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Get Involved in the Community

SSwanne at TresPueblosLast weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in my neighborhood spring festival. I’ve lived in the  ‘hood for four years, and have been associated with the home owners association from time to time. I was so pleased to be able to provide a booth for my relatively new real estate business with Long Realty Company.

Attendance at the festival was good, although many more of my neighbors did not attend. I had the opportunity to meet several folks who were interested in real estate in general and in buying homes in the neighborhood. This was a great way to make my presence known in the neighborhood.

IMG_20160430_110329The planners of the festival did a good job bringing various food trucks, jumping castles for the children, pinatas, and various business vendors to our park. It was a beautiful day. The kids were precious!

IMG_20160430_120640croppedThe home owners association has its own facebook page for outreach to the community, to inform about coming events, members’ news, and concerns about the neighborhood. For the next two months, the association will have its meetings in our park, hopefully to encourage more attendance and involvement.

I look forward to being a presence in this community and offering my services.

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Now is the Time! Talk to Me!

Whether you want to sell your home or buy a home, NOW is a good time to do it in Tucson!

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For beginning home buyers the mortgage rates remain low, and although the inventory is down, there are homes out there for you.

For sellers the time is right as well. There are buyers seeking their homes.

So don’t wait. If you are on the edge about either buying or selling, decide today. Prices and rates will be going higher.

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If you are renting it’s possible that your rent, too, will be going up. The trend is that rents are going up faster than wages can keep up. If you can qualify to purchase a home, you might want to explore the possibility of putting your money into a more permanent situation.

Here is an article by Trulia about the pros and cons of buying now. Be Smart. Be educated about the home-buying process. Talk to a Realtor! Talk to me!

 

News for May

Happy May Day! May 1 has been venerated throughout the centuries as a specific time for celebration of new growth. I remember that as an elementary student I participated in a May Pole dance, with streamers around the pole. This custom is not very prevalent now in the United States, but is still a part of other global cultures.

Below, please find the May edition of my monthly newsletter. If you would like to receive the newsletter via email, please send me your contact information through my website.

The Loop Blooms

Have you ever been on “The Loop”, Tucson’s multiple urban pathway (MUP)? I spotted these blooms while on a ride on the Julian Wash segment of the 131-mile riding and walking path around Tucson. As a recumbent tricycle rider it is a wonderful way for me to easily and safely enjoy the many aspects of the city.

There are many homes adjacent to The Loop which is easily accessible for enjoying the outdoors and city views, as well as watching the birds and wildlife. While on a ride on the Santa Cruz River I once witnessed a bobcat catching its morning meal. So if you like the kind of lifestyle Tucson affords cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts, you might want to investigate the possibilities.

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Here is a great tool for your search! (http://longrealtyapp.com/suswanne)

Because I love words, this month begins a regular installment of The Monthly Word. This month’s word is REALTOR®. It is pronounced “reel –ter”, not “reel-uh-ter”. The definition of a REALTOR® is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and who subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. You might notice the symbol after the word realtor. You can read about the history of the REALTOR® trademark here.

In this month’s real estate news;

  • Beware of scams that take advantage of buyers’ and sellers’ ignorance about the real estate business. Realtors can be scammed too, even when they are knowledgeable about real estate transactions. For example, phishing emails contain phony documents that look like the real thing, requesting the person to sign, and therefore divulge personal information, or worse, wire money to the thief rather than the escrow company. So beware!
  • Real Estate trends for 2016 include continuing rise in home prices and sales, and higher rents and mortgage rates.
  • Do you know how much house you need for your lifestyle? Find out by taking this quiz.

Local Events this month;

  • Everyone loves to eat, and here are some places where you can celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Tucson.
  • National Public Gardens Day is held on the Friday before Mother’s Day to promote awareness of how gardens and green spaces support life. In Tucson visit Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Reid Park Rose Garden, Tohono Chul Park, Tucson Botanical Gardens, and Yume Japanese Gardens.

If you have an event you’d like listed here, let me know.

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More New Homes in Tucson

 

IMG_20160406_130216adjustedsmI had the pleasure recently of attending an open house for another Miramonte development closer to downtown in Tucson. These homes are nestled in a small enclave between Glenn St. and Park Ave. Priced between $247,400 and 259,400 they range in size between 1,786 and 1975 square feet of living space. This small neighborhood – Miramonte at Glenn – is almost sold out with only about five homes left.

Here’s a look at the neighborhood and some of the well-designed spaces.

The living room, dining area, and kitchen flow together to provide an open space for entertaining, as well as a feeling of openness. The sliding glass doors open to the patio to extend the entertainment space.

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In the model home three bedrooms and an open space for an optional fourth bedroom were on the second floor, along with a full bath and master suite. The laundry was also conveniently placed on the second floor.

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This niche at the top of the stairs can serve as a play room for children or an office space.

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The master bedroom has a full-length closet along one wall, with an additional walk-in closet adjacent to the master bath.

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The master bath also has separate shower and toilet areas.

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There is an option for a washtub and stackable unit available.

These homes feature energy efficient systems that many home buyers who are interested in “green living” will appreciate.

