Your Home Newsletter October/November 2017

KILL THE CLUTTER:

There’s a reason REALTORS® always advise home sellers to remove all clutter when selling their homes: The difference is remarkable.   The clutter-free home often looks like a new one entirely, and homeowners even wonder how their home could look that good.    You don’t have to wait to sell your home to make it look better. Plus, clutter can physically and mentally stress us out. By breaking your de-cluttering down into five-minute sessions, you can slowly conquer your clutter. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits offers some ways to start:

  • Designate a spot for incoming papers, and don’t put them anywhere but that spot until you can sort and file them.
  • Clear one area and designate it your “no-clutter” zone. There is one rule for that area: Nothing can be placed there that’s not actually in use. Everything must be put way. Once you have that, expand to more areas.
  • Pick up five things and find places for them. These should be things you actually use, but which don’t have a good spot to live.
  • Pull everything out of a drawer, evaluate it and sort it into three piles: stuff that really goes in the drawer, stuff that belongs elsewhere and stuff to ditch.
  • Create a “maybe” box. When you’re organizing, you often know exactly which items you want to keep and which you can trash or donate. But sometimes there are items you can’t trash, and yet you’re not sure what to do with them. Put them in the “maybe” box and pull it out every six months to re-evaluate.
  • Keep it going: After you’ve de-cluttered, don’t get tempted to buy new things. Instead, create a 30-day list and put any non-essential items you want to buy on it along with the date. If an item has sat on the list for 30 days and you still want to buy it, you can.

SAVE BY SAVING:

You don’t have to overhaul your home to make it more energy efficient. And you also don’t have to guess at which projects offer the best ROI:  ENERGY STAR®-certified windows can shrink energy bills by an average of 12 percent.  Fix common water leaks to reduce energy bills by 10 percent. Turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees from where you normally set it for eight hours a day (while you’re at work or while you sleep) reduces your heating and cooling costs by 10 percent a year. Reducing the target temperature of your water heater can save 3 to 5 percent of energy costs.

To D.I.Y. or not to D.I.Y.?

Doing home projects yourself can help you save money, help you get to know your house better and fill you with pride at a job well done with your own two hands. But there are circumstances where a pro is the way to go. Neighborly, a community of home service experts, draws the line on three common projects:

 Safe to D.I.Y.:  Patching drywall: Homeowners can easily cover nail holes in their walls. Make sure the wall is clean and spackle the hole. Sand the spackle down and clean the area with a damp sponge. 

Call In A Pro: . Too much spackle or too big of a hole: If a hole in the drywall is larger than a nail hole or has been spackled repeatedly previously, it’s best for an expert to repair the damage. 

Safe to D.I.Y.: Cleaning the air conditioner condenser unit: Cleaning is essential for an efficient and healthy air conditioning system. Check the filters and change it when necessary. This will ensure the air in the home is clean and the unit isn’t working any harder than it must.

Call In A Pro: Repairing or replacing any HVAC unit: HVAC units are technical, use a large amount of voltage electricity and require the use of specialized tools, so these jobs are best tackled by the pros.

 Safe to D.I.Y.: Repairing plumbing hardware: Items like seals, chains or clogs can become faulty or quit working, but they can be easily replaced. If the toilet feels wobbly or the seat comes loose, there are D.I.Y. kits available at local hardware stores that include necessary tools and parts to repair.   

Call In A Pro: Remodeling renovations that require plumbing alterations: Permits are often needed to move or expand plumbing. A professional will be familiar with the local handling of permits and building codes. A plumber will examine the current plumbing to ensure connections are done properly and correctly.   

                                        

Buying or selling a home can seem like an overwhelming task. But the right REАLTOR® can make the process easier — and more profitable.                                     

  SAY YES TO CRS…….

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 The Watts Team today.

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

Watts_7025-Edit

 803-370-0876

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

Century 21 First Choice

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

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.

 


Your Home Newsletter May/June 2017

Tips and trends for homeowners, buyers and sellers

ROI IS KING

Every smart homeowner knows that major—or even minor—remodeling projects should be undertaken with one eye on design and the other on the ROI. You want to be comfortable with whatever return on investment you receive for upgrading your home because, unfortunately, many upgrades won’t entirely recoup their cost upon sale. But the use you get out of the home with the upgrade might still make the construction worthwhile, regardless of the ultimate selling price. Here’s the top 10 remodeling projects that provide the best return on investment nationally.

