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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.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

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!
 
 
 
 
BE AWARE

STAY SAFE

DON'T CLICK ON ANYTHING UNFAMILIAR ON YOUR COMPUTER 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
  This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.  
 
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Jean's June 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: June 4th, 2019 5:46PM

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 June 2019  - a time to celebrate the Dads in our life!
  • June 16th Father’s Day – it didn’t officially become an observed holiday until 1972. – So, to all the Dad’s out there,have a wonderful Father’s Day.  Enjoy the weather. 

 Thanks for all of the wonderful referrals we've been busy working with.  That is the greatest compliment in the world! 
Al and Jean
 
Al's Tips As We Enter Summer

At this time of the year, there are two things you should do as preventative maintenance:

  • Have the A/C checked in the car.
  • Have the A/C checked in your home.  You don't want it to cause issues in the middle of the summer.

Don't forget your vehicles - from tires to coolant:

  • Check your tire pressure.
  • Check the tire pressure of your spare tire!  Unfortunately, the spare tire is seldom checked. You don't want to discover it's flat when you need it. While your at it - check all of your tires for pressure regularly.
  • Check your wiper blades.  Those of us in Arizona will likely see rain in July and August, so you need effective windshield wipers to be safe in the rain.
  • Check your coolant level. Give your vehicle every opportunity for it to perform up to your comfort and safety standards.

Jean's Tips - any time [probably not a news flash]

  • Do you use sponges?  Toss them into the dishwasher and/or the wash machine regularly.  They're a magnet for yukky stuff.  Dish brushes always go in the dishwasher when it runs.
  • Buying fruits or vegetables?  When you refrigerate them in a Ziplock bag or plastic container, also put a paper towel in the container.  It absorbs the extra moisture so everything from lettuce to berries stay fresher longer.
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WHAT'S FOR DINNER?  HOW ABOUT HAVING A CHEF?
  Recently we attended our WINOS (wine tasting group) where we do a little tasting, a lot of eating and even more gabbing. Usually whomever hosts prepares light appetizers and sometimes a light meal, but this time the hosts hired their "CHEF FOR SENIORS" who prepared a host of delicious foods prepared in front of us. Not only was the food amazing but designed around the Spanish wines - the theme of the evening.

Who was this incredible chef?   His name is Derrik Balius, owner of the local franchise of CHEFS FOR SENIORS.   Usually he goes to his clients’ home on some sort of regular basis; giving them a wide choice of entrees to select from.  Based on the clients’ choices, he brings the groceries and his own equipment to prepare the meals in the client's kitchen.  Our friends utilize Derrik’s services bi-weekly to provide most of their meals.  They absolutely love him – oh, and the meals he prepares for them are portioned freezer-ready per their needs.  For the guests at WINOS – it was a treat to watch and taste…and to later chat with Chef Derrik.  He’s delightful.  And what an ingenious concept for those who don’t enjoy cooking but want good homemade meals.  Of course, he caters to many dietary restrictions.

Straight from his website: "Personal Chef and Owner, Derrik, has always had a passion for cooking for friends and family. He grew up learning the joys of cooking and meal planning from his mother and uncle, and to this day nothing brings him greater happiness than everyone sitting around the table enjoying a freshly prepared meal. He is a native of Scottsdale, Arizona but has spent several years living in both Chicago, IL and Boston, MA. Derrik studied Hotel & Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona and began his career in the Logistics industry. After several years in the business he quickly realized it was time to pursue his passion of cooking. His wife, Kim, introduced him to CHEFS FOR SENIORS which was a match from the start."  Derrik Balius, Owner/Chef    480-225-9132  derrik.balius@chefsforseniors.comhttps://chefsforseniors.com/scottsdale
 CHEFS FOR SENIORS is a franchise available in many states.
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Is Your Family History Preserved for Posterity?
 
It used to be that family histories, stories, and traditions got passed down orally from the older generation to the younger generation, to be continually preserved and shared. 

