Posted on March 29th, 2009
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If you are new here, you may also want to check out Sarah’s blog, Tucson Real Estate Market. As an experienced Tucson Long Realty agent, with 14 years of successfully selling residential property in Tucson, Sarah Ley feels it is important to provide information and insight on the Tucson, AZ real estate market, as well as the national real estate market. Sarah’s blog includes topics, news, and posts regarding Tucson investment properties, Tucson listings and homes for sale, Tucson home builders, and issues affecting consumers looking to buy or sell a home in Tucson. If you are in the market to buy or sell your Tucson home, or are just curious about the Tucson real estate market, please check out Sarah’s blog!
Arizona is home to Sarah… Her family relocated to Scottsdale from the east coast when she was a year old. Sarah came to Tucson in 1987 to attend the University of Arizona. During her college years, she discovered what a magical place of unparalleled natural beauty Tucson and its surrounding desert is, and decided to make it her permanent home. Sarah is an experienced, understanding, sincere, and thoroughly dedicated real estate professional who gives 110% to her clients’ needs, and who greatly enjoys sharing the allure of Tucson with fellow residents and prospective residents.
Sarah’s website was designed with you in mind. Because buying or selling a home involves much more than meets the eye, you’ll find information here on a wide range of topics relative to your move, as well as the Tucson community, local schools, and most important – homes for sale in Tucson. At any time, should you have a question or desire a more detailed explanation, please do not hesitate to contact Sarah by phone, (520) 404-0544 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Buying or selling a home in today’s volatile real estate environment can be stressful and unpredictable. Having participated in over 300 transactions in her 14 year career, Sarah is consistently guided by a strong desire to help people during this important transition in their lives. As such, she custom tailors her services to her client’s individual needs (not a formulated package)- in order to minimize their stress level, personalize the process, and ensure that each of her clients Tucson real estate home purchase or sale is an overall successful and positive experience. While the internet is a viable resource in today’s complex real estate market, it can never take the place of exceptional, personalized service. This is the foundation of Sarah’s business practices, and a promise she makes to her valued clients. When considering buying or selling in the “Old Pueblo,” Sarah would be truly honored to be your Realtor during the process of your home sale or purchase and beyond.
In addition to your primary residence, you may also be considering an investment purchase. You need an agent who has extensive knowledge and involvement in facilitating investment property purchases and sales- of which Sarah does. Please do not hesitate to contact Sarah anytime you have a question or a concern- even if it’s just a request for a good restaurant! Sarah’s business is built upon earning her client’s trust, and upon earning your trust and respect- creating a referral based business. Therefore, she does everything in her power to make sure that your Tucson home sale or purchase is smooth and hassle free. Sarah guarantees that you will be 100% satisfied with her services, and the value that she brings to your home buying or selling experience.
Come experience the wonder of Tucson…
Your Tucson Real Estate Agent
Posted on August 26th, 2011
Your Tucson home purchase or sale will involve a neutral third party, called an escrow or title company, who will make sure all conditions of the sale are met before a transfer of funds and property occurs between the buyer and seller. The escrow agent (or escrow/title officer) will verify property details- including legal description, and valid ownership. Additionally, they will gather all the paperwork from both the buyer and seller, including contracts and all other pertaining documents- including transfer information from home owner’s associations (a.k.a. HOA’s).
As your Realtor, Sarah will assist you throughout this process by helping you to select the right title company and escrow officer to best suit your needs. By checking in regularly with the escrow officer during the term of the escrow, Sarah will ensure that the process of transfer is being handled properly and timely, until the close of escrow is official, and the house is yours. Overseeing the escrow includes verifying that the information contained on the preliminary title report is correct, and that there are no encumbrances (clouds on title) that cannot be removed on the property.
Sarah will also check with your Mortgage broker, banker, or lender to ensure that they are getting all of the necessary paperwork as well as the appraisal to the title company. Also, Sarah will verify that they are meeting the time frames contained in the purchase contract. This is especially important, since the new residential purchase contract states that lenders are required to provide the seller with regular loan status updates (LSU’s).
The Title Company’s Responsibilities include:
Opening Escrow/ Depositing Earnest Money
You will have the opportunity to select an escrow officer when your purchase contract is being drafted. The first step the title company will be involved in is holding your earnest money funds, a deposit made to the title company that shows the buyer’s good faith. Sarah will be responsible for opening escrow, and making sure the title company deposits your earnest money into a neutral escrow account. At the time she is drafting your purchase contract, she can recommend a suitable amount of earnest money- based on the purchase price of the property. Higher amounts of earnest money will show the seller how serious your offer is.
