Posts Tagged ‘Relocation to Tucson’

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.  

Sun Warmth and Happiness!

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Wafting through the air is the fragrant smell of turkey soup, simmering on the stove. The heat is cranked to take the chill off the house, and outside lies the beauty of the first snow…diamonds laden on the trees, undisturbed. The snow plows have not yet rumbled through the neighborhood, turning the pristine precipitation to an unappealing brown mess.  I am too old for this cold, this icy season where temps go to zero, when the wind blusters through the trees, and a foot of snow needs to be shoveled from the driveway.

Escape!  Escape to Tucson is the answer!  I will join the hundreds of winter visitors escaping from the northern climes to sun, temps in the 60’s and 70’s, to being able to take a walk outside without slipping and sliding on ice covered pathways.

Tucson is a haven for those who want to escape to a warm, dry climate.  Those arthritis sufferers suddenly find relief from the pain in the dry climate, and some come on the recommendation of their physician. Others swell the Tucson population because they want to golf and enjoy the myriad of outside activities, not spending  winter cooped up inside their northern abode.

Winter rentals are abundant, and Thanksgiving marks the influx of “winter visitors”, affectionately called “snowbirds”.  The majority however arrive after the Christmas holiday.  Many have purchased winter homes, often in active adult communities where activities range the gamut from book clubs to pool tournaments, from cooking classes to exercise classes.  Golf, pickle ball, and swimming is a draw for many of these communities, as well as restaurants on premises, community dinners, and group outings to various places in Arizona.

The cultural scene in Tucson is also a draw, the city is the home of the University of Arizona, and those who desire ongoing education can attend to Olli ( ).  Broadway comes to Tucson at the many theaters, both large, and small and intimate, and the music scene encompasses all genres.

Tucson has several art museums as well as the Center for Creative Arts at the University of Arizona, home to the Ansel Adams collection. And Tucson is a gastronomical delight with the best Mexican food in the nation, as well as restaurants which represent all cultures:  Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, plus a myriad of excellent food trucks.

How can you not want to escape cold, grey, dreary weather and exchange it for warm, bright, sunshine and a city which will welcome you with open arms?







What’s the Difference? Title? Escrow?

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Arizona is not an attorney state and people purchasing property here who hail from the east coast are often baffled because the Realtor® does everything, there is no attorney involved. If the seller and/or buyer want legal representation, he/she can hire an attorney, but under Arizona statutes, the real estate agent has the power granted to attorneys in other states.

Arizona is often called a “title company” state. It is the title company which investigates the chain of title and provides “title insurance”. If the deed is faulty, it is the title company which must make restitution. In attorney states, it is the attorney who researches the chain of title and does the “closing” which would be the function of escrow companies here in Arizona.
We have talked about preparing the offer for the buyer, how it is going to be financed, when we are going to close escrow, and the appraisal contingency. When the seller’s agent receives an executable contract, that agent “opens escrow”. Evidence of earnest money is taken to the escrow company and “escrow is opened”.  A receipt for the earnest money is given to the agent who then should give a copy to the buyer and seller.  The escrow company begins the process of checking the documentation and orders title documents from the title company.
In Arizona, escrow company and title company are often used interchangeably. However, they can be different companies. Many of the large real estate companies have relationships with title companies and escrow companies; the information on the contract will read abc title company/xyz agency.  Sometimes this is more expensive for the buyer and seller.
The buyer must determine how to take title to the property.  There are several methods in Arizona in which to take title with legal and taxable ramifications to each method. Legal and/or tax information cannot be dispensed by the agent or the title company but the agent or title company can give you an informational sheet on methods.
The commitment for title insurance will be delivered to the agent and to the buyer and these documents should be read by both the buyer and the buyer’s agent to insure there is no “clouded title”. Problems with title must be resolved prior to close of escrow. A common problem is a living person who is on title, and the co title holder is deceased.  The estate of the deceased must be reconciled prior to transfer of title and any and all taxes paid.
Before listing a property, a good agent will make sure there are no title problems and may ask for a certified death certificate as well as trust documents.   When an offer is being negotiated, the horrible title problems will not rear their ugly heads. Sometimes it takes months to clear a title since people must be tracked down and documents must be notarized.
Any exceptions to title insurance must be listed. Title insurance generally covers anything which can be determined from public records. Items not recorded in public records are usually not covered. Deed restrictions, easements, covenants, codes and restrictions should all be public records.

