Allen Batson

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Jean's November 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: November 2nd, 2019 11:02PM

 

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Welcome to November:

November 3rd (Sunday) – remember when you wake up that day, everyone (except Arizona and Hawaii) will have set their clocks back an hour. 

 

November 11th (Monday) – we honor our military who have given up so much to make sure we live in the land of the free…and the home of the brave. 

 

November 28th (Thursday)– our favorite holiday of the year – THANKSGIVING.  A day to share our traditional turkey dinner including dressing/stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and all of the trimmings with family and friends.  At our table, we all share something we’re grateful for.

 
What are we grateful for - the people in our lives, and each other; that we get to live in this beautiful state and have our health so we can continue doing all of the things we love to do.  We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be kind to each other.
Al and Jean
 
Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home
 
A home purchase is likely one of the largest financial investments you'll make in your lifetime. It's important to get this one right. For the best financial outcomes, avoid the following mistakes.

Taking on too much:  A good rule of thumb is to limit the cost of your house payment (including taxes, insurance and any HOA fees) to 25 percent of your take-home pay.

The preapproval: Before you can make an offer in Arizona, - you must meet with a Lender who will provide guidelines for what you can realistically afford. He/She will provide a Prequalification Letter to attach with your Purchase Contract. This will assure the Seller that the Buyer is able to obtain financing. You will need to confidentially provide your information to the lender (income, debt, etc) so he/she can advise you as to what price range you should stay within.  You don't want to be house poor but rather purchase at a price you can handle comfortably.  [Note: your information is confidential - not shared with your Realtor or Escrow]

The down payment: The larger the down payment , the less interest you'll pay over time. If you have 20 % or more down payment, you can also avoid PMI payments which is a fee to cover insurance that protects lenders when a buyer has little equity in the home. And don't forget to include closing costs and moving expenses as you save up for your purchase. Closing costs average 1% (excluding lender fees).

Going it alone: An experienced agent helps you determine and negotiate the purchase price.  Plus, the seller pays the agent's commission, so you get all the expertise at no cost to you. When you're ready to start your home search, just give us a call at 602-680-2791.

 
 
Looking for a One-story Home Near Paradise Valley Mall?
 
Look no further – 5001 E. Wethersfield Road, Scottsdale,AZ 85254 is one block north of Cactus. It’s 1823 square feet with 3-bedrooms and 1.75 baths  No HOA fee!  The owner is a caterer so the kitchen is well conceived with loads of storage, two wall ovens (electric/ convection), built-in microwave and lots of storage; plus an enormous walk-in pantry. As you enter, there is a spacious living/dining area. The owner uses the living area as her dining room because, as you can image, she cooks a lot. The roof was replaced in 2006; the Air-Conditioner in 2011. Priced at $420,000   Located within 10-15 minutes of MAYO…American Express…Desert Ridge Market Place – High Street…and only minutes from the Paradise Valley Mall with COSTCO, Dillards, May Co., See's, Oregano’s Restaurant (our favorite), Chompies and many others shops/restaurants in the area.  Check this link: https://homesmart.com/real-estate-for-sale/hsaz001/homes/az/scottsdale/85254/azrmls-h/5991122/5001-e-wethersfield-rd,scottsdale,az-85254/index.html?referrer_aid=16692

 
Remodeling Kudos - from a Personal Viewpoint

As Realtors, we often are asked for referrals to qualified vendors.  We love to hear from you if you’ve used a service that you’ve been happy with and have no qualms about recommending so we can pass that information on to others.  Here are some we can highly recommend from personal experience. "BEFORE" TO THE RIGHT.
"AFTER" ON THE LEFT BELOW

Recently we decided to redo our Master Bath.  We never use the tub (could we even get out if we did?)…so we decided to have it taken out; replacing it with one big shower.  We turned to Bob Nau [www.nauinspections.com] who, as a General Contractor is the person who completely remodeled our last home in 2012. Bob no longer does remodeling because he is now 100% a home inspector – an outstanding one, by the way..  Bob recommended LEADER BY DESIGN, a company owned by David and Michelle Prechtel. We had our project planned in our minds before calling them but they made suggestions that made it even better.  They’re great to work with. You can reach them at 480-297-4050; or email Michelle to set up an appointment at michelle@leaderbydesign.com   Their website is: https://www.leaderbydesign.com/

We had a wonderful experience with them; their pricing was fair; they were timely in performance and did magnificent work.  The entire job took only 3 weeks from demolition to completion.  A special kudo to the Plumber they sent:  Jim Ryan of ADVANTAGE PLUMBING SERVICES was outstanding – and personable. Jim can handle every plumbing problem you can come with [Jim Ryan: 480-277-5291 or jryan1550@gmail.com

Before and after the project, Scott Johns and his son, Dillon Johns of ARROW REMODELING came to remove wallpaper that was here when we moved in 4 years ago…and at the end of construction, they came back to repair walls, repaint and replace wallpaper with a very subtle look in both the guest and master baths. They were recommended to us by  a friend who was a Designer for Ethan Allen. [Thanks Sue!]  Great recommendation.  There aren’t too many people out there that just do walls.  602-390-0404  scott@arrowremodelingllc.com   They do both residential and commercial projects.  They’re fun to have around, timely and experts in their field.  https://arrowremodelingllc.com/ 

So, that's a wrap – thanks to these great people who made this big project a breeze

 
What's the Plan for the Hayden/Loop 101/Scottsdale?
 

What’s the plan for Hayden/Loop 101/Scottsdale?

Located at the northwest corner of Loop 101 and Hayden Road in Scottsdale, Arizona, Cavasson is being meticulously designed to welcome the world’s finest organizations – elevating businesses and lifestyles – in what will become one of the region’s premiere business districts.

The project’s mix of uses will include approximately 1.8 million square feet of market leading commercial office space, 1,600 multifamily residences, hotels, retail, restaurants, services and amenities. The initial phase of the project will include several commercial office buildings, including a multi-story office building for Nationwide Insurance, multifamily apartments, a six-story parking structure, retail and restaurants, hotels, and significant infrastructure improvements.  To read more about it, click here: https://www.cavasson.com/


 
Should It Stay or Should It Go with You?
 
Moving is an immense undertaking. Among the myriad tasks on your plate are decisions about what to take with you when you move. Remember, if it is "attached," it stays but what about all of those personal items.

These can be tough calls. Following are a few things that most homeowners are better off leaving behind when they move.

Household documents: Do you still have the manual for your refrigerator? Did the furnace you installed last year come with a ten-year warranty? If you have any documents that relate to structural components, utilities, or appliances that are staying with the home, leave these for the new owner. You won't need them anymore, but the new owners will find them very handy. We ask our clients to put all of those items in one place for the new buyer.

Heirlooms: If you have Grandma's Tiffany chandelier that must go with you; remove it before listing your home; replacing it with an appropriate fixture. Not only will it already be packed up to go; it will avoid any negotiations by a Buyer who falls in love with it.  If it is never seen; problem solved.

