Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tucson Golf Course Community…

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Tucson retirement is coming into focus,’ you sat down and discussed what you like and what you don’t like. You’ve decided on a price point, and you’ve come to the conclusion, you want a Tucson golf course community.

My question now is “WHY?”.

Do you play golf? Do you like golf? Or do you like the green expanse of the golf course and the idea of a golf community and the country club atmosphere? Do you both play golf, or are you intending to learn?

I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m trying to drill down and find out your motivations so I can find you the correct Tucson golf course community.

So the first question is – do you want a golf course community or an active adult golf course community? There is a difference and that is the ages of the inhabitants.

My second question is, do you like to play golf on the same course or do you like to play on various courses?

And do you want to grab your clubs and walk to the course or be there to tee off within five or ten minutes?

There are many active adult communities which do not have golf courses, but there are groups of people  within those communities who play at various courses throughout the area.  Tucson has several city owned golf courses; there are municipally owned courses in Green Valley and in Oro Valley.   And there area a plethora of privately owned golf facilities.

If you like playing on various courses, you may consider purchasing a home where there are other amenities which you enjoy.  Living in a golf course community may not be the answer to what you want in retirement.

But on the other hand, if you like the camaraderie and the advantages of living in a golf course community where belonging to the “club” is important, then a golf course community may be your ticket.

When looking at such communities, be sure to check the prices of belonging to the “club”, the amount of money you are expected to spend on food and beverages, the amount to rent the golf cart, and greens fees.  Prices vary.

I belabor these points because this is your retirement home, this is what you’ve worked for all your life, and I want you to think about these questions because your own answers may surprise you!



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!


Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

canstockphoto12656041Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude. I am a very fortunate woman to have so many people surrounding me who are a source of inspiration, support, and help. They all exhibit honesty and subscribe to ethical behavior which is the cornerstone of my business.
These are people to whom I go to when I need information and they are people who help make a real estate transaction smooth and seamless.
My first shout out is to my able assistant, Andrew, who is so anal, the very antithesis of what I am, scattered and disorganized- he keeps me on task and isn’t afraid to call out those things which I need to do which somehow get lost in the shuffle, intentional or not!
No transaction can begin to get off the ground without the lender, so to Courtney Walker and her crew at Cornerstone, thank you. I appreciate all you do and the speed in which you can turn a loan into a home for a client! The shorter the period of time, the happier everyone seems to be.
For transactions for which I have control – my “go to” gal is Tina Banks at Fidelity National Title. Fidelity charges less for title and escrow services than other companies here in town so are a better “deal” for buyers and sellers, and Tina knows the business inside and out. She’s an expert at explaining and her patience is admirable!
To Zack Collins at Fidelity – how could I even begin without you? You provide me with the resources I need to start a transaction – the very information about the property itself. And you are so willing to look up weird things that I ask.
And to Kimberly Keegan at Fidelity- thank you for your knowledge, time, and effort not just to me, but to the entire Tucson Realtor community in promoting things like the TAR Home Tour.
Chris Webb, with an apt last name, Webb, the face of internet marketing, my go to for all things computer, a source of marketing ideas who shares his time willingly and a marketing guru for Cornerstone Lending, thank you. I’m implementing much of what you suggest.
How can we complete a transaction without my inspector who knows building – with experience as a contractor in two states, building inspector for the Town of Marana, and home inspector for umpteen years- Paul Juarez- Inspect One, thank you. You are thorough, explain to buyers and sellers any problems, how they should be fixed if necessary and you are not afraid to “kill a deal” if that is in the best interest of the client. I appreciate your honesty.   And because there are two types of homes in Tucson, those which have termites, and those which will get termites, thank you to Tucson Exterminating for all the homes they check for me, and for their good pricing and honesty.
This is my “immediate” team. And two more, Garrett Flores, who fixes my computers and keeps me up to date and doesn’t let me have down time when the computers are temperamental…and to Troy Ruboyianes and his team, especially Melissa, you keep me on track financially and when I look at the numbers, I learn so much, sometimes not what I want to know! A CPA on board is essential!
Thank you all – you help to make me successful and you contribute to smooth transactions for both buyers and sellers…and to all the agents on the other end of the transaction, we all know, we need you too!
Thank you!

Why Have Title Insurance?

