Your Home Newsletter May/June 2017

Tips and trends for homeowners, buyers and sellers

ROI IS KING

Every smart homeowner knows that major—or even minor—remodeling projects should be undertaken with one eye on design and the other on the ROI. You want to be comfortable with whatever return on investment you receive for upgrading your home because, unfortunately, many upgrades won’t entirely recoup their cost upon sale. But the use you get out of the home with the upgrade might still make the construction worthwhile, regardless of the ultimate selling price. Here’s the top 10 remodeling projects that provide the best return on investment nationally.

RANKING PROJECT COST     RECOUPED AVERAGE JOB COST RESALE VALUE
10 Add a family room 69.3 percent $89,566 $62,055
9 Finish the basement (cost estimate includes bar area, main room and bathroom) 70 percent $71,115 $49,768
8 Add a two-story addition (cost estimate includes adding a family room, bedroom and bathroom) 71.1 percent $176,108 $125,222
7 Add a wood deck (cost estimate includes built-in bench and planter) 71.5 percent $10,707 $7,652
6 Replace the siding 76.4 percent $14,518 $11,093
5 Replace the garage door 76.9 percent $1,749 $1,345
4 Complete a minor kitchen remodel (cost estimate includes new cabinet fronts and hardware, new energy-efficient appliances, laminate countertops, mid-priced sink and faucet, dingy floor replacement and wall paint)  

 

80.2 percent

 

 

$20,830

 

 

$16,699

3 Install a manufactured stone veneer (instead of vinyl siding) 89.4 percent $7,851 $7,019
2 Replace your entry door with a steel door 90.7 percent $1,413 $1,282
1 Add fiberglass attic insulation 107.7 percent $1,343 $1,446

 

PORCH OR DECK?  

Despite some homeowners’ desire for a nice outdoor eating space, decks have fallen in popularity in newly built homes. Meanwhile, the number of homes being built with porches is climbing.
A decade ago, 54 percent of new homes had porches, while now almost 64 per- cent do, according to the National Association of Home Builders. In 2008, deck popularity peaked at about 28 percent, and now it is down to 24 percent.
But, of course it depends on your market. In states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, nearly 90 percent of homes are built with porches, and in the mountain states, 75 percent have porches. In the northeast, 70 percent of homes are built with decks, so homeowners in that area certainly aren’t embracing the porch trend. In Texas, only 5 percent of homes have decks.
Want to know the specifics of your area before adding an outdoor space? Talk to a Certified Residential Specialist REALTOR® today.

 

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.  

 

safer selling  

You’ve decided to sell your home and naturally you want to sell it quickly, profitably and smoothly. To maximize your success, here are five common and costly mistakes to avoid when selling your home.

MISTAKE #1 Overlooking Repairs:  Making repairs before selling is a must. These include electrical issues, water damage, rotten or chipped flooring, or a leaky roof. Consider getting a pre-inspection to uncover necessary repairs that might spook buyers and cause them to lower their offer or back out of the deal.

MISTAKE #2Overpricing your home:  Buyers are going to compare a sale price to other homes in the area, so your home should be priced competitively. Make sure your REALTOR® provides a comparative market analysis to help establish a competitive price and has their own system for helping you price your home.

MISTAKE #3 Over-sharing with buyers:  Another costly mistake is having too much communication with potential buyers. You don’t want to give away too much information to potential buyers, which could be used later during a sale negotiation. Either make yourself scarce during showings or think carefully about what you disclose to buyers.

MISTAKE #4Poor staging:  Both a cluttered home and an empty home will be unappealing to buyers, so proper staging and curb appeal are important. A majority of buyers are shopping for homes online these days, so consider bringing in professional staging and photography services.

MISTAKE #5The wrong attitude:  Тhis includes both patience and setting expectations too high. Not every prospective buyer will submit a bid—some are just window-shopping or are interested in a nearby home. Remembering that browsers are part of the home-selling process will help keep disappointment at bay.

SAY YES TO CRS

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

Certified

Residential Specialist

The Proven Path To Success


Your Home, Tips and Trends for Homeowners, Buyers and Sellers

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

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 2017

For many Americans, spring equals allergies. Itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion—it’s enough to make you want to skip the season altogether. But with these five steps from DIY Network, you can help reduce allergens in your home and find a brief respite.

➊  Remove clutter: Less stuff means fewer places for allergens to linger.

➋  Clean the air: A well-ventilated house is your first line of defense. Use HEPA filters in your air conditioning system, maintain the humidity at about 50 percent and keep your windows closed when pollen counts are highest in the early morning and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

➌ Clean the bathroom: Mold tends to gather there.

➍ Reduce dust-generators: Fabrics and carpeting create dust by breaking down fibers. Swap carpets out for washable throw rugs.

➎ Make smart landscaping decisions: Avoid planting trees such as maple, birch and ash, which have allergenic particles that can trigger discomfort.