The title company does a search to make sure that the seller actually owns the property that he or she is attempting to sell, as well as establishing a correct legal description, and a proper chain of title (history) for the property. A title officer/title examiner will also make sure the title is clear by checking for liens on the property. This can include:
- Property Taxes – Coordinating the payment or credit of property taxes for the current year. If taxes are delinquent, confirming any late fees owed.
- Home Owners Association(s) – (if applicable) Checking to see whether dues are current and coordinating transfer fees and pro-rations of dues relative to the particular HOA. Ensuring that the buyer is aware of the amount of dues and that the new buyer’s membership in the HOA is established.
- Other unpaid Liens, judgements, debts, or legal fees – The preliminary title report will provide the buyer with any and all encumbrances pertaining to the property.
- Making sure that the seller has the ability to pay off all existing mortgages owed on the property. This is especially important in today’s market, considering the high number of home sellers who are upside down on their mortgages. Once the title company has verified that the sale is not a short sale, if the sales price is not sufficient to cover all of the loan payoffs (and the sale has not been specified as a short sale), it is the title company’s responsibility to make sure the seller will have the necessary funds to close escrow.
If a property (or seller) has numerous encumbrances or liens (this could include, but is not limited to mortgages, judgement liens, tax liens, contractor’s liens) which cannot be cleared up prior to close of escrow, it may affect the saleability of the property. Therefore, the title company’s ability to issue a title policy would be affected, as would the seller’s ability to provide clear title to the property. Sarah will serve as your guide in this process. If necessary, (and the transaction necessitates it), she may recommend that you obtain legal or tax advice.
The title company will provide you with title insurance for a fee, which means they hold a title insurance policy for the property in their secure title library. The Owner’s Title Policy (OTP) is paid by the seller to ensure that you are being issued a title policy free from encumbrances. Evidence of this title insurance policy is recorded when the property changes hands. If anyone ever tries to claim ownership in your property, the title insurance covers the cost of proving your rights to the property by establishing a clear chain of title.
Transfer of Funds and Title
Once the title search is complete and the title policy has been issued, you are now ready to “close escrow.” Sarah will schedule a “closing appointment” at the title company, which if you are getting a mortgage will take about an hour to sign the closing documents required by your lender and the title company. Sarah will attend this appointment with you, which will be conducted at the title company’s office. You will need to bring the amount owed at the closing, the amount of which Sarah will inform you in advance.
Your closing funds will need to be in the form of a cashier’s check, as that is required based on the 2002 “Good Funds Law” in the state of Arizona. More than likely, your lender may also require you to put money into “escrow” to establish the impound accounts to cover the property taxes and homeowners insurance portion of your monthly mortgage payment. Sarah will make sure that you receive a “Good Funds Estimate” from your lender, and also an estimated closing cost statement from the title company, so that you know what to expect before getting to the closing table.
Congratulations, you have now made it to the close of escrow, and now you can celebrate your new home! Please call Sarah Ley with any real estate or title questions you may have at (520) 404-0544. Sarah has been assisting Tucson home buyers and sellers for over 12 years.
Posted on December 2nd, 2010
Why do I need a Realtor who is a CRS?
Buying or selling a home is one of the most critical financial decisions you will make in a lifetime. It can be a confusing maze, and for some people it is an overall stressful process. Therefore, it pays to leave little to chance. With the trusted expertise of a CRS to guide you in the process, your can rest assured that your real estate transaction will not be left to chance. To best meet the specific residential needs of home buyers and sellers, the Residential Sales Council of the National Association of Realtors instituted a class of expert residential real estate professional, the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS).
What difference does it make if my agent is a CRS or not?
CRS designees have undergone a rigorous, specialized course of detailed training, and have proven transactional experience aimed at making residential transactions as smooth and worry-free as possible for their buyer and seller clients.
A CRS brings additional qualifications to the table without costing you any extra money…
- Membership the local Tucson Association of Realtors, Arizona Association of Realtors, and the National Association Realtors. CRS agents are part of a large network of residential real estate professionals. But only the top 5% of residential Realtors can classify themselves as CRS designees.
- Each CRS agent must successfully complete a rigorous course work, as well as have a proven track record of closed transactions to earn the CRS designation. CRS designees are an elite group of agents, and along with their referral network, they comprise one of the most successful residential real estate educational programs in the nation. Every CRS is a REALTOR who is equipped with powerful training and expertise, thanks to advanced coursework in listing and selling residential property, investment properties, taxes, and more.
