YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER MAY/JUNE 2016

TIPS & TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS & SELLERS

EXTRA, yardage

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

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

TAP INTO YOUR HOMES VALUE

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMER SECURITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAY YES TO CRS…….

Buying or selling a home can seem like an overwhelming task. But the right REАLTOR® can make the process easier — and more profitable.
А Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), with years of experience and success, will help you make smart decisions in a fast-paced, complex and competitive marketplace.
To earn the CRS Designation, REАLTORS® must demonstrate outstanding professional achievements — including high-volume sales — and pursue advanced training in areas such as finance, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NАTIONАL АSSOCIАTION OF REАLTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics.
Work with a REАLTOR® who belongs in the top 3 percent in the nation. Contact The Watts Team today.

Certified Residential Specialist

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

Watts_7025-Edit

803-370-0876

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

Century 21 First Choice

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT BUYING OR SELLING A HOME? PLEASE MENTION MY NAME!

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or financial advice.
If you are currently working with another real estate agent or broker, it is not a solicitation for business.

 

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 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015

TIPS & TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS & SELLERS

WHEN IT RAINS, IT REALLY POURS

No matter where you live, emergencies are bound to happen when you least expect them: the furnacebreaks down, appliances stop working, the roof starts leaking or a window gets smashed. The costs for repairs can be tough to stomach, unless you have an emergency fund. Setting up an emergency fund is easier than you think. These tips from Bankrate.com will help you handle unexpected surprises with ease.

  • First, estimate how much money you might need for the fund. Experts suggest saving enough to cover four to seven months of expenses. Remember, this fund should not replace your entire income, and it should not be used to fund luxuries, like vacations, fancy new clothes or a new car (unless your existing one breaks down). Keep funds accessible, but not so readily available that you aretempted to borrow from it. Set up an account separate from your regular checking account. Consider using credit unions, which allow consumers to open accounts with smaller sums of cash, and online banks, so you can’t withdraw money from a storefront location. Set up automatic deposit or transfers, so you know for sure that money will be saved each month and the fund will grow steadily, with lit­tle effort on your part.
  • Be sure to use the funds only for emergencies, such as replacing broken appliances, replacing the furnace or paying your regular monthly expenses after a job layoff or during a lengthy illness.
  • Begin slowly. Start with a deposit of $50 from each paycheck, then increase it gradually with each job change or pay increase. Set aside a portion of commission checks and tax refunds, too.

With these simple steps, you’ll have greater peace of mind, knowing you are prepared for any emergency.

POISON CONTROL

Kids are naturally curious about their surroundings. But sometimes they can get into things that are dangerous and even deadly. Safe Kids Worldwide, a global not-for-profit group, provides several tips for keeping children safe in their own homes. Following these simple steps can help keep kids out of harm’s way, giving you peace of mind.

  1. Store all household products out of children’s sight and reach. Young kids are often eye-level with items under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, so any items located there should be moved to a place they cannot reach. Install child safety locks on cabinets where hazardous items are stored.
  2. Read product labels carefully to find out if the item is harmful to kids. The most dangerous items include makeup, personal care products, plants, pesticides, lead, art supplies, alcohol and carbon monoxide.
  3. Don’t leave hazardous products unattended while in use.
  4. Keep cleaning products in their original containers, and never put a potentially dangerous product in something other than its original packaging, such as a plastic soda bottle, where it could be mistaken for something else.
  5. Check your garage, basement and other storage areas for any cleaning supplies you no longer need and discard them.
  6. Check your purse for any medications or makeup that could pose a danger, and store handbags out of reach. Keep all medications and vitamins stored where children cannot reach them, and always put medicines away after every use.
  7. If a child has been poisoned, call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222, which offers fast, free, confidential help in English and Spanish. If the child has collapsed, call 911 immediately.
  8. Install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

SHOPPING FOR GREEN

Today’s buyers are more concerned than ever about living green, and that means finding an ecofriendly home. How do you know the home you want is truly green?

Green means different things to different people. Buyers focused on energy cost savings prefer homes that have basic energy-efficient features, such as Energy Star appliances, weatherproofed windows and good insulation. Buyers concerned about personal health issues prefer homes that use non-toxic materials, such as low VOC paints and bamboo flooring. Still other buyers want to contribute to a more sustainable future. They look for building materials that are produced locally or use reclaimed wood.

At the most basic level, Energy Star appliances, double-paned windows and efficient heating and cooling systems can lower energy bills and give buyers peace of mind.

