Archive for September, 2010

Fiesta de Fuego…on Tonight!

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Toe tapping and the unbridled desire to dance and undulate to the rhythms of  the blues band, Cross Cut Saw is on the menu tonight served up with Domingo DeGrazia, a Spanish guitarist whose fingers fly across the strings. The Tucson Omni National is the scene of Fiesta de Fuego where hot salsa and chips, tequila tasting, a silent auction with gifts to please everyone, a cash bar, and Latin music reverberates with the blues. 

There are those of us who will agitate to dance, and those of us who appreciate the music and will sit and enjoy, and there are those of us who will work the pulsation and enjoy every second of the musical beat to stamp our own interpretation  of the music into the dance floor.  And of course there will be those of us who are so irritated that our partners will not dance that we thank God that women can dance with women without judgment!  Fiesta goers are guaranteed a rollicking time having fun supporting The Hearth Foundation, which provides housing for homeless women with children, building lives “one brick at a time”.

Tucson Omni is the place, $10.00 per person is the cover charge, make reservations at the link below. 

Omni Tucson National Resort, set in northwest Tucson, with the backdrop of the beautifully craggy Catalina Mountain which reflect the colors of the sunset, is home to an award winning golf course which will be the site Sunday of the Golf Tournament.  

Temperatures will be in the 70’s during the morning and rise to the low 90’s in the late afternoon, but a comfortable breeze will sweep across the manicured course throughout the day.  The humidity will be 29% at check in time Sunday at 11 am and the day promises to be glorious  fall Tucson day.  Come be a spectator and cheer for your favorite golfer.

The day culminates with a Golfers Banquet at the Omni restaurant.  Golf prizes will be awarded to the day’s top conqueror of the links.  And the results of the raffle will also be announced.

Raffle tickets are available on line:  Prices are $10 each or three for $20.00  –

Prizes include:  7 days/6 nights in a 2 BR/2BA  suite at Napa Valley, CA; 

Romantic Playa Grande Resort, Cabo San Lucas Mexico, 7 days/6 night;

and a Winter Wonderland Get A Way in Santa Fe New Mexico, 7 Nights, 6 nights, November through March only.

Restrictions do apply and all get a ways must be booked in advance. Winners must provide their own transportation.

Come and watch, enjoy Tucson’s fall season at a beautiful resort.  Support The Hearth, an organization supported by the Tucson Realtor® community and the community at large.  The Hearth is a non profit organization 501(c)3 organization.

 For more information or to book reservations for Fiesta De Fuego, go to this website:



Tucson Real Estate Market Shows Upbeat Signs…

Friday, September 24th, 2010

An 11.36% increase in Tucson, Arizona homes sold during August statistically illustrates positive movement in the real estate market, and coupled with a decline in inventory of 21.82% and an increase of 39.19% of total listings under contract, the figures demonstrate the numbers of homes on the market in Tucson is decreasing.

This is good for the real estate market. In July 990 homes went under contract and in August 1,378 had contracts. A total of 792 homes were sold in July and 882 or 11.36% more homes sold in August. The median sales price inched up $750.00 from $150,000 to $150,750. and the number of new listings decreased from 1861 in July to the August total of 1,455. However, the total of active listings rose to 7,180 from 6,668 or 7.53% reflecting spillover inventory.

Looking at the percentage of homes sold in each zip code, the areas with more than 20% of homes sold include the downtown area with 23.33% where 7 out of 30 active properties sold; 85746, the southwest area which includes Midvale Park, where 24.86% of the properties sold or 45 out of 181 properties, and 85738, Catalina, where 100% of the properties sold or 1 out of 1 listing.

The Northwest area of town has the most properties on the market with 1,826 homes for sale. During August, 219 homes sold. That is followed by the central area of town which includes the University area, with 921 homes on the market and 102 sold in August. Rounding out the top three is the North section of town which includes the Catalina Foothills with 676 properties on the market and only 69 sold during August.

Price wise, the properties between $120,000 and $250,000 had the most sold and also accounted for the most inventory. Less than 10% of the properties priced above $250,000 were sold in August.

Types of financing were nearly evenly split between FHA loans which 242 buyers selected, conventional loans for which 275 buyers opted, and 245 buyers elected to pay cash. The remaining financing was split between VA loans, owner carry backs, cash to loan and other types of financing.

The average sales price decreased 2.9% from $192,072 in July to $186,562 in August while the median sales price increased about one half of one percent to $150,750.
The average number of days in the market increased by four days to 91 from 87. West side homes took the longest to sell on average at 114 days, while the extreme northeast only took an average of 59 days.

When looking to purchase or sell property, studying the statistical data can give you insight as to how long it may take to sell property and where the price points are located for people looking to purchase property. It also shows up/down movement in the market. Make sure you have the latest Multiple Listing Monthly Statistics to help you make a good decision and ask your Realtor® to help you interpret the data for your specific need.

Tucson Association of Realtors August 2010 Monthly Statistical Report:

Another Way to Look at Financing…

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Pay attention to Ben Bernake’s words and what the Fed is going to do if you are thinking about purchasing a home.