- What this means is that when you choose to hire a CRS designee, you’re working with a competent professional who is more connected, more knowledgeable, and more experienced than the 95% of REALTORS who are not CRS designees.
Your needs are unique and important… You deserve to work with a CRS designee in your real estate transaction. You deserve the best!
Because your real estate needs are unique and important, you owe it to yourself to seek out a specialist in residential real estate. You would do the same if you needed a lawyer, or a skilled surgeon. You would work with only the best! Only 5% of all REALTORS have earned the right to be a CRS. Only 5% have developed special residential sales skills and enhanced their residential sales knowledge through study, dedication and experiences. Only 5% of REALTORS want to earn their client’s business by proving that they will give you their very best knowledge, professionalim, and results. You stand only to gain by trusting your real estate transaction to the best of the best. It all adds up to one thing, providing you with the best possible service, so your CRS can earn trusted referrals from your friends and family.
- Most CRS agents work mainly by referrals from colleagues, past clients, friends, and family. CRS agents are the best in the business, so their services come highly recommened, making CRS agents in high demand. This leaves your CRS agent with more time to focus on your individual real estate needs than having to pound the pavement looking for leads.
What qualifications does a CRS bring to my transaction?
Your CRS agent possesses the following credentials that are essential to the outcome of your home purchase or sale:
- A professional designation specializing in the sale of residential real estate.
- A higher level of education and experience in residential real estate.
- Professional connections and networking with thousands of other real estate professionals on both local and national levels.
- Up-to-the-minute industry information, with respect to national and local real estate markets, investment properties, important changes and legislation affecting the real estate industry, and many other areas of importance.
- Local market knowledge – special residential expertise unique to the Tucson market in order to best benefit Tucson home buyers and sellers.
**The CRS designation is both a badge of expertise and your personal shield of assurance when buying or selling a home in Tucson. Look for the CRS Shield when considering your next residential real estate transaction.**
Getting you the best possible results in residential real estate is what your CRS agent pledges to you.
Don’t trust the sale of your most valuable asset to anything less than a CRS! Sarah Ley is both a member of Arizona CRS, and national CRS. Call Sarah Ley at (520) 404-0544 or e-mail email@example.com if you would like a personal consultation to discuss your Tucson real estate needs…
Posted on October 14th, 2010
The best thank-you gift that you can give your Realtor® for a job well done is referring your friends and family. As your Tucson Realtor, Sarah Ley aims to provide you with exemplary service from your real estate purchase or sale and beyond. Sarah provides above & beyond service to her clients because she wants you to be satisfied with your home purchase and/or sale, so that you feel proud to recommend her to people you know.
Sarah Ley welcomes your referrals. Sarah’s motto is “Your referrals are the reason for my business.” Sarah Ley is a Realtor you can refer your friends and family to with confidence.
Posted on January 17th, 2010
In today’s complex real estate and legal environment, it is more critical than ever to utilize the services of a real estate professional. Having eleven years of experience assisting buyers and sellers in Tucson, Sarah Ley can help you anticipate the plethora of issues that may befall your real estate transaction.
A few common mistakes that home buyers make include:
Posted on September 12th, 2009
Are you relocating to Tucson? As your Tucson Realtor, Sarah Ley can affirm that there are countless reasons Tucson residents love living here. Just to mention a few: daily brilliant sunrises and sunsets, a temperate climate, hiking, nature respites, resorts, spas, a wide variety of cultural activities, as well as a diverse job market with many high-tech jobs.
- Population: 884,000 and growing
- Median Age of Residents: 35
- Average Per Capita income: $32,300
- Largest Employers: University of Arizona, Pima Community College, Raytheon, and Davis Monthan Air Force Base
Tucson’s many claims to fame
- One of most bicycle friendly cities in the United States
- Tucson is one of the Astronomy capitols of the world
- A top resort, golf, and spa/wellness destination
- Quickly becoming a key retirement destination and Tucson is a very popular place for second homes.
Annual Events For a full list of this month’s events, check the Tucson Visitor and Convention Bureau
- JANUARY – FEBRUARY
- Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
- Rodeo (Fiesta de los Vaqueros) – even public schools give days off for this event!
- Tubac Festival of the Arts
- Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair
- Civil War Reenactment of the Battle at Picacho Pass at Picacho Peak
- Tucson International Film Festival
- UofA Spring Fling
- Pima County Fair
- Tucson International Mariachi Conference
- Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at Kennedy Park
- Summer Saturday Evenings at the Desert Museum
- Oktoberfest on Mount Lemmon
- Tucson Meet Yourself
Places to Visit in Tucson
- San Xavier Mission
- Arizona Historical Society
Science and AstronomyTucson is one of the astronomy capitols of the world, as the International Dark Sky Association (http://www.darksky.org/) has been successful in its mission to ensure that Tucson is one of the few cities where the stars can still actually be seen at night.
