YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER MARCH/APRIL 2016

TIPS & TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS & SELLERS

     SAVE   ME,   SUPER   KITCHEN

Kitchens have come a long way from linoleum floors and olive-colored appliances that our grandparents had. Today’s kitchens are super-sized and designed for multiple purposes. Sixty-nine percent of owners use their kitchen space for dining, while 49 percent use it for entertaining and 43 percent for socializing, according to a recent survey of homeowners by Houzz. The kitchen has become the hub for family activities, such as doing homework, watching TV and reading. Nearly two-thirds of homeowners spend more than three hours a day in their kitchens.

Therefore, today’s homeowners are not skimping on renovations. Nearly one-third of homeowners surveyed spent between $25,000 and $50,000 on kitchen renovations and another third spent more than $50,000.

Features that are typically part of living and dining rooms, such as dining tables, chandeliers, TVs and workspaces, are being added to kitchens. Wine refrigerators and built-in coffee stations are popular for entertaining, while custom cabinetry and hardwood floors integrate more seamlessly with the home’s overall design.

As the modern kitchen has continued to evolve, several design trends have emerged:

  • Black and bronze finishes on stainless steel appliances contribute a sleek, modern look.
  • Deep kitchen drawers help organize dishes and pans.
  • Niche appliances, from steam ovens, warming drawers and induction cooktops, add luxury and practicality.
  • Kitchen islands with more workspace and storage, prep sinks and seating are the workhorse of the home.
  • Unexpected combinations of backsplash and countertop finishes can spice up kitchen décor — for example, a brick backsplash with concrete countertops or yellow ceramic tile with butcher block.

The modern “super kitchen” not only improves flow, storage and aesthetics, it also supports family life with style and substance.

 

RENTAL PATIENCE

Homeowners who need to move but are struggling to sell their homes are turning to rent-to-own agreements to find prospective buyers. Under these leasing options, which can last from two to five years, owners allow a prospective buyer to move into the home and pay monthly rent. A portion of the rent is set aside to be used as a down payment on the house at a later date.
Financial experts at Bankrate.com say credit-challenged renters have the chance to try out the house and neighborhood, while saving for a down payment and building up good credit. They can also lock in a sales price and terms upfront.
The set-up helps homeowners find an eager buyer and long-term renter who can provide a steady income while caring for the house on the owner’s behalf. The downside is the possibility that the renter could change their mind and opt out of the agreement, which means the owner must start the process over again.
Rent-to-own arrangements are complex and every state has its own regulations, so it’s advisable for renters to meet with an attorney and a real estate agent to understand financial implications.

Renters should also meet with a mortgage broker so they know how much they need to qualify for a loan.
Financial experts say both parties should treat the deal the same way as a home purchase. Obtain an appraisal and a home inspection, and owners should require a security deposit and reserve the right to evict renters if they fail to make payments. The contract should also spell out how funds will be held by owners, under what conditions the sale will take place, and who is responsible for maintenance and repairs.

With proper planning and due diligence, rent-to-own arrangements can be a viable option for buyers and sellers.

 

WALK on wood

Hardwood flooring is one of the most sought-after features in new and existing homes. This eco-friendly feature can turn your home into a warm and inviting space to relax and entertain. Selecting the right flooring can be a challenge, however, depending on your design style, budget and personal preference. Before choosing a wood floor for your home, here are a few things to keep in mind, courtesy of the National Wood Flooring Association:

     There are two basic types of wood flooring. Solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished many times and can be used in all rooms, including kitchens and powder rooms. Engineered wood is manufactured with multiple layers of wood veneers, so it expands and contracts less than solid wood flooring when temperatures and humidity fluctuate. Engineered wood is a better alternative for basements and other below-ground living areas.

     Hardwood floors come in different finishes. Satin gloss offers the most shine and reflects the most light, so scratches and normal wear and tear are less noticeable, while matte finishes offer the least shine.

     Light woods like ash or maple help make a room appear more open and airy, while darker woods like walnut or mahogany can give a room a more stately and refined appearance.

To keep floors looking new, clean them frequently using a dust mop or vacuum. Avoid using a wet mop as water can dull the finish or damage the wood over time. To prevent scratches, place scatter rugs at all entrances and floor protector pads on the bottom of furniture legs.

     When spills occur, wipe them immediately with a dry or slightly damp cloth. When floors begin to look dull, use a wood flooring cleaner to renew the luster. Use only products that are compatible with your wood floor type. The wrong cleaning product can damage the finish and possibly the wood itself.

     With these simple tips in mind, hardwood floors can provide comfort and enjoyment for many years.

