Here we discuss all matters Real Estate, with an emphasis on Tucson Arizona. We welcome your story ideas. Via Realty is a boutique real estate company founded on Jan 1 2000 by 2nd generation Arizonan Wayne D Anderson, a Realtor since 1989. 520) 327-1550. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Why Own a Home?

To me, the big motivator for home ownership is lifestyle: privacy, personal enjoyment, and self expression, with a bonus of shelter. With a rental, you get shelter. When you own a home you get more.

My home is worth less than it was two years ago but I still enjoy living here, I am happy that I don't have to ask anyone's permission to hang my photo gallery, paint the interior green, tear up the carpet and replace with tile, or radically change the landscaping. I can stay here for as long as I can make the payments. Someday I will own it outright.

If everything was only about the bottom line, no one would ever buy that fancy red sports car in the showroom, a student's artwork at a school gallery, or that little red brick 1950's charmer on the corner.

The real bottom line is: If you found the place you want, can afford it and you plan on sticking around for a while, go ahead and buy it. Life is too short to live in someone else's house if you don't have to.

Time to Buy?

I have noticed some discussions lately about market timing and our housing market. Some have said that it would be smart to wait for the "bottom" before committing to a purchase. Even if you could predict when the bottom will occur (you can't) there is more to that equation.

For anyone contemplating a home purchase, it is also important for them to factor in the cost of financing in that decision and their ability to pay at that rate.

If I can afford the home I want and have a time horizon longer than a year or two, what difference does it make if I buy at the bottom or a year (or two) early?

Just as home prices can go down, mortgage rates can go up. Today's rates are at historic lows. Buying a home now at a fixed rate that is affordable sounds smart to me.

I bought my first home in 1974, in the midst of a recession during the oil embargo. I was too dumb to know that it was a bad time to buy a house (I was only 21) I was not a speculator, just a kid who wanted a place of his own to live. My time horizon was very long. Never heard of the concept of "flipping". I just liked the idea of no landlord. Although sometimes it was a struggle, I was able to make the payments. Needless to say, I did OK with that house.

I am glad that there was no 24/7 media to talk me out of that purchase in 1974. Although the bottom may not be here yet. there are some good deals out there right now. If you are planning on hanging around the Old Pueblo for a while, buying that home you want and can afford might be a smart thing to do.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Save Rillito Race Track

On Saturday I detoured to the track during a relaxed stroll with a friend down the Rillito River Walk. When we arrived the official at the ticket gate told me that over 10,000 people were there (she had a counter-clicker) and there were still more streaming in. The parking lot was full of cars.

We sat in the grandstand which appeared to be solid (it's steel) and in no danger of collapsing. The overall cosmetic condition was poor, the windows had cobwebs, the bench seats (with backs!) needed painting, as did the rest of the place, but despite the County's neglect, everyone was having a great time, whether in the grandstand or close up, on the rail watching the beautiful horses run by at top speed.

The Catalina mountains are perfectly framed in the big glass window array of the grandstand. The large grassy infield sports 4 soccer areas with goals, so the site serves more than one purpose.
I signed a petition to save this historic landmark. The public should get on board too to preserve this 1940's era part of our heritage before it is leveled and sold to the highest bidder. As one petition signer said to me, "This place belongs to the people, not the Board of Supervisors". I agree.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Phone is Ringing

Recently I wrote about "The January Effect" where I described the historic trend in our Real Estate market place where sales activity increased after the new year started. This has been vividly demonstrated to me this week with a ringing phone from buyers calling on our listings and happily, an offer that was negotiated to a contract on one of them.
It is good to set aside all of the doom and gloom for a while and just do our work. In my business, there are people out there who recognise the opportunities in our market place (lowered prices and historic low interest rates) and are acting on it. Things will be better in the months to come.

Tucson is a great place to live. Lots of people know this. I received an e-mail from a friend in Indiana this morning and he said that it was minus 35F there today! I am taking our sunshine dividend to the bank, knowing that Tucson will continue to grow, probably at a faster pace than some other parts of the country, and our real estate market will recover. And the weather is better here. That's one of the blessings that should be on our counting list.