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Jean's January Newsletter 2019

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

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Happy New Year – Welcome to 2019

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

As the freezing temperatures and blizzards creep across the country, those of us in the Southwest are enjoying beautiful sunshine; sometimes crisp days in the 50-60’s but the 70’s are never far behind.  Arizona is the perfect place to winter for those who don’t want to leave home yet want to avoid the winter months. Arizona welcomes those who come temporarily to share our sunshine.  And, we can help with that.  In fact, we have a 55+ listing (2-Bedroom, 1-3/4 Bath home) available right now in Sun City Grand (in Surprise) …and access, of course, to everything on the multiple listing service. Here's the link to our 55+ listing:  https://tinyurl.com/ydf2s9bj

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

Al and Jean
________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://themortgagereports.com/32667/mortgage-rates-forecast-fha-va-usda-conventional#products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you need a very thorough home inspection, Bob can be reached at 480-226-7915 or bob@nauinspections.com 


______________________________________________________________  

Facebook Hackers - BEWARE (It happened to us)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just reply to this email for the answer.

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

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

.
  1 small can Chinese noodles (crispy type)

2-4 Grilled chicken breasts/cut into pieces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therefore, the seller pays for the Buyer's agent's time and efforts. You simply get to benefit from them...and enjoy your new dream home.
____________________________________
 
THE ROD CAREW BALL & BAT
 
 
(Rod Carew had a career with the Minnesota Twins from 1967-1978  before joining the Angels in 1979 (to 1985). He won Rookie of the Year in 1967; served in the Marine Corp Reserves for six years (1960’s), was honored as a Baseball Hall of Fame member in 1991 (on his first nomination) and in 2016, the American League Batting Champion trophy was renamed "The Rod Carew American League Batting Champion" award. In December of  2016 he had a life saving heart/kidney transplant. NFL star Konrad Reuland (Jets/Ravens) died at age 29 of a brain aneurysm; his family donated his heart to Rod Carew – he’d gone to school with the Carew children so the heart of one sportsman beats inside another today. Today Rod is active in his community, as he always has been…including the American Heart Association and his work for Leukemia (a disease his daughter lost her life to at age 18).  
 
 
  This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.  
 
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Jean's December Newsletter

Posted On: December 2nd, 2018 7:38PM

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Happy Holidays to all:
 

The end of 2018…the last month of the year!  The hustle and bustle of the holidays are now in full swing.  

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkuh, we wish you a joyous celebration…and as the year ends – a safe, healthy and joyous 2019!

Al and Jean

 
FILL THE NEW YEAR BY BEING GIVING OF YOURSELF TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS...
AND EVERY DAY, GIVE A SMILE AWAY!
 
 
 
 
 
California Wildfires - Realtors Nationwide are Helping
 

2018 has been a year of great joy; but also great tragedy. Wildfires have destroyed homes and lives across the state of California. So far, the Camp and Woolsey fires have claimed many lives over 200 residents still unaccounted for, while destroying more than 10,000 homes and buildings across over 400 square miles. The Camp Fire alone flattened an entire city in Northern California, home to 27,000 people.

Such sudden destruction leaves thousands of individuals and families struggling to find a footing. That’s why the not-for-profit REALTORS® Relief Foundationwas created to deliver housing assistance to those in need during the critical weeks and months after disaster strikes.

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, the foundation announced a joint relief effort with the California Association of REALTORS® Disaster Relief Fund, committing $1 million in aid to victims of the wildfires.

The RRF responds rapidly in a crisis. Over the past 17 years, the RRF has collected and distributed over $29 million in relief aid for more than 70 disasters in 37 states and territories. Not only that, but every dollar goes directly to victims of disaster. The National Association of REALTORS® covers 100% of administrative expenses.  We all feel helpless and such a sense of loss for all of those who have lost everything – we knew we wanted to help but didn’t know how or what organization to trust. There are always many Realtors in the background doing what we can to help.  We’ve given generously because it is important to help.  And this kind of support makes us very proud of our profession.  We all want to give - just be sure you give to a charity that makes sure the donation goes more to helping those in need than administration costs.


