YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2014

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

WINTER TO-DO LIST

Kick off the New Year with a fresh attitude about home maintenance. After all, you don’t want to wait until the furnace conks out before you deal with it. Keep track of when you need to schedule service and how to keep things in good working order with The Weather Channel’s to-do list for January.
First, take a snow day to organize your files and review warranties and manuals for equipment, appliances and other tools. There you’ll find how often to check or replace items.
Need a new washer and dryer? Post-holiday sales this month can also help you snatch a bargain.
Take a room-by-room inventory with photos or video. In the case of fires, floods or other disasters, a record of your possessions can be helpful when filing insurance claims.
Examine furniture and cabinets for loose knobs and hinges, and repair as needed. Fix squeaks in floors and stairs.
Also this month, keep crawl space vents open to control condensation beneath the house, and check insulation around outside pipes that are exposed to freezing weather.
FIRE FIGHT
Tangled extension cords? Power strips galore? Your home’s wiring system might be working overtime with all of the new gadgets you received for Christmas — and it might be at risk for igniting a fire. Straighten out these wiring problems and more with tips from This Old House.
Have a licensed electrician walk through your home every five years to look at the wire insulation and the service panel and for any code violations. If you’re doing it yourself, start by turning off the circuit at the main breaker panel.
Code requires outlets within 4 feet of a door and every 12 feet after that. Extension cords can be useful, but keep in mind that smaller-gauged cords can overheat and start a fire if overused. Adding more outlets can run about $100 per outlet on first levels and $200 upstairs.
Another fire hazard is overlamping, in which light fixtures have a bulb with higher-than-recommended wattage installed. Check the fixtures’ wattage limit or use bulbs that are smaller than 60 watts.
Flickering lights aren’t just annoying, but they could be a sign of wire trouble, too. The outdoor fitting where overhead cables from the power line come into the house, or frayed wiring in the weatherhead, causes the short when the cable moves. Call your electric utility provider to have the weatherhead replaced for free.
fast fact >> >> >> >> Snow has been reported in just about every locale in the United States, even in southern Florida.  Source:  Farmer’s Almanac
POSITIVE ENERGY
Was your last gas bill higher than usual? Cold air might be finding its way into your house. Conserve energy, save money and stay toasty with these tips from the Department of Energy.
Let the sun shine in! During the day, open the curtains on the south side of your house. Feel a draft? Seal a clear plastic sheet to the inside of window frames or install drapes or shades that are tight and insulating. Caulking and weatherstripping windows can also keep your home warmer.
The heat is on, so keep your heating systems up and running as efficiently as possible. Follow the recommended maintenance schedules and change furnace filters once a month.
Fireplaces also can cause heat loss. Keep the flue damper tightly closed unless you’re burning a fire. Grates made of C-shaped metal tubes and tempered glass doors can help keep the room warm when the flue is open.
DID YOU KNOW?  Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.  Among the most popular goals: lose weight, get organized, spend less and save more, stay fit and healthy, and quit smoking.  Source:  History Channel
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
BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS

Barbara Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC

GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS

803-370-0876

barbarawattsteam@gmail.com

 

Megan Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC

ABR, GRI, SFR, AHWD

803-554-8725

meganwattsteam@gmail.com

 

Dale Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC, SRES

803-370-4049

TegaCayDale@gmail.com

 

Century 21 First Choice, 206 Rockmont Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29708

YOUR HOME NEWSLETTER, NOVEMBER 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

OUT COLD
Before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season sets in, add winter-proofing chores to your home to-do list. Protect your home from winter’s woes with these tips from RealEstate.com.
Heating Basics Replace old thermostats with programmable ones that allow you to lower the temperature when you’re away from home. Turn on your furnace to ensure it works (run it the full cycle from warm-up to blowing heat to shutting back off again). Peek into your ducts and clean away the mold, pests and debris.
Winter Windows Inspect your windows and doorframes for gaps that would allow water or snow to seep in. Use low-expansion spray foam to fill any you find. Storm windows and well hung plastic sheeting can provide an extra layer of insulation.
On the Inside Seal and insulate the wall around electrical outlets and pipes that connect to the exterior of your home. Check that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors are working in case a heater or fireplace malfunctions.
On the Outside Clear out debris around windows. Fill cracks in your pipes with expanding foam insulation or caulk. Disconnect and drain your garden hose to prevent it from bursting. You’ll also want to clip tree branches that are close to your house or car in case of a snow or rainstorm.
DECK THE HALLS 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Time to pick out the tree and haul ornament-filled boxes from the attic. But, the next open house you have won’t be for your dear friends — it will be for potential buyers. Stay festive without crossing the line with these Frontdoor.com tips.
Your yard and front door provide a sneak preview of the warm and inviting atmosphere inside. Showcase winter’s beauty with a pinecone wreath on your door, and excite prospective buyers by hanging some simple lights outside.
Inside, appeal to guests’ senses. Draw back the curtains to allow natural light, and add more lamps for a softer light that also fights the darkness of the season. Keep the house toasty by lighting the fireplace or switching on the heater. In the bathrooms, add seasonal scented soap, and in the kitchen, let the aromas of freshly baked cookies or hot cider circulate.
Keep the religious décor to a minimum to avoid scaring off buyers. Consider a scaled-back Christmas tree or Hanukkah menorah in the corner, gifts tucked tidily around. After all, it’s still a holiday.
fast fact  >> >> >> Ceiling fans can also circulate heat.  Blades rotating clockwise push warm air down.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS

GUIDING LIGHT

Need a little more light in your life? See for yourself the difference that light bulbs and lamp shades can make with a room’s mood. Check out these bright ideas from RealSimple.com.
Type Cast In the bathroom, use overhead lights to get rid of shadows; sidelights flanking the mirrors are perfect for makeup application. In the kitchen, overhead lights brighten surfaces. In the bedroom, try cozy tinted, low-wattage bulbs to give a candlelit, romantic effect. To create a grand atmosphere in the dining room, use a chandelier. Place one directly over the table, but make sure to measure the ceiling height and table height before making a purchase. Indirect lighting — in all parts of the home — softens spaces. Small table lamps or wall sconces can also add a subtle glow.
Safe and Secure Use ambient lighting to brighten the exterior of your home. Motion-activated or timer-equipped lights can ensure your home’s exterior is well-lit in the evenings. Don’t go too dim or too bright — no need to attract intruders, nor bother your neighbor.
DID YOU KNOW?  Using a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature in your home by roughly 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day might save you 10 percent a year on heating and cooling.
Say Yes to CRS

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most emotional decisions you will ever make. So it’s important to work with someone who can provide sound advice and a steady, guiding hand when you need it. That’s why a CRS agent is the best person for the job.
A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is among the top 3 percent of all agents in the country. CRS agents have achieved a high volume of transactions and advanced training in areas such as business planning, finance, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics. Why work with anyone else when you can work with a CRS agent?
Certified Residential Specialist

 

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

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

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG TO STAY UP TO DATE ON NEWS IN OUR MARKET!

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

Barbara Watts, Realtor
Licensed in NC & SC
GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS
803-370-0876
barbarawattsteam@gmail.com
www.BarbaraWatts.com
Megan Watts, Realtor
Licensed in NC & SC
ABR, GRI, SFR, AHWD
803-554-8725
meganwattsteam@gmail.com
Dale Watts, Realtor
Licensed in NC & SC, SRES
803-370-4049
TegaCayDale@gmail.com
206 Rockmont Drive Fort Mill, SC 29708

206 Rockmont Drive
Fort Mill, SC 29708

Your Home Newsletter for April 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

WHAT HOMEBUYERS WANT

Most homebuyers prefer newer homes with extra space, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® (NAR) 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences. The survey, which examined buyers who purchased a home between 2010 and 2012, finds that the typical recently-purchased home was built in 1996 and had 1,860 square feet. The typical buyer purchased a home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Repeat buyers, buyers of new homes, married couples, and families with children tend to purchase larger homes, while first-time buyers and single women were more likely to buy older homes.

Nearly two-thirds of buyers said central air conditioning was the most important home feature, followed by a master walk-in closet, desired by 39 percent of buyers. Some home features are so sought-after that buyers were willing to spend more money to have them. More than two-thirds of buyers (69 percent) who did not purchase a home with central air conditioning said they were willing to pay $2,520 more for a home with this feature, and the same percentage of buyers said they would be willing to pay $1,840 more for a home with new kitchen appliances.