The escrow company must provide the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) information about the buyer and must provide the HOA a closing protection letter indemnifying the buyer and seller from any losses or fraudulent acts by the escrow company. The purchase contract is the instructions to the title and escrow companies.

The buyer has five days from receipt of these documents to review them and disapprove of any item.  A buyer who has three 150 pound dogs may want to withdraw from the contract since the HOA regulations permit only one dog weighing no more than 50 pounds.  More commonly, a person has an RV or a large truck and will not be permitted to park the vehicle on the property. If in an active adult community, often young children are prohibited for more than an overnight. Grandparents who find themselves caring for grandchildren may have to move from an active adult community or give up caring for their grandchildren.  CC and R’s impact the way you can live in your property.  Pay attention to them!

The date of close of escrow is the date of proration for taxes, insurances, HOA dues, or other fees. The buyer should make sure all utilities are turned on at the close of escrow so a reconnect fee will not be charged.
If there is a dispute between the buyer and seller regarding any earnest money deposited with the escrow company, the final arbiter is the escrow company. This may arise because one or the other party fails to fulfill the terms of the contract. Each agent may petition the escrow officer on behalf of his/her client, but there is a hold harmless clause indemnifying the escrow company.
The contract provides for assessment liens to be split between buyer and seller, paid in full by either the buyer or seller, but any lien filed after the close of escrow is the responsibility of the buyer.
FIRPTA, the Foreign Investors in Real Property Act, must be complied with at the close of escrow and it is the responsibility of the BUYER to withhold a tax equal to 10% of the purchase price if the seller is a Foreign Person or non resident alien who does not have a tax number.

Realtors® who sell to foreign persons have an ethical responsibility to explain FIRPA and the need to obtain a tax number to these buyers when selling a property in the United States. Trying to comply with the federal mandate when selling a home in order to close escrow is difficult at best.

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 Arizona, Active Adult Community Anyone?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Tucson has a range of active adult communities which run the price gamut from the $80,000 range to more than a million dollars and likewise span a distance from Catalina down to Green Valley and Tubac, a distance of about 60 miles; and from the foot of the Rincon Mountains in the east, to west of the Tucson Mountains approximately 40 miles.
In each area, the topography is different and although many people believe the desert southwest is flat and barren like the Sahara, nothing could be further from the truth. Topography and landscape may be a factor in deciding where to put down roots. And there is the question of how urban one wants to be. This harkens back to our discussion yesterday why making the list of what is important for you when retiring is crucial.
There are town home communities as well as mobile home communities, condo communities, manufactured home communities, and single family residence communities. Each type of community offers different living conditions and different ammenities. There are golf course communities and non golf course communities, newer homes and older homes. And all are governed by CC and R’s, Covenants, Codes and Restrictions.
The CC and R’s are legal documents which residents can be held to uphold. It is important that you read these for not only do they indicate how many pets you can have and how big, or what color you can paint your house, they often also govern the ages of children who can live in the community or purchase property in the community.
I know of communities where anyone younger than 55 cannot purchase a home, and proof of age is a requisite. A child younger than 55 cannot purchase a home for a parent even if the sole purpose is for the parent to live there. There are communities where rentals are not permitted. Someone who is 55 plus and desires to purchase a winter home which will be rented until retirement is prohibited from doing so by the CC and R’s. Such a covenant may impact on your financial planning.
If you are expecting children and grandchildren to visit for a month, know what the C C and R’s say. In some communities, children younger than 18 years cannot stay in the community for more than a few days. And certainly, if you ever anticipate that a grandchild will live with you on a permanent basis, definitely understand the provisions in the C C and R’s. There was a situation where a grandmother took in her grandchild and was forced to sell and move from the community. It didn’t matter that the grandmother became the legal guardian, the law upheld the C C and R’s.
Active Adult Communities bring together people of like mind, they offer camaradie, activities, and peacefulness to those who purchase there. As in any property purchase, it is important to know what you are buying and how you can use your property. Your Realtor is crucial in helping you wade through the do’s and don’ts of purchasing in an Active Adult Community.