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

red-flags-collection_23-2147512332Why have a title search? Truthfully you may be purchasing a piece of property which actually may not be yours. Liens follow the property, not the people.
Suppose I sell you a piece of property at a rock bottom price, offer to finance it for you, tell you I will do everything, and all you have to do is give me earnest money of $20,000. It’s such a bargain you hop right on, so you give me good funds for $20,000. We sign the paperwork and alas, the property is now yours. I file all the paperwork and you think I am absolutely wonderful….Until you realize when you purchased that property from me, you also purchased all the liens; they are now your responsibility.
They can be mechanic’s liens for work completed but not paid; medical liens from doctors and hospitals, judgment liens handed down by a court for accidents or other legal entanglements, back child support, internal revenue service liens, HOA liens for back dues–liens for just about anything—you have just purchased all of them and they could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That’s just one of the reasons you need a title report. Maybe this is a second marriage and the property was purchased during the first marriage and there are children by that marriage. These children may have claim to the property when that spouse is deceased, and the living spouse actually has nothing.
Perhaps one spouse has died and the surviving spouse has not probated the estate. This happens frequently and the property is in the name of both spouses. A dead person cannot have claim to a property, it must be dispersed as the will deems or intestate (by the state). This must be completed before any transfer of property so that the legal owners can be found and possibly agree to the transfer.
Very often it is an investigative mission to find surviving heirs. I had a situation where the woman who was in a second marriage, wanted to sell her property. She had children by her first marriage and her first husband had died. The wife never took care of the first husband’s estate. He wanted his children to receive his portion of the property.
Immediately that means the wife receives only half of the value of the property, not the full value she anticipated. There were five children, spread all over the country. One of the children had died so his heirs were in line to inherit one fifth of one half of the proceeds of the property. We couldn’t find him and this was going to tie up the conveyance of the property. Finally we located him, and then we were able to put the property on the market. Had we a contract waiting, we probably would have lost the deal.
Good agents always check title prior to putting property on the market. Usually there is no problem, but sometimes a real estate/estate attorney needs to be called to unravel the title in a legal manner. Title insurance insures that good title is being passed to the buyer. Always read the preliminary title report and immediately take care of any red flags.

Weekend Wanderings in Tucson…

Friday, November 20th, 2015

bicycle-20clip-20art-1197114401399640364Steren_bike_rider.svg.med7 am Saturday morning the shotgun start of El Tour de Tucson starts the beginning of the 104 mile race. The sun will be climbing over the Rincon Mountains to the east and those fit souls, having had nourishment to get them off to a good start, will be pedaling the first stretch of the annual bicycling race.
The temps will be in the high 40’s, low 50’s during the first start of the morning. Those athletes crouched on their bikes in a position, trying to avoid drag force, otherwise known as wind resistance, should not be riding into wind bursts. In other years, competitors have faced rain, snow, and both cold and hot temperatures but the weatherman promises the Saturday ride should be pleasant.
Always the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Greater Arizona Biking Association brings together more than 9,000 contestant for various rides around Tucson. The longest race, 104 miles skirts the city and wends its way along winding and rolling hills. There is also a 75 mile race, a 55 mile race and a 40 mile race for those less robust, but wanting to participate. Fun rides for families and children of 11 miles and 5 miles are available.
The day culminates in El Tour Fiesta, an event downtown at the finish line, where awards will be presented with music, food, and the excitement of the race finish.
If shopping for arts and crafts is more your vein, then visit the Tucson Museum of Art annual art and craft show. This juried show on the grounds of the Museum, brings together more than 100 artisans and is a perfect time for gift shopping. The beauty of the hand crafted items is astonishing. Find unique pottery, interesting jewelry sure to draw comments, different crafts worthy of positive comment, and of course paintings.
It also marks the opening of El Nacimiento, the intricate hand made representation of the nativity scene, a true work of both love and art. It is housed at La Casa Cordova in the Historic Block, a home believed to date back to pre-Gadsden purchase. It is on display from November to March. Stop in at Café A La C’art for a bite to eat or purchase from vendors at the artisan fair.
It’s perfect weather for a hike in one of the trails in our mountain ranges, or just a meandering walk downtown to see what’s new. If you’re tired, take the trolley. And of course at night, the music scene comes alive. Sunday at 4 the Sunday Jazz Jam, open to the public and free, is in full swing at Lowe’s Ventana Canyon sponsored by the Tucson Jazz Society.
Always something to do in Tucson, just open your eyes and see!

Taking Title in Arizona…

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

2926345The manner in which a buyer takes title to a property in Arizona has legal and tax consequences.
Arizona is a community property state.  Neither the real estate agent nor the escrow officer can give legal advice on how to take title. However general guidelines have been published and are reproduced here.  These are definitions provided by Fidelity National Title Agency, Inc.  Thank you.


COMMUNITY PROPERTY WITH RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP:  Community property with right of suvivorship is a method of ownership by husband and wife that vests title in the surviving spouse upon the death of one of the spouses.