Buyers placed the highest dollar value on waterfront properties and homes that were less than five years old. They were willing to spend the most money for a basement ($3,200) and an in-law suite ($2,920), while the highest percentage of buyers were willing to spend more for a laundry room (63 percent) and a home office or den (44 percent).
OVERCOMING HOUSE BLINDNESS

If you have lived in your home a long time, chances are you’ve become so comfortable that you no longer see the buildup of dirt and dust that has accumulated. According to Merry Maids, a national home cleaning service, here are some commonly overlooked areas and a few solutions to fix them.

Pay attention to the stuff above your head. The ceiling, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and the tops of curtains and window treatments attract dust, cobwebs and remnants of dead insects, so make sure you dust them frequently.

If you’re not organized, clutter will take over. Recycle those magazines stacked on the desk, store books on bookshelves, and toss the half-dead houseplant or give it away to a more caring friend.

The kitchen is another hotbed of clutter. The refrigerator door may seem like a logical place to keep shopping lists, recipes, coupons and school notices, but the exterior needs to be cleared so it can be properly cleaned. Remember to clean appliance handles too, which can be a breeding ground for germs.

When you’ve lived in one place long enough, it’s easy to become desensitized to odors from pets, kids, cooking, cigarettes or mustiness. A deodorizer, usually available as a spray or in crystal form, can neutralize odors without chemicals or fragrances.

If you still have a hard time seeing the dirt in your home, call a trusted friend who can give you an honest assessment. Just be ready to listen to the truth — and take action.
fast fact >> >> >> Workers in Maryland have the longest one-way commute at 32.2 minutes, while those in the Dakotas have the shortest commute at 16.9 minutes.
Source:  US Census Bureau
Certified Residential Specialist  BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARBARA WATTS®, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS
WINDOW CLEANING TIPS

Window washing is an annual rite of spring. While cleaning windows may seem like a simple task, these tips from TLC and the Mrs. Clean blog (http://mrscleanblog.blogspot.com) can make them shine.

For starters, windows should be cleaned on the inside and outside twice a year. For best results, wash them early in the day or in the evening on a cloudy day so direct sunlight won’t dry the cleaning solution.

Avoid using harmful chemicals on the windows by making your own cleaning solution. Combine two tablespoons of vinegar, ammonia or lemon juice with 20 ounces of warm water in a spray bottle, and shake well. For greasy windows, add a few drops of dish detergent to help remove smudges easily. If the cleaning solution drips onto the frames or windowsills, wipe it immediately so it does not damage the surface. Use a squeegee or terry cloth to wipe the glass. It’s helpful to use vertical strokes on one side and horizontal strokes on the reverse so you can pinpoint where there may be streaks. For added shine, polish the windows with an old well-washed cotton T-shirt or crumpled newspaper, which leaves a film that’s resistant to dirt. Use a cotton swab or a toothbrush with soft bristles to clean hard-to-reach corners.

Pay attention to the window frames and tracks too. Use a terry cloth or vacuum to remove dirt and dust from the grooves and around the frame. For high-up windows that may be hard to reach without a ladder, experts suggest calling a professional window cleaner for the job.
Say Yes to CRS

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

A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is among the top 3 percent of all agents in the country. CRS agents have achieved a high volume of transactions and advanced training in areas such as business planning, real estate investing, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics. Why work with anyone else when you can work with a CRS agent?
DID YOU KNOW?  To eliminate tiny scratches on glass surfaces, polish the affected areas with toothpaste.
Source:  TLC/How Stuff Works.com
Do you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling a home? Please mention our name.
This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or financial advice.  If you are currently working with another real estate agent or broker, it is not a solicitation for business.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG OFTEN!  STAY UP TO DATE BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS!
*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically email teamwattsassistant@gmail.com with your email*
Barbara Watts, Realtor, Licensed in NC & SC, GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS
803-370-0876
barbarawattsteam@gmail.com
Megan Watts, Realtor, Licensed in NC & SC, ABR, GRI, SFR, AHWD
803-554-8725
meganwattsteam@gmail.com
Dale Watts, Realtor, Licensed in NC & SC, SRES
803-370-4049
tegacaydale@gmail.com
Century 21 First Choice, Fort Mill, SC 29708

Your Home Newsletter 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!!

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

 *If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email Megan with your current email*

Barbara Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC

GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS

803-370-0876

barbarawattsteam@gmail.com 

Megan Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC

ABR, GRI, SFR, AHWD

803-554-8725

meganwattsteam@gmail.com

Dale Watts, Realtor

Licensed in NC & SC

SRES

803-370-4049

TegaCayDale@gmail.com

 

WWW.BARBARAWATTS.COM