    Other factors to consider include:

  • Expect to pay more for a green home. A recent study by the University of California finds that green-certified, single family homes sold for 9 percent more than a comparable home that wasn’t green.
  • Square footage. The larger the home, the more energy it consumes. Buying a smaller home is more economical.
  • Use water-based paints that contain lower levels of VOCs than conventional oil-based paints. VOCs emit gases that can cause health issues.
  • Carpeting/flooring. Choose carpeting made from recycled or renewable materials. For wood flooring, bamboo or reclaimed wood are popular choices.
  • Review past utility bills to determine typical monthly energy costs. Also request documentation on any green features that have been added to the property.
  • Choose plants and trees that don’t require the same level of maintenance as a lawn.

If in doubt, ask questions. The more questions you ask, the more  confident you will be that you are getting a truly green home.

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

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

Dale, Megan, Barbara Century 21 First Choice Realtors

Dale, Megan, Barbara

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

Century 21 First Choice Realtors

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER JULY 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

PICK A LOCK

As Americans hit the road this summer for vacation, would-be burglars are scoping out their next victim. Don’t let it be you. Make sure your home is securely protected by the latest and greatest in locks. Some tips from This Old House hold the key.
Exterior doors: Thirty-four percent of break-ins happen at the front door, so make sure it has a dead bolt. Ranging from $25 to $300, they come in separate pieces (a dead bolt and a lock set) or a handle set that has both features. Two important parts to look for: a dead-locking latch bolt, which prevents entry by jimmying with a credit card, and hardened pins that can’t be sawed. The best option in case of an emergency? A handle set that allows you to open the dead bolt and latch from inside in one motion.
Interior doors: You’ll probably want a lock with a latch kickoff that keeps the door from closing behind you and with an emergency release that lets you open with a paperclip from the outside. Most range from $8 to $16.
Going keyless: Try locks for the digital age, which don’t require a key but instead use a numeric code that slides open the bolt. But, if the batteries fail, you may need that key after all.
SHOW TIME
  The “For Sale” sign is out front and the Open House is scheduled, but have you done everything inside and out to make potential buyers bite? Showing your home at its very best requires more than a little dusting and organizing. You’ll need to help possible buyers imagine themselves living in your home, which means removing photos and some personal items. Find out how to prep your house for a successful showing with some tips from REALTOR.com.
  First, get a head start on your packing and clear the clutter. Clear the sidewalk, lawn and curb, as well as windowsills and countertops. Don’t just stuff items into your cabinets and closets. Store, donate or throw away items that you’ve accumulated. Moving large bookcases or other furniture into storage can also help buyers see the potential of each room. Organizing hidden spaces such as kitchen shelves and closets will also appeal to potential buyers
  Do you have leaky faucets or holes in the wall? It’s worth fixing those and other items such as cracked tiles and fussy drawers. Also, consider repainting rooms in neutral colors, such as beige or eggshell white. Let’s face it: That bright orange bathroom isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And, most importantly, clean your house from top to bottom, inside and out.
fast fact >> >> >> >> On average, two out of five fires that are reported on the Fourth of July are because of fireworks.
Source: National Fire Protection Association
 
BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS
Certified Residential Specialist
COOL RUNNINGS
  As last summer’s record high temperatures proved, summer can be sticky and uncomfortable — and dangerous. It’s prime time for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. But, take heart: There are some ways to. At the pool, on the street or inside your home, stay smart with these tips from MedicineNet.com.
  Plan your outdoor workout routine for early mornings or late evenings, when the temperatures are cooler. If you must exercise during the heat of the day, walk instead of run and decrease the duration. Wearing loose clothing in a light color (cotton instead of synthetics) will also help keep you cool. Stave off dehydration with frequent sips of water or electrolyte-filled sports drinks, and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  Speaking of cold beverages, consider putting some unconventional items in your fridge. A spray bottle filled with water can offer a cooling spritz to your face. Chilled lotions and cosmetic toners can rescue tired feet. Also, put some plastic bottles of water in the freezer to grab before you go back outdoors.
  Fans, even when the air conditioning is on full-blast, can also help. No A/C? Head to a public place such as a shopping mall, public library or movie theater to stay cool.
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?  President Ronald Reagan labeled July as National Ice Cream month in 1984.
Source: International Dairy Foods Association

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!
*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, GRI, ABR, SFR, 803-554-8725, MeganWattsTeam@gmail.com
Dale Watts, Realtor, Licensed in NC & SC, SRES, 803-370-4049, TegaCayDale@gmail.com

  1. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,482 sq ft
    Listed with Keller Williams Fort Mill
  2. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 820 sq ft
    Listed with Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,637 sq ft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  4. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,700 sq ft
    Listed with RE/MAX Executive
  5. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,342 sq ft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  6. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,637 sq ft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,637 sq ft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  8. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,861 sq ft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  9. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,852 sq ft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  10. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,424 sq ft
    Listed with Piedmont Carolinas Realty,Inc.
  11. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,848 sq ft
    Listed with M/I Homes
  12. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,122 sq ft
    Listed with Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group
  13. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,854 sq ft
    Listed with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
  14. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,522 sq ft
    Listed with Keller Williams Fort Mill
  15. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,118 sq ft
    Listed with M/I Homes
  16. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,873 sq ft
    Listed with M/I Homes
  17. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,794 sq ft
    Listed with M/I Homes
  18. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,802 sq ft
    Listed with M/I Homes
  19. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,647 sq ft
    Listed with M/I Homes
  20. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 4,197 sq ft
    Listed with Allen Tate Ballantyne

See all Real estate in the city of Tega Cay.
(all data current as of 11/22/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 

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.