In a world where life moves fast and almost everything happens online, that kind of oral storytelling happens less and less. But without it, the memories of our Seniors will disappear when they pass.

The solution: combine that storytelling with the power of technology to record those stories and make them permanent. We did this years ago with Mom - we sat her down and did a video of her telling her life! story.  To see the look on her face as she went down Memory Lane was phenomenal.   Priceless!!!  Here's how.

Get your family on board. This could be your parent, grandparent, or even a neighbor whose stories you enjoy. Explain to them that you love hearing their life's tales and want to record them so that you'll never forget.

Choose your equipment. If your storyteller agrees, set up a camera or smartphone on a tripod so that you can capture their voice and their physical presence. 

Use prompts. You'll want to provide some direction to help inspire your storyteller. This could take the form of a stack of family snapshots, heirlooms, or a list of interview-style questions. (Where did you grow up? Tell me about your wedding day.) 

We have made DVD's from this sort of information.  Trust us, years later when your loved ones are no longer here, you will treasure every memory you have of them.

HOW DOES A PROFESSIONAL APPRAISER LOOK AT YOUR PROPERTY?

Last week Jay Joseph, one of the most respected appraisers in the Phoenix area, was the speaker at our HomeSmart office meeting.  We’ve heard him speak many times over the years – at many different venues.

When working with a lender in a purchase situation, we know how important it is for the appraised value of the property  to come in at or above the sales price.  If it doesn’t, the buyer and seller must negotiate a solution. Generally, the buyer will come in with more cash and the seller will reduce the price.  They compromise. Once in a while you'll hear of a transaction falling apart because no compromise can be made.  Fortunately, it's never happened with any of our transactions.

Jay said one of the issues that can cause a low appraisal is when the assigned appraiser isn’t "geographically competent."  What he means is that the assigned Appraiser may not be familiar with the area where the property is thus while basic statistics are viable, familiarity with the neighborhood can make or break an appraisal.  With Jay Joseph’s company, he makes every effort to assign appraisals to an Appraiser who knows the area well.  Often when an appraiser is assigned by a lender, it’s the next person on a rotation list…who may know nothing about the specific area.

Most Realtors and Appraisers use a neighborhood’s "price per square foot" as a tool BUT that is just the beginning. There are many variables to know – the condition of the home, the upgrades, pool, location...for openers. 

Most appraisers will add value for a spectacular view (not  just a peek at a mountain peak) or on a golf course (unless the property is off a hole that gets hit by golf balls daily).  A pool adds value depending on the condition and uniqueness (waterfalls, lighting, decking). Owned solar will add value but leased generally does not.  

Here's where we as Realtors must do our due diligence by providing the Appraiser the comps we used in pricing the property. - giving details based on our familiarity of the neighborhood and property.  Jay prefers comps within the past 3-months only; but in areas with little turnover, they will utilize closings for the past 6-months. We always provide two similar listings in the area that are comparable and 4-6 CLOSED sales; truly the basis of value.  The comps should be similar in square footage to the subject home and preferably from the same community/neighborhood. Then the appraiser should be given those Listings/Closed sales with Realtor notes indicating differences in the properties as compared to the subject property (again, location, condition, upgrades etc).

It’s an advantage to know if the appraiser is familiar with that neighborhood – because if not "they don’t know what they don’t know."  Pricing can vary dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood – even if they are adjacent…or on a different side of a main street.

If you have a unique property and want to hire an Appraiser yourself, ask the company or individual appraiser a few questions in a polite manner…start out with "Please don’t take this the wrong way but….:

  1. Have your worked in the area before – are you familiar with this neighborhood?
  2. What kind of license do you have?  The right answer is "Certified Residential" or Certified General"
  3. And be sure to hire one familiar with the area and/or any specific qualities such as horse properties, rural or high-end areas with all custom homes. 

In some areas there is a mixture of very old homes that have never been updated next to magnificent properties. But the value in the land can be very worthwhile.  You don't want to leave any money on the table in areas of custom lots and homes.

In those cases, call an expert like Jay Josephs –JOSEPHS APPRAISAL GROUP

602-955-4050 or jay@jaginc.net     www.JAGinc.net
_
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Have You Had Work Done on your Home?  Do you know what a Mechanics Lien is or how it can affect the title on your property?
 

The real estate market is HOT in Arizona right now and that brings plenty of opportunities for buyers, sellers, and investors alike.  In this section, we’ll discuss mechanics liens; what they are, what they mean, and why you should approach any extensively remodeled home with a healthy dose of lien knowledge.  


So, what *is* a mechanics lien?  A mechanics lien is filed when a vendor or contractor who furnishes materials, labor, or professional services to a property, but wasn't paid.  It could be that a general contractor OR a homeowner fails to pay a vendor.  Either way, the material-man [company or vendor who provided supplies or services] has the right to file a lien against the property that must be resolved before the home can be sold or refinanced.  The time frame that a vendor must file the lien is 120 days from the completion of the improvement.  Typically, the general contractor will obtain lien waivers from any and all vendors providing services and materials to the property. But what if they don't?

When considering the purchase of a newly remodeled or constructed home still within the lien period, be sure to ask the seller/investor if they have a complete indemnity packet, they can provide to the title company.  This packet typically consists of all receipts, lien waivers signed off on by the vendors, an appraisal, and even financials to prove the seller can cover any costs that may arise due to the work completed.  Once the title company and underwriter have reviewed the entire packet, clearance will be issued for closing, or further requirements of the seller will be requested.  The title company and your Realtor are there to ensure your purchase is protected from any issues negatively impacting your title so you can enjoy your beautiful new home for many years to come.(provided by Angela Kahan, Equity Title)

Note:  When a seller does repairs on a home for our buyers, we request copies of all final invoices/receipts so the buyer has them for their records. Not only does that give them proof of payment but it also gives the buyer the name of the person (s) doing the work in case they ever want them to come back to the property
________________________________________________________________________________________________

 
5 Things You Need to Look into about Your Future Neighborhood
 
Are you currently on the home hunt? You probably have a list of needs and wants. Have you included anything about the neighborhood?

In addition to bedrooms, baths, and interior upgrades, it's a good rule of thumb to ask a few questions about the potential neighborhood you may want to call home. When you're thinking about buying, here are some questions you can ask to help determine if the neighborhood will be a good fit for you.

1. Is the area well-maintained? Take a walk around the block. Drive through the neighborhood. Are properties well-maintained? Are roads in good condition? The appearance of the lawns, homes, and public spaces can reveal a lot about the area.

2. Are there any rules and regulations you need to be aware of before you commit? Do you mind if your renovations and landscaping are restricted by homeowner association bylaws? Find out if the neighborhood has any rules and regulations, and what they are.

3. What is the reputation of the school district? Even if you don't have children, the school district's status can affect property values. Get the scoop on the district's rankings in academics and financial stability.

4. What's the crime rate? Oftentimes you can find maps provided by the city that show what crimes occur in the area and how often. The FBI may also have reports available for the area. Do a little research to make sure you'll feel safe in your new home.

5. What amenities are nearby? For some homebuyers, access to public transportation is important. Others want to live near parks, medical facilities, shops, or restaurants. Find out what amenities the area offers to ensure that you choose a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle.
 
 
 
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
 
Meet Our Dads
 
Stu MacLeod - who brought me love, encouragement and so many valuable life and business lessons...and was my ice skating buddy growing up - he was serious as a businessman but outside of that 3-piece suit, he had such a great sense of humor. I adored him. He became an angel WAY too young (1981)
 
Russell Batson taught Al the values of hard work, ethics and treating people well. He served in the Army before becoming a Farmer where he served his community  through teaching, hiring and working with the 4-H and local Farm Bureau. He too lost his life to Cancer way too young (1988)

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

Just reply to this email for the answer.