EARLY BIRDS

Demand has pushed the spring selling season earlier, as buyers hope to beat the competition and secure a house early on. According to Realtor.com, the median age of property listings over the winter was four days fewer than last year. Despite the typical seasonal slowdown, inventory is picking up speed for this time of year.
Median list price typically reaches its lowest point mid-winter as well, but it remained level at $250,000, indicating that buyers are remaining persistent.
Buyers may also be reacting to mortgage rates, which rapidly climbed higher following the election, pushing buyers to secure a loan as soon as possible.
This is also a sign of continuing low inventory, which is creating higher home prices and shorter turnarounds for sales.
All signs point to this season shaping up to be a seller’s market.

SPRING things –  Spring is a great time to do a quick tune up of your home. Before things get busy for the summer, take a moment to make sure your home is humming along. Here’s a quick checklist of fixes to make now to save you time and money later.:

Interior

  •      Check seals around windows, doors and bathtubs
  •      Drain your water heater
  •      Check and fix leaky faucets
  •      Replace your HVAC filters
  •      Clean out your dryer vent
  •      Replace batteries in smoke detectors
  •      Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher
  •      Check basement walls for moisture or mold
  •      Vacuum refrigerator condenser coils

Exterior

  •      Inspect the roof
  •      Clean the gutters
  •      Wash window exteriors and check screens for repairs
  •      Check driveway and walks for repairs
  •      Inspect deck and patio for warped, molded or splintered boards
  •      Trim bushes and trees, or any vegetation near an air conditioning unit in particular
  •      Remove leaves and other debris from lawn
  •      Patch up your home’s paint job
  •      Look for cracks or weak spots along the lower section of the exterior

SAY YES TO CRS

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

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

Barbara Watts

Barbara Watts, Team Watts, Century 21 First Choice

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

(803) 370-0876

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

www.BarbaraWatts.com

 

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 February 2016

TIPS & TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS & SELLERS

ACCESSORIZE   IT

If your home décor seems stuck in a rut, updating your accessories can bring more spice to your living space. When accessorizing your home, follow these simple tips and tricks from HGTV and HouseBeautiful.com.

  • Highlight a few favorite accessories at one time. While it’s fun to collect different styles of pillows, artwork and collectibles, displaying them all at one time can overwhelm the room. Try showing only 20 percent of your prized accessories at a given time and change them regularly throughout the year.
  • Highlight a focal point in the room. Perhaps you have a uniquely designed fireplace mantel or a treasured area rug that you want to showcase. Select a piece of artwork to complement the rug, or display a few photographs or your favorite figurines along the mantel.
  • Choose a color scheme and theme. Before buying accessories, decide on one or two colors that will add visual interest to each room and complement your furniture and wall colors. If your furniture and walls are neutral, choose bold colors for your accessories to create a vibrant look. Accessories can also play up a theme of a room.
  • Group similar items. To create a consistent, balanced look, display accessories in small groupings. Some designers work by the rule of three. For example, a trio of matching mirrors lined up on the wall with a contrasting background can provide a dramatic focal point.
  • Light up your space. Create instant impact by choosing light fixtures that complement the design style of the room. To create a certain mood, use wall sconces, an extravagant chandelier or recessed lighting. With the right accessories, your home can go from ­­stale to stunning in no time.

NO MORE CLOSING SURPRISES

  • Thanks to new mortgage disclosure guidelines from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that became effective October 3, 2015, homebuyers can expect a more seamless closing process and fewer headaches at the closing table. The new rules simplify the loan paper-work so buyers understand exactly what they owe. Buyers can expect to receive two documents during the sales process — a loan estimate and a closing disclosure form, which are intended to be more transparent and could save them money on hidden costs and small-print fees that they might other-wise miss. The loan estimate details the transaction, including the estimated loan and closing costs. Consumers can use this form to do an apples-to-apples comparison when shopping for home loans. The closing disclosure form, which details the final transaction, is provided to buyers three days before closing so they can confirm whether they are getting what they expected and negotiate any changes. The two documents mirror each other, making it easy to compare estimates with final loan terms. Because of the strict timing rules lenders must follow, it’s important that buyers provide lenders with all the information they need to process their loan applications quickly. A qualified real estate professional can help ensure that all paperwork and negotiations with the seller are completed in a timely fashion.
  • For more information and to see samples of these forms, visit the CFPB’s website, consumerfinance.gov.

H O M E    W O R K

According to a recent study by Telework Research Network, 30 million people work from home at least once a week, and that number is expected to grow by 63 percent over the next five years. While dedicating an entire room for a home office is ideal, it’s not always practical. With smaller laptops and office furnishings and Wi-Fi connections, work areas can be set up anywhere in the home. Before setting up a workspace at home, here are a few ideas to consider.

Adequate storage. Storage solutions don’t have to be fancy or expensive, but they do need to be tailored to hold everything you need, including reference books, office supplies and files.

Reliable power. Many older homes may not have sufficient power or may lack grounded outlets. An electrician can do a wiring inspection and upgrade outlets and circuits as needed. A strong Internet connection is also important. Make sure your DSL or cable modem is functioning well and can handle a demanding workload

Sufficient lighting. Tasks like reading or drafting require lighting that shines directly on the work. For task lighting, use energy-efficient, long-lasting LEDs and a dimmer switch to control levels.

