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Jean's February 2020 Newsletter

Posted On: January 31st, 2020 5:53PM

 
 
 

February in Arizona – sunshine, hot air balloons floating over the desert…cool evenings and tourists. It is magnificent.

 
FEBRUARY  – the month of love – all kinds…from romantic to loving our friends and family (and showing it)…and showing kindness and respect for people we meet in life…and while your heart is leaping – remember its LEAP YEAR* so we have an extra day in February this year.

February 14      Valentine’s Day

February 17      Presidents’ Day

February 29 – last day of February this year so celebrate because we won’t get another on until 2024. It's a gift of one free day!

What is this phenomenon called Leap Year?  February 29 is a date that usually occurs every four years and is called leap day. This day is added to the calendar in leap years as a corrective measure, because the Earth does not orbit the sun in precisely 365 days. ... This is what we would call a period of eight days

EVENTS::

The Barrett Jackson Car Auction has wrapped and the famous Phoenix Open (since 1932) finishes up on February 2nd (known as the Waste-Management TPC). We’ve always got something going on here so we can't show it all but here are a few:

  • February 1 (10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) Our friend Jack Comiskey will be showing his art at the AZ SAGE ART MARKET, Holland Community Center, 34250 N. 60th Street, Building B, Scottsdale.  He's won many awards in his career.
  •  February 8th – the 67th annual Parada del Sol parade and Festival in Old Town Scottsdale
  • February 8th & 9th – WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HOOPS CONTEST – at Heard Museum on Central Avenue. A gathering of native tribes from all over the USA competing in Hoop Dancing on the lawns at Heard.  Absolutely fascinating to watch. We took Al’s Mom there a few years ago – loved it!
  • February 8th & 9th – Street Eats Food Truck Festival – taste local food either by getting samples or buying full portions.  Held at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
  • February 13th  -23rd – 65th Annual Arabian Horse Show at West World/Scottsdale.  Shows, competitions and all sorts of activities around this equestrian event
5 Financial Benefits of Owning a Home
 
You want to make smart financial choices for your future. Do those include buying a home? Here are five financial benefits that point to yes.

1. Tax breaks: As a homeowner, you may qualify for tax benefits. These deductions can help offset other costs of homeownership. Potential deductions include the interest on your mortgage, property taxes, and home equity lines of credit.

2. Stability: If you take out a fixed-rate mortgage, you'll know what payments to expect for the life of the loan. Rent, on the other hand, often increases annually. When you own a home, you also typically have more control over expenses such as utilities, so you can make choices that encourage efficiency and save money each month.

3. Forced savings: Each month, as you pay down your mortgage, you are adding equity. This can be an excellent way to build wealth. In the future, you can sell the home for a profit or borrow against the equity to obtain needed funds. Medical emergencies, college tuition, and home repairs or renovations are common uses for these funds. If you pay more than the monthly payment each month, you'll reach your goal faster.  All extra paid goes directly to building your equity. Wouldn't it be a gift to yourself to have a paid-for home when you retire?

4. Good health: A mortgage looks good on a credit report and can help you establish a healthy score. As you faithfully pay off the loan, your score can increase. This can prove helpful in obtaining lower insurance rates and qualifying for lower rates on future purchases.

5. Final payment: When you buy a home, there will come a day when you no longer have to make your mortgage payment. It will eventually be your property, free and clear. (Time to celebrate!) This scenario is much different than paying rent, which will continue for a lifetime.


 
 
Getting Your Legal Life Organized
 

In January we talked about property maintenance and doing it on schedule.  This month the topic is the  maintenance of your personal records. 

Everyone who has assets (that’s just about every adult) would be wise to have their legal documents in order.  An attorney who specializes in Wills/Trusts would be the best way to go. 

Death is something most people are uncomfortable talking about.  We know it can make your adult children squirm when you try to discuss the reality that you will eventually pass. Since none of us will get out of here alive,  being prepared equals wise planning. And a very kind gift to your survivors.  

Obviously if you’re 65 or over, it is even more important to have everything done.  We’ve known of situations where death was sudden with no final arrangements in place; thus, putting additional stress on the family. We’ve unfortunately known this to happen to friends who are very young as well.  Reviewing your documents every few years is wise.  Situations change.  Laws change.