RANKING PROJECT COST     RECOUPED AVERAGE JOB COST RESALE VALUE
10 Add a family room 69.3 percent $89,566 $62,055
9 Finish the basement (cost estimate includes bar area, main room and bathroom) 70 percent $71,115 $49,768
8 Add a two-story addition (cost estimate includes adding a family room, bedroom and bathroom) 71.1 percent $176,108 $125,222
7 Add a wood deck (cost estimate includes built-in bench and planter) 71.5 percent $10,707 $7,652
6 Replace the siding 76.4 percent $14,518 $11,093
5 Replace the garage door 76.9 percent $1,749 $1,345
4 Complete a minor kitchen remodel (cost estimate includes new cabinet fronts and hardware, new energy-efficient appliances, laminate countertops, mid-priced sink and faucet, dingy floor replacement and wall paint)  

 

80.2 percent

 

 

$20,830

 

 

$16,699

3 Install a manufactured stone veneer (instead of vinyl siding) 89.4 percent $7,851 $7,019
2 Replace your entry door with a steel door 90.7 percent $1,413 $1,282
1 Add fiberglass attic insulation 107.7 percent $1,343 $1,446

 

PORCH OR DECK?  

Despite some homeowners’ desire for a nice outdoor eating space, decks have fallen in popularity in newly built homes. Meanwhile, the number of homes being built with porches is climbing.
A decade ago, 54 percent of new homes had porches, while now almost 64 per- cent do, according to the National Association of Home Builders. In 2008, deck popularity peaked at about 28 percent, and now it is down to 24 percent.
But, of course it depends on your market. In states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, nearly 90 percent of homes are built with porches, and in the mountain states, 75 percent have porches. In the northeast, 70 percent of homes are built with decks, so homeowners in that area certainly aren’t embracing the porch trend. In Texas, only 5 percent of homes have decks.
Want to know the specifics of your area before adding an outdoor space? Talk to a Certified Residential Specialist REALTOR® today.

 

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.  

 

safer selling  

You’ve decided to sell your home and naturally you want to sell it quickly, profitably and smoothly. To maximize your success, here are five common and costly mistakes to avoid when selling your home.

MISTAKE #1 Overlooking Repairs:  Making repairs before selling is a must. These include electrical issues, water damage, rotten or chipped flooring, or a leaky roof. Consider getting a pre-inspection to uncover necessary repairs that might spook buyers and cause them to lower their offer or back out of the deal.

MISTAKE #2Overpricing your home:  Buyers are going to compare a sale price to other homes in the area, so your home should be priced competitively. Make sure your REALTOR® provides a comparative market analysis to help establish a competitive price and has their own system for helping you price your home.

MISTAKE #3 Over-sharing with buyers:  Another costly mistake is having too much communication with potential buyers. You don’t want to give away too much information to potential buyers, which could be used later during a sale negotiation. Either make yourself scarce during showings or think carefully about what you disclose to buyers.

MISTAKE #4Poor staging:  Both a cluttered home and an empty home will be unappealing to buyers, so proper staging and curb appeal are important. A majority of buyers are shopping for homes online these days, so consider bringing in professional staging and photography services.

MISTAKE #5The wrong attitude:  Тhis includes both patience and setting expectations too high. Not every prospective buyer will submit a bid—some are just window-shopping or are interested in a nearby home. Remembering that browsers are part of the home-selling process will help keep disappointment at bay.

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.

Certified

Residential Specialist

The Proven Path To Success


Your Home, Tips and Trends for Homeowners, Buyers and Sellers

Do you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling a home? Please mention my name.  I Love Referrals!

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.

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER, MARCH/APRIL 2017

For many Americans, spring equals allergies. Itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion—it’s enough to make you want to skip the season altogether. But with these five steps from DIY Network, you can help reduce allergens in your home and find a brief respite.

➊  Remove clutter: Less stuff means fewer places for allergens to linger.

➋  Clean the air: A well-ventilated house is your first line of defense. Use HEPA filters in your air conditioning system, maintain the humidity at about 50 percent and keep your windows closed when pollen counts are highest in the early morning and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

➌ Clean the bathroom: Mold tends to gather there.

➍ Reduce dust-generators: Fabrics and carpeting create dust by breaking down fibers. Swap carpets out for washable throw rugs.

➎ Make smart landscaping decisions: Avoid planting trees such as maple, birch and ash, which have allergenic particles that can trigger discomfort.