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 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 DECEMBER 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

HOLIDAY HOME SELLING TIPS

There are a few advantages to selling your home during the holidays. Buyers shopping for homes this time of year tend to be more serious, and because fewer homes may be on the market, there’s less competition. Frontdoor.com offers several tips to attract buyers during this busy season.
Don’t go overboard on holiday decorations. Large decorations can make your home seem smaller and they can distract buyers. If you choose to decorate, opt for fewer and smaller items with a general winter theme.
Hire a reliable real estate agent. Ask family and friends to recommend a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) agent who will work hard for you during the holiday season.
Seek motivated buyers. Individuals shopping for a home during the holidays must be highly motivated. Target buyers who need to move soon, such as people relocating for jobs, college students and university staff on break, and investors on tax deadlines.
Price the property to sell. No matter what time of year it is, a home that’s priced appropriately for the market will attract buyers.
Pay attention to curb appeal. Maintaining your home’s exterior is just as important in the winter as it is during any other season. Touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Also keep buyers’ safety in mind by keeping stairs and walkways clear of snow, ice and leaves.
Make your home cozy and inviting. When showing your home, crank up the heat, play soft music and offer homemade holiday treats. It will encourage buyers to spend more time in the home, which gives them a chance to admire its best features.
PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT

Tis the season for holiday shopping, but it’s also the season for holiday thievery. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) in San Diego, Calif., estimates that 15 million people are victims of identity theft every year. The not-for-profit group reports that it gets more calls about lost and stolen wallets and purses during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. To make sure identity theft does not spoil your holidays, the ITRC has several tips for safeguarding your personal data.
• Never share your social security or credit card numbers in a public environment. Instead of verbally sharing requested sensitive information, write it down for the clerk, then take the slip of paper home with you. Also: when talking on your cell phone in public, don’t give out any personal information that could be overheard.
• Keep store receipts in your wallet, not inside the bag with your purchase.
• Carry only what you need when shopping, and keep purses, backpacks and bags zipped or fastened shut to deter pickpockets.
• Use debit cards judiciously or leave them at home — they are a direct link to your bank account. By using credit cards instead, you can review the billing statement afterward and dispute any suspected fraudulent activity.
• When shopping online, print out the Web page describing the item(s) you ordered, as well as any email messages and contact information for the online seller.
• Do not provide your social security number, birth date or mother’s maiden name in an email or within a website.
• Make sure the latest anti-virus software is installed on your computer before shopping online.
fast fact >> >> >> >> More than 35 million homes in the U.S., representing 40 percent of all homes, have one or more health and safety hazard.

Source: National Center for Healthy Housing Report, October 2013

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

HOME SHOPPERS VALUE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Homes with energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly features are more important to prospective buyers than other features, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Nine out of 10 recent home buyers say that heating and cooling costs were somewhat or very important when considering a home for purchase. Nearly four out of 10 buyers say a home’s heating and cooling costs were very important when shopping for a home, followed by energy-efficient appliances and lighting, each at 24 percent.
Buyers in the North and South regions of the country placed a greater importance on heating and cooling costs, most likely due to more extreme temperatures in those areas. Also nearly 60 percent of buyers who purchased homes built in 2011 said HVAC costs were very important, compared to less than 30 percent of owners whose homes were built before 1910.
“Going green has proven to be more than a trend; many people now seek out this way of living and want homes and communities that are more resource efficient and sensitive to the environment,” says 2013 NAR President Gary Thomas. “As energy savings and green building features are becoming more important to buyers, sellers and businesses, it comes as no surprise that consumers are placing a higher value on properties with those features.”
DID YOU KNOW?  Approximately 35 percent of candle sales occur during the winter holiday season.
Source:  National Candle Association
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, real estate investing, 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?
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.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG TO ENTER THE TEAM WATTS MONTHLY GIVEAWAY!  STAY UP TO DATE, BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS AND FIND OUT HOW TO WIN!! 

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TEAMWATTS     WWW.TEGACAYTODAY.COM   WWW.TWITTER.COM/TEAMWATTS

*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email Megan with your current email*

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

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER, NOVEMBER 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

OUT COLD
Before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season sets in, add winter-proofing chores to your home to-do list. Protect your home from winter’s woes with these tips from RealEstate.com.
Heating Basics Replace old thermostats with programmable ones that allow you to lower the temperature when you’re away from home. Turn on your furnace to ensure it works (run it the full cycle from warm-up to blowing heat to shutting back off again). Peek into your ducts and clean away the mold, pests and debris.
Winter Windows Inspect your windows and doorframes for gaps that would allow water or snow to seep in. Use low-expansion spray foam to fill any you find. Storm windows and well hung plastic sheeting can provide an extra layer of insulation.
On the Inside Seal and insulate the wall around electrical outlets and pipes that connect to the exterior of your home. Check that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors are working in case a heater or fireplace malfunctions.
On the Outside Clear out debris around windows. Fill cracks in your pipes with expanding foam insulation or caulk. Disconnect and drain your garden hose to prevent it from bursting. You’ll also want to clip tree branches that are close to your house or car in case of a snow or rainstorm.
DECK THE HALLS 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Time to pick out the tree and haul ornament-filled boxes from the attic. But, the next open house you have won’t be for your dear friends — it will be for potential buyers. Stay festive without crossing the line with these Frontdoor.com tips.
Your yard and front door provide a sneak preview of the warm and inviting atmosphere inside. Showcase winter’s beauty with a pinecone wreath on your door, and excite prospective buyers by hanging some simple lights outside.
Inside, appeal to guests’ senses. Draw back the curtains to allow natural light, and add more lamps for a softer light that also fights the darkness of the season. Keep the house toasty by lighting the fireplace or switching on the heater. In the bathrooms, add seasonal scented soap, and in the kitchen, let the aromas of freshly baked cookies or hot cider circulate.
Keep the religious décor to a minimum to avoid scaring off buyers. Consider a scaled-back Christmas tree or Hanukkah menorah in the corner, gifts tucked tidily around. After all, it’s still a holiday.
fast fact  >> >> >> Ceiling fans can also circulate heat.  Blades rotating clockwise push warm air down.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS

GUIDING LIGHT

Need a little more light in your life? See for yourself the difference that light bulbs and lamp shades can make with a room’s mood. Check out these bright ideas from RealSimple.com.
Type Cast In the bathroom, use overhead lights to get rid of shadows; sidelights flanking the mirrors are perfect for makeup application. In the kitchen, overhead lights brighten surfaces. In the bedroom, try cozy tinted, low-wattage bulbs to give a candlelit, romantic effect. To create a grand atmosphere in the dining room, use a chandelier. Place one directly over the table, but make sure to measure the ceiling height and table height before making a purchase. Indirect lighting — in all parts of the home — softens spaces. Small table lamps or wall sconces can also add a subtle glow.
Safe and Secure Use ambient lighting to brighten the exterior of your home. Motion-activated or timer-equipped lights can ensure your home’s exterior is well-lit in the evenings. Don’t go too dim or too bright — no need to attract intruders, nor bother your neighbor.
DID YOU KNOW?  Using a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature in your home by roughly 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day might save you 10 percent a year on heating and cooling.
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

 

Do you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling a home?  Please mention our 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.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG TO STAY UP TO DATE ON NEWS IN OUR MARKET!

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TEAMWATTS          WWW.TWITTER.COM/TEAMWATTS          WWW.TEGACAYTODAY.COM

*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email teamwattsassistant@gmail.com with your current email and contact information.*

Barbara Watts, Realtor
Licensed in NC & SC
GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS
803-370-0876
barbarawattsteam@gmail.com
www.BarbaraWatts.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
206 Rockmont Drive Fort Mill, SC 29708

206 Rockmont Drive
Fort Mill, SC 29708

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER FOR OCTOBER 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

DESIGN DO’S AND DON’T’S

Before you start your next home renovation project, consider your space needs first. HGTV and DIY Network offer these tips for taking on room projects that will give your home a fresh look.

First, think long term. Since most homeowners are likely to stay in the home at least five years before they see real appreciation, avoid installing the hottest design trends of the moment for expensive items like flooring, bathroom tile and backsplashes. Instead, design with affordable and more disposable accessories such as pillows and throw rugs, which can be changed out easily and quickly.

Don’t purchase furniture before you move in to the home. Live in the space for a few months and get accurate measurements of each room before spending your hard-earned cash on oversized items that may not fit. The same holds true for selecting paint colors. A room’s natural lighting changes throughout the day, so paint colors that stand out during daylight hours may appear muted at dusk.

When it comes to your kitchen, focus on quality, not quantity. Not everyone can knock down a wall to install a kitchen island. Develop a good space plan that includes efficient storage for your dinnerware and small appliances.

Need a second opinion? Seek the advice of a novice home designer who can give you a fresh perspective at an affordable rate. Finally, make sure all decision-makers are on board with the project and budget. Otherwise, you’ll have to start all over.

NEW RULES FOR REVERSE MORTGAGES

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has announced new rules that determine how much and when homeowners can tap the equity in their homes through a reverse mortgage. Starting Sept. 30, 2013, the new rules will limit the amount of money that can be taken out in the first year of a reverse mortgage. For example, if a borrower is eligible to withdraw $200,000, they would only be allowed to receive $120,000 – or 60 percent – in the first year. This will mean that some borrowers will have access to 15 percent less of their home equity than they do under the current program. Homeowners are currently allowed to withdraw all the money they are eligible for at one time, which strains the program’s cash reserves. The changes to the FHA’s rules aim to encourage borrowers to tap their home’s equity more gradually.
Starting Jan. 13, 2014, the FHA will also implement changes regarding who can qualify for its reverse mortgage program. Borrowers will need to prove that they will be able to pay property taxes and insurance over the life of the loan. Consequently, borrowers will face greater scrutiny from lenders pertaining to their income and credit history when applying for the program.
fast fact >> >> >> >> >>

More than half of all homeowners (52 percent) plan to spend at least $1,000 to improve their homes by adding a home office or child’s playroom. 
Source: Zillow survey, August 2013

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

HEAT SAFETY TIPS

As energy costs continue to rise, some homeowners are using alternate sources to heat their homes. While wood-burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces are popular options, especially in colder climates, they can be fire hazards. FireSafety.gov offers some tips to help homeowners use these heat alternatives safely.
Wood stoves made of plate steel or cast iron are best. Use only seasoned wood for fuel, and avoid green wood, artificial logs or trash. Inspect and clean the pipes and chimneys annually, and check monthly for damage and obstructions. Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from the stove.
Space heaters that feature the Underwriters Laboratories certification are recommended. Use a heater with a thermostat control mechanism that can switch off automatically if the heater falls over. Don’t dry clothes or store objects on top of the heater. Like wood stoves, keep combustibles at least three feet away. Always unplug the device when it is not in use.
Clean fireplaces frequently to prevent creosote from building up in the chimney. Also inspect the chimneys for obstructions or cracks. Never burn trash, paper or green wood, which can cause heavy creosote buildup. Don’t wear loose-fitting clothes near open flames, and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
Finally, make sure smoke detectors are working properly, and replace batteries every six months.
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
DID YOU KNOW?    The largest pumpkin pie ever made was more than five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds.

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.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG!  STAY UP TO DATE BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS!

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TEAMWATTS     WWW.TEGACAYTODAY.COM     WWW.TWITTER.COM/TEAMWATTS

*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email Megan with your current email*

Barbara Watts, Realtor
Licensed in NC & SC
GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS
803-370-0876
barbarawattsteam@gmail.com
Barbara Watts
Megan Watts, Realtor
Licensed in NC & SC
ABR, GRI, SFR, AHWD
803-554-8725
meganwattsteam@gmail.com
Megan Watts
Dale Watts, Realtor
Licensed in NC & SC, SRES
803-370-4049
TegaCayDale@gmail.com
Dale Watts

 

 

 

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

 

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER MAY 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

KITCHEN LIFT

Are you ready for a kitchen upgrade but lacking an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of budget? Plenty of low-cost improvements can revive a kitchen without the need to rip out cabinets and rewire appliances. Consider these tips from This Old House and HGTV.

Color Splash: With a new coat of paint and some other accents, you might not even recognize your own kitchen. Make over dark wood or white cabinets with a cool hue, such as pale sage green, or create visual impact by painting a focal point, such as your island, a bold color. A tile backsplash, graphic prints and new hardware are also inexpensive ways to add personality. Consider a new and easy-to-clean linoleum floor in a shade such as Red Amaranth.

See the Light: A kitchen needs light to be functional, of course, but oversized task lights can also improve the vibe and tie other details together. Track or recessed lighting can be pricey, so look for pendants that can go above a kitchen island and mirror the style of hardware on your faucet and cabinets. Try under-counter lighting, too.

Store More: Short on storage? Try hanging pot racks overhead. Position them close to the range and away from where you’d hit your head. Built-ins can be expensive, so look at your local hardware stores for pull-out storage kits and organizers to fit your current cabinetry.

OUTSIDE INFLUENCE

Summertime, and the living is easy? It may not seem that way when you’re entertaining guests, but hosting friends and family doesn’t have to be stressful, especially if you choose to do it outside using these simple ideas from Martha Stewart.

Even before prime outdoor entertaining season gets underway, stay ahead of the game with built-in decorations. Hanging brightly patterned or monogrammed dishes on the side of your house can make a fun and personal statement. A graphic-print umbrella on the patio can tie the space together. Create storage space and seating (and add another pop of color) by painting wooden chests and topping them with custom cushions made of waterproof foam and fabric.

Food and drink will probably be at the center of your get together. Raise the bar at your next gathering by creating a beverage station. Use a shelf made of metal or another material and brackets to affix the flat surface to the side of your house. Secure the ledge so it can be folded down out of the way when it’s not in use.

And although the weather is warm, a campfire is a great way to host a gathering when temperatures cool off at night. Create a firepit in your yard: Start with wood framing (the kind used to edge garden beds) to construct the perimeter. Fill the confined area with sand, which will level the surface and absorb charcoal and flyaway sparks. Don’t forget the seating around the main attraction. Folding deck chairs are easy to store in the off-season.

fast fact >> >> >> Guinness World Record holder “The Big Hot Dog” weighs 7 pounds and is 16 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. The $40 dog amounts to 40 regular-sized servings.

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

 IT’S YOUR MOVE

The days of bribing friends and family to help you move are probably long gone. But getting help isn’t necessarily any easier — finding a good, reliable moving company that can get the job done right takes careful research. Before you hire any moving company, do a little legwork to make sure it’s legit, in your price range and offers the services you need. USA.gov, Relocation.com and ApartmentGuide.com offer the following tips.

First, find out some details about the company. Does it have an operating license? Check with your local state authority or the Department of Transportation, depending on whether it’s an in-state or interstate move. Does the company carry insurance, and what are the limits?

Also investigate the company’s track record. Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints, and ask the company for references you can contact. Repeat customers who do business with the company can be some of the best referrals.

Get estimates from several companies to get a feel for the going rate, and only consider those estimates that fall within the appropriate range. Also, find out exactly what’s included in the quote (packing materials such as tape and extra boxes aren’t always included). Low quotes could ultimately mean paying more money after the move, since some companies don’t itemize what others include in the estimate.

Be prepared for questions moving companies will ask you. What is your time frame? How far will you be moving? If you rent, do you have renter’s insurance, and what does it cover? Will you need moving insurance or packaging services? Where will the moving truck park? Are there stairs or elevators? By preparing yourself ahead of time, you can make that stressful move go a lot smoother.

Say Yes to CRS

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

A 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, REALTORS® 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 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics.

Work with a REALTOR® who belongs in the top 3 percent in the nation. Contact a CRS today.

DID YOU KNOW?  June 14 is Flag Day. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson established the national holiday to commemorate the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States.

Do you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling a home? Please mention our 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.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG!  STAY UP TO DATE BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS!

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TEAMWATTS     WWW.TEGACAYTODAY.COM    WWW.TWITTER.COM/TEAMWATTS

*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email Megan with your current email*

 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

Your Home Newsletter for April 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

WHAT HOMEBUYERS WANT

Most homebuyers prefer newer homes with extra space, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® (NAR) 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences. The survey, which examined buyers who purchased a home between 2010 and 2012, finds that the typical recently-purchased home was built in 1996 and had 1,860 square feet. The typical buyer purchased a home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Repeat buyers, buyers of new homes, married couples, and families with children tend to purchase larger homes, while first-time buyers and single women were more likely to buy older homes.

Nearly two-thirds of buyers said central air conditioning was the most important home feature, followed by a master walk-in closet, desired by 39 percent of buyers. Some home features are so sought-after that buyers were willing to spend more money to have them. More than two-thirds of buyers (69 percent) who did not purchase a home with central air conditioning said they were willing to pay $2,520 more for a home with this feature, and the same percentage of buyers said they would be willing to pay $1,840 more for a home with new kitchen appliances.

Buyers placed the highest dollar value on waterfront properties and homes that were less than five years old. They were willing to spend the most money for a basement ($3,200) and an in-law suite ($2,920), while the highest percentage of buyers were willing to spend more for a laundry room (63 percent) and a home office or den (44 percent).
OVERCOMING HOUSE BLINDNESS

If you have lived in your home a long time, chances are you’ve become so comfortable that you no longer see the buildup of dirt and dust that has accumulated. According to Merry Maids, a national home cleaning service, here are some commonly overlooked areas and a few solutions to fix them.

Pay attention to the stuff above your head. The ceiling, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and the tops of curtains and window treatments attract dust, cobwebs and remnants of dead insects, so make sure you dust them frequently.

If you’re not organized, clutter will take over. Recycle those magazines stacked on the desk, store books on bookshelves, and toss the half-dead houseplant or give it away to a more caring friend.

The kitchen is another hotbed of clutter. The refrigerator door may seem like a logical place to keep shopping lists, recipes, coupons and school notices, but the exterior needs to be cleared so it can be properly cleaned. Remember to clean appliance handles too, which can be a breeding ground for germs.

When you’ve lived in one place long enough, it’s easy to become desensitized to odors from pets, kids, cooking, cigarettes or mustiness. A deodorizer, usually available as a spray or in crystal form, can neutralize odors without chemicals or fragrances.

If you still have a hard time seeing the dirt in your home, call a trusted friend who can give you an honest assessment. Just be ready to listen to the truth — and take action.
fast fact >> >> >> Workers in Maryland have the longest one-way commute at 32.2 minutes, while those in the Dakotas have the shortest commute at 16.9 minutes.
Source:  US Census Bureau
Certified Residential Specialist  BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS
WINDOW CLEANING TIPS

Window washing is an annual rite of spring. While cleaning windows may seem like a simple task, these tips from TLC and the Mrs. Clean blog (http://mrscleanblog.blogspot.com) can make them shine.

For starters, windows should be cleaned on the inside and outside twice a year. For best results, wash them early in the day or in the evening on a cloudy day so direct sunlight won’t dry the cleaning solution.

Avoid using harmful chemicals on the windows by making your own cleaning solution. Combine two tablespoons of vinegar, ammonia or lemon juice with 20 ounces of warm water in a spray bottle, and shake well. For greasy windows, add a few drops of dish detergent to help remove smudges easily. If the cleaning solution drips onto the frames or windowsills, wipe it immediately so it does not damage the surface. Use a squeegee or terry cloth to wipe the glass. It’s helpful to use vertical strokes on one side and horizontal strokes on the reverse so you can pinpoint where there may be streaks. For added shine, polish the windows with an old well-washed cotton T-shirt or crumpled newspaper, which leaves a film that’s resistant to dirt. Use a cotton swab or a toothbrush with soft bristles to clean hard-to-reach corners.

Pay attention to the window frames and tracks too. Use a terry cloth or vacuum to remove dirt and dust from the grooves and around the frame. For high-up windows that may be hard to reach without a ladder, experts suggest calling a professional window cleaner for the job.
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, real estate investing, 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?
DID YOU KNOW?  To eliminate tiny scratches on glass surfaces, polish the affected areas with toothpaste.
Source:  TLC/How Stuff Works.com
Do you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling a home? Please mention our 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.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG OFTEN!  STAY UP TO DATE BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS!
*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically email teamwattsassistant@gmail.com with your email*
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, Fort Mill, SC 29708

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER, FEBRUARY 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

COLOR SPLASH

Let’s face it, a home with four white walls can be boring. To create more visual interest, experts at Pittsburgh Paints’ Voice of Color blog offer some suggestions for sprucing up your home with color.
Paint the ceiling. The ceiling is an integral part of the room, so give it some attention. If the wall color is light, paint the ceiling the same color. For dark-colored walls, choose a paint color that is one or two shades lighter than the walls. To accentuate a beautiful light fixture, paint the ceiling red, gray or chocolate brown.
Choose the right white. With so many subtle tones and hues available, finding the right white to frame fabrics and furnishings can be difficult. Warm or creamy whites can make a room more inviting while white mixed with a tint of color creates a soft, subdued echo of the room’s dominate color.
Choose your paint color last. Select furnishings, window treatments and bedding first, then match your paint color to them. Hold color swatches against furnishings, not against a white wall. You’ll get a clearer idea of which paint colors will work best.
Create accent walls by painting one wall a darker color. The accent wall should be the focal point of the room, such as a wall with a fireplace, a set of windows, a piece of artwork on display, or where your bed is located.
Accentuate the size of small rooms and hallways. Light colors can make small rooms seem bigger, but deep, warm colors can accentuate its coziness and give the room more personality. Hallways will appear larger too when one wall is painted a darker color.
Add color to unexpected places. Paint the staircase wall leading to the basement a sharp, contrasting color, or use different colors for the backs of shelves to help showcase items on display.
RELOCATION COSTS
  Considering a move to a new city? Before packing your bags and hiring a moving company, be sure to research the potential price tag of relocating.  It may cost more than you think.
  Cost of living can vary greatly from town to town, so do some research before taking the plunge. Better Homes and Gardens recommends browsing the local newspaper for grocery promotions, ads, and other local news to track costs so you can determine the income you might need. While several cost-of-living calculators are available on the Internet, they provide only general figures and don’t take into account specific housing needs.
  Be sure to ask a Certified Residential Specialist in your target area about “hidden” homeownership costs, such as recreation fees, trash collection and community services. Try to obtain a one-year sampling of utility bills for the type of home you’re considering. What can you expect to pay for telephone, cable TV and Internet services? Will you have your own septic tank and water pump, or will the community provide water service?
  There are other expenses to consider, such as taxes and transportation. Higher taxes may mean better schools, libraries, trash collection and other community services, while lower taxes could mean higher out-of-pocket expenses for these services. Likewise, transportation and parking costs are often higher in larger cities, while a small-town commute can mean a short walk or bike ride. Also, gas prices can be more costly in some areas than in others.
  Moving away from family and friends can mean more frequent phone calls and trips back home, so be sure to allow for those additional costs as well. Before making a move, it pays to know what to expect.
fast fact >> >> >>  Nearly 189 million roses are sold in the U.S. on Valentine’s Day.
Source:  Randomfacts.com
BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS
PET-FRIENDLY MOVING TIPS
    Moving day can be stressful for pets, but you can help them keep comfortable and secure during a move by following these practical tips from the experts at The Pet Realty Network and Moving.net.
    If moving to a new city, find out if there are any local regulations about pets, such as weight restrictions or whether they need to be on a leash. Make sure your new building or neighborhood is pet-friendly.
    Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and pack up their health records. Search for a new vet ahead of time and send them copies of your pets medical records. Keep at least one week’s worth of food and medication with you during the move in case of an emergency.
    On moving day, putting pets in a safe, quiet place, such as a bathroom with their favorite toys, will help keep them calm and out of the way of movers.
    When traveling by car, keep pets in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. For their safety, never leave pets alone in a parked vehicle, in an open bed of a truck or the storage area of a moving van.
    Once at the new home, set out all their familiar things such as food and water bowls, blanket, litter box and toys. Update their ID tags with the new address and walk around the neighborhood so they’ll get used to their new surroundings. Once settled, get them back on their regular exercise and eating schedules as soon as possible.
    With a little planning, your pet will feel less stressed about moving.
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 4 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, real estate investing, 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?

DID YOU KNOW?  The human heart beats 100,000 times in one day, sending 2,000 gallons of blood throughout the body.                      Source: Nova Online, PBS

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.

STAY UP TO DATE, BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS AND FIND OUT HOW TO WIN!!
*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email Megan with your current email*

Realtors NC/SC, MLS

Your Home Newsletter January 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

A FRESH START

Most New Year’s resolutions involve promises to fit into last year’s suit and to avoid the fast-food lane. But don’t let your self-improvement list end there. These home improvement tips, suggested by About.com, can help make your home safer and healthier in the New Year.

Safety first. Make this the year to be truly prepared by creating a household emergency kit. Pack it with first aid supplies, a working flashlight, batteries, extra blankets, a can opener and some nonperishable food. Also take the time each month to make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Purify the air in the home by swapping out furnace filters every month, and burn real firewood rather than mass-produced logs to avoid potentially harmful chemicals.

Throw it away. De-clutter your life one room at a time. Start with the kitchen: Toss and recycle containers that have long since lost their matching lids, and pare down small appliances to the ones you use most often. Then head to the bathroom and dump half-used bottles of shampoo or face wash that have gone unused in the past six months to clear up space. Finish in the living room by consolidating or recycling old magazines or newspapers.

Invest wisely. Is your refrigerator on its last legs? Saving money to update or replace aging appliances should be on every homeowner’s mind. By saving a small amount each week — say $10 or $20 — homeowners can work toward a specific goal, such as a purchasing a more energy-efficient washer and dryer set. When deciding what to buy, be sure to research any potential cost-saving tax benefits, too.

MAID FOR YOU

Keeping up with house cleaning can be a real challenge — and a task that most of us are happy to overlook. If you want to hand that chore over to someone else, consider this advice from eHow.com and Smartmoney.com before hiring a cleaning service.

First, decide how often you need help: just once for a deep clean, or would a biweekly schedule better suit your needs? Then consider the cost. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price of a cleaning service is between $160-$200 a month. Use the Web to find local cleaning companies, or search a website like Care.com, which provides pre-screening and notes if the caretaker has a background check on file. If you’re considering hiring an individual not affiliated with a company, bear in mind that depending on how much an individual is paid, you may also have to pay their Social Security and Medicare taxes, too.

Insist on a background check (professionals should also be able to provide good references), and be sure to ask the company or individual what kind of liability or theft insurance they have, including workers’ compensation in case someone gets injured on the job. Treat a cleaning service just like any other employee and ensure that a contract that outlines all responsibilities is signed before the service is performed.

fast fact >> >> >> >> 180 million:  The number of Valentine’s Day cards exchanged annually.

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

CONTROL ROOM

It used to be that there was a separate remote control for each electronic device in your living room. Then universal remotes took over, with one device controlling multiple gadgets. The next evolution of the remote control might just be your smartphone.

Missing your favorite show will no longer be an issue with a DVR app from the iTunes or Android store. The DVR Remote app ($2.99) works with TiVo to set up recordings of shows and allows you to watch them via your phone.

    Access and control your computer from afar with apps such as Remote HD ($7.99), which enables you to access your desktop and files remotely, stream audio or video files or monitor the computer while you’re out of town.

    You can also access your home security system from afar. Many alarm companies, such as Schlage, offer apps that allow you to keep an eye on your doors via video, lock and unlock doors remotely, turn the lights off and on, program thermostats, or adjust the air conditioning and heat.

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, real estate investing, 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?

DID YOU KNOW?  January is National Thank You Month.

Do you know someone looking to buy or sell a home?  Please mention our 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.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG TO ENTER THE TEAM WATTS MONTHLY GIVEAWAYS!  STAY UP TO DATE BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS AS WELL AS FIND OUT HOW TO WIN!!

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TEAMWATTS    WWW.TEGACAYTODAY.COM    WWW.TWITTER.COM/TEAMWATTS

*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email Megan your name and current email with subject line Newsletter*

Barbara Watts, Realtor, NC/SC, GRI, ABR, e-PRO, C-CREC, CRS, 803-370-0876, results@barbarawatts.com

Megan Watts, Realtor, NC/SC, GRI, ABR, SFR, AHWD, 803-554-8725, meganwattsteam@gmail.com

Dale Watts, Realtor, NC/SC, SRES, 803-370-4049, tegacaydale@gmail.com

YOUR HOME DECEMBER 2012 NEWSLETTER

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! 

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

WINTER SELLING TIPS

While the weather outside might be frightful, selling your home during the winter doesn’t have to be.  Fewer buyers are shopping for homes at this time of year, but those who are searching tend to be serious buyers, housing experts say.  And that’s good news if you are selling your home.  The following tips from Bankrate.com and Coldwell Banker can help you get your house ready for winter showings.

First, pay attention to your home’s exterior.  Make sure outdoor lights and doorbells work properly.  If you live in a cold-weather region, clear the sidewalks of snow and ice before visitors arrive.  Plow the driveway as well as sections of the street so people have a place to park their car.

Holiday decorations are okay, but don’t overdo it.  Some REALTORS® believe that a decorated home helps buyers envision whether it could become their next home, but keep decorations light and simple, such as a strand of garland wrapped around the stair railings and a wreath on the door.

Indoors, set the thermostat to 70 degrees.  Cold houses don’t sell, and shivering buyers won’t stick around to make an offer.  A few scented candles, a holiday wreath and a crackling fire can create a warm, welcoming environment.  A furnished, organized home appeals to buyers too, so make sure the beds are made and counter tops and closets are clutter-free.

MUST-HAVE KITCHEN GADGETS

Whether cooking at home or shopping for someone who does, the right kitchen appliances can make it easier to prepare meals. The experts at Epicurious.com recommend a few must-have kitchen gadgets.

Professional chefs and savvy home cooks alike need a reliable knife for everyday use.  Epicurious.com recommends the Global G-2 8-inch stainless steel knife, which is easy to use and ideal for precise dicing and heavy-duty chopping.

A mandolin makes it easy to slice, crinkle-cut or waffle-cut veggies such as potatoes, carrots and cucumbers. Epicurious.com suggests the DeBuyer swing mandolin, which has a smart handle designed to protect fingers, nonskid feet, and stainless-steel blades that can be easily removed for cleaning.

A standing mixer is one of the most useful appliances home chefs can have, and Epicurious.com recommends the KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart model. It takes up little counter space and has a tilting head for easy access to the bowl. Optional attachments do everything from grind meat to juicing fruits and vegetables.

Immersion blenders, such as the Cuisinart Smart Stick, make it easy to prepare soups and sauces. Home cooks can puree soups right in the pot without the danger or hassle of transferring hot liquids, and sauces can be thickened and emulsified without removing them from the stovetop.

Slow cookers, which were popular in the 1970s, are kitchen staples for many of today’s savvy home chefs. For family-size meals, Epicurious.com recommends Cuisinart’s 6.5-quart digital slow cooker which features a programmable 24-hour timer and high, low and stay-warm settings.

By having just a few great gadgets on hand, homeowners can make sure their kitchen is equipped to help them make great at-home meals for years to come.

Thank you to all our clients who attended the Team Watts annual Poinsettia Social!  Poinsettia sales benefited the Tega Cay Lion’s Club and food donations helped the Fort Mill Care Center!   We’ve included a few pictures from this year’s event below!

fast fact >> >>75 percent of home buyers say transportation costs are a key factor in choosing where they live.

Source: 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Survey

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®,

A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS

THE TIPPING POINT

There are no hard and fast rules on holiday tipping, experts say. How much to tip, or whether to tip at all, depends on several factors, including the quality and frequency of service, the relationship you have with the provider, how long they have worked for you, where you live (since amounts can be higher in large cities), and your budget.

The Emily Post Institute offers the following guidelines for holiday tipping, but also advises consumers to let common sense and the holiday spirit be your guide.  If financial circumstances limit what you can give, a handwritten note is always appropriate.

• Babysitter – One evening’s pay, plus a small gift from your child(ren)

• Barber/Hair stylist – Cost of one haircut or a gift

• Child’s teacher – Check the school’s policy.  If allowed, give a small token gift of appreciation, not cash

• Day care providers – $25 to $70 for each staff member, plus a small gift from your child for providers who give direct care to your child(ren)

• Dog walker – One week’s pay or a gift

• Pet groomer – Cost of one session or a gift

• Personal fitness trainer – Up to the cost of one session

• Housekeeper/maid service – Up to one week’s pay or a gift

• Doorman – $15 to $80

• Garage attendant – $10 to $30

• Massage therapist – Up to the cost of one session or a gift

• Handyman service – $15 to $40

• Yard/garden worker – $20 to $50 per worker

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, real estate investing, 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?

DID YOU KNOW?  U.S. Post Office mail carriers may not accept cash, checks, gift cards or other forms of currency from customers.

Source:  EmilyPost.com

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.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG TO ENTER THE TEAM WATTS MONTHLY GIVEAWAY!  STAY UP TO DATE, BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS AND FIND OUT HOW TO WIN!!

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TEAMWATTS   

WWW.TEGACAYTODAY.COM

WWW.TWITTER.COM/TEAMWATTS

*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email teamwattsassistant@gmail.com  with your current email*

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