Welcome to the 1st Heritage Blog


March 19, 2015

5 Property Tax Questions You Need to Ask

When you are shopping for a home, you may not be thinking about property taxes, but you should. Twice each year a tax bill comes, and before it does, consider these questions. 


1.  What is the assessed value of the property? Note that assessed value is generally less than market value. Ask to see a recent copy of the seller's tax bill to help you determine this information. 


2. How often are properties reassessed and when was the last reassessment done? Generally taxes jump most significantly when a property is reassessed.


3. Will the sale of the property trigger a tax increase? Often the assessed value of the property may increase based on the amount you pay for the property. Is your tax bill based on a value that doesn’t exist any more?


4. Is the amount of taxes paid comparable to other properties in the area? If not, it might be possible to appeal the tax assessment and lower the rate?


5. Does the current tax bill reflect any special exemptions that you might not qualify for? For example, many tax districts offer reductions to those 65 or over.


For more information on how to appeal a tax bill yourself or to find the forms, click here 


#tucsonrealtor #tucsonpropertytax #localexpert


Posted in Home Buyers
Dec. 22, 2014

One Page Book - How to Change a Habit


How to Change a Habit: The One-Page Method

Preface: You are not aware that anything is wrong with your harmful habit. True, there was that one time...but you’d rather not think about that.  Your habit and you are a happy couple. 

“I can resist everything but temptation.”  ~ Oscar Wilde

“How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him.” ~ Frank Herbert

Chapter 1:  As a result of your habit, you get a figurative or literal kick in the backside. You think about changing.

 “We must embrace pain and welcome it as fuel for our journey.”  ~ Kenji Miyazawa

“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.”  ~ Spanish proverb

Chapter 2: You get a Big Idea. This inspiration could fuel the change you want to see in yourself! This is your personal motivator!

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” ~ Victor Hugo

“We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.” ~  Jim Rohn

Chapter 3: You make the decision to change.  

“(Y)ou only need one decisive act of free will to transform the course of your own life.” ~ Jill Ker Conway

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage -- pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically -- to say 'no' to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside.”   ~Stephen Covey

Chapter 4: You make a simple plan or choose a program to guide you as you change.  

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

"He who has a why can endure any how."  ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Chapter 5: You begin your change.

“To be in hell is to drift, to be in heaven is to steer.”  ~ George Bernard Shaw 

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”  ~ William James

Chapter 6: You stumble. You lapse into your old ways. You try again. You alter your plan. You find better support. You fall again. You get up again. You keep going.

"He who never makes mistakes never makes anything." ~ English proverb

“To be enlightened is to be without anxiety over imperfection.”  ~ Buddhist saying

“Courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the courage to move ahead despite despair.”     ~ Rollo May

Chapter 7: Time passes. You hang in there, working on your goal. It’s getting easier. Slowly a new habit, a better habit, takes shape.

“Discipline is remembering what you want.”  ~ David Campbell

"Energy and persistence conquer all things." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Chapter 8: Your new way of life has become second nature. You’ve improved your life, your health, or your relationships, probably all three. You did it! 

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” ~ Lao-tse

“I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.” ~ Pietro Aretino

Do you have a quote that has inspired you as you changed your life in some way? Share it in comments!




(c)  Meg Selig, 2012  Author of Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success(Routledge, 2009), the 232-page version of the one-page book above


Dec. 4, 2014

The Upside to Downsizing

The Upside to Downsizing

The latest craze in housing is no small feat. The tiny-house movement has taken downsizing to a whole new level. Build your own 150-square-foot haven for around $20,000 and say goodbye to your mortgage! Sounds great—as long as you don’t mind composting toilets and bumping elbows for the next few years.

Of course, you don’t have to go to these extremes to save a few bucks.

Most American families have plenty of room to size down without cramping their style. Consider the numbers: The average single-family home built in 2013 was nearly 2,600 square feet. You may not think that’s all too big until you look back at history. In 1950, the average home size was less than 1,000 square feet—and families were bigger back then. By those standards, today’s homeowners are living large!

Moving into a smaller home may feel like a step down, but a closer look reveals quite a few upsides.

