Saturday, June 11, 2011

"C'est la Vie," Say the Old Folks

We bought a souped-up Hyundai, it was a cherry red GLE. Drove it down to Bisbee to celebrate the anniversary.

Steve and I met 20 years ago this month, and we decided that milestone deserves a celebration. We stayed at the beautiful vacation home of our friend Cynthia. She bought her sweet vintage home high on the hill overlooking Old Bisbee 33 years ago, before anyone knew that Bisbee would become such an artsy community. She was in Bisbee when Bisbee wasn't cool.

We had three days of being tourists. We checked out the Shady Dell airstream trailer court and diner,
and took the Copper Queen Mine tour.
We looked in galleries, were awed by the stained glass at St Patrick's and admired the art deco Cochise County Superior Court Building. Ate no fewer than three delicious meals at High Desert Market and Cafe on Tombstone Canyon, and had some good Mexican chow at Santiago's in Brewery Gulch. Cynthia proudly gave us a tour of the impressive Copper Queen Hospital where she works.

Believe it or not, list prices of small historic homes are higher in Bisbee than they are in Tucson. However, the amazing 10,615 square foot, 11 bedroom, 9 bathroom Loma Linda mansion in Warren can be had for only $672,000. Designed by the architect Henry Trost, it was built for a mine executive in 1907, and was known as a rock star party house in the 70s. Many of the homes in Bisbee were demolished when the Lavender Pit opened, and Loma Linda lost its extensive orchards. You will have to overlook the towering mine tailings that now come almost up to the back porch, but it's a steal, marked down from its 2007 list price of $2,000,000.
C'est la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.

It's a Good Time to Invest in Tucson

Inman News ranks Tucson as the fourth best place in the country to buy investment property now.

"The analysis considered markets with high affordability, low and dropping prices, a high market share of foreclosure sales, high population growth, an improving unemployment rate that is close to or better than the national average, high projected return on investment (ROI) over the next decade, and a low total cost of ownership-to-rent ratio."

While Tucson is great for long-term investors, the short term investors are also doing well by paying cash for foreclosed and distressed properties that don't qualify for traditional mortgage financing. The investors make the needed repairs, which may be as minor as replacing broken windows or replacing heating and cooling systems, and then selling the property for twice or more what they paid.

Not all these investors are actually paying cash. They may purchase the house with "hard money", meaning they get a loan at high interest rate from a private lender who, unlike the traditional sources of low cost mortgages, doesn't care about the condition of the property. The investor doesn't plan to keep the house more than a few months, so he isn't very concerned about the high interest rate he is paying.