aware that technology has changed how a buyer shops for a new home. According the National Association of Realtors and their most recent “Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers” for the past 3 years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet to search for a home. The report also revealed that 95% of those buyers shopping online for a home actually purchased their home through a real estate agent/broker or from a builder of builder’s agent. A minimal 2% actually purchased the home directly from a seller, without knowing them ahead of time. The buyers are searching online for their new homes, but still rely on the agent to find that specific home that fits their needs, negotiate the terms of the sale, negotiate the price and to help guide them through the process. There is so much information now available for a buyer to check out, research and read online, that the buyers are finding that they need to reach out to a real estate professional in order to sort through it all and connect the relevant dots! This is obvious as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001 to 95% in 2015. The bottom line is clear. If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate agent/broker can play in the process. They will be there to help you price the home, show the home, market the home and finally guide the seller through the offer, the purchase and sale and finally the closing. Having an agent/broker by your side has become crucial to the speed and efficiency in which your home can sell. Call Foran Realty today to see how they can help you sell your home. ]]>
If you walk down the kitchen aisle of any department store you’ll see dozens of kitchen tools–some you’ve maybe never even heard of. As long as people keep buying gimmicky kitchen tools and utensils, companies will keep making them. The temptation might be there, when walking through Target, to buy that chicken-shaped egg yolk separator, but do you really need it? In this article, we’ll cover the essential list of kitchen utensils. Once your drawer has these items, you won’t need anything else. You’ll free up space in your kitchen and avoid money-wasting gimmicks that often don’t even work, allowing you to buy better versions of the tools that really count. Note: We won’t be talking about the basic silverware and dishes (forks, spoons, plates, cups, etc.) since we can assume you already have those.
- The chef’s knife. A chef’s knife is arguably the most important item in any kitchen. A good chef’s knife is made from steel, has balanced weight, and is comfortable to hold. Be sure to keep it sharp and there’s nothing you can’t cut with it.
- Two spatulas. One metal for flipping items on your baking sheets and meat on the grill, one plastic for your frying pans. Thin, heat-resistant, and durable are what you’re looking for here.
- Three spoons. One wooden (for stirring), one plastic with holes and one plastic without holes.
- A strainer. You don’t need four sizes of strainer; one big one will do. Be sure to pick one with handles, sturdy handles, for draining big pots of pasta.
- Shears. Whether it’s for de-stringing a Thanksgiving turkey or opening up a bag of frozen peas, they’ll save you a headache trying to use a knife.
- Serrated bread knife. Unless you like to ruin a fresh loaf of bread by crushing it while cutting it, you’ll need a serrated edge.
- Measuring cups and spoons. Clean your measuring spoons by hand so they don’t get tossed around in your dishwasher and melted.
- Can opener. Skip the huge electric can openers and buy a good handheld one that will last years.
- Cutting board. A quality large wooden cutting board will make your life a lot easier, and it won’t dull your blades.
- Peeler. Y-shaped peelers are much easier to use than their knife-shaped counterparts.
- Mixing bowl. You could benefit from multiple mixing bowls if you do a lot of baking, but oftentimes you only need one large bowl for most recipes and can use your smaller soup bowls for other ingredients.
Avoiding the gimmicksIt seems like every day there’s a new infomercial for a lemon juice squeezer or a banana slicer. You’ll notice that they tend to follow certain trends and offer the same promises. Here are the ones to avoid:
- Fruit and vegetable slicers. If you have a knife, there’s no need for tools that claim to slice certain types of vegetables better than others.
- Single-use tools. Shears designed just for cutting and serving pizza? Yes, they exist. Avoid items that will just take up space in your cabinets and opt for those that serve multiple purposes.
- Things you’ve never heard of. If it’s an object that you’ve never seen or heard of before, odds are you don’t need it in your kitchen cabinets. The most time-tested tools are all it takes to make great meals in your kitchen.
Living in an old home is like reading an old book. When you walk through an old home you can’t help but notice that there is history right within the walls. Small differences, like low height of the doorknobs, take you back in time to when we were a different society with different needs and expectations. Just like old books, however, old homes sometimes require extra care to keep in good condition. Don’t get me wrong–when people boast that their old home has “strong bones” they could certainly be right. But there are some things you might have to cope with living in an old home that aren’t a huge concern in a new one. If you’re thinking about purchasing an old home, read this list of things you should be aware of before you buy. It isn’t meant to deter, just to inform so that you’re ready for the challenges you’ll face when that day comes. And, if you truly love the experience of living in an old house, the work will be well worth it.
Old doesn’t mean decrepitLet’s go back to our book analogy from earlier. If you have a book from the late 1800s that has been stored in a dry place, hasn’t been thrown around much, and always had conscientious owners who respected it enough to repair the binding when needed, your book will be in great shape. The same is true for old homes. Oftentimes, it only takes a quick glance around the home and a peek at the foundation to see if the home has been taken care of. Just because a house was built in the 1800s doesn’t mean it hasn’t been renovated periodically and maintained properly.
Warning signsIf you are thinking of buying an old home, here are some things you should look out for before you sign the dotted line. Don’t forget to have the home inspected by a professional as well, since they will give you a much more detailed analysis of the problems a home might have.
- Ancient HVAC. Aside from being prone to malfunctioning, old heating and ventilation systems could also prove to be dangerous and inefficient. Be sure to have a professional inspect the entire system.
- Pests big and small. Over the years homes begin to develop vulnerabilities to ants, termites and other pests. Similarly, don’t be surprised if you find mice, bats, or other furry creatures around if the home has been empty for a while.
- Hazardous materials. The builders of yore were excellent craftsmen, but they were using (unbeknownst to them) dangerous materials like lead and asbestos. If you have small children, even more of a reason to make sure the home is free of hazardous materials. Part of this check should also be for mold growth.
- Inefficiencies. Old windows and poor insulation walls also tend to be issues with some old homes. Find out what the monthly utility bills cost to see how much work you’ll need to do to bring them up to date.
- Foundation issues. Eventually, nature prevails. Foundation cracks and deterioration are common problems in old homes, especially in climates like the Northeast with freezing temperatures and lots of snow, rain, and wind.