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Jean's May 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: May 1st, 2019 5:41PM

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Holidays in May

  • May 6 – Nurse’s Day – thank a nurse (Thank you Jacqui Nau Lewis, our granddaughter who has been an RN for one year)
  • May 7 – Teacher’s Day – an opportunity to thank a teacher who has made a difference - we all have at least one!
  • May 12 – Mother’s Day – dear to our hearts
  • May 27 – Memorial Day – a day to fly our flags in memory of those who died serving the USA in the armed services.

May – Celiac Disease Month:

     We mention this because our daughter suffers from it (amongst several other ailments) so it is close to our hearts. And we have friends with Celiac and/or issues with gluten.
     Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and at risk for long-term health complications. There are various levels of severity with Celiac. 
     In this current anti-gluten environment, many restaurants have jumped on the band wagon offering Gluten Free (GF) products.  To those who have Celiac Disease, even a bread crumb can make them sick.  Be aware that for foods to truly be GF, they must be prepared in a completely GF environment.  As an example, cutting up vegetables on a cutting board where bread has been sliced can cause serious side effects to a Celiac patient. Few restaurants really have a designated section of their kitchen to prepare gluten free meals, so be very careful.  Those with Celiac know how critical proper preparation in a safe environment is when a restaurant prepares meals advertised as GF.  To someone who chooses to eat GF, the ramifications may not be severe if a slice of GF bread is placed on a breadboard to prepare a sandwich, but to those with severe Celiac issues, it can trigger a very unpleasant situation. 

Gluten is primarily found in any wheat product but can also be found in processed meats, canned and refined foods, beer (barley), frozen foods and so much every label before consuming anything that might contain a wheat product or gluten.

How to pick a good watermelon
This information came from one of my dear high school pals.  Al loves watermelon so now we really know what to look for. Not the look I was expecting!

 Using a handheld cellphone while driving is now illegal in Arizona

Finally – as of April 22, 2019 the State of Arizona has passed a new law that prohibits operating a motor vehicle while holding or supporting (with any part of the person’s body) a smartphone or other portable wireless device, or writing, sending or reading any text-based communication on a wireless device unless it is voice-based and/or hands-free.

Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill making it illegal to talk or text on a handheld cellphone while driving in the state. As he signed the new law, behind Ducey stood the families of victims killed by distracted drivers, including the family of Salt River tribal police Officer Clayton Townsend, who was struck and killed by a distracted driver in January. Ducey credited the families' advocacy as the reason why the bill made it through the state Legislature this year.

The law, which took effect immediately, prohibits drivers from talking, texting, typing or browsing social-media sites on their phone, unless they are using the device in a hands-free mode.  There is a warning period until Jan. 1, 2021. After that, drivers will be ticketed and fined.



Is there a shortage of homes available to Buyers?

While it is true that millennials have achieved milestones like getting married, having kids, and buying homes later in life than their parents and grandparents did, they are not solely to blame for today’s housing market trends. Freddie Mac’s Insight Report explored the impact of the Silent and Baby Boomer Generations on the housing market.

Question: If millennials are unable to find a home to buy at a young age like their predecessors, then who is living in those homes?

The answer: In some cases, Seniors born after 1931 are staying in their homes longer than previous generations, instead choosing to "age in place."

Freddie Mac discovered "this trend accounts for about 1.6 million houses held back from the market through 2018, representing about one year’s typical supply of new construction, or more than half of the current shortfall of 2.5 million housing units estimated in December’s Insight. Older Americans sometimes prefer to age in place because they are satisfied with their communities, their homes, and their quality of life."

According to the National Association of Realtors, inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.5-month supply, which means that nationally we are in a seller’s market. A ‘normal’ housing market requires 6-7 months inventory, a level we have not achieved since August 2012.

"The most important fundamental in today’s housing market is the lack of houses for sale. This shortage has been identified as an important barrier to young adults buying their first homes."

If you are one of the Seniors who desires to retire in the same area you’ve always lived, you’re not alone; but ask yourself the important questions. Will your current house fit your needs throughout retirement?  Is the climate conducive to enjoy your retirement? Are you living where you want to live (i.e. close to family or a community you prefer?)

After the kids have left the nest, many Seniors rethink where they want to live. Two-story homes that served well over the years may now be more difficult to navigate.  We moved into a single story in 2004 because it was too difficult for Al’s mother (our only surviving parent) to climb the stairs when she came for part of the winter.  A single-story is easy on us but also people visiting. Another huge factor in downsizing is that bigger homes are more costly to maintain, heat and cool.  For those who choose a condominium, they’re also free from caring for pools, yards and all exterior maintenance. 

We can attest to the fact that single story homes are in short demand; especially if the buyer does not want a pool. Here in Arizona, probably more homes have a pool than not. To narrow that availability even more, if they want something specific like a golf course view or 3-car garage, the challenge becomes even greater. The demand is higher and the availability lower for single-story homes.

Al and I moved to a condo (almost 1900 sq. ft) almost four years ago and love the lock & leave aspect of it.  We don’t have to worry about a breeze dropping flowers into our pool, clogging up the filter…weeds in our yard or a branch down if we have a (rare) wind or rain storm dropping branches in the driveway. It’s all taken care of by our HOA – for the same amount we used to spend for a pool service, landscaping, pest control and so forth. It's a personal choice.

Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today's market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you're wondering what's happening to prices in your area, or you're thinking about selling your house, we'll be able to help. Just let us know what you need.

