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Jean's July 2020 Newsletter

Posted On: July 2nd, 2020 6:28PM

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The Batson Team
Jean Batson

Al Batson
4th of July

            This year will be unlike any other in our lives with most firework displays, and events cancelled BUT even though we can’t celebrate in the traditional way, we can honor the day.  Here are a few facts that you may or may not know about Declaration Day.  Trivia anyone?

  • America declared their independence from Britain on July 4, 1776 HOWEVER, the official vote took place two days before even though the "Declaration" was published in the newspapers on July 4th.
  • Only two men actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th; the remaining 54 delegates signed over the course of the month.  The first signers were Charles Thompson and the infamous, John Hancock.
  • There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence  (no – not a treasure map in invisible ink) It says "Original Declaration of Independence dates 4th July 1776" Nobody knows who wrote it but it is believed it was added as a label during the Revolutionary War when parchment was often rolled up for transport.
  • The average age of the signers was 45; of the 56 signers the youngest signers, Thomas Lynch Jr. and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, were only 26. However, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest signer at 70 years old.
  • It was written on a "laptop."  Okay – not what you’re thinking, obviously. Thomas Jefferson drafted it on a writing desk that fit over his lap.  At the time it was called a "laptop."  See, what goes around…comes around.
  • Americans spend over $1 Billion on fireworks each year; about 10% of which are set off professionally. Thus, the estimated nearly 13,000 firework-related emergency room visits across the country.
  • Who designed the 50-star flag?  In 1958 a history teacher in Ohio assigned his students the task of designing a flag to incorporate two additional stars to include Hawaii and Alaska.  Robert G. (Bob) Heft, 16 designed a flag that earned him a B- in class. Unhappy with his grade, he challenged his teacher to give him an "A" if his design was selected.  He submitted it to President Dwight D. Eisenhower [along with hundreds of others].  He used $2.87 worth of blue cloth and iron-on materials and his mother’s Singer sewing machine. Of all the submissions, his was the only one with a stitched sample. In 1960, his design became the official US Flag – the one we proudly display and salute as citizens of this great country.  Oh, he got his "A." Want to read more:
What is Alternative Real Estate? 

We are often asked about alternative companies for selling your property.  Our intention is not to criticize any company or method; just present some thoughts for your consideration.  Obviously, you can decide what is best for your circumstance.  Let’s start from the Buyer’s point-of-view only

  •  Since the seller normally pays the BUYERS'S Realtor’s commission, it costs the Buyer nothing to get the expertise of their Realtor. So why would buyers go anywhere else because their own Realtor will closely monitor comparable market analysis, showings, arrange for home inspections, put you in touch with a viable mortgage lender if you don’t have one, handle the request to the seller for repairs by negotiating,  provide data to the appraiser, follow your escrow through for you; making sure you’re protected in every way. Realtors are there for you when you need them.
  • Remember the difference between an "Agent" and a "Realtor" from a recent newsletter?  An agent is a licensed real estate person who can be an employee of a broker (not earning a commission necessarily) but is not a member of any Board of Realtors.  A "Realtor" is a licensed agent whose license is held by a broker as an independent contractor (we pay all of our own costs for materials, signs, flyers, membership dues, lock boxes etc.) SO TO CALL YOURSELF A "REALTOR, YOU MUST BE A MEMBER OF A LOCAL BOARD OF REALTORS.  A broker oversees everything we do to be sure we’re handling everything properly.
  • On average commissions are 6% divided 3% to the listing agent + Broker and 3% to the Buyer's agent and Broker)  for a total of 6%.  As with any occupation, most are hard-working, ethical and reliable with a goal of doing a good job for you; but some are not. A successful closing for the client is our goal.  This is a service industry. In our case, we offer to reduce the commission if we happen to obtain both the buyer and the seller.

There are many companies who say they will sell your home in a certain amount of time for the

asking price or much more saving the seller thousands of dollars.  We don’t know all of the answers as to how such claims can be made but here are observations based on experience and research. 

  • Some claim the" seller never pays 6% in commission."  They may quote a flat feel (such as $1,500).  Does that fee cover everything the seller really ends up paying? That might eliminate Realtors from presenting offers unless the seller agrees to pay them. How does such a company pay for staff/rent etc. at that rate on such a small flat fee?  Some do say in the fine print that it "does not include buyer’s agent fee."  Who is "assisting" you?  How much personal help do you get?  Are they available all the time or during "business hours."  Do you get assistance in showing how to declutter and stage for sale?
  • If a buyer sees a listing online that is not in the multiple listing service (but they have a Realtor they want to handle the sale), doesn’t the seller end up paying for the buyer’s agent/Realtor if they want that offer anyway? 
  • Some discount companies do not place their listings on the multiple listing service; counting on the fact than many people shop for a home on the internet…which they absolutely do. However, a big percent of those people who find a property of interest online will send it to their Realtor to check out and/or to show or write a contract. Algorithms certainly can determine what type of buyer will search for your property but does that bring them to your listing?  If so, how?
  • If your home is not on the multiple listing service, you don’t have the protection of the SUPRA lockbox (which registers every Realtor accessing the property).  And/or do you want strangers coming to your home? You must be a member of the Board of Realtors to purchase the SUPRA LOCKBOX.
  • Some promise you’ll have a buyer in 3-days at thousands of dollars above traditional sales.  That makes us wonder (unless they’re buying the property to resell) how could you know that?  In 3-days?  At thousands above listing?  
  • There are a couple of well-known companies who will purchase your home for a closing within a couple of weeks.  If you absolutely had to leave the property and/or needed to get out from under the obligation of ownership immediately, this could be a viable option.  Or perhaps you have found a house you absolutely want to move forward with (without contingencies), this could be viable for that circumstance as well. The company makes an offer sight unseen (in our experience lower than the seller would normally take) but…the sale is completed with cash in-hand to the seller so that can be worth it to the seller.  If repairs are necessary, and usually are, the seller can do them or leave them for the company to handle but the costs will be deducted from the proceeds.  They charge the seller’s (usually between 6-12%) to handle the transaction. Those companies then turn around and put those homes back on the market for sale after prepping it (repairs/upgrades if needed). These companies,of course, have to cover their costs to market your property once you'd been paid. Most have restrictions on properties they WON’T purchase, such as location, lot-sizes over ½ acre, distressed/REO, tenant-occupied, age of home, no leased-solar and maximum price (some around $500,000). There are two good companies we trust doing this if this meets your criteria.  You may not save money but the relief of having your home sold within a couple of weeks could be worth a lot if time is of the essence.

If you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’ll do our best to clarify.  Basically what we're advising is ASK ALL THE RIGHT QUESTIONS, READ ALL OF THE FINE PRINT before making a decision.


The National Board of Realtors, Arizona Board of Realtors and our local boards (we belong to two) have come together with best practices for Realtors during COVID19.  Properties are selling!  There’s a shortage of listings currently.  Obviously, location and price range has a great deal to do with the market.

