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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 5/22/2020

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

After a long day at work or running errands, wouldn't it be nice to walk in the door and have a healthy and hot meal waiting for you? Even better -- how about a meal that can be cooked in one pot, so that cleanup is a breeze?

This macaroni and cheese slow cooker dish is that meal. It's very easy to make. You won't even have to boil the pasta ahead of time. All you'll need to do is toss everything into a crock pot and allow the macaroni and cheese to slowly cook for approximately three to four hours. This is a perfect recipe if you work near your home and can stop by on your lunch break to get this meal started.

And while most people really love a good homemade macaroni and cheese, we do understand that it can feel a bit sinful and heavy at times. That’s why we prefer this lighter, healthier version that still gives you all the warm, cheese-y goodness found in tradition mac and cheese.

Some of the healthier changes we've made to this recipe to include using a mixture of cauliflower florets and high-fiber elbow macaroni in place of regular pasta. When slow cooked in a crockpost, the cauliflower florets develop a texture that is very similar to pasta. Do you have vegetable-phobic eaters in your family? No worries. Your picky eaters may not even notice the mild-tasting cauliflower since it will be enveloped in cheese.

This recipe makes approximately six servings.

Ingredients:

12 ounces high-fiber elbow macaroni

1 cup finely chopped cauliflower florets

3 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese, divided

2 1/2 cups low-fat milk

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

Directions:

  1. Add the pasta, florets, half the cheese, the milk and evaporated milk into a crock pot.
  2. Stir the ingredients until well mixed.
  3. Set your crock pot on its low setting and allow the ingredients to cook for approximately three to four hours. If you will be home, you may want to give the ingredients a stir at about the two-hour mark.
  4. Check your macaroni and cheese after three hours to see if most of the liquid is absorbed. If so, sprinkle the rest of your cheese over the top of your dish.
  5. Allow the mixture to cook for another 15 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: If you prefer your macaroni and cheese to be spicy, you can add the sliced jalapenos for a bit of a zingy pop.




Tags: meal planning   Cooking   Dinner  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 5/15/2020


A mortgage pre-approval can be a valuable tool for understanding how much you can afford to spend on purchasing a home. It can also make you seem much more attractive to sellers and help to identify any potential problems that may make it difficult to get a loan. In fact, many lenders claim that if a buyer isn’t pre-approved for a mortgage, they will have a difficult time navigating the real estate market. But what does pre-approval really mean?

What is a Mortgage Pre-Approval?

While it can sound like you’ve got a sure thing locked in when you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, being pre-approved doesn’t promise that you’ll be able to secure a loan for the home that you want to purchase. A mortgage pre-approval simply means that a loan officer has reviewed your finances and decided how much money you're allocated to borrow, what you should be able to pay each month towards your mortgage and what your interest rate will be.

Once, you’ve been pre-approved by a lender, you will get a letter that can be shown to sellers. This letter indicates that you’ve already established a working relationship with a lender. This helps to give sellers peace of mind in knowing that you’re serious about putting in an offer on their home, and they don’t have to risk wasting time with a buyer who isn’t serious.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Pre-Approval?

A pre-approval doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a mortgage but it does offer a few key advantages during your search for the ideal home. It helps to give you confidence while looking at potential properties, as you look at homes that are within your budget. There’s no need to fall in love with a home that you can’t afford. Additionally, it establishes credibility as a buyer, showing that you have your finances under control and can help to put you on the fast-track to closing once you’ve found the perfect home.

Are Pre-Approval & Pre-Qualified the Same Thing?

Unfortunately, no. These two similar real estate terms are not interchangeable. When you are pre-qualified for a mortgage, this indicates that you have given your lender information regarding your income, debts and assets. Without doing further research, the lender then tells you that you should qualify for a certain mortgage. Pre-approval is a much more in-depth process, requiring your lender to verify the financial information provided by pulling your credit history, as well as verifying your income and assets.





Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 5/8/2020

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

When it comes to home ownership, you have many options beyond buying a single-family home. A condominium and a townhouse are two such options. Before you consider making one of these your permanent home, it's important to understand the differences between them.

Condo Ownership

When you purchase a condo, you own the entire inside of the structure. The condo association owns the exterior, all common areas, and the land where the condo sits. Condo owners are not responsible for exterior maintenance. However, you need to budget for condominium association fees apart from your monthly mortgage payment. This covers the cost of repairs and maintenance in common areas. Most condos are in multi-story buildings.

Townhouse Ownership

When buying a townhouse in a traditional manner, you must pay dues to its homeowner's association. This fee goes toward outdoor maintenance, such as mowing the lawn and shoveling snow. Your fee may also include landscaping services. Townhomes typically appear as conjoined single-family homes.

If you choose to purchase a townhouse in a non-traditional manner, you own the land it sits on as well as the physical structure of the home. This means you are responsible for repairs and maintenance both inside and outside of your townhome. The association that owns a townhouse complex is only responsible for communal repairs such as potholes on the street.