6 Must-Haves to Set the Stage for a Quick Sale
Is your home ready to welcome potential buyers? To create the best appeal (and fetch the best price), it is helpful to stage your home. Home staging refers to preparing your space to make it appealing to the highest number of buyers, with the goal of selling the home quickly and profitably. 

While each house offers unique appeal, a few staging tips are helpful for nearly any home. To roll out the red carpet for your potential buyers, include the following must-have items.

Plants: Greenery makes a room feel warm and inviting. Use floor plants, tabletop plants or shelf plants to bring life to the corners of the room. 

Candles: These provide a nice touch, but be sure to choose unscented or lightly scented. You don't want to overwhelm visitors - some people are allergic to strong scents.  There are lovely battery-operated candles. Use candles sparingly. 

Flowers: Add color and cheer to your yard and your interior with in-season blooms. 

Throw pillows: Adding these to your beds, chairs and/or couches can provide a nice finishing touch to your décor that makes the space more appealing.

Towels: Coordinated linens in the bathroom create a clean, crisp, and luxurious atmosphere. Make sure towels are hung neatly and are in good condition. A brand-new hand towel can provide a nice touch.

Artwork: Neutral artwork on the walls is preferable to family portraits. Remember, the goal is to make your space appealing to as many buyers as possible. This means depersonalizing so they can envision themselves in your space instead of you.
Thank you to Ruth Batson and Ruth MacLeod - for giving us life, love and support. 
Ruth Batson - loving mother to Al and Cliff Batson - a teacher who changed the lives of so many with her love and encouragement.  Joined the Angels 4/26/2011
Ruth MacLeod - loving mother to Dave & Jean (MacLeod) Batson -  she faced the challenge of a Down Syndrome child in an era where it was so misunderstood. She faced every challenge in life with love and compassion. Joined the Angels 7/19/1992
Both were wonderful mothers, wives, grandmothers...and both were terrific mothers-in-law. We miss you and will always treasure the memories we have of you and the examples you set for us.
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
Home Smart
Beware of New Scam

The latest scam (on top of all the scams saying they’re from Microsoft, or the IRS threatening you to pay due to back taxes) is one from a person claiming to be an officer of the Court saying you missed your Jury Duty and thus must pay a penalty fine or you will be arrested.  Don’t fall for it.  If you’re needed for Jury Duty, you’ll only receive communication by mail. 


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Quick Quiz
Each month I'll give you a new question.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

Who is considered to be the "Father of Computers" for his creation of the first mechanical computer?

Almond Rice Pilaf
Al is a "rice guy" - ok and a nice guy.  He'll usually choose rice over potatoes in a restaurant.
Serves 6 as a side dish
  1 stick butter
  2 cups long grain rice
  1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms
  1 tsp.Italian seasoning*
  *(or your choice using basil, thyme, oregano and whatever you like)
  3/4 cup chopped green onions
  2-2/3 cups chicken broth or stock
  3/4 cup sliced almonds

Lightly grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat.


Cook, stirring until onions/mushrooms are tender (about 5 minutes)

Spoon mixture into your baking dish; add broth and almonds (stir in)

Bake covered for an hour a 325 degrees.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Ask Al & Jean: This Month's Question
What if the seller doesn't accept my offer?

First, it's important to realize that this is common. In many cases, sellers don't accept the offer given to them by the potential buyer. Instead, they make a counter offer. 

This is likely what will happen when you make an offer on a home. If this occurs, your offer has not been rejected. It has simply been countered. The seller will typically ask for a higher price than you originally offered and may request an alteration of other terms on the contract as well. 

When a counter-offer is made, you will work with your real estate agent to review the offer and decide if you want to accept it or make another counter-offer. 

It is normal for negotiations to go back and forth several times before all parties come to a final agreement on terms. This could happen in a matter of minutes, but it often takes up to several hours or days.
  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 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: April 10th, 2019 4:34PM

Welcome to April 1- and who amongst us has not been pranked (or given one) during our lifetime?  
APRIL is a month of Spring weather in Arizona, flowers in bloom, and the IRS.
  • April 15 - your income taxes are due
  • April 21 - Easter Sunday
  • April 19-27 Passover for our Jewish friends
We love serving as real estate professionals - helping our clients meet their goals and protecting them through the process.  Thank you for the TRUST you have in us.  It's an honor.    Al and Jean
Real Estate Secrets: Why (and How) Kitchens Sell Homes
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It's a bustling center of activity where people gather to cook, eat, socialize, and entertain. 

As the central hub, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the home. This space will immediately attract buyers or turn them off. It's much easier to look past a small bedroom or an outdated powder room than to get over an undesirable kitchen. The kitchen must be designed to meet the needs of their lifestyle. If it's not a good match, the buyer will likely eliminate the home as an option. 

To prevent this from happening, homeowners can make strategic efforts that will improve their property's culinary appeal. 

Refurbish rather than replace: Cabinetry is a significant factor in a kitchen's appeal. Since replacing cabinets is an expensive endeavor, many homeowners are reluctant to take on this project. Fortunately, other options won't break the budget. Consider repainting the cabinetry or replacing only the doors. New cabinet hardware can also create a brand-new look.

Invest in appliances: Modern, matching appliances offer immense appeal. They look sharp, offer convenient features, and typically provide high efficiency to reduce utility bills. 

Make it sparkle: Cluttered countertops have never helped sell a home. Buyers want to see the kitchen, not the mess. Keep counters clear and clean and ensure the entire space shines.

Consider the market: When considering kitchen improvements, homeowners should, reach out to us with your questions. We are happy to help. KITCHENS SELL.