 Here’s are forms/issues to discuss with your family and/or attorney::

  • A Will or Trust (or both)
  • If you have personal items, you wish to go to specific people – write them down and keep with your legal documents.  Label if possible. Ask your loved ones if they will want something specific.  
  • Have your documents in one place (ours are in the Cloud with access available to our Trustee) and/or safety deposit box.  Tell your family where everything is.
  • A major issue families discover in a sudden death is that nobody knows where the information is and particularly, how to access your computer, accounts etc. 
  • Discuss with your family [and have in writing] your specific wishes regarding burial/cremation, funeral or memorial services.
  • Make those arrangements ahead of time (have your burial plot or pre-paid cremation plan in order) so your survivors don’t have to figure this out in their grief.
  • A designated person to be able to act on your behalf if you are unable or uncomfortable doing so.  Generally, if you’re married, the surviving spouse makes those decisions (medical and financial).  A secondary person should also be designated if the spouse cannot or there is no spouse.  This could be in the form of POA’s (Power of Attorney) for general decisions and/or specifically to make your medical decisions.
  • Your physician and/or family member should have your Living Will (directive as to your wishes in a medical emergency) available in case of emergency

Both of our parents were very specific, in writing, as to their wishes and their documentation was all in order which made a difficult situation easier for us when the time came.

Note: We have a wealth of resources available.  If you have proven resources (attorney, CPA, elder care, etc., please share for our list.


 
LOAN LIMIT CHANGES BY THE FEDERAL GOVENMENT

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)  announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2020. In most of the U.S., the 2020 maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will be $510,400, an increase from $484,350 in 2019.

These loan limits will also be increasing in what the FHFA calls "high-cost areas," where 115% of the local median home value exceeds the baseline loan limit. Those limits will increase from $726,525 to $765,600.

The conforming loan limits for Fannie and Freddie are determined by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008, which establishes baseline loan limits. Earlier today, FHFA published its third quarter 2019 FHFA House Price Index (HPI) report, which includes estimates for the increase in the average U.S. home value over the last four quarters. According to FHFA’s seasonally adjusted, expanded data HPI, house prices increased 5.38 percent, on average, between the third quarters of 2018 and 2019. Therefore, the baseline maximum conforming loan limit in 2020 will increase by the same percentage.

Those limits above are for one-unit properties. Two- to four-unit properties have also increased. For more details on that, a mortgage lender can fill you in.

This is great news for homeowners and homebuyers as it’s a true economic indicator that the housing market continues to be robust. Additionally, conforming loans are ideal for many buyers as it allows for low down payments. (information from Brad Slager/Homeowners Financial)


Phoenx and Scottsdale areas - New Construction
 

DESERT RIDGE: As posted by our local Realtor’s Association (SAAR): Shea Homes has purchased approximately 25.06 acres of land located at 56th Street and Deer Valley Road in Phoenix, closing escrow on December 11, 2019. Construction of model homes is slated to begin in the second half of 2020. The new community name will be Talinn at Desert Ridge.

The homebuilder plans to build approximately 83 single-family homes during Phase 1. The homes will range in size from approximately 2,318-3,738 square feet. Floorplans are expected to be like those currently available at Emblem/Aloravita in Peoria. The community is slated to have amenities such as a large community park and recreation center.

"Our team is working hard to meet the increasing demand for new homes in the Valley," said Shea Homes Arizona Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Ken Peterson. "But we don’t close on a land deal until we are certain we’ve found the right spot. Talinn at Desert Ridge will bring some of our most popular Shea floorplans to the highly coveted Desert Ridge area. We think homebuyers are going to be pretty excited about this new Phoenix community."

Shea Homes is planning to close on an additional 54 lots for Phase 2 of Talinn at Desert Ridge in late 2020.

SCOTTSDALE (Tatum/Bell to Grovers):  In 2019, D.R. Horton bought the land surrounding Bell Road and Tatum Boulevard, for about $80 million, according to public real estate records. The deal breaks down to more than $670,000 an acre, the highest price ever paid for vacant land in the city of Phoenix.

To better describe the location – from Grovers/Tatum (east side) going south to Bell Road surrounding the Fry’s shopping center at Bell/Tatum is the location where this major project will be built. The land is over 121 acres and will have a massive clubhouse in addition to other amenities. The neighborhoods will be connected by sidewalks inside this gated community.  There will be both single family homes as well as condominiums.

