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From Ann Arbor to Tucson: The Housing Crisis is Behind Us. Says Who? - 05/22/08 09:33 PM
Missy Caulk in Ann Arbor posted a link to an opinion piece written in the Wall Street Journal on May 6th. Title: The Housing Crisis Is Over. WSJ may not agree (yet) with the article. They buried it on page A23. As interesting to me as the article is its author. He's Cyril Moulle-Berteaux. a hedge fund manager (Traxis Partners, LP) from Greenwich, Connecticut. The Huffington Post's Fundrace 2008 identifies political contributions from the zip code where Moulle-Berteaux lives in the amount of $1,845,273. That's a lot more than was contributed from my zip code, 85713. It makes me wonder whether Moulle-Berteaux has (14 comments)
We've never seen the mother sit on the nest, and it wasn't until there were four or five eggs that we noticed them at all. Gambel's Quail are among my favorite visitors to our backyard in the Arizona Sonoran Desert. The male and the female are about the same size--about ten inches from beak to tail. When they fly (which isn't often unless they're threatened) they display a wingspan of sixteen inches or so. The clutch has grown by one egg per day, and when I took this photo, there were ten. No doubt the clutch (39 comments)
Interest Rates: This Morning (First Thing) Will Be a Good Time to Lock - 05/21/08 05:01 AM
IMHO, today will be a good day to lock an interest rate on your purchase if you do it first thing this morning. The US stock market was down nearly 200 points yesterday. Asia followed while you were eating dinner yesterday on the east coast, with a drop of more than 233 points on the NIKKEI index. It's the middle of the night on the west coast right now, and Europe is still in the up column, but barely, on news that business confidence in Germany unexpectedly rose this month. US index futures are up, so if you're going to lock, (6 comments)
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. No, they're not. Despite what you see in the rear view mirror, the good old days are not coming back. I don't have the NAR statistics on the average age of REALTORS, but I'm betting that my generation comprises more than 60% of those who are still making a living as a REALTOR. Boomers have an advantage--the nest egg. When the times get tough, we draw down our reserves and wait for the good times to roll around again. There's something different this time around. The playing field is changing, and (21 comments)
CHEAP GAS Sells Real Estate! - 05/19/08 11:20 PM
You're going to want to move to Tucson, AZ! The LOWEST GAS PRICES in the nation. Combine that with our ourstanding golf, great resorts, forever views, magnificent sunsets... Did I mention gas prices are the LOWEST in the nation?! The Mars expedition will be manned from its headquarters at the University of Arizona. That's happening in a week or so. That's nothing! Tucson has the LOWEST GAS PRICES in the USofA! Tucson's Kitt Peak is world famous, with its seventeen telescopes scanning the night skies for new discoveries, but that's nothing compared to the fact that gas is CHEAPER HERE than anywhere (20 comments)
Unique Chalet Graces Madera Canyon Near Green Valley, Arizona - 05/17/08 11:37 PM
Everything this man builds, from the tiniest birdhouse to an exquisite B&B in the Coronado National Forest, speaks to his love of wood and craftsmanship. Take Exit 63 on Interstate 19, and go east. Follow the signs for Madera Canyon, and you'll find this little gift shop and chalet nestled against a creek in the canyon. The bent wood slats you see on the right are interwoven, drilled, and held in place with nuts and bolts made of wood!
The joinery on the first level holds the framing together without nails. Here's a listing that actually WILL sell (13 comments)
Silly Saturday Post: Woody Woodpecker Trashes Home in Madera Canyon, AZ - 05/17/08 10:07 PM
I loved Woody Woodpecker when I was a kid! That's before I knew he really did things like this! The Acorn Woodpecker really works at his craft. Wikipedia says the bird is a "larder hoarder." Say THAT three time fast! I was hiking in Madera Canyon this morning and took this photo. What's amazing is that the cabin is owned by the Park Service! All those little dots you see on the gable end of the house? They're acorns! The little guy drills holes, finds acorns, and fills the holes with food for the winter! Pretty ingenious! Someone once told me (18 comments)
I've read about the Elegant Trogon, a magnificent bird that makes its way north of the border when springtime arrives in Tucson. I've seen one in the Coronado National Forest. Until today, though, I had never photographed a Trogon. Dave Young, who ramrodded our birder outing, is a retired geologist. He's an avid birder and a born teacher. Being with Dave is like having your own Docent from the Desert Museum. Ten of us--all friends from church--met at 8:00 this morning at Exit 63 on Interstate 19, and carpooled up into Madera Canyon, just north of Elephant Head. We saw 20 species (17 comments)
Looking For A Sign? The End Is Near. - 05/16/08 05:47 AM
Real estate slumps start slowly, gain momentum, and feed on themselves like a tornado. Panic sets in. Prices drop. Bottom feeders are vilified for profiting from the distress of fellow human beings. Suddenly (it seems in retrospect) the worst is behind us. Bottom feeders are praised for "speeding up the recovery by establishing a price for the homes and flushing out the least reliable borrowers." (See this Bloomberg article.) This is a sign that the end is near. I'm tremendously encouraged in the last month by the number of purchase loans I'm doing for first time homebuyers in their 30s and 40s. (19 comments)