- Flandrau Science Center
- Kitt Peak National Observatory
The Arts, Theaters, Performance Venues
- Arizona Opera
- Arizona Theater Company
- Centennial Hall / UA Presents
- Gaslight Theater
- Tucson Convention Center
- Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Gaming (Gaming is allowed in Tucson only on its Indian Reservations.)
- Casino del Sol
- Casino of the Sun
- Desert Diamond
Big and Little Kids
- Tucson Museum of Art
- On the University of Arizona Campus
- Arizona State Museum
- Center for Creative Photography
Outdoors Tucson is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges on every side: the Santa Catalinas on the North, the Rincons to the East, the Tucson Mountains to the West, and the Santa Ritas to the South. If you love hiking, or even just taking a stroll, you can visit Sabino Canyon, or hike Saguaro National Park. For more outdoor experiences, check out the Southern Arizona Hiking Club.
Don’t throw out your warm winter boots; you can always “visit” the snow during the winter with a short drive (about 30 minutes) to Mt. Lemmon. There you can find winter skiing (weather permitting) at Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley.
- City Courses
- Del Urich
- El Rio
- Fred Enke
- Park Place Mall- East Tucson
- Tucson Mall- West Tucson
- Foothills Mall- Northwest Tucson
- La Encantada- Catalina Foothills
- Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa at the Westin La Paloma
- Canyon Ranch
- Westward Look
- Miraval, Life in Balance Resort
- Hashani Spa at Starr Pass
Restaurants Tucson has many award winning restaurants and is quickly becoming a gourmand’s paradise. You will be able to find your favorite chain restaurant in town, but don’t miss out on these restaurants that are unique to the Tucson area. Remember, in Tucson, it’s not unusual to find people dressed casually when visiting even the fanciest restaurants.
- Jonathans Tucson Cork
- Le Rendez Vous (French)
- Anthony’s in the Catalinas
- Vivace, 4310 N Campbell Ave- Italian
- Fronimos, 3234 E Speedway Blvd (Greek)
- Eclectic Cafe
- Fox Restaurants (Sauce, Wildflower, Zin Burger, North, Montana Avenue)
Mexican Eat at one Tucson’s many delicious authentic Mexican Restaurants!
- Mi Nidito (President Clinton ate here)
- Micha’s in South Tucson , 2908 South Fourth Avenue
- La Parilla Suiza
Coffee Shops If you like Starbucks, you will definitely find one nearby, but these other Tucson coffee shops can’t be beat.
- Le Buzz, 9121 E Tanque Verde Rd # 125
- Raging Sage, 2458 N Campbell Ave
Touristy Eat at Trail Dust Town – dare to wear a tie (an expendable one!) when you eat at Pinnacle Peak steak house. Also, check out Dakota Café if you’re not into exclusively cowboy fare.
To find a list of other great restaurants that exist in Tucson only, visit Tucson Originals.
Posted on September 12th, 2009
In the purchase of your new Tucson home, it is important to take the time to uncover any issues, including actual or potential hazards in the home you are looking to buy. This period of time, which occurs from the time an offer is accepted, until the completion of the inspection period is called “Discovery.” Just like in a court case, as a buyer purchasing a residential resale home, you have a set period of time (in resale purchases it is 10 days) after the date your contract is accepted to perform all of your inspections, and discover as much as you can about the property. This discovery period may include any or all of the following: disclosures from the seller and/or the listing agent of the home, home inspections, termite inspections, and possibly other types of specialized inspections (including, but not limited to roof, mold, lead, asbestos, & other types of in-depth environmental analysis). If you are interested in doing additional inspections (above and beyond a typical home inspection, Sarah Ley can help coordinate these efforts, and she can recommend providers of these types of inspections.
In today’s market, you may be purchasing a home that is being sold without disclosures. This is common with bank owned homes, as well as estate sales, and sales of homes that are owned by investors who have never occupied the home. In these types of transactions, it becomes even more critical as a buyer to discover any latent defects the home may have. For this reason, you may wish to ask for an extended inspection period, to ensure that you have ample time to discover as much as possible about the home you are buying. It can be like peeling an onion, as there are many ‘layers’ in any home. For these reasons, it is important to have a professional Realtor acting as your guide to steer you through the process. Please call Sarah Ley to further discuss your concerns about your new home.