Paint: Do you have a stash of old paint cans from previous renovations?  Place the cans in a location where the new owners can easily access them and label them as to color and location.

Houseplants: If you're moving a long distance, try to find new homes for your houseplants rather than transport them to your new location. The conditions in a moving truck aren't conducive to plant life, and the plants are likely to get damaged or die during the move. Consider gifting your plants to your green-thumbed friends and neighbors or ask the Buyer if they're interested.
 
 
 
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
 
 
Thinking of Buying a Home? Get My Free Guide
 
Buying or selling a home is a complex process. If you'd like our Tips for Buyers or Tips for Sellers, just let us know.
 
Just email us and I'll send it right out to you.

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

Just reply to this email for the answer.

What game originated in India with pieces called infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry?
 

Swedish Pancakes
 

As a little girl, I spent many overnights at my good friend’s house. Karen’s grandmother often made "Swedish Pancakes."  Of course, she tossed in a handful of this and that so that recipe is tough to replicate [although her sister did give us a close recipe years later].  When the kids were little, Bisquick came out with their version, which is very close – and so easy to make.  My family loves this for breakfast – or any time.

  • 1-3/4 cups Bisquick
  • 1-3/4 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ stick butter (melted)

Directions:  Beat together – the batter will be very thin. You can make them any size you want – one at a time. We usually make large ones. [Note: we prepare all the batter and freeze or refrigerate the leftover pancakes for later use- [wax paper in between each layer.]
Just warm briefly in the microwave,add butter and powdered sugar...you're ready for another great day!

  • Heat your fry pan, add a little butter.  You want your pan to be hot for a quick browning.
  • When it bubbles, turn it over to a light golden brown. 
  • Pop out on a plate – slather with butter and sprinkle generously (to taste) with powdered sugar. 
  • Roll it up and serve – I usually top with a bit more butter/powdered sugar
  • Note:  Some versions include a jam inside or on top…Logonberry or? 

These just melt in your mouth – they look more like a crepe than a pancake…so 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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Jean's October 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: October 3rd, 2019 5:21PM

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Fall is here!
 
ACTUALLY, it began September 23rd but in Arizona, it's harder to wrap our heads around it. October is the month we find our season changing to the magnificent weather we love.  What happens in October:

October 6 – June 21 every Sunday 10:00-1:30 Farmer’s Market on High Street (56th/Deer Valley) in Desert Ridge.

October 8 Yom Kippur for our Jewish friends

October 14 – Columbus Day - fly your flag

October 31 - Happy Halloween - watch out for those goblins

   

 
 
Short term rentals - what's the Scoop?
 

You’ve probably heard about the controversy relating to short-term rentals such as VRBO, Airbnb and other similar companies. It’s been controversial because owners of condos or homes say they deserve the right to make an income on their properties but there have been situations in neighborhoods about noisy parties, trashed units or bad behavior which impacted the neighbors. Thus the controversy.

The Arizona State Legislature has spoken with the recent passage of HB2672

1)    Short-term rentals are lawful in Arizona – local municipalities do not have the authority to restrict them.

2)    All short-term rental owners must obtain a transaction privilege tax license and list that number on all advertising.  Failure to comply will result in civil penalties

3)    The owner must provide the local town/city government their contact information so they can be notified if the city gets complaints about the property/tenants.

4)    The new law provides that the town or city shall notify the owner and the Department of Revenue, within 30 days, if any complaints are received that result in verified violations and civil penalties.

5)    Short-term rentals are prohibited from having "special events" at the property that require any kind of permit.  The purpose of that is to avoid impacting the neighborhoods with noise, traffic or general disruption of their ability to live quietly in their own homes.

Specific rules for tenants are not spelled out in the House Bill, however owners should certainly post rules and "Quiet Times."  Potential tenants need to know ahead of time what the house-rules are.  Some people don't think about behaving respectfully so it is the owner's job to spell out the details (smoking, pets, hours of quiet time to respect the neighbors and so forth).

Travelers often prefer an apartment/condo/home to a hotel so they can have extra bedrooms, a kitchen and basic living like being at home - but in their vacation setting.  Many people are willing to pay a premium in order to unpack where everything they need is there for their visit.  In Arizona, we have a great need for such rentals – all "winter" long (October – May).  Arizona is a haven for "snowbirds" who come for a few weeks-to a few months every year. Our season is quite long compared to summer resorts, which offers great financial opportunities for those who own this type of property. Spring training and other major events here are high-demand times for seasonal rentals.

Another positive about owning a vacation property is that you can share it with your family for vacations.  Often clients buy them to eventually move here but establish the property originally as a vacation rental; then switch it to a primary residence when the time comes.

As they say - real estate is about LOCATION-LOCATION-LOCATION. That's an important ingredient in any purchase but critical for vacation ownership.

Vacation rentals take effort on the owner’s part to tastefully furnish the home complete with furniture, towels, bedding, hangers, tissue, soap, a complete kitchen right down to the measuring spoons…and of course, cable TV/Internet. Just think what you’d want if you were walking into a rental ready to start your vacation.  We’ve been to some that have books/DVD’s, outdoor patio furniture and grill.

Don't forget that you need someone to clean it thoroughly and check to be sure everything is complete (nothing missing or broken). You need a good communication network with the tenant (deposits/access/rules/departure). There is so much more to deal with than having an annual-lease property that is unfurnished. But, vacation property has the potential  to be very profitable if the location is right and the property is managed well. If this type of ownership is of interest, please call us at 602-680-2791 or email us at Al@AlandJeanBatson.com or Jean@AlandJeanBatson.com


 
Robo-Calls and Scams

ROBO-CALLS:

We all get them WAY TOO OFTEN  – they’re annoying and potentially dangerous.  These people will say anything to scare you – for example

  • "This is the IRS – you are delinquent in back taxes and have not responded to requests to pay" -SCAM!  The IRS is never, ever going to call you.
  • "This is Microsoft calling – your computer has been taken over by a virus" – SCAM!!  Microsoft is never going to call you – they have no idea if your computer has a virus. There are millions of computers in the USA; they aren’t checking on YOURS.  They want you to give them access to your computer "to repair" it.  What they’re really doing is accessing all your files and data.  If you fall for that, they can hold you "hostage" for payment to free up your computer – too late, they’ve got what they want.  The payment to "free up your computer" is their bonus for scamming you.
  • "You have won (fill in the blank), press ONE to talk to the operator" SCAM!  If you win something…you first must enter so a big clue is, you haven’t entered anything.  If you fall for it, they want you to send money to cover "administrative costs" before they will send your so-called prize.  That’s their prize!  You don’t really get one.This is often associated with either a "lottery" or a vacation. 

