Make Yourself at Home in Tucson October 2016

September 22 marked the Autumn Equinox, and following close behind the weather has had a cooling trend. Soon we will be wearing sweaters and jackets, at least in the evenings. The days are getting shorter, reminding me that I must not wait to do things while I have daylight.

It’s also a great time for you to be thinking about buying a home, and making preparations, such as making sure finances are in order, finding a lender and qualifying for a loan. It could take a few months before you are “ready”, and Spring is another great time to be looking for that perfect home.

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Real Estate Trends

  • From Long Realty September 2016 Housing Report – In the Tucson Main Market area, August 2016 active inventory was 3,902, a 19% decrease from August 2015. There were 1,391 closings in August 2016, an 11% increase from August 2015. Year-to-date 2016 there were 11,379 closings, a 9% increase from year-to-date 2015. Months of Inventory was 2.8, down from 3.8 in August 2015. Median price of sold homes was $185,000 for the month of August 2016, up 6% from August 2015. The Tucson Main Market area had1,633 new properties under contract in August 2016, up 11% from August 2015.
  • In most parts of the U.S., prices are still regaining ground lost in the bust; they remain nearly 19% below their peak, on average. Read more here.
  • Tucson.com reports that ,”Fueled by better-than-expected job growth, falling foreclosures and rising new-home sales, the first half of 2016 produced a long-unseen stability in the local housing market.”

The Word of the MonthEscrow

When a buyer submits a contract proposal to a seller, the deal is ‘sealed’ with something of value, usually a check known as “earnest” money. When the parties are in agreement there is actually a contract, so the contract with the earnest money is delivered to an escrow company. From that point on, all changes and communication among all the parties (agents, lenders, appraisers, buyer and seller, etc.) are filtered through the escrow company. The primary purpose of an escrow for a real estate title transfer or closing settlement is to have a trusted, neutral stakeholder hold the seller’s deed to the property, which will be delivered to the buyer upon payment of the sales price and fulfillment of other sale conditions, known as “closing”.

Another meaning of escrow refers to an escrow account, which is used by mortgage lenders. Escrow accounts hold money for property taxes and homeowners insurance, which the lender pays on your behalf. The taxes and insurance premiums need to be paid on time to avert a tax lien or foreclosure and to ensure a policy is in place to pay for damages to your home. Paying into an escrow account ensures the lender these bills will be current. Certain lenders require their borrowers to maintain an escrow account, especially if they have less than 20 percent for a down payment.  Source:

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Chili Update – Our final chili cook off for the season, before the Annual CASI Cook Off in Terlingua, TX, was held on Saturday, September 25. We made it into the top ten cooks, and took first place in “Show”. That gave us enough points to enter the CASI event in Terlingua and we hope to attend the  50th Annual Championship in Terlingua on the first Saturday in November.

Tucson Events

  • Tucson Modernism Week begins September 30 and runs until October 8. If you love Mid-Century Modern Architecture and the work of Tom Gist, you are going love the 2016 Tucson Modern Week Home Tour. This tour is rare opportunity to visit some of our regions best modernist gems. Tickets for this and other modernism week events are available at tucsonmod.com. Get your tickets before they sell out.
  • Tucson Meet Yourself dates are October 7, 8, and 9. This “folklife” festival focuses on presenting artists and communities that carry on living traditions rooted in a group’s own definition of identity, artistry, and cultural significance. Come downtown to enjoy Tucson’s diversity.
  • Valley of the Moon – During the month of October Valley of the Moon will present The Case of Sleepy Hollow, to get in the mood for Halloween. The Case of Sleepy Hollow is a 45 minute walking adventure through Valley of the Moon where you become part of the story! Visiting Valley of the Moon in October is a Tucson Tradition!
  • Pumpkin Festival – The first time I came to Tucson I visited Buckelew Farm and got my first Tucson pumpkin. The pumpkins are ready to be selected, so go visit the Pumpkin Patch and get your Jack-O-Lantern ready!

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And if you like the scary stuff, visit the “Terror in the Corn” corn maze at Buckelew Farm, beginning September 30 and running through the month of October. Watch out for the zombies!

  • Cyclovia Tucson – Sunday, October 30, 10-3 – Ride your bike or trike on the new route through the city – from Tucson Botanical Gardens to Miramonte.  A great way to see  Tucson with your family.

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Chickens or Eggs?

chickens-874512_1920Have you thought about keeping chickens in your backyard? In response to the recession this country is still recovering from, many families have considered having chickens to help with their food supply and family economics. And some families want a lifestyle that allows them to grow their own food and be self-sufficient.

If you are interested in having chickens, and you are considering buying a home, there are some questions you might want to ask yourself. First is whether your municipality allows you to have chickens on your property. Then, you need to be certain as to why you want to have chickens. How many will you need to produce the egg supply you want for your family? Can your yard accommodate the number of chickens required? And where will they live – what size coop; should you buy or build one? If you have a Homeowners Association (HOA), is keeping chickens allowed?

In the July/August issue of Edible Baja Arizona, the “Voices” section asked “Why Do You Keep Chickens?” The answers varied, from children being involved in urban agriculture, to having them as pets, to chickens as fun and entertainment, as “therapy’”chickens, and the basic answer, for eggs, a great form of low-cost protein.

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Other questions might include whether you want fertilized eggs or chicks to raise, which require a rooster – will your neighbors complain of the noise? (In Tucson, roosters are not allowed.) Being a good neighbor is important in maintaining a quality neighborhood. So it would be important when looking for a home that you consider neighborhoods that might be “user friendly” to your interest in keeping those chickens. Do you want to live in the suburbs, city, or rural areas?

There are also costs involved. Even if keeping chickens is not terribly expensive, there is the cost for the coop, protections against other animals that might want a chicken for lunch (i.e., fencing), food for the chickens and clean up costs.

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In December 2015 the Tucson city council approved keeping chickens on urban properties. This approval will be reviewed in two years. Hopefully those chicken keepers have had a good reputation for the care and keeping of their chickens.If you already have chickens, and you find you need to sell your home, you will need to consider how to make your home attractive to buyers. Unless a buyer wants to keep chickens some accommodation will definitely need to be made to attract the right buyer.

You can find more information about keeping chickens at these links:

Tucson Arizona Chicken Ordinance:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/tucson-arizona-chicken-ordinance

Chicken Coop Plans:  http://morningchores.com/chicken-coop-plans/

Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Chickens:  https://poultrykeeper.com/general-chickens/beginners-guide-to-keeping-chickens/