West Real Estate | Wilmington Real Estate, Tewksbury Real Estate, Reading Real Estate


Although property buyers fall in love with a home for different reasons, there are four factors that generally cause people to prefer one house over another.

For sellers, the cost of making their home more appealing to buyers can vary widely. It depends on how recently they've painted, updated, and made improvements to their property -- both inside and out.

When it comes to owning and maintaining a residential property, one thing's for sure: Deterioration is going to happen! It's also human nature to postpone taking care of needed updates, minor repairs, and issues like fading paint. Even though the condition of your home may feel comfortable to you, prospective buyers will see things through a different lens. If you think you're "too close to the trees to see the forest," your real estate agent can provide you with valuable tips and an objective point of view.

While there are a lot of qualities house hunters look for when they're sizing up a house, here are a few key factors that can make the difference between a quick sale and a home that lingers on the market for months or more.

  • Brightness: Inadequate light -- both natural and artificial -- can have a negative impact on the impression your home makes on potential buyers. If you're fortunate enough to have newer windows that let in lots of natural light, then the look and feel of your home will be much more appealing. Heavy drapes can detract from that effect, as can overgrown bushes and trees. Lighting fixtures that are noticeably outdated or glaringly bright will also work against you. Since one of your objectives as a seller is to make your home as appealing and cheerful as possible, proper lighting is a feature that's well worth keeping in mind.
  • Cleanliness: A factor that comes in "a close second" to brightness is cleanliness (Some might even put it in the number-one spot). Visible signs of dust, dirt, spills, or smudges can make an otherwise attractive home unappealing to prospective buyers. Undesirable odors can also turn off most, if not all people that come over to check out your house. A solution for some sellers is to have their house cleaner stop by more often to help them stay one step ahead of dirt, grime, and household messes.
  • Freshness: There are a lot of ways to create a feeling of freshness in your home, including opening windows (weather permitting), adding a coat of neutral-colored paint to scuffed walls, and displaying fresh flowers in a couple rooms -- especially the kitchen. Baking soda can also help eliminate unpleasant odors in your refrigerator, sink, and garbage disposal.
While all homes for sale have different needs, in terms of staging, decorating, cleaning, upgrading, and repairing, a seasoned real estate agent can point out strategies, ideas, and improvements that will help you put your best foot forward!

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Who doesn't love pasta? If you're a big fan of pasta but getting tired of the same old recipes, this unique and delicious vegetarian recipe is right for you. It's easy to make, requires few ingredients and makes little mess. It's also incredibly versatile, and can be made vegan for those who have special dietary requirements. Keep reading at the end of the recipe for suggestions about what to serve with pine nut pasta and other information.  

Ingredients

  • Pasta (rigatoni, penne, spiral are all fine - or any pasta you have on hand)
  • 1 Yellow onion 
  • Olive oil - 2 Tablespoons
  • Fresh spinach - 4 cups
  • Pine nuts - 2 cups
  • Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
  • Instructions:

  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package and set aside.
  • Dice the onion. 
  • Tear stems off of spinach.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. 
  • Put onion in the pan and sautee until edges begin to brown. 
  • Sprinkle onion with salt and pepper. 
  • Add pine nuts to the pan and heat until the outside begins to brown. 
  • Add spinach to the pan and stir it until the spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat.
  • Top the pasta with the onion, pine nut and spinach combination. 
  • Sprinkle pasta with parmesan cheese, salt and cracked black pepper. 
  • Serve!
  • Pine nut pasta is an excellent dish to serve at special occasions because it looks fancy compared to many other types of pasta, but it's easy to prepare for large groups.

    What to Serve with Pine Nut Pasta

    If you eat meat and would like to add some extra protein to your pine nut pasta dish, serve with a side of baked chicken. 

    Pine nut pasta is delicious with garlic bread, or if you're feeling adventurous, sautee sliced mushrooms in garlic and olive oil. Place the sauteed mushroom mixture on slices of bread and bake in the oven.

