Judy Rivard - Sawicki Real Estate


Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Does it seem like the world has really gone to the dogs lately? If you've answered yes, you're right. It has gone to the dogs -- and to the cats. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, approximately 68 percent of American households have a pet. Millennials are especially into animal companionship, with 73 percent saying they own some type of creature. And many of these millennials are searching for their first home. But not just any house. Potential buyers, especially millennials, are seeking a home that will provide a better lifestyle for their fur babies. In fact, according to a survey conducted on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage, one of the main reasons why many millennials decided to purchase a home was so that they could provide more space for their dogs.  

So, if you're currently trying to sell a house or plan to put one on the market, creating a listing that appeals to pet owners is the smart thing to do. For example, if your home has any of the following pet-friendly features, make sure to highlight them in your listing:

  • Fenced-in yard
  • Located close to a dog park or pet-friendly establishments, such as restaurants that host "barky hours"
  • Pet-friendly flooring that can stand up to a dog's claws, such as tile or luxury vinyl 
  • Located in a community with lots of walking trails 
  • Mud room where an owner can towel off their dogs or clean dirty paws after a walk in the rain 

Keep it Clean

While it's important to play up the features of your home that will be attractive to a pet owner, it's equally important to remove evidence of your own pets before putting your house on the market. For example, you should:

  • Put away your pet's toys, beds and food bowls during showings and open houses
  • Clean or replace carpeting that has odors or stains caused by your pet
  • Vacuum daily 
  • Clean your upholstery if your pets spend a lot of time sleeping on your furniture
  • Board your pets or remove them from the premises during open houses and showings. If that's not possible, make sure that they are crated in an out-of-the-way location
  • Wipe off pet nose and paw prints from windows and doors
  • Keep your yard clean and free of dog waste  

For many people, their dogs and cats aren't just pets. They are beloved family members. So, it's not surprising that potential buyers are seeking homes that are pet-friendly. Your job is to make sure that these potential buyers can see your house as a place where they and their beloved pets will feel right at home.   


Image by Valter Cirillo from Pixabay

In Italy, it's long been a cherished tradition to harvest beans, place the pods over the ground under the autumn sun, then store the sun-dried beans for wintertime. On brisk days, beans would be cooked up with a medley of vegetables and pasta. When the cook tossed dry pasta tossed into the stew, the starch from the beans and pasta would lend themselves to a creamy mix, thickening to form a robust and aromatic winter meal.

Keep the history alive! Make it tonight, or prepare it a few days in advance and let it marinate. Either way, this rustic, casserole-style soup will not disappoint. Here's how to do it like the Italian cooks do.

Step 1: Pronounce It Authentically 

It has to be said. Pasta fazool, as folks say in the northeastern U.S., comes from pasta e fasule — the Neapolitan term. It got a little exaggerated when Dean Martin famously sang about those stars that make you drool Joost like-a pasta fazool. That’s amore!

But if the dish is named pasta e fagioli, it's pronounced PAH-stah eh fah-JOL-eh. The first “i” in fagioli blends into the o that comes after it.

The exact translation? Pasta and beans.

Step 2: Gather the Ingredients

Here's what to lay out on your counter:

  • 1 ½ cup small pasta shells 
  • 2 cups dried Cannellini beans, cooked (or 1 can, with the liquid)
  • 2 Tbsp. cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large, finely chopped onion of your choice
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, with the strings pulled out and discarded
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. salt and pepper, mixed
  • 1 Tbsp each dried basil and oregano 
  • 1 quart of hot water
  • Step 3. Prepare a Red Sauce

    Make a simple Italian sauce by blending your tomatoes and olive oil, the chopped onion, basil and oregano, salt and pepper.

    Step 4. Make and Cook the Soup

    Heat the olive oil over medium hear in large, nonstick pan. Chop the celery and add it, as well as your chopped garlic clove. When they are about to brown, stir in the red sauce.

    Simmer for 10 minutes.

    Add the quart of hot water.

    Blend the beans in.

    Bring the mix to a boil, and cook for another 10 minutes. 

    Step 5. Bring the Pasta Into the Mix

    Finally, add the dry pasta shells and boil the complete soup, stirring, for a final ten minutes, or until the pasta is just becoming tender. Continual stirring will keep your shells separated.

    Step 6. Serve and Enjoy

    Serve immediately, while it's hot.

    You might wish to garnish your Pasta e Fagioli with fresh Italian parsley, and serve with crusty bread and extra virgin olive oil. Two people can enjoy this meal, and have enough left over to marinate in the fridge and enjoy again the next day. That's amore!


    As a home seller, you'll likely want to do whatever you can to promote your house to the right groups of homebuyers. Thus, hosting an open house is a must, particularly for a seller who wants to enjoy a fast, profitable home selling experience.

    Ultimately, there are many reasons to conduct an open house, and these include:

    1. You can stir up interest in your house.

    An open house enables you to provide homebuyers with an up-close look at your residence. It allows these buyers to look beyond a home listing, and as such, may lead to many potential offers on your home.

