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 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 JULY 2013

TIPS AND TRENDS FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUYERS AND SELLERS

PICK A LOCK

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

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

DID YOU KNOW?  President Ronald Reagan labeled July as National Ice Cream month in 1984.
Source: International Dairy Foods Association

Do you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling a home? Please mention my name. 
This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or financial advice. 
If you are currently working with another real estate agent or broker, it is not a solicitation for business.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND VISIT OUR BLOG!  STAY UP TO DATE BY FOLLOWING OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS!
*If you would like to subscribe to receive this newsletter electronically please email Megan with your current email*
Barbara Watts, Realtor, Licensed in NC & SC, GRI, ABR, e-Pro, C-CREC, CRS, 803-370-0876, BarbaraWattsTeam@gmail.com

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

  1. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,779 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,454 sqft
    Listed with Keller Williams Fort Mill
  2. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,859 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,049 sqft
    Listed with M/I Homes
  3. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,098 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,049 sqft
    Listed with M/I Homes
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,486 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,939 sqft
    Listed with Keller Williams Fort Mill
  5. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,519 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,549 sqft
    Listed with DR Horton Inc
  6. 5 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 4,382 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,026 sqft
    Listed with DR Horton Inc
  7. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,878 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,227 sqft
    Listed with Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC
  8. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,766 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,058 sqft
    Listed with Allen Tate Providence @485
  9. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 4,177 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,356 sqft
    Listed with Wilkinson ERA
  10. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 4,093 sq ft
    Lot size: 18,295 sqft
    Listed with Allen Tate Fort Mill
  11. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,637 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,488 sqft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  12. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,852 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,488 sqft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  13. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,230 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,276 sqft
    Listed with Century 21 First Choice
  14. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 4,018 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,890 sqft
    Listed with Miller Realty Group
  15. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,898 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,969 sqft
    Listed with Keller Williams Fort Mill
  16. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,263 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,018 sqft
    Listed with Keller Williams Fort Mill
  17. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,779 sq ft
    Lot size: 20,908 sqft
    Listed with Keller Williams Ballantyne Area
  18. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,417 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,278 sqft
    Listed with Allen Tate SouthPark
  19. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,637 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,488 sqft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation
  20. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,861 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,488 sqft
    Listed with Mattamy Carolina Corporation

See all Real estate in the city of Tega Cay.
(all data current as of 11/19/2018)

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

 

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 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.

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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