Newsletter September 2017

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Make Yourself at Home in Tucson

Hi, All! Please enjoy this edition of my newsletter. As always, I appreciate your support and feedback. Feel free to pass this along to someone you know who might be thinking about buying or selling a home. I am here to support you through any real estate transaction and answer your real estate questions. Call me!

If you were touched by the hurricanes of the past couple of weeks, I hope there was minimal upset. The fallout from the destruction will continue for some time and affect all of us in a multitude of ways, especially financially. For me the storms remind me to Keep it Simple, in terms of dreams for “more” and “better”. As the newscasters said repeatedly, “things are gone and can be replaced, but we have our lives.” It is certainly a time to think about what really matters, what we value, and how we approach life.

It’s been about four years since I planted a small fig tree in my backyard. Yesterday I had the pleasure of plucking many figs from its branches. If you like figs, they grow well here in southern Arizona, and they are easy to maintain. In the event you have, or will have a vacant yard with that new house you buy, consider planting a fig tree!

Speaking of new houses…

The September Housing Report is now available on my website. You can find out what is happening in your area of Tucson by clicking the geographic area. If you are interested in finding out how much your home might be worth in this current market, please contact me via phone or text or through my web site. If you’d like a peek at what is currently on the market, you can download the Long Realty App from my web site.

Trending in Tucson

  • Quiet restaurants – I don’t know if it is a trend, but I’d like for it to be one. Have you ever yearned to sit with your significant other or friend over a quiet meal and have a conversation where you don’t have to shout over the noise? Here is a link to a list of restaurants that are recommended for quiet meals, along with some tips for more enjoyment of those times.
  • New Home Construction – Construction of new homes continues in the Old Pueblo. If you are interested in buying a new home built “from scratch”, you can view what’s available here. And don’t forget to ask me to come along for your first visit to see some!
  • Still a Need for Affordable Homes – As home prices increase, affordable housing becomes more difficult to find. There are some programs available to low-to-middle income buyers you might want to be aware of. While the Mayor’s Home Expo event just passed, here is some information with links to programs available to buyers within the eligibility requirements.

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Long Realty Cares FoundationThe Long Realty Cares Foundation was established in 2002 to “give back” to the community. It has donated over $2.5 million to 180 different non-profit organizations in the communities where we live and work. Many sales associates voluntarily donate a portion of their commission from each real estate transaction. In addition to my personal contribution, when you complete a real estate transaction with me I will also contribute to Long Realty Cares Foundation in your name. See the currently scheduled Raffle Event here. Anyone can contribute!

Photo – Canyon de Chelly, October 2012

Make Yourself at Home in Tucson – May 2017

Here we are in May already, with celebrations galore! May 1 is “May Day” an ancient celebration to honor the goddess of flowers, Flora. Did you ever dance around the Maypole? In a few days is Cinco de Mayo, a favorite celebration of those with Mexican heritage, and close behind is the Kentucky Derby. Do you dress up and watch this race each year with a mint julep? Then there is Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. How will you celebrate this month?

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What I love is this time when all the trees and plants begin to leaf out and bloom. Here is a photo of the desert willow in my backyard. I planted it five years ago when it was just a “whip” about four feet high and a finger’s size in diameter. I enjoy watching the hummingbirds visit the lavender flowers all summer.

In case you would like to enhance your yard and provide some shade and a cooler place to sit outside, you can get your own trees from Tucson Clean and Beautiful. They offer a variety of indigenous trees that know how to grow in the desert, and at a reasonable cost. Many HomeOwner Associations require plants and trees that are indigenous to the area. These trees are the perfect choice. Check them out!

Word of the Month:  Listing – In the Real Estate world this word means that a property (building or land) has been placed on the real estate market for sale. This month I have two listings, one in Avra Valley with four bedrooms and three baths on one acre, and one in the Tres Pueblos neighborhood of Tucson, a townhouse with two bedrooms and two baths. If you or someone you know is looking for a home in either of these areas, please contact me.

News About Tucson and the Region:

  • If you live in the Rita Ranch or Vail areas, or if you would like to live here, visit this new park that is opening on May 3. This park provides a wonderful amenity to the residents of these communities.

Pima County Park

This Pima County park located on the southeast side of Tucson and named for a historic Southern Pacific Railroad stop opens on Wednesday, May 3. The 274-acre Esmond Station Regional Park will serve Vail and Rita Ranch area residents, offering a walking trail, five separate fitness stations with exercise equipment, and a ramada. For more information, visit the link.

  • A Reminder to Tucson residents and visitors:  Beginning May 1, 2017 it is against the law to use a hand-held device while driving. The Mayor and Tucson City Council voted in March to approve the ban. Violation of the new ordinance will be considered a secondary offense, meaning you must be pulled over for another reason before police can cite you. Texting while driving already is banned in the city, but the new rules expand that ban to phone calls and the use of other hand-held mobile communication and electronic devices. See this link for more information.
  • Historic Preservation Awards – Individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to historic preservation in Tucson and Pima County will be recognized at the annual Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony hosted by the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission (T-PCHC). The ceremony will be held Saturday, May 13, from 9:30 a.m.-noon at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 160 S. Scott Ave. The Commission’s purpose is to foster awareness and preservation of historic sites, structures, districts, and character in our community. The Mayor and Tucson City Council, City of South Tucson, and Pima County Board of Supervisors appoint its members.

I am here to walk you or anyone you may know through the real estate process, even if you just need a few questions answered. Please contact me or visit my website. Remember, I’m never too busy for your referrals and I’d love to hear from you.