Here are a few tips to follow:

  1. Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers.  Legitimate callers will leave you a message.
  2. Let unknown calls go to voicemail. 
  3. NEVER press a button – example "Press 1 to be removed from these calls."  It doesn’t – it tells the caller you might engage.
  4. Don’t engage in any conversation or speak with a live operator
  5. If someone calls and you answer – they ask, "Is this Jane Doe?"  Never say "Yes" because that word in your voice can be edited into an acceptance of a program or invoice. If you think it’s a legitimate call, respond, "Who is asking and what can we do for you?"  Or, hang up.  In our household, if someone asks for "Allen," it’s a sales or scam call.  Al doesn’t use his full name.  Or "Is Mr. Beston there?"   Hmmmm…. not our name!  Hang up.
  6. Of course, never give any personal information to anyone over the phone – the person on the other end can be anyone from anywhere.  If a person says they’re from a charity, tell them to mail you the information because you never give personal information over the phone. And never give out your address. You’ll probably never get anything from them because…it’s a SCAM.  These callers will tug at your heart strings saying they represent the police or fire department, abused children, a disease.  You never ever know who is on the other end of a call. There are many legitimate charities - but they don't generally call on the phone.

Report these phone numbers (and block them) to: ftc.gov/complaint.com

To learn more on fraud and scams, go to:  https://videos.aarp.org/category/videos/scams-fraud


 
Millennial's - What's Their Home Style Trend?
 

Surveys say:  When Realtors gathered data on what the Millennials are looking for when they’re ready to buy a home, it is similar to Boomers but perhaps for different reasons.  Millennials prefer:

  • Easy-care landscaping
  • Up-to-date kitchens, baths and appliances
  • They want properties that are move-in ready for the most part (there are always DIY people, of course) but if they can afford it - they don't want to contemplate a long list of repairs/replacements.
  • A formal dining room is not important - they're more casual in general
  • They’re more about easy-flow, open space for flexibility as opposed to a designed floor plan (i.e. living room – could be a media room;  a dining room might be an exercise area or office)
  • Carpeting – many Millennials love pets so carpeting is not generally preferred. Tile or wood is easy to clean, looks fresh and open and doesn’t absorb odors
  • Memorabilia/game rooms.Millennials don't want Grandma's treasues like the Boomer sometimes do so memorabilia is out - they’re more inclined to have a "digital space" where they have their huge TV’s, surround sound, computers for gaming and casual entertaining.

It’s interesting to note that we’re seeing a trend in this direction on the other end of the age spectrum as people downsize from their big homes.  Easy care inside and out and flexibility of space usage is popular so Boomers and Millennials are not all that different in some ways. 

Millennials are more inclined to research a home purchase thoroughly - and don't necessarily look at a purchase long-term as Boomers often do.  ...


 
A Big Tip of Our Hat to Zack Gottsagen
 

Many of us have a personal connection with a disability or handicap.  In my case, I grew up with a Down Syndrome brother, David. He was three years older than I.I know this isn't real estate related but in my heart, I have to share this touching story.

I just read an article about a young man from Florida, Zack Gottsagen, who beat all odds and is starring in a new movie with Dakota Johnson and Shia LaBoeuf called "The Peanut Butter Falcon."  His work on 2014’s Becoming Bulletproof, about actors with disabilities, caught the eyes of writers Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, who were so impressed that they wrote a role for him in Peanut Butter Falcon.

The movie is about a lively 22-year-old man with Down Syndrome named Zak.  Zak lives in a nursing home because he has nobody to care for him -- but it doesn't stop him from dreaming. Breaking out to pursue his goal of becoming a pro wrestler, he gets help from a fisherman on the lam thus an unusual bond of friendship is born. And it's rated PG so every can enjoy the story.  Several friends have seen it and highly recommend it. 

When your formative years centered around a family disability, your eye catches everything relating to it.  Zack's mother fought for his rights to get training as an actor against all odds. The school had refused admission to him due to his condition. The family persevered and won. There aren’t enough tissues in Arizona to get me though watching this movie but I must.  As you know, those with Down Syndrome have a distinct look which reminds me so much of David (who passed away in 1996).  He loved movies (in those days you could take him to most of them) so it would please him to see someone like him up on the big screen.

Years ago, such a diagnosis was not understood nor accepted – people of all ages laughed, stared and taunted but gratefully, today there is so much more acceptance and understanding.  If I see a Down Syndrome person bagging at a grocery store, I’ll go out of my way to be in that line to offer a smile and a thank you.  I saw too much cruelty towards my brother as a child.  Generally, Down Syndrome folks are very sweet and mild mannered.  Hats off to the people who gave Zack this opportunity and to his family for supporting and encouraging him. No matter what "handicap" a person has, they have feelings just like everyone else so kindness is a great way to make they’re day. Well, anyone's!

 
 
 
THE BATSON TEAM
AL AND JEAN

AL: 602-680-2791
JEAN: 602-228-0756
www.AlandJeanBatson.com
True or False:

 

1)    Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning. 

2)    Alfred Hitchcock did not have a bellybutton. 

3)    A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 yrs. 

4)    People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot more.

5)    When you sneeze, all bodily functions stop, even your heart! 

6)    Only 7 per cent of the population are lefties

 
Answers are below the recipe.

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Quick Quiz
 
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Just reply to this email for the answer.

What is the best-selling candy worldwide?
 

Easy Chicken-Parmesan Chicken
 
I found this in a magazine - it's a favorite now...you can makes this recipe as "chicken fingers" for an appetizer or cut larger for a meal portion. It's very quick to combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in one Ziplock bag and the remaining ingredients in a flat pan (like a 9" baking pan)...then coat and bake. EASY!
 
 
  4 large chicken breasts(cut into strips)
or   into wider pieces
 
 
 
 
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
 

Combine the following ingredients in a gallon-size Ziplock bag:

  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Then combine the ingredients below in a flat baking dish.

  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 TBS. Dijon mustard (or similar)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. chopped parsley (I used the dry)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder (I used onion flakes)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425.

  • When you're ready to bake, take each chicken strip and coat.
  • First, dredge the chicken pieces in the mayonnaise mixture; then drop into the Ziplock bag with the parmesan/Panko - shake to cover.
  • Use a cookie sheet covered with foil, put a rack (spray with Pam) on top.This will make clean-up a snap.
  • Place the coated chicken pieces on the rack.
  • Lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray and bake.(Yes, I really said that)
  • For the narrow strips, bake about 15-18 minutes until golden.
  • Larger pieces should stay in about 25 minutes.
These are absolutely delicious. Serve as an appetizer or a dinner.  We've served if with roasted potatoes and a green vegetables.It comes together in a jiffy!
(This one is for you, Connie!)

(T/False Quiz (all True)
_________________
 
Ask Al & Jean: This Month's Question
 
How do I know if a property is a right for me?