A word of caution:  These homes have too levels, so if you have bad knees, like I do, they are probably not for you!

Courtesy: Long Realty Company

All photos Copyright Su Swanne

 

Newsletter for April 2016

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This is the first edition of my Newsletter. I thought I’d share it here so it will reach beyond Tucson. Perhaps there is something you’ll find interesting.

Spring has come early to Tucson. The higher than normal temperatures have made the trees pop and the flowers bloom. Summer will not be far behind! The “Snow Birds” will soon be flying back to cooler climes.

Have you dreamed of hitting the road in a new RV as you approach your later years “after work”? Dreams can come true! I can help you make that transition. As a former full-time RVer, I know what is involved in making the transition from living in a “sticks and bricks” home to living in a home on wheels. I can help you make that transition!

Click here to see the latest MLS statistics. Median sales dropped down to $169,900. While that is down from December, it is up 6% from January 2015. Active listings crept up, but are still down 12% from this time last year. It is a seller’s market below $250,000. If you or someone you know would like more specific information, please contact me at 520-918-3776.

In this month’s real estate news;

Local Events this month:

  • If you are a cyclist join Cyclovia this Sunday, April 10. More information here.
  • See a presentation of Rumpelstiltskin at Valley of the Moon; several days throughout April.
  • I will have a booth at the Tres Pueblos festival and HOA meeting on April 21, 2016. Come on by to see what’s happening in the neighborhood.

Note:  The blooms in the photo are from the palo verde tree. They are in profuse bloom in Tucson now.

Trends in Upscale Design

Last week I had the opportunity to visit some new construction sites in the Dove Mountain area, just northwest of Tucson, near Marana.

The home builders ranged from Mattamy Homes to Miramonte Homes, to Toll Brothers to The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. The model homes provided a look at the newest trends in new home design in this area. Here are some photos of some of the details from my field trip.

Flooring tile placed in various configurations was a big feature in all of these homes that ranged in price from $437,995 to $1,595,000.

The use of tile patterns to show the shift from one room to another creates visual interest. as well as some visual confusion. The stripes in this home, below, seemed to cut through the space, perhaps to interrupt the vast expanse of floor.

Here are two entries that give cues about the use of the space and what lies beyond.

Ceiling details include brick and tile applications as well as curved portals, again to define the space.

Tile in the kitchen is the favored wall treatment. Here are a couple of kitchens that display possible tile designs. I especially like the small windows under the kitchen cabinets.

Other features of these homes included spacious and well-appointed baths, a kitchen with a custom attached banquette instead of dining table, and living rooms that opened fully to the exterior spaces through the use of movable glass walls.

These photos show the details of the tracks in the floor and ceiling for the movable glass walls. Some of the models also had “telescoping” sliding doors, so that they folded behind each other against the wall.

Many of these new homes have pools of various shapes, sizes, and uses. I especially enjoyed the infinity pool with water that flowed over the edge of the pool.

And finally, here are some other features that I found interesting. Most of the kitchens had pantries with glass doors, so one could see into the space. I don’t know that my pantry would be up to that kind of scrutiny! One of the pantries did have a frosted glass door – it could let in the light, but hide the mess! And one house had a viewing roof approached by a spiral stair from outside. Obviously this home was designed with younger owners in mind!

And these windows in a master bedroom I found interesting, as they provided some light and ambiance, along with some privacy.

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Blessings on Your House

In the office today I received a small gift for St. Patrick’s Day, one that is quite appropriate for a real estate office. It’s a traditional Irish blessing, and I send it out to you, with the hope your home offers all these things.

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May you always have

Walls for the winds,

A roof for the rain,

Tea beside the fire,

laughter to cheer you,

Those you love near you,

And all your heart might desire!

 

A House is a House is a House?

According to Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition (it’s old)
House (Noun): – A building that serves as living quarters for one or a few families.
Building (Noun): A roofed and walled structure built for permanent use

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These are pretty basic definitions that offer no elaboration – no specific qualities or characteristics.

So what do people mean when they say they are “looking for a house”? Just three or four walls and a roof? In the past a cave would do.

These days it is a good thing to be very specific, unless the house you’re looking for is one you’ll “know when you see it”. My advice to house hunters is to be as clear and concise as possible about your needs and your wants, and within your budget (remember to qualify with a lender first!)

It seems that in the past each geographic location had its special kind of house design, based on the weather and ability to obtain building materials. Styles such as the salt box, Cape Cod, ranch, bungalow, cottage, “rambler”, Mediterranean, traditional, Santa Fe, and so forth, began to infiltrate into other places because the style was familiar, held special meaning from childhood, or was just preferred. So today across the United States most styles of houses are available, and not necessarily typical of the geographic area.

927 Mackall 1972 croppedThe house I grew up in was a small, one-story ranch style Sears floor plan. My father and his friends, not a developer, built it on an individual lot, purchased separately, not in a development. He and my mother held the American dream in building on this lot. My mother loved Early American/Colonial furniture but I prefer straight lines, modern, and eclectic furnishings.