 
 

HOLIDAY FIRE SAFETY:

"Residential fires during the holiday season are more frequent, more costly and more deadly than at any other time of the year. The U.S. FireAdministration (USFA) reports more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day than on an average day, and about twice as many on New Year’s Day. And when those fires occur, they do more damage: Property loss during a holiday fire is 34% greater than in an average fire, and the number of fatalities per thousand fires is nearly 70% higher. When the source of the fire is a highly flammable Christmas tree, the toll in property and lives is even greater"

  1. The top cause for holiday fires in unattended cooking. Bet you thought it was candles. We did! It’s easy to forget you have something on the stove – set a timer – take a pot holder with you when you step away from the kitchen as a reminder. Be alert - forgetting could be a costly mistake.   
  2. Candles – burning candles cause four times more fires in December than any other time.  Never leave a candle unattended – be sure they’re on a sturdy base and perhaps use a hurricane globe to protect the area.  Don’t place candles closer than 1-foot to anything flammable.
  3. Live Christmas trees – they can engulf a room with flames within 30 seconds.  Keep them well-watered and place away from any heat source.  And dispose when they get too dry.
  4. Outdoor lights - check for frayed/cracked wires and broken sockets before putting them up.
  5. Fireplaces – periodically get them professionally cleaned.  We had one we rarely used backdraft on us a few years ago – it wasn’t pretty.  You have no idea how much damage smoke can cause until you’ve experienced it. 
Thanks to Carol Gross, our good friend, retired from the Phoenix Fire Department for reminding us about fire safety.
 

Heartwarming Holiday story (l950's Navy Ensign letters found by our son-in-law during a home inspection)
 
FACEBOOK POST by Bob Nau:"These letters were found in an attic in Mesa Arizona. They were written between a Navy Ensign and his wife after WWII. They are so lovely and even have negatives to family photos. We are looking for any relatives of Ensign Roger R Wright who would treasure these. Please share this as much as possible and help us give someone a wonderful Christmas present."  (to view the Channel 3 story, click on the link below)


Our son-in-law, Bob Nau, owner of NAU INSPECTIONS(home inspections) runs into all kinds of interesting situations when inspecting attics and other places people forget about. This was such an incredible testimonial to Bob's thoroughness - he found these letters under a pile of old Playtex baby bottles and boards while checking to see if home repairs had been done properly.  The odds of finding these letters were miniscule. Bob posted the above notice on Facebook on 11-24-18.   We suggested he contact a TV station for help in getting the word out in hopes of finding the family.  He reached out to Channel 3/Kim Powell [reporter] who aired the story with Bob and wife, Jill [our daughter]. Click below to view the TV interview on 11/26.

https://www.facebook.com/kimpowelltv/videos/575346202899499/

All of these letters were written between a young Sailor (Ensign Roger R. Wright) and wife (Eva) a few years after WWII ended (1945) in the 1950's.   Where is the family of Roger R. Wright? And wouldn’t they love this treasure trove of letters from such a different time in history.
.  
Here's what they've learned.

  • Roger died on 11/28/1981 in the Mesa Lutheran Hospital (born in Buffalo, NY).
  • His wife, Eva, survived him but is now deceased
  • They had three children (Patricia, Florrie and Larry) (and 5 grandchildren at his passing in 1981)
  • Roger spent 25 years in the US Navy - member of the Fleet Reserve
  • They moved from Baltimore to Arizona in 1972 and lived in the home where Bob found the letters after Roger retired.

Great progress is being made in connecting to the family - Bob and Jill are working tenaciously to make it come together by the holidays.  This isn't the kind of gift one generally receives.  Making this happen would be fantastic for the Wright family...and one of great satisfaction for ours.  Great job, Bob, in finding the letters and setting out to make someone's holidays especially bright!

Hopefully there will be an answer to this story before the end of the year.  If so, you'll hear about it on Channel 3 with Kim Powell in a few weeks (we're all being very optimistic).  We'll update you in January on "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey used to say.


 
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?  We're here to help. If you need current information about your area, or an area you're interested in learning about, email us to request a report: Al@AlandJeanBatson.com

Exciting news: Coming up next month, we will share information on how you can pull up information through our website as our gift to you. We know there are all sorts of websites people go as a resource because a) you’ve heard about it and b) it’s easy.

The problem is you may not be getting accurate or current information. We want to make the best possible information available to you. Al is currently working with ARMLS (Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service) and HomeSmart to completely revise our website so we can offer a significantly improved service. The information will be live.  More next month….


 
Winter visitor?  Check out this home in Sun City Grand.
 
Actually, a year-around retirement home buyer works just as well for this beautiful 55+ community in Surprise, AZ! We've got a listing waiting for the right homeowners - priced at $222,000 for a 1184 square foot, single story home with 2 bedrooms and 1.75 baths.  Two car garage with direct access to the inside laundry room (washer/dryer included), Great Room concept, block wall surrounds back yard with 20' x 10' covered patio.Note:  Recently replaced A/C and exterior paint.  Please contact us for further information.