Today many people search the dozens of websites to look at homes they think they'd like. And that's a good thing.
   As your Realtors, we'll research the market for you to determine a fair price for the property using current "comps" (comparable properties) from the multiple listing service to see the price should be comparing floor plan, size, condition, and how up-to-date it is.
   We'll work together to analyze the size, location, and other features of the home to determine not only the right price by comparing the current asking price to other similar homes we'll also use this information to help you negotiate the best price possible for the home.
   And if we don't think the community is right for your needs- we'll share that. We recently had a young lady whose heart was set on a particular condo complex. We advised against it since the HOA didn't cover the exterior or the roof which could have led to major cost issues down the road.  We found a better condo situation nearby with much improved HOA coverage;
____________________________


We just got home from visiting our hometowns - Al is from Straughn, Indiana and I'm from Elmhurst, Illinois where we went to high school reunions. It was wonderful all around and thanks to everyone for being so great.  There's nothing like going back to see those familiar faces from our youth. (GO YORK!!!)
 
 
 
 
  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 September 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: September 1st, 2019 6:23PM

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 Ahhhhh - September
 

As desert dwellers, many of us look forward to the last full month of 100+ degree temperatures [usually our temperature drop to "magnificent"as we head towards October]….with 8 months or more of divine weather that follows.  August was supposed to be the big Monsoon month but we actually got very little rain all summer.  It was called the NONSOON! By now, kids are back in school and life is back to normal.   Here are a few holidays in September:

  • 9/2 LABOR DAY - Labor Day is an annual federal holiday on the first Monday of September to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.  Thanks to all of us who pay our taxes to provide for this country.
  • 9/15 National Wife Appreciation Day (Jean’s new favorite - who knew?)
  • 9/22 National Ice Cream Cone Day (Al’s favorite)
  • 9/23 FALL BEGINS
  • 9/29 Rosh Hashanah for our Jewish friends
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has so kindly referred friends and family to us.  We do our best to provide excellent service with regular communication as we work through the listing or sale. Our goal is to make the process as easy as possible; understanding that sometimes issues come up that can be challenging - we'll stick with the issue like glue until resolution.   Have a fantastic month.

Al and Jean
 

 
 
It's Time to Do It!!  Face Your Closet!  You Can Do it!
 

Did someone ever say something in casual conversation – and suddenly a light bulb went off in your head?  We were visiting our friends in the mountains last weekend when we got into a conversation about how so many of us hang onto things we no longer need. Closets, in particular. Here's how to start the process of clearing out your closet.  It feels so good to get it done and be able to give away what you no longer need. Get rid of:

  • Everything you haven’t worn in years – and are highly unlikely to ever wear again.
  • Anything that doesn’t fit – if your weight miraculously changes, reward yourself -buy something new.  You deserve it.
  • Anything you don’t like – and in my case, I asked myself why on earth I’d bought some of those things in the first place. Just because its on SALE doesn’t make it look good on me.

I came home completely inspired so I took EVERY article of clothing out of my closet and tossed it on the bed.  As further motivation, my friend asked me to send a BEFORE and AFTER picture of the closet. I digress, if we wanted to sleep that night, I had to complete the task (coats, shoes and purses are next on the list).Being completely honest and motivated with a goal in mind, I was ruthless. It took a few hours but I got rid of over two boxes of items that someone else will find useful. There is that realization that we’re all holding onto so many items from clothes to household items that are languishing in our closets and cabinet that are desperately needed by abused women. Next week we’re taking it all to the Sojourners Donation Center at 2330 E Fillmore St, Phoenix, AZ  85006.  Check their website for hours if you’re interested in helping. Most areas have facilities for battered women – we selected this one at the suggestion of a good friend who spent years and years on the Phoenix Police Department.  Officers see so many horrible family situations so they know. https://www.sojournercenter.org/ 

Here’s a challenge – are you up to tackling your closet?
   BE TENACIOUS! I guarantee you’ll feel so great when it’s over (not so much in the process!).

Oh, the best part is that everything left will be easy to see and grab…. AND maybe there's room for a couple of new things?

This is actually related to real estate because when you list your home, we always tell our clients to be sure the closets and cabinets don’t look crowded because it tells the potential buyers that there isn’t enough storage room.  We advise being very minimalistic when selling your home. So, WIN/WIN. Once it’s done – keep it up!  You'll be so glad you did.  Selling or staying - it's great to feel organized.


 
Consider A Home Inspection (Selling or Not)

If you’re on top of every repair in your home, perhaps you don’t need this information, but most people learn to live with the little things…and often those little things end up on a list your buyer will want you to repair.  Examples:  a little drip of a faucet, something that doesn’t quite work, but you don’t think of because it’s always been that way or signs of window issues (seals falling between panes, moisture).   You might want to consider hiring a home inspector to do a PRE-INSPECTION so you can be sure your home is in tip-top shape when your buyer comes along. Your Buyer will ask for repairs - do it for yourself. 

We can give you the names of several good ones.  Of course, our favorite is Bob Nau, Nau Inspections, because he’s very ethical, thorough and his report shows photos and/or notes on everything he can see. Also, he’s been a Licensed General Contractor for 30+ years.  www.nauinspections.com or 480-226-7915

Note:  whenever you have a home inspection, certainly not everything on the report needs immediate repair, but he’ll give you any detail, including anticipated life of roofs, A/C’s, water heaters, etc. Buyers want to be sure that nothing leaks, that the roof is in good repair or recently replaced (if it’s aging out)…that the A/C is fully functional. 

So many A/C units work but not at capacity. During a recent thorough investigation, Bob noted that the A/C system’s differential should be between 18-22 degrees; it was not. He noted that the seller should have his A/C system checked to be sure it was at the proper number. How would you know that without an inspection?  

Your probably wondering - WHAT IS THE DIFFERENTIAL?  It is the difference between the temperature going into the intake…and the temperature of the cooled air coming out through the vents. Example:  If the intake temperature is 100 degrees, the temperature coming into the house should be between 78-82 degrees. Anything less indicates the A/C is not performing at full efficiency and according to industry standards. 

FREON:

In an effort to better protect the atmosphere, manufacturers have been prohibited from making Air Conditioning systems that use R-22 (sometimes referred to as Freon®) since 2015. All production will cease in 2020. Air conditioners using R-22 may still be serviced with recycled R-22 after 2020, however costs of R-22 may rise as supplies become limited.  Be aware –  the company you utilize for your annual A/C check-up will be able to give you more information and advice.


Sales Tax Rates Vary by City in Maricopa County
 

The total sales tax rate in any given location can be broken down into state, county, city, and special district rates. Arizona has a 5.60% sales tax and Maricopa County collects an additional 0.70%, so the minimum sales tax rate in Maricopa County is 6.3% (not including any city or special district taxes). This list shows the total sales tax rates for several cities and towns in Maricopa County, including all local taxes. These numbers may surprise you. It is something to think about the next time you’re buying a major item; like a vehicle.

On the low end are: Sun City and Sun City West at 6.30% [because they’re 55+ communities with no school taxes].

The highest are: Cave Creek/Carefree and Buckeye at 9.30% and Glendale at 9.20%; followed by Avondale, Goodyear and Paradise Valley at 8.80%.  Surprise is 8.50%, Phoenix is 8.60%, Tempe is 8.10% and Scottsdale is 8.05%.  