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*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, NOVEMBER 2012

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

BATHING BEAUTY

The bathroom. Big or small, it’s one of the rooms in your house that gets a lot of attention — from you, your family and friends, and potential buyers. And as one of the most popular rooms in the house, it deserves an update every now and again. Even if renovations aren’t in your plans, there are some easy ways to update it on a budget. The key is to revamp focal points, such as mirrors or rugs, and then focus on unique additions. Consider these tips from Apartment Therapy.
Start by replacing the mirror — a bathroom staple — with a more contemporary shape and style. For big impact with minimal effort, reduce clutter on the bathroom counters by repurposing mason jars from the kitchen to hold makeup brushes and pencils, small combs or extra toothbrushes, and store makeup or other odds and ends in stylish mini baskets or ceramic pots. To refresh the counter without replacing it, change out the fixtures and accessories like the soap dispenser and towel rack.
Pull together the entire bathroom with complementary or matching hues for bathroom essentials such as towels, washcloths and a shower curtain, or stencil an easy, colorful border around the mirror or ceiling for an added pop of color.
Treat your bathroom like any other room in the house. Use framed postcards, vacation photos or pressed flowers to create inexpensive artwork to deck the walls. Consider repurposing other household items to give the bathroom a welcoming vibe, such as wine racks for rolled up towels.

SEASON PASS

The weather may not be as chilly in California or Florida as it is in New York or Wisconsin, but getting your home ready for a new season is still a good idea.  Put these “winterizing” tips from MSN Real Estate on your to-do list.                         Clean your gutters.  Autumn leaves are pretty, but once they fall, they can reveal their ugly side — by contributing to clogged gutters. Neglecting your gutters can eventually cause water to seep into your home. Rid gutters of leaves and other debris by hand (be sure to wear thick gloves) or with a scraper and rinse with a powerful hose to ensure proper drainage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Plug leaks.  Avoid leaks from rain or snowstorms with a simple maneuver. On a windy day, walk around the inside of your home with a lit incense stick or candle and hold it near commonly drafty areas — windows, door frames, electrical outlets — and apply caulk or other sealants to gaps. For more protection against the elements, install storm windows or buy a window insulator kit (about $5 per window) for a cheaper fix.                                                                                                          Bundle up.  Insulation, no matter where you live, is a necessity. Experts say that regardless of where you call home, attics should contain a minimum of 12 inches of insulation.  Ensure that your insulation is adequate to help you avoid wasted money in heating or energy bills.

fast fact >> >> >> >> >>

Although Thanksgiving is largely known as an American holiday, Canadians celebrate the same holiday on the second Monday in October.

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

GUEST LIST

The holidays bring food, gifts, good times — and guests. Hosting house guests can be joyful and stressful, but you can minimize the hassle with thoughtful planning and preparation. Consider these tips from Real Simple and Woman’s Day.

     Get your house in order. Cut out any unnecessary drama by discussing — and approving — house guests (who, how many and for how long) with your spouse and the rest of your household well before anyone arrives on your doorstep. Next, ensure you have adequate space for the number of guests you’ll have. Sleeping arrangements will be different depending on your guests’ situations. For example, young children may need to sleep in the same room as their parents, so you might want to provide a futon or air mattress.

     Stock your kitchen. Avoid the stress of creating daytime meals on the fly by stashing a few easily defrosted dishes that guests can help themselves to throughout the day, such as lasagna or baked mac ’n’ cheese. And be sure to set a specific dinnertime so everyone can plan accordingly. For breakfast, opt for small baskets of muffins or bagels with jellies and butter, and keep a pot of hot coffee with ample supplies of cream and sugar so that guests can wake up and feed themselves at their own pace.

     Don’t forget about it. Help your guests settle in by stocking up on the often-forgotten necessities, such as toothbrushes, travel-sized toothpaste and shower products, disposable razors and makeup-remover wipes. Equip each bedroom with extra linens, and add a scented candle or two to make rooms feel like a posh hotel.

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?    The U.S. delivers more than 15 billion cards and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

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 TEAM WATTS 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*

Megan Watts, Realtor, Licensed Broker 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

Barbara Watts, Realtor, Licensed Broker in NC & SC, GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS, 803-370-0876, barbarawattsteam@gmail.comwww.BarbaraWatts.com