Tucson Real Estate and Community News

June 21, 2022

Weighing a Home Offer: What Sellers Should Focus On

Selling a Tucson home, especially in today's hot seller's market, can be both stressful and exhilarating. We still see sellers receiving multiple offers on their homes. The first thing many sellers focus on is how much money the buyer offers. But, you may want to weigh some other equally important factors when considering which home offer to accept.

A high sale price is great when selling a Tucson home. But it should not be the only factor you consider when weighing a home offer, especially in a multiple-buyer situation.

Weighing a Home Offer: What Sellers Should Focus On (Other Than Money)

Fewer Contingencies

Search Tucson homes for saleContingencies are a common occurrence with a home offer. However, the fewer the contingencies, the better. Why? Because if a contingency is not met during escrow, you run the risk of the deal falling through. Some common contingencies include a home sale contingency (the buyer needs to sell their home first), an appraisal contingency, a home inspection contingency, and a financing contingency. If one buyer needs to sell their home first while another one already sold theirs, the latter buyer's offer may be more attractive even if it comes in slightly below the former's offer. 

Type of Financing

First, an offer should include a pre-approval letter at the very least. If not, set it aside. A buyer who shows that their financing is at the pre-underwriting stage is even better. Sometimes, buyers submit an all-cash offer. This is great because they often waive an appraisal contingency (required by lenders before they approve a buyer's loan). Since the appraisal part of escrow tends to take the most time, this also means that your time to close gets cut down considerably. However, keep in mind that all-cash offers usually come in below asking, sometimes tens of thousands below. Even so, this may still be the best one depending on the other offers you receive.

Timeline That Fits Your Needs

Always look for an offer that fits your timeframe. Have you already moved out and on to a new place? You might want to look at the shortest terms. Need a little time after the sale in order to find a place? A home offer with a lease-back option works better for you.

Larger Earnest Money Deposit

Finally, see how much they want to put down for their Earnest Money Deposit. More money shows a more serious buyer. After all, if they walk away from a deal where contingencies were all met, you get to keep this money. Therefore, someone with a larger earnest money deposit would appear to be a stronger buyer. They have more to lose if the deal falls through. While 1% to 3% is typical, an offer with more may be the better choice over someone with the same offer but a smaller deposit.

Before you accept any home offer, weigh the pros and cons of each. Discuss your options with your REALTOR®. Their expertise proves invaluable in cases like this. Then, let the buyer with the winning offer know that your home will shortly become theirs. Congratulations!

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
June 14, 2022

Budget Tips for Buying a Tucson Home

Whether you wish to upsize your Tucson home or need to downsize it, you now find yourself in the market for a new domicile. That means putting a budget into place before you look. But rising home prices and interest rates cause you concern. Financial experts suggest that you keep your mortgage payment at no more than 30% of your monthly income (before taxes). Lenders prefer that it stay at 28%, with total debt no higher than 36%. Maxing out your finances to make a deal happen on a house could come back to bite you later. What budget tips should you keep in mind when you decide to purchase a home?

When buying a Tucson home, you need to keep a few budget tips in mind so that you do not struggle to make your house payment once you move in.

Budget Tips for Buying a Tucson Home

Inflation Raises ALL Costs

Search Tucson homes for sale Inflation is on the rise for the foreseeable future. Supply chain issues. The war in Ukraine. Higher gas prices. Rising energy costs. It all affects our pocketbooks. If you stretch yourself thin right now to make just your monthly mortgage payment, you may find yourself in deep trouble trying to make ends meet as the cost of just about everything goes up. Moving from a smaller home or apartment to a larger place means paying more for electricity and gas. HOA fees and property taxes also look like they may go up. Therefore, you need to leave yourself a bit of "wiggle room" in your budget to accommodate these rising costs.

Maintenance/Repair Costs Run Higher Than You Might Expect

Yes, your Tucson home passed inspection. But small unexpected repairs sometimes creep up...even on a new build. Regular maintenance helps stave off big problems (or at the very least spot them early on). But maintenance still costs money. So, keep this in mind when you put your house-hunting budget together.

You Still Gotta Be Prepared to Live Your Life (and Pay for It, Too)

Vacations. Retirement. Emergencies. These all need planning, too. And they are each very important components of your life. Therefore, the final one of my budgeting tips is to keep these expenses in mind when you think about what you can afford to pay for a Tucson home. 

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

Posted in Buying a Home
June 7, 2022

Moving Tips: Priority Tasks for the Move In

Moving into a new Tucson home is an exciting time. From the moment you saw it, you probably daydreamed about  new decor, paint schemes, how you wanted to furnish it. But before you get into all the fun stuff, there are some basic moving tips regarding tasks you should set as your priority first.

Congratulations on your new Tucson home. Now, it is time to move. Here are some of the moving tasks you need to set as your priority when you move in.

