Tucson Real Estate and Community News

Oct. 30, 2018

Helpful Money Tips for the Tucson Home Buyer

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

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

Helpful Money Tips for the Tucson Home Buyer

Be Prepared

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

Bigger Isn't Always Better

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

Maintenance Costs

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

Build Up Your Equity

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

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

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

Roofing

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

HVAC System

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

Electrical

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

Plumbing

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

Foundation

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

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

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 16, 2018

Tucson Boo Bash 2018: Halloween Fun at the Park

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

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

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

Tucson Boo Bash 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Tucson Events
Oct. 9, 2018

Common Contingencies to Include in Your Tucson Home Purchase Agreement

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

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

Common Contingencies for Tucson Home Buyers

Home Inspection Contingency

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

Mortgage Financing Contingency

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

Home Appraisal Contingency

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

Home Sale Contingency

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

Clear Title Contingency

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

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

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 2, 2018

What You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

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

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

What You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

Is That a Big Deal or Just a Minor Problem?

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

Should I be Concerned About That Water Spot?

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

How Does This Work?

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 25, 2018

What is a Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Searching for a Tucson home is merely one step in your journey to homeownership. Once you put an offer in on "the one", you should receive a Seller's Property Disclosure Statement ("spuds" for short). Read it over carefully as soon as you receive it. What it says may change your mind on how to proceed with your Tucson home purchase.

What is a Seller's Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) and what should you be watching out for on it before you buy that Tucson home?

What is a Seller's Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS)?

Search available Tucson homes for saleBy law, the seller must divulge any information they know about any flaws or defects that could negatively impact the value of the home in question. They do this via the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement. In Arizona, this is better known by its nickname: "spuds". In this statement, the seller talks about any past repairs they know about, even if they happened before the seller owned the home. Was the house treated for pests (termites, mice, bedbugs, etc.)? Have there ever been any plumbing issues? Water damage? HVAC problems?

If the previous owner disclosed this information to the seller before they purchased the property, the seller is legally obligated to pass along the information to you. However, the seller cannot be held liable for issues they were never told about or didn't experience personally. 

How to Handle Problems on the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement

Schedule your home inspection for sometime after you've had a chance to look over your seller's property disclosure statement. Ask your inspector to pay particular attention to any issues that came up on the disclosure form. They'll be able to give you more information as to the severity of the situation, whether it's resolved and if there is further attention necessary. From there, you can determine if the issue is one you can live with. If not, you have two options. First, renegotiate the sale price to reflect the cost of repairing the issue(s). Second, walk away. If you added a home inspection contingency to your sales contract (and you should), you are allowed to walk away with your earnest deposit money in hand.

Visit the Arizona Associaton of Realtors' website to view a sample SPDS form. This provides you with a glimpse of what information to look out for. If you find out later that the seller omitted information about the property that they should have disclosed before the sale was complete, they could be held legally liable for the cost of repairs and/or damages. Consult a real estate attorney before filing any lawsuit. If you have any questions about the SPDS form, please contact me.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 18, 2018

Tucson Home Repairs You Should Complete Before You List

When selling your Tucson home, you want it to look its best. It also needs to be in great shape in order to bring in top dollar. That means tackling those pesky repairs you've been avoiding for a while. While even the little things might turn a buyer away, there are other tasks you might not have thought about. Make sure that these Tucson home repairs are completed before you list your property on the market.

Before you even list your Tucson house on the market, you should complete a few of these home repairs first to receive top dollar on your sale.

Tucson Home Repairs Task List

Build Up the Curb Appeal

Search available Tucson homes for saleYour Tucson home only has one chance to make a first impression. You want that impression to be great. It must entice buyers to explore what's happening on the inside. That might mean adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls, shutters and/or trim. It could also mean adding flowers or getting rid of any dead shrubbery. Check the roof for signs of wear and tear. Look for siding that may need to be replaced. 

Clean Out the HVAC System

Professionals suggest that you completely clean out your air ducts every three to five years. Unless you did this within the last year, it's a good idea to add it to your Tucson home repairs task list. Also, have your air conditioning unit serviced to ensure that it works properly. And, while you're at it, double check the furnace to make sure it is in good working order. You don't want an inadequate heating or air conditioning system to stop the sale of your Tucson home from going through.

How are the Plumbing and Electrical Systems Holding Up?

After you cleaned out the HVAC thoroughly, check the plumbing and electrical systems. Watch out for leaks, low water pressure (which could indicate a leak somewhere) or faulty wiring. Tackle small repairs if you feel comfortable with that. But, for the big stuff, it might be time to bring in a professional. 

Updating the Flooring

And what's the final item on your Tucson home repairs task list? The floors. Most of today's buyers want a move-in ready home. They don't want to have to rip up your old flooring because it is filthy, stained, or broken. If a deep cleaning doesn't bring your carpet back to life, it might be time to replace it. Also, wax any tile or wood flooring so that it shines. Remember, always put your home's best face forward when it's time to sell.

If it's in your budget, you might want to call out a professional to perform a home inspection. They'll be able to identify potential problems that you might not be aware of. This allows you to make the necessary repairs or replacements before a buyer is even aware of them. Also, it prepares you for what a buyer's home inspection might uncover if you don't fix the issues now. Either way, it's a great tool for sellers to utilize, if possible.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
Aug. 31, 2018

Tucson Home Closing Checklist

Buying a home can be both exciting and scary. Mostly, it's a game of "hurry up and wait". You rush to get paperwork in to your lender. Then, you wait. As you enter the final stretch, you'll need to perform a few last-minute tasks in order to complete the process. Here is your Tucson home closing checklist so that you don't miss anything.

Once you're in the final stretch of buying a home, you'll need to complete a few last minute items on your Tucson home closing checklist before your purchase can be complete.

Tucson Home Closing Checklist

Contingencies

Search Tucson homes for saleThe first item on the Tucson home closing checklist is the contingencies. Common contingencies include a home inspection, appraisal, and financing. Make sure any contingencies outlined in your purchase agreement have been completed. If something goes wrong with any of these contingencies, you'll be able to back out of the contract without losing your Earnest Money Deposit.

Title

The next item on the Tucson home closing checklist is clearing the title. Most lenders require a title search. This shows you who claims ownership of the home as well as brings up any liens against the property. When you take ownership of the property, it leaves you vulnerable to any liens currently filed with the home. You might want to take out title insurance to protect you in case someone claims that there's an outstanding lien due.

Final Loan Approval

After clearing the contingencies and the title, the next item on your Tucson home closing checklist is getting final approval on your mortgage loan. Hopefully, you started the process before you went looking at properties. Whether it's a conventional, VA or FHA loan, the final approval can't happen until there's an actual address to add to the contract and it goes to the underwriter's desk. This is why it's so important that you don't make any major purchases (furniture, car, appliances, etc.) until after you sign your final paperwork. Keep any purchases outside of your normal daily routine to a minimum. Changes in spending patterns throw up red flags to the underwriter and may cause them to decline your loan no matter how big or small they may be.

Closing Disclosure

At least three days before final closing, you'll receive your closing disclosure form. This form clearly states what your mortgage payments will be, the interest rate you're paying on your loan, the terms of the loan, and your closing costs. Look it over thoroughly. Compare it to the loan estimate you received from your lender when you started the financing process. If you see any discrepancies between the two forms, talk to your lender to find out why they changed. Most often, these changes are justified. However, occasionally, they might be due to a clerical error. Either way, you need to know.

Final Walk-Through

To finish your Tucson home closing checklist, do one last walk-through. Most contracts allow a buyer to visually inspect a property one last time before they sign the final paperwork. This usually happens the day before you close. You want to make sure that the property is being handed over to you in the condition you and the seller both agreed upon in your sales contract. If you see any problems, raise them immediately with your agent so that they can be dealt with right away.

Relax. Once all of these items on your Tucson home closing checklist are complete, all that's left is signing the final paperwork. Then, you receive the keys to your new home and you get to move in. Congratulations!

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

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 28, 2018

Does a Home Security System Increase My Chances of a Home Sale?

