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 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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*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