Timeshares - a Good Investment or Not?
 

To begin with we are not advising anyone one way or another about purchasing timeshares. Everyone has a different perspective and lifestyle.  Nor are we involved in that end of the real estate business but we do get asked about them.

What is a timeshare?  According to Wikipedia, it is: "A timeshare (sometimes called vacation ownership) is a property with a divided form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each owner of the same accommodation is allotted their period of time."  

Times have changed regarding access to access to vacation accommodations being at our fingertips. Timeshares were all the rage long ago before there was access to the Internet - which brought travelers AirBnB, HomeAway, VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and other resources for accommodations world-wide. With these venues, you don't need to worry about ownership, maintenance fees, availability or reselling.  You just select from numerous options, book, go and enjoy!

Years ago, most timeshares were assigned a specific week and resort with no flexibility other than trading your week with another owner.  As they developed over the years, they became more flexible using points rather than a specific time/place. From boutique resorts to big hotel chains, it was game-on to sell these bits of paradise. Buyers were/are enticed to attend an "informational meeting" with a sales rep – I’m sure the rumors about guarded exits, moats surrounding the sales office and high pressure are just that…rumors!

Many years ago, we were wide-eyed and loved to travel so we purchased a hotel timeshare with a low annual maintenance fee with so-called "flexibility" so you could use your points to go anywhere in the world at any time.  And, for a fee, you could transfer your yearly points to use at their hotels.  It was a point system.  What they didn’t explain in great detail was how difficult it was to reserve more than one week at a time due to availability in popular places (Hawaii, resorts, Paris).  Nor did they explain that each reservation and/or request to search, included separate fees. So, if you wanted two weeks in Kauai, you paid reservation fees for each week and you had to be flexible about moving to a second place for the last week. The annual fee for the one we had at a very well-known hotel chain, started at about $360 a year for maintenance plus the reservation fee each time. Twenty years later the annual maintenance fee was over $1,100.  The other fees had increased as well.

Because we bought ours when we were fairly young, it encouraged us to take annual trips to beautiful places that we might not have otherwise taken.  We probably got more value out of it because we were tenacious about figuring out the system to maximize our points. On the positive side, we used our timeshare every year (or gave it away) so we benefited from our ownership because we didn't leave any points on the table when others just gave us.  

As the years went on, our travel interests  moved on to tours and cruises in exotic places.  As the fees and difficulty of finding places grew, we decided to rid ourselves of the timeshare as our kids had no interest in taking on the expense (you can transfer or bequeath ownership).  There is very little investment value.  We sold ours back to the hotel chain at pennies-on-the dollar a few years ago but were glad to be done with it. Of course, the hotel re-sold it to someone else making a profit again.  The resorts/hotels make loads of money over the years from purchase cost-to-fees; especially since so many owners don't use theirs but still have to pay the annual fees.  Others, utilize their timeshares at varying frequency. On many programs, if you don't use your points, you lose them at the end of the year unless you pay a fee to transfer them forward. Selling your timeshare can be a difficult venture – there are so many unethical "resellers" who promise the moon but charge exhorbinant fees - sometimes never completing the transfer.

Dave Ramsey, renowned financial guru, says this: "There are over 9 million timeshare owners in the United States alone and 74% are locked into lifetime contracts with perpetuity commitments that can pass on to their next of kin. With an average annual maintenance fee of $970, and a difficult booking process, timeshare ownership can become frustrating. Timeshare Exit Team was founded on the principle that consumers should have an option when it comes to exercising their rights. We are here to eliminate your unwanted timeshare and help you move one step closer to financial peace of mind." 

We didn’t know about this service at the time so we don’t have experience with this program of exit, but if you have a timeshare to dispose of, here’s an option to explore: https://timeshareexitteam.com/about-us/our-process/

If you’re interested in timeshares strictly as an investment, financial advisors strongly urge against it.  There are many ways to invest in real estate that can be profitable over the years – such as building equity in your personal home [by never pulling the equity out] or a rental under the right circumstances.  We’re happy to answer any questions about rental property.

 
 
 
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
 
 
Sunbrella Fabric
 

Many of us have patio furniture with cushions made from Sunbrella fabric.  Being outside, it is exposed to all sorts of opportunities to get dirty.  We thought you might find this link helpful (it was to us) in maintaining it and keeping it clean: https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Sunbrella-Fabric

 

 
 
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A European superstition states that a guest who leaves his/her napkin on the chair will what?
 

Roasted Apple Fall Salad
 
There is nothing like a good salad. As with any good recipe, you can serve it as  a side to your meal OR add grilled chicken and make it dinner.
 
Serves 8
 
Apples:
  4 medium Fuji or Gala apples, quartered and seeded
  2 tablespoons olive oil
  1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 
Dressing:
  2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  2 tablespoons olive oil
  1 tablespoon maple syrup
  1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  Salt and pepper to taste
 
Salad:
  1 package baby spinach
  4 ounces fresh goat cheese
  1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
 
Directions
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place apples, olive oil, nutmeg, pepper, and cinnamon on a baking sheet and toss to coat evenly. Roast 20-30 minutes or until tender. Remove and cool completely. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients until blended. Place spinach in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing, roasted apples, cheese, cranberries, and pecans. Serve immediately.
 

Ask the Agent: This Month's Question
 
Should I price my home higher to leave room for negotiations?

This is a common strategy for sellers, and it doesn't always go as planned. The results of this tactic are generally the opposite of what the sellers hope, unfortunately. Let me explain.

A home must be priced in the "strike zone" for buyers to make an offer. If your home is priced outside of this zone, you may not receive offers, and your home could sit on the market longer.

Since time on the market is the number one enemy for sellers, this is not a good situation. The longer a home remains on the market, the more buyers will wonder "What is wrong with this listing?" 

To prevent your home from getting stale as it sits on the market, we need to price it just right. When you're ready to list your home, we will complete a comparative market analysis (CMA) to evaluate what similar homes are selling for in your market; then recommend a price that will get your home sold quickly, for as much as possible, based on current market demand.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about pricing or to schedule an appointment for a CMA of your home.
 
 
   
 
 
  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 August 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: August 1st, 2019 4:37PM

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Remodels: What's Good for Resale?
 
Are you thinking about remodeling/updating?  What's worth the effort? Here are projects worth considering. Even if you're not interested in selling now, consider these areas of improvement for your own enjoyment. 

The kitchen: Kitchens sell homes! Updating your kitchen is a good way to increase the value and appeal of your home. Counters, cabinetry, backsplash, pull-out drawers and updated matching appliances are an excellent investment - and great to enjoy yourself. There are so many great products.  One extremely popular one is the microwave that pulls out like a drawer.  Check model homes for ideas.

Bathrooms: These areas are also high on Buyers' priority lists! Update the counters, sinks, tub/showers and fixtures. Make good use of storage. 

