Six Things to Do Around Tucson in April 2015

April is just one of many fantastic months to get outdoors and experience all that Tucson has to offer.  The weather is ideal for running, hiking, biking, and general outdoorsiness.  In fact, April is Bike Fest presented by the Living Streets Alliance, and there are activities and events going on across town throughout the month.  Below you’ll find six of my favorite Tucson events in April, ending with what I consider the highlight of Bike Fest. Continue reading Six Things to Do Around Tucson in April

Detecting and Fixing a Leaky Toilet

Detecting and Fixing a Leaky Toilet

Water leaking from a toilet is not only a drain on the pocketbook but can also lead to premature wear of your toilet’s internals.

To check to see if your toilet might be leaking:

  1. Open the top of the tank and add some red food coloring to the water.
  2. Come back an hour later and open the toilet seat to see if the water in the bowl has a pink/red tinge. If it does, then you’ll need to replace the flapper in your tank.

Replace the flapper in your tank:Detecting and Fixing a Leaky Toilet

  1. Shut off the water valve into the toilet.
  2. Take off the tank lid.
  3. Flush the toilet to drain the water from the tank
  4. Soak up any excess water as necessary.
  5. Disconnect the flush chain from the lever and slide the old flapper up and out over the overflow tube.
  6. Replace it with a new flapper.
  7. Reconnect the lever.
  8. Turn the water back on.

Some toilet internals differ slightly.

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Tucson Named #1 Best City to Buy a Home

Forbes recently named Tucson as the #1 Best City To Buy A Home and it’s likely to make an impact in continuing our recovery. That’s quite an honor to receive although not too surprising with our great weather and excellent buying conditions. Among the statistics cited by Forbes were the Median List Price ($170,000), Inventory Level (6,600), Median Days on Market (86), Price Drop From Peak (45.1%), and Unemployment Rate (7.8%). Any positive news and publicity for the area in general is a positive sign and especially from such a high profile publication like Forbes. Here’s the link to the article: The Best Cities To Buy A Home Right Now.

2014 Mid-Year State of the Market

Each month Long Realty produces the industry leading Housing Reports which you can find online here at TeamWoodall.com. One of the best features of the Housing Reports is that they’re hyper-local, with statistics and summaries about specific areas of town and communities. However, every so often Long Realty also compiles special reports that take a broader look at the housing market across Arizona. Recently released was one such report titled the 2014 Mid-Year State of the Market. This report details with graphs and summaries the larger picture of housing across the major markets in Arizona. This broader analysis is good in seeing the overall trends which have developed and further help contrast mainstream media reporting of Arizona by distinguishing the various markets within the state. We think you’ll enjoy a quick look at this special report and as always contact us with any questions.

August Housing Reports Are Live!

December '13 Updated Housing Report Web ImageLong Realty’s Housing Reports for the month of August are now live on TeamWoodall.com. Also out this month is another special Mid-Year State of the Market for 2014. This report details trends and statistics for Tucson, Phoenix, and outlying cities as well. Be sure and take a look at this informative report which essentially demonstrates the continued stabilization of our housing market in Arizona. If you know of a friend who isn’t yet receiving these monthly Housing Reports automatically through email then be sure to have them contact us. We’ve continued to receive excellent feedback on the utility of these Housing Reports being not only informative but easy to read as well.

Monsoon Season Preparation

Lightning PictureMonsoon season is officially in its fourth day of the 2014 season here in Arizona. Prior to 2008 the monsoon season didn’t start until we’d reach a technical measurement for three consecutive days, however to simplify things the National Weather Service now simply runs the season from June 15th through September 30th. So while we have “started” the season there hasn’t really been any activity of note yet. Prior to the storms hitting there are some tips and best practices which can help minimize your risk of damage and have you prepared for any potential power outages. Now is the time to prepare before we get into the heart of the storm season. Here are some suggestions:

