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 2012

 

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

KITCHEN AID
Pantries come in all shapes and sizes, from walk-in pantries to slide-out drawers under your counters. Some homes feature a built-in pantry, but for those that don’t, creating one can be easier than you think.
For a makeshift pantry, consider converting a kitchen closet or cabinet into a pantry by adding shelves throughout the space. If you have an empty wall in or just outside the kitchen, consider hiring professionals to break through the wall and install shelves and a door.
    Once you’ve figured out where the new pantry will go, organization is the key to making it useful and efficient. Start by thinking about your cooking habits, and place frequently used items on an eye-level shelf for easy access. Always making cookies? Put flour, sugar and mixing equipment on this shelf. If you entertain often, consider installing a wine rack on a side of the pantry with party necessities, such as a corkscrew, bottle stopper and rows of wine glasses.
    Store dry items, such as rice, noodles or cereal, in labeled glass jars to keep them dry and easily visible. Other goods, such as flour or sugar, can go into large tubs with lids that can be stored either on the floor or on a shelf. For snacks, such as chips or popcorn, consider hanging a shoe rack on the outside of the pantry door and putting the bags in the holders. Keep food from spoiling and avoid having to throw food away by keeping new items in the back of the pantry and moving older items to the front so they get used quickly. To keep your pantry well-stocked, start a running grocery list to update when family members grab the last of its kind from the pantry.

INSIDE OUT
Four walls and a roof don’t necessarily make a home. The new trend is for homeowners to take advantage of the great outdoors — building an outdoor living space was No. 4 among the top remodeling trends last year, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Extensive work might be best left to the professionals, but you can create a scenic outdoor setting in your own backyard with a do-it-yourself mentality and tips from Better Homes & Gardens.
     First, identify what function you want the new outdoor space to serve. Do you want a kitchen, a living room or an extra dining room? Once the room has a label, narrow down the necessary features the room needs. For instance, if you’re looking for an outdoor living room, weather-resistant couches, coffee tables and perhaps a fire pit are good starting points. Need a tranquil place to get away from the hustle and bustle? Serene add-ons such as a fountain or hanging plants that offer seclusion from the street might be on your short list.
     Don’t forget about roofing options for your outdoor space. Weather-resistant fabric canopies or composite roof structures provide shade and shelter from the elements while maintaining an outdoorsy feel.
     After completing a basic structure of the “room,” add decorative touches, just like you would indoors. Experts suggest potted plants that are easy to maintain, framed artwork and coffee table books.

fast fact: 
California is the primary source
for more than half of all fresh cut
flowers grown in the United States.
Source: California Cut Flowers Commission

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

 
THE PRICE IS RIGHT!  SOLD!
Although a REALTOR® will work with you to determine a listing price when you decide to put your home on the market, it helps to understand the process agents use to reach that figure. Although methods vary, there are a few common steps.
     First, REALTORS® complete a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), which compares your home to similar homes in your area that recently sold, homes that are currently on the market, and homes that didn’t sell. Generally, an agent will formulate a base price from this data and factor in additional positives or negatives (for instance, if your home has a deck or a finished garage, the base price — your home’s initial value — would rise). 
     Next, the REALTOR® considers the market conditions. In a buyer’s market, your price might need to be a little lower than the base CMA price in order to reduce its time on the market and have a higher probability of selling. In a seller’s market, the listing price can be a little higher.
     Another strategy is to consider how sales of comparable homes are faring — for instance, if the prices in your area are dropping X percent each month, consider settling on a lower asking price to boost your chances of selling quickly.
     Be sure to ask your REALTOR® how he or she has arrived at the recommended listing price. A good agent will be able to walk you through the numbers and explain the strategy behind settling on a given listing price.

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?
Homeowners pay most attention to windows (72 percent) and blinds or curtains (67 percent) during annual spring cleaning, according to the American Cleaning Institute.

 

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, 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