Posted on September 12th, 2009
Disclosure is a very important part of any Arizona real estate transaction. By law, a seller must disclose certain information about the property to the buyer. The seller will make these disclosures to the buyer using two different forms.
Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS): This form gives sellers an opportunity to tell as much as they know about the property, including:
- Improvements or repairs done on the property, including additions and/or renovations, whether or not they were performed by a licensed individual, and if permits were obtained.
- Utility companies, including electric, gas, cable, and phone.
- Heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical information, including whether the home gets water from a well or public source and if the home is attached to a septic system or sewer.
- Problems with the property, including pests, toxic chemicals, noise, floods, soil settling, as well as any other pertinent issues that affect the usability of the property.
- Homeowners Association contact information and fees, if applicable.
NOTE: For those of you who are new to Arizona, do not be alarmed if a seller discloses to you that they have seen scorpions, bees, snakes, or other reptiles and/or pests on their property. Newer developments often experience more pests while construction is going on or depending on the weather, and chances are that these pests are not going to be a regular occurrence if proper measures are taken.
Lead Based Paint Disclosure:
If the home was built prior to 1978, the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A) requires that sellers must complete information about their knowledge (if any) of lead-based paint in the home and the buyers must also sign it to acknowledge the disclosure. If you are purchasing a home which was built in this era, Sarah will give you a pamphlet called, “Protecting Your Family from Lead in Your Home.” Lead based paint is mostly of concern to families with small children, as (strangely as it sounds) children have been known to ‘lick the walls.’ Most sellers do not have knowledge of this type of paint being in their home, but it is required none-the-less.
Additionally, buyers are also required to make disclosures in a real estate transaction. The Arizona court case of Lombardo vs. Albu affirms that a buyer, and the buyer’s agent, have obligations to disclose pertinent facts about the buyer’s ability to perform in the transaction. For these reasons, it is imperative that you have the professional representation of a qualified real estate agent.
Posted on July 3rd, 2009
Find out how refreshing it is to sell your home using an expert Tucson residential real estate professional. You need an agent who will use a combination of marketing techniques to sell your home quickly and for the price you want. Sarah Ley is a professional Realtor who is adept at utilizing the latest technology to get your home or Tucson investment property the exposure it deserves. Her credentials include a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Arizona, which adds to her repertoire of marketing expertise.
She will effectively market your home by helping you select the right price and giving you ideas for making your home look its best in order to stand out from other competing Tucson residential real estate on the market. Every step of the way, she will ensure that the process goes smoothly, including showings, open houses, necessary paperwork, and disclosures. As an experienced Tucson realtor, Sarah knows the current market conditions, as well as comparable homes and properties in the area that will help you decide the best price for your home or Tucson investment property and get it sold quickly.
Posted on July 3rd, 2009
“Sarah Ley will make buying your first Tucson home a positive experience.”
If you are buying your first Tucson home, you may feel like you are learning to speak a whole new language. Earnest money, down payment, closing costs, inspections- this jargon is completely new! The bottom line is that you need a real estate professional who will walk you through the process, and assist you to make your first Tucson home purchase a rewarding experience. Sarah Ley will ensure that buying your first home is a positive experience. She enjoys working with first-time home buyers, and is highly competent and professional.
Renting vs. Buying:
You will find that going from renting to owning a home is a very liberating experience, but make sure you are ready to make the transition.
||Set by your landlord and can go up after your lease ends.
||Landlord performs repairs and upkeep
||Strict limits on what you can do to change appearance
||Depends on financing and down payment, but will seem lower as time passes.
||You perform repairs and upkeep
||You have greater freedom in how your home looks
Take the time to read all you can about home ownership, with emphasis on how much home you can afford financially. Remember that although lenders will give you a certain amount of money for a loan, this does not mean that you should borrow your entire limit. Be prepared for unexpected future costs, such as maintenance and repairs and remember to factor in home owners insurance and often additional utility bills, such as water, trash, and sewer.
Shop around for loans- many lenders have special programs for first-time home buyers.
A reputable source for first-time home buyers is Fannie Mae’s (Federal Home Loan program) Home Buying Guide.
Posted on July 3rd, 2009
You may wish to purchase a home warranty to protect your budget against unforeseen repairs that may occur shortly after you acquire your home. Home warranties cover the repair or replacement of components in the home that would not ordinarily be covered under your homeowner’s insurance, such as: vital systems like electrical, appliances, air conditioning, furnace, and water heater. Optional additional coverage can include the pool, refrigerator, and additional options. Be sure to read the coverage options carefully. When purchasing your Tucson home, Sarah Ley can help you find a home warranty that will provide you with peace of mind in your new home.