COMMUNITY PROPERTY: Arizona is a community property state.  There is a statuary presumption that all property acquired by husband and wife is community property.  Community property is a method of co-ownership for married persons only.  Upon death of one of the spouses, the deceased spouse’s interest will pass by either a will or interstate succession.

SOLE AND SEPARATE:  Real Property owned by a spouse before marriage or any acquired after marriage by gift, devise, descent, or specific intent.  If a married person acquires title as sole and separate property, the spouse must execute either a disclaimer deed or quit claim deed.

JOINT TENANCY WITH RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP:  An undivided interest in property taken by two or more joint tenants.  The interest must be equal; occurring under the same conveyance, and beginning at the same time.  Upon death of a joint tenant, the interest passes to the surviving joint tenant or tenants, rather than to the heirs of the deceased.  If a married couple acquires title as joint tenants with right of suvivorship, they must specifically accept the joint tenancy to avoid the presumption of community property.

TENANCY IN COMMON: A method of co-ownership where parties do not have survivorship rights and each owns a specific undivided interest in the entire title.

CORPORATION: Any group of people “incorporating” by following certain statutory procedures many take title to real property in the name of the corporation.

GENERAL PARTNERSHIP: Title may be taken in the name of a general partnership duly formed under the laws of the state of the formation of the partnership.  A partnership is defined as a voluntary association of two or more persons as co-owners in a business for profit.

LIMITED PARTNERSHIP:  A partnership formed by two or more persons under the laws of Arizona or another state and having one or more general partners and one or more limited partners.  A certificate of limited partnership must be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, a certified copy of which must be recorded.





What is the Loan Status Update? LSU?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

stock-photo-young-couple-meeting-financial-advisor-for-investment-254297140The Lender must issue Loan Status Updates, otherwise known as LSUs, when requested by either the seller’s agent or the buyer’s agent. The first page of the LSU is similar to the Pre-Qualification form but is issued after mutual acceptance of the contract.
The close of escrow date is specified, the name of the buyer, the name of the seller and property address as well as Assessor’s number, and the city.
It is page two however, which tracks the progress of the loan from the reception of the contract and all addenda from the buyer’s agent. Understanding these items which the lender must fill out with the date completed and his/her initials, marking each box a yes or a no, is a journey through the loan process.
Once again, the lender must assure that he/she has the buyer’s name, income, social security number and the address of the property, as well as the estimate of value of the property and the amount of loan requested. The lender verifies that the loan estimate has been sent and the buyer indicates his/her intent to proceed with the loan.
The lender receives a signed Form 1003 ( which is the loan application form as well as all of the lender disclosures.
CFPB regulations now have the appraisal being ordered almost immediately and usually prior to the home inspection. In the “olden days”, pre CFPB, the home inspection was done first and then the go ahead given to the lender to order the appraisal. Buyer’s agents should now order the home inspection upon mutual acceptance of the contract as soon as possible.
Down payment sources are identified and the lender must review the Title Commitment to make sure there is no clouded title on the property, then the lender can lock the loan program, interest rates, points, and specify when the lock expires. Once the lock expires, that interest rate is no longer guaranteed and the buyer may have to pay a higher rate which potentially could prohibit him/her from purchasing the property since the total loan amount would exceed the amount of pre-qualification.
The appraisal is received and the property must appraise for the loan amount requested. We will talk about low appraisals in another blog tomorrow. If the appraiser has requested any repairs, the list must be provided to the buyer and the buyer and buyer’s agent must acknowledge receipt. These repairs must be completed and the appraiser must go out again and ascertain that the repairs have been done as a condition before the lender can issue documents for signing. The second trip is an additional expense to the buyer. These repairs are called PTD, prior to documents conditions.

The lender package goes to the Underwriter, the silent but powerful person in the back office. It is the underwriter who makes sure the conditions of the loan have been met and issues the final decree that the buyer has loan approval without PTD conditions.
The lender now orders closing documents and completes the closing statement, formerly a task done by the closing agent. This was called the HUD-1 and is now called the Closing Disclosure Statement. The lender reviews all, making sure all prior to funding conditions have been met and then orders funds to be sent to the escrow company. The buyer and seller sign the loan documents and another property has transferred ownership.