Check out this link:

https://tinyurl.com/y7fzaduu

 
Come to Arizona to retire - there's no place like it!   
 
Tire Tips from Al:
 

It has gotten colder but that doesn't mean you don't have to monitor your tire pressure.  I just checked my tire pressure and found that all four were low by 4 pounds.  When the temperature cools, as well as the road surface, the pressure in your tires reduces.  Remember to check your tires before you drive very far as the pressure will build up as your tires get warmer from driving.

Don't forget your windshield washer reservoir;  it needs attention too.  This is especially true if you plan to drive into freezing weather.  The water in your windshield washer reservoir can freeze and crack the reservoir if it doesn't have some sort of anti-freeze washer solution in the water.  If the reservoir freezes, the spray lines to your windshield may freeze as well, preventing your windshield washers from working at all.  Any windshield washer solution will be an improvement over pure water.  You might also consider distilled water in your reservoir. Distilled water may help reduce water spots on your windshield.



While on the subject of vehicle safety: Vehicle thefts are on the rise - often from driveways.

  • ALWAYS use your turn signals to let your fellow drivers prepare for your next move.
  • NEVER text and drive.  Whatever text is coming in can wait - and help you and others on the road live longer.
  • ALWAYS lock your car, NEVER leave your keys OR the garage door opener in the car.
  • NEVER leave valuables in the car - if you must, hide them in the trunk.

Thank you!
 
     
    The Batson Team HomeSmart
    Jean Batson
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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What was the most popular dog name for 2018?
     
   
    LITTLE SAUSAGE LINKS
    We were given this easy, wonderful recipe by a friend last year - it's an absolutely delicious appetizer and...SO EASY TO MAKE. Shhh...don't tell anyone because they'll think you worked so hard.
 
 
 
 
 
      1 tube of Crescent rolls and 1 package Little Smokie Sausages
 
 
 
 
 
       1/2 cup butter
 
 
       1/2 cup chopped pecans
 
 
      3 TBS Brown Sugar
 
 
      3 TBS honey
     
     
     
     
    Directions
     
    Heat oven to 400°. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Use glass vs. metal.

  1. Once you’ve melted together the butter, pecans, brown sugar and honey and poured the mixture into your 9" x 13" baking dish; open the tube of Crescent rolls and separate the triangles.
  2. Cut the top triangle off the section; then cut the rest into strips to wrap around each little Smokie Sausage. As you wrap each one, place in the baking dish.  Put the seam side down.
  3. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
  4. Put a toothpick in each one so they’re easier to grab – serve hot. 
   
   
    Ask Al & Jean: This Month's Question
     
    Should sellers remain at home when their home is being shown.
     
    To some sellers, it may seem perfectly natural to remain in the home when buyers view their property. After all, the seller can point out all the fabulous features and answer any questions the buyers have about the home, right? 

Wrong. If buyers are coming by to see the property, sellers should vacate the premises. Why?

When sellers are around, buyers feel less comfortable. They are likely to feel rushed and will spend less time in the home, since their visit feels like an imposition on the sellers. 

This is the opposite of what needs to happen to sell a home. Buyers must be made to feel as comfortable as possible. This will encourage them to take their time and truly consider the home for purchase.  Instead,the seller should tell their Realtor about all of the special features so he/she/we can share that information with buyers and other Realtors
    ________________________________
     
   
    BOB NAU - the most thorough of home inspectors - anyone who could those letters is extraordinary. (see story)
So when you want it done right, contact: 480-226-7915 or bob@nauinspections.com
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
  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 Newsletter

Posted On: November 1st, 2018 7:33PM

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November - So Much Is Happening
 

November 4 (Sunday) – all states, except Arizona and Hawaii – TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK AN HOUR.  Although we don’t have to do it here, most of us have family and friends who live in other states so it’s a good idea to pay attention to time changes.

November 6 (Tuesday) – VOTE!  As an American citizen, it is a right and a privilege.  Read, think and VOTE!

November 12 (Monday/observed) – Veteran’s Day. Veteran's Day has always been on November 11th but is observed this year on the 12th - a time to thank and honor those who have served in the military to assure our freedom. Fly your flag in honor of these brave men and women...both days.

November 22 (Thursday) – Thanksgiving.  We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday

 


 
        Thanksgiving - our favorite holiday!
       