Moving Tips: Priority Tasks for Your Move In

Change the Locks

Search Tucson homes for sale Even if you were promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It is well worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project for most people or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam Clean the Carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an Exterminator

Another one of the helpful moving tips you need to make a priority is in regards to pests. Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator right away to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home. Then, you might want to consider setting up a regular schedule for them to come back and spray throughout the year. Many exterminator companies offer this service at a very reasonable rate.

Clean Out the Kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances. A good scrubbing only costs you elbow grease. But, if this task feels a little too much with all the rest of the moving chores you tackle, consider hiring a service to come clean for you.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips
May 31, 2022

Upsizing Your Tucson Home

Unfortunately, our homes do not always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, or a family with a newborn can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof. Remodeling and adding to your Tucson home is one option for creating more space. However, this can be costly. Plus, the size of your property may be prohibitive. That’s when moving to a bigger home (aka "upsizing") becomes the best solution.

If you are outgrowing your current Tucson home and remodeling/renovating is not an option, you might want to consider upsizing your home instead.

Upsizing Your Tucson Home

Where Do You Need More Space?

Search Tucson homes for saleThe first thought when upsizing your Tucson home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it is important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense. However, if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space. This pays off during the holidays or summer vacations, when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings.

Moving Outward

If you need more space but do not necessarily want a more expensive Tucson home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave beyond, your lifestyle—and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays—might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. This offers your best option for upsizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.

When you make upsizing your Tucson home a priority, contact us. We are always happy to help you find just the right property to suit your needs.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
May 24, 2022

Tucson Public Pools Open for Summer 2022

Summertime means long hot days here in Tucson. In fact, we will be hitting triple digits before Memorial Day weekend even starts. If your home does not include a pool, you will definitely feel it! Beat the heat this summer by visiting one of the Tucson public pools scheduled to open this summer.

On June 2nd, several Tucson public pools open for the summer of 2022. The City is looking for more lifeguards to fill open positions as well.

Tucson Pools Open for Summer 2022

Search Tucson homes for saleThe City currently lacks enough lifeguards to ready all of its pools for open swim time. But they scheduled 10 of them to open up beginning June 2nd and continuing through August 3rd. They primarily wish to focus on swim safety and some great aquatic programs this year. 

Tucson Public Pools

  • Catalina High School (2005 N Dodge Blvd) - Adult lap swim: 11 am to 1 pm & 4 pm to 6 pm Tu-F, 12 pm to 6 pm Sat, recreational swim: 1 pm to 4 pm Tu-F, 12 pm to 6 pm Sat, closed Sun & Mon
  • Clements Pool (Lincoln Regional Park, 8155 Poinciana Dr) - Adult lap swim: 11 am to 1 pm M-W, 12 pm to 6 pm Sun, recreational swim: 1 pm to 5 pm M-W, 12 pm to 6 pm Sun, closed Th-Sat
  • Edith Ball ARC Pool (Gene Reid Park, 3455 E Zoo Ct) - Adult lap swim: 6 am to 8 am M-Th, 11:30 am to 1 pm F, recreational swim: 11:30 am to 5 pm M-Th, 1 pm to 4 pm F, closed weekends
  • Fort Lowell Park (2900 Craycroft Rd) - Adult lap swim: 1 pm to 6 pm M-W, 12 pm to 6 pm Sun, recreational swim: 1 pm to 6 pm M-W, 12 pm to 6 pm Sun, closed Th-Sat
  • Purple Heart Park (9800 E Rita Rd) - Adult lap swim: 12 pm to 1 pm Tu-F, 1 pm to 7 pm Sat, recreational swim: 1 pm to 6 pm Tu-F, 1 pm to 7 pm Sat, closed Sun & Mon
  • Quincie Douglas Pool (Silverlake Park, 1563 E 36th St) - Adult lap swim: 12 pm to 1 pm W-F, 12 pm to 6 pm Sat, recreational swim: 1 pm to 6 pm W-F, 12 pm to 6 pm Sat, closed Sun-Tu
  • Sunnyside HS Pool (1725 Bilby Rd) - Adult lap swim: 12 pm to 1 pm M-W, 12 pm to 6 pm Sun, recreational swim: 1 pm to 6 pm M-W, 12 pm to 6 pm Sun, closed Th-Sat
  • Udall Park Pool (7200 Tanque Verde Rd) - Adult lap swim: 11 am to 1 pm W-F, 12 pm to 6 pm Sat, recreational swim: 1 pm to 5 pm W-F, 12 pm to 6 pm Sat, closed Sun-Tu

Splash Pads

All splash pads are open from 8 am to sunset April through October. These allow you to cool off on land. No water wings needed.

  • Catalina Park (925 N 4th Ave)
  • Clements (Lincoln Regional Park, 8155 E Poinciana Dr)
  • Nada Jane Baker (Balboa Heights Park, 2536 N Castro Ave)
  • Palo Verde Park (355 S Mann Ave) 
  • Purple Heart Park (9800 E Rita Ave) - Grand opening on May 27th
  • Udall Park (7200 E Tanque Verde Rd)

City Seeks Lifeguards for Public Pools

With the lack of lifeguards available, the City wants to hear from anyone interested in filling several lifeguard positions. It makes for a great summertime job that increases your swim and basic emergency medical skills. Anyone interested must be at least 15 years old and have obtained a lifeguard certification. To apply, visit the City of Tucson's lifeguard recruitment site here. For those interested in earning a lifeguard certification, simply call (520) 791-4245 for more information.

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

Posted in Tucson Events
May 17, 2022

Which Down Payment Strategy is Right for You?

You’ve most likely heard this rule: "Save for a 20% down payment before you buy a home." The logic behind saving 20% is solid. It shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders. But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as 3%—rather than parting with so much cash upfront, even if you have the money available. So, which down payment strategy works best for your financial situation? Let's find out.

Tucson home buyers can put anywhere between 3% and 20% down (or higher). But is more always best? Not necessarily. Find out which down payment strategy is right for you.

Which Down Payment Strategy is Right for You?

The Downside

Search Tucson homes for saleThe downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years. The lower your down payment, the more you have to pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20% down payment. In turn, this eliminates some Tucson homes from your search.

The Upside

The national average for home appreciation currently is approximately 14.5%. In Tucson, we experienced a 25.1% rate of appreciation between April 2021 and April 2022. The appreciation is independent of your home payment. So whether you put down 20% or 3%, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your Tucson home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment. This also leaves more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

The Happy Medium

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20% down payment strategy and an investment-focused, small down payment. In the past, I offered tips about how renters can save up for their down payment. I also discussed using monetary gifts for part of your down payment. Talk to your trusted real estate professional and/or your lender to find out the best down payment strategy for you.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
May 3, 2022

Home Warranty vs Homeowners Insurance: What's the Difference?

When purchasing a new Tucson home, it’s important to do in-depth research on all facets of the homebuying process. One thing you’ll need to understand is how to best protect yourself and your investment if anything were to go wrong. Check out the information on a home warranty versus homeowners insurance below to educate yourself on your options.

A home warranty and homeowners insurance are two different things that each protect your Tucson home in very different ways.

Home Warranty vs Homeowners Insurance

Home Warranty

Search Tucson homes for saleA home warranty is designed to cover the cost of repairs and replacements of larger appliances and crucial systems in your Tucson home that may fail or break due to age and wear and tear. This includes but isn’t limited to HVAC, electrical, or plumbing components, kitchen appliances, and your washer and dryer. With a home warranty, you are required to pay premiums year-round even if you do not use it. Plus, it won’t cover damages if appliances were not maintained properly or if the damage is from a fire or other disaster.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance pays for any accidental damages and losses that are caused by fire, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail. However, damage from earthquakes and floods is typically not covered. It also covers the replacement of personal property in case of theft or damage and liability if a person were to get injured in your home or on your property. According to American Home Shield, the average annual cost of a homeowners insurance policy ranges between $300 and $1,000. Usually, the lender asks you to obtain a policy for your Tucson home before the mortgage is issued. Make sure to keep in mind that each type of coverage in the policy is subject to a limit. In most cases, you will have to pay a deductible.

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

April 26, 2022

Household Items That Stay With the House After a Sale

We become emotionally attached to things in our Tuscon home. It happens. But when you sell your home, you cannot always take those things with you. In fact, if you do take certain household items with you when you move out, you may face a lawsuit or lose out on the sale altogether. Some of the items that must stay with the house may even surprise you. So, keep this in mind before you pack up and leave.

When you sell your Tucson home, you cannot actually take every one of your household items with you. Some of them must stay with the property. Find out which items those are before you start packing up.

Household Items That Stay With the House

Plants and Shrubs

Search Tucson homes for saleUnless specifically mentioned in your sales agreement, all plants, trees, and shrubs on the property must stay with the home when you vacate. Therefore, if you wish to take grandma's prize rose bush with you, you need to make sure to state that in your contract or take it out before you list. But do not let this rose bush become a thorn in your side that costs you the sale.

Anything Anchored in Place

Any one of the household items anchored into the home or property remains on-site when you sell your Tucson home. For example, portable basketball hoops and swing sets? Go ahead and take them with you. But, if you attached them in place into the ground, they stay. Likewise for your mounted TVs. You can take the TV set itself with you. However, since the mount is attached to the wall, it technically must stay. Mirrors attached to the studs (mostly found in bathrooms or on a mirrored wall...hello '70s!) must stay. But decorative framed mirrors attached to the wall like a painting can go with you.

