Archive for the ‘Tucson Real Estate’ Category

Tucson Active Adult Communities Run the Gamut…

Monday, December 14th, 2015

The Tucson area is home to a multitude of active adult communities which range in price and amenities available.
Some communities require that buyers be age 50 and others age 55. Some communities stipulate that the owner meet the age requirement. This means a child less than 50 or 55 cannot purchase a property for a parent who meets the age restriction.
Other communities have no restriction on who can purchase a property as long as the occupant meets the age requirement. Some developments ask for proof of age, others don’t. When purchasing a property in an active adult community, the Covenants, Codes and Restrictions (CC and R’s) will spell out the requirements.
Price points run the gamut from $60,000 to more than a million dollars. Popular manufactured home active adult communities offer lower cost options and yet have many of the bells and whistles of the more expensive communities. Most have pools and recreation centers and offer the camaraderie of like minded residents.

Active adult communities built by production builders such as Pulte and Robson sport a beginning price point of the high $100’s.   Add ten to twenty percent to the base price for new home construction upgrades. When considering new home construction, use a Realtor®.  Make sure you make your first visit to that community with the Realtor® since he/she can often save you money and guide you in terms of what upgrades you should consider for future resale value.  You want to have representation and not be represented by the builder’s site agent who is working for the builder, not you.

Your Realtor® should check the inventory in the community to make sure you are aware of what is available.  Pre owned homes will probably have landscaping completed as well as window coverings, fans, and other upgrades which make a house a home and will save you money in the long run.  He/she can help you compare and contrast various communities.

Understanding your wants and desires and trying to match communities throughout the Tucson area is the function and job of your Realtor®.  There are many smaller communities within town; condos, townhomes, patio homes, manufactured homes, in addition to single family homes which may meet your requirements.  Not all active adult communities are golf course communities with hundreds or thousands of homes.

Think about what you want in a home, how you want to live your retirement, and tell your Realtor® who can help you translate that into reality.









Active Adult Community? Questions to Ask Yourself…

Monday, December 7th, 2015

AdobeStock_80344017_WMSo you are thinking about a retirement community…or in the proper parlance, an active adult community.  There are several questions you should consider and discuss with your partner.

You can do what is known as a “Ben Franklin”- take a sheet of paper, fold it in half lengthwise, and on one side write all the pros – reasons you want an active adult community- and on the half, list all the cons – reasons you may not want an active adult community.  Both parties should do the same, and the fun of the game is not to talk with each other about your lists.

Give yourself two weeks or so to do this.  As you go about your daily business, you will think of reasons for either column, then write them down.  At a previously agreed upon time, over coffee or wine, in a relaxed atmosphere, pull out your lists and discuss them.

You may want one thing and your partner another…this is a time to sit and discuss what is on the list and prioritize what you have created.  You will find that this exercise will help you both formulate what is important to you both, or what is important to one, but perhaps not another.  It will help you to understand what you features you can comprise.

Do you want a single family home?  And if so, what kind?  A regular Single Family home or a patio home?  Or do you want a town home or a condo.  In my last blog, I discussed the differences.

Are you looking for a community which provides a plethora of activities which are pretty much contained within the community?  Or do you want to participate in activities such as classes at Olli, classes and activities from Parks and Rec which run the gamut from learning how to play tennis to advanced pottery classes.  Or are you a volunteer type of person who would become a docent for the Symphony, for the Desert Museum.

This is your retirement and this is your opportunity to do what you have always wanted to do!  Unfortunately many people never think about this and just kind of stumble along in life.  Make this time for you, for you are the most important person in your world!  Do the hard work now so you can enjoy your time in retirement, wherever it is!

Condo? Town Home? What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

golfing-620x412The blue skies of Tucson and the inviting warm climate beckon, especially during drizzly, cold and bone chilling December through March weather.  Thoughts drift to a condo or a town-home in warmer and more hospitable climate, where golf can be played year round, hiking and birding are within a few miles of the city, and dining al fresco at one of the many establishments may become more than just a dream.

Tucson, Oro Valley and Green Valley have many condo and town home communities, many of which are limited to active adults with a minimum age limit of 50 or 55.  Condos and town homes are legally and statutorily different animals.

The Arizona State Statutes define condominiums in Title 33 which is the section governing property.  Chapter 9 concerns condominiums and Charter 16 governs town homes.

Condos do not have to be physically contiguous.  Some condo units are free standing, but the legal description is what separates a town home from a condo.  The owner of a condo owns the unit, but anything exterior to the unit is common property and is governed by the rules and regulations of the Association, unless that exterior element services only that unit.