Fire Safety in the Home

Fire safety is critical for everyone; and especially for the senior community. People over 65 are twice as likely to die in a home fire. The risk of injury in a fire increases with age.  These tips come from the USFA (U.S. FIRE ADMINISTRATION). Thanks to Carol Gross (retired after 25 years with the Phoenix Fire Department) for sending this information.

To help your community learn about fire safety, consider sharing these tips on your social media platforms:

  • Know two ways out of each room. Keep these exits clear.
  • Make sure everyone is able to get outside if the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Older adults may need your help escaping. Plan for this.
  • Keep wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids and your cell phone next to your bed
While we're on the subject of fire safety - check your Smoke Detectors to be sure they're operating properly and the batteries are still good.

Also, carbon monoxide detectors, which should be placed in the lower portion of the wall, can be found on Amazon or HomeDepot as plug-ins. 

If you have gas in the home, you should have them. Bob Nau (Nau Inspections)informed us of the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors closer to the floor after inspecting a home where they had been installed near the ceiling adjacent to smoke alarms (which should be close to the ceiling).
Fire Sprinklers - During a recent inspection of a home with fire sprinklers, Bob Nau discovered that the owner had painted over the fire sprinklers cover plates (caps) thus rendering them inoperable.

 "A cover plate is a thin piece of decorative metal connected to a frame using temperature-responsive solder. It is designed to react to a very specific temperature. As ceiling temperatures rise at or above a cover plate’s specifications, the solder melts, releasing the plate and exposing the concealed sprinkler. More specifically, most common concealed fire sprinkler cover plates are designed to release at about 135°F (57°C), freeing the sprinkler’s glass bulb to activate at 155°F (68°C). Other temperatures are available but operate similarly.

Common paint, on the other hand, is not designed to respond to a specific temperature and dries like glue; both detrimental to a cover plate’s temperature responsiveness. By painting a cover plate, you are putting a dangerous roadblock in the way of your sprinkler’s normal operation.

In addition to the life-safety implications, painting a cover plate voids the warranty on your fire sprinklers. Victaulic’s warranty, for example, states, "This warranty shall not apply to any product which has been altered in any manner outside of Victaulic’s factory." Painting a cover plate voids your fire sprinkler’s manufacturer warranty and could endanger lives.

Warning: DO NOT paint or in any other way modify your fire sprinklers or their cover plates! " [from: ]  

Spring Brings Allergies to Those Who Suffer From Them

Ahhh...the smell of Spring is in the air (here) and soon the Palo Verde trees will be in full bloom. To most people, it's a beautiful thing - magnificent!.  To others who are bothered by pollens etc. it's time for the anti-histamines and tissues.

While spring is an exciting time to get out and enjoy the sunshine, the fun can often times be hindered by the symptoms of airborne allergies that many know all too well: sneezing, runny or clogged nose, coughing and postnasal drips, watering or itching eyes, nose, and throat. Allergy symptoms can vary widely, and can even include severe rashes, swelling, shock, and shortness of breath in those with asthma.

Pollen levels are typically higher on warm, sunny, dry and windy days, and lower on cooler, moist and wet days. Check pollen levels daily in your area by visiting to determine how best to face the great outdoors. The following are tips to prevent or treat seasonal allergies:

  • Consider staying indoors with the windows closed in the morning, when outdoor pollen levels are highest.
  • Remove clothes you’ve worn outside once inside. Taking a shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair is also recommended after outdoor activity.
  • When working or exercising outside, wear a facemask designed to filter out pollen in the air to keep it from reaching nasal passages.
  • Bathe and brush pets weekly or as often as possible.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner daily and a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
  • Rinsing your nasal passages with distilled, sterile saline solution is a quick, inexpensive and effective way to relieve nasal congestion.

When symptoms cannot be minimized or avoided, they can often be controlled by medicines. See your allergist or primary care physician to find out which medication will work best for you, including oral antihistamine, decongestant, and nasal spray. (information provided by NextCare Urgent Care)

Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today's market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you're wondering what your value is - or are interested in another area, we can send you a CURRENT market statistics and/or listings to view directly from the Multiple Listing Service - no cost or obligation.  It's a service we offer on a one-time or regular basis.  We can set it up daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.  Just email the area and/or address you'd like information on to:

Modern Homes Are Getting Smarter by the Second
Innovative technology is transforming the real estate marketplace. As they design and select homes, today's buyers are weighing options that were nonexistent for homeowners 20 years ago. Modern homes, enhanced with smart technology, have become more than rooms and walls. They are integrated systems of efficiency, entertainment, and security, designed to cater to a high-tech lifestyle.

These technological advances are adding value to homes in creative ways. 

Convenience: Control centers allow owners to manage almost everything in the home remotely. They can turn up the heat, turn on the lights, or turn off the television from around the globe. With remote access, homeowners no longer have to worry about misplaced or stolen keys. They can even grant entry to others while they are away from home. 

Security: Wireless technology and video surveillance options have transformed home security. Systems can be added without drilling holes and hiding wires. Cameras and video technology allow personal, remote observation of the home inside and out. In addition to securing their home against crime, owners can check on Fido, confirm a package delivery, or enjoy peace of mind that the kids arrived safely home from school.

Efficiency: Smart technology can provide greater efficiency for utilities, which can provide significant savings over the years. Improved temperature control technology, remote access to thermostats, and better utility sensors can create a highly efficient home. 

Linkage: The internet has added multiple new features to homes. Homeowners can link smart appliances, security systems, and more to connect every facet of their lives. The connectivity a home offers can boost its value to plugged-in buyers who are seeking modern networking capabilities. 

