Tucson Events this Weekend!


Holiday Traditions of the West

Fri. 12/23, 10am-5pm

Old Tucson

The Western Heritage Foundation presents a holiday-themed event that celebrates the Christmas Season with historic western flair at Old Tucson. $10.95-$17.95


The Mini Time Machine Museum:

Wee Winter Wonderland

Fri. 12/23, 9am-4pm

The Mini Time Machine Museum

The museum lobby and galleries are decorated for the season, as well as fifteen miniatures decorated to depict holiday celebrations around the world and throughout time. $6-$9


Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Radio Play

Fri. 12/23, 7:30pm

Live Theatre Workshop

Live Radio Play puts its stamp on the classic story through dozens of character voices and live Foley sound effects. $15-$20



Fri. 12/23, 6pm-8pm

Reid Park Zoo

ZOOlights features jingles bells, twinkling lights, lighted animal sculptures, live entertainment, and visits with Santa. $5.50-$9.50


American Mineral Heritage:

The Harvard Collection

Fri. 12/23, 9am-5pm

Flandrau Science Center

The exhibit includes a trove of stunning, historical specimens, rare golds, azurites, and tourmalines prized for their beauty and historical significance. $10-$16


Butterfly Magic at the Gardens

Fri. 12/23, 7:30am-4:30pm

Tucson Botanical Gardens

Tucson Botanical Gardens presents a live tropical butterfly exhibit. View colorful butterflies fluttering and marvel at nature’s flying flowers. $7.50-$13


The Nutcracker Ballet

Fri. 12/23 & Sat. 12/24, times vary

Tucson Music Hall

Ballet Tucson’s wonderful, traditional version of the holiday classic features swirling snowflakes, marching toy soldiers, giant mice, and candy confections. $26-$58


Season of Light Planetarium Show

Fri. 12/23 & Sat. 12/24, times vary

Flandrau Science Center

This annual family light show weaves together the astronomy of the Winter Solstice with the history of light festivals across times and cultures in celebration of the spirit of renewal. $10-$14


Modernist Ceramics

Fri. 12/23 & Sat. 12/24, 10am-4pm

DeGrazia Gallery

Modernist Ceramics is a retrospective of the functional and fine art ceramics featuring regional and rustic mid-century style. $5-$8


Winterhaven Festival of Lights

Fri. 12/23 – Sun. 12/25, 6pm-10pm


For 67 years, the residents of Winterhaven have hosted the annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights as their gift to the community.

Ton’s Going on This Weekend in Tucson

Happy Veteran’s Day on Friday!

Lots’s going on this weekend in Tucson….

Loft Film Fest 2016

Fri. 11/11 – Sun. 11/13, times vary

Loft Cinemas

The Loft Cinemas provides an intimate and unique setting for film fan to experience hand-selected festival favorites from Cannes. $10-$125


Second Annual Tucson Comedy Arts Festival

Fri. 11/11 & Sat. 11/12, times vary

TIM Comedy Theater

A celebration of storytelling, improv comedy, and standup comedy acts from Tucson and around the country. $5


Gather: A Vintage Market

Fri. 11/11 – Sun. 11/13, 10am – closing varies

657 W St. Mary’s

Gather: A Vintage Market starts the holiday season with their November theme “Gather for the Holidays” including over 10 trees decorated with unique themes.


Valley Crafters Fall Show & Sale

Fri. 11/11 & Sat. 11/12, 9am – closing varies

San Pedro Valley United Methodist Church

Valley Crafters offers a wonderful variety of Arts & Crafts, gifts, and sweet treats.


“Beauty and the Beast” & “L’Enfant et les Sortileges”

Fri. 11/11 – Sat. 11/12, 7:30pm

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona Opera Theater presents two operas, “Beauty and the Beast” by Vittorio Gianni and “L’Enfant et les Sortileges” by Maurice Ravel. $20


A Tucson Thanksgiving –

Demonstration Class & Dinner

Fri. 11/11, 5:30pm

The Carriage House

Chef Janos Wilder offers one of his most popular classes featuring some of his favorite thanksgiving dishes in his signature southwestern style. $80


A Salute to America

Fri. 11/11, 7pm

The Gaslight Music Hall

This Veteran’s Day we honor our brave men and women in uniform by celebrating the lyrics and melodies that make our country great. $30


34th Annual Hats Off to Heroes Tribute to America’s Veterans

Sat. 11/12, 10am-10pm

Reid Park

This free event will have military displays and veteran resource centers, food truck round, live music, and a fireworks display.


Sahuarita Pecan Festival

Sat. 11/12, 9am-5pm

Green Valley Pecan Company

The 8th Annual Sahuarita Pecan Festival includes food, arts and crafts music, dancing, and family-friendly activities.


Sundays in the Garden, Fall Concert Series

Sun. 11/13, 1:30pm-3pm

Tohono Chul Park

This Fall Concert Series showcases a variety of local musicians and music types.