  • Check the condition of your roof and look for damaged tiles.  Have any damaged tiles replaced to help protect the felt which is actually “drying in” your roof.
  • Look for damaged flashing and seal pipes, vents, and skylights which may need some attention.
  • Clear scuppers of debris on flat roofs and verify overall condition of your flat roof.  Re-coating a built up roof is a normal maintenance item every five years or so.
  • Make sure your landscape grading slopes away from the house.
  • Thin out trees near the house and stake any newer trees if necessary to protect against high winds.
  • Use surge protectors to protect important electronic devices within your home.
  • Replace flashlight batteries in all your handheld flashlights.  It’s also a good idea to have access to some candles & matches.
  • If the power does go out don’t open your refrigerator or freezer unless you’re in the act of moving their contents.  Typically food will stay ok for at least an hour.

These are just a few suggestions to help protect your home from the monsoon weather.  Tree damage is one of the most common issues other than damage to roofs or leaks in homes.   Don’t overlook this landscape maintenance in order to preserve your property.

June Housing Reports LIVE!

December '13 Updated Housing Report Web ImageFor all the latest local Tucson area Housing Reports visit: http://teamwoodall.com/real-estate-information/local-housing-statistics. As always Team Woodall has these latest stats out immediately each month so check out your neighborhood to stay updated on your micro-local real estate stats. Also remember if you’d like to receive them automatically emailed to you every month just let us know! These reports come out the second week of each month and are full of useful information and easy to read graphs as well. We always find the price banded information particularly useful for buyers and sellers to see what’s happening at their price point.

M Club Takes Over at Stone Canyon

A deal that has been in the works for awhile was finally completed last week as the group headed by PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson took over The Stone Canyon Club. A private golf club and community in Oro Valley, Stone Canyon’s club had been in voluntary bankruptcy as its previous ownership had run into financial difficulty. This takeover by the M Club should help stabilize the community moving forward and Phil Mickelson’s name recognition should bring some additional exposure. However, while some are hoping for real estate values to climb after this news the likelihood of that is very slim. There remains a surplus of inventory in the luxury market throughout Tucson and Oro Valley which will likely keep pricing at the highest end soft. What this news may do is spur some activity from those who had been holding off a purchase in Stone Canyon until the club’s future was resolved.

Another possible impediment to real estate sales in Stone Canyon may be one of the required conditions in the M Club’ acquisition. This term was an amendment to the CC&Rs which now mandates any new transfer of property ownership (lots and homes) will necessitate the buyer joining the club as at least a Sports Member. This means an expense of currently a $5,000 initiation fee up front with a monthly obligation of $275. Now those planning to join anyway won’t be affected but it is another barrier to ownership for some as the HOA fees of $427/quarter to the Stone Canyon Association and $72/quarter to the master Rancho Vistoso Association are still in place. That means even those looking just for a lot to build on later will need to pay the $5,000 initiation and $5,296 a year. This mandatory membership is in an effort to stabilize the club and make it at least break even. All existing owners were “grandfathered” in and not required to join.

Overall this news is very positive for the club since the last owners were set to turn off the water and effectively shut down the club. In fact a voluntary fund was collected from the members months ago to raise $600,000 to pay the outstanding water bill. Ironically while Mickelson’s ownership of the club was hoped to bring publicity to the club that will benefit it, the first piece of news to break almost immediately after the closing was Phil being questioned by government officials into a potential insider trading case. Assuming that news is past in short order the future for Stone Canyon should be brighter. Several new developments are being planned within the community which should further help establish positive momentum.

If you have any interest in Stone Canyon real estate contact Team Woodall for an in-depth review of all the available options.

May Housing Reports Live!