Work surface. The type of work you do will determine the size of work surface you need. A longer, wider area is better for spreading out papers, while a smaller desk may work best for reading documents and making phone calls. If you use a printer every day, place it within easy reach.

Seating. If you sit for long periods, invest in an ergonomic chair. Though it may cost more, it can provide better comfort and support for your back.

SAY YES TO CRS…….

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

Certified Residential Specialist

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

Watts_7025-Edit

803-370-0876

Results@BarbaraWatts.com

Century 21 First Choice

206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

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

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER MARCH/APRIL 2014

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

THE GREEN MILE

New light bulbs? Check. Thermostat lowered? Check. You’re working to be more energy-efficient, but how will you be green when it’s time to renovate or refresh your home? Learn what materials are good for the Earth — and even your health — with tips from Tree Hugger and the Environmental protection agency.

 

Paint Plus: Pick paint low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contain hazardous chemicals and are found in many household products. The standard for low-VOC is fewer than 250 grams per liter, and zero-VOC labels must have fewer than 5 grams per liter. Several brands offer a variety of colors and finishes, including Behr premium plus Enamel Low Luster, Benjamin Moore Natura, Old-Fashioned Milk paint, YOLO Colorhouse and Sherwin-Williams Harmony.

 

Floor Cure: Hardwood might last longer than carpet, which can contribute to poor air quality and end up in landfills. Find lumber salvaged from construction and renovation sites through online marketplaces such as PlanetReuse.com and  AmericanBuilderSurplus.com. Tile can be another green option (just use low-VOC adhesives and sealants). Bamboo is popular, too, but the shipping distance doesn’t make it the most sustainable choice.

 

Clean Scene: Look for cleaning products with labels that include “nontoxic,” “bio-degradable” and “made from renewable resources.” Or, try making your own. Vinegar and baking soda can be mixed with warm water to create an all-purpose cleaner. There are green housecleaning services, too.
SNEEZE THE DAY

Spring is prime time for itchy, watery eyes and never-ending sniffles. Do you or someone in your house have allergies? Get relief — in every room — with tips from the Mayo Clinic on how to allergy-proof your house.

Bedroom: Choose bedding that is made of synthetic materials, and wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets in warm water at least once a week. Comforters should be cleaned, too. While your laundry is in the wash, vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Keep the windows closed during pollen season, and turn on the air conditioning. Clean mold and condensation from the frames and sills. Washable curtains made of cotton or synthetic fabric are best.

Bathroom: Watch out for moisture and mold. Avoid carpet and wallpaper, and dry the tub after use.

Kitchen: Make sure there’s a vented exhaust fan above the stovetop hood to take out cooking fumes and reduce moisture. Keep up on dishes and clear the fridge of spoiled food regularly. Cleaning cabinets and counters will also go a long way toward keeping your allergies in check.
fast fact >> >> >> 16.9 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with  hay fever in the past year. 

Source: CDC
MOW TIME
Don’t let the grass grow under your feet this season. For a healthy-looking yard, now’s the time to get started. Take a page from HGTV’s lawn care handbook with these tips.
  First, clear the weeds and roots and rototill 6 inches below ground. This will help prepare the area to include equal parts loam, sand and topsoil. During this time, create a slight slope to help with drainage.
  If sod is not in your budget, the next step is to hand-seed or hydroseed (a technique that spreads the seeds evenly). Choose the grass seed that is right for your climate and how you will use the lawn.
  When it’s time to cut the grass, set the mower to the highest notch that only mows the top third. This helps with root development and prevents the ground from drying out too quickly.
  Then, get out the hose. If you just seeded, water every day for five to 10 minutes. After new grass comes up, water once a day for 15 to 20 minutes. Consider your soil type to figure out how much.
  Twice a year, in spring and fall, fertilize.
Say Yes to CRS
Buying or selling a home can seem like an overwhelming task. But the right REАLTOR® can make the process easier — and more profitable.
  А Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), with years of experience and success, will help you make smart decisions in a fast-paced, complex and competitive marketplace.
  To earn the CRS Designation, REАLTORS® must demonstrate outstanding professional achievements — including high-volume sales — and pursue advanced training in areas such as finance, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NАTIONАL АSSOCIАTION OF REАLTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics.
  Work with a REАLTOR® who belongs in the top 3 percent in the nation. Contact a CRS today.
DID YOU KNOW?  Americans in 2013 planned to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green (84 percent), decorating their home or office (23.3 percent) and making a special dinner (34.6 percent).
Source: National Retail Federation
Certified Residential SpecialistBROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS
TEAM WATTS
REALTORS, NC/SC
CENTURY 21 FIRST CHOICE
206 ROCKMONT DRIVE
FORT MILL, SC 29708
803-370-0876
RESULTS@BARBARAWATTS.COM

 

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER 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.

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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