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 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, FEBRUARY 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

COLOR SPLASH

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

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

Do you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling a home? Please mention my name. This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or financial advice. If you are currently working with another real estate agent or broker, it is not a solicitation for business.

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

Realtors NC/SC, MLS

Your Home Newsletter January 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

A FRESH START

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

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

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

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

MAID FOR YOU

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

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

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

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

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

CONTROL ROOM

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

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

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

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

Say Yes to CRS

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most emotional decisions you will ever make. So it’s important to work with someone who can provide sound advice and a steady, guiding hand when you need it. That’s why a CRS agent is the best person for the job.

A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is among the top 3 percent of all agents in the country. CRS agents have achieved a high volume of transactions and advanced training in areas such as business planning, real estate investing, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics. Why work with anyone else when you can work with a CRS agent?

DID YOU KNOW?  January is National Thank You Month.

Do you know someone looking to buy or sell a home?  Please mention our name.  This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or financial advice.  If you are currently working with another real estate agent or broker, it is not a solicitation for business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

YOUR HOME DECEMBER 2012 NEWSLETTER

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! 

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

WINTER SELLING TIPS

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

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

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

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

MUST-HAVE KITCHEN GADGETS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®,

A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS

THE TIPPING POINT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Pet groomer – Cost of one session or a gift

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

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

• Doorman – $15 to $80

• Garage attendant – $10 to $30

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

• Handyman service – $15 to $40

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

Say Yes to CRS

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most emotional decisions you will ever make.  So it’s important to work with someone who can provide sound advice and a steady, guiding hand when you need it.  That’s why a CRS agent is the best person for the job.

A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is among the top 3 percent of all agents in the country.  CRS agents have achieved a high volume of transactions and advanced training in areas such as business planning, real estate investing, marketing and technology.  They must also maintain membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics.  Why work with anyone else when you can work with a CRS agent?

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

Source:  EmilyPost.com

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

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

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

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TEAMWATTS   

WWW.TEGACAYTODAY.COM

WWW.TWITTER.COM/TEAMWATTS

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

Barbara Watts, Realtor 

Licensed in NC & SC, GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS, 803-370-0876, barbarawattsteam@gmail.com

Megan Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC, ABR, GRI, SFR, AHWD, 803-554-8725, meganwattsteam@gmail.com

Dale Watts, Realtor 

Licensed in NC & SC, SRES, 803-370-4049, TegaCayDale@gmail.com

 

 

Your Home Newsletter June 2012

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

GARDEN TRENDS

Home gardening has become more than a hobby for many Americans in recent years. These ideas from DoItYourself.com can provide some guidance on how to create or upgrade your own garden.

Edible gardensAccording to the National Gardening Association, vegetable gardening rose 20 percent in 2010 from 2009. Salad-type vegetables, such as radishes, lettuce and spinach are common, but many gardeners also grow crop vegetables like potatoes, corn, beans and squash. These are easy to grow, they only need watering and some weeding before harvesting, and they can be stored and served in countless ways.

Go organic Many gardeners use non-chemical fertilizers such as compost, compost teas and animal manure to help plants grow. Inexpensive and easy to use, compost can be created from yard refuse and home vegetable peelings. Compost teas are made by steeping compost to create a tea-like substance, and animal manure that’s allowed to compost for a year provides nutrients.

Feel good” gardens For some, gardens are a place for calm, quiet reflection. Water gardens include a pond or fountain to create a calm, serene environment, while sand or “zen” gardens are small enough to place on a desk or table and include different types of plants, rocks and sticks to mimic the natural environment.

Vertical gardensNew planting systems make it possible to insert vegetation into outside walls. Succulent plants are ideally suited to growing vertically since they often dwell on cliffs in nature and don’t need much root space. Fruits like grapes and kiwi can grow along walls and fences, and some vegetables like beans, peas and some squashes can be trained up a trellis.

Whether used to grow food or to enjoy nature, gardens have evolved to reflect the changing lifestyles of American families.

STAGE RIGHT

When selling your home, you want to present it in the best possible light, but that may not always be possible if it’s vacant. With the help of some simple staging techniques, you can help buyers envision how they might live in your home, and that can entice them to make an offer. 

Experts say vacant homes can benefit greatly with fairly minimal staging. By strategically placing greenery, furniture and accent pieces, buyers may not notice a home’s imperfections, like cracks in the walls or scuff marks on the floor.

Staging also exhibits creative uses of space, especially for small or oddly shaped rooms. If a bedroom seems too small to hold a complete bedroom set, for example, staging it with furniture that fits can help buyers see the room’s potential.

Whether distressed or non-distressed, many homes may need basic prep work or repairs. A professional cleaning crew can clean the home thoroughly, inside and out. If the hardwood floors need work, they can be refinished, while the carpet can be deep-cleaned or replaced.