News Flash: Chase Dumps Home Equity Line of Credit Business - 05/15/08 06:50 PM
I just received an email from my Chase Account Executive regarding Home Equity Lines of Credit. Chase is getting out of that business. Here's what the email announced: Unfortunately, given the market conditions Chase Home Finance has made the decision toeliminate the Home Equity Channel. Effective end of day Friday May 16, 2008 Chase Home Equity will no longer accept applications for home equity products. The long and short of this is that money is still tightening up. You'll want to continue to educate your buyers and sellers with respect to available mortgage programs. Call me if I can help. I'm (12 comments)
Unique Mailbox on Soldier Trail in Tucson, AZ: a Mailbox Series Update - 05/15/08 05:01 AM
Chris Griffith, an Active Rain giant and successful REALTOR in Bonita Springs, Florida, is a gem! Newbies would do well to subscribe to her blog, both for content and ideas. Chris's post The Mailbox Series - First Time Poster's Welcome caught my eye tonight. Real estate bloggers here in the Rain often complain of writer's block. There's no such thing, IMHO, and Chris proves it with The Mailbox Series. Carry your camera at all times, and you'll never run out of things to do, or places to visit. Here's my first Mailbox Series submission. (I'll be on the lookout for more.) This (21 comments)
Baxter Black Country: Red Tail Hawks Nesting in Benson, AZ - 05/14/08 10:31 PM
The speedometer was pegged at 50 mph, and I was heading down SR 90 towards Karchner Caverns in Benson, AZ. Talk radio was blaring. Hannity, I think. (I'm a right wing nut case, raised in a Latin American country where the Minister of Finance was castrated in public during the 60's. Wouldn't that change the political mood?! But I digress.) Having been a hunter (first with the gun, and now with the camera) since my childhood in the Amazon, I've developed good peripheral vision. Do you see it in the photo to the right? Out of the corner of my right eye I saw a (20 comments)
Active Rain Referral: Loan Needed for Manufactured HOME Purchase - 05/14/08 12:09 AM
If there's a sector of the real estate industry that suffers from insecurity, it has to be the Mobile Home. Tin Can, Twister Bait, and many other epithets are flung at this sector. Some REALTORS and Agents alike turn up their noses. Today, Bank of America told a potential client that they couldn't help with a mortgage loan for the client's mother. The loan was "complicated." My friend, an AR REALTOR here in Tucson, told the client that they needed to work with a broker who would listen, and who would think outside of the box. (They weren't making fun of (16 comments)
I-10 Expansion Half Finished in Tucson - 05/11/08 11:28 PM
We call it "the Tunnel." It's a section of Interstate 10 through Tucson's downtown, from Prince Road to the Interstate 19 interchange. The tunnel funnels traffic past the construction area where our interstate is being widened to accomodate our growth as a city. The lanes through the Tunnel have been narrowed to 11', and concrete barriers are a mere 16" away from the lanes themselves. A big sign announces that vehicles over 26,000 pounds gross weight are to stay in the right lane. Rignt! The speed limit through the Tunnel is 55. Right! And with nowhere to go if you're involved (13 comments)
Tucson's Version of the Hot Dog: Sonoran! - 05/10/08 11:55 PM
"So," I asked little Galilea at my favorite roadside hot dog stand here in the Tucson Mountains, "Do you run the business while your Daddy makes the hot dogs?" "No," she grinned. "Actually, I pretty much don't do anything." Not true. She's the salesperson. Galilea claps her hands and smiles when cars pull up. You can't ignore her, and you will buy one or two sonoran style hot dogs. If you're reading this from Chicago, you're pretty smug about Italian Beef Chicago Style. You have reason to be--Chicago style hot dogs used to be my favorite when I was National Sales (16 comments)
Local Expresso Entrepreneurs Battle Starbucks and Thrive - 05/10/08 11:37 PM
Starbucks Coffee is getting gray around the temples. It's beginning to show its age, so to speak. Once the local Starbucks stores reached the saturation point, we began to see Starbucks kiosks in the local grocery chains. How big can you get before you've saturated your market? New competitors with great coffee, magnificent customer service, and well-planned business models are beginning to sprout in Tucson. I'm drawn to the newcomers. They're what Starbucks used to be--friendly and customer focused. Starbucks is beginning to suffer from the WalMart syndrome. I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, Arizona mortgage lender.Think of me as (9 comments)
Long Skinny House Update 1. Spec Home in Tucson 170' Long, 9' Wide - 05/10/08 10:01 AM
Motorhomes (with their slide-out rooms and awnings) are wider than this Tucson, AZ spec house! Back in January 2008, I wrote a post about this unique home when it was first under construction. Here's the link: Long Skinny House. 170' long. 9' wide. What you see here on the left of the photo is the carport. Half the car will be under roof in the shade (from noon on) the the other half will be at the mercy of the elements. The builder is working under Tucson'sl aid back "mañana" type of scheduling. The first listing agent has been canned after about six months, and the new (19 comments)
Highway Visibility: Yesteryear's Real Estate "Hook" - 05/07/08 11:42 PM