Less Is More

One question we always hear when the topic of downsizing comes up is: “Where will I put all my stuff?” Here are a few ideas: your neighborhood yard sale, eBay, or Craigslist. That’s right—sell it and take that money to the bank, baby!

Sure, a smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep. Think of all the fun you could have if you didn’t have to polish your miniature unicorn collection every weekend. You just might find a whole new world outside your door!

Shrinking your square footage might mean your family has to gather around one TV at night instead of spreading out across three or four different rooms (Gasp!). But is more time with the ones you love really all that bad? It just might be the kick in the pants you need to spend more quality time together!

Is Downsizing Right for You?

Downsizing might not make sense in every situation, but it’s worth a look if saving money and simplifying life appeal to you.  We can help you determine what your home is worth and show you options for cutting costs down to size. A true pro knows what it takes to get top dollar for your current home and negotiate the best deal on a new one.

Ready to downsize but don’t know where to start? Call or email today and we can set up a time to talk about your options!

Nov. 20, 2014

Important Duties of a Buyer's Agent

Want To Know What A Buyer's Agent Is?

A real estate buyer’s agent represents the consumer who is purchasing a property in the transaction. This agent owes full responsibility and loyalty to the home buyer. He or she has solely the buyer’s best interests in mind throughout the entire transaction process. The agent is compensated at the close of escrow, and the fee is paid from the seller's proceeds, which have been paid to the seller, via the buyer's loan. 

There are many benefits to using a buyer’s agent. These agents will: 

  • Take some time to carefully evaluate the specific needs and wants of a hombuyer and locate properties that fit those specifications.
  • Assist the buyer in viewing properties and either accompany the client on the showings or preview the properties on behalf of the client to insure that the identified specifications are met.
  • Research the selected properties to identify any problems or issues to help the consumer in making an informed decision prior to making an appropriate offer on the property.
  • Present the offer to the seller’s agent on behalf of the client.
  • Negotiate on behalf of the buyer to help obtain the property at the best possible price.
  • Review and explain all legal documents to their clients.
  • Recommend and assist in securing adequate financing.
  • Provide a list of potential qualified vendors such as movers, attorneys, home inspectors, etc.
  • Most importantly, when working with a buyer’s agent, the home buyer will know and trust that they are fully represented throughout the entire transaction process.



Choose your agent wisely. Working with a full-time professional real estate agent is a must. Ask questions of your agent. Find out how knowledgeable he or she is about houses currently for sale in your price range and also of houses that have recently sold. Can your agent recommend a good lender that has the reputation of excellent customer service and low rates? Does your agent ask questions of you to have a full understanding of what you are looking for to help you get the most home for the money?


#buyeragenttucson #1stheritagerealty #buyatucsonhome #knowyourstuff #lovemyrealtor

Posted in Home Buyers
Oct. 27, 2014

10 Interesting Facts about Thanksgiving

10 Interesting Thanksgiving Facts
[Source: Today I found out]

Sept. 29, 2014

What it Means to Have a Balanced Market

What it Means to Have a Balanced Real Estate Market

The Tucson Market is Balanced ~ What does that mean for you?

If you have to move you have to move.  Sometimes it doesn't matter what's happening in the housing market because you're moving because it's time.  Other times, the market can certainly determine what the possibilities are.  

When it is a Buyer's Market then it is usually a better time to buy because there are more homes on the market to choose from, prices tend to decline and sellers are more willing to pay concessions on the buyer's behalf. 

In a Seller's Market it is a good time to sell because there are fewer homes on the market.  This pushes up demand and prices.  Buyers tend to be less picky and it is no longer necessary to 'sweeten a deal' by paying for buyer's costs and extras.

Now let's get to the Balanced Market, the best time to buy AND sell.  For people who have been 'stuck' in their homes because of the inability to sell and cover what they paid, this market can be a chance to get out of the house.  A lot more homeowners who would like to sell, will find that they can get a fair price and then also be able to purchase their next home with the equity from the sale.  Because they are not underselling (like they might in a buyer's market) and they wont over pay on their purchase (as could happen in a seller's market) they will gain and lose equally on both sides.  The value is in the difference between what they sell and what they will buy.  That makes this an excellent time to up-size, down-size, or relocate to that part of town you've always wanted to live in.