These smart technologies are becoming more affordable and more accessible. It's likely that more and more buyers can expect to find high-tech options listed among standard home features. 

A technology upgrade might just change your life.
One more word about Gary Sinise

Last month we wrote an article about Gary Sinise, the Actor, Director, Musician who has devoted years to raising money and helping Veterans…as told in his new book (GRATEFUL  AMERICAN). It's on the New York Times Best Seller List.  He’s been such a humanitarian; especially advocating for our Vietnam Vets.  On March 14, 2019 the TODAY SHOW, with Harry Smith, did a fascinating interview…here’s the link if you’re interested in his work helping Veterans:

The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
Home Smart
What's happening to the famed Macayo's?

News Titbit:

The famous Macayo restaurants that originally opened in 1946 have been sold. It started with a six-table spot in 1946, when Woody and Victoria Johnson opened their first Mexican restaurant Woody’s El Nido in Phoenix. 

Over the next seven decades, the Johnson family grew the business into a legendary Arizona brand, a destination for locals, tourists and one visiting president

Woody and Victoria's daughter, Sharisse Johnson, took over the company as CEO in 2007, making Macayo's not only an Arizona icon but also one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in the state

As of today, however, that's no longer the case. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, the company finalized the sale of both the Macayo's brand and six Macayo's restaurants to Kind Hospitality. The Valley-based company operates restaurants at Phoenix Sky Harbor and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airports

It'll be interesting to watch!

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Quick Quiz
Each month I'll give you a new question.

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Which animal has the largest brain?

Roasted Potato Wedges (so good)
Serves 6
  8 large boiling potatoes (Red or Yukon)
  1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (1-1/2 oz)
  3/4 tsp.salt
  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1/4 tsp. black pepper
  1 stick UNSALTED butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and cut the potatoes into wedges.

Sprinkle cheese on wax paper - dry for 1 hour.

Transfer to a large sealable bag with flour, salt and pepper, shake to mix.

Rinse potatoes and drain in a colander; then add to flour mixture, tightly sealing bag, and shake to coat well.

 Pour butter into large shallow baking pan.  Lift potatoes from bag and arrange in a single layer in butter.

Roast on the middle or lower rack of the oven; turning twice until the potatoes are browned and crisp [about 1-1/4 hours].

I usually sprinkle  cheese mixture that remains in bag over the potatoes.  Hate to loose all that cheese.

 A high school friend of mine got this recipe from Gourmet Magazine many years ago.  She's served it to us and...oh my!!! So delicious!! They're the perfect roasted potato dish - it goes with everything.  Thanks Carol!

Ask Al & Jean: This Month's Question
Should I do a final walk-through?

Your contract may or may not require this step. Even if it's not a requirement, it is highly recommended that you complete this vital part of the home-buying process.

A final walk-through lets you confirm that the property is in the condition you expected, with no significant changes since your initial viewing, that everything is there that should be (and nothing that shouldn't) and that all repairs have been done.
  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 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: March 2nd, 2019 8:23PM

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 March Happenings:
We have to say - we're excited about the return of our normal mild, sunny winter weather after last month's cold and damp weather.   So visit Arizona and enjoy Spring Training and other outdoor activities.  We're back to 70+ degrees. 
  • March 2-10 at WestWorld in Scottsdale – the Arizona Sun Circuit Quarter Horse Show
 (We couldn't resist this Daylight Savings time change at Stonehenge in England)
  • MARCH 10TH - DAYLIGHT SAVINGS - MOVE YOUR CLOCKS FORWARD (except for AZ and Hawaii; we don't change our clocks)

  • March 19-24 Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge LPGA Bank of Hope Founders Cup

  • March – a good time to annually change your Passwords and check the batteries in your smoke detectors. And your Carbon Monoxide detectors – which you should have if there is gas on the property.
  • Do you live near Desert Ridge?  It hasn’t been well publicized but Mellow Mushroom (yes, the pizza place) offers a delicious breakfast.  It opens at 7:00 a.m. daily and is located at 5350 E. High Street (near 56th Street/Deer Valley in Phoenix).  Note:  we’re not aware of any other Mellow Mushroom sites that open early for breakfast – so check your local restaurant before assuming it is open)
  • Don't get stuck during the road widening of Loop 101 from the I-17 east to Pima. We did!  We were going to Surprise on Saturday morning and didn't realize (we didn't check) that construction was underway already. It took us 45 minutes to go a few miles (and no place to exit).  From now on - we'll dial 511 for ADOT updates or go to: to see what roads are closed and/or detours are in place. Road widening on Loop 101 will be going on for a couple of years.
Home Seller's Guide: Top Do's & Don'ts for a Quick Sale
You want to sell your home quickly and for the best possible price, right? What's the secret to achieving this goal? There are several. Use these do's and don'ts to guide your home sale process. AND OF COURSE, CALL US TO HELP: 602-680-2791

What to Do

Leave During a Showing: When potential buyers view your home, they want to see your property, not you. Always leave the premises. The buyers will feel more comfortable and are likely to spend more time looking at your home and fully considering it if you are not there. 

Put out the welcome mat: Go the extra mile to make your home show well. Declutter. Clean. Turn on all lights and open all window treatments before showings to create a bright, airy atmosphere. A little soothing background music is a nice touch.

What Not to Do:

Keep Your Personal Touches on Display: A home filled with personalized décor can turn buyers off. Neutralize your home to make it appealing to the maximum number of buyers. This might mean removing family photos or repainting your bright orange bathroom. 

