside the house and garage. Since these things are already packed up, put them in your off-site storage unit as well. Extra space in the closets, on the bookshelves, and in the garage means there's plenty of room here for buyers to grow in. That's what you want them to believe.

Why a storage unit instead of, say, stacking things neatly in the garage or shed? Because buyers look everywhere. Even neatly stored boxes take up valuable space. The small monthly investment in a storage unit could help you sell your home much faster. It's well worth it. Contact me when you're ready to put your Tucson home on the market.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
Jan. 1, 2019

Top Smart Home Features Buyers Want

Technology is on an ever-evolving road. While we may not all be driving flying cars...yet...we still are leaps and bounds above anything we've ever seen before. Our smartphones hold more technology than what was used to put a man on the moon. And the idea of passenger flights to the moon is closer to becoming a reality than ever before. As we begin to rely more heavily on technology in our everyday lives, it makes sense that smart home features stick out in buyers' minds when looking at houses. According to an Innotech article from August 2018, 81% of people who utilize smart home devices in their current home want properties with smart home technology already installed in them when purchasing a new home. If you're interested in selling your Tucson home in the future, what are the top smart home features you need to have in order to appeal to buyers?

Today's buyers are looking for properties with smart home features already installed in them. They're even willing to pay more for those houses. But which features are they looking for the most?

Top Smart Home Features Buyers Want

Smart Security Systems

At the top of most Tucson home buyers' list of smart home features is a smart security system. I've spoken before about how a home security system increases the chances of your home sale. We all want to feel safe and secure in our own homes. For a couple hundred dollars installed, your home, property, and family can be protected. And buyers like to see this system in place before they even move in. PC Mag reviews all the technology on the market to see which products provide the best service to the consumer. They choose Vivint, LifeShield, Abode, and SimpliSafe as their top picks for Best Smart Home Security Systems.

Smart Thermostats

One of the easiest smart home features to add to your Tucson property is a smart thermostat. Many of these devices "learn" your family's day-to-day habits as far as temperature regulation goes. They automatically adjust to accommodate your lifestyle. In turn, these systems save anywhere from 10-12% of your household's heating and cooling costs. Nest and Ecobee4 rank high on PC Mag's list of the Best Smart Thermostats currently on the market.

Smart Appliances

Next, we turn to smart home appliances. No longer are we content with our appliances being simply energy-efficient. Buyers want even more. How about a smart refrigerator that controls the temperature for maximum food freshness, lets you create a grocery list, searches for recipes online, and even allows you to listen to music while you cook? The Samsung App Fridge provides all of that and more. LG's ThinQ line includes a refrigerator that adjusts its energy usage to ease up during peak times and take advantage during off-peak periods. They also have a washer and dryer that can be scheduled to wash during off-peak times, too. This lowers energy consumption costs. LG's smart oven allows you to download some preprogrammed recipes so that your roasts, bread, and other baked goods come out perfect each time. You can even check on your dinner while kicking it out by the pool or watching a movie with the family at home directly from any mobile device. 

Smart Lighting Systems

Finally, buyers look for better lighting systems in their smart home features. Changing over to LED lights is great. But how about the ability to control every light in every room directly from your smartphone? Phillips offers several different models, as does Wiz and Sylvania. Think about it. You're on vacation but you don't want anyone to know that no one is at your Tucson house. Leaving lights on in several rooms while you're away for a week can be costly. An astute thief might recognize that these are the only rooms with lights on all the time, too. Change things up by switching lights on and off throughout the household at various times and in various rooms while you're gone. This adds another layer of security.

Even if you aren't thinking about selling your Tucson home right away, these smart home features make your life a little easier. And, when you do decide to sell, your home looks much more appealing to buyers. They're willing to pay more if a house already includes these features. So, installing them in your household right now would be a great idea.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home