We’re ready to help you.  Vacation plans for the year have been cancelled so we’ll be right here.
Want to Sell Your Home Fast? Get Our Free TIPS

Preparing your home for sale can make the difference between getting the price you want - or ending up disappointed.

Discover some easy things you can do by requesting our free TIPS, We wrote one both
for Buyers and Sellers

Just call or email us to send it right out to you.

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A friend's analysis regarding masks

A friend and client from out-of-state said this so beautifully about the mask issue [which are 
uncomfortable but…]

"Whether it's a restaurant, Home Depot, or the grocery store, we think we owe it to the people who are going to work there every day, to do our part to protect them (and us) from unwanted germs.  I appreciate the clerk at the supermarket who goes to work instead of collecting unemployment and I am happy to do my part to make sure all are safe.  We hate that this courtesy has been turned into a political statement - we just want to be cautious!"

Keep in touch with the CDC:

Something to think about!

What’s the secret to a happy relationship? Based on life experience - ours!

So simple – the basic GOLDEN RULE…treat your mate (partner, friend, relative, client, co-workers) as you’d like to be treated.  Works like a charm.   And laugh. 

Life is much easier when you can enjoy each other and treat each other with respect and kindness and have fun at the same time.

What do these words have in common?


See below for the answer but first, give it some thought.

By the way - if you have any real estate needs or questions, we hope you'll contact us:

Al@AlandJean     or
602-680-2791                                     602-228-0756

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Thanks to the over 90% of GOOD cops who wear it.  Something to think about when you need help or someone to solve a crime. This was sent to us as a quick point written by a Policeman
entitled THE BADGE:!AoYWSfxc3a0o8gKHZOTEUWFgFCBQ?e=ftjaE7

The Answer as to What Those Words have in Common!!!
If you take the first letter of each word and put it on the spells the same thing backwards!  (Another trivia question)
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6 Hygge Decor Tips to Bring More Calm to Your Home
When it comes to home comforts, the Danish have it down! Using the principles of hygge, the concept of valuing warmth, coziness, and togetherness, Danes infuse their decor with the good feeling that arises from an aesthetically pleasing and well-curated environment. Take a leaf out of their book and use these decor tips to get the Hygge flowing at home.

1) Avoid loud color schemes. Instead, create a calm space with a monochrome or delicately balanced palette: think earth tones and soft hues. A neutral color palette takes the focus away from the walls and allows the room and its comfy contents to do the talking.

2) Balance your harmonious colors with texture. A mixture of materials and patterns adds character to the minimalism whilst adhering to the color palette. Use warm, natural textiles like wood, leather, and wool.

3) To be able to truly embrace the Hygge lifestyle and make space for coziness, a mess-free canvas is crucial. Try decluttering your living area and investing in smart storage solutions like cord hubs, ottoman storage boxes, and hidden shelves behind headboards.

4) Once you've cleared your space, create comfort by decorating with fluffy pillows, layers of blankets, and candles. Perhaps there's a nook or a window bench you can transform into a space for relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea and a good book.

5) Candles are to Hygge as water is to swimming. Transform ordinary evenings into candle-lit memories with the soft glow of candles. It's a kinder form of light perfect for relaxing and spending quality time with loved ones. Today, it is safer to use the flameless candles; safer and cleaner but with the same effect. 

6) Explore the simple pleasures of daily rituals in your surroundings, and set aside time for self-care and relaxation every day to instill Hygge within.  Relax....
This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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Jean's June 2020 Newsletter

Posted On: June 1st, 2020 5:54PM

The Batson Team
We hope you like our new format.
If you wish to print, go beneath the QUICK QUIZ and open it as a WEB COPY.
Cntl P/Print
Jean Batson

Al Batson
Quick quiz

Each month I'll give you a new question.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

On what date did Benjamin Franklin conduct his famous kite experiment?

Reply to this email
Click here to see a web copy of this newsletter
June - Summer is here!

June 14th – Flag Day - Flag Day is a non-federal holiday in the United States that honors the history and meaning of the American Flag.  Fly it proudly.

June 21st – Father’s Day - celebrated on the third Sunday of June since 1910 to honor our Fathers.We thank our Dads – Russell Batson and Stu MacLeod for providing us with love and learning growing up.  We miss them both terribly;  they’re in our hearts forever.

NOTE: If you live in the area of Desert Ridge - there will be a SHREDDING EVENT in front of Pioneer Title, 5355 E. HIgh Street, Phoenix. $5/box from 8:00-11:00 a.m. on June 24th. Normally there are shredding events in the Spring but due to COVID19, they aren't being held. Thanks to Angie Sanich/Pioneer Title for putting this one together for everyone who has cleaned out old files and needs to safely dispose of personal documents.

2020 has been one for the record books – and it is only June. It’s as if we’ve all lost three months with no clear understanding as to what will happen with this dreadful disease. We’ve been out walking regularly throughout this time, catching up on projects at home – cooking a lot…just like everyone else.

We’re grateful to see that so many businesses can open up, even with social distancing restrictions.  This COVID19 situation has certainly hit our economy, incomes and small businesses.

Hopefully, with safety measures, life will be back to normal soon. Let's support our local businesses whenever we can...and each other.

Have a fantastic month.

                                      Al and Jean

From the AZ Commissioner of Real Estate

:Judy Lowe, AZ Commissioner of Real Estate  Q & A

Q:         How many Licensed real estate agents are in Arizona?

             A:         89,000 licensed BUT only 57,000 licensees are Active

Q:         Are all licensed real estate agents Realtors?

            A:         No, in order to be designated as a Realtor, you must be an active, dues-paying                                  member of a local Board of Realtors; your license hung with a Broker.

Q:         During the pandemic, it said on the news that if tenants could not pay rent due to  loss of  job, they                 cannot be evicted due to mandatory requirements to shelter-in
             place. Will they have to pay back rent?

             A:         Absolutely. This was a measure to assist tenants who lost jobs during the height of the                       pandemic when sheltering-in-place was mandatory.  Landlords need their rent to pay the mortgage,               property taxes, maintenance, management fees, and in some cases, utilities. This was not     

            designed to give people free rent…just temporary relief. (Many landlords with valued tenants will                    help defer payments during the crisis)


Get Our Free Working From Home Survival Guide

As we continue to social isolate, working from home (WFH) life can start to feel overwhelming. I’ve put together a helpful guide to help you bust some bad habits and help you become your most productive self.

Click below to download your copy of my "Working from Home Survival Guide."

Download My Guide
Real Estate Robocalls?  Legal or Not?

We’ve been asked many times about calls you receive at home (we get them too) wherein the caller tells you they have a buyer for your home Is this legal?   And do they have a buyer?

We had a Webinar with Judy Lowe, Arizona Real Estate Commissioner recently. The subject came up about the many unsolicited calls homeowners are getting and the difference between legal and illegal.