Crowd the skeletons: When you declutter your home, don't simply throw everything in the closets. Your storage spaces need to look large, useful, and inviting.  Toss, donate or take to storage. 

Overinflate Price: While you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, overpricing your home only delays your sale. Listen to your Realtor who will tell you the right price for your home based on features, location, and current market trends. The normal tendency is to think you can get more but be realistic on your value (location, condition, updating, maintenance) as compared to other homes in the area.

Where Will Technology Take Us Next?
Products like smartphones and voice-command speakers used to be the stuff of Jetsons-esque fantasies. Then they became reality and altered our world dramatically. So, what's next? Here's a roundup of the emerging technologies with the greatest potential to change our lives.

Drones: These aren't just for taking Instagram-worthy aerial shots. Drones offer plenty of yet-to-be-fully realized potential. They're being explored as tools for farm crop assessment, law enforcement, and disaster relief.

Blockchain: This technology is much more than cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. By facilitating the distribution of digital information without copying, blockchain can power all kinds of activities, from providing financial solutions to unbanked people to auditing supply chains around the world.

Artificial intelligence: Computers with human smarts get a lot of flak for the scary side of their potential. But there's plenty of good stuff too, like an A.I.-powered system that analyzes a baby's cry to instantly diagnose birth asphyxia, a top cause of infant mortality.

Driverless vehicles: Autonomous vehicles are already here. When they become widely available, they could help those who are underserved by public transportation, reduce the space needed for parking, and improve road safety.

Gary Sinise - Fighting for our Vets and a GoFundMe for a Viet Nam Vet

     We were just reading an article about Gary Sinise, Musician, Director, Movie and TV Actor, but his true identity lies in his work for Veterans.  He’s raised over $30,000,000 per year to benefit Veterans – many disabled. It started with his role as Lt. Dan, an angry paraplegic Vet in the iconic movie, " Forrest Gump."  That role changed his life by inspiring him to help Vets – especially from the Viet Nam era. Today he continues raising money and visiting Vets in hospitals all over the country.  We saw him a couple of years ago in Hawaii where he was a big part of the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary events – he was the Grand Marshall at the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Parade on December 7th in Honolulu.  Gary Sinise founded the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011 to honor military personnel, veterans, and first responders. His philosophy is "Service is a great healer."  To learn more about his selfless activities, you can click on this link: Gary also loves music so he started a band, Lt. Dan Band, named after his character in the "Forrest Gump" movie.  They’ve entertained thousands of military men and women.  Hat’s off to Gary Sinise for his outstanding efforts on behalf of those who have dedicated their lives to allow our citizens to have our freedom. You can read more in his new book called "Grateful American."

And a story of a Viet Nam Veteran...TV Reeves

     We all hear stories about Vets after their years in the service who end up facing multiple health issues.  Ironically, after reading about Gary Sinise’s work for Viet Nam Vets, we found out about a GoFundMe Page for a Viet Nam Vet we’ve known for years. His name is TV Reeves (US Navy ret).  We’ve had many lunches together where he keeps us laughing – a great attitude no matter the pain. We met him a number of years ago when he did construction work on rental properties we were handling.  He served in the Navy during the Viet Nam War era on a ship in the China Sea as an AIC (Air Intercept Controller – meaning air traffic control in combat situations) guiding planes on and off his ship during the Fall of Saigon. 

     After his service, he could have become an Air Traffic Controller domestically, but the memories of Viet Nam made him follow other dreams.  He spent years in LA as an actor, his major dream; doing movies and television while also working with his hands doing remodeling/construction. Life was perfect.  But when family health issues occurred, he gave it all up to move to Phoenix to care for his ailing mother.  He’s continued doing remodeling here, along with acting whenever he can.  In fact, we have season tickets at the Arizona Broadway Theater so we’ve seen him as Flo Ziegfeld in "Ziegfeld Follies", as the General in "White Christmas" and the Captain in "South Pacific."  He’s also taught acting classes for the City of Glendale. 

     Sadly, due to a series of severe health issues, TV has been unable to work full-time for about a year which has depleted his savings. For months he’s been in constant pain from several surgeries – and now he’s facing hip replacement at the VA Hospital in April, so he won’t be back in action probably until June. As we all can imagine, any self-sufficient person would be mortified to be unable to provide enough to pay his bills – it would be terrifying and embarrassing. His son (also former Navy) came to Arizona from Mississippi to help his Dad during one of the recent surgeries and became aware of the financial situation so he created this GOFUNDME account to give his Dad short-term help until he’s back on his feet.    

     Here is the link: to a YouTube from 1975 regarding the Fall of Saigon (filmed by an onboard sailor on TV’s ship).  ( which is a very old clip which is hard to see and interpret.. 

     Here’s the GOFUNDME page if you know anyone who’d like to help a Vet.  We’d never ever contemplate sharing a GOFUNDME  if we hadn’t known TV Reeves for years and years...we know this is real. . YOU CAN FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER BY GOING TO THE UPPER LEFT UNDER SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER, TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THIS STORY.

     THE GOFUNDME page tells in glorious detail what was going on that final day of the Fall of Saigon (which helps make sense of the video clip)  When we watched the clip, it looked like people were jumping out of the helicopters onto the ship; then the sailors were pushing them into the China Sea – since this ship wasn’t a Carrier, they had to get rid of the helicopters to make room for more survivors coming in every few minutes – escaping the horrors of war.  I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me [seeing helicopters being pushed overboard] until reading the whole story.  The GOFUNDME donation information is at the very bottom of the story.We thought if we shared this story, perhaps military folks, as well as others might be inclined to send a few dollars.  We're not asking anyone to do this; we're just trying to help a friend/Veteran in need by sharing his story. The rest is up to the reader..