A town home on the other hand, is a unit whereby the owner owns the land in the front and the back of the property and is responsible for that land.  It is not considered common property.  However a town home complex can have common property such as a recreation center, walking trails, or open space, just like a single family home subdivision.

These types of properties are governed by an Association which is comprised of the owners of the units, each having a specified vote according to the declarations of the community.  That Association is controlled by a Board of Directors which is elected by the property owners.

Rules and regulations of the Association must comply with state law, but dues structure, what the Association offers, and the types of maintenance such as roofing, landscaping, building painting, are determined by the Board of Directors and voted on by the members of the Association.

Often an Association will vote to outsource the day to day maintenance and collection of dues to a Management Company.  Many Homeowner Associations (HOA) pay a management company and this also includes single family home subdivisions as well as town home and condo complexes.

The rules and regulations of the Association are in the documents called the CC and R’s, Covenants, Codes and Restrictions.  Purchasers of properties which have CC and R’s should read the restrictions carefully.  Restrictions regarding the length of time children under a specified age can state are the property are important considerations for people in an active adult community who may want their grandchildren to visit, the policy on pets and weight of pets may be of concern, as well as information on how and when the Association can place a lien on property for non-payment of dues.

Your Realtor® should help you decide whether a condo or town home or single family home is best for you, and should guide you through the paperwork and CC and R’s to make sure the property you are purchasing suits your lifestyle and needs.

For help with purchasing a property in the Tucson area which includes Marana, Oro Valley, Tucson, Green Valley, and Sahuarita, contact Terry Bishop Broker Owner of Terry Bishop Realty, 1802 West Grant Road, Tucson Arizona 85745-1232 – cell:  520-349-4785, office:  520-232-3911.  


Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
stamp disclosure in red over white background

stamp disclosure in red over white background

Section 4 of the Purchase Contract entitled “Disclosures” is one of the most important segments of the contract and does the most to protect buyers from both seen and unseen problems with the property.
The Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, otherwise known as the SPDS, is the sellers testimony to what they know about the property and what has occurred on the property while they have owned it.
The buyer and the buyer’s agent should read the SPDS carefully because there may be tip offs to potential problems which may not be noticeable. The buyer can ask for further enumeration of any item on the SPDS and this is also a good tool to be used by the Home Inspector.
Items of material fact must be disclosed, such as a roof leak, the presence of polybutylene plumbing, structural problems, wood infestation, electrical or environmental problems, sewer and wastewater treatment problems, high noise area, flooding, water damage, or the manufacture of meth. The SPDS can be used in a court of law to illustrate that the seller was covering up a problem. Legally required disclosures are mandatory and non-disclosure is considered fraud.
The seller, when filling out the form, should not guess. If he/she does not know the answer to a specific question, he/she should say unknown. That will alert the buyer to do some further investigation for the answer to that particular question. The SPDS is an important document referenced in the Disclosure section.
Very often, agents will put the SPDS, the Lead Based Paint Disclosure, and the Insurance Claims History on the Multiple Listing Service so that any potential buyer considering that property has access to as much information as possible prior to making an offer.
The Insurance Claims History, also known as the CLUE report, provides insurance history for the property for the past five years or the length of time the seller has owned the property, whichever is less. The seller can ask the insurance company for “a letter of experience” which details any claims made. The buyer can determine what, if any, problems are with the property including burglary. The seller should be able to get this letter from the insurance agent free of charge.
Any property built before 1978 must have a lead based paint addendum initialed and signed by the seller, the buyer, the seller’s agent, and the buyer’s agent. This is federal law and the penalties for noncompliance are very stiff. The buyer may investigate for lead based paint at his/her own expense. Most properties built prior to 1978 may have lead based paint which has been covered by a non-lead based paint.
Young children in the tenements on the east coast often would “gum” the window sills while looking down at the street. The incidence of mental dysfunction was noticeable and the federal government determined that ingesting lead based paint caused mental retardation. FHA buyers must be given the lead based paint pamphlet, “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home”.
Property in Tucson is identified by metes and bounds and by plat. Identification by a plat would be a typical subdivision, Rainbow Sunset Subdivison Lot 33. Metes and bounds uses Township, Range and Section, such as PTN W240.33′ E374.04′ S1050.61′ SW4 NW4 4.13 AC SEC 27-11-9.
If the property is in an unincorporated area- that is out of the City of Tucson and in the county- and five or fewer parcels are being sold, the seller must complete and have notarized an Affidavit of Disclosure. The seller is attesting to the presence or non-presence of utilities, type of road, septic or sewer, legal and or physical access to the property and other pertinent information. This resulted from the state trying to curb wildcat subdivisions when people purchased homes and then realized there was no water or the piece of property was considerably smaller than they believed.
The Affidavit of Disclosure must be signed by the buyer as well as the seller and it is recorded by the escrow officer with the paperwork transferring property from seller to buyer. The buyer may disapprove any of the items on the Affidavit within the inspection period or five days after receipt of the Affidavit.
There is an entire section on Due Diligence which I will discuss within the next two days and should be considered in conjunction with this section.
If there are any changes made to the SPDS during the period the property is in escrow, the seller has an obligation to notify all parties of the change. For instance, there is a hail storm and as a result there is roof damage. The buyer has five days after this notification to disapprove the contract and withdraw.
During the period of the escrow, the seller warrants that he/she will maintain and keep the property in good repair so that all mechanical systems are working at the close of escrow. The property is to be conveyed in the condition it was in when the buyer first made an accepted offer on the property. This includes all appliances, pool systems, special electrical systems, or other systems attached to the property. The seller will remove all personal property and debris from the property. I once wrote a contract which included “all dog feces to be removed from property and all holes filled.”
There are warranties which survive closing which include the fact the sell has notified the buyer of all latent defects which materially and or adversely impact the value of the property. Any payments in the previous 150 days to contractors regarding the property have been paid by the buyer, and that information concerning wastewater treatment is current and correct.
The buyer must warranty to the seller that anything which might impact his/her ability to purchase the property has been disclosed and that the buyer has done all inspections and accepts the property at the close of escrow. If the buyer is relying on verbal representations, they must be disclosed in writing.


Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

subterranean termite tube

It is imperative that the buyer performs “due diligence” on the property, especially if purchasing the property “AS IS”.
The inspection period is ten days from mutual acceptance of the contract. All days are included, that is calendar days, not working days or week days. Encourage your agent to schedule the home inspection as soon as possible in case other inspections may be needed.
The buyer can inspection for virtually anything at buyer’s expense: environmental, physical, specifics such as roof, HVAC, pest and in Tucson, termite, sewer or septic

connection, information about the neighborhood, CC and R’s, and or other pertinent information. During this period of time, the buyer should be making sure information is being given to the lender for loan approval if not otherwise obtained, that he/she can obtain insurance on the property, that health and safety codes have been met.
In Arizona, the seller’s agent does not have to disclose if the property is in the vicinity of a sex offender, if the property was the site of a felony, death, suicide, and/or murder. The buyer can investigate for these conditions if they are of material concern. In checking these items, the buyer should consult the Arizona Buyer Advisory which is a compilation of links where a buyer can obtain various information which may impact his/her desire to proceed with the property purchase.
The buyer’s responsibility is to provide the seller with copies of all reports obtained at no charge.
If square footage is important to the buyer, or size of rooms of significance for furniture placement, the buyer must complete these investigations during the ten day inspection period. Military people coming from Germany often have a shrunk and it is important to measure the wall space and the size of the shrunk since often, the room is not large enough.
Tucson has two types of homes, those that have termites and those which are going to get termites. Most of our termites are subterranean termites and the cost to treat is generally less than $500. Many lenders will not release loan documents (conditions to close) unless the termite treatment has been done. Generally VA and FHA loans will need termite treatment if called termites exist. Proof of treatment will be required.
The buyer’s agent should check to determine the property is not in a flood plain zone. Although Tucson is desert, there are plenty of areas which are deemed flood plain by the Army Corp of Engineers. These areas will require additional insurance, often costing the same or more than general hazard insurance.
If obtaining homeowner’s insurance is important, and it should be, this should be done during the inspection period. The lender may require insurance prior to sending loan documents for signature. The buyer should ask for quotes from the same company from which he/she purchases automobile insurance. The package of auto and home should be discounted somewhat. Purchasing insurance from the lender is often costly.
The buyer should know if the property is on sewer or septic. If septic, then the tank must be pumped and certified and documents filed with the Department of Environmental Quality. This is a cost to the seller but the buyer should know the location of the septic. Sometimes it cannot be determined if the property is on sewer in which case the buyer’s agent will have to order a dye test to confirm whether the property is on sewer.
Arizona is known for the numbers of child drownings and swimming pool barrier regulations are in effect in several towns. The buyer should receive a copy of the Arizona Department of Health Services approved private pool safety notice and know what barriers regulations exist.
The buyer must know and must initial a clause which specifies that the real estate agent and broker are simply that, real estate professionals. They are not licensed or qualified to conduct inspections and the buyer should contact professionals in the specific disciplines for professional information.
At the end of the inspection period – or the inspections – the buyer will sit down with the agent and write the Buyer’s Inspection Notice and Seller’s Response. In this, the buyer will indicate what situations are to be corrected by the buyer prior to close of escrow. The buyer will respond in writing within five days and indicate what he/she will or will not do. If the seller is unable or unwilling to do the repairs requested, the buyer may withdraw from the contract and have all earnest money returned.
If there are non-working warranted items, the buyer must let the seller know.
Home warranty plans are offered by several companies and cover basic problems. Additional coverage can be purchased for additional cost. Often the buyer will request a home warranty from the seller. The costs of these can run to $600 or more, so be aware of what you are purchasing or asking the seller to purchase.
The seller will make the home available prior to the close of escrow for a final walkthrough where the buyer checks the condition of the property and insures that all repairs have been done in a workmanship like manner. All utilities must be on and the expense is to the seller.