To see the new documents, check this website:



What does the Lender need?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

loanapprovalWith the October 3 implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulations governing mortgages and lending, additional requirements fall upon the lender. Serious buyer generally are pre-approved before they look at property. Most professional agents will insure their buyer has met with a lender so the buyer will not be disappointed down the line if he/she cannot qualify for the house wanted.
The Arizona Association of Realtors® Pre-Qualification Form has basic information required by the lender. This includes whether the buyer has consulted with a lender and if not, the buyer must declare  he has not consulted with a lender yet by checking the appropriate box.   If this is the case, chances are the seller will not take any offer submitted by the buyer very seriously, or will require that the buyer talk with a lender before considering the offer.
The lender declares his company,his/her name plus the Arizona License and NMLS number,along with the address, e mail, phone and fax numbers, signature and  date. The buyer must also sign and date the Pre-Qualification form and the buyer’s  legal name must appear in the first lines of the Pre-Qual form.
The lender must indicate the buyer marital position; married, unmarried, or legally separated and note whether the buyer is relying upon the sale or lease of a property in order to qualify for the loan,  and/or  whether the buyer is relying upon seller concessions to close the loan.
The type of loan and whether it is a loan a primary or secondary residence, or a non-owner occupied residence such as a rental is necessary plus the type of property; Single Family Residence, Condo, Townhome, Manufactured Home, or Mobile Home.
The lender must provide any FHA loan buyer with the pamphlet, “For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection” as well as discussing assets, liabilities, and income, then obtaine a Tri-Merged Residential Credit Report.
After these discussions, the lender will calculate how much loan the buyer can pre-qualify, and make an assumption of the monthly principal and interest plus mortgage insurance, property taxes, insurance, HOA due, and flood insurance.  The lender will stipulate that the monthly loan amount not exceed x dollars with an interest rate not to exceed a specified percentage and must indicate whethert the interest rate is fixed, adjustable, and if there is a pre-payment penalty.
The buyer will have to provide specific documentation and the lender will check off if this documentation has been received. Buyers should bring to the lender, the last two paystubs, W-2 forms, tax returns for the past two years, corporate tax returns if applicable, documentation of the down payment and any reserves required, documentation for all sources of gift funds, documentation of credit and liability, and any other paperwork the lender may require.
Once this is done, the lender will provide a loan status update to the Seller and the brokers within ten days of mutual acceptance of the contract.

Act Now to Buy Before 2016!

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Fotosearch_k5087602Time keeps on slipping into the future…and it’s hard to believe there are less than eight weeks left until we greet 2016 and say goodbye to 2015!
Anyone wishing to purchase a home with a loan during 2016 had better get on the stick and make an offer this week. With the requirements set forth by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, many lenders are requesting 45 days from start to finish for a loan. FHA and VA loans will definitely take that amount of time and 45 days takes us to December 24 if that offer and loan is applied for today. And then we run into the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.
Buyers and sellers need to think about time frames. 45 days takes us into a month and a half. Some lenders can still do a loan in 30 days but the buyer needs to have his ducks in order and should obtain a list of everything the lender needs and get those documents to the lender as soon as possible. Ask your agent if he/she has a lender who can process and fund the loan in 30 days, some can, my lender can, but they require cooperation from the buyer.
We are on the Fed merry go round again, will they or won’t they raise rates? Fed action has an impact on home sales. With the increase in jobs reported last week, a lot of money in the know is betting the Fed will raise rates. Janet Yellen has hinted as much. For every percentage increase in interest, the buyer can purchase less house because more money is going to interest.
This does not just impact the buyers. Sellers too are affected. If a buyer has to pay more in interest, that leaves less money to pay for the house-i.e. net to seller. If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, this may well be the time to act. Time keeps on slipping into the future…

Weekend Wanderings… All Souls Procession…

Friday, November 6th, 2015

asp-2014-03All Souls Procession, totally unique to Tucson, will bring celebrants from all over remembering their loved ones in art, music, food, and a procession. Emanating from El Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a day of to commemorate those in our lives who have died, the All Souls Procession has grown to a full weekend event which ends with the burning of the urn filled with thoughts and messages to those who are departed.
Participants dress or wear clothing reminding them of the departed, either human or animal, and many carry photographs. The art work which people construct is amazing, with huge paper mache heads or intricate clothing. Workshops to create these masterpieces are held throughout the year.
Skull heads are artfully painted on the faces of participants and skilled stilt walkers proceed in the procession along the city streets as skeletons.
The air is electric with anticipation by observers, many of whom are also dressed commemorating the deceased, craning their necks to see the beginning of the procession. The drum beats echo through the dark night downtown area heralding the beginning of the procession. It is both exciting and solemn, and everyone carries his own personal meaning of this night remembering both good and bad of those who have died.
The weekend culminates in the Procession. Participants should arrive at 4 for the 6:30 start time for the procession. It will end at Mercado San Augustin just west of I-10 and Congress where the urn will be burned and Flam Chen will perform.
As the procession passes, observers can join the procession walking to the finale. This is a photographer’s paradise with varied emotions, colors, expressions. The link below gives detailed information as well as a video and photographs of this expressly unique Tucson event.