The plan for this development [to be called ARABELLA]  is to be built in three phases – the first of which will hopefully be opening around the end of this year.  Information on home prices isn’t yet available. Based on what Horton paid for the land, luxury condos and houses will be built there.  As this project progresses over the months, we’ll keep you posted.


 
How to Get the Most from a Home Inspection
 
Buying a home is probably the single most significant investment you'll make in your lifetime. When you're making such a significant purchase, you want to know exactly what you’re getting.

This is the goal of a home inspection. A professional inspector will review the home and point out any potential concerns. Here’s how it works.

1. Arrange for the inspection: Typically, you will include an inspection contingency as part of your offer to purchase the home. This contingency will allow you to order an inspection (at your expense), then determine if you would like to proceed with the purchase, based on the results.

2. Complete the inspection: You should be present so the inspector can review any items of concern with you in person after it is complete.

He or she will inspect all the home’s systems, structural components, and general condition and provide a report that notes any areas of concern.

3. Request repairs: You’ll review the inspection report with your real estate agent and decide if there are any items you would like the seller to address. You can request that the seller make the repairs or provide a credit to cover their cost.

Typical things to address are safety concerns and essential functions (doors, windows, locks). If the sellers refuse to negotiate, you can decide whether you want to move forward with the purchase or move on to another home.

We always schedule a home inspection for our Buyers - with Nau Inspections
bob@nauinspections.com  https://nauinspections.com .
 
 
 
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
 
Kudo's to a Local Business
 

While parked in a restaurant parking lot last week, someone hit our front passenger side (and RAN) leaving a long, ugly scrape.   We took it to SERVICE KING, 3756 E. Bell Road, Phoenix to see what it would cost to repair. They took a look, asked to take the vehicle to the back.  In 10 minutes or so, John returned saying he’d been able to buff and treat the scrape so we could barely see it. We were in and out in a jiffy. Now THAT is CUSTOMER SERVICE.  And note that SERVICE KING goes out of their way to help Vets with jobs and discounts. We’d gone there years ago when a car had damage; their work is superb…which brought us back this time.


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

Just reply to this email for the answer.

Which US state produces the most roses for Valentine’s Day?
 

Puff Pastry Hearts

Yields 16 hearts
 
  1/3 cup sugar
  3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional
  1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (follow directions on package if frozen)
  5 tablespoons butter, melted
 
Directions
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine sugar and spices. Roll dough out slightly with a rolling pin, keeping a rectangular shape. Then brush 3 tablespoons butter on one side and sprinkle the spiced sugar evenly over the dough.

Starting with each of the short ends of the dough, roll them toward each other (like you would with a jelly roll) until they meet in the center of the rectangle. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 40 minutes.

With a sharp knife, cut the roll crosswise into 16 slices and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Gently and evenly press them down to 1/4-inch thick, then pinch and shape the bottom of each slice to create a heart shape. Brush with remaining butter and bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes).
 

Ask the Agent: This Month's Question
 
 
What is a contingency?

When a contract to purchase a home includes a contingency, this means the deal is contingent on (conditional, subject to, depends on) something for it to move forward. In other words, it is contingent on something the buyer must do.

If a contingency clause is written into the contract, and the condition is not met, the buyer can break the contract without penalty.

Several types of contingencies are shared in real estate contracts. The buyer may include a home inspection contingency (to complete an inspection of the property), a financing contingency (to obtain a mortgage for the purchase), or a home sale contingency (to sell their current home before purchasing the new one).

Contingency clauses usually specify a date by which these conditions must be met. If they are not met by the deadline, the buyer can request an extension, or the contract may be canceled.
_________________________________________
SENIOR SCAM RUNNING RAMPANT

The scam usually begins with an unsolicited robocall that sometimes appears on the caller ID as Social Security Administration. Scammers attempt to scare the victim by claiming that his or her Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity. The objective is to fraudulently take money or obtain personal information from the victim. Scammers attempt to isolate the victim and claim that the only way to resolve the issue is to transfer money or provide sensitive information..

Many seniors who have been affected … are either too embarrassed to report their loss or don’t know where to turn.  The scam resulted in the theft of $38 million from Americans in 2019, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

PLEASE BE AWARE - PHONE SCAMS ARE RUNNING RAMPANT - the IRS or SSA are NOT going to call for a chat.  Anything involving your personal information situations will be mailed. And even then - be cautious.  Call the agency involved to be sure it is from them.

 
Scams are scary but for the most part, people 
are good.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
  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 January 2020 Newsletter

Posted On: January 4th, 2020 6:55PM

 

 

I wish I could tell you that I came up with this genius idea but alas, no.  We got this from good friends who served it to our WINOS (wine club).  It’s a delicious and easy way to make sliders without the hassle of cooking each burger individually.

 

 
 
 
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR  2020
 
 

Happy New Year – a new year with plenty going on in the Phoenix area!

  • January 11-19 Barrett Jackson Auction/West World in Scottsdale. For details go to: https://barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Home/Scottsdale-2020/d114c99a-0e71-46b2-8cde-20a53c127270 to find information on tickets, the collection (including the PAUL WALKER COLLECTION/21 vehicles) and new safety standards (i.e. only see-through bags allowed in)
  • January 1-19 ZOO LIGHTS continues until January 19th at the Phoenix Zoo. 
  • January 27-February 2nd – one of the major sporting events of the year will be the WM (Waste Management) Phoenix Open Golf Tournament.  This event brings thousands of visitors to our area.  For detailed information go to: https://wmphoenixopen.com/tickets/  (NOTE: if you’re a First Responder or Active/Reserve or Retired Military, go to the website to order your FREE admission with one paid ticket. 

As we begin this year with a fresh slate, we wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year - a time to reach out, give a smile and a helping hand to those around you.  For us, there is no place else we'd rather be than right here in this glorious state of Arizona. 
Al and Jean


 
Brrr...we're starting 2020 on the brisk side but soon the 70's will be back.
 
Home Maintenance for the New Year!
 

The new year is a good time to check your home out to be sure everything is in tip-top shape.  If the first of each year is set for these items, they aren’t as likely to be forgotten.

  • Change HVAC filters
  • Clean out Dryer ducts
  • Check the water filter in your refrigerator
  • Have your ducts cleaned.  This doesn’t need to be done often.  However, if you have pets that shed, it might be wise to have them cleaned every few years.
  • Check your water softener salt (check monthly)
  • Make sure you’ve had your HVAC system checked to be sure everything is working properly. This should be done bi-annually.

On the latter item, we just had our bi-annual check.  We had a very surprising conversation with our Tech. Al told him we had issues wherein the air flow from room-to-room was sporadic.  Upon investigating, he determined that the builder had installed a unit that was too large for our square footage.  We have just under 1900 sq. ft and a 4 TON A/C UNIT. Bigger is not always better.  In this situation, he said the builder probably bought all 365 A/C units in our community at once rather than considering the size of the individual home.  Every home should have a unit that is designed for the uniqueness of the home – square footage, exposure to sun, arrangement of windows, walls and flow.  Ours, he said is so powerful that it doesn’t run long enough to push out (circulate) the air properly. He recommended setting the temperature and leaving it alone rather than constantly adjusting it.  And when the time comes to replace the HVAC system,  go with a much smaller unit.

For the Air Duct cleaning (we’d had demolition of our bathroom so thought it wise to get that "dust" out) and had the same service do the dryer vents.  We’d asked our remodeling company (LEADER BY DESIGN/SCOTTSDALE) if they had anyone to recommend for these services.  They suggested JOE FILTER (https://joefilter.com/ or call them at 480-813-9494).  That was a goldmine of service recommendations, so we used JOE FILTER for the duct and dryer cleaning. They were very professional and reasonable. We were impressed with how they made sure no vent dust got on anything. Their equipment was perfect for the jobs.  Note that if you do multiple services in one call, you save money.  They’ll do a quarterly service or one-time.  They do:

  • Air filters
  • Refrigerator filters
  • Water Softener salt
  • Reverse Osmosis Filters
  • Replace smoke detector batteries
  • Light Bulb replacement
  • Dryer Vent cleaning
  • Duct cleaning

This may be more than you need but what a nice service to know about for someone who doesn’t want to do any of these tasks.  Or can’t.


Facebook Hack notification from LifeLock

 

What Happened?

 

Data security researchers discovered an online database containing the names, phone numbers, and Facebook IDs of 267 million Facebook users available for download on a hacker forum. The database was not password protected and had been posted on December 12, 2019. On December 14th, the researchers contacted the internet service provider that was hosting the database and the database was removed on December 19th.

Although it is unclear why or how the database was created, researchers warn that such information can be used for phishing or spam, especially via SMS.

Facebook users can maintain better control over what profile information is displayed by adjusting their account privacy settings. For example, users can:

  1. Go to Settings & Privacy in Facebook
  2. Click Privacy Shortcuts
  3. Click See more privacy settings
  4. Set all relevant fields to **Friends** or **Only me**
  5. Set **" Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile** to **No**
 

2020 - Do you know what's coming back?
 
Every 10 years, the US CENSUS is taken.   This is the year.  More information will follow but suffice it to say, it creates jobs. And you need to know who could be at your front door so we will forward more on that later.   Much of it will be done by mail!  Stay tuned.

What's important to think about when buying?
 

Buying a home is more than determining what you need or want in a home or where it is located.  Of course, the location to work, family or medical services are all important.  And everyone has a type of home that works best for their lifestyle. Those items are probably already in the Buyer's mind.  Most people need a loan to purchase their home. So what do you need to think about?

The biggest key is the loan amount you qualify for. In most cases, where a loan is needed, a professional mortgage lender is the key, along with your Realtor (which we hope is us).

Improve your debt-to-income ratio: This ratio is key to qualifying for a mortgage. Lenders want to make sure you can handle the additional house debt with your current income. To improve your ratio, pay down (or pay off) any debts you can, and increase your income if possible. 

Saving and building your assets is very important to your future financial health. Retirement age can sneak up on you so BE PREPARED. See the next point regarding spending.

Avoid debt as much as possible but if you have it, methodically pay it off before buying anything else.There is a difference between necessities (food, gasoline) and wants.  Stop shopping as retail therapy  or having ADD TO CART as a regular routine. When you get the urge to splurge, put that amount of money into savings instead.

Improve your credit score: Your credit score is another critical number that lenders consider. To increase your score, pay all your bills on time, avoid opening new lines of credit, and lower your use of credit. It's also a good rule of thumb to check your credit report at least once each year to ensure it is accurate. If there are any errors, report them to the credit bureau immediately.

If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about your options to purchase a home, we can recommend choices of mortgage professionals who can help you make owning a home a reality. Of course, we can do the rest

 
Coming soon. A single-story in Tatum Ranch
$415,000

This beauty is located north of Hwy 101/Tatum Boulevard above Desert Ridge in Tatum Ranch in a lovely community with a community center and an optional golf membership.  The address is Cave Creek, but it is only minutes to everything you’d need…shopping, restaurants…medical offices…freeways.

It is almost 2,000 square feet with a lovely back yard with covered patio – great for entertaining.  The kitchen (with room for a table) has an island (bar seating) and features granite and Stainless-Steel appliances; the window over the sink looks out to the back yard with an arroyo on the other side of the view-fence.

The family room features a lovely fireplace and niches for those decorative items.  The original owners are returning to Canada so this fully furnished home can be purchased furnished (furnishings outside of escrow on a separate Bill of Sale) or vacant.  Perfect for anyone but a gem for snowbirds!  The large master features one of the largest walk-in closets we’ve seen…and access directly to the patio area.  We could go on and on…but we’ve got our professional photographer coming in a couple of weeks, so we’ll have more to share.  Let us know if you know anyone who is looking for a new castle.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What's "growing" on in North Phoenix
 

As posted by our local Realtor’s Association (SAAR): Shea Homes has purchased approximately 25.06 acres of land located at 56th Street and Deer Valley Road in Phoenix, closing escrow on December 11, 2019. Construction of model homes is slated to begin in the second half of 2020. The new community name will be Talinn at Desert Ridge.

The homebuilder plans to build approximately 83 single-family homes during Phase 1. The homes will range in size from approximately 2,318-3,738 square feet. Floorplans are expected to be similar to those currently available at Emblem at Aloravita in Peoria. The community is slated to have amenities such as a large community park and recreation center.

"Our team is working hard to meet the increasing demand for new homes in the Valley," said Shea Homes Arizona Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Ken Peterson. "But we don’t close on a land deal until we are certain we’ve found the right spot. Talinn at Desert Ridge will bring some of our most popular Shea floorplans to the highly coveted Desert Ridge area. We think homebuyers are going to be pretty excited about this new Phoenix community."

Shea Homes is planning to close on an additional 54 lots for Phase 2 of Talinn at Desert Ridge in late 2020. Also, you might be

interested to know that DR HORTON will be building new homes around Tatum/Grovers
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
To the many friends and family members dealing with health issues currently, we hope and pray that your journey will lead you
on a path to good health and happiness in the new year.   HAPPY NEW YEAR
 


 
 
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
Costo Car Buying Service

Jacqui, our granddaughter, raved about her experience in purchasing her vehicle some months back.  She went online to COSTCO AUTO BUYING:  www.costcoauto.com  

They have over 3,000 dealerships with an on-site assigned person to help you.  The prices are set thus no haggling needed – the price is discounted to 10% below Dealer’s Invoice and incentives or rebates. In the past five years, over 2.3 million Costco Members have purchased this way.

Once you have a vehicle in mind, you go on the website, select the vehicle and get your AUTHORIZATION NUMBER.  You will be contacted by a local dealer.  You can make an appointment to visit.  They’ll tell you what they’ve got (or have access to) that matches your criteria (year, make, model, color and accessories); then give you the price. No pressure to buy but they will give you their price and terms…and if you purchase with a trade-in, they’ll handle all the paperwork too.  Basically, you show up and buy or not.   A shout out to Jeff Zillinski (jeff.zillinski@earnhardt.com) who is a perfect example on how this system should work

 
 

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

Just reply to this email for the answer.

What insect migrates to a warmer climate 2,500 miles away each winter?
 

Beef Sliders for a
Crowd

 I wish I could tell you that I came up with this genius idea but alas, no.  We got this from good friends who served it to our WINOS (wine club).  It’s a delicious and easy way to make sliders without the hassle of cooking each burger individually.

 

You'll need a rimmed baking sheet (10 x 15)
 
PREHEAT OVEN TO 425
  1-1/2+ Ground Beef
  1 med.Onion/chopped
  1 large egg
  Salt & Pepper to taste
    6 Slices Cheese (quartered)
  Lettuce/cut in 24 pieces
  24 thin slices Tomato
Pickle slices (optional)

24 SLIDER BUNS
Have Catsup & Mustard on hand as condiments.
 
Directions:

  1. Chop up onion – spread over the bottom of your pan.
  2. Blend meat, egg, salt and pepper together – carefully drop mixture over onions and spread in pan.
  3. When it is evenly spread, score into 24 squares.
  4. Bake about 8 minutes – then add the square of cheese on each section; put in oven for another 30 seconds or so to melt.
  5. Take the pan out to rest a few minutes; then cut along the score lines to separate
  6. Place each "burger" on a bun with a slice of tomato and pickle (if desired)

You can change this recipe up to add your own special touch.Serve and enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 
  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 December 2019 Newsletter

Posted On: December 1st, 2019 1:35AM

Check out our featured listings for December:

https://homesmart.com/real-estate-agent/arizona/scottsdale/1586-allen-batson/properties


 
 
 
 
December - the last month of the year.  Welcome to the holidays!
 

Merry Christmas – Happy Hanukkah to All

December is a season of great joy, family holidays, gatherings with friends so let us be the first to wish you a wonderful celebration. 

December 25 – the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger in Bethlehem.  [But where did the concept of Santa Claus/Saint Nicholas come from?  See below].

December 22-30 Hanukkah (a/k/a Chanukah) is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. In Hebrew, the word " hanukkah" means "dedication." The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.


We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have asked us to handle your transactions, who have referred your friends and family to us and for the positive responses to our e-newsletter.  We have fun putting it together - it's not "canned" - and we're always looking for ideas so if there is something you'd like us to write about, please let us know.

And as the holidays come...and go and the year comes to an end,  we want to wish you the happiest of seasons with joy, health and prosperity in the new year.  Be kind to each other.  And SMILE...it gives you "face value."                                Al and Jean


 
The Year in Review: A Look at the Top Headlines of 2019
 
It's nearly the start of a new year and a new decade. As 2019 comes to an end, here's a look at some of the most newsworthy stories of the year.

Diabetes research makes huge strides: Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco announced in February that they had successfully turned human cells into insulin-producing cells. The news brought hope that a cure for type 1 diabetes could be within reach.

Fire at the Notre Dame: The famous Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral went up in flames on April 15. More than 400 firefighters battled the blaze, which severely damaged the structure's spire, roof, and upper walls.

Prince Harry's heir arrives: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, on May 6. Baby Archie is currently seventh in line for the British throne.

Women astronauts make history: On October 18, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch entered the history books when they made the first-ever all-women spacewalk. The pair visited the International Space Station to replace a faulty battery charger.

Regulatory Scrutiny Of Internet Giants On The Rise: Facebook agreed to pay a $5 billion penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that the social media giant mishandled user privacy practices and lost control over huge amounts of user data.
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Have you ever needed a Notary but can’t find one quickly? Here is your answer.

Let us introduce you to BEST PHX MOBILE NOTARY LLC – owned by Kellie Lyle Hartstein. What a great idea - a knowledgeable MOBILE notary.

Kellie has taken an interesting path to this business and life in Arizona.  When she was a young mother of five, her husband was a staff writer on a 90’s TV show – FULL HOUSE and she was a Realtor.  Her background has been related to real estate for years – as she says, "it’s in my blood." [I can relate to that!] She was a successful Realtor in the Hollywood Hills [CA] area until she and her husband decided to move to Arizona for a more relaxed lifestyle.  Moving to Scottsdale, she joined the Toll Brothers lending team; specializing in the Aviano community in Desert Ridge.  Then, for ten years they converted a portion of their home into a high-end boutique Elder Care Home (Harts Home Exceptional Care) proving she has the heart to help people.

Her criteria for the next phase of her career venture was to be of service to her community…and have less stress.  And that’s how The BEST PHX MOBILE NOTARY came to be.  In gratitude to her clients, a portion of all proceeds are donated to charity.  She loves what she does. That’s heart!  She's also a delightful person!

In her capacity as a Notary Public,  Kellie handles general Notary jobs such as notarizing Power of Attorney forms, Estate documents, car titles, Loan docs, financial documents...and anything a person might need stamped by a Notary.  She says she is honored to be a trusted member of the Batson Team brand – as are we to have found her. "Have Stamp, Will Travel."  Whenever you need a Notary-call KELLIE at 480-282-2561 or email her at: Kellie@BestPhxMobileNotary.com


Great News for Homeowners and Home Buyers!
 
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2020. In most of the U.S., the 2020 maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will be $510,400, an increase from $484,350 in 2019.

These loan limits will also be increasing in what the FHFA calls "high-cost areas," where 115% of the local median home value exceeds the baseline loan limit. Those limits will increase from $726,525 to $765,600.

The conforming loan limits for Fannie and Freddie are determined by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008, which establishes baseline loan limits. Earlier today, FHFA published its third quarter 2019 FHFA House Price Index (HPI) report, which includes estimates for the increase in the average U.S. home value over the last four quarters. According to FHFA’s seasonally adjusted, expanded-data HPI, house prices increased 5.38 percent, on average, between the third quarters of 2018 and 2019. Therefore, the baseline maximum conforming loan limit in 2020 will increase by the same percentage.

Those limits above are for one-unit properties. Two- to four-unit properties have also increased. 

This is great news for homeowners and homebuyers as it’s a true economic indicator that the housing market continues to be robust. Additionally, conforming loans are ideal for many buyers as it allows for lower down payments. [based on a notification from Brad Slager/Homeowners Financial Group)

The Legend of Santa Claus/Saint Nicholas
 

Behind the jolly, red-suited, shopping mall Santa of today lies a real person-St. Nicholas of Myra, a Christian monk who lived in the third century A.D., in what is now Turkey. We know very few historical details of St. Nicholas’ life. Even the year of his death is uncertain, although both the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches have celebrated December 6-the date of his passing- for more than 1,000 years. Within a century of his death, the much-admired Nicholas had become the center of a series of folk legends. Today, Nicholas is considered the patron saint of sailors, children, wolves and pawnbrokers, among others.

By the Middle Ages, Nicholas’ fame had spread to much of Europe. St. Nicholas’ popularity eventually spread to northern Europe, where stories of the monk mingled with Teutonic folktales of elves and sky-chariots. In the Netherlands, St. Nicholas took on the Dutch-friendly spelling Sinterklaas. He was depicted as a tall, white-bearded man in red clerical robes who arrived every December 6 on a boat to leave gifts or coal-lumps at children’s homes. Stories of Sinterklaas were likely brought to the New World by Dutch settlers in the Hudson River valley. In his satirical 1809 "History of New-York," Washington Irving portrayed St. Nicholas as a portly Dutchman who flew the skies in a wagon, dropping gifts down chimneys. In 1823 another New Yorker, Clement Clarke Moore, penned the poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas", which traded the wagon for a sleigh drawn by "eight tiny reindeer." Beginning during the Civil War, cartoonist Thomas Nast published the first of a series of popular depictions of a rotund and jolly St. Nicholas. In 1879 Nast was the first to suggest that St. Nicholas lived not in Turkey, Spain or Holland but at the North Pole. [based on an article by Nathan Barksdale/History Channel]

 
Two great properties - take a peek.  The condo is a great "lock & leave" and the other a single-story, easy care with a caterer's kitchen.

2150 W. Alameda Road, #2235, Phoenix, AZ 85085- this 2015 condo at Villagio at Happy Valley is located close to the I-17 near The Anthem Outlets, The Happy Valley Towne Center and Norterra - just about anything you’d need is within ten minutes.  This unit has a 1-car garage with direct access to the home up the stairs.  2 Bedrooms/2 Bathrooms at 1088 sq. feet. It has barely been lived in.  Note:  all furnishings are available for purchase outside of escrow.  For details: https://homesmart.com/real-estate-for-sale/hsaz001/homes/az/phoenix/85085/azrmls-h/6000666/2150-w-alameda-rd-unit-2235,phoenix,az-85085/index.html?referrer_aid=16692

5001 E. Wethersfield Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 is conveniently located within minutes of Mayo Clinic, Paradise Valley Mall, Kierland, Desert Ridge Marketplace and Scottsdale 101.  This well-maintained single-story home has 3 Bedrooms/1-3/4 Baths. The kitchen was designed for the owner who does catering. Plantation shutters throughout. Wood laminate floors except for 1 bedroom with new carpet. New A/C in 2011 and roof in 2006 so the "big stuff" is DONE. 1823 sq. ft. 2-car garage. Mailbox in front (no cluster box to go to). For details: 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

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
 
Give to Charity But Know the Facts:
 

At this time of year, our email and mail boxes are filled with two things – catalogs from places we’ve never heard of, much less ordered from, AND…dozens of charities each week sending you address labels and calendars to encourage donations.  This is the time of year for charity - and clarity.  Be very, very careful – there are some that sound like legitimate charities and others we've known about for decades – but do we really know what percentage of your donation goes to do the work vs. administration costs? Names can look familiar but be sure it is exactly what you want. Sometimes adding a word in the name can be totally misleading.

Carefully research charities to assess which do the most good for the lowest cost.  What % goes to administration and fundraising vs. helping the cause.  We have been shocked at some of the results we've found. Go forth and give…with knowledge.
http://give.org/for-charities/How-We-Accredit-Charities/

 

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

Just reply to this email for the answer.

What insect migrates to a warmer climate 2,500 miles away each winter?
 

Our favorite cookie-Pecan Balls (a/k/a Mexican Wedding Cakes)
(Cookies really)

I’ve been making these cookies since the 60’s.  They’re easy and delicious. This recipe is straight out of the OLD Betty Crocker Cookbook I bought in my 20’s.

 
They melt in your mouth! Easy - light and delicious.
 
  1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
  1 cup powdered sugar
  1 tsp. Vanilla
  2-1/4 cups All-Purpose flour
    Note: or... I use Krusteaz Gluten Free Flour when making them for our daughter.
  1/4 tsp. salt
  3/4 cup finely chopped Pecans
 
Directions
  1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 degrees
  2. Mix thoroughly:  butter, sugar and vanilla
  3. Work in flour, salt and nuts until dough holds together.
  4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes until set but not brown.
  6. While warm, roll in powdered sugar. I usually put the powdered sugar in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and gently shake – a few at a time.
  7.  Cool on a rack

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


Ask Al & Jean: This Month's Question
 
Is it better to buy new construction or an existing home?

Whichever works for you; remember that having a Realtor represent you in the purchase of new construction is to your advantage and costs you nothing.  We just need to go with you to register with you.

This boils down to a matter of preference. Both new construction and existing homes offer unique advantages.

New construction gives the buyer the chance to select flooring and upgrades but will generally require a considerable amount of money to landscape, do window covers, upgrade for more electrical outlets and fixtures...but it is brand new with full warranties.

By contrast, you may find an existing home that has all of the features you want - ready to move in.  Or, an opportunity to remodel so it may be more cost effective.

Check them both out and then decide.
 
 
 
   
 
 
  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 November 2019 Newsletter

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

 

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

Share This Newsletter
 
 
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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

You are receiving this email because you are a client or you have agreed to receive messages from us. Click here to unsubscribe.
 
 
 
 
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
 
Each month I'll give you a new question.

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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