Youth Blues Fest

Sun. 11/13, 5pm-8pm

Monterey Court Studio Galleria and Cafe

Youth Groups and individuals will be performing from many of the major schools in the area.

Pathway to Purchase Down Payment Assistance Program for City of Tucson starting Monday, July 18


Pathway to Purchase Down Payment Assistance Program for City of Tucson starting Monday, July 18


The new down payment assistance program, Pathway to Purchase, is scheduled to begin taking application this coming Monday, 7/18 at 1 PM.


This program is available for only the city of Tucson and South Tucson. Here are the basics:


Income limit: $92,984 annual income

Sales price limit: $371,936 maximum

Debt ratio: 45% maximum

Minimum credit score : 640

Max LTV: 95%

Down payment assistance: 10% of sales price up to maximum of $20,000. 0% interest, no payments, forgiven after 5 years

Loan type: Conventional, 30 year fixed rate, owner occupied

Reduced mortgage insurance cost

Eligible properties: existing single family, townhouses or eligible condos

Buyers do not need to be first time homebuyers but cannot have ownership interest in any principal residence at the time of closing

Borrowers must complete Homebuyer Education Course

Current interest rate: 4%

Solar Power – to Lease or Not to Lease….that is the question.

In Arizona solar power is a very attractive alternate power solution. As Real Estate Agents we are often asked about how a solar system affects the value of a home. The answer is ‘it depends’.

It depends on if you own the system or lease the system. If you own the system, studies have shown that houses with solar systems increase the value 3-4% (depending upon age and condition of the system) over similar homes in the area.

However, when it comes to leasing solar systems it may not add any value to a home. In fact, we have seen solar leases make selling a home more difficult.

Some solar leases allow the seller to take the system with them to the new house (with some costs to do the transfer of equipment), or to pre-pay the lease. Those options may make solar leases more viable.

Sometimes the solar lease is a good deal – saves more money than if you didn’t have a solar system. We have seen studies that say the average person saves 10% to 15% on your electric bill after you calculate in your lease payment.
Keep in mind the solar lease companies are making money also. So obviously you are sharing a portion of your savings as their profit. A buyer client recently told us that he looked at solar leasing and was told he could pre-pay the 20 year lease and save 50% of the total costs. That pre-payment would be a lot of savings in lease payments and ultimately in electricity costs for someone that could afford to pre-pay the system.

The advantage of a pre-paid lease is the on-going maintenance of the system is covered. If you own a solar system outright you would have to pay for any maintenance. With the lease the equipment disappears after 20 years and with owning the equipment it would remain. (But, would it be obsolete after 20 years?)

In Arizona, over the last few years, the utility companies have reduced the amount they pay for energy put back into the power grid from individual solar systems. So you pay full price for the power you use from the utility, but may only get paid a fraction of cost of power you put back into the grid from your solar system. The solar reimbursement rates are an on-going regulatory issue in Arizona.

Having a solar lease can make selling your home more difficult. This is because not only do you have to sell the home itself, but you have to sell the lease to the buyer.

Assuming a solar lease may make some marginal home buyer borrowers not qualify for their financing on the property. Most investor buyers consider solar leases something that cuts into their cash flow and not a positive.

On a recent transaction with a solar lease involved, the buyer didn’t want the system. The solar company wanted us to provide them the buyers contact info so they could contact them and ‘sell’ them the lease. Buyer ultimately didn’t want to be contacted and ended up cancelling out of the deal.

So ultimately, if you are considering leased solar be prepared for a potentially harder time to sell your home. If you can afford to purchase the system that may produce the most savings and the desirability of the home to buyers.

We do believe in solar and like that clean energy is produced from the sun — making a decision to install solar has to also make sense financially.

Five ways you can get earnest money back

No matter how much time you spend on researching and educating yourself about your home purchase, it’s hard to cover every detail. Here are a few tips for avoiding rookie mistakes with your first home purchase.

Earnest money is a deposit you pay when you make an offer on a home—it’s a way to show the seller that you mean business. Usually you can’t get it back, but there are several circumstances that allow you to recover your earnest money.

1. Appraisal contingency: With an appraisal contingency, you can recover your earnest money if the home is appraised for less than your offer. This gives you a better negotiating position—if the seller doesn’t agree to a lower price, you can get your earnest money back and walk away from the deal.

2. Inspection Contingency: It may be your dream home at the surface level, but an inspection could reveal major, major problems—such as issues with the foundation, or flood damage. In that case, you can get your money back if the seller doesn’t agree to fix the issues or agrees to lower the price.

3. The seller backs out: Obviously, if the seller changes their mind about the transaction—maybe they decide not to sell, you get your earnest money back. However, seller can not just change their mind – it would take mutual agreement.

4. Your house hasn’t sold (AKA Sale Contingency): Many buyers can’t afford a new home if they’re still financially responsible for their old one. In this case, you can work a sale contingency into the contract, and get your earnest money back if the home doesn’t sell soon enough.

5. Financing issues: Though there are some limits on financing contingencies, you can get your money back if you’re unable to get a loan.

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact me.