    Seeking the perfect salad to accompany pine nut pasta? Combine chopped romaine lettuce, black beans (drained and rinsed), feta cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Serve.

    Are Pine Nuts a Nut?

    If you or someone in your household has a nut allergy, you may have concerns about pine nuts. Technically, pine nuts are a seed. However, you should check with your doctor before ingesting anything that you believe could be a potential allergen. Your doctor can help you decide whether this particular ingredient is safe.

    Want to Make This Recipe Vegan? Here's How

    Pine nut pasta is already vegetarian. If you want to make it vegan, replace the parmesan cheese with sprinkles of nutritional yeast at the end. You'll get the same nutty-cheesy flavor that you find with parmesan, but it's dairy free (and healthy!). 


    You may not think much about your hot water heater. Unless of course, your hot water heater ends up breaking down. Hot water is so important in our homes, yet we take this resource for granted. Hot water does a lot in our homes from clean our laundry to disinfect our dishes to heat up our showers. We use it without thinking about it.  


    If you neglect your hot water heater it can cause some costly damage to your home. Your basement could end up flooded. Pipes can burst. You can be without the use of hot water for days- even weeks- if you’re not vigilant about taking care of your hot water heater. 


    Once water is gushing from the source, the best course of action is to simply shut the water off to your home. Before you even get to that point there are some tell tale signs of damage to your hot water heater that can be detected before major issues arise. First, if you notice any type of water around your hot water heater, you should get it checked out. Don’t look at it as “no big deal.” Any type of moisture or water stains around the water heater itself are a sure sign that something isn’t right with the unit.


    As a homeowner, you should know just how old your hot water heater is. Usually, the installation date on the heater is noted somewhere along with the serial number. The typical hot water heater lasts about 9-11 years. If you live in an area with hard water, this number can vary.   



    The Cleanup


    Once the damage is done to your hot water heater you’ll likely have a large cleanup project on your hands. You’ll need to call water extraction services that will help dry out the area and clean up any baseboards that can become hazardous. Sometimes, these projects can get a bit bigger than you’d ever expect. After the water is pumped out, the cleanup has only just begun.  


    Why Hot Water Heaters Fail


    The minerals from water tend to build up (especially in the case of hard water) and cause the unit to rust out form the inside. While the inside of the tank contains glass, it does have metal pieces that can rust. You can replace certain parts of the hot water heater from time to time to keep it in good working order, the best prevention is to replace your water heater when the time is right. Don’t let the unit sit until way past its expiration date.


    Being The Homeowner


    As a homeowner, you probably wonder if something like a broken water heater were to happen if your insurance would cover the cost of the damage. The insurance will cover the cost of cleanup and repairs. The insurance will not cover the cost to replace the hot water heater or any labor costs. The only way the entire cost would be covered is if you have a home warranty. 


    A simple thing that you can get to help alleviate major damage to your home from a hot water heater is to get an alarm. This little device is inexpensive and will alert you when any water hits near the areas of the alarm. This could save you a lot of costly damage and repairs. The most important thing that you can do in your home to prevent major damage from a hot water heater is to stay vigilant and keep on top of maintenance and replacement timelines.           



    When it comes to moving, how do you pack up food and ensure it will safely make it from Point A to Point B? There are many challenges associated with packing and storing food while you move. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of packing up food so that you can enjoy it once you reach your new home.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly pack your food and transport it to a new address.

    1. Get Rid of Any Expired Food Items

    Go through your pantry and remove any expired or soon-to-expire food items. That way, you won't have to worry about transporting these items to your new address on moving day.

    In addition, you should try to eliminate food waste. For soon-to-expire foods, consume them before it's too late. Or, you can always offer these items to friends or family members.

    2. Pack Fragile Food Items Carefully

    Flour, sugar and other fragile food items likely require extra attention when you pack. If you dedicate the necessary time and resources to pack fragile food items carefully, you can eliminate the risk that these items could leak or spill while you're moving.