Tucson Real Estate …2010!

Monday, January 4th, 2010

     Charles Dickens sums up my sentiments of this past decade, the start of the twenty first century succinctly in Chapter One of A Tale of Two Cities.

       “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”

   So it has been with the gyrations of the real estate market, especially here in Tucson where property values soared more than 45% in less than three years, where people could buy a $400,000 home with no money down.  The Light shone upon all…and then it came wickedly crashing down to the season of Darkness.

      But now, people are acclimating to what is occurring in this market. Sellers desiring to move on to other places know that the price they get for their home is not the price they would have commanded in 2006…but then what they are paying for their new accommodations is substantially less than 2006 pricing.  A degree of Realism has set in.

    Snowbirds, arriving daily to escape shoveling snow, scrapping sheets of ice from car windows, slip sliding on black ice, or desiring just to get away from bone chilling temperatures and get warm, have a plethora of homes from which to choose, in all price ranges, and substantially lower in price than last year.

    Communities throughout the county have homes which are in distress.  Potential buyers should look for a Realtor who is knowledgeable about short sale and foreclosure properties as well as an agent who understands resale and new home construction transactions.  Checking the credentials of potential agents and insuring that agent is a Realtor should be the first order of business.  A Realtor abides by the code of conduct and ethics set forth by the National Association of Realtors.  Not all real estate agents are Realtors.

Tomorrow:  Looking for a Tucson home

KUDOS to Tucson from AARP…

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

AARP has named Tucson the number one place to live for the “active adult” community, alias the “mature adult”  community.  Looking to a simple life, Tucson garnered top kudos over all other places in the nation.

And indeed, Tucson is a grand place to live.  I willingly traded months of  grey, drizzly weather…and shoveling snow for a couple of months of “dry heat”.   Early mornings are perfect for a meandering walk and after dusk lends itself to upbeat outdoor concerts.

Tucson has integrated culture which makes it a vibrant community, blending it’s history as a part of Sonora Mexico prior to the Gadsden Purchase, with that of Native American culture, and Chinese culture. The white man found Tucson  with the advent of the railroads and brought with them new ideas of architecture, lumber, and eastern accountrements.

Tucson is rimmed with mountain ranges; the Catalinas to the north-northeast, home of the nation’s southermost ski area; the Rincons to the east; the Santa Ritas to the south, and the newest mountain range, the Tucson Mountains, to the west.   The topography is different in all the areas, but all provide interesting and diverse hiking paths and birding areas, one of the criteria of the AARP study.

Combine that with exceptional cultural activities, it’s own Symphony, a myriad of live theaters, the Center for Creative Photography which houses the Ansel Adams collection, the Tucson Museum of Art, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, and excellent small galleries, Tucson is making it’s name in the art and music world.  With one of the best Jazz Societies in the United States, a vibrant Blue Grass Society, Chamber Orchestras, Pops In the Park, citizens can toe tap to any rhythmn.

As someone enthusiastically once said to me, “the healthiest I’ve ever been is when I lived in Tucson”.  There are various sports activities, Senior Olympics, city owned tennis courts, golf courses galore, an assortment of classes offered by Parks and Rec, and classes in all types of activities ranging from Pilates to Weight Training to Salsa dancing at Pima Community College. 

Combined with the bragging rights of 360 days of sun, Tucson offers its inhabitants low cost activities, the beauty of the desert, affordable housing in comfortable communities, local produce at Farmer’s Markets, a plethora of volunteer activities, and excceptional medical facilities.  (Scan previous blogs for information about the St. Philip’s Farmer’s Market, and a series about hospitals in the Tucson area.)

AARP really nailed it correctly!  Tucson is the place to live!


Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau:

Tucson Chamber of Commerce: