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.

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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, MARCH 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

CURB VIEW

Everybody knows that first impressions matter. The outside of your house says a lot to guests and potential buyers before they even walk in the door. There are easy ways to clean and freshen up the exterior of your home that don’t require gallons of paint or a landscaping crew. Consider these tips from DIY Network.

Start with the front door. If you’re willing to make a bold move, paint your door a bright color like canary yellow to help your house stand out (as long as the color is complementary to the trim, shutters and the rest of the house). Also, make sure lighting fixtures match the style of your house and are working properly. Another quick way to brighten up the front of the house: Put flower boxes or pots with colorful blooms on your porch railings or around your door.
Curb appeal is all about the details. Ask yourself: Is there sufficient outdoor lighting? Are overgrown plants and bushes creating an unsightly mess? Is your home address visible? You can revitalize your door by replacing the old hardware, installing tidy new address numbers or giving it a paint job. What’s more, as simple as it sounds, installing a new mailbox — near the road or mounted to your house — can go a long way to show off your home. The options and materials are endless, but like with any other updates, make sure the style fits your house.
COMMON SCENTS
There is a strong connection between smells and human emotions. Given that home buying can be a very emotional process, you’ll want to make sure home looks and smells good to appeal to more buyers. Make sure your home passes the smell test by following these tips from HGTV.
If there are any foul odors in your home, don’t just cover them up by baking cookies — try to identify the source and focus on eliminating the odors. Old carpets are often the biggest culprit. If you don’t have the time or budget to replace old rugs with new carpet or hardwood floors, wash the carpet with mild detergent soap and water solution, then go over it with a damp towel to neutralize the odor. And open the windows on opposite walls to circulate fresh air.
After you’ve rid your home of bad scents or if you just want to fill it with more pleasant smells, consider boiling fruit peels, spices or herbs in water. Rather than throwing away lemon or orange peels, boil water and let the peels sit for a few minutes, adding water every half hour or so. You can also mix the peels with other soothing scents. Using oils such as sandalwood, lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus can be therapeutic and inviting.
fast fact  >> >> >>  Indoor and outdoor allergies affect more than 40 million Americans.  The most common triggers are tree, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroach allergens and pet dander.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS
DRAIN TRUST
Spring is prime time for house-cleaning and maintenance, which should include careful cleaning of gutters. Although they’re designed to act as a drain and protect your home, they often get clogged with leaves and water. Gutters should be cleaned twice a year. To get started, consider these steps from Lowes.
First, clean the downspout. Set a ladder on the side of the house where the gutter starts and where most leaves and twigs get trapped. With gloves and a towel, remove the debris and let it fall in a bucket. Move the ladder down the gutter and repeat the process. Check all gutters for holes, leaks, dents, and other features that may need repairs. If your hangers are loose, tighten them or replace them if they seem damaged. Sagging gutters are an indication that the hangers are too loose.
After you’ve covered the perimeter and have removed most of the debris, use a garden hose to spray the gutter to rid any remaining debris.
DID YOU KNOW?  You can make your own window cleaner by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and warm water. The vinegar eliminates window streaks and smudges on glass surfaces.
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?
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
Realtors NC/SC, MLSCertified Residential Specialist