Why? you ask. What does the Fed have to do with my buying a home in Tucson Arizona?

The Fed determines the monetary supply and if we are in for inflationary ride, you may be wise to consider not paying all cash for your property but rather instead take a loan putting 20% down because you will be paying off that 30 year loan with cheaper dollars.

If you can get 4.75% or 5% money, and if we run into inflation in a few years, you still have 80% of that amount you originally were going to use to pay cash for a house, squirreled away and now you can hopefully put it into an investment where you will make more than 5%. And to boot, you will have the interest deduction.

History illustrates that inflation is always with us. Think about ten years ago and the price of an automobile, the price of a pound of hamburger, and the price of home. What are the percentage increases? And yes, it’s true you have had increases in your own paycheck, but that kept you even with inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics at it’s website :

has a calculator which will calculate the dollar value in terms of today’s dollar. It’s fun (and frightening) to play with it to see how much of your dollar has been eroded by inflation over the years. $1.00 in 1942, the year I was born, is equal to $13.32 today. $1.00 in 1964 when my daughter was born is now equal to $7.04, and that same $1.00 in 1968 when my son was born is now equal to $6.27.

Humor me with this little exercise. In 2000, you hypothetically purchased a property for $200,000 and financed the entire property at 5% interest for 30 years.
The monthly payment would have been $1,073.64 principle and interest only.

Now, ten years later, the inflationary index (using the calculator) places that home’s value at $253,556.33 in dollars today, and that same $1,073.64 principle and interest payment with inflation is equal to $1361.14 in today’s dollars. That is a 21% increase in 10 years.

So if Bernake wants to curb deflationary pressures by trying to increase inflation through bond buying, some type of inflation may be in the offing. Think about how you want to finance property and consult with your tax accountant and your financial advisor.

Articles RE: FOMC meeting

Tucson Retirement Home…The Choice is Yours…

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

There are plenty of active adult community properties for sale in Tucson less than $200,000. This is the time to look at your southwest sunbelt home. Check properties now while you still have the best pickings…before the majority of winter visitors arrive.   Enjoy January through April here in beautiful Tucson while your neighbors shovel snow, dig out their car, and bundle up in winter gear just to go to the store.

The price of property in Tucson is at 2003 levels and interest rates are at a historical low. This equation equals an opportunistic time for people who always coveted a retirement home or second home in the southwest sunbelt to purchase that dream.

Tucson and the surrounding area is home to several active adult communities and homes in these areas have decreased in price.   Prices are down 15 to 25% from three years ago.

In the entire Tucson Multiple Listing Service, 91 properties sold during the past three months (since June 22, 2010) in active adult communities at an average list price of $262,873 and an average sale price of $248,302.

That is an approximate 5.5% discount to list price. The median asking price is $249,000 and the sale price was $230,000 or a 7.6% discount to list. And the low price was $92,800 with the sale price of $92,000 or a .08% discount to list. The high end property which sold during the past three months, had an asking price of $599,000 with a sale price of $569,000 or a 5.0% discount to list.

Currently, as of this morning, there are 460 properties in active adult communities on the market, four of which are more than $1,000,000. The average price of those properties is $297,942 but of this total, 45 properties are $500,000 or above skewing the average prices upwards. The median price is $249,700, the low price is $52,500 and the high price is $2,800,000.

Most people seeking an active adult community will be purchasing property below $500,000 and the 415 properties on the market have an average price of $251,827, with a median price of $239,000, a low price of $52,500, and the high price of $499,900. These are asking prices.

Using the discount to list price during the past three months of 5.5%, one may be able to purchase an average active adult community property for about $237,000 if we use the entire domain of properties to $500,000.

To use an old cliché, “the early bird catches the worm”. For more information about Tucson active adult communities, contact me, for more information and a relocation package.

How Will You Price Your Property?…

Monday, September 20th, 2010

So, what is my property worth anyway? Is the market up or is the market down?  Whom are we to believe?

It seems as if you can take your pick of economists to whom you listen. Some say we are coming out of the doldrums. The big announcement today said the recession ended in June…and yet other economists say the other shoe is yet to drop, they foresee another 18% drop in home prices.

Part of it is political, it’s almost believe what you want to believe at your own peril. Caveat emptor prevails!

That leaves the home seller/homebuyer in a real quandary. Don’t believe the national media, they are slanted to whatever political perspective they subscribe. The markets are regional, areas which did not see the escalating increases in prices between 2003 and 2008 and remained fairly stable, are still stable.

Areas like Arizona which saw a 45% plus overall increase in housing prices within three years are still reeling from the deflationary impact.

But, there are parts of Arizona, and in particular Tucson, (which is the market I serve) that are harder hit than other areas.

In order to truly value a home, one has to look at what is happening locally, and that is by zip code, and sometimes by subdivision. Those subdivisions which faced overbuilding during the frothy times of 2003-2008 are in far worse shape than areas where homes are older and do not turn over rapidly.

I took the better part of an afternoon to compute the numbers of bank owned properties and the numbers of short sales in every Tucson zip code as of August 30, 2010. I then computed the percentages of each and the combined percentages and found that more than 50% of the homes on the market in some zip codes are distressed properties.