    Heavy-duty, sealable containers are ideal for storing fragile food items. These containers usually are easy to find at supermarkets and retail outlets and will ensure your food items will remain safe and secure at all times.

    Furthermore, don't forget to cover salt and pepper shakers. Place a piece of masking tape over the top of these shakers, and you can prevent the shakers from spilling out.

    3. Use Appropriate Moving Boxes

    Moving boxes come in many sizes, and when you're packing food items, you'll want to use the right-sized boxes. By doing so, you may be able to store various food items in the same box – something that may help you unpack quickly once you reach your final destination.

    In most instances, small and medium-sized moving boxes are perfect for food items. These boxes offer plenty of space. Plus, with the right-sized moving boxes in hand, you may be able to avoid the temptation to stuff too many heavy food items into a single box.

    If you need additional support with packing food items or other belongings, you may want to discuss your options with a professional moving company. This business employs friendly, knowledgeable staff members who can help you prepare for moving day.

    Lastly, it never hurts to collaborate with a real estate agent, either. In addition to helping you buy or sell a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations about moving companies in your area. Therefore, a real estate agent can provide extra help as you search for ways to streamline the moving process.

    Simplify the process of moving your food items from one location to the next – use the aforementioned tips, and you can ensure all of your food items will arrive intact at your new address.


    Buying your first home is undoubtedly a long and complex process for someone who has little to no experience in the subject. Your average first-time homeowner learns as they go, with the help of their real estate agent and mortgage lender.

    But, even so, first-time buyers often make many mistakes along the way that they could have avoided with prior knowledge and preparation.

    In today’s article, we’re going to cover 5 of the most common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make when purchasing a home. From the first house you look at up until closing on your first home, we’ll cover common mistakes from each step of the way to give you the knowledge you need to make the best home buying decisions.

    1. Shopping for homes preemptively

    Once you decide that you’re interested in potentially buying a home in the near future, it’s tempting to hop online and start looking at listings. But, searching for your dream home at this stage is a poor use of your time.

    It’s best to use this time to start thinking about the bigger picture. Have you secured financial aspects of owning a home, such as a down payment, a solid credit score, and two years of steady employment history?

    You’ll also need to have a clear picture of what you want your life to look like for the next 5-7 years. Will you still want to live in the same area, or will your job lead you elsewhere?

    These are all questions to ask yourself before you start house hunting that will inform your process along the way and make your hunt a lot easier.

    2. Not knowing your budget

    It’s a common mistake for first-time buyers to go into the house hunting process without a clearly mapped budget. You want to make sure that after all of your expenses (mortgage payment, utilities, bills, debt, etc.) that you still have leftover income for savings, retirement, and an emergency fund.

    Make a detailed spreadsheet of your expenses and determine how much you can afford each month before you start shopping for mortgages.

    3. Borrowing the maximum amount

    While it may be tempting to buy the most expensive house you can get approved for, there are a number of reasons this might be a bad idea for you, financially. Stretching your budget each month is putting yourself at risk for not being able to contribute to savings, retirement, and emergency funds.

    Furthermore, you may find that the extra square-footage you purchased wasn’t worth having to cut corners in other areas of your life, like hobbies, entertainment, and dining out.

    4. Forgetting important expenses

    If you’re currently renting an apartment, you might be unaware of some of the lesser-known costs of homeownership. Your chosen lender will provide you with an estimate of the closing costs, which you’ll have to budget for.

    However, there are also maintenance, repairs, utilities, and other bills that you’ll have to figure into your monthly budget.

    5. Waiving contingencies or giving the benefit of the doubt

    While it may seem like an act of goodwill to give the seller the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like home inspections, it’s usually a bad idea to waive contingencies.

    The process of purchasing a home, along with a purchase contract, have been designed to protect both your interests and the seller’s interests. It isn’t selfish to want to know exactly what you’re getting into when making a purchase as significant as a home.




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