Minnesota has its Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox. Small towns across the country have the 15' tall lumberjack holding out a tractor tire. This huge bug was a new one for me. We were in Colorado Springs last year for our daughter's wedding, and I had some free time. One of my all time favorite things to do is to explore roads I've never driven, and to see things I've never seen. That's how I found this beautiful bug. Feel free to comment, but I'd appreciate you inserting a photo with your comment. (Size it down to a width of 200 or so, (23 comments)
Shotgun Wedding? Bank of America Values Countrywide Between Zero and $2.00 - 05/05/08 12:49 PM
BofA is not my favorite lending institution at the moment. Not ever, actually. They inked a deal last year to buy Countrywide. Today comes news on Bloomberg that the $7 per share that was to have been paid has been reduced to somewhere between Zero and $2.00 a share. The deal may not go through at all. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Without Countrywide, BofA has no wholesale lending arm. Perhaps they've decided that wholesale lending isn't a necessary component for loan origination any more. If you're a broker, you're aware of Bank of America's stance on your (21 comments)
Agents and REALTORS: The FHA Mortgage is a Fantastic Sales Tool in Tough Markets! - 05/04/08 11:42 PM
My REALTOR partners are closing sales for Tucson buyers who have income, but have saved little towards a downpayment. Buyer demand is strong for zero down homes, or nearly zero down. Here's what you need to do to close more sales using the advantages of an FHA mortgage: This is a MUST: Make sure your preferred lender is FHA savvy. (For more on that, read Jeff Belonger, Eleanor Thorne and Mike Mueller. Subscribe to their blogs.) FHA isn't the same program you remember from ten years ago.Bone up on DPAs like Ameridream. Your FHA savvy lender will help you here. Down Payment Assistance programs are (21 comments)
Silly Tucson Saturday Night Post - 05/04/08 12:27 AM
Some time ago, I wrote a short post about these pigeons camped out at the car wash, just waiting for the happy car owner to drive under the light standard. Bird brains! Then today, a realtor from South Carolina sent me a series of photos from a car wash showing starlings going down into the change machine and emerging with quarters in their little beaks. I want those birds to come work for me! LOL I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, Arizona mortgage lender.Think of me as your local expert. (15 comments)
Jazz at the China Rose, Tucson, Arizona - 05/04/08 12:15 AM
I love Chinese food. I love good jazz. Until coming to Tucson ten years ago, the two never shared the same file space in my brain. That was before I visited the China Rose on Speedway in Tucson, AZ. Frank Hartline invited me to join him and his wife Cheryl for dinner last night. The vocalist was excellent, and her partner Ely made the keyboard into an orchestra, with harmonica, horn, saxaphone and other instruments accompanying the vocalist. Tucson is a cosmopolitan town, and this duo from the Phillipines made our evening! This short post doesn't do them or the China Rose justice, so (5 comments)
Oldie But Goodie: Antique Truck Still in Service in Tucson, Arizona - 05/04/08 12:01 AM
They say it's a dry heat. Summers get into the triple digits, but with the lack of rain and humidity year round (not to mention NO salt on the roads in winter) Tucson preserves its vehicles better than just about any place in the country. Here's a great example. I was pulling into one of my favorite watering holes for a cup of Joe and a hard salami pannini sandwich when the nose of this old truck came into view. By the time I got my camera up and running, I missed the front license plate, which would tell you the year, (6 comments)
Four Wheel Buggy Does Gig at the Tucson Folk Festival - 05/03/08 11:27 PM
Music adds spice to life, and we love performing. Today was the first of two days of folk music here in Tucson. The Tucson Folk Festival takes over the center of the city for two days each spring. We performed at three o'clock this afternoon at one of the five venues, the Old Town Artisans. Left to right, Frank Hartline, Larry Morris, yours truly and our songwriter and lead performer, Jim Hogan. This is the group practicing in a parking lot an hour before our gig. The beautiful young lady is our Fiddler's daughter. She and her husband are about to graduate from the U (10 comments)
Spiffing Up the Laundry Room - 05/01/08 11:47 PM
My Darlin' and I spent Sunday afternoon walking through three model homes in the Tucson Mountains. The homes were nicely staged, more Texas than Tucson, IMHO, and the landscaping was exquisite. The largest model was about 2,000 square feet, with lots of glass facing the mountains. The interior kitchen, if I recall, had a skylight or solar tube. The only room with no glass was the laundry room. With no exterior walls and no skylight, we had to hit the light switch to see anything. Whoa! There in the dark was this guy, working hard to break out! We had a great day! I'm Mike in (15 comments)
The Ferris Wheel Real Estate Market - 05/01/08 11:32 PM
So there we were, last Saturday night, at the Pima County fair. I've been partial to fairs since I was a kid of seven on the eastern shore of Virginia. Grandpa would take us, and cousin Jerry and I spent out time looking for empty Coca Cola bottles. We gathered them up and turned them in for two cents apiece. We were rich! We could buy our own french fries! Back to 2008. As I looked at the ferris wheel rotating up, up, up into the sky, I thought "That's the real estate market." Up, up, up! It was exhilirating. Then it flattened out at (9 comments)
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