Saturday, May 15, 2010


Just before dusk one evening in March, Steve and I noticed our cat Sunbeam was very alarmed about something going on in the driveway of our Central Tucson home. We looked over the wall, and as expected, we were about ten feet away from the biggest family of javelinas we have seen in our yard. Four adults, two juveniles and two tiny babies were planning to knock over the 50 gallon garbage can again.

We had never seen such tiny babies. They were about the size of a Chihuahua, but much stouter, of course. One of the adults gave the can a heave, and it crashed to the ground. They seem to be getting smarter about which way to push the can so the lid lands at a good angle and they can get to all the yummy stuff inside the can.

They were pulling bags out of the can, and one javelina went right inside the can to look for the choicest morsels.

The babies kept trying to nurse as their oblivious mother stomped around among the garbage. We wondered how they avoided getting trampled.

Steve and I watched all this with fascination, but we know we shouldn't encourage this behavior. I asked Steve if we should scare them away, and he said no, so I was satisfied to keep taking pictures.

Even after darkness fell, and my camera started flashing, the beasts continued their feast, unconcerned about the people they could clearly see, smell and hear just a few feet away.

For those who don't know what a full grown javelina looks like, here's one. I have always thought that with their huge heads and tiny legs, they looked like a child's drawing of a pig.

April Residential Sale Statistics

The Tucson Association of Realtors has released the Residential Sales Statistics for April. The $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers really had its intended effect: number of homes sold was up 31% from April 2009. Buyers needed to be in escrow by April 30 to get this tax credit, and will need to close by June 30, so the strong numbers will continue for a few more months. What happens then, no one knows for sure.

The tax credit also helped stabilize home prices. Average sale price was $199,986, which is 4% higher than April 2009. At $159,000, the median home price is 2% lower than last April, but almost 1% more than in March 2010.

FHA financing, with allows loans up to $316,000, accounted for 30% of the sales. Conventional financing (not insured by FHA or VA) was 31% of the sales. A whopping 27% of buyers paid cash. So many of my buyers who wanted to buy their first home this spring were been beaten out by investors who paid cash for foreclosed and otherwise distressed properties. Most of these houses that sold for cash would not qualify for financing because they are in terrible condition. The fixer upper bargains that can be bought with cash are astounding. Houses priced under $100,000 that are move-in ready are rare.

Eighty-six percent of the sales were under $300,000. Hmm, do you think the $316,000 limit on FHA loans has anything to do with that?

The easiest place to sell a house was in zip codes 85706, 85714 and 85741, where over 38% of the houses on the market sold last month. These areas are in South Tucson. In the Tucson metro area, the lowest rate of turnover was in Northeast Tucson zip codes 85749 and 85750, Central Tucson west of First Ave (85705) and the West Foothills (85718). In these zip codes, fewer than 13% of the active listings sold. Rural areas are struggling even more. In all the Tucson MLS, 19% of the active listings sold, or 1,227 sales out of 6,603 listings.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

834 S Lehigh Drive

What an opportunity for you. This three bedroom, two bath home is in good condition at a bargain price. Solid adobe construction and located in a quiet neighborhood near Park Mall. The sunny and spacious oak kitchen has plenty of storage, with more cabinets in the laundry room, right next to the built-in desk. The kitchen is open to the dining area, which has a sliding door leading out to the covered patio.

Just enough lawn to provide an oasis. Bougainvillea, orange tree and shade trees on irrigation.

New ceiling fans and light fixtures.

Ceramic tile everywhere but the bedrooms. Upgraded shower and tub surrounds. Half of the roof was replaced in 2007. Gas heat and evaporative cooler. The air conditioner was installed in 2006.

Close to Palo Verde Park with its walking path, numerous playing fields, play ground and picnic tables. Hey, isn't that snow on the Catalinas spectacular?

This fine home sold for the unbelievably low price of $133,000 in September 2010.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Last Monday, Tucson Association of Realtors switched us to a new Multiple Listing Service software provider, called FlexMLS. Chaos has ensued. Nobody, not even the people at tech support, can explain how to do the simplest things. It took three days for me to do a comparative market analysis on my most recent listing. See the delightful 10660 E Rusty Spur Drive, posted below. I had to scribble all over my listing presentation because the new system does not display the information we need. I used to be able to prepare a listing presentation in about four hours, and it would look great. FlexMLS needs a lot of improvement.

If you were receiving auto-prospecting listings from me by e-mail, and they abruptly ceased on Monday, this is the reason. Unlike previous switches to new MLS systems, this time, our prospect searches were not carried over to the new system, so I need to enter them all over again. I'm running as fast as I can.