EARLY BIRDS

Demand has pushed the spring selling season earlier, as buyers hope to beat the competition and secure a house early on. According to Realtor.com, the median age of property listings over the winter was four days fewer than last year. Despite the typical seasonal slowdown, inventory is picking up speed for this time of year.
Median list price typically reaches its lowest point mid-winter as well, but it remained level at $250,000, indicating that buyers are remaining persistent.
Buyers may also be reacting to mortgage rates, which rapidly climbed higher following the election, pushing buyers to secure a loan as soon as possible.
This is also a sign of continuing low inventory, which is creating higher home prices and shorter turnarounds for sales.
All signs point to this season shaping up to be a seller’s market.

SPRING things –  Spring is a great time to do a quick tune up of your home. Before things get busy for the summer, take a moment to make sure your home is humming along. Here’s a quick checklist of fixes to make now to save you time and money later.:

Interior

  •      Check seals around windows, doors and bathtubs
  •      Drain your water heater
  •      Check and fix leaky faucets
  •      Replace your HVAC filters
  •      Clean out your dryer vent
  •      Replace batteries in smoke detectors
  •      Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher
  •      Check basement walls for moisture or mold
  •      Vacuum refrigerator condenser coils

Exterior

  •      Inspect the roof
  •      Clean the gutters
  •      Wash window exteriors and check screens for repairs
  •      Check driveway and walks for repairs
  •      Inspect deck and patio for warped, molded or splintered boards
  •      Trim bushes and trees, or any vegetation near an air conditioning unit in particular
  •      Remove leaves and other debris from lawn
  •      Patch up your home’s paint job
  •      Look for cracks or weak spots along the lower section of the exterior

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.

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

Barbara Watts

Barbara Watts, Team Watts, Century 21 First Choice

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

(803) 370-0876

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

www.BarbaraWatts.com

 

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER JULY/AUGUST 2016

THE TOP 10 trendiest HOME FEATURES

Whether you’re thinking of selling soon or have an eye on remodeling with solid return-on-investment potential, think about which features make your home oh-so-desirable when it’s time to list. An analysis of the Realtor.com listings over the past five years found that the following items were listed most often, solidifying a venerable spot among buyers’ favorites:

  1. Fireplace
  2. Wood floor
  3. Carpet
  4. Granite counter
  5. Stainless steel appliances                                             
  6. Open floor plan
  7. Walk-in closet
  8. Formal dining room
  9. Vaulted ceiling
  10. Open kitchens

Do trends lose steam? Oak and cherry cabinets had a strong foothold in the cabinet marketplace but are no longer popular!

the energy audit math

You’ve heard of home energy audits or assessments. You may have even thought they sounded like a pretty good idea: A professional auditor comes to your house, assesses how much energy your home uses—and loses—and makes recommendations for steps you can take that will save you money over time. But you just haven’t pulled the trigger. Well, why not this year?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average energy audit saves homeowners between 5 and 30 percent off their energy bills each year. With the average household spending $2,060 on energy bills every year, according to EnergyStar, that means an audit could save between $103 and $618 annually. Over the years, those numbers really add up.

But an energy audit isn’t exactly cheap. According to HomeAdvisor, most average between $218 and $551. To save the upfront cost of hiring a pro, you could conduct an amateur version yourself by following the steps outlined at energy.gov. Typically this involves a visual inspection of any place two materials meet, electric outlets, doors, windows and a few other spots.

However, there are benefits to hiring a pro to perform a diagnostic test. Professional audits typically employ a blower test. A powerful fan mounts into the frame of an exterior door and pulls air out of the house, lowering air pressure inside, which then allows the outside air to flow in through all unsealed cracks and openings. This is a more thorough method of detecting leaks and can help the auditor offer better recommendations for ways to address your home’s energy inefficiencies. A professional may also be able to determine how useful your insulation is acting and other ways your home may be losing energy. If you want to hire a professional, try searching through the Department of Energy’s Residential Energy Services Network, resnet.us.

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD  

 Moving is hard: With all the logistical considerations of buying the home, closing, moving out of the old place and then into the new, unpacking and then getting settled, you might be too overwhelmed to actually get out and meet the neighbors. But nothing will make your new house feel like a home like knowing the area and the people around you. Here’s a few ways to get involved: look pretty attractive, but homeowners looking to take advantage should make sure they understand the following information first:

  • Get outside. Nothing is quite as easy or effective as showing your face in the neighborhood. Do some yardwork, take frequent strolls or take the kids (or the dog) to a nearby park.
  • Whether you can spare a few hours at your kids’ school, with a service group or at an animal shelter, volunteering will allow you to meet people while doing good. Try VolunteerMatch.org or contact your local municipality about opportunities.
  • Join a club. Try your local library, events listings for the area or com for groups that might share your interests.
  • Take a class. Community colleges, local art and music schools, fitness centers and libraries all offer classes that provide you with the ability to learn something new while networking with neighbors.
  • Get connected online. So much of our socializing is done online. Try searching for local Facebook pages or join Nextdoor.com, a social network dedicated to neighbors.