624 N Shore Rd 2 croppedMy first house was one I had rented, and later bought – a story and a half Cape Cod style, in a cookie-cutter neighborhood. My purchase was based on affordability, and knowledge of the house – its structure and systems, and the condition it was in.

2_5822 Bighorn Dr croppedWhen I was older, with teenage children, I looked for a house that could provide enough space for the possessions, activities, and hobbies of four active family members, all adult size. One Memorial Day weekend we looked at 22 houses in a new (for us) community we were moving to 250 miles from our first house. The bottom line for the one we selected was that “it met our needs”. The price pushed our financial envelop, but we found we could afford it. It was big – we moved from 1200 square feet – two bedrooms in the half-story (attic) and 1 ½ baths to 2200 square feet, four bedrooms, three baths, and a full basement.

While the slick realty magazines show all the upscale houses for sale, and while the TV house design shows offer some interesting makeovers, with upscale materials, it’s a good idea for a home buyer to be realistic about their circumstances. If you can’t afford a stainless steel and granite kitchen, don’t look there! Some folks want and need a move-in ready home because their lifestyle requires it, and basically that’s what most homes for sale are these days.

Personally, I’ve been disappointed that today most homes on the market are “move-in ready” because I like to put my own stamp of ownership on my environment. What I suggest is to be open to a good deal that might be hidden by the wrong colors, flooring, and so forth. Be creative! Don’t be stuck on one style, one location, one price, and so forth. Be open!

That bigger house we moved into hadn’t had any improvements for the 20 years since it was built. I had the opportunity to make changes in a personal way, and to plant the trees, shrubs, and gardens that I wanted. It’s pretty rare to find something like that today. If you aren’t interested in a “do it yourself” home, that’s okay. There are plenty to look at that are ready for you!

Why Use a Realtor®?

open-house-778_1920Today it seems that a high percentage (actually, about 95%) of home shoppers begin their search for a new home online, on such web sites as Zillow or Trulia. What reasons might someone want to shop in this way? Well there’s the convenience of searching from home or the office, even in your pajamas, and at one’s own pace.

It’s also a way to start getting an idea of what’s out there in the market and make oneself familiar with the home-buying territory, and mentally formulating a plan for action. And I think there is also a bit of fear in meeting a Realtor who can help with the process, perhaps because it becomes more “real” then. And scarey.

Once you decide you want to know more and look more closely at possibilities, it’s important to begin developing a relationship with a Realtor. Serious buyers will not try to avoid entering an agreement for a Realtor to go to work for them before the looking begins. As a buyer, you will certainly need to have been qualified by a lender to purchase at a level you can afford. You might even bring a list of houses you’ve seen online. A Realtor can help you check them out, as often the homes have already sold or are otherwise not available.

A Realtor is a buyer’s or seller’s best friend, a personal “helper”, when it comes to dealing in properties. What if you already own a home and you want to find out its value, or what price you might get for it if you sell? You might also check in with online web sites to get an idea. But, be aware that these web sites do not know the market as well as the local Realtor. You may be unhappy to learn that a price you see for a home in your neighborhood is not accurate. Too many times people are misguided by the information they see on these web sites, and they get disappointed when they find that out.

Realtors know the markets we work in, and we persevere with our clients, whether they are buyers or sellers. We are problems solvers, and we can facilitate and guide the contract process. We do, however, have restrictions on just how far we can go. We are not attorneys or tax accountants. We don’t go where it’s not our business, or beyond our expertise! (In future posts I will discuss our code of conduct.) Most Realtors are professional, well educated in their field, and conduct their business with integrity, always with their client in mind.

Being a Realtor is not about selling as much as it is about developing relationships. Having a good rapport between a client and Realtor goes a long way to enhancing the process, and having a successful outcome, whether buying or selling. If a buyer is serious about buying, and has taken the necessary steps to enter the market, i.e. talking to a lender and getting qualified, the buyer will willingly enter the dialogue about working with a Realtor, and developing a relationship where they can reach their goal. If a seller is serious about selling, the seller will, most of the time, enter a relationship with a Realtor so the property can be listed.

So, go ahead and look online, knowing that there is a lot of room for different information. And then, when you are serious, contact a Realtor who can help you find the right home in the right neighborhood, at the right price, or the right person to market your home if you are selling.

We are here to help you reach your goal!

When It May be Time to Move

There are over 76 million baby boomers today. They are getting ready to retire, and will be making decisions about their housing needs. Some will, like my friend, decide to stay in place and remodel their home, planning to age in place. Some will sell their homes, down-sizing and maybe hitting the road on an RVing adventure. Still others will down-size and perhaps move to another part of the country to be closer to family or enjoy the amenities of a new location. Some will decide to live in active adult communities, or even, as they age, settle into assisted living arrangements

Whatever the circumstances, the needs, or the location, as a Realtor® I can help. My company has connections throughout the United States, and the world. Through our excellent relocation center we can assist anyone desiring to move to Tucson, or help find a home elsewhere if moving out of the Tucson area.

This song is a reminder that as our houses get older they require upkeep, just as we get older we also require upkeep. Sometimes it’s a matter of updating our homes, and letting them go to new owners, so we can move on to a different phase of life. I am here to assist in that process.