  • It is legal for a licensed real estate agent to "cold call" from a phone list to offer their services. If interested, you can ask what company and jot down who they are but most people prefer to select a Realtor from someone they know or is recommended.
  • It is not legal for a non-licensee to call a homeowner unsolicited saying they have a buyer for your home. Usually that will either be a "flipper" or a scam. You can report these to the FTC.
  • The Department of Real Estate does not have the capability to oversee these calls.  It is an FTC issue.

     The usual line is, "Mrs. Jones, I have a buyer for your home," Odds are they don’t know anything about your home. They’re calling from a phone list. When we get those calls, we ask to be removed from their list and/or just hang up

     It is definitely a Robocall if it is a prerecorded call saying they have a buyer or are interested in buying your home– and ask "if you’re interested, please push "1" to be connected to an "agent."  Hang up!  Don’t push anything.

     It could be a legitimate Realtor looking for new listings asking if you’re thinking of putting your home on the market.  It is not ethical to call saying they have a buyer for your particular home if they don’t. Obviously, there could be a situation wherein the Realtor knows the neighborhood and is looking for a particular floor plan. .With the right questions, you can determine that quickly. [Have them describe the floor plan their buyer is interested in – if it isn’t a match, you know they’re not being truthful.]. 

     Personally, we would never do cold-calling for business because we hate to be bothered at home with unsolicited "offers."  Why would we intrude on other people’s private time?  And we work mostly from referrals.

  • Per the FTC:  "A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless the company has your written permission to call you." [Charities and political organizations are allowed without permission]. Also legal are flight change information, school notifications, and appointment reminders. We advise NEVER DO BUSINESS FROM A PHONE CALL OR EMAIL THAT IS UNSOLICITED.You have no idea who you're speaking with.
  • FTC: "If someone is already breaking the law by robocalling you without permission, there’s a good chance it’s a scam." (or a company you would not want to do business with.) 


            The Registry is designed to stop sales calls from legitimate companies to block unwanted telemarketing calls. They know they're not supposed to call if your name is on the Registry. Sadly those scam- telemarketers ignore it.  The FTC does not have the ability to block calls.

For more information on ROBOCALLS, GO TO: :  

What's Happening in the AZ Market?

Everywhere you turn you’ll hear prognostications of the market.  There is rarely a common thread amongst those reports. According to a recent webinar with our local Board of Realtors – There is a current lack of inventory with a tremendous pent-up demand due to our recent shelter-at-home situation.  While numbers on sales will show a dip during this period, the expectation is that by the 3rd quarter, full recovery could very well be in place.  Factor in that there could be major changes in the work force heading to offices vs. working from home.  That could mean more people searching for larger homes where they can have an enclosed office at home (an extra bedroom?  Den?).  Our crystal ball is in the shop, but this made sense to us.

With some changes, we're open for business - with the shortage in listings, now is the time to move forward if you've been waiting.

Please contact us if you'd like a property or neighborhood report on current comps.

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Pasta-in-One Dish (It's delicious and easy)
Our good friend, Nancy, prepared this dish for several of us some time ago.
It's an amazing 
one-dish meal with easy preparation  - but she tweaked
this original recipe from Martha Stewart by topping it with butter/garlic shrimp for a whole new and delicious taste.

It was served with corn on the cob and salad.

The quick and easy part is the you put all of the ingredients in one large sauté pan with a lid and cook it in about 11 minutes. 


  • 1 pound of pasta. (Linguini or spaghetti).
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 12 oz cherry tomatoes halved, or 3 tomatoes chopped (discard seeds)
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 5 cups water
  • Hand full of fresh basil (or 2 tsp. dried)

Place all dry ingredients in a large sauté pan. When ready to cook, add water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook 11 minutes.


Nancy served it with shrimp but chicken or Italian sausage would work as well:

  • Sauté 2 lbs. of peeled and deveined shrimp* (or alternative) in butter and garlic. 

Place finished pasta on a large platter, top with shrimp (or alternative) and butter.


Top with grated cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan. Enjoy!

Looking for a new or different home?
Before you begin your hunt for a new home, even if it's online, we suggest that you do some important information gathering ahead of time so that the fruits of your labor will be more immediate and satisfying.

The place that you will call "home" will be the result of understanding what your needs are now and into the future. Condo or loft living may be your chosen lifestyle if you don't want to deal with much maintenance and have no outdoor living requirements. There will be monthly homeowners insurance to have the community do your maintenance.  It may be no more than what you're spending on landscaping, painting, pool care costs already.

If a single family home is your cup of tea, how many square feet do you need, Other criteria will go on your list. Pool/no pool/either way - if this will be a long-term home - will you want the cost and maintenance of a pool as you age?  How many car garage do you need (not for junk storage but for vehicles etc)?  Do you need a home office? Is a great room concept more viable than a formal living and dining room?

"What location is best?" Probably the most important part of your information gathering will be how you answer this question. The value of your new home will be influenced by its location, so you will need to analyze your needs regarding how and where you work and play.

The type and locale of a home will determine your overall cost of ownership. Will it be city life, country living, or nesting in the suburbs? Additionally, you will want to include the cost of home maintenance and commuting costs as part of your cost of living fact-finding.

Once you decide whether you are a candidate for a remodeling project or if a newer home better suits your way of life and patience, you will need to get prequalified for a loan that is tailored for the type and location of the home that works for you. We have contacts to help.

Please remember that we are here to make your information gathering easier so that the end result is a home that is a perfect fit for you and your family.
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Have a fantastic month - be kind to each other.
This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.

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Jean's May 2020 Newsletter

Posted On: April 30th, 2020 10:51PM


    • May 5th – National Teacher’s Day
    • May 6th National Nurses Day

      May 10th – MOTHER’S DAY  In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Mother's Day. He asked Americans on that day to give a public "thank you" to their mothers and all mothers.

      May 25th – MEMORIAL DAY. The first national celebration of Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day) took place May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery.

    None of knows what May, June or July will look like – and this is certainly a year none of us will forget. Going from a fantastic economy only weeks ago to THIS! From the lowest jobless rate to THIS! These are the times our parents warned us to prepare for…and keep our attitude on track. This is a test none of us expected.

    After this much confinement, our closets, pantries, cabinets, and drawers should be sparkling clean and organized.  Everyone is handling this the best way they can.  Predictions indicate this disease will come in waves which could mean longer sequestering.

    We received an email that is paraphrased below called "WE’RE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT."  It shows an overall look that makes us look outside of our own personal situation. This is the time to reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to offer a word of cheer or a helping hand. If you know an elderly person who might need groceries, offer to pick up items for them.

    We want to take a moment to thank the medical professionals and first-responders who are putting their lives on the line. They do it every day in their chosen profession, but now it is a whole new ballgame.

    We are strong - pulling together, we can and will do what it takes to get through this difficult itme – to help each other in any way we can. Kindness abounds – people helping people.

    One day at a time…that’s how we must face it. As Abe Lincoln said, "This too shall pass."