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You can locate homes for sale, open houses, find commute times, and more from my Long Realty App. Visit http://longrealtyapp.com/suswanne from your mobile device. Updated every 15 minutes.

Make Yourself at Home in Tucson – February 2017

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This month is a month full of images of Love. From the phrase at the top of this post, to the care of a woman’s heart health, to the romantic aspects of Valentine’s Day, to the quotes of U.S Presidents and revered leaders, we give tribute to something we know deeply inside ourselves. We “cross our heart and hope to die” to say the truth, and we meditate at the hearth of our inner fire. Where we live, both inside ourselves, and within our community, our homes are truly where our hearts are.

Trending

  • Housing inventory is down both in Tucson and nationwide. In the Tucson main market the inventory is at 2.5 months, which means if no other homes come on the market, all the housing stock will be gone in 2.5 months.

If you have been considering selling your home, but you’ve been unsure, NOW IS a good time to sell. There are buyers out there, waiting for your home. It is currently a seller’s market for price points below 450K with most homes selling for near 100% listing price, or more.

For buyers who qualify, the lending rates are quite good, generally between 3 and 5 percent.

  • If you are a homeowner wanting to rent short-term, such as with Airbnb, any concerns about collecting sales taxes have been taken care of by the Arizona legislature. Now the rental companies will be collecting the sales taxes. There also is no limit to the number of properties a person can own and rent out as a vacation property. For owners who want to rent to the annual influx of snowbirds, that is good news.

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  • The Arizona Association of Realtors has published a revised Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract, effective February 1, 2017, along with ancillary documents pertinent to the Purchase Contract. One of the major changes to the Purchase Contract is the removal of Warranty Items. Now all residential properties will be sold “As Is”, which is in line with most of the other states in the U. S.

Word of the Month

Landscaping: The appearance of the plantings and upkeep of the yard areas around a house are important when considering whether to buy a property. How much work will the new property owner have in order to enjoy the environment? In many neighborhoods, these days Home Owner Associations (HOAs) require a fee to manage common areas, and they have rules about how a homeowner keeps appearances, in addition to the kinds of plants that are allowed. Keep this in mind when you consider the property you buy.

Things to Do

  • February is national Go Red for Women month, to raise awareness for heart health for women. National Wear Red Day was February 3rd this year. On February 9 WATCH the live Facebook presentation of Macy’s Red Dress Collection in support of women’s heart health through the American Heart Association (#RedDressCollection).

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  • The Tucson Gem Show continues through February 12. If you haven’t found your treasures yet, you have only a few more days!
  • Commemorative Air Force AirPower History Tour – February 23 – 26 at Executive Terminal, 7081 S. Plumer Avenue in Tucson. Open 9 am to 5 pm daily. Find more information at AirPowerTour.org/

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“Fifi” – B52

 

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  • And don’t forget about the annual Tucson Rodeo, “La Fiesta de Las Vaqueros” that runs from February 18 – 26. The historic Tucson Rodeo Parade is scheduled fro February 23 at 9:00 a.m.

Curb Appeal and First Impressions

 

curb appeal2I recently had the opportunity to tour listings of other Realtors to provide feedback for the sellers. I was given a sheet of items to give scores to, such as Location, Interior, Exterior, Price, etc. Two other items I found particularly important were Curb Appeal and Landscaping.

Curb Appeal is that quality that attracts you to a home. And a seller has only one chance to make a first impression. While exterior “freshening” and maintenance are important, the quality of the landscaping and plantings are also a part of that first look at a home. While it is not the most important, curb appeal is what draws you further to look at the interior.

If my first impression is an overgrown, or overplanted yard, or that there are dead plants that have been overlooked, I may wonder about the level of upkeep for the interior of the house I’m considering. A seller needs to make sure that the exterior has the same careful appearance as the interior of the home.

In one of the homes I visited there was a permanent window box where once-living plants had succumbed to the Tucson desert heat, and the rest of the planter was bare. A little attention to this would have made a better impression. Just removing the dead plants and covering the soil with mulch would have made a difference.

Another home I visited was in a historical area with large, older trees and shrubs, and a lawn. The seller had turned off the water/irrigation system, and because of the Tucson heat, the plants suffered drought and were dying. Now, an older tree needs to be removed from the landscape. Also the older foundation plantings, while well-trimmed, are turning unsightly brown and need to be removed. And there was a dead vine clinging to an exterior wall that now needs to be removed, and the surface cleaned.

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Purple Opuntia

There are circumstances that while the view from the curb is not too inviting, some buyers can see beyond the existing situation and create a vision for a dressed up facade and yard. And while some yards do need help, they may not be the detractor from a sale. It all depends on what a buyer is looking for. But for a seller, attention to detail is important in making that first impression.

If I am a potential buyer, do I want to spend money on planting new shrubs or replacing old, overgrown shrubs? Am I a gardener with enthusiasm to do my own landscaping and planting, and digging up old, tired plants? Or do I want to move in with the satisfaction that my yard is “set” for low maintenance?

In an environment like Tucson’s it’s important to plant drough-tolerant and low-maintenance plants. Creating a xeriscaped yard is beneficial to save water and yard upkeep. If you have a drip irrigation system it needs to be on, even when you’ve moved out and the house is vacant. Unless a homebuyer likes to do the landscaping, the plantings should be in good condition until the property sells. Keeping yards simple is key in the Tucson area, and the Southwest in general. Here is list of plants sutiable for xeriscape in the Tucson area and information about xeriscape in general.

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Water in center of Agave

First impressions do count when it comes to finding that home that feels just right. What draws you to a house you could make a home?