Generally these are places where large master planned communities were being built; Gladden Farms, Star Valley, Rancho Del Lago, Sahuarita, Quail Creek, the Irvington Road/Escalante area, Cortaro Farms near the highway, and Corona de Tucson.

And there are areas where there are less than 20% of the properties in distress; the 85704 area which includes some of Oro Valley and the Casas Adobes area, the center of town near the university in 85716 and 85719, the Diamond Bell Ranch area, Saddlebrook and Catalina,  Mount Lemmon,a portion of the Catalina Foothills, some of Green Valley, and the prize goes to 85646, Tubac with only 7.143% of the homes underwater.

When you are pricing your home to sell, make sure your Realtor® knows the numbers and knows the trend in the area in which you live. I priced three homes today and pulled the numbers from the last six months for the zip code. The pricing differential in all three areas was significantly different. One was in 85747 where 43% of the homes are distressed; one was in 85704 where 19.5% of the homes are underwater, and one was in 85745 where nearly 35% of the homes have problems.

You as the buyer and or seller need to know this because the appraiser is obligated to take distressed properties into consideration when appraising your property.  As someone once said, “the distressed property in this area is the market” and unfortunately everyone suffers whether or not they are in the same predicament.

Choose a Certified Residential Specialist Real Estate Agent…

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Why choose a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) to represent you when buying or selling property?

You are getting ready to put your home on the market, or you are looking for a home in another area.  How do you go about choosing a Realtor®?  And why should you choose a CRS? 

Less than 4% of Realtors®  nationwide have earned their Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation, but account for more than 25% of the real estate transactions. CRS agents must combine knowledge with production in order to earn the designation.

CRS agents have invested both time and money in classes far beyond those required as a Realtor®.  They are on the cutting edge of technology which can help you in marketing your home worldwide, they understand various types of marketing and can target audience your home, they listen to your concerns and try and put your wishes into action plans.  They understand negotiating and practice good negotiating skills which can save you both time and money. 

If your are moving to another part of the country, CRS agents have a network of other CRS agents worldwide upon whom they can rely.  Your local CRS agent can refer you to your new CRS Realtor® who will work with you with the skill and knowledge you are accustomed. 

Why not hire from the top agents in the industry.  It costs the same to be represented by the crème de la crème, as it does to be represented by the mediocre. Select from the top 4% of the real estate industry. 

The next time you have a real estate transaction or have friend or family who has a real estate transaction, refer that person to a CRS agent, or refer that person here. 

CRS agents are knowledgeable, have a worldwide network of other CRS agents, and can help keep you from pitfalls when buying and or selling property.

CRS Leadership and More…

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

The last ten days have been a whirlwind.   Attending the Certified Residential Specialists (CRS) Leadership Conference for Presidents and President Elects at the Wild Horse Resort in Phoenix stirs a wealth of ideas; programs presented by Brian Copeland and Frank Serio tweak my brain while giving me an abundance of homework. Copeland’s seminar the previous Wednesday adds more fuel to the cyber section of my grey matter. 

A working Realtor®, Copeland is an internet guru with an uncanny method for presenting information in a most entertaining fashion.  Building on the concept of television game shows, he slickly slips into his alter ego as a game show host and simultaneously drives his points home regarding leadership while we wildly applaud amidst laughter. 

“Edgecrafting”, taking an extreme idea and scaling it back one notch elicits a variety of creative ideas.  Frank Serio, a CRS instructor and California working Realtor®, takes front and center stage and as President Elect of National CRS, encourages us to think outrageously, brainstorming in the most vehement sense of the word, then takes us to the cyber world dimension with ideas about to how to market CRS. It’s a great ride. 

The nuts and bolts are attended to by Rachel Tristano, from CRS National in Chicago.  Realtors® from nearly all 50 states and the Bahamas share their love for the real estate industry and swap ideas on how to bring more education and professionalism to industry. Culminating the three day event, the Arizona CRS Chapter hosts a wine and cheese reception, which is a smashing succes, prior to dinner Saturday. 

Three stellar Realtors® and an appraiser share their knowledge about pricing properties in today’s market, presenting unique ideas to the CRS attendees at the Arizona CRS breakfast Wednesday morning.  And wrapping up this eight day whirlwind of activity is the Tucson Association of Realtors® Superhero Expo at the Convention Center.  More cyberspace and internet tricks of the trade roll off the tongue of Amy Chorew, technology expert and educational speaker for the show.  And Realty Trac shares Tucson numbers about short sales and foreclosures. 

Ahh, now the weekend…time to get back to work and sell some property!


Once again I am up and running, no not literally, but figuratively.  I was infected and rather than continue blogging, I stopped completely because I did not want to spread my virus to you, my reader.  I didn’t know if I was contagious, but I didn’t want to hazard a chance. “Good grief, she gave me the plague” I envision people saying. 

But alas!  Lynn Ruby, a dedicated virtual assistant, has corrected all of that and I can begin once again to spout my words of wisdom, which of course are a matter of interpretation. 


Arizona Certified Residential Specialist:

National CRS :

Brian Copeland:

Frank Serio:

Amy Chowrew: