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Jean's May 2020 Newsletter

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Be safe and healthy,

    Al and Jean

      The Profession of Fraud:  
         
     

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Unfortunately, there are many so-called charities that are scams and/or a very high percentage of donated funds of actual charities go to "administration" not to service the purported charity. Check out this link: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T048-C011-S000-how-to-check-out-a-charity-before-you-donate.html

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

     
     

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     How has COVID19 affected Real Estate?

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

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

    Lending – an integral part of the real estate process

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

     
         
     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
     

     

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

    BIVENS & ASSOCIATES AT 480-922-1010 or contact andrea@bivenslaw.com  Website: https://www.bivenslaw.com/

     
     

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    NOW IS THE TIME FOR AN A/C CHECK-UP

     
         
     

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

     
         
     
     
    The Batson Team HomeSmart
    Jean Batson
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Home Smart
     

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    Spanish Flu 1918-1920

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

    Today's situation and comparison of data

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

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

    To recap:

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

     

    _S
    In
     
     

    P.C. COOKIES

     

     

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

     

     

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

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

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

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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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