Janet Laughead BHHS Commonwealth Wellesley MA


The microwave does not get the respect it deserves in the kitchen. In reality, it is a useful appliance that is under-utilized in the kitchen. Did you know that apart from warming leftover dinner, there are many things that a microwave can do for you? A microwave is actually designed to cook some food items for you quickly and efficiently compared to other cooking methods. Here are some things you can whip up using your microwave.

Bacon

Instead of stressing out to fry bacon, a microwave can cook it for you without the splashing fat. Simply line a plate with paper towels, line up your bacon strips and set your microwave to high heat for up to five minutes. Most moderately-sliced bacon strips will cook to a crisp.

Popcorn

You can make DIY popcorn at home using a microwave. Take a brown paper bag and put in some kernel corns. Fold the bag several times and heat it until it begins to pop. Once the popping reduces to a minimum, put some olive oil or sweet butter, seasoning and anything else you like in your popcorn. Shake it all in, and that's it!

Frittatas for one

Take a mug, spray it generously with cooking spray and break an egg into it. Add in some milk, salt, pepper, and your favorite vegetables and anything else you like in your frittata. Microwave it on high heat for about two minutes, and it's done!Steamed milk for lattesIf you are making your latte at home, you can complete it with “steamed” milk and foam just like your favorite barista. Put two-percent milk into a mason jar and close the lid. Shake it until it foams for about a minute. Then take off the cover and put it in a microwave for about a minute till it is warm. Pour milk into your latte and add the foam for a special topping.

Toasted nuts

Toasting nuts in a pan can leave your kitchen smelling like burnt nuts. You can avoid this smelly nut kitchen issue by using a microwave to get the crisp on your nuts instead. Use a microwave-safe flat dish to cook it instead to get the same crisp without the smell. Don’t cook your nuts for a long time. For the best results, set your microwave to one minute and check your nuts after each round to see if it’s toasted enough for you.

For more cool things you can do with your microwave, take a glance at the user manual to learn more cooking tips.


When you are ready to buy a house, it pays to plan ahead to conduct a successful house search. That way, you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the real estate market and make your homeownership dream come true in no time at all.

Ultimately, you don't need to be a real estate expert to navigate the housing market like a pro. To better understand what it takes to complete a successful house search, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can seamlessly go from homebuyer to homeowner.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

If you plan to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, it helps to establish homebuying criteria. By doing so, you can enter the real estate market with a plan.

Think about where you want to reside. For example, if your goal is to live in the same small town as your family members and friends, you may want to hone your house search to properties in this town. Or, if you want to own a house that is close to your office in the city, you may want to pursue residences in or around the city itself.

Consider what differentiates your dream house from an ordinary home too. Thus, if you want to own a home that boasts an in-ground pool, dazzling garden or other distinct features, you should include these criteria in your homebuying strategy.

2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing

Lenders can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to launching a home search. Then, you can establish a budget for the homebuying journey.

There is no shortage of mortgage options available, regardless of your credit score, income and outstanding debt. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about different mortgage options and select a mortgage that is sure to serve you well.

Of course, when you meet with lenders, don't hesitate to ask questions. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, and these professionals are happy to help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can help you simplify your home search. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can boost the likelihood of finding a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

Generally, a real estate agent understands what it takes to pursue a home in any city or town, at any time. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to accelerate your quest for your dream residence.

A real estate agent usually learns about a homebuyer's goals and maps out a homebuying plan. He or she sets up home showings and keeps a homebuyer up to date about new residences that fit a buyer's criteria. And if a homebuyer wants to submit an offer to purchase a residence, a real estate agent will help this buyer craft a competitive proposal.

Ready to buy a house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline your search for your ideal residence.


If you intend to list your house in the weeks or months to come, it usually pays to assess real estate market data. In fact, there are many reasons why you should conduct housing market data analysis, and these include:

1. You can learn about the ins and outs of the real estate market.

Let's face it – navigating the home selling process can be difficult, regardless of whether you've sold houses in the past or plan to list a home for the first time. Fortunately, housing market data can help you better understand the real estate sector, increasing the likelihood that you'll make informed decisions at each stage of the home selling journey.

Remember, evaluating the prices of available houses in your area, finding out how long these residences have been listed and reviewing other pertinent housing market data can make a world of difference. If you use this information to understand the current state of the real estate market, you can boost your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.

2. You can determine a competitive price for your house.

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's current value. Luckily, you can analyze real estate market data to find out how your house stacks up against the competition and price your residence appropriately.

Look at the prices of local residences that are similar to your own – you'll be glad you did. If you study this pricing data closely, you can narrow the price range for your house. Then, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your house.