Simple Formula for Living (Author unknown)
  • Live beneath your means.
  • Return everything you borrow – or don’t borrow.
  • Respond promptly to invitations
  • Respect your elders
  • Stop blaming other people.
  • Admit it when you make a mistake.
  • Give what you can to charity.
  • Do something nice and try not to get caught.
  • Listen more; talk less.
  • Take a 30-minute walk every day.
  • Strive for excellence, not perfection.
  • Be on time. Don’t make excuses.
  • Don’t argue – it’s better to be happy than right.
  • Be kind to unkind people.
  • Take time to be alone.
  • Cultivate good manners.
  • Be humble.
  • Forgive
  • Understand and accept that life isn’t fair.
  • Know when to keep quiet and not utter your thoughts.
  • Don’t discuss politics or religion – you’re not going to change anyone’s mind.  Those subjects are your personal beliefs; let others have theirs.
  • Go an entire day without criticizing anyone.
  • Learn from the past. Plan for the future.
  • Live in the present.
  • Be kind and give your smile away to brighten someone’s day.

'Dear Seller' Letters Offer Unique Negotiation Strategy
You're probably familiar with letters to Santa. You've most likely heard of letters to the editor but have you heard of a home buyer letter?  In some areas, buyers are including these communications when they submit offers to purchase a home. If the trend grows, these messages could become common documents among real estate paperwork. 

To be honest, I sent letters to sellers/listing agents as standard procedure back in the 80's before we had electronic documents. Back then, Buyer's agents would actually visit the seller's home to personally present the offer and "sell their buyer's qualifications to the seller." The object was to share with the seller information about the buyer and family, their financial capability and why they love the home. Rumor has it that in some parts of the country, this concept is a brand new idea.  Hmmmm...maybe what's thought to be new is truly an old idea revisited.  But, if it works, it's all good.

Today everything is electronic - The Buyer's agent forwards the offer electronically; the Seller's agent reviews and explains the offer's basic information. Often the offer (and/or Counter) and subsequent documents are e-signed. Today, when we present a Buyer's offer, we may not write a  formal letter but we do make sure the listing agent knows what a great offer we've written and do our best to share why their Seller should accept our offer. 

The presentation by letter can be especially helpful if there are multiple offers.

These letters are designed to make a buyer's offer more personal and appealing to the seller.
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
Home Smart
Buyer/Seller Tips
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Quick Quiz
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What are the Galilean Satellites?

Easy-Easy Flat Iron Steak
Serves 4-6
  2-1/2 TBS olive oil
  2 cloves minced garlic
  1 tsp. chopped parsley
  1/4 tsp.chopped Rosemary
  1/2 tsp. chopped chives
  1/4 cup red wine
  1/2 tsp. salt
  3/4 tsp. black pepper
  1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  (note: Flat Iron Steak is different from Flank Steak). We go to Safeway or find it.
  MARINATE FOR AT LEAST 2-3 HOURS - or overnight is OK too
Directions: Stir ingredients together - 
then put in resealable bag with the Steak for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator to marinate.  

To cook, we put the steak on the broiler pan in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes (until it reaches 145 degrees for Medium Rare).
You can fry the steak in a hot skillet for 3-4 minutes. 

Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving. We always do the oven version but do what works for you.

Ask Al and Jean: This Month's Question
Should I order a home inspection for the home I am purchasing?

The only answer to that is YES!

Buying a home is likely one of the most significant investments you'll ever make. You want to make sure it's a good one. The inspection can reveal home defects that you would otherwise remain unaware of until after you move into the property. Then, it's too late. 

By using a home inspection to discover issues up front, you can either walk away from a potential money pit or negotiate with the sellers to make the necessary repairs. Sellers need to be sure the windows and doors work/lock properly, plumbing and electrical items are in good repair and safe.  Unless otherwise noted in the listing, appliances should be operational.  

Considering the investment your home is, you need to know what you're buying.

General Contractor, Bob Nau

Here are the teams who participate in the Arizona Cactus League:


Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Colorado Rockies
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers
Milwaukee Brewers
Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers

  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.  
Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign

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Thank You For Visiting Our Website

Posted On: March 1st, 2019 8:45PM


Thank you for Visiting our Website




The Batson Team, Al; and Jean


We are the Batson Team, Al and Jean


We are happy you found our web site, we hope you enjoy using our site.  You are likely planning to sell your current home or are looking forward to the purchase of a new home for your family.  We want to help you with your Residential Real Estate Needs.

What may we do for you?

  • Provide a Free Market Analysis of your current home
  • Provide Active Listings of Properties For Sale In A New Neighborhood or School District
  • Assist You In Planning Your Sales Or Purchase Campaigne
  • Set Up An On-line Area Where You May Save The Details Of Homes You Are Interested In Tracking

Give us a Call Now at 602 680-2791 or Click the email address under our picture (upper right) to tell us exactly what we can do for you and your family.

Why don't you try a search of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) right now? Follow the steps below:

  • Click Home at the top of the page
  • Type in Your Zip Code or try 85054 if you are not familiar with Arizona Zip Codes
  • Press Enter
  • Note the various Filters above the map, you can fine tune the search to your desired criteria.

Love your web page, please send me a market evaluation for 4800 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ

Brad Cross 3/1/2019 20:49

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Jean's January Newsletter 2019

Posted On: January 2nd, 2019 5:20PM

You are receiving this email because you are a client or you have agreed to receive messages from us. Click here to unsubscribe.

Happy New Year – Welcome to 2019

As usual, last year went by so quickly and here we are again facing our New Year’s Resolutions – which many of us will forget about by February…but it’s always good to have goals.  And, of course, we all have high hopes for the new year.  Realistically, every year is filled with many emotions from joy to sorrow – of successes and failures, of birth as well as death of loved ones.  So, this is a time to reflect on all of the things that have touched our lives and hearts.

As the freezing temperatures and blizzards creep across the country, those of us in the Southwest are enjoying beautiful sunshine; sometimes crisp days in the 50-60’s but the 70’s are never far behind.  Arizona is the perfect place to winter for those who don’t want to leave home yet want to avoid the winter months. Arizona welcomes those who come temporarily to share our sunshine.  And, we can help with that.  In fact, we have a 55+ listing (2-Bedroom, 1-3/4 Bath home) available right now in Sun City Grand (in Surprise) …and access, of course, to everything on the multiple listing service. Here's the link to our 55+ listing:

Our wish for you is that your hopes and dreams come true in 2019 and you have a prosperous, healthy and happy new year.   Its also a wonderful time for us to say how grateful we are for the wonderful people in our lives.  And to thank you for the referrals and trust you’ve put in us.  It is so appreciated.  And to baseball's great, Rod Carew (see article below), we wish you a special happy new year as you celebrate two-years since your heart/kidney transplant.

Al and Jean

Why Flexibility Is the Watchword for Today's Homes
Let's roll back the clock to around 1900. If we take a tour of the average home, we'll find layouts of about 900 square feet. Fast forward to the year 2000, and we'll find that number has more than doubled, to just over 2,000 square feet. 

However, the trend toward "bigger is better" has not carried into 2019. The past few years have seen a slow decrease in median home size. By the end of 2017, it was just over 2,400 square feet.

While this shrinking home size may be significant, what's even more noteworthy is the change in style. The days of formal living and dining rooms are not necessarily the preferred idea. The trends for extravagant game rooms, wine cellars and media rooms also seem to have faded into the history books. 

Today's homeowners are seeking something different. They want rooms that serve multiple purposes. And as the Boomers age, many more are selling their large homes to seek out a simpler lifestyle. The Great Room - usually adjacent to the kitchen combines features of both a living and dining area.

The idea is that it can be whatever the homeowners need it to be. As parents age or adult children bounce back home, the layout offers suitable living arrangements to accommodate a variety of situations. It creates a space that allows the property to meet homeowner needs, not just for many years but for many generations.

2019 Real Estate Interest Rates:
Every year, the question is, "Will interest rates go up?"  Or, "Will they go down?"  Click on this link for an interesting prediction of loans and rates.  It is always a challenge to figure out what the market will be in a new year.  Often there will be at least a gentle rise but Realtors can't predict absolutes.  Currently the supply of homes in Maricopa County is on the low side so homes that show well, have a great location and are priced right will sell quickly.

Need a Tip on How Much You Should Tip?
Should you tip them or simply say thank you? Discerning when to tip and how much can be stressful. Thankfully, there are generally accepted practices you can adhere to that will make this task easier.

Food and drink: For food delivery, tip $2-$4. For bartenders, tip them $1 per drink. Tip restaurant servers 15-20 percent of the bill. 

Travel: Expect to give those who carry your bags, whether porters at airports or bellhops, $1 or $2 for each item. At hotels, pay special attention to the housekeeping staff. Your tip should reflect the quality of the hotel; the more expensive the accommodations, the greater the tip. Also, tip each day. The housekeeping staff may change during your time there. Lastly, read bills for room service carefully before tipping. Additional "service charges" don't cover the tip, but a "gratuity" does.

Holidays: If you have a nanny or housekeeper, an appropriate holiday bonus is equivalent to one week's pay. Be especially generous to the person who delivers newspapers. Keep in mind that adults, not children, are doing that job now.

Optional tip: There are times when tipping is optional. It doesn't hurt to give a barista some spare change as a tip, but it's not required. 

No tip: Not every service requires a tip. House sitters, grocery store baggers, cable installers, sports instructors, and Fed Ex delivery personnel are among the individuals who are exempt from tips.

Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today's market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you're wondering what's happening to prices in your area, or you're thinking about selling your house, let us know. We're here to help.

The Rest of the Story - Love Letters Lost (from the 50's)

Last month we told you that our son-in-law (Bob Nau of NAU INSPECTIONS) was inspecting an attic in a Mesa home built around 1971 when he found a packet of old love letters, fragile and yellowed, dating back to 1950-1951.  The letters were written by a young Navy Ensign, Roger Wright, to his bride, Eva. 

On November 26th, Channel 3 did a news story with Bob  (Daughter Jill read part of a letter) regarding the discovery and asking if anyone knew any of the Wright family. Bob (and all of us) so hoped they would be able to track down a relative so the letters could be returned to the Wright family. 

One-by-one the pieces of this puzzle began to come together.  The letters will be returned on January 3rd when Bob goes down to Tucson to meet a family member who is visiting Arizona for two weeks from outside the USA. What are the odds that this person would be in Arizona at this time?  It's amazing!  

On January 3rd, we’ll be recording the 9:00 p.m. news on Channel 3 – at this point, we’re expecting it to be edited and shown that day; if not then on the 4th.   STAY TUNED.  We, of course, will be glued to the TV that night.  We’ve been sworn to secrecy on the details so don’t ask because we can’t say a word.  We love happy endings.

If you need a very thorough home inspection, Bob can be reached at 480-226-7915 or 


Facebook Hackers - BEWARE (It happened to us)

For some reason, we seem to be a very popular hacking target by those who have no moral compass.  This past week we received numerous calls and emails from friends asking if we’d sent them a MESSAGE or asked again to FRIEND them on FACEBOOK. We had not.

Al posts some real estate announcements (open houses, listings) but very seldom personal things.  Apparently, a very clever hacker has contacted our friends/family via FACEBOOK saying that "the government is giving away thousands of dollars" and that Al had received his – which of course, never happened. One friend responded so the hacker sent her an application to fill out to get her "free money,"  but what he really wanted was personal information. That’s where she stopped and questioned it – fortunately.  It didn’t sound like Al; and of course, it wasn’t. 

We posted a BEWARE notice on FACEBOOK saying we never use MESSENGER and while we might accept a Friend request, we don’t issue them…for just this reason.  And we certainly would not recommend anything such as a free government money offer – government money comes from our tax dollars so that is wrong on so many levels. 

As Mom and Dad taught us "If it sounds too good to be true, it is."

Please be careful – never respo
nd to anything where a faceless entity online is asking for your personal information - the same goes for a voice on the phone.  
Old Treasures Bring out Great Memories of a Baseball Great

Last week my son, Scott, was home from New York for Christmas – he started going through old boxes of childhood treasures when he found the baseball and bat signed by Rod Carew, First Baseman for the Anaheim Angels (1979-1985). That brought up a plethora of memories for both of us.

When Scott was in elementary school, I was a Realtor in Anaheim Hills, California with a listing on a spec home (new build) on an acre in nearby Peralta Hills. To my surprise and delight, Rod Carew purchased the property. His Realtor asked me if Rod could bring his pool designer over to discuss plans before escrow closed.  Of course, I agreed to that - and asked (before I could think) if I could bring my young son with me.  Scott was a huge Angels and Rod Carew fan. Rod was so kind and attentive.  He asked Scott to go over to his sports car to get a new baseball out of his glove box.  He signed both the ball and a small bat - personalized to Scott.  To this day, we fondly remember the kindness of this already famous player. Scott was the happiest kid in the Universe that day - he met his hero, sat in his car and watched him sign his message. What kid wouldn’t be thrilled by such an experience but when you’re only 10 years old, it becomes a day you’ll remember for the rest of your life.  

Thanks for the memories Rod!  As his Mom, you'll always be my hero too.


The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
Home Smart
We're Your Negotiators:

Whether you’re a Buyer or Seller, as Realtors we negotiate with/for you:

  • Price
  • Close of Escrow Date
  • Items that stay with the property
  • Items the Seller needs to clean up, if applicable
  • Repairs (after an Inspection)
  • Contingencies

Ask us for more details when you’re ready to buy or sell.

Just reply to this email and we'll send you Buyer or Seller tips..

Share This Newsletter
Click here to forward this email to a friend
Click here to see a web copy of this newsletter

Quick Quiz
Each month I'll give you a new question.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

In what year did the Guinness Book of World Records debut?

Connie's Salad with grilled chicken
Since this is the beginning of a new year and we've consumed too many heavy foods and desserts, it's time to change the menu. Either our dryer is shrinking our clothes or...we've put on a pound or two.  So it's time to lighten up and make salad for dinner. This is one of our favorites.
Serves 4-6
  Head of lettuce/cut up
  Salt and pepper to taste
  2 tomatoes - cut in wedges
  Sliced almonds
  3 green onions-diced

  1 small can Chinese noodles (crispy type)

2-4 Grilled chicken breasts/cut into pieces

Mix together 1/2 cup oil, 4 TBS Sugar, 4 TBS Vinegar, 2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/4 cup poppy seeds.  Make ahead/shake well.
When ready to serve, assemble the salad ingredients (except Chinese noodles) in a large salad bowl.

Toss with the dressing; then sprinkle the top with the Chinese noodles.

Ask the Agent: This Month's Question
As a buyer, how much will an agent charge me to find my dream home?

As a buyer,as your Realtor, we will ask you for details regarding the type of home, price, and location you desire; then partner with you to find your perfect home. 

You may fall in love with the first one you see, it may take  multiple home visits. 

Once you find that dream home, we will work with you to write up an offer, negotiate the sale, and walk you through all the final details of closing.

How much does this detailed service cost you? As a buyer: $0.00. 

When sellers list a home, they agree to pay a commission of the sales price. If another agent supplies the buyer, the two real estate companies split that commission. That commission also covers costs such as signage, flyers, photographer and so forth

Therefore, the seller pays for the Buyer's agent's time and efforts. You simply get to benefit from them...and enjoy your new dream home.
(Rod Carew had a career with the Minnesota Twins from 1967-1978  before joining the Angels in 1979 (to 1985). He won Rookie of the Year in 1967; served in the Marine Corp Reserves for six years (1960’s), was honored as a Baseball Hall of Fame member in 1991 (on his first nomination) and in 2016, the American League Batting Champion trophy was renamed "The Rod Carew American League Batting Champion" award. In December of  2016 he had a life saving heart/kidney transplant. NFL star Konrad Reuland (Jets/Ravens) died at age 29 of a brain aneurysm; his family donated his heart to Rod Carew – he’d gone to school with the Carew children so the heart of one sportsman beats inside another today. Today Rod is active in his community, as he always has been…including the American Heart Association and his work for Leukemia (a disease his daughter lost her life to at age 18).  
  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.  
Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign

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