    Be safe and healthy,

    Al and Jean

      The Profession of Fraud:  

    They go to their office like any other worker – they make calls and earn commissions based on their success. The only difference is the business is fraud. They pretend to be government officials, lottery officials or other identities. But, they’re not!  They’re highly trained to be charming and to convince the person they’re calling to provide personal information with the intent to defraud. They’re told that Americans are wealthy so, they won’t even miss the money. Of course, that isn’t true. It’s big business; the hotbeds of this "business" are India, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Romania/Eastern Europe, Nigeria and Florida (Miami and Tampa).  Florida often focuses on Medicare fraud. The goal is to convince older people that they need genetic tests for cancer. Today it is probably testing for COVID19. Medicare would pay the lab who, in turn, pays the scammer. As a bonus, the scammer now has Medicare numbers which can be sold on the Black Market.

    India specializes in "tech support" scams. We’ve all gotten those calls where they say they’ve been notified that your computer has a virus, but they can repair it for you remotely.  Don’t fall for it.  They have no idea what is going on with your computer. After getting that call dozens of times, I played along. I asked which of our computers they were referring to…they hung up on me. Gotcha!!!

    Nigeria is home to "love scams."  They follow dating sites and search for the most vulnerable. They even create fake profiles to make their victim think they’re speaking to the person in the photos. Once the victim is hooked (think they’re in love), that’s when the scammer asks for money to help their sick mother or plane fare to come visit.  Of course, there is no sick mother, and nobody will be needing a plane ticket. They break hearts and bank accounts.

    In Peru, there are alleged scammers claiming to be from the IRS who target Spanish speaking people in the USA threatening deportation unless they can pay a fee.

    If you didn't buy a lottery ticket in Europe, you didn't win anything so don't be talked into paying a "Processing fee" or give them your bank's routing information.  It's a scam.

    We all want to support our Police and Fire Department but please, do not respond to calls asking for donations. It could be anyone from anywhere calling. Support your local first responders but through local charities such as THE 100 CLUB OF ARIZONA  ( that assists families of the fallen (police and firefighters). 

    Unfortunately, there are many so-called charities that are scams and/or a very high percentage of donated funds of actual charities go to "administration" not to service the purported charity. Check out this link:

    The US Senate Special Committee on Aging reported that last year, older Americans alone lost roughly $3 Billion to scammers. The overall number must be even more staggering. Whatever your age, don’t be a victim.  If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. If these scams weren’t so successful, they would stop. When you get a call, don't engage; just HANG UP. 




     How has COVID19 affected Real Estate?

    This pandemic is certainly nothing anyone saw coming until it was upon us. It’s shut the world down, changed the economy and the lives of every one of us.  Real estate procedures will be done in new ways to ensure the safety of all participants in each transaction. There are multiple schools of thought – and rumors about the housing market running amok. Here are a few thoughts based on numerous real estate webinars we’ve attended recently.  

    • Yes indeed, we’re open for business BUT some of the procedures have changed dramatically. Homes are still being bought/sold and leased. Just slower now. Please ask us—we’re happy to explain it in detail.
    •  What is the Cromford Report?  It is an analytical report for Realtors based on public and ARMLS (Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service) sales statistics. This is where some of the information we’re providing is from – not our personal opinion.
    • A point to bring up – pay attention only to local  housing statistics or projections on the news because the market varies depending on where you live. If you live in Phoenix (or wherever), home sales and pricing in New York City or Washington has little impact on your situation
    • Cromford says that statistics today as to sales are about the same as usual…but those numbers will change when stats for April or May show up because it takes time to assemble the data and analyze it. So anticipate the number of sales will drop. It is unrealistic to think they won’t drop when the world is shut down temporarily.
    • According to Cromford, we are not expecting a "crash" by any means; just less sales temporarily due to the weeks with minimal activity due to COVID19. Due to self-quarantining, April has not been business-as-usual, so it will impact statistics we hear in coming months. May is yet to be determined. Expect that – don’t panic.
    • Comparisons to other major market disasters (like 2008/the Subprime Mortgage) aren’t possible because we’ve simply never had a situation quite like this so it can’t be accurately compared.
    • We noticed that some escrows opened just before COVID19, have fallen out of escrow because the buyer may no longer qualify if their job is in jeopardy or they’ve been laid off etc. There are so many variables, of course. Most escrows that started pre-COVID19 closed normally. 
    • There is a potential that escrows could, in some cases, take a few days longer to give lenders the opportunity 3-days prior to closing to re-verify employment.

    Lending – an integral part of the real estate process

    • Regulations are tightening. - self-employed/independent contractors etc. may have less options. Nobody knows for sure what will happen with interest rates because things are changing daily.  Some lenders may require a 20% down, when weeks ago 10% was satisfactory.
    • It could be a great time to refinance. We can offer you the names of a few trusted mortgage lenders you can ask.
    • FICO score requirements will likely be higher.
    • Forbearance? You may hear this word – it is a temporary postponement of mortgage payments for emergency use ONLY if you absolutely can’t pay your mortgage during the COVID19 crisis. This does NOT EXCUSE the payments due so if you’re having issues, talk to your mortgage lender. Some are allowing those payments to be tacked on to the end. Let them know you need help; negotiate.
    • Prices, at this point, are maintaining thus far; and are expected to stay that way. Of course, there are always situations that can skew the values. We can’t predict the next few months, of course.  Homes under $350,000 generally sell quickly and they’ll still sell – it may take longer simply because people are in self-quarantine. The higher priced properties will always take longer; especially when they’re priced over $1 Million. There is simply a smaller demographic who can afford that price range.



    We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be or vice-versa.

    For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, or reconnection. For others, this is a desperate financial & family or mental health crisis. Some are safe in their homes while others must go into the front line and face this virus head-on.

    For some who live alone, they’re facing endless loneliness.  Others may be trapped with an abusive partner or parent.

    Some parents are trying to work AND home-school – other people are missing some of the important events in life (Prom, graduation, weddings, milestone birthdays or funerals)

    Some choose to wear masks in public; others do not. Some think it was planned; others don’t.

    Some have been ill, lost loved ones or have survived COVID19. Some had it and didn’t know it. Some are carrying the virus unwittingly while others think this is no big deal so don’t take precautions.

    So friends, we are not all in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs might be completely different. Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm


    This month's recommended business from personal experience:



    It was time for us to update our Trust/Wills, Power of Attorney (Durable General and Health) to be sure we were in compliance with Arizona law.  Andrea Claus of BIVENS & ASSOCIATES came highly recommended.  They specialize in Estate Planning-Elder Law and Special Needs.  We’d heard Andrea speak at Pioneer Title and were very impressed with her handle on how real estate relates to estate planning.  We worked together during COVID19 via phone conferences and when it came time to sign/notarize our new documents, two witnesses and the office Notary came to our car (we were all masked and gloved with our own pens) to sign on clipboards.  It was flawless.  We learned more about options than we’d ever heard before.  She’s amazing!  As is her staff.  Special thanks also to Jackie Chaney. 