#tucsonrealtor #lovemyagent #buyeragent #1stheritagerealty #realestatetips #localexpert

Aug. 5, 2014

Pro-rations ~ Appraisal fees ~ Discount Points ~ Oh My!

Common Closing Costs for Buyers 

 Pro-rations ~ Appraisal fees ~ Discount Points ~ Oh My!

It is really important to know! How much is it going to cost to buy a home?  Not the monthly payment, you probably already have a good idea of what that will be.  What you need to be sure of is how much CASH will you need to close. What are closing costs?  Which of these are included in your loan, and if they are not, when do I pay and how much?  Great questions!  Your lender must disclose a good faith estimate of all settlement costs, but this is not a complete list.  You will also have title & escrow fees and possibly a home warranty payment or commissions due. A check to cover your closing costs will probably have to be a cashier's check. In Arizona, the title company conducting your closing will gather all the required information and be able to tell you the total needed to close on your home purchase.  They will generate a HUD statement for your review prior to closing which outlines all the fees.  These may include:

  • Down payment.
  • Loan origination fees.
  • Points, or loan discount fees you pay to receive a lower interest rate.
  • Appraisal fee.
  • Credit report.
  • Private mortgage insurance premium.
  • Insurance escrow for homeowners insurance, if being paid as part of the mortgage.
  • Property tax escrow, if being paid as part of the mortgage. Lenders keep funds for taxes and insurance in escrow accounts as they are paid with the mortgage, then pay the insurance or taxes for you.
  • Deed recording fees.
  • Title insurance policy premiums.
  • Survey.
  • Inspection fees, building inspection, termites, etc.
  • Notary fees.
  • Pro-rations for your share of HOA dues and property taxes.*


*A Note About Pro-rations. Because such costs are usually paid on either a monthly or yearly basis, you might have to pay a bill for services used by the sellers before they moved. Pro-ration is a way for the sellers to pay you back or for you to pay them for bills they may have paid in advance. For example, the HOA usually sends a bill each month for the previous month. But assume you buy the home on the 6th of the month. You would owe the HOA for only the days from the 6th to the end for the month.  The seller would owe for the first 5 days. The bill would be prorated for the number of days in the month, and then each person would be responsible for the days of his or her ownership. 


1st Heritage Realty

5501 N Swan Rd Tucson AZ 85718



#tucsonrealtor #lovemyagent #buyeragent #1stheritagerealty #realestatetips #localexpert  #closingcosts


Aug. 5, 2014

Lender Ear Bender

Will it Cost Extra to Pay Early?

That's not a question you'd expect to hear yes to...but you might.  It's time to bend your lender's ear!

Does the idea of talking to a lender about borrowing money to buy a home intimidate you?  Having a list of questions can help.  Even if you are not sure what some of these questions mean,  your lender will.  It can open up a conversation about important aspects of your home loan that you may not have thought of, or may not be aware of. What you are trying to do is get the best loan for YOU and the type of home you plan to purchase.  These days there are many different types of loans and they each have different features, benefits and downsides.  Your potential lender should be excited to talk about these things and be open to discussing different scenarios.  They will be asking lots of questions of you and so it's a good idea to have some of your own.  Here are some good ones:


1. What are the most popular mortgage loans you make? Why?


2. Which type of mortgage plan do you think would best for us? Why?


3. Are your rates, terms, fees, and closing costs negotiable?


4. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so how much will it cost and how long will it be required?

NOTE: Private mortgage insurance is usually required if you make less than a 20-percent down payment.


5. Who will service the loan? Your bank or another company?


6. What escrow requirements do you have?


7. How long is your loan lock-in period (the time that the quoted interest rate will be honored)? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if they drop during this period?


8. How long will the loan approval process take?


9. How long will it take to close the loan?


10. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying the loan?