Lighting Fixtures

You spent thousands of dollars on a beautiful chandelier. Or you received one as a family heirloom that is worth a bundle. If it is in place when you a buyer walks through, it is assumed that it will be included with the sale of your Tucson home. Removing it after a buyer submits an offer without discussing it with the buyer first is illegal. While you may declare your intention to take it after a sales agreement is signed, this might raise a bone of contention with the buyer and hurt your sale. (You'd be surprised what some buyers become attached to in a home sale.) Therefore, if you want to keep any light fixtures in your home, take them down and replace them with a different fixture before you list your property to avoid any confusion.

Window Treatments

Finally, when it comes to window treatments, curtains and drapes go with the seller. But blinds and curtain rods stay. These items are actually attached to the house. 

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

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 19, 2022

How Renters Can Save Up for a Down Payment

According to Rent Cafe, Tucson renters pay an average of $1200 for a 750 sq ft, one-bedroom apartment. And it looks like prices will only continue to go up...at least for a while. Realtor.com reported that buyers paid a median sale price of $332,000 in March 2022. At that price, you get something that is several hundred feet larger, at least one or two bedrooms more, and sits on its own plot of land. Plus, it's yours! But how do you save up to buy a Tucson home while you are currently renting a place to live?   

Saving up money for the down payment on your Tucson home is easier when you have a plan, even when you are currently renting a place.

How to Save for a Down Payment While Renting

Determine What You Need for Your Down

Search Tucson homes for saleWhile experts suggest that you put 20% down, lenders offer programs that allow as little as 3% down if you are a first-time home buyer with a minimum credit score of 620. That means that you need less than $10,000 down plus roughly $4000 for closing costs to become a homeowner. While this shortens the amount of time you need to save up, it also means that you pay private mortgage insurance. This adds another $100+ to your monthly mortgage payment. The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payment.

Go Over Your Expenses

Take a good, honest look at what you spend each month. This includes your current rent, utilities, groceries, entertainment, eating out, daily lattes, gas, etc. Then, see where you can cut back. Start with your daily coffee run. A box of 72 Original Donut Shop Coffee pods costs approximately $30. That comes to $0.42 a cup. Add creamer, sugar, and flavored syrup and your cost increases by a few cents. Even at a cost of $0.60 per cup, you save about $5 by not buying it from a big-bucks coffee shop. Try streaming services rather than cable or going out to a movie. Sharpen your culinary skills (while saving money) by looking up interesting recipes online and cooking them from home. This does not mean you should avoid all of your usual fun. But definitely think about cutting way back in order to save money. Then, put that money into your savings account.

Open a Separate Savings Account

Speaking of your savings account, save for a down payment by taking the money you saved by cutting expenses and depositing it into a separate savings account. You could open another account at your current bank. But I highly suggest you open a separate savings account at a completely different bank. The more difficult it is to get into the account, the easier it is to resist the temptation to dip into your account for frivolous expenditures. You can even ask your employer to deposit a percentage of your paycheck into this separate account so that it is saved before you ever see it.

Pay Down Debt

One of the determining factors of whether a lender approves your loan or not is your debt-to-income ratio. The lower your debt, the better you look. It can also increase your credit score, which opens you up to better terms. This also frees up more money to use for your down payment. Concentrate on lowering the balances on your revolving debt to below 30% of each card's limit. This helps boost your FICO score more quickly.

Look for Down Payment Assistance Programs

Finally, the Pima Tuscon Homebuyer's Solution helps lower income home buyers with their down payment needs. This program allows those buyers who meet certain income limits to borrow up to 6% of their Tuscon home's sale price via what they call a "silent second". Also, if you happen to have an extremely generous family member or friend who wants to help you by gifting you funds to use for your down payment, make sure you deposit that into your account right away to allow it to be "seasoned" when you need to use it. Do not touch this money except when required during escrow.

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

Posted in Buying a Home
April 12, 2022

When to Refinance Your Tucson Home

Refinancing your mortgage is something most Tuscon homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five of the most common ones.

There are many good reasons to refinance your Tucson home. Here are five of the most common ones.

When to Refinance Your Tucson Home

Scoring a Lower Interest Rate

Search Tucson homes for saleThe number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner. However, if you wish to lower your rate, you need to do so sooner rather than later. According to Freddie Mac, interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have risen by almost a full percentage point since March 3rd, 2022. And they are expected to continue going up for the foreseeable future.

Using an Improved Credit Score

Even if interest rates have not dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate.

Shortening the Loan’s Term

If interest rates decrease, there is a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner. 

Switching From an Adjustable-Rate to a Fixed-Rate

If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your Tucson home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases.

Cashing Out Home Equity

If there is a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost. With interest rates and home prices marching upward, this option may prove more financially sound for taking care of a big expense or current debt than, let's say, selling your home and looking for a new one.

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

Posted in Homeowner Tips