    BIVENS & ASSOCIATES AT 480-922-1010 or contact  Website:






    If you haven't done it yet, it's time to call your heating and air-conditioning company to have them check your system.  You don't want an emergency in the summer.
    If you need a suggestion, we use
    AccuTemp. We pay an annual fee for two check-ups.  602-957-3745

    The Batson Team HomeSmart
    Jean Batson
    Home Smart

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    Spanish Flu 1918-1920

    100 years ago – the world was hit with the Spanish Flu, the most severe pandemic in recent history, at the time. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919.  In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of SPANISH FLU deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.

    Today's situation and comparison of data

    Seasonal flu in 2018-2019, the CDC estimates 35.5 million Americans were ill and there were 34,200 deaths

    As of 4/28/2020, there have been 54,239 deaths in the United States and 205,398 globally thus far due to COVID19.

    To recap:

    • Last year's flu season brought 34,200 deaths all year.
    • As of 4/28/20, there have been 54,239 deaths thus far from COVID19.
    • That means that in the past 60 or so days, COVID19 has killed over 20,000 more people than last year's entire seasonal flu did.






    We thought you’d enjoy a very simple treat since we're all staying at home.  We titled these as PC COOKIES; if we’d led with Potato Chip Cookies, you might not have read further.  Recently our good friend, Sandy,  dropped some of these cookies off for us to try.  She’s a baker extraordinaire! They were fantastic.   Well, I have made them and LOVE them!  We hope you'll give them a try! They fit my criteria - SO SIMPLE & DELICIOUS!  Kids will enjoy making them as well. They won’t last long once you’ve had one. They should be against the law; they’re addictive!



      1 lb. softened butter
      1 cup sugar
      2 tsp. Vanilla
      3-1/2 cups unsifted  flour
      2 cups (4.5 oz.) regular potato chips
      Powdered sugar

    Cream together the butter and sugar. Slowly blend in the remaining ingredients.  Drop by the teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet, press with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Shake cookies in a bag with powdered sugar.

    I/2 a batch is plenty for us to gorge on.


  This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.  

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Jean's April 2020 Newsletter

Posted On: March 29th, 2020 4:21PM

    APRIL 2020 - a new world! Read about
    • COVID19,
    • Real Estate Market/ Mortgage Lending,
    • Personal Air Purifiers,
    • Our recipe of the month,
    • Kudos to two small businesses and
    • Happy Birthday wishes to our 106 year old friend, a WWII  American war hero.
    April 1 – April Fools ‘Day - hopefully not an "event" but watch out anyway!

    April 8 – Jewish Passover begins – ending April 16

    April 10 – Good Friday

    April 12 – Easter Sunday

    APRIL 15 – the IRS is ready for YOU.  Filing for 2019 has been extend to July 15, 2020 due to COVID19.

    We’re all feeling a little "funky" with everything that is going on.  As Americans, we’re accustomed to coming and going at-will.  Our brains can’t quite grasp this loss of control we suddenly have about being separated from everyone; or being able to jump in the car to go to a restaurant or movie.  I was thinking this morning as I unloaded the dishwasher with clean dishes (we have electricity and hot water), we had dishes to wash because we have gas to cook our meals and food in the refrigerator.  We have heating and cooling in our home, if we need either.  We can communicate with friends and family because we have our computers and phones. 

    People are pulling together - farmers are farming, cows are milking, volunteers are making masks for our medical personnel, truckers are hard at work delivering food to our stores, volunteers are gathering food for those without, breweries and distilleries are using their facilities to make hand-sanitizing lotion, restaurants are finding a way to do take-out, churches are doing on-line services. The goodness in people is overwhelming in a time of need.

    Not long ago we were talking about devastating hurricanes that hit recently where people have lost everything - homes, power…nothing left.  So, we're OK with staying at home to hopefully stop the spread of this horrific virus.  We're grateful to have a roof over our heads - not everyone does. This kind of situation gives us an opportunity to be grateful for what we do have.

    And plenty of time to do the tasks we don’t like to do without an excuse.  Oh well, every silver lining has another side to it!  Hang in there!

    Our message today is to be patient, kind, cautious, safe - and help each other through these unusual times. We're all in this together.

    Al and Jean



    If you’d like to be inspired by young college students, go to the bottom of this newsletter where there is a link. This touching virtual version of "What the World Needs Now" was put together by Shelbee Rassler, a student pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Composition degree at the Boston Conservatory of Music at Berklee. It is a beautiful tribute to humanity during this COVID19 situation.  It was sent to us by a friend – who forgot to mention a tissue would be needed.  Thank you, Sharon.  We all need to see this.



    How will COVID19 affect Real Estate and Loans?


    First of all,  let us say that Governor Ducey has deemed real estate as an "essential business" for our economy so we're available with limitations per CDC rules.  So far, statistics don't show a slowdown because of business in the "pipeline" but realistically, there will be some effect over the next month or two on sales statistics. We can’t honestly predict market turns because nothing like this has ever happened in the USA…but we’ve been through other major tragic events (i.e. The Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2008) …and survived. It took time - but the economy came back. People will always need to buy and sell.  The past few weeks have been slower due to the "social distancing" but once this clears up, we hope and anticipate the market will pick up quickly because of pent up need. 

    The NAR (National Association of Realtors) tells us we can, and should, do business but to avoid holding Open Houses during this crisis; not only for the 6’ of social distancing but we shouldn’t have people walking through our listings, touching surfaces, handles etc.  Showing property for the short-term will be via virtual tours until a desirable property is selected by the Buyer. We can show property, but it is recommended that we drive in separate cars. First, of course, we will be sure the clients don't have a fever or coughing. We added to that list that if we’re showing a home, all of us going into the homes will be wearing plastic gloves and practicing social distancing. Of course, plenty of sanitizers will be implemented.

    The Cromford Report tells us that new home construction could slow down for a while due to potential shortages in labor and materials. Rentals: Some tenants will have been out-of-work due to COVID19 which will cause hardships on landlords and tenants alike for a period of time. Housing markets are based on supply and demand - and the demand here has been major. Phoenix is one of the top areas for migration from other states for multiple reasons [the weather, job market, low taxes and reasonable housing prices as compared to other states].  Central Arizona's housing market should remain very healthy so there is no cause for panic; if you need to purchase, it's fine to look now.     The Cromford Report provides daily market insight into the Phoenix metropolitan area residential re-sale real estate market. [NOTE: anything mentioned about the market,COVID19 etc. can change in a heartbeat]

    Escrows may, or may not, need to be a little longer if other affiliated businesses are back-logged but it's too soon to predict that.


    We keep in touch with our trusted mortgage lenders who send us updates regularly.  This one explains the current market succinctly. What he is saying is that if you hear that interest rates are cut, there is more to it.  You’re not going to get a 0% interest rate – that would play havoc on the banking system and economy.  Please read this from Brad Slager of Homeowners Financial Group: 480-254-3300.