How can you salvage a cake that is stuck to the bottom of the pan?
 

Nancy's chicken salad - EASY
 
Here's a new spin on an old favorite.
Nancy served it with warm corn bread and butter or you can put a big scoop on a lettuce leaf ... or as an appetizer on Endive
(Spoiler alert to the WINOS group - tonight you get this)
 
Serves 6
 
  2 cups chopped, cooked chicken (Nancy uses COSTCO roasted chicken)
  2 cups seedless grapes halved
  1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
     
  1/3 cup mayonnaise
  2 TBS sour cream
  1 TBS fresh lime juice
 
 
Directions
 
  1. Combine chicken, grapes and pecans in a medium bowl.
  2. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream and lime juice,
  3. Mix into the chicken mixture.
It's perfect for summer!  Yum! Speaking of Yum..if you love Bear Claws, go to Chompies and try their Almond Stick. It was the best EVER!!! (I really shouldn't have!)


Ask the Agent: This Month's Question
 
What can make my offer stronger?

To get the best response from a seller, you want to put your best foot forward. 

  • First and foremost, in Arizona we must provide a Prequalification Form showing what the Buyer is qualified to buy.  NOTE: Don't confuse "pre-qualified" with "pre-approved."  Prequalified means the buyer has provided their information - and it looks good.  Lenders rarely pre-approve because it takes time to verify the buyer's information...and be sure it's the same at the close.  A transaction can fall apart at the last minute if the buyer has gone out to buy all new furniture or a car which can skew their credit report.
  • Of course, price is paramount for both buyer and seller.
  • We,as your Realtors, can advise where to offer depending on many variables.
  • Sellers don't like to be asked to pay buyer's closing costs.  Sometimes, if they can't get an offer otherwise, we can explore that possibility.
  • Flexibility and a willingness to close whenever is most convenient to the sellers are also nice perks that could put the cherry on top of the offer.
 
 
   
 
 
 
  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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Check out Jean's April 2019 Newsletter with interesting tips, Real Estate News and a delicious recipe. Click Link Below.

 

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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 more....read 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.

PUT THE PHONE DOWN – DON’T TAKE A CHANCE – NO MESSAGE IS WORTH RISKING A LIFE!

 
 

 
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
  PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 325 DEGREES
 
Directions
 

Lightly grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat.

Stir in everything EXCEPT BROTH AND ALMONDS

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: https://www.qrfs.com/blog/14-can-i-paint-my-fire-sprinkler-cover-plates ]  




 
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 www.aaaai.org 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: Al@AlandJeanBatson.com

 
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.
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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:https://www.today.com/video/gary-sinise-opens-up-about-commitment-to-military-families-1457912387904
_______________________________________________

WALK DAILY WITH A PURPOSE - but watch where you're going...BE KIND AND RESPECTFUL...SMILE AND THE WORLD SMILES BACK. BE POSITIVE!  WHATEVER YOUR WORRY - THERE IS USUALLY A SOLUTION
 
 
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.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

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
 
Directions
 
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.
.
SO, THE ANSWER IS ABSOLUTELY...YES
 
   
 
 
  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

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

  • SEE BELOW FOR THE 2019 CACTUS LEAGUE SPRING TRAININGINFO.
  • 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: www.511.com 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: https://www.garysinisefoundation.org/. 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).  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocpvF_3M2AQ) 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. https://www.gofundme.com/f/this-vet-helped-save-7000-can-you-help-him-now . 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
 
Ask for our buyer and seller tips...
 
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.

Share This Newsletter
 
 
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Quick Quiz
 
Each month we'll give you a new question.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

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
     
  FLAT IRON STEAK
  (note: Flat Iron Steak is different from Flank Steak). We go to Safeway or Albertsons.to 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).
OR 
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
bob@nauinspections.com
www.nauinspections.com
480-226-7915  
__________________________
SPRING TRAINING 2019

https://www.springtrainingonline.com/features/master-schedule-cactus.htm

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.  
 
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