Vacant homes can be dim and lifeless, but adding a few pieces of furniture, artwork, accent pieces and kitchen and bath accessories can help bring more life to the home. Of course, a fresh coat of paint throughout a home’s interior goes a long way towards making the home look clean and inviting. And that might be just enough to convince a potential buyer that they can love the home as their own.

fast fact >>  >>  >>    In 2011, 176,000 U.S. men were stay-at-home dads.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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

SPACE PLANNERS

A  growing number of homeowners are focusing on using their home space more efficiently and personalizing it to suit their lifestyle, according to a recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens. More than one-third of homeowners (38 percent) surveyed say they are spending more time planning design changes for their home, up from 33 percent a year ago, while 42 percent say they shop around for more bargains before committing to a project, up from 40 percent who did so in 2011. They also are focused on value and tend to spend more time looking for the best deal for their money.

Social media sites such as Pinterest play a key role in the planning process for many homeowners who look to such sites for design inspirations, product reviews, creative ideas and solutions for using space. Consumers say they prefer a home with median square footage of 1,791 square feet, down from 1,846 square feet a year ago. Bonus rooms and media rooms are no longer as popular unless they have a multifunctional purpose.

More than half of homeowners (55 percent) are focusing their next home improvement project on style upgrades for countertops, flooring, faucets and fixtures, up from 50 percent in 2010. Projects to expand storage space and remodel the bathroom and kitchen also rank high.

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 aCRSagent is the best person for the job.

A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is among the top 3 percent of all agents in the country.CRSagents 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?

Wipe down dusty window blinds with old dryer sheets to prevent dust build-up.
Source: Styled, Staged and Sold blog, Verticals and Horizontals, Inc

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!!

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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

 

WWW.BARBARAWATTS.COM

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER MARCH 2012

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
If you’re getting ready to sell your house, you may not have extra cash to spend on home improvements. But some basic improvements can be inexpensive, and the results are worth it. Minor upgrades, such as painting the living room or changing the hardware on kitchen cabinets, can make a house much more attractive. Consider these simple ideas from Frontdoor.com and HGTV.

Yard Sale When buyers pull up to your home, the first thing they’ll notice is the front yard. Improve your home’s curb appeal by brightening it with flowers. Place ceramic pots with colorful blooms on either side of the front door for a warm welcome. If the front door looks worn from the elements, spruce it up with a fresh coat of paint.

See the Light Proper lighting can help make your home more inviting and comfortable to buyers visiting your home. Assess the ambience to determine where there could be more, less, softer, or stronger light. For instance, kitchens often have useless dark spaces under cabinets. Consider installing under-cabinet lighting, which will brighten up cooking space while adding a dramatic effect to the kitchen.

Brush Up A new coat of paint can change the entire look and feel of a room. Choose neutral colors that appeal to a wide range of tastes and easily blend with many styles of home décor. Neutral color schemes also allow buyers to envision their own personal style in a new home. Consider beige, light gray or bone white to create a warm and comfortable living space.

GADGET RECYCLING

Want to get rid of an old computer and reduce your carbon footprint?  Recycling old electronics can reduce waste and ensure that obsolete devices get put to good use. It’s easier than you think.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only one-fourth of plastic and metal electronics that could be recycled are brought to a recycling facility.  The easiest and most effective way to recycle unwanted electronics is to drop them off at a recycling center in your community.  To find a location near you, check www.greenergadgets.org or www.epa.gov.  The EPA site lists local programs as well as manufacturing and retail companies that accept recyclable electronics.

Consider local stores, too. Some electronics retailers and manufacturers, such as Best Buy, Kodak and Hewlett-Packard, offer trade-ins, cash or charitable donations in exchange for old devices.  Office Depot, Staples, Verizon Wireless and AT&T also accept recyclable devices.  Be sure to check each company’s website for guidelines and procedures before dropping off a recycled product.

fast fact: appliances and electronics account for 30 percent of a household’s energy consumption

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

PLAYING HOUSE

Moving or renovating your home can be stressful, and it’s easy to get caught up in the details. But don’t overlook your kids, who may be feeling stressed about the pending move. Getting the whole family involved and teaching kids about the moving process can help them understand what’s happening and ensure a smoother, less stressful transition.

For starters, ask children to draw a house, inside and out. This can help you see how they envision their living space — and provide insight about what’s important to them in a home.  Engaging kids with real-estate-related games, books and art projects can help them understand the process of buying a new home and moving.

Coloring books can be downloaded and printed from sites such as Hellokids.com. Computer games, such as Real Estate Tycoon, can teach kids about property value. The game challenges players to buy and sell houses while they make a virtual profit from their investments. Parents can draw real-life buying and selling experience from this game to explain to children the value of home pricing.

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?   In the mid-1800s, German Phillip Griebel popularized ceramic garden gnomes based on a myth that gnomes helped in the garden at night and scared thieves away.   LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG TO ENTER THE TEAM WATTS MONTHLY GIVEAWAY!  THE NEXT DRAWING WILL BE HELD IN APRIL!  STAY UP TO DATE WITH OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS TO FIND OUT HOW TO WIN!!  WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TEAMWATTS     WWW.TEGACAYTODAY.COM

*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email TEAMWATTSASSISTANT@GMAIL.COM with your name & 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 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