Monday, September 21, 2009

House Hunting in Tucson AZ...are there really good deals out there?

Sept 21, 2009

Bruce and I have looked at more than 20 homes over the last two weeks here in Tucson and yes there are deals to be had, but most of these need work or they are high-end homes, >600K now being sold at 400K or lower. The homes in the 200K range are being gobbled up pretty fast but the homes over 400K are now in the 200K range and really need work so they are sitting...and sitting. These bank repos, short sales and foreclosure homes may have been previously occupied by irresponsible owners that got into a home for $500USDs and had no problem walking way....from what we hear sometimes with the fixtures.

We've seen large 2500sq.ft homes with pools badly neglected, floors stained, doors falling off and the roofs....some need total replacing. We've visited homes that were on the market for 800K in 2006 - 2007 and now the banks are asking 400K. We saw one home today and they wanted 1.2 mil in 2006, someone took out a loan for 840K in 2007, the bank bought it at auction in Jan 2009 for 577K. It's a straw bale home with shoddy workmanship, Formica counter tops and cheap cabinets on one of the most beautiful 5 acre lots in west Tucson. If they would take 100K for it, I'd have to think about it. We have seem some high-end homes with multiple loans that are in good shape and well cared for but you can't help but feel sorry for the owners that got themselves in the "slave-to-your-home" mess in the 2005-2007 time-frame and now they have to step down with a new bad credit history.

For Bruce and I, steppin' down is easy...we rent nice places and in the interim, live out of the van...if the weather is cool enough.

On a lighter note. This is actual raw, archived footage from our Soul Train days.

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And more rare dancing footage. Hey, we had to make a living:

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Heading West Once Again....

Sept 10, 2009

The last week in San Cristobal was spent with my cousin Roy. He brought two large suitcases of medical supplies for Sergio with a street value of over $1000USDs. MedShare collects unused medical supplies from various hospitals, ambulatory surgery facilities and clinics. For a $75 donation Roy packed 50# of supplies. The mother load overwhelmed me with joy, plus Roy was not charged by the airlines for this treasure he hauled from SFO. Muchissimas gracias mi primo!

West Texas.

Home sweet home.

Possibly contains unwanted guests.

Bruce had been waiting for my return to Dallas for 10 days. Hence, 60 hours later after brief family visits, we loaded up the smallest U-Haul trailer and headed west. Even with the small amount we stored (4x4x3')we wondered why do we have so much stuff??...I felt better knowing I kept most of my medical books, photos, slides, tennis clothing and our favorite cooking pots. Of course golf clubs and the 3rd captains' chair from the van took up space too. The stuff would have fit in the van but our storage space was shared with a few Texas they may have hitched a ride to the desert and we'll softly put them to sleep the next storage space.

Moonrise Las Cruces, NM.

So, we're now in Tucson and once again luck found us a paradise in the desert to rent until the end of December...pending finding a home, if this is where we want to live for the next several years. Bruce has always loved the desert and wanted to live here, I however, have always resisted. But after keeping him in the PNW w/9 mos of rain/yr - for 7 years - it's his turn to choose a place w/9mos of good weather/yr. Another factor is my desire to return to work......albeit part-time. My US medical networks and skills will benefit greatly in Chiapas.

One of Bruce's most prized possessions is his FlowBee. He swears he's saved hundreds of thousands of pesos with this magical invention.

We found a 1bd/1bth home w/pool, backs up to a wash with hiking trails nearby...views of sunrise and sunset.

Before arriving to Tucson (again), and Bruce educated on the economy data w/real estate, the financial state of many ppl and the country, we figured we're in the drivers seat and we can pick and choose the desert home of our dreams. Either the country is in denial about the debt/financial crisis or we're in denial. Ppl are still asking 2005-2007 prices for their homes. There are foreclosures and a huge inventory but what they are asking seems too high for mediocre homes. It's looking like we'll need to spend close to 400K for the home we want....for just the 2 of us! Nothing fancy, just a 2bd/bath open air home with a view on an acre of land.

Pool and mountain views from the back porch of our rental

Our rental backs up to Agua Caliente Wash where lots of animals roam

Fortunately, we're in no hurry to do anything and don't mind just hanging out. We'll enjoy the weather, sunsets/sunrises, the views, hiking, tennis and sitting under the patio with the beckoning pool...til the end of the year.

Pet sitting for the land lady is a plus.