       

Growing up in the Midwest as we both did, the meal had to include the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, cranberry sauce and green beans.  Of course, Pumpkin Pie.  When my Dad was still with us, he always wanted Minced Meat Pie. Nobody else was a fan so that stopped. 

But wait, what did the Pilgrims really eat? In fact, the pilgrims probably did not eat turkey on their first Thanksgiving.

We do know that they ate venison, wild turkey, clams, lobster, mussels, sea bass, bluefish, corn, squash, and beans. The pilgrims learned their hunting and farming skills from the Wampanoag Indians.

Why do we think that they ate turkey and cranberry sauce at their first Thanksgiving? The Victorians prepared Thanksgiving that way and so it stuck because they made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Until the 19th century, Pilgrims weren’t even associated with Thanksgiving–it was simply a day of thanks.

We’ll stick to our original feast (as our mothers prepared it) except, we’ve switched out green beans for Creamed Corn.  STOP! This isn’t the canned stuff Mom made – this recipe is simple and really delicious. Give it a try. The Pilgrims would be pleased with corn as our vegetable choice - right?

We’ve provided the Creamed Corn recipe this month.  Last month we gave you Sandy’s Pumpkin Pie Cake (fabulous).  In the past we’ve published my Mom’s Dressing/Stuffing recipe.  She got it out of a Better Homes & Gardens magazine as a young bride – we’ve never made it any other way.  If you want it, just ask and I’ll email it right to you.

If you know someone who will be alone, invite them to your table.  Around our Thanksgiving (moist eyes always included) table, we all share at least one thing we’re grateful for.  It’s a wonderful day!  Enjoy.  And don’t weigh yourself on Friday!

       
         
        Why Don't Arizona Builders Put Basements in?
       
       
       

There are three main reasons: regulations, soil and cost.

On the East Coast and across the Midwest, builders have to lay foundations 48 or even 72 inches below the surface so the foundation doesn’t crack as the ground freezes in the winter then thaws in the spring. That’s not an issue in Arizona.

"If you're going to already be digging that deep, you might as well get some return on your investment by making a basement," said Philip Horton, an architecture professor at Arizona State University.

Because the ground doesn’t freeze in Phoenix, you only have to dig 18 inches below the surface to pour a concrete footing for a house. If you want a basement, you’ll have to go out of your way to dig deeper.

That’s complicated by a common soil-phenomena in the state called caliche. Horton said it’s like a naturally occurring cement." It’s really hard to dig through and inconsistent in where it exists in the soil," he said. Most developers and contractors in Arizona prioritize quick builds with low costs, so Horton said adding a basement is a risky investment given it’s hard to predict the cost of a dig ahead of time.

If it weren't for these factors, Horton said it would make sense to have basements in Arizona because underground temperatures are lower and more stable.

There are some basement homes here; but few and far between.
       
         
        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?

Email us for a comparative market analysis (CMA) for the area you're interested in at Al@AlandJeanBatson.com
       
         Ladies - Watch your Purses:

       

There’s always something to beware of – a friend told us about two "purse" incidents that just occurred:

1)     Her friend, Linda, was enjoying an evening out in a local restaurant; seated at a table with her friend. She put her purse on the ground next to her feet.  As friends do, they were engrossed in conversation.  When the check came, Linda reached into her purse to grab her wallet – IT WAS GONE.  Of course, she was horrified.  Later Linda and her daughter returned to the restaurant asking to see the security video of the previous evening. It showed two women who pulled it off quickly. Woman #1 casually walked by their table, reached down, picked up the purse, took it to Woman #2 sitting at the bar where the wallet was pulled out of the purse. Within seconds, the purse was returned to the spot Linda originally set it down.  Linda didn't notice the thieves; nor did her friend. Later they found out from the credit card companies that $60,000 had been fraudulently charged within 3 hours of the theft. One card showed a purchase of a $20,000 Rolex.  Of course, Linda went to the store, told her story and asked the salesperson why they hadn’t asked for photo ID on such a large purchase.  The answer is astounding…the salesman said he was the one who waited on the customer. He did ask for an ID.  She presented a [fake] driver’s license with the thief’s photo but Linda’s name on it.  So, this ring of thieves is efficient by having fake ID equipment - probably in a van outside the restaurant. This is frightening! They will continue to strike!

2)     A few days prior to Linda’s theft, my friend was standing in another restaurant with her purse on her shoulder talking to friends. She admitted that her purse did not have a zipper closure.  Her new Android cell phone was missing when checked later.  She was told that cell phones are a hot item because the thief can toss the SIM card, replace it for a few dollars and sell the phone for hundreds of dollars. 

3)     How many times have we seen an unattended grocery cart with an open purse; the shopper is nowhere near the cart.  It’s an open invitation to steal. I use a clip to affix my purse to a shopping cart…and never walk away from the cart.

4)     Or, women with open purses over their shoulder - it's an open opportunity to attract someone interested in your $$$$.

The holiday shopping season is upon us, so the bad guys/girls will be out looking for carelessness.  And it isn’t only purses, pickpockets are out there looking for wallets from you fellows as well.

BE CAREFUL – BE AWARE.  And this goes for your vehicles too.  Don’t leave anything of value in sight. Packages should be hidden in the trunk while you’re shopping.  And vehicles should always be locked and garaged if possible. 

        ________________________________________________________________________
        Is Your Property and Vehicle Insurance Coverage Current?

       

Periodically we should all review our property and automobile insurance to be sure we’re adequately covered at a fair price.

PROPERTY INSURANCE:

  • There are many life changes that may trigger you to update your homeowners insurance policy. For example, if you have made any renovations/improvements to your home you should update your dwelling coverage. If you have installed a swimming pool or trampoline you may want to increase your liability coverage.
  •  Also, if you purchase any items of high-value, you should check your policy limits for that item and schedule an endorsement to make sure you are covered in the event of a loss.
  • Did you add an alarm system?  Home alarms can reap a nice discount.
  • Ask your agent what coverage you have if you can’t live in your home due to massive damage. Is living elsewhere well covered?  Will it cover the entire time you’re out of your home?  Can housing be found nearby at the amount provided?
  • If you live within an HOA that insures/maintains part of your structure, send your agent a copy of your CC & R’s and their insurance policy.  That too can reduce your costs.

 VEHICLE INSURANCE:

A question you might ask regarding your Vehicle Insurance and car rental coverage:

  • If you self-insure when you rent a car (use your own insurance vs purchasing the rental company insurance), you may be responsible for Lost Revenue in the event of an accident. Let me explain.

Recently we overheard a conversation in an airport, where a customer was returning the car that had been involved in an accident to a well-known car rental company. The content of the conversation was basically "Your rental agreement will continue until the damages have been repaired and the vehicle is put back into service". Can you imagine being responsible for paying the daily rental rate while a vehicle, that you do not own and is in the shop for an indefinite period? The Lost Revenue that you may be paying is the daily rental rate for as long as the vehicle is out of service.

Hearing that, Al contacted our insurance agent who was familiar with the issue.  It is critical that each of us understand the vehicle rental agreement as well as your own insurance coverage when self-insuring a rental car. Our insurance company works with a specific vehicle rental company where the Lost Revenue is covered by our insurance.  Going forward our first call will be to the rental company that coordinates with our insurance company.  Other insurance companies may have broader coverage. We suggest so check your insurance so you know exactly where you stand with your policy, should your rental car be involved in vehicle damage while you’re renting it. 

        ________________________________________________________________________
       

SERVICE OF THE MONTH - INSURANCE

         
       

As we mentioned, we’ve been reviewing some basics in the past few months (Trust, Insurance, etc).  Every few years we do this. One of the insurance companies who offered us a quote was Farm Bureau; not your everyday name like Farmer’s, State Farm, Progressive, Geico, Allstate.  Lori Peak, Agent for Farm Bureau got our attention as Realtors – when she sent out an email about a perk they offer.  It involves coverage for appliances (which includes the A/C).  For $24/year they have coverage for your A/C or appliances with mechanical problems (with a $500/deductible) for repair/replacement.  We have so many friends whose A/C is pushing 20+ years old.  Often parts aren’t even available. That got us thinking – homeowner’s doesn’t generally cover those things – if anyone would, it would be a "home warranty plan." What a great idea!

We know there are many wonderful companies and agents - we picked Lori to share with you today.

The other intriguing facet was "Driveology" wherein they evaluate your driving habits which may result in discounted rates. And, Farm Bureau is competitively priced.  Lori answered every question we threw at her – some were pretty tough.  As of today, November 1, 2018, we are now insured with Farm Bureau.  If you are ready to evaluate your coverage, all we can say is that OUR experience with Lori and Farm Bureau has been phenomenal.

LORI PEAK, Agent    Lori.Peak@fbfs.com or www.LoriPeak.fbfs.com   Phone: 480-635-3864 (office)

         
       

 Whttps://homesmart.com/real-estate-agent/arizona/scottsdale/1586-allen-and-jean-batson/blogould you like more frequent information?  Like our Facebook Page:

 

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The Batson Team HomeSmart
Jean Batson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Smart
 
 
 
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Quick Quiz
 
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The marble slab that eventually became Michelangelo's David was originally intended as a statue of what famous character?
 

Creamed Corn
 
This isn't the canned creamed corn Mom used to make - this is easy and fabulous.
  3 cans whole kernal corn, drained
  1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  1 cup whole milk
  1 stick butter
  1/4 cup sugar
  pepper to tast
  If you want, add bacon, green onions, cayenne or anything you'd like to JAZZ it up...
 
 
 
 
Directions
 

Serves 6-8

Plan A Instructions

Mix Milk, corn, sugar and pepper in a crockpot. I don’t have one so PLAN B is for me. (Same ingredients: different method).

Cube the cream cheese and butter – place on top.  Cook on high for 3 hours; by then the cream cheese and butter should have melted so give it a stir and serve.

OR

Plan B Instructions

  1. Cube the cream cheese and butter, add to a medium size sauce pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add the milk and stir continuously until the mixture is smooth and so the milk doesn’t scald.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add the sugar, spices, and corn.
  4. Continue stirring until the corn is heated through, about five minutes.

 A wonderful side-dish for holidays...or any day!


NAU HOME INSPECTIONS:

Buyers need an excellent home inspection but if you've lived in your home for a long time, it might be worth getting one to find any potential issues.
With over 30 years of industry experience, and the full backing of ASHI (the American Society of Home Inspectors) and ISN (the Inspection Support Network), you can be sure that a Nau Inspection means quality work and top tier service.

Bob is a fully licensed general contractor. Bringing this expertise into a home inspection ensures that any problems in your home are identified correctly the first time.
CALL BOB: 480-226-7915

https://www.nauinspections.com/

 
 




 
 
 
  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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Do you Self Ensure your Rental Car

Posted On: October 19th, 2018 6:22PM

Caution Picture

 

 

 

If you self-insure when you rent a car (use your own insurance vs purchasing the rental company insurance), you may be responsible for Lost Revenue in the event of an accident. Let me explain.

 

Recently Jean and I overheard a conversation in an airport, where a customer was returning a car to an upper level car rental company that had been involved in an accident. The content of the conversation was basically “your rental agreement will continue until the damages have been repaired and the vehicle is put back into service”. Can you imagine being responsible for paying the daily rental rate while a vehicle, that you do not own, is in the shop for an indefinite period of time? The Lost Revenue that you may be paying is the daily rental rate for as long as the vehicle is out of service.

 

Upon contacting our insurance agent, we found that yes this may be the case. It is critical that each of us understand each vehicle rental agreement as well as your own insurance coverage when self-insuring a rental car. We learned that our insurance company is aware of these circumstances, where you as the vehicle renter are responsible for paying for lost revenue, but they did have an answer. Our insurance company works with a specific vehicle rental company where the Lost Revenue is covered by our insurance.  Going forward our first call will be to the rental company that coordinates with our insurance company.

 

 

Hopefully you found this information to be informative.

Caution

Do you Self Insure when you rent a car?

If so, read this.  You may be at more risk than you realize.

 

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Jean's October 2018 Newsletter

Posted On: October 5th, 2018 3:38PM

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

 
 
 What's inside this edition:
  • Featured Home - Single-story home in Sun City Grand
  • What Will Happen to Your Home?
  • Along the Same Lines of Preparedness (is your paperwork in order?)
  • Our October recipe - of course Pumpkin is involved!
  • Al's tips

October 8/Monday - COLUMBUS DAY (banks and post offices are closed) to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492.

October 8/Monday - Desert Ridge Ladies Night Out at the Modern Margarita on High Street

October 28/Sunday - first of the year - now weekly FARMER'S MARKET on High Street in Desert Ridge. 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

October 31/Wednesday - Happy Halloween - so get ready for those little goblins.  Be extra cautious when driving.

WARNING: New scam - do not respond to calls inviting you to see a new Customer Service Center in Chandler to get free Southwest Airline tickets.  HANG UP!  Do not engage.

Thank you so much for the referrals - they warm our heart.

Al and Jean
 
Featured Home: 18602 N. Salerno Court (Sun City Grand) in Surprise $230,000
 

Sun City Grand single-story, 2 bedrooms, 1.75 baths, 1184 square foot home by Del Webb:

Whether you’re seeking a new year-around or winter home, or an investment in an active-seniors community, this one is for you.  It’s located in Surprise, AZ (right here in Maricopa County) in a community called SUN CITY GRAND in the Patagonia community. This home is adjacent to a wonderful walking path on a quiet cul de sac. The exterior has just been painted and a new Air-Conditioner has recently been installed. Direct access from the 2-car garage into the laundry room (appliances included).  Great room concept! Good storage. The kitchen features oak cabinetry, a pantry and includes all of the appliances. The kitchen and dining areas overlook the back yard with block wall fencing for privacy – with a 20’ x 10’ covered patio for relaxing or dining out.  Easy maintenance desert landscaping front and back. Sun City Grand comes with spectacular amenities from golf to pools to clubs and every activity you can think of.

Check it yourself on this link:

https://tinyurl.com/y78qewzz

.

 
 
What Will Happen to Your Home?
 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL!

Most young people don’t think about legal documents – but no matter what your age, it is very important to have essential directives giving your loved ones your preferences in case something happens.  Everyone... of every AGE... who owns anything at all...needs to be prepared to help the person who will be handling your affairs.

We are by no means giving legal advice, merely giving some suggestions for your own research.  Go to an attorney who specializes in Wills & Trusts or check out Legal Zoom for an inexpensive solution if your life isn’t complicated (single, no children, minimal assets). Perhaps a hand-written Will is legal in your state - ask.

No matter your age, be certain you have:

  •  A Will or a Trust
  • Durable Power of Attorney (authorizing who can make financial and other decisions should you be unable to do so in your own behalf.
  • Living Will – your directive to a hospital/doctor should you be in an emergency situation.  Your choice may be DNR (do not resuscitate) if there is no hope for quality of life. Your family should know your preferences.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney: Who do you want to make medical decisions for you if you can’t speak for yourself? Spell it out.

There are alternatives for you to research if you own real estate. 

  • A Beneficiary Deed: Per USLEGAL.com, "A beneficiary deed is a type of real property deed used to transfer property. By signing and recording a beneficiary deed, an owner of an interest in real property may cause the owner's interest in the real property to be conveyed to people or entities on the owner's death. The interest in real property conveyed by a beneficiary deed does not take effect until the death of the owner, at which time that interest transfers automatically by law to the designated grantee(s) named in the beneficiary deed. A beneficiary deed takes the property out of the probate process as ownership is transferred upon death and no longer part of the decedent's estate that might go through probate or pass under a will."
  • Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship (JTWROS): "JTWROS is one version of co-tenancy that gives co-owners the right of survivorship. This means that if one owner of the property dies, his ownership stake will pass to the surviving owners. This avoids probate, which is the legal process where a person's Will is proven in court and accepted to be a valid legal document." Ask your Attorney for advice if more than one other person, other than a spouse, is involved.
  • Personally, we have our assets in a family Trust which avoids the Probate process. The surviving Trustee distributes assets according to the stated instructions in the Trust. By the way, our Financial Advisor pointed out that Rollover IRA’s cannot be put in a Trust so be sure you keep your beneficiary wishes current.

 
Along The Same Lines of Preparedness:

No matter what your assets or health or age – be sure a family member has a copy of the above referenced documents but there are many other pieces of information a trusted family member or friend needs to have. Don’t put it off – do it now.  It’s an act of kindness for whomever will one day be handling your affairs.

We are not trying to sound like the Grim Reaper but rather to remind our friends and family as to the importance of organizing your life so your chosen representative won't be blindsided if they need to take over.

Often older folks appear to be doing fine but are they paying their bills? Do they maintain their home?  Should they be driving?  Sometimes the child needs to become the parent.  We’ve told the kids to take our keys away or suggest moving into a retirement place if the time comes where we don’t understand the need.  That sort of decision could be difficult to assess for yourself. We both gently guided our mothers into the necessary next step and both loved independent living without having to cook or grocery shop.  They both made friends and participated in activities making their last few years enjoyable instead of lonely. By the time Assisted Living was the next step, they were already comfortable in their surroundings.

So in addition to the above....

If something happened to you, has this been done?