Flooring: Flooring, especially tile or wood, can be very costly so a Buyer looks at that as a major item when considering a purchase.  Today’s Buyers are looking for the same flooring throughout so it flows from room to room.  When multiple types of flooring are used, it makes the home look "chopped up."  In Arizona, a home with all tile or wood is #1 in popularity but that doesn’t mean that some homes don’t have carpeting in the bedrooms.  Many homeowners who do, choose to have the same carpeting in every carpeted area.  If you’re going out to replace carpet, it is recommended that you purchase a Berber vs. plush.  Berber wears like iron and doesn’t show footprints so the care is much less time-consuming.  Spend a little more for good padding.  It’ll make a big difference to the feel of it. 

Wood is always a popular choice - you’d be amazed at the number of Buyers who notice when it is real wood. Wood wears well, is durable and timeless, expensive, and adds value.  There are so many types, colors and patterns. There are several products that give a wood-look such as engineered wood or waterproof vinyl at a savings; the quality of these products has improved over the past few years.

One of the best ways to get an easy-care wood-look floor is porcelain tile – but get one that looks like wood.  So many really don’t look authentic. Wood tiles come in various lengths and widths which can offer a more elegant looking appearance (these two sizes are staggered). The example shown is porcelain wood tile - ours to be accurate.

Smaller tiles (8 – 12") give a dated appearance.  So, select tiles that are at least 18" and have your installer use a different pattern to make it look special.

Particularly if you have a small space – lighter colored flooring makes your home look so much larger.  The same can be said for wall coverings [paint/wallpaper]. Be sure there isn’t too much furniture and it isn’t too large for your space.

Curb appeal: First impressions are important and the front of your home is the first thing buyers see. Boost curb appeal by repainting the exterior, adding plants, and sprucing up the entry with a new door. These projects can often be completed at low cost but offer high return.  The landscaping should be free of weeds and trimmed. First impressions really do matter.



 
 
Protect Your Credit.  It's Important.

It is said that 56% of US citizens have been hacked/exposed by the data breach two-years ago by Equifax which has now been court-ordered to make an enormous settlement.  This is a giant red flag reminding us all to be cognizant of our own credit.   Here are the 5 steps we all should take to protect our credit:

  1. Sign up with the three main credit companies for FRAUD ALERTS [EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN and TRANS UNION] and check your report at least annually (We're all entitled to one free report annually from each bureau).
  2. Pay for a credit monitoring service (we’ve been pleased with LifeLock as we’ve had identity theft issues in the past).
  3. Notify your bank/credit card companies if you’ll be traveling as to where and when.
  4. Freeze your credit so nobody else can access it – you can unfreeze it when you need to make a major purchase. KEEP THE CODE ASSIGNED SO YOU CAN FREEZE or UNFREEZE AS NEEDED.
  5. Place a Fraud Alert on your accounts if you can't freeze them immediately (if you're in the middle of a home purchase, for example). A Fraud Alert lasts for one year and is renewable. You only need to contact one of the 3 Bureaus to ask for an alert; it will notify the others.

For instructions on how to take care of these issues, go to www.FTC.gov (Federal Trade Commission

JUST ANNOUNCED ON JULY 30, 2019 - CAPITAL ONE BREACH

Following the massive Equifax data breach and resulting settlement just discussed, on July 30, 2019, news broke out about Capital One.  Fortunately, the perpetrator has been arrested.

According to MSN news, "a data breach of Capital One, the nation’s 7th largest bank by assets, compromised the personal information of approximately 100 million U.S. consumers and 6 million in Canada, the bank announced on July 29th.  The breach affected the information of two groups of people:

  • Those who applied for Capital One credit cards between 2005 and 2019. The compromised information included names, dates of birth, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers 
  • Existing credit card and secured credit card holders. Data stolen included 140,000 Social Security numbers, 80,000 bank account numbers and information about consumers’ credit scores, credit limits, balances, payment history and transactions.

Capital One said it would provide free credit monitoring and identity protection services to those affected (who they will notify). They also recommended the same course of action (Freezing your credit, placing a Fraud Alert on your credit, checking with the 3 credit bureaus… plus keeping a close eye on your accounts for unfamiliar activities.


Barn Door Bathroom - Hoosier Style

We’ve all seen the Barn Doors utilized – generally in master suites separating bedrooms from bathrooms ...or any other parts of the home.  

New Castle, Indiana is close to where Al grew up.  The photo on the right was on a real estate listing in New Castle.  The owner wanted to turn their hall bath into a powder room for guests to use…so they used a barn door to hide the tub.  Genius!

On the left is a more typical version of the popular barn door.  There are so many ways to utilize this concept.  

Be creative. 


 
What Should We Believe About the Real Estate Industry?
 

In the past couple of years (and months), there has been such a preponderance of new companies who claim to be able to sell your home in 72 hours – or for 2%. Some claim to be highly discounted; others claim they can sell your house in 3-days.  They tell you they have an assigned agent to represent you and using an algorithm will bring dozens of buyers to your door. 

As Realtors, we have loads of competition. which we welcome.  It keeps us all on our toes. Many Realtors are absolutely fantastic at helping their clients; a few are not.  There are varying degrees of competency and experience with any professional. Clients don’t generally know how much time is spent by a Realtor making sure everything is done correctly and efficiently – putting out "fires" that could jeopardize your escrow.  It’s our job to focus on our clients.

Some discount companies claim they can have dozens of buyers who will swoop in to purchase your home at listing, or even better prices, within 3 days.  One claims they don’t need to put their homes on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) because the internet has all the information, so they don’t need to work with them. We wonder where they’re going for their comparable pricing information – the MLS.  If they’re working with Buyers – where are they going to go for properties to show – the MLS.  And advertising often refers to "agents on staff to help you."  

Are they Realtors?  To be called a Realtor, of course you have to be licensed by the State and your  ACTIVE license is to be held by a Broker (in our case, HomeSmart) but to be legally called a Realtor, you must be a dues-paying member of a local Board of Realtors (We belong to the Phoenix Association of Realtors and the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors). To maintain our license, we are required to take continuing education classes on Contract Law, Agency Law, Disclosures, Commissioner's Standards, Fair Housing, etc. We renew every two-years with our Continuing Education classes verified by the State of Arizona's Department of Real Estate.

If you're tempted into discount service - be sure you ask questions such as all costs associated with the listing, including any repairs or marketing fees that aren't mentioned. Would you be working with a Realtor?  What if your home doesn't sell in 72-hours? What aren't they saying?  

As our mothers always told us – "If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is NOT true." (This is just our musing.)


 
Property Appeal: What Makes a Home Safe?
 
Location. Layout. Landscaping. A host of home features affect a property's appeal. One quality that tops many "must-have" lists is safety. What should buyers look for if they want a home that offers the best safety possible for themselves and their families? 

