Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Down Payment Assistance Program

A new down payment assistance program offers down payment grants to qualified home buyers in Tucson and Pima County. The buyer's income must be under $65,500 and the buyer needs a credit score of at least 640. The house doesn't have to be a vacant foreclosure like that cumbersome Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant, and the house can be anywhere in Pima County, including the City of Tucson.

To see whether you qualify, please call loan officer extraordinaire Catherine Ellinwood at Fairway Independent Mortgage. 520-954-1907. Or email her at

What's a REALTOR®?

Many people use the word Realtor as a synonym for real estate agent. I was surprised to learn that only 30% of the real estate agents in Arizona are Realtors. Most real estate agents are in sole proprietorships or small companies where they have little oversight and training. In Tucson, the largest companies require that their agents be Realtors.

Why does this matter? Realtors (or REALTORS® as the National Association of Realtors wants us to spell it) have sworn to uphold the 17 page Realtor Code of Ethics. Eighteen years ago this March, I actually had to stand up in a room with one hundred other new agents, raise my right hand, and swear to uphold the Code of Ethics.We need to take a refresher course in the Code of Ethics every four years when we renew our real estate licenses.

This Code is over 100 years old, and has been updated to keep up with changes in the business and technology. I think these are the two most important paragraphs:

The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no
instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal.

In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORS® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

Oh, by the way, it's pronounced just the way it is spelled, not Reel-lah-ter!

"Flip This House" Coming to Tucson

The television show "Flip This House" will be here next week recruiting people who want to buy houses to renovate and resell, which is called flipping. Whether this will do anything for the flippers remains to be seen, but it will probably generate some positive national interest in Tucson.