3. You can reduce the risk of encountering home selling pitfalls.

Want to avoid setting an initial home asking price that is too high or too low? Or, do you want to ensure that your house is buyer-ready from the moment that you add it to the real estate market? If you evaluate housing market data, you can obtain the insights that you need to avoid potential problems during the home selling journey.

Lastly, if you need extra help as you prepare to sell your house, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide you with a wealth of real estate market data and offer expert home selling recommendations. That way, you can optimize the value of all of the housing market data at your disposal.

Let's not forget about the comprehensive assistance that a real estate agent offers as the home selling journey progresses, either. A real estate agent will help you list your house, promote it to the right groups of buyers and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent will gladly respond to them.

Take a data-driven approach to selling your house – perform real estate market data analysis, and you can gain the home selling insights that you need to succeed.


If you receive an offer to purchase from a property buyer and decide to submit a counter-offer, it is important to err on the side of caution. Because if your counter-proposal fails to meet a buyer's expectations, you risk missing out on the opportunity to sell your house and maximize your home sale earnings.

When it comes to reviewing an offer to purchase and submitting a counter-proposal, it helps to prepare as much as possible. Fortunately, we're here to help you perform a full analysis of a homebuying proposal and ensure that you can submit a counter-offer that matches the expectations of both you and a buyer.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you put together a "fair" counter-proposal to a buyer's offer to purchase your home.

1. Use Housing Market Data to Your Advantage

Take a look at local housing market data – you'll be glad you did. If you take a data-driven approach to craft a counter-offer, you may be better equipped than ever before to put together a counter-proposal that meets the needs of all parties involved in a property sale.

Analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. Furthermore, find out how long these residences were available before they sold. With this housing market data in hand, you should have no trouble crafting a fair counter-proposal.

2. Consider the Buyer's Perspective

As you examine a buyer's initial offer to purchase, think about why this individual chose to submit the proposal. Try not to get emotional if you feel the offer is too low; instead, think about how you can work with a buyer to find common ground.

Oftentimes, it helps to maintain open communication with a buyer. If you put together an counter-proposal that accounts for the buyer's perspective and keep in touch with this individual, you and a buyer may be able to work together to come to a fair agreement.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about what to propose as part of a counter-offer, there is no need to stress. In fact, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the assistance you need to craft a counter-proposal that may lead to an instant "Yes" from a buyer.

Usually, a real estate agent will inform you about an offer to purchase your home and provide recommendations and suggestions as you craft a counter-proposal. He or she also will negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns or questions during the property selling journey, a real estate agent is happy to address them.

Allocate time and resources as you craft a counter-offer. If you consider the current state of the real estate market and the buyer's perspective, you could increase your chances of putting together a counter-proposal to close a deal on your home. Perhaps best of all, you can submit a counter-offer that allows both you and a buyer to achieve your respective goals faster than ever before.


It has been written; the kitchen is the heart of the home. So, when walking through a model or open house, the kitchen is a significant appeal or detractor. Where the kitchen is relative to the rest of the living space is essential. The layout of the workflow can make or break the impression of the house as a whole. Any upgrades and extra convenience features can turn an ordinary kitchen into your culinary dream area. Other architectural choices can affect the ascetics of the property. 

Layout and Function

When looking at kitchen layouts, the choices are almost endless. How you use the kitchen will give you direction on what will work for you and your family. The number of people that will use the space at any one time can determine how much floor space in the kitchen you need. If you entertain often or tend to gather in the kitchen, an open concept may be up your alley. An island kitchen is another great idea for people who like to congregate and spend time in and around their kitchen. A raised bar on the island can help hide any messes while still enjoying the open island kitchen concept when entertaining.

Work Triangle

Placement of what chefs call the work triangle is an essential element in any kitchen layout. The triangle is made up of the placement of the refrigerator, sink, and oven/stove. In other words, gathering ingredients, prepping, and cooking. Having an optimize work triangle can increase your enjoyment in the kitchen. When touring open or model homes, walk the space as you would use it at home. You could visualize the steps you would take in that space to get your morning cup of coffee. Does the layout make sense concerning how you work in the kitchen?

Upgrades and Add-ons

Many remodeled and new construction homes boast kitchen upgrades that look impressive. A hot water dispenser alongside the sink is convenient, as is an ice cube and water dispenser built into the fridge. Look for those upgrades that lend themselves to helping you make better use of your time. Remember, the more gadgets there are, the more items to maintain. Go ahead and enjoy the undercabinet lighting, so you don’t stub your toes when grabbing that midnight snack. In addition to functional upgrades, some are just there for the overall esthetics; such as crown molding, Italian tile work, or pendant lighting over an island bar. Those can give an otherwise ordinary kitchen a “wow” factor that makes a real impression.

Contact your realtor for more information on locating your dream kitchen.




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