Several features can improve the safety of a home to make it more desirable. As a bonus, these devices can also reduce the cost to insure a home. If you want to modernize your home with innovative safety measures or are looking for a new home with the latest safety features, consider these list toppers.

Smart Devices

The internet has taken home security and convenience to a new level. Homeowners are empowered with a host of tools and systems to keep their homes safe. In fact, technology has become so prevalent that few items aren't equipped with smart features. Appliances offer improved safety and efficiency. Garage doors offer additional security. High-tech lawn systems prevent overwatering and flooding. A few devices are particularly desirable for homeowners interested in boosting the safety of their surroundings. These include:

Water alerts: Did you know one of the most common homeowners insurance claims is water damage? Smart leak-detection sensors can now prevent these calamities. They alert homeowners of leaks so they can take immediate action to prevent damage. In some cases, the household water is turned off by these devices until you investigate.

Fire detection: What happens if no one is home to hear the smoke detector? A smart fire detector will alert a homeowner via a Wi-Fi-connected device anywhere in the world. This can improve emergency response times and minimize damage.

Burglar deterrents: Smart technology has enhanced security on many fronts. Homeowners can deter thieves with timed lighting, access smart door locks to maintain tighter security, and monitor video surveillance from anywhere.

Interesting thoughts to ponder.
___________________________________________________________________________________
 
ADOT - Arizona Department of Transportation:

With all of the current road repairs work going on all over the Valley - it's hard to remember which on/off ramps are open.  You can copy this link to check on a regular basis.
 
You don't want to find yourself heading to an event that you can't get to without detours and delays.

https://azdot.gov/projects/central-district-projects/loop-101-(pima-freeway)-improvement-project-i-17-to-pima-road/traffic-alerts
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
On a hot summer day - do you ever just feel liking crawling into a space to take a nap?  This pup has taken that goal to the maximum. Perfect fit!  Cozy!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
 
 
What's Happening in your neighborhood:
 
We know the internet has all sorts of real estate information available to you...but if you need current/accurate information on your neighborhood or areas you're like to investigate, we can help.
 
Just call us and we'll send it right out to you.

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What is didaskaleinophobia?
 

Ann's Chinese Cole Slaw/Entree Salad
 
We went to a delightful summer luncheon with my old Clear Channel Outdoor pals. Our hostess served this - delicious.  It may require some ingredients you don't always have but its well worth the trip to the grocery store.
 
Serves 8-10
 
  4 chicken breasts, cooked/cubed OR...use a COSTCO roast chicken.
+   1 large head of cabbage, shedded
  Sliced green onions (4)
  1 can sliced water chestnuts
  2 pkg.Ramen noodles {oriental flavor)
  4 TBS Sesame Seeds
  4 TBS chopped almonds
    For the Dressing:
    4 TBS Sugar
3 TBS Soy Sauce
3 TBS.Vinegar
1 cup oil
1 Tsp. pepper
2 pkg. Raman flavoring
 
Directions
  • Toast the noodles, sesame seeds and almonds briefly (5 minutes) in the oven at 375 degrees. Put aside until a couple of hours before serving.
  • Mix dressing – add to salad at least several hours ahead (overnight OK).
  • Add the noodles, seeds and almonds to the salad about 2-3 hours in advance.

It's great alone or add a couple of Chinese sides...Egg Rolls, Wontons?  We had some leftover the next day - it was still fresh - we added a little extra soy sauce as a boost.


Ask the Agent: This Month's Question
 
How do I know if I've found the right house?

Buying a house is probably the most significant purchase you'll ever make. With so many options, it can be challenging to choose just one. To determine whether a home is right for you, ask yourself a couple of key questions about each property.

Does the home meet my must-haves? Write down a few deal breakers that a property must offer, and stick to these priorities to determine if a home is a good fit.

Does the home offer potential? Consider your future needs. If you're planning any life changes, keep these in mind. As you weigh its potential, also consider any "wants" that the home doesn't have. If it meets all your must-haves but is lacking a few wants, does it have potential? For example, paint colors and carpeting can be changed. The number of bedrooms is harder to adjust. 

What are YOUR most important needs.  It's hard to find everything on the list but your priority items should be met.
 
 
   
 
 
  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 July 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: July 3rd, 2019 7:23PM

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Happy Birthday America.  We're 243 Years Strong.
 
 

America the Beautiful" is an American patriotic song; the lyrics were written by Katharine Lee Bates, and the music was composed by church organist and choirmaster Samuel A. Ward at Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey. The two never met. Bates originally wrote the words as a poem, "Pikes Peak", first published in the Fourth of July edition of the church periodical The Congregationalist in 1895. At that time, the poem was titled "America" for publication. Ward had originally written the music for a hymn in 1882, though it was not first published until 1892.  Ward's music combined with the Bates poem was first published in 1910 and titled "America the Beautiful". The song is one of the most popular of the many U.S. patriotic songs and still gives goosebumps to American citizens. The "Pledge of Allegiance" to the flag of the United States of America...always gets to us...

Our country has been through so much turmoil in the past 10 years with terrorism, drug epidemics, crime, illegal immigration – but we’re proud to be Americans. We honor our military for keeping us free to pursue our lives, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. 

We love our country and certainly don’t know of anywhere else we’d want to live where we can have the freedom and opportunities to be a success at what you love to do the way you can here in the United States of America. Here we are, enjoying our post-corporate careers, working together to serve people who need to buy or sell.  We are so honored to do so and grateful that we can.

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July – wave that flag!

Al and Jean

 


 
 
Phoenix - Growing and Growing
 

Phoenix has come a long way from its beginning in 1881 as a farming community. Our fair city (which spreads out over about 536 square miles) is growing rapidly. The expectation is that Phoenix will move up from the nations 5th largest city to the 3rd over the next few years. Arizona is one of the fastest growing economies in the nation according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis State Data. 

We're in the top 5 states in terms of growth with a 4.3% increase in gross domestic product.  Our job market in greater Phoenix also continues to grow rapidly…this is the place to be. Corporations are bringing their businesses here because of favorable taxes for a more profitable way to do business. Not to mention that our state income taxes are low and the cost-of-living so much less than many other areas...and there is nothing to shovel in the winter.

Not only do we have a growing economy but also the advantages of living in this beautiful, sunny state with endless opportunities; with so much to do and see, fantastic restaurants, entertainment, shopping, medical, facilities, sports. We wouldn't live anywhere else.


 
What Happens in an Escrow if a Buyer or Seller fails to honor the contract?

Our goal as Realtors is to make every transaction as smooth as possible for everyone involved.  To do that, communication is the key.  Most of the time, when issues occur, they're resolved expeditiously due to our years of experience and eye for detail. But every once in a while, something comes up that we can't control - so we have to find the solution and move forward.