Buying Property in Tucson

Monday, October 26th, 2015

man-reading-a-contract-with-magnifying-glass-clipart The Arizona Department of Real Estate has made every effort to let consumers know their rights and responsibilities when purchasing a property. The buyer is entering into a legally binding agreement and can be held to that agreement in a court of law.

The buyer and seller must know what they are signing and should be working with an agent who takes the time to explain the entire contract and the ramifications of each section of the contract.

An agent who slides paperwork over to the buyer and/or seller and says “sign here” without an explanation may be binding those people to a legal contract which they do not understand. But then ignorance of the law is no excuse.

If you have a buyer’s agent, or a seller’s agent, their fiduciary responsibility is to you. It is far better for you to belabor the point until you understand the contract than to sign something which may cost you dearly in the end.

This series of blogs will explain the purchase contract in detail. I will break it down section by section. In the State of Arizona, which is not an attorney state, real estate agents are given the powers vested to attorneys in other states. Be sure you know your agent and if you desire to use an attorney, a good real estate agent should permit that.

Tell Me About Your Agent…

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Ask anyone to describe their image of a real estate agent and what do you hear?  I laugh when I hear big hair – the 1980’s; Cadillac, Realtor® car, Country Club lunches…because of course, the Realtor® belongs to a country club!  Oh and money… overflowing the pockets!

Real estate agents are not Realtors® but Realtors® are real estate agents.  Realtors® subscribe to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR Code of Ethics ) and real estate agents do not.  There is a higher standard of care for clients when using a Realtor®.  Make sure your agent subscribes to a local Board of Realtors® because it offers you, the consumer, a higher standard of care.

When buying or selling what is probably your greatest asset, be sure you are dealing with a reputable person.  Generally that person will be a Realtor®.  He/she can guide you through the morass of paperwork and explain all that you are signing and why.  If that person shoves paper at you and doesn’t explain what you are signing, then you should not sign!  Ask to see the Code of Ethics.

Advanced designations are one way to cull Realtors®.  Beyond the normal continuing education units your agent must attend, that person understands the importance of knowledge which he/she can impart to the client and use to represent the client in a more professional manner.

Usually these designations are classes the agent must pay for out of his/her own pocket, take time to attend, and usually pass a test at the completion.   If your agent has a group of alphabets after his name, those are the designations.  Some are more prestigious than others.  Ask what these letters mean.

As the market begins to heat up, more and more people will go into real estate.  There is a perception that real estate is an easy career and the agent can make a huge income and just look at houses all day with people.  This is a myth!  Ask any successful Realtor®, the reality is far different!

So ask too, how long have you been in the market?  Remember, you are the employer and the Realtor is your employee.®

