Mary Moloney - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Merrimack Valley



Posted by Mary Moloney on 10/20/2020

Image by ivabalk from Pixabay

With just minutes of prep and a little more than an hour of cooking time, you can make a great twice baked sweet potato dish ready to serve for your household. Here's a closer look at why it makes for such a healthy meal and what you'll need to pull it off:

Why It's A Great Dish

Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious, and a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They help with digestive health, and studies suggest they can also help boost the entire immune system. Sweet potatoes also:

  • Include cancer-fighting nutrients
  • Support healthy vision
  • Enhance brain function
  • Assist with weight loss efforts
  • Just 200 grams of baked sweet potato (including skin) offers up to 769 percent of the daily value of Vitamin A, 65 percent of the daily value of Vitamin C, half the daily value of Manganese and 29 percent of the daily value of Vitamin B6. The recipe shared here contains 257 calories per serving and 14 grams of fat. 

    Twice Baked Sweet Potato: What You'll Need

    Here are the ingredients you'll need to make six servings:

  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 oz of cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • How To Prepare It

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the six sweet potatoes on a tray and bake until they are soft, approximately 1 hour.
  • Remove potatoes from the tray and allow the potatoes to cool.
  • Cut the potatoes in half then scoop the insides into a bowl. Keep the skins. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, butter, cream cheese and spices.
  • Add the potato to the brown sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Use the combined mixture to fill the potato skins from Step 2. 
  • Place the filled potatoes onto the baking sheet and back into the oven for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and serve. The finished potatoes should be golden brown in color. 
  • This twice-baked sweet potato recipe is an ideal part of a balanced, healthy meal. It's also an ideal dish for vegetarians or those trying to introduce meatless meals. 




    Tags: Cooking   dinner   meal planning  
    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Mary Moloney on 10/13/2020

    Obtaining a mortgage can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of analyzing various mortgage options and choosing one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers secure the ideal mortgage.

    1. Assess All of the Mortgage Options at Your Disposal

    Both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are available, and homebuyers who understand the pros and cons of these mortgage options may be better equipped than others to make the right mortgage decision.

    A fixed-rate mortgage ensures a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage enables a homebuyer to budget for monthly home payments over the course of three decades. And in many instances, a homebuyer may be able to pay off a fixed-rate mortgage early without penalty.

    On the other hand, an adjustable-rate mortgage may start out with a lower monthly payment that escalates over the course of a few years. An adjustable-rate mortgage, for instance, may allow a homebuyer to acquire a home that surpasses his or her initial budget thanks to a lower initial monthly payment. However, after the first few years, the monthly mortgage payment may increase, and a homebuyer will need to plan accordingly.

    Assess your mortgage options closely Ė you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you can boost your chances of selecting a mortgage that works well based on your current and future financial needs.

    2. Evaluate Your Credit Score

    Believe it or not, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may impact his or her ability to get the right mortgage. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can analyze his or her credit score without delay.

    You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, with your credit report in hand, you can better understand how potential lenders may view your mortgage application.

    Of course, if you receive a copy of your credit report and find glaring errors, be sure to let the credit bureau know immediately. This will enable you to get any mistakes corrected and ensure these problems won't slow you down as you pursue your dream residence.

    3. Consult with Potential Lenders

    Although getting a mortgage may seem like an uphill climb at first, consulting with potential lenders may prove to be exceedingly valuable, especially for a first-time homebuyer.

    Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to educate you about assorted mortgage options. These lenders can teach you about the ins and outs of various mortgage options at your convenience.

    Lastly, if you need extra help in your search for the perfect mortgage, real estate agents may be able to offer assistance. These housing market professionals can provide honest, unbiased recommendations about lenders in your area so you can move one step closer to securing your ideal mortgage.

    Ready to get a mortgage for the first time? Use these tips, and you can accelerate the process of obtaining a mortgage that suits you perfectly.




    Tags: Mortgage   Buying a home  
    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Mary Moloney on 10/6/2020

    Many homeowners have a difficult relationship with their homeowners association. On the one hand, the HOA helps your community stay safe, clean, and makes it a desirable place to live which improves the property value of your home. But, on the other hand, homeowners associations can be a problem if you want to make a change to your property that they disagree with.

     In this article, weíll talk about some common issues that homeowners face in their dealings with homeowners associations and give you tips on how to handle them so that youíll have the best possible outcome.

     Study the rules carefully

    It may seem like a nuisance, but your best defense when dealing with the homeowners association is to understand whatís expected of you. Not only will it help you stay on good terms with the HOA, but it will also make it easier to understand what your options are.

    Itís a good idea to understand these rules and bylaws before you ever move into the neighborhood, but itís never too late to learn them. It might help you later on down the road should you want to paint your house or build a new structure in your yard.

    Introduce yourself to the members

    Itís best to get off on the right foot with the other members of your homeowners association. You donít want your first meeting to be a complaint against you, nor do you want to introduce yourself to someone only to make a complaint against someone else.

    It will also give you a chance to ask questions about the community and to get an understanding of how easy or difficult it is to deal with the regulations of the homeowners association.