    "The Federal Reserve has taken emergency action to cut rates to zero. While 0% interest rates sound great to anyone who owns a home or is planning to buy, it’s important to slow down and talk through a couple of things

    • First, the Fed does not control mortgage rates. Their cuts apply to rates for loans between the Fed and banks or from one bank to another. 
    • Second, the Fed’s actions most quickly impact the rates on U.S. Treasury Securities. These markets can influence Mortgage Backed Securities, which will then influence mortgage rates. 

    However, in times of uncertainty, other factors can overrule the norm. This happened in 2008. Despite aggressive cuts by the Fed, mortgage rates hit a floor and never fell further. The same is happening now.

    The Bottom Line - A 0% Fed funds rate will not lead to a 0% mortgage loan rate. Mortgage bonds will always have a level under which investors simply will not purchase them, and mortgage rates reflect that.

    The Good News - Mortgage rates are at or near their lowest levels ever. That spells opportunity to save significantly by refinancing or locking in a great rate on a purchase


    And reporting from the FHA side....


    FHA updates from Danny Lopezlira of Fairway Independent Mortgage ( or 602-617-2463).  Danny just sent us this update from a resource that lenders often use for updates.  This puts a very new spin on lending regarding FICO scores, LTD (loan to debt values) and required down payments coming up. Everything is our world is changing daily so - hold onto your hats.


    Air-Tamer A302 - Personal Air Purifier


    NOTE: This device will NOT protect you from the COVID19 virus because, according to current CDC as of today, it is not known to be an airborne disease (direct contact or surfaces) but it can be effective from people in the grocery, crowded places, airplanes, trains etc. where you’re exposed to colds or influenza.

    For many years, we’ve traveled with air-purifier necklaces which are very effective. With the COVID19 situation, we decided it was time to replace them for more current technology; we noticed in our Magellan’s catalog (travel items), a much smaller and improved item called the AirTamer A-302 Personal Ionic Air Purifier (it uses 2 CR2025 coin batteries for about 180 hours/7 days of continuous use). We purchased two new units last week for $79.00 each 

    Once everyone is allowed to travel again, you’ll want to take this device with you. And the good thing is that it is now very small (1" x 3" and weighs practically nothing). That's a Quarter next to it so you can see how small is really is. "Certified to remove dangerous pollutants from the air you breathe, the AirTamer A302 effectively protects you from airborne pollutants such as bacteria and viruses; The A302 is the perfect accessory to protect yourself during flu season"  


    Our new world with COVID19


    Who could have imagined going from the booming economy with the lowest jobless rate in years to...THIS? But we did. We’ve even got new vocabulary words like "social distancing." It’s very disconcerting but despite the bad behavior of a few, the goodness in people comes out too – neighbors, family and friends are touching base and/or sharing. Younger generations are helping their parents or grandparents to keep them out of the stores. We’re supposed to stay "a glass pane away" from our young family members. Caring for each other and remembering how much we treasure each other is the end game.

    Going through this is difficult, no matter where you live, but here in Arizona you can get out in the sunshine to take a walk, wave at your neighbors while exercising "social distancing."

    According to the CDC, "during the 2018–2019 season, estimates of hospitalizations and mortality associated with the 2018–2019 influenza season continue to demonstrate how serious influenza virus infection can be. We estimate, overall, there were 490,600 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 season."   We were certainly not aware of those numbers until  the news frenzy with the COVID19 began.  How will they compare in the end to last year’s influenza season? Nobody knows yet.

    Pandemics have been tracked since 167 AD…the worst being the Bubonic Plague (1347-1351) where 200 million people died. Since 1900, the Spanish Flu of 1918-19 (40-50 million), the Asian Flu of 1957-58 (1.1 million), the Hong Kong Flu of 1968-70 (1 million) but the worst in our lifetime was the loss from HIV/AIDS starting back in 1981 (25-35 million).  Today, treatments and cures are so far advanced from years gone by and while there have been other outbreaks (SARS, SWINE, MERS and EBOLA), those numbers were significantly less.

    If you’re curious about world history and events of this sort, you might find this interesting.

    The good news is that most people recuperate and survive COVID19.  The biggest concern is the spread.  Of course, those most vulnerable are our Seniors; especially those with underlying health issues. Statistic and information seem to change hourly.

    For current and accurate information, go to this link by the CDC (Center for Disease Control): 

    The food/supplies situation has been a challenge. As our Moms used to say,  "Waste not; want not," or "Clean your plate because there are starving children in China" [I still don’t grasp  how my having to choke down lima beans would solve hunger anywhere], "This too shall pass," and it will…maybe not overnight but we’re a strong country. 

    Quick tips:

    • If you don’t have hand-wipes to take with you, take either a damp cloth or one sheet of a Lysol cleaning wipe in a zip-lock bag to wipe down surfaces if you have to leave the house.
    • If you need to do a grocery run, wear plastic gloves.
    • One of the worst germ-catchers are kitchen sponges and brushes. We toss those into the dishwasher or laundry every time we run a load. Or, replace them regularly.

    Our philosophy in trying to find something positive in this tragic situation is…

    • Nearly bare grocery shelves – this is Mother Nature’s way of clearing the shelves of older product so everything will now be new and fresh.
    • God help the husband who has put off the wife’s HONEY-DO list because now he’s got plenty of time to do them all
    • And about those drawers, cabinets and closets – it’s great to delve into that project out of shear boredom.  Our pantry is now a work of art, as is our closet!  The hall closet and file drawers are calling…but we’ve ignored the wailing, so far.



    Presented by music students from the Boston Conservatory of Music:


    Happy 106th Birthday to Captain Richard S. Roberts (USN Ret) Born April 17, 1914


    I met Robbie in 1984 on a trip to Egypt/Israel/Jordon/Greece – he’s been a precious friend to both of us for all of these years.  Robbie is a highly decorated combat aviator who flew in WWII and beyond. He’s been awarded the Bronze Star (plus over 20 commendations) and is the eldest member of the Navy League of the United States.

    Last year, Robbie was honored by the US Navy by naming a jet after him in recognition of his service (from 1938-1963) to his country.  He’s one of the few remaining WWII/Pacific Theater and Korean War Veterans still with us.  Forgive us for going on and on but he’s such an amazement to us.  He’s so humble and proud to have served,


    Here’s a brief YouTube from 2018 at one of many honorary events that have been bestowed upon Robbie.  He’s something!  Always charming and bright on the phone.

    Our love and best wishes to you, Robbie, for a Happy Birthday.  We wish we could hop on a plane to Florida to honor you in person…obviously that can’t happen.  We’ll have to catch you next year.



    The Batson Team HomeSmart
    Jean Batson
    Home Smart

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    Kudos to Two Small

    A couple of weeks ago, just before everything was shut down due to the COVID19 situation, we had a client whose home we’d sold; they were returning to Canada after 23 years here as "seasonal visitors." The only way to sell everything from the furniture to the kitchen spices was an estate sale.  Enter, Mary Beth Ellenberger of SOS Estate & Renovation Sales who came in with her crew, went through every item in the house, setting it up like a store, which took a lot of time and skill.  She ran the sale for three days – almost everything was sold but the few things remaining were picked up by a charity the next day.   They did a fantastic job; the sellers didn’t have to lift a finger after they removed the personal items going home with them.  At the end, they got a nice check. And talk about timing – the day after it was done, estates sales were temporarily banned due to the COVID virus.  Thanks Mary Beth! 