  1. Have you prepared a list of friends/family to be notified if you become ill or pass?
  2. Do you have a designated emergency contact - someone who has all of your information and knows your wishes?
  3. Does that person have a list of your doctors/medical records?
  4. Does someone have a key and/or alarm code to your home?  Note: we suggest you purchase a "contractor’s lock box" at your local hardware store holding a house key (on a fence or water pipe)– then let your chosen person know how to access your home. Not only handy if you accidentally are locked out but it provides emergency access if needed.
  5. If you’re a couple, are your vehicles in both names? We have both names and the word ‘OR’ so either one of us can sell them if necessary.  If not, it can make selling one much more difficult.
  6. SUPER IMPORTANT – our life history (from banking to investments to addresses and more) is on our computer.  Are your passwords in a safe place so your family can access your computer if you’re unable to do so?  We save ours in a commercial-grade CLOUD that our son (Trustee) can access if need be.Or keep it in a safe or safety deposit box but be sure you do this.
  7. Also, as we get older, ask if anyone wants any of your treasurers. If so, label and list them now to avoid conflict later. If not, write down any specific requests you have.  They can sell the rest.


We felt it important to share these thoughts because we've witnessed too many situations where no information was readily available to those needing it.  OK, we'll stop preaching now.


 
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?

Respond to this newsletter to ask about the area you're interested in - no cost or obligation.  We just like to help.

 
Moving? Make Yourself at Home Anywhere
 
Moving to a new home, a new city, or a new country can be exciting, but it can also be challenging. In the midst of unfamiliar surroundings, newcomers may find it difficult to get plugged in to the area. Fortunately, there are a few tried and true steps you can take to help yourself feel at home after a move. Try these tips.

Tap your hobbies. Look for local communities built around something you enjoy. Are you a runner? Seek out a running club. Do you love making crafts? There's probably a local crafting group. From stamp collecting to scuba diving, your favorite hobby can help you connect with like-minded individuals and form connections in your new locale.

Use an app. If you know about a move in advance, you can use social media and other apps to find out about the people and places near your new home. Look for restaurants you might want to try, parks you'd like to visit, and unique shops you might enjoy. Get recommendations from locals. Armed with online research, you may feel like you already know your new home far before moving day arrives. 

Find current connections. Are you a member of any organizations? Use alumni associations, professional affiliations, or service groups to help you connect. As with hobby groups, other members of these societies are potential sources of information, referrals, and friendship. 

Say yes. One of the fastest ways to get plugged in to your new neighborhood is to make a habit of saying yes. If you get invited to do something, don't turn down the invitation. If you've never tried salsa dancing before, don't say no because it's outside your comfort zone. Be willing to try new things. Look for unique opportunities and seize them. You might be surprised at how many new enjoyable activities, people, and places you discover!

Ask your agent. As experts in their local markets, real estate agents are another great source of information. For the inside scoop on transportation, events, and other helpful tips, make use of this valuable resource.
 
 
 
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 do sapphire, opal and topaz have in common?
 

Sandy's Pumpkin Pie Cake
 
Perfect for Fall.Serves 16
Again, a super easy recipe that is great at home or to take to an event.



  1 box Yellow Cake Mix (don't add in till later)
  1 Large can Pumpkin
  3 eggs
  1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
  1 can Evaporated Milk
  1 cup chopped nuts
1-1/2 sticks butter, melted
 
Directions
 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 9 x 13 pan
  3. Blend together Pumpkin, Evaporated Milk, eggs, sugar, spices.
  4. Spread into pan
  5. Sprinkle cake mix over top
  6. Sprinkle nuts on top
  7. Drizzle melted butter on top
  8. Bake for 50 minutes
  9. Cut into squares to serve
  10. Top with Whipped Cream
 

AL'S TIPS:

Never drive in the rain with cruise control.

While you may believe that driving at a consistent speed in the rain will increase your safety, driving with cruise control when the roads are wet is actually more dangerous. According to The National Safety Commission (TNSC), cruise control may cause your car’s tires to lose contact with the pavement and hydro-plane, even at speeds as low as 35 mph.

During heavy rain, TNSC recommends that you take your foot off the gas pedal to slow down your car. Unless you have anti-lock brakes, you should never apply the brakes until your car’s speed is reduced. Because cruise control can only be disabled when you apply your brakes, it is best to turn it off before the roads are wet to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

 

Tire Pressure.

Be consistent in checking your tire pressure. As the temperature cools, your tire pressure may go down below optimal levels

 

Travel With Extra Power.

When traveling,  many hotels are sorely lacking in outlets so how can you charge your computer/tablet, iPad, IPods, cell phones.  Always bring a battery pack or multi-socket extension cord with you.
 
 
 
   
 
 
  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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