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 The Watts Team today.

Certified Residential Specialist

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

Watts_7025-Edit

803-370-0876

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

Century 21 First Choice

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

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.

 

 

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER MAY/JUNE 2016

TIPS & TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS & SELLERS

EXTRA, yardage

Want to make better use of your outdoor space without spending a lot of money? Try these three simple tricks that can make all the difference between using your backyard and just looking at it. Romantic lighting can really add drama and whimsy to an otherwise dull outdoor space. Try stringing lights over a patio for a look that recalls street cafes and romantic restaurant patios. If you don’t have natural hanging spots for your lights to hook onto, install a simple, wood pole with a loop or hook screw on top. You can install the poles directly into the ground, or attach them onto your pre-existing railings or a heavy base.

  1. Potted trees and bushes can divide designated areas, provide shade in the summer heat and create privacy. Consider ‘skyrocket’ juniper trees, bamboo or arborvitae to start. You may want to ask your local plant center for ones that grow well in your area of the country and how they survive winter, if that is a consideration.
  2. Add a chimenea. If you live in a climate where it gets cooler at night and you want to extend the life of your patio a bit past its summer primetime, a simple, small chimenea. These are essentially firepits with a round, open belly and a thick pipe on top. The fires start quickly, and don’t get too hot or too big, and are more easily controlled than a traditional open fire pit.

TAP INTO YOUR HOMES VALUE

For years, homeowners were afraid of tapping into their home equity—and rightfully so, considering the downward trend of home values in markets across the country.

But since prices began rising in late 2012, many homeowners have recovered significant chunks of equity and are now starting to feel more comfortable tapping into that, particularly to make renovations and repairs that may ultimately increase the value of their homes.

This combination of rising equity, tight inventory and historically low interest rates make home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) look pretty attractive, but homeowners looking to take advantage should make sure they understand the following information first:

  • Does it have fixed interest rate or a variable interest rate and what is the rate?
  • What is the limit?
  • What are the terms of the draw period, when does it end and what are the terms thereafter? Particularly note how the monthly payment changes during and after this period.
  • Is the interest tax-deductible?

Savvy homeowners may want to check their credit beforehand at AnnualCreditReport.com to help determine what kind of terms they may get, and if there’s anything they can do improve their creditworthiness. Make sure your creditor walks you through the process so you completely understand the agreement.

SUMMER SECURITY

Summer is a care-free time: School’s out, the weather’s nice and vacations are planned. But that easy-going attitude can leave your house vulnerable, especially if you’re leaving it unattended for while you’re kicking back at the beach. You know the standard tricks—stop the mail, have a trusted neighbor on the lookout—but you don’t have to stop there.

Go for a smart home. A smart home set-up allows you to control lights, appliances, thermostat and security systems from your phone. So with the tap of a button you can turn the lights on and off from anywhere. Products differ, but simple starter kits are often available starting at around $100.

Fake your TV. Rather than leave your TV on, fake it, and utilize a product that mimics the light made from a real HDTV, including mimicking scene changes, fades and on-screen motion. These small devices start at around $20.

Install fake security cameras. A security camera can be a strong deterrent, but it is expensive. Fake ones, however, are quite cheap, as little as $10.

Get a sophisticated light timer. Plugging your lights into a timer is the age-old burglar deterrent, which means that determined burglars are wise to this trick. So make sure your timer either turns the lights on and off at random, or allows you to program separate times for each day of the week.

Activate a barking dog. Although a little more expensive, several products allow you to mimic the sound of a barking dog as someone approaches the home. Attached to a motion sensor, the “dog” will start barking if someone is near the home and get louder and more persistent as the person gets closer.Potted trees and bushes can divide designated areas, provide shade in the summer heat and create privacy. Consider ‘skyrocket’ juniper trees, bamboo or arborvitae to start. You may want to ask your local plant center for ones that grow well in your area of the country and how they survive winter, if that is a consideration.

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 The Watts Team today.

Certified Residential Specialist

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

Watts_7025-Edit

803-370-0876

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

Century 21 First Choice

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

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.