    And - All-Pro Carpet Cleaning

    And…after hundreds of people go through a home for an estate sale on a slightly rainy weekend, the light carpet was a wreck…enter All-Pro Carpet Cleaning, our go-to service for the past several years.  They’re beyond amazing.  Al sent Thomas Uhlenberg, the owner, a photo of the carpet so he knew the challenge ahead – and they delivered.  The light beige carpet was as good as new when they were done.  So, if you need to have your carpets (or tile, oriental rugs) cleaned, we highly recommend this service. 





    Jean's Cooking Corner

    In times like this when you may not always be able to get the meat you had on your list…or you need meals that will stretch …. yet still be EASY (my mantra), I like to think of ground beef as my good friend. It's so flexible - this is just the tip of the iceburg for ideas:

    • Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers – let your imagination soar (stuff it/top it?) – have fun with it.
    • Meatballs (so many versions of that and ways to add an interesting sauce.(See below for a quickie idea)*
    • Spaghetti and Meatballs – does that sound better?
    • Bolognese sauce
    • Sloppy Joe's – our generation grew up with them…just like a burger, all you need is a bun. That’s what we’re sharing this month. Very tasty.
    • Meat loaf – yum
    • Tacos
    • Ground beef Enchiladas
    • Lasagna
    • Pasta dishes of all sorts
    • Stroganoff
    • Shepherd’s Pie
    • Chili
    • You get the idea……do something different – be creative
    Mom MacLeod's Sloppy Joes:
      1 lb.ground beef
      1/2 chopped onion
      1 can Campbell's Chicken Gumbo soup
      2-3 TBS. Ketchup
      2 tsp. Mustard
      Garlic salt to taste
      Salt & Pepper to taste

    Brown the beef and onions, separating meat.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve on a bun
    1 recipe serves 3-4.


    *Meatball Sauce Varieties (for an Appetizer or Entree  


    These two are almost the same – both start out with a jar of Chili Sauce.

    First:  To the Chili sauce, add a medium jar of grape jelly.  Mix together, heat and pour over your warm meatballs. Serve


    Second:  To the Chili sauce, add a can of Whole Cranberry Sauce (don’t use the "jellied" version).  Mix together, heat and pour over your warm meatballs. Serve

    Either one is suitable for an entrée served with vegetables and…whatever you want…or whenever you need an appetizer for a group…yes, that day will come again!   Great served in a chafing dish or crock pot.

    The family that cooks together, laughs together - now is the time to eat together as a unit.  Nobody is going anywhere now so - make the best of it.
    ONE QUESTION: In this time of 
    staying at home with completely
    different routines...

  This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.  
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Jean's March 2020 Newsletter

Posted On: March 1st, 2020 5:50PM

    March Doings:

    SPRING TRAINING CONTINUES TO March 22nd.   Here’s the website to check out those games:

    he 32nd Annual AZ Renaissance Festival is on Saturdays/Sundays from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. in Apache Junction to March 29th.

    March 7-8 The 56th Annual Scottish Festival (dear to my heart) at Steele Indian School Park. For details, go to:

    As a side note - if you visit the patio bar at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, a bagpiper performs at sunset.  Delightful. And I had to picture a piper in my family tartan/MacLeod.  I just couldn't stop myself!). We recently went with friends.  The food was great too!

    March 8th/Sunday - this is the day (12:01 a.m.) when most of the country 

    springs forward an hour (except Arizona and Hawaii) so be aware when calling your friends and family about the change in time.

    See below*
     about the MAINE LOBSTER LADY's food truck (unbelievable!) who will be at the Scottsdale Art Festival March 13-15.  Check it out: 

    March 17th - the luck of the Irish to you - Happy St. Patrick's Day

    March 27-29 – The Tempe Festival of Arts held from 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. For details, check out:

    March 30th – National Doctor’s Day – say thank you to the doctor (s) that keep you going.

     *Maine Lobster Lady

    Last month when our friends were in town from Heber-Overgaard, we took our own advice (we’d listed it on the THINGS TO DO list in our February newsletter) and went to the Street Food Truck Festival.  None of us had done that before so it was fun wandering around and tasting this ‘n that.  When we realized the MAINE LOBSTER LADY was there, we ran at top speed to get in line. OK - I ran like the wind - they graciously followed.

    We love lobster any way you can prepare it; nothing we’ve run across has come close to her lobster. I’m never short of words, as everyone knows, but describing the "Butter Lobster Roll" properly is beyond my pay-grade.  You can get all the details from her website (listed above).

     ...and Sandy…she’ll be at Gainey Ranch on March 4th and the Scottsdale Art Festival March 13-15!    Oh, they say a picture is worth a thousand words.....we've never seen such huge chunks of fresh lobster before.
    CORONAVIRUS... and its impact in the USA

    Other than the normal election-year political race with commercials, debates and so forth as a distraction, our country is at the lowest joblessness rate in years, the highest stock market with good interest rates on home loans.  Housing in many of areas is in short supply so a well-priced and maintained home should sell quickly.  Building and growth is booming as evidenced all around us.  But all of that can change overnight - temporarily.

    The only "hitch" to our booming economy is this horrific Coronavirus situation.  With travel to/from China slowed down and many Chinese factories closed, the economy world-wide is taking a hit. From toys to electronics to wedding /prom gowns to cars, shortages will be felt at the retail level everywhere. That hits jobs, retail sales and our economy.

    Tourism is a major source of revenue world-wide. Many tourists, are not traveling and/or are canceling their plans due to the Coronavirus.  A commentator on the news this morning indicated that travelers should not cancel prematurely due to the hefty cancellation fees.  They indicated that airlines, tour and cruise line companies, will automatically cancel if danger is perceived. Wait until the last possible minute.  At least for the short-term.  This too will dramatically hit the economy.

    Everyone in the world is worried about the spread of the disease, which is only natural.  It is an issue that world leaders are working hard to identify and cure.  Who knows how long this will go on or what will happen but the advice we were given is DON’T PANIC – do your due diligence to make wise decisions on everything.  


    March means the 2020 U.S. Census will begin

    The next census (2020) is right around the corner, and it will serve as a guiding tool as we plan for the next decade. You can expect to hear from the US CENSUS beginning this month.  When you respond to the census, your answers are kept anonymous. They are used only to produce statistics.  The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. The law ensures that your private information is never published and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.

    Nearly $3,000 per person, per year, can be tied to the census count; that’s more than $20.5 billion annually. Those are funds needed to build things like our transit systems, community centers and housing. In addition, funds are used to provide medical support, our foster system, and so much more.  For more information, go to


    March - the month to start Spring Cleaning
    The first spring cleaning of the year is a golden opportunity to refresh, renew, and rejuvenate our homes...and it feels so good when you check off each job completed. Don't know where to start? Take note of these handy hints to help tackle your big 2020 spruce-up.