According to Safewise.com, 200 homes are burglarized every hour across the United States. That amounts to one every 18 seconds. While the crime rate in Tucson has gone down significantly in the last 10 years, these statistics can be frightening. A home security system provides another level of safety to your Tucson home. And many of today's buyers look for homes that already provide a system. But does a home security system increase your chances of selling your Tucson home?

Today's buyers want smart homes. This includes a home security system. But you don't have to break the bank to install one.

Benefits of a Home Security System

Added Resale Value

Search Tucson homes for saleLike I said before, buyers want Tucson properties that include a home security system. Whether that's an elaborate system or simply installing motion sensor lights above the garage, any added security measures appeal to today's buyers. Modern home security systems cost less than you might think. PC Mag recently reviewed several products on the market to find the best home security system for 2018. The ones they chose as "the best" range from the $49 ADT Pulse to the $549 Vivint SmartHome System. Some systems include a doorbell camera and intercom that sends an alert to your phone whenever someone is at your front door. Then, you can talk to the person even when you're on vacation thousands of miles away.

Reduces Homeowner's Insurance

Another reason to install a home security system is that it reduces your homeowner's insurance. If you financed your Tucson home, the lender more than likely required that you take out a homeowner's insurance policy. Most insurance companies offer discounts as high as 20% when your home includes a security system. That saves you hundreds of dollars per year.

Lowers Neighborhood Crime

A home security system also lowers neighborhood crime. How? Burglars usually work on an opportunity basis. If your property looks like it might raise an alarm about an intruder, the burglar moves on. It's not worth the hassle. This tends to carry over to the rest of your neighborhood as well. When several homeowners install security systems, it increases the safety of your entire community. Safe neighborhoods attract buyers, not thieves.

Saves You Money

Finally, a home security system saves you money in the long run. Even with homeowner's insurance, a burglary costs you. Not only do you pay a deductible, but the psychological toll can be overwhelming. Making your home as secure as possible deters thieves and saves you from the time, money, and mental turmoil involved in putting things right again.

All in all, installing a home security system in your Tucson home provides lasting benefits. This includes becoming more attractive to potential buyers. Do your research on what types of systems are out there. Then, decide what your budget can handle. You'll be very happy you did.

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
Aug. 21, 2018

Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo 2018

Did you ever go to the rodeo when you were a kid? For many, the end of summer reminds them of county fairs and rodeos. If you're in town for the Labor Day weekend, why not take the family to the Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo 2018? It's three days of ropin' and ridin' fun the whole family can enjoy together.

Purchase your tickets today for the Sanoita Labor Day Rodeo 2018. Three full days of old fashioned, family-friendly fun for all ages awaits.

What: Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo 2018
Where: Sonoita Fairgrounds (3142 AZ83, Sonoita, AZ)
When: Sept 1st to 3rd, gates open at 10 am daily
Admission: $15/adult, $5/ages 6-12, FREE/under 6
Contact: Santa Cruz County Fair & Rodeo Association (520) 455-5553

Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo 2018

Search Tucson homes for saleIn operation since 1915, the Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo has become one of the oldest of the Old West rodeos in existence in the United States. One visit and you'll understand why it's called the Best Little Rodeo in Arizona. Gates open at 10 am daily. The Junior Rodeo kicks off in high gear at 12 pm each day. And the main performance can be seen at 2 pm. Watch traditional rodeo events like barrel racing, team roping, mutton busting, and wild horse races. See cowboys perform real ranch skills in the arena. And, on Saturday and Sunday nights, guests enjoy a tasty steak fry followed by dancing after the rodeo. You won't want to miss a moment of this adventure!

Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo 2018 Tickets

Tickets cost $15 per adult. Pay just $5 for children ages six to 12. All kids under the age of six get in absolutely free of charge. Ask about senior and military discounts. You can purchase tickets at the gate. Or visit the Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo 2018 website to purchase them online. Donations are also welcome, as the Santa Cruz County Fair & Rodeo Association (the people responsible for putting together this event) is a non-profit organization.

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

Posted in Tucson Area Events