Su Swanne, Realtor – GRI, CSHP, SRES
Graduate, Realtor Institute
Certified Senior Housing Professional
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Empower Your Move!
I recently ordered new business cards that reflect the focus of my business – Empowering Seniors to take the steps to fulfilling their lifestyle needs. Whether that be downsizing, moving into a Senior Living Community, or letting go of material things that no longer serve them, my goal is to provide information that can help them with decision-making. While I still want folks to “Make Yourself at Home in Tucson”, I also want them to be empowered to step into a new life situation.
A Word About Real Estate in Tucson
It’s fair to say that the majority of people researching for a new home do it online; Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and other websites offer lots of information about what to look for, tips of all sorts, and potential home values. I want to offer a word of caution. The information about the estimated value of a home, yours or one you’d like to buy, is just that – estimated.
I offer a complimentary consult about your home to understand your needs and concerns about either selling your current home or buying a new one. And I provide current local real estate market information. You can trust me to provide you with a realistic picture of what you can expect.
Did you know that MOST sellers initially feel that their home is worth a lot more than the market will support? Generally, if a home is priced right it will sell reasonably soon. It’s when the price is not in line with the existing market that it may take longer, perhaps requiring a reduction in price. Then, people wonder what’s wrong with it. When you work with a knowledgeable Realtor you have a better chance of receiving full offers at the right price.
You can find information about the market in your area by going to my website. Then when you’re ready for that consult, Contact Me!
A Word About Seniors
This week the HOPE class about hoarding began. It’s a class for recovery from hoarding. Registration for the class was on Feb. 5; the class itself began for 10 weeks on Feb 12. In the future the subject of Hoarding will be one of the seminars I’m creating. Stay tuned.
The newly-published Winter-Spring edition of the SPOTLIGHT guide for Seniors is being distributed throughout Tucson in various locations; doctor offices, hospitals, places where Seniors hangout. This hard-copy guide offers information about home care services, senior living communities, elder law, placement services, hearing, Alzheimer’s and memory resources, and many more. It is also available online and by mobile app. See my ad on page 49!
A “Granny Flat” by any other name – They can be called “guest cottages”, accessory apartments, in-law suites, caregiver dwellings, or tiny houses. With the growth of the Senior population needing affordable, independent housing, close to their families, there is once again pressure on municipalities around the country to change regulations for “ADUs” (Accessory Dwelling Units). For more information about this type of housing for Seniors, read this article on the Senior Real Estate Specialist website. Or watch this video on YouTube. And to see what’s happening in Arizona check out this blog.
A Word About Me
I have been busy listing properties – two duplexes, a home in Rita Ranch and coming soon, the counterpart of the 6 acres for sale in Sahuarita that I included in last month’s update. The property is a three bedroom, three bath house on three acres. It also has a one-car garage and a 4-car garage.The two properties can be sold separately or together. If you are looking for a home with acreage in the country, and a place to work on your special projects, this might be for you – a total of 9 acres with house and several large outbuildings suitable for hobbies, an artist studio, and possible income potential, all for $209,000.
Open House 7722 S Trumpet Vine Avenue – Rita Ranch – This Sunday, February 17 between 1 and 4 p.m. during Long Realty’s “Open House Blitz” for listings in Rita Ranch.
6446 W Pinto Rd, Sahuarita – 6 acres with several large outbuildings and liveable trailers
13231 W Snyder Hill Rd – 41 acres vacant land near Three Points
1505 N Yavapai Rd – Duplex – Two three bedroom, two bath units on West Side
A Word About Reverse Mortgages
Again this month I have invited mortgage lender and expert on Reverse Mortgages, Cindy McKearney, to offer information on this often misunderstood mortgage option for Seniors over 62 years old.
In the early 1960s, when reverse mortgage loans were first introduced, they did not have any government programs backing it. It wasn’t until 1983 when the Senate approved the proposal of having the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure reverse mortgages. The Federal Housing Administration has been guaranteeing HECM mortgages ever since it was passed into law in 1988 by President Reagan. Since then FHA and HUD have made many amendments to the program to improve consumer protections. It is my job to give you the best education available with the most up-to-date facts so you can make a well-informed decision. Here are some of the most common myths I have heard:
MYTH: Reverse mortgages are too expensive.
FACT: There have been changes in FHA’s HECM reverse mortgage program in recent years that reduced a borrower’s costs. While any reverse mortgage is still more expensive than a traditional mortgage, they may provide you with more options than a traditional mortgage, such as no mortgage payments and a growth option (growth applies to the credit line’s unused funds). You must still continue to pay home expenses such as taxes and insurance, and maintain the home.
MYTH: Your home will be taken away when you pass away and the family loses the rights to the property.
FACT: Because the house is in your name, you or your heirs make the decision to sell or pay off the mortgage balance. If the mortgage balance is too high, the payoff is limited to the value of the house, and the remaining amount is paid by the FHA mortgage insurance fund. Remember that your heirs can always purchase the home for 95% of the appraised value or the mortgage balance, whichever is lower.
MYTH: I could lose my home and be forced to move.
FACT: As long as all loan terms are met, you cannot be forced to sell the home and/or move. Terms include living in the home as your primary residence, maintaining the home, and paying home expenses such as taxes and insurance.
MYTH: I will be giving up the deed to my home and I won’t own it anymore.
FACT: The deed always stays in your name and you have all the rights that you do now. You can sell it, remodel it, and keep any equity that is left when you move.
MYTH: A reverse mortgage loan should only be considered as a loan of last resort.
FACT: Many folks think a reverse mortgage can only be used when all other accounts and options are exhausted. While it is a great loan to add cash flow for a borrower 62 and better that has fallen on hard times (including potentially a foreclosure situation*), it should also be used earlier in retirement to avoid future problems by keeping the home safe with the retiree “aging in place.” *This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult an attorney for your specific situation..
MYTH: The safest thing is a house “free and clear.”
FACT: In the event of an extended nursing home stay or a lawsuit, all your home equity can be lost that you spent your whole life to create. A reverse mortgage can unlock that equity and allow you to manage it properly for the benefit of your family. Talk to your financial advisor about how a reverse mortgage can help you do this, including helping you pay for longer-term expenses such as medical and/or nursing home expenses.
MYTH: My children could get stuck with a big mortgage debt if I live too long.
FACT: Your children can never be liable for any amount over the value of the home because the loan is guaranteed by the FHA Mortgage Insurance Fund (FHA/HUD).
MYTH: Your house must be debt-free to qualify for a reverse mortgage.
FACT: You can use a reverse mortgage to pay off a current mortgage provided the available FHA borrowing limit is high enough to cover your balance.
A Word About Events in Tucson
The annual Tucson Festival of Books event at the University of Arizona is March 2 and 3. Head on out to shop for books, meet authors, and enjoy the Tucson weather. Don’t forget to stop by the Toastmasters District 3 Booth 132 to learn about communication and leadership through Toastmasters International.
February 22-24, Tucson Quilter’s Guild 41st Annual Quilt Fiesta – Tucson Convention Center – Over 300 quilters’ creations, demonstrations, and quilt auctions. $10 at the door each day, $20 for all three days.