    Create a plan of action for each room/area in your house. Start by getting rid of things you don't need or want.  From there, hone in on specific jobs. It'll be incredibly satisfying as you check off each job!  Don't look at it as an overall task; break it down into small increments.  Otherwise, it'll be too overwhelming.

    In your kitchen, pay extra attention to overlooked areas, like the microwave, oven, sink, fridge, pots and pans, and that often-forgotten junk drawer. Empty and clean cabinets one-by-one. Check your canned goods (and refrigerator items) to see if they're still within the suggested date. If you like to keep things eco-friendly, citrus can go a long way: rub a slice of lemon on your cutting boards to help get rid of tough stains.

    In the bathroom, delegate your time between machine-washing shower curtains (just be sure to use the gentle cycle), decluttering and getting rid of make-up, ointments, and medicines, freshening shower drains and grouting. Apply a paste made of baking soda and water to grout and scrub with an old toothbrush. Afterwards, spray the grout with white vinegar and water, and let the mixture bubble for 30 minutes before rinsing.

    Don't forget to refresh your bedding. Pillows should be replaced every one or two years (depending on their quality), while comforters need a deep clean at least twice a year. Some pillows can be freshened in the dryer.  Blankets that are washable should be washed periodically.  Same with bedspreads.

    When you finish your spring clean, remember to clean your tools and stock up on cleaning supplies so your next cleaning job is efficient and easy. Vacuums, brooms, dryers, and dishwashers deserve your attention too!

    When Buying a Home, what is the EMD? (Earnest Money Deposit)
    Now that you have found a house that you want to call home, it's time to sit down to write an offer that will get a positive response from the seller. The stronger your offer, the better your chances are for it to be accepted by the Seller. Currently we have a shortage of homes in certain price ranges so if you want that home; make the best offer you can.  

    One of the first items that we will discuss with you will be the earnest money deposit (EMD) that should accompany the purchase offer upon presentation to the seller. This is the money that shows your good faith and demonstrates that you are serious about going through with the sale. Usually the earnest money deposit is offered in the form of a cashier's or personal check. Or it may be electronically transferred into a designated escrow account upon acceptance of the offer. 

    Approximately 1-2% of the purchase price is the customary amount of the EMD. It is deposited by the Buyer into escrow immediately upon acceptance of the contract. A contract is binding on both sides.  There are three reasons the buyer can get the EMD back and cancel.  1) The inspection shows repairs that the buyer thinks should be covered so can refuse to the property if the seller won't do them. Of course, this is only for items that affect the safety of the home; not cosmetic items.  2) The property does not appraise at value (sales price or more) and a compromise cannot be reached and 3) if it turns out the buyer can't qualify for the loan.  This is rare because the buyer has to enter the contract pre-qualified.

    Aging with Purpose

    No matter your age, there are certain facts that can lead to a happier, healthier life. Be PROACTIVE on taking care of business.  It's just wise.

    We’ve all read articles about staying healthy and happy – one of the primary indicators for both is maintaining an active life where you interact with others regularly not only socially but in ways that stimulate your brain…reading, playing games with friends/family, volunteering, working and regular exercise.  Exercise can be anything from walking daily, doing at-home exercise or going to a gym. All of these activities help to keep us active longer.

    1. Be sure all of your utilities are in both names if you’re married.  If something happens to one of you, it’s much easier on the surviving spouse to change the service. Go check – right now please.
    2. If your vehicles are in one spouse’s name, change it so that both spouses are on the title – we do ours as "or" (example Jane L Doe and/or John H. Doe.)  Again, if something happens to one spouse, the remaining one can handle the sale of any vehicle (this includes toys like ATV’s, motorcyles, boats, RV’s) without issue.
    3. Be sure your family knows your wishes if something were to happen to you – provide a signed document regarding a DNR (do not resuscitate), and your end-of-life wishes if you were to pass on. This has happened in so many cases where a young person passes and nobody has the information to make the decision you’d want. 
    4. If you’re married, do you both know your financial status (your assets/investments, how to manage them – are bills on auto-pay – are your property taxes paid automatically?)  We’ve seen a number of cases where property taxes were forgotten.  Unpaid HOA fees and property taxes can lead to foreclosure. Both parties should have a full understanding of the finances. 
    5. Make a list of people who should be contacted in case of an emergency.  Your family may not have any idea.

    If you’re unmarried but have a roommate, make sure everything is in writing and/or the roommate knows how to get in touch with your family in an emergency. If you go your separate ways, who keeps what? Keep your finances totally separate – just in case things go sideways one day. Nobody knows what changes life will bring.

    Next month, we'll talk about downsizing for Seniors and the plethora of services to help you.  We get it - it can be  overwhelming to think about sorting, packing and moving.
    We've got a resource for you.
    The Batson Team HomeSmart
    Jean Batson
    Home Smart
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    Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding

    I cut this recipe out of a newspaper in 2003 but it wasn’t until last year that I made it. I modified it a little.  And so can you – add whatever you want (chocolate chips, grated orange peel???)

    It is so quick and easy to make… and a real crowd pleaser.  Even Al, who says he doesn’t like bread pudding, loves it. 

    You'll need a 9" x 13" baking dish.

    Serves 12+
      1 16-ounce loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread; cut into 1" pieces
      1+ cup raisins
      6 cups milk (I use 3 cups whipping cream and 3 cups 2% milk)
      2 3-oz, boxes of vanilla pudding mix (cook-and-serve: NOT INSTANT)
      1/4 tsp. ginger
      1/2 tsp. cinnamon
      1 tsp. vanilla extract
    Preheat oven to 350F.
    • Toss the bread, raisins and 2 cups of the milk mixture into an ungreased baking dish until all of the bread pieces are moist.  SET ASIDE FOR 10 MINUTES.
    • In a bowl, combine pudding mix, vanilla, ginger and cinnamon in remaining milk mixture; whip until smooth; then pour evenly over the bread.
    • Bake 1 hour or until the top is browned and the center is set (soft is OK).
    • Cool on a rack.
    • Serve warm or chilled.   I ALWAYS SERVE WARM WITH A BIG BLOB OF WHIPPED CREAM.  Some people prefer it chilled with ice cream. 

    Fresh Whipped Cream

    Whipped Cream – We’ve all used the Redi-Whip type but freshly whipped is so good and takes seconds.  We usually keep a carton of whipping cream in the fridge…just in case.  I rarely make dessert for the two of us, but occasionally we’ll have company.  Here’s a very quick version of WHIPPED CREAM:


    • 2 TBS Powdered Sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

    If you chill your glass bowl and whipping cream for about ten minutes, it whips up in a matter of minutes.  It keeps for a day or two.   If I’m preparing for 6-8 or more), I’ll make 2 cups. DELICIOUS!

  This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.  
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