Financial Considerations

You can't deduct homeowner's dues if either type of property is your primary or secondary home. The only exception to this is if you rent it to others. If you occupy the condo or townhouse, you can deduct real estate taxes and mortgage interest if you itemize deductions on your tax return. If you plan to use the condo as a second home and rent it the remainder of the time, make sure that you occupy it less than 10 percent of the time that you rent it. If you don't, the IRS considers it personal property.

The non-mortgage fees for a condo are almost always higher than they are for a townhouse. This is due to more shared areas and additional amenities that most townhomes don't have. These may include a swimming pool, a recreation room, or an area on the roof to suntan or host a barbeque for your neighbors. These amenities all carry an additional risk, which necessitates the need for additional insurance coverage.

The property taxes and initial down payment are typically higher for condos as well. Even so, some people prefer a condo over a townhouse because they feel that not being at street level offers them better security.

If you’re in the market for a non-traditional home, feel free to schedule a consultation. We'll go over your options and find the best home to suit your needs.




Tags: Condo   condominium   townhouse   townhome  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 5/1/2020

Ready to acquire your dream home? Although you might have already located your ideal residence, you may need to negotiate with a home seller. By doing so, both you and a home seller will be satisfied with the final results of a property transaction.

However, a homebuying negotiation sometimes can be tricky. And if you fail to keep your cool throughout a negotiation, you may miss out on the opportunity to purchase your dream residence.

What does it take to remain calm during a homebuying negotiation? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Take Your Emotions Out of the Equation

Don't take it personally if a home seller wants to negotiate. Instead, view it as an opportunity to ensure all parties involved in a home sale get the best results possible.

In many instances, it's easy for homebuyers to let their emotions get the best of them. But if you feel overwhelmed by stress and frustration, it is essential to take a step back and assess the situation. That way, you can avoid making any rash decisions that could put your chance to purchase a top-notch house in danger.

Try to maintain a positive outlook throughout a homebuying negotiation. Also, don't hesitate to reach out to family members and friends for support, as these loved ones likely can help you analyze any homebuying hurdles and find ways to overcome them.

2. Know Your Options

You may invest many hours in a homebuying negotiation, and you might even make various concessions along the way. But despite your best efforts, there are no guarantees that your homebuying negotiation will be successful.

For homebuyers, it is important to remember that there are plenty of houses available in cities and towns nationwide. Therefore, if a homebuying negotiation goes sour, you can walk away and start a new search for a terrific home.

3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

When it comes to negotiating a home purchase, a real estate agent can make it easy to streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence. This housing market professional can serve as a liaison between you and a home seller. As such, he or she will do everything possible to deliver exceptional results for all parties involved in a homebuying negotiation.

Your real estate agent can take the guesswork out of a homebuying negotiation. This real estate expert can respond to any concerns or questions you may have throughout a negotiation. In addition, he or she will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed homebuying decisions.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent can help you alleviate stress during a homebuying negotiation. He or she will provide you with world-class guidance, enabling you to stay calm, cool and collected as you search for your ideal residence.

Don't let your emotions overwhelm you during a homebuying negotiation. Conversely, use the aforementioned tips, and you can maintain your composure throughout a homebuying negotiation and boost your chances to acquire a first-rate house.





Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 4/24/2020

Establishing a competitive initial asking price for your house often can be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you determine the ideal asking price for your home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set the right initial asking price for your home.

1. Study the Housing Market

How does your residence stack up against the competition? Evaluate the prices of comparable houses in your city or town, and you can narrow your home price range.

Furthermore, it helps to examine the prices of recently sold residences in your area. With this housing market data, you can find out whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market. Then, you can map out your home pricing strategy accordingly.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal offers a valuable learning tool for a home seller. It allows a seller to receive expert insights into the value of his or her residence. As a result, a seller can get a property valuation from a home appraiser and use this figure to establish a competitive home asking price.

In addition, it may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection prior to listing your house. An inspection enables you to learn about any problems that may affect your house's value. And if you choose, you can use a home inspection report to prioritize assorted home repairs that may help you boost the value of your house.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to price your residence, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent to receive comprehensive support at each stage of the home selling journey.

A real estate agent is happy to help you assess your house and determine the right price for it. He or she is unafraid to be honest, and as such, will offer unbiased home pricing recommendations. That way, you can establish a competitive price from day one of the home selling journey and increase the likelihood of a quick home sale.

Also, a real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist a home seller. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open house events to showcase your residence to prospective buyers. Plus, he or she will keep you up to date about offers on your residence. A real estate agent will even negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf to ensure you can maximize your home sale earnings.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will respond to your queries throughout the home selling journey. If you ever have home selling concerns or questions, you can simply talk to your real estate agent and receive expert support.

Take the guesswork out of pricing your residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can set a competitive price for your home in any housing market, at any time.







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