Tucson Active Adult Community…Is That What You Really Want?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Tucson’s Active Adult Communities offer a plethora of activities. What activities do you, the active adult buyer, sincerely believe you will participate?
Are you planning on taking advantage of Tucson’s wonderful climate and surrounds? Would you rather snuggle on you patio with a cup of java and a great book? Perhaps you’re an artsy crafty person? Or are you longing to play golf and go out to eat at night? Planning on traveling to all the national parks in the Midwestern and Western states? Or taking classes to get another degree?
Think long and hard about what you want to do in retirement…and think too about your budget. We don’t like to admit it, but money governs much of what we do.
Active adult communities offer planned, structured programs with people from the same community participating. If you are an outdoors person, is it to your advantage and interests to join an “open” hiking club where people from throughout the city belong? What about arts and crafts? Would you consider joining Philabaum’s Glass Art classes in downtown Tucson, or classes at the Tucson Museum of Art, or the Sonora Desert Museum? Or perhaps you are a classic car enthusiast.
I knew a retired gentlemen, a Fortune 500 Executive, who enrolled in the University of Arizona for a degree in fine arts and graduated at the age of 76. He fulfilled a lifelong dream. Think about what you would really like to do in retirement. This is much like making New Year’s Resolutions, I’m going to do x, y, and z. But are you really going to do those things, or are those the things you think you should do in retirement?
The Homeowner’s Fees in retirement communities are expensive. In some communities there is a substantial fee which is paid when you purchase the house and the funds go to the capital reserves. There are monthly fees after that ranging from a nominal fee of $20 a month to more than $400 a month.
You want to consider that for every $5.00 you spend in HOA fees, you could purchase another $1,000 in a home. A $400 fee would get you an additional $80,000 in house. HOA fees do not appreciate like a home, and often they go up with inflation.
The purpose of these exercises I’ve discussed during the past few days is to get you to really think about what you want so that your Realtor® can help you get the most bank for your buck. It is pointless to pay for things you may never use, and there may be other options which suit your needs and wants more than an active adult community.
You are making an entire lifestyle change and you are committing a substantial amount of money to make this change. You will want to make sure you are doing what you really want to do, not what your friends, family, and neighbors think you should do!

Tucson Real Estate Market Ripe for Purchasing

Monday, November 24th, 2014

After years of downturn, Tucson is beginning to come out of the morass which was the real estate market. 2015 is projected to be a year when the market should appreciate at a normal rate. Most of the foreclosures and short sales will have been sold or auctioned off.

But, we still are influenced by those buyers from other parts of the country who live in judicial foreclosure states. They are about three years behind Arizona and distressed inventory is weighing down their markets.

Potential buyers from those states who are considering a move to Tucson may be hemmed in by lower prices just as we were three years ago and therefore be unable to purchase now.

The average price of a home in Tucson went from $202,342 in December 2013 to $210,454 in October this year.

The median price rose a bit more than 4% from $159,900 to $166,500. Sales statistics are a lagging indicator since they are one month in arrears. The numbers for December 2013 reflect what transpired in November since closing takes approximately 30 days. Seasonal adjustments must also be considered, the normal drop off in sales during the winter holidays when people are celebrating and not thinking about selling their home.

Banks are talking about raising rates and if that happens, buyers may come out of the woodwork to take advantage of their ability to buy more home for the same amount of money. Housing prices have not escalated considerably and the market generally has been quiet.

If you are thinking about purchasing a new home, this is the time. Builders have inventory on hand and especially with spec homes, buyers can take advantage of incentives which include lower interest rates for the loan life. Call me and we can discuss what is out there and where it is located in proximity to your lifestyle. And take advantage of 2014 fiscal year tax deductions.


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Tucson real estate March sales picked up smartly from February and increase nearly 20% in sales volume although the average sales price decreased more than 10% from the February price of $182,388.  The average list price of properties in Tucson is $173,590, and the average sales price is $163,590. The last time the average sales price hovered near $163,590 was September 2002 ($163,591).

Nearly 33% more homes were sold in March than in February, jumping from 879 to 1,169.

Out of 1,169 properties sold, 37.4% were purchased with cash (437) and another 29% (329) purchased with a conventional loan.  This may indicate investors are swarming Tucson looking for the best buys.

A total of 56.9% of the homes sold (665) were priced at $139,999 or lower, and the median price of all homes sold was $125,000.  (The median price in October 2001 was $125,000). These homes are located in the northwest  (280 units), the central area (122) and the southeast (129).  The average sales price to list price was 94.46% of the last listing price.

Tucson has a high end market with a total of 210 properties $1,000,000 or more for sale, 180 properties between $750,000 and $999,999, and 482 homes in the $500,000 to $749,999 price bracket.  Many of these properties sold for considerably more during the mid 2000’s.

At the end of March, 2,152 homes were under contract and this number should be reflective in higher numbers for April closings.

Looking at the zip codes, the story of foreclosures and short sales rings through the numbers since the greater percentage of homes  sold during March are in areas such as Sahuarita, Green Valley, Midvale, Rita Ranch, Starr Valley and Rancho Del Lago.

These are areas which experienced rapid growth during the first decade of the 21st century and where builders offered come on pricing of zero down with a fixed and adjustable rate mortgage.   These second mortgages are coming due and the real estate market is seeing these homes selling for far less than what is owed.


For a detailed report: