Archives for 2014

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER JULY/AUGUST 2014

Tips and trends for homeowners, buyers and sellers

THE GREAT outdoors

    If you’re thinking about taking a late summer trip with your friends or family, camping offers an affordable and fun option. It not only gives everyone a chance to unplug from their devices and spend some time focusing on each other and nature, but it has even been shown to help children deal with stress and decrease restlessness. This advice from Parents.com will help ensure your camping trip is fun and safe.
No campsite is complete without a fire, so get your whole family involved by sending them to collect wood. Smaller children can help by picking up small sticks and twigs or bark, while teens and adults can collect larger logs to be used as fuel.
Once the fire is roaring, you’re going to want to cook up some fun and delicious campfire treats. Beyond the classic s’mores, try skewering an unpeeled banana and cooking it on the fire the same way you would marshmallows. Once it’s soft, slice it down the middle, add your own treats like chocolate chips, and use a spoon to eat it. Quesadillas are another easy option: just wrap the uncooked quesadilla in foil and throw it in a cast iron pan or directly on the grill.
Of course, any time you’re in the wilderness and around fire, there is a chance for injury. Make sure you’re prepared to deal with these situations when they arise by packing an emergency supply kit. Include key items in the such as first-aid supplies, blankets, batteries, water, medication, flashlight, maps, and a compass or GPS.

CLEANING HOUSE

While cleaning may be one of the last things on your mind when you’re out in the sun having fun this summer, that doesn’t mean you can’t still take some steps to spruce up your house and prepare yourself for fall. With the following tips from Organizedhome.com, you can make your summer more pleasant and ensure the transition to fall goes smoothly.

Easy opening: You’ll be opening and closing sliding doors in your home many times this summer, and if the tracks are dirty, they’ll be more difficult to open. Using a degreasing all-purpose cleaner and a screwdriver covered with a rag, you can eliminate the grit. Simply spray the cleaner into the track, let it sit for a few minutes, and then run the rag through the track to pick up the dirt.

Stop the smell: When it’s really hot outside, a garbage can’s smell can get out of control. To neutralize this, clean the inside of your garbage can by rinsing it with a hose, spraying it with disinfectant and then repeating. Leave it upside down to dry and once you’re done, and use trash bags or liners to keep the inside of the can from retaining odor.

Take advantage of the season: Maintenance and cleaning businesses — like carpet cleaners, gutter services and window washers — are slow in the summer, so look for discounts on these services. Summer is not as busy for the furnace business, so scheduling maintenance for your HVAC system is a great idea. It’s easier to get the serviceman to your house, and you’ll be well prepared for the first cold fall night.

A MOVING experience

Moving is often a stressful experience, even when it goes well. While you may never have a great time boxing up your possessions and moving them to a new place, there are certainly steps you can take to make the experience as easy as possible. Here are a few tips from Styleathome.com that can help you save time and reduce your stress when moving.

CHOOSE WISELY: You will want to make sure whatever transportation you choose has enough room for all of your things, especially if the move is far enough that you only want to make one trip. Generally, the contents of a one-bedroom apartment will fit in a 16-foot cube truck, while two or three bedrooms usually fit in a 24- or 26-foot truck. If you’re moving a full house, you can also use a 24- or 26-foot truck, but if you have a lot of possessions, it might require two trips.

MAKE A PLAN: Before you put anything in a box or contact movers, create an itemized list of everything that should be done and follow it as you go. This will make the move easier for yourself and others who are helping you. If you’re using movers, you should also make an inventory as you pack, and check it when you unpack to make sure none of your items were lost.

COMMUNICATE: Once you have a plan, make sure your movers are aware of your requirements. The more information they have about the situation, the less time they will require and the more prepared they will be. If you’re moving into a condo or apartment, ask your landlord or building supervisor if there is anything you should know about moving into the building. For example, condos often have service elevators you can reserve for the move.

SAY YES TO CRS

Buying or selling a home can seem like an overwhelming task. But the right REАLTOR® can make the process easier — and more profitable.  А Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), with years of experience and success, will help you make smart decisions in a fast-paced, complex and competitive marketplace.
To earn the CRS Designation, REАLTORS® must demonstrate outstanding professional achievements — including high-volume sales — and pursue advanced training in areas such as finance, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NАTIONАL АSSOCIАTION OF REАLTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics.

Certified Residential Specialist

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT BUYING OR SELLING A HOME? PLEASE MENTION MY NAME.
This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or financial advice.
If you are currently working with another real estate agent or broker, it is not a solicitation for business.

Dale, Megan, Barbara Century 21 First Choice Realtors

Dale, Megan, Barbara
Century 21 First Choice
Realtors

803-802-7819

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

[schoolsearch city=”Fort Mill” state=”SC” groupby=”gradelevel” output=”table”]

[lme-module module=”market-activity” zip=”29708″]

 

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER MARCH/APRIL 2014

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

THE GREEN MILE

New light bulbs? Check. Thermostat lowered? Check. You’re working to be more energy-efficient, but how will you be green when it’s time to renovate or refresh your home? Learn what materials are good for the Earth — and even your health — with tips from Tree Hugger and the Environmental protection agency.

 

Paint Plus: Pick paint low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contain hazardous chemicals and are found in many household products. The standard for low-VOC is fewer than 250 grams per liter, and zero-VOC labels must have fewer than 5 grams per liter. Several brands offer a variety of colors and finishes, including Behr premium plus Enamel Low Luster, Benjamin Moore Natura, Old-Fashioned Milk paint, YOLO Colorhouse and Sherwin-Williams Harmony.

 

Floor Cure: Hardwood might last longer than carpet, which can contribute to poor air quality and end up in landfills. Find lumber salvaged from construction and renovation sites through online marketplaces such as PlanetReuse.com and  AmericanBuilderSurplus.com. Tile can be another green option (just use low-VOC adhesives and sealants). Bamboo is popular, too, but the shipping distance doesn’t make it the most sustainable choice.

 

Clean Scene: Look for cleaning products with labels that include “nontoxic,” “bio-degradable” and “made from renewable resources.” Or, try making your own. Vinegar and baking soda can be mixed with warm water to create an all-purpose cleaner. There are green housecleaning services, too.
SNEEZE THE DAY

Spring is prime time for itchy, watery eyes and never-ending sniffles. Do you or someone in your house have allergies? Get relief — in every room — with tips from the Mayo Clinic on how to allergy-proof your house.

Bedroom: Choose bedding that is made of synthetic materials, and wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets in warm water at least once a week. Comforters should be cleaned, too. While your laundry is in the wash, vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Keep the windows closed during pollen season, and turn on the air conditioning. Clean mold and condensation from the frames and sills. Washable curtains made of cotton or synthetic fabric are best.

Bathroom: Watch out for moisture and mold. Avoid carpet and wallpaper, and dry the tub after use.

Kitchen: Make sure there’s a vented exhaust fan above the stovetop hood to take out cooking fumes and reduce moisture. Keep up on dishes and clear the fridge of spoiled food regularly. Cleaning cabinets and counters will also go a long way toward keeping your allergies in check.
fast fact >> >> >> 16.9 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with  hay fever in the past year. 

Source: CDC
MOW TIME
Don’t let the grass grow under your feet this season. For a healthy-looking yard, now’s the time to get started. Take a page from HGTV’s lawn care handbook with these tips.
  First, clear the weeds and roots and rototill 6 inches below ground. This will help prepare the area to include equal parts loam, sand and topsoil. During this time, create a slight slope to help with drainage.
  If sod is not in your budget, the next step is to hand-seed or hydroseed (a technique that spreads the seeds evenly). Choose the grass seed that is right for your climate and how you will use the lawn.
  When it’s time to cut the grass, set the mower to the highest notch that only mows the top third. This helps with root development and prevents the ground from drying out too quickly.
  Then, get out the hose. If you just seeded, water every day for five to 10 minutes. After new grass comes up, water once a day for 15 to 20 minutes. Consider your soil type to figure out how much.
  Twice a year, in spring and fall, fertilize.
Say Yes to CRS
Buying or selling a home can seem like an overwhelming task. But the right REАLTOR® can make the process easier — and more profitable.
  А Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), with years of experience and success, will help you make smart decisions in a fast-paced, complex and competitive marketplace.
  To earn the CRS Designation, REАLTORS® must demonstrate outstanding professional achievements — including high-volume sales — and pursue advanced training in areas such as finance, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NАTIONАL АSSOCIАTION OF REАLTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics.
  Work with a REАLTOR® who belongs in the top 3 percent in the nation. Contact a CRS today.
DID YOU KNOW?  Americans in 2013 planned to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green (84 percent), decorating their home or office (23.3 percent) and making a special dinner (34.6 percent).
Source: National Retail Federation
Certified Residential SpecialistBROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS
TEAM WATTS
REALTORS, NC/SC
CENTURY 21 FIRST CHOICE
206 ROCKMONT DRIVE
FORT MILL, SC 29708
803-370-0876
RESULTS@BARBARAWATTS.COM

 

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2014

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

WINTER TO-DO LIST

Kick off the New Year with a fresh attitude about home maintenance. After all, you don’t want to wait until the furnace conks out before you deal with it. Keep track of when you need to schedule service and how to keep things in good working order with The Weather Channel’s to-do list for January.
First, take a snow day to organize your files and review warranties and manuals for equipment, appliances and other tools. There you’ll find how often to check or replace items.
Need a new washer and dryer? Post-holiday sales this month can also help you snatch a bargain.
Take a room-by-room inventory with photos or video. In the case of fires, floods or other disasters, a record of your possessions can be helpful when filing insurance claims.
Examine furniture and cabinets for loose knobs and hinges, and repair as needed. Fix squeaks in floors and stairs.
Also this month, keep crawl space vents open to control condensation beneath the house, and check insulation around outside pipes that are exposed to freezing weather.
FIRE FIGHT
Tangled extension cords? Power strips galore? Your home’s wiring system might be working overtime with all of the new gadgets you received for Christmas — and it might be at risk for igniting a fire. Straighten out these wiring problems and more with tips from This Old House.
Have a licensed electrician walk through your home every five years to look at the wire insulation and the service panel and for any code violations. If you’re doing it yourself, start by turning off the circuit at the main breaker panel.
Code requires outlets within 4 feet of a door and every 12 feet after that. Extension cords can be useful, but keep in mind that smaller-gauged cords can overheat and start a fire if overused. Adding more outlets can run about $100 per outlet on first levels and $200 upstairs.
Another fire hazard is overlamping, in which light fixtures have a bulb with higher-than-recommended wattage installed. Check the fixtures’ wattage limit or use bulbs that are smaller than 60 watts.
Flickering lights aren’t just annoying, but they could be a sign of wire trouble, too. The outdoor fitting where overhead cables from the power line come into the house, or frayed wiring in the weatherhead, causes the short when the cable moves. Call your electric utility provider to have the weatherhead replaced for free.
fast fact >> >> >> >> Snow has been reported in just about every locale in the United States, even in southern Florida.  Source:  Farmer’s Almanac
POSITIVE ENERGY
Was your last gas bill higher than usual? Cold air might be finding its way into your house. Conserve energy, save money and stay toasty with these tips from the Department of Energy.
Let the sun shine in! During the day, open the curtains on the south side of your house. Feel a draft? Seal a clear plastic sheet to the inside of window frames or install drapes or shades that are tight and insulating. Caulking and weatherstripping windows can also keep your home warmer.
The heat is on, so keep your heating systems up and running as efficiently as possible. Follow the recommended maintenance schedules and change furnace filters once a month.
Fireplaces also can cause heat loss. Keep the flue damper tightly closed unless you’re burning a fire. Grates made of C-shaped metal tubes and tempered glass doors can help keep the room warm when the flue is open.
DID YOU KNOW?  Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.  Among the most popular goals: lose weight, get organized, spend less and save more, stay fit and healthy, and quit smoking.  Source:  History Channel
Say Yes to CRS 

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most emotional decisions you will ever make. So it’s important to work with someone who can provide sound advice and a steady, guiding hand when you need it. That’s why a CRS agent is the best person for the job.
A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is among the top 3 percent of all agents in the country. CRS agents have achieved a high volume of transactions and advanced training in areas such as business planning, finance, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics. Why work with anyone else when you can work with a CRS agent?
Certified Residential Specialist
BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS

Barbara Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC

GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS

803-370-0876

barbarawattsteam@gmail.com

 

Megan Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC

ABR, GRI, SFR, AHWD

803-554-8725

meganwattsteam@gmail.com

 

Dale Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC, SRES

803-370-4049

TegaCayDale@gmail.com

 

Century 21 First Choice, 206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708