We recently experienced such a situation.  We had the listing on a condo – several buyers made offers in the first 24-hours.  The offer our Seller accepted was full-price, no concessions (buyer asking the seller to pay part of their closing costs), pre-approved (not just pre-qualified), with a large down payment, not contingent on selling another property and the Buyer was willing and able to close on the same date our Sellers needed in order to close concurrently with the home they’re purchasing.  Sounds perfect, right?  The agent was enthusiastic and told us that his Buyer was thrilled to buy this condo. But sometimes people will just be people!

I digress – the purchase contract says that the Buyer is required to bring their Earnest Money Deposit in "upon agreement – a signed contract."  Our documents were signed on a Sunday evening.  We prepared all the documents to send to our Title/Escrow officer and confirmed with the Buyer’s agent that the funds would arrive in the Escrow office on Monday.  When it wasn’t there by mid-afternoon, we contacted the Buyer’s agent who begged for our understanding since his client "has a new job and can’t get away."  We advised him that either he (agent) could pick up the check, have funds wired or a courier could go to the Buyer’s office to pick it up. By the end of Tuesday when it hadn’t arrived, we warned the agent that we would have to send a CURE NOTICE to him to notify his client he needed to adhere to the contract or face cancellation.

Side note:  WHAT IS A CURE NOTICE?  It’s a document giving the Buyer 72-hours to perform, or the escrow is cancelled for non-compliance with the contract.

We don’t fault the Agent in this case because his Buyer wasn’t being truthful or responsible for some reason. He was making up all sorts of stories as to why he couldn’t get his funds in.  The Agent was frantically trying to get his client to take one of those options previously mentioned so as not to break the contract.  We won’t bore you with a many crazy stories the Buyer gave his agent – with promises to get the money to escrow. There was ample time and opportunity for him to comply.  When the 72-hours was up, we sent the signed order to cancel to the Escrow Officer and the Agent.  The Agent still promised we’d have it that day if only we’d give him "just one more chance" but...based on our experience with this Buyer, we could not do that.  Our job is to protect our client. 

Fortunately when we listed the property,  we checked "Take Back-up Offers" on this listing form so during the 72-hours the clock was ticking on the Cure Notice, we noted on our listing that agents could show the property and give us back-up offers with full-disclosure as to the situation.  Within 15 minutes of the cancellation, we had another offer that is going very well.

CURE NOTICES can be used for any situation wherein one party or the other fails to perform on schedule.  Fortunately, until this situation, we’ve never had to use one and we hope we never do.

The point here is that things can happen during an escrow period, and they almost always do...but generally problems can be resolved with some effort, patience and experience.


 
Al's Question for You.

 

Your Spare.  Have your service Technician check the air pressure in your spare tire the next time you service your vehicle.

 

 
Police Blotter
 

We recently attended a local meeting where a Police Officer shared information on crime.  It doesn't matter where you live or what kind of neighborhood, there are people determined to take what belongs to YOU. 

What is the biggest crime in typical Phoenix neighborhoods?

  • Believe it or not – he said breaking into vehicles that have been left parked outside, UNLOCKED with valuable items inside. Of course, there are also experienced bad-guys who can open a locked car.
  • Along this same line of thought -  items stolen from garages when the garage door is left open is another huge crime statistic.   

There is information put out via every possible media warning people to be cautious about this.  The Police Department posed this question" Why is your garage full of things that you could get rid of while your $40,000 vehicle is left outside?  Wouldn’t it be a good idea to get rid of the "stuff" by donating it, putting it in storage or selling it so your vehicle, worth thousands of dollars, can be protected?"  At the very least, if your vehicle must be parked outside, always, always lock it.  And never leave anything of value inside.  People leave electronics, purses, packages – all sorts of things in view.

Newer vehicles have buttons that can be programmed to open your gate or garage door.  If your vehicles don’t have that feature, please don’t leave your garage door opener where it can be spotted by a thief.  Take it with you or hide it from sight but don’t assist the thief. 

Today, with cameras everywhere, videos and photos are shown almost daily of 
criminals walking around neighborhoods at 2:00 a.m. checking to see if vehicles are unlocked.  If so, you’re an easy target.  If you didn’t leave enough "good stuff" and the car is valuable – you’ve also just made it easier for your car to also be stolen.

As the Officer said, the other part of this is leaving your garage door open – not only does it give thieves quick access to steal anything in sight but most of the time, the door into your home is unlocked. Minimally, they get a good view of your possessions for future reference. 

We had a neighbor, a few years ago, who had numerous extremely valuable racing bicycles in his garage. He’d often be seen working on the bikes in the garage so anyone passing by could see he had bikes worth thousands of dollars. With bikes and tools taking up garage space, his wife had to park in the driveway.  One night in the wee hours, someone came along, found her car door unlocked and the garage door opener on the Sun Visor;  They went into the garage, stole the bikes and other valuables but before fleeing, they checked his car,  parked inside the garage - unlocked.  His wallet was in view – so they took that too.  They were fortunate that nobody entered their home while they slept soundly - with their three small children.
 
 
 
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
 
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Quick Quiz
 
Each month I'll give you a new question.

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What hide was first used to cover baseballs in 1975?
 

"DUMP CAKE" (so named because you dump the 6 ingredients in all at once - and then top with creamed cheese frosting afterwards)
 
This recipe was given to me about 20 years ago by a childhood friend since 2nd grade [Hawthorne School in Elmhurst, Illinois], Karen, with whom I reconnected when we moved to AZ in 1995.  Sadly we lost her in 2016.  Every time I make this cake, I think of her.  It is SO EASY and delicious.  It almost tastes like carrot cake - but there isn't a carrot in sight.
(Sorrry Nancy, it has pineapple in it)
 
CAKE INGREDIENTS:
  2 cups flour
  2 cups sugar
  2 eggs
  1 teaspoon baking soda
  1 can (1 lb.4 oz.) crushed pineapple (don't drain)
  1 cup chopped walnuts and/or raisins (optional)
    FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
  1 pkg. cream cheese,
softened
  1 stick softened butter
  2 teaspoons Vanilla
  2 cups powdered sugar
 
Directions
 
Mix the cake ingredients well with a spoon.  Bake in a 9" x 13" pan at 350 degrees for 35-50 minutes

Frost while warm by beating together frosting ingredients.

Put in refrigerator while warm.
 

Ask the Agent: This Month's Question
 
How much is my home worth?

One of the best first steps in determining a home's worth is a comparative market analysis (CMA), which is best done by a licensed real estate agent. This process gives a much more accurate picture of the home's current market value than the prices provided by popular home-valuation websites. (According to Inman, an industry-leading real estate source, websites like Zillow and Redfin can be off by up to 40%.)

To complete the CMA, the agent typically walks through the home and gathers information from the homeowner about the property so he or she can research comparable properties in the area. The CMA often includes active listings (currently on the market), pending listings (under contract) and sold (closed in the past year). By examining listings that are similar to the property, the agent can provide an approximate price at which the homeowner can expect to sell the home. 

If you're curious about how much your home is worth, we'd be happy to complete a personalized CMA for you. Just give us a call!
 
 
 
 
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  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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