#tucsonrealtor #lovemyagent #buyeragent #1stheritagerealty #realestatetips #localexpert

Posted in Financing a Home
Aug. 5, 2014

Your Agent Negotiates for Your Best Interests


Your Agent Negotiates for Your Best Interests

When you have your own agent, you can rest assured that they will negotiate for YOUR best interests. Initially, you probably think price, right? Of course, getting the house you want at the price you are willing to pay is important, but there is more.  Once you have a contract on your house, you will do an inspection. Many times, once the inspections are complete, you will want or need to request some repairs.  Your agent will help you with this.  Once you have discussed it they will present the BINSR (Buyer Inspection Notice and Seller's Response) to the seller.  This form outlines any items you would like the seller to address before you agree to close on the purchase. Additionally, if circumstances change; you need more time, or there are any issues with the house or the closing, a good buyer's agent will be able to negotiate extensions or even a quicker closing.



#tucsonrealtor #lovemyagent #buyeragent  #1stheritagerealty #realestatetips #localexpert

Posted in Home Buyers
Aug. 5, 2014

5 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

5 First-time Homebuyer Mistakes

Mistake 1: Not Budgeting for Your First Home Loan

Homeownership may seem like a wise alternative to renting and if you're like most people and need to take out a loan to buy a house. Take a good, hard look at your income and expenses to find out the truth about what you can comfortably afford to pay every month for the next 30 years.

If you have not created a budget this will be your first step.  Creating a budget consists of listing all your income, and expenses then determining what you can afford on a monthly basis. Keep in mind just a month of income and expenses will only be a snapshot of your financial picture. Be sure to also track you non-living expenses like vacations, auto repair and entertainment.  Determine if you can cut out non essential expenses which will help increase your monthly income towards your new home.

Mistake 2: Not Checking Your Own Credit

A three-digit summary of your creditworthiness may hold you back from buying your perfect home. If you have any negative marks on your credit from the past, it could mean you're going to have a very hard time securing a good loan during your house hunt.

Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that is meant to represent how credit-worthy you are.  This information about your payment history and accounts will be used to calculate your credit score and can offer it to a lender who will determine if you qualify for a home purchase.  While you can’t change the past there's a good chance your report has an error on it right now. One study found that about 79 percent of reports contain some wrong information, and as many as 25 percent have seriously damaging errors.

Mistake 3: Not Understanding Housing Market Trends in Your Area

The housing market isn't static -- it is always fluctuating. It can favor those looking to buy – commonly known as a buyers’ market. Other times it may point in the sellers’ direction – Seller’s market. Both these trends are driven by the simple formula of supply and demand. Low supply increases demand -- and prices -- to favor sellers. On the other side, when supply is high and there are more houses on the market than buyers, this favors buyers.

Keeping track of all these factors can be daunting, we recommend seeking help from a qualified real estate agent who follows the market. Their expertise can be a valuable resource in purchasing your next home. They will be able to provide you with the market research which will make life easier for you to determine which market you are in, and proceed accordingly.

Researching housing trends can give you a leg up in your home search. Be sure you know which market you are in to make the right choice in your negotiation strategy.

Mistake 4: Not Getting a Preapproved Home Loan

This is by far the most important mistake you do not want to make. Many home buyers search for the home they want first, without thinking about the loan process.  It's easy to fall into this trap especially if you've already researched your credit. This can lead you down the wrong path.

Once you make an offer on a home and begin negotiating, sellers will want to know if you are pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan. In some instances sellers may not consider you at all unless you've got a pre-approval letter from your lender. In addition, many realtors will not  even show a property to a buyer without a lender pre-approval.

Contact a reputable lender and ask them to explain the process for getting pre-approved vs pre-qualified. These are vastly different process and can make or break a purchase offer.

Mistake 5: Falling In Love with a House

Falling in love with a house could be your worst financial mistake.

Think about how you will feel once the honeymoon phase's over and you are living in the home day in and day out. Consider spending as much time as you can in the house, assuming the home is vacant, to understand the home's idiosyncrasies now, and not develop buyer's remorse when you must deal climbing stairs or creaky floors.

It’s been said, falling in love with a house will very likely blind you to its financial value you may be led astray and offer a bid that far exceeds the true value of the home, not ideal for getting a good investment.  And, if you expose your infatuation to the seller or the seller's agent, they'll realize you'll be willing to overpay.

The ideal strategy, when buying a house, is to keep a cool head and an open mind, and always be prepared for the worst.

Posted in Home Buyers