    Of course, an open house empowers you to show off the true size and beauty of your home as well. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your home prior to an open house, you may increase the likelihood of securing offers at the event's conclusion.

    2. You can respond to homebuyers' questions.

    Although a home listing may include details about your house's age and condition, it fails to provide homebuyers with a "feel" of what it's like to walk around inside and outside your residence. Fortunately, an open house allows buyers to get a first-hand look at your residence and determine whether your house matches or exceeds their expectations.

    Furthermore, an open house provides homebuyers with the opportunity to ask questions about your house. And if you provide buyers with the information they request, you can make it easy for them to decide whether to submit an offer on your home.

    3. You can analyze homebuyers' interest in your residence.

    Believe it or not, an open house can help you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

    For instance, an open house that features dozens of potential buyers likely can be considered a resounding success. On the other hand, if no buyers attend your open house, you may need to reevaluate your home's initial asking price and other home selling factors.

    When it comes to hosting an open house, there is a lot to consider. Luckily, you can work with a real estate agent to streamline the process of putting together a successful open house.

    A real estate agent is a home selling guide who can offer expert tips and insights at each stage of the home selling journey. He or she will learn about your residence and help you map out a successful home selling plan. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will set up open houses, help you assess offers on your residence and ensure you can make the best-possible decisions throughout the home selling process.

    If you're worried about hosting an open house, there is no need to stress. Hire a real estate agent today, and you'll be able to receive comprehensive home selling support. In fact, with a real estate agent at your disposal, you can seamlessly navigate the home selling cycle.


    You know that you want to buy a house, but you may have only a limited amount of time to conduct a home search and discover your ideal residence. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to speed up your homebuying timeline.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

    1. Refine Your House Search

    A list of homebuying criteria is a must-have, particularly for a property buyer who wants to enjoy a quick, seamless house search. In fact, with homebuying criteria in hand, you can refine your house search and move one step closer to finding your dream residence.

    As you craft a list of homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside too. That way, you can further narrow your house search and focus exclusively on homes in your preferred cities and towns.

    2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing

    At first, it may seem like a lot of work to get pre-approved for a mortgage. But if you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you may be able to avoid time-consuming home financing hurdles down the line.

    Oftentimes, it does not take long to get the financing you need to buy a house. Banks and credit unions are available across the United States, and these financial institutions are happy to teach you about a variety of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your financial needs and kick off your homebuying journey with a mortgage at your disposal.

    3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

    If you face a time crunch to purchase a house but don't know how to start the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. By hiring a real estate agent who can offer in-depth homebuying guidance, you can find your dream house in no time at all.

    A real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can speed up the homebuying journey. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and help you create a homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next will help you search for residences and assess houses in the cities and towns of your choice. And if you discover a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence.

    Let's not forget about a real estate agent's housing market expertise, either. A real estate agent understands how to navigate a buyer's or seller's market. As a result, he or she will make it simple for you to review houses that match or exceed your expectations. If you have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them as well.

    Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly find a great house and make your homeownership dream come true.


    Selling a house may prove to be problematic, particularly for individuals who fail to allocate time and resources to learn about the real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you navigate the housing sector and ensure you can avoid home selling crises.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you list your residence and maximize its value.

    1. Create an Informative House Listing

    Think about your house's pros and cons. Then, you can put together an informative home listing that makes it easy for buyers to fall in love with your residence.

    Of course, when you craft a home listing, it pays to be honest. If you include pertinent, accurate house information in your listing, you can help buyers determine whether your residence is the right choice.

    Don't forget to incorporate high-resolution photos into your house listing too. If you include home listing photos that showcase the size and beauty of your house, many buyers soon could set up showings to view your residence.

    2. Conduct a House Appraisal

    When it comes to selling your house, it helps to establish an aggressive initial asking price. That way, you can list your house at a price that matches or exceeds buyers' expectations.

    Establishing an aggressive initial asking price for your home, however, may prove to be difficult. But if you conduct a house appraisal, you can get a home valuation from a property expert to help you set a fair price for your residence.

    In many instances, a homeowner can receive a house appraisal report within a few days. Once you have this report at your disposal, you can review your property valuation and set an aggressive initial asking price for your home.

    3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

    There is no need to embark on the home selling journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who is unafraid to be honest with you at each stage of the home selling cycle.

    A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to sell a house, regardless of the present housing market's conditions. As such, he or she will work with you to determine the best way to streamline the home selling journey.

    Oftentimes, a real estate agent will learn about you and your home selling goals. He or she then will craft a custom home selling strategy designed to help you achieve the optimal results. Next, a real estate agent will promote your residence to dozens of potential buyers and set up home showings and open house events. And if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent will help you examine the pros and cons of this proposal and make an informed decision.

    Don't let problems get the best of you during the home selling journey. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can reduce the risk of problems that otherwise can prevent you from enjoying a fast, profitable house selling experience.




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