The Long Realty May Housing Reports are now LIVE on TeamWoodall.com. Anyone signed up for automatic email reports should be receiving their updates today, Monday, May 12th. The news is fairly mixed depending upon area but a few common threads seen in many of them is a rise in inventory levels compared to a year ago reflecting our more balanced market today, but also an increase in the average sales price as well. This meshes with the more “typical” market that we are likely to see for the remainder of 2014. Let’s hope that’s the case as we could used some predictable, steady growth rather than big swings one way or the other. Check out all your area here: http://teamwoodall.com/real-estate-information/local-housing-statistics/

Closing Up a Home for the Summer

This time of year many Tucson area homeowners begin the process of packing up belongings and returning to their summer homes in cooler climates. However, packing your belongings is just the start of a longer list of items which should be done around your home to make sure it’s well taken care of when you return in the Fall. Keep in mind these recommendations below are simply suggestions and quite general in nature. Different homes have various types of systems which may need particular care, so check with manufacturers or specialists as needed. Some of the items below may need a little more advance preparation than others too.  Without further ado here is our list of reminders to consider:

  • Arrange for mail, newspapers, and any regular deliveries to be stopped or forwarded to your summer residence.
  • Contact utility providers like telephone, cable/satellite TV, trash, water, etc. and put your service on hold or some utility companies have seasonal/vacation programs.
  • Check with your local police department to see if they offer any watch programs (Oro Valley notably does offer their Darkhouse Program – Contact @ 520-229-5080).
  • Place your phone on call forwarding if you have a landline within the home.
  • If you don’t have a landscaper then do a good pruning before leaving on vacation so the yard isn’t overgrown on your return.  Also spray pre-emergent to limit weeds.
  • Houseplants should be given to neighbors or take them on the trip to your summer home.  Without attention they likely won’t be alive if left inside.
  • Either take valuables with you or put them away in a safe deposit box while you’re gone for the summer.
  • Cover pools and hot tubs as applicable and make sure your filtering system is still running but heating systems can be shut off.  Make sure a service will look after it.
  • Take in all patio furniture that is plastic, wood, or has cloth cushions to keep it from the damaging sunshine.  Typically a good storage spot would be your garage.
  • Go through your pantry & refrigerator before leaving.  Throw away anything that will spoil and seal up tightly other products to keep moisture and bugs from getting in.
  • If you’re leaving your refrigerator on during the summer, then make sure it’s not too empty as that does draw more energy to cool an empty refrigerator.  Turn off the icemaker too and empty the ice tray.  If you’re turning off the refrigerator then empty it out and open the doors to promote circulation.
  • Replace batteries in fire alarms, thermostats, and other household appliances that are important just in case.
  • Check soft water systems for appropriate instructions on extended departures from the home.  At the least make sure you’re supplies are stockpiled.
  • You can most likely turn off the main water valve leading into your house as long as no appliances need water inside and the drip irrigation system still receives water.
  • If you store a vehicle in the garage go ahead and disconnect the battery or otherwise you could get a battery tender.
  • It’s a good idea to keep your pest service coming for exterior service and to check for any signs of pack rats or termites.
  • Turn the A/C up to whatever level you feel comfortable, but we don’t recommend going higher than 85 degrees if possible.
  • Unplug appliances, TVs, computers, and any other electronics that don’t need to be used over the summer.  This will reduce electric bills and help prevent damage from any power surges that might occur thanks to our monsoon lightning storms.
  • You can likely turn off natural gas to the home unless any systems in your particular home will need it over summer.
  • Shut off or put your water heater on the lowest setting, often called vacation mode.
  • Close all of your blinds and drapes to keep the heat out of your home and protect furniture from being damaged by the sunlight.
  • Turn off your ceiling fans throughout the home and on any patios.
  • Open doors throughout the home to help facilitate air flow.
  • Ask a neighbor, friend, or hire a service to come check on the interior of the house periodically.
  • Do a detailed walk through your home to check for other systems or appliances that might need attention while you’re gone.  Homes vary and may have unique items that need more attention when you’re not there or in hotter temperatures.

Hopefully these recommendations help in your checklist of items to do before leaving for the summer. At least it may spur your thought process to think through your particular situation and what’s relevant in your household. Some of these items may not apply as well so use your own filter. Plus, some people leave for a shorter period of time like 3 months while others leave for 6+ months so situations will vary. Please let us know if you have any questions and we hope those folks leaving for the summer have a wonderful time.