    Donít assume ill-will

    If you find that a complaint has been raised against you, donít act immediately. Take some time to compose your response and be sure to acknowledge the complaint. Odds are that the other members of the HOA arenít there just to give you a hard time.

    Choose your battles

    There are some things worth fighting for when it comes to your home. However, you donít want to be repeatedly challenging the HOA on small issues. Stick to the rules on the things that arenít hugely important, that way other members wonít come to expect issues from you.

    Follow protocol

    When youíre required to get permission from the board before making a change to your property, be sure you follow the steps laid out in your agreement. Doing so will avoid any unnecessary conflict.

    Pay all dues and fines on time

    Even if you are in the middle of a disagreement with the HOA, itís better to continue paying your dues and fines that to leave them outstanding. If you donít pay, you risk further penalty, including fees.

    Plan ahead if you want to change the rules

    If youíre dissatisfied with some or man of the rules of the homeowners association, odds are youíre not alone. First, start by talking with other neighborhood members. If they have similar views on the rules in question, you can bring them up collectively at the next meeting.

    Your second option would be to run for the board and try to enact the changes yourself. However, you should never seek a position out of spite or anger. Only volunteer your time and effort if you want to lend a hand in your community and make life better for all of the inhabitants.

     




    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Mary Moloney on 9/29/2020

    When youíre shopping for a home, itís easy to be overzealous in your attempt to find the perfect property. One of the biggest regrets of home buyers is that of paying too high a price for their dream home. There should be a balance between cost and the right property for you. No matter what kind of house youíre looking to buy or where you plan to buy it, a little planning goes a long way to help you get the most for your dollar when buying a home. Below, youíll find some tips to help you avoid the dreaded mistake of overpaying for a home.


     Look For Amenities That Increase Value


    Does the neighborhood youíre looking to buy in have a lot of cool perks? Perhaps the property is close to the heart of downtown or close to one of the most desirable schools in the area. These features add value to the home based on the demand in the neighborhood. 


    You should also consider if the neighborhood is known as whatís termed ďup and coming.Ē The potential that a neighborhood is also a factor in the price of a home. Is there a lot of construction going on in the area? Is the home youíre buying in a great area but considered a ďfixer upperĒ? High potential properties in desirable areas can actually give you a bargain. A nice property in an area that is still being established can also be a bargain but beware. You may end up paying a higher price as sellers and developers understand that people are eager to move into the neighborhood. Also, if a neighborhood seems to be built up too much, itís not a good sign. An overdeveloped area can lead to decreased property values over time.         


    Inside the home, look for things that have been updated to increase the value of the property. An updated kitchen and bathroom add the most cost to a home as these are the most expensive rooms to renovate. Other perks in a home that greatly increase the value include new flooring, new roof, being situated on a cul-de-sac or dead end street, and easy access to highways and main routes.  


    Know That Some Features Decrease Value


    Things like power lines, poor economic growth in the community, high-traffic areas, foreclosures, and unkept homes can all drag down the value of a property. If you happen to be looking in one of these areas, understand that you shouldnít be paying top dollar for a home there. Look for bargains. Whether you plan to stay or simply flip a property, you need to know at what point the price will be right without overpaying for the home.    





    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Mary Moloney on 9/22/2020

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    Photo by Tania Van den Berghen via Pixabay

    When your kitchen or another part of your home could use a bit more light, consider adding skylights instead of lamps or light fixtures. Skylights can provide your home with some important benefits. As long as you have these lights properly installed, they can offer the following advantages for your home. 

     

    Increase Natural Light

    Installing skylights results in more natural lighting in your home. Exposure to natural light is associated with several benefits, including improved mood. This can be a major benefit during winter when it’s hard to get enough exposure to sunlight thanks to shorter days. Natural light from skylights can also create a more pleasant ambiance in your home, resulting in a more cheerful and calming environment. If you’re planning on selling your house, keep in mind that having plenty of natural light can improve your home’s appearance and make a great impression on home buyers during showings and open houses. 

     

    Reduce Energy Usage

    Skylights can help you save on the amount of energy your home normally uses. With skylights installed, you’ll gain solar heat from the sun during the winter months, which means you won’t have to run your heating system as much. This reduces wear and tear on your heating system and leads to lower heating bills. When it’s warm out, you can open your skylights to get cross-ventilation inside your home, which helps cool it off. Doing this can reduce your air conditioning bills during summer. 

     

    Improve Ventilation

    Skylights that open up provide your home with improved ventilation. Throughout the day, hot air rises and gathers near the top of a room. This can make rooms feel stuffy and uncomfortable, especially when it’s hot out. Skylights give you a way to release this hot air while also letting in fresh air from outside, resulting in better ventilation and improved indoor comfort. 

     

    Make Rooms Feel Bigger

    Having a skylight or two in your home can make the room they’re in seem more spacious. While this might not be a concern in a larger home, it can do wonders for smaller homes or older homes that don’t have an open floor plan. 

     

    Offer Outdoor Views

    Skylights in your ceiling give you a great way to enjoy views of sunny skies during the day and starry skies at night. Depending on where you live and where you have your skylights placed, you might also have good views of forests, mountains or other natural surroundings. 

     




    Categories: Uncategorized  




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